Learning

This morning I am inspired to write. On my way to work today I stopped at the 7/11. I almost didn’t stop, but I am in need of some serious caffeine today. At this particular 7/11 I always see this same older man standing there buying lotto tickets, drinking coffee and chatting with everyone who walks though the door. I love when people are outgoing like that, so I always chat back with him. Well today he commented on how I am always smiling even though its so early in the morning, then he said, “are you on your way to work or school?” I replied “well I’m on my way to work”. Then the nice man said “well you are past all that school stuff then” to which I replied, “I might be out of school but I will never stop learning.” This made him laugh a little for some reason, maube because I think that would not be a typical response from most people. after he laughed a little he said, “well what do you want to be when you grow up?”. First of all I thought it was pretty cool that he doesn’t think I’m a grown up (sometimes that’s how I view myself as well) but the question in general is not something I hear any more. its normally what do you do? or where do you work? but the fact that he asked what I “wanted to be” was, in my eyes, pretty amazing. without skipping a beat I answered his question, “I want to be an inspirational speaker”. he got all wide eyed and said “wow! I’ve never heard that one before!” I just smiled and told him to have a nice day. on my way out the door he yelled out “good luck with your career!!” I think he really meant it.

Although, I don’t believe its about luck. its about the will to learn and the drive to push yourself to do so. Continual growth and development in your life is key to success. there are many people that get complacent with the life they live and they do not keep pushing themselves… well because they have a steady job and a paycheck. But if you want to live a wholehearted and fulfilling life then change, learning, risk and growth will all play factors in your journey forward.

So, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Fear

Fear manifests itself in many different ways. Some times when you are afraid you can be angry, sad, mean, depressed. Most of us also have a physical reaction to fear that is truly uncomfortable. Personally, by stomach hurts, my hands sweat, my heart races… actually to the point where I start to feel very light-headed. Either way, no one likes to feel afraid. But guess what? It is totally fine to feel this way, actually it might be very odd if your body did not react in a stressful time.

Here is the tricky part: Do not let fear take over your life. Accept and notice that you feel that way, make decisions based on your rational and logical thoughts, and then move forward with your life. You cannot let fear dictate how you will live, but accepting that it is a natural feeling, and being ok with that feeling could help more then you know.

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Trust me when I say that I know we are all afraid of something. I have a total body reaction when I have to speak in front of a group of people, even if those people are my family I can feel my heat racing. My body and mind are just not comfortable with it, for whatever reason, that is part of what makes me who I am. I believe that with time, practice and acceptance of those thoughts and feelings that talking in front of a group of people will get easier.

Another kind of fear, and also the reason I thought of writing about this today is the fear of pain, or the fear of the unknown. Today I am having a surgical procedure, it’s called a laparoscopy. I have been told before that it is a relatively easy procedure, with three incisions and I will be there about 6 hour’s total. Yes I am a little afraid of being in pain, but where most of my fear resides is in the unknown. In the past when I have been administered anesthesia I always wake up screaming and crying and I have no control over it. I have called people names, I pushed people. This is not me, and the idea that this drug can change my personality in a negative way, even for a short time bothers me. With that being said, I have decided that I can accept that it is a possibility that this might happen. Also, I could be optimistic that this time might be different. I am mentally prepared for it and I have learned strategies to calm myself down in a stressful situation.

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The only other thing that bothers me is that I really don’t know what to expect, I mean, they told me that the procedure could last anywhere from 1 to 3 hours depending on what they find. How long will my recovery be? Either way I have some time off of work so I will be able to take the time I need to relax and heal. Whatever happens today I can handle it, I am a strong women and this is just another part of the journey of my life.

Embrace your fears, they are part of who you are, but do not let them dictate how you are going to live your life.

The Judge

“Who is more judgmental? The judge who is judging people or the judge who is judging the judge?” – My friend said that.

I went to the gym today at 5:30am all pumped up and ready to go, I have started to really like Monday because of the fact that I start my day with the gym, I feel motivated at work, and then after work I get to visit my chiropractor (he’s awesome). Anyway, I sarcastically wore this shirt that says “I hate Mondays” to work out in today. I regularly meet up with one of my friends at the gym to work out with. A few minutes after we started out he said, “you know Sarah, you need to be careful wearing that shirt in public”. I looked down at my “I hate Monday’s” shirt and said, “why? I don’t actually hate today, I just thought it was a funny shirt”.  After I said that he went on to tell me that “Mondays” Is a racial slur for Black people. My mouth dropped and I said, “you have to be kidding, that’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard”. He explained to me that he was not kidding and that someone made up this way of calling African Americans Monday’s so that they could say “I hate Monday’s” and it would have a double meaning.

I looked it up on the urban dictionary, and sure enough there it was. Well this really upset me. Not only is that terrible, but it reminded me that there are still people out there that actually judge people by the color of their skin. I just don’t understand how you can have an opinion about someone without actually knowing them. Also, I wore that shirt in complete innocence, I was talking about the day of the week, this should have been a fun thing. But now I will never be able to wear that shirt again because it will just upset me.

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Basically this experience got me to thinking how judgmental we are as humans. I am guilty of being overly judgmental of myself, I do not judge people by the color of their skin, that is something I feel very passionate about, but I do find myself judging people by the way they dress (pretty much just as bad) – this is something I need to work on. I think when we pre-judge other people based on how they look or a feeling we get it is because of the way we grew up and a series of experiences in our life that makes us think in the back of your head, “that guy with the cut off sleeves is probably a total douche bag”. Some people call this “intuition”, having a feeling about someone for unknown reasons, its probably based off of something that happened in your life. “The moment I saw that lady I had a bad feeling about her”. Sure, maybe your pre-judgment and intuition is correct, but what if she is the most wonderful person you have ever come across and you didn’t even give her a chance.

I have also been reading a lot about self-judgment. When I am sad I get upset with myself for being sad, and tell myself I am being a baby. When I am scared I do the same thing. When I am angry I get sad because I let me emotions get so out of control. When really all of these feelings make me human and I should allow myself to have them. If I want to overcome adversity in life I am going to have to stop being so quick to judge myself for having these feelings. It’s okay to sit with these feelings and learn from them instead of telling myself they are not okay, and learning nothing.

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We all need to continue to learn how to give ourselves a chance just as much as we need to give other people a chance. We will never know how another person will impact our lives if we don’t give them a chance. We will learn so much from ourselves if we allow ourselves to have emotions and be okay with it.

Adversity

Adversity is what makes us. Its molds us into who we are. These last few weeks have reminded me how I overcome adversity. In my last post I have explained how I have been feeling depressed lately. I know that many people can feel depressed for no reason at all, but I feel like my depression generally comes on when I am in the face of tough adversity. My first bout of depression was when I was 17, my mom had a stroke that completely changed the dynamic of our family, not only that but watching what she and the rest of my family went through was awful. Depression. When I was 22 I was married for a short period of time, he cheated on me and we got a divorce. Depression. At 23 after years of dentists trying to figure out what is wrong with my teeth I was told that I had to have them all pulled. Depression. (I had no enamel, they were like chalk, but now, $30,000 later I have beautiful teeth). Right now I am having some problems with my female organs. Depression.

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I have been thinking about how I have overcome depression and adversity in the past and this is what I have come up with:

  • Talk about it. Depression, and shame cannot survive when it is talked about. You have more people willing to be there for you than you think.
  • Have Faith. This can mean a lot of things, weather you have faith in god or faith in humanity that is a very personal choice. I have to keep reminding myself during hard times the following things: Everything happens for a reason, I will not let this define me, I am stronger than this and this is only temporary.  I know that many people will disagree with my view on faith (hi dad) but like I said it is a personal choice, and a way of living wholeheartedly.
  • Don’t Stop. I find that when I am experiencing depression I know that I am going through it because I lose interest in everything & I don’t feel like anything will make me happy again. So I remind myself that I love to work out and I force myself to go workout even if I am so mentally exhausted, I know that the end result will make me feel better. Keep up with your daily routines that you normally love, it will help you on your road back to happiness. Don’t give in to the “uninterested” feeling.
  • It’s a Sickness. Think about depression the same why as if you were to have the flu. The flu feels awful, what if you were to internalize that the same way that you do with depression and think things like, “I’m going to feel this way forever”. But in reality if you treat the flu for what it is, a sickness, you will get better. When you are sick you go to the doctor, why not go to a therapist to talk about what you are going through, there is no shame in that. I go to one even when I am in a good mood, its really nice to have a professional opinion about things that are going on in my life. Just like having a regular doctor I can go to when I am sick, I have a therapist I can go to when I am depressed. Anyway, the flu does not last forever, and neither does depression it is only temporary and you will get through it.
  • Gratitude. It is important to remind yourself of all of the things in your life to be thankful for. I have a great job, wonderful friends & family, the courage to talk about how I feel, and an amazing fiancé. Cultivate and attitude of gratitude. Count your blessings.

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Adversity will always be there. Because of everything I have gone through I am a much much stronger person today. These are also the times and feelings that make you truly appreciate life when it is going really great. You cannot have happy without sad. If anyone else has a strategy on how they get through the hard times in their life please share it. you could be helping me and you could be helping other people by talking about it.

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Depression

I know this is not exactly the most positive topic, but I think it is important to acknowledge that depression is a very real thing. I have suffered with depression off and on throughout my life. The last few days have been really hard for me to write because I have been suddenly struck with depression. Without warning it comes into your life, it feels like nothing you do or no one that you talk to will fix this feeling. It feels like everything I have been doing is for nothing. I ask myself questions like, “What is the point of all of this? why do I even care?” I try to isolate myself and hide from my own mind because I don’t like the way that it is thinking.

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This morning I realized that it might benefit me or possibly others a lot if I talked about it. I know that I am not the only one that struggles with this. I know that I am a positive person that can overcome this hard time. this is where mindfulness would come in handy. It’s okay to acknowledge that I am depressed, but it is important for me to talk about it. I should not feel embarrassed, shame and depression cannot survive when it is talked about. So I am talking about it. it is important for me to not discontinue my routines and give into the soul-sucking black hole of depression. I need to continue my workouts – if I stop doing that I will get even more depressed that I am not doing what I love (and working out creates endorphins), I need to continue with this month’s focus of meditation (it does help a lot). I need to keep writing and reading I love doing both of those.

Its times like these that can either make me stronger or weaker. I choose stronger.

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Integrity

Integrity is being true to yourself and having strong moral values. To compromise your moral values, shows a lack of integrity. Did you make a mistake? Own up to it. Hold yourself accountable. No one likes to admit they were wrong, or accept defeat, but trust me when I say that people will respect you more, and you will respect yourself more if you know how to admit and accept your mistakes. I don’t understand why we need to be so prideful?

Put the money, your pride, the popularity and your insecurities aside. Stay true to who you are. If people don’t accept you for who you are then you don’t need them in your life anyway.

You know the difference between right and wrong, so implement that into your life. It takes courage to hold yourself accountable. Stand out in a world where everyone wants to fit in. learn to love yourself, stand up for what you believe in with tact and empathy and the rest will follow.

Speak your truth with confidence and integrity.

Happiness

I feel a bit like it is cliché to write about the New Year. This is the time when people least need a pep- talk. Everyone is already reminded about “new beginnings” and asking each other what our new year’s resolutions are.

I think the reason why it bothers me is because I am a firm believer that every day is a new beginning, and that, you don’t need the new year, or the old, “I’ll start on Monday” excuse in order to make a positive change in your life. Stop making excesses and take steps toward your goals now. You are never going to be “ready” to quit smoking, go to the gym, eat healthier, have more patience, make more time for your family, ect…

So generally I do not make a new year’s resolution, but this year I have decided to do something a little different. I have made a list of 12 things that make me feel really happy & that I would like to practice in my everyday living. Each day, at the end of the day I am going to read over my list for an entire year and evaluate weather or not I have made these things part of my everyday life. This idea is based off of a book I am reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. I have only read the first chapter and considering the time of year I feel completely inspired to try a similar version of “The Happiness Project” in my life.

Each month I am going to focus a different thing that makes me happy – while I want to incorporate each of these into my everyday life I think that I should build on each one every month of the year.

  • Meditation – I have found that I generally have a better day when I start it with some meditation. How I meditate may be different than other people, but I think that it is important to give my brain a chance to just be quiet and relax.
  • Love/Marriage – I am getting married this year so I feel like it is important for me to not get lost in all of the noise and enjoy every step of the planning process as well as keeping in mind that it is a celebration of our love.
  • Family – I am not as close with my family as I would like to be so I would like to take this year to learn more about my family, be closer with them and more a part of their lives.
  • Healthy Eating – I am already a very dedicated healthy eater, but just like everyone else I have my slip ups. I wanted to be reminded everyday that healthy eating is just part of my daily happiness.
  • Affirmation – when I say affirmation, I mean for myself as well as the people around me. I believe that positive self-talk is very important. You cannot move forward in a positive manor and become successful if you constantly put yourself down – remind yourself that you are worthy of success.
  • Mindfulness “the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one’s attention on emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment” it is important to know how you are feeling, don’t hide from yourself.
  • Exercise/Zumba – I am also already very into working out, but just like everyone else staying on track is very difficult – I want to find a good way to regularly balance this into my life. Also, this year I want to become a Zumba instructor. What steps am I taking each day to reach this goal?
  • Writing/Blog – I want to spend a lot of time writing this year, weather it is in my personal journal or on my blog, writing is a clear way to show progression and also cultivate creativity in my life.
  • Read/Learn – I want to spend a little time everyday reading or learning something new. Knowledge is power.
  • Gratitude – I want to learn to be more thankful for little things in my life as well as big moments.
  • Creativity – I absolutely love to draw, paint, scrapbook, take pictures, do crafts. Pretty much any way to use my creative brain is so much fun for me – I want to find a way to balance the act of creativity into my life as well.
  • Compassion – I want to learn to be more compassionate for others.

I am aware that this is a pretty hefty list, but I also want to make big changes in my life. I would like to encourage all of you to really consider the things that make you happy in life, and really evaluate how often you do these things. LIVE HAPPY NOW. Cheers to a HAPPY new year!!

Courage

It has not been until recently that I have had an actual realization about what courage is. I have always thought a courageous person is someone who is willing to sky dive or climb a mountain or wrestle an alligator in a pit full of snakes. Although all of these things do take courage, there is a different picture painted in my mind now when I think of courage. It is courageous to stand up for what you believe in, it takes courage to work hard every day for something that you want in life.

A friend of mine is running for a spot in her village for one of three available trustee seats, she is by far the youngest who is running for this, but in my opinion, she is the most passionate. I can’t imagine how scary/exciting it must be. Even if “the Plan” does not go as she intended, she tried, and that’s more than most of us can say about going after what we want. That. Is. Courage. And it inspires me. 

Courage is pushing your way through 8 years of college and not knowing if it will even make you successful.

Courage letting your self be fully vulnerable to the world, dancing to the beat of your own drum.

Courage is speaking your truth with confidence and integrity, knowing that it is not what everyone else agrees on.

It is truly a courageous act to be yourself and stand out in a world where people just want to fit in.

How can you ever really feel like yourself if you are just doing what everyone around you wants you to do? Just because your parents were lawyers does not mean that you need to be one. Find out who YOU want to be. What you want to do with YOUR life?

It takes courage to wake up in the morning and take action to what you want to be in life. Learn to love every second. Courage is not easy, it is hard, it is work, but is worth it.

The Plan

If I have learned one huge lesson in life, it is that nothing ever goes according to plan. This stands true on a small scale and on a large one. Sometimes you can be so excited about your well thought out plan for let’s say a party that you are hosting, but then you did not anticipate that your that caterer would forget about one of the appetizers you wanted. Looking at the bigger picture this is not that big a deal & at the end of the day no one is talking about your lack-of gourmet appetizers. sometimes you should just also let go of things you cannot control. The only person that can make you feel ashamed of that is yourself.

To give a more personal example – I am getting married in August, this is a pretty detailed party to plan. I have to constantly remind myself that it is ok if everything does not follow my plan exactly, I don’t need to “sweat the small stuff”, I have seen people panic at the last second about their flowers not being exactly how they pictured them to be, or how their eyelashes don’t look perfect. At the end of the day, all that I can hope, is that people will just remember how much fun they had.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if a person is going to be very nit-picky about something like they don’t like about your wedding/party/event or whatever sort of plan you have ( because we all have those kinds of people in our life), ask yourself if you really care what they think? If you do, then ask yourself why? Does making them happy make you happy? You should be doing what makes you happy and stop worrying so much about everyone around you thinks. if you don’t care what they think, then let it go and don’t let it bother you. What other people think is none of your business anyway!

On a larger scale – you have always dreamed about going to college, getting your dream job, marrying your dream husband/wife, having your cute little dream children and living in your dream house. Well that’s is absolutely great, we should all dream, we should all dream BIG. But what we all start to learn (or should learn) is that life does not just hand you things, and that the world does not owe you anything. You need to work, I mean you need to work hard for what you want in life. What if you had to quit college because of an un-expected medical problem, maybe you end up with a completely different job then you wanted originally (but you should still be working your way to what you do want) and you are only able to have one cute little kid instead of the three that you wanted, your house is not a dream house, but it is a place to call home, and that is something some people can only hope for.

The point I am trying to make is that the plan is constantly changing & you have to be open and accepting to change. Embrace change. Appreciate that small success as well as the big ones, love every moment of your life, because even if it was not the life you had planned out on paper, it is still your life! Enjoy it! don’t be sad that its not everything you have expected it to be, but be happy and proud of how far you have come, and never stop learning and growing and pushing to meet your goals.

Make a plan to accept, that everything might not go according to plan.           

Let’s be Real.

I want to live a real life, with real emotions and real situations. I do not want to hide from reality, I want to embrace it. I want to be my true self and speak my truth with honor and integrity. I want to have relationships that matter. I want to stand up for what I believe in, but also be open minded to the opinions of others. I want to love the person that I am, have confidence in my body and my mind. I want to nourish and love my mind and body. I want to accept an analyze criticism with open arms. I will not be a victim of my past.

These are all of the things I want in my life. What do you want with yours?
Live in a real life with real emotions.

In this world disasters happen, depression strikes when you least expect it – that is inevitable, it is the way that we handle adversity, learn from our mistakes and how we turn our failures in to successes that matters.

I do not want to hide from reality.

We cannot hide or ignore the real situations around us, not letting your feelings happen will eventually result in a pretty catastrophic mental explosion. How can you learn from your life and your mistakes, other peoples mistakes, how will we not let history repeat itself if we shut ourselves out from the real world?

 I want to be my true self and speak my truth with honor and integrity.

A good friend once said “to be your true self is to leave yourself completely vulnerable.” If you believe in something, then don’t be ashamed of it – especially if it flows against what society wants for us. Change is a living & breathing animal in this world. Be part of that change, be part of the real world where you can have opinions and you can start from nothing and become something amazing and influential in history. “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” – Dr. Seuss.

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I want to have relationships that matter.

Something that is hard for people to realize, is that you DO NOT need to be friends with everyone, you do not need to please everyone. You can be a humble, loving and caring person but still stand up for yourself. Don’t let me people walk all over you. this happens a lot with people who are really nice – your greatest strength is also your biggest weakness. Are you a nice empathetic person? GREAT that’s AWESOME! But use your empathetic intuition to realize when someone does not care about how you feel, then why should you bend over backwards to protect their feelings? Stand up for yourself with TACT and EMPATHY. Say how you feel, standing up for yourself does not have to be a war, and most of the time, when you stand up for yourself people will respect you more. State the facts without insult. Diplomacy is a skill, if you can master this skill you can use it in more situations that you can imagine. Learn from the bad relationships and build on the good ones, the ones that make you a better person, the ones that lead you down the path of happiness and success. Relationships are two sided .

I want to stand up for what I believe in, but also be open minded to the opinions of others.

Speak your truth and stand up for it, but also realize that other people have opinions too, opinions that matter, opinions and ideas that you can learn from and incorporate into your own journey. Be open minded to what other people say. Realize that just as you may disagree with how/ what they think, that they are allowed to disagree with how/ what you think as well. The important part is to listen and to HEAR what people are saying. It is just as important to listen to yourself as it is to listen to others. Effective communication is the key to ANY and ALL relationships in your life.

I want to love the person that I am, have confidence in my body and my mind.

There is no fast way to fully gain confidence in yourself. Finding your true self is a journey that takes time and focus. Nourish your mind with meditation, reading, writing having deep and meaningful conversations and working on your all around mental health. Find the healthy way to solve problems, think outside the box to resolve tricky situations. Nourish your body with exercise, and nutritious food that will benefit your body, not just your taste buds – and trust me when I say it is possible to do both. There really is good tasting healthy food in this world. Start caring about what you put in your body and research it. you only get one body and one mind in this world, take care of it , love it, nourish it.

I will not be a victim of my past.

We all have those defining moments in our life – that very point in time where are whole world changes. Situations like that can either make you stronger or weaker, you chose. These defining moments help mold us into who we are today, but it is not who we are today. It does not define you, it is not the reason that you cannot move forward in your life. Without giving 100 examples, I think you know that point in your life that I am talking about. Let it make you stronger NOT weaker. You are a better person because of it, you are stronger person because of the adversity that you have overcome. You can handle more emotional and physically because of your past experience. You can teach others how to overcome adversity. Let it bring you up, do not let it bring you down, find a way to make every and any situation better you as a person. you are the only one making you a victim of your past.
Let’s be Real.

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