Archive for personal development

self esteem and re-establishing self worth
Emerging from Broken

Being survivors of sexual abuse, domestic violence, religious abuse or psychological abuse has a lasting effect on us. One of the worst consequences is that our value has been falsely defined by others. We are told who we are and who we should be. Over time we are conditioned to accept that we don’t deserve as much as others; we don’t feel like we are “as good” as others and we don’t know how to grow our own healthy self esteem. The building blocks for self esteem and self worth were taken from us, often when we were children. Abuse robs us of innocence and the ability to progress to maturity in a healthy way and since we are conditioned to somehow accept that the abuse is something we deserved or caused, we don’t look at ourselves with clear vision.

In my case I constantly tried to fix me and when others were having a bad day I thought I should fix that too. In any relationship problem in my life, I took responsibility for the repair of it. I took the blame for the breakdown of it too. This didn’t always look like I agreed that it was my fault, but I was willing to believe that I was too sensitive, too demanding, too controlling, too needy and too unreasonable, and I was willing to adjust my expectations accordingly. Usually that still meant that I was willing to take less than I deserved and take way less than I was willing to contribute to a relationship.  The problem was that I was always the one doing the adjusting. That came from the conditioning and the belief system that I adopted as a result of being devalued. I had grown up believing that I was not as important, not as valuable as others and I was used to it. I was used to trying to make someone else happy and I believed that if I complied that I would be safer. It never occurred to me that the abuse was not something I  caused OR deserved so I still believed that being what someone else wanted was where I would be accepted and loved and the truth is that I was never once loved for being who someone else wanted. It was as though they demanded I be who they wanted me to be and then they resented me for being so compliant and in order to feel good about themselves again, they demanded me to change more.  I was so used to jumping through these hoops that I kept trying to comply and the cycle just continued; the fog got thicker and I had trouble seeing what was really going on. My self esteem got worse all the time, but until I realized the root of the problem, there was no real lasting recovery.

I had to get to the bottom of the truth before I could discover who I really am and find my value for myself. This began with me realizing that I had always been at the bottom of the value barrel in my family of origin, in my husband’s family and then it was even happening in my marriage family, with my husband and kids. I was so used to having less value that I accepted and even expected to have less value. I accepted it as the truth.

 I had to decide that I was worth more, that I was worth saving and that I deserved equal value. And then I had to realize that it was up to me to take my value back; to take back the value and self worth that had been taken from me. I am not suggesting that this was easy, or that all I had to do was decide to do it. I had to go deep into the heart of what I believed about myself, and realize that my beliefs were taught to me by abusers and controllers and that most of my beliefs about myself were not given to me by people who loved me in the true definition of love. I was able to grow up my self esteem when I realized where the damage to it came from and righted those wrong beliefs. I had to realize that no one, not parent, friend, lover or therapist, was going to be able to establish my worth for me. They can help along the way, but no one’s approval is going to make me okay unless I believe I am okay, but it was only because I realized how ripped off I had been by the adults in my life, that I was able to take responsibility for my recovery and begin to emerge from broken!

If you believe you aren’t worth it, nothing will convince you to treat yourself otherwise.  

Darlene Ouimet

Categories : Survival
Comments (14)

In “Cutting Ropes and Sailing Free” I described the roots of my recent depression and the process I was going through to break free. I wouldn’t have had the strength to cut ropes unless I let myself feel what it was I truly desired.

I was born with sails. The ropes that I attached to other ships happened out of necessity, out of a need to stay safe, to stay afloat, to not be abandoned. The belief systems I inherited from my parents, from the church I grew up in, from other survivors notched so many conflicting beliefs into those ropes stretched out to one ship and another. I believed I shouldn’t shine too bright. I believed I had to be happy or successful so other people wouldn’t be disappointed in me. I believed my ship was inferior to others. I believed I needed others to make decisions for me because I couldn’t make my own (good enough). I believed it was selfish to set sail and go after what it was I really wanted…

As I got older, another coping method formed. I chose certain ships to follow. I knew that I wanted to sail and leave the harbor. But I didn’t know how to do it on my own. So I set my sights on one ship than another, trying to live my life just the same as them. I even did this with characters in books I read, people on TV, in movies, as well as the real people in my life. The open seas were too terrifying to sail all on my own. I believed if I could step in the exact steps of others, I could get a piece of the same fulfillment that they had. If I couldn’t feast for myself, I would settle for crumbs from their feast… But, this isn’t how it works for us. The fulfillment I enjoyed was superficial and the crumbs only bore frustration.

I have that unique lantern burning deep within me that holds all the stuff I need to sail my own ship. My desire dwells here. My Mom recently contributed her very honest story of how she wanted to “get into my skin” when I was younger and live my life for me better than she thought I was living it myself. Her belief system about happiness was skewed. In a way, she truthfully saw my capabilities and my gifts and she wanted me to take full advantage of them. But her plan of helping me become truly happy was coming at the process from the wrong angle. The roots of the process of happiness start with validating that burning lantern deep within us. It doesn’t begin with the appearance of our ship, how it is better than other people’s, how fast it is or how pretty. It doesn’t begin with having perfect destinations in place to sail to in a certain time-line (church, accomplishments, early marriage and plenty of children…) The belief system my Mom was trapped in neglected that burning lantern. My Mom bought me dolls to play with, taught me home-maker duties. When I was little, I loved to pretend that I was a business woman coming home from a busy day at work. I pretended I was serving coffee up and down our driveway, pouring water from a watering pot! I loved playing store, counting the money, adding things up on the adding machine. These things that I loved to do spontaneously were coming from that unique burning lantern deep within. These things reflected my true desires. Even deeper beneath these activities was the fundamental desire to love and be loved for who I uniquely was.

After a lifetime of not trusting these desires or paying attention to them, it felt very difficult at first to see them and believe in them. It’s like trying to see the vibrant life and colorful rocks at the bottom of a murky, muddy lagoon.  It takes time. But learning to pay attention, to focus my eyes differently, to keep asking myself “what is it you truly desire?” is the process that has connected me to that burning lantern and fuels my own amazing journey. It was the process that gave me confidence to pursue counseling in the first place. In that process is the key to my true happiness. Harnessing its power frees me to furl those sails and gives me the courage and hope to cut away the ropes that I no longer need.


We have what it takes to sail our unique journeys!

~Love, Carla

Categories : Self Esteem
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May
18

The Nature of Personal Growth

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There is beauty of all kinds in each stage of our growth.  Whether we are courageously turning towards our pain or celebrating a truth that has sunk that much deeper, our personal growth happens uniquely and surely through all the ins and outs of our path. All these ins and outs serve us as we move through them, empowering us along our way, giving light for the next step before us. Ins and outs such as…

Confusion~ Our hungry hearts feel lost, frightened, hopeless yet hoping… We are drawn to sort through our realities to find the answers. We feel the angst of not knowing but we also feel that there is an answer we can find…

Rest~ To grow at one speed all the time would exhaust us. Here and there we take a breath, draw from self-compassion, be gracious with ourselves and say, “It’s okay. I can rest for awhile and no ground will be lost.”

Anger~ This surge of feeling that says, “This or that is not right.” It’s a profound knowing that things were not as they should have been.  We allow ourselves to feel ripped off. Sometimes anger gets stored up for a long time and surprises/scares us when we first let it have some space. The more we honor it,  the more we will be able to understand where it comes from and we can let it pass through.

Fear~ Because we don’t know everything… The journey is a “one step at a time” thing into brand new territory. We don’t have previous experience, so how can we know exactly what to expect? Fear is always one of the doorways at the threshold to a new phase of growth.

Joy~ A deep re-awakening of our worth and value that we never knew before or had lost along the way. A bubbling kind of peace that feels light and deeply satisfying at the same time… That unstoppable feeling that works its way to the place between our ears and our cheeks and urges a smile.

Excitement~ which may feel uncomfortable and freak us out! I have long been wary, doubtful and afraid of my excitement because I had never learned how good it actually was. I doubted so much about myself that I often linked excitement to some kind of selfishness or a misguided way to make myself more important than I really was. I had learned to “temper” my excitement so that it wouldn’t intimidate others or get me “carried away”. As we heal, excitement is reborn. It’s a whole new energy inside, connected to our purpose, that celebrates what is happening and looks forward to what will come.

Disappointment~ Because nothing is ever perfect. Disappointment is something we pass through. It’s normal. Without letting it evolve into guilt, shame or beating ourselves up, disappointment can help us become more successful at getting what we really want next time.

Observation~ of ourselves, of how things “work”, of how far we have come. Observation means I don’t have to figure it all out at once. I can let my eyes do some work for me and let time sort out the puzzle pieces as they come into focus.

Action~ For when we feel ready or sometimes just before we feel ready… We put shoes on our new truth. We want to try it out, test it out, go somewhere with it, build new and fulfilling things on our new foundation. Our new understandings on the inside take shape on the outside. Action works best from the inside out.

Patience~ Truth plants the seeds in our souls. Sometimes these seeds blossom quickly. Others require more time to take root and flourish. There are no rules or timelines when it comes to our growth. Each of us will own a unique story.

To you as you move along your journey. Please feel free to expand on my list from your own experience!

~Carla~

Categories : Self Esteem
Comments (9)
May
11

Pain in the Process of Recovery

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And a woman spoke, saying, ‘Tell us of Pain.’ And he said: Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain….” ~ Kahlil Gibran

"Glass Art" by Robert Kraft

We are learning to struggle well.  Our desire speaks to us of a new place, a place we have belonged all along but for so long believed we didn’t… Wholeness.  A place of validity, entirety, freedom, fulfillment, excitement, promise, purpose.

People and events told us we didn’t belong in this place, we didn’t deserve to go there, we weren’t good enough for it, we had to work harder to earn the right to be there. We got broken. And then we got tangled up in trying so hard to make ourselves “righter”, make ourselves more worthy so we could get there. We got sidetracked on our way in all kinds of other places that promised peace but only delivered disappointment and anxiety. We doubted ourselves. We questioned if we should keep trying to get there…But continually burning deep deep down inside, we knew that we belonged there; we wanted to belong there… Even if at first all we heard was a whisper, a longing, a puzzled feeling, the “click” of a moment when we realized, “hey, this and this and this that I’ve believed all along about myself doesn’t really make sense…”

A dawning starts to happen.  And the light draws us toward it. The warmth we feel says, “Yes, this is the right direction. You do belong here. You are stepping in the right tracks.”

The tracks are not always easy. Some feel very painful.

Pain feels like something is wrong, and if something feels wrong our old belief system tells us that we are wrong. We try to avoid the pain because of this misconception, one we have suffered under for so long. We avoid the pain because we are afraid that it will tell us that we really are mistakes after all… But now we see the misconception for what it is. We connect with the new truth about ourselves that is gaining life deep down inside. We see the lies woven into the misconception that fuels our fear and we decide that we don’t want to agree with those lies anymore.

Pain invites us to look deeper, to look through. It is not telling us that we are wrong, just that something is wrong. It draws our hands to feel around us, to feel at what confines us. It draws us to open more windows, to let in more light here, then more light there, so we can see more clearly, bit by bit. It says to us with matter-of-fact assurance, “I can’t leave until you really pay attention to me.” It wasn’t our brokenness that was the problem; the real problem was what caused the brokenness. And what caused the brokenness was not of our making.

We work to understand this. We peel back the layers of our past, we uncover the lies that were whispered or shouted to us. We learn the truth. We realize that all the work we have done to earn our worthiness, the crawling and striving we have done towards feigned acceptance, was not required of us. It was work done for other people’s benefit, not our own. We feel the pain of being deceived, of being discounted, being taken advantage of.   We feel the pain of disbelief, of sorrow and grief. And sometimes after we have gotten to this new place of wholeness, we feel the pain of learning. We feel uncomfortable because it is so new. We sometimes still slip into those redeemable ruts. And we are invited into one journey after another of rebirth.

Our pain is a corridor. A place of deep movement towards where we truly belong. It is the breaking with the past, the hope of new growth and new life, the acceptance of reality all rolled into one. It is part of the process that helps us to keep moving forward.

Courage and love to you on your journey…

~Carla~

Categories : Freedom & Wholeness
Comments (18)

control freak parents

Let go of the Reins

Why do adult children find it so hard to ignore the opinion of a parent?

When I was pregnant with my third child, my husband and I went over to his parents to tell them our exciting news but my father in law was not excited for us. He was angry. He didn’t say anything positive; in fact he stayed strangely quiet. My mother in law didn’t say too much either but I got the feeling that it had something to do with her husband’s reaction.

The next day, my father in law dropped by to see us and said that his wife had told him that his reaction to our news was not fair to us and that he should apologize. He launched into his “I’m sorry but it’s just that …” and then he proceeded to tell us all his judgements about us having a third child, and why this was such a terrible idea. He didn’t bother to hide his opinion that it was my fault and entirely my decision; as though my husband was a victim of a surprise pregnancy or as though he was not a participant in the event that got me pregnant!  Even though I was 36 years old at the time and both my husband and I were excited about this new child coming and we had never made the decision to stop at two children, we didn’t stand up to my father in law. We pretty much both just sat there and took it. We didn’t say that it was none of his business. It didn’t occur to us that he was actually insinuating that we were not smart enough, mature enough or responsible enough to decide on our own how many children we could or should have and that as always, he was reminding my husband that he should never make a decision without his father’s approval.

The bottom line is that it was not his decision, nor was it his place to give his opinion of why we should stop having children, but at some level we thought it would be disrespectful to go against him. The thing is though, what was our alternative? I was pregnant. We were in a no win situation. We were having a baby with or without his approval. The whole thing just hurt.

So again, why do adult children find it so hard to ignore the opinion of a parent? Why didn’t my husband tell his father to mind his own business about how many babies we were going to have? Why did we just sit there and listen to him go on and on? Why did we let him communicate to us that we were not smart enough to decide on our own how many kids we could or should have? Well for one thing our definition of respect was skewed.

The only reason he didn’t want us to have any more kids was because it interfered with his plans for my husband. My husband was his father’s hired man even though we had our own farm. Having children interfered with my husband’s work hours. So who was it really “best” for if we didn’t have any more kids? It had nothing to do with my husband and I. Growing up, our parents had not empowered us to transition from child to independent adult.  We had rarely been validated in our decisions. We were never approved of and were caught in the spin of always seeking approval; always trying to please. Therefore when we got a lecture about why we should not have another baby, we were well conditioned to accept judgement and reprimand. We have a different definition of respect today and we strive not to pass the old family systems on to our children.

Just another truth I discovered along the journey.

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

 

Categories : Family
Comments (91)
May
01

What I Needed to Know

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What was it that I needed to know? What was the “it” that I had been seeking for, hungering for, all those years? What was it that I was born desiring, born fully open to and able to receive but left wanting?

 

On a bridge in Victoria BC

Deep inside me, every second of every day of my life, there dwells a beauty.  A real person, a human being. She is sensitive but determined. She is curious, investigative, and thorough. She is creative, deep, resourceful. She goes through fears, questions, doubts. She finds the answers she wants. She has dreams! She has goals. She has desires that are good. She loves to cook and serve delicious food to her friends. She loves to make music. She loves to sun soak and walk and go crazy on the dance floor. She cares about people and loves to write because she wants her story to help others. She loves, and she is loved. She has stopped off to one side of her path many times but has always gotten back to her feet and followed her heart, a heart that tugs her forward, forward, forward. She loves adventure and having fun. She is passionate to live out her full potential. She is willing to learn. She is generous. She is a valiant truth seeker. She is classy…

This is me. Please substitute your own words for yourself if you would like… Deep inside each of us is one unique expression of what it is to be human.  This expression is complete within every person, whether it is uncovered or not.

First, I needed to know that my hungry heart was okay. I needed to know that what I felt was lacking really was lacking. It was not my imagination. My hungry heart was not selfish or self-centered. It was hungry. Hungry happens for a reason. I needed to know that the circumstances in my childhood that created that hunger were wrong. I needed to know that it was not okay to be emotionally neglected by my Dad. I needed to know that it was good for me to be angry about that (Darlene explores this topic further in her post “Anger at Parents~ A Pathway on the Journey to Freedom“). I needed to know that a person who is hungry will try to satisfy or stop their hunger with lots of different things- accomplishments, boyfriends, addictions, depression, the approval of others. I needed to know that it was okay that I tried to fix my hunger with these things, that it made sense.  I needed to know that I was so much more than my ways of coping. I was not simply possessive, jealous, depressed, needy, angry or insecure. I used these things to try and solve my problem- they just didn’t work.

When I knew all these truths, I became free to know my real self . Underneath all the things I used to cope was the real me, the Carla who I had all my life been so hungry to know and so hungry to share with others. In affirming that she was real and that she was good, I became confident to meet her and embrace her fully as myself. I could stop striving to “manage” or fix all these different parts of her, hiding parts from certain people or embellishing other parts for other people. In knowing that ALL of Carla was okay and that all parts were necessary, I could start on the kind of journey I had dreamed of my whole life, with my whole self on board. All of me is now in one place. I know now that I am worth knowing, worth exploring. With this new belief at my foundations, I can now give myself what was lacking before. I have the freedom and the power to celebrate now what was not fully celebrated in my past. I take up the task of protecting, accepting, nourishing and teaching my whole self to thrive and flourish as I was meant to all along.  All these things are what I needed to know, all parts of one big truth, one big vibrant picture.

Categories : Self Esteem
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Sun breaks through over a Canmore mountain

A belief system that says, “I am a nobody, I can’t do anything right, I’m just stupid” wreaks havoc in a few different ways. I believe we were born with an unconscious sense of our own value; deep down, in each of us, there “dwells a beauty”, a person who is loved and can love. But trying to function with a totally opposite belief system creates a swirling, anxious situation inside, as if two rivers are colliding head on into one another and the water is all confused. In my last three posts (1, 2, 3), I’ve been describing my Dad’s belief system and how it was passively handed down to me as a child. His belief system also created havoc in my family, just not the really obvious easy-to-see kind.

Someone with a “I’m a nobody” belief system still wants to be valued, because they are human. Because my Dad didn’t value himself he sought to find his value in other ways. One of these ways was to put a lot of responsibility on his family to do the work of his own failing self-esteem. He believed that he was loved if his wife cooked and cleaned and took good care of him. He believed he was loved if we didn’t say a mean word towards him or be upset with him in any way whatsoever. If he put himself down, we would disagree with him and try to tell him that the opposite was true. Because he didn’t communicate his thoughts and feelings, my Mom, brother and I were forced to try and read his mind. If he was in a bad mood we ALL could tell- we became so skilled at reading his subtle signs and passive communications at the expense of learning to communicate for ourselves. If we sensed he was upset, we would do the work to try and make things better. Though my Mom would try and encourage better communication, he was so extremely uncomfortable and uptight about trying that things would end up more anxious than before. He was the passive King in our home and we learned to treat him with kid gloves. In living this way, my brother and I learned that love was all these things. Love meant compensating for someone else’s poor self esteem. Love meant not making the other person upset. As children who did not know this was so backwards, it also meant sacrificing our own needs to be built up and paid attention to in order to build up our parent. So the cycle continued. My brother and I grew up with this huge sense of lacking and low self-esteem of our own. We naturally lived to please other people. And all the while, the pain was brewing deep inside.

The last five years have been a process of seeing these things as the truth of my story. In learning the truth that all these subtle “leeching” dynamics between a parent and his children can have just as much damage as more physical or obvious kinds of abuse, I was exposed to a whole new world. I learned that these things were not my fault. I learned that my depression and anxiety has definite reasons and weren’t just symptoms of a messed up person.

Of my two parents, my Dad’s belief system had the most impact on me. Deep down I believed I was a “nobody” as well and I relied on other people to tell me that this wasn’t true. This wreaked havoc in its own kind of way, testing relationships and causing me to miss out on great opportunities that I felt I just wasn’t worthy of. As an adult, the responsibility to live differently is now in my own hands. Now that I know that this belief system is not my real inheritance, not the one I was meant to have, I can choose to embrace a new one. I can choose which river to follow. Today I am working to change my belief system. Today I take on the primary responsibility of nourishing my own self-esteem.  Today I am taking another step into freedom and living in the truth.

~Carla~

Categories : Father Daughter
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Mar
28

Valued Because…

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We are born valuable but vulnerable. We have this inherent sense of value for ourselves. As babies, when we were in pain, we cried. When we were hungry, we cried. When we were uncomfortable, we cried. We cried because there was no thought or experience that disconnected us from the truth of our value. We knew what we needed and had no reason to fear asking for it. We also laughed when we thought something was funny or stimulating. Pleasure, happiness, didn’t require a labyrinth of justification. Our value wasn’t something we knew in our heads. It was something we just knew.

A wise friend once told me that our home life does not define our value, but models it. God has already defined my value for me (no one on earth can actually do this) but the purpose of a home, a family, is to treat each other as the valuable people that we are. It’s a valuing that respects the value that already exists. It models respect for my unique abilities, passions, dreams, and obstacles.

My home life was very predictable, very “secure”, very normal. My parents tried to do everything the right way. We went to church, did family devotions, did chores, got allowance, were disciplined for misbehaving. But… something was missing. My whole life I have questioned my value, never felt like my own feelings and thoughts were really good enough, have struggled to even know what my own thoughts and feelings were!

I was not taken advantage of sexually or physically, but I was valued for the wrong things.  The real Carla was not valued or engaged with, not asked “do you like this? Do you not like this? What do you think about this? How did that make you feel?” She was told to be good and was valued for being good. She was applauded for being right more than she was for being herself. So, I was a very good child and decided to continue being very good throughout my life so that I would continue to be treated as valuable. The church loved a good girl, as did the private school I graduated from. I sweat blood and tears to be good and right in order to be valued.

Today it is my quest to be the real Carla, the Carla not boxed in or confined by the labels of “good and right.” Somedays it still feels like a very wobbly path because I get my value mixed up with these old skewed definitions. It sometimes feels foreign and uncertain to know and trust my own real feelings because for so long I have tempered them with what is intellectually “good and right.” But our souls can be nurtured back to life. The seeds that have been dormant for years are still there inside of us. With some loving work and nurturing, they will grow.  It is happening day by day, re-bridging the gap between what is really true and what I deeply know to be true about me.

Categories : Family
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Mar
24

And After the Struggle

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(continued on from my previous post, Beauty and Power in the Struggle)

And after the struggle, I am gifted with a stronger sense of the truth about myself. What I doubted so fiercely in the “tug” has gone through a refining process… like the juice squeezing out of a lemon or a bubbling sauce on the stove reduced to thick deliciousness or rich coffee swirling up from the pressure of a coffee press…  Belief emerges on the other side, a bit clearer, a bit brighter, a bit more sure, more real. My effort, my decision to pay attention, to listen for the truth and to believe it, has produced another drop of my purified “identity” essence, created a clearer reflection of my true self for my own eyes to see.

To have this end result in my hands is gold, a treasure that can absolutely never be taken from me. It wasn’t forced upon me or slapped together in make-shift impatience. It was created, brought forth from my very own self, my own pain, my own labor, my own process of acceptance.

I rest and marvel at what has just happened… I feel at peace. I have proven something to myself, that in the intensity of the struggle, I have embraced what is true. I have presented myself with flawless evidence that I do have what it takes for this journey. My heart is good; it ultimately wants what is good; it is able to choose what is true.

It used to be necessary for me to ask someone else to take my hands and place them on the “truth” rope…  I do not judge myself for this; I had no practice in the better way. I had survived on other people’s help, on other people doing for me what I didn’t believe I could do myself. I will sometimes need this kind of help at certain points along my journey; sometimes is different than always…

But oh the joy in finding the ability to be able to do this for myself…

I do believe there’s a “blog party” going on around here… Truth gleaning after a struggle is one of my favorite times to celebrate, so I think I’m in the right place.  If you have any post-struggle “truth treasures” of your own, please feel free to share them here so we can celebrate with you too!

Love Carla

Categories : Self Esteem
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Mar
20

Beauty and Power in the Struggle

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In growing past striving and pursuing a life of thriving (flying), struggle takes on a whole new meaning. Laboring under what is not true, trying to be perfect, acting only to please other people- these are tiresome and fruitless struggles. But the struggle to grow, to change and embrace what is true, this kind of struggle is what helps me move forward. Even though some days I just want to be “done”, (finished!), no living thing on earth ever is… And my soul’s true DNA is not interested in being a plastic houseplant.

Struggle is painful. Sounds like “tug” to me… There’s a feeling of being pulled in two directions, one back towards the old way and one forward into the new way. I am stretched for this moment of time, during which some life-force, life-changing things happen. I have this vision in mind and I face myself towards it. I am, at the same time, encountering my fears and also gathering up what I need to get to my vision. The fear lives to protect the old way: “You won’t be safe in the unknown. You might fail. Maybe this isn’t really ‘you’ anyways.” The gathering up of what I need is the truth (always present): “This and this and this is what is really true, Carla. This is what you really want. This is who you really are. This is what is ultimately best for you.”

For a time I am held in this uncertainty, confusion and clarity all at once. Sometimes the old way still wins… (but there’s always second chances, glorious second chances!) The farther I come along my path, the more opportunities I take to grasp on to the truth, the forward pulling rope.  I move a bit further ahead. Guaranteed, as long as my beating heart is on this earth with a desire to thrive, I will engage in struggles to greater and lesser degrees along the way. Accepting this is so freeing for me. To struggle does not mean I am not whole. Interacting with my struggles means I am growing in wholeness.

When it comes to struggling in the process of fulfilling a vision, my Mom is an inspiration to me. She has been learning how to make pottery over the past few months, a dream she has had for long time.  I never knew how much work pottery was until now. She has spent hours in learning  the art of making a bowl.  Before she could make big bowls, she had to master making small ones. Now she can make all kinds of amazing things. But the process and the struggle to make her vision reality never ends. She attempts her visions again and again. Sometimes the clay gets thrown away. Sometimes the glazing comes out unexpectedly. Sometimes something she thought would be a flop turns out to be her favorite piece… Sometimes a bowl turns into a plate or a mug instead. But for the love of what she’s doing and the joy she finds in her creations, she continues to engage in the process and the struggle.

There is a beauty and power in the struggle. Engaging in it when I need to is my opportunity to grow. Deciding to grasp on to the truth rope gets easier the next time, and the next. This struggle thing is really the magic happening deep down in my soil, that buzz that sparks new things to grow and flourish, the life force that can take what has died and make it into something new.

~Carla~

Categories : Self Esteem
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