In this blog post, we'll explore six hard-learned lessons that have shaped my journey toward self-acceptance and empowerment. From trusting your instincts to standing up for yourself and valuing your time, each lesson offers insights and reflections gleaned from decades of life experience. Let's start with the glitter on cupcakes...
For years, I took stock of how I differed from my friends and colleagues, and it was puzzling at times. I could appreciate their gifts and talents, but I tallied up our differences, shaking my head. Each difference was evidence of my brokenness to me. Today, I recognize and value those differences as my own gifts and talents, not brokenness. Life seems richer, and I see the exquisite differences in all of us because I can see myself as the same as others in different ways, not less than. Ask yourself, have I been tallying up my differences from others as evidence of my brokenness, rather than recognizing them as unique gifts and talents?
I was raised to people-please. It was considered selfish to put my needs before others, but every time I violated my own gut instinct, I felt inconsolable and would kick myself later. When I let my instinct call the shots, feelings of betrayal, toxic kindness, and abandonment left me. Having a boundary and standing firm within that boundary wasn't selfishness; it was honesty. Consider for yourself, do I trust my instincts, or do I prioritize pleasing others over honoring my own intuition?
I once worked in a toxic situation that made me doubt what I knew to be true. I was gaslighted and started to believe it myself. My lack of confidence spilled onto those around me. As I kept focusing on what I was doing "wrong" in their eyes, I made not only myself sick and unhappy but pulled others down emotionally, too. To be my best self, I need to feel comfortable with who I am and what I contribute. Being true to myself and my values brings out the best in others as well as myself. Am I comfortable in my own skin, or do I find myself in toxic environments that erode my confidence and self-worth?
In that same toxic workplace, I also had to take responsibility for my actions. I tried to make sure everyone liked me, over-promising and hustling for them while neglecting my own needs - childish behavior. The truth was, I didn't stand up for my ideals or back them with action. That experience taught me to advocate responsibly for my needs. The difference between a child and an adult is taking responsibility for yourself. Question: do I stand up for myself and advocate for my needs, or do I seek validation and approval from others?
When failures would happen, I'd ask, "What did I do wrong?" - pinning the problem on me and my evidence of brokenness. We all do wrong sometimes, but this question reinforced that tendency. When I started asking, "What am I missing here?" the process changed my attitude tremendously. I could stop blaming myself and started seeing positive growth opportunities by assessing life more neutrally and less as a personal failure or shortcoming. Question: Do I tend to blame myself for failures, or do I approach setbacks with a growth mindset, seeking opportunities for learning and improvement?
I’ve had two major health issues that taught me this lesson the hard way. Facing borrowed time made me aware of how little time I might have and notice who I was important to. Without those wake-up calls, who knows how much time I would still waste on out-of-sync people or projects? I hope you, too, gain clarity about time's precious, finite nature without fear of a health scare but consider this: Am I mindful of the precious nature of time, and do I prioritize activities and relationships that align with my values and aspirations?
DeShawn Wert teaches intelligent, motivated professionals how to get stuff done so they CAN relax and enjoy the fruits of their labor! Let's explore how you do your best work together. An Ericson-trained life coach and JTS Coaching-trained ADHD coach, DeShawn is a member of good standing in the ADHD Coaches Organization. She's contributed to several books on living with ADHD, including Dr. Dale Archer's book, The ADHD Advantage, and Laurie Dupar's series called More Ways to Succeed with ADHD.