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Pondering... Stretch

"What we think determines what happens to us,
so if we want to change our lives, we need to stretch our minds."
- Wayne Dyer
 
We most often tend to think of "stretch" in terms of something physical, but there is another stretching exercise that is equally important, that being learning to stretch our minds... to consider new possibilities and ways of thinking.  Not everything we believe to be true is true, or remains true forever.  Our lives are constantly changing, and hopefully evolving; we need to be willing to stretch beyond our preconceived limitations, reevaluate what we know and what we've been told, and then determine what beliefs are the right fit for us now.
 
A good way to stretch our minds comes in the form of believing in ourselves.  We tend to accept the labels that have been put on us, and the ones we've placed there, without ever going back to consider if they are still true, or were ever true to begin with.  From the time we are small, we hear negative messages like  "You are too __________",  "You are not ________ enough", or "You can't ______________."  (fill in the blanks with your most often heard put-down).   
 
An example of the above would be my second husband who was the master of psychological abuse. He often told me that my caring for people was fake, causing me to question if I was deceiving myself and that was really true.  He also told me "You won't ever leave me, you don't have the balls to leave."  Was he right, I wondered, was I going to be stuck with him forever?  Actually, no.  While I didn't "have the balls" (I'm not supposed to have those, right), I did have a an overwhelming need to escape him, so when I finally got a pay raise at work that made it possible for me to house and feed my two children, we packed and left.
 
For most of my life I've been insecure about myself and my own worth, so I've believed the labels people stuck on me, and I've weighed myself down with plenty more... "I'm not good at this", or "I can't do that."  The funny thing is that we can have ten people telling us we are good at something -  such as writing, being a friend, or encouraging others, yet it takes only one person with a negative comment telling us we aren't good enough and the doubt creeps in.  We hesitate, and sometimes we give up our attempts altogether because "they are probably right". 
 
What I'm asking you to do, is what I have to remind myself of all the time... to not let one person's criticism be your excuse to fail.  Find your inner strength, keep trying, and show them by your life how very wrong they were about you!  I may not be the perfect friend, but I think I am a caring, decent one.  I am certainly not the best writer in the world, but I'm not the worst either.  Caring about other people, trying to encourage them, is important to me.  Writing is also important to me, it is my passion!  Am I going to let one person's remarks cause me to shut down and quit trying?  NO!! 
 
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion... of me, and of anything else, but that doesn't mean I have to buy into it.  What matters is what I believe about myself, and how far I am willing to stretch myself to explore my own possibilities! 
 
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I'm linking up with Brenda at Pondering With A Purpose
here this week's writing prompt is "stretch"

12 comments:

  1. Well done and well said.

    Remember, people who put you down are incapable of lifting themselves!

    I tried to stretch my mind, but I think I pulled a brain cell.

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    1. Thanks Joe! I'm not sure I have a lot of brain cells left to pull, but I'm hanging on tight to the ones that still remain! :-)

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  2. Very well said! Some people like to belittle to make themselves feel larger or better...sickos!

    Have a wonderful day. You are a very sweet, kind and talented person.

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    1. True Gail, and I never will understand why people enjoy saying mean things. I was taught "If you can't say something good about someone, don't say anything at all." Some bloggers would do well to remember that! Why make a negative comment on someone's page, if you don't like what you read, you are always free to leave! I try to say something positive, we all enjoy those kinds of remarks! And thanks for your compliments, that was a smile I needed today! :-)

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  3. Part of my recovery process was replacing the negative messages with positive affirmations everyday. Great post, Josie!

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    1. It's hard work to retrain your brain to do that, isn't it, Elsie? But it sure is worth the effort. Now when someone has something negative to say, my first response may be to ask myself if the are right, but my answer is "NO, they don't know me at all!"

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  4. None of us are perfect and that is good...I've always looked at those that have to be negative about what others say and do, or demean what they look like as insecure people or they're full of crap...either way they are not worth me worrying about.
    I love my quirks and bumps...they make me.

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    1. I agree with you entirely GS, to me it is the quirks and bumps in each of us that makes us interesting. How boring life would be if we were all cookie-cutter replicas!

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  5. There is so much wisdom in this post, Josie. My first husband was controlling, used to put me down for saying "Please" and "Thank you." ("Those are stupid social conventions.")

    The concept of self-esteem was dim and in that distance until I started therapy (which helped me decide to leave with Riley). Turns out so many women are "at the mercy" of their men. Emotional, mental, physical abuse: I've read about all of them today on various women's posts. This is a good thing, I believe, because women are the solution to so many problems, so much better at diplomacy, etc.


    Thoughtful writing. Thanks, Josie! Love, Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2013/02/26/gorgeous-goldfinger-gal-shirley-bassey/

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    1. You are right, Amy, I've known so many women besides me who somewhere along the way fell into the trap of letting controlling people (usually men) tell us who we are and aren't and what we can and cannot do. The more we all speak out and encourage each other to reclaim our lives, to better world we are creating, especially for the children who will learn from our determination. I appreciate your supportive words!

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  6. I’ve always enjoyed hearing criticism of myself. I suppose many people are different. I found I had something to learn from most criticism… even if it was given with hostility. But what I wanted to say here, is that the best mind stretching I know, is learning new things. There is so much to learn… you can just keep on going all through your life, and never run out. And that really does stretch the mind… and makes us a lot more powerful and flexible both…

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    1. You are absolutely right about learning new things, Shimon, it's wonderful brain exercise and it's fun! Nothing feels better than accomplishing a new task or learning something new, it reinforces our sense of capability and success, and it keeps us alive and growing all the days of our life. People who stop trying to learn new things stagnate, that's never a good thing! Knowledge is power, just as you say! :-)

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)