Me in the Middle of Lessons Learned ~ Letter E

My Life Is My Masterpiece ~ Lessons Learned

My theme ~ Lessons Learned.  I’ll be posting a word that begins with each letter of the alphabet that fits my theme.   This blog/website has become one way to share about myself to my children, my grandchildren and my extended family who are scattered all over the country and the world.  Hopefully, anyone who reads this will be in some way blessed by my throwing my words out onto the World Wide Web and into the Universe.  

 My About Page gives me the focus so that, as I age, I don’t forget what I worked so hard to learn.  It’s going to be fun and challenging!   I hope you’ll stick with me as I strive to meet my goal!!

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Great Spirit, grant that I may not criticize my neighbor until I have walked a mile in his moccasins

~ Native American Plains Proverb ~

There’s nothing more empowering to a person than having another person walking by your side during difficult times.  Empathy and compassion doesn’t mean you take away the struggle and challenge of another person’s life.  It’s just being there and fully grasping the reality of that struggle and challenge.  There’s nothing like finding the courage and strength within yourself to bring you through what seemed insurmountable.  This needs to come from within.  The difference between feeling alone during that time vs. having others willing to listen and encourage makes all the difference in the world.

Empathy

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Empathy ~ Brene Brown

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Empathy #5

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* Note:  My letter sketches were made from ideas I found on Google Images. *

***  This Alphabet Series is a recycle of the posts I created while participating in the A to Z Challenge in 2016 ***

Me in the Middle Rising Strong

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Sketch by mlq

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I found this writing by Brené Brown while visiting a post by Jennifer Juneau Looking Back While Looking Ahead.  It’s only been recently that I’ve embarked on the journey of ‘Looking Back’ all with the intent to continue moving forward and ‘Looking Ahead’.  Writing about our life story, the good parts and the not-so-good parts, pulls together a pattern that reminds us of who we were all along the way.  A pattern of strength and courage through our struggles that becomes clearer when we become an observer from the present  time and allow ourselves to look back.  We can do this at any time and at any age.  The insights we gain and the freedom we experience keep us ‘rising strong’.

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~ Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted ~

“There is no greater threat to the critics and cynics and fearmongers
Than those of us who are willing to fall
Because we have learned how to rise

With skinned knees and bruised hearts;
We choose owning our stories of struggle,
Over hiding, over hustling, over pretending.

When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we run from struggle, we are never free.
So we turn toward truth and look at it in the eye.

We will not be characters in our stories.
Not villains, not victims, not even heroes.

We are the authors of our lives.
We write our own daring endings.

We craft love from heartbreak,
Compassion from shame,
Grace from disappointment,
Courage from failure.

Showing up is our power.
Story is our way home.
Truth is our song.
We are the brave and brokenhearted.
We are rising strong.”

Brené Brown

Be Brave ~ Show Up

 

Me in the Middle of Week 3 Reflection ~ Self-Acceptance

 Kind Balance

 Week Three ~ Self-Acceptance

The third prompt for the Kindness Challenge 2017 is Self-Acceptance.

 I’ve accepted the fact that, at times in my life, I’ve loved too much.  While attempting to be the ‘perfect’ daughter’, the ‘perfect’ wife, the ‘perfect’ mother, etc., I’ve given over my power to others who might not deserve that trust.  In accepting this about myself, I’ve made a commitment to myself to trust my intuition and my need to set healthy boundaries and take a stand for myself.

How many times do I second-guess myself?  Let me count the ways!  At those time when I haven’t had confidence in myself and haven’t trusted my own decisions, I’ve contributed to co-dependent relationships by looking to others for affirmation.

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.”  

~ Anne Lamott ~

Trying to be perfect keeps us from really finding joy in our lives.  Whether it comes from the way we’ve been raised as a child or from our expectations of ourselves now as adults, perfectionism holds us back from spontaneity and being more emotionally responsive to others.  “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never achieve it.”  Salvador Dali

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Lessons Learned from Week One and Week Two

********************Kindness owards ourselves

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I get the ‘do unto others’ part and realize I need to put a little more into the ‘as you would do unto yourself’ part.  The Self-Love Reflection (Week One) helped me to realize that I struggle with the awareness that some have too little self worth and are too selfless, while others have too much narcissism and take advantage of the kindness of those who are too nice.  Sometimes you can leave yourself behind when loving others.  It’s about balance.  I’m learning to set healthier boundaries and not give too much power to those who might not deserve it.  Nice place to be!  🙂

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“Want to be happy? Stop trying to be perfect.”

~ Brene Brown ~

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I never thought of Self-Compassion (Week Two) as a letting go of perfectionism.  And yet there it was in my own words ……………..“I was just thinking that when I internally feel self-compassion I’m comforted by those thoughts. It’s when I verbalize them to others that I sometimes feel the person hearing me is thinking I’m making excuses for myself.” ………………It made me realize that part of Self-Compassion is believing you’re worthy of that compassion and it’s not a weakness when you are being kind and gentle with yourself.   It really doesn’t matter what others are thinking or saying.  We’re never going to be ‘perfect’ and we’re never going to be able to avoid the possibility of criticism and judgment from others.

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~ You’re allowed to be both a Masterpiece and a Work in Progress simultaneously ~

Joanne Sharpe's Class 1

© Sketch by Mary Lou

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Me in the Middle of Week 1 Reflection ~ Self-Love

Kindness Challenge Participant

Week One ~ Self-Love

The first prompt for the Kindness Challenge 2017 is Self-Love.

One of the suggestions for this week was to create a self-portrait and I remembered that I’d already done that back in 2015 for a 31-Days of  January Art Challenge.  On the 19th Day our prompt was to sketch a self-portrait.  So I’m daring to share it:  the five hearts are my five children and the quote “The greatest gift a woman can give to herself and her family is her own independence.”  It came from the book ~ The Shell Seekers ~ A novel about a woman and her evolving relationship with her grown children ……… and adjusting to the cycles of life.

#AJWchallenge Jan Day 19 #2

When I was growing up in the 40’s and 50’s, self-love was considered a negative thing.  Being kind to myself was something I’ve learned to do over the years.  I was told I was too rough on myself.  The sense of unworthiness began at a young age when we were taught to think up all the ‘bad’ things we did when we went to confession every Saturday so that we could be worthy enough to receive communion on Sunday.  The best I could come up with at 7 years old was something like ‘I answered back my mother’, ‘I ate a piece of chocolate during lent’ ‘I got angry with my brothers for teasing me’….etc.   Sometimes we’d make up something!   Love of God/Love of Neighbor and self-sacrifice were all tied up into one ball of yarn and somehow self-love was left out….. or so we thought.  When I attempted to put myself first …… to say I mattered too …… it was thought to be selfish and unkind.  Now I realize that being selfless vs being selfish are more about balance.  That I am worthy and I do matter.  It’s helped me to set healthy boundaries in my life when others pressure me to be and do what I’m not comfortable with.  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself”.    It’s helped me to trust my intuition and my heart going forward even though I sometimes wrestle with ‘Catholic Guilt’.  😀

Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough. “

~ Brené Brown ~

So ….. the mantra I’ve used this week comes from the video below:

It’s Enough!  It’s Plenty!”

Dear Human

Some of us have too little self worth and are too selfless. Some of us have too much narcissism and take advantage of the kindness of those who are too nice.  Seek the middle ground.

Be there for others

#RevofKindness

Me in the Middle of Being a Strong Woman (#FlashBack)

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It’s FlashBack Friday ~ A time of the month where you can republish an old post of yours that maybe didn’t get enough attention, or that you’re really proud of, or you think is still relevant etc.  This Blog-Go-Round is hosted by Jemima Pett and originally introduced by Michael D’Agostino from A LIFE EXAMINED.  That’s where you’ll find the rest of the participants or to join up yourself.

The post I’ve chosen for this month first appeared on ME IN THE MIDDLE on December 4, 2015.  To see the original comments to that post you can click on the title  ~ Me in the Middle Being a Strong Woman ~ below to be taken to the original post. 

I chose this post because it’s just about a week since the Women’s March on Washington on January 21st and I think we can all agree, no matter where you stand on politics, that it was impressive.  Men, women and families all joined together across the nation and beyond to voice their concern about the new leadership in our country.  People of faith and people from different political leanings all stood side by side in unity and peace to send a message of respect and mutual support.   I didn’t march and I was with them in Spirit.  I’m not a Democrat and I didn’t vote for Hillary.  I’m not a ‘feminist’ in the sense of embracing the label.  I’m for humanity and striving for a better world.   I’ve seen many advantages for me as a woman that have emerged due to the activism of dedicated women.  I might not agree with every stand that was represented on the 21st yet I was deeply moved by the peaceful coming together of people of different beliefs and different concerns.  All willing to join together in one voice.  Let’s choose a forward looking patriotism!  I think Brene Brown  says it with class and grace on her Facebook Page.

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 Me In The Middle Of Being A Strong Woman

My Word 2014 #2

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“I wish I had known from the beginning that I was born a strong woman.  What a difference it would have made!  I wish I’d known that I was born a courageous woman; I’ve spent so much of my life cowering.  How many conversations would I not only have started but finished if I had known I possessed a warrior’s heart?  I wish I’d known that I’d been born to take on the world; I wouldn’t have run from it for so long, but to it with open arms.”

~ Sarah Ban Breathnach ~

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