I sometimes wonder why it takes so long for most of us to get to the place where we just let ourselves alone in peace. Finally, we get to the place were we no longer pick ourselves apart, engage in negative self-talk, worry so much about what others think, or put so much emphasis on “what we should be” but instead accept ourselves for just what/who we really are.
I don’t know if it takes age to know you are tired of feeling crappy about yourself or if it is finally coming to an understanding that you are done with letting others treat you in ways that you don’t deserve. I am unsure if it is a greater self awareness or just the desire to experience positive change that finally allows us to say ENOUGH! I WANT MORE! I DESERVE MORE! But I do know that as I get closer to 60 that I have come to realize exactly that…that accepting myself is one of the most important things that I can do before I punch out on life’s time clock for the final time.
Acceptance. It’s easy to say we should accept ourselves…yet it’s hard to put that belief into practice. But I am finally learning that self acceptance involves being realistic about my good qualities and playing them up. It means giving those best parts of me the respect that they deserve. By honoring them and giving these positive attributes the opportunity to expand and grow, it is making me a better friend to myself and a better person in general.
Acceptance also means that I reexamine my “flaws” by asking myself how they have helped me in the past. Then I look for ways to challenge my old notions and accept those parts of myself that I am less than comfortable with by giving them the opportunity to change and not by regulating them to a distant corner of my life. I let these “fixers” out so that others can see them and help me find the good in them too. Just like I accept my friends good and bad qualities it was wonderful when I began to grant that same grace to myself. Sometimes I find it helps to ask myself “Would I say to a friend what I am saying to myself? ” If the answer is no, I try to gently remind myself that negativity directed inward is not helpful, and then I find something positive to focus on instead. This is exactly how a good friend would act… they would talk you up not down. I deserve nothing less.
Another thing that has come to the forefront for me is that the concept that “Trying” to accept myself will not work. That is like “trying” to diet…I will fail miserably. It is only when I practice “seeing” myself with kindness and compassion that self acceptance can occur. And then, finally, one day I suddenly realized that my “bad” parts were okay and I finally embraced them.
Rituals can help promote self acceptance. Every morning I have taken to looking in the mirror and saying out loud, “You are wonderful just the way you are.” Somehow putting those words out in the universe makes me accountable to them and encourages me to find small ways throughout the day that make that statement true.
I wish self acceptance came easier. I wish it came earlier. I envy those for whom self acceptance is just a natural part of their being. Yet, I am glad that this feeling of acceptance is working itself into my life now. I enjoy the freedom it brings. Freedom from pain. Freedom from so many worries. Freedom to be myself. But instead of concentrating on the “I should haves” I am now just being thankful for the “better late than nevers” no matter when they are discovered and put into practice in my life.
I could write something profound and meaningful about the question of who are you and what do you stand for. Always an important question in my book but one I will leave for others to debate. Today, I want to ask you the questions in regards to art. Precisely, designing your own coat of arms.
Several weeks ago I wrote about how my therapist has been encouraging me to paint. I am not good at it but I am finding that it is getting those “after his affair/almost divorce” feelings exposed in a way that is finally helping me to examine them and let them go. Who knew?
This week I decided to take on a new project. I am designing my own coat of arms. I was inspired to do so, believe it or not, because of Meghan Markel and her now husband, Prince Harry. Seems that when they married they needed to have a coat of arms designed for their household. A big task to say the least. It is said that Meghan took great pains to make sure that emblem represented who she is and where she came from. As such, California figured predominately. First, she incorporated the state’s flower, the California poppy. In addition, the blue background on the shield represents the Pacific Ocean and the yellow rays across it come from “The Sunshine State” logo. She also acknowledged her own power of communication through the open beak of the song bird and the quill.
In designing my own pennon, I have looked hard at myself. Who am I? What do I believe? What do I love? What represents my authentic self? And for the past week I have been designing my crest. I am not ready to share yet but I will share with you some of the symbolism that I have incorporated.
- The first thing you would notice on my coat of arms is the Phoenix rising which signifies that I have arisen from the flames a winner having beaten life’s challenges and defeating the hard times. It is a concrete symbol of my rebirth as a person, female, wife and mother. Around the neck of the Phoenix is a heart with a number in the center which is meaningful to me.
- Instead of a traditional crest I have used an open book with symbols of what I believe contained within the pages. This works because I am an open book and share openly and freely. I also love to read and write.
- Within the pages of the book is the earth meaning I am a traveler and a person who sees all people as being in and on this planet together. There is also a musical note…self explanatory. The scale of justice sits high upon the crest because of my believe that we are the same and therefore the scales should be balanced for all equally. A pen representing my writing career also has its place. A symbol of Korea is also represented since the country has played such a major role in my life. And there is a very large ? showing that I am a seeker as well as a person who questions everything.
Needless to say, designing this coat of arms has been an interesting process. It has helped me clarify some things and made me look hard at what I value. Further, I have tried to approach this design as my 26th Grandfather must have approached his. Seven hundred years later his crest still stands embedded within the doorway outside of his castle reminding all that enter what his life stood for. I want my coat of arms to be the same… a testament to my great-grandchildren of just who I was and what I stood for.
My 26th Great Grandfather’s Coat Of Arms At Craigmillar Castle
So often in life we concentrate on what is wrong with us – the things we cannot do, our shortcomings and our foibles. We examine our “issues” so often that we can recite them in our sleep and as the list grows sometimes it feels like there is so much “wrong” that we don’t know what we can possibly do to change what we have told ourselves is “fact.” So what if today, we changed things up a bit and decided to concentrate on all that is “right” with us. How would that influence our beliefs about ourselves and make a “so-so” day into one that shines and puts little skip in our steps.
Here is my list for today in no particular order. I would love to see yours in the comments section.
- I am a good researcher. I find things others can’t.
- I am a good friend. I can keep a secret better than anyone.
- I am interested in others lives and enjoy being attentive to their experiences.
- I am interesting. I have a breadth of knowledge about many things and I try to keep up with current events.
- I am a fierce Momma Bear and advocate for my children and march on in my efforts when others would have given up.
- I fight for the things that I love.
- Family is important to me and I try to make sure that those I love know that they are valued and loved by me.
- I love to travel, meet people, and learn from my experiences.
- If a puzzle needs to be solved I am your gal.
- I am not afraid to walk up to a person and start a conversation.
- I am fun and do the unexpected like take photos of my friends who could not attend our group event, blow their pictures up, staple them to sticks, and carry them through the city with me photographing them at places like the CHEERS BAR in Boston.
- I am smart.
- I recognize and honor my intuitiveness.
- I work hard when something needs to be done.
- For the most part I am content with what I have and have no need to “keep up with the Joneses.”
- I know how much that I really don’t know.
- I am compassionate with loved ones and strangers.
- I am a good writer.
- I try to stay in touch with others and send cards and letters to others so that they know that they are on my mind.
- I work hard at preserving my family history so that my family can learn from our past.
- I am able to self-hypnotize so that I can quickly relax and get to a peaceful state of mind.
- When I do get down in spirit I work hard to lighten the load so I can return to a place of happiness.
- I do small things for myself (like a warm candle-lit bath) on a regular basis.
- I read on a regular basis.
- I exercise often.
- I am a seeker
- I sing well.
- Integrity is important to me. I try hard to be fair and honest.
Hopefully after making this list you too will see that there is so much good in and around you that when things become challenging you can whip out your list and give yourself a boost to face the coming day. We all have our gifts which need to be acknowledged and celebrated far more often than we do. In remembering what is good about ourselves we can offer it to others or wrap those things around our own selves like a blanket on a cold rainy day. For knowing ourselves gives us the ability to live freely so that what we do aligns with who we are. Amen!
How do I learn to trust you again?
When a man doesn’t share his feelings, keeps everything close to the vest, inhabits your world but doesn’t let you inhabit much of his; how do you learn to trust his words and actions and believe what he says?
When a man fails to tell you of his despair and comes to you with, “I think I may want a D.I.V.O.R.C.E.,” how do you know that he won’t walk through the door, pack his bags, and just leave even though he tells you he is happy now?
Like a Greek tragedy, I just can’t forget your words as easily as you dismiss your intentions. I see/hear your words, D.I.V.O.R.C.E. re-playing in my head, scratchy and skipping parts like an old movie soundtrack. They are rough like the ocean banging into the rocks on the shore, removing a grain of the rock every time it gets hit. Your words echo in my head.
You tell me everything is so much better…for who? For who is it better? How do I know that your words honor the truth of what you are feeling deep inside in those places you refuse to share with me? Because I don’t feel better and I am not sure how you could feel better about our relationship, so easily, and with such little effort.
Sure we laugh more, since you outed some of your feelings. And the sex is incredible. And the house looks great. But I don’t feel better because I don’t trust that this is real. I don’t trust that this, that I, am enough for you because I have so often not been. Yeah, those “harmless” flirty texts they have done a number on me and my trust is serrated instead of smooth. My trust in you, in us, and in myself is lacking. It’s incomplete.
Because how do you go from miserable and “I may want a D.I.V.O.R.C.E.” to everything is great…and I am happy in 35 days? I don’t trust this. I don’t trust you. But I want to. Desperately.
How do I learn to trust again?
I wish I knew.