Posts tagged confidence
Hello I'm Terri Spaulding...

inspiring little girls who walk with inner confidence

I write so much so fast, I often lose important pieces of my journey. Here is a post I wrote nearly two years ago and saved it to my drafts but never shared. Perhaps it was that tiny voice inside that told me I had already posted something similar and no one would want to read another version of me coming undone.

Today felt like the time to let this fly. I hope hearing these kind of posts is inspiring to you and reaches you when you need to hear there is hope at any age to change and grow into the YOU you were meant to be. Each post seems so uniquely different to me, because it represents something else I needed to free, heal, admit or let go of, yet I also realize many of my posts have a common message and theme. Feel free to advise me if you are getting tired of them.

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Please allow me to re-introduce myself, my name is Terri and for a long, long while I was simply pretending to be me.

I am a naturally curious, creative, truth-telling, highly sensitive/highly aware person whoconnects dots. I always have something to say.

Word Lover -- Student of Spirit -- Unabashed Tree Hugger

When I want to learn something new or understand a different perspective there is no stopping me. I am relentless in my thirst for knowledge and often lose track of time. The days I am able to fill with reading, writing, collecting rocks or taking nature photographs while out walking, are the best kind.  Sprinkle in some sunshine, water, my beloved trees and quality time with those I love, and I am in my element.

You will no longer see a 'me' who dresses for success, nor volunteers her time to further everyone else's dreams. I have my own ideas and I have learned to say YES to all the things that matter most, and no to those that don't.

I happily end most days with dirty feet and a messy side pony.

I played the roles of my life fairly well: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, worker bee; not many ever guessed I was sort of faking it. Heck, I may even have convinced myself.

When others began to define me as organized, responsible, practical, and helpful, I took their praise and ran with it. I built a "me" based on how I wanted to be seen, and in doing so only moved further away from the real me.

The real me isn't organized or overly planned. You may think by looking at my counter tops (which are usually clear) that I am a neatnik, but please don't open my cupboards or drawers or peer too closely into the corners of my home. All is not what it seems.

For years I was a clean freak. I actually cared about dust. Most days now I barely notice it. Well, until someone stops over and then I suddenly see every imperfection. But I am learning to let it go. (Dust comes right back anyway, right? And weirdly, so do spiderwebs). If I don't look in your corners, will you promise not to look in mine?

For years I just went through the motions; doing what I thought I should do, doing what I thought I was supposed to do, doing what the world expected of me. I made 'doing' so important I eventually lost touch with being, with the essence of me. I gave up my power to all those external things and stopped refueling from the inside. I stopped doing the things that brought me joy. 

I forgot how to just be. I forgot how much I loved sitting under a tree or walking in the woods, or collecting rocks. I forgot how to daydream, to be inspired by all the little beautiful things in nature.

I lost all spontaneity and gave up meandering for getting somewhere fast. I was always in a hurry.

I stopped dancing like no one was watching. I stopped writing. I stopped growing. I stopped leading with my heart.

My days were packed with so much accomplishing I had little time to enjoy anything. And I wasn't showing up in my own life, or the lives of those I loved, the way I was meant to. The way I had been born to.

I lost myself. Lost my once positive disposition. Lost faith in me. Lost my connection to joy.

Well, maybe it would be more accurate to say life circumstances converged upon me and broke me wide open. Stopped me dead in my over accomplishing tracks. Hitting rock bottom involves a fall--and when you are at rock bottom you have no where else to go but up.

A little less than a month ago I turned 52. I used to think being that age was an ending. I am so happy to say that it is only the beginning of a new era for me. One that finally feels authentically me.

Each day I am filled with awe and wonder at how fortunate I am to have found joy, freedom and inner peace doing what I love; doing what comes easily to me. Following my heart.

I made life way too hard for a lot of years and while I still have work to do, and many lessons to learn, I am making great progress to living authentically as me. Living from my heart has made all the difference in my journey back to me.

 

 

Growing Into Me

I looked in the mirror today and noticed that my hair is really long, probably too long.

Not too many years ago there would have been a voice in my head telling me I am too old for long hair, insisting I cut it to look more appropriate for a woman of my age. I am so glad my mean voice is 99% silenced. My hair takes all of thirty seconds to put into the side pony I wear everyday. It is so easy, I won't be changing it anytime soon.

Simple, easy, and comfortable should be my three words for the rest of my life.

As I glance down at the clothes I pulled on this morning I realize with a smile that it took less than 15 seconds to grab fresh leggings, a t-shirt and a throw a longer sweater over them both to be dressed and ready for my day. How fantastic. I remember the days of staring into the closet and trying to put together an outfit that made me feel confident.

These days I confidently experience the world in my leggings--not letting that inner voice question if leggings are appropriate for a 50+ year old, or even worrying if my shirt is long enough to cover my butt. I think I am supposed to care more about my appearance, yet I don't. I am so happy with how comfortable I am in my own skin, I don't let much (especially what others think) throw me off.

Being casual about my appearance does not stop me from completely admiring and appreciating a person who looks stylishly pulled together, but in all honesty that person is not me. Even when I try (which is rare these days) I feel like I am playing dress up anyway, and still missing the mark, so why not just be comfortable.

I cannot believe I spent so many years in clothes I hated. Ones that didn't move with me, that bit into my waist or bunched up under my arms and pulled across my shoulders/chest every time I sat up straight. The ones I wore because I thought I was supposed to. It astounds me that I actually wore high heels (by choice).

Now I come home at the end of a day sweaty, worn out and sporting dirty tired feet, but loving the fact that I am so present I can feel every inch of my 53 year old body.

When I was in a job that wasn't right for me I used to arrive home jazzed up, with a head full of swirling negative thoughts, to do lists in every pocket, and my chest constricted in fear that I had forgotten something important or let someone down. I was so out of touch with my body even the constant ache in my belly felt normal.

Being present and aware of my body and breath is exactly the life change I needed to live healthier and happier. Now, after leading yoga all day, I arrive home blissfully wrung out, but at peace with myself. The world no longer passes me by, I am able to see it change in front of me. Buildings don't go up seemingly overnight like they once did. I do my best to be unhurried. I try to do less planning and more enjoying.  My to do list rarely has more than 3 must do's and 7 if I have time's on it.

I've grown into me and into a person I actually like. One who is Present. Aware. Appreciative. Accepting.

Holy crap, I've grown into a person who is actually happy with who she is.

Are You Stuck on Safe?

If you had a good friend who was all ready to move forward on something, something they believed strongly in but were holding back out of fear or self-doubt, would you do something to help them get started?

Of course you would.

Most people love to see others succeed. It inspires them to move forward with ideas and dreams of their own. And it sparks courage -- have you ever given yourself the pep talk that goes like this "well if so-and-so can do it, then so can I"? Unfortunately, most times the pep talk is as far as we get before our own doubts, fears, anxieties or over thinking creep in and stop us dead in our tracks.

Go back to my original question and imagine that the good friend I asked about was actually YOU. Would your answer be the same? Would you do something to help yourself move forward? Or would you hold back and throw up roadblocks in order to keep yourself "safe" ?

Ah ha!  If helping a friend is easier than helping yourself....a reassessment is needed.

You have to be willing to do at least as much for yourself, if not MORE than you would do for a  good friend, to get moving in the direction of your dreams. Focusing outward, on others and helping them take risks but being unwilling to take your own means you are living vicariously through them. In essence you aren't believing in yourself. You are keeping yourself stuck in order to keep yourself safe from failing. This can eventually lead to dark feelings of self-doubt, anger, guilt, depression, and hopelessness as you watch others around you succeed -- sometimes even succeeding in areas that you also could excel at. The results of keeping ourselves "safe" can actually result in the outcome we fear most ---failure.

So why do we so easily get distracted by others, offering assistance to them via our supporting words or a new connection that will further their ideas, instead of focusing on our own ideas and dreams? Because in helping a friend, we have no ownership of the outcome. We don't have to worry about feeling any shame or stress if they fail, so we can be brave for our friends at no risk to ourselves.

What we really need to do is be brave for ourselves.

So start believing in YOU. Trust in YOU. Support YOURSELF.

I do not say this lightly and I know from experience that this is also not an easy thing for many people to do: you need to put yourself first. It is necessary for our own well being and for those who depend on us to put ourselves at the front of the line. I spent years assisting others, watching them achieve what I wanted to achieve, watching them take risks I was too scared to take....because I was afraid (deep inside) that I might fail. And if I failed, I feared I would come unglued. But I have learned that I wasn't giving myself enough credit. I am strong, I can overcome failure. I can survive it. In fact, it doesn't render me helpless -- it did the reverse, it made me stronger. I am still learning to undo the patterns I once developed to keep myself protected so that I can begin to live life fully and not just go safely through the motions.

I realize now that being stuck on safe made life an uphill battle for me. In essence it made life so much harder than it needed to be. Are you doing the same?

What is stopping you from moving forward?

Are you afraid of failing? Are you stuck in your comfort zone? Or are you listening to the negative people around you, the ones who discourage you because they are afraid of pursuing their own dreams?

Your time is now. Stop thinking about it. Lead by example and DO IT.

Do You Dream Out Loud?

sunrise on BSLGiven a free month, and time to do whatever I want, I’d write a book. I’d write the majority of it at my cottage where life somehow simplifies. I’ve let this little beauty of a “dream” roll off my tongue into the real world a few times lately.Dreaming out loud is something I have done a lot in the last few years, so I am no longer surprised when the person I choose to share my dream with gives me the squinty-eyed look of doubt. Is this just another of her crazy ideas?

I don’t blame them. I’ve had many ideas that never got off go. Truth is: I doubt myself. I use dreaming out loud as a step one process to see if those hearing my idea think I could do it. If they seem confident that I could do it, I get more excited and confident as well. Not an ideal way to craft your future.

“I believe I can fly” is what I chose as my motto a few month’s back.

It is less of a motto and more of a pump-me-up, give me confidence kind of theme song, I suppose. An acknowledgment that I lack confidence in myself to truly deliver on my dreams, and a reminder to myself that I know I have the power in me.

I am still convincing myself that I can truly fly.

Now believing that YOU can fly, and seeing exactly how YOU might do it, is not a problem for me. To me, your path, your success, your dots connect right in front of me --- and mine seem to dissipate with each lift of someone’s eyebrow, just before one of the dreaded questions comes at me, what training do you have in this, what makes you an expert at this, what makes you think you can do this?

I hate questions like that. It’s like the little voice inside of me (the one that is always there, always asking) gains strength when someone in the real world asks me as well, and instantly my dream(s) poof. My confidence goes, and in rolls the next idea.

Why is it so hard to believe in myself?

Yet, the idea of writing a book is sticking. When I stop accomplishing, and take things off my plate, I can feel the urge to write. When doubt wriggles in about whether I have the ability or the expertise, I rationalize that no one needs to read it, I really just need to write it. That makes me feel better. Like I won’t let anyone down if it isn’t good.

But there is something else that keeps pulling me back to a book. It’s the support of those who know me best, those who tell me to just start writing already. The husband that sells his beloved musical equipment little by little to pay the house payment, so I have this time to myself to create.

And it’s the absence of a brow lift or a squinty eyed look from those who love me when I dream this dream out loud that give me confidence that I can indeed do it.

It no longer seems like a dream hanging way out there, it is starting to feel like a dream that wants to get out.

So now which book? Yes, there are lots of words rolling around in this girl’s head. Which book do I write first? A well-known author advises: “Write the book you need to read”.

Great advice, except I have needed to read SO many books in the past few months/years. The one about healing a family from the wounds of their 16-year old son’s toxic dating relationship, the one about getting off the accomplishment train and into your life before it is too late, the one about learning to accept and embrace the grey of life ---and stop seeing it in black and white, or the one about how to go about reacquainting yourself with “you” when you reach mid-life, then fully appreciating and accepting that person.

At the rate I am going, I will have a bookcase full of books I needed to read on my to do list to write.

And maybe, just maybe, once I begin, I will truly start believing that ‘I can fly’.