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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Living Honestly: The True Measure of Success

I am in the process of developing a workshop series that I plan to present to women in the DC area.  The idea was conceived after my first public speaking engagement shortly after the loss of one of my twin daughters.  It had been over two years since I had spoken before a group of people and I was very rusty to say the least, but my presentation seemed to resonated deeply with many people, especially women.   The topic I presented was "Authenticity through Adversity" which was based on my own experiences dealing with grief and depression. I discovered that being authentic and honest during a tragedy or crisis is the only real way to process through.  It sounds simple, but it is easier said than done. Especially after a death, where there may be expectations associated with how and when to "get over it".  I learned so much about myself during my grief and loss that after I recovered from the depression, I felt stronger and more confident about myself.  The workshops will give me an opportunity to share my experiences with other women and to be able to hear their stories.

My next presentation is called, "Living Honestly: The True Measure of Success" and I would love to hear from my fellow bloggers and commentors.  First, let me explain the premise of my topic and then issue my request.

The Premise:
 We get so caught up in the business of "doing" that we neglect the aspect of "being".  We "do" what is needed. We "do" what we think is right or expected of us in the various roles we fulfill.  Success is measured by our performance and ability to meet the needs of others. So much of our "do" is not rooted in who we are and it becomes easy to lose sight of our true qualities. Many times the lives we imagined and planned for ourselves and families fade into the background of our day to day existences.   Living honestly is about being truthful about who we are and what we really want out of life without feeling guilty.  We are practically conditioned to feel guilty when we prioritize our own needs.  We erroneously equate self-care with selfishness.  Recognizing who you are, understanding your gifts and talents and creating a lifestyle that inspires and cultivates your growth and development is what living honestly is all about and there is nothing selfish about it.

In my own life the "doing" was easier than the "being",  because as long as I was moving from activity to activity, I didn't have to acknowledge my dissatisfaction with myself.  When my pregnancy forced me to stop everything, I had to face the fact that no matter what I had (including a wonderful husband and children I adored) as long as I continued to bury my dreams and neglect cultivating and investing in myself, I was living a lie.  Now I thank God that my circumstances showed me that life was short and I was wasting mine on things that meant nothing to me.  In the last three years I have accomplished more than the previous fifteen.  I have less money, live in a smaller space and no longer hold any titles - but I have never felt more successful than now, because I do what I love and have what I want. I write, I share and I have a healthy happy family.   And all I had to do to get here was live my honest life.  Don't get me wrong, I am by no means a Pollyanna or a unrealistic warm and fuzzy type.  Life is still a challenge for me and there are issues that I have to look at long and hard.  The difference is the desperation is gone and in it's place is a true faith.  I no longer feel as though I am swimming upstream.  I honestly think that my life is good.

The Request:
Now that I have "talked" much more than I intended, I wanted to start a dialogue on what "living honestly" and "success" mean to you.  I would love to hear about those moments when you felt you were "being" you as well as those moments when "living honestly" was just too hard.

I will not be reproducing or using your comments.  Hearing from other women is always inspiring and helpful.  I am always amazed at how we are able to help each other by being just a little transparent.

6 comments:

  1. Wow, I love your post! You can really feel your own honesty through the writing. Hmmm...living honestly huh? Well I will have to put some thought into that but I will say this-
    One way we go wrong is when we forget that God says He will bless us with the desires of a heart. The first step to those desires is to be authentic and honest in a relationship with our Creator.
    I am here to follow you from Simply Follow and would love to have you follow me at www.pinkdivacafe.com
    Hugs!
    Noel

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  2. Pink Diva - I am going to show my daughter your site. Her favorite color is pink and her name is Noelle. She will be 4 this week.

    Thanks for your comment. To be honest my faith and spirituality is what drives me everyday to be honest.

    When I was pregnant with my twins, I realized that my "faith" was not as secure as I thought it was. What I know now, is that what I believed about God and my Christain faith wasn't the core issue. As a church leader I spent so much of my energy doing and saying what I "should" that I didn't really deal with the issues of my heart. I wasn't being fake - I thought that was Faith.

    I learned that trying to say, do and think all the right things because you are trying to live up to a standard or image, is the furthest thing from truth. No matter how lovely the standard or image is. When I turned inward and really became brutally honest with myself - God was right there. My situation didn't turn out the way I thought or wanted...but my life was transformed. I live by the fact that truth makes me free and trying to live up to some image outside of myself is crazy, because I was created in the image and likeness of God.

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  3. Thanks for coming over to my blog and leaving a comment. I am sorry to hear about your loss. I am glad you found a way of healing.
    The know this inner voie very well. I call her Mrs. Patronizing know it all, and my relation with her strated changing lately.
    Maybe u like to read this post:

    http://pneumeier.blogspot.com/2010/09/food4thought.html

    BTW, having an American fiance I am moving to Virginia begin of December this year! Close to DC area ;-)))

    I am so very grateful for the support I received on my way and if my posts help others along, I am even more grateful. I know that the trauma therpay received isnt available in the USA and no insurance would pay it. Hence I am not only grateful to the German Health System but gladly sharing exercises and the ways the make me feel and what came out for me. Hugs across the pond.
    Paula

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  4. There have been so many moments of realization over the past few years where I freed myself and began "living honestly." One that sticks out in my head was when I had a discussion with a close friend of mine about religion. I admitted that I didn't consider myself to be a religious person at all anymore, but a spiritual one. that may not seem like a big deal to most, but for me this was an issue that I first avoided and then tried to sort out for a long time. And I was concerned about how this particular friend would absorb this. It felt amazing to just be honest about how I feel and be me and accept however people react to it without fear.

    I'm working towards living honestly all over my life and it feels AMAZING.

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  5. Paula - It was my pleasure to vist your blog and will do so again. It is very inspiring. Hey email me when you get close to coming - I am very close to Northern VA.

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  6. GG - I understand perfectly - talking about faith is so personal and is one of those hot topic issues that can go downhill so quickly.

    But doesn't it feel great living honestly...you grow in leaps and bounds and before you know it, yor life starts looking how you always imagined it to be.
    As always thanks for the comment.

    CJ

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