For anyone who has ever dealt with low self-confidence, please hold on with me as I walk through the journey of explaining the title to this post.
If you were like me a few years ago, you constantly compared yourself to others. You wonder if you are good enough to do the job as a parent, daughter, wife and for me, therapist. I had terrible performance anxiety during my first in class intensive for my master’s degree. I compared myself to every single student in the room. When I wasn’t in the classroom, I tucked doubt and low self-worth into the back of my brain and allowed it to come out quite often.
Thankfully, I began to grow in my faith, which helped me immensely. My confidence began to grow and the self-doubt that I tucked into my brain became smaller and smaller. I was in therapy twice, which really helped me to identify areas of my life that I was struggling with. Being a boss at home helped even though taking care of my mother through her early journey with dementia was more than difficult. I began to see how strong I was, and I began to compare myself to other less and less.
I am not saying that my journey was easy and that I don’t have moments of doubt, but let’s finally throw the connection to the title in here. So, you compare yourself to others, others that you have no idea about. You tell yourself that she is more beautiful than me because her hair is perfectly coiffed or that he is smarter than me because he has the CEO position. We go through out lives comparing ourselves to others when we have no idea who or what we are really comparing ourselves to. Imagine you are comparing your smarts against one of the kids who benefited from the scandal mentioned above. You are comparing yourself to a lie. You are basing your own worth off of something that doesn’t exist.
Doesn’t this seem a little silly to you. You need to be you, the best version of your self that you could ever be. You know your own truth and your own journey to get to where you are and that has to be the measure by which you compare yourself. There were times when I sat in class and thought, “they are going to be much better counselors than me.” I actually had to thought stop and say to myself, “what are you saying, they are learning and in class just like you.”
You may not be from a rich family, you may not be attending an ivy league school, you may not get the best grades and score a high score on the SATs, but that does not mean that you do not have worth. For me, I know that God has a plan for me. I cannot lie that this is not a motivating factor for my life. I will be writing about “God’s Calling” later on this month, so please check that out if you are interested in how to be more faithful to God’s will. I am a boss lady because I have a divine calling for my life. That does not mean that you don’t have one for yours.
Please don’t compare yourself to others.
Please say to yourself on a daily basis, “I have worth”
When you begin to feel like you cannot accomplish a task, take a deep breath. Tell yourself, “one step at a time.”
If someone tells you that they don’t like your work, they don’t like your cooking, they don’t like “whatever” it is, tell yourself, “that’s okay, what can I learn from this?”
I mean it, “your life has purpose.” Did you see that, I said “your” life, I am not asking you to sit and make a list of “they have, and I don’t”. The scandal I mentioned above can teach us a lot about how to act as parents and how to act as human beings. Hard work and dedication should be the way you get to the top of whatever mountain you choose to climb. Remember this one thing if nothing else sticks, you could be comparing yourself to someone whose parents paid for them to get into school, or someone who cheated to get where they are. You be you.
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Today is International Women's Day, so I had to at least take a moment to recognize how important this day is. So, here I am a woman, a mother, a daughter, a wife, a sister and a friend and on my good days, my great days, I know that I am freakin’ superwoman. I am tough, smart, hardworking and dedicated through and through.
The last few days have been dark, not because I am struggling with not having visited my mother in a while or not getting the article published as I had hoped, but because pain, depression and fatigued have been pulling me down. I want to share with my readers the truth about how a woman can be a warrior. For the most part I have control of my depression and the other demons that attack my body, but there are days of doubt, sadness and the inability to get out of bed. The inability to be the woman warrior that I am.
What does it feel like? That feeling of doubting yourself and wanting to give up can be overwhelming. You feel like no matter what you do it’s useless. Even though you know doubt and pain is playing with your mind, you feel like something is pulling you down, a REAL physical entity is taking hold of you. During the normal motherly things, the normal woman things, the normal day to day life things seem near impossible when this force is present. Things that I need to do like be a counselor for my girls at their GEMS group seems painful. This past week, I was so exhausted, I was barely able to make it and when I did make it, I didn't want to be there. What could make depression and pain and fatigue worse, when people are asking how you're doing and the best you can respond with is, “having a bad day”. It takes time, energy and shaking the shame to explain what is really going on. It’s such an intricate thing to explain that you're in pain, that you feel hopeless and sad, and just want to crawl under the covers and not wake up for a while. Remember folks, I am a mental health professional, so this should be easier for me to do. Nope.
I know that I am a woman warrior, that I am wanted and needed. I wake up and I am needed to make the day start for other people, to deal with a struggling kindergartner who doesn’t want to wake up and make sure two older children have what they need. My husband loves me and needs me. I make things run, I'm important and vital to our society. I have dreams and hopes and plans, but this is the real life of a woman whose biggest fight can often be with herself.
So, on this International Women's Day, I had to take a moment to say thank you to the women who are daily warriors, fighting with their mental health and their bodies. I am most certainly not taking any light away from the women around the world who face terrible and harsh inequality, but I need to shine a light on women who put their feet to the ground. This is a “hey I see you” to the women who do what they can and the best way they know how on a daily basis as a woman, wife, girlfriend, employee, business owner, mother, daughter, sister, and even friend. I am thankful to have a husband who understands that I have mental health issues and can respect when I tell him “it’s been a bad day; the depression has hit hard today”.
Please note that I know my faith is HUGE in my daily life and that God has made all things possible. I also know that God has created us to move and improve, to take care of each other and to find inventive ways to do so. I take anti-depressants as well as other medications to make it through the day. Combine this with the love of my husband and I am a fortunate woman, and I know this.
Thank you, women warriors, you freakin’ superwomen, your faithful woman who make the day go around by placing one foot in front of the other.
Thank You to the women in my life:
My own mother who lives a life fighting FTD Dementia
Shelley McDonald (my other mama)
Grandma Maxine Rice (You taught me lessons I WILL NEVER forget)
Toni Szczepanski by dearest and sweetest friend (even though we don’t see each other often, you are a piece of my heart).
Marin Hann, MA., LLPC co-director of Koinonia Counseling Center
Alpha Women’s Center of Grand Rapids
Today instead of giving attention to another post, I am giving attention to Alpha Women's Center to seeks to build up families of all races and economic status. I love and adore this place and the women warriors I get to be with.
Everybody Hurts, a great REM song for sure, but not much fun when you are the one who is hurting. When I say “letting go gracefully” I am not saying that “being graceful” will keep you from the hurt and pain of feeling loss, humiliation, anger or any other negative thing in your life. It does mean, however, that you can take control of your own reactions.
Know there are times when you are powerless
So, here I was a teenage girl, a desperate girl who wanted the attention of a boy. I met said boy at a restaurant and we started a flirtatious conversation. What ended up happening was humiliating, he took my shoe. Yup, took my shoe and left the restaurant with the intention of getting me to go to his home. See, this boy had likely intentions that this teenage girl was not ready for. Thankfully, I never found said boy’s apartment, but I do remember going home to find my mom only to cry in her arms. I am sure you can think of moments when you felt the sting of humiliation, rejection or loss and can imagine how I was feeling. I had no power at that moment, but I could find someone who wouldn’t judge me for what had happened.
What do you mean when you say “graceful”?
When I say, “let go gracefully” what I mean is this. There are people who come in and out of our lives. We have great times where we feel on top of the world and other times when the world seems to be on top of us and that is okay. Everything cannot turn out perfect for us all the time and we are going to find ourselves in some pretty ridiculous or hurtful situations as I mentioned above.
Just because bad things happen does not mean that you are not worthy of holding your head up high. Sure, you want to call and text that lover who was once your entire world. In fact, you could be up against the wall dealing with a cruel and sadistic person, but you can still hold your head high. Being graceful does not mean that we don’t fall apart and cry or get angry, but it does mean that we do not seek out revenge. Why begin to live a life where revenge gives us satisfaction or get stuck in a never-ending cycle of revenge. You may hit a row of terrible losses, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot make it out of the darkness without a sense of dignity. Fighting the urge to “make things right” can be overwhelming, even scream our name over and over again, but it is not our job to “make things right”. Call it a higher power, God, the universe or karma, we can move on with our lives knowing that we don’t have to handle getting revenge. If you have to, tell yourself out loud, “revenge is not mine.”
Be Ready to Learn Honest Things About Yourself
I understand that this is difficult to do. I might not be near as useful if everyone could easily move on. So, seek out help if you need to, that is what graceful people do. They acknowledge that they need help and seek it out. They understand that it is always darkest before the dawn. You will learn things about yourself that will further humiliate you, but on the flip side, you will be enlightened too. Talking to an impartial party can allow you to gain tools and insight you can continue to use throughout your life.
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