Relax, Reflect, Recharge

The Kindness of Intentional Blindness

Thank you  Michele Cushatt for today’s message.


We were hoping for a long, slow dinner out with good friends. Instead, what we got was a mediocre meal and a rude waitress.

From the moment we walked in the door of the tiny cafe, we felt her chill. She didn’t want us standing by the door, nor did she like it when we sat in a couple vacated chairs while we waited for a table. When our table was finally ready, she seemed annoyed by the number of our children. Then, when we asked for an additional glass of water, she let us know she’d already brought enough for everyone. We must’ve misplaced it. Finally, when we discovered we’d been given a regular pizza when we’d asked for gluten-free, she made sure we knew we must’ve ordered it wrong and it was definitely not her fault.

Now, I’d love to tell you my first instinct was one of compassion and grace. Instead, I looked at this snarky young woman—young enough to be one of my own children—and I considered how a good solid smack down might do her a bit of good. She was rude, disrespectful, unkind, and not at all the example I want my youngest three children to see. Customer service was absent, not to mention basic manners and human kindness. Her behavior was unacceptable, and every part of me wanted to tell her so.

Until later that evening, when we processed what had happened and an insight by my friend doused my fire:

“Did you hear what she said when she walked away? ‘I can’t do anything right.’ She must’ve been having a hard day.”

Just that fast, my annoyance turned to empathy. I knew what it felt like to have one of those days, when everything goes wrong and I feel like nothing but a failure. Sometimes it’s easier to erect a hard shell than crumble in a million pieces. Cold indifference feels safer than sadness.
I can’t help but wonder: What would’ve happened if I’d chosen lean in and extend kindness? What would’ve happened if I’d tempered my annoyance with both curiosity and grace? While her behavior was unacceptable, there’s a chance it might also be understandable. Perhaps she’d experienced a difficulty that day I knew nothing about, or even a loss my own heart couldn’t fathom.

Annoyance does nothing to lend comfort.

But kindness speaks calm to a storm.

“Fools show their annoyance at once,” Solomon said. By all accounts, I act like a fool more than not. I’m easily annoyed, especially with those closest to me, the ones living inside the walls of my house. Some days it doesn’t take much for my adolescent children to trigger a reaction. And, in many cases, their behavior deserves parental correction. But what if I responded to insults with kindness? What if my correction of them also included authentic connection? How might my calm demeanor melt the coolness of those around me?

After all, that is precisely what God does for us. When having a hard day, He doesn’t match my rudeness and obstinate  with His. Instead, He offers relationship, allowing His kindness to bring about the correction I so desperately need.

Have a blessed day!

 

Celebrate and Connect, Gives Program

What is the Link Between Self-Esteem & Technology in Girls?

I am excited to tell you about a groundbreaking study of more than 10,000 U.S. girls which Thirty One Gifts cosponsored with Ruling Out eXperiences, Inc. (ROX).  It is the largest of its kind and revealed surprising information on the role of technology on girls’ self-esteem. I know we have all heard about cyber bullying or “the mean girls” on social media and for some, they say “it won’t be my kid”.  Well, I felt the same way many years ago, until I read something my daughter wrote about being bullied.  You can read the story on my very first blog post “Bullying – The Visible vs The Invisible“.

The findings of this study is heartbreaking.  While they give us a glimpse into the raw truth about girls fifth through 12th-grade and their perception, it is also an opportunity for us to look for ways to be mentors and be a positive influence in their lives.

The mission of ROX (Ruling Our eXperiences, Inc.) a Columbus, Ohio-headquartered nonprofit organization is:

TO EQUIP GIRLS WITH THE KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS NECESSARY TO LIVE HEALTHY, INDEPENDENT, PRODUCTIVE AND VIOLENCE-FREE LIVES.

ROX announced the findings of their study from The Girls’ Index: New Insights into the Complex World of Today’s Girls a few months ago.  This national survey was taken of 10,678 fifth- through 12th-grade girls with the sole purpose of capturing the girls’ perceptions and experiences around fitting in, body image, peer pressure, academics, friendships and relationships. The report is a comprehensive picture for parents and educators on the thoughts, beliefs and behaviors of girls across the country.  The demographics are from every walk of life – cultural, ethnic, socioeconomic of the school district, and the type for school for a broad spectrum of girls.

The findings of The Girls’ Index include:

#1 Most girls like to be in charge, but self-doubt can impact their pursuit of leadership.  A surprising 46% of the girls reported they don’t say what they are thinking or disagree with other peers.  WHY?   Because they want to be liked with 1 in 3 girls being afraid to be a leader because they don’t want others to think they are bossy.

#2 30% of the girls with the highest grade point averages (4.0 or above),  don’t think they’re smart enough for their dream careers. Despite their high academic achievements, they are still filled with confidence issues.

#3 Girls who spend the most time using technology (8 hrs./day) are 5x more likely to be sad or depressed nearly every day compared to the girls who spend four or fewer hours.  If this isn’t a reason to restrict technology time, I don’t know what is.  Technology and social media greatly impact girls’ relationships, achievement, confidence, mood and school engagement.

#4 By high school, sexting is common and prevalent with 2 out of 3 girls reporting by 12th grade they have been asked to send a sexually explicit photo to another person.  I am so grateful cell phones weren’t popular when my daughter was growing up.

#5  Girls who have strong and trusting friendships with other girls fare better and report significantly lower levels of sadness and depression.

ROX concluded “girls who have strong and trusting friendships fare better, it is crucial girls receive the opportunities and tools they need to forge the positive friendships which safeguard their emotions and experiences.

This study shakes me to my core.  I grew up lacking confidence.  I had friends but not the kind of strong trusting friendships which helped me to battle sadness and depression.  Those emotions and experiences traveled with me through my college years straight through to my years of addiction.  My goal was for my daughter’s life to be different.  She was blessed to have one or two strong, trusting friendships growing up yet on the inside she lacked confidence despite the outward strong appearance.

The bottom line is we as parents, teachers and coaches are missing out on at least half of what girls think, know and believe.  YIKES!  We are losing the creativity, contributions and impact these young girls can make on the world.

As these studies become public, as awareness grows, we have an obligation to do better and a responsibility to make the world a place where girls can feel confident and capable.

Thirty-One Gifts proudly partner with ROX to provide girls with opportunities to talk candidly and openly about their experiences, while arming them with tools to positively and safely use social media, navigate relationships and manage pressure to ultimately develop a positive self-concept. Learn more about ROX, including ways you can get involved, at rulingourexperiences.com.

Share some of the products from Thirty One’s URU collection.  The Be the Give! Littles Carry-All Caddy comes with a special message “Love who you were born to be”.   A great way to encourage and celebrate the young girl in your life for Valentine’s Day or Easter or just as a “thinking of you” gift.  It is also the perfect solution for organizing the little things in your life. From office supplies to eating utensils and cosmetics, this caddy helps keep your life in order by keeping everything right at your fingertips. Great for gifts, small toys, crafts, office desks and candy.

Won’t you help to make a difference in the live of a young girl?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Feel Good Friday

Who Will You Be Today?

Today we are going to stomp on those inner gremlins, getting us ready to sparkle for the weekend….

I don’t know about you but I struggle being confident. I know I write about and when people meet me they sometimes find it hard to believe but trust me, it is true.  I struggle with trying to be the woman God wants me to be.  I know I am not alone because I hear it from others all of the time.  Maybe you know someone who is feeling the same way?

Think about school shopping with your kids.  Were these some of the questions they pondered?

  • Jordache jeans, schrunchies and white L.A. Gear?
  • Lacoste, cardigans and penny loafers?
  • Black eyeliner, mega earrings and a mini-skirt?

Alright the brand or style may be a little different but you get it, right?  Many girls worry about looking like everyone else.  I was grateful my daughter, was just a tad different.  Unlike me, she wanted things the others weren’t buying for school.  She had her own style and didn’t worry about if she fit in because of her clothes.

These are the girls who stomp on their inner gremlins in their youth and move on to confident women.  Then there are those who hold on to those fears and people pleasing attitudes so when they grow up, they are struggling to stomp on the gremlins as adults.

I wasn’t sure of the girl I was or the girl I wanted to be. I stood on shaky ground relying on the fickle and flippant opinions of others. I bobbed and weaved to fit each situation I found myself in. I often found myself acting all sorts of ways, so I could be the person I thought my friends and family wanted.

As an adult, I fit other roles – single mom, career woman, wife, business owner.  In each one, I did the same bob and weave.  When I retired, the bob and weave stopped and I was stuck.  Stuck trying to find me and who I would be.  With the help of some amazing women, I found me and on most days STOMP the inner gremlins.

They helped me to see I don’t have to spin like the Tilt-O-Whirl at the amusement park; trying to be everything to everybody. Their encouragement, support and guidance has led me to a stronger walk in my faith and as a result not a copy of someone else.  I still skip the line in the comparison ride and jump on but each day I become more and more confident growing into the women I was meant to be.

Did you know, a girl’s self-esteem peaks at age 9 and only 4% of women describe themselves as beautiful?  Age 9 … before this crazy, comparison ride calls for them to get on.

As children grow from child to adult, God (or your Higher Power) can help them to build a solid foundation on Him, instead of on the ever changing opinions of others. They don’t have to feel like they’re constantly pushed in a million different directions. He can make them brave and give them the courage to be their true selves and build a confidence which stands firm for the days to come.

I found a book for girls between the ages of 8 – 12 years old.  It is something I wish I had found many years ago or at least when I was in my early years of HS.  The book is called “Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You”, by Lynn Cowell.  It is written especially for girls between the ages 8 – 12.  Lynn helps to prepare girls to:

  • Overcome confidence-defeating thoughts.
  • Shape their self-worth and overcome temptation based on environmental factors.
  • Build a strong foundation to face the fickle and flippant opinions of others.
  • Find approval of herself even when she lacks the acceptance of others.

I am grateful to be part of a company who developed Gives for this purpose:

We believe confident girls and women can lead more purposeful, thriving lives and are the key to strong families and communities. Gives is a partnership between our consultants, customers, hostesses and employees working together to support nonprofits aligned to our mission.

Every time you round-up your order, you help fulfill the mission of Thirty One Gives.  Your change helps to make a difference.  How will you help to make a difference in the lives of tween girls so they become confident, strong women?  Or maybe you are the woman who needs help stomping on the inner gremlins, reach out and know you are not alone….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Unclutter Your Life

What Do Happy People Do?

Last week I talked about three things happy people do, remember it was:

  • They don’t dwell on the past
  • They focus on the here and now
  • They recharge

Believe it or not, there are 4 more things they do.  Have you every searched “things happy people do” on Google?  OMG!  There is a ton of stuff.  I have scanned a lot of it and it really comes down to just a few things said in a different ways.

So here are a few more things happy people do and those who aren’t happy 24/7 don’t do:

#4. They don’t spend time with toxic people

We all have had or have people in our life who are toxic.  The ones who say things behind your back. Or are constantly putting you down.  Maybe they promise to change but it just never happens?  Being around people like this over a long period of time, will bring you down. Happy people don’t let this happen.  They quickly recognize a toxic person when they see one. Me, not so quickly.

Here are some tips to help you recognize a toxic person, and what to do about it:

  • Notice when someone puts you down. Are the words they use positive or not. Body language can also tell you how someone feels about you. Don’t feel good around them? Gradually close them off.
  • Notice when someone constantly cancels on you (leaving you feeling bummed)  If someone doesn’t want to spend time with you, and they are constantly cancelling on you, it might be time to direct your energy into something or someone else.
  • Be aware of those who take advantage of your kind nature. I’m happy just going along with things most of the time but some people will use you for it.
  • Don’t let people take advantage of your generosity – whether it’s time or money, don’t let people take advantage of you.  It is okay to say no. What’s the worst that can happen?
  • Spend time with those who make you feel cherished, valued and happy

#5. They value their self-worth

We are all human, so at some point in our life, we are going to have negative thoughts about ourselves. Happy people control these thoughts, or at least recognize when their self-worth is low. They know the moments will pass, and at the end of the day, they are just thoughts.

When your mind starts to wander to thoughts of low self-worth, or doubting yourself, spend time focusing on the good stuff. REMIND yourself of the great things you’ve done, or take yourself away to a happy moment in your life.  Being happy is all about choosing to be happy. Lacking in self-worth can be controlled just as easily as controlling your thoughts.

#6. They keep things simple

How have you felt after you cleared out your closet, or tossed/donated items you didn’t need anymore? Awesome, right? That’s the beauty of keeping things simple. “Clutter in the house clutters the mind”

“It is simple to be happy, but it is difficult to be simple”.

Our lives are complicated and busy.  I don’t know about you but I long for things how they used to be.   So how do we keep things simple? Here are a few ideas:

  • Toss old stuff away. If you haven’t used it in the last 6 months, are you ever going to need it, really?
  • Keep some time in your schedule clear – you deserve some time off
  • You don’t need to be busy to feel validated. Being busy and being productive are two very different things
  • Looking for a solution, and can’t find it right away, come back to it tomorrow. Obsessing over things for long periods is not going to get you a solution.

#7. They smile often

Yes, smiling makes people happy. When you smile, your face lights up. When you’re on the phone and you’re smiling, your demeanour changes.  EVERYONE looks and feels better when they smile.  Happy people tend to smile more. Consider this quote from Scientific American:

“It would appear the way we feel emotions isn’t just restricted to our brain—there are parts of our bodies which help to reinforce the feelings we’re having,” says Michael Lewis, a co-author of the study.

Our emotions can be affected by our physical body, too. Feeling down, stressing – SMILE!  It might just do you a bit of good, and help you improve your mood (even just temporarily).

Are you a happy person 24/7 or do you strive for it?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Unclutter Your Life

Confidence is Within Your Reach

Confident by definition is “feeling or showing self-assured; and feeling or showing certainty about something.”  Have you ever felt your confidence slipping?  Fear and doubt creeps in?  Those nasty inner gremlins play with your emotions?

I have a choice – it is time to make a decision and take action.  Time to stop wallowing in self-pity.  Time to find the independent confident woman I was.  Time to STOMP on those inner gremlins.  Yes, there may be tears.  Yes, there may be angry moments.  But in the end, all will be well.  God has a plan for me and I need to have faith.

I looked back at an article I read on the Direct Sales Education Foundation‘s website about “Finding Confidence“.  Yes, I need to hit “RESET” periodically because those nasty gremlins find their way past the closed (or what I thought was sealed) doors.

Has “self confidence” been a struggle for you?  I know I am always talking about it but I but I am often surprised by the people who share they lack confidence.  On the outside they appear strong, capable of overcoming anything while on the inside they are fighting the same inner gremlins many of us do.   Here are some of the tips which might help:

  • Practice makes perfect.   We have all heard this a million times growing up – from sports to school to musical instruments.  As I got older, practicing seemed silly.  I was a fan of winging it but have found when I do, my confidence is sometimes shaken.  “My mission is to bring a smiles and paychecks to those who are struggling and love #ThirtyOneGifts as much as I do!” Something simple but definitely worth practicing.  My party scripts are becoming a little bit more natural too since I have been practicing.  Practice may not make me perfect but it will help to build confidence.
  • Find a mentor.  I have an amazing upline, Hope Shortt has been supportive and knows just when to challenge me.  Find someone who you want to be like, ask them if you can shadow them.  Find someone who you can trust and respect and build a relationship.  I also am blessed to have Desiree Wolfe in my corner.  Her kick in the butt is what I need sometimes.
  • Find a partner.  Find a close friend, family member or even your spouse who can share in your accomplishments and help to bolster your confidence.
  • Dress for success.  This is something else I have heard since my college days.  Wear something which makes you feel good when you go to a presentation or a meeting.  It should fit well and be put together with accessories and hair style.  Someone asked me the other day if I had a makeover.  I was THRILLED.  No, not a formal one but I did in my head.  How?  Hair style instead of just hair hanging straight.  Out of my jeans for meetings and into a pair of khakis (capris right now) with a nice shirt and jewelry.  Makeup.  I never leave the house without some.  You never know who you will run into on the trip to the grocery store to grab a gallon of milk.
Simple tips but for those of us who have a small comfort zone, this is a BIG deal.  Things I have heard for years but thought I was “too old”.  You can teach an old dog new tricks – really!  Are you ready to challenge yourself?  Try one of these tips, if not all of them.  DREAM BIG!  The sky is the limit.
Time to accept your strengths and weaknesses. Challenges will come but it is how we deal with them which makes the difference in the end.  Time to be confident in myself and how I want my life to be.
How do you find your confidence?  Please share, I would love to hear and at the same time, you may help someone else.  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!