Feeling Good About YOU!

Loving Your Flaws When Others Do Not

“If you’ve not been criticized, booed, jeered, or such; it’s not because you have no flaws, but because you don’t count so much”

~Danny Thomas

I fell in love with that poem when I heard Danny Thomas say it at the end of a Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roast that was held in his honor. I’m not sure that these are his original words, but they really hit home for me. I’ve always had to deal with harsh criticisms from people who don’t understand me and aren’t interested in trying to. All they know is that I am different from what is acceptable as normal, and it sometimes seems most important to these people that I know that they believe me to be “weird“.

Some of Us March To Our Own Drummers/ Some of Us Have Our Own Rhythm Section

People who are not afraid to march to their own drumbeat often endure the criticisms of other people– sometimes even the ones that we love. Personally, I’ve been labeled with a plethora of adjectives that were used on me with the intent of hurting me or breaking me. Terms like: different, weird, crazy, strange, even retarded! Even more outlandish terms such as: snooty, stuck up, and selfish! (Clearly these are people who have never gotten to know me, or people who did something to get on my bad side). I think my favorite snide remark about me is: “You’re too much”. Because of the context in which it is used, that is ACTUALLY supposed to be an insult! I’ve always wondered if they knew that being “too much” is so much better that being “not enough“.

There was a time when those types of remarks would really sting. Especially when they came from relatives and so called close friends. I spent many years feeling as though I really did not “fit” anywhere. I felt unwanted so I tried to follow trend–at least enough to fit in amongst my peers. As a result, I started losing myself. Sure, I fit in and everyone thought I was cool, but I didn’t like myself so much anymore. I decided to take a time out for self assessment. I needed to decide which was more important: that “they” like me, or that I liked myself.

You Have To Live With Yourself

Of all of the components of this issue, there would be one thing that would never change– I would have to live with me for the rest of my life. No one else would ever be obligated to live with me forever except for me; so I’d better get as comfortable with myself as possible. With this mindset, I decided that fitting in to avoid criticism was no longer an option for me. Regardless of the general consensus, I would always be the me-est me that I could be!

I won’t pretend that this was easy– it wasn’t. In fact, at times it was physically and emotionally draining. I felt alone and misunderstood which moved me to create a fence around myself. That might not sound like a good idea but at the time it was necessary. I needed the time and space to get comfortable in my own skin. Even though I felt alone often, I believed that I truly needed the time to myself. I’m an extrovert, so this was a difficult but necessary step to take if I really wanted to get back to “me”.

I stopped going to clubs and parties. Most of the times that I spent time in these kinds of places was at the behest of people that I thought I needed to blend in with. Instead of going out to night clubs and parties, I started hanging out at Barnes & Noble at night on weekends. I’d always loved to read but I hadn’t read a book in a couple of years because I was too busy fitting in. In fact, books became an important part of this odyssey. I spent a lot of time in libraries as well. I read about everything that I saw. I had so many questions and there was a book or 100 for every question that I had. This new behavior aligned me with others who shared my newly reformed interest in reading. These were people that I met at Barnes & Noble or the library. Eventually, I started taking classes at a community college where I met even more people who loved to read and learn.

I did not completely cease contact with my party people–instead I inserted reasonable distance. From time to time, I’d still communicate with a few of them. I told the few that I still dealt with what I had been doing and where I had been going, and to my surprise, one or two of them became interested also. I will not take this as an opportunity to pat my own back but I have a couple of friends who are now very well read…because of me-the de facto weirdo.

Conversely, there were also people from my former band of associates who felt that I was “acting funny“. Being called uppity and sadity (I really cant stand that (non)word) didn’t bother me at all but rather, showed me that I was better off being in my own “little world” and away from such people. This would prove to be much better for me. I felt lighter, I smiled more, and strangers always seemed happy to have me around. This felt right. This was the life that I knew before my experiment with conformity.

Loving YOU

As time has moved on, I’ve found that I can comfortably be myself in any company and I never feel the need to readjust myself. On the rare occasion that I am uncomfortable in certain company, I simply remove myself–physically if possible. If I can’t remove myself physically, I remove myself mentally. I worked hard and had become brave enough to be accept my eccentricities –not take umbrage from those who couldn’t appreciate my “me-ness“. To this day, I dress differently, I speak differently, and my belief systems and are ideals are different compared to those of my peers– and if that ever changes, it will be only because I want to change them– not because they do not work with the masses. And people…well, they still have things to say. It usually comes back to me through the grapevine, but I never spend any time on their opinions. I wish them all well and move on with my life.

Stand Up To Stand Out/ Inventors vs Consumers

Not everyone is meant to be one of the crowd; some of us were placed on planet Earth to stand out. I call it “inventors vs consumers“. You have to be a little odd to be an inventor. To create something, you have to be able to think differently than the masses. Most of the things that have become necessities in our everyday lives were invented by weirdos–people who were talked about, ostracized, picked on, and misunderstood. The same can be said about the greatest leaders of the world. But they worked on their crafts and they made a difference in the world. They are all very important people and life as we know it would be very different had they decided to become one of the crowd in order to avoid ridicule. Consumers are equally important because obviously, someone has to buy and use these inventions, and by nature they follow. It’s us weirdos who provide the crowd with what they need in order to be cool.

I carry Danny Thomas’ poem in my mind because it reminds me that no one takes the time to criticize, jeer, or put down insignificant people. We actually have to qualify to be subject to insult. Our flaws are integral parts of who we are, they make us beautiful. Love your flaws and be flawsome as you go on to do great things– be they public or private victories. Stay steadfast, confident and vested in yourself!

Enter The Good Vibes Zone

Finding Little You

A lot of our “grown up” time on this planet is spent doing what we “have to do“. Working, paying bills, spending our time and energy on people and things that we probably wouldn’t choose on our own, but it’s what has to be done (adulting sucks!). If we are not careful, we can allow that tolerance of things that are not very enjoyable leak into other areas of life and before long, we’ll find ourselves going through the motions. It’s very easy to become stuck in this position but it is difficult to break free from it.

The Good Vibes Zone

The Good Vibes Zone is whatever you want it to be. It’s always a static free space. No responsibilities. No annoying coworkers. No bills to pay! No, it is not a fantasy place. It’s very real, but most of us have blocked it from our brains because we’ve allowed what we have to do become our only priorities. Guess what? YOU are a priority also! You’ve just forgotten.

Remember when you were a kid and could make anything into a toy? When I was a kid, I had tons of toys. I was heavily into Barbie. I’m sure that I had every Barbie product. The house, cars, spa, RV, and plenty of dolls and clothes for them. With all of those great toys that I most likely asked for, I also played with: hair rollers, sticks, erasers, pencils, rubber bands, bottles- basically anything that I could get my hands on. Why? Because any and everything was whatever I wanted it to be. The possibilities were endless. My mind was always creating something else and I used random objects to articulate what my mind wanted to create. Life was good and boredom definitely was not a thing. I’m certain that I am not the only kid who did this.

The good news is that the kids that we were then are still inside of us. They try to communicate with us but we quiet them, since we have so many adult things that need tending to. As a result, we become uptight, stagnant, lethargic, bitter, and just plain dull.

Little Me

Recently, I’ve began letting the kid inside of me have one hour per day to come out and play. We do what ever she wants to do. If she wants to go to the park, we go. If she wants to blast music and dance, we do. Even when she wants to climb things and fall off of things, we do (adult me usually pays the price for that…). Sometimes I let her play for more than an hour.

The time that I spend with “Little Me” reminds me that I am still vibrant, energetic, active, and HERE! When I am with her, the only time is NOW; so there is no reason to worry about things that I cannot fix right now, or things that have not and might not happen. “Little Me” never worries about what other people say or do because she is free.

There are even times when I allow her to take the wheel in adult situations because she is too smart to take herself too seriously. She’s very self aware.

Challenge!

I challenge everyone who reads this blog to spend a little time this weekend finding “Little You” and let him/her guide you to the Good Vibes Zone. Schedule some play dates and watch life become less of a drag!

12 Steps To Staying Youthful

Just a few moments ago, I went to the store to buy a nice bottle of Merlot (my favorite wine). I placed the bottle on the counter to be rung up by the cashier. The cashier; a man that I assumed to be in his early 40’s like myself, had a goatee with flecks of grey. Not a bad looking guy and very friendly. He asked to see my ID and of course I obliged him. He read my drivers license and looked back at me, “No way! No way were you born in 1975! I thought I was older than you” he said in what appeared to be amazement. Without conceit, I have to admit that I am used to this reaction whenever I am carded. I smiled and said, “Yup! It’s true. I was born in 1975“. I’m also used to his next statement (I could almost say it with him) “What’s your secret?” I gave my signature response, “Good genes“. He completed the sale after some brief banter, bagged my bottle and I was on my way.

While sitting in my car, I thought about it; is there anything that I am doing that increases my youthfulness, or is it really just genetic? I am vegetarian and I get at most the minimum amount of exercise in each day, nothing special. Maybe it really is just genetic.

As I began to to drive, I gave it more thought. What if anything am I doing differently? Slowly, some ideas started to materialize.

I’m going to make this perfectly clear before I give you my list. DO NOT STOP READING HERE! I am not going to state what is usually said about “How to stay young”. You know, the typical spiel: eat right, get rest, exercise. Honestly, I don’t do any of those things (even though they are all important). I’m vegetarian, as I said earlier, but a vegetarian lifestyle does not necessarily mean a healthy diet. Most days, I have to remind myself to eat. I’m an insomniac. 3 or 4 hours of sleep for me is a lot! Also, as I said earlier, I get the minimum amount of exercise in daily (and I have to force that sometimes). I’ll add (because most blogs on staying youthful include “Living a stress free” or “Less stressful” life) that I do not live a stress free or less stressful life. I am a mother and an employee. In other words, I. Have. Stress. So what is it that I do?

1- Don’t Call Yourself “Old”

You are what you say you are. If you say that you are old, then you are old and you will behave as such- plain and simple. When I look in the mirror, I see me– the same me that I saw at ages 10, 20, 30, and now 40+. If you do not think about age, then it will not become a factor.

2- Slow Down

Not everything is an emergency. Take time out during each day to breathe. Meditate. Focus. Assess. While doing this, often you will see that the situation isn’t really that urgent. Chill and don’t let little things get you riled up. Appreciate the the things that are presently right.

3- Don’t Act Your Age.

Us 40’s and older folks like to assume that certain things “come with the territory“. Why think of it that way? In fact, why think of it at all if you don’t have to? When you make up your mind that “these things will happen“, guess what? THEY WILL! And if they do, so what? It doesn’t have to interrupt your quality of life and it definitely does not have to affect your mindset. Whether you travel the Earth on two feet or roll through it in a wheelchair, only you have control over your mindset. Remind yourself that you’ve been through things before, and if you continue to have birthdays, you’ll go through more. Push through as you always have.

4- Don’t Carry Other People’s Weight

We all know people who seem to always have “drama” going on that they can’t wait to invade your space with. It’s okay to be an ear or even a shoulder, but leave the conversation at the last syllable. In reality, it’s not your problem. Earthlings will dump all of their issues on each other and as a result, the listener will walk away feeling tired and heavy from things that are not their problems. It’s okay to say to them, “I can’t listen to this anymore. I wish you well and I’m confident that things will work out in the way that they are supposed to“, and keep it moving. Allowing others to interrupt your energy will make you age like a banana.

5- Don’t Assume That Young(er) Means Dumb

Younger people are not dumb, they just have a different perspective on life. Watch them. Listen to them. Learn from them as you’d want them to learn from you. Let some of their youth transfer onto you by association. And shut up sometimes! Let them talk. You might be surprised at what you’ll learn.

6- Try Something New

Don’t let age stop you from being daring and adventurous. Be as vibrant as you ever were. Be crazy! Go to a nudist beach, skydive, bungee jump (do people still do that?). Okay, some of that might be a bit far fetched, but you know what I mean. Break your old fogey, conformist chains and do something different and exciting. Maybe something that you’ve always wanted to do but never did. Revisit or create your bucket list. Awaken your inner child! He/she is probably getting bored…

7- Get Rid of Useless Relationships

As my children have heard me say millions of times : “If it ain’t growing, it’s dead“. Surround yourself only with those who feed you spiritually and or mentally, otherwise you are feeding yourself death. Don’t waste time on trying to change anyone or waiting for them to “get it”. It doesn’t take long to identify whether or not a person belongs in your life. Once an identification has been made and you find that they do not belong, either reassign their position or omit them from your life. There doesn’t have to be hard feelings on your part–only you have control of that, so choose to not have hard feelings. See! I just saved you from Crows Feet!

8- Dance As If No One Is Watching (even if everyone is watching)

Sometimes it’s fun to be foolish, so act a fool sometimes! You all should see me when the dancing mood strikes. I’ll get up and start dancing at any given moment. Am I a good dancer? HELL NO! But it puts me in the good vibes zone. I’m not always at home when this happens. I’m reminded of a day when I was at Journeys shoe store with both of my sons. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen played over the stores speakers and I began to sing along. LOUDLY (yes, even the operatic part). Soon, the sales staff had joined me in singing and acting out the lyrics. My sons were embarrassed but the salespeople and I had a great time. Throw etiquette to the wind now and then. In other words: get the stick out of your ass!

9- SMILE!

Even if you don’t feel like it. Walk into every room as if you are the star and everyone there is lucky to have you in their presence. Smile at people as though they are stars and you are lucky to be amongst them. Create that atmosphere everyday no matter where you are and your heart will grow more youthful.

10- Don’t Worry About What “They” Say Or Think

“They” can’t live or die for you so be happy and comfortable with who you are. As long as you are not hurting yourself or anyone else– do you! There is a reason why there is only one you and there will never be another– because only YOU can do it! Do not let the “theys” of the world rob you of yourself. If your “circle” can’t subscribe to who you are, create a new circle. The world is HUGE and there are approximately 7.44 billion people in it; there is definitely a genre out there for you.

11- Make The Rules Work For You

I wouldn’t suggest that anyone break laws. The consequences probably wouldn’t be very enjoyable. However, rules are often easily manipulated. Go against the machine sometimes and make the rules work for you on your own terms. Be radical! That’s usually how change occurs.

12- Live Out Loud

Enjoy being you! You only get one time in space to do it. How do I do it? I do it to death!