I've taken a few days off to focus on some other things in my life. First, I started to read an excellent book for women called Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul by John and Stasi Eldredge. This is another example of a book I "stumbled" upon that has a message. A blogger I frequent had talked about it one day and I didn't think much about it. I jotted down the book title only to forget about it until I saw it at our library. I was surprised because our library is small and usually books like this need to be requested to be sent in. There it was sitting on the shelf.
Although this book is based on Adam & Eve and the message they were to send to us, there is an enormous amount of information, argh - not really the right word here but...about women and how we are and how we navigate through life. Many quotes captured my heart but since I have the library copy I don't think they would appreciate their copy marked up with pink and orange highlighter so instead I ever-so-slightly dog-eared some pages. Because I felt so moved by these pages and powerful words ON these pages I ordered a copy of my own. But I would like to share some quotes that really grabbed my soul and made me stop, think, reflect and regurgitate what it was that I was supposed to learn by this.
"Grief is a form of validation; it says the would mattered. It mattered. You mattered."
"How a father relates to his daughter has an enormous effect on her soul - for good or for evil."
"Do not give way to fear."
"Every woman has a beauty to unveil. Every woman."
"We struggle to know if we matter at all. If we are home, we feel ashamed we don't have a "real life" in the outside world. We are swallowed by laundry. If we have a career, we feel as though we are missing out on more important matters like marriage and children. We are swallowed by meetings."
I have been on a journey to figure things out. All too often we rely on the words of others to determine our self worth, our value as a person and to "the group", our potential, our accomplishments, and who we are as a person without relying on our own self. We do not have to look further than our own heart, head, and soul to tell us what we are and how important we can be. Why do we look outward instead of inward to measure our value? I think that we all struggle with some form of insecurity and self doubt no matter how we were raised and where we fall on the career scale. We want to hear those words of validation by someone else to push us along and keep us going. We want to be told we are doing it the right way and to continue to do what we have been doing. Some people (I think) measure this by how many zeros and commas are in their paychecks. Other people need those words and still others aren't happy until they see their name in lights so-to-speak. To the average person (like me) learning to ignore others and their judgements of you is quite difficult especially when you have little ego. But, this is something that I am beginning to learn. I fell into that category of needing someone else to tell me when I was doing a good job or not. However, life experiences have helped me sway far away from what other people think about me and the work that I do both personally and in a professional setting. I have learned not to care what people think because all to often their interpretation of you isn't who you are as a person. So, how can a person judge you and determine your value when they don't know you? Simple, they can't. Outcomes may not be what you would have chosen for yourself but in the long run you will be better off. I think it is better to capture who you are and hold on to the person you know you want to be and become rather than look at someone who has a false sense of identity of who you are and how you contribute to "the group". If they don't take the time to get to know you, I mean really know you, than they don't have the right to determine your value. It is like pricing an item without doing any research on what would be market-value.
So despite my challenges I am happy to have been able to stumble on a whole slew of books that have sent messages to me including the one I am currently reading. Sometimes you feel things and think things but don't know the right combination of words to express what is going on inside but this book is doing it for me. What have I taken from the words on these pages? That I had to relearn to be patient with myself and that it is better to stay focused on who you are as a person and not allow someone to put a price on your soul; only you can do that.