Weekly Reflection 2017 – 10

Three ways I shone this week: I want to be honest so here’s what I am going to say: I don’t feel like I am shining lately. I am still doing things that look like shining to others maybe. Like showing up for my kids day in and day out. Being bold at work. Trying to take a bit better care of myself. Reading a lot. Etc. Etc. but the fact is I know how I feel and what I look like and who I am when I shine. I know what shining means to me. I know what I wanted to have my life look like when I chose the word shine. I know what I wanted to show up in the world as, when I am shining. And I am not there. I am not doing it. I am not feeling it. I am not being it.  I don’t want to pick three ways this week. I know I have small ways in which I shone. I know. I know. But choosing this word, for me was not just about remembering that I do shine in many ways each day (though this is an important reminder too and that’s why I do note the 3 ways each week.) it was more about moving towards a life when I am being my shiny self. I am showing up in the world fully. Fully me. My best self. My unapologetic self. My broken self. My human self. All of me. I feel like I haven’t been doing this. Part of it is about setting expectations a certain way of course. When I set the bar really high, I am bound to fall off again and again and disappoint myself in large ways. And keep having to restart (which I know is often the hardest part.) 

But part of it is also knowing who I am, owning who I am, and also owning who I am not (along with who I don’t want to be.) And stopping the practice of measuring myself against the versions of me I don’t want to be. Ceasing to give myself crap about ways in which I fail to be a person I don’t even care to be. I hope this makes sense to some of you. I do this all the time. I give myself a hard time for not being more social, more of a “playdate” mom, more ambitious at work, doing more with my kids, being a runner, being more involved at the kids’ schools. i can go on and on and on. The fact is, none of these things are things I want to be. I love my work and am passionate about doing a good job and of course I want to be recognized for my hard work but I don’t want to be a VP at the cost of what that would take away from other parts of my life. I don’t really want to socialize. I would like to have a handful of good friends I can rely on and I would love the same for my kids and that’s all I need. I hate playdates (It’s just a fact. Mostly due to the logistics they involve.) I do wish I did more with my kids but I am actually quite involved. I hate running. I wish I were more athletically inclined and I know that I could become this way given enough energy but that energy would have to come from somewhere and I am not at a place where I am willing to do what it takes for that to be possible. I am pretty involved at the kids’ schools and, given the option, I think they are reaching an age where it’s better for me to be involved with them and not the school. Though I’d like to stay involved to at least a certain level and I want to be careful about my choices of where and how to be involved. I know deep down that I don’t want to do these things that I judge myself for. I don’t want to be these people I measure myself against. 

And yet. 

I still find myself judging me. I still feel the unease of “not measuring up” each time I am around people who’ve made other choices. For me, part of “shining” is letting all this go. Being deliberate about who I want to be, the values I have, the choices I will make and then living my life honoring those choices. Fully. Unapologetically. Kindly. Wholly.

I don’t want to feel bad anymore. I don’t want to feel guilty. I don’t want to feel less than some random ideal I measure against. And ideal I am not even striving for. All this guilt runs me down and then I am tired and cranky and I make bad choices when I am there. I eat badly, I yell, I contract. This is not my definition of shining. I want to expand.


What do I do now? Well. Step one is owning it. This is where I am. I am beating myself up constantly. I am tired. I am worn out. I drink too much coffee because I am tired a lot. I am in pain, especially in my knees and I use that as an excuse to not exercise (not even for 6 minutes, mind you!)  I eat badly which makes me more tired. I am worn out which makes me yell more. I feel like I have no time so I protect my “free” time like a madman. All I want to do is to read. All the time. So I am owning it. I am not happy with where things are. With who I show up as in the world. I also want to note that of course not everything is terrible. I am still working super hard. I am still showing up for all my responsibilities. I am still being kind to people and I do shining things every day. I am still eating plenty of good food. Not all is lost, of course. I just feel like I don’t want to go through the motions. I don’t want to tell you (me) the ways in which I shone this week when I feel like I am not really owning my word the way I would like to. 

Instead I’d like to start bringing about the change I wished to embrace by picking shine as my word. Even if it takes baby steps. So owning was #1, the reflection part, can’t fix something i don’t acknowledge.

#2 is taking action. More on that on Monday’s post as I think about what I can do to get me there so I can live intentionally. 

I celebrate: having a quiet-ish week this week. it was lovely.
I am grateful for: my manager who has been so encouraging and supportive.
I nourished myself by: getting a mani-pedi tomorrow, the first in over two years. reading. journaling.  
Reflecting on my worries: i worried i wouldn’t do the reflective journaling i wished to do but i did. at least a good amount of it. i did not exercise and that’s not great. i did eat ok, not perfect, but not terrible. emails are just sad and i do need to find a solution but for now it’s ok. i didn’t finish perf but i will tonight. i am still struggling with sleep but i will rest tomorrow to ensure i go into my week of travel a bit more rested. none of the worries i had mattered. things are going to be ok.

I let go of: worrying about work and school. i don’t get to control either decision anymore. i just hope i’ve done my part well and that the universe will answer accordingly.

Core Desire Check-in (bold, mindful, nourish, love): I am going to skip this section, too. I think I need to make sure my action plan involves being specific with these core desires. Making room for them in my life intentionally. Thinking about what actions create these emotions for me and making a point of doing them. 

What made me laugh this week: I laughed a lot at a Carnegie Mellon event I went to on Tuesday night. It was lovely to be with my friend Manu for a while and lovely to get to talk about my wonderful college days.
What I tolerated this week: a lot of work. a lot of perf. and a lot of beating myself up.
My mood this week was: whiny and tired and grumpy. i can’t stand my own whining.
I forgive myself for: being here. having dropped the ball. being human. i can turn things around. i got this.
What I love right now: knowing that it’s not too late. it’s never too late. oh and I love the san francisco public library, too!

Here’s to a wonderful week eleven, here’s to rebooting!

4 comments to Weekly Reflection 2017 – 10

  • zewa

    Oh Karen,

    thank you for opening up like this here on your page.

    Do you find it helpful to know, that I do what you do all the time, too…Comparing to how other people chose where to be in life. Secretly, I sometimes compare myself to you: we are roughly the same age, similar education… career-wise, I should have been a VP by now, should have been married, husband and kids, manage a team of xx people, travel the world, etc.

    The comparison never feels good…makes me feel inadequate, not achieving enough by someone else’s standards. Standards, that have nothing, zero to do with how I choose to spend my precious waking hours on this planet.

    I chose a word similar to “shine” this year…and I have been struggling with that too – rarely feeling like the embodiment of my chosen word….not to mention the actions I have taken or not taken to feel the way I want to feel.

    So far, I have been “letting go” of wanting to control this whole thing…

    I look forward to your next post on the matter and maybe want to leave you with this, only if you like, of course:
    If you had a client with your personality seeking coaching for your type of “problem”, what would you say, do, think, feel, hear and smell?

    I enjoy your blog immensely

    Best regards,

    • karenika

      thank you for this. i spent quite some time thinking about this question. 🙂 comparison definitely is the thief of joy. it also takes us away from the exploration of who we really want to be because we’re focusing on others so much. here’s to fewer shoulds in both of our lives!

  • JoyJfromVA

    Good grief you are too hard on yourself. While I can understand wanting to be the best you that you can be, nobody can do it all successfully. Perhaps you’re trying to do way too much self improvement? Speaking from my perspective of having lived well over 60 years, I can tell you that in the end, a lot of what you’re worrying and fretting about doesn’t mean a damn thing. Do more fun things and less stressful things, whatever they may be. Life is way too short to spend a lot of time “improving” but not “enjoying”!

    Wishing you a more relaxed life – believe me, it goes by way too fast…

    • karenika

      you are so right 🙂 And a lot of this comparing, measuring up etc gets in the way of that. I think part of the trick for me is exactly what you said ” Do more fun things and less stressful things, whatever they may be.” I need to spend some time thinking about what they are 🙂

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