Thursday, March 27, 2014

Change Your life so that you like yourself; not so others will like you!

I had a very pleasant early-morning conversation today with a new friend and after I hung up the phone, I headed to the bathroom to take my shower and get ready for work. On the way, I noticed one of my kitties sleeping soundly on the couch. Lightning (the cat) looked so adorable and I because I was feeling kind of warm and fuzzy from the phone conversation, I was overcome with the need to pick up kitty and just cuddle her for a few minutes. I should know better!

Lighting is one a few strays that have made their way into my heart. Yes, I do that with stray people too , what can I say, I’m a softie. J  She is not particularly friendly, never has been, but on “her terms” she will come to me and jump on my lap. She’s been in my home for about 7 years and we’ve made a lot of progress, but still, it’s always on “her terms.”  But today, she looked so sweet and so I sat down and picked her up….and she quickly let me know, that this was not a “her term” moment. I should know better and this morning I have a few scratches on my chest as a reminder.

It’s no secret that I think too much, often for my own good. This morning is no exception. All the while I’m in the shower, my mind is mulling over this silly cat and my unwelcomed attempt at affection.  I kept thinking about the old saying, likely quite familiar to most of you, “Let sleeping dogs lie.”  There is so much wisdom in that phrase and it’s a reminder not to spend my time and energy on those things and those individuals and those situations that are not open or inviting me in.  In other words, pick your battles, and don’t put your energy and your nose into situations that clearly aren’t asking for it.   There is nothing worse than preaching to a wall, beating a dead horse, or trying to change the behavior of SOMEONE ELSE. No one wants to be told to “quit smoking, do on a diet, quit doing this or that” and former “addicts, big girls, drinkers, smokers…Whatever” are the worst.   Focus your energy, your time, your effort on CHANGING YOURSELF….the way you think, the way you feel, the way you act, the way you eat, and by all means, Let Go of old hurts, fights, pettiness.  If you forgive, you must be willing to let it go. Let those sleeping dogs lie. This journey is about YOU, not someone else.

Sometimes our insecurities and low self-esteem cause us to TRY TOO HARD, especially in terms of friendships and relationships.  I’m going to try to find the clipart that immediately comes to mind….and I’ll get it wrong in attempting to quote it verbatim until I find it, but essentially it implies that NO MATTER WHAT WE DO…We cannot make someone love us.  Instead, we need to make ourselves LOVABLE by being the best that we can be.  We do this by being open, by being kind, by doing things to make ourselves feel better about ourselves, by learning to accept our imperfections, and working hard to change those things about ourselves that we are not pleased with. This could be our quick temper, our habits, our appearance, our behavior, or any number of things.    

I encourage you to spend some quiet time when you can, and ask yourself about your MOTIVES….Why are you actively trying to change your life?  Why are you trying to lose weight or quit a habit?  Why are you attempting to be a better person…to grow….to be happier and healthier?  Is it to MAKE SOMEONE ELSE like you or is it to make it easier to LIKE YOURSELF?  If you do the things you do…..this can be anything….buy extravagant gift for others…..always sacrifice your own needs/wants/desires for someone else….wait on someone hand and foot….give up on your dreams…..feel guilty if you take a walk or a class……this list is endless….IF you do these things, just so someone or many “someones” will Like you or find value in you, then you may be doing it for the wrong reasons. I’m not just talking about Love relationships….I’m talking about all relationships.  Likewise, if you are changing your life….losing weight, whatever, just so someone will LOVE YOU or find you attractive, you need to think about that motive. Sure, the result will be a better looking, healthier you regardless of the motive….but in reality, that person or persons may not like the NEW YOU any better. In fact, in some cases, they will like you less. I know…I’ve been there.  My life changes and new way of thinking have caused complications in my relationships and friendships because not only has the way I look changed, but mostly because the way I think has changed.  Be prepared… may get flak from others when you want to go to the gym or spend more grocery money on fresh produce. Some may become jealous and try to sabotage you. Others may might have difficulty if you start getting compliments or attention.  Mostly, this is likely rooted in fear that you will no longer LIKE THEM if you start LIKING yourself.

Bottom line…..I can’t make that dumb cat be friendly on command any more than you can make someone else like you more by losing weight, working out, being a better cook, keeping a better house, getting smarter….WHATEVER.   But….Doing those things will make you LIKE YOURSELF better, feel better about yourself….which will in turn make you more likeable to others.  I’m not going to attempt to make Lightning want to be picked up and cuddled, but rather, I’m going to make my lap inviting and cozy tomorrow morning when I drink my coffee, and very likely, she’ll end up there purring in my ear.  Change your life…… “On your terms”….to improve YOURSELF…… and very likely, you will find great success.    Have a great day everyone!