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Chapter 16 – Freedom in Forgiveness

This post is a little long, I apologize. And it’s the first of two posts on forgiveness, because I’ve had a lot of people asking me about the subject lately. And I touched on it a bit yesterday, but decided to go with the long answer today, and that comes in the form of the first half of chapter 16 which is dedicated to the subject in my book. And here’s the post:

I think there is probably nothing that I have learned that has been as helpful as learning the importance of forgiveness. When I used to look back over my life, the list of people who had treated me unfairly was pretty long. I remembered everything, every conversation, every mean look. I knew who said what, who did what, even back to elementary school. I could go through them in my head, which I did somewhat often while I was in middle school and high school. I held on to the anger and the fear, and I would sit and remember why I was holding onto it.

These were people who were mean to me for no reason. I hadn’t done anything wrong. Or in the case of family incidents, I was right and they were wrong (I can’t help that this is ALWAYS the case – please note my sarcasm here). But there were people and times where our interactions made me feel like absolutely nothing at all. I felt so overlooked, and at times so betrayed, that forgiveness was nowhere on my radar. The things that happened to me were wrong. And I should be angry. I should hate them. But what holding onto that hurt and anger did was keep me right where I was.

Every time I thought about the things that had happened I was that girl, in that moment, feeling that hurt and scared. I never really snapped out of it. I let those things rule over me. I let my emotions get overrun, because I became too afraid to even want to be close to anyone. I felt unworthy, because all of those people on my list wouldn’t have treated me as they had if this weren’t the case. And it wasn’t until I was removed from the situation, I graduated and left for college, that I came to realize that the stuff that happened, for the most part, really did not need to continue to affect me.

As long as I let those thoughts and those actions rule over me I was letting the fear win. I allowed the treatment of kids who felt just as awkward and fearful (otherwise the interactions would have never taken place) to make me feel like I deserved to be treated that way. I had a small, but wonderful group of friends, all of whom I still try to keep in touch with today, but even with them, I didn’t really understand why they were my friends. I felt like they had so much more going for them than I did.

I was lost, because I was fearful. They all had plans, and I was absolutely certain they would fulfill them. I wasn’t the friend I could have been, because I knew they’d probably leave me behind. It’s not a good way to live your life, being that fearful. And the feelings I had were in large part due to my inability to forgive, because I couldn’t forget or overlook how I felt in those moments where I was hurt. Forgiveness is a continuous process. We have to forgive others and forgive ourselves. I used to think one was more difficult to do than the other, but I think they are fairly equal in their difficulty.

When Dr. Eger came and spoke to our Personality Theories class, she talked about forgiveness. She said that every night she prayed for the Nazi members who took her and her family captive, and who killed all but two of them. She and her sister were the only survivors. She told us that feeling guilty, because we didn’t have to go through what she went through was useless. And she was right, although this was very hard for me to comprehend. Comparing our lives to others does nothing but confuse us and give us excuses to stay where we are. She said we all have the option to be happy. But we cannot be happy if we don’t forgive.

I didn’t know how to imagine her forgiving those men for what they put her through. I didn’t know if she really had done so or not. But I believed that if anyone knew what they were talking it about when it came to forgiveness, it was quite likely to be her. That summer after I made the decision that I wanted to be happy, I decided that at 23, I wanted to start forgiving people for what had happened in my life and just try and see where it led me. I didn’t really know how to forgive, so I remember just sitting in my room praying and saying to the universe silently, that I forgive you. I am letting go of all of that fear and hurt. It doesn’t matter anymore, I thought. What good is it doing me to hold on?

The Waiting Game

“And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted.  But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out?  Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…” Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

I bought this book for Jack on Friday. It’s one of my favorite books in general. I hadn’t read it in years, and I was thinking about how frustrating it is to be waiting, when I came across this part of the book. Ironically what I thought about was the fact that Dr. Seuss, who I always imagine as being fun, and not having issues in life in general, he knew how I feel sometimes. He knew how hard it is to get out of a slump. He knew how frustrating it can be when you get stuck in that place where you are just waiting for something to happen. Waiting for something to change. Waiting for someway to figure out what on Earth to do because nothing makes sense anymore and sometimes you don’t even know if you want it to.

It’s easy to get stuck in those places. Stuck in the darkness and end up waiting. I feel like I’ve been waiting a lot lately. And it’s a normal part of life. Now I know that I have to do things and be proactive. But a few years back I had no idea that it was even possible to not be waiting. I didn’t know that there was something I could do. I didn’t really think that there was something I should have to do, because I sort of decided that I was put in the place that I was at because of all the things that had happened to me. So I didn’t understand why someone couldn’t just come along, and see what I had to offer or show me that I had something to offer like these other people I saw had happen to them. So I waited. And I waited. And I waited. And nothing ever changed.

That’s the thing. Nothing changes if we don’t let it, but nothing changes if we don’t make it either. We all have things that we are waiting on, but sometimes we are waiting on everything. And we can’t do that. We have to be able to take control of our minds and our bodies and our souls. We have to get the help we need when we need it. And we have to put in the effort. Because, “You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend reading it. You can google it, and find the text. It has good advice. (The urge to rhyme here is really bad, but I’m going to refrain, he’s better at it than me!)

Stop playing the waiting game. Nothing worthwhile can come of it. We have to live each moment. No one can live them for us. We are the makers of our own decisions. And that gives us power beyond measure over our lives!

Friday Favorites Quote of the Day

Today was a bit of an adventure. We started off the morning celebrating the birthday of one of Jack’s friends. Then we took a brief 1.5 hour trip to the ER to get a chest x-ray for Jack. Fortunately three hours later I found out everything was all clear, and his continued coughing should resolve soon. I’m hoping that’s the case. Since it’s been such a long day and there is a Friday Favorite trend, I’m actually going to do a spin on that and pick one of my favorite quotes to talk about.

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier” – Mother Teresa

When I was sitting in the waiting room today I looked around at all the people. And I thought about all of the different struggles that were going on there. Yesterday my 88-year-old grandmother had surgery for colon cancer. We were one of the families that was nervous and anxious in the waiting room. But she is back in her room, and was sitting up today, and outside of a bit of nausea is doing quite well, especially given her age. But I thought about how nice the support is. Even when it’s hard, even when you don’t want to hear it, it’s nice to know someone is trying to care. (don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely irritating when the people we want to care are not the ones who care)

A lot of the time, I actually find it nice when it’s strangers who take the time out to be kind. In those situations there are no strings attached. It’s simply someone taking the time out to acknowledge your existence and in a positive manner, and it’s left at that. I really like this idea. People always talk about the power of a smile. And it’s true. It’s hard to be unhappy when you’re smiling. And that energy will carry on to those who let it in. We can’t force people to be happy, but we can make it a point to do our best to be positive and encouraging to others, even if it’s just a smile. And even if it’s just for that moment. It’s nice to know that we can brighten someone’s day. Because we know it makes a difference in our lives when someone takes the time to brighten our day. Moments are fleeting, and we have to make the most of them. We can choose to be happy. We can choose to let light in. And we can choose to give light out. So with all that’s going on and with the day dwindling down here, I’m going to leave you with this: Make it a point to make someone’s day brighter this weekend. Even if it’s a stranger you see on the sidewalk. Take time to smile, even if there’s no reason to. When that’s the case you’ve got nothing to lose anyway.

Day 30 – Growing to our highest height

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While outside playing with Jack yesterday I took a picture of an oak tree. We have lots of water oaks along the coastline in Mississippi and some of them have grown to huge sizes. They’ve survived for centuries, storm after storm, year after year. And I started to think about how that happens.

People mention building your roots a lot. In order for a tree to grow it has to anchor itself in first. But I think sometimes what we overlook is just how root systems work in trees. They grow down to form an anchor, and then they spread themselves out. They branch out in all directions creating the right amount of support for the tree itself to branch out in any direction it needs to. As we grow in life, we can’t just grow in one direction. We are multifaceted and complex. We have multiple talents, multiple needs, multiple areas we are capable of sharing in, of growing in. We have to make sure that we are tending to all the different areas in our life in order to grow as high as we can grow.

When a tree gets injured on one side, those branches can start to whither and die. The whole tree can end up weakened, because it’s no longer in balance. So the tree starts to regrow that branch whenever possible. New life will emerge from those areas that we’ve left untended, even when they were areas that were hurt. Whether it’s because we ignore those areas simply because we have so many things we need to focus on, or if the areas are damaged from things that have happened in the past, the chance for regrowth exists. And not only does it exist, it is necessary for us to find our balance again. For us to thrive again. We have to make ourselves as strong as possible in order to weather the storms in life, and to do that we have to pay attention to all of our branches.

Sometimes when we let things constantly eat away at one part of our life, it finds its way into the other areas as well. Inevitably we end up unhappy, unfulfilled, and unsatisfied. We get lost. We don’t know what’s wrong because so many areas are now at risk, and finding the source of the problem is hard. It’s easy for poison to find its way in when we can’t find the wound to close it. So it’s extremely important to begin paying attention, looking at ourselves and really realizing what needs to be done to help us feel whole again. They are not voids that can be filled by others. They are things that exist within us.

We have the chance to do great things and be great people in even the smallest of ways every day. We have the chance to grow ourselves with every sunrise and strengthen our roots with every sunset. Every branch we extend outward has the chance to touch someone. To help create fresh air and breathe new life, without do anything other than functioning at its best. By weathering the storms we have the chance to help someone else do the same. We just have to grow ourselves in all the different directions we can. We have to allow ourselves to be human, to be people. To have faults and weaknesses, but not let them overcome us, because we all have many ways to grow.

Day 23 – 3 Easy Steps to Not Only Surviving, but Thriving in the Storm.

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“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” –  Louisa May Alcott

Today I am writing, and I’m writing rather quickly because there are a set of storms that will be coming through in about 30 minutes. The storms have already produced a small tornado. And I started to realize all of the things that I needed to do before the storms came in case the power goes out, I decided that what was I needed to write about as well. One of the things that you learn living through lots of storms, especially if you live on a coastline like I do where there are lots of hurricanes, is that there are things that you can do to prepare for the storms and things that you can do during the storm in order to survive. So today, since I’m preparing for the storms, I thought I would share my tips for surviving storms the storms of life. As it turns out those for surviving the weather, apply just as well to surviving the storms that mark our lives.

  1. Prepare. The reason this is the first step, is because no matter what is going on in our lives if we take the time to prepare ourselves, we are better able to face the storms. During hurricane season we have preparedness kits so that if things go wrong (like they did with Katrina) we can have the supplies we need to be able to survive both the storm and the aftermath. We need the essentials. Food, water, medical kits, money, routes to shelters. Things of that nature. And in life we have to do the same. We have to prepare ourselves for what we will face. Part of this comes from learning from the things that have happened in the past. If we reflect on the difficult times we’ve faced before we can take things away from those situations that will help us in the future. We can utilize the strength and the knowledge we have gained. These are some of our essentials. We can make it a point to put ourselves mentally in a place where we are growing and confident in ourselves and our abilities to weather these storms. We can build a shelter. We can supply it with the materials we need if we take the time to reflect on ourselves and our lives, and to use that information to make a path to where we need to be. We have to organize ourselves – make lists (that’s why I’m writing this in list form now), figure out what we plan to do, because if we have those plans and they are tangible, they are our routes to safety during the storms we weather.
  2. Focus. Once the storm hits we have to stay focused. We have to take the time to be still and listen, especially when the winds pick up. In elementary school during tornado warnings we used to have to move to the hallway and sit in silence listening for the wind to start to sound like a freight train, and if it did, we knew to cover ourselves. This is what we have to do during the storms in our lives as well. We have to stop and pay attention. We have to focus. We have to look to see if what we are doing is the right thing to do. We go back to our list that tells us where we are going. We see if our current situation is a part of it. If it is, then we look around and figure out the supplies we need to utilize while this storm passes. It can be that we just need patience and a look back at the list so we remember that the storm will always pass. Or we may need the confidence to remember that we are accomplishing what we have set out to, despite the storm – because there will always be difficulties on our journey. If our current situation isn’t part of our path, or we’ve come to a crossroads we have to decide if we are going to leave the path behind to stay where we are (if so, refer back to the previous statements) or if we are going to leave our situation behind so that we can continue on to where we planned to go. And leaving a situation, especially an emotion-filled situation can be hard. It can create a whole new storm. But as long as we are paying attention and focusing on where we need to go, and what is best for ourselves and those we care about, then we can know that we are going to weather this storm and turn out all right in the end.
  3. Find joy. This third step may seem a little bit strange, so let me explain. Whenever there were hurricane warnings and we had to stay home from school, I always got a little excited. I knew that I would get to see at home, maybe with just flashlights and candles. I knew we’d make a tent. I knew we’d play games. And those weren’t things that happened all the time. Even though I was scared. And sometimes we had to stop playing to hide in the hall, we always had fun distractions from the storm at hand. Sometimes when we get into the day to day of life, we forget to have fun. We forget to have those moments of escape from the storm. It’s important to remember that sometimes we need a distraction or two. We need an adventure, even if it’s in the tent in the living room, to remind us of why we are in the storm to begin with. And to remind us that even in the storms, we can prosper. We can grow stronger. We can find happiness. We can share love. Even when the world outside is spinning and crashing and shaking the door. We can still know that there is something worth surviving for. We can find joy and let it guide us. There can be a rainbow on the other side.

Day 22 – Looking for inspiration in the haze

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Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”  – Louisa May Alcott

This week while I was sitting with my son, who has been sick (we actually leave for a doctor’s appointment soon), I was looking out of the window and it looked like the trees in the yard were glowing. It was really beautiful. And Jack thought it looked like magic. He was genuinely excited about it. I really appreciated how enthusiastic he was. He tends to be that way in general. He’s enthusiastic and encouraging. He makes it a point to enjoy whatever he is doing. He’s really one of the happiest people I know, and I am so happy about that. His enthusiasm reminded me of just how important it is to allow ourselves to be inspired.

While looking at the trees, I was reminded of some that I used to see in the mornings on the way to school when I was in college. It was a mixture of cherry blossoms and some trees I didn’t recognize. But when the light would hit them, they would glow. And it always put me in a better mood. When we let things in and we let them inspire us, even the smallest things like the glowing leaves, it has the capacity to shift our moods. We start focusing on that feeling of inspiration of happiness, and the other frustrations, like that of getting up and going to class!

Sometimes it’s easy to lose track of just how much the little things (or the way we perceive them) in life do affect us. Those things that we take in or that we disregard are the little triggers for our mood. They have the ability make us smile or leave us anxious or upset. We take in so much information a day. It’s coming at us in every form and from every direction. What is it that we choose to focus on and why? When we start looking at the things we do, even down to the smallest things, like what we opt to filter out, we get to a point where we can ask the pivotal question of why? Why do we ignore some things and not others? Why do we focus on some things as opposed to others? Part of the answer is that we have to. We have to focus in one direction and not another. We can’t absorb everything. We would overload. We would have no course of action, because we’d simply spend all of our time trying to sort out what we are taking in with each step. This means that our steps are directed, and they are somewhat directed by the things we’ve chosen to take in. The things we choose to acknowledge. And that means the path that we are going down is dependent upon what we have chosen to give our attention to. When we give our attention to boredom or frustration that’s where our path leads. Yet, if we take the time to shift our attention just briefly and look for something inspiring and let it in, no matter how small, we’ve shifted our path. And even the slightest shifts can make a big difference. Especially if we opt to repeat them. We can change our course if we don’t like what we see doing the tiniest of things, just like this. And when I get into those slumps where things are just overwhelmed and frustrating and I find those moments where I have the chance to be inspired, I try to take them. Because looking for inspiration allows us to find it. And it can help lead us to a brighter path.

(As a sidenote we are back from the doctor, and they think it’s just a virus, but his temp keeps jumping up. It’s 103.5 right now an hour after Tylenol, so any well wishes are appreciated!!)

As another addendum:

I received the Regeneration Award from http://thelastsongiheard.wordpress.com/regenerations/.

I just wanted to say thank you, and if you like music, you should check out his blog, it’s got a unique theme and it’s an interesting read.

And I wanted to say that I nominated http://hometogo232.wordpress.com/ for the award also, because she, too, has a very compelling blog and life’s journey that she shares.

As for the questions asked:

Who are you? I’m Lauren…

Are you happy? Yes, I am!

If you could change just one thing about yourself, right now, to make your life better, what would it be? I just want to keep growing and becoming the person I want to be.

Who, or what, inspires you? This is an ironic question considering my topic for today… so the things I mentioned in the blog and outside of my family and friends I would pick music. Music in general inspires me. I love music. It makes me happy.

So thanks again! 🙂

Day(s) (19 and) 20 – When our best laid plans fail

Apparently Friday was a precursor. I didn’t actually forget yesterday, but I left my house at 5:30 am and didn’t get home until after midnight. It’s strange, because I felt both a bit of relief not writing yesterday and a bit of stress as well. My plan was to write every day this month. But I didn’t get to do that. Last night I was kind of sad, because I really wanted to be able to do it. And I felt like things happened in a way that I couldn’t foresee. I was supposed to be home early and have time, but that’s not what happened.

This morning I thought about how difficult it can be to adjust when all the things we’ve put in place and gotten ready don’t lead to the result we were hoping for. And in many cases it’s not because of anything we’ve done. We put all of the pieces in order, but the puzzle never comes together. It’s extremely upsetting. It starts to feel like there are very real forces working against you and it’s hard to figure out how to overcome it. It’s hard to cope with those things. When we don’t get the job we want or our relationship fails or whatever the case may be. But many times those moments are the most pivotal. It’s at those times when we either give up or keep on working.

One of the hardest things that many of us face is the fact that life doesn’t normally go the way we had planned when we were young. The idea of who we were and how things would happen that we dreamed up long ago is quite difficult to get past. We need things to happen the way that we want them to. It’s normal. It gives us a certain amount of control and confidence, because it means we know what we are doing when things work out.But when they don’t, we have a tendency to start questioning everything.

It’s interesting how quickly we want to make things our fault and decide that we must have done something wrong, when in reality that’s not the case. I wrote about self-worth a few days ago, and I’m bringing it up now because I think it’s important to realize that these situations can easily dampen our self-worth. When we had that job lined up that was absolutely perfect for us, but we don’t get it – or it ends unexpectedly, it makes us think maybe there is something wrong with us. Sometimes we start to think that even if we tried something else it wouldn’t work out, because there’s nothing out there more perfect than this and this didn’t work. And this is the case with everything in life, work, family, relationships, any of the things we love and want most. When our plans fail, we can find it hard to figure out how to move on.

One of the things I also noticed this morning was that I felt a sense of renewal. I hadn’t written in a long time before I started writing in the blog this month, but I never wrote the way that I write here on a daily basis. I wrote a lot, but when I’m writing for me I write differently. It’s about specific people or things that I want, and it tended to be repetitive. Whereas this is a different thing. And it’s been really nice to learn about myself in this way, and to work on creating something of substance on a daily basis. The process is a little taxing, because in essence this is like my third job each night. But it’s been rewarding.

Previously if something I had planned to do hadn’t gone the way I had hoped, I would start to slack off and probably end up just leaving it all together. When I was younger it was very hard for me to cope with things not going exactly as I wanted. I would simply let it go and and not try if it wasn’t going to work perfectly or I wasn’t going to be the best. One of the nicest things about the process of change I’ve gone through over the past decade is the ability to let myself fail, not be perfect and to realize that I still survive. And that very few people even notice the fact that I wasn’t perfect. And more importantly, they don’t care. It’s nice now knowing that if things don’t work out just as I wanted there are ALWAYS other options. ALWAYS. It may not be just as I planned. It may not be just as I wanted. But in many cases it ends up better than what I had originally planned anyway. And that was one of the best surprises of all.

I didn’t get the relationship I wanted, but I now stand in something exceedingly better. I didn’t get the job I wanted, but I embarking on one that will truly be much better. I thought everything was against me, because that’s what we think when things don’t seem to go our way. But in reality, everything was working for me to bring me somewhere I never would have gotten otherwise. Where have you gone that you didn’t think you would go? Have you ever ended up better off because of it?

Day 17 – Finding the big picture

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Today I went to an art exhibit at the library by my old house. It’s the house I grew up in, and my favorite one that I’ve lived in. I got the chance to bring my son and my nephew over to see the house. We didn’t go inside… the house is currently in the middle of a decision between saving it or tearing it down. There’s a large crack up the back of the house. The windows are broken in a few places, and the gate is gone. But it still looked like home. Which is interesting.

Going back my siblings and I noted how much smaller things looked. I remember the yard looked so big when I was little and the “hill” seemed much more like a hill as a child rather than the slight incline that it apparently is. Who knew!? I will continue to describe it as a hill when I tell people stories, because it’s a lot more interesting to say that my brother sent me down the hill on the skateboard and luckily I fell off before landing in the road into oncoming traffic, but now I have these ugly scars. My brother sent me down a slight incline does not have the same effect.

But as I was noticing how much smaller and conquerable everything seemed, I realized that this is the case with many, many things. In retrospect our problems that seemed huge and insurmountable in the end were overcome. And looking back, it seems a lot smaller a lot of times. The crushes that I had in school, the people who I had to deal with. The decisions I’ve had to make about careers and college and jobs. At the time everything seems so hard, but when I look back, though I still realize the scenery, it doesn’t seem quite so large.

It’s funny the way things like that work. When the pressure is on, the picture gets deluded. The picture skews because there is so much riding on it. And it’s true that there are certainly decisions that warrant the importance that we place on them. We need to care about the things we spend our time doing. But, we also need to remember that there will be a point in time where we look back and see that the problems we are facing have been conquered. The stress wasn’t quite so necessary. The picture is smaller than it seems. There is an answer, and time will go on. We move. We grow. We learn. And sometimes we get to see the true big picture.

Day 16 – Self-worth (it is the answer)

I know I’ve probably said it before, but since this is mental health month, I’m going to say it again, self-worth is quite possibly the key to understanding who we are and getting us to where we want to go. (otherwise I wouldn’t have written a book about it!) Over the course of my life I struggled with fear and doubt, and all of those things that are normal for us to struggle with. I was always scared, and I never tried to do anything I didn’t think I could be at least good at, if not great. I played the sports that I knew I could be one of the best at. I took the classes I knew I would do well in. Part of this may have been my competitive nature, but in the end the major force behind my decision making was my self-worth.

I never realized when I was younger that my self-worth was an issue. In fact, I didn’t really think it was a problem at all, if I even knew it existed. People have a tendency to group self-worth and self-esteem together, and that’s simply not the case I have come to find out. Even though I used to say that I was never happy, which was true, and I used to say that I didn’t think I’d really get anywhere in life, which was also true, I didn’t truly dislike me. In fact, I liked myself a lot. The thing that I hated was that no one else seemed to. Or maybe it appeared that no one else truly cared about me.

People asked me for help. They readily asked me to do things for them. And it was clear that I was dependable. But it seemed like I was left out of all of the important things. No one asked me out. No one seemed to believe in me. It seemed like people felt as though it was terrible if I didn’t do as they asked, but if I asked for a favor I seemed to be an inconvenience. I had some really great friends, don’t get me wrong. But in my head, I just never felt good enough. But it wasn’t in my eyes that I wasn’t good enough, it was the way I believed everyone else thought about me.

My issue was not that I didn’t like myself. It was not that I didn’t hold myself in high esteem. I knew I could do things well. I knew I could probably be anything I wanted to be when I went to college. But I felt like it would never happen. And when it got down to it, it turned out that I felt like it wouldn’t happen because I wasn’t worthy of it happening. I didn’t go through extraordinary circumstances. My childhood was fairly normal, in my mind. Most people weren’t mean to me, though some were. Instead, most people never knew I existed. At my high school reunion, yes I’m that old, I had more people say, I don’t remember you than anyone else probably. And that’s okay, because I spent a whole lot of time not really wanting to be noticed. And the reason was because I had felt so often that when I did try to make friends or get people to like me, they might for a while, but then they’d move on. I wasn’t really worthy of being a part of a real friendship in my head. And considering how often people were happy to exclude me in middle school, I do understand where this idea came from.

It’s really hard to convince a teenager that these times will pass. That the reason people are mean to  you has very little to do with you. In reality it’s all about themselves. So instead, I decided it was absolutely about me, and since it seemed to be the new general consensus, it was probably right.My issue was not self-esteem. I liked me. I didn’t understand why no one else did. I thought I could do things. I didn’t know why people wouldn’t let me try. So when the times started to change, and they did some in high school and especially college, it was really hard for me to let go and be open to people wanting to be my friends, and believing that anyone really cared. My self-worth had dropped drastically. I didn’t think I was worth it, so I spent my time in high school mostly trying not to be noticed by the people I didn’t already trust.

I liked myself. I believed I was capable. I held myself in high esteem. I thought I could change the world given the chance. But what I found when I finally started my journey into happiness, was that I didn’t really feel worthy. I didn’t feel worthy of my dreams coming true. I didn’t feel worthy of good things happening. So I had decided they wouldn’t, and I put measure into place to make sure I was right. Because that’s what we do in life. We work really hard to prove ourselves right about whatever we decide.

But what I have learned is that I, like everyone else, am worthy. My negative self-worth dictated everything. I knew I was capable, but I acted incapable. I knew I could and should be doing things. I acted as though I couldn’t. And it worked. I wasted a lot of time not getting to where I wanted to go. Self-worth dictates our journey. It leads us on our way. Because the way we feel about our worth is what dictates the way we do things and it affects all other aspects of our being. So my question to you is, do you feel worthy?

Day 13 – Mother’s Day

Today I got the chance to just hang out with my son. Nowhere to go. Nothing to do. And for that I am extremely thankful. Times have been stressful lately, and remembering to just have fun and enjoy our time together has been more difficult. I had a wonderful time playing in the yard and watching movies and cooking together with him today, and I hope to make it happen more often for us from now on. So since today is mother’s day, I mostly just want to say thanks to my son. Thanks for making me smile every day. For making me laugh just by being you. Thanks for reminding me to be a kid sometimes, too. For showing me how to use my imagination again. Thanks for pushing me outside of my comfort zone, and for basically just being the most amazing child on the planet. You make my heart sing every day, and for that I am eternally grateful! HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all of you amazing mothers and bloggers out there today! I hope it was as special as you hoped it would be 🙂

 

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