My head is swimming…I have an article due today and I can’t seem to focus on just one idea. I was going to write about the difference between self-esteem and self-confidence (and the importance of helping our kids develop both). I also just had a session with an image consultant (Thank you to my friend Noreen for giving me her free session! Thank you Margaret Batting for the great tips!). So I also planned to write about that experience. But the other night, as I was reviewing my notes and typing, I received an update on Facebook and got a little distracted. I was tagged on photos of me that I had done as part of an inspiring project for women. It was the first time I had seen the photos! They were so amazing I thought, “Is that really me?”. They were challenging (in a good way) how I saw myself.
Last year I was at a point in my life where I just felt empty. So I decided that this year I would fill up. Last year, in addition to having to deal with some difficult things, I was beating myself up about where I was (or really, where I wasn’t ) in my life. I had been putting myself down for not being where I thought I “should” be in my life. You know where that got me? Stuck. “Shoulds” never seem to lead to any place good.
How did I get out of it? In addition to several other things, one simple thing I did was change my labels in my head. Instead of labeling myself as “stuck” I started to see myself as “in transition.” Really that’s what life is, a transition, right? Even when we can’t see any movement, change is there. The seed in the soil may not look like it’s growing, but it is. The river may look at times likes its not moving, but it’s always flowing.
I also changed the questions I had for myself. Initially I kept asking myself “What the heck are you doing with your life?”. Now this might have even been helpful if it was actually a question. But I finally realized that it wasn’t. It was just a judgment. When I changed my question to, “What do you want your life to be?” I finally started to feel different. I didn’t necessarily have the answers but there was a feeling of movement and possibilities rather than a feeling of stuckness.
Also right now, I’m not just asking questions, I’m listening. Instead of jumping into a new plan for my life I’m listening to my heart to see what little things it wants to do, where it wants go and who it wants to be with. I have a feeling that starting small and listening will also eventually help clarify who I want to be and what I want to do on a grander scale.
So right now, I don’t have a “grand plan” for my life and I’m ok with that. I have some ideas of where I want to go, but I’m not letting these ideas become “borders” again that limit me. Instead of being jugemental I’m being inquisitive. I’m exploring my heart and seeing where it wants to go. I’m listening to that inner voice that I feel like I’ve ignored for so long and seeing where it will lead me. So far by listening I’m feeling more alive, and I think that’s a good thing.
Oh and BTW, in order to follow my pact, I’m also working on giving up the guilt/expectation that as a mom I should put myself last. I realized that belief not only does a disservice to me, but also to my daughters. I want to be a role model for them. I don’t want them to feel that when they become a mom that they have to put themselves last or let their lives be led by guilt.
Well, that’ just a few thoughts floating around my head. So, yes my head is swimming. But at least I’m swimming somewhere, instead of feeling like I’m just treading water. However, I have to admit, that even when we feel like we’re stuck treading water, we’re still moving. The current can still takes us somewhere without us even knowing it..sometimes somewhere good sometimes somewhere not so good…but it’s always an adventure.
How about you? What questions are you carrying around with you? Are they really questions or just veiled judgments? Are you swimming or treading water in your life right now? Do you think there is a time in our lives for both? Are you listening to your heart or has it become quiet too? As I’m finding out, it’s never too late to listen or to be heard.