Designing the Pattern
This isn't the moment to browse through the Butterwick patterns. This
is freehand, freewheeling, free-at-last, thank God Almighty, free-at-last approach to creating a new YOU.
Time to off-load all those weighty expectations, all those dutiful roles, all those voices in your head that aren't you, that belong
to parents and bosses and spouses and children.
Short of setting ourselves adrift on an ice floe, we can't rid ourselves
of everything that is "not us." But we can certainly start building in some things that "are us."
Start with the THREE-ME'S:
ME One - Each day say ONE considered NO (see the Just Say No page).
ME Two - Each day, have at least ONE item on your agenda that is just for
you, e.g., 20 minutes alone to read your favorite novel, 15 minutes of meditation, a 5 minute talk on the phone with
a special friend, a 30 minute massage, or 10 minutes of giggling. And don't just cram it in! Replace ONE
item from your do-for-others agenda with the ONE item that is just for you.
ME Three - Each day, tell yourself ONE wonderful thing about yourself OUT
LOUD in front of a MIRROR that you've never thought of telling yourself before, or were unwilling to tell yourself.
This isn't bragging...it's affirmation. Examples: I tell ya, sweetheart, you've got the sexiest smile.
Hey, sweetie pie, your about as bright as they come. I just loooooooove your dimples!
Cutting It Out
Okay, you seamstresses, remember how you cut out a pattern when you made
your own outfits or the kids' clothes? First you trimmed the pattern, then you pinned it on the material, and then you
cut it out with pinking shears.
Hey, I won that Singer Sewing Center contest in the ninth grade...bet you
did too. I made a white square dance dress (three tiers and all) with black and silver rick-rack trim. What did you make?
Trimming the Pattern - Even when we design our own life pattern, we
have to sometimes trim it to fit our time, energy, and talents. Here's an example. One of the things you
want to do in retirement is community theater. But you don't have the time available now for rehearsals. Don't
give up! Take a short-term acting class at the nearest community college, university extension, or school of theater.
I've always dreamed of doing Shakespeare. I found a 6-week Acting Shakespeare class at the famed Berkeley Rep that was
open to beginners...what fun! Have your goal in mind and then take that first baby step toward your goal...the step
that is within your means.
Pin It On The Material - It won't happen unless you sign up and show up for
that class. Dreams are a starting point. Actions make dreams come true.
Use Those Pinking Shears - Sure, you can do it half-heartedly, watch others
struggle through speaking their parts on stage while you are a member of the audience. That's like cutting
out a pattern with plain scissors. I suppose it does the job but later on the seams fray, and it just doesn't look as
cool. So, screw up the courage and become a full participant in whatever you choose to do.
Wearing It With Style
When you made that gorgeous outfit for yourself or your daughter, did you
acknowledge those compliments...or did you say something that demeaned your own efforts ("oh, it's just homemade")?
Women find it so difficult to believe in themselves, to accept compliments, to acknowledge and relish in their own gifts and
Discovering and fulfilling our own self-interests is neither bragging nor
selfish. It is a matter of discovering the person we were created to be and then allowing ourselves to be that person.
Acknowleging Ourselves - Little girls are taught very early
in life to admire the accomplishments of others, especially the accomplishments of men. They learn to
hide their own light under the proverbial bushel basket. No wonder, eighty percent of girls have low self-esteem
by the time they enter junior high. Stand in front of that mirror of yours and THIS time say twenty good things
about yourself. I'll start you out: I'm unique. I'm smart. I'm a good mother. I am generous.
I have interesting ideas. I can feel joy. Now...keep going! And tomorrow...think up another twenty.
Accepting a Compliment - This one is EASY. There are
only two words in the English language (or any other) that are the appropriate response to a compliment. And they are...THANK
One Little Brag - Okay...we won't overdo it...just
one a week. But I want you to go THIS WEEK to a friend, a coworker, or even your hairdresser and tell them
something great you've just done or accomplished. That award at work, finishing that poem you've been working on, starting
that class that was scary at first, getting that "B" on an exam, creating a webpage, balancing your checkbook...or
on those bad days, having on matching shoes and your blouse on right side out! And remember...this has to be something YOU'VE
done, not your child or your spouse. None of this, "I'm so proud of Bill's promotion or Johnny's home run."