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Monday, October 3, 2016

Are You Awesome?

I have a secret.  I have never told myself that I am awesome.  Hard to believe?   I was conversing recently with friends and family when the topic of self-esteem came up.

"What exactly is self-esteem and how do you tell someone how to increase it or obtain it if they do not have it?" I asked.

"It's a state of mind," my husband responded.

"It's what you tell yourself every day" our close friend chimed in.

She continued by saying, "Self-esteem is telling yourself that you are awesome on a regular basis."

Telling myself I am awesome regularly?  Hmmmm....I had to think for a moment.  I realized I have never viewed myself as awesome.  I mean, of course, I have viewed things that I have done as pretty good but not necessarily rising to the level of awesome.  Could this explain why high self-esteem for me has felt at times as an elusive characteristic that only others possessed?

Intrigued, I looked up the definition of awesome and discovered descriptors such as

 extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.  I saw synonyms such as: breathtaking, awe-inspiring, magnificent, wonderful, amazing, stunning, staggering, imposing, stirring, impressive; formidable, mind-boggling, mind-blowing, jaw-dropping, and excellent.  You get the idea.

Viewing myself as magnificent, amazing or even jaw-dropping sounded, well, as a matter a fact, awesome.  What is interesting to me is that I have willingly showered others with this level of praise.  Whether it was something my husband had done for me or an accomplishment the kids had obtained in school or even a task a teammate had completed, I have easily and without hesitation said, "You are AWESOME!"

I am a firm believer that self-esteem and confidence go hand in hand.  I also believe that our words have the ability to build up or tear down our own sense of well-being as well as those around us.  This is not simply a good idea, it's Biblical.  Proverbs 18:21 states "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
Furthermore, Ephesians 4:29 indicates, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

So, what was my problem?  What had I been telling myself?  Had I conditioned myself to celebrate others while holding myself to some other much higher standard?

Awareness is the first step resolving an issue.  Holding myself to a standard that may be higher than necessary is definitely an issue.  I have decided to employ some different self-affirmations:

I can do it.  Although, I can't do it all at once.  How many times have I unknowingly beat myself up because I have tried to do this and tried to do that but eventually spread myself too thin?  Realizing everything does not have to be done right at this moment is freedom.

It's OK to cry.  Managing emotional health is absolutely important and to maintain a healthy self-esteem and a high level of confidence, crying may be just what the doctor ordered.

It's OK to rest.  Sometimes sitting down and doing nothing is the best thing that can be done.

And more importantly....I am AWESOME!

Are you?

Shatanese Reese is a freelance blogger and author of a future book who resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their six children. She enjoys walks on the beach and colorful sunrises. Shatanese’s goal is to find the extraordinary in every day moments. Follow Shatanese on YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope.

I'm Not Striving for Perfection, I Just Don't Want to Make Any Mistakes!

I have heard the word "perfectionist" used at times to describe me.  I have repeatedly denied these claims as I do not ascribe to being a perfectionist.  I do not wake up each day and say to myself, "I am going to be perfect today."  I do, however, detest making a mistake.  What I did not realize is that I was creating a nearly impossible existence for myself and possibly for others around me, such as my children.

What drives the need to avoid making a mistake?  Perhaps growing up as a performance-driven, people-pleasing child had something to do with it.  Achieving and doing well in school was something I could control.  I was involved in numerous clubs and attempted to be the best at everything.  Now as an adult, that same drive has manifested itself as a type-A personality who is seen as a perfectionist.



A dear friend encouraged me to "STOP striving and start enjoying His blessings and His love."

"He is NOT judging your performance," my friend continued.

"He loves you…period."

God is not judging my performance.  He loves me.  Period.  And that is the key.  I am not here to please others.  I am here to please God.  Additionally, despite what my behavior implies, God does not have a notebook where he is checking off each accomplishment I achieve.  I am enough.  Just as I am, even if I do not accomplish another feat.  While at times I may forget this, I can always access one of my favorite scriptures, Psalms 46:10, which reminds me to, "Be still and know that I am God."

It also occurred to me that by not enjoying my blessings my focus was askew.  I was choosing to focus on what I thought I needed and not what I had in the moment.  I was not being content, which in turn grieved God's heart.

The same friend who reminded me that God is not judging me also shared a video with me by the artist Jadon Lavik.  Essentially, the song, What If states I belong to God despite what I do.  For someone who is accustomed to running like the Energizer Bunny, knowing I do not have to perform or please is very comforting.  

If you find yourself striving for perfection, know that God accepts and loves you unconditionally.  It is OK to simply be still.


Shatanese Reese is a freelance blogger and author of a future book who resides in Atlanta, GA with her husband and their six children. She enjoys walks on the beach and colorful sunrises. Shatanese’s goal is to find the extraordinary in every day moments. Follow Shatanese on YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and Periscope.