My life has been adventurous but not because I intended it to be that way. Unfortunately, for the greater part of my life, fear has been in the driver’s seat.
“Last year was both challenging and rewarding. Challenging because I faced some of my worst fears; my best friend’s cancer diagnosis, traveling blind, and the death of a very good friend. While my anxiety was nerve-wracking, coming out on the other side of these fears was a gift like none other.” ~Grappling With Fear To F.E.A.R.
Don’t reduce yourself, Not for anyone else, Know your value from within, Let it radiate through your skin,
~Victoria Claire | Know You Matter
For the last few days, I’ve been attempting to publish a blog post about my recent experience at a 3-day conference. “To Impress Or Not To Impress” is the title I chose because of the internal struggle I felt. Truth be told, for the past week and a half, I haven’t felt like I’m enough. What it boiled down to was trying to seek validation from others was a very uncomfortable feeling for me. Then this morning, I listened to “Know You Matter” a new single released today by my good friend Victoria Claire.
So many of us are looking outside of ourselves to find what can only be found on the inside—value. Knowing your value, who you really are, empowers you to accept yourself wholeheartedly. When you know who you are you can stand confidently in the knowledge that you matter. Self-compassion, accepting yourself as you are is a key component to loving others.
The Creative Process
2019 was a year of revelation for me in coming to terms with who I am. Serendipitous is the only word I can use to explain my ongoing journey to self-discovery. And I’m so thankful that part of this journey enabled me to be part of Vicky’s creative process. Following is an excerpt written by Vicky, from the upcoming edition of CAPTIVATING! about this process:
Vicky is an extremely multi-talented person who sings, composes, sculpts, speaks, advocates, surfs, and skateboards just to name a few. As an artist, she thinks deeply and feels even more deeply. In “Know You Matter,” you are gifted a rare glimpse into my friend Victoria.
Finding Know You Matter:
Here is the link to iTunes for the song: https://apple.co/35Ftjhg. The song is also available on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Google Music, Tidal, Youtube and more.
Built on the premise that “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers,” Bold Blind Beauty was created to empower blind and visually impaired women. In recognition of the year 2020, we are excited to unveil our “2020 A Year Of Vision” Campaign. The focus of the campaign will be on changing perceptions about the disability community and promoting inclusiveness.
Changing perceptions begins with building awareness and promoting respect for people with disabilities. We plan to achieve the goal of changing the way we perceive one another by sharing our stories and having mutual respect for humanity. In 2020 we are thrilled to present as part of the “2020 A Year of Vision” Campaign:
I won’t pretend to know how or when segregation began as this is outside of my area of expertise. However, as my friend Robyn observes in her post “Star Of Bethlehem” I agree that taxonomies are human-imposed.
As humans we are and simultaneously are not, the same. Think about it, when we strip away our exteriors what are we left with? Sure, many factors go into our becoming the individuals we are and the beauty of being human lies in our complexities. Unfortunately, all humanity isn’t equally valued.
As a nearly 60-year-old minority who lives with an acquired disability, I have some experience in what being different means. Something I’ve noticed; when others who are not minorities become disabled, it becomes apparent how being different impacts their lives. Side note: as a minority group, the disability community does NOT discriminate—anyone can become a member. I’ve also noticed that when we experience a national or international tragedy we can come together in shared grief.
Since no one can possibly know what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes it’s our responsibility to be empathetic. Is this difficult? Absolutely it is! Just thinking of all the areas of contention we have with fellow humans is dizzying. And truth be told, some people while we may have to let them go for whatever reason, they are still valuable humans. In “When the corpse is not ours…” my friend and author Jacqueline (A Cooking Pot and Twisted Tales) challenges our view of humanity.
Learning To Respect Differences
Appreciating differences and accepting people where they are is at the heart of humanity. If you subscribe to the idea that humanity is imperfect, respecting differences can begin with embracing our own flaws. So how then can we learn to see differently? Here are a few tips to practice:
Gratitude without comparison: Comparing ourselves with one another is pointless and detrimental to our wellbeing. So many of us are overly concerned with being who others think we should be and in the process, we lose ourselves. Being grateful for who you are, begins with knowing yourself. No one can define who you are except you. Self-compassion enables you to wholly embrace yourself and gratitude diminishes the need for comparison. What are your vulnerabilities, strengths, weaknesses, and values?
Let go of perfectionism: We’re complex creatures none of whom are perfect. Do not give power to your inner critic. Doing the best we can with what we have is enough.
Positivity as a choice: In our increasingly divisive culture it can be challenging to avoid negativity however we always have a choice. We do not have to engage in negative behavior or commentary.
Kindness: Being open to the idea that others’ lives may differ greatly from your own is okay. We cannot and should not expect everyone to live as we do. Respecting other people’s right to live and choose how to do so is humanitarianism. Live and let live and above all be kind.
In 2020 let’s do better and be the best versions of ourselves that we can be! I leave you with a song I’ve declared as my anthem:
What are your thoughts on how we can transform our culture and respect one another?
The header image contains multicolored fireworks on a white background.
2020 A Year Of Vision: A simple black outline drawing of an eye on a white background. The iris of the eye is a teal-colored female symbol and the pupil inside the iris is a smaller gray male symbol. The eye is centered above the black tagline “2020 A Year of Vision.”
“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful, it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul-healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.”
As 2019 winds down, reflecting on my ordinary, mundane, and routine life sandwiched between amazing and awful moments I’m grateful. I think the above quote about life resonates so deeply with me is because of its simplicity. Even so, a small part of me can’t help but feel that when life isn’t amazing or awful then something must be wrong. However, when I really think about it ordinary is the sweet spot.
This time last year I was riding high on the first publication of CAPTIVATING!a free, accessible online lifestyle magazine. Then as 2018 neared its end, I went into a deep depression that I thought I couldn’t rebound from. Yet I did, and what’s even better is I’m ending 2019 more enlightened. In my very first post of 2019, I ended it by saying“I’ll continue to hopefully come out on the other side more enlightened.” When I made this statement there wasn’t a map for me to follow to enlightenment but believing in possibilities created the pathway. Here’s a look back, through blog posts, on the timeline of how I arrived here:
At the beginning of this year, I couldn’t have imagined I’d have amazing opportunities to travel. Interacting with people in person was so meaningful and enhanced the virtual relationships we previously developed. Likewise, meeting new people and developing new relationships helped me to grow personally and professionally. Oh, and the most AMAZING thing happened last week when my granddaughter, Ariella, was born.
While traveling, meeting new people, and a newborn fall into the amazing category at the other end of the spectrum is the awful. Devastating news in the form of a broken relationship, a friend’s cancer diagnosis, and another friend’s death were painful. Each of these situations profoundly affected me causing a great deal of introspection, and today I’m still processing my feelings.
Learning to appreciate the ordinary has been a little tough but at the same time rewarding. It’s been tough because I made some difficult but necessary changes in my life and I’m finding this is constant. The rewards, on the other hand, have been less stress, more meaningful relationships, and a greater sense of self.
In summary, I’ve found life and the journey to my self-discovery a continual, exhausting, effort that requires focus, truth, and vulnerability. Many of us struggle daily with doubts about our worthiness and we try to find the answers outside of ourselves. The thing is, self-compassion which can only come from the inside allows us to embrace our worthiness. When you know who you are, no one else can define you. Owning your worthiness places you in a position where what others think about you is no longer important.
From my heart to yours I wish you the happiest of holidays!
And if perchance, this time of year is a struggle for you please know you aren’t alone.💔 You must know, You Matter!
If you need encouragement, I leave you with a teaser to the song my friend Vicky wrote.💖 You can check out the lyrics here: Know You Matter and be on the lookout for the single to drop in January 2020.
In the original version of this post, I included what I thought was the teaser of Know You Matter. This audio clip is the correct file.
Featured image: Photo of a car’s rearview mirror reflecting the long road behind the vehicle. White transparent “2019” is overlaying the reflection.
Photo of Ariella sleeping in her bassinet. She has a little pink knit cap on her head that perfectly matches her rosy cheeks and she is wearing a long sleeve tee