My Battle With Success

Haven’t been on here in awhile.  Apologies. My life has been quite full. Being a mom never stops, it just changes a bit as your children grow older. I’ve had some transition on my job. Social life …ahh, I make my own social life. If I didn’t, I’d just be sitting at home bored or depressed. So, I go and I do things ON PURPOSE. Sometimes it’s exhausting, but, it fills my need for social activity and includes some things I enjoy. Dating…ha! Next subject. And dreams… I’m working to fulfill some of them.

I didn’t grow up in the church, but, I have spent a fair amount of my adult life in church because I became serious about my faith as a young adult and I continue on my journey to this day. I used to be married to someone who was heavily involved in church life and I saw all kinds of inner workings that left me a bit jaded and I’ve been working on healing from that. That said, I did receive some good teaching (and some not-so-good). I have heard multiple preached messages on using your “gifts and talents” for God.  In the church world, the whole “gifts and talents” thing took on a life of its own, and for lack of a better term, was ‘trending’ heavily for a while. Everyone was trying to find out their “gifts” so they could be successful in church and in life in general.

But, what is success? I have had to grapple with my own definition of success over the years. Of course, I was taught, mostly subconsciously, that success equaled monetary wealth. That is what everyone seemed to be striving for. I remember feeling somehow “lower than” or “less than” when I would go over someone’s really nice and fancy house. They’d have all of the amenities anyone could dream of. They’d have all of the games and toys that my kids wanted, but, I couldn’t afford to buy them. I have lived in rental properties for the majority of my adult life. I sometimes still battle with this feeling of inadequacy to be completely honest. But, is “success” only comprised of monetary wealth and the acquiring of things?

Success can be other things as well. It means different things to different people. I have had to figure out what it means to me. And I am still figuring it out as I explore my gifts. It seems I am gifted in areas that don’t naturally or easily produce income. And it still seems that part of my definition of success is related to money.

Let me give you background.  Having become a single parent due to divorce was one of the most difficult things I have had to endure and push through and conquer. It has strengthened me in ways I didn’t realize. But, can I tell you?? It’s been excruciating at the same time. I have wanted to give my children so much that I could not afford. I have felt so guilty about that for so long. And I am still trying to figure out how to be financially successful (in addition to my full-time job) to provide the very best way I can. You don’t know how many tears I have shed over the years out of sheer frustration over money.  That brought me to a point where I wanted to figure out a successful “side hustle” (side job or business). A few years ago, I did manage to stumble upon a niche side business that was well received, but only brought in minimal (and sporadic) income. It was enough to reinvest back into the business. Or sometimes after a drought, a random sale would come through at just the right time when I needed a little extra cash. But, beyond this, it did not flourish, so, after a few years of trying, I shut it all down.

Recently, I’ve decided to pursue things I am actually passionate about. I thought to myself “THIS will surely bring about eventual success because these are things I love.”  I told myself that growth will be slow and it will take time, but, it will eventually reach and help others and eventually pay off. However, I find myself impatient with the process. I have been wanting some form of success for so long, that I feel burned out from continuous trying and little return on my efforts. When I do create what I believe is meaningful / useful / helpful content, I only receive minimal feedback and I become discouraged. Still, I press on. I remind myself that at least this  time I am doing it from my heart instead of out of desperation.  Still, the internal struggle remains. Still, I wonder when will I “break through” to a place of reaching many and not simply a few. I want to be wise. I want to help others. Yet, I also want to be able to use these gifts to make things better for my family and myself financially at some point.

I think along with this, I feel the frustration of yearssssss of waiting for some other things to come to fruition; waiting for years’ worth of prayers to be answered; waiting for long-nurtured dreams to come true. It’s an accumulated frustration which doesn’t pair well with the process of beginning new things.  New things take an enduring patience which is something I must continue to work on. New ventures take lots of tweaking and trial and error.  New things mean you may fail as much as you succeed.  I know I have to hang in there and diligently move forward. The temptation is to look at how far I have to go instead of how far I’ve already come.  I remind myself daily that I will get there. I have always had BIG dreams in my heart and want to reach many souls. Still, I remind myself to  be thankful for the souls I currently do reach; and for the things I do currently have; and for the success I have already obtained over the years, though not easily seen with the naked eye.  Lord, help me to focus on the positive as you continue to grow my patience.  Thank you for teaching me needed lessons along the way to my personal success…whatever that looks like.

Thanks for reading.
ALSO…please find & subscribe to my podcast called “Life Together with Kay Dee“.
‘We are not meant to do life alone. We are meant to do life together in community (even online ones).’
Blessings.

~ Kay Dee

Loving the Whole You

Loving myself has been a journey. If I am honest, I must admit that I’ve got a ways to go yet. That isn’t to say that I haven’t made any progress. On the contrary, I have made huge strides, leaps and bounds in this area.  I am doing well in this process, but, I must always remind myself that it IS a process and therefore takes time and work, which is not fun for an impatient person. I often battle inwardly thinking I should have arrived already at some great accomplished place of perfect and complete self love.

Sometimes I think to myself, where does this expectation come from?  Why do I think I ought to have “arrived” by now, somehow?? Is it because I’m a certain age? Because I’ve already accomplished some other major goals in life? Because of society’s pressure bearing down upon me? The answer is all of the above. There are internal and external pressures involved; pressures I put on myself and pressures I feel from forces outside of myself.  You could say to me, “You don’t have to accept external pressures,” and you are correct. But, it’s often not that simple.  External pressures and expectations, whether from individual people (family, friends and strangers) or from media or from society-at-large are often overwhelmingly present.

For instance, have you ever been chatting with a friend or colleague something on your mind? You were thinking maybe they’d commiserate with you or make some small comment about it.  Instead, they proceeded to give full-on advice laced with a few veiled insults in the process.  But they were just “trying to help”, right?  That’s happened to me a time or two and usually the full impact of what was said didn’t hit me until AFTER the conversation was over.  Sure, sure the insults may not have been intentional but they still made their impact and left me feeling a bit hurt, angry and temporarily insecure about something I had no business feeling insecure about.  I then would have to go into “damage control mode” to counteract the impact of the negative words. I’d remind myself to “consider the source” or that they were “trying to help and unaware of their insult” or that “this person tends to be very opinionated so I must take their  ‘advice’ with a grain of salt”.  I’d have to remind myself “I am beautiful, capable, intelligent, and I love my body” or whatever other positive self-talk phrase was applicable at the moment.

Thankfully these types of interactions don’t happen often, but, they do happen.  Maybe they happen often for you with a particular friend, family member, coworker or boss.  It’s not easy to remain unaffected when people are critical towards you. But, let’s talk about another item that may undermine our ability to love ourselves fully… the influence of media.

Perhaps you are scrolling through your social media (or media of choice) and you see an article about, “How to have the perfect body” or “Getting beach body ready” or “How to get rid of those love handles” and along with the article is a picture of a person with seemingly zero body fat and toned muscles and curves in the ‘right’ places.  Then you look in the mirror at YOUR body and see something different.  Is your body less perfect? Less desirable somehow? Less beautiful?  The subliminal messages of these articles and pictures is that if you are not perfectly toned and in shape with zero body fat, or if you don’t look like the image that is portrayed by media, then something is wrong with you.  You begin to feel as though you are not measuring up or that your body is not good enough.

These articles and advertisements may have good intentions. They may want to promote fitness information. Or… they may be advertising a product or service that they want you to buy, so the advertisement / article plays on your personal insecurities about your appearance, your body shape, etc. in order to sell their product.  These subliminal messages tell us we should only go to the beach if we have a ‘beach body’.  Or when we see the that photo of the model with amazing abs has over 100,000 “likes”, we may incorrectly internally rationalize that have to look like that model in order to be “liked”.  It is all in the marketing and we fall for it.  If we are not careful, we feel like we are not measuring up somehow.

Then, there are the articles saying things like, “Things you should accomplish in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s¨ or “What you should wear in your 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, etc¨?  Who are “they” to be saying what we should or should not wear or what we should have accomplished by a certain age?  Sure, you can use these types of articles as a LOOSE guideline if you’d like, but, people are defying age stereotypes daily!  But, if we buy into these articles as more than for just entertainment or opinion, we could get caught up into thinking we’ve failed somehow by not reaching a certain goal or marker by a certain age.

Sometimes I swear this system is meant to keep us living in a state of dissatisfaction with ourselves and our lives. We can fall into the trap of endlessly striving to be some ideal rather than learning to actually LOVE ourselves as we are.  Not that we will never need or want to improve in some areas or facets of ourselves because we will.  But, we must first learn to accept and embrace ourselves FULLY.  We all have shortcomings, flaws, things that we don’t necessarily prefer about our appearances, etc., but we must love these parts of ourselves as well, and love them wholeheartedly.  Do you have stretchmarks?  Love them.  Do you have “love handles”? Love them.  Do you have scars? Love them.  Do you have a tendency to chatter on and on? Love yourself.  Do you stutter? Love yourself. We are all imperfect and it’s okay.   What’s not okay is allowing your own self-talk, other people’s opinions, or other external sources to make you feel less worthy as a human being.  You, I, we … do not have to be perfect people. We should strive to be good people. We should strive to be the best version of ourselves and that is different for everyone.  But, do not cast aside who you are at this moment.

It can be very difficult to manage if we have people in our lives who constantly tear us down. Or if we are in social situations on a regular basis where we must deal with negative and/or bullying type people (work, school).  There is no easy solution in those situations. The dynamics are not always identical.  But, if you are being bullied at work or school, talk to someone you trust and someone who can help you.  Try talking to a teacher, administrator, friend, parent. At work you may also want to speak to a manager you trust or to the HR department or to a friend outside of work who can give you wise counsel.  Also try using Google to look up information for resources who might be able to help you.

The last thing I will mention is this.  When it comes to learning to love your whole self, the only caveat to this is if you know that you are harmful to other people or to yourself. If you know you are someone who purposely hurts others or if you purposely hurt yourself, loving yourself does not mean staying the same.  If you struggle with some dark parts of yourself or something that is bigger than you can handle that you know is destructive, then loving yourself would mean getting HELP for yourself so that the harmful behavior does not continue.  Loving ourselves also means doing what we must to help ourselves to get better.

These are my thoughts.  Blessings.

Kay Dee // @kaydeespeaks

https://iamkaydee1.wordpress.com
Facebook, IG, Twitter @kaydeespeaks
YouTube: bit.ly/KayDeeSpeaks

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