Move Forward Mama - Part Two

 

In part one, I told you about my journey as I moved away from limiting beliefs and into a more positive and beneficial mindset. This post will be about how I had to let old beliefs die and how it's an ongoing process. 

My girls and I, circa 2015

My girls and I, circa 2015

A few months ago, I made a late night run to Target. I was beyond exhausted after a long evening, but the kids were short on Valentine's cards for their class. I decided to pick a few up after the girls were in bed. As I scanned my items in the self checkout lane, an elderly male employee came over to me and said, "You should smile once in a while, it would look good on you."

I just kind of stared at him. This didn't feel right. 

"It's fine. It's okay. He's just trying to be nice." I told myself. Besides maybe I should smile more. Would that really be so bad?

The uneasiness grew inside me. I didn't like where my thoughts were going. I wanted to bonk the dude upside the head with the scanning gun while simultaneously apologizing for not smiling. I began to wonder if they would ban me from Target if I told him he should smile more, but then his teeth might fall out. (Or some other really stupid comment that wouldn't represent what I stand for, but would at least make me feel better in the short term.)

Something didn't feel right, but he walked away just as quickly as he said it and so I didn't say anything. I just half smiled, kept to myself, and walked out. 

Then I got home and said, "what a nice guy." Okay, no. I didn't say that. I didn't even come close. I thought, "Who does he think he is!?" 

The amazing part is that this incident took place after I experienced what I would consider a life changing mind shift, and yet I was still falling victim to some of my old, ruinous beliefs. 

So what were my most harmful, most deeply ingrained beliefs? 

I'll quickly summarize them here.

One, now that I am a mother, that is my only role and if I don't do it perfectly, I am a complete and total failure (phew, no pressure there!)

Two, a woman is only worthy of appreciation when she is being sexual, subservient, or supportive. (Ummm....you can imagine that one didn't pan out too well.)

Three, the world is a mean, scary place. People will either need you too much or take advantage of you. (So I made sure to keep most people at arm's length.)

Before the mind shift, these beliefs ran my life in the most unconscious way possible. Whenever I had thoughts that ran contrary to the above beliefs and catered more to my fear based values, such as appearance and servitude, I experienced depression, sadness, and shame.

When I first learned of boundaries, the concept was so foreign to me, it took me literally three to four months to properly understand why they were even necessary. As you can tell from the above story, asking people to respect my boundaries is still not a default mode of mine. 

I've spent the last two years really analyzing what these old beliefs were about, how they came into my life, and implementing new values to honor within a more positive belief system. Taking time to create a new mindset has allowed me to be more solution oriented, less stressed, and more open minded.

Perfection: being the perfect mom is no longer something I strive for. Instead, I work daily to be a mom who is available and who acts with intention. Creating clear expectations in my role as mom and wife has helped tremendously in alleviating the pressure I was putting on myself. 

My role: I still find a whole lot of purpose in being supportive, but it's done now with more boundaries in place, resulting in less resentment and sacrifice. For instance, my clients know when I am available and my family understands I need a certain amount of time to get work done. 

The world: It's not such a mean and scary place. This really comes down to perspective and how you choose to perceive the world. While there are situations that can leave you feeling hurt and resentful, like my situation with Mr. Target did, it really could have been alleviated with proper boundaries in place. A simple, "I appreciate your opinion, but I really don't feel the need to smile everywhere I go," would have sufficed on my end. 

A quick note about my old belief and the role of a woman. This is probably where I changed the most and I have to give my husband huge props on supporting me here. I am not exactly little Miss Agreeable anymore. 

Read Part Three, where I talk about what it was like to experience this growth as a mother and a wife. 

 

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Jennifer Stambolsky