Willis sent me this great infographic from visual.ly. A lovely perspective.
Archive for the ‘Wisdom’ Category
I Stumbled Upon a couple of articles by Donna Brazile that I wish I had written myself. Enjoy! -
“A thought is harmless unless you believe it” – Byron Katie
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in a 2-day seminar called “Being Peace” based on “The Work” by Byron Katie. The seminar was 20 hours over the course of a weekend – a major time sacrifice for me. So I admit, I walked in with a “this better be good” attitude. I needn’t have worried – it was better than good.
“The Work” is a way of examining your thoughts and then identifying and working through whatever is causing you stress. It’s a way to manifest “aha” moments. Quite powerful. I recommend that you check it out.
“The Work” is a series of questions that you ask yourself about a stressful thought or a limiting belief. The first question is a powerful one – Is it true? My first instinct was to say “Yup! True!” and move on, but with some practice, I learned to really stop and let the question settle n my mind.
For example, take the statement “I can’t do it.” (whatever ‘it’ is for you) Pretty common, right? Is it true? Really? If not, then why do so many of us carry that thought around with us, hitting ourselves with it again and again? Why do we limit ourselves with beliefs that are sometimes nonsensical? “The Work” goes on to examine exactly that question.
So next time you find your inner voice saying “You’re not smart/capable/thin/good enough” stop and ask yourself – is it true? How will your choices change when you give yourself an honest answer?
“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – A.A. Milne
“To thine own self be true” – Shakespeare
“Every woman should have a youth she’s content to leave behind and a past juicy enough that she’s looking forward to retelling it in her old age.” – Maya Angelou
Life is a journey. Think about who you were ten years ago. How much have your grown since then? Would you go back? You’re so much more incredible now than you were a decade ago. Just think how amazing you’ll be ten years from now!
It takes a lot of living and learning, sometimes the hard way, to become a mature, healthy, strong, fabulous woman. We all earn our Big Girl Badge in different ways because we all take our own path. So the list below is not a checklist. It’s a list of suggestions to continue learning and growing. Take the ones that speak to you and discard the rest. Hopefully, you will find them to be food for thought.
50 Ways to Earn Your Big Girl Badge
- Speak up for yourself
- Ask for a raise
- Enjoy your own company
- Get out of a relationship that isn’t good for you
- Travel by yourself
- Make your own money
- Manage your own money
- Have at least a basic set of tools (pliers, hammer, drill) and know how to use them
- Clearly define what you will and will not put up with in a relationship
- Clearly define what you will and will not put up with in a job
- Know how to admit your mistakes and apologize
- Trust your instincts, especially if your inner voice is telling you something different that you’re hearing from others
- Know how to put your own needs first
- Know how to say ‘no’
- Know how to find the lesson in your mistakes
- Introduce yourself to someone who intimidates you
- Shake hands like a man
- Ask for help when you need it
- Get yourself educated – in whatever way is meaningful to you
- Develop critical thinking skills and use them
- Accept responsibility for your own situation and behavior
- Understand your strengths and your weaknesses and be honest with yourself about both
- Know how to be financially independent, even if you’re fortunate enough not to have to be
- Be true to your integrity
- Know who you can trust and who you can’t
- Step outside your comfort zone
- Pursue your own interests, even if (especially if) you have a family to care for
- Never pretend to be someone you’re not
- Choose a life partner who satisfies both your heart and your brain
- Set and enforce your own personal boundaries
- Know how to change a tire
- Be true to your word
- Never build yourself up by putting someone else down
- Learn self-defense
- Know what you want and what you intend to do to get it
- Reach out to someone in need
- Do something that intimidates you
- Host a dinner party
- Respect the views and beliefs of others, but know how to disagree tactfully
- Know when to put your foot down
- Know when to let your guard down and let someone take care of you
- Honor your own needs and nurture yourself
- Be able to give a speech
- Thank all those who have supported you
- Know how to give a compliment and how to receive one gracefully
- Don’t put yourself down
- Find your passion and follow it
- Take personal responsibility for your sexuality and your reproductive health
- Tell the mean girl in your head to shut up
- Know your value
I’ve been thinking about the nature of apathy this week, for no real reason other than I’ve been feeling generally apathetic.
Big project at work? Whatever. I’m sure it will all work out fine.
Dinner? Go ahead and warm up whatever is in the fridge.
Laundry? Meh. If we run out of clean socks, I’ll go buy some more.
Apathy can be a sign of depression. It can be a sign of a crap attitude.
But in some circumstances, I think it can also be a form of wisdom. Apathy can be a way of acknowledging that your energy is low right now and that 80% of everything doesn’t truly matter all that much anyway. So “I don’t care” can be a way of giving yourself a break.
Truth or just rationalization? Do we care?
A very friendly and charming man approached me as I was walking from my office to my car yesterday. He was homeless. He told me that he was a Vietnam veteran and asked if I could help him out. I told him that all I had was a dollar (which was true) but that he was welcome to it.
I expected that he would say thank you and we would go our separate ways. Instead, he looked me in the eye and told me to let go of all my stress because my life is going to completely turn around soon. Everything in my life is going to turn out great.
I thanked him and told him that I wished him all the best. “No need to worry about me. I’m all taken care of,” he said. And he repeated his blessing. He was quite sure of himself.
In retrospect, this could have been a very uncomfortable moment, but it wasn’t. He exuded calm and wisdom. Gravitas even. Imagine Morgan Freeman in need of a haircut and clean clothes. “I believe you,” I said (also true). “Thank you so much.” He nodded and walked away.
Who knows what this guy’s deal really was, but I feel blessed by his blessing. It was a great moment and at the very least, it brightened my day. Thank goodness I had a dollar.
“A strong woman understands the importance of creating space for personal well-being, spiritual nourishment and regeneration in order to maintain her authenticity, especially when the universe whacks her with its two-by-four and hands her days when it takes a great deal of courage just to show up.” - Laura Folse
“A strong woman understands that gifts such as logic, decisiveness and strength are just as feminine as intuition and emotional connection. She values and uses all of her gifts.” - Nanci Rathbun
“There are times to stay put and what you want will come to you, and there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself.” - Lemony Snicket
Pinky is just beginning to speak in sentences – “Where go Daddy?” and “Uh oh. Yucky mess!” She is so smart, so funny, so headstrong, so stubborn (I don’t know where she could have gotten that). She is an amazing little creature. There are so many things I wish for her, and by extension, for myself and for all women:
- First the basics – safety & good health
- Confidence & assertiveness
- To be generous & compassionate with a full understanding of how fortunate she is
- A strong work ethic
- A finely-tuned B.S. detector
- A love of learning & knowledge in all its forms
- An adventurous spirit
- Freedom from perfectionism, anxiety & self-doubt
- Resilience to learn from tough times & carry on
- The wherewithal to take excellent care of herself – mind, body & spirit
- Excellent posture & grammar
- A razor-sharp mind and a tongue to match
- A life partner who adores her
- A strong circle of friends who support her
- Work that she is passionate about
- The financial freedom to follow her dreams
- A never-ending sense of wonder about the world
- A life of amazing experiences
- Unlimited laughter and joy
Too much to ask? I think not.
This list was originally published in the 90’s and has bounced around the internet a bajillion times. It was written by New York Times Best-Selling Author, Pamela Redmond Satran, but is often mis-attributed by Maya Angelou. Oh how I wish I wrote this! – but to be clear, I didn’t. It’s a superb list though, of things women need to know about relationships, marriage, parenting and adulthood in general.
By the age of 30, a woman should have:
- One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.
- A decent piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.
- Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.
- A purse, a suitcase and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.
- A youth you’re content to move beyond.
- A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
- The realization that you are actually going to have an old age—and some money set aside to help fund it.
- An e-mail address, a voice mailbox and a bank account—all of which nobody has access to but you.
- A résumé that is not even the slightest bit padded.
- One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
- A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black lace bra.
- Something ridiculously expensive that you bought for yourself, just because you deserve it.
- The belief that you deserve it.
- A skin-care regimen, an exercise routine and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.
- A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship and all those other facets of life that do get better.
By the age of 30, a woman should know:
- How to fall in love without losing yourself.
- How you feel about having kids.
- How to quit a job, break up with a man and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.
- When to try harder and when to walk away.
- How to kiss in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.
- The names of: the secretary of state, your great-grandmother and the best tailor in town.
- How to live alone, even if you don’t like to.
- How to take control of your own birthday.
- That you can’t change the length of your calves, the width of your hips or the nature of your parents.
- That your childhood may not have been perfect, but it’s over.
- What you would and wouldn’t do for money or love.
- That nobody gets away with smoking, drinking, doing drugs or not flossing for very long.
- Who you can trust, who you can’t and why you shouldn’t take it personally.
- Not to apologize for something that isn’t your fault.
- Why they say life begins at 30.
I’m always grateful for reader comments on this blog. In fact, I’m grateful that anyone gives a flying fig what I have to say at all. One comment recently really got me thinking. Stefanie at What’s the Best that Can Happen (a great site – go check it out) commented, “I am finding that I need to reconnect with my friends even more now as the fog of those first few years with kids has lifted…”
This was an unexpected bit of validation for me. I hadn’t recognized the diaper-induced fog that I’m muddling through. And because I didn’t realize that I was in a tunnel, I also didn’t see the light at the end of it. I feel so much better now! Thanks Stefanie!
Other moms out there, did you withdraw from pieces of your life when your kids were little? Did you come back?
Dear Me –
At 21, you are smart, beautiful and ambitious. When asked what your long-term goals are, your pat answer is “world domination”…and you mean it. You have the energy and the skills to kick butt and take names and your future is blindingly bright. There’s only one thing that I, as your mid-thirties self, would change about you.
It will sound silly to you now, but I want you to learn to take better care of yourself. No one is ever as hard on you as you are on yourself. The self-imposed pressure you feel to work harder and be stronger will take its toll on you. I want you to work less and smile more. To worry less and play more. To focus less on the end goal and more on enjoying the journey. The sooner you embrace the idea of nurturing yourself, the happier you will be.
One way to do that is to know that the whole ‘good girl’ thing is WAY over rated. Really give some thought to what you want and what you love to do. Stop making life decisions based on what you think you’re supposed to do. Your attempts to please the world will lead you in a difficult and ultimately pointless direction. Just do what you want – it will be better than OK.
Another way to nurture yourself is to embrace the knowledge that you look gorgeous! For heaven sake, spend less time, energy and money worrying that you don’t. Honey, just enjoy it while it lasts. Because it turns out that your body isn’t so good at pregnancy. Your children, although healthy and beautiful, will do irreparable damage to your body. You may not believe it now, but they are more than worth the sacrifice. It would be nice though to have your cheekbones, waistline, and spinal integrity back. But I digress.
Because you’re you, you rarely choose a smooth path. Doing things the hard way seems to be interwoven into your DNA. It toughens you, which is a mixed blessing. The life that you make for yourself includes incredible highs and wrenching lows. But you are far, far more blessed than most. So loosen your grip a little and enjoy your life – it’s a good one.
I love you -