Being Comfortable In My Own Skin

For many reasons, this has been a tumultuous year for me.  It’s been a huge year of personal growth. I feel I’ve made incredible progress. I’ve had some huge epiphanies recently and I wanted to share them here:

On Letting Go

If I’m actively thinking about how I am letting go of something or allowing the subject I am letting go of occupy any part of my brain space, that means I haven’t let go. I have let go when it’s no longer something that takes any part of my conscious or subconscious thought.

An analogy: Imagine you have a sore back. You tell people for weeks about this sore back. Your back gets better. Eventually you forget you had a sore back. Then you see someone you haven’t seen in a while and they ask how your back is doing. It may have been days or weeks since you thought about it. You can smile and simply say the sore back is better. New topic and the sore back is forgotten until someone else mentions it or your back becomes sore again.

On Acceptance

I’ve come to realize that a lot of my issues with people have been centered around one or both of us feeling a need to change something in the other or pointing out the flaws or feeling an expectation to change the flaws for the sake of the other person. I doubt I’m alone in this. But I’ve had a mind shift lately. I’ve come to realize the world is a beautiful place because we are all different people and we’re all flawed in our own unique and beautiful ways.  The best relationships I have with others are ones where we simply accept each other as we are. These are the types of relationships I want to focus on.

On Being Alone

Whenever I’ve been involved in a heavy relationship, I’ve always felt a need to back up and get some personal space. So much brain space was devoted to all the “alone” things I missed being able to do. Rather than feeling miserable about my current situation, I’m actually enjoying it and the freedom I have. I can read until 5 am with the light on if I want. I can go to bed and get up when I want. I can eat my meals when I want and eat what I want.

Sticks and Stones

I am happy and proud of who I am as a person. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to like me. There’s no need for everyone to like me. I will not sacrifice my personal integrity in an effort to get others to like me.  I don’t buy into the idea of keeping friends close and enemies closer. That’s not how I roll. I’m not in high school.

Taking Action

Although I need to know in my head where I am going, I don’t need to have a clear picture of exactly how things should look before I start to take action. I don’t need to have all the information before I make decisions. The old me used to be able to make decisions and take action very quickly. The old me based decisions purely on logic. The new me is balancing logic and emotion in decision making. Bringing emotions in doesn’t need to slow me down. I’ve learned that my gut instinct is right 99% of the time and I have to trust it.

Damaged vs Toxic People

The older I get, the more I realize most people are damaged in some way.  It’s inevitable that almost everyone has had at least some shitty time in their life – most of us many shitty times. For some people, the bad experiences help them grow into better and stronger people.  Unfortunately some people just end up damaged to such a degree that they end up being toxic to those who get too close to them.  Being able to recognize the difference between someone simply damaged and someone toxic is something I need to work on – but at least I am aware of the difference now.

Where To Focus Energy

A few months back, I hit a very rough patch. I lost some major clients going into my slow period. Not through fault on my side but because of the general economic situation. I had serious overhead and no easy way to scale back immediately. Although not a long-term issue, it represented a serious short-term one. I did what I could in the short-term to deal. But I also used up a lot of energy worrying and stressing over the situation.  The misplacement of energy likely made the situation much worst than it had to be. Many bills got paid late. Payroll got behind. Vendor payments too.  I’d never had this happen to me before. Some tough times, yes. But nothing ever to this extent. Given the money my businesses gross, it was almost ludicrous that it could have even happened to begin with. But it did. The strange thing is – the world kept on going. Nothing fell out of the sky and landed on me. I survived. But the bounce back would have been so much easier if I’d not worried, not lost sleep, not stressed over the situation. If I just focused on doing what I needed to. If I’d put my energy into fixing things rather than wasting it senselessly. I now know that stressing over things isn’t going to help things. If anything, it will make the bad that much more difficult to overcome. Rough patch: I’m prepared to take you head-on should you ever decide to rear your ugly head again.


Care to share any thoughts on the above? With the end of the year steadily approaching, what have you learned?

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    • Sharon, your post is filled with so much wisdom. Acceptance and letting go take me a long way. Sorry to be mundane, but I spend a lot of time in my car, and I'm working on anticipating crosswalks and crosswalkers, slowing down to let people turn in front of me, and accept traffic delays. I wanted to be somewhere at 5 pm yesterday and there was a long line of cars in front of me. I admitted there was nothing I could do about it and a wise person like you once told me that the other drivers may be in a hurry too. So I took a breath, looked out the window and listened to the music on the radio, and before I knew it, I was moving again.

      I've also learned that I don't have to know everything and be part of every conversation (who's doing what, gossip, etc.) If I need to know something, I can ask someone who might know. A truly liberating saying I heard is: “What other people think of me is none of my business.” When I remember that, it's so freeing. I don't mind if people don't return my calls or e-mails; people are busy – it probably has nothing to do with me. I'm happy with who I am and am trying to set goals to become who I could be.

      Thanks once again. I really like your blog and look forward to your thoughtful posts.

      Garrett

    • sharonhayes

      Thanks for your comment Garrett. You honed in pretty well on the underlying point – how much energy I'd been wasting & how much I'd been stressing myself over things I had very little control over. There is so much in our lives we CAN control – too much for most of us to be able to accomplish everything we'd like to. Glad to see you're making progress on this journey we call life 🙂

    • Thanks for pointing out your blog. Naturally I was drawn to this post first 🙂
      If I was an eloquent writer like you I may have written something very similar. A lot of your thoughts match my experiences and the consequences are similar… at least as far as how I want to be.
      What you are describing is my life with – how I call it – “the emotional shields up” (being a border line Trekkie 😉 ) My shields work as long as I am strong and grounded. I can live everything you have described.
      Funny enough sometimes the shields fail because of an imbalance or excessive stress. Or they have to be lowered to let someone else come close. If I get hurt then, the core that was protected gets hurt and bruises have to be lived until they heal.
      Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to leave those shields down so the inside can toughen up? But then…. that wouldn't be me.
      Hmmm I wonder if any of this makes sense… thanks for helping me verbalize my thoughts

    • Thanks for pointing out your blog. Naturally I was drawn to this post first 🙂
      If I was an eloquent writer like you I may have written something very similar. A lot of your thoughts match my experiences and the consequences are similar… at least as far as how I want to be.
      What you are describing is my life with – how I call it – “the emotional shields up” (being a border line Trekkie 😉 ) My shields work as long as I am strong and grounded. I can live everything you have described.
      Funny enough sometimes the shields fail because of an imbalance or excessive stress. Or they have to be lowered to let someone else come close. If I get hurt then, the core that was protected gets hurt and bruises have to be lived until they heal.
      Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to leave those shields down so the inside can toughen up? But then…. that wouldn't be me.
      Hmmm I wonder if any of this makes sense… thanks for helping me verbalize my thoughts

    • Thanks for pointing out your blog. Naturally I was drawn to this post first 🙂
      If I was an eloquent writer like you I may have written something very similar. A lot of your thoughts match my experiences and the consequences are similar… at least as far as how I want to be.
      What you are describing is my life with – how I call it – “the emotional shields up” (being a border line Trekkie 😉 ) My shields work as long as I am strong and grounded. I can live everything you have described.
      Funny enough sometimes the shields fail because of an imbalance or excessive stress. Or they have to be lowered to let someone else come close. If I get hurt then, the core that was protected gets hurt and bruises have to be lived until they heal.
      Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to leave those shields down so the inside can toughen up? But then…. that wouldn't be me.
      Hmmm I wonder if any of this makes sense… thanks for helping me verbalize my thoughts