One Thing to Remember About Confrontations

First, a disclaimer: it takes two to reconcile. If you are caught in a vicious cycle with a master manipulator who isn’t sincere and hasn’t heard your voiced concerns, I understand your impetus to disconnect. I also consider you off the hook for the following advice.

If you call an honest person out on something, you must also call them UP.

Offer solutions. Offer humility. Offer honesty stirred up with compassion.

Offer companionship in the recovery.

Offer solid belief in their worth.

Build up. Don’t tear down.

Play, Even When They Throw Rocks At You

If you’re a true revolutionary, your name won’t be safe in everyone’s mouth. Your beauty will not be held sacred in the eye of every beholder.

External acceptance may forever find it’s place on the mile just ahead of you.

This is why it’s important to love and respect yourself at the level you reserve for those you adore most. Yes, I know you’ve made mistakes and you don’t feel qualified. (I’ve made them myself, many, many times.)

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People who dry tears, repair rifts, and sow change in the soil of this earth aren’t remotely perfect, fearless, popular, or praised by everyone in charge. They are people who dare to let their hearts out to play again and again, defying the fear that their tender insides will be met with thrown rocks instead of a smile.

They dare to walk hand in hand with Truth in an hour when that union is met with disgust and angry calls for shame.

Those people gift the beholder the chance to look eye to eye and say, with great relief and tears, “Yes. Me too.”

That is one heck of a gift. 

Teri

For Toye, Alyssa, and my fellow DreamBuilders.

Disruptions Are Good. Here’s Why

I’m on this journey to continuously improve as a writer, artist, and human being. I’ve decided the next step in this journey is an experiment… a Disruption Day.Image
This Monday, I am planning to do as many unplanned things as possible. Those things can be tiny or huge.

Examples:

-If I normally wake up and check Facebook on my phone, then I will get up and cook breakfast or walk the dog instead.
-If I normally turn on GMA while getting ready, instead, I’ll listen to a jazz record or a Robin Sharma webinar.
-If I normally skip breakfast, I’ll have oatmeal. If I always have eggs for breakfast, I’ll have an enchilada.
-Maybe I’ll do stretches on the last 5 minutes of lunch to limber up these hamstrings.
-If I normally get coffee and check my e-mail first thing when I get to work, maybe I’ll get coffee, turn on a lava lamp, turn off the overhead light, and listen to “Welcome to the Jungle” while I address the first 5 pieces of mail in my paper inbox.
-If I normally berate myself inwardly when I make a mistake, I’ll skip the inner tirade and tell myself, “Oops. Good one to remember for next time. You’re still smart. Enjoy your day.”
-If I normally do easy work first, maybe I’ll set aside 8 AM to 10 AM to chip away at the big project on which I keep procrastinating.
-Maybe I’ll get lunch from a food truck instead of a freezer, and buy the lunch of the person behind me.

Disruption Day isn’t about trying to reset all bad habits in a single day, but about interrupting the trance and finding the adventure in everyday life:

-To see exactly where my minutes are going. (Remember, minutes are the currency of greatness.)
-To serve one of my NY Resolutions: to keep my brain as healthy as possible. (To do that, I have to throw it curveballs.)
-To work my Rethinking and Adaptability muscles.
-To force my path in life to intersect with new people and new locations.
-To embrace the beauty of surprises again.
-To supercharge my problem-solving skills.
-To view each day like an explorer, and avoid getting the same exact results in life.

Who’s in? Hashtag your results on Facebook and Twitter with #disruptionMonday.

Teri

P.S. (Disclaimer: those of you who have autism or autistic children are excused. There will be other ways for you to accomplish the same goal.)Photo via Bigevil600 at http://www.sxc.hu/browse.phtml?f=view&id=85853.

If You’re Single on Valentine’s Day, Rejoice.

My Facebook page today is a hemorrhage of red and pink and white, with post after post extolling the virtues of wedded bliss.

As a yet-to-be-married woman, I have to tell you… I’m pretty dang happy this Valentine’s Day, as many single people are. Maybe we should celebrate that too.

You see, today I woke up and there was no one sitting on my couch in a stained t-shirt playing Call of Duty instead of looking for a job.

My checking account had not been overdrafted by anybody.

A toddler did not throw up on my best pair of Steve Maddens.

I didn’t have to pick four pairs of dirty boxers up off the floor to get to the bathroom, which I used with no interruptions.

I started planning a bucket list photography trip to Multnomah Falls without anyone’s permission.

No one accused me of being selfish.

When I tripped on the way out of the door this morning, no one laughed at me.

Nobody reminded me that I don’t look like 25-year-old Teri anymore.

I wasn’t anyone’s whipping boy because of a bad day at work.

When hot single men smiled at me, I smiled back if I felt like it, without guilt.

I hope all of my married friends enjoy the roses and candy and parking fees and bumper-to-bumper traffic and long dinner lines, as well as the unfair, confusing, and unspoken commercialized rules you somehow have to obey on this day. Believe me, I feel for you more than I envy you.

But to all of my fellow singles? Have a blast today. Eat garlic. Go to the beach for no reason. And whatever you do, have the best, freest, dopest, most awesome Valentines Day ever.

Teri

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Slaying A Monster in An Inconvenient Moment

(Why You Should Move Forward Even When You Aren’t Feeling It)

I once had a nightmare in which I needed to rescue a sick, dying man. I tracked him down to the basement of a distant house, but didn’t dare descend that dark staircase.

He was guarded by a terrible monster that looked like a mashup of bear, lion, werewolf, and devil, and no one could kill this thing. The main floor of the house was full of people praying that God would remove the monster, prayers that grew in intensity every time the horrific thing let out a wall-shaking roar. Being a woman of faith, I hit my knees and joined them.

We prayed all night. As the room glowed orange with the first beams of dawn, I heard the man’s scream again, followed by another earsplitting roar from the monster. That was it. The time for prayer had grown into the time for the next step.

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I stood and left the still-praying crowd, flung open the basement door, and stood eyeball to waist with the monster, which was all muscles and teeth and glowing red eyes, and it snarled hellishly like the queen alien confronting Ellen Ripley.

Then I reached up and broke it’s neck with my bare hands. It was like snapping a twig. All roar. All fear. All sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I woke in real life as rescue workers in my dream ran past me down the basement steps and saved the dying man.

Fast forward to now.

This quote is on my mirror: “In this moment, are you spending your time in a way that serves your purpose?”

I started thinking about this because I set a three-month goal last fall to initiate my career as a speaker. I’d put together a focus group, deliver my first speeches, and start editing.

Then I blinked.

Five months were gone, and I was still locked into the wishing, wishing, wishing phase. I had worked on other things– worthy things, of course. I took a second job, then added several new freelance clients to my first job. Then there was the car accident, the website I helped launch that wound up in HuffPo, the trip three states north to hold my dying grandmother’s hand. There was a surprise case of pneumonia, then auditions and dates and appointments and important phone calls to family and friends.

I realize now that there will never be a good time for the genesis of my speaking career, but the time to stand up and strike is mostly certainly now.

Each step forward confirms my belief in the people I have been sent to serve, belief in the God who loves them, and belief in myself as someone who is declared worthy.

My friends, greatness isn’t found in the thought a warmer tomorrow or a sparkling, brand-new year. Greatness is found in the gray, damp-basement-smelling imperfection of this moment and in the brave souls who seize it.

Minutes — little sixty second snatches of time — are the currency of greatness.

I hope you don’t waste those minutes hating yourself, doubting when you should hope, cowering in fear when you should be brave.

I hope you redeem them for greatness.

Teri

Photo via MilosMilos at sxc.hu.

Dearly Beloved, You Are Invited to This Thing Called Life

Low self worth is the homecoming queen in your mind who eases up to you, puts her lips to your ear, withholds the anticipated kiss, and instead whispers that you don’t belong at the party.

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Notice, I said: In your mind.

People with low self worth use everyday “awful” moments as evidence to support self-hatred. Those thoughts take on a far bigger and more insidious meaning inside the insecure human brain.

Then they replay, replay, replay, replay, and replay–ad nauseum– awful little “not enough” moments. What starts as a nagging little bee sting in the back of your mind swells to an attack from a Hitchcockian swarm within a matter of hours.

“You failed. YOU failed. YOU FAILED. YOU FAILED!”

And oh, how they sting:

I should have said this.
I should have worn that.
I should have told him no.
I should have known ___.
I should have made this point.
I should have looked prettier.
I should have done more research.
I was a fool to even try.

Make no mistake: if you have an inferiority complex, it lies to you.

It says you are never invited.
You are a fraud. You will be found out.
You don’t belong here.
You aren’t qualified to have your job.
You are stupid.
You have some talent, but it isn’t good enough.
Other people have much more to offer the world.
You are boring.
Fat guys aren’t attractive.
You’re too young/old to be relevant.
Everyone at the meeting hated your input.
Your ideas are stupid.
They are all just being nice… deep down, they hate you.
You aren’t handsome or pretty or generally attractive enough to matter.
You can try, but you always screw things up.
That lady wasn’t being a jerk to you. She was just brave enough to say what everyone else really thinks about you.

If you struggle with self-worth, you say things to yourself that you’d never allow your best friend to say to you.

And yes, it stings.

I have found, however, a weapon against this swarm, summed up in a singular statement. Remember this:

Love keeps no record of wrongs.

It’s okay to love the imperfect you. It’s okay to try and mess up in the process.
Truth is, you have as much right as anyone else to cannonball into this life. Truth is, mistakes are a natural part of the process.
Truth is, if you allow the fallout from those mistakes to fester into bitterness against yourself,  it will only steal, kill, and destroy.

Each person is given things to share with the world–important stories for ears that must hear, important banquets for those who hunger, important paintings for eyes that have yet to see beauty.

We choose to withhold those things from or release them to the world. Make no mistake: you have something helpful to offer this world, so that struggle between showing it or silencing it? It isn’t about you.

Hiding your greatness isn’t humility, it’s lying.

When you make mistakes, analyze the facts for learning purposes, apologize if need be, and don’t waste one diamond tear on self pity or self-accusations.

Just let it go. That self-hate only conceals the truth in you.

Teri

With thanks to my dear friends and creative collaborators: Kimberly Shell, Shanna Delap, Craig Harmann, Jason Hoschouer, David Bouchard, Eric Swanson, Audra Rogers, and Jim Shields. 

One Thought About Cosmetic Companies and Your Self Esteem

Food for thought.

Mac, Urban Decay, Benefit, Maybelline, Revlon, Loreal, Cover Girl, Rimmel, Almay, and Lancome will tell you all day long how you should look. Actually, they’ll set the standards for your looks for your whole life if you let them.

So, ask yourself this question.

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The people who design that stuff… have they, or will they, ever see your face personally?

There’s a reason why you don’t look like everyone else. I’d like to believe that reason is good, not bad.