Happy International Women’s Day! I wanted to mention three inspiring women who have influenced me over the years. Today I’m focusing on public historical figures, because otherwise I would just post pictures of my mom, grandmother, sisters, aunts, well . . . you get the idea. So here we go!
The first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person ever to win a second Nobel Prize, and the ONLY person to have won two Nobel Prizes in two different sciences (Linus Pauling won one for Chemistry and one for Peace). She is one of the very few women I remember learning about in school. She knew what she loved, and she worked tirelessly to make the world a better place through her work. I could go on for quite a while about her accomplishments, because they are many, but you can read more about here HERE. Marie Curie told me that a woman could do anything they put their mind to.
Her life was so filled with love for others, that you can’t help but be inspired to work harder to be a little better. If you look up quotes by Mother Teresa, you will find a plethora of inspiring words. Here is just one that I love: “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” The reminder that if we all did the little that we were able to do, the world would be a better place.
Harriet Tubman is one of the other few women I remember learning about in grade school. What impresses me most about Harriet Tubman is that she didn’t hesitate to brave danger after danger–knowing what it could mean for herself if she were caught–to help other slaves experience the freedom that she had gotten. If only we were all so fearless, and so concerned about others.
So many inspiring women have helped change this world for the better, and it was tough to only highlight three. I think of Pocahontas, Amelia Earhart, Clara Barton, Florence Nightengale, Anne Frank, Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Jane Austen, Ada Lovelace, and that is just to name a very few (and not even considering those who are still alive!). I thank them all for standing strong in their beliefs. For working hard in the face of doubt. For changing the world for the better.
Which women are you honoring today?
Over the holiday break, my boys and I had a chance to do some rock climbing on a climbing wall. You pull on the harness. They clip you in. You choose “Easy,” “Medium,” or “Hard.” And off you go.
It sounds so simple, and really, the wall isn’t that high. But about halfway up, I caught a glimpse of the down. I had to refocus myself on simply finding the next handhold. Conquering my fears one step at a time.
Now, I knew he was safe. He was buckled in. The rope and mechanisms would catch him if he fell. I’d already done it myself, and I knew he could do it.
So I called to him, “Keep going! You’re almost there. You can do this!”
That is too hard for you.
You should stick to what you know.
But those are lies. If we refocus ourselves, take things one step at a time, and stop thinking about those fears, we can conquer them! Maybe not on our first try, but if we keep trying, it will happen.
Sometimes we need outside support, and that’s okay! That’s why you should surround yourself with people who build you up. People who believe in you. People who can see things from a different perspective. Find those people! Search them out, then hold them close. I know it’s made a huge difference in my life.
Conquering fears is hard. It can be scary. It can take time. LOTS of it! But I tell you what, that feeling you get when you finally make it is worth it.
You ARE good enough!
Nothing is too hard if you’re determined.
Learning new things is amazing!
What fears are you hoping to conquer?
Sometimes, life just isn’t fair.
My kids tell me this all the time, and I’m pretty sure as a kid I reported this fact to my parents at least weekly.
The list goes on and on and on. From stupid things that don’t really matter, to big things that make us want to curl up in bed with a tub of cookie dough and watch nonstop episodes of [insert favorite show here].
Life isn’t fair. It isn’t. And though I wish otherwise, it probably never will be.
Which is precisely why we can’t let that bother us. We can’t let the mundane unfairness of life control us.
This past month, my family and I have been going through an unfairness. A life situation that is crazy! Unexpected. Silly. And utterly, completely unfair. And it’s not been a little thing. It will uproot our lives, and make things much more complicated in the months to come (lest you all worry overmuch, it’s about a failed house purchase for a reason that even the lender admitted to never having seen before).
There are all kinds of ways to react to this unfairness. Anger that it is happening to us. Stress and anxiety for all the changes to come and the added unexpected workload, not to mention expense. Sorrow for losing what could have been. Bitterness at the unfairness of it all!
Or, or, or, we can chose to be ducks. Face it head on, then let it flow off our backs like water. Trust me, I know that is easier to write than it is to live. I KNOW. But the situation is happening. It will happen no matter how we react. And though we can’t control the situation, we can control how we react.
And we can choose to be happy. We can choose to move past the unfairness, and focus on the good things that still fill our lives. Because there are good things. Lots of them. Sometimes it’s hard to notice those small happinesses when a big elephant of frustration is filling our vision. But a change of perspective, a shift of stance, and there they are. All those good things just waiting to be noticed.
Yes, it will take work. Yes, it will be hard. I know we’ll have moments where we stumble, or slip in the elephant’s poop (gross!). But I hope they will just be moments.
Here’s to moving on. Here’s to focusing on the sunny side of life and finding joy despite it all!
“Everyone wants to be successful until they see what it actually takes.”
I saw this quote on facebook this week. I don’t know who said it, but it was accompanied with a picture of a ballerina’s bleeding and bandaged feet. Success looked pretty painful.
And I bet you saw the picture of the physician after losing a 19-year-old patient that went viral last week. A moment of “failure” . . . probably after doing everything he was humanly capable of doing.
As I consider these two images, thoughts are swirling in my brain. Success is such an interesting concept. One word, but defined so differently from person to person. Are we only a success when we’ve reached the point of being a “prima ballerina”?
I once ran a half marathon. It was hard. It left my feet a mess, and gave me aches I still deal with. Am I a failure since I now choose to run shorter distances? I don’t see it that way. I see it as a success that I still run.
A person who writes a book, but never gets an agent or sells it . . . are they a failure? I don’t see it that way. I think they are a success for finishing the book.
Now don’t get me wrong. I believe very strongly in working hard to achieve something. And I don’t think we should hand out awards just for showing up (I really hate the trophies they give to everyone for just playing rec soccer or whatever). But as we celebrate the small successes, they can keep us moving forward when everything else would tell us to stop. Give up.
Work hard. Do your best. Don’t give in. And when you reach a milestone, celebrate! Don’t be afraid to recognize the quiet successes that litter our lives.
What is your most recent quiet success? I’d love to celebrate with you!
“If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.”
Since I actively joined the blogosphere, way back forever
ago, I’ve gotten to know a lot of other writers. One of the things I love
learning is where they draw their inspiration from.