Character–A Few More Points

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A little follow up from the discussion the other day about character.  Over the last couple of days, I’ve had to make some decisions that were direct tests to my character—moreover to the character of the person I am becoming.  I realized that what I said was more true than I initially thought.  I realized that I need to stand firm in my decisions.  I’m a grown woman, I own my own home, I’m starting a business, I’m a wife and a mother.  There have been some concerns for me at work so I opted to take some time off to make sure my family is taken care of and that no one is put in harms way during this time.  After I’d made the decision several comments were made insinuating different things about my leadership.  That is a sensitive topic for me as I pride myself on taking care of my teams and guiding them through.  Talk about instant spiral into questioning everything.

I went from feeling secure in my position and comfortable with the choices I’d made to immediately crumbling into the attention seeking child needing approval.  And that’s where something just snapped for me.  I have worked too hard and too long and I have sacrificed too much of my life hoping that I would get some recognition or even some reprieve and be able to call the shots for myself some day.  At a minimum that I’d be able to make decisions that wouldn’t hurt those I love as well.  So I realized that it’s time to let go of all of that nonsense.

I’m not going to hold this guilt any longer.  This insecurity that I’ve done something wrong.  The belief that I’m being fed that my actions alone are the downfall of anything.  When the comments were made, I even tried convincing myself this could be an opportunity to shine in my organization.  But it hit me that my experience tells me they wouldn’t listen anyway.  I’ve come in before with ideas that no one heard.  The ideas were used, but not when said from my lips.  That latter part has nothing to do with recognition and everything to do with wasted energy.  I could run around screaming at the top of my lungs in a crowded room and no one would hear me—so it’s about making a choice to use my energy wisely.

This guilt merely eats up space and keeps me from what I need to be doing.  It helps me from hearing my calling.  I am a helpful person and it doesn’t make me selfish to do what I need to do to protect my family.  I’ve been given a golden opportunity HERE.  I can finally take care of my baby and have TIME to be with him.  I can have TIME to work on my projects which are my gift, my contribution in all of this.

The truth is if I have to give anything through guilt 1. It’s not mine and it’s not genuine because it doesn’t come from me and 2. There’s a debt to it in the guise of “have I earned or done enough here?”  I’m tired of living like that.  For me as a people pleaser, the question then became “What am I really trying to satisfy?”  Is it my ego by proving what a good and noble person I am?  That’s a losing battle because there will always be someone to tell me I’m not good or not enough or someone to tell me I’m too much.  So why can’t I shift to satisfying my calling?  I’m done waiting for some arbitrary time, some token.  I know with everything in my gut that I need to take care of my family but I also don’t want to let down my boss.  I don’t want the disapproval looming over me or the perception that I’m not a team player.  But who’s going to have to take care of mine when it all comes down in the end?  My family isn’t their business—so if I’m gone, they will easily move on.  I need to take care of us.

At the end of the day, people’s belief in me, their view of me, their perception, approval, or even their permission is not needed.  I’m not responsible for how they feel about me.  I’m responsible for me and my decisions.  Am I perfect?  HELL NO.  Has staying home from work impacted the world?  HELL NO.  But it HAS impacted my child’s world.  He sees his mother is here for him through a terrible thing.  He has been put first.  It’s impacted mine as well because I’m finding MY voice.  It is hard to accept this reasoning and not fall back into the approval patterns.  But it’s only because of old habits that don’t serve.  The new reasoning feels right. Real. Aligned. Authentic.

I no longer need to look for accolades from teaching, letting myself be pushed where they need me than what is right for me.  I’ve earned my keep and I don’t need to ever carry that guilt for living my life.  I’ve realized that chasing praise is like a brilliant sunny day where it’s still too cold out.  It’s gorgeous, but misleading because you’ll still freeze when you’re out of the light.  You feel great when you’re getting that praise but the second it’s gone, you chase it and do whatever you can to prove you’re worthy.

Something I’ve preached for a long time is something I’m still practicing myself: letting the light I’m looking for come from within so I no longer need that approval.  I am enough.  I am doing what’s right.  Permission granted—from myself, for myself.  I know I still have a lot of work to do but my main goal now is to get healthy mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.  Then I can really do more and unleash this gift.  In the meantime, I’m gonna go and make salt dough hand prints with my kid because that is where I need to be.

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