I have this friend, Rose. She is one of the most creative thinkers I know. This makes her one of the most imaginative and interesting performing artists I have ever seen. She can improvise an aria or a dramatic scene or a nonsense song in your voicemail like nobody’s business. She’s also an intensely good listener, highly intuitive, and keenly insightful. She actively reflects what she hears, which ensures that we both get to the heart of the matter. If she chose to, she’d make one heck of a life coach. Last Sunday, Rose and I finally celebrated Christmas (it’s a long story) and had a lovely picnic overlooking the Hudson where we discussed an endless number of subjects while soaking up some sun and eating some delicious organic food.
I feel like I’ve been in transition for the last few years. Last summer, to pursue a relatively new interest, I registered for the Health Coach certification program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. (I’m more than halfway done and just got certified to start seeing clients, so be sure to stay tuned for more info!!) Now, this is on top of my full-time job as a legal secretary, my career as an opera singer, church musician and voice teacher, and my involvement with Team In Training and the LLS. I’m not bragging. In fact, I’m exhausted. Possibly even over-committed. When you’re chronically busy and life is always hectic, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and that you’re barely keeping it together. Although I’ve recently gotten much better about acknowledging my accomplishments, it’s still way too easy for me to undermine my own confidence and belittle what I’ve achieved. (As Marie Curie said: “One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done.”) So I complained to Rose that I was tired of being a chicken, of holding myself back because I hadn’t taken as many big risks as I wished. Rose quickly fired back that she wouldn’t let me get away with that kind of talk. She sees me as incredibly brave person who leads with her heart and is infinitely capable. Huh.
Which got me thinking — how we see ourselves is critically important, and we’re often told that how others see us doesn’t matter. But I want you, as an exercise, to try to see yourself as your most trusted friends see you. It can change the way you see yourself. I swear it’s true!! They don’t see you that way for no reason — they see you that way because they can see your essence more clearly than you do! Especially if you’re in a rut or a funk (and not the cool kind of funk), ask your 3 closest friends for the 5 words that best describe you, or the 3 qualities that they admire most about you.
I always laugh when friends say they think I’m organized. HA! But they think I’m organized because of the sheer magnitude of stuff I do in a week. If I wasn’t organized (even in what I think of as my own feeble way), I wouldn’t get anywhere or do anything! Every week, my chiropractor comments on how strong I am. HA! Doesn’t she know I’m seeing her because my body is weak? Well, no, actually, maybe my body is having a normal response to the incredible stress to which I subject it every day and my strength is what keeps me from falling apart completely. Huh. So Rose thinks I’m brave, big-hearted, and infinitely capable. HA! Wait. Maybe she’s right…
According to Answers.com, you have to hear a thing an average of 7 times before you believe it. Cue THE MANTRA. (No, not Mothra. Mantra.) Our friends at Wikipedia define the etymology of the word MANTRA thus-wise:
The Sanskrit word mantra- (m.; also n. mantram) consists of the root man- “to think” (also in manas “mind”) and the suffix -tra, designating tools or instruments, hence a literal translation would be “instrument of thought”.
An instrument of thought… A tool with which to guide the mind… When you get lost, you ask for directions. So when your spirit feels a little lost, why not ask for guidance? It’s a relatively simple thing to write yourself a love note (a/k/a mantra) and tape it to your medicine chest. You’ll see that note several times a day. If you look yourself in the eye and speak the words aloud every time you go to brush your teeth (2x/day) and wash your face (2x/day), that’s 4x/day that you’ve delivered the message. Type up the same phrase (or a collection of inspiring, confidence-building quotes) and use them as a bookmark for your favorite book, keep messages taped at eye-level at work, and you’ll hit 7x in no time. Some simple self-esteem building mantras (borrowed from various sources) include:
- I am a well loved and well respected person.
- I feel secure in who I am, and do not need to compare myself to others.
- I am free to make my own choices and decisions.
- I am a unique and a very special person and worthy of respect from others.
- I deserve all that is good. I release any need for misery and suffering.
- I release the need to prove myself to anyone as I am my own self and I love it that way.
- My mind is full of gratitude for my lovely and wonderful life.
- I consciously release the past and live only in the present. That way I get to enjoy and experience life to the full.
- Confidence comes through action.
Some of my favorite confidence-building quotes are:
- “You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!” – Eckhart Tolle
- “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” – Hafiz
- “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha
- “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” – Marie Curie
I leave you with a challenge: ask your Rose and your other besties how they would describe you. Write down their answers. And then learn to see yourself the way they see you, through your very own pair of ROSE COLORED GLASSES.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson