Welcome to Day One of YOU Matter! (Make sure to get your free printables at the end of the post!)
It's time to get to grips with how significant, important, and valuable you really are.
I decided to write this 5 day expose` after my own battles of 'mattering' and 'enoughness'. I'm much kinder to myself, and content with who I am now. I've ploughed through some very traumatic times, and felt as if not a single person would miss me if I were no longer here. As if my going would not even be a blip on the radar screen of the world.
But, now I know that's not true.
And so, I'd like to share my thoughts about why YOU matter as well.
You Are Enough - And You Have Special Gifts:
Even if you feel alone. If you're feeling 'less than'. If it seems no-one cares and you're basically invisible..... take it from me.... you are NOT.
If you're feeling as though you're somehow not good enough for others, your partner, or the world in general..... take it from me... you ARE.
More importantly, how do you feel about yourself?
What are your strengths?
What are you good at?
What are the special qualities that make you, YOU?
If you're interested, there's a lovely quiz you can do over here (I've had to do it as part of my teaching career a few times). Once finished, it will detail your personal strengths and the character traits you can use to further a positive and rewarding life for yourself.
We all have our own particular strengths, and using them brings opportunity to empower ourselves and extract more satisfaction from life (according to the VIA Institute). Rather than concentrating on what you may need to improve, think more often about what you're really good at, and you will create your own upward spiral of thought and action.
An article agreeing with this sort of phenomenon, is this one by amazing Leo Babauta. Entitled 'Unconditional Acceptance of Yourself', its focus is treating yourself with the same respect and unconditional love you give to others. Read it, and consider where you fit.
“You are special and worth being cared about, loved, and accepted just as you are. Never, ever let anyone convince you otherwise.”
Your Special Gifts Are Needed:
No-one else is quite like you. Whilst we are all of us human, and all similar in so many ways... each of us is also unique. We each have our own special gifts. Do you know what yours are?
It may be you're good at listening to others and making them feel heard.
Perhaps you're good at arranging flowers, painting, cooking, writing, looking after pets, making smoothies, reciting poetry, knitting, origami, driving, growing plants, thinking outside the box, making people laugh, karate, playing the guitar, giving a neck rub, singing, decorating, smiling, being positive, organising your desk.... it doesn't matter how big or small..... we are all good at something.
When you hear the word 'gift' you may think this 'thing' needs to be seismic in its magnitude. It needs to be earth-shattering and world changing.
I believe, your gift can appear to be infinitesimally small, and yet still be of the highest value. You don't have to be famous, rich, super-smart, or have your talent recognised by the masses to have a gift. Being able to soothe an anxious child is a gift. Being able to sit quietly with someone who is grieving, is a gift. Being the person who's able to be a cheerleader for other people is a gift.
Your gift may never be celebrated or held up by others and publicised, but it's no less of a gift because of that.
And, furthermore, if you love doing something, but don't view it as a 'gift', I think you should be out there doing it anyway. The fact you're doing something you love, and therefore nurturing yourself and spreading your joy around via your very attitude, is a gift to those around you. Happiness is inspiring!
“Use what talents you possess. The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those who sang best.”
(Henry Van Dyke)
What Is It You're Passionate About?
It's often said that we should all be following our 'passion', and that is how we can 'matter', and bestow the world with our special gifts. I agree with this.... I think doing whatever it is that your heart loves to do is so important. And, if you can turn your passion into your work and make a living from it, life is pretty sweet. However, I've noticed there are 3 issues that often arise from this train of thought.
1. What if I can't make a living doing whatever it is I love?
2. What if I actually don't know what it is I'm passionate about?
3. What if I'm passionate about many things, and I can't choose just one?
What If I Can't Make a Living Doing Whatever It Is I Love?
1. It's pretty darn common for people not to be able to make a living doing what they truly love. Not everyone who loves playing tennis can parlay it into a career. Not everyone who adores to paint can sell enough paintings to support themselves adequately. The great author Barbara Sher, talks about this dilemma quite a lot. Her solution is the 'good enough' job. A job you can do to 'bring in the money', that then allows you to pursue your passions the rest of the time.
I love to perform in amateur theater, for instance. I don't get paid to perform, I do it for the excitement, the challenge of portraying other characters, the escape, the friendships..... and my day job allows me to keep my life on track whilst I do this and other things I love! Fortunately I like my day job too, but there are many things I'd love to get paid for that I never will. So, I do as many of them as I can anyway!
What If I Actually Don't Know What It Is I'm Passionate About?
2. I think this question sometimes comes down to definitions or ideas about what 'passion' means. I don't think passion means all consuming, heart-stopping, never ending excitement. For me, it's whatever brings me joy in the moment. The place my mind goes to when it's free to wander.... the things I'm most curious about.
Media, movies, TV, the internet, they all tend to over romanticise and embellish the whole 'passion' thing (from my point of view).
Find what you enjoy doing the most, and just do that!
What If I'm Passionate About Many Things, And I Can't Choose Just One?
3. The wonderful Barbara Sher also has much to say about this topic. She labels people with multiple passions as 'Scanners.' I've read all the info she's written about it, because I'm a Scanner myself. When I finally understood the way I am is completely okay and valuable, I stopped feeling guilty about not having my 'one true passion' the way I'm 'supposed' to.
I'm passionate about many things... reading, singing, writing, interior design, de-cluttering, research into mental wellbeing, animals, teaching, and so much more. I spend hours and hours researching things I'm curious about. I'm often awake in the wee small hours contemplating my current obsession.
This video, is especially for those of you who may be Scanners.
At 11.33, you'll hear some of the most important words I think any of us (including non -scanners) may ever hear.
“Anything that gets your blood racing is probably worth doing.”
(Hunter S. Thompson)
What If You Feel Like You're Too Different?
What if it's your differences, your quirks, your sheer uniqueness that make you feel as if others don't think you matter? How do you find your own center and know you're true worth when you feel others are ignorant of who you really are, misunderstand you... may even be scared of who you are? (Ignorance often breeds fear. The unknown can be scary!)
Rosie King talks about what it's like to be 'different' in a world that values conformity to a certain 'norm'.
What If You Feel Like Hiding Who You Are?
What if you are actually hiding who you are? Perhaps you've spent years pretending to be someone you're not?
What if your closest friends and family don't know what's at the very core of you, and you're afraid to disclose your innate self to them.... to anybody?
Morgana Bailey speaks of why she finally decided to stop hiding who she really was, and how 'hiding' affected her life, and possibly the lives of others.
**Here's a lovely list of 100 ways to 'start loving yourself right now' by a vibrant soul called Gala Darling! I love Gala's site, and her exuberant, lively, un-censored writing. She's only young (compared to my 50+ years), but she has a wise head on her wacky shoulders. I challenge you to do as many of the things on the list as you can!
What If You Feel Like You're A Noticeable Nobody? An Other? An Anomaly?
What if you've felt, ashamed, hopeless, or anxious about where you fit in the world? Whether you're enough? After all, says Thandie Newton, the 'self' likes to fit. To see itself replicated. To belong. So when the 'self' feels like an 'other', an anomaly, rejected... it can be crushing.
In this Ted Talk, actor Thandie Newton tells the story of finding her "otherness" — first, as a child growing up in two distinct cultures, and then as an actor playing with many different selves. She speaks of how she came to respect her 'self' and to live from her 'essence'.
“You can make life very simple or very complicated. Some people try to be what others want them to be. Others try to be different just to stand out. In both cases, they are changing themselves to impress others. Neither of these paths has a heart. Just be true to yourself. It’s that simple.”
We All Matter - We Are All Worthy As We Are:
The United Nations has a comprehensive declaration written because as human beings, we MATTER. We all have rights, we all have basic tennets that are not privileges, but expectations.
It's quite beautifully written for a document of this kind, and well worth the read. You can download the PDF by clicking on the image below.
Take-aways From Today:
- No matter who you are, you are enough.
- You have your own innate qualities and talents.
- You have your own inherent genius.
- No matter how different you are, YOU matter.
- You have many strengths to focus on and amplify.
- Download your YOU Matter Day 1 companion printables right here.
I'll see you soon for Part 2!
PS. I've added this post to Open Slather over on Alicia's lovely blog.
PPS. If you'd like to read more of YOU Matter, you can find the completed series below:
“You have a unique gift to offer this world. Be true to yourself, be kind to yourself, read and learn about everything that interests you and keep away from people who bring you down. When you treat yourself kindly and respect the uniqueness of those around you, you will be giving this world an amazing gift... YOU.”
The Mini Jumpstart To YOU Experience:
Here's a great way to 'reach for the real you', jumpstart your dreams, and breathe new life into the possibilities and opportunities around you. The Mini Jumpstart to YOU Experience is a 5 day, free, inbox gift to spark your inner wisdom, amplify your self awareness, and fan the embers of your longing into existence.
It IS possible...
You just need to begin.
Each day arrives with its own beautifully unique guide booklet, featuring gorgeous printables and carefully crafted journaling pages + goal setting supports.