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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Inner Journey

It's funny how a conversation with someone who means the world to you but you don't get to talk to often can make your day that much happier.  Especially when that person says something that resonates so deeply, you can't stop thinking about it because it makes so much sense.  

I have always wondered why I am the way that I am.  Over the last year and a half I've come to terms with who I am, accepted that there are many people out there who like, love and respect me for who I am and so much more.  However, there is always that piece of doubt hanging around in my head that just asks the question "why?".  I couldn't list all of the things that would have the ability to follow that "why".  So, I'll just elaborate on the one that has been bouncing around in my brain since yesterday afternoon.  

You know how we all have this little piece of doubt inside of ourselves?  Well, I don't know if we all have it but I am guessing it's a piece of a lot more people than most of the world realizes.  My little piece of self doubt, or insecurity or inferiority or whatever you want to call it has always been much bigger than the average person you talk to.  That self-confidence, self-esteem or many other things that we all have different levels of throughout our lives.  I've just always struggled with so much about myself.  I always put up walls and I am not comfortable talking to people I don't know.  That's how I protect myself.  Always has been.  It's safe for me.  

As I was told yesterday, "it's almost as if there are two of you.  There's the person you see yourself as today and the person that's always been there.  That person that is full of doubt and insecurity.  Sometimes that person who has always been there likes to sneak up on you.  It's like you want to give that person a hug and say, I love you, but please go away".  Not because you don't love that part of yourself.  I mean, that part of me is a huge piece of what makes me who I am.  It's why I am good at my job.  It's why I can relate to the teenagers that I work with at school.  It's why my nephew and nieces love me.  It's what makes me a good listener.  It's what allows me the ability to relate to others in ways I wouldn't be able to were it not for my past experiences and that other piece of me making me who I am.  And, yes, I am actually complimenting myself.  For those of you who know me, you know that's a rare occurrence. 

Tomorrow marks 18 months since I began this adventure to figure myself out.  And to find happiness.  It's been quite the journey and it's not even close to being over.  It's an incredibly difficult process for me.  As another really smart person said to me a few days ago - think about how hard it was for you to take the steps you took last year.  You should try to get back into that mode.  It's how you figure out who you are.  What matters to you.  What's important to you.  And what makes your life your own.  I've got such a long way to go.  But, also, I can't believe how far I've come in such a short amount of time.  

The inward journey is about finding your own fullness, something that no one can take away.

Thanks for being a part of this journey with me :) 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Inspiration... Who, Me?

This weekend is the annual preseason tournament for the soccer teams my brother and sister coach in the fall.  I always try to go to a few games.  I enjoy it and I like supporting them and their teams.  They've coached at the school for several years so many of the parents and families have gotten to know my family and I.  As a result, many of them have watched me as I've transformed my life.  Which, I'll be honest, is fun for me.  Since I only see them a few months out of the year, I have been lucky enough to hear some fun compliments this weekend.  

The one word I still struggle with as a description of me is inspiring.  I mean, I haven't done anything special.  But, it is fun to hear and it has led me to these thoughts - 

I struggle with confidence every day.  Especially self-confidence.  It's something I work on all the time.  And some days are better than others.  In my 34 years, I've never had much confidence in myself. There are lots of reasons for that.  Many of which probably don't matter anymore but have all been a part of shaping me into who I am.  They are all reasons that I found myself in the position I was in a year and a half ago.  But, as I started to learn how to like myself and began to find my way in the world, I've realized it is okay to display the little bit of confidence I do have.  

One mom asked me how much weight I've lost.  When I told her she just said that's amazing, congratulations and told me I looked great.  Another mom is the one who said I am her inspiration (weird to me, but, okay :)) and just said I look great.  Renee' was sitting there and I think she said, "she's an inspiration to a lot of people".  I just smiled.  I really have difficulty with knowing what to say when I hear these compliments.  No idea why.  Maybe because I spent so long not hearing those kinds of positive things from people.  I'm not the best with thinking of things to say off the top of my head (which is one of the reasons I like writing this blog).  So, smiling is usually about the most you'll get out of me.  Not because I don't appreciate it.  But, because I'm still not very comfortable talking about myself.  

I don't even realize on a daily basis that I'm inspiring people (which I say only because that is what I've been told).  I guess the way I've started living my life every day could be considered inspiring.  I'm just happy.  I may not ever lose any more weight.  I hope I do but, if not, I'll work with what I've got.  I just keep trying.  I'm not (as) afraid of meeting new people.  Or going out in public.  I am definitely still guilty of hiding in my house.  But, I try to get out in the world.  I know being out among people is going to be something I work on for the rest of my life.  

Currently I'm struggling with what to focus on in my life.  I need some new goals.  I've been trying to think of a couple of things to work on for the last week or so but I'm not sure I've thought of anything yet.  So, my homework (yes, even I still have homework) right now is to try to figure out what I can work on.  So far, I have a blank piece of paper with Goals at the top.  Yeah, I've got some work ahead of me :) 

So, what does all of that have to with being inspiring?  Well, I guess to be inspiring you have to, as the quote above says, be a strong person.  And, while I'm not sure inspiring is an accurate description of me, I do think I'm a strong person.  I wouldn't have gotten to where I am in life if I weren't strong.  I have been pushed around and put in more difficult situations than I can count.  While I don't think I'll ever be sure of the reasons behind all of them, I know they are all a part of why I've found success in changing my life.  I've had ups and downs throughout this journey.  I still do.  But, it's how I go through those ups and downs that I believe makes me a strong person.  And, apparently, inspiring.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Five W's of Life

When I saw this, I loved it right away :)

Who you are is what makes you special.  Do not change for anyone.
It has taken me years to learn this lesson.  I posted something similar on my Facebook page last night.  For most of my life I've tried to fit in.  I've never been able to truly say who I am.  I still have trouble with it.  At the age of 34, I'm still trying to find my identity and my place in the world.  But, because I'm happy, I'm enjoying the process.  I enjoy being out in the world (as long as I don't have to talk to people I don't know...).  I used to try to change to "fit in" with a certain group of people.  Or to try to be someone I'm not.  Over the last year and a half, I've finally figured out that I love who I am and so do a lot of other people.  What a strange concept to discover at my age.  At the same time, it feels amazing!  And I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

What lies ahead will always be a mystery.  Do not be afraid to explore.
I probably struggle with this the most.  I am a planner.  I like to know what's going to happen.  However, I also can go with the flow pretty easily.  As long as I have an idea of what's happening!  Throughout this journey to find who I am, I am slowly learning that it's okay to not know what's going to happen.  That it's fun be surprised.  That life is about exploring new things.  It's how you figure out who you are and what life may have in store for you.  I work at this every day.  And it's worth it.

When life pushes you over, you push back harder.
For so long I let life push me over.  I let people walk all over me.  I didn't have any self-worth or feel like I mattered to anyone.  As I've developed some confidence in myself, I've figured out that I can push back on everything that has pushed me down.  I don't have to be mean about it.  I just need to stand up for myself.  Find what makes me happy and pursue it.  A certain someone said to me recently, "create your own happiness".  For some reason, when I hear that from someone I trust, it makes me think about it more than I would if I just read it on my own somewhere.  Creating my own happiness is going to be a long process.  But, I am so excited for all the progress I've made so far!

Where there are choices to make, make the one you won't regret.
If I want to be happy I have to take chances.  I've learned to do that over the last year and a half.  When I have the choice to sit in my house by myself or go out to happy hour, I've started to choose happy hour.  The old me would have made up an excuse and stayed in the comfort of my house.  Now, I know that I will regret saying no to people, opportunities and chances to find happiness.  I've had enough regret in my life.  I certainly don't need any more regret!

Why things happen will never be certain.  Take it in stride and move forward.
I've said before I dwell on so many things.  I always want to know why things happen.  More importantly, why it always felt like the crappy stuff happened to me.  As I've started to see beyond my own issues, I can see everyone has experienced difficulty.  Others may not be aware of it but it happens.  Although I still do (and probably always will) analyze everything, I don't let it consume me.  If something not so great happens, I just go with the flow and know that something better lies ahead of me.  

She will deny it and say it's all me but I owe so much of this clarity to my friendship with Renee'.  For some reason, I believe we were meant to meet and be friends.  Her belief in me as a person broke down all the walls I had built up around myself for so many years.  To this day I'm not 100% sure why she took an interest in me but I am so thankful every day that she did.  I wouldn't be where I am in life without everything she has helped me discover about myself.  Our friendship is one of the greatest gifts I'll ever receive in my life.  :)