“People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
If you think about it, while we don’t really need an excuse to meditate, certain common objects can serve as visual reminders to get and stay focused on what we really want.
Glass is part of our everyday life, so that makes it an ideal “meditation trigger.”
It’s used for fine works of art and you see it in ordinary household objects. When you think about it, glass possesses many characteristics that we can use to meditate.
Hold a mirror up to yourself and ponder these 4 qualities.
Meditation on Transparency
One of the first things we notice about glass is that you can see through it. Imagine how your life would be different without anything to cover up. Keeping secrets can cause anxiety and drain us of our energy. Many people talk about the virtues of transparency, but it takes courage to fully reveal ourselves.
Think about your secrets. List the things you keep covered up. Maybe you’re reluctant to let others know your weaknesses or there’s an event from your past you keep hidden.
Examine your motives. There are good reasons to keep some information confidential, like when you’re trying to protect someone’s privacy. On the other hand, you may be ignoring something you’d be better off discussing with someone.
Imagine being more open. Picture yourself revealing more. Ask yourself if having fewer secrets would make you feel more at ease.
Unveil yourself. Get one thing off your chest. Tell someone your correct age or let a coworker know that you need help to meet a deadline.
Meditation on Reflections
A mirror reflects whatever appears before it. To some extent, we’re all products of our environment.
Contemplate your surroundings. Describe the settings where you spend the majority of your time. Form an image of your home and workplace. Or maybe you spend long hours in your car.
Assess your feelings. Connect with how your environment influences your emotions. Discover when you feel relaxed and when you tense up.
Focus on factors that make you feel good. Figure out what settings work best for you. Maybe you thrive on peace and quiet or perhaps you like a lot of background activity.
Redecorate one area. Take what you learn and make one spot more comfortable for yourself. Put a vase of flowers on your desk at the office or clear the clutter out of the back seat of your car.
Meditation on Light
Shining light on glass brings out its beauty. You see its full color and translucency. In the same way, a cheerful attitude makes us feel sunnier and more attractive.
Laugh a little. Spend a few moments laughing. It’s okay if it’s artificial at first. It will soon become an authentic experience.
Savor the feeling. Enjoy the physical and mental sensations. Notice how your heart rate increases and your face flushes. Appreciate how your stress level decreases and you feel more relaxed.
Share your joy. Invite others to participate in your glee. Spend time playing with your children or throw a costume party.
Meditation on Cleanliness
A glass window looks dramatically different after it’s been cleaned. When you remove the surface grime, the whole room brightens up. Our minds often need to be “polished” as well.
Observe your thoughts. Review what’s on your mind. Are you still replaying the traffic jams you encountered during your morning commute or are you giving your undivided attention to your work?
Identify impurities. Recognize which of your thoughts are dragging you down. You may be telling yourself that your thighs are too big or wishing it would stop raining.
Generate positive thoughts. Transform your way of looking at things. Congratulate yourself for trying to lose weight or think of how good the rain is for your garden.
Let glass inspire you how to lead a happier and more meaningful life. Let in more light and gain wisdom through meditation and reflection.
When I wrote The Story Of An Imperfect Woman, I ran it by my hubby to get his blessing since it referred, not only to my quirks and imperfections, but to his. He gave me his blessing, but then he said, “I’m not sure it’s such a good idea to tell everyone all of these things.” I asked him why, and he said, “But what about your reputation?”
I had to laugh.
I mean this guy knows me and loves me, in spite of all these imperfections that are a big part of who I am. He doesn’t expect me to be perfect. And finally, I don’t either.
I remember, back in my thirties, when I felt like I had to:
• Never make mistakes at my job (after all, someone could die)
• Be the perfect wife (or my husband might divorce me)
• Keep a tidy house (or the neighbors would think I was a slob)
• Look perfect (after all, those women’s magazines tell me it’s so important)
• Be perfect in bed (or he might trade me in for a younger model)
• Behave perfectly (or others might not respect me)
• Be the perfect mother (or I might screw up my daughter)
Of course, even if any one of these had been possible, these things were mutually exclusive. By definition, to even try to be perfect at one thing, I’d have to be imperfect at another. It’s enough to make even the most awesome woman bonkers!
I now consider myself a recovering perfectionist, and I no longer expect myself to be perfect. And yet, when my husband said, “But what about your reputation?” I felt the old familiar twinge. Oh yeah. What about my reputation? What will people think?
I thought about it, checked in with my Inner Pilot Light, listened to the still small voice within me, and started to laugh. I mean WHO CARES about my reputation? Who gives a flip what people think? So what if patients decide not to come to me as their doctor because I refuse to be some plastic version of myself who never makes mistakes? Why would I want those people as patients to begin with?
Who gives a flying freak if some society woman doesn’t let me in her country club? Who cares if the neighbors think I’m a slob or the people from my church discover that I took a sex workshop or that I’m twice divorced or that I have a bit of a pooch around my middle these days?
I mean seriously? What am I trying to prove?
I know my husband means well. He wants me to be successful in business, pleasure, friendships, and life, and he supports me 1000%. But if someone like him can still question – after all I’ve done to put my truth out there on the internet – whether I’m crossing the line by revealing how imperfect I am, it only shows me how much further I have to go to help encourage you to learn to love yourself exactly as you are so you can free yourself from the burden of trying to be perfect.
Imperfection As A Screening Tool
The way I see it, sharing my imperfections with you is kind of the perfect screening tool. In other words, I’m not trying to please everyone. I only care about pleasing my people – and if you read this post and decide you don’t like me anymore, then you’re not part of my tribe. Good for both of us to know, right?
I met one girl with bright pink hair and hairy armpits and she said she used her hair as a screening tool. If people didn’t love her because she had pink hair and hairy armpits, they weren’t her people.
The more you pretend to be perfect, the harder it is to find your tribe. Why not make it easy for everyone? Why not let your freak flag fly and see what happens?
The Gift In Imperfection
I’ve learned an incredible lesson since I started Owning Pink over 2 years ago. It turns out that my imperfections are not only a good screening tool, they’re actually the keys to the kingdom. In my vulnerability, authenticity, fearlessness, and sometimes uncomfortable level of disclosure, lies the secret sauce. If I was writing this blog and showing you some vanilla version of myself, I suspect most of you wouldn’t be here. If I was telling you what I thought you wanted to hear instead of what was actually true, I doubt I’d have 5 million readers and over 100,000 Twitter followers.
People care what I have to say because when you’re brave enough to expose your imperfections, you give them courage to do the same. And when we can build community based on truth and authenticity, rather than masks, false perfection, and being phoney, we heal, connect, and thrive.
Are you brave enough to share your imperfections?
Tell us one imperfect thing about you in the comments here. (I promise, we’ll all love you anyway!)
It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes. ~Sally Field
As I was checking my email today, I received a notification that a new comment had arrived on a post I did on this blog about how to stop feeling like you’re not good enough. This comment touched me so deeply that I felt the need to reach out to the commenter, Kate, and anyone else in her position.
I have been doing what that article recommends. Unfortunately, I’m feeling even more inferior every time. It is getting worse, day by day.
The first thing I want Kate to know is that she’s not alone. According to Dr. Joe Rubino, approximately 85% of people have experienced feelings of inferiority at some time in their lives. That’s nearly EVERYONE. I realize that doesn’t make it all better, but sometimes just knowing you’re not alone can help one begin the healing process.
And, for Kate and anyone who feels like they’re not good enough, I’d like to offer a few more suggestions, in addition to the ones made in this post.
Remember That You Are Freaking Fabulous
If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. ~Vincent Van Gogh
Often times, when we feel like we’re not good enough, we are focusing on all of the things we think are ‘wrong’ with us. We worry that people won’t like us, or that they’ll think bad things about us. We feel like we don’t look good enough, that we’re not smart enough, that we’re just generally terrible people.
But what does this get us? More reasons to feel crappy about ourselves. So, I propose that we start focusing on the things we like about ourselves, the things that make us proud. Maybe you’re a good painter, or you can cook a perfect souffle, or you’ve never met an animal who doesn’t love you. Perhaps you have a beautiful smile, sparkling eyes or a great pair of legs. There is something special about every single person on the planet, and you’re no exception.
Sit down with a piece of paper and write down at least ten GOOD things about you. Write down things you love about your body (it gets you from point A to B, for example!), things you love about your personality (that sparkling wit of yours, maybe) and things you love about your life in general (you have good friends or a close-knit family, a roof over your head, etc.)
Then spend a few minutes feeling grateful for each thing on that list. Gratitude is a powerful tool, and when you focus and are grateful for the things you love in life, you draw more things to love into your life.
And Speaking of Gratitude
If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get. ~Frank A. Clark
Start a gratitude journal. You can even create a private blog for your gratitude journal, if you like. That’s what I did, since as a writer, I’m nearly always near a computer. Try to write in it each day. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated–just start each entry by saying “Today, I am so very grateful for…” and let it flow.
At first, it will feel a little awkward, but once you get going, it’ll flow like water. If you have trouble thinking of things to be grateful for, why not start with the fact that you woke up today and work from there. You can be grateful for your health, your senses, your friends and family, your home, your ability to read–the list goes on and on.
This practice alone can significantly improve your general outlook on life. And, as a nice little side effect, it can help to improve your self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. It works because as you spend more time focusing on the good things in your life and less time focusing on the things you want to change, the law of attraction works in your favor, bringing more reasons to feel good into your life.
Follow a Passion
“The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.”~Earl Nightingale
Everyone has some thing or activity in their lives that they’re passionate about. For me, it’s writing. I have always known that I wanted to be a writer, and have followed that passion on some level for most of my life. The years I spent scribbling into a journal between meetings and writing corporate publications for the companies I worked for were a little tough, but I survived and lived to have the opportunity to follow my passion full-time.
One friend of mine is passionate about helping animals. She blogs about animals, volunteers for the Humane Society and helps raise funds for animal rights and assistance groups. Another friend is passionate about helping kids–and after getting her Masters Degree in Social Work, she has become a school social worker. Both are very happy in their lives.
While you may not have the option to “quit your day job” right now, there’s nothing stopping you from finding and following your passion on the side. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer. You could start by doing some research and taking some classes. If you already know how to design patterns and sew, why not start making clothes? You can set up a cheap or free website and start selling.
Nothing wrong with starting small–just do SOMETHING to follow your passion, anything at all. Give yourself permission to call yourself a fashion designer (or writer, or artist, or actor, or astronaut, or whatever you want to be.) And then go and do, be and have what you want!
Studies show that people who follow their passions, whether in their careers or just as a hobby, are significantly happier than people who don’t.
“The secret of attraction is to love yourself. Attractive people judge neither themselves nor others. They are open to gestures of love. They think about love, and express their love in every action. They know that love is not a mere sentiment, but the ultimate truth at the heart of the universe.” ~Deepak Chopra
Most people unconsciously judge others. It’s human nature, and it doesn’t make you a bad person–but it might make you feel like one. When you are focusing, consciously or otherwise, on the faults in other people, you’re going to be more likely to see them in yourself too. The best way to change this pattern is to begin intentionally finding something good in every single person you meet.
So, for every person in your life and every person you meet, find at least one thing about them that makes them special. And be free with the compliments. Even if you barely know a person, you can find SOMETHING to compliment them about–and not only will you make their day, you’ll walk away feeling good about yourself too. Remember, what you put out into the world is what comes back to you. So if you’re walking around finding good and beautiful things and sharing the love by freely passing out compliments? You’ll find that you’re attracting the same back to yourself–beauty, love, compliments–and ultimately, a renewed sense of self.
A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her. ~David Brinkley
I hope that these suggestions help you as you move into a new place of peace and self worth. Know that you are worthy, you are special and you are an amazing person. Even (and especially) when you feel at your lowest, try to change your perception and see the beauty and good things all around you. Be grateful for your life, for your SELF, and for all of the good things in your life.
I have been where you are, Kate, and I know the pain and despair that comes with feeling like you’re not good enough. Nearly every person alive has felt just like you feel now. The trick is to decide that you don’t WANT to feel that way any more, and to start taking action to change it. And then, Kate, you have to BELIEVE that you can have the life you want. Believe it and trust that its yours, and watch as your life begins to transform itself to match your true divine desires. Keep your eye on the prize, my friend, it can and will get better!
And to the rest of my readers, have you ever felt like Kate feels? What sort of advice would you offer to a friend in her situation? Let me know in the comments.
“When I first started I didn’t think I deserved [fan acclaim] — which is why I did things like refuse awards. I felt then that anybody who loved me must be mental and was not to be trusted… I didn’t believe in myself [before] and now I do, so I can accept other people believing in me or liking what I do.” ~Sinead O’Connor
I was checking Google Analytics the other day for this site, and found that someone had found it by typing in “I feel like I’m not good enough.”
It stopped me in my tracks. Suddenly, the numbers didn’t matter anymore.
I connected for a moment with the person who felt sad and alone, but hopeful enough to reach out for help. I hope that person found something here that helped her find peace, maybe some small phrase or idea that sticks with her and makes a difference in her perception.
I have been there. I have felt just like that–as I’m sure many of you have. In fact, one of the reasons I write this blog is because I have been there and because I want to help people who are there now. I have learned how to change my perception, how to change my life…and I’m creating the life I want.
Don’t get me wrong, there have been bumps along the way, and no one is perfect. But the difference today is that now, when I feel down, depressed or angry, I am able to move past it and go on with the business of being happy. I have programmed myself to notice when I’m headed down the wrong road, and to change my mind–which has me on the fast track to having the life I want.
How do you stop feeling ‘not good enough?’
So, how does it work? How do you move past feelings of inferiority? What do you do when you feel like you’re not good enough?
Identify the Source
Why do you feel that way? Something has happened in your life to cause you to take on the belief that you’re not good enough. Did a parent, teacher or friend constantly berate you as a child? Or maybe your parents wanted you to succeed so badly that they pushed you in a direction you didn’t want to go? Do you have a superstar sibling who was always in the spotlight, leaving you to wonder why no one noticed you? Maybe there was a lover or partner who rejected you or belittled you too often?
Take a moment to think about it. Who or what gave you the impression that you weren’t good enough or that you were somehow inferior to others?
Now that you’ve identified the event or situation that first caused feelings of inferiority in your life, it’s time to decide how you want to perceive it. Let’s say your parents were especially hard on you as a child. Maybe nothing you ever said or did seemed to be good enough–and all you ever wanted was their approval.
You could choose to feel like a broken, beaten down victim if you wanted. You could carry that feeling of sadness and desperation with you throughout your life, and you could attract more of it into your world.
Or, you could decide that you don’t accept their negativity, and you could change your perception. You can decide how to feel, and the more you focus on feeling good and being happy, the more reasons you’ll find to feel good and be happy.
How does changing your perception help?
Here’s the deal. When you feel inferior and you focus (intentionally or otherwise) on feeling sorry for yourself, and on thinking that you’re not good enough, then you create a reality in which those negative feelings and situations thrive. By always worrying about (AKA focusing on) the things you don’t want, you draw more of the things you don’t want into your life.
So, if you want to feel good about yourself and know that you deserve every good thing that comes your way, you have to first decide to change your mind. And then? You just fake it ’til you make it.
How do you fake it until you make it?
Begin by coming up with a simple mantra. For example, you might use “I am a beautiful person with amazing self-confidence” or “I am strong and intelligent and I deserve the best.”
Then, make a point of noticing when you have negative thoughts about yourself or other people or situations in your life. (It will seem forced at first, but quickly becomes second nature.)
When you notice those thoughts, mentally “cancel” them and recite your mantra (out loud or in your head.) The simple act of “changing your mind” might feel a little “fake” at first, but stick with it. Soon enough, you’ll find that it becomes natural, and then one day, you’ll truly realize that you are, in fact, good enough. Not only that, but you’ll realize that you’re pretty freaking awesome. You’ll realize that you like yourself, and before you know it, you’ll realize that other people like you too.
What does it mean to love yourself?
You have to love yourself! Don’t just say it. Do it – actually love yourself. No matter if you feel silly or self-indulgent. The only reason you’d feel that way is if you felt you didn’t deserve to have good things and people and situations in your life.
You must recognize that you DO deserve good things, you DO deserve to be happy. And by ACTUALLY loving yourself, you can begin to truly embrace the things and people and situations that you want in your life
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” ~ Lucille Ball
Be nice to yourself. Treat yourself like someone who is treasured and deserving of everything you want. Treat yourself like someone you love–because if you can’t love yourself first, you won’t let anyone else love you either. Love begets love, my friends.
Buy yourself little gifts, allow yourself little luxuries and remember that you are just as important as every other person in the world. You matter. YOU are important. Treat yourself like someone who deserves the very best, and as your light begins to shine, watch as others begin to treat you that way too.
How do you remind yourself that you are completely amazing? How about reminding yourself that you deserve to have good things, people, and situations in your life?
“You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart. Then people are going to treat you better. You’re going to find, yes you will, that you’re beautiful as you feel.” ~Carole King
After enjoying a wonderful holiday with my family and friends, I find myself reflecting on the many loves in my life–my wonderful husband, our beautiful children, my cherished friends and extended family members. My life is literally full of love, and I feel grateful for it every single day.
It wasn’t always this way, though. Back in my late teens and early twenties, I felt very alone in the world. Sure, I had friends. And I had family, though the nearest members were nearly three hours away by car. I even had boyfriends–but none worth writing home about.
I lived alone most of the time, and most of the time I didn’t mind it. I did the roommate thing twice, but found that I could feel utterly alone even in a room full of people–and that I didn’t really like living with people I didn’t love.
So how did I go from feeling utterly alone and miserable to being happy and living a life full of love?
I got clear on what I really wanted.
Whether you realize it or not, every single thought you have is helping to shape your reality. In my case, I was always thinking about how alone I felt. I often thought that no one understood me and that people in general weren’t all that great. I found fault in the people around me and found reasons to feel negatively toward some of them.
So, while I thought I wanted happiness and love in my life, I was asking the Universe to let me be alone and unhappy, simply by focusing on how alone and unhappy I felt. When I began to understand that, I sat down and made a list of my true intentions, and then I began to focus on those instead of the feelings of being alone and unhappy.
I stopped searching for love.
I know it may seem counter-intuitive, but when you spend your life thinking “I’m looking for love, I need to find love, why can’t I find love?,” that’s what the Universe will deliver–a never-ending search for love. In my case, after I wrote down what I wanted, I released the need to search and I started living my life. I decided to be happy and satisfied with who I was and the situation I was living in, right then.
I started saying “thank you” more often.
After seeing an episode of Oprah in which she said something to the effect of “want what you have and you’ll have what you want,” I took a look around my world with fresh eyes. Though I didn’t initially realize it, I had plenty to be grateful for–a home, good friends and loving family, my health, a job–the list went on and on. So I began to make a point of noticing those things, people and situation in my life that were good and feeling grateful for them. That set me on the path to receiving more good things that I wanted.
I opened my mind and my heart.
I was limited because I had limiting beliefs. Even though I didn’t verbalize it, I thought I wasn’t really worthy of being loved. I thought that the people I was attracted to couldn’t possibly be attracted to me. I believed that all single men were single for a reason and that all the good ones were either married or gay and therefore unavailable to me. As I unconsciously held on to those beliefs, I kept reinforcing that type of situation in my life.
Once I realized that I was feeling alone and unlovable because of my limiting beliefs and started to release them, the only logical thing I could do was to start loving myself. I made a point of treating myself like someone I loved, because if I couldn’t treat myself that way, why should anyone else?
And then I met him.
I started looking better and feeling better, and within weeks of making my list of intentions, I met the man I eventually married. It truly was all in my perception–when I perceived that my life was empty and devoid of love, it was that way. But when I began to notice all the love I already had and started to feel grateful for all the wonderful things, people and situations in my life, I found the love of my life.
So, how about you? If you want more love in your life, do you think a change in perception might be in order? And if you’re happy and loved in your life, will you share the secret to your success? Tell me in the comments!