If we all had purses like these beautiful, tiny beaded bags that my grandmother had, we'd have no problems. And no place to put all our junk.I know I should probably be writing about the history of these bags, and perhaps I will update this post later, but these bags really got me thinking about life lessons and what women put in their "purses". Just seems there are so many stories and lessons each time I pick up something I want to sell or write about.
Dramatically changing ones life is one of those things that inevitably shakes everything up. Not too long ago, Life picked me up, like a messy pocketbook, and shook my contents out all over the kitchen table, I guess, in an effort to clean me up and help me figure myself out. I,in keeping with the purse analogy, I had to ask myself: "Why am I carrying around a bag so heavy and what the heck is in there anyway?" (A lot of women say that they have their lives in their purses, so it seemed a good analogy for how women deal with life.) I think most women have had those familiar purse cleaning inner discussions: "I wore THAT lipstick, really? There's that lost earring! Why the heck is a sock in here? A full water bottle,(really, like I live in the desert?). Why do I have 4 pairs of sunglasses in here and keep buying more? No wonder I can never find any gum when I need it! Why am I carrying around a Jack Kerouac book? I have every receipt for the past century in here-ugh. A book of stamps when I never send anything, really? Dang it, I never sent my Dad this birthday card I just found in here, that must be why stamps were in here…."
Surprisingly, the big life questions I asked myself when I got shook out like a hand bag weren’t remarkably different. I surveyed that mass of the stuff I was carrying around inside me and decided I probably didn’t need a whole lot of it. I’d like to say I spent minimal time lamenting over the junk I had in there but true to (my) form, I ruminated ceaselessly over basically everything I found before I could finally part with anything. I tried to justify keeping all of it, and stuffing it all back in, but that didn't work. I was mad as heck that life forced me to look at all the bits and pieces of myself anyway. Luckily, my journey included meeting smart, compassionate women along the way, and the advice I am imparting below (in my own way), is that which has been a great treasure to me, and at least food for thought for anyone.
I am not a life style expert, I am just a fellow purse carrier, whose purse got involuntarily shook out, and these are just a few thoughts for my fellow sisters out there about what to clean out of your "purse" before life forces you to:
Throw out the old lipstick. My friend swears that a blue based pink shade takes ten years off every woman’s face and based on how fabulous she looks, I have to agree. But it doesn’t really matter what color you chose, it matters that you love who you see in the mirror today, not who you were back then when you bought the old shade of lipstick that doesn't make you feel pretty.
Guilt – unless you really and truly have done someone terribly wrong, lose the guilt. I’m guessing your “sins” against mankind aren’t great enough to bar you from your chosen afterlife and if they are, I’m also pretty sure most religions have forgiveness built in, so forgive yourself.
Shame – yeah, yeah, look the other way when I say it like you weren’t carrying it. It’s in there. Dump it now or let it weigh you down and hold you back from believing you deserve what you want in life.
Other people’s stuff – is there some reason you want to keep carrying around the negative stuff other people think of you? Such as: another person's disapproval about your child rearing beliefs; the negative opinions that a parent or relative may have bestowed upon you like a gift; a "frenemy's" comment about your taste in clothes,men, hair... Time to stop letting other people’s opinions of you infect your self-concept.
Self-doubt – again, stop pretending you aren’t dragging this everywhere you go. It’s almost impossible to shed this completely, but can you imagine how light you might be if you didn’t have to bring that whole other voice along for the ride telling you all the things you CAN’T do?
The belief that anyone but yourself is responsible for exactly where you are right now in your life. This might be the last one you throw out, and you may not really understand what I mean as you read this. I firmly believe that most of us truly think that we could or would be in a different better place if someone else wasn’t holding us back, wronged us in the past, or was limiting us in some way now. It’s a hard one to admit to feeling, but throw this notion away and take absolute full responsibility for your life no matter what your circumstances are.
I don’t know about you, but every time I stop paying attention, my purse gets filled back up with all the same familiar junk I threw out before. I stop loving exactly how I look today. I start feeling false guilt. I feel shameful and embarrassed about myself even though I have no real reason to. I start letting other people define me or invade my self -image. I start thinking I can’t possibly reach whatever goal I want to reach and doubting my gifts and abilities and focusing on my weaknesses. And inevitably, along this unhealthy path back to low self esteem, I think of all the past people and events in my life that I blame unconsciously for keeping me back from realizing my potential. I’ve become vigilant about what I am willing to carry. I reject carrying around all the useless garbage other people try to throw in my bag. Whenever you feel your bag get heavy or messy– just refer back to the list of the six things that don’t belong in your pocketbook, turn it over and shake all the useless junk out of your purse, and your life.