Validation…an autobiography

Today’s dose is about the concept of validation. The definition revolves around; checking, proving or affirming a persons truth. In this day and age of social media there is much to be said about the public validation that we seek when we post on social media. We post to share but we also post to validate; this is why we look back to see how many “Likes” or comments we received on any given post. It validates us.

Many of my friends have decided to quit social media because of the way it was affecting them. Self-esteem and self-worth are easily taken to “task” when we are seeking “approval” or worse comparing our lives to those in the posts of our “friends”. “Friends” who we likely do not connect with face-to-face, “friends” who we have only connected with because of past relationships aka high school, previous jobs or long-lost family members.

I like to say that I make social media work for me and that I don’t work for social media; I belong to groups that feed me the intel I need and that inspire me. However I, like many, do look to see what the “reaction” is that I am getting from my posts. It makes me feel good when I post something that gets a lot of attention despite the reality that many of the people “liking” those posts are not those involved in my daily life. It doesn’t matter it validates that I am doing, saying or showing something that others “like”. We all have a human need to be liked after all.

Validation is “recognition and acceptance” from others and ourselves. That recognition and acceptance come in the form of “likes”, however internally that same recognition and acceptance of OURSELVES comes in the form of self-confidence. That is where the work needs to occur; within our selves.

Validate yourself by setting your intention and following through and then find satisfaction in your effort. Validate your actions because they are yours and yours alone. Do you accept where you are? Do you “like” what you are doing? This is the place where validation MUST live. A million “likes” on social media will never replace the self-validation you seek because ultimately YOU know the truth.

#Word – L.

Are you present…or a million miles away…or both?

One of my favorite questions to ask my husband at any moment in time is “What are you thinking about right now?”. To which he typically answers, “nothing”. What? Huh? How is that possible? A quiet brain is not one I know; I almost said “blessed with” but thought better as I am blessed as I am, busy-minded and all. And that last sentence makes my point perfectly; even as I am writing this my brain is ahead of me and correcting me before I can type the words on the page.

Active brain or quiet brain regardless; are you present? Are you where you are at this moment in time or are you a million miles away. Right now I am present, I am writing and I am here in this moment thinking through this concept. This is the space I prefer; not thinking about the future or the past, but in the now. Our reality is that we only have now and therefore thinking unnecessarily about any time beyond is fruitless. It is an effort to be in the present because so much attention is pulled in other directions; a million miles away.

Now I challenge how many times have you been a million miles away. I can’t tell you how many drives to or from that I don’t recall; I just know I got there safe. I can’t tell you how many TV shows I have watched and never heard a word of what they were saying although I was staring at the TV screen. I will become aware that I have not heard a word that was said and then fight my brain to acknowledge what I missed and where I was in those moments. It is one of the reasons that I like to have my phone or notepad by me at all times. One of my Best Practices is when something comes to my mind that is taking me away from the present moment, I write it down so I don’t forget it so I can get back to the now.

One of my favorite parts of running is the ability to be a million miles away and present all at the same time. I can run for miles and as I do the processing begins. Sometimes I am acutely aware of the effort the run is taking; my breathing, my pace, the heat, the traffic around me. But then other times I am still processing that day’s events or tomorrow schedule. I am a million miles away. I have often said that I am not a multitask-er and have no desire to be one. What I am describing is not multitasking it is 100% about simply “being” here or there; or sometimes both at once.

The worst example of being a million miles away is the Sunday Evening woes. The realization that we have to go back to work on Monday affects all of those I know that have a “Monday”. While we are still in the presence of Sunday and all that there is left to embrace; we are thinking about Monday. “What time do I have to wake-up?” “What time is my first meeting?” “What is on my schedule?” All the while, the life that is being lived is still all around us to embrace or deny. And all we can hope for is that Monday will come and be as well-planned as we are counting on it to be.

There is so much to expound on in presence and the gratitude that being present can bring about for yourself as well as others. I think of the conversations I engaged in today and those that I was 100% present for were a gift and those that I was not fully present for are now a loss. I cannot get that time back, could it be the last time, the last conversation…you see we simply do not know. Yes, that was a dramatic left-hand turn I just made but it is relevant. During my mom’s last week’s I was present, more present than I have ever been in my life. I was absorbing every part of her; her voice, her breath, her scent…HER. I was drowning myself in her presence because I knew there would be a day, not so far away, that I would not be present with her ever again. I knew then, but I do not know now how it will end, who I will see again and what I will miss if I am not present.

My intention this week is to be present in every moment that I am engaged. I have a very busy week with meetings and travel however I will take it one hour at a time, embracing the people, the experiences and the present moment that I have been given as that is my blessing and I hope that if you are part of one those moments that I can bless you with my presence.

Living life as I see it – L.

What to write about…

I sit here every night wondering what inspired me today enough to make it my subject. And then I have those days that are simply wonderfully random and I have thought I would like to write about all of these “feels” that I have experienced that day. So today is that day, my day of randomness that I just want to share everything:

  • Watching AGT which I was never a fan of before but became a fan in the year I spent with my mother, it was a fave of hers. The randomness of my thoughts tonight are that the judges just gave a standing O for a lovely girl but the song was not so lovely…
  • So many changes happening with my youngest who just passed his Learner’s Permit tonight and talked to me about getting a job next. It’s happening…freedom found…and I am losing my last baby. Oh my heart…
  • My husband was not feeling well today and as I am listening to the symptoms I am internally panic stricken that the thought that he would ever leave me here alone is beyond comprehension. Do you ever panic over the thought of losing your loved ones even though you know even thinking about it is the wrong train of thought, but you are so in fear…ugh…I’ll stop now.

This was just the randomness of my evening. My ride home conversation was rewarding as yet another one of my loves shares their next venture and courage to make the change they want in their own life.

This is life, it’s random, it’s not predictable but most importantly it is absolutely what YOU make it. I have struggled lately figuring out this “new normal”, making sense out of the randomness and the many changes occurring all at the same time in my life. What I have learned in these moments is:

  • To be grateful for the stability in those around you that are your constant.
  • Don’t miss the moments of fellowship in every experience. Today that came in the most random moments. A person interrupting a meeting, a person staying late to share stories about their children and the best of course was being having a late dinner and playing in the ball pit with my grand babies.

Tomorrow is another day. It will be random as any other day. These days I look forward to the random, I am beyond longing for normal, my life is as versatile as my spirit, my views and my love

What do I write about tonight? What I always write about…

Life as I see it – L.

Moments

The moments…I live for them and I revel in them. One of the things that I have started doing in the last year is recognizing the moments. I can think of so many that have happened in the last year simply because I took a minute to stop and recognize them by saying out loud, “In this moment, I am __________.”

Yesterday my moments were many. It started watching the sunrise, then a walk on the beach, breakfast with my sister-cousin, spending most of the day with “the Aunt’s” and then finishing up with a hockey game where I got to see the love of my life doing what he loves. SO MANY MOMENTS IN ONE DAY.

To anyone else a day like I described is just a “good day” but to me they were many moments.

  • When the gnats chased me in my car and the song “Miracles” came on…that was a moment. It made me smile and so happy to be there.
  • When I was sitting in front of my beautiful cousin and sharing breakfast on a Sunday morning. Two souls sharing and caring for each other, it was timeless. It was a loving moment.
  • When I was sitting at my Aunt’s table and working with them on our first book, my Aunt Judith said, “this is what we do every day…we just laugh all day” and I thought what a beautiful moment, so cherished.
  • When we were at Gary’s game and he and Dave were so happy to have us there it was truly a moment of gratitude. We even laughed that it was so funny how happy Gary was that I was there. Most guys, well we won’t worry about most guys…my guy wanted me there and loved that my Aunt’s joined me!

Sometimes my moments are not in the activity and those are the ones I cherish the most because it simply occurs to me that in THAT moment I am so happy. I had this happen on Saturday as I spent the day completely chilling out and all of a sudden it happened. I said to Gary, “In this moment I am in absolutely NO pain and I feel so optimistic about the future.” I said it again, just to make sure I captured the moment. It was what I had waited for months to feel; pain-free and hopeful for the future.

I was so fortunate to share so many moments with my Mom and that is what makes living this life without her bearable. I have moments that I simply will never forget and will always cherish. One that makes me smile even today is…

  • Last August as she was relegated to the bed a Paul McCartney special came on. She was a fan of the Beatles so I told her we were going to watch it. She wasn’t speaking much at this point but was aware. I will never forget laying there beside her and seeing her toes come to life, tapping to the beat of the music. I looked over at her in that moment and she was lip syncing the song!!! I was floored!!! She wasn’t just aware she was THERE! I will never forget that moment as long as I live. It was THE moment.

This life is busy, it’s full of tasks and distractions. If you don’t actively recognize the moments as they happen they will pass you by. Pay attention to your world, your surroundings and find the moments!

I challenge you to POST your moment in the comment section of this blog telling us what that moment was and how it felt. I am so excited in anticipation of sharing these magnificent moments with you.