Monthly Archives: September 2015

Whose Life am I Living?

Hello Kindness Followers! As a follow-up to my last post titled “Kindness and Our Story,” I started thinking about whose life I’m living. Now that I’m trying to figure out and live my story, I wanted to take it a step deeper and ask myself about the ways I do and do not live my life. How have I been living for others? In what ways have I not been living my life?

In order to fill the void of not living my life I kept myself busy with being busy. I created long to do lists of running errands that seemed so important, but were in fact many times pointless and meaningless, except to fill my void. If I kept busy, then I did not have the time to stop and feel how sad and worthless my life felt. Now, I not saying being a stay at home mom is unimportant, in fact, being with my children has been a gift and a blessing that I have so much gratitude for. But for me, I purposely looked for meaning in volunteering, errand running, and carpooling, instead of slowing down and asking myself what I truly wanted. I did everything for everyone else and I was left with an empty, sad, unhappy, busy, stressed-out and exhausted shell of myself. I did not know who I was, what I liked and what I thought about things. Yes, I had times here or there that were filled with happiness, but for the most part I was avoiding living my life.

Another way I have lived for others was living through my children. I justified this because I thought it was admirable. It’s the American dream to want to provide a better life for our children than we had, right? But is there a line that I have crossed? Do I push my children to do the activities that they love and are passionate about or do I push them because I want to feel a high from their achievements? Do I want them to succeed for them or so I can feel good?  Do I push my kids to learn an instrument, play numerous sports, be an A student, for them or for me? I’m sure it’s a bit of both, but is that living in kindness? And more importantly, what am I teaching them? To live for me or to listen to their needs, desires and wants? I realize children need guidance from parents, but I need to check and ask myself, is this for them, or for me?

Whose life am I living? What if I gave myself what I give to my children? What if I give myself what I want and desire? And isn’t what I want for them, what really want or wanted?

I am now choosing to fill my life with what I am passionate about, what I desire and what I want to learn or achieve. The amazing part is, that I have more time, more energy, more patience, more love and more kindness. I am kind in my words, my actions, my touch and my interactions with family, friends, and strangers. My communication with my kids is genuinely sweet, loving and not nearly as frustrating as it used to be. I am starting to feel the type of kindness that comes from deep within. Just by giving myself what I need. I’m getting there and the only thing that has changed, is me. So here’s to living my life. Writing, blogging, dancing, listening to music, learning the piano, learning Spanish (again), long distance swimming, kindness and so much more! What do you want and whose life are you living? Life is short, but can be so sweet when we decide to be our own driver. No longer will I be a passenger in my one and only life!

Ask yourself, whose life are you living? Please leave a comment or a share about how you are living your life.

Thank you,

Jenni

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Kindness and Our Story

What is your story? Are you the author of your own story? Or have you adopted someone else’s version of your story? I believe that we all have an inner story that is our true story. So what happened? Why am I not living what I think is my true story and how do I know this? I know this, because I feel conflicted and sick to my stomach most of the time. There have been other signs as well, such as always feeling tired and not entirely engaged. So what gives?

As I have been digging deep to uncover why kindness is a challenge for me, I have discovered why I’m not living my true story and how this affects kindness in my life. I believe it has much to do with my family of origin. I was brought up in a Catholic household and a family that was shrouded in guilt and shame. I know my parents, grandparents, teachers and religious leaders believed they were doing their best and they were. However, through their teachings, I learned to live in fear of God, hell and sinning. I truly believed I was going to hell for the smallest little lie, not to mention any other things I deemed wrong or bad. For me this was very confusing. As a young girl I soon came to believe that I was wrong, bad and selfish if I listened to my own thoughts, feelings, desires and intuition. In order to survive and get a little of what I needed, I realized that I had to lie. How twisted and confusing this was for me and has been my entire life. I was always looking to mom, dad, grandma and others to see if I was being a good girl, because if I was a bad girl, I truly thought I was going to hell. Ironically, living this way, I did create my own hell.

We all enter this world perfect versions of ourselves, but then as we grow, inevitably our caregivers, society, schools and our churches place expectations on us that conflict with the messages we receive from within. These expectations unfortunately take us away from our true essence and ultimately our true story. Or at least that has been my experience. So ask yourself, are you living your true story or are you living a story that is not yours, that is someones else’s expectations of you? I am 39 and I have never lived my true story. I’m only just beginning to learn my story and who I am.

This is who I am not, but used to believe I was:

Wrong, Liar, Ugly (inside and out), Sad, Bad, Weak and Selfish. Wow, so it was in fact Hell!

This is my new story, my true story:

I am a Strong, Centered, Loving, Intelligent, Beautiful (inside and out), and Kind woman and mother who is Happy, Patient, Wise, Confident, Playful, Loving and Kind.

Now that is a beautiful story that is mine and that ultimately will lead me to a life of Kindness!

Thank you,

Jenni

Cheerleader for Kindness

Today I discovered my inner cheerleader, and she is amazing and kind!

I woke up today from a lovely dream and began to write about it in my journal. Years ago, I was taught that our dreams, whether pleasant or scary, are just messages from our subconscious and our psyche that need to be heard and understood by our conscious mind. I wanted to enjoy the warm feeling of my dream, not turn it into a therapy session. However, I am not one to shy away from therapy and understanding, so I did the dream writing, that I learned from my old therapist, because I thought, I might as well hear the message.

It turns out that my dream was not just a lovely walk with a friend, it was actually about my deep need to be seen and understood by myself. When I was a little girl, I was taught by my parents, through their words and actions, that I was wrong, selfish and bad if I listened to my own wants and needs. Essentially at a very young age I learned how to feel and be about others before I was about me. I learned to be codependent, always checking out before checking in. Maybe you don’t see the connection, I admit it is quite the leap. Bear with me and I promise I will explain! If you are curious about the dream writing exercise, you can find it in “Invisible Warfare” by Mona Miller, pages 296 through 301. I highly recommend reading the entire book as well.

So how does my dream writing experience connect to being a Cheerleader for Kindness? By processing my thoughts and feelings through writing, I discovered what I want and don’t want. I no longer want to be about others before I am about me. In other words, I want and need to be kind to me first and then to others. In order for me to live a life of kindness, I must see me first. I must understand me first. I must know me first. I must be loving and kind to me first.

How can I be my own Cheerleader for Kindness? By getting to know that little girl inside of me that was not allowed to be herself. By talking to her (me). By asking myself what I want first before I ask others what they want. I used to believe that I was selfish to think about me first, but I realize now, that it is not selfish, it is true, authentic and its me. From this place of empowerment, joy and authenticity, I can truly be kind!

After completing my writing and processing my hurt, sad and angry feelings, I was inspired to talk to my inner little girl and she said she wanted to play and dance and feel free. Are you familiar with the song “Cheerleader,” by OMI? I have young kids and remember hearing it a few times. I looked it up on YouTube and turned the volume all the way up and had myself a dance party in my pajamas. I moved and danced to the music with a freedom and joy that I have not felt in years. And one dance was not enough, so I replayed it all morning for myself and kept dancing. Dancing in the hallway dancing in the kitchen, and even dancing while doing my daughter’s hair for picture day. My daughter, of course, thought I was embarrassing (she is 12 in a few weeks, so everything I do is embarrassing to her) but soon she joined in and was dancing and singing along. A few minutes later, my son came in and danced while brushing his teeth. What joy I felt! And Guess what? The kindness was brimming over and out of me! What a beautiful moment! All from what I thought was a simple dream about a walk with a friend.

I challenge you to do the following:

1.Find a fun song that inspires you to be playful and be a kid.

2. Blast the volume and let yourself dance like no one is watching, in fact do it while no one is watching. Do it in front of a mirror and imagine the kid inside of you, be that sweet, simple, fun loving child we all are inside!

Have fun and be free and maybe a miracle will happen or you will be inspired or at the very least, feel some joy in this very busy, fast and sometimes unkind world. Let’s make this world kind through our inner cheerleaders and our joy.

Feel free to share the song that inspires you to be the joyful, free and childlike version of yourself. I hope you find your inner Cheerleader!

Thank you for reading!

Jenni