Category Archives: women

The Definition of Me

cakes-20clip-20art-bday-cake-5-candles-black-and-white-mdToday is my 49th birthday. I have been spending a lot of time in recent weeks contemplating the direction I want my life to take as I head toward 50. While I have been given many blessings, there are also many things that need to be “tweaked” before I will feel that I am living my life to its fullest potential. I started this blog to help me with that.

As I began searching deep within, I realized that I have always defined myself based on circumstances or situations that were, for the most part, beyond my control. I was the baby that was given up for adoption, the widow at 35, the middle-aged woman stuck in a dead-end job. Defining myself in this way gave me an out and an excuse, because I never had to take responsibility for anything that was going on in my life, good or bad.

This mindset left me feeling powerless and sometimes hopeless. I felt like I never had the ability to choose the direction my life would take. Thinking like this got me nowhere. It created a victim mentality and did not empower me to make the changes that were necessary for me to be happy.

I now realize that if I want to thrive in the next chapter of my life, I have to be the one to write it. No one is going to transform me into the strong, sexy, successful woman I know I am meant to be except me.

I took the first step late in January when I dedicated myself to daily workouts and clean eating. I have seen tremendous changes in my body and mind as a result. I no longer feel like a victim to the middle age spread. Taking control, sticking with a plan, and seeing results have increased my confidence and self-esteem, which in turn increased my happiness. Succeeding at something I never thought I could do has given me the courage to find ways to make  other changes in my life.

I have a self-imposed deadline of my 50th birthday to turn the lofty ideas floating around in my head into some sort of reality. I know this may not be completely realistic, and that happiness and contentment are not static. What makes me happy now might not necessarily make me happy 2,3 or 10 years from now and I will have to rethink my game plan. But, instead of scaring me, that now excites me. As corny as it sounds, I really am the only one in control of my destiny. And that is a very powerful feeling.

So, today I celebrate everything that has brought me to this point. Forty nine years of experience has given me the tools I need to move forward and show the world who Sheila Gray really is. Because, in my opinion, she’s the definition of special.

How To Keep a Toxic Person From Poisoning Your Life

poisonSometimes in life we are forced to deal with toxic people. There are negative co-workers, family members or friends that seemingly live to bring their misery down on all those around them.  Sometimes you can distance yourself from these people and others times you are forced to deal with them head on.

How can you keep a toxic person from becoming a poisonous force in your life?

  1. Remember that it’s them, not you. 

Although it might be easy to go tit for tat with a toxic person, lowering yourself to their level never works. Toxic people are adept at turning the tables and making their victim into the villain.  Always remember that they are the one with the problem, not you. They will never admit they are wrong or that they are to blame for anything, so you are better off not arguing with them, which leads to number 2….

2.  Take away their power.

Toxic people like to make everyone around them miserable, so the more you fight back, the more they win. It drives these people crazy when you will not engage with them, and they will usually give up after a few unsuccessful tries at drawing you in.

3.  Stick to the issue at hand.

When you are forced to deal with a noxious person, always stick to the facts. They will bring emotion into play and everything you have done in the past will be fair game. Leaving emotion out of it and sticking to the current issue gives you the advantage and takes the wind from their sails.

4. Remember that this is only temporary.

Unless the toxic person lives in your house (if this is the case, you have bigger issues and need more than a blog to help you), this confrontation is temporary.  Whether or not the outcome is in your favor, you will be able to walk away from it and back to the people that actually bring joy into your life. Hence the saying, “This too shall pass”.

And finally….

5.  Give in.

I saved this one for last because it is the least desirable way to keep a toxic person from poisoning your life, but sometimes it is the most effective and quickest way to end a conflict. If the issue at hand becomes more of a battle of wills rather than something you really are passionate about, as Elsa says, “Let it go!”  Let them have their way and save your energy for the next time, because, as anyone who regularly has to deal with a toxic person knows, there will always be a next time.