Wednesday, January 5, 2011

putting myself to the test, and my resolve for 2011.

most of the time i write here about my kids, and overflowing weeds in the backyard, and husbands who construct toilets in the desert.

but i also write personally, about struggles i face and am continuing to work on.  i have been working on my inside for over a year now, and it really has become a reflection of who i am changing into and how i am seeing myself on the outside. 

i re-posted my struggle about my self-image and feeling beautiful, and i did it because for a week or so before that i had just been beating myself up internally for all of those things i cannot see externally.  funny enough though, it wasn't all about my looks and weight.  i found myself being self-critical about many areas that i feel i'm lacking.

but i got to a day where i was so completely hard on myself that i thought i might crack, and decided to STOP. IT.

so, i wrote a list of affirmations, countering all of the negative thoughts swimming around.  i didn't need to get creative with the positive part though, i only needed to come up with one thing to tell myself.  for me it is easy.  when i'm feeling down, i just feel ugly.  i feel like i have nothing to offer, that i'm mediocre at best.

last week, after coming up with this list of affirmations, i started thinking about the group therapy i've been attending for 6 months or so.  some weeks it's my one time away from my kids, where i go and do something just for me.  i no longer feel guilty or selfish or like i'm a hot mess for needing it & looking forward to it so badly, because i have seen and felt the effects of going to this group.  for me it has been a completely spiritual and eye-opening experience.  

you have to be ready for it, though.  wanting and desiring the change, willing to see the absolute worst aspects of yourself and loving yourself through them.  and the women who are in this group, i just love them.  most of the time i feel like i am going in and they are each holding up a mirror as they speak to me.  i can see me in them.  in  their flaws and their beauty.  their suffering and their desire to overcome.

anyway, i decided to challenge myself a little last week.  most thursdays for therapy i get all ready and dressed up, so that for the hour and a half i'm there i just feel like me, and that i'm presenting the prettiest version of myself.  because i feel better when my hair is curled, and make-up is on and i'm wearing cute heels.   

but as i looked at the list of affirmations i had written to myself, and thought about going to group, i realized that everything i had written was a complete hypocrisy as to what i present in that room.  i go in there all snazzed up, seeking for the desire to feel better, but not letting others see who i really am.  what i really look like.

i decided.  for this therapy group, i would go in with no make-up on, my hair in its original fuzzy, cowardly-lioness-ness, in just jeans and a sweatshirt.  to challenge the feelings inside that i am ugly without those outer layers plastered on me.

then as an extra bonus....i made myself read my affirmations out loud to the group.  this was actually harder for me than showing up all bare-faced and crazy-haired.  i have realized that it is the hardest thing for me to say the words out loud, to other people.

i am beautiful.

i can type the words, i can think them in my head, i can write it down, but saying them out loud?  to others?  holy moly.

i don't know why it's so hard, it just is.  i felt so embarrassed, my face got hot, i found myself wondering if other people thought i was cocky and full of myself.  which is ridiculous, because if anyone would get it, where i was at during this moment, this group of women would.

here is the list i compiled of things that i was allowing to make myself feel ugly, and the affirmation:

i am beautiful even without mascara on.

i am beautiful even if i am the shortest girl in the room.

i am beautiful even if i have 20 extra pounds to lose.

i am beautiful whether anyone ever tells me i am or not.

i am beautiful even if i don't know how to sew.

i am beautiful even if i don't make all home-made meals.

i am beautiful even if i get occasional pimples.

i am beautiful whether or not i have friends.

i am beautiful whether the laundry is put away, or my dishes are done.

i am beautiful even if my hair isn't curled.

i am beautiful even if i don't know how to garden.

i am beautiful whether or not i ever earn my degree.

i am beautiful no matter what choices my children make.

i am beautiful no matter what has happened in my past.

i am beautiful, just because i was created.  just because i exist.  just because i am.

well, i did it.  and yes my face was bright red, and it was extremely hard for me.  but i did it.  and it really didn't matter to me whether it mattered to others.  {does that sentence make sense?}  some people don't struggle with not wearing make-up the way i do.  some people don't care about saying out loud that they're beautiful.  some don't beat themselves up because they don't know how to sew.  and three cheers to them!  someday i hope it will not be such a big deal for me, and i think by pushing myself to do exercises like this, i'm just getting closer to it.

it's funny, this little path of self-discovery that i feel i'm on.  i'm so extremely grateful for it, and the truth is sometimes i'm a teeny bit scared of it.  because i feel like once i get will be challenged, and tested.  i will have to put my money where my mouth is.  it doesn't mean it will be all smooth sailing and rainbows from there on out.  

this is just groundwork i'm laying.  

but you know what?  maybe i'm wrong.  maybe i've been hard enough on myself for 30 years that no matter what comes, and what challenges me, that once i get it, i don't ever let go.  that's the hope anyway, that's why i keep pushing and trying.

not only do i see a difference, but i feel it.  i really do.  

i've thought a lot about my goals for 2011.  there are little things that i'm going to do.  but i think the overall theme for me this year will be:


of others...of my future.  but mostly, just of myself.


Carrie said...

Oh my sweet Lyns you ARE beautiful in and out, through and through. I love this post and somehow you knew I needed it. I've spent the past couple years being sworn at, hung up on, being told how much I'm hated, being told to stay away from my own sister's kids, being removed from facebook because people can't even stand to look at my face, and told I'm not allowed to share in people's lives anymore. These people are my own family members. And if they can't stand me and I'm more worth removing rather than an apology, how am I suppose to take that? Pride makes people really ugly and there are some butt ugly people out there deflecting their misery and barking up the wrong tree. Why not see the good in people instead or give people the benefit of the doubt first? It's a question I've been pondering for a while now and after reading this I feel good about my decision to give up on them, NOT MYSELF. Love you tons!

charlotte said...

I love you! You are so strong I would rather crawl into a hole than stand up ionfront of others to tell them positive affermations about myself. Just for the record knowing how to sew and cooking moist meals from scratch does not make you feel better about yourself at all I can attest to that!

charlotte said...

Sorry I spelled your name wrong!

Rachel Chick said...

Oh, Lyns. I can't tell you how much I want to just fly down there right now and talk to you. I miss you and I love you. You impress me so much. I know that's not the purpose of writing this for you, but you really do and I need to tell you that. I am so impressed with the strength that you have. With your goodness and the beautiful desires that you have. The Lord truly blesses us with the righteous desires of our hearts, especially when we work so hard for them. And I know that he'll bless you to be able to find what you're looking for. (And I have faith that He'll help me to find the things that I'm looking for too. :)

Again, I'm so impressed with your strength and also your beauty. I've always thought that you were gorgeous on the outside, but I'm even more impressed with the beauty that you have within. I love you.

Fawn said...

You are beautiful because you are YOU! And, seriously you have Vidal Sasson hair that I have always been jealous of :)

Andrea said...

I am glad that you posted this...and so proud of you for doing so. I know how hard it is to pour your guts out, not to just a group of "safe" women, but to the whole world. You ARE beautiful. You are beautiful and inspire me to be better when ever I am with you. And that, in my opinion, is the most valuable asset to have in a friend.

ohmylanta said...

That's an amazing affirmation list. And while I was reading it I was thinking "Yes Yes you are" But that always seems so obvious to others now doesn't it? It's really an issue some of us place in our own minds. This post made me really think about what kinds of things I would include on my own affirmation list??? Really. If I had to dig deep into my issues of inadequacy - what would be at the very bottom. I mean the very bottom. So glad you shared. I think I need to spend more time reflecting. Yes ..... here I go. Off to reflect ;)

Melyni + Alma said...

You are amazing!! An inspiration to me. I have similar struggles too.
A friend posted a quote on fb today, "If we aren't atively working on the person we want to become, we are automatically becoming the person we don't want to be." (she didn't have an author to it)
But with both your post and her quote, I think I need to start working on me!
Thank you for sharing. Thank you for having the courage to do so. You are truely inspiring!
You ARE beautiful!!

Nana said...

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! In every way. Thank you for sharing something that is so personal but so much what I need to hear. Thank you for helping me decide that I need to focus on what I am and seeing and the good in me. you are amazing. I could be your mom but I look up to you, my dear. You are an inspiration. Love you!

Garry and Mindy said...

Thanks for sharing such personal things Lynsey! You are very brave. I've always thought you were very beautiful...but it doesn't matter what others think, but how you feel. I am starting to figure that out in my old age. :) Your family is so adorable! I miss you guys! Next time you come up to Utah we need to get together!!!

Clancypants said...

You and me, girl... we've got the same stuff going on. Similar journeys. Similar things. I've been in a self-discovery lull for a year or two and I feel like it's time to pick back up and push again, dig again, heal again. Times and seasons for everything. It's your time to heal. It's your time to discover your shine. And... it just so happens that by discovering your own shine, you teach other people to find theirs.
God bless you, precious. ♥

Kristen said...

I love you! I wish I could see you again one day! I just eat up this blog! I am so grateful for our time together in Jackson!! You are still one of my favorites! Love you Lynsey!