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Thursday, May 29, 2014

What Is Your Self-Label

For the last thirty years I have labeled myself a Realist. I had always heard people referring to themselves as an Optimist or a Pessimist and I figured a Realist fit me perfectly, somewhere between the two. The whole cup-is-half-full/empty thing comes to mind. When something happens in life I have a process where I evaluate the event, try to figure out what I can learn from it, and then attempt to move on. A bit like the saying, “Stuff Happens, Deal With It.” There have been some events that have caused me more discomfort or pain than others, but overall I would try to let go of things and move on.

That isn’t saying I was always successful at letting go of everything. Some things have been harder than others. And some have taken years to work through. Yes, I admit it. I’ve been known to hold onto things longer than is healthy.

            Right now, on this Road to a Dream I find myself traveling upon, I want to rethink my self-label. My goal is to become a bit more of an Optimistic Realist. Being a full-blown Optimist isn’t likely for me. Without getting into a long discussion of Nature vs. Nurture, I’m just not bubbly enough for that designation. But I think I can manage to learn to apply some optimism to my life. For that, I have needed to learn more about Forgiveness.

            When we hear about forgiveness, we usually think of how we may need to forgive someone for a hurt against us, or we may wish someone would forgive us for something we did to them. Another form of forgiveness, however, is to oneself. Yes, we must learn to forgive ourselves or we risk getting caught in a loop of “If Only” or “What If.”

            Forgiving someone else is accepting they are not perfect, they made a mistake, and then making a choice to move away from the pain of the event. Forgiving ourselves is similar, but we sometimes have a harder time with this. We have to admit that it is ok to NOT be perfect. It is natural to make mistakes. All good people do; it is unavoidable. Forgiving ourselves means saying we will learn from our mistakes and do our best to not repeat the event.

            This can take time. There is no switch for immediate change. It is a process. And forgiveness does not mean we forget, either. There is no forgetting. We just actively choose to stop living in the past and rehashing events. We are saying the future and its possibilities is more important than the events of the past. Those past events have taught us something (hopefully) and will always be there, but they don’t have to part of our current identity. If we have experienced something painful, we don’t have to label ourselves as victims or survivors unless we choose to. We can also choose other labels if we like.

            I saw this quote on Facebook and thought I would share it:

"You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be." ~Marianne Williamson

            This is one of the things The Road to a Dream is for me. Learning a new way to think, to bring Optimism into my world view, to try to see things a bit differently. I know it will take practice, I accept that it may take longer than I desire, and I hope the world around me will benefit from the change.

            This photo is from a download I purchased at InspireYourArt on Etsy. I like to download images to post to my office wall for inspiration.

            Thanks for reading the second installment of my blog, The Road to a Dream. I hope something you read here resonates with you on some level. Do you have a self-label? Are you happy with it? Please feel free to leave a comment or question. If you enjoyed the latest blog, please pass it along to your friends and family.



            Every once in a while I come across a business that I want to share with everyone I know. I will use my blog to occasionally spotlight such a chance. This month I would like to introduce a great artist, Kaaren Poole. She has a shop at Etsy.com called TheFoxesGarden, http://bit.ly/TheFoxesGarden. Kaaren has made several journals for me and I love them all. Each is hand painted and detailed beautifully! One of my favorite reasons to shop her store is that she donates all proceeds from her artwork to various animal charities. Please give her shop a visit and help her continue her wonderful work, for art and animals alike.

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