Are You a Chameleon?

Are you a chameleon?

Do you change your colors based on your surroundings? Do you find yourself trying to blend in with your surroundings? Are you trying to hide as if predators are out to get you?

Is there a work you, a church you, and a home you?

I’m not just talking about changing the colors you are wearing, friend. I’m talking about your actions, your demeanor, and your words.

I’m talking about walking into work and trying to blend in. Or keeping quiet during break room conversations even though you have something to say because you’re worried you may stand out too much. What if I’m too bold? What if they don’t get me? What if they think my comment is ridiculous? Or are you all fun and games at work because being the easy-going person is what you think everyone wants?

What about the church you? Do you walk in with a “bless your heart” smile plastered on your face even though you had a rough week and it was a struggle just to get there on time? Do you say yes to every request or favor asked of you by someone at church because you feel it’s expected of you? Do you walk right back out those doors and forget about what the pastor preached as you start a new week?

Are you completely different at home with your spouse or children than what you are at work or church? Are people outside seeing a different side of you than what your husband and kids get to see? Are you more fun at work than you are at home?

Are you acting differently, carrying yourself differently, or speaking differently based on your surroundings because you just want to blend in, to feel included? Are you afraid if you don’t change to sound, act, or look like those around you they will attack?

We shouldn’t need to feel like we must change our colors based on our surroundings. We should be able to be who we are.

Do you have to let your crazy show at work? Well, no. I’m not saying that. But don’t be so afraid to speak up, to be heard. Don’t be afraid to let others know you need help. Don’t be afraid to say no to that volunteer request because you’re maxed out on your schedule.

Sure, there are going to be things you do or say when you’re in the comfort of your own home, but you don’t have to blend it everywhere else if that’s not who you really are. If you’re bold, be bold. If you’re funny, be funny.

Don’t be a chameleon.

Be brave.

And be you!

Xoxo

Ash

 

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Let’s Help Each Other

Last weekend hubby and I went to an early morning garden sale at one of our local home improvement stores. The Lawn & Garden department becomes quite crowded during this event. Customers frantically move from section to section searching for the veggies, trees, or flowers they want. It most certainly is not the place to be if one has anxiety. It can quickly become an overwhelming experience.

This is our third year at this sale. So we know what to expect now. We also know that it works best for us to not get a shopping cart and just carry the items we need between the two of us.. Shopping carts get you stuck in aisles. When people get stuck, patience fades quickly, and anger rises. Anyway, the whole ordeal turns into a circus.

I realized something this year though. If customers help each other, it becomes a much more pleasant experience. I realized customers were just taking turns nudging their way up certain aisles, and then they would read the tags on the items just to discover the item they wanted was not in that section. After a few minutes of doing this myself, I realized I could just speak up to the person in front of me who was checking the tags on the items and ask if my item was one of them. I mean, what are they going to do? Either answer me, or ignore me, right? So why not speak up?

I did this again while trying to find a certain tomato variety. A nice older gentleman said he had not seen it yet, but he had seen this other variety. Then a woman came up asking about the variety the man had just mentioned. So I let her know the gentleman next to me had seen that kind. After looking around a bit more, I heard a woman mention an item I was looking for still. So I asked her about it, and she politely informed me that they were in front of her. While searching for the lettuce I wanted, I let another woman know what was in front of me.

Do you see where this is going?

I noticed that once a few of us were helping each other, more people started speaking up and helping also. Sometimes people need to hear others ask for help, or offer help, in order for them to do the same. One person can start a chain reaction.

If I had remained quiet and too afraid to ask a stranger in front of me for help, I would have spent a lot more time searching for the items I wanted. I was grateful for the help I received, and in turn, I helped others.

I want to encourage you to be someone who starts a positive chain reaction. Look for the opportunities in your day to help others see the benefit in helping others.

Be brave. Speak up!

Xoxo

-Ash

 

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Setbacks Don’t Mean Failure

Setbacks Don’t Mean Failure

Sometimes I am just a mess. When the tears are flowing I feel like I am falling apart. I turn something simple into something complicated, and then before I know it, I am kicking myself.

“You’re not strong. You’re not brave. Seriously, some brave girl you are… You’re just a mess! Who are you kidding? Just give up now.”

I go back and replay the situation that caused this breakdown in my head, thinking of how I wish I had handled it from the start.

Then the regret sinks in. I regret my indecisiveness, which led to causing confusion for someone else, which led to aggravating my husband, which led to me fighting back tears. I regret letting the tears fall down my face. I regret kicking myself. I regret my regret.

Then I realize I need to stop before I get too deep into the dark abyss. As I breathe through the tears and regain my peace, I realize I am okay. It is okay.

Rome was not built in a day.

I am still growing on this journey. I am still learning to change my thinking and be more confident in my decisions.

I am not going to let others discourage me during setbacks. You know those nasty insecurities that cause others to be mean? Don’t let them project those on you. We are all on our own journey. So if they have something to say about you messing up, remind them that the race is not over. We are all a work in progress.

There are going to be setbacks. When you are trying to more confident, you are going to come across challenges that cause you to question yourself. When you are trying to eat better, you may have times when you give into that craving. When you are trying to break a bad habit, you may momentarily give into it again. We just mess up sometimes. Don’t let those moments, or days, make you give up the entire race.

This is a process, not an overnight change. I don’t have to give up because of a setback. I have not failed the entire day because of a few moments. The day is not over. I have nothing but opportunity to improve from here. I’m running a marathon, not a sprint.

So let’s shake off the bad thoughts. Let’s stop sulking. Let’s stop kicking ourselves over mistakes.

Put down the potato chips, or the tub of ice cream. Dry your eyes. Put a smile on that beautiful face, and keep moving forward.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

I can do this! YOU can do this! WE can do this!

Brave Girl – Arise!

XOXO

-Ash

 

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Be Brave, Not Mean

Women need to stop being mean. You want to be brave? Be kind. Speak up and say something nice. I think it takes more courage to compliment someone these days than it does to tear them down.

It’s so sad how often women put other women down, and it’s not just by what we say. Criticism is seen in our actions too: scoffing, eye-rolling, those head-to-toe looks.

I would ask why we do this to each other, but I know why.

The main reason is insecurity, and it is ugly. Insecure women hurt other women. Don’t hate the skinny girl because you want to be thinner. Don’t hate the married girl because you are single. Don’t hate the momma because you wish you had kids.

Whatever is going on in your life is not the fault of these other women. So don’t squash their happiness.

Some women seem to just be mean in general and proud of it. I don’t know if they learned this from the women in their family, or if it is a behavior cultivated by society. Being mean is not something to be proud of friends.

Some women don’t realize how mean they are being. I know this. I used to be one of these women. I regret that it took many years for me to see how I was treating others, but I can’t go back and change the past. So I worked to become a better me going forward. It took daily work to change my thoughts and actions to get where I am today.  And there’s always room for improvement.

I have a friend that I admire. When I see her difficult yoga poses, I think, “Yay for her!” When I see her post photos, or videos of her kids, I am proud of her for being a good momma. When I see her posts about date night, or events with her hubby I am happy for her.

Do you know what I’m not? I’m not jealous of her. Does she do things I want to do? Does she have things I want to have someday? Yes. Does her ability to do these things, or have these things take away my ability? Nope. Not. At. All.

If I want to do the yoga poses she does, then it is on me to stretch, practice, and fall until I either get it right, or decide maybe it’s not really my thing to do.

So what do I do? I support my friend. I encourage her. I cheer her on! I am happy for her!

I’m inspired by her, and I tell her this.  You know what?  I inspire her too. She encourages me too.  She’s happy for me too.

I am extremely grateful for our friendship and our ability to genuinely be happy for each other.

This world is mean enough. Be brave, and choose kindness. Be supportive and happy for others. It just might amaze you how much it can improve your overall attitude.

Mean Girl – Change your ways!

Brave Girl – Arise!

XOXO

-Ash

 

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I Used to be Afraid

I used to be so afraid. Afraid of change.  Afraid of failing.  Afraid of what people think of me.  Afraid of not being good enough.  Afraid of not fitting in.  Afraid of standing out.  Afraid of death. Just afraid.

used to…Oh, sweet past tense!

I am no longer so afraid.  I am no longer a slave to fear.  I choose to not let fear control my life anymore.

My life has changed drastically in the past 5 years, and I am taking steps to purposely change it over the next 5 years.  I am tired of living afraid.  Life is going to change whether I move or sit still.  So I might as well bravely make the moves myself towards the me I want to be, instead of letting this world decide who I am.  Bye-bye fear of change!

I am going to fail sometimes. Accepting that saves me from worrying. I used to spend too much time worrying about whether or not something was going to work out. I used to get upset when I tried something new and it didn’t work out.  I thought it was a waste of my time.  I would never know if could do it though if I had not tried. Failure is bound to happen. Sometimes we have to find out what doesn’t work in order to find what does. Bye-bye fear of failing!

What people think of me really isn’t any of my business. I have come to learn that no matter how much I try, I can’t change what some people think of me. I’m learning to accept that it really doesn’t matter what others think of me anyway. What matters is what God thinks of me. If I am living for Him, then I am doing what I need to do regardless of what others think about my life. Bye-bye fear of what others think!

All I can do is what I can do, and what I can do is enough.” I’m not sure where that quote originated, but it has become a good mantra for me. I used to strive for perfection – in school, in marriage, at work. I was afraid of not being good enough for my parents, for my husband, and for my job. That fear only hurt me. So now I am accepting that my best is good enough. I am good enough. Bye-bye fear of not being good enough!

I used to think I needed to fit in. I needed my hair to be straighter. I needed to wear name-brand clothes. I was afraid that my curly hair, my department store clothes, and my braces made me stand out. We’re supposed to outgrow this need to fit in after high school, right? I thought so. Then I grew up and found myself still trying to fit in—at work, at church, at the gym. Good grief! It’s exhausting trying to fit in. I’m becoming more and more comfortable with who I am as I’m working on being the best me now. Bye-bye fear of not fitting in and fear of standing out!

I am no longer afraid of dying. I am a Christian. If I’m living for God, then death means something better than this life on Earth. I’m learning to appreciate the short time I have here, and use it more purposefully. Bye-bye fear of death!

Afraid Girl – No more!

Brave Girl – Arise!

XOXO

-Ash

 

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