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

 

Living With Gusto

Strength: You’ve Got It

“You never know how strong you are until being strong

is the only choice you have.”

Bob Marley

Most of us have been through things that have shown us—beyond our imaginings—what we are capable of. As we think back on those horrible days we are in awe of our perseverance and accomplishment, wondering how we ever survived. But we are strong, and we rise to meet need as the warriors we are.

I have a close friend who has walked through some of the most difficult things life has to offer. A particularly bad season was when she was making the drive to Detroit several times a week to take her infant son to Children’s Hospital. This went on for several months. She barely saw her husband and other infant son and was physically and emotionally worn out—the kind of worn out that trying to sleep in the hospital and fighting for your baby’s life will bring. The kind of exhaustion that causes you to nod off at the red light. When I exclaimed that I didn’t know how she’d done it, her response was, “What option did I have?”

And she was correct. Sometimes we just don’t have a choice and have to keep putting one foot in front of another.  And somehow the strength comes when needed.

One of the most grueling seasons in my life was during the time my mom lived with us while battling cancer. That was difficult enough, but my husband also had two back surgeries which put him out-of-commission on pain meds (so I was basically single-parenting), I was managing my mom’s in-home caregivers, both she and my husband were making frequent trips to the hospital, my two special needs 4 year olds were not sleeping, or if they were my daughter’s feeding pump would jam—sometimes two and three times a night, and I was rising at 4:30 each morning to get everyone ready so I could go teach my second graders—on very little sleep. Oh, and did I mention I was older—fifty-two, but who was counting? Let me tell you, I’m not sure how I ever survived those months!

mimis tea bag

 

So how do we find the strength to make it through these times? Looking back it seems impossible, but somehow I found the strength to do everything that was needed. I know that I prayed a lot! My prayer was often only, “Oh God! Oh God!”.  (Good thing He can read between the lines.) And I talked with my close friend, who gave me amazing support.

Some women turn to yoga, meditating, or exercise to calm and restore. Some attend support groups, community functions, or read. Sometimes just talking to a friend will help us see perspective and cause us to realize how strong we are and how far we have come.

Talking out loud can help us process our next steps, or just receive the support from another that gives us strength. Never discount how powerful helping to bear someone’s burden can be!

It’s important for women to gather, share, and support each other. Women are social creatures and amazing things happen when they gather and hang out together.

Don’t be afraid to tell your “warrior” stories to others. You may well inspire someone and help them gain strength in their journey. Yes, we may wish we’d done some things differently or better, but in the long run we did the best we could at the time. And most likely we were amazing! And look how strong we have become!

Hang in there Warrior Woman. And share your story.

Much love, Mimi

This post was originally an article written for Women2Women Magazine, of which I’m the editor. You may view our digital magazine online to read other great articles.

 

Living With Gusto

It’s So Simple

Be kind2

It really is simple.

Everything we might choose for our goals boils down to being kind:

Be kind to yourself.

Be kind in your relationships.

Be kind to the earth and animals.

Be kind to others.

Be kind in your words.

Be kind in your thoughts.

Be kind in your deeds.

I think that about covers it all.

May you have a wonderful year of kindness.

So what do you think? Let me know below.

Lots of great big sparkle hugs

and blessings in the new year.

heartMimi

 

 

 

 

Christmas Reflections, Mimi's Messages

All They Want For Christmas Is YOU!

Christmas gift 12.17.18 logo

We pressure ourselves to get the best Christmas gifts for our children. We just want them to be excited and happy. Well, guess what? This teacher tells us that what has mattered most to her students is spending time with their parents. And as a retired teacher, I can vouch for her.

christmas words from a teacher

Kids want US! They want our attention. They want us to do fun things with them, simple things. Spending time. Cuddling while watching silly Christmas movies. Popping corn. Sledding. Going for a walk. Reading together. Just being together is so special. Without the phone and laptop between us!!

Make traditions of baking, reading special stories each year, playing board games, telling about their yearly ornaments, helping those in need as a family, remembering favorite happenings during the year, attending seasonal concerts, church services, dinners…. there are many ways to be with your children. If you are completely worn out from shopping, and cranky about spending too much money, you won’t even feel like spending time with them. And to our children, spending time together matters. And it doesn’t cost a thing.

Here’s to a Christmas season FULL of making memories and spending time together, connecting with each other, not the internet.

Lots of hugs and Merry Christmas!

  heartMimi

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Words To Help

Be Kind

kindness

Mary Jo Rapini has such wisdom herself. This is so true! I love her words and how she “assigns” kindness such power. I used to have a poster in my classroom with “Be ye kind.” on it. A good reminder. I think we often treat family members in ways we would never treat outsiders.

And yet, our family is our greatest treasure.

 http://www.maryjorapini.com/2014/11/10/being-kind-is-the-highest-form-of-wisdom/