A lot of times all we need to see the world differently is a shift in how we see the world. Sometimes that’s about the words we speak and internalize. Sometimes it’s a shift in what we are physically doing.
When I look straight into a mirror I see my face. I see my nose. I was once told by a classmate that it was like peanut butter and spreads across my face. I can’t remember the kid. At all. This child was such an insignificant part of my childhood that I can’t remember if it was a boy or girl. But I remember those words. I see the tiny little blackheads harbored in the safety of my pores. I see the memory of every sadness I’ve lived because I know what my face looks like when my smile isn’t one that is in my heart or shining through my eyes. I can see my reflection when it’s not the mask I present to the world.
I have a couple of mirrors in my bathroom on opposite facing doors. I can adjust them to see the back of my head or body. The other night I was watching myself without seeing my face. I was looking at the reflected image of the side of my face. It was an odd feeling to watch myself, watching myself, knowing I wasn’t seeing a side of me I’m used to. It was what you might see if you were watching me and I didn’t notice you. I saw the harsh angled line of my jaw. I noticed the way my hair fell softly to frame my face and I noticed that I’m beautiful when I’m smiling at myself. Imagine that!
It was a shifted perspective.
A few years ago I would often hear, “it is what it is.” That phrase would make me so angry because I felt powerless in it. It meant my husband of 15 years was leaving me for another woman and I had no choice in the matter. I had to shift my perspective and once I did, I felt like I was able to gain control through an altered word choice. “It is what we have made it and we can choose to accept it or change it.” I tried to change it. Then accepting it meant it was a choice I was making too. After a year of standing and waiting for my marriage, I realized I was happier embracing life as a single woman.
I had a moment this week of being coached by a co-worker. I’m so blessed to have her in my life as a friend and mentor, and surprise, yet another life coach in my life. She’s pretty amazing. I was having a moment of feeling out of control and not knowing how to react or respond. It was a deer in the headlights moment for me and I was so out of my depth. I was lost and the anxiety had me. She could see and sense it because my emotions were so palpable. She reminded me to be still and not puff up or shrink back. She gave me a word: Allow.
So much of life is given as moments we are told to accept. You accept what has happened and move on, but what if you don’t have to? What happens when you allow it to happen? What happens when you embrace your ability to empower the situation with your ability to offer grace through allowance. We allow things to happen and they are no longer things which have been forced . . . Things we must accept. They become things we are in control of as we offer permission.
I think of my tiara. I blogged about it a while ago. It’s not the idea of being a princess. I bought it last summer to wear when I pay my bills. It helps me feel more like the Queen that takes care of my Empire. I am no longer being victimized by my choice to shop for junk I really don’t need at a discount. It’s a moment to reinforce the spending I did by deciding that I made a choice, and I continue to make that choice in making payments and balancing my checkbook. I have choice and control over my finances in a way I never have before. Even before I met my ex, I was at the mercy of my debtors. I wanted a night of fun, so I used a credit card to pay for that night over the next year with the interest involved. In my marriage I was often told what I could and couldn’t do, and any rebellion on my part was rebellion. I was never an equal. But with my tiara, and my checkbook, I feel control and empowerment. It’s about a shifted perspective and the choice to be empowered by words. “I am making a payment” is so different than feeling “I have to make a payment.”
What do you get to do?
My job is 20 miles from home and the commute is at least an hour to and from. I get to go to work and I get to sit in traffic. Working for a company that treats you like they want to keep you is easy when you know what it’s like to not be able to work, or what it feels like to work where you feel disposable. Traffic is a real treat when I get to sit alone and sing to myself to start and end my day. I get to go to work and drive through traffic!
I get to pay my bills because not everyone can.
I get to make dinner for my family because sometimes I also get to be alone.
I get to do more than was asked of me, knowing that being asked at all is an honor.
Today my shift wasn’t just in word choice. I had a rough start to my day with a moment when an email made me feel defensive and insulted. It cast a shadow over my morning and by the afternoon I had felt the weight of it physically. I was sitting in my seat, doing my job, working on remembering to snack less, and eat an actual meal. It was slouching and leaning forward with the weight of my head on my hand in a position that said I was uncomfortable in my skin. And then there was music.
It wasn’t the lyrics. I don’t understand most of them. It was in the way I was able to step outside of the space I was in, and just feel. The sound of Madilyn Bailey’s voice hit me in a way that I started tearing up and needed to share it. From that song, I was able to shift into the sound and feel of the other songs on my playlist. By the end of the day, I was dancing in my seat, working and doing overtime but entirely pleased about it. I jumped into traffic this way and got home feeling happy still. It was a shift that came with song, and movement.
You get to shift. And when life settles uncomfortably, shift again. Shift several times. It’s like forgiveness. It’s for you, not the person you’re forgiving. You keep giving it, you keep shifting it, until you feel better and can move forward. It can be a gift you give yourself. Repeatedly.