What does this mantra mean to me?
R: In the world of social media, it is easy to become inundated with images of people who we feel are more successful than we are, have more of what we want, are more beautiful, are more socially conscious… and it is easy to get down on ourselves about that. This week’s mantra is about learning from others and using their successes as inspiration in our own journeys, while simultaneously recognizing that we ourselves are inspiring. Further, this mantra is about recognizing that we can observe others and be inspired without comparing ourselves to them. Additionally, for women, there is a long standing idea that instead of lifting others up, we are competing against each other (typically the idea is that we are competing for the same man). In the age of the #metoo movement, the Women’s March and the growing number of amazing women running for political office, it is obvious that this age old stereotype rings false. We are stronger together when we inspire one another and lift each other up.
M: Since graduating college and entering the workforce, I often feel like I am on the hamster wheel of life. After moving to San Diego, I settled in to my life here and find that the days and my work have started to blur together. With each passing year, time slips by at an accelerated rate and it’s easy to get overly comfortable and complacent. This week I am focusing mostly on the first half of the mantra — I am inspired. For me, it’s about really seeing the people and world around me and allowing myself to feel inspired to make waves and challenge myself. As Rachel pointed out, other people’s success can often be discouraging, but this week I am working to look to other people as examples of all that is possible to achieve. Rather than sitting back and letting life pass me by, I want to strive to stay inspired and seek ways to bring happiness and variety to my life whether that’s by seeking new challenges at work, finding new ways to benefit and engage with my community, or building on new relationships. Hopefully by uplifting myself in these ways, I can fulfill the second half of this week’s mantra as well and be inspiring to others in turn.
What will be hard about this weeks mantra?
R: As mentioned before, it is so easy to see others and instead of feeling inspired feel jealous. It is easy to think that others are not inspired by us, even when the evidence demonstrates otherwise. Taking a reality check when looking at social media, hearing the highlights of friends lives and reading stories about other amazing women can help us to remain inspired by others and not get down on ourselves.
M: I am a creature of routine, and even with the best intentions to mix things up and step out of my comfort zone, I know it will be easy for me to procrastinate the “new” to make time for my usual comforts. With the way time slips by so quickly, I know that it sometimes feels like I blink and months have passed. It will be hard to stay inspired in the moment and act on that inspiration quickly.
How will I stay positive and focused?
R: One of the most important life lessons that my mother taught me is “don’t judge your insides by other people’s outsides”. In the age of social media this could not be more important. I have known myself to see the successes of others and feel down about myself, only to later learn about deep personal struggles in their lives. We curate our social media to show our best selves. In this way others always seem to be doing better than we are, but this is because we alone know our true struggles. With this lesson in hand and the knowledge that we are stronger together, I will focus on shining my own light and learning from the light of others. Together our lights shine brighter; one bright light does not dim another.
M: To stay positive and focused, I will try to find friends and online personalities on social media who are accomplishing new things that will excite and inspire me. Seeing people who I can relate to and consider my peers make big changes and hit new goals can help me to see how possible it is. For instance, I have an old friend from elementary school that I follow on Instagram and Facebook. I look at the photos she shares of her many solo adventures around the world and am deeply inspired by her fierce independence. I love to imagine going on trips by myself but have felt fearful and unsure of travelling alone as a woman; seeing my old friend’s posts helps to adjust my mindset to think about all of the exciting possibilities rather than all I have to be afraid of. I will use examples like hers to look towards for inspiration and motivation.