How can we have it in the world, when we’re constantly at war with ourselves? By the age of 11 or 12, I had had an ample amount of experiences where I felt judged, embarrassed, shamed or less than to figure out I didn’t need other people or outside forces to make me feel less than, I could do it all by myself. Through negative self talk, I’m not popular enough, athletic enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, talented enough, smart enough, organized enough the list goes on and on, and as a result, I developed my self worth.

By the time I was in my early twenties it was clear, I surely wasn’t enough. At 23 I was already married and had given birth to my twins, Grace and Gianni. This would make me enough. But now I had new shortcomings to add on top off my ever growing list. Now I wasn’t a good enough wife, I didn’t want sex enough, I didn’t keep the house clean enough, and my skills in the kitchen certainly weren’t enough. As a mom I constantly questioned, do I discipline enough, do I teach my kids what they need in life enough, do I give enough of my attention, do I nurture enough, do I encourage enough? As a professional do I work enough, make enough, know enough, blah blah blah.

Good lord it’s exhausting, no wonder we can’t find peace. And I say we because I know this list is not all that foreign to you and you can probably add several things to it. But let’s get back to the word “peace”. When was the last time you felt like you really had it? A day at the beach, a spa day, a good book in a quiet place? How about everyday peace? Is that even possible?

Ok I have to share… I’m writing this in the airport and sitting across from me a little chihuahua just went nuts barking and scared half of us out of our seats. The owner, an elderly lady, pulled out a water bottle long after the dog had calmed down and holding the dog like a purse pointed it at her face saying quite sternly “no bark, no bark”. Now we all know that wasn’t to really discipline the dog, especially since no water was squirted. That was to show all of us she was in control. She needed to make a statement that she was completely capable of controlling the 6lb ball of ferocious fur. I’m sure it brought her some peace the smiles a few of us gave her that it was all ok, but the glares from the other passengers had her completely unraveled.

Do you have peace stealers? Worrying about what other people think? Saying yes when you really want to say no? Worrying about paying your bills? About loosing weight? If your partner is cheating on you? Or do they love you at all anymore? Are the kids making the grades, behaving? It’s an endless list when it comes to our kids!

I don’t have a magic answer to slay the peace stealers, but what I do know is we can begin to take our peace back. One of my biggest peace stealers is that I procrastinate and put things off I’m not comfortable doing, often making what isn’t a big deal turn into one because I’ve put it off for so long instead of just dealing. Guess what, there’s an answer. I could just do it. Oh that’s silly, I’d rather stress myself out, put it off,  loose sleep and suffer the consequences.

What’s stealing your peace? What peace do you steal from others? Can you change it? Or maybe it’s just accepting its out of your control and you just have to let it be? Trust it will all be ok.

I’m coming home from a trip to see my mom. It’s been two years. My mom stresses me out. She steals my peace. Actually NO, she really doesn’t. Just like when I was a kid I’ve learned to do that all by myself. I want to control and change things, and because she doesn’t become what I want her to be, I live in a constant state of “no peace” or stress when I am around her. Was this visit easy, not always. Was it stressful? Sometimes. Did I loose my patience? No. Normally I would have, but this time I said I’d accept my mom exactly the way she is, the same way I expect and want her to accept me. I can’t tell you how much peace that brought me. We were probably both a little less stressed because of that simple decision.

I’m a constant work in progress, but I’m learning the work doesn’t have to be so hard. We make it hard. I do want peace in my life. So I’m willing to work towards it, I’m willing to trust that what I can’t control will take care of itself. I do the next right thing and other things seem to fall into place. Then and only then I start to feel better about myself. I’m finally figuring out this self worth thing. We give it to ourselves. No one else can give it to us. That means we are in charge of just how much we have.

Today measure your self worth, find your peace. Once you’ve found it, then you can share it, and one by one we just might make this world a better place. 

Believe it

Sitting drinking my coffee this morning I found myself reflecting on the success of Girl Noticed’s Kickstarter campaign. Just one month ago I was sitting on the same couch, with the same mug, at the same computer questioning  what was to be my first real venture in fundraising. Good idea or not? Would people donate, was Kickstarter cliche, was a $5000 goal ridiculous for me to think I could raise in one month. Was I setting myself up to fail? But I made the decision, although reluctantly, and hit the “go” button. Project launched.

A week earlier I had decided to start blogging again. When I had originally set up this site,  I chose to format it as a blog because I felt the “story” was important. I wanted a forum to share the message of the importance of being noticed. Noticing yourself and noticing others. As time passed and the project grew and people started to actually notice, I had stopped sharing that story. With success came responsibility. The responsibility to be more professional, really look like I know what I’m doing. My posts became about where we had been, what murals we had done, and where we were going. After all people would come to my website first when introducing them to the project and it had to look and appear ‘perfect’. I even set up an appointment with a web designer to change the whole site so I could accomplish just that. “PERFECTION”.

 And perfection is exactly what I thought not only other people expected from me, but what I expected of myself. So much so, that I found myself doing nothing. It was too much pressure, and in an attempt at being perfect I stopped making the effort. 

I stopped making the effort. Good lord! The effort is what it’s all about, bringing that effort every single day and realizing that’s how change and growth happens. 

Thankfully, I think I may have hit my head on something but I woke up!  I threw expectations aside and said what do you want? What do you believe in? I really soul searched for those answers, and it took me back to the guts of this project. I said quite loudly to myself, make it what you intended it to be, and damn it, make the effort.

So I wrote my first blog entry in what had been probably 16 months. 16 months of what do people expect of me, am I doing it right, what if I fail?  I decided I’m going to do it my way. I think about 10 people read that blog post. Maybe 15 will read this one, maybe? But its 10 more people who are engaging in what we are doing then were engaging when I was posting nothing waiting for the next mural to happen.

And then a beautiful thing happened, the moment where taking the leap of faith pays off and you say “HA, I knew it! I knew I should have followed my gut”!

Juni Desiree´ happened, a fellow blogger who stumbled upon the little story I had shared. Juni took the time to read, comment and then look through the rest of the site, comment again and then offered to share my blog on her blog and promote my kickstarter campaign along with it. This was a total stranger who just “got it”. It moved her, and she wanted to help. And she meant it. She even went to the Kickstarter campaign and donated. Juni was my proof that I just needed to “believe it”. As was the fact that I surpassed the goal that I had set on kickstarter, you know the one that I thought was ridiculous and setting myself up to fail, yes not only was it reached, it went well past the $5000.

What I realize now, as I finish my coffee, is my success, Girl Noticed’s success isn’t about how smart I am, if I know everything, how professional I come across on my website or present myself. It’s not about the resources that are available to me, or even the opportunities that if I miss just one I’m screwing up , it’s the belief that I can make my goals happen. We all deal with vulnerability, uncertainty and failure. We just have to trust that if we continue moving forward we’ll figure it out. But the key here is you have to move, you can’t sit still waiting for perfection to happen, it will never come. Do, do it again, and then do it some more…just believe it.

Check out my new friend Juni’s blog Sapphire Writer. Juni is a life writer at heart. Through her personal essay she writes life stories that move people. Along with personal essays, she shares writing tips, and words and art inspired by life. Press or copy the link to check it out.