Day Twenty-Nine Challenge – WHAT WORDS OR BELIEFS DO YOU (WANT TO) LIVE YOUR LIFE BY?
“Never put the key to happiness in someone else’s pocket”
“Remember when you forgive, you heal. And when you let go, you grow”
Throughout this challenge I have learned the most important relationship is the one with myself. There is a direct correlation between loving myself and my happiness. I cannot expect to experience happiness if I don’t first love and accept myself regardless of my flaws or the aspects of myself I don’t feel comfortable with. Happiness can’t be found in the future or in the past but in the now. You cannot control the exterior world or situation although you can control your reaction to it. You cannot be dependent on outside sources such as relationships to derive happiness because they’re ever changing. Knowing that you’ve be authentic, honest, and true to yourself in your actions and words is all you can control.
I believe in being honest and loving towards others but that doesn’t mean I will accept disrespectful behavior. I believe in setting limits. I don’t believe in compromising myself in the process of loving another.
Acceptance of my current situation has helped me alleviate the pressure I used to feel to be perfect/to have everything together. Once you’ve accepted where you are in life and you don’t like it, you have the opportunity to change it.
Forgiveness is a process. When you think of the betrayal you relive the pain it caused you. Reliving the pain is counterproductive and only makes you miserable. Forgiveness means to me that I forgive myself for not knowing, realizations are always easy in hindsight. Forgiving the betrayer doesn’t mean you have to allow them back into your life, it simply means he/she no longer has power over you, you no longer relive that mean you just let it go permanently.
Acceptance and forgiveness had liberated me from the pressures I used to feel. Happiness comes more naturally to me. It doesn’t mean I’m walking around with a smile or I’m giddy all day, it simply means I don’t dwell on the negative and I don’t give power to those negative thoughts. I still have bad days where the negative thoughts seem to have won out over the positive ones and I stew in self-pity. But I usually wallow in self-pity for too long because I’ve been changing and challenging my previous thoughts.
I want to live life without drama or negativity. At my age I’m still young but I’m old enough and have enough life experience that I seek peace always. It’s not worth it to be miserable daily. Change is always going to be difficult but change is also necessary for growth. I want to live in peace and love and I refuse to compromise myself. God Bless you!
Artwork credit – “La Comtesse de Beaussier” and “Portrait of Madame Charton-Demeur” both by Edouard Louis Dubefe
Day Twenty-Eight Challenge – WHO ARE YOUR ROLE MODELS AND WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU SHARE WITH THEM?
My parents and paternal grandmother have always been my role models and have impacted who I am today. My mom was a school teacher and my dad was a social worker and later became a director at a psychiatric facility. The fact that I wound up becoming a nurse and serving my community is no coincidence. My father had several degrees and careers prior to becoming a social worker. He passed away suddenly without warning April 23rd, 2008 and left a huge hole in our lives. He was a very intelligent man and placed great value on education. He was fair, diplomatic, and had a way of making you feel heard and never judged. He believed everyone had a voice and should use it. I remember him going to protest in Quebec City at the 2001 summit of the Americas. He always stood up for what he believed in and that’s a quality I believe we both share. My father spent a lot of time with his patients often sacrificing time with his family. I used to be resentful however after my dad passed away on the blog his colleague created in remembrance I realized the profound effect he had on so many lives. His niche was substance abuse and suicide prevention. He believed people could change their lives and we his help many people did. I am a proud daughter. Even ten years after his death, I still feel his absence in my life.
My mom is a great role model. My mom and dad agreed before they had children that my mom would stay home. My mother has made many sacrifices in order for me to have a proper upbringing. She graduated college prior to my birth and went back to school when I was nearing adolescence. I admire the mother she is. Although I don’t feel deserving of it, I know I have been a devoted mother to my son. I have made sacrifices and will always put my son first. I remember the day he was born, staring at his beautiful face realizing the gravity of responsibility and privilege that I have been given. A true blessing from God.
My dad’s mom, Eleanor Theresa Devlin was a force to be reckoned with. In a time when a woman getting an education was not a priority she graduated from college and worked at Honeywell Insurance company. She believed in fostering my growth and always made me feel special. When I got a divorce and was feeling like a failure and disappointment to my family she lifted me up as did my mom. I have always been surrounded by strong women. I am forever thankful because I learned to empower myself. I wouldn’t be the successful person I am today without these role models in my life. I feel truly blessed for having such awesome role models.
Artwork credits – “Pinkie” and “Blue Boy” both by Thomas Gainsborough
Day Twenty-Seven Challenge – WHAT’S ONE CHOICE THAT YOU CAN MAKE RIGHT NOW THAT YOUR FUTURE SELF WILL THANK YOU FOR?
As I’m nearing the end of this challenge. I have come to the conclusion that how I see myself and my self-confidence directly affects how I experience life. I’m learning to accept myself for my flaws and my qualities. A choice that I can make right now that my future self will thank me for is to commit to seeing myself in a positive light regardless of what happens. Which also translates to cutting off access for those that mistreat or disrespect me.
When someone mistreats or disrespects you and the only consequence is a conversation, you are letting that individual know it’s ok to disrespect you. Cutting off access to you sends the individual a clear message that you will not tolerate that behavior. I used to think a conversation would be sufficient to change the behavior. The severity of disrespect does play a factor but nonetheless tolerance of that behavior teaches the individual it’s ok and the behavior is likely to happen again. If the behavior reoccurs after the conversation that individual does not value you or respect you and cutting off access to you is the only solution for self-preservation.
I’m a human being and I’m imperfect. I used to put so much pressure on myself to have everything together. I may not be exactly where I want to be in life but that’s ok. Every day I’m making progress…I’m committed to growth and change…the changes may be small but they’re impactful.
I’m currently changing jobs and about to embark on a job that will be stressful. I am mindful that l have to set limits in order to be successful. I can’t work 80 hours a week and be healthy. My mental health has to be a priority.
Activities that help me de-stress have to be a priority too such as – going to the movies every Tuesday with my son, going to the gym, doing meditation and yoga, writing for my blog, taking relaxing baths, spending time with friends, making healthy meals, watching my favorite shows like “Sherlock, Call the Midwife, Victoria, The Crown” etc.
My expectations are realistic…I am aware there will be setbacks but I’m confident my commitment to growth will help me overcome these obstacles. As the saying goes don’t focus on the problem just on the solutions.
Artwork credits – “The Honorable Mrs. Graham” and “The Honorable Mrs. Duncombe” by Thomas Gainsborough
Day Twenty-six of Challenge – WHAT PARTS OF YOURSELF ARE YOU ASHAMED OF? WHAT DOES YOUR SELF LOOK LIKE?
I previously saw myself in a negative manner more often than not. Divulging what parts of myself I’m ashamed of is an easy task. Although I have made progress and I’m learning to accept all of myself qualities and flaws.
I’m ashamed that I have difficulty letting go of relationships that are toxic. Setting limits is difficult for me.
I’m ashamed that I overeat to the point where I feel sick. I’m a size 2 and weigh 123 lbs thankfully others cannot tell about my gluttonous nature. Thank God I have a high metabolism.
I’m ashamed of being so critical and judgmental towards myself. It has not served me at all to be such which is why I’m attempting to make changes. I try appear confident however one can detect my lack of self esteem in my inability to set limits and the disrespect I have allowed in the past.
I’m ashamed of my extensive collection of figurines and dolls. I have collected and received as gifts over the years. I keep my cabinets hidden from the eye of visitors that come to my home and I never bring it up im conversation. At my age I shouldn’t derive such pleasure from just admiring them.
My shadow self is quick to judge others before I have the facts. I believe this is a projection of my own lack of confidence in an attempt to repress my own feelings of inadequacy.
I see and dislike in others the qualities I dislike in myself. Being aware of what we dislike in others is an important tool to discover our own aspects of personality/self that we dislike or are ashamed of.
Artwork credit “Portrait of a young girl” by George Chickering Munzig and “The Pink Dress” by Berthe Morisot
Day Twenty-five Challenge – WHAT THINGS ARE YOU REALLY REALLY GOOD AT?
I grew up in a couple of different communities in Canada. My dad would attain his goals and want a new challenge bringing my mum and me with him. I became quite adept at making new friends. I learned to adapt to every new town.
I’m really really good at taking care of others. As a child I preferred to always be the nurturer. I had several baby dolls and stuffed animals that I took “care” of. With my ability to make friends I quickly became the mother hen of every new neighborhood.
I am empathetic to the point where I have to work very hard to maintain a positive attitude and not internalize the problems and heartache’s of others. One day when I was a teenager, I was out running on the road that wrapped around the mountain where we lived. I witnessed this giant groundhog getting hit by a car. It was laying in the middle of the road. It was still alive and visibly suffering. I picked it up with no regard for getting bitten. I held this heavy creature in my arms until life left its body. My mom thought I was nuts and my father scolded me for the risk I took picking it up. But I knew my empathy was a gift I must share with others preferably humans who didn’t have the potential to bite me.
I mentioned our moving around because of its pertinence to my ability to be a nurse. Moving around developed my ability to be friendly. I have what they call the “gift of gab” and my friendliness has been an asset as a nurse.
Of course being really really good at taking care of others has helped me excel in my nursing career.
Artwork credit – “woman with bouquet” and “portrait of a woman” by Laura Wheeler Waring
Day Twenty-Four Challenge – WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU WISH SOMEONE WOULD SAY TO YOU?
In the last blog I wrote about a friend I’ve known my whole life who disregarded my feelings and withheld the truth. I wish this particular friend would say that she is sorry for disrespecting me and being untruthful. If it’s not genuine however “save your breath.” I’ve always been very opinionated and vocal around those I feel comfortable with. I’ve received criticism in the past for being too brutally honest. I believe honesty is always the best policy.
I wish the man I spoke of in day twenty-two of challenge would say sorry for his treatment of me. I also wish he would say, “I love you.” I don’t feel that day twenty-four’s challenge is productive for me in the self-love challenge. It would be nice to hear the words you wish someone would say but you’re wishing for words that might never be said.
I am a firm believer that you cannot base your happiness on the outside would. Happiness has to come from within…from the decision to be happy regardless of what is said or done. I try to be realistic in my expectations and wishing for these words is unrealistic for me. Hoping and wishing can and will probably lead to being disappointed.
“Do you ever want to run away and start over? Wipe the slate clean. Being all over again with a blank canvas? It’s okay, we all feel that way sometimes. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your life or the people in it. It doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t give your last breath to see them happy. Sometimes when we yearn to be selfish, it means we have been selfless for too long.” – Lang Leav
Artwork credit – “Portrait of Madame F” by Edouard-Louis Dubefe (one of my favorite paintings) and Marquise d’Aoust by Edouard-Louis Dubufe
Day Twenty-three Challenge – WHAT DOES YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM LOOK LIKE? HOW CAN YOU MAKE IT STRONGER?
I want to start off today’s blog by acknowledging that I have been unable to keep up with my busy schedule and the blog. I am still committed to putting my thoughts and self out there but not at my own expense. There just hasn’t been enough hours in the day for everything I want to do.
My support system consists of my mom and my friends. My mom has always provided love and support throughout my life. I have been very fortunate in that respect. Although at times the mother-daughter relationship can create growth it can also encourange dependence, there has to be clear boundaries in order for the relationship to be beneficial for both mum and daughter
One of my best friends Shannon needs to be acknowledged for her support. I have known her for over ten years. When my father died she took a week off from work and was there for me every step of the way, I could not have gotten through such a devastating time without her. We communicate almost every day. She is instrumental in my growth and maintaining my sanity. She doesn’t spare my feelings and I’m thankful for her brutal honesty. I would “walk through fire” for her.
Recently I have lost one of my best friends. Everybody makes mistakes however lying is not something I tolerate. I have distanced myself from her almost entirely. She still makes attempts to rekindle our friendship but I’m nonresponsive. I receive a lot of flack from my entourage about how I should be forgiving and understanding given our history. Here’s my point… she disrespects me and has no regard for me. Ever since our twenties we had a dream to travel to Europe. Over a year ago I finally had the cash to make such a trip happen. Let me preface by saying I declared to her prior to any purchasing or planning anything that if she was planning on getting married or having a baby in the next year I am not interested in traveling with her. I am a nurse and do not want to take care of someone on my vacation. She stated no I’m ready and excited for this trip our plans/dreams are finally coming true. Fast forward more than six months later she sends me a text message with two positive pregnancy tests. Excuse me but I spent well over 20,000 dollars on the trip of a lifetime and you get knocked up by some guy you have known less than one year and have no commitment from whatsoever after I specifically and bluntly said I don’t want to travel with a pregnant woman. The entire trip she lagged behind…you could see the exhaustion in her face. Her lower extremities swelled beyond recognition. I was impressed that she never complained about her condition however she still lied and never apologized for her blatant disregard and disrespect for the time, money, and planning I put into this trip. Let me be clear I am ecstatic that her dreams of having a child are finally coming true but there is a time and place for starting a family. Starting a family should not be taken lightly and is forever life changing. When she tells me it was unplanned let me be brutally honest…if a man ejaculates his penis in your vagina on a regular basis without birth control you are going to get pregnant….she is an intelligent woman and knows the consequences of such behavior. If she had declared months prior to the trip that she was trying to get pregnant I would have had no problem and would have wished her well and made plans with someone else. However she did not and insisted that she couldn’t wait for our trip. She sent the text the picture of two positive pregnancy tests several weeks before our date of departure leaving me with no opportunity to make alternative plans without losing lots of money. She is in her late thirties and has no excuse for such behavior. In order to make my support system stronger I have cut her out of my life. I am hurt by her behavior and we have been friends since birth. We were introduced when only weeks old. Throwing that friendship away might be dramatic and drastic to some but I need people in my life who are in my corner. Her blatant disregard cannot be ignored, her disrespectful behavior cannot be ignored. I still feel wronged but I am committed to forgiveness and letting go. Now that I have said my peace I relinquish my energy to this situation. I wish her the best. In loving thy self and setting limits one cannot allow disrespectful behavior. I don’t even need to vocalize my justification. My feelings are valid and trustworthy. My friendship has been true and unwavering however my love is not unconditional. My acceptance of other’s behavior is in direct correlation with his/her respect for me and value he/she places on me. I am no longer willing to accept behavior that is disrespectful.