There are many things I have learned as I have grown in my motherhood.
One thing I have learned of most recent is that finding and creating my own happiness in life is a fine balance.
Someone recently asked me…”What makes 40 different from 30?” I thought for a long while before I answered this question. I tried to rationalize the ease with which I can sit here at 40. I’m not quite sure if it’s the number, the life experiences that have led me to Manila, the people that I have come into contact with, or if it’s the fact that I have had the ability to work with Coach Pia and attend #SoMoms #BetterMe sessions. I would dare say, that it’s most likely a combination of all of these factors.
Yes…I think it’s all of these factors and then some.
The last #BetterMe session I attended was based on Coach Pia’s book “Born to Be a Hero.” (You can pick up the book at any National Book Store.) Highlighting the key points from her book, Coach Pia guided us to realizing the HERO within. The principles are quite simple and easy to understand, but the real challenge is incorporating said principles into your daily life and adjusting your mindset so you KNOW and BELIEVE you are a HERO. Building character isn’t easy, but it’s one of the most worthwhile investments you can make in yourself.
Coach Pia‘s book has helpful activity sheets which aid in reinforcing and processing what you need to take away. Taking quizzes, rating your own behavior, and filling up questionnaires helps integrate the learning that can take place with this helpful tool to improving your character.
What is HEROISM?
“Heroism is your own commitment to your personal development. It’s your call to step out of yourself, whether consciously or unconsciously, that makes yourself present to others and to yourself. By investing in yourself, and your dreams, you are free to build your hero currency.”
This has gotten easier for me as I have gotten older. I think when we are younger we are too busy thinking about how a certain situation or conversation makes us FEEL. It was easy for me to be egocentric before I practiced yoga, before I gave birth to Gelli, and before I started meeting regularly with Coach Pia. Stepping outside of yourself first, consciously, takes a lot of work if you are not used to it. Once you can do this-you begin to build your HERO CURRENCY.
What in the world is HERO CURRENCY?
“Hero Currency is your capacity to give of yourself, armed with all the talents, skills and enthusiasm your have for life.”
First of all, let’s clarify here that we are not talking about the currency with which you buy things. We are talking about investing in yourself, in your character, in your self esteem, (self-worth) and in your relationships. By working on yourself (a.k.a. INVESTING in yourself) you are destined to improve all of these things, reach your goals, and then realize your personal dreams.
HERO CURRENCY consists of:
-“Your personal commitment to your personal growth and development.”
Will you set the time aside to improve and build on your character?
-“Your ability to identify and to accept your strengths and weaknesses.”
This is difficult when you touch on things that are uncomfortable…I call these the “not so pretty” parts of myself. It’s not easy to work through this but this is where you must stay the course and follow through with your commitment in order to reap the rewards of all this hard work.
-“Your capacity to make the best decisions you can, given a certain situation or experience you are facing.”
I heard somewhere that 80% of our decisions are based on our emotions, I’ll get into this in another post-but taking a step back and breathing deep has been helpful for me to achieve this. My yoga practice has helped me here too. I have been working on this for some time now. My sister approaches things like this. She says it’s vital to remove emotion from the equation so that you can make a sound decision on the matter at hand. With her help-I believe I have gotten better at this.
If there is HERO CURRENCY-then there should be some type of measure to evaluate ourselves through our growth, correct? This is the HERO METER. Coach Pia has outlined five different starting points for you to consider so that you can determine how much hero currency you can bank.
This part of the book has coordinating worksheets for you to use so you can create a solid understanding of HERO CURRENCY.
1. “Success begins with me, but it is not about me.”
2. “FOCUS-Do I have an ability to be silent? How comfortable am I with evaluating the decisions that I have made?”
I’m so much better at this now.
3. “Do I have the ability to name my feelings and know the reasons behind them?”
There are four main emotions we feel. There may be different variations of these depending on the intensity with which we feel, but the 4 main feelings can be identified as HAPPY, MAD, SAD, & AFRAID.
4. “What is my ability to open up and show my vulnerability?”
This is not something I have a problem with. I have been told many times before that I wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s ok. I am one of those self-proclaimed cry babies.
5. “Do I have the ability to work without seeking recognition?”
I’m so much better at this now. I realized only recently that by appreciating other people’s contributions and talents in a small group, I can also offer mine without feeling like I needed something in return. Just the fact that I can share of myself makes me feel good already.
So after you have evaluated yourself using these questions as a guide, it’s easier to take an honest assessment on how you can improve. Honestly looking in the mirror to try and improve upon the person that you are is not by any means EASY, but these points (Not kidding, folks. It really is hard work.) are great to start with.
BUT-there are “Wildcard Entries” that can make it easier on us in this process. Thank goodness there are some things that can make personal development and character building just a little easier. If you have already developed any of these four traits, it becomes easier to invest in yourself and develop the hero within.
1. Self Acceptance frees you to be truly sensitive to people around you.
Simply put? Be kind to yourself. It allows your to be kind to others, too.
2. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful secrets to achieving your heroism! Forgive yourself AND forgive others.
I realized this long ago. In fact, I realized this through one of my most valuable relationships. I can’t remember exactly how old my first born was when I figured this all out, but when I did, I was able to let so much of my parental baggage go. (Let it go like Elsa.)
We are all human. Moms and Dads alike. Becoming a mother and realizing that I can’t “DO IT ALL,” that “I’M NOT PERFECT,” and that I would want my kids to forgive me for my flaws no matter how they come across in in my parenting was a huge realization. At some point, I realized that Mom wasn’t Wonder Woman and Dad was not Superman. Forgiving my parents for their flaws (or flaws in parenting) allowed me to also forgive myself for not being the perfect parent to my children.
3. Remembering who you are…at your CORE will allow you to take a step back and not be swept away with the moment. It’s important to LIVE in the moment, NOT to be swept away by it.
Have you ever heard the saying, “Don’t forget where you came from?” This is kinda like that. In other words, no matter where your HEROISM takes you, no matter what kind of success you will experience, staying grounded in who you are and what your passions are can keep you connected to who you are.
You know how my Dad explains this one? “Never forget you see the same people on the way up, as you do on the way down.” In other words, be kind to those people you may meet as you climb the ladder to success…you’ll see those same people on the way down if your success is fleeting.
4. Embrace Fear and Pain.
Exhale. Breathe your way through it. It’s the only way to do it. Knowing that we will survive and having the faith that we will get through what ever we are facing is hard but empowering.
When I gave birth to Gelli, the pain and fear of having a child with special needs was too much to bear. I was not sure of the gift I was given, and it took me a little while to embrace the idea of being a “Special Needs Parent.” Since then that debilitating pain and fear has long since subsided. It has been replaced by joy and gratitude even in the face of the unknown.
Coach Pia’s book Born to be a Hero, has actually given me so much more insight into improving my character and my happiness factor. This #BetterMe session offered so much information and things for me to work on, that it took me quite a long time to digest and even longer for me write about it. So much, in fact, that I am breaking up what I have learned into two posts to publish. Be on the look out for the second part to this post where I share helpful hints and tips to continue to build the hero within.