Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be Your Own Valentine

If I've learned one thing over the past few years, it's that we cannot control other people. This realization, though frustrating, is also freeing. Because if I can't make anyone else do anything, I better take action to make myself happy.

Last week as I entered Trader Joe's, I stopped as I often do, to admire the flowers. And then I thought, what the hell? I'll buy myself some roses. After unpacking the groceries, I remembered I have a beautiful Waterford crystal vase that belonged to my Grandmom. I trimmed the roses, washed the vase and arranged them to my liking. They have brightened my mood every time I've seen them in the past week, which is certainly worth the $4.99 I paid for them.

Do I like my husband to buy me flowers? Of course. I love flowers. I love feeling appreciated. But knowing that I don't have to wait for him to do it is liberating. I can love myself. And I must. And when I do, I don't need anyone else to show me that I'm loved, because I know that I am.

A gorgeous, funny, smart woman I know died on Friday. She was 29 years old. Her beautiful spirit shone brightly, overflowing into those blessed enough to know her. You could feel the love she had for herself. We can't control if we have a Valentine or how that Valentine behaves, but we can do something nice for ourselves this Valentine's Day. Life is too short to wait around for someone else to make you feel loved. Go ahead and treat yourself. Be your own Valentine.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Overcoming Resistance

I heard a speaker on Friday say that our internal resistance to change gets in our way more than anything else. He talked about goals and dreams and attitudes, and it was all very inspiring. But after hearing all of his great ideas about change and possibilities, I felt too overwhelmed to do anything at all. (He predicted this would happen.) 

So I drove home, ate lunch, put Daniel down for a nap and then tried to remember how I have overcome resistance in the past. My best trick is to think of the smallest possible step I can take. After a baby-induced hiatus, I wanted to get back to selling my novel. So I thought, okay, what’s the smallest possible step I can take in that direction? I decided I could just look for the list of agents I made last year. Walking up the stairs towards my office, I felt enormous resistance. Apparently, there is some biological basis for our minds wanting things to stay the same. My feet felt heavy, but I found the list. Then I looked at it, then I opened my query letter and started tinkering, and before I knew it, I had some momentum and was happily working.

The journey of a thousand miles does begin with the first step. And so often, if I can take the first step, I can take a second, third, and before I know it, I’m just walking. The speaker on Friday said you can either be in the game or at the game, and I want to be in it. As painful, scary or embarrassing as it is to try sometimes, I’d rather be wiping out in the water than sitting on the beach watching.

How do you overcome resistance?