I’ve been thinking a lot about decisions.  After battling a hangover on Sunday from over-serving myself a few cocktails on Saturday night I started to internalize.  I typically do this on a daily basis… In every imaginable situation.  When I was younger, I remember my father continuously saying to me “don’t take stuff so personally” and I don’t really think I ever learned how to do that.  So just add it to the list!  I really began to internalize and personalize things when I was in college.  I’m no shy bird when it comes to admitting that my college days were not my prettiest.  I was reckless with my relationships, my body, and my life choices.  It was during this time, however, that I craved social acceptance more than I ever had before.  My moral compass drifted towards other peoples’ expectations versus my own.  So I’d do things to get attention and feel like a part of the group because I thought people would approve of what I’d done based on camaraderie (a sort of “you jump, I jump” mentality amongst my peers at the time).  Instead, I found that my group of friends publicly mocked my choices and I was left to shrivel.  Now let me be clear, I do not think that anyone maliciously mocked me; I believe it was all in good fun but I haven’t ever been one of those people that can handle being mocked.  I blame it on the red hair!  Now, more than ever, I still feel my temper rising when I place myself in a situation where I could be “publicly mocked”.  Case-in-point:  this weekend.  I immediately assumed that I had done something to embarrass myself or embarrass my date; which I didn’t– but since I’ve made a fool of myself countless times while under the influence of alcohol in the past, I just assumed I’d done it once again but it made me shrink back into my hole like a groundhog that saw his shadow.  I immediately began apologizing to everyone that had seen me the night before kind of expecting to hear something like “yeah, you were a total idiot” but instead I didn’t.  What a relief, right?  Wrong.  At this point, I should have been able to move on but instead I continued to feel sorry for and berate myself.  I challenged my worth because I repeated a decision(s) that I find shameful from my past.  Let me be clear, I think I hold value, I think that I have a lot to offer the right group of people and I also think that I make mistakes.  The trick, for me, seem to be in finding which mistakes I truly need to feel ashamed of and which mistakes I can chalk up as a learning experience in life.  We’ve all heard the age-old quotes about mistakes and decisions leading us to a point in life where we can laugh at all the “stupid” things that we’ve done but I’m not quite at that point.  So how do I begin to heal this chronically needy girl inside me that can’t take a joke & beats herself up for having one extra 7 and 7?  I’ve been told that the trick is realizing that our decisions (whether good or bad) are not who we are but instead something we choose to do at a particular moment.  If I describe myself to someone, I don’t typically start by saying “My name is Steph; I live in Iowa and had one too many whiskey drinks in April 2014,” instead I describe things about myself that carry value, “My name is Steph; I love live music, the color green, and trying new foods with friends and family”.  I’ve got to get to a point where I believe all of the positive things about myself (instead of the negative) so that I can finally be able to say that a bad decision was a momentary lapse in judgement and move on.  Dwelling doesn’t get you anywhere (as demonstrated by the past 14 months of my life).  My challenge is to calm my inner critic so that I can be less critical of myself and my peers.  It’s a daily struggle (I’m sure it’s apparent by this and previous posts) but I’m working on it and at this point, that’s the best I can do.  Like my good friend (I wish) Betty White said (well according to my Google search she did)…

xoxo Betty White


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