Know your worth, stand up for yourself, and close the door on relationships that compromise that.

via Patti Murphy

This is my newest mantra. While this month has been filled with so many good things: wedding planning, spending time with loved ones, awesome things happening at my job… this month I’ve lost a few friends/acquaintances. These are a mix of people from different parts of my life, different times of my life… people I have not talked to in a while from my past, people I am not really that close with but am friends with online, people I work with, etc.

The problems that have come up have struck me as childish and silly. But these problems were nothing that could not have been resolved over a strong cup of tea, with some actual eye contact and a hug to wrap it all up. But, things do not always work out that way… and that actually might be for the best. I have had to cut these relationships loose, and not take it personally, or blame myself for the loss of the relationship.

To give you a clear picture of what I think my shortcomings are, this is my realization of the problem I think I have: I am a people pleaser, and I try to foster too many friendships with too many people. I compromise my own self worth to foster a quantity of relationships that do not make my life better. I take things personally when friendships don’t work out, when in reality I am not nurturing the relationships I should be. I am not fostering friendships with people who understand my self worth.

self-worth

I’ve always been the kind of person who has had many friends, more acquaintances, and then a handful of close friends. The problem with this is that the quantity of the relationships causes the quality of all the relationships to suffer. Without taking the time and care I should to nurture and foster these relationships, they start to get muddled up with miscommunications and other nonsense. Hell, I should really be screening people to ensure I think a friendship is a good idea in the first place, and if our compatibility is there.

For a long time, I had always blamed myself for relationships coming to an end. I prided myself on being the kind of person who could work through any problem with anyone, and who would apologize for things I didn’t even do just to remain amicable with people. I’d rather us have a facade of a friendship without any truth or honesty, than to sever ties. Again: people pleaser complex. I wanted to be friends with everyone.

The older I get, the more I see how challenging living my life like this has been. I end up having bad encounters with people who I shouldn’t have attempted to foster friendships with in the first place. It ends up putting stress on myself, making me question my value and importance as a friend, and stresses out important people in my life. I end up worrying myself sick wondering why every relationship I have isn’t working out perfectly, like it should in the magical land of Care-O-Lot. It’s not a healthy way to view your relationships with people, and some of these relationships won’t and shouldn’t work out. That’s life, and that’s for the best.

My approach should be to focus on fully nurturing a smaller amount of friendships with people I am more compatible with. Here’s a run down of all the advice I want to take away from these tumultuous encounters I’ve had.

via My Shine Project

    • Know your worth. What is your friendship worth? If you’re like me, you are not shy in knowing that you are a great friend and worth having around. And breaking news: We all are! If we believe we are a valuable person to have around, a good friend, a hard worker, and a talented person, than we will be able to attract and foster relationships with people who will respect that and know our worth.

you-teach-people

    • Stand up for yourself. If someone is not respecting you, listening to you, giving you the time of day, taking out their own personal issues on you, can’t move on from an issue from the past, or being condescending, they need to know that you know you’re worth more than that. No one will stand up for you if you won’t stand up for yourself. If they don’t treat you with respect, you can gladly cut them loose. Standing up for yourself is the most rewarding thing you can do for your spirit and your soul. Do not let people disrespect, but be respectful in making sure people know that they can’t disrespect you.

learn-to-let-go

  • Close the door on relationships that compromise your self worth. You can’t be friends with everyone. Try as you might, you just won’t get along with everyone. And even if you could (in the magical land of Care-O-Lot), the sheer quantity of relationships you will have to try to foster will compromise the quality of the ones that really matter. Try to determine which friends are worth it, and which ones aren’t. If you have a friend who has a history of fighting with people, rides around on the drama llama, or doesn’t have any friends because they seem to have problems developing on and working on their relationships, these are all red flags. Not to say someone without a lot of friends is a drama queen or king, but hey – they just might be. If you’re considering developing a friendship with a new person, compare your Myers-Briggs personality types, your horoscopes, your conflict resolution styles, whatever! There are many ways you can try to screen people to ensure you will have a worthwhile friendship that isn’t full of drama, misunderstandings, and problems communicating. It will ultimately end up being best for the both of you.

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Be yourself.

freedom-being-who-you-are-robin

Have you ever been ashamed of yourself? Shame comes from doing something you find morally wrong, derisive, or that is in direct conflict with who we are at the core. When we do something shameful, we do something against our true self. We also become ashamed of ourselves when try to deny our true selves, or feel like others are ashamed of us.

shame


Photo from Giuseppe Cristiano on Society6

We can learn about our true self by examining what shames us. We can’t forget that our identity is so valuable – it’s who we are! And sometimes when we try to change it, contradict it, or fit the wrong mold, it can feel like we are being crushed by a giant rock. We see examples of this all the time. People who are afraid to be their true selves in schools, the work place, among family and friends, in stores, in churches. We’re so afraid of our selves and what others will think about us.

let-it-go


Photo from designlovefest

We become trapped by worrying how others will feel about us if we are our true selves. We can try to mold our identity to what we think people want us to be… what is most popular, widely accepted, or loved. But when we become reinforced by this false identity, by perceiving the social acceptance as love, we’re doing ourselves a great harm. Being loved by millions and having no self love is like having nothing at all.

soul-freedom

The most important thing we can do for ourselves is to become our true identity, and never contradict it. Know who you are, become them, and love yourself.

The second most important thing we can do for ourselves and the world is to encourage others to become their true idetity and love them for it.

design

This has been your daily positivitiy. Now go out there and be you, you big beautiful you.

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The itch for a niche: Finding out who you are on the Internet.

When we’re kids, some of the most important ways we use to express our personal identity are the posters we hang on our bedroom walls, the t-shirts we wear to school, and the cartoon characters on our lunch boxes. I had a giant Pokemon poster in my bedroom throughout middle school, wore Invader Zim t-shirts most days to high school, and had a fabulous Monkees lunchbox I took to school in 6th grade. (Please leave a comment to tell me what you had!)

When you’re showing your stuff on the Internet, it’s a little different. How can you convey who you are? Where is your digital t-shirt? How do you decorate your e-bedroom wall? And where exactly is the proverbial lunch room of cyberspace?

Figuring out how to express myself on the Internet was a huge challenge. I knew who I was in real life, but transcending that gap from reality to digital took me 3 years. I had to find out how to visually express myself through one banner on my blog, the perfect Twitter avatar, and a tagline that fit me perfectly. And these things tended to change all the time!

I finally feel that I have come up with something I’m satisfied with. I like to describe myself as an official Internet Pixie, a digital whimsy spreader, an Ewok trapped in a girl’s body, and as someone who is living the geeky life with purpose. I like to use images of cats and cupcakes to describe myself. I love using pastels, pink, teal, and mint in my branding. I could try to explain all the nonsense that went on in my head as I tried to identify myself through words, keywords, images, iconography and phrases …but that would take far too long.

So what is a niche? A niche is literally your place, your position. It’s where you live on the Internet. It’s how other people will know if they are interested in reading your blog. It does not have to be just one word, it can be 10! A trap that many bloggers will fall into is trying to just pick one niche, but trust me – you can have as many as you want. As you explore each one, you may find yourself growing and expanding in a couple of them, and then narrowing it down after you experience each one.

How do you find out what your niche is? How do you write your tagline? How do you design your picture perfect head shot, or express yourself in 140 characters or less? What images should people see and think about you? Here are some exercises to help.

1. What is one of your favorite words, that you have never heard any one else that you know of describe themselves as?

2. If someone was to search for your blog in Google, and you could rank on the first page for 5 keywords, what would they be?

3. What is your favorite adjective? Especially one to describe the way a person is.

4. Think of your favorite movie character, comic book character, or cartoon character, that you self-identity with. What are a couple of words you would use to describe their personality? What color would you describe them as?

5. What color are you?

6. What are you the most knowledgeable about? What would other people say you are the most knowledgeable about? When is the last time you went on a really good rant about something?

7. If you had to design a business card right now, and could only have 3 words on it, what would those words be?

8. Your blog is a food. What food is it and why?

9. If you could plan a photo shoot for your professional head shot, what would you be wearing? What piece of clothing, jewelry, or accessory would you wear that screams you?

10. If you could collaborate with any blogger, artist, or person, who would it be, and what would you bring to their table?

11. Pick a tagline for yourself. Or a few. 10 words total, for your identity, and niche.

12. If you could copyright one item, food, object, or animal, and when people see it they would think of you, what would it be? It will help if this object is not already associated with someone else.

13. Your blog is an animal. What animal is it, and why?

14. You have to pick 2 emotions that your blog will make people feel. What are they?

15. Someone who reads your blog writes you an email, expressing that your blog caused them to do something, or feel something, or think about something, or try to make something, and it makes you so happy to know this. What did it cause them to do?

16. What’s your favorite mythical creature, and why?

17. Your blog is referred to someone that you admire by a friend. They use these 2 words to describe your niche.

18. You can only use one social network to promote your blog, forever. Which one do you choose and why?

19. You would love it if this store posted your blog’s business cards on their front counter.

20. If you had to pull an Emma, and take a photo of yourself looking down from your chin of your feet and the ground, where would you choose to be standing, what would you choose to wear, and why?

21. What are you most passionate about? What would other people perceive you as being most passionate about? Are these things different?

22. You have to choose a celebrity to do a poetic reading of your favorite blog post, with the perfect voice. Who is it?

23. What image on someone else’s blog have you seen that you love?

24. You can only blog from one location for the rest of your life. Where is it?

25. You walk into the Internet cafeteria. You see tables with every blogger ever. You sit down at the table with these 5 bloggers.

26. You have to decorate your online bedroom. What is the pattern on your bedspread? What poster is above your bed? And what CD is in the CD player?


Feature image by Laura Williams

Leave a comment with your answers, or post them on your own blog!

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What Role-Playing Has Taught Me About My Identity

You Are Who You Pretend To Be - Kurt Vonnegut
Image Source: Tom Banwell on Etsy

Have you ever watched a movie, and fell so in love with a character that you wished you could be them, even for a day? Have you ever been entranced by a comic book and imagined the life you’d lead if you took on the identity of one of its superheroes? Or maybe you know someone in your life who positively enchants you, with a super high Charisma score, and you just need to be around them.

I was cripplingly shy as a kid. I was terrified to approach other people for the simplest things, like asking for directions. I had mild low self esteem, and was intimidated by everyone. I mimicked any character I liked on TV, or in a movie, due to a lack of any sort of self identity. And iconic literary characters like Anastasia Krupnik and Harriet the Spy, who kept thorough identity journals, would help me to start my own, and write list after list of who I wanted to be, and who I ultimately became.

At the confusing age of 12, I ended up being thrown under the bus by my mother, who approached a girl and asked her where she bought her shirt. She then told the girl that I was actually the one who liked it, but that I was too shy to ask her where she bought it. The girl then walked up to me, very nonchalant, and said “I used to be shy, but then I decided to overcome it.” This opened a door in my mind that taught me that being shy was something I could not only overcome, but something I could control.

In high school, as many of us do, I struggled with my identity. I found myself, along with my friends, mimicking the trends of the day, wearing what our friends wore, and assembling entire outfits based off of mannequins at the mall. I was swimming in a pool of styles and identities that were a Frankenstein of things I’d seen my friends and role models do. We all struggled to find ourselves in high school, so I don’t imagine anyone has trouble relating to this idea. What I would soon learn would help me to build the character concept I’d always wanted to play.

triplets

I began to LARP when I was 17 years old. For those of you who don’t know, LARPing stands for Live Action Role-Playing. It’s sort of like this, and this, but mostly like this. You create a persona, and become them, in an improvisational fashion, in an immersive fantasy world. It’s a real life role-playing and acting experience, mixing the mechanics of a tabletop dice game with the reality of an entire world full of costumed characters, all interacting with you in real time. It’s pretty dorky cool.

In addition to LARPing, I’ve played tabletop role-playing games and online games throughout my teenage and adult life. Classics like Dungeons & Dragons, Serenity, and Star Wars. All of these games require you to design and role-play a character, at a table with other people who are also role-playing, while you play the actual game.

In college, I heard a quote that solidified for me what would soon become me crafting my own identity “You are who you pretend to be,” a quote from author Kurt Vonnegut. This is what our identity is. We decide who we admire, who we strive to be like, who are favorite characters are, and we craft an identity that we role-play throughout our lives. I began developing a personal brand and identity that would give my life a sense of purpose and self validation.

When you role-play, you become absorbed in an idea that you create. I could craft the persona I wanted, devise a perfect character, and become that person. Role-playing is an experience of complete and total mental immersion. It’s a little bit like this.

And the end result is a character we play every day who becomes our own. The campaign setting is your life, and you get to control your stats. I myself knew my character would have a high Charisma score, higher than average Wisdom and Intelligence, a low Strength score, average Dexterity and average Constitution scores. So that’s me. How about you?

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