S2 Ep 19 Significance: Who Tells You Who You Are?Mar 17, 2023
I was about 11 or 12.
As part of a girls’ group called “Pioneer Girls”, a club much like Girl Guides or Brownies, it was fun to be building skills and earning badges, learning how to have great character and, as it was in a church, learning about God, too.
This particular year they had a “Princess” contest.
The vote for who should be crowned was chiefly in the hands of the girls but the leaders had the final say.
To my shock, the girls voted for me to be Princess.
The leaders, however, had a different take on it. “No - we can’t let her have first prize. Even though the girls all love her and she has all the other qualities, she hasn’t met the criteria for completing her badges. We’ll give her runner-up.”
I think they even said that when they were doing the crowning - in front of everyone.
They were right. I wasn’t very good at completing things. This has always been a fault of mine - still is, truth be known.
But, even though I understood that I didn’t meet the qualifications, as you can imagine, I felt extreme shame.
The Meaning You Give To Life Shapes You
“You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.”
These words haunted me. They were out of one of the stories in my church days where the finger of God wrote on the wall when God was sizing up an ancient King who was pretty wicked and really needed to be chastised.
It was referring to a weight scale that was used to determine the value of something by putting weights on one side. So it’s as if the King was being put on one side and the character and worth of what he should have been were on the other.
But he wasn’t enough to balance the scale so he was found wanting. Lacking. Not enough.
Those words became one of the themes of my life. I believed that’s how most people saw me.
Our world is tough. There are so many things that can absolutely shape in negative ways because of what you make them mean.
That’s why Robert Reacher, the researcher we talked about in the last podcast, devised a way to help teachers help children to feel accepted and loved and significant in the classroom.
If those children - and you and I, as grown-ups, are to feel good and proud and worthy, we need to feel like this:
- I need security - to feel certain and safe.
- I need significance - to know and value who I am.
- I need to belong and feel loved.
- I need purpose. To contribute something I want to achieve.
- I need to feel competent. To believe I’m good at what I do and will keep getting better.
Last time we talked about how the source of security and certainty is found inside of you.
It’s recognizing that you have the heart of a Warrior - the part of you that knows that you can handle whatever comes at you on this path of life. It’s the only way that you’re going to feel a measure of certainty.
Your Beautiful Warrior is the part of you that has a deep, unstoppable belief in who you are. She is the confidence that you will find the solution, the strength, the way to face whatever life throws at you.
Significance is about how you see yourself
This week we’re talking about #2: I need significance - to know and value who I am.
This is about that little girl side of you who was me in my story missing out on the crown.
She’s the part of you that so wanted to be seen.
To be heard.
To be special.
To know that she was beautiful, smart and funny and, I love this word, “captivating”.
Walking on this Path in life means that we’re going to have stuff happen.
I call the big shockers “bombs: that go off, rocking your world. changing everything.
Your parent’s divorce.
Your husband cheating on you.
Losing a child.
These are like bombs!
Which bombs went off in your life?
Then there are the boulders that drop on us, flattening us for a time.
We’re left crushed with our arms and legs sticking out.
A serious illness.
A bad car accident.
Things that require recovery. Time to process and rebuild.
There are also rocks that we have being thrown at us. Words that hit us right in the heart. Unfair and undeserved expectations thrown at us.
How Do You Take Back Your Significance and Own Who You are in Midlife?
What do we do with all of this?
We come up with a meaning for why it happened. To us.
Or it’s just what I deserve.
Or, it’s the way my family is so it’s the way I am.
Every scene we live through in the story of our lives we give a meaning.
And then one more thing happens. Midlife. The middle of our lives.
The door closes on where we’ve been comfortable living. And suddenly we realize that our time is passing and we’d better make some decisions about where we go from here.
Do we have the energy, the courage, the creativity to reinvent yourselves?
Many of us, at this point, deep inside, believe that we’ve been "weighed in the balance and found wanting".
To reinvent yourself means you have to find a source of belief in yourself.
Women on a Mission find their significance, not from the outside,
but anchored in their inner Warrior.
The Midlife Question: Who Tells Me Who I AM?
Women focused on a mission find their significance by answering this question: Who tells me who I am?
Is it...the leaders who didn’t give me the crown who tell me who I am?
Who is it for you?
Is it the boyfriend who decided he preferred someone else?
Is it the bully at work who went behind your back to get you in trouble?
Is it your teenage daughter who says she hates you and you're the worst mom ever?
Who tells you who you are?
Could This Be You?
Can I take a shot at it?
You are a woman who has been on a long walk - most likely way more than 40 years. Up hills, down valleys.
You’ve had bombs go off and scare you to death.
You’ve had boulders fall from the sky and flatten you.
You’ve taken hits by rock words right in the heart.
I’d say you’re pretty amazing. You’re still standing. And you’re here. At this crossroads that invite you into a new section of your life.
The courage. The intelligence. The creativity. The ability to dream up any life you want to live from here on in is right there in front of you IF YOU CHOOSE to believe that it’s YOU who tells you who you are.
No one else. This is between you and, of course, your Creator, the one who made you, because that’s where you’re known the best.
IF you decide to be who you know you’re meant to be, here’s what you do next…
- You start from scratch. Who are you really?
- Peel away everything - all the negative things that anyone ever made you feel. Take an imaginary bucket and put them in there. Oh, and put the lid on it.
- Next are all the things you think you have to be in order to be anyone. Your education, your experience, the skills you’ve learned AND anything else you were rewarded for being, doing or saying. The things you did that brought you praise.
- Strip it all away. Who are you right at your core? Just you.
- You are beautiful. And precious. And amazing. Just because you exist. You are.
- What gold has come out of the fire? Pretend that life is like the intense fire that heats gold and brings all its impurities to the surface where they can be skimmed off. What’s left is the incredible beauty of one of the most desired elements on earth. Pure gold.
- What qualities do you have that are there because of what you’ve lived through?
- Make a list. And just enjoy that list. Look at it as you stand there wearing nothing but these things. Isn’t it beautiful?
- This is you at your most valuable. Your most significant.
3. Last, from this place, what would you like to transform in the world?
What hurt would you like to heal?
What right would you like to wrong?
Which tears would you like to dry?
The words, “I don’t know” are not possible here. Just sit quietly and feel your heart.
A 30 Day Glimpse Into Your Mission
Now embrace this. Absorb it. Don’t let it slip away.
Write everything in your heart down right now. Write fast. Write all of it. The qualities you have. The picture of what you saw you’d like to do from out of those qualities.
Then I want you to start a notebook or a journal, whatever is right for you. Call it a Strength Journal.
Find poems and quotes and write the lists of qualities you have and want to have.
Answer these 2 questions over and over:
- Who tells me who I am?
- And who am I?
This is you, a Beautiful Warrior, willing to fight for you and who you truly are. Without judgment.
Women on a Mission find their significance on the inside from the heart
and the voice of their inner Warrior.
Start your Strength Journal. Write in it, and collect items for it for 30 days straight.
Re-read it whenever you begin to doubt yourself.
Draw pictures and plans of you doing what you’d most like to do with your life.
Dream. Create. Just sit with it and let it take hold.
And I will see you in the next Podcast.
Hey...If you're finding yourself struggling with finding the belief that you are valuable and smart and creative and ENOUGH, then don't wait another minute. Please let's talk (click the link) because midlife is the time to make your life matter. Don't be alone in this.