"Mirror, Mirror, on the wall..."

Are You Unknowingly Inspiring Others?

You may not know it but you are impacting someone in your life; either from a distance or directly. You are currently giving someone permission to be more than they have allowed themselves to be – and you don’t even realize it.

close up photography of person s eye

Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in; soak it up.  Don’t just read the words like you would a random post.  Hold on to it for a moment.  Believe it, don’t believe – that’s up to you. But, give the time necessary to really understand the message.  Once you have done that, take a breath and then absorb this:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamson

There is nothing scarier than the person in the mirror and yet it is that single person who is supposed to be your biggest fan, not your mortal enemy. That person in the mirror is an intimate heart you are supposed to trust and embrace, not fight and doubt. That person in the mirror is supposed to love you first because it might seem as though no one else does….and that is quite alright.

We live in a society that tells us we should place a higher value on the opinion others have of us over our own opinion. With that in mind, is it any wonder we are a country with the highest depression rate? We have a limited sense of self-appreciation and an overwhelming curiosity of “What do YOU think of ME?” (Remember Bette Midler in “Beaches”?)

We have it bass-ack-wards.

man old depressed headache

Marianne Williamson has it figured out and yet what her quote fails to mention is that while you are building yourself up you could be doing it alone. However, there are silent rewards and they are incredible: “…you give other people permission to do the same.”

Not too long ago a co-worker of mine left her job to pursue her own business venture. During her departure tour of the office, she stopped by my desk to wish me a good day. During our conversation, she told me how inspiring she thought I was. I had a puzzled looked on my face. She told me that when she first met me, when I started at the company, she saw that I was tall, just like her and yet I wore heels and held myself up high. She saw my confidence and that made her feel comfortable. She thought, “Hey, if she can do it, so can I.”

I unknowingly gave her permission to enjoy something about her that she had tried to hide and for six months I had no idea. I was clueless that by being me, unapologetically, I had given her the validation she was looking for to enjoy something others found “unusual” about her.

My former co-worker had tried to shrink herself because she was one of the few tall women in the office. She didn’t dislike her height but she did try to minimize it because she was in a class of few.  She gained confidence in herself because of my confidence. Someone showed her it was okay, even good, to enjoy who and what you are even if it doesn’t fit the average mold.

closeup photo of woman with brown coat and gray top

What’s the point of my story? I’ll tell you. You may not know it but you’re impacting someone in your life; either from a distance or directly. You are currently giving someone permission to be more than they have allowed themselves to be – and you don’t even realize it. As you struggle and hurt, as you fall down repeatedly and rise up again, and again, you give someone the space to better herself because she is looking from the outside in on your world. She is watching you and learning from you. YOU are making a difference, whether you believe you or not.

Remember, you may not be impressed by you but someone is inspired by you. Just because you don’t get to hear it doesn’t mean it’s not happening…hell, it surprised me.

You’re doing it and you don’t even know it!

"Mirror, Mirror, on the wall..."

When Facing The Unknown You’ll Need Attitude And Optimism

Changes are a test of attitude and optimism. Attitude is how you look at or view change and optimism, despite common belief, is realizing there are negatives and positives to every situation; it’s your ability to adapt or adjust to change that makes the difference.

My attitude and optimism were tested some time ago.  I am an optimistic person. I don’t just find a way to make the best of a situation, I realize there is a time frame with every positive or negative event.  I know that I have the ability to choose how I view a situation and the ability to choose how I emotionally respond to it. I may have control of the situation or I may not, but the important thing is that I can control myself even during my most difficult feelings.  So when I was laid off from my favorite job, I took it better than others expected.

grayscale photo of person in parka coat

 

It is tough being forced out of your comfort zone!

 

 

Honestly, the moment I realized I was being laid off, it was an upsetting one.  I won’t lie. My security had been ripped away from me and my ability to provide for my kids had been scrapped. My comfort zones were threatened if not erased; a part of me wanted to break down and cry huge crocodile tears and scream out in fear while running away in shame.  However, the mindful part of me took over and eased the fear within. The confident side of me took the lead reminding myself of the very thing I offer others facing challenging changes, “You can do it!”

Losing a job is one of those situations that single parents don’t think about because it scares the hell out of us! Not knowing where your next paycheck will come from can be enough to send anyone over the edge.  Being jobless is a terrifying thought to wake up and yet, that didn’t bother me despite having three children, a mortgage, a car payment and a (strong) desire to shop.

Given all this, you could understand the panic I felt.  I was well within reason to panic, should have I opted to!  So if I made a scene by yelling at my boss, accusing him of being a heartless bastard for letting go of a single mother, you would likely understand and not fault me.  A reaction like that might seem natural.  What may surprise you was my response to the sour news.  I told my boss that I did not envy his position, as he had a difficult decision to execute.  I told him I was grateful for the opportunity and enjoyed my time on the team.  I understood it was business and it was time for me to move on. I left that office with the respect of my boss and supervisor and my dignity intact.

I could not have been more proud of how I handled such an extremely stressful situation!  

blonde hair blur daylight environment

After leaving my office building, I took with me the unknown future and the biggest smile on my face. Typically, that kind of smile would be accompanied by having an idea of where I would be going or how to get there but not this time. I knew where I was going; I was headed to start my new path and a new chapter in my life. My job might have divorced me, which was a much easier process than my previous divorces, but I was not worried.  My job might have made a choice for me and I might not have had a say, but that didn’t matter.  What mattered was my ability to pick myself up, dust off and keep moving onward and upward.  What mattered was my ability to adapt to the situation!

Life goes on…and so should you! 🙂 

It would be fair to say that my being laid off was the proverbially lemon to my life.  I could have taken that lemon and made matters worse by squeezing it into my eye to gain further sympathy.   That doesn’t seem to solve any problems, though.  It is definitely more constructive to retaliate the citrus attack with sugar or even vodka as a means of enjoying life’s sense of humor.  I mean, maybe that part of my world at work came to a sudden stop it didn’t mean any other part of my world was also going to stop.  So, I squeezed that lemon and made something I could work with…I didn’t necessarily like what I got but then I didn’t stop squeezing that lemon or any lemon thereafter.

portrait of beautiful young woman over white backgroundYou may be curious as to how I can do that?  How could I possibly have such a “get-er-done” attitude?  How could I have such optimism for a situation that is out of my control?   For one…I don’t take “no” as an answer, only an obstacle. Two: I don’t give myself a break when there is work to do meaning it doesn’t make sense to use my sitting bones when there is a need to move.  And three: I tried the pity party and self-wallowing only to learn that they result in (spoiler alert)…NOTHING.

The key thing is to understand that what you ARE doing may not be nearly as important as what you ARE NOT doing.

You ARE NOT going to feel sorry for yourself when the lemons strike.

You ARE NOT going to beat yourself up with the lemons.

You ARE going to dust yourself off and move!

Fear of the unknown is what makes things scary!

The loss of a job, or the like, are not easy situations to pilot through, even with a positive mindset. The fear of the unknown tempts us every day. The panic wants to creep in and overwhelm you and I. The voice of self-defeat likes to whisper daily to whoever is listening.  I could easily look myself in the mirror and say, “I give up.” If I did that I would not be the person I encourage others to be; I would not a good steward of my beliefs of personal empowerment. If I cannot be an example of what I preach I cannot be credible.

woman wearing strapless dressYour attitude determines how you look at any given situation or change. Your ability to adapt and adjust projects in your level of optimism. Without change, it is hard to grow and develop as a unique person.  Changes are not meant to tear us down but give us the motivation to evolve into better versions of the person in the mirror.  They are designed to move us forward, not stall us.  If you think about it, you have been through some pretty bad situations.  In terms of those, where are you?

We won’t always be prepared for life when it happens, but changes help us to realize we are more ready than we know. As we receive new chapters in our book of life it’s important to remember the pages are unwritten and the pen is in hand. (Points if you know the song loosely referenced here!) 😉

What are you going to write?