I’ve had some conversations in recent weeks with other women (mostly veterans but also civilians) about having a positive outlook and realizing their self-worth. They almost always say to me “well that’s easy for YOU to say – everything seems to easy for you and you seem to have it all together.” I laugh because they are SO FAR from the reality of my life. I’m 43 years old and it has only been in the last year of my life that I’ve really found myself. Like most of you, my entire life has been spent comparing myself to other women and focusing on my faults and “deficiencies.” I went through life living pretty much a lie because I was trying to be someone that I wasn’t – trying to be what I thought everyone wanted me to be. Oh and not to mention always trying to proving myself to earn my place among the men I served alongside. Where did that get me? Many years of alcohol abuse, promiscuous sex, multiple husbands, LOTS of lonely nights, and way too much sadness. Not anymore. Yes, I still have issues and my life is FAR from perfect. But I CHOOSE to focus only on that which brings me joy or puts a smile on my face. If it makes me frown, causes me to spend more than a few breaths complaining about it – I simply DON’T. And I realize now, that I AM worthy and have so much to offer the world. Too often we base our self-worth on what OTHERS say about us. Someone said I wasn’t a good parent so it must be true. Someone said I’m not good enough so it must be true. What I think is so ironic about thoughts like these is that if we were sitting down with our own daughters having this conversation, we would most definitely be saying things like “Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle” and “what others say about you is a reflection of THEM, not you.” So why don’t we give ourselves this same advice?
And what about worrying that we’ll offend someone or hurt their feelings? Those people who annoy you because of their constant complaining or bitterness or just being a plain ol’ B*&CH – well they continue that way because no one ever tells them otherwise. Now lets add the part of being a woman veteran to the discussion. Aside from the issues that come with just being a woman, tack on all the added issues that tend to follow us veterans. WE ALL HAVE ISSUES!! But you know what? ISSUES is not all that we are. We are so much more than those negative things. Just like we would tell our daughters, we need to focus on the GOOD and POSITIVE things that make us who we are. I’ve noticed that of all the women I talk to, veteran women tend to downplay their qualities or attributes WAY more than civilian women. We are a generation of “buts.” I was in the Army, but (I only did 4 years, I didn’t serve in combat, I didn’t go overseas I didn’t…..). Why do we do that? Of all the women in the world, I think women Veterans have the most right to be a bit arrogant. I have a veteran sister (some may know this story) who had sent me her bio for a project. When she emailed me the write-up, she preceded it with “I hope this doesn’t sound too arrogant.” After reading it I was like “You go Girl – go on with your bad self!” While arrogance was no where in my thoughts, she had every right to be proud of her accomplishments. Is there a fine line between PROUD and HUMBLE? I don’t think so!!
Ok, so back to the topic of this story (yes Dorie made a short appearance). Ladies, YOU ARE!!! You ARE a VETERAN. You did what a VERY miniscule percent of the population did by signing on that dotted line. You ARE beautiful. You are strong (even if you don’t think so). You ARE a good mom (we ALL make parenting mistakes) but you leaving your kids to go on deployments or go to war only makes you a better mom because you were willing to sacrifice so much to give your kids a better life. You have so much to contribute to the world, even if you haven’t figured out what it is.
I want you all to play along with this exercise. Every morning before you even get out of bed, say to yourself “I am awesome!” The roll out of bed and once you get to your bathroom mirror, look at yourself and instead of pointing out some flaw you (think) you have, say to that person staring back at you – YOU GOT THIS! Today is going to be a great day because YOU are awesome! Why on earth am I asking you to do this? Here is the thing, “perpetual optimism is a force multiplier” the same as “perpetual pessimism is a force multiplier.” Say it and it will be. Remember the story about the kid who was always told he was stupid and never going to amount to anything – therefore that is what he became? It’s the same thing. The more POSITIVE thoughts you poor into your mind, the easier the positive thoughts will naturally be there without force. Start your day with I AM, but go a little further and every chance you get tell someone else AND SO ARE YOU.
Now ya’ll know my secret. I didn’t always pee rainbows ladies lol! But I have trained my mind and now I know my self worth and anything used to think was a flaw I now know is actually the very thing(s) that make me unique. I AM AND SO ARE YOU!!!