By remaining silent you only hurt yourself. Speak up for what you want, what you need and what you simply will not tolerate. Value yourself enough to speak your mind.
Use your words.
I told a good friend of mine today to-
"Use Your Big Girl Words."
She is 43 years old. A mother, a wife, and a professional. She has more inner strength than she gives herself credit for. But what she doesn't have is her voice. Well she has her voice- just not her inner voice that speaks up for herself. She is getting there slowly. However sometimes she needs that swift kick in the ass to remind her to use her words. Which as her friend I am more than happy to provide. Why? Because she is worth it. Because if she doesn't learn to speak up for herself; for what she wants, what she needs and to set boundaries, people will always walk all over her. She knows this. But being the gentle soul that she is she doesn't want to hurt anyone. She doesn't want to make demands, say no, or ask for anything. She is in all ways a giver. Which is awesome. However, one cannot always give and give and give. Sometimes the givers of this world need to receive.
For many years I silenced my voice. Growing up what I thought, what I needed and my boundaries did not matter. I learned early on that keeping quiet and just following the party line in my family made life easier. Not better. Not worthwhile. Just easier. Less drama and more peace. I told my mother what she needed to hear in order to make her feel better. I did things that I had no interest in doing because that was what was expected of me. I placated and I went along with her. She was the driving force in my life. I silenced everything in order for her to be happy. I resented it. But it became my normal.
Credit: Stacey Phillips- Fresh Minds Matter.
Anyone reading this who knows me personally is going to chuckle. I am known to be outspoken, blunt and to be relied on to say things that need saying. But what they probably have never realized that until recently-my words were always for others. I never made my voice heard for me. I used my voice for those whose voices were silent for one reason or another. But I never spoke up for myself. Never fought for myself. Until a few years ago when I realized something- If I didn't speak up for what I wanted, deserved or needed- no one was going to do it for me. I had to use my voice and make what I needed and I wanted, known. I had to speak up for my happiness, my needs and I needed to set boundaries. With everyone I cared about and wanted in my life. As well as people I dealt with out in the world.
Using your voice for yourself is not selfish. It is not conceited nor is it bad. Using your voice for yourself gives you power over your own life. You cannot live your life for others before first living for yourself. A lot of people have trouble with this. It feels selfish. Which speaks highly of their character, it is admiral to always want to do for others. But you deserve words too. You deserve to speak your mind and communicate with the world what YOU want. Your needs however basic are important. If you keep sacrificing them for everyone else- what will you be left with?
Think about that for a second. If you never speak up for yourself-never go after what you want, never set boundaries for what is ok for you, what are you left with?
The answer- nothing.
Well nothing but resentment, lack of confidence and a strong feeling that you are not worth it. Which is as far from the truth that you can get. Why is it so hard to say what we feel? Why is it so hard to speak up for ourselves? For some we learned silence at an early age. For others it is a lack of confidence, lack of self worth. But we all need to get over this.
You matter. Your thoughts, your dreams and your needs matter. Remind yourself of this.
Each moment we have in life is a gift. A gift of time that is guaranteed to no one
and more precious than gold. We need to spend more of it on things
that matter and less on things that do not.
Time knows no prejudice. It cares not what color skin you have, what nationality you are or your social status. You cannot buy time nor can you put some away for a rainy day. The rich and the poor have it in equal amount. One cannot slow it down or speed it up. The seconds tick away to minutes and minutes into hours and the only control you will ever have over it- is what you fill it with.
Back a few years ago when I was sitting with my grandmother in her last few moments of life, I avoided looking at the clock or any thing that reminded me of those precious seconds we had left ticking away. I willed time to slow down with all my might. Over the summer while sitting in the waiting room at the hospital when my husband was having what could be life altering surgery- I willed the hands of the clock to go faster. Needing answers I sat there and wished it would speed up and have the surgery over. Both times I remember hearing the tick-tock of each passing second in my mind. Knowing that regardless of what I did time would continue on- steady. I was reminded of exactly how precious each second of every day is. Every day. Not just those moments in life with so much hanging in the balance.
Time is guaranteed to no one. Each moment we get in life is a gift. Our time on earth could run out at any minute regardless if we are ready or not. But yet we go through each and every day making promises to ourselves, to our family and friends- when we have more time we will spend it with them. When we have "more time" we will do things that actually matter. Making memories, laughing or just simply sitting with the people we love in silence. We say things like when "time slows down", "when I get more time" or "some time". We are constantly making promises that we don't know if we can keep. We work, we run and we constantly go around in circles never taking a moment to ask ourselves- is it worth it?
We would never run out and spend $1,000 on a purchase without seriously thinking it through. Why then do we squander minutes without a second thought?
People say "time heals all wounds" or "just give it time" to someone that has experienced something they need to come to peace with. Time does not heal wounds. Time does not make anything better. We do. Time does not make hurt go away. Nor does it heal our internal wounds. All time does is put some distance between the then and the now and leaves the rest up to us. If we spend all of our time hurt, sad, angry and depressed- we will never get it back. As every second you spend looking towards your past is one more second of your now you have lost. The past is just that- past. Those moments are gone and those moments you struggle with- only have power to hurt you if you continue to let it.
As I have grown older I have come to appreciate Time more. That hour in the morning when I first wake up, when the house is silent and I am beholden to no one. That hour of the day is just mine. I treasure it, covet it and understand exactly how important it is. I go to work every day and handle the business of life as all of you do. But what I am slowly realizing is that I need to spend my time like I do my hard earned money- consciously and with thought. I need to carve time out of my day for the important things. Laughter. Fun. Making memories with the people I love. I need to dedicate time to the things that matter most to me. Writing and creating. Sitting next to the ocean. Snuggled up to my husband to just listen to his heart beat. I need to spend my life in the now. Not in yesterday or last year or too much in tomorrow. Right now. Because right now is all I have got.
Time seems to fly by so fast. But in truth- time is nothing but steady and consistent. Seconds into minutes, minutes into hours and hours into days. There are never any surprises, no bonus hours in a day. Nothing is guaranteed except that it passes us by whether we want it to or not. Our time is more precious than money- more precious than gold. We need to spend it wisely and enjoy it.
Life cycles much like the seasons. But if we stubbornly cling to things
that no longer work for us we will never make room for new growth.
After a rather gloomy stretch of weather I was greeted with a crisp bright fall morning. Taking my coffee I went out to sit on my porch and breathe in the fall air. My home sits nestled into the Maine woods and I am surrounded by towering trees. There was a slight breeze swaying the tree tops and I found myself staring at my favorite one. Until a recent rainstorm the leaves on this particular tree had been an array of spectacular fall colors. Rich browns, golds and yellows that glittered in the sun. However with the rainy weather and strong winds over the past couple of days most of the leaves had fallen. They lay strewn across my lawn, blowing here and there in the breeze. I am always sad to see them fall leaving the trees stark and bare.
This morning though as I sat there watching the leaves flutter across my yard- something occurred to me. The barren trees are still very much alive. They have simply pulled into themselves to regenerate- shedding all that was no longer needed. The leaves had served their purpose. Now was the time for the trees to let them go.
Shedding things that no longer serve a purpose in life is as freeing as those trees shedding their leaves. By letting go of all their leaves- they are in essence opening themselves to new growth when the time is right. For them it will be in the spring. But for you and I- it could be tomorrow, next week or like the trees in the spring time.
But let go we must.
We have to strip away all that no longer works in our lives, in our minds and in our souls. All that we hold inside of ourselves that may have served a purpose at one time or another but no longer does. Trapped anger that we used as a defense, sadness, self doubt or self recrimination. Bitterness and unhappiness that serves nothing. We have to strip away all the crap that has built up inside of ourselves- right down to our bare essentials. We need to make room to grow.
I reached down and picked up a hand full of leaves. Holding them in my hands I reflected all that I needed to let go. Resentment, hurt, anger and the what-could-have-been and what-should-have been. All of us build things like this up over the years, it is life. But what we never stop to do, really focus on doing is letting it go. Sure being angry will help fuel you through a hard patch and building walls around ourselves to keep the world at bay works for awhile too. But if held onto for too long we only hurt ourselves.
Holding these leaves in my hand I looked up to the trees. Mostly bare now but on various branches a few stubborn leaves held on for dear life. They did not want to let go. Stubborn- like parts of me. Parts that I had clung to growing up that while at the time may have served a purpose but now longer do. Still I cling to them. Fingering the leaves in my hand I decide now is the time to let it all that no longer serves me or my life-Go. One at a time I let one of the leaves fall and named one thing I knew I no long had room in my life for. Watching as the breeze carried them away I somehow felt free. I knew it would take some work. Old habits are hard to break but by identifying all that I needed to release was a start.
Life cycles much like the seasons. But if we stubbornly cling to things that no longer work for us we will never make room for new growth. It is scary to strip away all that has gotten you this far. All that has sheltered you or protected you. But there must come a time in life when we shed it all. We, like the trees, must draw into ourselves and gather strength from inside our own mind and soul. We need time to regenerate. It doesn't happen overnight, but it will happen. Looking at the trees barren now of their leaves what I see is promise. Promise that in the spring after spending the winter regenerating- they will once again grow anew. Same thing goes for me. I must make room inside my world for only things that will help me grow.
A new season of life.