Making Room

We have all heard “Out with the old, in with the new.”  It sounds so pleasant, but it can be very difficult.  Sometimes it can happen abruptly and without warning.

If you have read some of my previous posts, you will know that I went through a season of unfortunate events.  The first unfortunate event was the second accident in my minivan.  I was on my way to the body shop to get an estimate for a rear end collision that caused some minor damage to my rear bumper.  I had planned on doing some Christmas shopping as well.  I had my mother and my two-year-old son in tow at the time when a pickup truck crossed the median,  T-boned another truck which in turn hit me, pushing my van into oncoming traffic on the opposite side of the highway.  The first truck went on to hit the car behind me. Fortunately, the oncoming traffic was far enough away not to hit me again.  After the dust cleared, I checked to see if my mom and son were okay, snapped my dislocated thumb back in place (yeah, I’m tough like that), I realized all of my airbags had deployed which meant my van was surely a total loss.  The drunk driver who hit us had destroyed my mommymobile and caused so much damage and injury to others as well. The last person hit was seriously, but not life-threateningly injured.

The paramedics came to take us to the hospital and as I could see that my mom and son were okay, I wondered what lingering aches and pains would follow us in the upcoming days, and possibly years to come.  I hoped my thumb was not broken.  It wasn’t, and my mom and son were fine (my mother and I needed several weeks of physical therapy, but on the whole, we were okay).  After my family and I made it safely home from the hospital, I started to think about my mommymobile.  I had purchased it when I was still working.  Now as a full-time, stay-at-home mom, my family was living on just one salary. I wondered if we would be able to get another vehicle comparable to the one we had.  I loved that van.  Fortunately, we were able to get a used van identical to the one we had.  This one even had all of the bells and whistles my base-model had not.  Something I loved was replaced with something better.

I think of this story when I have challenging moments in my life.  There are times when I need to make room for better things.  I cannot get too attached to something that may be blocking the place of something better.  Go with the flow.  Allow things to be transient.  Oftentimes we tend to hold on to things with the mindset of scarcity.  The world is abundant.  We have more than we need at our disposal and should never hold on so tightly to things with the belief they cannot be replaced.

I would like to challenge all of us to make room.  Purge the old and tattered and make room for something new.  We deserve it!

 

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Letting Go.

 

I have been absent from this blog for a while.  I started it as a way of stepping out of my shell and being vulnerable.  At the time, blogging felt the safest for me.  Since that time I have been willing to be vulnerable in my everyday life.  I have been sharing my story with other people, making new friends, and taking baby steps toward letting go of my insecurities and limiting beliefs. The results have been miraculous!

I currently have a job that I love.  I am helping people and in turn, I am helping myself.  I am in a position to use my experiences to help others.  Opening up and being vulnerable has not only helped me, but has been a blessing to those I share with.

This year I decided to be a youth leader with my church. I lead a group of 8th grade girls.  I intended to be a leader for high school girls as I work with college students, and felt I could better relate to them.  I particularly did not want to lead middle school girls as I had assigned my middle school experience to the whole group.  When it was time  to assign leaders to groups, the youth pastor found  they had a surplus of high school leaders and not enough for middle school.  I cringed.  I did not want to lead a group of middle school girls.  I began to have flashbacks of all the judgments, name-calling, and the awkwardness of being part girl, part woman.  I did not want to relive that again.  I was assigned to a group of girls.  Some of them I found an instant connection with, some were very quiet and awkward like I was.  I was surprised to find that I was not afraid of them, but afraid of what my thoughts and feelings I had about myself coming to the surface.  This led me to do so soul-searching.

We all have insecurities, some we get over, some we don’t, and some we push so far away we think they are gone, but they are not.  I was wrestling with the latter.  I went through the typical preteen growing pains, but I held onto a lot of the insecurities that surfaced during that time.  I have been insecure with my appearance.  I have good days and bad days, but I often tie my expectations about how people are going to treat me to how physically attractive they think I am.  Sometimes that is the case.  In my interactions with adults, I had accepted that and had gotten over it. I was confident with my physical appearance.   I did not feel, as an adult, that my physical appearance would in any way hinder a connection or relationship.   Now I was back in the 8th grade, and those insecurities resurfaced.

As I walked into the first youth group meeting,  I surveyed the other leaders.    Most were young, cute, and fit.  I instantly thought the 8th grade girls would gravitate to those young ladies.  I stood there with my graying hair, with my purse on my shoulder (apparently purses aren’t a thing anymore), still dressed for work as I came to church immediately after, wondering how would the 8th grade girls feel about me.  I envisioned all of the leaders in a lineup being chosen by the girls to lead them, and I would be the last one standing.  All the leaders met before being assigned to our groups.  I was partnered with another leader in her twenties, who was bubbly and cute.  I was immediately insecure.  Not because I am older and grayer, but I was insecure about how the 8th grade girls were going to feel about me as I stood next to a human Barbie.  My insecurities came from my experience as an 8th grade girl and not feeling adequate, popular, and attractive.  As an adult I am confident in most areas of my life, particularly my appearance. I had held on to the insecurities of my youth and they came spouting up when I was about to face a horde of adolescent girls.

It took me a couple of weeks to realize my insecurities had nothing to do with the 8th grade girls and everything to do with the healing that was yet to take place.  I had to extract the roots of my old insecurities and let them go.  I was needlessly holding onto something that was not serving me.  This caused me to examine other things that I need to let go.  It’s on ongoing process, and like this experience has taught me, there may be firm roots beneath the surface lying in wait to attack at any given moment.

I would like to challenge all of us to do a self-assessment and figure out if there is something we need to let go.  Some of them may be relationships, ideas, habits, etc.  We need to eliminate the things that are not serving us and make room for the good things that will enrich our lives.

On “Social Introverts” 

A letter from Michael Schiller, founder of the Social Introverts Facebook Page, on his passion for helping introverts appreciate their own quiet perfection.

Source: On “Social Introverts” 

How to take action even when you’re scared

This is something I have struggled with my entire life.  I am extremely cautious.  It has held me back from doing many of the things I’ve wanted to do.  I take days, months, and sometimes years weighing my options, pros and cons, what ifs, etc.  I have just come to the point in my life where I feel a little more comfortable taking risks.  I have learned to accept that challenges and mistakes are just a part of life and can also lead to very pleasant outcomes.Has this ever happened to you? You have a goal—an amazing goal—but fear of taking that leap catches you in the chest and you. just. can’t. If that sounds familiar, great!  Not only are you in good company, but you’re likely on the right track. How to take action even when you’re scared We hear

Source: How to take action even when you’re scared Continue reading

Character vs. Personality

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I have very few friends and even fewer close friends.  As an introvert I’ve always felt that was the reason for my small circle of friends.  Recently, have been meeting lots of new people and forming many new relationships.  I began to ask myself what was it about the few people I allow in my inner circle that sets them apart from others.  Almost all of the people I’ve come into contact with have been very pleasant, but I’ve only formed meaningful and close relationships with very few.  Usually those relationships progressed very quickly and I knew almost immediately after meeting those people that I wanted them to be a significant part of my life.

I believe instinctively I was able to tell the character of those people.  What I would like to examine is how we can prevent a lot of heartache and disappointment by determining the difference between character and personality. I will first start with personality as it is the most superficial of the two. Personality can be very surface level.  You can immediately tell if a person is outgoing or withdrawn, confident or insecure, etc.  This distinctions should be judged as superficially as they are presented.  They are not the true measure of a person’s character.  A person have the best, most welcoming personality and also be a pathological liar.

Determining a person’s character takes close observation. You need to see what they value, and how they treat themselves and others.  To truly value another person, one must first value oneself.  I have found that although everyone has some level of insecurity, those who are confident and self-assured are some of the most genuine and caring people.  Extreme insecurity often manifests itself in the way those extremely insecure people treat others and themselves.  With a certain level of confidence and self-assurance comes the ability to be open and honest with others.  Being confident does not mean that you do not feel that there is room for improvement in your life, it just means that you are able to recognize and accept  the things you need to work on.  When you are honest with yourself, you can be honest with others.  There is nothing to hide or mask.  With confidence comes vulnerability and vulnerability is the foundation of any good and lasting relationship.

Those who only operate on surface-level tend to be more inclined to hide their true intentions.  These people tend to focus all their attention an efforts on creating a outward persona  and not on a true development of their character.  They are usually the ones who are wearing a mask and only concerned with how things on the outside appear.  They feel the need to overcompensate with personality to make up what they are lacking in character. They lack the vulnerability to truly allow for a meaningful relationship, thus making it impossible to allow other people to know them authentically.

 

 

 

Connecting Through Vulnerability

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One of the important life lessons I have learned is there is power and happiness in vulnerability.  Vulnerability in all areas of one’s life is liberating.

I was always the strong one in all of my relationships.  For years I took pride in being the one who could seemingly handle anything.  l was the one everyone ran to with their problems.  I was the person everyone could count on when they were falling apart, but when I was going through a challenging situation, no one was there for me.  If I began to talk with a friend or family member about something difficult that I was going through, I was brushed off.  I was told things like, “If anyone can handle it, you can” or “I’m not worried about you. You are strong enough to handle it.” In reality, I wasn’t. When others assumed that I could weather any storm, I became resentful.  Then I realized that I created those relationships and I taught my friends to expect only strength from me.  I needed that same strong shoulder to cry on that I had so willingly given others.  No one viewed me as vulnerable, and by being seemingly strong person, I had created one-sided relationships.

 

In every area of our lives we need the help, compassion, and love of others.  I had mistaken vulnerability as weakness.  Without being vulnerable, we create weak relationships and deny ourselves true and intimate connections.  I have only recently embraced my vulnerability and by doing so, I have been greatly rewarded.  By letting my guard down my friendships have gotten stronger.  I am beginning to get the help and support that everyone needs in life.  There is strength in being vulnerable.

In the next few posts I will continue to share how I have benefited from letting my guard down and being open to the help and support of others.  I would like to challenge all of us to free ourselves from the burden of handling our own problems.

 

Embracing Vulnerability

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I believe that when most people think of vulnerability they think of weakness.  I have recently learned that vulnerability is the single thing that can open the doors to so many rewarding possibilities in life.  Can you truly love someone if they are afraid to be vulnerable?  Can you truly be loved if you close of parts of yourself?  By holding back we are blocking our blessings.

I worked with someone who was a habitual liar.  This person lied about big things and small things.  It was truly heartbreaking because this person had such a desire to belong and to be liked, but he was doing himself a disservice.  There was absolutely no chance of anyone getting to know and appreciate him as a person because of his need to hide behind deception.  Ultimately, this person lost his job over something he lied about.  The mistake he made would not have gotten him fired, but the fact that he lied about it did.  Had this person admitted his mistake, he would have gotten help, learned from his mistake, and possibly improved on his overall work performance.  Not only that, he would have established some respect from his fellow workers.

In the past I have been afraid to be vulnerable.  I was often told my many of my acquaintances how I initially seemed unapproachable.  It wasn’t until they got to know me that they began to like me.  I had no idea why anyone would have that perception of me.  I later realized it wasn’t until I was comfortable that I allowed  my guard to come down.  I was not fully appreciated until I was vulnerable.

Vulnerability is power.  When you let go of the fear of exposure and embrace everything about you wonderful things will happen.  It is such a liberating experience.  Imagine having to hide nothing.  Accepting yourself and whatever you may perceive as flaws is true love and you should accept nothing less for yourself.

I would like to challenge all of us to take a good look at ourselves and ask ourselves if there is anything about us that we feel is in any way shameful or embarrassing and own it.  We may want to change it, but it is still a part of us. Until we can make those changes we are still a valuable asset to society.   We need to love ourselves in order to be loved in the way we deserve.   Remember that we are all works in progress, but in order to progress we may need to tear down some walls and allow a little light to shine in.

Paulo Coelho

“The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.”
― Paulo CoelhoEleven Minutes
Criss Jami

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”
― Criss Jami