I recently had family over in my home for the first time in awhile due to the pandemic. It felt good to cook a meal for them and to safely gather. I was beyond grateful for this moment. When it was over I sat and reflected how I have taken for granted gatherings like this hundreds of times before.
This past year has been very difficult for many. During this time I confirmed something my dad told me long ago, that if you are thankful you will not be as fearful or worried. This is not to say that all will magically be perfect in your life, but by redirecting your mind and focus to things that you are thankful for does make a big difference (in mood and thoughts).
So many people are scared to speak on many topics right now. Scared they will come off as insensitive, saying something that will cost them friends or followers. I have seen people lash out at each other, unfriend each other, and be so unkind. People are visibly becoming more divided and on edge.
No mater if you side with the right or the left remember we are all humans. Turn your focus from the likes, follows and trying to be of popular opinion and take time to be kind to your fellow man/woman, say thank you to others and be slow to speak.
I think we can agree that we all have something we can be thankful for and that we could all use more love, kindness and support in our lives. I am in control of my thoughts and I will not let the negativity seep in. Give yourself a moment and reflect on something you are thankful for today.
Is it just me or have we become hung up on numbers? The number on the scale, the number (size) of the dress/pants, the number of calories in a donut, the magic number (age) a person “should”, be to get married, have had children, buy a home, finish school, have the dream job, the number on the bank statement and if a person is successful, the number of followers, likes, and comments on social media.
On your deathbed will you look back and care about the numbers? Obsessing over numbers isn’t healthy and not everything we see is real. The numbers can lie. Focusing on our numbers in comparison to others isn’t the best practice of self love either.
I want to remind you that we each bloom in our own time and season. It is great to strive to be better and motivate oneself pushing towards a goal, but don’t compare yourself in the process. Everyone is unique and different. In addition if you are a person that preaches to your friends on how they, “should be” (in comparison to yourself) please also, reconsider your approach.
Remember people can go back to school as senior citizens, some women have babies in their 40s or not at all, people have gotten married at 90, people without a 6 figure income are successful in their own right too, some people are healthy according to their doctor or by their height at a higher weight/larger dress or pant size and not every big account on social media got there with organic growth.
Do not be deceived that you don’t measure up by comparing your numbers to those of others. Live the best life that works for you, do things in moderation and do what makes you happy. Make decisions based on you and your family’s needs and not what society is telling you to do. It is better to be authentic than accepted. If you start to ignore all the numbers you might just find you are a little happier 💕
Many of us try to get into a routine, whether it’s exercising and eating healthy, financial habits, or staying free of clutter. The hardest thing for most people is to stick to it long enough for it to become ingrained. Once you get into the habit of doing something, it’s much easier to keep going – it’s building that habit that’s difficult.
Most of us want to be healthier, workout more, eat whole foods instead of junk foods, be more positive, and so on, but if we’re not motivated to do it, it’s easy to procrastinate until tomorrow becomes a year, or even a decade.
This advice can help make it finally happen now.
Take Advantage of a Life Change
Many ingrained habits are associated with cues from your current schedule and environment. Recently, I had a family member for example, that was faced with a major life change. This life change was buying a new home among the Washington, DC houses for sale. A move can be scary, but it is also, a great time to establish a new routine because many things will be changing anyway. New habits will feel like less of a shock when they’re part of a bigger transition. This is something that has even been proven by science – researchers, led by Dartmouth College Dr. Todd F. Heatherton, found that more than 35 percent of successful changes were linked with moving to a new location.
Focus on What Motivates You
If you can keep your “eye on the prize,” focusing on what motivates you, you can use that for inspiration to keep going, helping to make your new routine an established habit. For example, if you’re trying to eat healthier to eliminate or decrease symptoms of illness, think about how much better you’ll feel. By concentrating on how you’ll feel once you achieve your goals, it can help you stay on track.
Don’t Make it Difficult
If your new routine involves going to the gym four times a week, be sure you have your exercise clothing and other gear packed the day before. If you wait until the last minute and can’t find something you need, it can be easy to give up and forego it altogether. If you’ve been struggling to eat healthy at work, prepare meals ahead of time so they’ll be ready to grab and go. Or maybe your goal is to get into the habit of thoroughly cleaning the house every Saturday morning – be sure you have all the cleaning tools you need before Saturday rolls around. The easier you can make it on yourself, the better.
Reward Yourself for Accomplishing Smaller Goals
It’s important to set smaller goals on the way to reaching bigger ones so that it doesn’t feel so overwhelming. Define a more progressive set of goals, stepping stones that allow you to build up to your primary goals. You can make this work by giving yourself a reward that will keep you motivated every time you accomplish one. When you don’t, you might donate a preset amount of money to a charity, family member, or friend.
Share your intentions for a new routine with a friend, or perhaps on social media. If you only have yourself to account for, it’s a lot easier to skip it. If you know someone who wants to develop the same new routine, even better as you can motivate each other. Surrounding yourself with others who encourage better habits is one of the best ways to develop and stick to a new routine.
The number one question I get from people is how am I always so happy and positive💕For me mindfulness is the key to my happiness because it takes away my stress🙇🏻♀️➡️😁 Making an active decision to bring one’s attention to the present is the practice of mindfulness.
It can be difficult sometimes with all of life’s distractions to keep one’s attention in the present moment. Mindfulness isn’t easily maintained and can require lots of practice to get one’s focus back on the present. Some individuals find that by focusing on the senses of sound, feelings in the moment or other real time sensations they are able to better focus on the present. There are many teachings/therapy models that involve mindfulness practices🧠
A simple google search can attest to what stress can do to our mind and bodies. I think we call all agree that the health implications linked to stress alone are very disturbing. Pinpointing where your individual stress is coming from is the first step to eradicating stress from your life. If you feel that overthinking a situation or spending more time focusing on other things besides the present moment is causing your stress, practicing mindfulness can be beneficial to making a positive thought change💡
Being mindful of the present can direct our thoughts and focus away from these stressors. This isn’t to be confused with making future plans/goals. These types of future thinking and planning shouldn’t be stressful, but should help facilitate growth and positive change. You don’t want to eliminate them. Dwelling on what is to come or what needs to be done however can cause stress. Take time to listen to yourself and understand your own thoughts📖
I have found that by allowing myself some quiet time alone with my thoughts or to meditate helps me better focus on the present. Studies have shown that people who are able to practice mindfulness are better at managing their depression and anxiety. It is worth the effort to strive to be more mindful and aware of the present. Positive thinking is a gift and it can transform your life. Remember one day at a time😉
I have always loved the quote, “𝐓𝐨𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐲 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐞𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞𝐧’𝐭 𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐝, 𝐭𝐨 𝐛𝐮𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐝𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭, 𝐭𝐨 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐝𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞” (Will Rogers). I am a person that beats to my own little drum. Sometimes it has caused me a lot of grief to be different and to ignore the opinion of others. Trying to be something I am not seems like so much extra work🤷🏻♀️
For me I’m going to wear, do, eat and visit based on how it effects my own happiness. I don’t worry with someone else’s opinions when it comes to making these decisions. I don’t understand wanting to impress other people in this way and I highly discourage it. Being different isn’t easy and some people may judge you for being you. Let them! This is their own insecurities and has nothing to do with you🎭
Why worry about impressing other people or doing things you don’t like because you want to fit in? In the end changing who you are will make you miserable because you are suppressing your own desires, wants and likes. If colors makes you happy and everyone is wearing black don’t be afraid to be different and dress like a rainbow. If others around you choose to support certain social or political causes and they don’t resonate with you then don’t be bullied into changing your beliefs. If you enjoy reading and books aren’t cool among your friends keep reading anyway 📚
There are many examples of conforming and there is no need to alter yourself just to gain fake friends/followers or to be accepted. The things that make you unique also, make you stand out. In my own life I’ve had people actually make fun of me and then turn around and copy the exact thing I was being picked at over. Strive to ignore others and only be in competition with yourself🥇
There are more people who choose to be followers because they are too scared to be a leader. We need more strong leaders in this world. People that aren’t afraid to be themselves, to make a stand and to shine. You might be surprised how many people see you as a leader and are waiting for you to make your stand. In a flock of pigeons don’t be afraid to be the flamingo 🦩
For me coming from a small town where everybody knew my family back multiple-generations preconceive notions about me based on my last name were very common. Growing up I had many people to discourage me for wanting to strive to do good in school and to be able to make something out of myself. I was the first person in my family to attend a University and get a four year degree, followed by higher education.🙂
Education was not valued by my family. Many family members felt they had done well without it. Some people in my family were of old school values and had the opinion that a woman should only strive to get married, have children and tend the home. That is awesome if those are your views too, but it was not my dream. I even had some teachers in school to discourage me from applying to college, to tell me I was not college material and suggest I marry a nice farmer🤷🏻♀️
My point of sharing this part of my life with you is to let you know that sometimes even the people we look up to or love the most might not provide the support and encouragement that we want. Sometimes you are going to have to be your own cheerleader! If you want something and it is your dream do not let anyone discourage you from it. For me walking across that stage at commencement to get my MBA was my golden moment💪🏼
You might have to work twice as hard to achieve what you want than others with support, but it is so worth it. It is not selfish to make yourself a priority and to put yourself at the top of your to do list. If the people around you don’t want to be supportive then find people that do💕
There are somethings that I never want to hear again. Things like, “can’t you just be happy, you’re being dramatic, or it’s all in your head”. These are just a few of many comments family and friends made when they couldn’t understand what I was going through. These comments hurt and they are not encouraging to someone that is having issues. These comments made me feel like I needed to get over things, that my opinions and thoughts didn’t matter and that I was overreacting.
It is so hard to admit that someone we loved/cared for has harmed us. In my journey there were times I made excuses for others and in the end it stalled my healing process. It is OK to not always feel happy and it is ok to seem dramatic to others. This is your life and your family and friends are not inside your head. There will be times that those around you cannot relate to your anxiety, depression or pain. Your trauma is not always going to be relatable. Most around you have not experienced things the same way you have.
I think it is safe to say that in most cases the comments of family and friends are made in an attempt to try to be helpful and encouraging. However, if their comments are hurtful to you it is OK to set boundaries and tell them that their comments are hurtful. After I learned this I can’t remember regretting a time where I told someone they were being hurtful to me.
What you tell yourself, the inner conversations you have with yourself and what you allow to happen around you is very important. For me it has been very liberating to be able to set boundaries. It may be hard to admit, but whatever you are not changing you are choosing. In this whole healing process the only person I ever lost and needed back was myself. Do not get to the point where you have been gaslighted so often that you start to doubt your own thoughts/feelings and begin overthinking everything. Healing from trauma is hard enough on its own do not make it any harder on yourself.
Recovering from trauma is sometimes hard to explain to someone that hasn’t experienced it. The best way I can make it relatable is to say life after trauma is like knowing how to walk, but having to remind yourself multiple times daily that you have to put one foot in front of the other. To remember kindness and to unlearn the reactions to being hurt and to replace the bad memories with good ones is a journey.
I used to think I was broken, flawed and unrepairable. I wanted to rewind time and get back the person I was before anything happened to me. It took a lot of reflecting to understand I would never be the same woman I was before and that it was ok. I learned to embrace the scars both physically and mentally. Then one day something happened and I realized being flawed IS truly beautiful.
Most people have had some sort of trauma in their lives. Some maybe have not experienced abuse,assault or domestic violence, but pain lingers all the same. If you feel that you are flawed because of your experiences know that you are truly beautiful!
Don’t ever let anyone make you feel less of a person because of experiences that were out of your control. People are going to judge you without getting to know your story; it will hurt, but you will survive this too. Being beautifully flawed is being a survivor of your misfortunes and coming out all the more resilient.
Like a diamond which forms under heat and pressure sometimes we become the most beautiful after the trials and tribulations. So, learn to trust again even if you were taken advantage of. Be kind even if you were show the darkest side of evil. Be the light to others and don’t let anything change the person you were meant to be. Make sure the negative doesn’t win. Like a diamond shine after being under pressure. Be proud to show the world how beautifully flawed you are.
Growing up my daddy used to say to me to not get too far ahead of myself. If a person thought they were getting two steps ahead something could easily come along and knock them two steps back. Sometimes when we get that flying high, everything is going good feeling we tend to get a little careless or maybe it’s we let our guard down.
I’m not sure exactly what happens, but I know whenever I start relishing on the feeling of everything going good it seems the old devil rears his head up and smack something bad come along. This has happened to me so many times in my life I actually started to get a bit anxious about things when it seemed everything is going good.
I had to remedy this anxiety though and remind myself that life is about change and that everything in life isn’t going to be all good or bad. Life is a mix of experiences and the important part is how we deal with highs and lows. There is always going to be that negative person for example and their negativity alone can be enough to put a cog in your happiness.
Bad things are going to happen, some we will bring upon ourselves and others will come out of nowhere. Learning to deal with the negativity though is essential to having a happy life. We all have bad days, weeks or sometimes months. Yet, we can’t get too ahead of ourselves anxiously awaiting what could happen next. Don’t sabotage your own happiness.
When you feel overwhelmed remember it is ok to take a break! It’s ok to reach out for support if you need it too. Take time out and relax instead of letting the stress get to you. Find a positive outlet and remember to rest. We must not get overwhelmed, but instead live in the now and try to focus on whatever positives we do have. You can regret a lot of things, but you’ll never regret being kind-even if it’s to yourself 💕
We all have that one person in our life… You know the one that if you give an inch they take a mile. That friend, co-worker or family member that will literally keep taking from you until they literally suck the joy out of you if you let them.
For me I am a very giving person…the type that gives money to someone that needs it, brings soup or a meal to someone down and sick, sends cards, makes random sweets to share, has given parties for friends to celebrate their special day or accomplishments, someone who asks others what I can do to help them and many other acts of selflessness. I am not tooting my own horn here and I do these things because I genuinely like other people and wish to do nice things for them.
However, in the recent year I have had someone in my life that is very sick. Due to caring for this individual I had to change things like how many celebrations/parties I had at my house for events and for others. Life changed, and I had to dial things back a bit.
Out of all the friends (I thought I had) only a couple texted to ask was I ok, was the family member ok, could they help me by taking this person to a doctor’s appointment, bring over a meal or just come by to visit. Turns out when my giving and the festivities ended so did the friends! No random calls, cards, ect like I had shared with others or attention to my sick family member like I had given to theirs. I ask myself what did I do to these people…why aren’t they the friend to me like I have been to them? This made me not only sad, but also, sucked out my joy.
Does any of this sound familiar? If so please know you are not alone. My experience with this taught me that setting limits and boundaries up is important. Do not to let other people dull your sparkle or suck your joy from you. It is completely ok and appropriate to tell someone else no. It is also, ok to let people know how you expect to be treated or to remove yourself from a negative situation.
Boundaries though often not talked about are an important part of our own mental health and should be respected. I wish I would have understood the necessity of boundaries earlier in my life and held people more accountable for their actions. Remember you do not ever have to tolerate people that treat you poorly. Keep your head up and make yourself a priority!