Monday, August 1, 2011

8/1/11—Receiving Self Pride and Love From Others

Today's Draw: Six on the Spiritual Level—Receive—from The Game of You. Do you feel like you're not making much progress in your life right now? Do you tend to focus on how much work you need to do, rather than how much you've done? Are you being too hard on yourself lately?

Today's card is about receiving the fruits of your labors. This can be one of the hardest things we allow ourselves to do. 

If you're reading these words, you're probably someone who is committed to personal growth. Often progress is subtle or slow. And just as often, we may notice that we've changed, but focus instead on all that's left to do. This card is asking us to stop and acknowledge how far we've allow and own that we've made progress. To be proud of ourselves. And to allow and experience that others are proud of us, too. To receive the compliments and love from those around us. 

For the first half of my life, I'd say I was someone who generally drew attention to herself in one way or another, but was nonetheless shy. I was comfortable with friends, but wouldn't put myself in strange situations with people I don't know. For an ever-changing litany of reasons over the years, I've always avoided crowds, too. So I always sort of lived with a struggle between my introverted and extroverted sides, with the introvert usually winning. 

When I went into business for myself 15 years ago, part of the "agreement" of being self employed meant that I had to put myself out there. I had to go to networking events and appear to be charming. I had to go into meetings with company presidents and present my ideas to them, while appearing to be competent. And, probably the one I've struggled with most over the years, I had to find myself some friends and social things, because working where you live, and living alone, can be very isolating. And sinking into isolation can be very unhealthy. I've done it off and on all my life...slipped into my shell, refusing to come out. 

So if you've been following along, you know that last Friday I wrote about all the anxiety I had about attending my 30th high school reunion. Three days filled with those things I fear the most...crowds, strangers and potentially uncomfortable situations. But from the moment I showed for the first event, there was no anxiety. Only opportunities to receive. And I'm so grateful I got this card today to remind of me of that fact. 

To begin with, the lady doesn't like to hug got some of the best hugs of her life during this event. I won't reveal my favorite, but the competition was tight and there were a lot of entrants. As a person who usually feels quite self-conscious in social situations, there was none of that. And what possibly surprised me the most was the number of people who remembered me. I only went to this high school for a few months, though I went to jr. high with all these people. And people whose names I haven't heard in maybe 35 years sparked memories from deep within the U-Stor-It facility in my brain. It was just an easy, enjoyable weekend. Not even the extreme heat and, now, scratchy voice, can color it as anything less. 

I tend to be a relentless critic of myself and dogged in my pursuit of personal growth. So I rarely stop to really feel the progress and achievement I've made. This weekend showed me in many ways how dramatically different I am from who I was just five years ago, let alone 30 years ago.

I know there are those reading this today who are going through tough times in their lives. And today's card is reminding you that you ARE making progress, even if you don't notice it right now. And instead of saying, "but there's so much left to do", try saying "look how far I've come". Allow yourself to receive credit for all the work you've done. Allow yourself to be fed from the love of those around you. Give yourself permission to feel good about yourself. To be proud of whoever you are in THIS moment. To take care of yourself for once. To receive, rather than give.

One of the things that surprised me, as I said, was how many people remembered me, even though I didn't have the history with them that everyone else in the room had. In a way, what that was saying was not only "look how far I've come", but also "hey, I wasn't really all that awful to begin with." After most of a lifetime spent disapproving of whoever I was in that moment, that's a gift that I now feel honored to receive. 

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