Self Worth

Are you your own best friend? If not, why not? We tend to go through life looking for validation from others; only when others like us or compliment us do we feel worthwhile. If this is you, perhaps you need to change how you think about yourself. I know many people in less than ideal circumstances who love themselves; and I know people with all the advantages in the world who hate themselves. So circumstances don’t always affect how we view ourselves. So what is it that makes someone comfortable in his/her own skin?

For a long time, I was the community doormat – really. I tried to please everyone so they would like me; whatever they wanted, I would do. I was in my 40s before I woke up and realized I was exhausted, depressed, and so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I allowed people to treat me as if I were their servant; and because I had no self-esteem, nobody else thought I was worth anything, either.

Change came slowly over several years, and it wasn’t easy. I went to college for the first time at 39, in spite of those who told me I was stupid for wasting my time on education and that I was too old to go to college.  Well, guess what, I wasn’t stupid and I wasn’t too old. I earned my AA while going to school full time and working full time. I loved school and learning! So I decided to keep going; I earned a BA 3 years later. And that’s how I ended up in Arizona, alone, not knowing anyone, and starting graduate school, at the ripe old age of 44. I earned my MA two years later and haven’t looked back. Oh, there are still times when the self doubts kick in, but they no longer have power over me and my attitude. When I start doubting myself, I bring out my accomplishment list, and it’s a long one. It covers everything from raising two wonderful sons to being a good mentor to others; from being a good nurse in my first career to being a decent human being who loves helping others.

It is difficult, still, to toot my own horn. But if I don’t do it, who will? And if I don’t take care of me first, how can I take care of anyone else? I still have difficulty accepting compliments, but I have learned to just say ‘thank you’ instead of being self-deprecating. I have my affirmations and accomplishments to look at when I start being down on myself. And yes, I am my own best friend.

I no longer think that doing things I want or need to do is selfish; I am just taking care of me; I am just recharging my batteries. I will never, ever, be someone’s doormat again!

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Helpful Hints

Applying liquid foundation with a damp (makeup) sponge evens out the coverage and gives a sheerer, more flawless finish. And don’t forget to blend all the way down and under the chin onto the neck; nothing looks worse than having your foundation obviously end above your neck!

If your eyelashes are thin to nonexistent, here’s how to make them look thicker:  apply a coat on the top of your upper lashes; then apply to the underside of the upper lashes by gently working the applicator side to side as you slide it from the base to the outer tips of the lashes. To make the lower lashes stand out without clumping, lightly brush the applicator along the edges of the lashes only.

When applying blush, blend it outwards and upwards along your temples to the eyebrows. Apply a light dusting on your forehead at the hairline, down the nose, and on the chin. This gives your face a glow without being obvious.

Need to get that last bit of lotion or anything else out of the bottle? If it’s a plastic bottle or tube, make sure all the contents are at the opening by turning the container upside down for a while. Then cut the tube or bottle at about the half way mark. You can then reach whatever is left inside. To prevent the contents drying out, either place in a ziplock bag or cover securely with foil. It the container is glass, you can use orange sticks to scoop out most of what’s left inside.

Instead of buying an expensive eyebrow brush, use an old toothbrush (after cleaning it, of course!) Brush eyebrows up and then lightly run the brush along the top of the brow – this actually makes your eyebrows look fuller. Of course, if you already have thick eyebrows, just brushing them from the inner to the outer edge is probably fine.

Not sure where to pluck your eyebrows? Take an orange stick, lip liner pencil,  or something similar and place it alongside your nose pointing upward; where the stick hits your eyebrow should be the inner edge of your brow – pluck hairs only on the nose side of the stick. Now take the stick and angle it out to the edge of your eye – this should be the outer edge of your eyebrow so pluck only the hairs past the outer edge of the stick. The arch of your brow should be right above the pupil of your eye when you’re looking straight ahead. Want pictures? See: http://www.weddingbee.com/2010/12/16/how-to-pluck-your-eyebrows/

For thin eyebrows, use eyeshadow that’s a shade or two lighter than your brows and a stiff, slanted brush. Use short light strokes to fill in.

If you have an article of clothing that’s wrinkled, and you don’t want to drag out the iron, toss it in the dryer with a damp towel for a couple of minutes.

Clean your hairbrushes and combs monthly by removing all the hair then soak the brushes and combs in water with a little added shampoo. You can use a nailbrush to clean combs and some hairbrushes; or drag out an old toothbrush. And speaking of toothbrushes, how often do you clean them? They can be soaked in a peroxide solution.

Makeup brushes and applicators should be washed weekly. I’ve found the best thing to use is a mild shampoo. Always hold the brushes with the bristles down; if water gets down inside the handle, the glue that holds the bristle in can dissolve. Use your hands to gently apply the shampoo and work into the bristles, rinse, and repeat as necessary until the rinse water is clear. Dry the brushes by putting them on a paper towel; always dry flat so water doesn’t get into the handle.

And speaking of cleaning things, small, hard-to-reach nooks and crannies can be cleaned with a Q-tip dipped in peroxide, just make sure the place you’re cleaning is color safe as peroxide can bleach some items (remember the term peroxide blonde??)

Do you have some tips you’d like to share?

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Life can be overwhelming

Life can be overwhelming. There are so many things I want to do that are pushed out by the things I have to do. I love to write, to take pictures, to be out in Nature. But the dogs have to be fed; the bed must be made; the laundry must be done; and on and on. I have a full-time job a part-time job, a home, two dogs, a partner, a yard. And there never seems to be enough time.

But today I realized something: when there is so much to do it’s too easy to decide to do nothing because so much to do can be overwhelming. Doing nothing is a choice that I sometimes make and then beat myself up for all the things I should have been doing.

I work because I’m not rich (not even close) so bills must be paid, and we need heat and light and air conditioning, and food, and water.

So today I made the conscious decision that I am going to focus more on the things I want to do. The things I have to do will still be there. And how important is it that the bed is made every day? Of course some things can’t be neglected, but those that can will be. Living things will take priority from now on, and that includes me – at the top of the list.

Fitting in – or not.

For most of my life I felt that I didn’t fit in. I was smarter than the average girl allowed herself to be and wasn’t afraid to show it. I loved math and science, and arts and languages, and music and art, and history and geography. And this was in the early 60s when it was thought that girls couldn’t do math and science and shouldn’t do it anyway, because women were supposed to be wives and mothers. The educational system in the UK decreed that everyone take an exam at 11 to get ‘sorted’ into academic or vocational schools; I went to an academic high school. The only problem was that after two years of taking every subject, we had to pick either arts or sciences. My dad went to bat for me and I was able to take a combination – probably the only person in the school to do that.

Senior year in high school, all my classmates had their plans made; I had no idea what I wanted to do. My mom convinced me I had always wanted to be a nurse, and since I didn’t have any better ideas, and since I won a small scholarship, I went to nursing school.

I worked in nursing for about 20 years. I was miserable almost the whole time. I would get bored with what I was doing and bounced around from specialty to specialty spending a year or two at a time in one area. But after 20 years, I was totally burned out. Still not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up, I meandered into accounting. It was difficult to find a job because nobody would believe I wanted to leave nursing. I was fortunate enough to land a job, with some pull from someone I knew who believed in me.

My employer paid for me to take a couple of computer classes in the late 80s, and I came alive. I took more classes, and 7 years later had earned an MA.  So then I was the proud owner of an AA in Business, a BA in English with a minor in Geology, and an MA in American Indian Studies. So now what? Are we seeing a pattern here? The first job I found was in – Accounting – where I’ve been ever since.

But there’s more to the story. I discovered that once I learned the job and knew everything I needed to know, I was bored. Excruciatingly bored. And it usually took anywhere from one to two years.

Then I found a book; a magical book; that changed my life. I discovered that what I thought was my inability to stick to anything had a name, and it didn’t mean there was something wrong with me! I am a Scanner and the book is Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher. Other people have called us Renaissance Persons, dilettantes, jills-of-all-trades. We have many names, but there is nothing wrong with us. Our brains just work a little differently; we learn what we need or want to learn and move on.

Phew! That’s a lot of information. More later.

Distractions

There are times when I can’t wait to sit down and write because the ideas come pouring out of my brain faster than my fingers can type. There are other times when I can stare at the blank screen for a long time and welcome any distraction to get up. Like now when I hear the washer beeping that the cycle is done. And now the dogs are barking so I have to go see who is walking past the house – it could have been someone sinister instead of the couple walking their dogs on the other side of the street. And now the dryer is beeping, so I have to go get the clothes out and hang them up or they will wrinkle.

And there’s the tone that tells me I have a new email message; and now there’s a new tweet to read; and here comes a Facebook response to something I wrote.

 My partner needs help figuring out something on the computer. And the dogs are barking again; this time it’s someone walking to the bus stop, but they are on our side of the street this time.

It’s a wonder anything gets done around here!