There is a silly part of me that believes if I am deficient in any area of my life, then I must refrain from fulfillment in others. For instance, when I encounter financial issues, I withdraw from social activities. Suffering from muffin top? I avoid physical affection from others. I haven’t quite finished with my educational goals, so I may not apply for certain types of employment even though I know I have the required experience. I simply believe that I don’t have the right to enjoy some of life’s pleasures due to my current circumstances.
Where did all of this Negative Nelly thinking begin? It probably started with some childhood lesson about sacrifice that I misinterpreted. As an adult, I am guilty of subscribing to the “No Good Could Happen” News. The byline is “If you are not good enough, you don’t deserve good things.” Self-shaming, sabotaging silliness. It is so ingrained in my mental DNA, I do it without thinking. I run from positive interactions as I believe it is a form of self discipline.
Yes we should regulate ourselves in order to repair areas of our lives that need restoring. If correction is needed financially, physically or educationally, I should restrict activities that make those situations worse. Spending money on frivolous outings or worrying about how others perceive me physically is foolish. However, if handled appropriately, socializing (networking) could put me in a position to increase my financial situation. If I give in to the negative numbers on a scale, I could miss the chance to meet someone who accepts me for who I am regardless of my weight and isn’t that what I want?
I was reminded by a wonderful, insightful woman about being so hard on myself. “People with high standards tend to be very hard on themselves for no good reason.” She is so right. Why do we do this? Because we want the best for ourselves and our families. We are constantly critiquing every detail of our lives, searching for imperfections in order to perfect what we perceive to be defects. All to become better. We tell ourselves that expressing joy when we are experiencing pain is contradictory. When would you ever need joy more?! When you are depleted in any area, that is exactly when you should be seeking an increase in others. My misguided attempt at perfection is keeping me from the very things I need.
Right now, as my bank account is looking anemic, I should expand my interactions with others. Many of the interpersonal opportunities I come across are free! I can use those moments to position myself with people who can assist in my business plans. How many times have I rejected a hug for fear of someone feeling my rolls of fat? Ridiculous. Here on out, I’m taking the hugs, rolls and all. There’s power in them rolling hills (thanks, Jill). Any job prospects that I know I am more than qualified to handle, I’m applying. My life experience has taken me quite far professionally. I've had past employers create positions just for me because the organizations appreciated my value, so nothing is off limits. (The exception being highly specialized positions. While I believe I could fly a plane, I’m sure Delta would want to see a pilot’s license, darn-it.)
If we allow the dark areas of our life to keep us from seeking light, we fail to grow. True growth comes when we take those dark areas, expose them to bright opportunities and allow regeneration occur. Life is not meant to be lived in shame. My personal growth is dependent upon basking in the abundance that life has to offer.
In the beginning, it is difficult and even painful to see the faults in yourself, the flaws in your soul, the error of your ways. But I have come to love the moments when I see my flaws and I spot my errors! It is one of the most beautiful things, really! Because it is when we see our own flaws and our own errors that we can find the opposite of those things! It is when we see our own flaws and our own errors that we can see that there is so much more room to become better! And so I have come to actually rejoice when I find something wrong with me! And I know when it’s really wrong because I can see it and I can feel it in my heart both at the same time— it is a revelation. It’s not something that comes from any external source; but it is my own spirit and the voice of God revealing these things to me, unfolding them, rolling them out of a silken cloth at my feet. And I smile.”