I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a woman; to be successful, happy, fulfilled, satisfied. As I work to make some critical changes to my life and lifestyle more importantly, I’m transitioning into a space where I can feel proud of myself, less critical of myself, and allow myself to truly be happier. Honestly, I’ve spent so much of my life wondering about and being influenced by what other people think of me and over the last eight months, after such an incident made me feel so very less than I’ve been trying to figure out why I have let those ideas control me so much. Once I really stopped to think about it, it was really in my own head. It wasn’t anything anyone was intentionally doing, just the power of my own perception and ego.

I do not write a blog to show my perfect life. That would be a work of fiction as my life is difficult and challenging at times just as everyone’s is. I do not write a blog because I think the answer to all of life’s problems is a cute skirt or new pair of shoes. I am working on being happier with less and spending less time obsessing about material joys. I do not write a blog because I know more than anyone else or even because I think that I do. In all honesty, I’m still figuring it out. I think as women we spend so much time “comparison shopping,” comparing our choices with those around us hoping they meet a standard that is popularly acceptable. I am certainly guilty of that and at times it has ruled my life. It’s amazing how a masters educated professional with a great home, loving husband and great friends can fail to see those blessings, blinded by deficiencies in self-love.

In my teaching career I’ve been confronted with negative self-talk in students and it always elicits an emotional reaction from me. To see seven-year-old kids who are so sweet, innocent and perfect talk themselves down saying, “I’m terrible at this,” makes me very mother-hen protective of their developing self-esteem. I’ve often been known to say, “Nobody talks to my friends like that, not even themselves,” to my little second graders, letting them know that all talk should be positive, especially to oneself, but when I’m truly honest with myself, I don’t always take my own advice. It is my goal to make gratitude and “radical self love” a bigger part of my life. I am so lucky, have so many blessings and want to spend more of my time celebrating myself than trying to figure out if I measure up. I think we could all use a little dose of self love, don’t you?