Inspiration, Words To Help

Numb Choices Aren’t Smart

Focus! It seems we are always hearing how important focus is to reaching our goals and bringing our desires to us. However, sometimes our focus is totally off. We work hard, do what we think we should, spin our wheels, and run faster on the hamster wheel, only to remain stagnant. Why do you suppose this is? Well, one possibility is that when we are determining our focus, our brains are actually numb.

To explain what I mean, here’s an illustrative story from my own archives of experience. Picture this: my husband is sleeping soundly, snoring a bit, only to be awakened by me, legs and arms jabbing him in uncomfortable places, doing the army crawl across his body. I was determined to get to the other side of the bed and out of there. And I was intently focused!

When my husband raised his head, protesting loudly at the irreverent way I was traipsing across his body, I patted his cheeks and said, “Sh, sh, sh, it’s okay,” and continued with determination on my way. But once my feet touched the floor on the other side of the bed, I promptly started my return back across him, telling him to shush, and that it was okay. Then I settled down into my spot and resumed my somewhat-normal sleep.

Was I focused? Very. Deeply asleep? Yes.

So, besides the humor in this story, why am I sharing it? Because it illustrates what many of us are doing. While somewhat “asleep” we are fully intent and focused on carrying out our daily lives, getting to the “other side”, even attempting to achieve goals or dreams.

Sometimes, our minds and hearts have become numb and we are making decisions based on survival, rather than fully living.

Perhaps you are living fully, with a clear brain, consciously aware of life and your choices. However, for those who think “living numb” might apply to you, here are a few of the many ways numbness can occur:

  • when we suppress our emotions and don’t allow ourselves to fully feel.

  • when our busyness keeps us from having precious time with family or close friends and our hearts become resentful and lonely.

  • if our over-spending has driven us to live until the next paycheck in worry or stress, causing our bodies to become overworked and our brains overloaded.

  • when we are trying to do it all, feel as if we are “not enough”, and suffer self-condemnation.

  • when there are so many difficult things that happen to us that we just can’t allow any more feelings in order to survive.

Many of you have no choice in some of this. Having limited resources or being without a job and just barely making your bills—or not being able to pay them at all—creates a horribly stressful situation. And I truly do understand how one could stuff emotions because of being so overwhelmed by the things that happen in our lives! Please do not feel pressure or criticism from me if you are a bit numb right now. I get it because I’ve lived it.

Another life-point: things hurt and it isn’t easy. Life is hard, contrary to how some people believe it should be. I hate to go all “old school” on you, but for 99% of us,

most of what we have gained in life has been through hard work, making correct choices, and learning from our mistakes!

I don’t really see any other way around it.

And if you are someone with the idea that you shouldn’t have to feel pain, disappointment, grief, loss, disillusionment, and other less-than-desirable emotions, then realizing these are all part of the fullness of life might help you. Otherwise, after experiencing all of these you could be setting goals and choosing your focus while angry, hurt, and numb.

So if being numb means being dazed, dead, senseless, or asleep, what is the opposite? Being alive, awake, responsive, sensitive, and compassionate.

Wouldn’t you rather live like that? But how?

For me, it meant taking care of some personal and emotional business. It was a process (oh how we hate that word) and took time (what? you mean it isn’t instant? I want INSTANT!). It also meant I had to deal with my tendency to believe lies and not let others influence how I felt about myself. You can read about that process in my post, Are You Believing Lies? 

Ways To Awaken

  • Contentment and gratitude. These are some of the most important ingredients to living fully! Simplistically, being grateful for what we have rather than lamenting what we don’t have can really change our lives. This is such an important element that many have adopted the habit of writing a list of things they are grateful for each day. Doing so directs our focus toward our abundance rather than our lack. (For starters, if you are able to read this you are more blessed than two billion people who cannot read at all.)

  • It takes time to rid ourselves of limiting lies and behaviors, but it’s so very worth it! We also need to take the time to sit quietly and reflect. I know that we are filled to overflowing with tasks and expectations and burdens, but might I suggest that you take even ten minutes a day to merely sit and reflect? Or meditate and let your mind rest. We all know that thirty minutes of daily exercise is benefiting to our physical health. Likewise, time to sit without distraction and turn inward to our feelings can bring us mental and emotional health.

  • Read. Research. Get outside of your own abilities and let others guide you. In my case, I had no idea my spirit was dying and my brain was numb. I knew I was miserable, but wasn’t conscious of why. There are many authors to help you.

Perhaps you have heard the illustrative story of the frog in boiling water. The story goes that if you put a frog in a pot of cold water it is perfectly content to hang out. Start heating up the water and the frog is still just fine. But eventually the boiling water will kill the frog, when it could have jumped out at any time to save its life.

How does this relate to us? Many of us don’t even realize that we are like that frog, in a pot of rapidly heating water. What we need is someone to alert us—to turn off the flame for us and help us save ourselves. And that is why I suggest that you seek out available resources or find a friend to help you.

4) Talk to someone. Find someone in your close circle of friends whom you trust and can confide in.

It wasn’t until my friend identified the abusive situation I was in that I realized my life was slowly killing my spirit.

And at that point, there wasn’t a whole lot of life left in me. I was performing all of the expected tasks—mom, wife, teacher, daughter—but my spirit and self-will were dying, and my shining light had become quite dim. I had become numb.

Give your friend permission to tell you what they see in your life and habits. Listen with your heart, not a self-condemning agenda. Love yourself. Give yourself grace. You are amazing, and the fact you have made it this far in your journey shows that you are a fighter!

Perhaps you want to do something different in your life. I realize my suggestions are minimal, but they are intended to be a launching pad for your actions to become more fully alive. Select some of the items listed to incorporate into your life and make the determination toward regaining consciousness instead of numbly living.  You are worth that, and the world needs your shining light.

Why is it so important to live fully alive, and not numb? Because we need to make choices as our true and authentic selves, rather than as a replication of others’ expectations and opinions of us.

To be emotionally healthy, we need to allow time for our emotions, and our brains, to settle and heal. Instead of being a shriveled up version of ourselves, we need to be the full, glorious person we are created to be. Then we can experience authentically and make sound choices. Then we are more able to direct our focus and reach the goals we desire.

We all have a unique light to shine, a place in our world that only we can fill.

Our wisdom, experiential knowledge, gifts, talents, and abilities are needed. But most of all, you deserve to live with a spirit that is fulfilled and alive, not one that is slowly dying and has become numb. That’s a waste of a very good, precious, and worthy life–yours.

So what about you? Have you ever experienced being numb? If so, will you please tell me about it?

 

You are so important! 

Love and big hugs, Mimi

 

Living With Gusto

Is Playing Safe Holding You Back?

 

I read a great article I wanted to share with you. Do you struggle with rejection and what it does to you? Read this: 

Is playing it safe holding you back?

Oh yes, I struggle with it all the time!!

When I first released my cards on Etsy, it was with great trembling and gasping breath! lol Same with when I speak.

But knowing your truth will help immensely.

My truth is that I am called to speak and write truth and to encourage and empower.

Once you KNOW the path you are to travel and use that as your plumb line, it gets easier.

Because then, it really doesn’t matter so much what others think.

And I have learned to laugh at my mistakes, even incorporate them into my writing and speaking. 🙂

Don’t let the fear of rejection keep you from doing something you love. Or keep you from taking the next steps that will get your gift out into our world. Everyone has an opinion, and many don’t hesitate to tell us what it is!

But remember,  

(thank you Terry Cole-Whittaker for your book on this!).

But GOD’S opinion is all that matters. You can do great things. Don’t hold back because you fear rejection!

What about you? Do you find that fear of rejection holds you back from something you want, or feel called, to do? Discuss in the comments. We are all in this together!

And I’m here to encourage you!

Love and big hugs, Passionista

 

 

 

Living With Gusto, Mimi's Messages

Promise…Potential…Profusion!

We are like this flower….

FULL of promise, potential, and profusion!

God created us to bloom!

To be full of life and color.

To spread His joy, love, and kindness.

Right where you are, right now.

Don’t wait for everything to be perfect.

You have a light in you!

See how gorgeous this flower is?

That’s you, my love, in all of your created beauty.

Just like you are.

We need your unique beauty.

Just bloom.

Show your color!

Shine your light in this world!

We need your touch.

 

And I’m rooting for you!

Love and hugs, Passionista

Inspiration, Raw Honest Brave

Are You Believing Lies?

So many of us hold as truth the myths, or lies, that govern our lives, our choices, and our behaviors! I know I did (still do, I’m sure). BUT…
Who taught us these lies/myths we believe are true? The old adage “If you tell a lie long enough it becomes truth to you” applies here! Unfortunately, we accept what society or even family has taught us, believe it as truth, act on it–without even considering whether it is true, much less determining whether it’s something we should embrace in OUR lives. (I’m SO guilty of that!)

“It’s the fact that this principle or value they hold onto so tightly is impeding their progress to move forward that should be alarming.”

Shari Goldsmith

One of the most dangerous results of believing lies is that we let them take control of us! Like when you think, “Oh but I couldn’t do THAT because… {insert lie here such as, I’m too fat, I’m too poor, I’m not smart enough, I’m ugly}” so you never do it, and the lie controls you. When we give lies credence and follow their direction, we delete our own authenticity. We deny who we were created to be. We are designed and created a specific and awesomely unique way by the Master Creator, and WHO should know better about what will please us and fill our soul?

If you would like to “check out” whether you are believing lies, there are many women you already know whom are filled with wisdom–from experience, reading, searching–who would be willing to talk with you. Perhaps some of them are older (thus the experience) but there are also young women who have already “lived” a lot. For me, talking to a friend who displays wisdom and logic (to counteract my sometimes-off-the-wall passion) has been helpful in determining what is actually truth and which lies I’m allowing to take control of my life. I’ve also had to spend time “going inside” (ugh, not always pretty!) to assess and determine my true character and those things I really hold important.

So, do you think it’s easy to avoid accepting lies about us as truth?  Ummm, no! To discern lies, we have to be militant snipers because of the subtle, yet pervasive, nature of them. And if you’re thinking that you are free from this plague, let me alert you to the nature of lies by giving you examples from my life (here I go, being all vulnerable and transparent again). Until recently, I have believed I was too loud, too big, too boisterous, not smart, not humorous, not fun.

WHAT? I know, right? How in the WORLD could I have possibly believed all those lies about me?

Well, it’s pretty easy, because, I assure you, people don’t say to you, “Now I’m going to lie to your face” before their opinions about you come gushing out! We actually begin believing lies from infancy (think of gender conditioning). Here are a few examples of how some of mine happened (in abbreviated narration).

Example: As a third grader I was told I was too big to be a ballerina. Translation: being big would keep me from my dreams. It was a curse. It was ugly.

Example: when I got very excited and “cheered” in support of something (yes, I was in church, but it was a military rally type thing, after all) I was told I’d had “too much coffee”. Translation: being spontaneous, loud, or passionate was a bad thing (especially in church!).

Example: when I’d laugh loudly I was told to shush. Translation: my laugh was bad. Hold it in. Being loud was not a good thing. (Problem is that I’m just a loud person naturally and I was always being told to be quiet).

Example: whenever I’d have an opinion that was different from the significant person in my life, I was told that I am too hard-headed, or that I wouldn’t ever listen to anyone, and why did I even bother to ask if I wasn’t going to listen. So I really began to doubt my own intelligence.

I don’t know if any of these made sense to you, but these are lies that I received whether they were intended or not.

Thank goodness for my friend who helped to identify my false belief system! And I began to read, discover, and analyze only to find that I was believing many lies that others had “said” about me. These people weren’t vicious or even intentional in their lying. In fact,  lies from those who loved me were the hardest to uncover, because they were usually “told” by people’s responses (comments or body language) to my life and actions .

We ALL have opinions. It just happens that the opinions of my family, teachers, and peers were more important to me than searching for truth. For many years, I believed those things about myself, but no more!

I’ve begun the habit of speaking truth to myself. It’s funny, I don’t even care if others believe what I say, I know these things to be true anyway. (I’ve come a long way, Baby!) Here we go–here’s MY truth:
“I am quite intelligent and a good problem-solver. I am lovely. I am creative. I have a great sense of humor and I’m a fun person. Actually, I’m an amazing person. I’m powerful and make good choices. I can accomplish a lot!”

Just a few of the things I now tell myself. First time I said them I was ready to jump back in case lightening struck!! Really. It was almost like blasphemy, or against the rules, to affirm myself. Don’t want to be egotistical, you know. But there is a huge difference between a dominant ego and a healthy self-esteem.

My parents loved me, without a doubt. However, they were short on the words that would have helped my tender ego believe truth. Not a criticism, just a fact. I am trying to be more conscious of the words I use with my children, but I’m not always successful with the positive. So, I make sure to give them tons of praise, love and mushy stuff from my heart. Just in case. In case they “hear” more than I’m saying. In case they ever have doubts about how much I love them. In case they wonder if they are the world to me. Just so they know, without a doubt, they are loved unconditionally, they are beautiful just the way they are, and that they are precious treasures who make my life complete. 🙂

And I deserve the same consideration. I deserve the same love from myself. I am worth believing the TRUTH. And so are you!

Does any of this resonate with you? If so, let me know how you do with your “Lie Busting!”

Hugs and love, Passionista Mimi

OH, and hey, if you like what you read, why not share the love and click, pin, like, etc.? I’d give you an extra big hug. Thanks!

Living With Gusto

Live Life With Eyes and Heart Wide Open!

It seems that many of us go through life flinching, with our arms flung out across our eyes, wary of what might be coming our way. We guard our hearts against deep, emotional interactions in order to stay safe. Because for us to embrace living with our eyes wide open and with our hearts made vulnerable might seem like a death wish.

In fact, it is a death.

A death to fear.

To living boxed in.

To feeling less-than.

In order to receive all this world holds for us, we need to partake of it to the fullest! And how can we possibly do that if we are shying away from experiences and emotional investment?

As long as we are afraid of feeling deeply–whether it be grief, remorse, loss, rejection, or joy, fulfillment, love, and excitement–we cannot reach our full potential in life. And I dare say that we won’t have the satisfaction of a truly fulfilled spirit.

Most people welcome the “positive” feelings, but really, really do NOT want to feel the “bad” ones. Perhaps as a child we were taught that feeling anger, sadness, disappointment, and depression was wrong and that we needed to “buck up Buttercup” or “act like a man”. Whatever our reason, beside the obvious one that they hurt, many of us do not welcome those less-than-desirable emotions. And this stifles us and our creative power.

Picture a bubbling brook gurgling its way through the countryside and liken our “bad” emotions to the sediment and rocks found in it. What is that stream without the rocks and sediment? Stagnant, because IF it is gurgling through the countryside, following the course as it’s meant to, there WILL be sediment and rocks in it! Same with us: living in our flow and to the fullest means “rocks and sediment” mixed in.

We, as humans, are designed to create. We are makers of a vast assortment of things, using words, art, wood, electronics, music, material, paint, and problem solving, to only list a few of the amazing ways humans create. Creativity flows from an open spirit, not a spirit that is fearful or stagnated by suppression. (Have you ever felt “stuck”?)

When we open our hearts to others and to feeling deeply, we will realize that even more passion and creativity flows. True, opening our hearts to feel emotions makes us vulnerable, and allows us to experience “bad” emotions too. So we have to be brave! We have to risk it. But that is what living an adventurous life is really about, isn’t it? Taking the risk and not living with regret.

Perhaps you have already heard that when you experience deep grief you are also able to experience an abounding joy. Something about how allowing that depth for the bad emotions creates space for the good, and I agree.  I’m no therapist, but I’m speaking from experience. Having been “wired” for feeling all emotions deeply, there were many times I was ravaged by them. But I must say, on the other end of the spectrum I also feel joy, excitement, and love very deeply. So much so that people are amazed by and drawn to my joyful energy (or so they say). So yes, I believe that when the well in our spirit is created by allowing even the undesirable emotions to be felt deeply, there is a larger space for all the wonderfully nourishing ones as well.

And really, why would you want to stifle yourself from feeling life? We have a depth of resources within us, usually just barely tapped by us. Working through difficult emotions to let our light shine can produce some of the most amazing pieces of our lives yet.

Our world is over-saturated with visual assault which can actually cause us to become numb. We have seen it all, bombarding our senses at a rapid-fire pace. A prime example is the weather channel’s flashing of the top stories. Or the movie theater’s practice of showing the loudest, fastest-moving clips during previews. It’s actually so bad that my special-needs son, who is fearful of something scary showing up unexpectedly on any screen, hides outside the theater until the previews are over. Perhaps we have all grown a bit too numb. That much visual impact on a daily (hourly) basis causes desensitization.

So how in the world do we return to seeing with “new” eyes? Eyes that are wide open?

Turn it off!!!  Seriously, stop bombarding your senses with so much visual garbage. Be brave enough to stand the silence. Be brave enough to spend time outside without ear buds in your ears. Take a chance on going to dinner with a friend and actually looking them in the eyes and talking! No telling what you will discover about each other. And while you are there, notice your surroundings and the people next to you (who each have a story, you know). How can we possibly have room in our creative spirits to create if it’s full of the garbage our world shoves in our faces and ears every day? Make room! (Oops, did I just raise my voice at you? Hmmm, guess I’m called “Passionista” for a reason).

There are many practices you can use to begin to experience life fully: meditating, visiting art galleries, camping, hiking, (without devices), even–daringly–taking a “vacation” from your electronics. Find what works for you. For me? I need lots of quiet. My brain runs at full tilt, and in order for me to harness the creative flow, I must have no other distractions. You will know what works when you do it–your spirit will be at rest and rejuvenated. Then

Once you begin to look around you in wide-eyed wonder, you will discover treasures, opportunities, and reasons to be awestruck, which will enhance your life and creativity. And let me remind you that “creativity” is not limited to artists, but to every human alive. We all possess the creative spirit within us.

It takes bravery to embrace living with your eyes and hearts wide open, but I would encourage you to choose it.

Be BRAVE!

You will find that a whole new world awaits you! And I’m rooting for you!

Big hugs, Passionista Mimi

Inspiration, Mimi's Messages, Words To Help

Grandmama’s Quilt

I wanted to tell you that I appreciate you. Is it weird that I think about my readers during the day? Perhaps that’s what bloggers do. I wouldn’t know, I’m still relatively new at this and haven’t talked to other bloggers.

I have been wondering….how are you? No, I mean really. Not what you think I want to hear. Not what you feel you should say. But really. Is your heart heavy? Is your spirit grieving? Do you feel pressured by all you think you should be doing right now? Are you comparing yourself with others?

First of all, WHATEVER you are doing during this quarantine, it’s enough. In fact, you are pretty wonderful to even be surviving what is happening in our world. And if you have been blessed with health, wow, what a gift!! If you know someone who has gotten sick, I know that has been stressful, and I pray they have recovered. If you have lost someone dear to you, oh goodness, I am so very sorry that your heart is hurting. I really am. So much loss and grief right now. It weighs us down. 

Perhaps you haven’t labeled what you might be feeling as grief. But, there is grief from the loss of our normal life. Of losing our jobs and source of income and the camaraderie of co-workers. There is a LOT of grief over the loss of highly-anticipated activities, such as graduation celebrations and vacations that had been planned. There is also the loss of our country’s health and the stress that loads upon us. And the grief from missing family and loved ones and their presence in our lives. There are times that I grieve losing hugs and human touch.

Considering that you are carrying a large amount of grief,

I want you to view yourself differently.

Treat yourself as if you have suffered a huge loss, because you have.

Give yourself grace.

Grace means that you don’t HAVE to perform. Grace means that if you need to sleep more, take breaks to read, spend time outside just to maintain some sense of sanity, then you  give yourself permission to do just that. To do whatever it is you need!

We are conditioned to work hard to be enough. To succeed. To keep up. First of all, that’s a horrid way to live anyway, but especially when the rug has been pulled out from under you. You are dealing with situations that are brand-new to you, for goodness sake!!

You may want to deal with stress in healthy ways:

*Spend less time on Facebook cuz that could lead to comparing.

*Spend less time watching/listening to the news, cuz that builds hopelessness and stress.

*Spend more time talking with positive people and those you love, and laugh, cuz that builds endorphines. 

*Go outside, breathe (the air is cleaner now and it’s SPRING!! Yay!)    Play some. 

*Read, study, discover something new. 

*And lay off the self-pressure. 🙂 

Like Grandmama’s quilt we will emerge from this horrible pandemic stronger, and perhaps wiser, and hopefully more compassionate.  One thing for sure, this season of our lives will affect us. We are all woven together, connected by the threads that bind our lives. I’m praying that you all learn things about yourself, and are able to come out of it stronger.

With much love and gratitude for you,

Passionista Mimi

 

Honest, Keepin' It Real, Mimi's Messages

Quit Yer Yappin’ And Pray!

Fear divides us. And I know that there are so many things that cause fear right now. I’m not down-playing the dire situation our world is in. But honestly, how does it help us to bash people, to write ugly comments about our leaders, to become hateful about certain people?

Y’all, our strongest weapon is prayer! God is the source of our strength, our faith, and our love. And He is the One who will bring an end to this virus. It IS scary. Do I worry? Sometimes. Do I doubt? Sometimes. But do I pray? All the time.

Did you know that you can keep up a steady stream of communication with God as you go throughout your day? You do not have to “assume the position” on your knees or with hands clasped. You can position your heart toward God. He has promised to be listening and waiting. He is a wonderful, attentive listener.

I like to focus part of my prayers (actually most) on thankfulness, because it really clears my mind and puts things into perspective. Perhaps you think it’s easier for me because I have food and shelter, and my family is healthy. My heart goes out to those of you who are heartbroken and struggling. It really does, and if I could help you, believe me I would.

So your thankfulness may sound more like this, “Thank you God for your love. Thank you for dying for me so I have the hope of a joyful life here on earth, and the promise of being with you when I die. Thank you for the sacrifice of your son, so I may become a child of yours. Thank you for the air I breathe, the beautiful world you created, the sun and rain, and the peace you bring to my heart.”

As I go throughout my day, my heart is turned toward God. I ask Him for wisdom dealing with my kids. I ask Him to provide for us financially. I ask Him to turn my worry into faith in His provision. And I ask Him to protect the mamas and unborn babies He has assigned me to pray for.

I thank Him for my washer and dryer. I thank Him that my children can tell me they love me. I thank Him for you, my readers, and ask that my words will touch and help someone’s heart.

Y’all, this whole blog thing is for YOU. It is an outpouring of love, and my desire to help.

So I do pray for my readers. Consider yourself blessed. 🙂 

And if the shoe fits…….try a little less yappin’ and a little more praying.

All said in love.

Passionista Mimi

Inspiration, Keepin' It Real

Life Ain’t Always Sunshine and Roses

So here’s the deal.

It’s NOT always sparkle and shine in my life.

There are days like this week when I am burdened for a precious friend and feel helpless in the situation. When I am a bit tired of working, parenting alone, being this age with kids, being indoors, wanting something fun, loneliness, just the keeping on keeping on.

And there are some days when the only prayer I can form is, “Oh God, oh God, oh God!”

That is the real truth, folks. I get in those places too.

I thought maybe you should know.

I never want you to feel as if I downplay your pain. Or suggest that your difficult situation can just go away “poof”.

But I post the positive things I do because SOMEONE needs to read them.

And in my inner spirit those things are ME. They are what I do to keep doing.

I smile, I pray, I spend time being thankful, I reach out to others, I help others if at all possible….

All these things help to center me and bring the “yuck” back into perspective.

I do know that when we fill our brains with positive thoughts,

we attract more positive energy to ourselves.

And that is what being thankful is about.

That is what “speaking to the mountain” (see previous post) is about.

We actually DO have a choice in how we spend our focus/energy.

And when I’m in a funk, I choose to spend mine by rejoicing in all the good I see around me.

Being thankful for the many, many good things in my life.

And realizing that these funks don’t last forever.

Two things I know–God is always faithful, and the sun will eventually shine!

 

This is re-posted from three years ago! Really applies to today. 

Be well, safe, and blessed in these crazy time!

Much love and big hugs, 

Passionista

Inspiration

Illuminate Our Hearts

“I pray that the light of God will illuminate

the eyes of your imagination (innermost heart)

flooding you with light,

until you experience the full revelation of

the hope of His calling.

I pray that you will continually experience the immeasurable greatness

of God’s power made available to you through faith. 

Then your lives will be an advertisement

of this immense power as it works through you.” 

Ephesians 1:18-19 The Passion Translation

Our imaginations are truly limited. We have so many filters in place that restrict our belief. But God…

He’s not limited by us. Thank goodness!

Ask God to show you His glory.

Ask God to shine His light into your heart.

Ask God to help you see His power, the same power that rose Jesus from the dead, that same power that is available to us though our faith in Him. 

I love the last sentence! I want to “be an advertisement” of God’s power at work in my life. Don’t you?

Mimi's Messages, Words To Help

Yes, My Dear, Your Opinion Does Matter

 

“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.”  PT Barnum

Humans are inclined to want everyone to be the same. Why are we uncomfortable with people who are “out there” or who don’t fit into a box very easily? Why is it that those people are often the ones under criticism?

We think, “If they would just be less bossy. Less brash. Less weird. And for goodness sake, quit spouting their opinion about EVERYthing!” Right?

It seems that everyone has an opinion these days and many are not afraid to share theirs on social media. Some even get a bit angry when others don’t support them.

In real life, are you able to share your opinion without getting shot down? I’m not talking about your publicized opinions, because social media is a relatively “safe” place to state yours, hiding behind disconnected print.

I want you to consider your partnerships, relationships, and work places.

For me, during my marriage I heard things like, “Why do you even ask my opinion? You are going to do whatever you want anyway.” And I usually ended up “paying” for having an opinion different from my husband’s. Let me tell you, this led to feeling as if I was stupid, and didn’t amount to much in our marriage (come to find out I was very wrong about the first and quite right about the latter). It’s not a very good way to flourish. When we state our opinions—which results in others becoming angry—we have a tendency to stop expressing what we feel, especially if our nature is to avoid conflict.

To many of us, being able to even have an opinion is difficult. For me, because I was not allowed to discuss or argue with my parents (or teachers), I suppressed what I wanted. As an adult, if someone asked me how I felt about something, I would frantically fumble around inside my brain realizing that I couldn’t get in touch with how I felt. I truly didn’t know. “Going with the flow” kind of does that. Yielding my own voice, ideas, and feelings about things had become a deeply entrenched way of life.

Do we allow our children to have a different opinion than we do? I really try to ask mine to tell me their side of an issue. Of course, I’m still the parent, and must do what I feel is safe and profitable for my children. But if there is wiggle room, perhaps we need to allow our youngest members of society to state their case, and learn how to do so without it becoming a fighting match. Sometimes compromise is possible, and when a child (or anyone, really) feels like their voice is heard, it gives them confidence.

And dear one, you need to use your voice. You have every right to how you feel. You are worthy and capable, and the world needs your light. The world wants to experience your heart and what you are passionate about. You have a beautiful brain, so use it. If you don’t know how you feel, begin investigating facts. Read. Study. And form your own opinion about matters that matter.

In personal relationships, help the other person to understand how you feel by saying things like, “When you react with anger as I give you my opinion, it makes me feel as if I don’t matter and that you are trying to bully me into agreeing with you and submitting to your opinion at the cost of who I am.” Yes, that’s a mouthful, but it’s true, isn’t it?

In the work place, when your boss or another employee belittles your opinion on work issues, perhaps you can say (in addition to the above comment), “I’ve been hired here because I am capable. I have an interest in this job. My opinion matters as much as anyone else’s. I’d like for you to listen to what I have to say without becoming angry or acting like I am stupid.”

Wow, how empowering! Scary? You bet it is! Does it take practice? Yes. Stepping out of our comfort zone is always risky. But would you rather go through your life, remain in a relationship, or be stuck in a job where you feel belittled or stupid? Now I don’t want to give you false hope, because there are a lot of difficult people in our world, and you may be working with some or in relationships with some. Voicing your opinion may bring you physical danger or repercussions. You will need to be smart about it.

A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman.

But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.

Melinda Gates

Your voice really IS important, and being able to speak what you think and feel is empowering. Test it out and see if perhaps your words can make a difference in your life. Best case would be the other person doesn’t know that their words and actions make you feel inferior. And maybe there can be a compromise. We all need respect, but you must respect yourself first. So speak up!

Cheers to you! I am rooting for ya, and I want you to know that I believe you are smart, fabulous, and have a lot to offer our world!

Here are some great articles for you:

Raising Our Daughters to Speak Up and Why Women Should Reclaim Their Power