According to Sheila Stone, all women have a touch of royalty just below the surface.
But, there are lies and stereotypes — “poisoned apples,” as Stone calls them — that can make us forget who we are.
“We all want to be a princess, queen or goddess. Innately, we know we are divine,” Stone said.
The creator of Gathering Resources of Women, an Ogden-based networking group, and a life coach, Stone recently spoke to a group of women at Crowley Gallery on Ogden’s Historic 25th Street about the idea of “Loving Ourselves.”
She delivered her words playfully dressed as a princess, using the components of her attire as symbols for a more serious message to women.
Stone referred to a “toolbox” of skills every woman possesses and explained how these tools are useful and important, but they can hurt us if we see them as our true identities.
“We must be careful not to get our identities wrapped up in our resources. We get so attached to external validation. We need to know who we are instead of relying on external sources to validate us,” Stone said.
One of the “poisoned apples” Stone described is the statement: “You are only good enough if you show up in the world in a certain way.”
“Too many women are biting into this one. But, we need to value the unique things we all have to offer,” Stone said.
A rosy hue
Everyone can benefit from a good pair of “rose-colored glasses,” said Stone, since they help us see people in a positive light.
“But they can interfere with our perception because sometimes we kiss a frog and we don’t want to admit to having kissed a frog, so we make him out to be a prince instead of getting rid of the frog,” she said, metaphorically referring to living in denial about bad decisions.
Stone advised that we should stay open and curious as we examine what is going on around us. “Curious keeps us out of judgment. Rather than saying, ‘That is good or bad’ we can say, ‘That is curious and I need more information about it’,” she said.
While it is good to stay positive, it is also important to be aware that sometimes we see what we want to see instead of what is real, Stone said about the dangers of rose-colored glasses.
Pretty and pleasing
Stone showed her audience a sparkly pair of shoes she calls her “people-pleaser platforms” and explained that we all want to make other people happy, and doing so can make us happy.
“We are community-oriented creatures by nature and that is good, but if we get too attached, we will wind up throwing ourselves under the bus to keep everyone else happy,” she cautioned.
To overcome this, Stone said to focus on being “kind” rather than being “nice.”
“One of the most empowering words is ‘no.’ We can say, ‘I love you and the answer is no.’ If pleasing others makes you happy, that is great, but don’t abandon yourself. Don’t do it at your own expense,” said Stone.
Honor the light
Stone also held a beautiful scepter in her hands to symbolize the desire to keep order, control and peace in our lives and homes as we “rule with kindness.”
This is a good goal, but Stone said things go wrong when we try too hard to control the people and events around us.
Jokingly, she pointed to the scepter and said, “If we get too attached to this, we can end up beating someone over the head with it while trying to control other people and circumstances.”
Instead, she recommends taking responsibility for the things we can control and trusting other people to come up with their own solutions to what they are contributing to the problem.
“We just have to show up and be our best selves. Be accepting of ourselves and others for where we all are in this journey of life. Be flexible instead of controlling, and be open to different outcomes,” Stone said.
Stone’s flowing robes represents how appearance affects our identity. She pointed out that we all take on multiple roles, such as mother, daughter, wife, sister or our careers.
These roles are important, but Stone warned, “They cannot become our identity because, like all things in the universe, these roles change.”
In addition to titles, some also become attached to our outer beauty. “If we believe we have to look young and beautiful forever, we will not be happy,” Stone said.
Colleen Reid, a Clearfield resident who frequently addresses groups of women about topics such as self-esteem and growing old gracefully, agrees.
“I have so many wrinkles. I even wrote a funny song about trying to get rid of my wrinkles,” Reid said, with a smile and a twinkle in her eye.
“A little bit of advice is that we are all going to get old, and it is not a disease,” Reid added. “It isn’t easy getting older. A lot of things happen that are not easy to deal with. But you have to find a way to enjoy it and stop thinking about the things you can no longer do. If you can do nothing else, at least be cheerful.”
Stone said that one of the biggest “poisoned apples” or lies women believe today is that we are “not enough.”
“We came into this world divine and we are enough, but we need to love and validate ourselves before we can ever give to anyone else,” Stone said.
Carla Vogl, a life coach from Layton, gave a recent workshop, “Love Your Body,” at Weber State University on similar topics.
“When we start to feel a sense of our own inner light, we stop trying to be someone else and begin to value our own talents more,” Vogl said.
“What is beautiful anyway?” she asks, adding “Most people are somewhat insecure about how they present themselves to the world.”
What is important, Vogl said, is that we combat these insecurities before they bruise us by way of negative self-talk. She suggests evaluating the things we say to ourselves when we look in the mirror and make a conscious decision to change our words to self-affirming statements.
“Our constant dominant thought creates our reality,” she said.
For example, saying to yourself, “I am a healthy person. I never get sick,” can create a positive, self-fulfilling prophesy.
Vogl also urges women to take an inventory of what they are doing to take care of themselves.
“Identify your intrinsic values and follow them,” she said. Whether it is getting some exercise or making strides toward healthy eating, Vogl reminds women to take care of themselves as well as they do the people around them.
One way to do this is to identify the things that help you relax and take the time to do them, Vogl said.
It can be as simple as holding a yoga pose, meditating for a few minutes or taking a hot bath each day.
Or, as Stone puts it, “Ask yourself, what have I done to honor, acknowledge and give a gift to my inner goddess today?”