In Confidence

I have an article over on Forbes today that discusses the tendency women have to minimize their skills and accomplishments. Please have a read and consider sharing, I think it’s important info.

Just A Note

“It went on, this lifetime in a box, one letter after another.” ― Nicholas Sparks

Imagine your house was burning, and you had only a few minutes to save the things you felt were irreplaceable. Assume people and pets were already safe, and you could only save what you could carry in one trip. What would you choose?

When I ask people this question, their responses tend to fall into one of three categories:

  1. Important documents
  2. Letters and/or photos
  3. Heirlooms

That “important document thing” is the most practical answer; when I ask someone to define “important documents”, they’ll list things like social security cards, birth certificates, title documents, and the like. It does make perfect sense to try to save certain paperwork for record-keeping or legal purposes, so kudos to you people who think with your heads.

Also, you’re in the minority.

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Diamond in the Rough

“I, myself, am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions”. – Augusten Burroughs

Raise your hand if you agree with the idea that “We’re all our own worst critics”.

Everyone’s hand up? Yes? I thought so.

It seems to be part of human nature that we all give more weight to our flaws, slip-ups and inadequacies than our good choices and successes. It’s not an entirely bad thing; we do need our brains to tell us right from wrong so that we learn the correct lessons in life. The issue, however, is that the mechanism rarely stops there and too often flows into destructive self-criticism.

“Hey”, your brain whispers as you lie awake in bed at night, “Remember that totally awkward remark you made the other day? Other people don’t say that kind of stuff. Your social skills are the literal worst. In fact, YOU are the literal worst”.

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Safe Harbor

Friendship is the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words. – George Eliot

How does a friendship start? Do you remember meeting the people who are now your closest friends? I almost always do, because those people play such a vital role in my life.

I met my oldest friend on the school playground, in third grade. She approached me because her mother had advised her to “look for someone who’s alone” to make new friends. I was indeed alone- very alone, in fact, since I’d just moved cross-country, didn’t know a soul, and was facing long, solitary days ahead. We’ve lived thousands of miles apart for many more years than we were ever close together, but even when I’ve been lonely, this lifelong friendship has meant I’ve never been alone. (Undying thanks for that super-timely advice, friend’s mom.)

I connected with another friend due to her son’s thoughtful act; he spoke to my son, a stranger, at the park (Is there a playground theme happening here?), providing words of encouragement that made him feel better in a moment of sadness. When my son told me what had happened, I had to express my appreciation for his kindness- and that conversation served as the beginning of one of my most precious friendships.

I could go on- I find there’s something memorable about how all my close friendships began. (Sometimes, it’s not the first meeting, but a moment when a casual acquaintance clicked over into true friendship.)

What sets these two particular friendships apart is that I have the benefit of being able to actually look at a history of communications with both of them, and it’s very telling.

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Hold Your Water

“There will be water if God wills it.” – Stephen King

This is one of my favorite quotes from The Dark Tower series by Stephen King, and one I repeat to myself quite frequently in uncertain situations. To put the phrase in general context, it comes as a reply when one character asks another whether they will achieve their desired goal- and sooner, rather than later.

The response he receives is short and very simple. “There will be water if God wills it”. In other words, stop trying to control the situation; the things that are meant to be will happen in their own time.

Patience may be a virtue, but I can assure you that it’s not one I’m naturally gifted with. I’ve developed a better sense of equanimity as I’ve gotten older, but I’ll be the first to admit that I still really, really enjoy seeing a resolution to something that is troubling me- and sooner, rather than later. As such, I generally don’t do well with waiting or uncertainty. Of course, this tendency doesn’t exactly work with… well, you know… actual, day-to-day life.

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Seasons of Change

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” – (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Contentment comes to me most easily in the days of Spring and Summer. Filled with abundance, these seasons bring the Earth to life after a long winter. Plants grow, flower and fruit with abandon.  The streams and lakes warm to bathwater, golden sunlight paints every surface, and the air is sweet with the sound of buzzing and heavy with a heat that warms and renews not just my body, but my soul. 

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