Thankful Thursday: Be Yourself

Life in recovery with MS has been a struggle.  I have learned some hard lessons.  Through it all, the theme of “be yourself” keeps coming up.  I know I’m not alone when it comes to struggling with saying what you mean, doing what you love, or relaxing around certain people, right?  I usually blame it on the MS and brain fog but the truth is some days I am not feeling confident and comfortable with being me.  I have been digging  a little deeper lately through working the steps in NA and starting to accept me for me!   The steps help me  to uncover another layer of authenticity, and free myself to be unapologetically me..

Not being you is exhausting!   Did you ever consider the amount of energy it takes to keep up appearances, attempting to be perfect (like it will happen), pleasing other people (is it possible?), and trying to make yourself fit into situations which simply aren’t you? When we say “be yourself”, some of us even wonder what it means.  I honestly am not sure I even knew myself for many years.  I had a glimpse of me during my first go around at recovery and then it got lost in all of the “stuff” I got back as a result of my recovery.

Here are three practical strategies to help you maximize your best you:

1. Say what you need to say.

Do you beat around the bush figuring people will know what you mean when you say something?  Are you too afraid to speak up afraid of what others will think? Have you found yourself telling a little lie to avoid the embarrassment of telling the truth?  These are clear signs you are not being true to yourself.  This hit me like a brick – SMACK!  Try this simple exercise:  Identify one situation when you have not said what you need to say.   You know, you beat around the bush in the hopes someone understood.  Got the situation?  I want to you go to the person and just say it flat out.  If you can’t do it right now, mark it on your calendar to do it.  There was a time when I had no filters.  I said what I needed to say and didn’t worry about what people thought.  Early in my first recovery, I was eager to say what I was thinking and I didn’t worry about what people thought.  Over the years, things started changing.  Those old habits came back and I started the “people pleasing game again”.  We are as sick as our secrets, no matter how small those secrets are.  Authenticity means being forthright. Don’t waste your precious energy pretending all is well when it isn’t.  Take the word “FINE” out of your vocabulary.  Don’t let FEAR keep you in hiding!

2. Do what you know is right.

There is nothing more authentic than living your values. When your actions don’t line up with your beliefs, inner turmoil is sure to follow.  Do you actually know what your core values are? 

3. Give yourself permission to be imperfect.

Okay, this is a tough one for me!  The truth is when we are uncomfortable in our own skin, it is usually because we haven’t given ourselves permission to be human.  In other words, we haven’t given ourselves permission to be imperfect.  We always want things to be perfect.  The perfect weight, the perfect size, the perfect family, the perfect house… it is all part of the “I will be happy when” syndrome.  When you relax, you enjoy yourself more. It is time we value the journey as much, if not more than, the destination.  There will be bumps along the road – embrace them.  Climb over them and keep moving forward, they don’t have to keep you from reaching your purpose (or your goals).

What situations cause you to not be yourself?  What are you afraid will happen if you show people the real you?

Today, I will accept my weight where it is knowing I am eating healthier and NOT gaining weight.  I will accept my limitations because of my MS and will not longer hid what I can’t do.  I will accept my business is my business and will not play the comparison game.

I am stomping out the inner gremlins and being true to me…. what about you?

Have a blessed day!

Who Are You Really?

 Over the last two months I have been learning some hard lessons.  Through it all, the theme of “be yourself” keeps coming up.  I know I’m not alone when it comes to struggling with saying what you mean, doing what you love, or relaxing around certain people, right?  I usually blame it on the MS and brain fog but the truth is some days I am not feeling confident and comfortable with being me.  I have been digging  a little deeper lately.  I have even gone back to working my steps from NA.  A chance to uncover another layer of authenticity, and free myself to be unapologetically me..

Not being you is exhausting!   Did you ever consider the amount of energy it takes to keep up appearances, attempting to be perfect (like it will happen), pleasing other people (is it possible?), and trying to make yourself fit into situations which simply aren’t you? When we say “be yourself”, some of us even wonder what it means.

Here are three practical strategies to help you maximize your best you:

1. Say what you need to say.

Do you beat around the bush figuring people will know what you mean when you say something?  Are you too afraid to speak up afraid of what others with think? Have you found yourself telling a little lie to avoid the embarrassment of telling the truth?  These are clear signs you are not being true to yourself.  This hit me like a brick – SMACK!  Try this simple exercise:  Identify one situation when you have not said what you need to say.   You know, you beat around the bush in the hopes someone understood.  Got the situation?  I want to you go to the person and just say it flat out.  If you can’t do it right now, mark it on your calendar to do it.  There was a time when I had no filters.  I said what I needed to say and didn’t worry about what people thought.  Early in my recovery, I was eager to say what I was thinking and I didn’t worry about what people thought.  Over the years, things started changing.  Those old habits came back and I started the “people pleasing game again”.  We are as sick as our lies, no matter how small those lies are.  Authenticity means being forthright. Don’t waste your precious energy pretending all is well when it isn’t.  Take the word “FINE” out of your vocabulary.  Don’t let FEAR keep you in hiding!

2. Do what you know is right.

There is nothing more authentic than living your values. When your actions don’t line up with your beliefs, inner turmoil is sure to follow.  Do you actually know what your core values are? 

3. Give yourself permission to be imperfect.

Okay, this is a tough one for me!  The truth is when we are uncomfortable in our own skin, it is usually because we haven’t given ourselves permission to be human.  In other words, we haven’t given ourselves permission to be imperfect.  We always want things to be perfect.  The perfect weight, the perfect size, the perfect family, the perfect house… it is all part of the “I will be happy when” syndrome.  When you relax, you enjoy yourself more. It is time we value the journey as much, if not more than, the destination.  There will be bumps along the road – embrace them.  Climb over them and keep moving forward, they don’t have to keep you from reaching your purpose (or your goals).

What situations cause you to not be yourself?  What are you afraid will happen if you show people the real you?

I am stomping out the inner gremlins and being true to me…. what about you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

A Tribute to Dad!

Today will be a rough day…. we say good bye to my Dad, Robert Milfred Heldreth (aka Milfred Lee or Bob).  I’ve gone back and forth trying to decide what to write.  I have decided to be true to sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences with my readers.

Dad was born in El Monte, CA, as Milfred Lee Heldreth (otherwise known as Bob) where he joined the Army when he was 15.  Of course he had to change his birth certificate so he could serve his country. He served for 7 years and was a member of A Troop 66th Squadron 6th Regiment serving in Dergendorf, Germany for two years.  Dad told this story often but the reality hit when we found the “corrected” discharge papers from the Army.

He loved working with his hands and held a variety of jobs – a real “jack of all trades”. He was always building something.  He changed our garage into a family room.  He built a deck off the house.  He even built a trailer which we used when we traveled cross country.  And then there was the endless hours spent working on cars.  He bought my first car and spray painted it blue for me.  I was not initially happy with it because it was a stick shift BUT I learned to love it.  He taught me how to change a tire, and check my oil so when Belinda got her license they were things I taught her before she could go out on her own driving.  His garage and his tools are a true testament to his love of fixing things. Dad’s jobs came with perks…. being the manager of the Monmouth Bottle Shop got us a trip to Acapulco when I was 13 years old.

He was a ham radio operator with the call letters WA2IAE. He loved connecting with people all across the world and being able to help others. Many of my school projects were done with the help of dad’s connections.  Postcards and items from across the country were always good for bonus points.

Dad was loving and kind, nonjudgmental and accepting. Yes, there were tough times with  years of anger and hurt when my parents divorced.  Dad was not perfect.  He admitted his faults, and even with memories of bad times, I forgave him.  No matter how bad a situation was, he always found the silver lining and worked through it.

Dad loved to tell stories which always left us wondering if they were true or just a tall tale.  Did he really eat bugs as a kid growing up?  He shared many stories with my daughter who as a child was always ready to share them with her classmates.  Of course, the teachers sometimes wondered if they were true too.He leaves a legacy filled with memories for his family and friends. Dad liked to cook especially on the grill.  Didn’t matter if there was snow or rain, he found a way to grill.  He was best known for his mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving – no lumps.  Despite our best efforts, none of us have ever gotten the hang to it.  Then there were his potato pancakes made with the left over mashed potatoes.  Mom and dad actually served breakfast to the entire Junior Class of OTHS after the Prom in 1974.  Yes, the entire class.

He was a Past Master of Asbury Lodge #142 F&AM, a Past Patron of Neptune Chapter #214 and a past member of the Advisory Board for Iris Assembly #31, Order of the Rainbow for Girls.

Dad taught me many lessons which have helped to mold me into the person I am today.  I love you dad!