Photo Friday

I’m starting a new feature on my blog which I’m calling “Photo Friday.” Each Friday, at least for the next few weeks, I will publish a photo. Perhaps a photo that speaks to the heart will help us all to begin to unwind from the week’s busy activities. For those of us who are writers, an inspirational photo can inspire creativity. I know that when I look at something beautiful, I become more expressive and imaginative. Of course, what speaks to my heart, and what speaks to yours, may be very different, but we’ll see how it goes. Enjoy your weekend!

Madeira Beach, Florida Copyright 2010 Shirley Sorbello

Madeira Beach, Florida
Copyright 2010 Shirley Sorbello

Endings can be beautiful, too. What do you think?

Freebie Week

For those of you who may be interested, my two published short stories are both FREE this week on Amazon.

Return to Texas photo final med

Return to Texas is FREE today and tomorrow, April 22nd and 23rd!

 

That's Just the Way It Is                  That’s Just the Way It Is is FREE Thursday and Friday, April 24th and 25th!

If you don’t have a Kindle and want to read on your tablet, smartphone, or computer, you can download the Kindle App!

Getting It Back

10513513_s

Last month, I was asked By Gilda Evans to be a guest blogger. This was another “first” for me which I was very happy to accept. I wrote a post entitled Getting It Back which discusses the most important relationship – the one we have with ourselves. I hope you will find it enjoyable and useful to yourself or someone you know.

Some Things I Wish I’d Known

Sixty plus years into my life, I can now look back and realize there are certain things I wish I’d been aware of earlier.

For example, I know now that everyone does not see the world in the same way. Each person has their own filter—a combination of genetics and life experiences—that they view the world through. If you respect their differences as you do your own, your life will have fewer, futile conflicts.

Don’t get into a relationship expecting to change the other person to live up to your dreams. The best thing you can do for another is accept them just the way they are and support them in being the best person they can be. If you can’t accept them with all their perceived imperfections, get out of the relationship. It takes a lot for someone to change. More importantly, the person has to see the need and have the desire to do so. Most people don’t.

The best thing you can do for yourself and others is to learn to accept and love yourself. Do it in a way that celebrates your uniqueness, not in a superior way, but in a manner that respects others’ differences as equal to your own. If you can do this, others will never see you as “needy,” nor will you cling to a relationship that is not in your best interests. This usually takes a bit of time; some people never get to this point. It begins by realizing that you are perfect just the way you are. You don’t need anyone else to validate that.

Hang with people who uplift and support you. Let go of those who drag you down on a regular basis. Life is too short to spend time with those who drain your energy.

Don’t be too quick to judge. There is no way to know what someone is going through in their life. Appearances can be deceiving, and assumptions can lead you down the wrong pathway.

It’s okay if a relationship doesn’t last. I’ve come to view them as learning experiences, the toughest ones, in fact. Many teachers pass through our lives. When the lesson is learned, the teacher moves on. Be thankful for the time you had with someone you loved; breathe a sigh of relief when the person you didn’t get along with is no longer there.

Lastly, the most important one: it’s really okay if it rains on your birthday. Life is not perfect, but it does provide wonderful opportunities for growth. Put up your umbrella and make it the best day possible, always.

The Perfect Child

She died recently—my namesake that is—Shirley Temple Black. In the 30’s and 40’s she became America’s sweetheart and in later years was an ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia. She was a bright, talented, precocious child. I certainly cannot fault my mother for naming me after such an outstanding personality.

For me, the difficulty came into play from the idea that she was the “perfect” little girl. In later years, my parents confessed to me that they wanted to have a perfect child. They indicated that they had criticized their friends’ children so often that the only child they planned to have had to be one that was beyond reproach.

Parents’ expectations of perfection, even unspoken ones, can put excessive pressure on a child—pressure that converts at the deepest level to never feeling good enough and fear of failure. Couple that with a good dose of criticism and you have a fearful child who develops self-critical beliefs. He or she strives to please to avoid criticism and can lose that important sense of their true self somewhere along the way. This child can become their own worst enemy as they grow into adulthood.

As I continue wearing my therapist’s hat, I say to parents to gently encourage your child to be the best they can be. Give them the gift of themselves by allowing them the freedom to explore who they are even if that is not the journey you would have chosen for them. Of course, be there for support and guidance, but allow them to make their own age-appropriate decisions whenever possible. Try not to live out your own fears or life dreams through them, nor push your own desires onto them. It is their life, and they are a gift in yours.

Despite these parental expectations and restrictions, I had a reasonably happy childhood. As an “only” child, I received much parental love and attention along with nice gifts on special occasions. It was perhaps more joyful and certainly more “normal” than was Shirley Temple’s. We all know now more about the unfortunate effects that childhood stardom often introduces by interfering with normal developmental stages. I remember a story my mother told me about Shirley’s mother fussing with her hair and not allowing her to do certain things when she was in public. It sounds like she had her own “perfect” image to uphold, at least while she was in the public eye.

Unlike Shirley, I grew up as a quiet, shy child who was often afraid that I would do or say something wrong. I didn’t turn out so badly, but sometimes wonder now in my September years if I could have accomplished so much more in life if I had not grown up feeling limited by parental desires and expectations.

I do, nonetheless, believe that everything happens for a reason. I have experienced many wonderful times and relationships in my life and have grown spiritually as a result of the more difficult ones. I have gradually learned to control my own perfectionism and use it more often to my advantage, rather my detriment. Had I been raised differently, all this might not be the case, nor would I be here writing this blog and meeting all the friendly, supportive people I have encountered on my writing journey. Actually, just between us—this is the life I’ve grown accustomed to… so at this point, I really can’t say I would have changed a thing.