What Makes You Beautiful?

Colonial-Park-4.11.14-Lake---What-Makes-Me-Feel-Beautiful

Colonial Park, Somerset, NJ

Growing up my mother used to say, “Outer beauty is skin deep, have a good belly ache and it’s gone. You don’t care how you look, all you want is to feel better.” 

At the time, I did not really pay attention to what my mother was saying or even understood. When you’re young, it’s “here she goes again” but over the years, many of what my mom said comes back to me and I even find myself repeating them. What can I say, “I have turned into my mother.”

But on a more serious note, recently, I was forced to answer the question, “What makes you feel beautiful?”  and it got me thinking, what is inner beauty? 

In our culture, we are conditioned to focus on outer beauty despite the fact that many of us don’t meet the supermodel beauty standards. We talk about inner beauty a lot but do we really use it as a criterion to define beauty? This is a rhetorical question.

So… what is inner beauty? I did a lot of research and this is what I found:

  • Your self-esteem, attitude, sense of purpose, love for others and compassion.(Eva Ritvo, M.D. - Psychology Today)
  • Confidence, flexibility, a radiant smile, focusing on what you have, not on what you don’t (Vivian Diller, Ph.D.  -  Psychology Today)
  • Your unique light is your greatest asset and your unique definition. It is what makes you spark and most importantly, it already sits within you. Some cultures refer to it as your ‘hara’ – your center or your spirit. I refer to it as your blueprint; it encompasses your qualities as a ‘whole’ – your personality, your physiology and your presence. Everything about you exists for a reason and together they unite to reflect a clear and intended picture that exists for a specific purpose. (Sarah Whittaker –  Self Growth.com)

In my humble opinion, the latter by Sarah Whittaker comes closest to defining inner beauty because it’s all-encompassing. It’s your signature and no two people have the same one. The problem I have with the others is that self-esteem, sense of purpose, radiant smile are not constant. There are days when my confidence is shot, I don’t feel like smiling and I don’t and I question my purpose. Does my inner beauty diminish on those days? What do you think?

I also feel that some of the very things that we don’t like about our self are what make us beautiful.  For instance, I disliked that I am an introvert.  Honestly, still struggle with it because sometimes people see it as a sign of weakness. But, I have been working on embracing this part of me. For instance, I have come to realize that being quiet allow me to observe and get a better understanding, which is an asset. People also seem to trust me because they know what they share is not going anywhere.  It also makes people curious because they don’t know what I’m thinking.

By the way my fellow introverts, there is an excellent book, Quiet, by Susan Cain on the topic that I strongly recommend.

Well, earlier I mentioned that I had to answer the question - “What makes me feel beautiful?” This is what I wrote: 

I feel most beautiful when I am in harmony, that is, have an inner peace. The following are just a few of the things that help me to get into that space (they are not in order of priority). I feel beautiful when:
  • I am helping others, especially when I do coaching.
  • I figure out another piece of the ‘Faith Puzzle’; that is, have what Oprah calls her ‘aha moment’ as it relates to figuring me out.
  • I see or think about my children – Daniel and Ashley. The greatest gifts I have ever been given.
  • I reflect over my life and realize how God has been good to me. This is the greatest love that has been bestowed upon me. He knows it ALL but He still has my back!
  • I am writing! Sharing my inner thoughts.
  • Driving and listening to a book on CD (especially a James Patterson Alex Cross book)
  • Walking along the towpath at Colonial Park on a nice day. Just being among nature
  • Socializing with my family or friends

It’s your turn!

  1. How do you define inner beauty?
  2. What makes you feel beautiful?
  3. Do you think that inner beauty is really used as an indicator of true beauty?
Until next time…

THINK POSITIVELY!

Faith

Stop Giving Your Problems Power!

Do you believe that you have the abilityright and power to be, do or have what you want in your life?  Think about it!

I was speaking with a friend a few weeks ago.  She shared that she had prayed for a certain opportunity to present it self because her business was not doing well. Out of the blue, it did! The opportunity was way beyond what she could have imagined. The bizarre part of the story was what she said she did. PANICKED! 

She said, instead of embracing the opportunity and giving thanks she started to think why she could not take on the contract. Things like - “you don’t have the resources, experience, etc. kept on going through her mind.” She said that she was really depressed for a few days. I have known Jane (not her real name) over 10 years and she is a confident woman who is a go-getter but despite this, she fell prey to self-doubt.   
The above question is easy to answer under normal circumstances. What we REALLY believe is reflected by how we deal with challenges that forces us to step outside of our comfort zone. 

Let’s dissect the above question to get to the core of what it is being ask because it is 3 powerful questions that is rolled into one. 

  • What does it mean to have the ABILITY to do something? The dictionary defines ability as ones natural or acquired skill or talent to accomplish something. Ability also means having the capability to access needed skills, talents and resources. In my friend’s situation, this was what sent her into a panic. She was focusing on her own abilities. Some of what was required to realize this opportunity required skills outside what she had but she knew people or could hire people who had them. Until someone pointed this out to her, she had not taken that into consideration. Sometimes our limited thinking can shut us off from reaching our full potential.
  • What does it mean to have the RIGHT to be, do and have what you want in your life?   Another way to ask this question is, “Do you believe that you are worthy or deserve to have good things in your life?” This is a major challenge for many people, especially  individuals who have experience trauma such as abuse.  We may say we are worthy but our self sabotaging behaviors tell the true story. 
  • What does it mean to have the POWER to accomplish what we desire?  I was speaking with a family member and she was sharing about another family member who had done her wrong. Her solution to the person was not to go anywhere that she knew that person was going to be. I asked her, “Why are you giving this person so much power?” In this context, she was giving away her power by avoiding the other person. We give away our power in many ways. For instance, we don’t do or say what we feel based upon what other people are going to think or say about us. Or we do or say things that we don’t believe so we can fit in. In both cases, we are trying to please others instead of our self. 

Let’s go back to where we started. Do you believe that you have the abilityright and power to be, do and have what you want in your life

In other words:

  1. Do you believe that you have the natural or acquired skills/talent and/or access to the resources needed to be, do and have what you want in your life?
  2. Do you believe that you deserve what you want in your life?
  3. Do you believe that you have the right to express yourself?
    REMEMBER: “Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” (Poem: Our Greatest Fears by Marilyn Williamson)
Challenge – Ponder these questions separately and see if your answers align. 

Taking Personal Responsibility

I was asked to speak at an event and during my phone conversation with the person who was coordinating it, she asked, “Are you going to speak about how overworked and undervalued we are?” I could not help but smile because I knew just then what I was going to write about this week! 

I hear women make the following statements over and over again: 
“It’s like he (husband or significant other) and/or they (children) cannot do a thing for themselves! I have to do everything!”

“Can you imagine this, he (husband, significant other) and/or they (children or family ) ate and left the dirty dishes on the table and I had to take it up and wash them! I am so tired of this! They take me for granted!”

“It is my ____________________ (insert occasion - birthday, anniversary etc.) and everyone went along their merry way and didn’t say a word! They don’t appreciate me!

Enough said, get the picture? It’s very painful to give and receive nothing in return. Of course, that is not the reason you do what you do but acknowledgment or a simple heart-felt ‘thank you’ now and again goes a long way! 

What I am about to say may sound strange but it is okay to feel this way –  you are human! I say this because so often I sense a tinge of guilt when the above or similar statements are made. 

So now that it’s out there – real or perceived – this is how you feel and it is important!  What are YOU going to do about it? 

Truth be told…  

  •  YOU are responsible for your own happiness. 
  •  YOU teach people how to treat you.
  •  YOU deserve to be treated with dignity and respect! 

Again, I ask, “What are YOU going to do about it?” 
Only you can fix the problem! The following are some tips to help you do so. 

  1. You are worthy: You have to believe that you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Remember that each of us teach people how to treat us. Think about it! What message have you been sending?  
  2. What do you want? You need to know what it is that you want so that you will know it when it shows up and are able ask for what you want. Ladies, sometimes we do not remember that other people are not mind readers. Write a detailed list of the things that you want from others. For instance, don’t just write ‘I wanted to be treated with respect.” Instead write (say), “So  I would like my significant other to eat dinner with the rest of the family on Sundays instead of in front of the TV. Get it, either the person does or doesn’t. What reflects respect to you may not be the same for someone else. 
  3. Let go! We must be willing to let go and allow others to help. I must admit that this is one area that I am consciously working on. I have come a long… way but still working on this. Many of us –  me included –  have a Super Woman attitude - I alone can do things correctly.  This perfectionist attitude dissuade others from wanting to do things for us because we are always fixing things. Face it, the world won’t end if the towels aren’t hung in a certain way or if the dishes were washed but the counter top wasn’t wiped down!
Happy Women’s Herstory Month!

Does Hope Impact Your Success?

HOPE QuoteFor some reason, it seems that everywhere I go or everything I do this  week has HOPE  intertwined in it. I had a meeting with a colleague and we spent about 20 minutes on the topic. The same day, I was in another meeting and the topic arose. I was listening to one of my books on CD – some of you know that I love listening to mysteries and thrillers when I am driving, and the topic came up yet again!

I cannot seem to get rid of it so I have been asking myself what lesson am I suppose to learn from this.  It is obvious, SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE is sending me a message!

So, what is HOPE? The Webster dictionary says…

1hope

verb\ˈhōp\

to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true

I have been questioning the above  definition - you maybe wondering ”what audacity?” who gives her the right to challenge Mr. Webster?  but really, isn’t hope more about BELIEVING? There are a lot of things that I want to happen or want to be true but what really get me moving is believing, no matter how small that belief is, that it can happen and that it is true.

 This lead me to my next question, “Is it lack of HOPE as defined by Mr. Webster the reason why so many of us shy away from pursuing our goals and deepest aspirations?” In other words, we want it to happen or think that it could happen but we don’t have a morsel of belief that it can happen?

Does hope impact your success? In my mind eyes, hope is that one thing that pulls us through the tough times. That thing that is the foundation of all great inventions.  They were initially the fragment of someone’s imagination at one point in time. For instance –  the phone! Today, we cannot leave home without it! But if Alexander Graham Bell did not have hope or believed he could make an instrument that would allow people to communicate when they were not face to face then I wonder what the world would be like today?

What do you think:

  • What is HOPE?
  • Is it necessary for us to commit, to grow and fulfill our goals?

I would love to hear from you because I am still trying to figure out what is it I am supposed to be learning?

Please share this with others, it maybe just the one thing someone need today!

Until next time…
THINK POSITIVELY!

Tips To Stop Worry

Quote-about-how-we-spend-our-time2                                                                              Simple but profound words!

We spend so much of our time worrying about the past, the future, things we can’t do, didn’t do, things we have lost, the list goes on and on…

We waste time when we worry! Most of the things we worry about are not even real –  they are our ‘headtrash’ (negative thoughts) at play. Other times, they are out of our control.

According to Dr. Leahy in The Worry Cure: Seven Steps to Stop Worry from Stopping You, worrying meets a need.
When we worry…

  • We are hoping to find a solution to our problem
  • We don’t want to overlook anything.
  • If we keep thinking a little longer, maybe we’ll figure it out.
  • We don’t want to be surprised.
  • We want to be responsible.

In other words, we are trying to create certainty and have some control but worry stagnates your mind and creates confusion, disorder and hopelessness. It can also have health implications –  high blood pressure to mention only one.

I know many of you are wondering, “How do I stop worrying?” The following are a few strategies that can help you to overcome worry:

  1. Decide if the issue is solvable or not. Get a piece of paper and write briefly and concisely, the situation creating the worry. Ask yourself if this is something that you have control over or not?  If  it is something that you can solve, start brainstorming solutions include others who can help you in the process.  If it is insolvable, you have no control –  let it go – give it to your Higher Power because worrying won’t do anything but get you stressed out or even sick! If you have difficulty doing this, get some help – it is okay to get professional help to resolve some issues. I have. There are some things that we cannot resolve by ourselves because we are too close to the situation.  We need an objective viewpoint to help us to see things differently.
  1. Change your anxious thoughts. Ask yourself the following questions:
    • What’s the evidence that the thought is true? That it’s not true?
    • Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?
    • What’s the chance that this will actually happen? Is high or low? If high, what  can you do to stop it, avoid it or lessen its impact. If it’s low, don’t waste time on it. Again, it could be your head trash at work.

What do you worry about? Please try one or both of the above strategies to move forward. Life is too precious to waste it worrying, especially when the thing we are worrying over is not solvable or in our control.

Until next time…
THINK POSITIVELY!

Please share this with your friends, family or colleagues. This simple message may make a BIG difference in their life.