Being self-confident is hard. I grew up in a culture that treated Women’s bodies as objects. Objects of men’s desires; Objects in need of change: Change in size, Change to be fashionable and contort my body to fit into current trends. Women’s bodies were objects That had to be managed In how we moved, How we behaved, How we led our lives And presented ourselves To the outside world, And how we treated our bodies In private when no one was looking. It is hard to be self-confident When society bombards you With messages that you are not enough, You are falling short and failing To an unrealistic standard. (And who set up this system to begin with?) I find my self-confidence gets easier the older I get. Life experience and the inherent lessons that come with age have taught me that acceptance is present and available Only I hold the key to what is possible. My reflection in the mirror is unique. It is mine alone. And I choose to love who I see in the mirror. I choose to remind myself that these negative messages do not reflect who I truly am. I choose love. Today and this day forward, I choose to treat my mind, body and spirit With gentle, loving acceptance.
The great life lesson was unknown to me As it was happening in the moment. It took many years of trial and error and trying on another’s ideas or practices into my own life. Some practices resonated deeply with me. Others I tried in vain to make work Unwilling to feel like a failure As I set out to try it yet again. Setting high unrealistic expectations then wondering and strengthening my own perceived shortcomings. It is natural and normal To try things on for size To see if it is a fit. It’s also natural and normal To try to make things work, To try again and again. As I’ve matured I finally learned The greatest lesson: That it is natural and normal To let it go; To thank it For not fitting quite right And to be on the lookout For a better fit. For a practice to truly stick It has to be modified And incorporated into every day life. If it sits on a shelf Or stays tucked away neatly In a notebook, Never to be visited again For months or years, It is just wishful thinking. Of course, we can feel like a failure But it wasn’t the right fit. It’s okay to dabble, To take just one piece And add it to your toolbelt If it works and Adds value to daily life. The final lesson of all is that It’s up to me to find my own fulfillment. I can try things on for size But I am in the driver seat. I can pick and choose And let the rest go.
How can I have a more relaxed morning? I feel it is a frame of mind. I can choose to say, “I’m late!” and all the angst that follows. Or I can just say, “I’m doing the best I can. I got this!” And I usually then feel less hurried.
My morning commutes used to be highly stressful. Then I realized the main source of my stress occurred when I was traveling in the high-speed lane. As soon as I got over to the travel lane, I relaxed my grip on the steering wheel. My shoulders relaxed a bit. I took a few deep breaths. Now I hardly use the high-speed lane when I’m driving to work. I only will on the rare occasion when I have to pass another car. And guess what? I get to work on time!
I always seem to get there on time.
I don’t obsessively check the clock in my car during my commute. It doesn’t matter what it says. I’ll get there when I get there. And thank the stars I always do.
There’s a lot of road rage: angry, stressed, frazzled energy that crosses my path. I could choose to feel the tension boiling beneath the surface where you don’t want to be the recipient on the tail end when I lash out. I could charge full speed ahead in line with that energy or brazenly be “Me first!” with the tailgating and high emotions that follows.
Or I can choose to stay on my path: Just traveling. Passing through.
We all have the same want: to get to our destination safely. No one wants to get hurt.
How I react sets me up for good or bad. Is it worth saving a few more seconds?
The hardest part for me is being a passenger and relinquishing my need to be in control. I notice that at times I press my foot down on an imaginary brake when I think my husband is driving too close to a car in front of us. Over the years, my husband and I tend to only have arguments when we’re on the road. I judge his speed and length between cars. I am unable to relax and be present. All we want is to have a good conversation while we travel.
I can choose what to focus on. I can choose connection or outside factors beyond my control. I want to let go of my need to be in the driver’s seat. I want to make peace with the fact that I can’t control what other people on the road doing at that moment. Only I can decide how I want to interpret my thoughts and feel my emotions.
What would you choose?