Thursday, September 18, 2014

How to become confident...& why it matters

There is a huge misconception about what it means to be confident.
Because I'm a woman, this is going to be from a female perspective, but bear in mind it goes both ways.
When you hear someone say they are confident, what immediately comes to mind? That's what I thought. You judged them. This image of a girl sitting in her bathroom sink, wearing nothing but a tiara as she puckers her lips and bats her eyelashes came to mind.
Here's the problem. This is your insecurity, not their confidence being an issue. I can promise you one thing. Any woman that is confident doesn't have the time to stand in front of a mirror and bat her eyes. Sit on that one for a sec.
Did hoards of sexy selfies come to mind? Yep, those women are seeking approval. There's nothing wrong with this, Heck I've done it too. So, from a girl whose been there, I can say this honestly. The need for acceptance and compliments demonstrates a lack of self confidence. The scale varies from woman to woman, but yes, it is there.
Now, I may not be the MOST confident woman in the world, but I've definitely axed my biggest insecurities as of late. Let me first tell you how, then why it was important, and finally the benefits of this newfound quality. Before I got married, I got into the best shape of my life. I was lookin reaaaaaaaal fine, tightly toned, my smallest size, rocking a bikini everywhere. However, during this time I tended to be more of the selfie taker. I fished for compliments more. Even if I felt like I was having a good hair day, I needed others to tell me it too. I spent so much time basing my mood off of what others thought about me, that I was dying by their rejection. Okay, that was dramatic, but you get the picture. It took me a while, but incrementally I started to change the way I saw myself. If people weren't going to notice my hair, or my cute little bum, with me shoving it in their face, then it really served no purpose shoving it in their face. And, the only person I really care to look good for is my husband. Granted, I'm a girl, and lookin cute in a room full of girls is still a temptation for me, I don't let it control me.
The big change took place when I got pregnant. Hot body went to hell. And I gave birth to the most beautiful creature ever. (She's really a tyrant, but shh. Don't tell her) my recovery was so dang difficult that I was laid out for 3 weeks and not allowed to exercise for 8. I am not a complainer, especially about pain. If I say I am hurting, I am in God awful pain!! Its amazing how long (ten years) you can work on your muscle and how quickly (two months) it can all disappear.
Anyway, with so much on my plate as a new Mom, and a working mom, I had so little time for grooming regimens. Seriously. We are talking once a week hair washing, once a month shaving, No makeup, hair in puke dread locks, clothes stained with puke, and just puke everywhere. It was awesome. And rejuvenating. I've never worried less about my appearance, and yet I've never felt so in control of myself.
This is very important for women to realize, and I wish there was a way for them to realize it sooner. To be frank, girls don't get all primped to catch a guy's attention. No. They get dazzled to be prettier than all the other girls. It's the truth! Why? Because we are in a cycle of self-conscious smack downs. We are insecure as a female race.
It is okay to have a few flaws. That is normal. Part of being confident is being okay with these flaws. This is where we go back to the beginning when I asked you what you thought about people who say, "I'm just confident." The real meaning behind this is as follows:
A confident person knows what they have and what they don't.
A confident person knows what they can do and what they can't.
A confident person is happy regardless.
Here is my example.
I know I have a petite body. (I was born that way. Haters gonna wish I will someday blow up into a size 15. That will never happen. Sorry.)
I do not have long, lithe legs. ( I am five feet tall.)
I know I can sing okay, write okay, play the piano, hit a volleyball, sketch, do hair, and dance. (I'm very artistic~ good genes I guess)
I cannot add, do anything that has to do with chemistry, slalom waterski, play any sport that involves swinging at a projectile orb, or sleep good at night.
That's just a few, but the point is in regard to these things, I live a fairly happy life. I am a confident person. Do I stare at myself 24/7 and think, Dayemgurl!
Do I wallow in pity because I have cellulite?
Maybe sometimes.
No, I get up and do some yoga and understand I will never be 6 feet tall...and I will ALWAYS have to work on my figure because of my metabolism. (Squat=muscle=strength =power! )
Am I Mariah Carey? Not even close. But I can carry a tune alright. 
For the life of me, I cannot golf. I'm the world's worst golfer. That I can officially brag about. Where's my trophy?
What I'm getting at is it is okay to know yourself. This is a content, confident person. This is what we should all strive to be. A woman who knows herself inside and out, and only compares herself to who she was yesterday. You find more inner peace, and struggle less with the competition of facing your peers. You will be more happy.

This is why it is SO important to find an inner confidence, not at all the same thing as being perfect, because be true with yourself. How unhappy are people that are obsessed with their negative attributes?  Or obsessed with other people's? Which is a huge flaw in and of itself. When you find an inner peace, a self-assurity, you live a more fulfilling life. You will not only be more patient and happy with yourself, but with other people and their shortcomings. It is a cycle of success.

This is NOT to be confused with self-absorbed or conceited behavior. A self-absorbed person is more than likely depressed and has low self-esteem. If you don't know what conceited means, look it up in the dictionary. It might be next to taking too many selfies  jk. But really. There is nothing wrong with being confident, and no it does not mean you are automatically stuck up. In fact the two RARELY cross paths. Ponder that. Happy people don't need approval.

The most confident people I admire aren't necessarily the world's version of beautiful or skinny or talented, but to me they embody absolute peace of mind and self satisfaction. They may gain a few pounds here or there, or cry because someone honked at them on the road, but all in all they lead a life of joy. Ever since I realized this, I've strived so very hard to be it. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of things that drive me crazy about myself at times. Totally normal. Some are physical, some are mental. To be blunt, the majority of mine are not physical. ..What matters is I don't let them pilot my happy plane.

You'd be surprised how many clients sit in my chair at the salon with a picture of Jennifer Aniston in their hand and say, "I wanna look just like her."

Fabulous. May I suggest a plastic surgeon?
I tear off the portion of the picture below the bust, cover Jen's face with a thumb, and say, "This is what I can do for you today, minus the windblown still shot affect. Is that ok? "
I try so very hard to make people feel good about themselves, while straddling the fence of helping them also be happy with who they are.

In conclusion, I'd just like to forewarn you. Unhappy people really don't like happy people. It sucks. So when you acquire this new and beloved self confidence, beware of the hidden demon in all of your jealous friends. I've seen the ugly green face of an envious woman many, many times, and that is not to brag. Girls don't envy my voice, (I repeat, I am no Mariah Carey) but they envy my ability to fearlessly get on a stage and sing. They don't envy my looks. They envy the fact that I go out in a pony tail and makeup free face...and don't get treated any differently!~sometimes even hit on~ I don't have a gym membership. Pregnancy also gave birth to varicose veins. I have horrible sun scarring. I'm way too vain about my teeth to barf up all my food. I joke about needing botox. ..never had it. Weightloss supplements freak me out. I haven't colored my hair in over a year. (I'd like an applause for that)  And I'm working on being meek and humble, which always pisses someone off. They be like, "oh, so you think you're so naturally beautiful, you don't need make up? !" Wait...what the?

Bottom line: people are lame. Just joking. Sort of. I'm lame too, for saying that. But really the lame thing is how lame people are about happy people.

 I am a confident person and people with low self esteem tend to find that irksome. I want women to know that they should not be afraid of their talents, or their lack thereof. They should also not be afraid of losing friendships because of the happiness find.
Sidenote: miserable people are toxic. Back away slowly...
It's kinda silly and backwards, how we as a society punish the successful and proud and merry. When in reality, it is just because they have what we don't. I can say that from my heart, because I have come to terms with the fact that the only time I really harbored a bad feeling towards someone was when I was jealous deep down. You'll realize that too, one day, when you find your inner confidence 
Women, be happy with who you are. God has graced you with many abilities. Magnify those and forget trying to be someone you're not.
"No amount of physical change can cover up insecurity."
By Brittany Shannon

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Love Languages: How do you speak love?

I've written an article on love languages once before, where I specifically discussed Gift Giving (which is mine). Today I'd like to talk more about Words.
For those of you who have read the book on the Five Love Languages, you already know what they are. For those that haven't, I'll briefly tell you the Five categories:
*gift giving
Most people are a combination of several, however, there is usually one that means the most to you. To figure how how you show love, think about your favorite way to receive it. Normally you have a tendency to do one of the Five on a regular basis when trying to show love. This is because it is your love language. You speak gifts or touch or service. In addition, you expect this kind of language to be spoken to you. It is your favorite way to feel love. Mine happens to be gift giving, which you can read in more detail on my previous post. Today, let's talk about words.
For someone who speaks words as a love language, you actually speak words of love. You need to be told you are loved, or told you look beautiful, or told thank you when you've done something nice. This means you are typically very vocal when expressing love to others.
Now, this goes for everyone and every love language. When you make an effort to speak and that effort is rejected, it is enormously painful. It is much more painful for someone to be rejected by their own love language, than by any of the other four. For example, when I wrote about my love for gift giving, I mentioned how hurt I am by people who want a gift receipt to exchange the purchase. You may think this is stupid, but that is because gift giving is not your love language. If it is words, then you are probably devastated if someone was to yell at you, "You're so ugly and I hate you!" Negative words hurt a word-love-language-user like ungrateful gift recipients hurt me.
So. You don't feel loved by your spouse if they aren't actively verbalizing their affection for you. The same goes for someone who speaks touch. If they aren't being snuggled, or kissed, or making love to their partner, they suddenly feel like the love is lost between them.
This is why it is so HUGE to discover and discuss your love language at the beginning of your relationship. You will spend less time hurt and disappointed if you can communicate to your partner, how you speak and feel love. Because there are negative repercussions if you don't.
Now, I am not a words gal. I do appreciate a compliment now and then, but it is not my number one. Therefore, I'm not super hurt by name calling and lack of "I love yous" going on. (This doesn't mean I condone it)  but say I was to fight with my husband and he called me a big fat jerk, or said I was mean and he hated me and didn't trust me. Well, that would be rude and I would get over it. But to someone who speaks words for a love language, these kinds of things are irrevocably painful. You may think you are just spouting off in the heat of the moment, but you are causing someone grief that you can't take back. To you it may seem stupid, but that's because it isn't your love language. If you speak touch, and you are never hugged or kissed, you would not feel loved by the person you wanted it from, and a lack of touch would cause you immense misery. If you're like me, and you speak gifts, you feel the most loved when someone gives you something thoughtful.(that's right, it can be free) and you are the most hurt when ignored on birthdays or when a gift you give goes unwanted. If you speak time, and your partner is never around, maybe they are in the military, then you feel devastated and lonely.
Remember these languages go for all relationships, not just husband and wife. Parents, family members and friends all need to learn these five skills to improve their relationships. Seriously, it is a genius concept and will say you mounds of suffering.
Try to figure out your love language today, and talk to those you love about theirs. Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Let Your Actions Speak Louder Than Their Words

The saying, Actions Speak Louder than Words has taken on new meaning for me as I've gotten older. I'm no longer as concerned with my actions speaking louder than the words coming out of my mouth, as I am with them speaking louder than the words other people say about me.
I take it I'm not the only person who feels like they are frequently bad-mouthed. Not that it's an every day occurrence, because that actually just might prove something. I mean, where there's smoke there's fire, right? No, I mean there's that one moment annually where a person you know well says something so hurtful or slanderous and it really breaks you. For me, it tends to come in cycles and is regularly communicated through the same source. I don't know why. I don't know what it is. But I have learned there are some people you will never please. I've also learned if someone is always talking negatively about others to you, then they are talking negatively about you to others.
I've always tried to be a stand up gal. Amidst my normal human error, I have tried to reconcile with people I may have wronged, cultivate relationships that were feeling in need of nurturing. When I meet someone new, I always go up and introduce myself and shake their hand. When I really want to establish a friendship, I make an effort to call the person and spend time with them, even if it is just a quick lunch. Now that my life is crazy busy and I have zero spare time to exert on social life, lest I detract from my obligatory duties as a wife and mother, those calls have turned into texts where I just let the person know I'm thinking of them. This has not come naturally to me. In fact, it may surprise those that know me now to hear that I spent the first 20 years of my life quite guarded and blunt. I didn't care to make "friends" or smile at strangers. This is in part because I'm incredibly independent. I'm happy being alone. I don't need people. And part because I lacked basic social skills. I was inept. I can be nice, but not friendly. There is a difference. Being nice is driving you a can of gas in the middle of the night because you ran out and needed assistance. The latter is offering kind words, gestures, and service before the need presents itself. These things I've learned from the great examples in my life. Family members and a few fabulous friends: Manda, if you ever read this, you are one of those unconditional people who have taught me so much about friendship. And my wifey, you know who you are, even though I don't get to see you often, your loyalty and heart resonates deep with anyone you meet. Patti, for teaching me structure and professionalism in the workforce. My mom for making it okay to laugh at yourself. My dad for charity. I could go on and on...but for the sake of anonymity I'll keep it brief.
I can distinctly remember the occasions in my life where stabbing words have been repeated about me. The wounds are still there. I'm not sure if it has been my failure as a girl, or their failure as a messenger. But these comments have made me wonder about my demeanor when seen through the eyes of others. I've reevaluated my conduct and attitude to try and improve it on a day to day basis so that my actions can speak louder than words. And not my words, but theirs.
While I may let my sensitivity weakness allow the offensive character of others to impact my mood too often, I attempt to use these small deprectiations as tools for self-discovery. Its just one more way for me to recheck myself and see if there's anything that needs fine tuning. 
Just to give a quick example, during the period of time I was married (the first time) and the proceeding year and a half, I acted in a manner that was not suited for a responsible, mature woman. I threw punches. I screamed in public. I was going through a tremendous amount of pain and didn't know how to cope with it. My actions spoke louder than any expressed words, therefore, those talltales of me being considered half-crazy-woman-banshee were sorta true. As a result, I had a tattered reputation and frazzled friendships. I've mended those I could, and the rest has been left to fate. I can only improve myself from here on out and hope word can get back to anyone who watched me fall apart so gracefully (sarcasm) that I'm a changed human.
So, long story short, whenever I've encountered an untrue rumor about myself, or even a partially true rumor, I do my best to counteract it with positive and influencing actions. Of course, I will make mistakes and say something stupid every now and then. But then, every now and then I'm trying to make up for it. 
It amazes me how receptive certain people are to this. Personally, I think it's the wiser generation that openly forgive and accept human error, and it's the foolish and ignorant that don't. I'm hoping to become the first, because let's be real, we have all been the second of the two and it doesn't lead anywhere productive. If you're surrounded by the foolish, those that constantly reflect negativity or gossip or bear falsehoods, I challenge you to eliminate them from your network and instead replace them with people who are going to uplift and encourage you to be a better person. Even if you don't see many commonalities, just the fact that you both are realists, with love and tolerant attributes, will be a solid basis for a relationship. Some of the best friends I've ever made were my polar opposite. But we were honest and true to each other. Those are the kinds you want to feed and water. 
You want the people you are friends with to never believe a bad word said about you. Remind yourself often, if others could write your gravestone, what would it say?
The good thing is every day is a new beginning, with a clean slate, and an endless horizon.