For a better life, Inspiration

How shame, arrogance and confidence are related

I recently learned something that has really shifted my mindset about shame.

If shame is a feeling of not being good enough, then the opposite is a feeling of being better than everyone else. We would call this arrogance.

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But right in the middle between these two, is confidence. Confidence is the feeling of being good enough, even if you aren’t perfect. I would never have made that connection between shame and confidence if someone else hadn’t made it for me.

These three feelings are on a continuum. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, but there is also a fine line on the other side bordering shame.

And to bring love into it, shame is not loving yourself enough. Perhaps is it also only noticing what is flawed in yourself. Arrogance is loving yourself too much or seeing only what is positive about yourself. And confidence is recognizing all that is positive and flawed in you- and loving yourself anyway. It’s a more wholistic view of yourself.

IMG_1553This idea of the continuum has helped me see that confidence is an ever developing process. Just like life. We don’t want to tip too far to arrogance or shame, and it’s a balancing act that is probably never permanently perfect. Thinking of shame in this way has also helped me not feel stuck when I find myself in a shame spiral. I shoot for confidence in all areas of my life now.

 

Does this help you at all? Do you err more on the side of shame or arrogance? In what areas of your life do you feel confident?

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Inspiration

The antidote to shame

Parenting is hard.

It’s a statement we hear often, either from ourselves or others. But it’s not a fact, it’s just a thought.

Parenting is rewarding. Parenting teaches us what we need to learn. These are also thoughts that are available to us.

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I’m going through some heavy parenting moments and shame attacks related to them. I have to remind myself that I am doing the best I can. That I am a good mom. I remind myself that I turned out ok, so my kids probably will too.

I find it difficult to go to those more comforting thoughts when I am in the moment of a tough parenting situation though.

But, love. Love is my motivation. Love is a force to be reckoned with. I do it all for love. I love my kids. So very much.

When I remind myself of that, then everything seems to fall into place.

For a better life, Germany, Inspiration

Happy Easter!

It took me 35 years to learn to BE ME and not be afraid of offending other people with my personal beliefs. Those who like or respect me will continue to do so, and those who don’t aren’t my “people” anyway. 

I am a Christian. I believe in God and in his Son. I believe in the Bible. I know that Jesus Christ was a real man who lived on the earth, and who was more than a prophet– even the Savior of the World.

Christ taught through example, but he also overcame sin and death, enabling all mankind to return to live in eternal glory if we will but trust and follow His example.

The miracle of Easter is that Jesus Christ lived again after he died! That doesn’t happen often. And because He did it, we can do it too. It is truly a miracle that I continue to hope in. It is a miracle that brings me joy on a daily basis and enables me to have an eternal perspective when life difficulties get me down.

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Die Frauenkirche in Dresden, Germany

I am not only a Christian, but also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I believe in the Book of Mormon is additional scripture that verifies the Bible and adds light to what the Bible teaches. This is a verse from the Book of Mormon that I noticed in our family scripture study tonight, appropriate for Easter:

Alma 33:11 And thou didst hear me because of mine afflictions and my sincerity; and it is because of thy Son that thou hast been thus merciful unto me, therefore I will cry unto thee in all mine afflictions, for in thee is my joy; for thou hast turned thy judgements away from me, because of thy Son.

I think one of the problems of our world today is that people don’t have faith in a higher being. I know that when I fall short or make mistakes, my Savior will be there to make up for it or catch me. He is my safety net. I don’t feel the need to be perfect, because there is someone on my team who is way more perfect and powerful than me. This is freeing because I don’t have to have all the answers; I can simply trust in Him and do my best with the resources available to me.

I like that.

You don’t have to have the same beliefs as me. I hope you have found something that works for you, that brings you joy. On this Easter morning, may you feel the peace I feel, knowing I am on a path to eternal happiness. Happy Easter!

For a better life, Inspiration

What I’ve learned from a month of daily blogging:

  1. It’s easier than I thought…. once I get started. Sometimes I get that desperate feeling that I don’t know what to say, but once I just decide, the words start flowing.
  2. There is always a lot to say. It’s easy to keep talking about something you are passionate about. And I LOVE talking about how we can get more out of our lives just by changing our thoughts and making deliberate choices.
  3. Editing stifles creativity. I am still working on it, but I’ve heard the best way to write is to just get all the thoughts out and force yourself to not edit until later. Stopping to edit slows the creative process.
  4. Confidence comes after performing, not before. I feel so much more confident in writing and just in general imparting my thoughts than I did a month ago. You don’t feel confident before you do the scary thing.
  5. It’s better to just start. No matter what you have to get through the crappy stage. We are all not great when we start out. It is through the doing that you get better.
  6. The people who are interested will stick around. I don’t have to worry about anyone else.

Daily posting probably isn’t feasible for my life long-term, but I am going to keep posting regularly, at least once per week. Thank you all for reading and liking my posts!IMG_2055

For a better life, Inspiration, parenthood

One tip for better relationships

I want to talk about a concept that will help us in our relationships. Jody Moore and Brooke Castillo call this The Manual.

We all have a so-call Manual about how we think other people in our lives SHOULD act. (Remember, should is a red flag!) When these people don’t act in accordance with our Manuals for them, we feel frustrated, angry, or any number of emotions that don’t feel good.

I have a teenaged daughter. I think she should be kind to her siblings and respectful even if she disagrees with something. I think a teenager is old enough to have learned at least those basic human courtesies.

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But alas, it is not so. My daughter is often rude, mean, and disrespectful. To say the least, this rubs me the wrong way. It sometimes creates so much frustration that I want to take every convenience away from her. I want her to feel as miserable as she makes everyone else in the family feel.

And it’s because of how I think she SHOULD act. If I thought being rude, mean and disrespectful were positive traits, I would be praising and rewarding her and I wouldn’t have “negative” feelings toward her. It’s all about the meaning I place on her actions.

I need to burn the Manual I have for my daughter, because it is only causing me problems. She doesn’t get frustrated or angry; only me. (She doesn’t place the same meaning on her own actions as I do.)

This is how she SHOULD act, because this is how she IS acting, because there is no should for how people are. I know it’s a tough one to wrap your mind around.

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It’s in the trying to control and the dwelling on how it might be changed that we run into trouble. What if I just accept her the way she is instead of resisting the way she is? It is what it is, so now what? How do I move forward?

[And by the way, I am not saying I should let disrespectful behavior go unchecked. I am only saying that I can drop all the drama I have in my mind about her behavior. There can certainly be consequences for her, but I don’t need to stress and worry about it. She acts a certain way, consequences follow. No drama.]

This is true in all our relationships. We have an idea of how a husband, father, mother, sister-in-law, etc. SHOULD be. If we just let go of our preconceived (sometimes subconscious) expectations, and responded in love toward our people I think we would be much happier in our relationships.

What “Manual” have you been carrying around for your child/spouse/parent/in-law/friend? Can you burn your manual and leave the mind-drama behind?

College years, For a better life, Inspiration

Why not me?

One little mantra that has gotten me through many a difficult time is, “Why not me?”

When I feel tempted to think “Why me?” I immediately follow it up with Why not me?”

This little mantra gives me perspective. It could happen to anyone; it’s not personal. When we make things personal is when we get in trouble. Taking the personal out of the situation helps us see the situation with a clear mind, logically. Logic helps us see the next step forward when our emotions are clouding our mind.

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When my mom died, I was tempted to think “Why me?” But moms die. It’s part of life. Why not me?

When family difficulties arise– why not me? Par for the course!

When illness strikes, why not me?

I will focus on the future and not on what can’t be changed. I will let it make me stronger.

 

I’ll remind you that just because this may seem simple, does not mean it is easy.

 

Inspiration

It takes practice

I am feeling very discouraged right now. It happens to the best of us, and even those of us who are trying hard to manage our thoughts and our emotions.

This work is an ongoing practice, like being a doctor or a lawyer. Doctors “practice” because knowledge about the human body is always being updated. Lawyers “practice” because laws are always changing and evolving.

Managing your mind is also a practice. You don’t ever just “get it.” We are all human and we all fall short of our desired results. Therefore we are all always practicing this work of choosing your thoughts and being deliberate with our feelings.

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Some people say that at least fifty per cent of the time we will feel some sort of negative emotion. That’s just life. We should come to expect it. (I am not sure I agree, but it’s something to consider.) I don’t know about you, but that’s comforting to me. It helps me feel like I am normal and there is nothing wrong with me.

Just keep going. One step at at time. Deep breaths. You got this.

 

Why thank you, I am feeling much better now. 

 

 

PS. Happy Birthday to my husband- my rock.

For a better life, Inspiration

Acceptance is freeing

I just listened to episode 138 of the Sorta Awesome podcast and heard this quote:

The desire for a more positive experience is itself a negative experience. The acceptance of a negative experience is itself a positive experience.

The show notes weren’t very great and the source wasn’t listed, but I will try to track it down.

This completely resonates with me as a perfectionist! I do think there are situations in which this does not apply. For instance: in general, wanting to make our lives better is not a negative experience. But in the realm of focusing on the negative and striving to be mistake-free in every experience, I do think this applies.

Acceptance is so freeing for those of us who are perfectionists, or who are held back by fear. In fact, I had some guests over to our house for dinner last night and we were talking about wanting to host more often. Our guest was talking about how his wife gets caught up in the what-ifs: What if we run out of food? What if the guests don’t like what I make? What if my house isn’t clean enough? It boils down to fear of being judged. And I’ve totally been there. For YEARS I didn’t host as often as I wanted because of all the fear.

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I was talking about how I just had to accept myself the way I am and not care about what my guests think. And you know what? I did run out of food one time. Now that it has happened, it just doesn’t seem like a very big deal. Whenever I feel myself get anxious about these things, I remind myself that when I am a guest at a friend’s house I don’t care about the food at all. It’s always all about the relationships. Accepting myself in this way has really helped me to open my heart for new relationships and recognizing my joy for helping others create relationships too.

What areas in your life or experiences do you need to work on acceptance?

For a better life, Inspiration

Do you have “enough?”

I used to believe that God had a limited number of blessings to bestow upon us, his children. If I was being blessed, then someone else was not getting a blessing. I am not sure where this idea came from, but it was knocking around in my mind, without me even realizing it.

This kind of thinking is scarcity based. It centers around not enough of something. It could relate to blessings, love, money, time, attention, or even our stuff. It’s a default type of thinking that generally pervades every aspect of our lives. Usually, if we always feel like there isn’t enough time for example, then we probably also feel like we don’t have enough money or we aren’t getting enough attention from our spouse and so on. It is rare to feel scarcity in one area and abundance in another.

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The problem with scarcity thinking is that it affects how we show up in the world. If we feel like there is never enough money, then we won’t be as generous with our fast offerings or donating to good causes. Our children fight with each other often because they feel like they have to compete for something: maybe our attention or time, or maybe the last helping at dinner.

When we practice thinking in terms of abundance we are happier and calmer. If you think there is plenty of time, you are not as rushed and are a more careful driver. If you feel like you are loved abundantly, you want to share that love with others. If you have more than enough money for your needs, you are generous with others and worry less about financial troubles.

So pay attention to your mindset. Do you think things are generally scarce or abundant? Do you have enough? or are you always fighting for more?