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A Chameleon… does he change himself or simply blend?

I have lived in facade most of my life. I don’t know exactly when it started but I am sure it was when I felt like I was not accepted by my mother (which was at a very young age for me). From there, all my relationships whether it was abusive like what I had with my mother, friendships, romantic, classmates, co-workers… I always seemed to feel unaccepted. So, I would change myself to be who I thought they wanted me to be. I did this for so long, including both marriages, that I had no clue who I really was and believed the facades to be the real me. And when people rejected the facade me I was still a mess, even though they weren’t actually rejecting the real me. 

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People would say I was like a chameleon. I was always changing based on where I was and who I was with. I used to think that was a compliment because I rationalized it as the Chameleon is a survivor by changing themselves to blend into the environment so they don’t get killed. Well… that has some validity to it. However, I have come to a place where I don’t believe that is the case any longer.

 

I have spent the past 4 years doing a lot of personal growth work as well as leading and guiding people through the same process ( even both of my boys!). The hard part was not sitting in a seminar, or working with a team of people even if they triggered me, not even doing the work/homework. It really was getting to a place of becoming vulnerable and discovering WHO I am. Do I not like something because it is just who I am or how I am and could that be part of a facade? I would try new things even if it was so not something I would ever do or wear or listen to. Sometimes I discovered I really liked this new thing. Sometimes I clearly was right,,. I do not like it. And others… well it was more of a meh… it doesn’t phase me at all. This was me giving myself a chance to let go of the facades that I had come to believe were really me and finally getting to say YEAH… this.. this right here IS me. 

 

Through time and this journey of self discovery I am getting a bigger and clearer picture of who I really am. I don’t always recognize me, but it feels right. That is how I know this is me… the real me. And if people still reject me… oh well. I have so many more people that fully accept me now that the few that don’t are just not part of my puzzle of life that I am putting together.

 

So, why did I start this off talking about Chameleons? Because a Chameleon doesn’t change who he is. He is always a Chameleon. No matter where he goes he can adapt to the environment but not because he changes… because he brings the parts of himself forward to better suit the situation and create the results he wants. Now that might be to catch his own dinner… but seriously he is still the exact same Chameleon. I no longer change myself to suit others, but I do bring aspects of myself forward that I know would be better suited for who I am with or what I am doing. It is all me… 100%! 

 

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Whether you have stripes or spots, bright colors or subdued… connect with what is true FIRST and foremost. From then on out, bring forward the parts of that fit the situation. Change only if that is what one wants and it is true to who they are… not what one thinks another wants of them.

 

I am still proud to call myself a chameleon, but one of a different color. My true color in all it’s unique beauty.

Success??? Yeah it is something we all want whether we are afraid of it or not. Success on all levels: relationships, business, school, money to name a few of some of the big ones we probably feel we have to figure out and do on our own. Yep, I gotta do it on my own because it makes me stronger or smarter. If I do it on my own then I am more successful. I don’t need anyone’s help… I can do it on my own. I don’t want to share my success with anyone. uh huh… raise you hand.

Why? Why do we feel the need to do it on our own? Why take a lifetime trying to figure it out on our own when we can have it right now (or at least a lot faster) if we accept help/support? Is it a weakness to accept help? Is it selfishness to not want to share in the success? Is it that we don’t feel worthy of accepting help? Is it the self-righteousness of getting to claim we did it all on our own? None of that actually sounds good to me, so why do we do it?

If we truly want to be successful then wouldn’t we stop at nothing to achieve it? To turn over every stone, research all areas, pound on every door… everything thing we can do to get what we want. How much easier and faster could it be to reach out and accept help? Wouldn’t it feel great to have someone next to you that believes in you? And this is coming from someone who refused to accept or ask for help! Yeah… that was me I was referring to and raised both my hands to all the reasons I felt I had to do it on my own.

What could I really accomplish if only I was willing to accept help? The possibilities are limitless! The success I have had (tremendous amounts) is all due to the help I not only accepted , but also asked for! So, yeah, how successful I can be directly relates to how much help I am willing to accept.

I have not written a post in so long and not sure why exactly other than being insanely busy with all my responsibilities. Then, maybe I got wrapped up in myself and how far I have come I forgot/avoided that which helps me get where I am going. I don’t know, yet, what the bigger picture for me is. I just know there is one. And with all the work I am doing and the coaching I do has recently held a huge mirror up for me. I have become complacent in where I am at and avoiding where I know I want to go. Maybe I am stuck in the enjoyment and celebration of how far I have come and the difference I am making right now. And if I stop the forward momentum I know I am doomed to fall back.

As I have been encouraging so many on how to find that self-worth that most of us seem to have lost I appreciate all that I have found within me. It all starts with me. If I don’t have self-worth I won’t get anywhere… I have been driven this past year to focus on self-worth and how I can create it. I think the worst part for me was the fear of how amazing I might be and sad it was for me to avoid it all these years. Would it be hard? Do I deserve it? Will it take a long time? Will I struggle with it?

The answer to all those questions is yes. It started off as hard because it seemed selfish and conceited. It took me a while to decide I really was worth it. And, yes, at times I still do struggle with it. Why, in our culture, are we almost trained not to have self-worth? To not acknowledge our accomplishments, our gifts, the difference we make in the world? Maybe that is what makes it so scary… Battling the status quo. I tell ya it was hard at the beginning, but with each step I take it does get easier. And each time it gets easier I move on to something bigger. What could be better the being comfortable and loving being in your own skin?

I don’t always know where I am going, but I know where I have been. I close my eyes… and leap!

Veterans Day

There is only 1 day a year I ever wear my Dog tag. Today I honor myself and all my brothers and sisters of the Services past and present. Today is a day of acknowledgement… not a day off of school or a reason to not open the bank. In my 16 years of being a Veteran I have never had this day off, nor will I ever complain about it. I enlisted for a job most people would never do and would do it again in a heart beat. I didn’t do it to get a day off of work. Please find a way to acknowledge SOMEONE who served our country and stood on the line for our freedoms. Today is not about having a day off…

The branch of Service no longer matters to me as we are all on the same team. From the ones that stand on the wall, to the ones that fly, to the wrench turners, to the officers, to the ones that handle all our services and benefits. We proudly chose our path and held our heads high even if the draft told us to do so. We fight for freedoms in the face of resentment from our countrymen or those foreign. It is a strength and pride only to be known by those that have tied on the boots, slung the gun and pack, and donned the stripes, bars, and stars. I honor you all with a Hoowaa… no matter how you say it or spell it. It’s not a term thrown lightly us. More of one that hits home to the heart of who we are and what we have stood for. No matter where we are told to go, what job we are given to do, how long we have to do it for, or how long it has been since we have seen our family and friends we stand proud and strong.

I am proud to be a United States Air Force Veteran!

I came up with this quote yesterday when a friend had mentioned his life/emotions were like a roller coaster lately. (uh huh, you can raise your hand, too) I instantly went back to one of my all time favorite movies “Parenthood” with the grandma telling her little story at the end. I loved the metaphor behind it.

Life is meant to be a Roller Coaster. There are times we feel exhilarated and flying high and at a moments notice things can feel like they are dropping out from below us, gut wrenching, terrifying… and then it starts to pick back up again. It is the experience that makes it so worth while. It is the experience that makes us get back on for another go. A Merry-Go-Round only goes around and around and around… It never changes course. Only a few tiny ups and downs, but the same path over and over again. That is not how I want to experience life!

When speaking with another friend yesterday, the opportunity to present this came again. She didn’t know if she wanted to scream or cry and was very frustrated with so many changes and directions that were coming at her. It only made me think back on my own journey this past year. Wow, have I been through a lot my whole life let alone this last year! And ya know, it has been pretty exciting… even when it feels my stomach is in my throat! I would not change a thing about my life. Every bit of it has made it worth while.

I am ready to give it another go… How about you?

Ever have those battles go on in your head where you’re actually having an argument with yourself? Telling yourself your stupid, can’t do something, no one really cares, wish you were like someone else… And then ask yourself why you’re so hard on yourself, or beating yourself up, or why you put yourself through all the bullshit???? (yeah, raise your hand!) The yaps yaps in our heads can be so brutal, demoralizing, and self-deprecating. We lose those battles every time we have them. How can one conquer this type of battle? Simple… don’t have the battle!

The direct route to be the victor in this battle is to not have the battle at all. There are no weapons but our words and if we choose to sheath our sword the wounds won’t deepen. I have found when I notice that the yap yaps have come to battle I stop in my tracks and think no way! I am not going there! For me, what works is to turn it around. I know it is just my paranoia creating the yap yap, and I know my paranoia is almost always wrong. So, I choose to look at the possibilities. It could be the person I was talking to was having a bad day and it all had nothing to do with me. Who knows. Some times I shut out the yap yaps and keep moving and stay focused on what I want to create. And sometimes I will actually confront what triggered the yap yaps and share my perception of whats going on. That way I have an opportunity to find out it was just my paranoia or there is a situation that needs to be addressed and it creates something good all around.

When I do that there is always a victor… ME! I won the internal battle. The battle only I fight and used to lose. I am the conqueror of myself and no one can take that away from me.

Who will conquer you today?

Oh, the bitter taste of defeat. No I have not been defeated, but the end of optimism surely does not raise the hands in cheer. Until today I never realized the illusion I had been creating in myself all these years. No matter how great the man or how wonderful the experience, my perceptions are not reality. They are merely how I see them… I am truly of great value to myself and to many others, but if the one I am with can not see me as added value to their life… then the destination has been reached.

The truth of the matter is that I do see the best in everyone whether they agree with what I see or not. And no matter what I do, I can’t change their mind! There is nothing I can do to make someone live up to their potential no matter how much I want them to. And what if I still choose to accept them? Well, it only matters to me if I accept them or not. The rest is up to them.

My optimism usually serves me well… There is no regret though maybe a touch of disappointment. And in my growth through this journey I take note on my actions and insight: To see a man for who he is in this moment, not for who I believe he could become.

How many moments of enjoyment have you missed because you “had to” do something/be somewhere or “shouldn’t” because of money, work, or guilt… Wow, the list can go on and on huh? (raise your hand!) If joy and happiness is the essence of life why do we short change ourselves and justify why we don’t have it? Starting to see the bigger picture? Sure, we can stop and smell the roses, treat ourselves to that one fish fry or piece of pizza, or relish having a savory,tantalizing dessert! Life is not about denying ourselves of the things we enjoy. It isn’t even about fulfilling our obligations and responsibilities, though that is very important! Life is meant to be lived, to be explored, and to be experienced. If we live our lives in a tiny little box of “need to”s, “have to”s, and “should”s how much are we missing out on????

Last night I sat at a lovely bar sipping a delicious martini waiting for a friend to join me and thought how lucky I was. Having been a single mom for over a decade I was often jealous of all my friends skirting off to happy hour after work and living it up. Now that my kids are old enough and independent and I work near a quaint little bistro with the most friendly staff I sat there contemplating my life and how it is working for me. I do so enjoy sipping flavorful martinis and mingling with fun people. I decided that when I feel so inclined I am going to treat myself to happy hour and try each one of their martinis! Not to make a point of doing it, or plan it, or build it into a structured formula of balance. Simply on impulse… I have come to find those are the moments I really feel I am living.

So, whether it is the dessert cart, happy hour, the piece of pizza, a morning on the golf course, spontaneous rendezvous… Where will you seize your moments today?

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. The end to an Era of pain, solitude, confusion, and uncertainty. I am beginning a new life, a new direction, and a new focus. I used to find days like today filled with excitement and anxiety being unsure of the “what ifs” and wondering if I can live up to everyone’s expectations let alone my own… (uh huh raise your hand) The jumping for joy has not happened. The anxiety never set in. Nervous? Nope… The way in which this change and beginning has come about has been with focus, intent, honestly, self-worth, and drive to be me to the fullest extent. I finally have a chance at everything I want and if feels good!

Today I am not running away from my past, only ending the parts that will no longer serve me well. I can not start a new beginning without ended that which was preventing me from starting. My excitement is resonating more in a feeling of peace, like a brand new pair of socks that slip on warm and comfortable fitting just right… It is time for me to lace up and go the distance!

When the shoe no longer fits, it is time for a new pair. Will today be a new beginning for you?

I searched for some time today to find a quote that inspired me. So many things coming to fruition right now and it has been an amazing journey. Though it is not coming to an end, it is transitioning into many new ones. Having been lost in a state of confusion for so long it was hard for me to take aim on anything. Not knowing what I really wanted made it hard to “aim right”. Then WHAM there it is… out of the blue… I know what I want! Here I am, all at once, having my bow drawn and aimed for things I know I want. Career, loved ones, rebuilding my home… Never have I felt so focused on so many things at once. I can’t even begin to explain how peaceful and exhilarating it is all at the same time.

None of it is luck. I envisioned what I wanted, found it, and I am jumping on it as if I will never have another chance again. There are no guarantees there will be other opportunities. No guarantees something better is out there. And no guarantees any of it will work. And I am going for it!

What will you aim for today?