Nancy is the one with the big grin.
I was reading through her posts last night, leaving a bazillion comments, as I am loathed for doing, when I came across this one. It's about working on a puzzle with her two boys. The amazing thing is, it spoke volumes to me about me. Here is the part that really grabbed my attention:
After the puzzle was complete, Owen and I talked about our thinking process. We unpacked our thinking, and determined a few strategies that helped us be successful:
1) We figured out that straight-edges go on the outside edges.
2) We looked for like colors and patterns.
3) We did little bits when the big bits seemed like too much.
4) We asked for help when we needed it.
As Owen and I talked, I stated, "See how you can do hard things?" and "I like how you worked to meet your goals." I was trying to develop his sense of self-efficacy. Things in life aren't always going to be easy; having strategies when things get tough can be the difference between confidence and defeat.
I seriously cried when I read those words. I have been going through some soul-searching for quite a while now. It probably has something to do with being in my fifties, both my parents being dead, all but one of my children being grown and gone. That's what the books say anyway. But the truth is, I believe it's deeper than that. It's about disappointment with me. It's about not being who I want to be or even who I thought I was. It's about not achieving goals, not setting goals, making excuses, wanting do-overs and realizing there are no such things in this life. So, I have been reading and soul-searching and praying and doing the best I know how to do when it comes to figuring out what's next. How do I do the rest of what's left of my life in a way that feels on purpose and not just survival mode? Then I read Nancy's post.
The straight-edges go on the outside edges.
I'm setting my boundaries. Something I have rarely done throughout my life. I have not been good about setting them where other people are concerned and I have been horrible about setting them for myself. So, today I am picking through the pieces of my life and relationships to find those outside edges. Then I am putting them in place, stepping back and smiling at what I've done. I know they are there; I just have to find them, lock the pieces together and keep going.
We looked for like colors and patterns.
I have made some really poor choices in this area. I have sold myself short, again and again. Told myself I wasn't good enough, or smart enough, or thin enough for too many things. I have avoided people and places based on my own insecurities. I have looked down on others because I thought they were better than me. Yeah, read that one again because it may seem I meant it the other way around but I didn't. I have had opportunities to do some great things with great people and I turned it down. Why? Because of fear of not being enough. But I am enough. So, today I am going to look for those people and opportunities that are like the me I know I can be, am meant to be, am destined to be. No more excuses. No more fear. No more judging others. No more judging myself.
We did little bits when the big bits seemed like too much.
The big bits always seem like too much to me. I can easily focus on the big bits. So, today, I am focusing on the little bits. There are some HUGE bits in my life right now. Take my hips for instance. My piles of paper on my desk. My writing. I could go on and on but the bottom line is this: I am going to tackle each huge bit, one little bit at a time. I was a project manager. I understand time management, dividing the project into workable pieces and meeting the goal in a timely fashion. Come hell or high water. I was successful when I did it for a paycheck. This is so much more important this time. This time, the pay is a balanced life. My life. A life I can be comfortable in, not constantly squirming to find a place to hide.
We asked for help when we needed it.
I love this writer. They know how to ask for help.
Out of everything I read in Nancy's post, this was the hardest for me. I hate asking for help. I want to do it myself. Everything. Myself. Why? Because I am a control freak. Because everything I do is better than the way anyone else does it. Because I am afraid of needing people. Because I am a freak. Whatever the reasons, I need help and I am going to ask for it. This does not mean I need or want unsolicited advice. You know the kind where you tell me what to do then when I decide not to do it you get mad at me and won’t speak to me for a year. I am talking about the kind of help that really helps me be a better me by accepting help from those people that are better than I am at certain things. Lots of things. So, I will ask. It won’t be easy but I will.
I really want to be able to say to myself one day soon, "See how you can do hard things?"
What hard things are you doing today?