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  • Catherine Dolan

Becoming the Artist of Your Life

Updated: Jun 29

The past fourteen days have been life-shifting in the most beautiful way possible.

I have been coming fully and at long last into a place of peace, joy and contentment. It is a feeling that’s captured brilliantly via the quote below. Ironically, this particular quote found me on day fourteen.

“The moment a woman comes home to herself, the moment she knows she has become a person of influence, an artist of her life, a sculptor of her universe, a person with rights and responsibilities who is respected and recognized, the resurrection of the world begins.” (Said by Sister Joan Chittister)

Day fourteen was an emotionally-loaded day. (Translation: It was an emotional rollercoaster.)

Me, the tough girl, thought I had it all under control. Until this.

Over the past two weeks, I have been dumbfounded by how many competent, strong women struggle with feeling lack in so many, different ways. (I put myself on this list, too, duh.)

To each of them, I say what my friends have been saying to me lovingly for years.

“If only you could see yourself through the eyes of others, you would not allow crap in your life. You wouldn’t doubt yourself for a moment because you would see your strength and grace the way others do. If you really, truly saw and knew your worth, you would draw a line in the sand and do the work on self and wait for it, all of it, with your bar set high. You would stop making excuses, and know, when it’s right. It will be so right without the struggle.”

Those of you who know me, know I still have one place I really struggle to love myself.

How so? One of my girlfriends is a top shelf sales woman. She’s beautiful. She’s crazy fit. She is an amazing wife, mother and daughter. She can sell, articulate and problem solve for customers like no other I’ve seen. She is widely-respected by her peers as well as upper management. She was recently asked to make a corporate video; prior to that, at a national sales meeting, she volunteered to and jumped in front of a room full of peers and execs and had us all whole-heartedly belly laughing. Yet, as she shared with me, she panics. In front of a room of peers and managers all of whom adore her, she becomes terrified. In front of the camera, she loses it. Why? Because she cannot and does not see herself the way others do. If she did, she would with humility and grace own her badassery. Yet, she shrinks.

Another girlfriend confided in me just today, she was struggling with some intimacy issues with her man and whether he was still attracted to her. “Whaaaattttt????” I asked her. “If you could see yourself the way I do, you would never ask him that question. You are stunning. Sensual. Smoking freakin’ hot with a gorgeous body and soul and you ooze sensuality. Why do you make the issue about your lack? Never question your lack. You are so insanely beautiful in every way, were I to be with a woman, it would undoubtedly be you.” True. She was shrinking and looking to someone else to prove her worth.

Again and again I hear this kind of thing from so many women. I can recognize it because I spent my entire life hustling in every relationship I have ever been in to prove my worthiness. Dance, puppet, dance. Until, I woke up. Recently. Like this past week woke the fuck up. At long last, I see what my kids and my friends have been gently and lovingly nudging me to see. Just be you. You are enough exactly the way you are. Stop. Let it come to you. It will.

Women, especially in the South, have been raised to cater to and acquiesce to a man’s approval. We’ve been taught unconsciously and unintentionally as well as overtly via society and cultural norms that men’s approval somehow validates us. It doesn’t. Because when we swim in those treacherous waters, enough is never enough. We spend our entirety looking to someone else for approval and hustling for validation when instead it comes from quiet strength from within.

We validate us. We are enough.

It’s funny – I actually loathe the phrase you are enough. ‘Sure, I am,’ I’d think to myself, rolling my eyes. ‘Right.’ For a long time, I didn’t think so. I mean I said it over and over as if speaking it would somehow make it truer. Why do I loathe that statement? Because rarely does anyone explain this: Exactly HOW I am enough?

And then, it clicked.

Here is HOW I am enough: when we live in the space of compassion, love, self-awareness, kindness, respect for ourselves and others and love, we are enough. We need no one else’s approval or validation. We simply are.

We are enough when we live in a space of giving to give because generosity is the right thing; we are enough when we are love-filled and ethical and big-hearted; we are enough when we create families, or gatherings with those we love and cherish to celebrate life and each other; we are enough when we create art, music, laughter, careers in which we thrive and passions in which we grow and find joy; we are enough when we choose to be artists of our lives and sculptors of our universes.

We are then respected and recognized; we are persons of influence. We sit confidently in our personal power, a place full of our personal humility, love and gratitude.

It is in this unique and beautiful space that the world opens and creates a shift like it never has experienced. Then, the magic begins to happen. So, let it happen.

My ask for you this week: See yourselves through the compassionate, kind, beautiful loving eyes of everyone around you. I can tell you how amazing you are all day long. Until, you believe it from you, it does not matter how often I or anyone reassures you. KNOW you are enough. Trust that. Believe that. Live that truth of enough…

Then, extend those kind and compassionate eyes to every person with whom you come in contact. When someone, male or female is sitting in a place of defeat or lack or not enoughness, lift them up with your presence or your words or perhaps a simple sincere smile and remind them they are enough and encourage them to be enough in and of themselves so they too, can own and unleash their personal power.

Be the magic and allow the life-shift to begin in you. That is my not-so-sexy and, yet, oh-so-very-sexy truth.


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