Guest Blogger: Claudia Hufham
I have been thinking about my “love story” for the last few days. Not the one like on the Hallmark Channel, but the love story I am having, or in my case, not having, with myself. Why is it that I can love everything from my family to my friends to my dog, easily and without question, but loving myself is so much more difficult?
Thinking about my love story led me to the question, in literature, what makes a good love story? Seems first, it needs a good protagonist,(ok,that’s me) suspense and/or drama (will she be successful at “reinventing” herself? Will she get a new job? Will she ever be able to love herself?). I also read along the way, that a good writer knows the rules and follows them, a great writer knows the rules and breaks them! By nature I am a rule follower, so maybe I’ve been writing my love story all wrong!
Seems I’ve been very busy taking care of everyone and everything, but the one person in my life that I hadn’t loved or taken care of was myself!
A Social Disorder
Let me just say, that it’s not self-confidence that I lack. What I know about myself is that I am reasonably smart, funny, and I am an extrovert. That may be putting it lightly. If you ask anyone that knows me they’ll tell you, I’ve never met a stranger. All attributes that allow me to hide my lack of self-love with some quick wit or a snappy comeback.
My kids say that talking to anyone and everyone, whether in an elevator, waiting in some kind of line for anything, is some kind of “social disorder”. When my daughter, Kaylan, was about five and my son, Keegan, was a baby in my arms; we were in line at the grocery store when I began talking to a woman in front of me. Suddenly, I felt a tug on my sweater. Kaylan asked “Mama, do you know that lady?” I responded “No”. She looked at me very seriously and said: “Mama, we don’t talk to strangers”. I guess I taught her well. That was one of those “Do as I say, not as I do” moments. I had absolutely no response. She was right, but I can’t help myself!
Perception vs. Reality
To strangers and people that know me, I probably come across as confident. But the truth is I have spent most of my life thinking that if I were thinner or had more money or wasn’t so *fill in the blank*, that my life would have been different; better somehow. The reality is my life is a result of decisions that I have made. No one did it TO me, I allowed things to happen. I realize now my choices would have been different if I had only loved myself along the way.
It’s my perception of me that I have a problem with. When someone gives me a compliment, my first reaction is to make a joke about it, discounting the compliment somehow. Why is that? Why do I think that I need to deflect that compliment rather than just saying a heartfelt “thank you”?
There are times when I wish that for just a minute, I could see myself as others see me. I think that would be such an eye-opening experience. I am positive that the people around us do not see us the same way we see ourselves. What a shame.
The Photo Shoot
The other day Kaylan came over to take some photos. My thought was she needed to be on the other side of the street and take the picture from there in order to get a good one! I am just not photogenic!
Most people I know always take great photos without even trying! I, on the other hand, can not for the life of me look at my picture without seeing SOMETHING wrong with it!
The time I spend with Kaylan is always so much fun. Laughter is always the theme for any of our outings. I thought it was especially funny when she asked me to step behind a bush! That can’t be a good thing when the photographer wants you to get behind a bush right? Just for the record, I wasn’t completely behind the bush.
Out of all the photos she took, there were a couple that I thought were ok. Not because of her photography skills, but because of the “subject”. I think it’s important to know what you are good at and what you are NOT good at. I am not a model! Kendall Jenner can breathe easy. Kaylan, of course, told me that I was being way too hard on myself and they were good!
Just to prove my point, here are some of the outtakes:
It was so hard to put these photos out there for people to see! Why am I so hard on myself? Why do I see all the flaws first? Seems to me that it takes just as much energy being positive about myself as it does being negative, so why waste time with the negative? Self-love, Self-worth, Self-respect – there is a reason they all start with “self”. They are all things that have to come from me!
Where to Start
Now, we all know that you just don’t wake up one day and decide to love yourself. The question is…how do you change the dialog that you have had with yourself for more than 50 years?
There’s another one of those questions that I don’t have the answer to, but in the name of reinvention, I am making a plan to learn to respect, love and take care of myself.
I am a planner by nature. I like to know what is going to happen and when. Maybe it’s more than I like being in control and planning makes me feel as if that is so. Certainly, the last few months of my life have been anything but in my control.
So here it is…
Hmmm, the plan. It’s a work in progress but here’s a start:
- Find My Passion I have found that writing in my journal every night and starting a blog has allowed me to pursue a passion I didn’t even know I had or had forgotten. Sometimes it’s like throwing up on the page, but wow it works for me. Getting anything and everything out is good for my mind, spirit, and soul!
- Get back to Sleep When I first lost my job, I was really having trouble sleeping and when I did sleep I would wake up in a start with all kinds of dreadful thoughts in my head. How was I going to pay the bills? Who would hire me at this age? What is it I really want to do? ….on and on and on. You all know that things can spiral out of control once the lack of sleep sets in on top of everything else.
That’s when I discovered sleep meditation. Yes, not medication…although I considered this, I thought I would try sleep meditation first. I found some on YouTube that has worked great! I have learned to prepare for sleep, to relax and stop the thoughts in my head from spinning out of control!
Jason Stephenson- Sleep Meditation
“Go to sleep with this gentle sleep talk down. Sleep easy and relax with this guided meditation for soothing calm and sleep.”
Lauren Ostrowski Fenton
“FALL ASLEEP so FAST A guided meditation to help you fall asleep fast, relax and feel calm. This sleep meditation has sleep hypnosis and sleep asmr elements.”
- Nourish My Body I haven’t been eating well or anything much and that wasn’t helping AT ALL. Seems I lived on Christmas cookies (thanks sister Libba). So I have laid out a meal plan that is healthy. Oh and got rid of any cookies laying around. The thought did cross my mind that if I just ate them all they wouldn’t be around anymore…win/win. Just for the record that’s not what I did! Yay me!!
- Get Up and Move Now that I had a few good night’s sleep, I was ready to get moving! I love sitting at my computer, but I needed to MOVE. So off to Zumba at a nearby gym! I must say, going to Zumba on a Monday at 9:30 am has a very different kind of participants than the after-work crowd. Let’s just say I was the youngest person there and I was feeling pretty spry! Ok, Zumba 2 times a week. Even after I get a job is a must!
Next is Yoga. That’s something I can do at home with the help of YouTube again! Some great beginning yoga classes that aren’t very long. This one is a 30-day yoga class and I love it.
Yoga with Adriene.
- Nourish My Mind Knowledge is power! I am reading anything and everything. Not only the “self-help” books but others as well. Here are some that I have been consuming:
- Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
- You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
- Writing What You Know by Meg Files
- The Fixer Upper by Mary Kay Andrews
Loving Yourself Doesn’t Happen Overnight
Slowly but surely I am going to learn to love myself. To just say “thank you” when someone gives me a compliment. To know that if I make a mistake, bad decision or fall, it’s ok. That’s not the end of the story. Over these last few months, I have truly surprised myself and how I’ve “turned the page”. I’ve had setbacks and moments when I wondered if I was going to get back to the light, but I’ve done it. Writing has done it. And what people that read these posts don’t realize is how much a part of my story they have been. Reading, commenting, understanding, being supportive, has helped me get on the path to loving myself. So thank you for being a part of my story.
About the Author
Claudia Hufham is a blogger, mom to two grown kids and a Boxer/American Bulldog, who found herself looking for a new career at age 59. In her quest to reinvent herself and save her sanity, she started a blog. Her humor and down to earth story telling of her life lessons have led her to be featured on sites like Feedspot.com. You can read more from Claudia at Claudiareinvented. You can follow Claudia on her Instagram and FaceBook Page as well.
Claudiareinvented is featured on Feedspot as one of the Top 10 Women Over 50 Blogs