STRONG-WILLED CHILDREN

STRONG-WILLED CHILDREN

by Dee Harris

   When we were born I believe we all arrived strong…strong to live and survive.  I believe our cells were born that way as well, but they never intentionally give up that will to survive.  As a matter of fact, they will continue on forever doing their best to keep us alive and well.  But what happens to us as human beings?

   So, okay, we come out with that fight or flight mentality – survival.  But it’s that mentality that will change us from the moment we start to be exposed to new experiences, incidents, and people.  Luckily, that doesn’t happen to our cells that continue to protect and nurture us as best they can throughout our lives.  And, yes, children are strong-willed, too, until we begin to “tame” the spirit out of them.  So let’s not.

   Okay, we must teach our children about safety, but we don’t have to scare them into living a fear-based life.  We can teach them to live smart and to make wise choices.  We all know that there is evil out there in the real world so we must undeniably teach that to our children, again, without forcing them to withdraw from society.

   I also feel that teaching our children about respect is one of the greatest lessons we can give them.  Being polite and learning proper etiquette, okay, very helpful.  But real respect comes from the teachings that none of us is any better nor any worse than the other.  We are all human beings that deserve respect, no matter what color, gender, race, etc.  We are ALL human beings.  We are ALL equal!

   We must learn to share.  We must learn to care.  It is not all about us.  Like everything else on the planet, we will be out of balance if we do not all thrive, from the tiniest of plankton to the hugest of whales.  We need each other!

   But kids won’t automatically get that.  We must teach them so that they won’t be the bully at school, the mass shooter that didn’t learn respect nor experience it during childhood, the politician who could swear on a stack of bibles to tell the truth to perform his duties and succumbs to power and money.

   So where am I going with this?  Let’s teach our children respect without taking the child away.  Our children’s power is their innocence, their strong-will, their being in the moment.  Yes, they can hold onto their childhood and practice respect at the same time.  As can we!

   And while we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.  Don’t forget that valuable lesson!

   We have lost our inner child as we matured into adults.  So many commitments.  So many responsibilities.  So much regret about the past and worry about the future.  Let’s get back in the moment as strong-willed children before society broke us into its stereotypical adult definition.

   And let’s teach our children what gifts they have in being strong-willed, respectfully.  Don’t be meek.  Stand up for yourself.  Don’t live in fear of others’ opinions and your own comparisons.  We are all human beings, doing the best we can.  Be okay with that.  You will thrive.  And as they teach this to their children, all of humanity and our planet will begin thriving once again as well.  We all have our own unique gifts.  Make sure your children know that, and sharing their unique assets is the greatest gift of all!

   It is easier to build strong children that to repair broken adults.  Don’t you agree?

   

  Thank you for reading my blog and for being part of my journey in recovery.  With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

   For those interested in my Art to Inspire, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  To see this blog on YouTube, please visit…  Mahalo and enjoy!

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8 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN GOING THROUGH TOUGH TIMES

8 THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN GOING THROUGH TOUGH TIMES

By Dee Harris
1.  Everything can – and will – change.

   Just like us, everything changes.  You are still that infant, aren’t you?  And that adolescent?  That is you, but you have transitioned into who you are today.  And who will you be at 3 PM or tomorrow?  Change is inevitable.  You have no control over it.  So make the best of it; thrive from it.

   That small town you grew up in isn’t so small anymore.  That station wagon you drove around in as a child has transitioned into a hybrid car.  That telephone with a dial and attached to the wall with a cord, well, you know the drill.

   These are exciting times as we “try” to make the world a better place.  Keep on trying; don’t let these changes put you in a negative state of mind.  Remember that everything happens for a reason.  Make it positive, optimistic, hopeful!

2.  You’ve overcome challenges before.   

   When challenges arise today I am blessed to have a God Box and a Power Greater Than Myself in my life over to whom I can turn my will, my life…and my challenges.  This way of living is so comforting for me, knowing that I have no control over people, places, or things, and that everything is happening for a reason.  With that I can just go with the flow, being mindful of the present moment, not regretting the past nor worrying about the future.

   And, yes, I’ve overcome many a challenge.  The greatest being overcoming my alcoholism and being married, raising two boys, and holding down a job in that state of dis-ease.  That was a long chapter in my life and I am so very grateful to have started a fresh new chapter.  That challenge made me who I am today.  Today’s challenges will make me who I am tomorrow.  Make it better!

3.  It’s a learning experience.

   I believe there are no coincidences…that everything happens for a reason.  This newly-found Higher Power in my life has a plan for me, a purpose.  All for learning and growing.  Each person I meet, each occurrence I experience, each thought and feeling I have.  All for growing and becoming a better human being.  And then sharing those experiences.  Important stuff.

   And it’s not until my Higher Power says “You may pass GO and collect $200” that I get to be released from my tough times.  When the student is ready, the Master appears.  No sooner; no later.  All perfectly choreographed.

4.  Not getting what you want can be a blessing.   

   My Higher Power knows what’s best for me…what I “need”; my ego knows what it wants…oftentimes not what I “need”.  And what I need can feel uncomfortable, chaotic, tumultuous.  Yuck!  Who wants that?

   I didn’t want to go through the discomfort of stopping drinking and learning a new way to live.  But I had to.  My Higher Power said so.  That part of my journey was over.  All those decades had brought me to the bottom He saw fit for me to claw out of so that I could now have understanding and clarity, purpose and self-love.  Who would have thought?  Not in my wildest dreams (I never dreamed nor got good sleep; I passed out and came to) would I ever have thought I would know contentment and peace; to be comfortable in my own skin.  That was the plan; I just didn’t know it then.

5.  Allow yourself to have some fun.   

   I remember telling my kids to never let go of their inner child.  And I believe that for me, as well.  To live our passion and let that child in us come out and play.  Love yourself enough, be comfortable enough in your skin to dance as if no one were looking.  They’re not looking anyway.  And if they are, who gives a shit?  If I’m being judged, not my problem, but their’s.  Such a better mind-set and way to live.  LIVE!  HAVE FUN!  BE YOU!

6.  Being kind to yourself is the best medicine.   

   This is still hard for me.  I’ve always been such a perfectionist and it’s hard to let that character defect go.  But I’m trying.  Yes, I can love myself for who and what I am with all my unique gifts, just like you have what I want.  If it’s meant to be, I’ll get them.  If not, move on and be thankful for what I have.

   I still feel I am not worthy of having such a good life.  When I’m experience chaos-free, peaceful and productive days, I’m waiting for the ball to drop.  Why?  Because I’m once again living from my head, my ego, and have forgotten to turn my will and my life over to the care of my God of My Own Understanding.

   So if I remember to stay in the moment, be grateful, be humble, then I can be kinder to myself knowing that I am perfect right here and now…everything is perfect.  I can turn off the Imposter Syndrome that tries to sabotage me.  I can allow my positive self-talk to drown out my negative self-talk.  Good, yeah?  Is that odd, or is that God?

7.  Other people’s negativity isn’t worth worrying about.

   I have no control over people, places and things and I cannot allow myself, will not allow myself, to let their negativity worry me.  Worrying only means that the ego has once again taken over control.  Scary place for me. 

   I choose to live my life in an optimistic, positive, “glass-half-full” mindset.  I feel bad for those who don’t, or can’t, and am glad that I am not walking in their shoes.  However, I try to put on my empathetic hat to understand why they are the way they are.  That helps for me to not judge as I have not walked in their shoes.  Again, I get grateful.  I get humble.

8.  And there is always, always, always something to be thankful for.

   Oh, dang.  Add a few more “always” onto that statement.  To wake up excited each morning for what the day, and my Higher Power has in store for me.  That is something to be thankful for.  To not “have to” drink today is a miracle in itself.  To have a family and a wealth of true friends who love me for who I am, pretty amazing.  To be comfortable in my own skin…unreal.  To be able to share my experience, strength and hope with rigorous honesty with those I don’t even know, unimaginable.  Dang, I am SOOOO thankful!

   Thank you for being here on my journey.  Please share yours with me.  Together we thrive.  Alone we die a slow death.  Yikes!  Don’t go there…

   With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

For those interested in what I do when I’m not blogging or vlogging, please visit my shop with inspirational pieces of Art with a Message of Hope and Optimism at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  If you would like to view this blog on YouTube, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7QgOgkjPm0.

Mahalo and enjoy!

Sharing My Experience, Strength and Hope with DUI Class

I am so blessed, so grateful, so humble to be able to share my experience, strength and hope with others in order to keep this precious gift called sobriety, in hopes that a struggling human being can walk away inspired and hopeful.  Today I share with you one of my speeches I give in a local DUI class…

Sharing My Experience, Strength and Hope with DUI Class

Hi.  My name is Dee and I’m an alcoholic.  This was so difficult for me to say when I first came into the rooms of AA as I still held that stereotype of what an alcoholic was, and I didn’t fit it.  But I was definitely an alcoholic.  I could no longer control my drinking; my drinking controlled me…every part of me.

By a show of hands who here is really excited to be here today with no place that you would rather be?  There is no place that I would rather be and woke up excited this morning that I get to share my Experience, Strength and Hope at a DUI class today.  I feel there are no coincidences why each and every one of us is here in this room today and, if one person walks away today with a ray of hope and optimism, then my purpose has been served. 

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You are all here today by choice.  Yes, you got a DUI and that sucks, and unless you’re a straw, don’t suck.  Choose to look at your DUI in a positive way and don’t slither or stomp away thinking, “Why me?”  Again, there are no coincidences.  I believe you were chosen for this part of your journey through life.  It is up to you to either sit and wallow on the pity pot, or use this incident to make you a better and more grateful human being.  Look at the positive…you’re not  dead and you didn’t kill anyone.

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So when I came into the rooms of AA, I came in via a 28-day treatment program for alcoholism.  At that time my drinking definitely controlled me.  As a matter of fact, life was getting in the way of my drinking and that’s all I could think about and all I wanted to do.  Yes, I was throwing away everything that meant anything to me, including myself, but I didn’t care.  I had to drink.  I was driven and obsessed to drink.

I tried many, many times in every way possible to stop drinking.  Just for one day.  But my head always forced me back to taking that first drink, and one drink was never enough.  I was a closet drinker, a black-out drinker and a pass-out drinker.  I functioned for many years this way until the progression of this disease brought me to my bottom. 

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When the kids came home from school that afternoon like they did for years, I didn’t “come to” to get ready for my swing shift.  I was passed out through my shift and when I finally did “come to” the red light on the answering machine was flashing.  A message from work was on that machine from the manager at work.  Had a talked to her?  What did I say?  I got no response from my family as I “fished” for answers as I often did after a black-out.  Did I call the manager, who happened to be and still is one of my best friends?  No.  The incomprehensible demoralization we hear about in AA was so strong at that time, that I did not have the nerve nor courage to call her back.  I was full of guilt and shame and hopelessness and sadness.

So a new life begins.  My life in recovery.  In that 28-day treatment program I learn about alcoholism, the disease, that helped me to erase all preconceived stereotypes.  I learn that an alcoholic’s brain is different that those of normal drinkers and, when we put alcohol into our bodies, our prefrontal cortex yells out for more and won’t take “no” for an answer.  The only thing I could do was the “one day at a time” approach.  Just for today, I shall not drink.  And with the help of a loving, non-judgmental fellowship of like-minded human beings striving to not drink today as well, I put together enough minutes to make it through a day.

And I did what was suggested in AA.  I attended meetings regularly.  I got a sponsor.  I read the Big Book and worked the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with my trusted sponsor.  I got into service to give back what was so freely given me when I needed it most.  And my life changed.  I changed.  Today I am happy, joyous and free and have a fellowship to remind me I don’t have to do this alone and a toolbox for living in the 12 Steps of AA.

It’s simple but not easy.  Nothing worth having or holding on to comes easily.  But it sure beats the alternative.  Having to drink every day.  Not having a choice.  Not having hope or optimism or anything positive in your life.  Just negative, doom and gloom and lots of incomprehensible  demoralization.

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And for icing on the cake I got to make up a Power Greater than Myself, a Higher Power of My Own Understanding over to whom I could turn my will and my life.  My ego and self-will are out the door today and I’ve been shown how to live from my heart and no longer my intellectual brain that couldn’t get me to stop drinking.  That’s a beautiful thing and a wonderful way to live.  And to finally be comfortable in my own skin and love myself for who and what I am. 

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So today I share with you my gift of recovery, my Experience, Strength and Hope so that I could keep it.  Unless I give it away, I cannot keep it.  And I want it.  It’s awesome!!! 

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I hope one person got one positive thing from what I have said today.  Shed the guilt and the shame.  It does not serve you!  Know you are not alone.  And when you are ready, we are here to take you on a magic carpet ride to recovery and a purposeful way to live…and love yourself.  No coincidences you are here today.

Thank you for being here for my journey and for letting me share my joy of a life beyond my wildest dreams.  Please share with me your journey!  We’re all in this together, never alone!  No coincidences.  Just hope and optimism.  With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

For those interested in quotes and affirmations such as those above, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  I have also made this blog into a YouTube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyqlD5oQEyQ.  Mahalo and enjoy!

The Rx for Imposter Syndrome

Dee:  Because I am inspired by other people’s writings and teachings, I share them with you and hope you receive inspiration as well.  I add my two-cents worth by sharing how these teachings have affected me in my life in recovery and spirituality… 

The Rx for Imposter Syndrome 

By Melissa Eisler

Have you ever felt like you weren’t deserving of your successes in life? Maybe there is a little nagging voice inside you that says you’re not good enough or qualified enough for the job promotions, the high praises, or the awards that you’ve received. And maybe it doesn’t add up because you have the schooling, experience, and talent as evidence for your competence, but you are often dismissing your achievements on luck, timing, or a result of deceiving others into thinking you are more qualified than you think you  are.

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If you can’t seem to shake the feeling that you’re a fraud of your own achievements, you may be experiencing the crippling effects of what is commonly called imposter syndrome. While it is not considered an official diagnosis, imposter syndrome is acknowledged among mental health professionals for its prevalence and the stress, anxiety, and/or depression it can cause. 

People who suffer from this syndrome live in constant fear that they will be exposed for being unqualified or fake. It can take different forms, but here are some common signs: 

•Having perfectionism
•Overworking yourself
•Undermining your achievements
•Discounting praise 

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Dee:  For me, I just had minimal self-worth and even less self-esteem.  Yes, the “imposter syndrome” played heavy in my life.  How could it not?  From the moment we’re born we are exposed, inundated, smothered by outside influences that don’t empower our highest selves.  We are led to compare, compare, compare ourselves with those around us in our society.  With our peers at school, with our co-workers, with our friends and family.  Sad, huh?

So when the stress and anxiety comes, so do the above bullet-points.  All of them!  And then the alcoholism…

The good news is that you can overcome it! You can train yourself to quickly identify it, manage it, and beat it. Here’s how …

1. Recognize Your Imposter Syndrome 

The first step is to become aware of your thoughts and feelings. The next time someone gives you a promotion, praise, or award, listen to your internal dialogue and how it makes you feel. Oftentimes, people who suffer with imposter syndrome undermine their achievements and discount praise that’s aimed their way. 

It’s important to note that just because you feel like a fraud, doesn’t mean that you are a fraud. Separating feelings from facts allows you to see the truth. Start shining a light on that little nagging voice and recognize it for what it is: Imposter syndrome.  

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Dee:  I didn’t even have a ray of light, no light at the end of the tunnel, no nothing until I finally got sober.  For decades I had no light, no hope, no purpose, no reason for living even though I was one of those with schooling, experience, and talent as evidence for my competence.  But I lacked confidence and thought more of what you thought of me than what I thought of myself. 

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So what happened?  I finally hit my bottom of escaping in my alcoholism.  I couldn’t go on this way any longer…and I got caught.  Actually, my Higher Power (that I didn’t even know I had at the time) said it was time to make an intervention and start my new journey.  It all started in a treatment program for alcoholism.

2. Share Your Thoughts and Feelings 

You may be feeling shame about your imposter syndrome, and that can keep you from sharing your feelings. However, knowing there’s a name for your feelings and that you are not alone can be incredibly liberating, so share your feelings of self-doubt and self-worth with your spouse, a friend, a therapist, a mentor, or a life coach. When you confide in someone about your negative self-assessment, it will bring you one step closer to overcoming imposter syndrome.  

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Dee:  When I found myself in the abyss of my alcoholism, I pled with my husband to help me, to intervene, put me away, lock me away.  But he didn’t.  He knew that unless I made the change, made the surrender, admit my helplessness, it wouldn’t do any good.

And, YES, I felt terribly alone.  Didn’t everybody drink the way I did?  But why did they always seem so happy and productive?  I was too ashamed, guild-ridden, embarrassed and humiliated to share my story  with anybody.

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3. Know When It’s OK to Feel This Way 

Sometimes having feelings of inadequacy can be a normal reaction. For example, if you are changing jobs or are the first minority in your workplace, it’s only natural that you’d sometimes feel like you don’t fit in. Don’t attach these feelings to your self-worth or see them as a sign of your incompetence; accept them as normal in response to being an outsider. 

Dee:  As you have noticed, my story isn’t just about the “imposter syndrome” for me.  A huge driving force in my story, along with the “imposter syndrome” was my alcoholism.  In all honesty, even though my own dad’s passing at a young age was partially due to his alcoholism, I didn’t know anything about the disease.  Not until I entered a 28-day treatment program for alcoholism.

But my feelings of inadequacy and not fitting in were prevalent way before my drinking got out of control.  I was always very self-conscious.  I never felt like I really fit in…anywhere…and just hoped I could “fake  it ’til I make it”.  

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Having worked the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous numerous times with many trusted sponsors and women, I have found that my life as far as I can remember was fear-based.  Why?  I don’t know the specifics and it doesn’t much matter at this point, except for that I realize it, accept it, thank it for coming, and encourage it to leave.  With this knowledge, acceptance, and yearning to live differently today, my life has become freer.  I can finally feel comfortable in my own skin and value my opinion about myself more than your opinion of me.  That’s huge! 

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4. Reframe Your Thinking 

Once you’ve become aware of your imposter syndrome, shared it with others, and separated when having those feelings are normal, the next step is to start working with your thinking. When a situation triggers your imposter syndrome, first reward yourself for catching it and then shift your thoughts to a more  positive perspective. 

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For example, if the thought of “I don’t deserve this compliment” pops into mind, start by congratulating yourself for recognizing your imposter syndrome. Then shift your thoughts to something like, “I feel undeserving of this compliment right now. Perhaps that’s my imposter syndrome talking. I would like to learn how to better accept praise.” 

Baby steps are key here! You don’t want to go from “I am under-qualified for this position” to “I am overqualified for this position.” You will reject that belief in a heartbeat as completely untrue because it is too drastic of a mind shift. Instead, try something more manageable: “I may feel under-qualified for this position, but everyone who starts something new feels insecure at the beginning.”  

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Dee:  Yes!  Turn whatever negative thoughts come to mind into positives.  I believe that everything happens for a reason.  Not to see us fail, but to help us succeed…to be our best selves!  If we don’t experience those tough thoughts about ourselves and turn them into positive, nurturing mind-sets, we shall not succeed.  Learn from what your Higher Power puts on your plate in a positive and nurturing way. 

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5. Accept Praise Gracefully 

In addition to reframing your mindset, it’s also helpful to learn how to receive compliments, awards, promotions, high praise, and anything else positive aimed at you, gracefully. Once you start becoming aware of how you negatively respond to these things, it’s time to break the cycle of continually seeking and then dismissing validation outside of yourself.  

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To do this, set an intention to learn how to transform your reaction and express gratitude. Try a simple “Thank you” the next time you are complimented. You’ll notice it feels better for not only you, but for everyone else around you, too. 

Dee:  In our society we are taught that “more is better”.  So not true.  And that applies to speaking.  Don’t go on and on when asked a question.  A simple “yes” or “no” will suffice without a long, drawn-out excuse or rationalization.  No one really gives a shit anyway.

And once you start to peel the layers off the onion, which is yourself, you will notice that you can start forgiving, accepting, and even loving that person you are.  You are a special and unique gift who was created with assets that no other human being on the planet has.  Be proud of who you are.  Be proud of being human.  And then share your gift! 

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6. Manage Your Perfectionism 

Many people with imposter syndrome struggle with perfectionism, often obsessing over details and fearing that if they aren’t perfect, they will soon be discovered as a fraud. There are healthy levels of perfectionism—when you use it as a motivational force to excel and commit to high standards. And then there are unhealthy levels—which cause obsession and fear. People who have a healthy sense of perfection don’t let their mistakes weigh them down nor define who they are. 

In essence, do a great job when it matters most and let go of things out of your control. When an inevitable mistake happens, forgive yourself and move on.  

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Dee:  Today I consider my perfectionism to be one of my character defects.  It most certainly didn’t serve me.  Now I can be proud that I have done my best, no more no less, just my best.  As an alcoholic in recovery I still retain my obsessive-compulsive behavior and thinking.  However, since I am aware of this now and how it negatively affects my life, I embrace it, thank it for coming, and then let it go when it appears.

7. Develop a New Response to Failure 

One telltale sign of imposter syndrome is beating yourself up for being human—a.k.a. for making even the tiniest of mistakes. Coupled with perfectionism, a self-critical response to failure (“I should have known better” or “I should have known the answer”) is unhealthy. It is not realistic as we all make  mistakes. 

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So, the next time things don’t go as planned (because they won’t) or you’re wrong (because you will be), try acknowledging the lesson learned, allowing room for self-compassion, and then moving on. Remember that you have just as much right as anyone else to be wrong, have an off day, or need help.  

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Dee:  Today I can laugh at myself when I make an ass of myself.  That’s only because I love and accept myself for who I am today and know that I AM doing my best and, yes, I am human.  As are you.  I don’t judge you for your mistakes.  And if you judge me, that’s not my problem.  I have no control over people, places or things.  And life continues on. 

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Everything that happens in my life is purposely positioned.  Every person I meet, every experience I have.  And ALL are for the purpose of my growth, my success, my sharing my experience, strength and hope with others and to help them through their “imposter syndromes”. 

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8. Make Time for You 

People who suffer from imposter syndrome often work harder than others, to make up for feeling like a fraud. On the positive side, they are highly ambitious and great achievers; on the negative side, they overwork themselves and are prone to burnout. 

Being diligent is a great quality, but not at the expense of your health. Finding balance is key. You do not need to overwork yourself on the job in order to compensate for fictional inadequacies. In fact, redefine what “working harder” means for you—it can be working hard on taking care of yourself. 

Figure out what you need to do in order to take care of yourself and create a self-care program that works  for you. 

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Dee:  This has been difficult because I have always put myself last.  Remember, I cared more about what you thought of me than what I thought of myself.  I am trying my best to nurture myself, to put balance and moderation in my life.  But again, I am obsessive-compulsive to this is harder said than done.  But the seed has been placed and, one day at a time, I practice self-care not only for my reward for jobs well done, but for survival, fitness and sanity. 

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9. Visualize Success 

By being able to paint a concrete picture of what success looks like to you, it can become less vague and more obtainable. That way when it does happen, you won’t be so quick to reject it. Here are some simple ways to help you visualize success: 

Write down your goals. Get it out of your head and onto paper. By being able to communicate your goals, you can more easily imagine them happening.
Picture yourself victorious. Visualize how you navigate a situation—as many details as you can so that it feels true when it happens. 

Dee:  I am lucky I love to write and I have noticed that when I write things down those thoughts sink in, make more sense, and are stronger.  I’ll even write things down over and over again and each time I do the light bulb becomes a little brighter.  Try it!  Like with an affirmation.  It will sink in; it will come to fruition.

When I take the time to quiet my mind, as with meditation, is when my visualizations become more tangible.  Again by repeatedly visualizing, writing things down over and over, thinking about what victory looks like to you, will become more solid and focused.  Your brain will start to realize that this is important stuff, so I best get moving to accomplish and succeed! 

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10. Remember That You Are Not Alone 

Lots of highly successful people experience similar feelings of inadequacy (authors Maya Angelou and Seth Godin; actors Tom Hanks, Natalie Portman, and Felicia Day; and comedians Amy Schumer and Tina Fey, to name a few) and just knowing that others are experiencing it too can make you feel less isolated, releasing the syndrome’s power over you. 

In fact, studies found that 70 percent of people have struggled with imposter syndrome at some time in their lives. Your friends, bosses, classmates, and others you respect may have felt similar feelings of inadequacy. In our competitive, achievement-obsessed culture, it is probably more common than you think. 

So when you realize that you are not alone and actually connected to a lot of successful people who suffer from the same unhelpful symptoms of imposter syndrome, it will help you feel less lonely. 

Remember, you wouldn’t be promoted, complimented, trusted, and praised if you were actually a fraud. Let these tips help you expose imposter syndrome for what it truly is: not reality.  

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Dee:  Finding a group of like-minded people with whom I surround myself has helped me tremendously by comforting me and reinforcing in me that I am not alone.  For me my like-minded people I’ve found in the AA Fellowship.  But there are a wealth of local support groups in your area who are there to help you with whatever ails you…imposter syndrome, addictions, depression, and life itself.  And if the first shoe doesn’t fit, try another until you feel like “you’re finally home”. 

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Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you.  I anxiously await hearing about your journey so please reach out.  Together we can get through any and everything.  Rid yourself of the guilt and the shame and love yourself for who you are…in all your glory.  You are amazing!  Remember that! 

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For those interested in my Art with a Message of Hope and Inspiration, such as the mosaics you see here, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  And if you would like to see this blog on YouTube, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GH6oHjEwhzE.  Mahalo and enjoy!            

With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

About the Author :  Melissa Eisler (/bios/melissa-eisler)
Certified Leadership & Career Coach, Yoga & Meditation Instructor, Author 

Melissa is the Senior Content Strategist at the Chopra Center. Also an ICF Certified Leadership and Career Coach (ACC) and certified meditation and yoga instructor, she is passionate about motivating people to live a healthy, balanced, and purposeful life. You can learn more about Melissa’s coaching practice at MelissaEisler.com (https://melissaeisler.com/). 

The Chopra Center

If I Didn’t Think, I’d Be Much Happier

If I Didnt Think 

If I Didn’t Think, I’d Be Much Happier

by Dee Harris 

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   I never “thought” thinking would get me in such trouble.  What is thinking?  The process of using one’s mind to consider or reason about something.  Okay, then.  What is rationalization?  The action of attempting to explain or justify behavior or an attitude with logical reasons, even if these are not appropriate.  So that’s where my thinking got me in trouble…by rationalizing.

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    I prided myself for being an intellectual human being.  I studied hard.  I excelled in school.  I believed that if I wanted something badly enough and really put my mind to it, I could get it.  I knew nothing of religion or spirituality.  I only knew of science and intellect.

   Leading up to the time of coming to terms with brain vs. heart I noticed that my intellectual endeavors were diminishing.  My drive and passion were diminishing.  And I had no purpose.  Sad, huh? 

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   In retrospect I can now see where this journey was taking me and the cause of my “just getting by”.  It was addiction.  Mainly an addiction to alcohol.  All starting out most innocently with peers in junior and then senior high school.  I wasn’t enslaved yet and don’t even know when it happened.

   Throughout college I drank on occasion with friends.  Then sometime thereafter drinking started to become more regular for me…and in the end, decades later, regular drinking meant daily drinking.  Life was now in the way of my drinking.

   So this once intellectual and driven human being couldn’t muster enough know-how to go a day without drinking.  And, boy, did I rationalize my destructive behavior as this disease slowly dragged me to and through hell.

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   So what happened?  I finally came to my senses, got lucky, got unlucky, however you want to look at it, but I got the help I needed to stop drinking.  And today I believe my Higher Power made an intervention.  My destructive journey that I needed to endure would now transition to “trudging the road of happy destiny”, as it is said in AA.

   In a 28-day treatment program for alcoholism I started to learn living from my heart, rather than my head.  This was totally foreign to me but what did I have to lose?  I had intellectually screwed my life up by thinking and rationalizing, so “fake it ’til you make it”. 

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  Living from my heart was made possible by a Power Greater Than Myself, of my own understand, that I got to make up.  Yep, from my own little brain.  Over to this Higher Power I turned my will and my life.  My Higher Power spoke through my gut.  You know those feelings.  Intuition.

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   So now my brain, my ego and I are no longer running the show.  The HP has got everything under control and I shall just do the footwork from the messages I get in my gut.  Dang.  It works!

   Not only does it work, it’s so freeing!!!  The heavy load I had been carrying on my shoulders for decades was no longer there.  The fact that this all seemed miraculous and inexplicable helped me to gain trust in this Power Greater Than Myself.

   It’s now been awhile since I’ve transitioned from brain to heart and this way of living still serves me today.  I’m in such a better place of surrender and acceptance and everyday keeps getting better and better.  So thankful.  So humble…

   …and so glad to be able to share my journey with you.  I look forward to being part of your journey and hearing about your story!

   With much aloha, Dee Harris 

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   This blog is also on YouTube as a vlog at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUOL6gJpbrY.  And for those of you who are interested in what I do when I’m not blogging and vlogging, please check out my Art with a Message of “No Stinkin’ Thinkin’” at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  Mahalo and enjoy!

Affirmations – Why They Work

Affirmations – Why They Work

by Dee Harris

   I’m a strong believer in affirmations.  The affirmation I made up in morning meditation when I was in a 28-day alcohol treatment program I would have never thought I would still be saying today, and so grateful to have something positive coming out of my mouth about myself until I could finally believe it in myself. 

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   So just what is an affirmation?  An affirmation is a positive statement used for emotional support or encouragement.  And if we can become one-tenth as good at positive self-talk as we are at negative self-talk, we shall notice an enormous change.  I  know I did.

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  Our brain filters out what matters to us based on our goals, needs, interests and desires.  When you say an affirmation over and over again, a couple of things happen. One is that it sends a very clear message to your brain that this is important to you. When you do that, it gets busy noticing ways to help you achieve your goals. 

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   The other way affirmations work is that they create a dynamic tension in our beings. If what I am saying is at a higher vibration that what I perceive the truth to be, the dynamic tension is uncomfortable.  A painful incongruence is felt between what I perceive the truth to be and what I am saying. Since this is uncomfortable, we want to rid ourselves of the tension. There are only two ways to do that: one is to stop saying the affirmation; the other is to raise the bar on reality by making the affirmation and reality match. 

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   So what makes an effective affirmation? First, determine what kind of transformation you want to bring about in yourself—a goal or intention.  Second, if it fits, add an emotion to the mix or a word that qualities the statement. For instance, I am joyfully at my ideal weight of 125. Or, I’m happily living in my own home.  Third, make it positive vs. negative: “I am healthy and fit” rather than “I am no longer fat.”   

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   Some say it takes 21 days of repetition for an affirmation to make its mark on your psyche, so aim to keep your affirmation going for at least a month. Our Censors loathe anything that sounds like real self-worth.  They immediately start up with the imposter routine:  “Who do you think you are?” 

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   So just try picking an affirmation.  Write it 10 times in a row.  While you are busy doing that, something very interesting will happen.  Your Censor will start to object.  “Hey, wait a minute.  You can’t say all that positive stuff around me.”   

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   Listen to the objections.  You will be amazed at the rotten things your subconscious will blurt out.  Write them down.  These blurts flag your personal negative core beliefs.  They hold the key to your freedom in their ugly little claws. 

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   So list your personal blurts.  Where do they come from?  Mom?  Dad?  Teachers?  One effective way to locate the sources is to time-travel.  Once you bring your monsters up from the depths, you could begin to work with them.  Each one of your blurts must be  dissolved.

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   My personal affirmation I came up with in rehab was, “I am a good person.  I am a whole person.”  Take it from me, when I made this up I felt anything but good or whole.  I loathed and hated myself for the predicament I had put myself in and for being weak and lacking self-control.     

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   As I started my life in recovery with the new knowledge about alcoholism I had learned in rehab and the suggestions given me in AA, I still felt so uncomfortable in my skin.  I didn’t know how to live without drinking; my life revolved around drinking up to this point.  Every holiday, every event, everyday getting off work had drinking involved.  But one day at a time I started to gain a bit of clarity.  I was amazed to have not picked up a drink that day when I had tried every way possible which seemed like forever to go just one day without drinking.  I couldn’t do it. 

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   “I am a good person.  I am a whole person.”  Everyday.  Along with making up a Power Greater Than Myself over to whom I could turn my will and my life, I worked the 12 Steps of AA with a trusted sponsor and got to uncover where my ugly negative blurts  came from.    

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   So now come up with an affirmation that negates a blurt.  Positive affirmations may feel very uncomfortable at first, but they will rapidly allow you a new freedom once you  begin to believe in yourself.

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   Thank you for being on my journey with me.  I look forward to being part of yours, so please contact me anytime so that we can be the best we can be…anytime…all the  time…at this very moment!

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With warmest aloha, Dee Harris 

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   For those of you interested in checking out my Art with a Message of Inspiration and Hope such as the above mosaics, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  And for those who would like to see this blog as a vlog on YouTube, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMoAZX-DvOo .  Mahalo and enjoy!

The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron

Affirmations: Why They Work & How to Use Them, by Eve Hogan

Sharing My Message – Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech

Hi there everyone.  Madame President, Toastmaster officers, members and visitors.  My name is Dee and welcome to my Toastmasters Ice Breaker Speech.

By a show of hands, who here is really excited to be here tonight with no where that you’d rather be?  Sweet.  Well, there’s no where that I would rather be at this moment and I believe there are no coincidences.  No coincidence that we are all here together in this room tonight, affecting, changing, bettering each others’ lives.  I’m really jazzed to be at a point in my life where I’m trying to better myself, and with the ripple down effect, better those who enter my “Dee Bubble”.

When I took a speech class in college I was mortified.  I couldn’t get my body to stop shaking and almost made myself sick with fear prior to giving my speech.  I had memorized all the pages of my speech, vomited it out, and didn’t know what the heck I had said when all was said and done.  I know I want to speak more naturally today and to be myself with rigorous honesty.

Speaking about rigorous honesty, that is one of the lessons I learned once I got sober.  It’s very freeing to be just who I am today, even when I make a fool of myself, and, yet, be okay with that.  That’s a great gift I’ve received in sobriety, the gift of finally feeling comfortable in my own skin and being all right just knowing that I’ve done my best.  I never had this mindset before, when I was active in my disease of people-pleasing and low self-esteem.  With that I can now talk in front of a group of people and not be shaking in my skin, ready to puke my guts out.  Because if you don’t like me, that’s okay.  I don’t take it personally; that’s not my purpose.

Crazy how that happened.  Again, no coincidences that I’ve been provided a journey through life to bring me from a deep, dark place of self-loathing and self-hatred to a place of self-respect and self-worth.

So what am I doing here in Toastmasters?  Well, I’ve always loved to write and am now just experiencing my love of speaking.  This love has awarded me opportunities in the AA community to be of service  the Coconut Wireless Newsletter for 3 years, writing about AA events on this side of the island and then as the Public Information Chairperson and speaking at our local DUI classes is part of that commitment and had become one of my new passions.

That is how I got here.  My new drug of choice is sharing my experience, strength and hope with others hoping that one person will get one thing from my share that will spark a ray of hope and optimism in his or her life.  A message of comfort that no one is ever alone on their journey through life, no matter what’s going on, and together we can get through any and everything.  And it’s okay to take off our big girl panties and ask for help.  Not only should we shed the useless bullshit that has inundated our lives from the moment we were born that does not serve us as moral human beings, but we should shed any guilt and shame we might have put on our shoulders and have been carrying around with us for way too long.  That is why I’m here.  To gain experience on how to share this message.

Today I have an online shop where I sell my Art with a Message of Hope and Inspiration.  I also sell at the Pure Kona Green Market every Sunday down in Captain Cook.  And as I drive there early on Sunday morning I am grateful for the prosperity I shall be receiving that day, not in terms of financial reward, but in terms of the wonderful interactions I shall have with like-minded caring and loving individuals who enter my “Dee Bubble”.  I have never gone home disappointed.

However, last year I started to wonder if sharing my experience, strength and hope was being satisfied with one weekly market and social interaction.  That is when the thought of being a Ted Talker or an AA Circuit Speaker entered my mind.  I put it in my God Box because today I have faith and don’t have to know where I’m going.  I just know it feels right and I shall just concentrate on carrying the message to DUI classes, schools, and whatever local organizations are interested.  With that, I joined Toastmasters so that I can do my best to serve my Higher Powers’ purpose of sharing my experience, strength and hope.  Today I am humble…and I am grateful.

Thank you.

Thank you for being part of my journey and helping me to Share My Message.  With warmest aloha, Dee Harris

If you are interested in my Art with a Message of Hope and Inspiration, please visit my website at http://www.DeesignsByHarris.com.  And if you would like to see this blog on video, please visit me on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7dkpopPjss.  Mahalo and enjoy!