Be Who You Are – 10 Tips for Finding Your True Self

The mask

Photo by Xenia Antunes

Top 10 Tips to Be Who You Are
By Robin Rice

The best thing about being who you really are is that you simply cannot fail. You do it successfully 24 hours a day. Yet the essence of who you are is often covered by all the defenses, insecurities, and adaptations that have accumulated over the years. It is like wearing five pairs of pants, six shirts and two hats. Sure, you are being who you really are, because you’ve chosen to add those extra layers. But can anyone really see the True You? Can you see her clearly? The following tips will help you begin the process of peeling off the layers. Each one invites an action that will help you unveil the True You.

#1 Get To Know The True You
Think of the “True You” as an advisor to the “you” that you act out day to day. Stand in front of a mirror, call her forth and start talking. Ask questions. Listen. Let your eyes lose focus and see what images appear. See how it feels to stand so close to the True You. Cry if you’ve missed her. Get angry if you feel she’s abandoned you. Touch your fingers to the mirror and thank her for coming. Ask her to help you begin to live a life that is more authentic. Find out what she suggests you do next.

#2 Make A Space To Call Your Own
Create a space that is dedicated to the True You. A whole room would be ideal, but even a top shelf of a closet will do. This powerful statement says, “I’m worth the space I take up.” Decorate it with passion. Perhaps you will make an alter to the True You, put your favorite books in creative stacks, or spread out beloved life souvenirs. Visit often, and when you do, plant seeds of hope by writing down wishes on tiny pieces of paper. This is the garden in which you are growing your own greatness.

#3 Learn What You Really Want
There is only one way to learn what you love, like, and really want. Start experimenting now. What really lights your fire? What simply passes the hours in ho-hum? Like Julia Roberts in the movie Runaway Bride, we must try our eggs in every style imaginable, and not simply follow the preferences of our companions. After you’ve sampled what is obvious, dare to keep searching by ordering off the menu – even though it is costly and plenty of good eggs will go to waste. Every great painter wastes paint and every queen once wasted time as a princess kissing frogs. Only those who have never experienced “great” will find your experimenting foolish.

#4 Dare To Be Average
They say the strongest enemy of Great is Good, and that is true. But demanding that you be great at everything is a sure fire recipe for enjoying nothing. To get off the “gotta be top rate at everything right now” steamroller, make a list of everything you think it’s really okay to be average at. Mowing the lawn. Decorating for parties. Keeping the car clean. Understanding opera. Buying wine. When you’ve done an average job with something on this list, say “good enough” and let it be. Hear the True You breathe a sigh of relief.

#5 Picture Yourself Becoming The True You
Take out your favorite magazines to make a collage. Cut out any words or images that express the “you” as you are right now and paste them on the left. Then, moving to the right, depict the True You that you see yourself becoming. Be sure to include your hopes and dreams. Look at your creation often and feel yourself smile.

#6 Come To Your Senses
Wake up to the simple pleasures. Go into a completely dark, quiet space (this may require everyone else be asleep) and peel a sweet orange. With your sight and hearing purposefully impaired, you will have automatically heightened your sense of smell, touch and taste. Feel the dimpled texture of the skin, sniff the pure fragrance, and enjoy the stunning explosion on your taste buds. Remind yourself that life is good.

#7 Watch Your Language
Listen to how often you use the words “should” and “ought.” Each time you catch yourself using one of these words, ask yourself “Says who?” and question why they get to make up the rules. Are they wiser than your True Self? If you can’t replace “should” and “ought” with “want,” reexamine the issues at hand.

#8 Be Moody
You heard me right. Stop stuffing those bad moods in the vain attempt to be nice and easy to be around all the time. Be sure to let those who might be adversely affected know that it’s you, not them, at the root of the mood, then let them come on. Dance with them. Ask them what they are trying to say. “Off” moods come from the True You, too, and they are saying something about a part of you that needs attention. Every light has it’s dark, every up has it’s down. Let’s all give each other a little more room for the down and dark so that wholeness has a chance to enter.

#9 Invest In What You Believe In
Give your time, energy, money, vote, and encouragement to anything that reflects a message you want the world to hear. You don’t have to be the one with the voice, so long as you are supportive of those who speak your truth. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a thunderous chorus of authenticity-bearers to make a new message heard.

#10 Forgive Yourself
If you are human, you are precious and imperfect. Now is the time to accept that and forgive yourself for all the ways you believe you have failed. Take a ceremonial forgiveness shower. Using a favorite soap, wash yourself in your own compassion, imagining the deadness of unresolved pain and guilt going down the drain. Thank the pain and guilt for serving its purpose, which was to let you know your own true values. Step forth whole, authentic, and free to make new choices with the True You as your guide.

About the Author:
Robin Rice is an author, spiritual mentor and contemporary shaman. Visit her at www.BeWhoYouAre.com.

Photo Credit:
The mask, by Xenia Antunes

Simple Toys – Healthy Minds

A Simpler Time

A Simpler Time. Photo courtesy of The Photography Muse

We moms know that our kids derive more benefit from playing with some toys than others.

The more simple the toy, the more I seem to relish watching my children playing with it. Seeing my son’s face as he makes something “just so” with clay or watching my daughter as she deliberates over her next chess move. You can almost see the neurons firing and connecting in new ways, making their brains bigger and better than ever.

That said, I do have to admit that there’s a time and a usefulness to other kinds of toys, too. Sometimes, we all just want to zone out for a few minutes and watch something dance across a screen. Those modern toys that spoon feed our children with entertainment without enhancing any particular skill have certainly not been banned from my home. In fact, I’ll be the first to admit that they are used daily.

Still, when you want to find something for your children to engage with that encourages greater creativity, you have more options, it seems, than ever before.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to choosing toys that encourage healthy mental development and motor skills.

First, let’s look at the downside of some of today’s toys.

* Toys based on movies might limit kids to using pre-fabricated plots and characters.

* There is growing concern over the toxicity of the plastics used to make toys. PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is environmentally toxic to produce and contains chemicals (adipates and phthalates) that can leach into foods and, of course, into your child or baby’s mouth.

* Every toy has a life cycle, and when its time is up, it usually ends up in the landfill. More and more evidence points to the environmental toxicity of these plastics as they release harmful toxins into the environment. Of course, you can reduce this environmental impact by giving toys to other children when your kids have outgrown them. (Especially those giant chunks of plastic.)

* There is so much technology today. It’s a digital world, and children get caught up in it. Children can end up viewing the world through a screen.

What Kinds of Toys Enhance Cognitive Development?

Solid, simple toys are consistently shown to be wonderful for a child’s development. Here are some of our favorites:

* Legos. Can I tell you how much I love legos? Oh mercy me. Yes, they are plastic but might just be the best toy ever invented. I actually think that playing with Legos is how my kids meditate. If my 7- and 9-year old have a crazy day at school, they will shut themselves up in their rooms for 10 minutes and play Legos and – just like that – order is restored to their universe. It’s magic.

* Art supplies. Is there anything better than a well stocked art cabinet? (Here’s a checklist of essential art supplies for kids. ) Now that my daughters are 9 and 11, I would add a couple of things: namely, a hot glue gun and some popsicle sticks. You wouldn’t believe the number of afternoons my kids have creatively wiled away making jewelry boxes and dollhouses – of their own design.

* Basic wooden toys - also known as “folk toys” – are gaining popularity and are more widely available. A huge variety of wooden toys are available, such as wooden trains, airplanes, marble chutes, trucks, cars, and others. Not associated with any media, children are free to imagine with these toys and create their own world of make-believe.

* Simple wooden blocks put your child literally in touch with her environment. Various shapes, sizes and colors (although plain wood is fine, too) help your child learn how to manipulate his environment, create, and solve problems.

* Marbles have been a favorite of older children for decades. These attractive glass spheres can be used to play the game of marbles. They can also be run down creative chutes.

* Wooden or porcelain dominoes are excellent for teaching and reinforcing math skills. Setting them up carefully and then knocking them down at a prescribed moment enhances fine motor coordination.

* Chess, checkers, and board games
are timeless, fun toys for older children. Card games, too.

Here are a more Momscape resources to give you ideas:

Family Fun Ideas at Momscape

Lots of creative games, crafts, and activities. No batteries required.

Old Fashioned Children’s Games

A Momscape product pick

Back to Basics Toys
An online store and catalog company specializing in old-fashioned toys. They have Daily Deals and frequent coupon codes, which we are proud to publish here.

The Importance of Friends (or Why You Should Invite Your Friends Over Tonight for a Glass of Wine)

friend-feet
Young Friends

Young Friends. Photo courtesy of Gwennypics


On Momscape, we’ve done features on the health benefits of chocolate and the health benefits of sex. And so today we turn our attention to the health benefits of another one of life’s pleasures: good friendships.

Just in case you need a few concrete reasons to call a friend and invite her over for a glass of wine this evening, here are a few things that good friends do for us.

Emotional Well-being

“A faithful friend is the medicine of life.” ~ Apocrypha

Feeling loved and appreciated has huge effects on your emotional health. A friend can provide that feeling of self-worth, connection, and affirmation. And all of these positive feelings may even reduce your need or desire to engage in unhealthy behaviors.

Physical Well-Being
Research shows that cardiovascular health is better in those who regularly socialize with friends. Like good diet and exercise, friends improve arterial elasticity and blood pressure. And a recent Harvard study found that strong social connections may actually promote the health of the brain as we get older.

Sharing Feelings
Even if you don’t feel comfortable expressing your emotions, your limbic brain system is doing so. The limbic system is the “captain” of your emotional “ship.” When you are around friends, the limbic system kicks in and attunes itself to your friends’ limbic systems. You influence each other’s moods and feelings without even knowing it. A positive, cheerful, and loving friend can lift your spirits when you don’t even realize it.

Stronger Motivation
A recent study in New England showed that people who exercised together lost more weight than those who exercised alone. Having a friend or group of friends can be a real motivator. Are you going to sign up for that belly dancing class by yourself? Are you going to sign up for a gym membership and go workout alone? Maybe you will, but the fact is that more people engage in healthy activities like exercise more when they are in social groups.

Better Accountability
Friends can help us steer clear of unhealthy behavior patterns. A good friend cares about you, so they might help you to stay on that fitness schedule, discourage you from eating that doughnut, and distract you from lighting up when we’ve been trying to quit.

Any Socializing Helps
What if you don’t have any close friends? What can you do if you have just moved to a new area and don’t know anyone yet? Or maybe you just aren’t inclined to forge friendships. Interestingly, it’s been said that just being around people can help improve your mood and, consequently, your health. So, just going to a coffee shop or restaurant can help.

Share this article with your friends – or people whom you’d like to get to know better. Then plan a girls’ night out.

More information
Well, What are Friends For? A Longer Life
A New York Times article with links to numerous studies on the health benefits of friendship.
The Health Benefits of Good Friends
– from Girlfriendology

Here are a few more popular Momscape articles you might enjoy:
How to Be a Better Friend
Conversation Starters for Shy People
All Momscape articles on Friends and Friendships