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favorite piece of jewelry is a pewter pin with two simple words inscribed on
it: "As Is." The artist who created it, Lena Guyot, includes an
explanation with the pin. "On the journey of the self, there comes a
time when we make peace with who we are, respecting our strengths and
accepting our weaknesses. We cease to sit in judgment on ourselves or others
and get on with life."
love that thought and have worked hard to get to that space in my own life.
(And yes, I have to work to "hold that thought.")
wear my pin often. It's interesting to see the comments it provokes. Most
women take one look and say, "I love your pin."
men take one look, frown confusedly, and say hesitantly, "What's Asis
(rhyming with basis)?" My response: "She's the Egyptian goddess of
reality and I'm one of her disciples."
is it that men don't get it? I think it comes from the fact that men don't
shop as often in a Loehmans or a Mervyns or other discount stores. They don't
immediately recognize the term "as is." As is: flaws and all. As
is: Accept me despite my weaknesses.
might be working toward my goals to make changes in things I'm not thrilled
with. But I don't beat myself up over those things. I accept them lovingly
as I work to make changes. And some of my "weaknesses" I choose to
let go. I think the "As Is" idea covers a number of other
First, be grateful for our lives as they already are. That means counting
our blessings. We have a lot to be grateful for in our lives, but many of us
take them for granted. Our health is one example. Most of us don't think
about it - until we get sick. The problem with taking things for granted, is
that when you do that - when you don't acknowledge them and take steps to
keep them in your life - they sometimes go away.
other aspect of this is that by focusing on the good, you aren't focusing on
the negative. Trust me, I learned this the hard way in my own life. This is
how it works. If you focus on the negative, you become more negative. If you
focus instead on the positive, you become more positive. And I can tell you
from experience, the second way is a much more pleasant way to live your
think I really first learned to count my blessings when my husband was in
Bosnia during the war, working for the UN Protection Forces - the "blue
helmets." I stayed glued to CNN News to find out what was happening
there since we had no way of communicating (other than erratic mail). As I
watched deaths from snipings, people standing in line trying to get water,
bombed-out homes, I found perspective in my own life.
lesson stayed with me. Now, very often, when I'm facing a challenge in my
life, I think as I take a shower in the morning, "Kathie, you don't
have any real problems - you have hot running water, a roof over your head,
plenty of food - and no one is shooting at you."
hot shower has become a trigger for that memory of putting things in
perspective. My life "as is" is far better than many people in
this world will ever experience. I want to be grateful for what I already
have rather than focusing on what is missing.
Secondly, we often focus on the lack in ourselves - the things we need to
improve or "fix." Very often we don't stop to recognize or
acknowledge what is already a strength. A number of years ago, I took a
personal growth course at Ft. Lee, Virginia. One of the exercises was to
check off positive characteristics we had from a long list provided. We were
to give the same list to family members and friends to have them check off
the positives they saw in us. And they were to mark our top 10 strengths
exercise was eye-opening to me as they marked things and starred things that
I didn't even think of as strengths. Some were traits I just took for
granted. Try your own list with your family and friends. It's affirming.
As Lena Guyot goes on to say: "'As Is' is a proud declaration to the world and a reminder to ourselves that we're already quite wonderful, just the way we are."
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