Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday: Be Yourself

Life in recovery with MS has been a struggle.  I have learned some hard lessons.  Through it all, the theme of “be yourself” keeps coming up.  I know I’m not alone when it comes to struggling with saying what you mean, doing what you love, or relaxing around certain people, right?  I usually blame it on the MS and brain fog but the truth is some days I am not feeling confident and comfortable with being me.  I have been digging  a little deeper lately through working the steps in NA and starting to accept me for me!   The steps help me  to uncover another layer of authenticity, and free myself to be unapologetically me..

Not being you is exhausting!   Did you ever consider the amount of energy it takes to keep up appearances, attempting to be perfect (like it will happen), pleasing other people (is it possible?), and trying to make yourself fit into situations which simply aren’t you? When we say “be yourself”, some of us even wonder what it means.  I honestly am not sure I even knew myself for many years.  I had a glimpse of me during my first go around at recovery and then it got lost in all of the “stuff” I got back as a result of my recovery.

Here are three practical strategies to help you maximize your best you:

1. Say what you need to say.

Do you beat around the bush figuring people will know what you mean when you say something?  Are you too afraid to speak up afraid of what others will think? Have you found yourself telling a little lie to avoid the embarrassment of telling the truth?  These are clear signs you are not being true to yourself.  This hit me like a brick – SMACK!  Try this simple exercise:  Identify one situation when you have not said what you need to say.   You know, you beat around the bush in the hopes someone understood.  Got the situation?  I want to you go to the person and just say it flat out.  If you can’t do it right now, mark it on your calendar to do it.  There was a time when I had no filters.  I said what I needed to say and didn’t worry about what people thought.  Early in my first recovery, I was eager to say what I was thinking and I didn’t worry about what people thought.  Over the years, things started changing.  Those old habits came back and I started the “people pleasing game again”.  We are as sick as our secrets, no matter how small those secrets are.  Authenticity means being forthright. Don’t waste your precious energy pretending all is well when it isn’t.  Take the word “FINE” out of your vocabulary.  Don’t let FEAR keep you in hiding!

2. Do what you know is right.

There is nothing more authentic than living your values. When your actions don’t line up with your beliefs, inner turmoil is sure to follow.  Do you actually know what your core values are? 

3. Give yourself permission to be imperfect.

Okay, this is a tough one for me!  The truth is when we are uncomfortable in our own skin, it is usually because we haven’t given ourselves permission to be human.  In other words, we haven’t given ourselves permission to be imperfect.  We always want things to be perfect.  The perfect weight, the perfect size, the perfect family, the perfect house… it is all part of the “I will be happy when” syndrome.  When you relax, you enjoy yourself more. It is time we value the journey as much, if not more than, the destination.  There will be bumps along the road – embrace them.  Climb over them and keep moving forward, they don’t have to keep you from reaching your purpose (or your goals).

What situations cause you to not be yourself?  What are you afraid will happen if you show people the real you?

Today, I will accept my weight where it is knowing I am eating healthier and NOT gaining weight.  I will accept my limitations because of my MS and will not longer hid what I can’t do.  I will accept my business is my business and will not play the comparison game.

I am stomping out the inner gremlins and being true to me…. what about you?

Have a blessed day!

Unclutter Your Life

Do You Have a Bold Decision To Make?

I’m not good at making decisions!  For those who know me, it is no big surprise.  Ask me where I want to go for dinner?  I will leave it up to you, because “I can always find something which sounds good”.  Ask me what I want to do?  I will usually defer to the person asking unless there is something really pressing on my heart.  So, why is it so hard? I’m a proverbial people pleaser – one of my character defects.  I don’t want anyone to be made at me or upset or get their feelings hurt.  The end result over the years has caused me to stuff feelings and was definitely part of my relapse story.
What about you?  Are you good at making decisions?  I don’t mean just the little every day things but the BIG ones.  The life changing ones – maybe it is time to retire, or change your career or quit your job or end a relationship or admit and accept you have a problem (or a chronic disease).
Do you make your decisions base on everyone else’s expectations?  Some decisions are tough – really tough!  Some conversations are uncomfortable.  Some choices are not popular.  A true sign of spiritual and emotional growth comes when you can stop making decisions based on everyone else’s expectations.  The greatest feeling is when you can lay your head down at night and be at pease with your Higher Power.  If you compromise the peace you have with him, then you have compromised EVERYTHING!
For many years, I was spiritual, avoiding church but having a great relationship with my Higher Poser then I got involved with the church again.  No hate mail please!  I’m not against organized religion but I will admit it is then I started  to make decisions based on others expectations (again).  Over the last 9 months, I have started to have a stronger relationship with my Higher Power again.
I’m learning to be bold and courageous in my decisions.  Pray.  Listen (this is tough for me).  Don’t overanalyze! (okay so I struggle with this too).  There are days I pray for an answer and when the answer comes via a person or event or opportunity, I don’t always recognize it.  I want the SMACK on the head or the booming voice to say “here is the answer”.  LOL.
Use your common sense, which is a blessing from God to help you make the right decision. Have you ever heard the saying: “Don’t be  like the frog in a pot of cool water who didn’t notice the heat had been turned up and the water was starting to boil. All he had to do was jump out of the pot!”.  Yup.  I’ve been there a few times.
All of this is to say, if you have a decision to make…. make it based on YOUR common sense, your wishes and NOT what others will think.  This is where I am at right now!  Decisions about my business and this blog.  My fear of letting others down has me struggling with accepting decisions I know in my heart are okay.  Fear of what the future will bring has me hesitating.  Fear of stepping into a new path where God seems to be leading me.

 

Do you have a decisions to make?  Don’t worry about what others think. Do what you know is right. No one else has to live your life—or your consequences.

I challenge you to “Rather than people-pleasing, be bold and courageous in your decisions.”  Can you do it?  If you need support, comment below and we will help!

 

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

MS will Not Define Me, Unclutter Your Life

How Bright is Your Light?

Have you ever noticed, you are happiest when you are helping others, or making a difference in your own unique way?

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

The last month, I have been struggling.  Struggling with changes in my MS.  Struggling in my business.  Struggling with life.  I have been pondering why this month, what makes this one different.  I feel like my light has been dimming.  Sounds weird, right? I don’t mean it is a morbid way, just not feeling like I am making a difference anymore in the lives of others. No, I’m not on a pity pot.  I’m simply trying to adjust to the changes MS is making in my life.  A reality which is sometimes tough to grasp.  Talking with my sponsor the other day, she said “your brain my think things are jumbled but the words actually come out clearly and concisely.”  Yup, I needed to hear those words because it is the exact reason I have been taking a backseat in things.  Ok, I squirreled so, let’s get back to how you can let your light shit….

No matter what your purpose in life is, there is an underlying mission.  It is all about living your life in a way people say to themselves, “There’s something different about her and I want to know how to have some of the peace, joy, and love in my own life.”

Here are five ways you can let your light shine:

1. Look for ways to be a blessing.

Letting your light shine means letting everything good within you come forth. There is so much negativity around us on a daily basis when good enters our environment, it brings light into the darkness. It is a refreshing burst of clean air. Be sensitive to the needs of others. Find ways to be a blessing—even simple ways such as being a courteous driver, thoughtful friend, and kind coworker.  Small random acts of kindness do make a difference.

2. Refuse to be judgmental.

One of the fastest ways to turn people off – in business or in your life is to judge them. A person can done wrong without condemning them for it.  Honestly, I have made mistakes during my addiction BUT I was glad people did not judge me.  They gave me chance.  Honestly, we have all done things we need to be forgiven for, so be merciful to others. Embrace and support those you want to judge when they are trying to do better.

3. Speak up for what is just.

Speak up for what is just—not right. Do you confuse the two of these?  I know I do!  Focus more on being just so those who cross your path are better off for having done so. At work, in your business or in a personal situation, when others are being cheated, disrespected, or done a disservice, let your light shine and speak up. You can do it in a direct, calm, straightforward, and nonjudgmental way.  Of course, the “old social worker/advocate” in me is sometimes far from calm.  LOL!

4. Let go of the desire to fit in.

Maybe this is part of why my light has dimmed this month….. I’m a proverbial people-pleaser.  As the MS effects more of my life, I struggle to find a place to fit in.  I never thought about how difficult it is for my light to shine when I feel like I need to fit in everywhere I go. Sometimes, people think I am odd just because I  am smiling and talking to everyone.  I need to focus more on being a symbol of truth and love on a daily basis instead of trying to fit in.  What about you?

5. Don’t hide your spiritual life.

This may be a hard one for some.  For me, I have learned my Higher Power is central to everything in my life.  When I pretend that is not the case, my light dims.  It is by his grace, I have survived the craziness of my life.  I am not saying you need a Bible on your desk or a preacher’s robe to share your faith with others. When the chance comes to tell people where your strength comes from in difficult times, or to acknowledge how your Higher Power has protected or blessed you, be honest. Your faith is a part of who you are. When you free yourself to be who you are, you also free others to be who they truly are.

My Challenge to you is to identify one way you will share your light this week. Then set out to be a symbol of love and light in the world…  Share with us…..

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

Who Are You Really?

 Over the last two months I have been learning some hard lessons.  Through it all, the theme of “be yourself” keeps coming up.  I know I’m not alone when it comes to struggling with saying what you mean, doing what you love, or relaxing around certain people, right?  I usually blame it on the MS and brain fog but the truth is some days I am not feeling confident and comfortable with being me.  I have been digging  a little deeper lately.  I have even gone back to working my steps from NA.  A chance to uncover another layer of authenticity, and free myself to be unapologetically me..

Not being you is exhausting!   Did you ever consider the amount of energy it takes to keep up appearances, attempting to be perfect (like it will happen), pleasing other people (is it possible?), and trying to make yourself fit into situations which simply aren’t you? When we say “be yourself”, some of us even wonder what it means.

Here are three practical strategies to help you maximize your best you:

1. Say what you need to say.

Do you beat around the bush figuring people will know what you mean when you say something?  Are you too afraid to speak up afraid of what others with think? Have you found yourself telling a little lie to avoid the embarrassment of telling the truth?  These are clear signs you are not being true to yourself.  This hit me like a brick – SMACK!  Try this simple exercise:  Identify one situation when you have not said what you need to say.   You know, you beat around the bush in the hopes someone understood.  Got the situation?  I want to you go to the person and just say it flat out.  If you can’t do it right now, mark it on your calendar to do it.  There was a time when I had no filters.  I said what I needed to say and didn’t worry about what people thought.  Early in my recovery, I was eager to say what I was thinking and I didn’t worry about what people thought.  Over the years, things started changing.  Those old habits came back and I started the “people pleasing game again”.  We are as sick as our lies, no matter how small those lies are.  Authenticity means being forthright. Don’t waste your precious energy pretending all is well when it isn’t.  Take the word “FINE” out of your vocabulary.  Don’t let FEAR keep you in hiding!

2. Do what you know is right.

There is nothing more authentic than living your values. When your actions don’t line up with your beliefs, inner turmoil is sure to follow.  Do you actually know what your core values are? 

3. Give yourself permission to be imperfect.

Okay, this is a tough one for me!  The truth is when we are uncomfortable in our own skin, it is usually because we haven’t given ourselves permission to be human.  In other words, we haven’t given ourselves permission to be imperfect.  We always want things to be perfect.  The perfect weight, the perfect size, the perfect family, the perfect house… it is all part of the “I will be happy when” syndrome.  When you relax, you enjoy yourself more. It is time we value the journey as much, if not more than, the destination.  There will be bumps along the road – embrace them.  Climb over them and keep moving forward, they don’t have to keep you from reaching your purpose (or your goals).

What situations cause you to not be yourself?  What are you afraid will happen if you show people the real you?

I am stomping out the inner gremlins and being true to me…. what about you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Unclutter Your Life

Let Go of the Old, Make Room for the New

I have been spring cleaning over the last few weeks….Chasing some of the dust bunnies away and attacking the many “junk drawers” around the house.  I am always amazed at the things I find.  WHY?  Because I can’t believe I held on to them “just in case”.

I am a just in case kind of gal.  When we go on a trip, I pack extra “just in case”.  When we go on a road trip, I pack extra snacks “just in case”.  So, finding things I have kept around “just in case” I need them or someone else will want it is what I seem to do.  I have been reading the book “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy” by Sarah Ban Breathnach and I am slowing looking at things a little differently in our home.

Why is it so hard to let go? Whether it’s old e-mail or a worn-out sweater, outdated files or a toxic friendship, sometimes we hold on to things for too long. They serve no purpose but to clutter our lives unnecessarily. Today, I want to challenge you to face your fear of letting go.

There are a few common fears which appear when it’s time to let go of something. What are you hanging on to even though it’s time to let go? Which of these pesky fears is it time to face?

  • fear you won’t have what you need in the future
  • fear of being wrong
  • fear of loneliness
  • fear of regret

Breaking through fear requires one key factor: courage. Courage requires faith and trust  your future will be okay without the thing you are letting go of.  YIKES!  Scary, right?  You can muster up the courage to let go by coaching yourself with questions which will help you get unstuck, such as:

  • What does my intuition tell me about letting go in this situation? Will I follow it?
  • If the thing I fear most happens, what is my plan B?
  • Who could I ask to hold me accountable and encourage me as I let go?

Make a decision. For those of us who are people pleasers, this is tough.  I know, I am one of them.  I second guess myself a million times.  The best thing to do is to carve out some time to do what you need to do. You can do it.  Start with small amounts of time, say 15 minutes, set a timer and when it rings you are done.

The truth is as I have been doing this, I have realized how much time and money has been spent “just in case”.  I see a sale and think “I could use this” then never do.  I see an idea which worked for someone else so I jump in with both feet, only to find out it isn’t me.  May has been full of life reflections for me.  I wonder why it took till the age of 61 to learn some of these lessons.

Toss out the OLD and move on.  You will be surprised several weeks or months later, you never once needed or missed what was tossed, donated or sold. Imagine that!

My challenge to you is this:  Is there something it’s time to let go of?  You know what it is. Muster up the courage and just do it. You’ll feel lighter for it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful-day!