Take a Dare

I can be pretty competitive and I love a good dare. A dear friend recently dared me to disclose here on my blog, that I got braces (not Invisalign but “real” braces). I was feeling pretty vulnerable about getting them. Wondering how I would look, a grown adult, of a certain age, with braces?!? (And it’s my second round of braces at that…so word to the wise; Wear.Your.Retainer!) Plus how would these braces impact my ability to speak clearly, especially since I do so much public speaking (well and I talk a lot in general). I also have been somewhat self-conscious about them now that they are on. I definitely do not want to draw attention to them, my mouth, myself. SO here I am being vulnerable and taking the dare.
Besides the external motivation (to take a dare) I was internally motivated to share this happening with all of you, because to me, it also represents self-care. Initially it was my vanity that moved me to consider getting braces but as I consulted with a couple different orthodontists it became evident that it is also a health issue. Learning that the alignment of my teeth and bite could impact my health as I get older was absolutely a “selling point”. Then when the ortho said “Getting your bite corrected will also help your jaw relax”, (I’m a “clencher”). Well that tipped the scales for me. I immediately felt a sense of certainty that this was the right thing to do. Not only will it help me feel more confident and potentially improve my long term health, but it could also help with relaxation. Sign me up! Anything that can help me relax sounds good to me. [Side note: you have to brush after you eat anything, every time, so it may potentially be a good dietary strategy too, since there have been many times that I think; do I want to eat this enough to have to go brush my teeth after??]
Now you may be asking, what does this have to do with you? Well if you are contemplating braces, come on and join the club! We can brush our teeth together. However, if you aren’t in need of a bite alignment or brackets on your teeth, first of all, lucky you – you can eat whatever you want! But think about it: What are you in need of? What can help you feel more confident, healthier and/or relaxed? Do you need a different type of alignment? Do you feel vulnerable sharing that need with others?
It can be challenging to figure out what you need, let alone share it with someone else. There are times when I know right away what I need. Then there are others when I’m not so sure. For me, during those occasions, even though it can feel a bit vulnerable, processing with a friend (safe person) helps me get to the root of what I’m feeling and what I need.
Take a moment for yourself, maybe while you are driving to or from work, turn the radio off and refrain from making phone calls and think about you. How are you feeling? How did the day go or what is your plan for the day ahead (knowing that those plans can change in any given moment-so maybe think about how you will respond if/when that happens). What do you need to feel confident as you continue through your day? Is there a mantra you can say to yourself? Is there a trinket at your desk that reminds you of your worth and value? (you know from previous blogs I’m all about little reminders) What do you need to feel good about yourself and all you have to offer?
Are there ways you can feel healthier? What are things you can do to promote a healthier lifestyle? Can you skip a snack or dessert? Or only take a few bites? Stop and think is this really worth it and will it make me feel better? (Sometimes the answer is yes but sometimes it is no) There are definitely times I savor every morsel of a treat and there are other times I mindlessly eat and then feel guilty later. I try to avoid those times; I do not like feeling guilty or having regret. Can you stand during work a little more than sitting? Can you take a 5 minute walk at lunch? Can you get to bed 15-30 minutes earlier?Can you laugh and share stories with a friend? They say laughter is good medicine and I believe it.
What are ways you can feel more relaxed? What helps you let go of the pressures of the day? Are there ways you can try to alleviate such pressures even during the day? Are there things you can do preemptively? Mornings can be harried so maybe try to pull together all the stuff you need for the next day the night before so you have one less thing to do in the morning. Or can you build in little brain breaks or a time out for yourself in between meetings or classes. Even if it’s just for a couple of minutes, set the timer on your phone and close your eyes. You could use that time to think of nothing or picture a relaxing scene or listen to a song that clears your mind.
Taking care of yourself doesn’t have to be a long and involved event (or include braces). Even doing small things throughout your day can help you feel rejuvenated, refreshed and more connected to yourself. Can you come up with something, it can be short and sweet, that will help you feel more confident, healthier and/or relaxed? Come on, I dare you!

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