I am certain that we all have times where we experience self doubt. The am I good enough, or the what if they don’t like me, or the I can’t do this feeling creeps into our lives at times of self doubt. I know for certain these feelings come into my life often. I worry about failure because of self doubt. I might not even attempt to try what I wanted because self doubt tells me I can’t do it.
Then, there are times when I have allowed self doubt to win and I see someone else out there doing what I had wanted to do. I realize that they are no better at it than I am. The difference though? They didn’t let self doubt stop them from going out and doing it.
Dreams and aspirations don’t need to be halted because of self doubt. Put yourself out there. You may be surprised at just how much you can accomplish when you put self doubt into the back seat and let confidence take over the steering wheel for a while. Believe in yourself.
Decisions in life aren’t always black and white. How do you choose which path to take when the answer isn’t completely clear? Do you trust your instinct, go with your gut? Do you make a pros/cons list for every option and weigh them out? Do you gain advice from friends, family, and professionals?
Some decisions aren’t as monumental as others, but when they are, many things hang in the balance. What compels you to choose one path over another is different for each one of us. While I may be sitting in this situation right now, I am trying to gain as much information as possible from as many sources as I can. I want to make the right decision, not just the right decision for right now.
So, while I am busy trying to make my best decision, I feel rather absent minded when it comes to other areas, pushing them to the back burner as it were. Single parenting, while rewarding in itself, is also very challenging. Adding major decisions makes it even more challenging. To those who are sitting in a similar position as I am, my heart goes out to you.
Every day we have the opportunity to affect someone’s life. How we choose to do so is up to us. Will we make a positive impact on someone, or will it be negative? How we choose to approach any given situation is up to us.
I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to see many different people from many different spectrums of life. I know that I have the power to make their day miserable, or to try and turn it around and make a positive impact on each person I see in a day. I know that there are people who are looked through instead of looked into. I don’t want to just look through people. Nobody wants to be invisible.
When we choose to be someone’s happiness, the effect multiplies. When we take time to truly be present in the moment, we show that person that they matter. Connect with them, lock eyes so they know that you are listening. You might be amazed at what happens!
When we show that people truly matter, their best comes forward. I was able to get a smile, more than once, from an elderly man who was perceived as being difficult by others. Beyond being able to get a smile from him, he also sang for me.
Not only was I part of his happiness, he became someone who gave me happiness in return. Will you be someone’s happiness too?
As we sit here in the dead of winter’s stillness, it is this time that I often consider more in depth the goals I had planned for myself. We are now three weeks into the new year, and it gives some breathing space for those lofty ideas that seemed so wonderful during the holiday season. This is either the time that those goals tend to fall to pieces, or that they become solidified.
One goal is nearly complete, and I had given myself until mid year to get there. That one makes me quite happy. Another one has still been untouched, but if I leave it for too long, I will miss my timeline goal. It gives me a feeling of warning, so I best get to working on it as well. Yet another goal has been in progress, and I am happy to be consistently plugging away at it. I have a wonderful friend who encourages me, pushes me even, in the very best way. I know I will be better for it, and for that I am very grateful.
I find that setting goals does help me initially. Reviewing those goals and making plans helps me take them to completion. I have taken steps and looked into workshops that I plan to take, and I have registered for classes for the fun goals that are for my personal development and enjoyment.
If you set yourself goals or ‘resolutions’, where are you at this three week mark? Are you going strong or have you decided it was a bad idea? Will you modify yours or slog through it?
I had a gentle reminder last night that it is important to celebrate the little things in life. Sitting here in my fourth decade of life, I think of things like birthdays as something that come and go. Do I make a big deal out of my kids’ birthdays? Yes, of course. Would I consider doing the same for my own? Absolutely not.
Last night, we celebrated a dear friend’s birthday. It was not a hallmark birthday, just a birthday. He invited a few of his closest friends and families, and we went bowling. The kids had a blast, and so did the adults! Afterwards, we went back to his place for cake and wine, and played couple games.
Why do we (or perhaps just I) not consider celebrating our own birthdays? Yes, there are many of them once we get to this stage of our lives, but why not celebrate them with youthful vigour? It certainly is one way to beat winter depression, and it created some fun and lasting memories along the way.
Lose a minute, not a life. I read these words five days a week as I drive to work. I see them because they are on a sign outside an elementary school that I pass by every day. I’ve read them, and they have made an impact on me.
Lose a minute, not a life. It seems so simple. Slow down, be patient. Pay attention. Why is this so difficult for people to do sometimes?
I have a story that needs to be told. It doesn’t have a tragic ending, although it could easily have been. Earlier this week, I was driving home. It had been a long day at work. I had just given a blood donation after my workday ended, and was finally making my way home. It was maybe a half past six in the evening on an early January Thursday. Living here in Canada though, it was already dark as it typically is in the sleepy months of winter. I was minutes away from my doorstep, and slowed to make my right handed turn into my neighbourhood as my turn signal clicked like a metronome. I had a large diesel truck behind me, clearly impatient for me to turn move out of his way. I had also noticed that there was a lady walking her beautiful dog across the street where I was turning, but slightly ahead. She did everything right; she was crossing the street in the designated crosswalk zone. She waited until it was safe, knowing I was turning. What she didn’t realize is that this driver behind me wasn’t able to see her. She couldn’t have known that he was going to be impatient and cut into the next lane to speed past me. I watched in horror as I sat in my car, unable to help her, as she had to run to escape this accelerating metal battering ram.
Her life was spared by a literal inch.
LOSE A MINUTE, NOT A LIFE screamed inside me. I was shaking, and can only imagine how she could have felt. I regret the inability to be able to report the licence plate. It happened too fast, it was too dark, and the plate was too dirty from winter roads. I regret that I did not turn around and check on her.
I made my way home, traumatized by what I had witnessed. I sat, head in my hands and cried. Why can’t everyone just lose a minute, not a life?
With each new year, I, like many others, use this time to reaffirm the things I am doing in my life. I use this time to evaluate what is working and what isn’t, and to decide if there is value in changing things.
I don’t necessarily like the term ‘resolution’ because to me that has a fairly negative connotation. I don’t need to change everything. But I do take this time of year to reflect on the past, and to help me see where I want my future to go. I evaluate my financial standings and make my goals. I evaluate these goals frequently through the year and celebrate when I achieve a personal victory. I refigure things when something unforeseen comes up. As I take down the Christmas tree, I reaffirm my commitment to minimalism, and give the house a good scrub to ring in the new year. I use my vision board to help me map out my personal goals and desires. Am I where I wanted to be? Is there anything I need to adjust to get there? How is that book coming along? Have I made my goal in my photography progress? Did I finish that course yet? If the answer isn’t yes, then why didn’t they match up? If they did, what are my next goals?
We sit here, on the last day of the year. There is much joy to be celebrated from 2017. There will also be much joy to come in 2018. With some planning and positive reinforcements, it will be a great year to come.
Here we are on Christmas Eve.
In all the bustle of the season, have you forgotten about your own self care? Did you spend more time in the social world than you felt comfortable with, and spent your sleeping hours reeling from the experience, unable to rest? Have you spent hour after hour with cooking, cleaning, shopping and wrapping, giving up the time you needed to be your best self?
Self care is vital for your own mental and physical wellbeing. Yes, the holidays can be overwhelmingly busy, but you still have the power to say no. Say no to the social engagements that do not serve you well. Say no to the purchasing of gifts for people you may only see once or twice a year. Give gifts of experiences that extend beyond the physical gift on that one day of the year. Buy your holiday baking. Seek out a restaurant that you can purchase the holiday meal from, or have guests all bring a dish along and spread the load and the enjoyment.
Take time for you. Go see a movie that you want to see by yourself. Grab a book and sit in a quaint coffeeshop with a tea or a latte and enjoy the alone time while you read or watch people as they go about their own day. Take a bath, paint your nails, meditate or pray. Do whatever feels right for you to recharge your own soul.
Christmas is one day of the year. There are 364 other days that really are all the same, if we as a society hadn’t created such a demand for this particular calendar date.
Take good care of yourself.
This weekend, my youngest son and I went out for a while, just the two of us. There is a local centre that has a few boutiques that was having a family fun day. We decided to go and check it out. We wandered around and looked at the fun garden pieces they had for sale, and looked at the delicious organic candies and cookies. I offered to buy him a cookie so we could sit and enjoy the moment, but he opted not to. He asked instead if we could go and find a present that he could gift to his brother for Christmas. We decided to go to Indigo, but before shopping for his brother, we opted to sit and have a drink at Starbucks. He loves the vanilla bean Frappuccino, so I ordered him one of those, and I bought one of their specialty holiday hot drinks for myself. We sat and talked about the holidays and the excitement. We watched people as they came and went. He sipped from his straw as his feet dangled and swung while he sat in his chair. I watched my youngest son as he showed pure happiness by just having some one on one time with me, his mother.
Families often do things together, but it is so important to give children one on one time with their parent too. My older son gets his one on one time as we share our common passion of photography, but there was something magical about this time with the younger one. He is still so full of holiday excitement, seeing the magic of the season. I love the shimmer in his eyes as he talks about our traditions. And the most wonderful part is that none of it involves receiving gifts. It is all the other stuff: the holiday treats, the music, the friends that we gather with, and the special dinner that we decide collectively on having.
This was one of those moments where my heart swells with pride and love. My son is growing up with love and compassion in his heart. As he grows, he is thinking of others more and more. He is becoming more like his older brother every day. They both make me very proud.
Yesterday, I was out for breakfast with one of my newest, yet closest friends. We have regular ‘dates’, but sometimes they get shifted around due to other schedules. We are ok with it, and sometimes it allows us the opportunity to do something different and fun. We missed our regular Friday night get-together because of a work Christmas party. Instead, we opted for Saturday morning breakfast at a popular little restaurant in town.
We did our usual chatting, catching up on the last couple of weeks. Then she stopped and noticed something about me. She said how she can see me with short hair when we are older and showing more grey. She commented on us still getting together when we are old friends.
The thought of having old friends has always been elusive to me. I have been the type to move every twelve years or less, but knowing I will be here, in this location, for far longer it finally dawned on me: I can have old friends here. I have never given myself permission to look that far ahead in relationships because none of them, except for my absolute best friend 2000km away, has ever lasted the distances. Old friends. Greying, aging, and still there for each other kind of old friends.
This innocent comment that I am sure she had no idea of its impact, was in fact, the best gift I could have been given.