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  • Writer's pictureTammy Arlene

Have you ever looked at photos of yourself and reflected on your mood when the picture was taken? Or, even more startling, have you examined your emotional state when you are viewing it? How about when you look in the mirror? What version of yourself do you see? I started thinking about this recently and discovered something pretty amazing. Sometimes I feel (and look) confident and strong. Many times—more often than I want to admit—I feel insecure and weak. This has become more apparent as I turn 50.

The camera lens doesn’t know how I am doing emotionally. Nor does the mirror. Quite frankly, neither of these items have the ability to care. I know my expression can be different based on how I feel at a given moment. Facial expression isn’t what I am referring to. Photos where I feel confident seem to radiate youth and energy. In others, I appear old, tired, and awkward. To be transparent, I never use filters on my photos. I like to keep it real. WYSIWYG

I ask myself question after question – and until now, I didn't have answers.

Is it possible that I see myself in a different light than others do? Do they see the same insecure and old looking “me” in the image that I do? Am I seeing the "real" me now? What do I really look like? What do others see in real life?

The majority of photos I see of myself trigger instant negative self-talk about my appearance. I have been known to stretch photos of myself on the phone screen so I can pick out even the smallest imperfections. How terrible is that? Am I the only one who does this? (See previous post on conquering negative self-talk.) If I don’t get the automatic self-deprecating response under control right away, my mood spirals downward. Sometimes for days. This results in compounded insecurity, sadness and doubt.

The “aha” moment I want to share with you is this:

The emotional state that I am in when the photo is taken affects the image in my mind, not in the mind of others. How I feel about myself when I look at the same photo does the same thing. What other's "see" is their business, not mine. Phew, that is a relief.

The picture I see is the same—yet I can see it differently depending on how I think of myself at the time of viewing it. How others see me is their business, not mine. That is so refreshing.

Which face is mine? I accept that I am no longer in my 40’s. I also know that I have a choice in how I feel about myself. I get to decide how I react to my image.

As I turn 50, I am choosing to accept myself as I am. I fully intend to move confidently into the next decade of my life. By tackling negative self-talk as soon as it rears its ugly head, I will turn my thoughts toward the truth.

The truth is, we are created in God’s image. We are unique and designed to be just as we are. Accepting this is freeing. It may have taken me half a century to discover this, but I am here now.

In blog posts to follow, I'll dive deeper into this journey. Let's reveal our true beauty together.

Cheers to another trip around the sun.

Let me know your thoughts.

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  • Writer's pictureTammy Arlene

We are coming up on the “New Year Resolution” season, where we set unrealistic goals for the upcoming year. Grand plans are made, and we may have every intention of reaching our goals. Perhaps, as the new year dawns, the thought crosses our mind that these goals never get accomplished. Perhaps we shouldn't bother with it. NOOOOOOOO! Let's cancel that negative self talk. Let's set actionable goals and stick to them.

"Negative Self Talk is a Goal Destroyer"

Are you ready to do something positive and permanent this year? I have most everything I need on my handy smart phone, but a gadget doesn't allow me to visualize my goals as I am creating them. Smart phones are great for putting action steps toward my goals into the calendar or on a "to do" list, once the goals are visualized.

When visualizing my goals, I use pen, marker, magazine cutouts, stencils, and other items. In the past, I’ve made vision boards and posted them in my home office. These worked well to keep my plans in front of me. Now I use a small 3 ring binder and keep it close at hand, so I can stay on track.

I create a cover first. I put a photo of the one I made for the new year above. I am setting goals in four areas in my life. There is something affirming about seeing it this way. I also have dividers and notebook sheets in between so I can note my progress and cancel out any negative self talk. I love marking off steps and doodling as I move forward throughout the year. I may even play with watercolor on some of the pages for fun. The dividers have pockets in them so I can store items that are related to that goal.

It is a wonderful feeling to flip through the binder at the end of the year and see how far I've come.

I'd love to hear from you about how you are setting goals for 2021.

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  • Writer's pictureTammy Arlene

Electronic distractions can create noise clutter in our lives. This type of distraction can cause emotional strain that is reflected in relationships with others, our ability to work, sleep, and maintain healthy eating habits.

Even when things seem quiet, there is noise if we have electronics nearby. It's a buzz that is not obvious - it is running in the background. Constant smartphone alerts, social media messages, texts and breaking news chimes, can leave a person pretty frazzled and disorganized. Just having our devices nearby can create stress.

Alerts and interruptions distract us from important tasks. We weren’t designed to “multi-task” or face constant dings and alarms. Some of these things can’t be avoided, however they can be muted. For example, I use a continuous glucose monitor so I keep my phone handy for extreme high and low alarms. I’ve turned off the other chimes.

Choose alert clutter that is not necessary and silence it. Check emails on a schedule instead of each time one pops in to the inbox. Phone calls are not always urgent, and voicemail can be handy. It may take discipline, and being firm yet kind with others, but it can be done.

Can you take time away from electronics and noise? Perhaps a walk in the forest or a park without any gadgets turned on will give you a much needed break.

Jesus took time away from the noise to focus on what was important, and we can practice this too. Even a short walk on a break can help clear the mind and relieve tension. Can you make time to give it a try?

What are your thoughts?

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