Archive | July 2012

Be True to You

Attending a high school reunion is an interesting experience. It creates the odd feeling of being transported back in time, but as an older version of you, with many more life experiences under your belt. Although you and your classmates are somewhat strangers, the memories instantly reunite you.

Therefore, it naturally follows that at our reunions, many of us gravitate toward those we spent time with in school. We find ourselves sitting at tables together, just as we did all those years ago.

It reminds me of the movie, Mean Girls, a fairly well-known comedic depiction of high school cliques; both how they interact, and how the various groups are assigned labels such as ‘plastics’ and ‘jocks’.  A “clique” is defined as, “a small, exclusive group of friends or associates.”

Additionally, the movie demonstrates how these cliques operate, and the effect that their mean-spirited behavior can have on others. For example, it exhibits the hurtful and derogatory name calling that is aimed not only at others, but within the groups as well. It displays the gradual loss of the students’ own personalities, in order to conform to the group.

At a young age, it is easy to abandon yourself, or not even know who you are to begin with. Consequently, the primary focus unfortunately becomes popularity at all costs, rather than the building of character.

However, as we mature, we ultimately realize that popularity is meaningless if our character and individuality has been lost in the process. Hopefully, we evolve and recognize that everyone is wonderful in their own way, and that life is not just about our own circle of friends or a popularity contest.

We are continuously evolving, and although the changes we make will not be acceptable to everyone all of the time, what matters most is that we remain true to ourselves.

Action Step:

Be true to yourself, and retain your individuality, even if your choices are not popular with everyone around you.

Find Your Way Home

I had a friend growing up who could draw extremely well, and created some of the most beautiful pictures. The eyes in her drawings for example, were so real and vivid, as if looking at a photograph. I ran into her many years ago and of course, these wonderful creations were one the first things I discussed with her as we reminisced about the past.

She, on the other hand, remembered the wonderful birthday parties that my mom used to throw for me. We laughed about how we enjoyed playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey, and Clothespins in a bottle which were common childhood games before everything turned high-tech.

Besides all the games, there were great prizes, food, and a great deal of love put into each and every party by my mom. Her efforts did not go unnoticed, as her kindness left a lasting impression on all of us. She had a way of making everyone feel at home. Unfortunately, my sweet mother wasn’t with me long, as she passed away when I was just 10 years old. Even though she departed physically, she has always remained in my heart.

So, whenever I hear the song entitled Coming Home, from the movie soundtrack Country Strong, it reminds me of her and symbolizes being surrounded by love. However, contrary to the tragic ending in the movie, I enjoy being alive. Though I miss my mom, it is wonderful to hold these beautiful memories of her, and this song just touches that special place inside. I am thankful to her for being such a magnificent person, and for providing me with such a strong feeling of being deeply treasured.

For me, the song also symbolizes coming home to yourself by finally being comfortable in your own skin, and feeling love in your heart. It is about ceasing to run from painful memories, and focusing on the good ones instead. Home is where the heart is, and it’s wonderful to share your heart with the people you love, and spend time in the places that speak to you deep inside as well.

For example, even though I wasn’t born near the ocean, I feel at home whenever I am near it. The first time I saw the beach, I fell in love with it. It speaks to me, as I am always taken away by its beauty and expansiveness, just like love.

What does home mean to you?

Action Step:

Enjoy the Coming Home video below.

Celebrate You

Quite often, we get so busy “doing” life, that we forget to stop and celebrate the wonderful things about ourselves that make us who we are. It can be easy to overlook all of the unique talents and abilities that we have been blessed with or feel self-conscious about rejoicing in them.

However, when we are embracing our individual attributes and feeling at our best, then we seem to be the most helpful to those around us as well.

The most beautiful and giving people are those who have a healthy appreciation for themselves. They give from a place of gratitude and joy, rather than a place of neediness and guilt. Their genuine caring energy has a dramatic positive effect on the world around them.

You are a one of a kind, and there is no one just like you. So, rather than comparing yourself to others, start focusing on what makes you so incredibly unique and special. Additionally, allow yourself to be surrounded by those things that you love and make you feel good.

Whether or not you enjoyed the book or film entitled, The Secret, the video clip originating from their website speaks to these ideas. It offers a great reminder to appreciate all that is good in the world, including ourselves!

Enjoy! And have a great time celebrating you!

Let the good feelings begin.

Action Step:

Watch video clip below.

Identify Your Patterns

We all tend to have certain personality patterns. These are our individual ways of handling life, and the feelings we have about ourselves. For example, when confronted with feelings of inadequacy and inferiority, we often adopt any number of particular ways of coping, such as:

  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Turning toward anger
  • Conforming to the expectations of others
  • Denying reality
  • Putting ourselves down

These behaviors can at times seem to work for us, but are a real liability to our health and happiness. Therefore, we need to find out which specific personality characteristics, patterns, and tendencies have been sabotaging our success. By pinpointing what these roadblocks are, we can start to remove them and make the way clearer for healthier experiences.

For instance, if you’ve been going through the revolving door of romance, then reviewing your past can help to unravel some of the confusion as to why you’ve traveled this path. It is a great opportunity to gain insight into how to experience more joyful relationships in the future.

Often, you’ll discover that you’ve had a long-standing pattern of selecting the same type of person over and over again, with the same unsatisfying results. It helps to understand that you are not defective for falling into these recurring choices. However, you don’t have to perpetuate the unhealthy cycle of repeating the same patterns and then wondering why things aren’t working out for you.

One way to reveal what your tendencies are is to write down what repeatedly shows up for you in your relationships. By doing so, you’ll create a profile of your past, and more clearly identify your overall repetitive cycles.

So, begin by creating a chart, and inserting your answers to the numbered items listed below. Once you complete this exercise, you should have a better understanding of your past relationships, and see similarities in the way each partnership ended. Additionally, you’ll understand more fully the part you played that may have contributed to the end result.

1. List the names of as many of the people you’ve been romantically involved with as possible.

2. Then, write down the major issues that surfaced in each relationship.

3. Now, list the specific complaints that you had with each person.

4. Record any issues they may have had with you.

5. Look for similar characteristics among your partners. For example, were they all abusive?

6. Similarly, notice what your partners typically complained about when they had issues with you.

Action Step:

After filling out the chart you created, take the time to reflect on your answers. Think about ways in which you’re going to take positive steps to make your next relationship a fulfilling one, or enrich your current one.