Do you have days when you have no self-confidence? Are there times when you wonder how anyone even likes you? Do you have times in your life when you look in the mirror and don’t like the person staring back at you?
These days happen. I’m not saying they are in regular rotation in my mind, but they do tend to happen. I doubt myself. I forget why I’m trying to accomplish the things I once had a burning passion to achieve. I become crippled under fear and forget that I can create wonderful things.
I pray every morning. One addition I added to my prayer list a few months ago was “self-image.” Previously, I had a self image that was probably overly confident, but I wholeheartedly believed in my self. I had a determination that nothing was going to hold me down or knock me off my game. But as I’ve gotten older, my confidence in certain areas of my life have been shaken.
For example, I struggle with my physical appearance some days. Don’t get me wrong. I know I’m at a healthy weight and that I’m managing my body as best as I can with three small, energetic boys. However, some days I can’t help but see other women my age (sans kids) that have these killer bodies. What kills me even more is when they do have kids and they’re still rocking a rock hard body.
This is when I have to step back and let God step in. I’m not those other women. I am me. God knows me. And He loves me just the way that I am. He knows my heart. He knows my soul. He knows how hard I’ve fought to get into the shape I’m in today.
So when I pray in the mornings for my “self-image”, I ask God to give me the strength and power to love myself the way He loves me. Unconditionally. Inside and out. With no questions.
Thinking about this for the past few days has prompted me to take action. This morning I decided to write down all of the significant things that have happened to my family and me family in 2017. I have to admit, there are a lot of things I completely forget about until I sat and reflected on the year.
From spending time with a beloved grandmother during the 4th of July celebration that we no long have with us today to moving to a new community to buying a puppy and taking a trip out of the country, these are only a few of the twenty things I listed.
I challenge you today to sit down and write out your highlights of 2017. You’ll be surprised how much has slipped your mind from the first of the year and how fast time flies.
Maybe you got a promotion. Maybe a loved one got married. Maybe your children hit some incredible milestones. Maybe you kicked a bad habit. Maybe you got to meet one of your role models. (I had the pleasure of speaking with two this year!) Maybe you made a new friend that’s really impacted your life.
Whatever your journey, be sure to stop and appreciate your blessings.
In. Out. Deep Breaths.
This is how I get through tough times throughout the day. This may sound silly, but don’t discourage the idea until you’ve tried it. I’m amazed by how often this one simple thing completely calms me down or at least distracts me enough to chill-ax a little bit.
Many stress factors affect us daily. Our jobs. Our kids. Our families going through a tough time. Taking time to care for ourselves. And many other situational stress points that keep us tightly wound if we’re not concentrating on breathing.
The metaphorical sense of taking a deep breath is just as important as the physical one. What I mean is that sometimes we need to a step away from the situation more so than we need to take a breath. Maybe your “deep breath” is walking into the other room and sitting quietly for a minute or two. Maybe it’s taking a walk around the block. Maybe it actually is stepping outside and taking a deep breath of fresh air.
There’s a reason why “I need to get some fresh air” is a thing. Removing yourself from a situation and taking in a deep dose of oxygen can invigorate your brain and help you think more clearly.
Be aware of your own self. Know when you need a break. Know when removing yourself for some fresh air will do everybody good. Take long and slow deep breaths. Fill your body with energizing air that will clear your mind. Remind yourself to be present in the moment. Allow yourself to admit you need a break. Then, come back recharged and ready to go.
There are millions of reasons why I fall short of being perfect. I won’t bore you with a list all of them here, but I will focus on one thing in particular I’ve been working on: judging others.
Every since I became sober, I’ve had issue with other people who drink. It’s not that I think they are making terrible life decisions and will wake up regretting having that beer or glass of wine or shot of whiskey. It boils down to jealousy. Not jealousy that they get to partake in the act of drinking alcoholic beverages. What I’m jealous of is the ability to have self control with alcohol.
I’m sure that sounds silly and childish, but it’s the truth. I wish I had self control when it comes to drinking, but I don’t. Period, the end.
Where I struggle with judgement is believing everyone else has a “problem” too, only because that makes me mentally feel better. It means I’m not weak. It means I’m not the only one who struggles with self control. I guess in a way it’s my subconscious telling me I’m better than the people who drink because I don’t drink.
In reality, everyone has their own struggles. I just happen to struggle with judging others. By declaring this character flaw though, I’m made more aware of the constant effort I need to invest in myself to continue to improve.
Progress, not perfection. One day at a time.
Often we forget about things that were once significant but now have become completely ordinary. For example, most people don’t wake up every day grateful for electricity and a refrigerator. However, you take these two things away and we could quite possibly loose our minds very quickly.
Gratitude is all about finding something, anything really, that brings thankfulness into your heart. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been grateful for my washer and dryer. (I realize that may sound silly, but go ahead and let your washer quit working for a few days. You’ll be extremely grateful for that machine!)
We also don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving 2018 rolls around to know about gratitude. What things are you grateful for in your life?
Do you have a good job? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have food in your belly? Do you have a vehicle to get you places? Do your kids go to a school that helps them grow into smart, good people? Do you have friends and family? Do you have a network of people who support you? Do you have one close friend, significant other, or family member whom you count on?
All of these things may seem ordinary, but they aren’t guaranteed. They are blessings. The breath in your lungs is a blessing. The beating of your heart is a blessing. The ability to read this is a blessing.
Don’t take your blessings for granted.
This Holiday season, I’ve felt motivated to give more. Give more time. Give more money. Give more service. I’m not sure if it’s gratitude or perspective that’s got a hold on me, but I feel extremely blessed.
I feel blessed to have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. I feel blessed that my husband has a good stable job, that he actually enjoys. I feel blessed that both of my parents are alive and very involved with our family. I feel blessed that the few friends I have are there for me when I need support. I feel blessed that my children are all healthy. I feel blessed that my husband and I work together as a team, no matter the obstacles we face as a married couple. I feel blessed to be loved. I feel blessed to be alive.
Blessings, gratitude, and perspective don’t come from material things. I hope that you can find the blessings already present in your life today.
One day at a time…
Anyone else feel weird when you’re at a holiday event and everyone’s sober? I mean, it is only my 4th year of sobriety. But it still feels weird. I was waiting for someone to fall down and start laughing from their pitiful attempt at sliding down the hallway in their socks too fast. Or for someone to start being totally obnoxious with their political rants.
But it wasn’t like that at all. There was fun, board games, a comedy special on Netflix, the Cowboys game, and lots of good food.
All in all, we had another great sober holiday.
There’s no need to start drinking wine when you start cooking everything first thing in the morning. There doesn’t have to be power naps when your buzz gets too overwhelming. You can still have great conversations, a good time, and be able to enjoy yourself all while staying true to the person you are working your best on becoming.
But most importantly for me, I can show my kids what the holiday truly is about…spending quality time with the people you love. Even if they’re terrible at board games!