Thursday, February 26, 2015

Five Things I Love About Being ME

Valentine's Day was a thing that happened. I'm a fan of Valentine's Day because I'm a fan of loving people. I love others pretty easily.

I wish I could also say that I love myself easily. Some days I do, other days it's harder. It's not like I'm one of those self-loathing people who has zero self-esteem. I think I'm more confident than your average bear, and overall I'd say I'm quite a cool person. I like a lot of things about myself.

However, since I was a little girl I've had a problem with perfectionism. I expect perfection from myself. Obviously, I'm far from perfect, so I continually set myself up for disappointment and failure. Whenever I do something awesome, my first thought is always, "I could have done (fill in the blank) better." It's a rather exhausting way to live, thinking that I'm never good enough. Sure, I want to constantly progress and better myself, but sometimes I think it's more than okay to give yourself a big pat on the back. This is what this post is: a big, fat pat on my back.

Five Things I Love About Being ME 

1. I have a big heart. As already mentioned, I love easily. Sometimes this can be a painful trait to have. I worry myself sick over others, feeling their pains and wanting to somehow mend them. Even though my big heart often feels too heavy for my chest to carry, I wouldn't have it any other way. I guess in many ways, having a big heart can sometimes make my load lighter. I don't get offended easily or hold grudges. I would rather just love. I think having a big heart can make it easier to be forgiving. When others have wronged me, I try to look at that person with love. It's hard to stay mad for long if you do that. It brings me immense joy to serve, and help, and love others. I really feel like lifting others is my purpose for living.

2. I'm a good listener. I've always felt I'm fairly good at listening, but studying journalism taught me the art of listening on a whole new level. Sure, I'm not making the big bucks with my journalism degree (yet), but I feel like some of the qualities I developed from my studies have made me a better person. If you haven't noticed, the world has a lot of talkers. We need more good listeners. One of the nicest compliments I've ever received was at a work retreat when we went around saying nice things about each coworker. When it was my turn to be flooded with compliments, one girl said that she loved talking to me because she felt like I was always genuinely interested in what she had to say. It made me so happy that my coworker felt this way about me. I hope I can always be a person who others feel safe talking to. I've learned that good listening isn't just hearing what a person says, it's hearing a person and then trying to understand where that person is coming from. Since I've developed the understanding side of listening, it's made listening that much more enjoyable for me. Sure, I have my own opinions . . . but I'm willing to hear the opinions of others and also respect people for their differing opinions. I've learned so much about my surroundings, the world and myself from listening to others' voices. I would much rather learn and grow than think I'm right all the time.

3. I'm a doer. When I want to do something . . . I do it. I thought this was a normal thing that all humans did. I'm beginning to realize though that a lot of people talk about doing things but then seldom do the things they talk about. Fear might be stopping them, maybe laziness. I really have no clue. I just know I'm so grateful that I'm both a dreamer and a doer. I'm not even talking about huge things here. I'm talking about something as simple as getting together with a friend. How often have you ran into someone and you say, "We need to get together for lunch someday," and then they say, "Yeah, we do!" And then how often does the conversation stop there and lunch never happens? I try my best to make it a habit to follow through on what I say. When a friend tells me we should do lunch, I try to reply with something like, "Yeah, we do need to go to lunch! When? I'm open next Friday." Being a doer is something that anyone can make a habit in their life. It just takes a little practice and work. This past weekend I did something else I've been saying I want to do. We redid our bedroom. I've been talking about it for the past month so when we finally had an open Saturday, I was determined to make what I'd been talking about a reality. We marched over to Home Depot and bought supplies, and I spent all of Saturday painting walls the deepest and dreamiest of blues. I love just sitting in my bedroom now. It's a sign to me of my doing. If I don't like something, I don't complain about it, I take action instead. If I have a fun idea, I take action. If I want to go on a trip, I take action. Okay, you get it. I do stuff.

4. My enthusiasm for life is unstoppable. I get excited about ALL things big and small. It seems my childhood excitement never wore off as I grew up and for that, I'm forever grateful. I still wake up at the crack of dawn on Christmas Day, I'll notice a pretty sunset and talk about it for longer than what's normal, and you'd think it's Christmas Day when I get to go out for ice cream. I'm just excited about living. When Brian and I have an actual child around here, the enthusiasm might be through the roof.

5. I'm eccentric. As a little girl, my grandma always told me that weird is wonderful and normal is boring. I kind of took that saying to heart. I'm true to myself . . . even if that means I'm going to stick out like a sore thumb in the process. I wear clothes that make me happy and I get haircuts that make me feel spunky. I've never felt that it's necessary to fit in with the crowd or be accepted by others. I know that first and foremost, I need to accept myself. Of course I want other people to like me. Don't we all? But I'm learning that it's more important for me to like myself. I won't like myself if I pretend to be something I'm not.

If I had a sixth quality to brag about, it would be that I'm extremely humble . . . ha ha. Really though, why does it sometimes feel so incredibly uncomfortable to say good things about ourselves? Sometimes when my husband will say something negative about himself, I'll make him say five nice things about himself. It's the best. But I guess I should start doing my own exercise. I think as women in general, we drag ourselves down and pick ourselves apart. We are quick to point out our imperfections and shy away from what we're good at. So I'm going to challenge you, next time you have a negative thought, try thinking of five positive ones. I'm going to take the challenge on too. :)  

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