Monday, December 17, 2012
Well, boys and girls, it’s been ages since I’ve mused elegantly for you. Let’s just say a busy schedule (i.e.: lack of inspiration) has kept me from it. To quote Danny Zuko from Grease: ‘you know how it is, rockin’ and rollin’ and what not.’
That’s a figure of speech. I personally don’t know how to rock and roll, but I’ve got a rock and roller living in the house, and while I couldn’t be more proud of him, it gets terribly loud here sometimes. I don’t like loud noises; that’s why I didn’t become a rock and roller myself (has nothing to do with my lack of musical talent). But I digress…
Actually, I don’t. Today’s topic is all about communication, noise, and differentiating between the two.
Since Friday’s horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, overzealous ‘reporters’ (I use the term very loosely), desperate to get their drive-by version of the news out to an eager, salivating public, have bombarded us with so much speculation that we don’t know what’s what at this point. An unspeakable act occurred. That’s all we really need to know. Our job now is to send as much healing energy to those who were affected by it, and to see if we can’t start reaching out to one another on a regular basis.
Communicating, in other words.
How do we do that, though, when we live in a world where hyperbole reigns supreme? Minor things are a ‘big deal’ – celebrity feuds, sniffles, and waiting in line at the grocery store have seemingly become the biggest hassles ever, and we’ll just burst if we can’t discuss them repeatedly and post about them continuously on our social networking sites.
That’s not communicating – it’s merely verbal purging.
Maybe if we all stopped talking for a bit, we might recognize that we’ve got more than a few lost souls among us. We’ve little spiritual, moral, and character-building education anymore, and it’s easier to pop a pill rather than get to the root of a problem and look for nonsynthetic ways in which to treat it. We’re so plugged in that we’ve tuned out, desensitized to the world around us.
Perhaps if we took Deepak Chopra’s advice in The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and sat in silence for a day, we’d be more ‘on kilter’ than ‘off’. We’d realize that we’re merely here to serve humanity in some small way. Pointing fingers does not serve humanity, by the way, nor does parading a third grader in front of a camera asking her to recall, in detail, something she should have never witnessed in the first place.
I think if we practiced the seemingly lost art of communication, we’d be a happier, healthier lot. Questions such as ‘How are you?’ and ‘How can I help?’ are good places to start (provided that we really listen to the answers and then take action if necessary). Exaggerations, bold proclamations, and incessant blah blah blahs haven’t worked. Let’s turn off the noise for a while, and see what happens.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
My husband and I aren’t the sort of people who feel compelled to take two weeks out of our summer in order to get away from it all. We’ve designed our lives as if we’re taking a permanent vacation. Sure, we work – a lot – but our work doesn’t necessarily feel like work, so we’re really not that concerned with an annual escape.
An occasional change of scenery, however, is a good thing, so I enthusiastically received the news when Mr. Newman informed me a few weeks ago that we would soon return to our little corner of the Gulf of Mexico. “Clear your schedule,” he simply said.
Mr. Newman makes things happen. His job forces him to travel, whereas mine pretty much keeps me within a five mile radius of our home. He knew getting out of town for a few days would prove beneficial to me. He’s aces, no doubt about it.
The hotel we booked is only 45 minutes from our front door, so we decided to leave around mid-day. I vowed to unplug and not think about work-related stuff that morning, but found it difficult to do so. Without any other ideas for engagement, I did what many folks do when needing a quick diversion – I turned on the TV, ‘just to see what’s on’. In case you’re not aware of it, Sunday morning programming is quite lacking, to say the least. After several minutes of channel surfing, I happened upon a reality show starring Wilson Phillips. I remembered playing their early 90’s anthem Hold On back when I started in radio. It’s a catchy tune, and the fact that they’re the daughters of 60’s pop royalty adds a certain something to their harmonizing. I didn’t know they had a show, I think to myself. Why do they have show? I ask myself. I decide to watch in order to get an answer to my question.
That question was never answered, so after the third episode you can imagine my delight when Mr. Newman tells me to get in the car. “We’re leaving,” he announces.
He’s a take-charge kind of guy. I like that about him.
We chat for bit during the drive, and then fall into that comfortable silence that strikes couples who’ve been together a long time. I begin humming Hold On, and wonder what it would be like to have Alec Baldwin as a brother-in-law.
We reach our destination, change into our swimsuits, and hit the pool. Sitting at the pool bar, I tell him that this is the first trip we’ve taken in a while in which I’m not obsessing over the well-being of our cats. Our niece, Stephanie, and her husband recently bought a house in our neck of the woods. Having them so close is great. It equals increased family time and, more importantly, free cat-sitting services. As a childless woman, the maternal instincts I have are showered upon our cats. My pride and joy, Kramer, has entered his second decade, so it’s vital to have someone monitor him on a regular basis.
“I guess Steph will check on them,” Mr. Newman says casually.
“Of course she will,” I reply. “Why wouldn’t she? We’ve texted back and forth all weekend about it.” Stephanie is one of the most responsible young women I know, yet his comment plants the seeds of uncertainty. What if something comes up and she can't check on the cats? I wonder. What if she forgets? I immediately start plotting revenge against my niece, who’s never given me any cause to doubt her.
A second pool-side margarita eases my mind…somewhat.
Anyone who’s married to a full-time musician can attest to the fact that these guys keep vampire hours. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I’m in bed by 9:30 every night. It’s never a problem at home. Once I’m in bed, Mr. Newman has complete control of ‘the downstairs’, as we call it. I don’t know what he does during the night, but you can bet he’s doing it with gusto. While traveling, we’re forced to share a single room. I don’t expect him to adopt my hours while on vacation, and he certainly doesn’t expect me to adopt his. I fall asleep as he watches television, and awake around 2am to the sound of rustling.
“What’s going on?” I ask.
“I need a snack,” he replies.
Vowing to eat healthier while on vacation, I brought goodies such as trail mix and Annie’s All Natural Graham Cookies. I tell him about the good-for-you-treats in the bag, and wait for his expression of gratitude. “Nah,” he says. “I want a Snickers bar.” He grabs some change and heads for the vending machine. Mr. Newman is playing a dangerous game, I think to myself. He comes back to the room, complaining about the lack of candy in the machine. “Try one of the graham cookies,” I smugly suggest. “No, I got some Hostess cupcakes instead.”
We park ourselves under an umbrella on the beach the next day. Typically, I utilize this time to collect seashells. As I begin my hunt, it occurs to me that I’ve more seashells back home than I know what to do with. Earlier this summer, I tried pawning them off to my young fashionistas during fashion camp when we made jewelry. “Don’t you have any beads, Miss Beth?” one student inquired. “Come on, use your imagination,” I encouraged her while jotting down the word smarty-pants next to her name on the class roster. I immediately erased it, though, for she really did have a point.
Rocks! Oh-my-goodness, this beach is full of them! Each autumn, I do a bit of landscaping around the Newman house, and ‘rocks’ topped my already-written list. Why pay $10 a bag a Lowe’s when I can get them free from Mother Nature? I begin to fill one of the several bags I’d brought with me. Mr. Newman watches, shaking his head, and utters what sounds like ‘silly woman’ as I bring my third bag of rocks back to our spot.
“Shall I rent a trailer to get these back to the room?” he asks.
“No need,” I inform him. “I can carry them back all by myself.
I like to describe myself as fit and trim, but others have described me as full-blown scrawny. Yet I am determined to get those darn rocks back to the hotel room without breaking a sweat. “I can help you carry those,” Mr. Newman offers. I really have no choice but to take him up on it, but only allow him to carry back one bag. I place the other two bags, along with my 20 lb. September edition of Vogue magazine into my knapsack and begin walking in earnest. This isn’t so bad, I think, as I walk toward the steps leading up to Seawall Boulevard. A few short seconds later, I discover that those steps are brutal when one is carrying her own weight in rocks and magazines, but I won’t give Mr. Newman the satisfaction of pointing out the obvious absurdity of it all.
“You’ll thank me when you see what sort of landscaping I can do with these,” I tell him for no good reason.
“Sure,” he responds.
We stand at the corner, waiting for the okay to cross the street. I wonder what people around us must think as they witness a grown woman covered in sand, hunched over and panting, and the man next to her, whose back could give out at any moment. That is one lucky woman is what I’d like for them to think, because it’s the truth.
Epilogue: I’m happy to report that Stephanie took excellent care of Kramer and Tallulah Belle. The ‘must-have’ rocks still sit in the trunk of my car.
If you ejoyed today's musing, your contribution to my First Style Outreach Fund is greatly appreciated: http://www.newmanimage.info/First_Style.html
Monday, August 6, 2012
I’m not sure how my passion for fashion resulted in a spiritual quest, but it did, so just bear with me, please, as I try to get a few things sorted out…
I discovered a long time ago the power of clothing. When we look our best, we tend to feel our best. As I started to pay closer attention to my wardrobe choices, a little voice from inside said to me, “Go a little deeper, Newman.” So I did. I came to understand that fashion isn’t simply about clothing – it’s about living. I wanted everything in my life to be as fabulous as my wardrobe, and no matter how deep I thought I was getting, that little voice (by now, a pest) kept telling me to keep digging. So I did.
Last week, I felt as if I’d dug to the very depths of hell. A great deal of second-hand negativity had been thrown my way from myriad sources, and by mid-week, as I fought to get around self-righteous traffic surrounding my local Chic-Fil-A, I was officially ‘done’. And by ‘done’, I mean fed up with society in general. I told a friend I could easily live the rest of my life as a recluse in a cave, provided the lighting was flattering and I could have my magazine subscriptions forwarded to said cave. She looked at me and simply said, “You don’t look well.”
Of course, that only made me feel worse, but she was right. Not only did I not look well, I didn’t feel well, either. A disturbance within the force is the only way I can describe it. Of course, we did experience a full moon last week, and I take mooning seriously. I may, too, have been suffering from a sinus infection, and I don’t take infections seriously so I probably could have benefitted by visiting my doctor before things got out of hand. But I digress….
Feeling no better the next day, I thought a little jaunt to my neighborhood library might buoy my spirits. I needed to return some books, anyway, and after what I can only describe as The Great Alan Jackson Overdue CD Fiasco of 2012 I like to return what I’ve borrowed before the required due date. Anyhoo, I perused the shelves and happened upon Shirley MacLaine’s I’m Over All That. She’s one of my favorite actresses, and I find all that ‘woo woo’ stuff she’s into quite fascinating.
I didn’t delve into the book the minute I got home. I first felt compelled to re-Feng Shui several areas of my house. At this point, I was desperate, and I do believe in Feng Shui, so after spending hours rearranging plants, speaking blessings as I waved a smoking sage stick into every nook and cranny, and vacuuming the floor (bits of dried sage can be murder to get out of rug, by the way), I settled in with a cup Yerba Mate Tea (‘hippie tea’, Mr. Newman calls it), and began reading the words of Oscar-winning actress and UFO abductee Shirley MacLaine.
And this is what I learned:
-we’re spirits here in human form (I already knew this, but needed the reminder)
-our every thought, word, and deed affects the rest of humanity (see above comment in parentheses)
-Dean Martin was the one with actual mob ties, not Frank Sinatra (another testament to the super-coolness of Dean Martin)
-politics is just jazz, and Ms. MacLaine is over that jazz (me, too!)
-fear taught in the name of religion is a big part of society’s problems (agreed)
-Jack Lemmon was aces (good to know, because I love him!)
I don’t know why I felt so much better after reading the book. Perhaps it is because Ms. MacLaine managed to successfully combine two of my favorite topics, Old Hollywood and Spirituality, into one book. Perhaps it was due to the fact that I hadn’t actually sat quietly with a book for a while. Perhaps the sinus medication finally kicked in. Maybe I’d inhaled too many fumes from the sage stick – who knows? I felt better, and recommitted myself to doing my part in getting our world back on track:
Since we are spirits in human form, why not make the most of it and wear cute outfits while learning our lessons here?
As an etiquette teacher, I feel I must gently remind the masses that good manners, kindness, and compassion for all will get you much further than a chicken sandwich, or the refusal of a chicken sandwich, depending on your viewpoint.
My work aside, I’ve accepted the fact that my personal beliefs may be viewed as ‘woo woo’ by some, so I won’t get too much into them at this point. I will tell you, though, that benevolent forces are out there in this seemingly negative world, and if we learn to tap into them, we’re going to be okay.
The negativity got to me last week – it happens to the best of us, I suppose. We simply need to shake it off, shun it when we can, and keep on putting out as much fabulosity as humanly (and spiritually) possible.
The good of our society – and our planet – depends on it.
If you enjoyed today's musing and would like to contribute to my First Style Outreach Program for Girls, visit http://www.newmanimage.info/First_Style.html
Monday, July 16, 2012
Somebody Should Really Do Something About All of the Problems!
So read a headline in The Onion a few years back. I chuckled at that one before I even dove into the faux article. I’ve known people all my life ready and willing to complain, but rarely stepping up to help. I never got it – I was always wired to jump in and take care of business. That’s how my parents did things. They knew how to ‘make it work’ long before Tim Gunn coined the phrase on Project Runway.
As I do my best to preach the gospel of fabulosity, I must remind you, Sweeties, that a little TCB makes a mighty big difference. One will never be fabulous if she’s willing to sit by and let others do the grunt work. She loses points if she complains while others are ‘gittin’ it done’ (geesh – I’ve resorted to quoting Larry the Cable Guy. How desperate am I to make my point?), and she should be smacked upside the head with a pink feather boa if she fails to say ‘thank you’ when the job is done.
And it doesn’t matter the task at hand. In many cases, one can easily make arrangements for proper health care for an elderly relative in the same amount of time it takes to unload the dishwasher and vacuum the floor. Of course, situations exist that will take more time. My advice is to start chipping away at these immediately, before you end up with a full-fledged mess on your hands.
I’d also like to remind you, too, that your attitude while pitching in determines just how fabulous others shall perceive you. When we start moaning and groaning, we’re not going about it in the right spirit. We’ll only reap blessings when we give our time, money, talents, expertise, etc. with a glad heart.
So if you’ve ever complained about the way in which something has ever been handled, put your money where your mouth is and start contributing to the greater good. If you’ve ever approached someone with the phrase, ‘You need to tell so-and-so to…” you should really think about what type of person doesn’t have the onions to go directly to so-and-so. So-and-so could very well have a full plate in front of her, and might certainly appreciate a break from you.
If there is a problem
Yo, I’ll solve it…
Yikes! I’m now quoting Vanilla Ice. Do you see the depths in which I’m sinking regarding today’s topic?
Go out there and just be fabulous. Stop whining, and exceed expectations in all that you do. Is this really too much to ask?
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best! Be sure to catch Beth’s show, ‘The Fabulosity Factor’ this Wednesday at 10am CST on BlogTalk Radio.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Very few bat an eye these days at the violent, negative, and often-times sexually explicit messages and images that inundate us daily, but you smoke one cigarette in public, and everyone goes ape.
I had to kindly explain the meaning of the word ‘acquiesce’ to an alleged-adult the other day, who in turn told me to ‘chill-ax’ with ‘all those fancy words.’
We’ll march ourselves, children in tow, into the streets in order to protest some cause that quite frankly doesn’t affect us in the long run (unless we allow it to do so), but don’t offer our kids much in the way of spiritual or moral guidance.
Is it just me, or does our society suffer from misplaced priorities?
I ask the question because it seems as if we’re dumbed-down and hyped-up on all the wrong things. We know the names of every Kardashian (who seem to multiply like head lice), but can’t recall the names of our founding forefathers, the twelve disciples, or the Rat Pack.
We can certainly point fingers and blame public education, the media, or changing times, but it really boils down to one thing: us. We simply must step it up, Sweeties. We’ve become too lax and too forgiving of behaviors that don’t serve our society well.
But I do believe there is hope for us and for future generations, and it most likely will only take a tweak or two…
Turn of the television and pick up a book.
Get to know your neighbors as well as you know the Kardashians.
Stop looking for the ‘big bang’ and realize the ‘big bang’ occurs during those simple times.
Listen more, talk less.
Express yourself through your words and deeds, and not with body art and unflattering clothes.
Go outside and sit quietly for a few minutes each day.
Love and accept others no matter their ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, or political leanings.
Help a creature in need.
Living fully, correctly, and enjoyably doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s all about taking ‘pride in ownership’ when it comes to our lives. It’s about keeping ourselves positively productive. It’s about surrounding ourselves with uplifting and entertaining individuals – even those who may live differently than you. (Side note: tolerance and acceptance are big in my book, and I’m blessed with many friends from many walks of life. Try it, you may just like it!)
If you found today’s musing a bit harsh, that’s okay. You may, in fact, be fed up with my oh-so-elegant rants, and that’s fine, too. Go forth in peace and stay ‘chill-axed’. I’ll be in the corner with a few like-minded souls who take pleasure in the little things and can communicate at-or-above a seventh grade level.
And I won’t even mind if they’re smoking while doing so.
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!
Monday, June 18, 2012
Once upon I time, I used writing as therapy. I’ve kept journals since I was about 12-years-old, and always found that getting the thoughts in my head down on paper helped me sort out things about myself and the world around me.
So does the fact that I’ve got nothing to write about today mean I’ve no thoughts in my head? No. I woke up wondering why my dryer doesn’t dry effectively. I then mused at great length over coffee about Madonna and why she won’t go away, and wondered who told her that donning a cheerleading costume on stage was a good idea. She certainly falls into the ‘just because you can, doesn’t mean you should category’ doesn’t she? After coffee I thought about the errands I had to run today and wondered if I should take my 22-year-old cat in for a face lift. Welcome to the brain of Beth Newman, boys and girls!
Since writing was, once-upon-a-time, cathartic, does this apparent writer’s block mean I’ve solved all my problems and those of the world? No. We still have good people wearing bad clothes, and those quick to blame others when things don’t go their way. We have people who’ve no idea how they’re perceived by others, and we’ve people who do dumb things on a regular basis.
It dawns on me that I’ve used writing to ease my frustrations: why don’t people want to look their best, always? Why don’t they want to take ownership of their lives? Why don’t they want to rise above and act a bit classier than their neighbors? I still ask these questions, but I’m much less frustrated than I used to be about them. My powers are limited, after all, and the world would certainly be a boring place if we were all nice, neat little packages.
Perhaps it means that I’m content – finally – to just ‘be’, and to let others ‘just be’. I’m not closing up shop, because business has been quite good lately – maybe that has something to do with my lack of motivation to write. I’m blessed and busy helping others in person rather than trying to change them through my little musings.
So what’s on my mind right now? Gratitude, for starters, for too many things to list here. I’m also thinking about what to have for lunch. And I just can’t get that picture of Madonna in a cheerleading costume out of my head….
Image Consultant, Mentor, Author
Check out my new radio show, The Fabulosity Factor with Beth Newman, at www.blogtalkradio.com/bethnewman each Wednesday at 10AM CST.
Monday, May 7, 2012
We hear so much these days about the Mean Girl Epidemic spreading throughout our middle and high schools. I even hear stories of it occurring in elementary schools. It’s bad, for sure, and takes an awful lot of diligence on the part of adults to keep it at bay. We encourage our girls to do the right thing and to live by a strong moral code. What happens, though, when the Mean Girls turn out to be adult women? We don’t hear too much about it, but I can assure you that it’s alive and well within our society.
Growing up, yours truly was the target of some Mean Girl (and Mean Boy, for that matter) behavior. Socially awkward and painfully shy, I was an easy target, I suppose. It took years for me to come to terms with that cruelty, but come to terms I did, and it’s made me the woman I am today. I’m not sharing this with you to conjure up any sympathy, but to prove a point: we can all overcome it. I’ve built my life’s work around it, in fact: I don’t want any little girl to endure what I endured. I want every little girl to know she’s special, she’s competent, and that she matters. I want to provide her with tools for ignoring the Mean Girls, tools she may very well need when encountering any Mean Women in her future.
Because I’d already ‘been there, done that’ with regard to the Mean Girls, I confess I took very little notice of it occurring amongst alleged-grown-ups. I guess at one point I was downright naïve to its very existence. I’m aware of it now, and have come to following conclusions:
Mean Women Operate Out of Fear –Disrespect and ugliness towards others stems from a fear of not being accepted ourselves. We channel this fear into the very thing we don’t want: to be forgotten, or to be seen as ‘less-than’. We fear it happening to us, so we’ll beat it to the punch by inflicting it on someone else. How sad…
Mean Women Operate Out of Self-Loathing – I challenge anyone to find a Mean Girl or Mean Woman who truly likes herself. Without self-love, there is no love. It all starts from within. Plain and simple.
Mean Women Operate Out of Immaturity – Perhaps they weren’t indulged or encouraged enough as children. Perhaps they were overly-indulged or overly-encouraged as children. Who knows? But something happened along the way to keep these women from growing up and contributing positively to society.
Mean Women Operate Out of Jealousy – Strong women, beautiful women, happy women, and successful women are often targeted by Mean Women. Instead of celebrating these women, they go to great lengths to tear them down. They exclude. They gossip. They lie. These are the things that get a Mean Girl into trouble at school. Unfortunately, you can’t send a Mean Woman to the principal’s office.
I could go on, but I’d like to move along to another topic, one that I’ve written about many times: living by example. We cannot expect our daughters, nieces, or students to be nice girls if we’re not living nicely ourselves. The old cliché of the apple not falling far from the tree is true, I believe. We must take a good, hard look at ourselves and our motives, for they greatly affect our children. If we want our future generation to live in a society of love, kindness, compassion and respect, we must put those concepts into practice – always.
I personally know a few Mean Women – women who are mothers, teachers, and leaders in my community. I implore anyone remotely responsible for the well-being and guidance of children, particularly girls, to think and live on a higher level. Get over what you need to get over and start playing nicely. Come from a place of compassion and integrity – this will serve you well.
And for anyone who’s ever suffered at the hands of a Mean Girl or Mean Woman, take heart: set your sights on fabulosity and you’ll do just fine. It’s easy to ignore their comments when you know you’re doing the right thing. Surround yourself with decent, positive people who have the greater good in mind. Strive for excellence in all that you do. Find inspiration wherever you can get it. They say that living well is the best revenge. Based on my own experiences, I know this to be true.
Image Consultant, Mentor, Author
Beth’s books, Become a First Style Fashionista and 365 Days of Fabulosity, are available through Amazon.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Have you ever wondered why our society has become so lax? Why is it perfectly acceptable these days to run around in tracksuits, peppering our language with slang and offensive terminology, basking in our lack of elegance and refinement while offering our middle finger to anyone who doesn’t like our loud-and-proud attitude? Like or leave it, someone once told me.
I don’t like it, and I just can’t leave it.
For you see, my friend, we’ve got a full-force ripple effect happening. Our croc-wearing, tattoo-bearing, attempts-at-daring affect others. Kids today are unfamiliar with the term ‘dressing for the occasion’ because they’ve never witnessed it. Recent college grads who grew up with a grand sense of entitlement don’t understand why their multi-piercings are keeping them from landing a job. Women of ‘a certain age’ don’t understand why their bawdiness has yet to attract the perfect partner. “I mean, it worked for the gals in Sex In The City, why isn’t it working for me?” they ask.
Like it or not, we are judged by how we communicate, and we communicate through many different avenues each day: the words we speak, the clothes we wear, our manners, our mannerisms – I could go on. It’s the Total Package Effect and I speak to so many women about it: you can look great, but if you don’t speak greatly or act greatly, others will not perceive you as great.
So my question today is this: what, exactly, are you trying to communicate? If you desire attracting certain people or situations into your life and you’ve yet to manifest them, you’re image could be holding you back.
I’ve seen it happen hundreds of times.
One’s image plays a significant role in her overall success, both professionally and personally.
I think a key element that leads to an ‘image downfall’ is the acceptance of the status quo. No one else dresses up for church, so why should I? Everybody enjoys fast-food on a regular basis, so why shouldn’t I? Everyone else watches garbage on Television, so why shouldn’t I (side note: garbage in, garbage out. I learned that a long time ago, and it’s very true. Think about it.)
Because it leads to stasis, and a lifestyle in stasis is a lifestyle in crises.
We should all strive each day not only to look our best, but to speak our best and BE our best. We’ve got to get over this weird ‘let’s just be comfortable and let it all hang out’ mentality and take ownership of our lives and our image. We must recognize that our choices affect others – and not necessarily in a good way.
We’ve got to get over our laziness and stop accepting things that simply shouldn’t be acceptable. If not, I shudder to think of the fruit the upcoming generation will bear. They’re looking to us and following our lead, so if we want better for them, we must be better ourselves.
Be the change you want to see in the world – Gandhi
What is it you’d like to see?
Image Consultant, Mentor, Author
ps...I've got a new e-course starting next week. It's called Your Image and You: Who Do You Think You Are? For details go to http://newmanimage.info/In_The_News_.html
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
I tend to be a bit wary of people compelled to begin sentences with “I’m the type of person who…”, for it’s been my experience that they’re usually way off the mark when describing themselves. I also find it a bit strange because they seem to be opening up a dialogue in which they’re the star attraction. As we all learned in our high school speech classes, communication is a two-way street. As we learn from self-improvement gurus, it’s better to listen rather than to speak. So I find it baffling that even though we’ve been taught not ramble on about ourselves, so many of us spend a great amount of time doing it.
And doing it poorly.
Madonna encouraged us years ago to ‘express ourselves,’ and following her lead, we did it. Madonna is a self-promoting genius; we commoners – not so much.
In an age in which our personal revelations can be, well, revealed, by the click of a button, many people assume that the general public gives a hoot-and-a-half about what sort of person we are. We’re much too busy talking the talk and not walking the walk.
I expect the spiritually in-tune woman who starts her day with some sort of uplifting New Age-y thought to remain there, and not tell me through her late night tweets how drunk she is.
I expect the man who proclaims to love and support women to actually love and support women, and not belittle and yell at them in the office.
I expect people who turn their bodies into walking billboards to come from some sort of hard-core place, not the PTA meeting.
It’s attention these folks are after, but what they don’t realize is that they’re getting it for the wrong reasons: many of us are bemused, really, by your seemingly duplicitous lifestyle. You say you’re this, but you turn out to be that.
We know who you are, not what you are, because of your actions. Maybe you want to be the person you’re describing, but you’re not, darling.
Self-expression is important, don’t get me wrong. There exists, however, more sophisticated and elegant ways of doing it. Living what you’re expounding – that’s a start. Getting to truly know who you really are – always a crowd-pleaser. Experiencing real interactions with real people rather than by electronic means – why not give it a try? Focusing on others rather than yourself – bingo! Reaching out in love and compassion in order to help others – right on!
At the end of the day, we’re remembered for what we did, rather than for what we said.
Image Consultant, Mentor, Author
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!
Monday, February 13, 2012
You see, my associate kept her business just that – her business, so you can imagine my surprise when I discovered certain things about her during her memorial service. Things like her philanthropy (award-winning philanthropy, I might add). Things like her adventuresome, beach-loving nature (I had no idea we had the sand and sea in common), her vigilant commitment to style and fashion (she never told me she met Tim Gunn, but lo and behold, there she was, photographed with him following some sort of fashion event).
Discovering these aspects about her made me realize how exceptional she really was. Showered with wondrous opportunities and accolades, she handled all of it gracefully, with dignity, and quietly.
I'm afraid we don’t see too much grace, dignity, and silence these days, do we? In this age of social media, everybody’s a celebrity. Constant status-updaters and tweeters, revealing the minutia of their daily lives, have carried the ‘Look At Me’ mentality into their personal encounters. We’ve a lot of people talking (about nothing, really), and too few listening.
Had my associate talked a little more, we probably would have become great friends, for we shared many of the same interests and possessed similar demeanors. Had she only spoken up, those of us who knew her would have understood just how ill she was in her final months. She never complained, though, and we all hoped and prayed that she’d get better. She didn’t.
I suppose that’s why I can’t suffer foolishness right now. I prefer my communication with others to be short, sweet, informative, helpful, enlightening and entertaining. I go absolutely mad hearing complaints about mild tummy aches, sinus pressure, and paper cuts. My associate spent the last few weeks of her life incredibly frail and, at age 51, needing the assistance of a walker just to get to the powder room. You’ll get by with that wart on your thumb, trust me.
I don’t mean to come across as uncaring in the previous paragraph, but my associate’s death really made me realize how silly we all can be. We take things for granted, and get too wrapped up in ourselves to do what we’re really here to do: to love one another, and to leave this world better than we found it.
Following her memorial service, I vowed to do more to make my community a better place. I’ve recommitted myself to keeping apprised on the latest in fashion, education, and writing because that’s how I make my living and resting on my laurels certainly won’t get me any further than I currently am, professionally speaking. I’ve also promised myself to have more fun, remove myself from social-media marathons, and to really go out make the most of each day. I shall love more, listen more, and laugh more.
And I shall never forget this amazing woman, her legacy, and the impact her life story had on me. Thank you,dear heart,and may you rest in peace.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I know firsthand what occurs when one defines himself or herself with a title:
“I am a teacher.”
“I am a writer.”
“I am a salesman.”
“I am a doctor.”
“I am a professional monkey-trainer.”
(Side note: I can only claim the first two, but am quite interested in conquering the last one.)
Anyway, we get too caught up in titles because oftentimes we define ourselves by those titles. We forget that there’s so much more to us than by how we make a living.
That’s why I encourage you to tap into and tune into Other Areas of Interest, which may include but are not limited to: volunteer work, pursuing a hobby, learning a new language or skill, traveling, and such. ‘Tapping and Tuning’ allows us to grow as humans. It allows us to discover new things about ourselves and the world around us. I think, too, that it makes us happier, more creative individuals.
Stretching ourselves is vital to our well-being. We must never accept complacency or mediocrity. We must remain vigilant in our desire to expand our horizons.
Our day-in-day-out routine can make us weary. We could end up in a rut. We may simply begin accepting things because ‘that’s how they’ve always been’. Yet they don’t have to be. Yes, we have responsibilities and obligations, but that doesn’t mean we must limit ourselves.
When you were a child, I’m sure you had some big dreams. Revisit those dreams, and see if you can find a way to tap into them in some way. Perhaps you wanted to be a singer, so why not join a community chorale group or your church choir? Maybe photography was your thing. Grab a camera and get to it!
As a kid, I grew up watching – and loving- the CBS soap opera, Guiding Light. I recently starting writing fan fiction based on the show. Yes, I know it’s incredibly silly. I realize very few people will take the time to read it, but it’s something I enjoy doing. It’s something that’s completely different for me. I find it a fantastic little diversion that keeps me from getting bored.
I encourage you to spend a little time today ‘Tapping and Tuning’. Step into an unfamiliar area and see what happens. If one thing doesn’t get you going, then choose another. Recall those ideas that excited you as a child. We were never meant to live merely by titles. We were meant to enjoy ever-evolving and fun lives!
Now, if I could figure out how to incorporate monkey-training and writing soap opera fan fiction, I’d have it made in the shade with pink lemonade.
Beth Newman is an image consultant, mentor, and author based out of Houston, TX. For more information about her, she invites you to visit her website at www.newmanimage.info.