Connecting with self

We must make connecting with our self and how we see our self image a priority if we want to make authentic connections to those around us.

For me this has meant being an advocate – that I had a voice to speak up when others felt they could not. Over the years my career has mostly focused on child development, and women’s issues. Most of the time I work almost entirely with women. Early in my career, I generally found – whether in a setting where my colleagues were predominantly women or not – was that as soon as I was around a table of mostly men, I felt I needed to justify my existence at that table.

Gender and age inequity

When I started my career, I was younger than most of my colleagues. I graduated a year younger than most, then qualified for a 3 year degree (due to taking honours level courses in high school). And I looked even younger than I actually was.

Not only was I one of the few women in the room at decision-making levels, but I was also seen as being too young to have anything valuable to contribute to conversations.

Being heard

Before I started qualifying myself at meetings, I was often dismissed. My opinions, or even simple statements of observations, were often ignored.

What did this look like for me? It looked like, not being called on to share insights while others with less experience and/or less relevant education were heard. Being interrupted or spoken over while sharing was a common occurrence. And it meant my input was not taken into consideration and decisions were made without my agreement.

Making connections with those around me was a struggle until I, connecting better with my self image, defined my self for others.

connecting with self to be heard

Connecting my self image for those around me

Once I became fully aware of what was happening, I began to contribute to meetings by first starting with a little synapsis of my experience and education. That background gave me the justification to speak – in many cases – as the authority on the topic. My counterparts who were men, rarely justified their opinions. Yet they were almost always given the time, attention, and respect of the rest of the men at the table.

This isn’t always the same experience for me today. There certainly has been progress for women in some settings, but not all.

connecting with self image in meetings

Appear capable and confident

As a result of these experiences, I approach meetings and presentations with the appearance of confidence. Trying not to let any opportunity to be heard pass me by. By connecting with my self image it became easier to speak up. It’s not always well receive. I’m sure I’ve made a few enemies along the way.

I was recently told after a meeting with decision-makers that my bluntness was appreciated. Was that actually a compliment? I responded that I am always direct. But I realize that sometimes my directness has likely been my downfall. It’s important to me to be a voice for those who feel they do not have one.

Inaction supports the status quo

Losing a few allies along the way is still better to me than the alternative. I have always believed that inaction, or not choosing a side, really means supporting status quo. Women with less power and privilege than myself continue to be discriminated against, and victimized. I cannot sit by without making my voice heard. I only hope that I help provide a platform for them to be heard too.

Acting as a catalyst for change and an advocate for others is how I connect with my authentic self, even if it can be uncomfortable. Are there places that you find it difficult to be yourself? How do you think things would change for you if that was different? Would connecting with your self and portraying an image that is more authentic change anything for you? What’s one step you can make in that direction?

Join us for a FREE five day challenge to make more authentic social connections!

For more information on how to develop more authentic connections:

Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram, or Twitter @ceilidhontherun, email me at trish at trishblogs dot com, or use my contact form.

I invite you to follow me using one of the options available on my page (email, rss, like my Facebook page, etc.)

If you enjoyed this post, please do like/share it.

Depression… (why is it so hard to hit “publish”?)

Distant Thoughts

Photo by Paul Wesson Photography

Originally posted 5 Dec 2010: reposted for mental health awareness

Feeling particularly scattered as of late. I don’t know if it’s the time of the year, or just everything catching up with me, but I can’t seem to complete a thought, a book, or an activity… I’ve been trying to write a new post unsuccessfully for a while now. So, this will likely be a bit disjointed.

It feels like everything around me is moving in fast-forward, while I’ve got my own slow-motion activated. I wish I could say that slowing down is helping me to get greater enjoyment out of life, but rather it is just the opposite. I feel as though everything is happening without me. I’m not a player, but simply an observer, and I cannot form a thought well enough to reflect on what I witness.

Everything seems to be coming together, while I have this very real feeling of not having a handle on anything, and therefore a fear that it will all unravel at any moment.

It’s a crazy time of the year with school concerts, dance and piano recitals, Christmas parties, prepping for holiday festivities, all on top of the regular stuff. But I’m not sure that’s what has me feeling so disconnected. I’ve done this year after year, with even more on my plate. However, if I’m honest with myself, I know why I’m feeling this way.

I saw my doctor last week to discuss whether I may be suffering with depression.

This is difficult to share, but I’m pretty much an open-book most of the time and I’ve always believed there is nothing to be ashamed of in having a mood disorder, temporary or longer lasting. I guess it’s time to live what I preach. I’m fortunate to have a really fantastic doctor. He spent a lot of time with me discussing all aspects of how I’ve been feeling and for how long, then had me complete a questionnaire – I forget what it’s called but it’s a pretty standard one. It showed an indication of mild depression, and also gave us a baseline to refer to during treatment.

The interesting thing is that my doctor tells me chronic pain doesn’t usually cause depression, however depression can intensify pain. So, this would seem to indicate that it’s because I’m depressed that my pain has worsened over the past three months. Interesting.

I can’t say that there have been any significant events or experiences recently that would be cause for such a mental state. I had honestly attributed it to the chronic pain, and my frustration and discouragement as well as lack of motivation, and inability to follow-though with stuff. My doctor has ordered a bunch of bloodwork to rule out any of the major health issues that go hand in hand with depression. We’ve started a treatment, and I will follow up with him in a week.

All I know is that I want to stop feeling like I cannot focus on anything. I want to stop chasing rainbows. I want to stop experiencing pain. I want to go to bed, fall asleep, and wake in the morning feeling rested. I want to accept things for what they are, not something far bigger and insurmountable. I want to feel motivated to get out and do things that I love. I want to be fit. I want to sit and read a book for more than ten minutes at a time. And I want other things that I don’t feel so comfortable sharing here.

I want to care about things deeply, not just logically.

I find myself carrying out activities because I KNOW that they’re important to me, while I don’t FEEL anything but apathy towards most things lately. My life feels like it has a haze or fog hanging over everything. Colors don’t have any vibrancy. Sounds are muffled. And everything, and I do mean everything, irritates me. The worst thing that I’m irritated by is myself. My physical self. The feel of my body, my skin, and the muscles that ache without end.

I don’t share this seeking your sympathy. In fact, sympathy would likely be the last response I would wish for. I don’t wish to commiserate, but I do wish to connect. If I can’t feel connected to the world around me in any other way, perhaps someone out there knows what I’m talking about. Can relate. Perhaps connections can be made with someone who’s been there and overcome, or maybe finds it to be an ongoing struggle, or perhaps even someone who’s never felt able to talk about this outside of a doctor’s office. I welcome your connections. Publicly or privately.

Perhaps with an open dialogue others might find a way to talk openly, or ask for help. If you can’t ask for help for yourself, then do it for the people who care about you. If for no other reason, I consulted my physician so that I could find a way to not be so difficult to live with. Someone will thank me for it someday. 😉



Drop me a note in the comments below, or connect with me on Twitter @ceilidhontherun or email me at trish at trishblogs dot com!

I invite you to subscribe to my blog using one of the options available on my page (email, rss, Google Connect, like my page on Facebook, etc.)

If you enjoyed this post, please do like/share it. You can do so using the easy share button below!