Time will Tell

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_image _builder_version="3.0.92" show_in_lightbox="off" url_new_window="off" use_overlay="off" align="center" always_center_on_mobile="on" force_fullwidth="off" max_width="75%" show_bottom_space="on" src="http://www.brendashiekh.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Time-Will-Tell.jpg" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.92" background_layout="light"] Ever see an old photo of yourself and think, wow, I wasn’t as fat as I thought I was! I would kill to look like that now! I was thumbing through some family photos one afternoon with my sister-in-law when she suddenly jumped up with an old photo of herself and she couldn’t believe how cute she was. I didn’t understand at first because I have always felt she was gorgeous. She recalled thinking of herself as overweight and not very outgoing when the picture was taken. I was surprised by it because I admire how confident and at ease she is with herself, but I recognized that critical voice. I have a similar voice, but I’m pretty sure mine has a fouler mouth. “Hey, fat-ass, when’s the last time you went to the gym? Maybe throw in a salad once in a while, geez. Ever heard of a hairbrush?” Yeah, my voice is pretty direct and has absolutely no filter.

Most of us probably think we should be prettier, softer, more ambitious and stronger, all at the same time. So that critical voice just drones on around the clock. Just for a little context, my sister-in-law has a PhD in Ethnic Studies from the University of California at Berkeley. She is a women’s studies, ethnic studies, and film professor throughout the UC system and various national and international universities. In addition to being an award-winning documentary filmmaker, she founded a non-profit organization providing safe drinking water throughout her birth country of Pakistan and provides scholarships to students interested in sustainable and renewable energy. Yet, at the end of the day, even she has a critic going “Yeah, yeah, college professor, humanitarian, filmmaker, loving sister, beautiful person, that’s all nice, I guess. But who’s going to respect you without six-pack abs?

Looking back at our old photos, we were both filled with so much compassion for who we use to be, that the critical voices shut up for once. Sitting from the future, we could look back and see the value in whatever challenge we were going through at that time. If we could talk to the person we were back then, we wouldn’t be saying “Geez hurry up with that degree, you’re never gonna be respected.” We’d be saying the things we tell our kids, like “You’re doing great. You’re so cute. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, you’re perfect just the way you are.”

A few years ago I came across a powerful meditation on a cd where you just listen to a voice guide you into the future to meet your future self and get some advice. Forty five minutes into a relaxing journey, I finally get to the building that leads me to my future self. I can’t wait, I’m about to get the most important message of my life. I walked down this long hallway and entered the office where my future self was sitting. I leaned in eagerly to hear what she would say and she looked up at me and, rather firmly, said, “Stop worrying, already!” Then she practically shooed me away. I scampered back down the hallway feeling like I did the meditation wrong and wasted time. I was totally disappointed because I thought there was going to get some magical hack that would lead to my instant success.

It would be years later that I finally realized the value of that very simple advice. Whenever I’m not worried, I’m successful, instantly. Being balanced and loving and impactful is a state of mind, it’s not out there in the future to be strived for. Now, when that critical voice comes barreling in with negative things to say, I very firmly tell myself to stop worrying, already!

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PersonalRosemary Watson