On a scale of 1-10, how much do you like yourself?

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“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day,    Thou canst not then be false to any man.”  – Shakespeare

The other day, a friend asked me, “On a scale of 1 – 10, how much do you like yourself?”  I hesitated and wondered for a moment, letting self-awareness and self-confidence do a do-si-do with any real (or false) sense of humility and low self-esteem that was hiding inside me.

I was struggling that day.  Unbeknownst to me, it was apparent to this person.  I thought that I had been holding it all together so well with just enough breezy positivity to keep me afloat.  In reality, my world felt to be Continue reading

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Set your default to trusting yourself.

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trust: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

doubt: a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction

When you compare the definitions of these two words, it is easy to see why it is much more happifying to set your personal default to trust.

Doubt is one of those feelings that leaves us second guessing ourselves into an unsettled state that only leaves us feeling even more doubtful.

Like cells that have their own growth cycle, doubt undergoes different phases or stages. As cells multiply, there are checkpoints at the end of each stage of growth to make sure that the last stage is fully completed before moving to the next stage.

When we find ourselves at the end of a growth cycle or at one of life’s crossroads, let your checkpoints be governed by trust, not doubt.  

Questions of doubt:

Should I accept the new job offer?  

Should I move across the country to a town where no one knows me?  

Should I adopt a new pet?  

Should I go back to school?  

Should I break up with my boyfriend?  

Should I . . . ?  Notice how all of these doubts are foreshadowed by should.  

Re-frame with statements of trust

What if we were to re-frame these same questions with statements of trust? Notice what happens when you replace should with am and will:  

I am ready to start a new career.  

I am brave enough to go on a moving adventure.  

My life will be so enriched by adopting a new pet.  

By returning to school, I will learn so many amazing things.  

I am ready to honor my own preferences and become independent.  

Give doubt a shovel and it will bury your hopes and scatter your strength.  It is far more harmful and damaging than we give it credit for.  As we spend time doubting, we spin our wheels and allow opportunities to breeze by . . . even when they are exactly what we have been hoping to meet.  We think that by doing nothing, we are honoring our preferences . . . but are we?  Are we truly?

A Positive Challenge:

The next time you hear yourself doubting yourself or prefacing a sentence with I should or I shouldn’t, maybe you are merely at the end of a growth cycle and you find yourself at one of life’s checkpoints.  Please, be kind to yourself for feeling a little uneasy about launching yourself into the next growth stage.  It’s natural to wonder about the possibilities at these checkpoints.  Take a deep breath, eradicate any and all doubt, and replace it with a Trust Statement.  Say it out loud.  And repeat it as needed.  Imagine what life would look like and feel like if you trusted yourself more than you doubted yourself.

As my mentor Scott would say: You’ve got this!

 

Confidence . . . an Appreciation of Self

kindness confidenceConfidence.  What is it?  Confidence is defined as “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities” (Google: define).  We read and hear a lot about appreciation.  Appreciation for our blessings, our possessions, our jobs, our health, our friends, our family, our senses, our brains, our abilities.   Technology, nature, transportation, travel, beauty.  We appreciate others for what they do and for the joy they bring into our lives.  We appreciate how they love us through those thick-and-thin moments.  We reciprocate and make them coffee in the morning.  We send a nice email to someone at work.  We let a stranger go ahead of us in traffic.  We leave a love note on the mirror in the bathroom.  We kiss each other good bye each morning. toaster oven

We pick up the slack on a project with a deadline.  We choose to be gracious when we don’t feel like it.  We laugh at someone’s bad joke.  We sky-lift a worm on the sidewalk after a rain to safety.  Little things.

When was the last time you paused to appreciate an ability or a quality you have?  Really appreciate it.  A quirk or a talent?  A spot of brilliance or a burst of intuition?  A kind gesture you have made that was based more on intuition than anything else?  Do we even notice when we are expressing a kindness?  Or do we continue to be hard on ourselves – when we might not have been exactly perfect in that instantaneous snapshot of time that we call Right Now?

We tell others what we enjoy about them or about what they do to contribute or what it is that makes them unique and lovable.  It seems that this is absent on a self-level – on a level that escapes the traps and chains of egoism or conceit or narcissism.  Just plain and simple appreciation.

What do you appreciate about yourself?  What one little thing have you done or thought today that you appreciate?  Maybe you turned a mad-attitude into an accepting-attitude.  Maybe you realized that you have been offering resistance in a situation over which you have zero control.  Zero.  Maybe you made some pumpkin pie and delivered it to your significant other.  Or maybe you gave someone a hug – someone who really needed a hug in that moment. Or maybe you told someone you love him when it just felt right in that second to say it aloud.

When we experience a moment of confidence, maybe it is as simple as acknowledging the little things that we do each and every day.  Moments that assure ourselves that we are on this planet for a reason.  For a good and mighty and blessed reason.  I believe that there are many moments throughout the day when one has an opportunity to give a high five or an elbow bump to your little ol’ self.

Would the world be a more self-actualized place if we were kinder to our own selves?  I think so.

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When does life begin?

eleanor roosevelt quote“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.”

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

I wonder what experiences led Eleanor Roosevelt to write or express such wisdom.  Today, they are words on the page that inspire . . . but I would suspect that there were some sleepless nights that provided the wisdom and the conviction to be brave, take risks, and look fear in the face.

I have not read any biographies about Eleanor Roosevelt and I would suspect that Eleanor experienced her share of uncertainty and doubt.  Looking “fear in the face”?  You can’t make this stuff up from fiction-based imaginings.  It would be like writing a story about miracles without having experienced one.  You just can’t make it up.  It is necessary to have lived it.

I take her one quote to heart: “Do one thing every day that scares you.”  I don’t like feeling fear.  Fear is one of those queasy feelings that goes to my stomach and rests there like an ugly orc — ready to smite me down to smithereens if I steal a glance at it.  Fear is unpleasant, unpredictable, and unlovely.  It does not bring out the most attractive parts of me.  It gives me cause to doubt in my belief that something wonderful is about to happen.  It messes with my chi.  It gives me bad advice.  And it does not inspire me to lead by example.  Fear overpowers any other emotions.  It disallows my willingness to take a chance.  To do something risky.  It is a detour from bravery.  It is the absence of love.  And without love, what is life?

I have another Eleanor Roosevelt quote on my desk: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, today is a gift.”  A gift.  Which leads me back to the reminder to do one thing every day that scares me.  This is all so much easier to write about in the wee hours of the night in my cozy house than to actually do.  Some days this gesture is a little thing.  Other days it is huge.  I have never regretted one single thing I have done while keeping Eleanor’s words in my heart.  I always feel better when I have chosen to beard the lion in its den.  If I succeed, my friends are there to celebrate with me.  If I fail, my loved ones are there to help me re-hash it with some degree of humor.  What is failure without a little light of humor shone on it?

People who are nearing the end of their lives have said that they didn’t regret the things they did.  Rather they regretted the things they did not do.  The same message with fancier language was written by Sydney J. Harris: “Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”

life begins quoteWhen does life begin?  “At the end of your comfort zone”?  Today is a celebration of looking fear in the face and going for it.  Pushing past your comfort zone.  If you are feeling a lack of confidence, remember: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  We are as free as we choose to be in the face of fear.  By disallowing fear, we invite love to enter.  And what an amazing thing this is.

When I think on these things, I feel a strange Muse entering my office.  Like a sobering calm has entered the room, and I long for spontaneity and laughter to overtake the moment.  But these moments have value in that they embolden me with the rootstock courage to be spontaneous, to take risks, to take the chance of making a mistake, “to do that which [I] think [I] cannot.”  I want to be wildly unhindered by a lack of regret.  I have been accused of being foolhardy and goofy.  Ditzy and capricious.  Irresponsible and risky.  Maybe these adjectives are the encouragement that I need to tell me that I am on the right track, and I don’t even know it.

juggling music notesToday . . . I am going to do something that scares me.  I am familiar with my fears . . . one of them being the fear of failure.  The fear that I won’t have enough time in my life to do all that I hope to do.  The fear of not having tried to accomplish that one dream within.  The fear of feeling regret at the end of my life.  Do I live this way?  I try not to . . . still, these little nagging doubts linger on occasion.  Eleanor believes that we “gain strength, and courage, and confidence” by trying to do something that we cannot do.  It is time to shake things up, go forth, and do something a little scary.   toaster oven