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”

Forgiveness.

I try and choose to not regret things that have happened in my life. At least that’s what I tell myself. Of course there are many nights I have regretted drinking that drink, eating that terribly greasy and delicious burger, or even sending that text that shouldn’t have been sent. But the big things in life, those moments where you make a choice that changes the very direction you are heading… never regret those. You never know how beautiful things can turn out… and if you are just looking backwards you will never look up. You will never see the stars motioning for you to join them.

In a world if technology we spend so much time looking down, physically and metaphorically. We look down at our smart phones, rolling our eyes at a text message, liking those Instagram posts or judging a Facebook update. We look down on ourselves for not living our life to the “full potential”, or because we aren’t skinny enough, smart enough or rich enough. That’s the key right there… what is enough?? You ask someone who has nothing but is perfectly happy they will tell you that they have enough. It’s because we look down that we miss the beauty, we miss the wonders and we miss the moments that change our lives.

Forgiveness is something that is taught to us as a child, you aren’t allowed to hold a grudge, you are told to forgive and move on. Some people struggle with forgiving people who do them wrong. I am not here to tell you to forgive everyone and you will be happy. I am telling you to forgive yourself… forgive your mind for over thinking, forgive your metabolism for not burning off those extra cheese fries and most importantly… forgive yourself for loving even when it hurts. This is something i struggle with. I don’t regret much… but i don’t forgive myself for making mistakes. Whether big or small mistakes… I beat myself up internally and smile through the overthinking.

The point in forgiveness isn’t letting the other person get away with something, it’s about saying “i choose to not let this consume me”… that’s so important. But when it’s all internal… there’s no escape from the negative. You have to find your positives, those people who guide you away from the negative.

I have realized that I struggle when people say they are proud of me, proud of what I am doing, proud of how far I have come. I couldn’t place a finger on why I didn’t want to accept their praise… then it hit me. I haven’t forgiven myself for the times i have let myself down, I haven’t looked in the mirror and said “I forgive you.” Forgiving yourself is a step in a positive direction where you can move forward. But it’s the hardest step to take. It’s the first step to looking up.

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”.

Pride.

June is pride month. For the LGBTQ+ community it’s a month where we celebrate how far we have come and continue to strive towards acceptance and equality.

It’s the month when most companies come out with rainbow colored merchandise, adjust their logos to rainbows and just generally show their support. It’s a beautiful time, where I spend too much money on rainbow pins, tumblrs, clothes and rainbow food (because why not!)

This pride month for me is a bit different though… with the stress of work and some other things going on… I seem to be struggling to find my inner rainbow as it were. Over the last few months I seem to be going on a rollercoaster of ups and downs emotionally where I can be fine and happy for short periods of time and then feel drained, exhausted and sad for longer periods. I lost the desire to write… something that I was truly enjoying…My anxiety is on high alert and I feel the desire to eat everything in sight.

Yesterday while reading a blog post about losing yourself to work… made me realize that I really have dived in head first into my new job, leaving everything else to the wayside, if I am honest my work location is probably the least health environment you could imagine… especially if you are not in the right mind set.

I started to think, have I lost who I am? Who am I? Most of my working life I have always thrown myself at my job, to work the hardest I can to grow and learn, but by doing so I think I may have lost part of who I was… I truly believe this is when we turn into that dreaded “grown up” we heard so much about as kids.

When your stress to happiness ratio is sitting about 10 to 1, It’s hard to balance everything out… that’s when you hit the “burnt-out” phase and your body shuts down.

Yes there are so many factors that cause stress-bills, work, yard work, HOA’s, rats and everything else. It’s the moments that everything piles up so much it feels completely overwhelming, that’s when you have to push through… and that’s what I’m dealing with.

June isn’t over, I am trying to find the person I buried under the pile of work, bills and broken things… somewhere under that’s mess is 21 year old, (rainbow clad), laughing and dancing Shane.

Happiness is worth more to your mental stability than anything else, if you can’t be happy leading the life you want, are you really living or just surviving.

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.