The latest round of political gunshots were fired last week and motherhood was the casualty. In battle when a soldier is accidentally killed by his comrades it is termed “friendly fire” and is one of the most regrettable acts of war. Last week, during the war of words between Hilary Rosen and Ann Romney, regarding the career legitimacy of stay-at-home mothers and all women were injured in “unfriendly fire.
The majority of women dearly love their children. Some for economical or personal reasons can’t stay at home and these mothers battle daily guilt. Conversely, many women sacrifice stylish wardrobes, a professional routine and an intellectual stimulation to raise their families and they battle personal identity loss. The greatest battle wound is the loss of women’s sense of self and power obscured by the in-fights among comrades. In my professional practice, I have found we are petty and back stabbing when we are jealous.
A client who always wears black T-shirts to session agreed it would not bother him if someone else bought a black T-shirt. He has enough T-shirts but he is envious of a roommate who has numerous romantic relationships because he wishes for a girlfriend. If a woman has her own sense of identity and is confident in her choices, she is less likely to care about the life style of another.
Perhaps instead of arguing about the value of staying at home making chocolate chip cookies versus serving as secretary of defense we should ask ourselves a few insightful questions about ourselves. In the book, Finding Your Own North Star, by Martha Beck, the author compares finding your sense of self to the North Star. The North Star doesn’t appear to move around in the sky like other stars do. It is a “fixed” point that can be a constant in finding your direction. We all have a personal destiny or direction, which can be called our North Star.
When we feel purposeful, confidant and resilient we are anchored to our North Star. If you head away from your North Star, you feel yearning, emptiness and low self esteem. So if you find yourself choosing sides in the “Mom Wars” or if you find yourself angry, critical or jealous of some one else’s success, pause and re-chart you course. H. Jackson Brown Jr. said it another way, “Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that have little time to criticize others.”
1. Journal with your daily thoughts, feelings, self-discoveries and the tender mercies of grace. Write lists of gratitude. In addition, clip pictures from magazines, mail order catalogues or off the Internet of things that please you. Clip shots of clothing, lush home furnishings, children’s faces, gorgeous landscapes, wacky ads or great jewelry. I love using Pinterest for an on line bulletin board. Possible titles for your journal sections are: my fashion, beauty, return to self, authentic success, my style, my house of belonging, cooking, gardening and entertainment.
2. Study your journal once a week. As you study the things you like beginning to notice why you like those things. What are common themes?
3. Possible journal topic: If you could have ten career choices, what would they be? If you are following your “bliss” what does that look like? What activity makes you glow, makes hours slip and away and you look track of time?
4. Find a photo of yourself before you were ten years old and paste it in your journal. What are you wearing? What does your outfit indicate about who you were at that time? What memories does the picture spark for you? Journal about these thoughts.
5. What colors and color combinations make you smile? What colors do you love to wear? Think back on favorite outfits you worn. Why did you like them?
6. List physical activities that make you joyous.
7. What is your spiritual belief and what is your struggle? When are you truly, deeply praying? What is sacred to you?
8. If you died tomorrow what would you want your tombstone to say? How would you want to be remembered? What would you regret not doing?
9. Who do you admire? Why?
10. Tell your family and friends that you love them often and with appreciation.
Another article on the health benefits of a purposeful driven life:
Camille Curtis Foster, LCSW
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