Monday, February 14, 2011

Be True To Yourself...

It’s very important, being true to yourself. It’s also not an easy thing to do. It takes time; it’s not something that you can make a snap decision about. It takes forethought; you need to really examine the happenings and the people in your life. It will help you formulate solid, realistic plans. It takes self-awareness; honesty is the best policy. Especially when it comes to being honest about who you are and who you want to be.
The Time Factor…it’s a luxury today to have “spare” time. I don’t know many people who have or utilize spare time. It seems like all of my days were jam packed with each and every moment filled and accounted for. If I got invited to 5 different things, I made an appearance at all 5. I couldn’t say no or that I had other plans, I just made it fit. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I was up every day at the crack of dawn, collapsing in bed, with a little luck, by midnight. My mind would be filled with what I did, what I had to do, what I was going to do and how I was going to fit it all in. Extremely stressful, but I didn’t give a lot of thought about me. I didn’t have any quiet time, to plan or process the things I wanted to.
That has been a major change, things are different now. I actually try to spend a little time every day thinking about myself. What I want to do or not do. It’s up to me. I spend some time mapping out my thoughts and feelings so that they best serve me and my well-being. I still have a full, fun life, but I don’t feel like I am running away from something by keeping so busy. I don’t feel like I have to stay busy to not think or feel. I don’t believe this is selfish either, but self-preserving. I appreciate everyone and everything in my life a little more. I don’t feel rushed or nearly as anxious. I like myself and the people that I allow to be part of my life.
The Forethought…We all work.  Full time or part time employment, going to school, family caretaker, volunteer, whatever you do to fill your day, it’s all work. It keeps us busy; our days and nights occupied. The last things you need are toxic relationships with people or situations bogging you down. It’s important to take stock of the activities that you participate in. If you or your kids are involved in so many things that you don’t have any down time, it can be very unhealthy, physically and mentally. If you find yourself in a situation where you are constantly called upon to “help” those who have resources or family to assist them, you don’t have to be the helper all of the time. It’s ok to let yourself off the hook, especially when you take stock of the person or the situation and realize that this doesn’t work best for ME. If you don’t take some time to do an inventory of these types of things in your life, it can keep you spinning like a hamster in a wheel.
Take time to plan some things that will have a positive, enriching effect on your life. Stuff that just makes you feel good.  Reading, movies, listening to music, a ride in the car, time with friends, laundry, napping, hanging out – doing nothing, anything that gives you a chance for you. Now, I’m not advocating dumping everyone and everything in your life or stop supporting friends or family members, not at all. I am suggesting that you eliminate some of the stresses that affect you and add some activities that are just for you. You can create and maintain a positive balance that will serve you and those around you well.
Self-Awareness…This can be tricky. There is a tendency to “label” ourselves. Hyper, depressed, overwhelmed, stressed, fine, crabby, any number of descriptors that explain away what is really going on. There are some tough choices that need to be made and we resist against the thought and decision process. I’m not sure why this happens. Maybe it’s because we don’t give ourselves value. I don’t mean our value to others; I mean our value to ourselves and the quality of our life. I don’t like the idea that it took a life-altering event to force me to examine myself and the life I was living. I thought I was fine, that I just needed to be more positive, to snap out of it. I was giving myself constant “pep talks” that aggravated and frustrated me. What was wrong with me? I was in a black mood most of the time. Smiling on the outside, but hating everything on the inside. I was trying to be supportive of those around me. I wasn’t paying attention to the thoughts and feelings that were raging inside of me.
Then, I stopped, well, I wasn’t given much of a choice, but I stopped. What was I doing? I am not going to be any good to anyone if I’m not good to myself. Am I happy living this life that I have? What can I do to make it better? Am I realizing and enjoying all the dreams and plans that I would like to? Am I spending time with the people that offer a positive enrichment to my life? These were hard questions to answer, but after I did, I realized that it is possible to live my life, really, truly live. I appreciate those who are in my life much more. I work hard every day to take care of me and my well-being. That’s what makes me able to give those who need me the best possible effort that I can.
Time, forethought and self-awareness. Three things that can only help you improve you and your life. Just some ideas that will open your mind and heart to the possibilities that are endless and available to you. It takes a leap of faith and a will to live that is inside all of us. Take a chance…pay attention to you…those who love and care about you will be glad you did…positive reinforcement…with love.

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