Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #61-Accepting the Change in Seasons

Fall foliage on the Charles River Esplanade, Boston, MA, USA

Fall foliage on the Charles River Esplanade, Boston, MA, USA

Autumn is my absolute favorite season of all!  Living in New England, I really do get to experience all four seasons, with the biggest challenge being the winter.  Sometimes it creeps up earlier than expected and chooses to hang out longer than desired.  I’ll spare us a revisit the winter travails of Massachusetts last year.  What I note though is that not everyone looks at the changes in seasons the same way.  See, I find pluses and minuses of each.  Winter can be bone chilling cold but I love the days of snowfall so intense that all you can do is snuggle, warm drink in hand and watch a great movie from your couch.  Spring can take fooooooorever to show up but once it’s here, it brings with it the promise of even warner weather with so much to do outside.  Summer, need I say more?  Yes, some days can get waaaaaaaay too hot, but outside activities are limitless.  Autumn, brings the warning of colder days ahead but helps us transition with BEAUTIFUL foliage and opportunities for fabulous fashion!  And yet, some of us like one season and one only or simply despise another.  I could go on and on but this is also the case in life.

It is inevitable that as long as you’re living your life is going to bring with it different seasons.  Things can’t go well 100% of the time, but, they can’t go horribly wrong 100% of the time either.  It just can’t. Some seasons can be more prolonged than others but it is inevitable that there will be change.  Over the past few months, another theme tied to this that has been coming up for my clients is that of the changing seasons of friendships.

Lately, I’ve consistently been heard things like:

“You know, I was a little down because as I was going through ‘x-situation’, I realized the folks who have usually been there for me just haven’t been.”

“I’ve been noticing a shift in my group lately….folks are kind of falling off.”

“As I approach my 30s, I am noticing that not everyone is game for continuing my journey with me….it kind of sucks.  It’s like they don’t accept the growth in me, or at least that I’m feeling I’m experiencing.”

I’ve been through all of this before myself so of course I have to ask each of them “As you’re noticing some folks falling away or distancing or even just cutting off ties with you, are other people showing up?”  Consistently the response has been “Yes and totally out of the blue!”  Yup, see just like the old saying “God never closes one door without opening another,” I don’t believe you’re ever left with loss without some form of compensation for that loss showing up.  This is especially true since we as human beings are just not intended to be alone.  So of course other people are going to show up in your life…and they will probably be so much better for you since they’re showing up in a season where the value of their presence is beyond measure.  Accept it as time for new fruit.

So what is there to do in seasons of changing friendships?

  1. Acknowledge your hurt: There are so many ways we try to be so strong and so tough and so unaffected by people and circumstances that we don’t let ourselves hurt or at least we don’t think we do. See, if you don’t take the time to let yourself acknowledge that these changes are impacting you, the “dealing with it” will show up in other ways.  You’ll be arguing over something with your spouse that you know has nothing to do with them.  You’ll be short-tempered with the kids.  You’ll give your coworkers some unrelenting side-eye and it really has nothing to do with them and all to do with the fact that the change, especially if unexpected has really dampened your spirits.  Let yourself acknowledge it especially with someone who can give you perspective.
  2. Decide to move on: Don’t let yourself get stuck in acknowledgement. Once you’ve made note of what’s happening or happened, give yourself the gift of moving on.  Start by treating yourself to a party for one….may be a day of catching up on Essence reading, a day at the spa, just a mani and pedi…something.  Focus on you, even if just for a bit then…..remember…..NOT EVERYONE IS GONE!  You’ve still got others in your life.  Shift your focus from what’s changing to what’s…who’s staying the same and reach out, engage, move on.
  3. Accept the beauty of change: When you’re going through these seasons, always think of fall foliage.  It’s so beautiful and brings so much with it.  It can be hard but look at the beauty of it.  Change is usually an indication of growth, strengthening, progress, forward movement….though it may not always look and feel like it, there’s beauty in it.  Take note of it and accept it.  When you do, you’ll notice how truly breathtaking it and you are!!!!
  4. Live fabulously fierce: Being who you are is not dependent on who is in your life. Others compliment who you are and the best of friends help bring out the best of who you are.  But no on, no one, makes you who you are other than you.  Commit to continuing to live fabulously fierce or however it is you choose to live….fabulously empowered….fabulously strong….fabulously hopeful….you choose and LIVE IT!!!!

Final note: With the whole Viola Davis and Taraji P. Henson  scene at the Emmy’s…which I will not get into simply because I know I just  will not stop once I start…..there has been an increase in consciousness of “who’s clapping for you”….who’s in your tribe…who’s got your back….etc etc.  It’s raising our level of awareness that we actually get to decide who comes into our lives and who’s influence we’re going to let impact us.  Know that this is actually empowerment.  You get to choose.  You get to choose.  Be empowered in that and know that you decide through your intentions, actions, and who you attract, who will be in your life.  Accept the change in seasons and engage in facilitating what the seasons will entail with those you allow to be part of your journey.  And…..It. Always. Gets. Better. And so do you!

Soundtrack of the week:  Count on Me.  Be encouraged-your new season of friendships will result in those who can sing this song with you and know that the truth of the lyrics run deep.

Living Fabulously Fierce Factor #25-Facing Fear And Rising

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So funny, I didn’t even realize it until I got the message in my inbox.

Totally feeling like I’m in like with my purpose, and meeting the goal of earning the feedback I want at the end of my days…..”well done my good and faithful servant.”    And that the seeds that I’m sowing now are going to yield things and experiences beyond my wildest dreams and imaginings.  I’m actually setting into the promise I received as a senior at BC as I was stressing about my next steps…which were at the time, unknown to me.  Yet, I laid back in that bed in Voute Hall and actually heard the voice of God for the first time and then captured what I heard….

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…and  it’s happening!!!

Ok, now before I totally get myself off track.  Let me get us to this week’s factor to focus on: Facing Fear.  Now we’ve talked about fear one way or another here in the past and we’ve had some action plans from our focus on it, but what I want us to focus on here is shifting our perspective on fear.  I actually want us to F.E. A. R….Face Everything And Rise.

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See, as this picture depicts, when things are tough and present challenges to us, we usually face whatever it is and tend to run.  Running can look as subtle as asking the question “Why me?” or literally running from whatever the cause of your fear is…becoming a transplant, ending a relationship, cutting people out of your life, not letting anyone in, not taking on anything that presents a challenge…the list could go on and on and on (side note-man, how easily a song pop’s into my head).  What we have to do is shift our mindset about the things that cause us to get nervous, anxious, fearful.  We have to embrace those things, people, situations, as positive challenges. Here’s an example.

Believe it or not, there as a time that I was deathly, deathly afraid of public speaking.  I’m talking even afraid to raise my hand in class.  My FBA friends who “knew me when…” could give you some really good examples.  Then, my sophomore, I wanted to run for Student Council.  Well, that required delivering a speech to my peers and Mrs. Cerasuolo, our school Vice President (miss her).  Freaked out! BUT, while freaking out, I took on a volunteer role for the summer at the State House giving tours because I knew I’d have no choice but to speak to small and large groups.  I was sick to my stomach every morning.  It got to the point where my mother, who never lets you not finish anything you’ve started, actually told me “if you don’t want to do this, you really don’t have to.”  It was horrible.  But after facing that fear, by the end of the summer I had given over 100 tours and got better at speaking to large groups!!! 

Notice, I didn’t say the fear went away.  Even this week, I had to speak to 172 new hires at my firm and while I wasn’t afraid, I still got a few jitters…but I did it anyway.  What we have to do is commit to the facing of our fears.  Just face them and over time, they are no longer insurmountable.  Let’s be clear, it takes time for things that make us fearful to stop making us fearful….while I’m young, high school was a long time ago and I’m really just now, comfortable speaking while also getting just a bit nervous every time.  But it’s all good because at the end, I rise and that, that right there….that’s the goal.  That’s what conquering fear is.  It isn’t actually the immediate tearing down of fear.  It’s the process of rising above it, even though it’s presence slowly diminished. 

So, this week, I’m challenging you to live fabulously fierce by honoring the LFF anniversary and face everything with the confidence, the assuredness, the faith that it is inevitable that you will rise an there’s no stopping you then! For some of us, it’s been a long time coming!

By the way, it’s my birthday week (woot woot) and I never ask for much, but I would love to hear about what you’re planning to face and what you envision rising looking like for you!  Let me know!

Soundtrack of the week: Some inspiration for the phenomenal Maya Angelou and Leela James’ Long Time Coming