I’m sorry…I’m sorry…

We all seem to have a “go too phrase” that we use most often. For awhile growing up mine was “it’s not my fault”… but shortly after my teen years that turned into “I’m sorry”. Interesting how I went from pushing the blame from me to sounding like i am accepting blame and apologizing for something. I am not even sure really where or why the transition happened… if i has to guess it would probably be around the time I developed an inner fear of letting my parents down or disappointing them. “I’m sorry” was a saving grace for bad grades, being late home, getting stuck in traffic.

When I say “I’m sorry” I am not always admitting fault, I might be apologizing that something happened. At least that is what I am telling myself. Internally though, I still feel responsible, guilty or concerned for the outcome. Even if the situation is complexity out of my control I will apologize. Today for example i apologized for the behavior of someone i don’t know, i have never met, who was 3500 miles away from me…It’s a boundary that I need to work on. I will start sentences with “I’m sorry to say this but…” or “I’m sorry but my opinion is…” but why? Why am I sorry for having an opinion? Isn’t that part of being an adult… being allowed to unapologetically be ourselves?

I had this conversation last night with my partner. I apologized for something that was no ones fault… but then I stopped and said “no I’m not sorry, because I didn’t do it”. Within 5 minutes I said “I’m sorry but I don’t agree”. I stopped myself and said “I’m not sorry. I just disagree with you and that’s ok”. It was like I had hit myself over the head. I am not sorry.

Now of course there are times that apologizing is the correct thing to do. When you do something wrong, apologize: that’s another part of being an adult. Admit when you are wrong and know that being wrong is ok.

There is a power in owning your opinion, your actions, your voice. When you stand tall and speak true there is no reason for “I’m sorry”.

Paint by numbers

Growing up I loved paint by numbers… I was terrible at them, couldn’t paint a straight line so I would always end up mixing over to another section. I don’t think I ever completed one. But there was something fun about them, the control, the rules. Knowing that if I followed the steps, it would look how it was supposed to look.

In some ways wouldn’t it be great if our lives were a paint by number, where we knew what we needed to do at what step to turn our life into the preprinted, designed masterpiece it was destined to be… But sadly life isn’t like that, 2020 has taught us that no matter how controlled or organized you plan out, something can come along and run your paint into the wrong section.

Every life is a piece of art that is open to interpretation, the downside to any paint by number is that it doesn’t give you freedom… life gives us that freedom, to mess up, to make mistakes and the freedom to own them and create our own vision.

In life we never know what color comes next, what hurdle we have to jump… or what hurdle will take us down. The point is, we have to stand back up, we have to keep painting, through the pain, through the tears, through the losses, the wins and the smiles. Your masterpiece is never complete until you stop painting… sometimes you find out that you only have a few weeks to finish your painting, sometimes you don’t get that warning.

Would that change how fast you paint, would you rush through all the steps to complete your painting faster? Or would you savor east brush stroke… appreciate the colors, their vividness, their ability to blend and create depth in your art.

No matter how much time you have left, you should savor each stroke, each swish of the bristles on the canvas that is your life because you don’t know how long you have, but even an incomplete painting that was created with care and love is still a masterpiece. Life is not a paint by number, life is a Bob Ross painting where happy little accidents can change you for the better. Love every moment, love every brush stroke… because when your painting is done, the masterpiece is all you leave behind. Make it beautiful.

Your inner critic

A few months ago I listened to a podcast that talked about your inner critic… and it surprised me, I never really put a name to the voice in my head, the doubter, the naysayer…I never realized that the voice was criticizing my thoughts and actions. Nearly all of us have this voice, this inner monologue that tells us “you are not enough, so why even try”.

What has your inner critic stopped you from doing? What risks has it saved you from… or what paths has it stopped you from pursuing? What clothes has that voice told you don’t fit you right? Or made you feel like you need to lose weight, gain weight or go to the gym? Now I am not saying an inner critic is a bad thing, it brings balance to your mind, in some ways it keeps you safe… but when your inner critic is ruling your mind 90% of the time, you aren’t living, you are hiding.

That’s the thing with your inner critic, they know you better than anyone, they can push those buttons that make you feel ashamed, scared, weak and worthless… and most of the time they don’t hold it back. It wares you don’t, it exhausts you and before you know it, you feel like that inner critic is talking the truth. But are they? Or are they just bullying you? If they were a separate person who talked to you like that, you wouldn’t answer the phone when they called or open the door when they knocked… the way things that your inner critic can treat you, it a way that you would never EVER treat someone else… so I ask you this, why do you talk to yourself that way?

The podcast said we should try talking to ourselves how we talk to our best friend, that person who we love no matter what they have been through… this through me off, I would never talk to my best friend how I talk to myself. But that’s the point isn’t it… kindness, support, love and friendship… that’s how we should talk to ourselves. If you can switch your mindset and lead with a voice that they called your “best friend” voice, you would take more chances, make more decisions to better yourself and support yourself. It’s tough, trust me… with everything going on in the world negative does feel like it rules, but you can control your inner critic, you can put them in check and let your “best friend” speak up.

I encourage you to try it, when you feel your inner critic is ruling your mind, stop and think how would my best friend voice respond. With love.

Don’t put yourself down. There are plenty of people out there who will judge you, who will put you down… and who will criticize you. Don’t do that to yourself.

Take risks, make choices to make you happy.

Life is always worth exploring.

Who’s life are you living?

This may sound like a strange question… but when you really think about it, are you being true to yourself? Are you living your life or are you living a life to keep up with the social media influencers? Or the life that you were told you needed to live.

When you think about your goals and aspirations as a child you could be anything you wanted, there was no dream too big. But as you grew up you were given minor corrections on your path… putting you on the road that lead you in the direction that others felt was best for you. Now of course those little nudges were there to keep you safe but think of how that shaped your life as an adult.

I was always told by my wonderful parents to do what makes me happy and to live a life that makes me happy. Up until recently i believed that i was doing just that… i was living my life to make myself happy, but after some self examination i realized that deep down i was trying to live my life to not disappoint my parents, i didn’t want to let them down as they gave up so much for me.

I am not saying that i am unhappy, I am not saying that at all. I am saying that subconsciously I was making choices and decisions in the hope that I would make my parents proud. But the funny part, is any time I told my parents of a career change, life change or anything… the first thing they asked me was “are you happy?”, my response was always “yes of course” and they would reply “then we are so proud of you”. That validation means more to me than anything else. But i know my parents… and they truly mean that they want me to be happy.

For some reason my mind told me that I had to make the choice to live my life to make my parents proud and how would i do that? Well the stereotypical thing that we are lead to believe from the outside world to lead a good life is to have material wealth and financial wealth lead you to be happy. So if I have a huge house filled with lots of things, I will be happy and in my twisted mind then my parents would be proud. But that’s not right…. they want me to be happy no matter what… no matter how little money i have, as long as I am doing a job I enjoy….

So that is where the question comes in. Who’s life are you living? Are you living a life where you can be unapologetically yourself?

I have started to figure out that when you are being yourself and living life for yourself, the negative self talk in your head is blocked out by the supportive happy voices. Your stress level decreases and you find an inner level of calm. I am not saying run away from responsibilities like children, bills, pets. I am telling you to start small and make minor changes in your life to steer it in the direction you want to go.

Instead of saying “I don’t know what I want for dinner” say what you actually are craving… “I want bbq”,”I want Thai food”, making those small steps towards making your own choices will feel so insignificant but it’s a step… it’s the first step…. so take it! Because in 5 years time you won’t hesitate and you won’t hold back.

Live your life. For yourself.

Sitting with yourself

I haven’t sat down to write in what feels like an eternity. I have been so busy with working two jobs, trying to keep myself going and we are trying to figure out our living situation for the next year. I realize now that I haven’t stopped, I haven’t sat down and disconnected myself from everything going on externally to see how i am actually feeling. This is something we can all relate to… we are too busy all the time. Even if you don’t realize it… you are always watching TV, working, on social media, listening to music, playing video games, eating, talking to people and just being on our phones… there’s never a moment of silence as we fill our lives down to the second… even typing all of that out made me tired.

When was the last time you sat alone, in silence , with your own mind? Maybe you are someone who journals or can separate yourself from everything else and just exist for 5 minutes… but for most of us, that’s impossible. Our brains are filled with so much shit that we constantly feel over whelmed and stressed about everything. This is what I believe has pushed anxiety and depression levels through the roof.

For me, when I am writing… I am alone (maybe with my wonderful pup by my side), sitting in a quiet room and I have my phone turned to airplane mode so that I can have zero distractions. But over the past few months I feel like I have lost my voice, I have been too busy to hear it… too busy to sit with myself and ask “how am I doing today?”. Something that I am trying my best to do now on a daily basis.

Another challenge I have been struggling with is negative self talk, I have put weight on because of stress and working too much and just generally lacking self care. This has caused me to beat myself down when I look in the mirror… but this isn’t healthy.

When you talk down about yourself that’s what you hear, that’s what you feel… that you aren’t good enough… but you are good enough. You do matter. The only person who can validate you is you. Stop talking negatively about yourself and be proud of the person you are, what you feel is legitimate, if you need to cry… do it. If you need to laugh… so it. Holding in your feelings is bad for you… No husband, wife, significant other or friend needs to validate you… you are perfect. You are your own kind of normal and it’s beautiful.

I need you to sit down in silence away from all your distractions at the end of your day and tell yourself-“I am smart, I am enough, I am beautiful”

Do it scared

When ever someone would ask me what I deepest fear was… They would ask if I was scared of spider? Snakes? Heights? Airplanes?

What filled me with fear was an easy, losing the ones I love… or disappointing them. That’s always been my answer. What I have recently discovered is that fear… ruled my life. More than a fear of spiders… more than a fear of heights. I found out that I am a people pleaser. Again… this wasn’t a surprise. I love helping others, supporting them and I am willing to work with anyone… I’ll never say no.

When I took an online assessment from a book called “Do it scared” I matched 89% with the “People Pleaser” archetype. Shocking… ha.

What this book has taught me though is that I hold myself back from following my dreams… from speaking up and from following through on what I really want in life… because my fear of disappointment… fear of the unknown… my fear of “what will others think”.

This surprised me because I have never really consciously cared about what others think… if people like me great, if they don’t… oh well. Part of being a people pleaser is letting what you think others think of you rule everything, when 90% of the time it’s just your brain over reacting, and that’s true with any fear. Your mind instantly fires off worst case scenarios, jumping to the darkest possible endings… when in reality… it won’t be like that. That’s fear… fear isn’t the spider, it isn’t the heights, it’s not the disappointment… fear is your brain over reacting.

As per of the book purchase you get access you your “premium” results where it breaks down the overall impact that fear has in your life. There are seven different categories… and all of mine fell in the medium range with people pleaser being the highest. Now of course with all fears there are positives and negatives attached and the book really dives deeply into them, it really makes you examine yourself… your past choices and your decision making processes.

The “final thought” from my results really sums my fear up-

“You struggle most with the fear of being judged, which also manifests itself as the fear of letting people down and the fear of what other people might say”

Growing up I always though that people who prioritize themselves over others were selfish. Really they aren’t. Are you giving the world the best you can give if you aren’t looking after yourself? If you aren’t making choices based on your own happiness?…. no…you are living your life scared.

“Do it scared” is the mantra I am trying to keep in my mind every day… I am trying to turn it into a positive affirmation that I can chant in my mind when ever I feel any kind of doubt… any kind of withdrawal… Life is about exploring…. exploring outside of your comfort zone and sometimes you have to “do it scared”.

Who are you living for?

I am now in my 30s and I have always put the world before myself, it has lead me to become the completely indecisive person I am today. But I am starting to realize, 20 years of sacrificing myself for others is catching up. I don’t have a clear direction in my life. I work hard because that is what I expect of myself, am I in the career that 10 year old me dreamt about-nope. Now I am not blaming the world for where I am, i am not complaining that I have a terrible life, because I don’t. My life is wonderful. Minus some health issues here and there.

If you are someone like me, you will always put others before yourself, whether it’s family, friends or even someone you don’t know. Being a kind and caring individual is a wonderful thing… but it gets to the point that you sacrifice yourself for others, you lose the person you are and become the person the world creates for you… or rather the person you let the world tell you that you are.

My point is, being happy with yourself, with your choices and with your life is what makes you a well rounded individual, being decisive about your career, what you do every day and the direction you want to go will lead to you being happy. Hopefully causing less stress, less high blood pressure and meaning that you can wake up every morning with a smile on your face.

The interesting part about all of this is that it starts with you. No one else. It starts with that voice inside your head… you have to turn down the noise, turn off the overthinking and make a choice. Who are you living for? The answer should be… wait scratch that the answer IS “I am living for me”.

Sivako-rise to the challenge

With every single day we face challenges and up hill climbs that make it difficult for us to go on… some of us feel the weight of everything on us every single day and it holds us back from doing what we need to… or what needs to be done.

With every step you take in the direction of your dreams, of the life you want to live… you are challenging every single negative thought, challenging the nay sayers and proving them wrong. Sometimes one step is all you need to remember that you are strong, you are worth it and that you deserve to be an active participant in your own destiny.

I have not been writing as much as I should… I have been distancing myself from doing the things I want to do and burying myself under work. Because of stress, mostly. I have gained the weight I worked so hard to lose, I have been eating everything and anything I shouldn’t and started letting that be another reason to hold me back.

I am thankful for the positive people I have in my life, the guiding lights they provide… the support I receive from them every day is what keeps me going.

Currently I am focusing so much on the negatives of work that I know the rest of me is suffering. But I still give work my all, because that’s who I am. What is sad about that sentence is what could I accomplish if I was giving my all to a job I actually loved and enjoyed?

How much of our lives do we spend trying to impress the bosses and corporations that we are not invested in… but we do it because that’s what’s expected. If you could put all your effort into something you love… I am sure you would succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Fear holds us back, fear of failure, fear of the unknown… so we continue to go to the place that makes us Mediocrely happy…

At what point in our lives is it too late to change?

At what point do we just accept that this is where we were heading?

Sometimes you need to realize that rising to the challenge doesn’t mean quitting your job, it means standing up and focusing on every day things you can do to bring the joy into your life. What can you do to step in the direction you need to go, without letting everything else fall to the wayside.

The challenge in life for most of us, is the balancing act where we try to keep everything running smoothly and finding our happiness. The work life balance in the US is terrible, we spend our work days focusing on getting home to spend our time at home focusing on work. Losing the time with family and friends, draining ourselves.

I challenge you to live in the moment. Live for your happiness and work hard to move towards the life you want to lead. Don’t quit when it gets tough, keep pushing. Because if you don’t rise to the challenge you might never know where your climb will take you. The top of every mountain ends with a breath taking view… find yours.

(Not my image but courtesy of a friend)

A self deprecating mindset

The world around us influences our thoughts and actions… but we control how we respond.

The problems we are running into nowadays is that some of us have a self deprecating mindset. We focus on the negative and our weaknesses and insecurities.

The world of social media can poison your thoughts about the world, poison your opinions about yourself and create a feeling of not being good enough.

When you look at the notorious “Instagram influencers” most are what society would consider the “perfect body/face/skin/hair/personality”… if you follow any one of them you see the glorious life they are paid to lead where they travel the world, staying in gorgeous locations most of the time for free. It’s easy to find yourself feeling down.

On average we spend a few hours a day on social media scrolling through these images, we are basically brainwashing ourselves into comparing the lives we lead and how we look verses the influencer cookie cutter. That’s really not healthy… it makes you notice what you perceive as the “imperfections” that don’t make you good enough to “get those followers”.

The thing with social media… it’s a great platform to meet people with similar interests, share photos of your vacation/kids/family/pets/food… but it’s not supposed to be used to compare your lifestyle. It’s not a competition… you create your own image on social media and with that let me tell you… even the influencers have bad days, they get pimples (no matter what product they are advertising).

I wish we didn’t live in a world where we were so focused on comparisons, if you feel beautiful-own it, if you don’t feel beautiful… know that you are beautiful to your family and friends.

You are the only one of you in the world, you are an individual, you are beautiful and you are incredible.

When ever I have too many stressful things going on in my life I find myself falling down a hole of self deprecation… I beat myself down worse than the world around me and it takes more and more time to climb back out.

When you find yourself doing this you need to remember all the great things that people love about you, remember the great things that YOU love about you. Insecurities hold us back from living the life we want to lead… when we should be owning who we are, owning where we are, owning the moment because it’s the only life you get to live.

Stop the self deprecation, love yourself. It goes a long way to changing your world.

Escaping the ordinary-a post about change

When we think of an ordinary life… it goes according to the routine and plans we set in place, never pushing our selves outside of our comfort zone. The ordinary life to some is a perfect routine of days coming and going with mile markers you pass, checking each item off of the list. Keeping track of your accomplishments and then one day you lay down peacefully and pass on to the next life. Well.. that’s the hope anyway.

The thing with an ordinary life… it might not be filled with extraordinary things all the time, it might not be an exciting novel of twists and turns and the adventures that are beyond your wildest dreams. There is nothing wrong with an ordinary life with extraordinary moments in every chapter. Those extraordinary moments remind us that life is worth living for every second… and every mundane ordinary day doesn’t have to repeat itself into the next, turning into a monotonous cycle.

As long as you are aware of the control you have over your life, the paths you take sometimes are not the easiest, but if you tread purposefully on your way down your chosen path, it will lead you to who you are and where you want to go.

Sometimes the path you have ignored in the past, because of how difficult it appears to be, can lead you way out of your comfort zone. Hanging from the edge of a cliff inching your way to the destination… when we have those moments where we are so scared of living and we are looking down, we forget that there is a sunrise coming up in front of us, all we need to do is look up.. hold on tight and keep inching but we need to stop looking down and stop looking back. Your comfort zone is a wonderful place in an ordinary life… but make sure you push yourself out of your comfort zone every now and then. Find those extraordinary moments to look back on and say “wow did I really do that”.

Living an extraordinary life all the time would be exhausting… but finding a balance between those safe ordinary moments and those breath taking extraordinary moments, that’s really the purpose of your life. If you find the adventure in your life the ordinary moments won’t feel mundane but safe and comforting, then you hold onto the ordinary and the extraordinary.

I recently changed work locations, far outside of my comfort zone, it has been 3 days and every day I have learnt more about myself, I have learnt more about what I look for in a work environment and I have realized that change is scary for a lot of people… not just the person finding themselves in a new location but the existing people in the area.

Change is an inevitable part of life, you can either fight it and refuse to accept it or you can learn and compromise, work as a team and develop.

Sometimes we don’t realize the ordinary life and routine we have put ourselves in until we escape it.