Monthly Archives: July 2019

Have I let my fire go out?

I’ve learned that my character strengths are one locked door to my true potential that is hidden beneath the layers of socialization, beliefs, and attitudes that I think are the real me.

If there’s one thing that has been on my mind, it’s the very obvious truth as I see it. You, me, both of us are not expressing our fullest self.

Yet I see you struggling with an existence that does not reflect your uniqueness. I am struggling with it to.

My voice, my curiosity, my passion, my confidence. The trailblazer, the adventurer, the whiz kid who always pointed out flaws in others arguments when you were younger.

Somehow my essence got sealed up with the ultimate, sticky rubber cement.

Now I are quiet, content with silence, a wall flower.

Being a desperate observer when I really want to feel the glory and intensity of the game.

But, wait, where do you begin to get your essence back?

Breaking through to my deeper self, the kid I used to be when I was younger, is something that I’ve longed for even for before I could articulate it,

The pressure to go deeper and find the part of me that I lost along the way started to get more intense over the past year.

I started to slip more and more under the water because I was wounded and I was letting that stop me.

I started to hand over my voice and my power to a faceless ghost,

I just couldn’t bear to see the rest of me disappear.

I could not find the answers that I needed, could not articulate what I was seeking.

I just knew something was missing and I would know when I found it.

At this point, you might be thinking that you are lying to yourself if you want to bring out the real you. You might think you are nothing special. Not brilliant enough to stand out. Or you may think the natural fantasy of you being larger than life is just a delusion of your mind.

It’s no delusion.

Do you ever wonder why you can’t even physically communicate the words you want to say sometimes? Do you ever wonder why?

There is something that you have forgotten. And it’s time to remember it.

You who are. Your essence, your power is boundless. you have the ability to be the larger than life image that you want to be.

You can speak your truth effortlessly without so much as thinking that someone will get upset with you.

But you can’t because your true nature and who you present on the outside are out of alignment. They are not lined up so that your true power can be released from you.

Right now, you are not even you. You are the beliefs of your parents, of society, of standards that you never got a chance to question. You are quiet, and good, and patience, and studious, and self-sacrificing.

Right now you are the culmination of every experience that said you aren’t good enough, why don’t you be quiet, your ideas are the way we want to go. You’re too nice, every co worker that didn’t listen to you, every instance where you thought you can’t possibly influence others.

A Time to Own Your Power

The world is on various cycles. Sometimes we need women to be assertive, like in World War 2. And other times when society needs us to be more docile. We listen to the messages in our culture and act accordingly.

Well, now we are entering an age where we need to step up again.

It’s time for your soul to wake up.

Right now you cannot access your power. But one door to unlock is your character values.

Character values are your innate strengths that you came to this planet with. You can stop concentrating on your weaknesses so much and start to build up and nuture these strengths with exercises.

A free survey was mentioned in the book that I am reading called Flourish. The survey is VIA (values in action). It was created by one of the founders of positive psychology, Martin Sielgmen. (I highly recomend his reading, he is a great thinker!)

When you have psychological knowledge of your innate strengths you can approach life in a more real way. When you know more about yourself, you can build your self-esteem and suddenly perceptions like dominating someone are stripped away of importance.

My Reaction to the Test

I felt that this test gave me some fresh air to breathe in a way no other tests have.

I felt a crack in my heart.

The surface of who I presented to the world has an opening now.

Where I can cultivate my essence and fill up space in my body with who I really am.

I felt a new sensation, similar to the ocean flooding and rushing through an opening.

And I want you to feel that way too. Because it’s the start of cultivating your essence.

It’s the beginning of an exuberant existence with way more energy.

Conclusion: Is this what i have been looking for? is this the answer to being assertive? i can be nice if i want to but i don’t see it as a weakness. did all i need was a perception change?

My top 5 character strengths are:

  1. Social Intelligence
  2. Hope
  3. Leadership
  4. Zest
  5. Spirituality

For example, I want to make the leadership strength stronger because that is where I felt I was lacking then I can put myself in positions where leadership would need to be used.

My recommendation is to take this test to find out what strengths you can harness.

A new day has come! A day where you can let yourself shine without mental filters stopping you. Time to strip yourself of insecurities and get comfortable letting yourself shine in alignment with your true essence!

It’s time to own your own power.

gabriella didio - assertiveness - let yourself shine

My Top 10 Beliefs About Assertiveness

I measure how assertive I am and therefore place a lot of emphasis on my value by this one thing.

5 current beliefs about assertiveness and 5 new beliefs I’m exploring

Whether I get someone to move over on the sidewalk. It irritates me when I am walking down the street and I have to move over to let someone else pass.

When I get another person to move over so I can stay on the path I was on, I am elated. I’m thrilled and I feel powerful, strong and smart. It is like a surge of dopamine to my brain. I feel like I’m the leader and they are the person that has to follow me because I’m in charge.

There are times when I am face to face with someone and we come towards each other walking down the sidewalk but they won’t move. We get closer and closer and I stand my ground. Suddenly we are both completely stopped in front of each other. And even then I still won’t move. And the other person says excuse me and walks the other way. I feel this tension with men and women.

When I lose the sidewalk game I feel pathetic. Weak.

My self-worth is basically dependant on whether I get someone across the side of the street.

When I’m not successful in making the other person move over on the sidewalk I get really agitated and feel resentful down in my gut. I store up the irritation and eventually let it boil over when someone pushes me a bit too far one day. Or i don’t have the time and patience I’d like to listen to the people that matter to me, like my mom and brother.

I feel upset when I shimmy if a guy is walking in the way to be on the woman’s side because I know she will move. She is supposed to be nicer.

Leaders

The people who others follow and respect. Those people don’t move out of the way on the sidewalk.

People move out of the way for them.

People smell you if you are leadership material, that’s what I think, that’s how I make judgments.

I’ve always felt that I was a leader but that I pail in comparison to anyone else. I compare, compare and I always come up short. People who talk, people who are taller, any trait that I see that comes from another makes me insecure when it comes to the leadership spot.

I want to be the leader so badly that I never get it. I always picture a boss seeing who could be the leader and saying, “she’s not ready.” and skipping over me. Often that is how things really play out.

Here are 5 beliefs that I currently hold that I’m in the process of challenging. It’s funny because I really thought I knew everything there is to know at this point and now life has turned the tables on me and I’m pretty much clueless.

1. Assertiveness is about butting heads until your the top dog

When I have interactions with some people, I operate from the belief that I have to dominate them or show them that they have the respect me by telling them what to do.

I do this by giving them a command “Can you remind me of this?” And I don’t just thoughtlessly blurt out that statement. I know what I’m doing and I know how I feel after I say it.

Like I am in control.

Sometimes this can result in a war of who can dominate each other around and around until one person comes out on top.

Actually most of the time, with millennial women my own age, this is the scenario that happens.

The nice one is the loser and the one who can be the harshest the longest without caving is the winner. I have searched for an answer to this question of how I can get around this belief.

I’ve heard one expert say to work from a place of your own strength an identify another person’s strengths too and use both of your strengths together.

But that belief was only superficially helpful.

Deep down underneath the surface, I still held the same belief about being top dog and it always emerges.

So much so that I got to a point (actually I’m at this point now) that every interaction I have I feel slighted, and every interaction is tense.

My tenseness and lack of patience toward feeling not assertive and not the leader has been causing me to say rude things or upbrupt things without thinking because i am angry.

2. Assertiveness is the only right way to be

I think in our culture right now there is a surge of women empowerment. I definitely drank the kool-aid without thinking too much into it.

Just mindlessly buying women empowerment because at a fundamental level I get it. I feel it. But it wasn’t until I took a trip to Canada and observed their culture and was able to be exposed to other beliefs that I started to see the intense pressure that millennials are under.

And it caused me to see assertiveness in a different light.

Assertiveness is good because its a better option than being silent or being a push over.

But, not having a strong reaction to everything and always feeling obligated to check people’s egos or otherwise have your power threatened is also a form of leadership and perhaps another form of assertiveness. Y

You have to find the right energetic shift to make that realization.

3. Puffing your chest and giving out orders is what leadership looks like

When I was in high school I wanted to be in an organization called Leader Corp.

It was a moment in my life where I knew I really, desperately wanted to be in this program.

It was for leaders in high school and I guess I am realizing I’ve always been fascinated by the word leader.

You had to apply to get in and I think they look at your grades and extra curricular activities. I didn’t get in. And I remember that I saw only the kids who lived in one neighborhood – a more upper-middle class neighborhood got in.

They were in all the same classes and did the same sports.

Since that time I still assumed a leader is a person who knows all the answers and because they do we they also need to show a lot of authority so that the situation is under control.

If faced with a problem a leader will quickly identify the right option and say it without hesitation. Because of his confidence other people will believe in him too and follow the command with respect.

I’ve always felt that I have to get to that place. That there is a gap from where I am at now and the x that marks the spot of leadership territory.

Do I have to change my personality to be the leader I want to be?

My natural traits are that I am nice, empathetic, driven, thoughtful and slow to make a decision that would impact a lot of people other than myself.

4. You are either assertive and confident or you are nice AKA a loser

You are either weak or strong.

If you show traits associated with weak such as being nice, not putting people in their place when they challenge you in front of others, showing that you have it all together all the time that’s why they put you in charge, being a thoughtful slower decision maker, caring too much, showing that you are human, and patiently waiting for them to finish then you are weak.

If you show no emotion, say statements in absolute certainty, show little humanity but have a knowingness that you have it under control then you are strong and other people can admire how you hold yourself and you probably get asked how can others be the same way.

  • There can only be one assertive person allowed and you have to fight for the position

Only ONE spot allowed in the relationship. The assertive person and the weakling. Enough said.

There is always one person that is stronger in a relationship, and that person is more valuable and is generally better and the winner.

I was dog-sitting recently and the woman who owned the dog was my age.

I actually think she was born in 90 and I in 89 so I generally felt a sense that I knew more and she should listen to me. We wrestled with who is the top dog and even still it seems like she is the winner because at one point I was feeling nice and I let my guard down to say that her dog just started getting comfortable with me.

I reveled my kindness, my humanity and therefore am the loser in the relationship. And she is the superior because she stayed non emotional and gave out commands longer than i did.

Now here are new ways of thinking and beliefs that I have learned from doing my own research on becoming yourself.

5 new beliefs that I am considering:

6.Everyone carries the long black bag (shadow) It is the unsorted baggage we’ve been traveling with since childhood

I am frankly embarrassed that I didn’t fully under stand the concept of the shadow until my 29th year of life. I attribute this shame to my family not being educated enough and therefore me not knowing that the shadow is a key to freedom.

After reading the book Reboot and dabbling in 3 sessions of psychotherapy, I learned that our beliefs run everything. Belief is a word that i am numb to because 1. it’s over used and 2. no one really explains how to access your beliefs and what they are in a way that is actionable.

They just say that you have beliefs and that you have to change them. At no point did i see any messaging that said, Hey why don’t you go to therapy so that you can find out what your beliefs are and actually work with a therapist to go over your childhood and experiences and work to change the negative patterns that you are stuck in, then you can get better results in your life because your making more informed decisions.

That would’ve been helpful. But I am also working on not blaming anyone.

In the book reboot i’ve learned that everyone is carrying the long black bag of unsorted experiences that is just out of our sight. Everyone has them and it is a basis of how we chose life partners, friends, careers. It’s who we settle down with.

If you don’t sort your unconscious mind it will run your life and you will call it fate.

Do you want to be under the control of your beliefs that you don’t even know you have? And call it fate and blame it on other people? That sounds like agony to me.

One thing I touched on briefly in therapy was that I didn’t think my parent’s ambitions were enough. They didn’t accomplish enough for me to respect them. And in turn maybe that is why i am so ambitious. If i sort that out maybe i will have an even better. more authentic relationship with them istead of sometimes feeling like there is a wall between us.

7. How do I see Hierchy? The Triangle method

In the book reboot there was a moment that Jerry Colanna went into an organization that was very conflict adverse. And as a result the organization wasn’t making any progress. He asked if anyone had a lot of violence in the home when they were growing up and a few people said there had been a lot of yelling. The experiences of childhood when left unattended become future conflicts that can affect organizations and stop progress. He drew a triangle on a whiteboard and asked who is at the top. Clerly the leader is at the top. The leader that knows everything. but what if there is a better way to lead. instead of being the assertive, in your face woman who ends up getting angry when they are slighted, what if i am a “broken-hearted warrior” a term he uses in place of authentic. What if I were to lead from a place of my own vulnerability? Can women do that today and still be seen as a leader?

8. The Victim, the Persecutor and the Rescuer Mindset

I am listening to the audiobook of The Power of TED.

It is book about how to empower yourself and take yourself out of each of these three mindsets. I didn’t know that I was even in a victim mindset but now I see that totally WAS. This book is really amazing and I enjoyed it. These three mindsets create the DDT or Dreaded Drama Triange. I really felt like I was asleep all this time acting like a victim but now I am awake to that thinking and it feels great.

All three of these are positionalities are limiting and I didn’t even realize how detrimental and limiting they are.

The Victim- The victim has a poor me perspective and is at the effect of life’s circumstances. They are helpless. I’ve had to ask myself how often do I feel helpless when I don’t make others move over on the sidewalk, or when I don’t act as assertive as I can. Or when I’m too focused on being assertive that I don’t even enjoy the conversation anymore.

The Persecutor- This role fears loss of control or purpose. There cannot be a perpetrator without a victim and a perpetrator doesn’t have to be just a person. It can also be a condition, problem or circumstance.

For example:

Im not assertive

Person: Mark belittled me at work

Condition: There is something wrong with my personality

Circumstance: Society doesn’t treat women fairly

The Rescuerer- The rescuer’s underlying fear is that they will be abandoned. They need to make the victim feel better and depend on keeping the victim down so that they can continue to rescue. They may seem well meaning but it reinforces the sense of powerlessness.

All three of these positions are limiting and I realized I had been operating under the victim and perspecturor positions and they both left me powerless.

9. It’s Really Hard to Break Through the Smallness that Women are Taught to Live By

Not trying to be the victim here again but i’m having a TOUGH time breaking out of the sticky glue that is overtop of my real self. It feels like i’m trapped inside of my body to be honest. And that someone has sealed me up all my cracks with the highest quality glue.

I was talking to a woman that used to be a lawyer the other day. And I asked her if she ever had to overcome her smallness. She said she used to get shutdown when someone would challenge her. I asked if she thinks that is just a her problem or perhaps that a lot of other women experience these shutdowns because of what is acceptable of how a woman to act. To be quieter, to be more pleasing.

10. Assertiveness Isn’t Using Your Pent up Rage and Frustrations to Get What You Want

There comes a point that you get so fed up with the way you let other people treat you, or fed up with yourself for not being the person you want to be.

Then you might start to get triggered by EVERY interaction.

For me, even right now I get triggered at a lot of things. I start to have an angry reaction when I don’t feel I was respected enough, or I feel that I didn’t advocate for myself enough, or I played into my smallness, or people didn’t listen to me or dismissed me. I realized that the emotional reaction is really important.

I learned that emotions have information for us from deep inside of us. So to pay attention to how you feel. It’s for a reason.

For example, if I unpacked the reason I feel angry at interactions that I don’t feel assertiveness enough it could be traced back to feeling people-pleasing in my childhood. Not wanting to upset my family so staying small.

gabriella didio a vibrant life

The Beginning Signs and Symptoms to Live a Vibrant Life

For the last year or two, I’ve noticed that when I am in social situations afterward I always go home and cry. I always take a selfie while it’s happening to document it for some reason. But I definitely won’t post any of them.

Where are these tears coming from?

They just pour out of me. In my hotel room, on the walk home, in the Uber. Always crying because I feel that I didn’t give my best, that I am not good enough to be there, that no one likes me, and that there is always something wrong with me. I really want to let myself shine, but some questions I’m wondering is will this naturally come with time and being 30? Is this something that only i’m worried about unnecessarily? 

I thought by the time I was this age I would be the woman I envisioned myself as. The leader, the one who can speak her mind freely. That other people can look up to. The one who is charismatic, funny, self-assured and loves to have a great time. When you are that person who people can look up to it’s scary because it’s lonely and isolating.

I still get frustrated that I can’t be Gab. the name my mom, dad, and brother call me. Gab pretty much represents who I am ever since I was younger.

Courageous, a trailblazer, not afraid to take charge and fight for what they believe in. However Gab had been fading away after the age of about 25, and I’m trying to bring her back, but I feel stuck.

Can you relate?

Point blank- I am afraid of my own greatnes. My own ability to surprise people and take them back with my talents and potential and my ability to be really out there and OWN it.

You have greatness too it might look a little different than mine but still equally valuable, and just like me you might stifle it until you can’t feel the longing to let it come out anymore. Saying to yourself that good enough and okay is fullfilment for right now.

And then you start to feel like you are living a splintered version of yourself, just like I do.

And what do you get as a pathetic reward? You settle for that really high pitched voice and you have automatic responses such as you’re sorry, and have a great day, yes and nervous giggles.

Living this life that isn’t authentic to my true nature is costing me a lot.

It’s so funny that when you stop looking, parts of yourself can slowly fall away until one day you wonder how you got to this point.

Where you can’t even utter your opinion or correct someone who took your words out of context without feeling afraid of retaliation.

The reason that I am holding back and you might be holding back to, is because you are scared.

Scared of what it will feel like when you step into yourself.

Will you blow up and die?

It feels that way to me.

Will the energy shift and you will have to leave a part of yourself behind?

Will other people start to dislike you, say nasty things to you, or worse just not like the person you have become because of what if…what if your real personality isn’t acceptable.

If it doesn’t fit in with the mold that others and you expect? Even if you have the courage to stand out from the crowd and live life as you.

Anger unleashes my true nature

There are moments when I do feel empowered and it comes when I’m angry!

The anger unleashes my true nature and all automatic responses and niceties and things I have to do to get an appropriate response from others goes out the window. Bye bye!

These moments are very freeing and I feel powerful, confident, able to make steady decisions (oddly!) and there is no fear.

But nowadays, It’s just so hard to keep this facade on.

I feel obligated to fluff up my personality to keep people at arm’s length because I don’t want them to get to know me and I also have learned that you can only get to know me until a certain point.

And once we get to that point most people will start to dislike me.

Have you ever felt that way?

So I think why to bother putting my all into the friendship, you aren’t going to stick around anyway.

It really threatens my survival.

Additionally, at this point, I can’t keep relationships, I have no problem disconnecting from people on a whim. like I never cared about them at all. Even though deep down I wish I could let myself be vulnerable enough to show I care. It’s something I want to change about myself and I know it involves deep work. In the age of social media you might feel like you are more isolated and want people to know the real you. It starts with doing work on yourself first.

One way that I am becoming more authentic

Becoming more aware when i am not being who i think my true self should be

I stopped saying sorry all together

I know it’s cliche and fits in with the cultural movement of women empowerment so it is so overused, but I’ve stopped saying sorry and I think it was an important point of awareness. Because it put me in a more active role in my own life, not just someone who is sorry for breathing or sorry for walking on the same side of the sidewalk as you.

I don’t even say sorry now even I feel like it’s my fault. Which isn’t too wreckless as I don’t go around doing terrible things.

It’s all because of this Pantene commercial which I found impactful.

The only problem is that it’s hard to find replacement words for I’m sorry. Or to show condolences. I experimented with “I apologize” but I’m still not sorry so I won’t be using that word. Instead, I just say nothing or make light of the situation or say what I was doing instead.

Because i just don’t care what you think of me. I’m not here to please you. And also being myself is worth more to me than the likes of other people, who probably aren’t living authentically.

Plus I learned in a therapy session that other people’s opinions are reflections of themselves. so really, if i am living authentically and not hurting anyone why should i care? ???

2. I’m more fearless with my words, opinions, authority

I don’t know if it’s because I’m 29 and going to be 30 and endings propel you forward but I’m still scared of being disliking me but now I feel like I can handle it a bit better. I don’t get scared of the feelings that someone might dislike me. It’s hard to put into words but before if I even spoke and I felt that someone released some negative energy I always thought it was directed at me and that they hate me and I would go into a downward spiral. Sometimes I was right though. Now, I understand that I was taking things too personally.

You can stop caring about what people think by knowing judgement and opinions are reflections of other people not you. People want to hold leaders back and that is just human nature, you have to believe that being a leader is worth more to you than the flimsy opinions of others.

3. I’m getting comfortable with dressing up

I don’t know about you but I always used to read CosmoGIRL, Seventeen magazine and like most girls, I wanted to be a model when I was 16. It wasn’t because I thought I was pretty. Actually I was so self-conscious growing up. But I always idolized models and perhaps I thought if I was a model I could accept myself and feel better.

I like looking nice, dressing nicely but I’ve never felt comfortable being looked at.

And for that reason, I preferred to dress in a simple shirt and pants and not really put any makeup on.

When I do look nice I feel feelings of awkwardness, not able to be fully present because I’m so focused on the fact that I’m dressed up, and just generally more anxious.

Some times in college I really would go all out for an outfit but my I haven’t done so in a while.

I just bought a nice dress to wear to an event coming up and I know I’m going to feel awkward in it but you are only young once and to be your authentic self, if you want to look nice you’ve got to own it.

How to tell if you are lying to yourself

I also had to face the truth as embarrassing as it may be. The image of myself that I am holding on to, the person I was before i “got bullied” or people herded me and hurt me is not the person I am now. And I was clinging on to the old story that because people were mean to me at work, it was their fault not mine. They made the old Gab go away.

Well, I’m not always right I also learned. And I had to look at this excuse and see that the old me is no more. You can tell you are lying to yourself if you always blame other people for your shortcomings. Yes, you may have been through difficult circumstances but it is up to you to get yourself where you need to go.

Now, I’ve got some work to do, because I’m still living halfway in the false mask of being super nice and not authentic.

And I can keep saying I’m a leader, but my actions have to show that I’m a leader and an authentic individual. I think that is when things will really start to come together for me.

In conclusion, I am on a journey to let myself shine. I think that would be a liberating feeling. And I don’t think it’s something that has to do age. My goal is to help other people who want to be their vibrant selves and shine but don’t know how or are too scared to do it.

Will I be able to do it?

What does living an authentic life mean to you?