Meditating through the mayhem
Meditating through the Mayhem

Eyes on your own paper, y’all

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My passion for Project Life is no secret. So I’m kind of bummed to hear about people being intimidated to start something so awesome and designed to be simple because of how other people choose to approach the project.

I’ve noticed my tendency to do this when I’m clicking around blogs. First, I’m like: “Oh! That is so cool. I love how it looks.” Then: “Wow. Everyone’s blogs are so sophisticated looking and I can’t figure out how to change my banner!”  "These picture are amazing!” And finally: “I’m such a hack. I suck.”

Except that I totally don’t suck. Not at everything anyway. I’m a writer not a designer. I like to learn more about designing and keep up with the technology that allows me to share my writing and participate in this Project Life community in a visually appealing way. But it’s not my priority. So I’ll get there when I get there. Or I won’t. No worries either way. I don’t come by this attitude naturally. At a young age I learned to compare myself to others and catalogue where I didn’t measure up and  then use that as as evidence of my unworthiness.

That type of chronic thinking landed me on a therapist’s couch. Luckily. Luckily I realized there has got to be a better way to live this one, short, precious life than by going around counting the ways I suck.

I share this not because it’s comfortable but because I know I am so not alone on that journey. So many are told we need to “get more confidence.” But they don’t sell that at Walgreens. You get  confidence by earning it –  from, get a load of this, your own self!!! Because until you have your own approval, no one else’s will be enough. I promise this is true. Deep down, you know it’s true too.

{Yes this all ties in with the self-help series I’m working on, more on that soon!}

One step toward increasing your own self-worth is to DO the things you love. Even if, especially if, you don’t think you’ll do it as well as anyone else. Think of it as your opportunity to impress your own self. And as practice for giving the finger to the part of you that says you can’t.

Project Life may not be for you. Plenty of people just aren’t into documenting life. BUT if this project calls to you, you know in that inner desire that bubbles with excitement at the possibility of participating … you can totally do it your own way.

I think I’m sensitive to this because it’s kind of what happened to my love of scrapbooking. I loved scrapbooking when I did it my own way, ignorant that there was an “industry” and keeping it simple, pictures, stories, scraps of life (ticket stubs, cards, etc.) I didn’t know, or care, if I had a style. Or how my style, or lack of it, measured up to others. Because I didn’t care. I was having fun with it.

And then … I got excited about the Scrapbooking Industry. There were stores, magazines, websites … I loved all of it. Until I realized that instead of scrapbooking anymore, I had become a hoarder of supplies and my pictures stayed in boxes and on multiple unorganized files on my computer labeled “new folder.” Why? I think I felt like I wasn’t “doing it right.”

I didn’t know it at the time as it was a gradual shift from actively engaging in my passion to sitting on the sidelines, watching longingly as others played Varsity.

The pages and projects I was looking to for inspiration seemed so complicated. So embellished. So not me. If that was scrapbooking, I wasn’t a real scrapbooker.

Then I discovered and fell in online love with the work, mission and passion of Stacy Julian, Ali Edwards and Becky Higgins. For me, they lead me back home to what matters to me: the stories, the passion for  sharing them, the joy in creating. They were like the coaches who insist everyone takes a turn at bat because everyone has something to offer, their own way in their own time.

So if these inspiring women are the industry coaches, let’s pretend I’m the teacher and I have this one thing to say:

Eyes on your own paper, y’all!