To The Woman Who Is Just Trying To Love Herself

This is for the woman who feels like she’s never enough. For the woman who can’t stop asking herself when she’ll get the weight off. For the woman who’s questioning if she’ll ever find her soulmate. For the woman wondering if she’s a good wife, mother, sister, or daughter. For the woman pining for that promotion and expanding her career. For the woman wondering if things will ever get better because this season of life is proving to be more difficult than others.

I get it. I’ve been there; we all have. We’re constantly seeking out external validation to some degree, but the problem with this is that it isn’t going to make us any more pleased with ourselves. If anything, it’ll make us feel more unsettled because we’re placing our sense of self-love, worth and value into the hands of something or someone else. We’re giving them the keys to the driver’s seat in the ride that is our life when they should only be a passenger.

Here’s a scenario for you: you’ve opened your eyes and have awakened to see another day. The sun is shining through your windows. Your mind is full of many thoughts: the work deadlines you have to meet, the plans you have with your friends or family for the weekend, or the recent endeavors you’ve suddenly decided that you’d like to pursue, yet you’re wondering if you have the time to add one more thing to your already busy schedule. The thoughts start running through your mind like water flowing from a faucet, and there’s no sign of stopping them. You may even have a very strong urge to just shut your eyes and go back to sleep to avoid any more thoughts or human interaction for the day because you’re really just not feeling it. Have you ever had a morning like this? My guess is that you certainly have.

You tell yourself that reality can surely wait until tomorrow, right? One more day can’t hurt. Wrong. The reality is that you have to wake up, get out of bed and power through your day because you’re not going to be the best version of yourself by staying asleep with your dreams. You can’t accomplish anything in life simply by staying still, but, sometimes, just shutting off from the world is all we want, if only for a day. We give so much of ourselves to our careers, our loved ones, and our passions that eventually, we just get flat out exhausted. We’re left wondering if it’ll all be worth it. We’re left questioning how much more we can handle when we feel like we’re at our wits end just trying to hold it altogether. This often leads to feelings of defeat and unworthiness. It could also manifest itself through little bouts of frustration and possibly even resentment towards those closest to us. It’s not always something that we immediately recognize on a conscious level. To be frank, we probably won’t recognize that anything is wrong until someone else calls us out on it and forces us to take a step back.

That is the moment. That is when it hits us like a ton of bricks. It’s that slap in the face that awakens us and makes us realize that maybe we need to do some re-evaluating of ourselves. We need to love and take care of ourselves in order to do the same for others. Yet, we’re not exactly sure how to do that, are we?

Let me continue on by saying that I’m certainly no expert on this whole self-love thing. It’s something that I have to work at every single day, but I can say that I’m at least trying, just like all of you are. I’m simply just learning as I go, and I try to put one foot in front of the other as each day goes on. As women, especially in this day and age, it can be incredibly difficult to care for ourselves when we’re literally being pulled in so many different directions. How can we possibly find the time and energy to focus on loving ourselves when so many other things require our attention? Just the thought of it may be intimidating, but it absolutely can be done.

If you’re a woman out there just trying to love herself, remember this: you are beautiful and amazing just as you are. You have a purpose in your life, and you are absolutely bound for greatness. Whatever difficulties you may be facing in life right now – they are not your end game and they do not define you. Your past has shaped you into the strong woman you are today. You are not stuck. You are stronger than your self-doubt. You are fearless. You are worthy. You simply are enough just as you are. Don’t lose sight of this. Listen to your heart when it tells you to rest. Stay in tune with your mind, body, and soul and give them all what they need. Turn the music up loud and roll the windows down on your morning commute. Sip your coffee or tea in the mornings while watching a sunrise before your family and the rest of the world wakes up. Get lost in a good book or maybe even a mindless TV show. Write about all of the things you’re grateful for. Have genuine conversations with your girlfriends full of laughter. Just make countless memories and do the smallest things that bring you joy in your life — whatever they may be.

And in those moments when you’re feeling unworthy and unloved, take a good, hard look in the mirror and tell yourself: “I am strong. I am worthy. I am loved. I am simply enough just the way I am.”

A Look Back on What 2018 Taught Me

As I look back on this past year, I feel nothing but pure gratitude. A true, sincere form of gratitude unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. When I allow myself to explore this particular feeling deeper, and I reflect on all the things that happened throughout this last year, I realize just how much I’ve let go. For the first time ever in my twenty-eight years of existence, I’ve finally let go of old mindsets and deep-rooted emotions. Emotions that have always encompassed resentment, anger, frustration, fear, insecurity, hurt, and discomfort. You name it, I’ve felt it.

I’ve struggled for years trying to understand the person that I’m meant to be. I’ve lived most of my life feeling like I don’t really fit in. I’m an introvert to a T. I enjoy solitude. I get exhausted after engaging socially with others for too long, and I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I’m likely an empath. However, I’m still trying to figure that part out.

I’ve always been a person who feels things so deeply. Hence, the reason why it took me so long to let go of old emotions. I over analyze every single thing in life, but deep down, I believe it’s because I’m constantly searching for who I’m truly supposed to be. Throughout this last year, I’ve given up old habits that weren’t necessarily serving me and I’ve replaced them with better habits. I’ve explored places I’ve never been to before. I’ve gained a much stronger sense of independence. I’ve become more mindful of who and what I give my time to. I soak up every moment possible with my family and friends back home because I know it will be months before I see them again.

I look back on this last year, and I realize just how much I’ve changed. How much I’ve grown. I’m not the same person that I was just six months ago, but I’m not sorry about that, either. I used to be a firm believer in people not being able to change…until I realized how much I’ve changed myself.

I no longer consider change a bad thing. In fact, recognizing the differences in yourself throughout an entire year is a significant sign of growth and strength. 2018 has certainly been a pretty intense year of soul searching for me, and like I said before, I have so much gratitude because of it.

2019 will be my last year in my twenties, and I plan to make it a pretty good one. Something tells me this soul searching path that I’ve been on will only grow deeper from here.

…and I’m so ready for it.

Fuel The Spark

You’ve got the world at your fingertips, just waiting to be further graced with your presence.

Just waiting to give a piece of itself to you.

Yet here you stay, confined to the mundane of everyday life.

Disheartened.

Defeated. ….why?

 

Fuel that spark within you.

Make those flames burn so bright they’ll never fade out.

Get out.

Explore.

Just live.

Don’t question it.

Don’t doubt it.

 

We’re only given this one chance.

There’s no right or wrong way to live it, but damn, at least try.

Don’t look back on your life just to regret all the chances you were too afraid to take.

Make it happen.

Live in the moment.

Make it worthwhile.

 

Because who knows if we’ll have tomorrow?

Ten Things Life Will Teach You When You Finally Choose To Let Go Of Your Past

1. You will find a happiness within yourself that will never be found within another person or life circumstance.

For so long, we’ve grown accustomed to looking for happiness in relationships, careers, living situations, etc. The bottom line is that true happiness can only be found within you, at the root of your very core. Blindly searching for it in things that you think may offer it will only leave you feeling empty and less than fulfilled. Once you realize that you truly do control your own happiness, you’ll find it harder to entertain things or people that may threaten that.

2. You will be able to reflect on your past experiences and forgive yourself for any mistakes you’ve made. 

We all have a past that we may or may not be proud of, but we can’t deny that it happened. Some lessons were probably harder than others to learn, but never the less, they were detrimental into shaping us into the people that we are today. If you cling onto anger at yourself for things you might’ve done wrong, then you’ll never open up the door for happiness. You deserve peace in your life, so forgive yourself.

3. You will learn about all of the things that bring you joy and help you pursue your passions in life.

Once you finally start letting go of your past, you’ll subconsciously start opening up your mind to new things. You may start discovering new passions, such as traveling, hiking, painting, writing, music, etc. Chances are that the majority of these passions have been tugging at your soul strings since childhood, but other people or situations might have caused you to suppress and ignore them. Cutting off those losses will bring those passions back into the limelight, and you won’t be able to ignore them any longer. Enjoy the time getting to truly know yourself.

4. You will gain an inner strength that you never fully realized you had.

Despite what hardships you might’ve gone through in the past, you know that they didn’t break you. They might’ve broken you temporarily, but you eventually found the strength to repair whatever was broken. With each disappointment in life comes a chance to make yourself stronger than whatever circumstance is trying to break you.

5. You will learn to forgive those who have hurt you in your past, and you will become grateful for the lessons that they taught you.

Just like you need to forgive yourself for your past mistakes, you need to forgive others, as well. It’s very easy to stay angry at a person who might’ve done you wrong, but you’re doing yourself a disservice because you’re allowing that person to steal moments of your happiness. That’s just not a fair thing to do to yourself. Again, forgiveness will bring you peace.

6. You will find the courage to move on.

No matter who or what hurt you in the past, you will find the courage to move beyond it. Much like your inner strength, your courage will come into play just when you feel like giving up. A courage switch will be turned on within you and it will become pretty difficult to turn it off.

7. You are not as broken as you once let yourself believe.

You will wake up one day and realize that that hard time you went through a few years ago was only just a stepping stone for you to get where you are today. You picked up your broken pieces and put yourself back together, and that is something that can never be taken away from you.

8. Your past does not define your future or the person that you are continuing to become.

Leave your past in your past. It serves no purpose in your future. Time heals all wounds, yes, but that doesn’t mean you’ll forget about everything that you’ve been through. You’re not expected to, but you should at least try and take whatever lessons you’ve learned from them with you into your future. Stop looking in the rear view mirror and just focus on the road that’s in front of you.

9. Your perspective on many things will change.

Letting go of old, negative ways of thinking will open up your mind to so much more. You’ll want to learn new things about the world. You’ll want to meet new faces, explore new places, and constantly keep your ever-inquisitive mind wondering about what else is out there. Feed that desire. Not only will your perspective on how you view the world will change, but your perspective on how you view yourself will change, as well.

10. You will begin loving yourself for the first time, in a long time. 

Letting go of your past means letting go of everything that has stopped serving you or adding value to your life, whether that be a person, a place, a job, etc. It also includes negativity, especially in regards to how you view yourself. By letting it go, you will learn how to speak more kindly to yourself. You’ll stop all of the negative self-talk, and you’ll replace it with positive affirmations. In time, you will truly begin to love yourself, and you’ll understand that you’re gradually becoming the person that you’ve always been meant to be.

 

 

Day Thirty: Becoming Whole

Well, I’ve made it to the very last day of this 30 day blogging challenge! To be honest, I’ve surprised myself. I thought I’d give up halfway through. I’ve never written everyday in a consistent manner like this, but I’ve come to realize that I really do enjoy it. It’s so incredibly therapeutic to me, and I’ve noticed a difference in my mindset over the last month. It’s definitely something that I’d like to continue to do, but we shall see how it goes!

Anyway, let’s move on to the post…

Day 30: The book is called, You Are Enough: Heartbreak, Healing, and Becoming Whole. Which one are you? Talk about which phase you’re in right now – heartbreak, healing, or becoming whole – and the biggest thing you’ve learned about yourself in this season.

Over the past few years, I’ve experienced all three phases of heartbreak, healing, and becoming whole. The heartbreak and healing phases co-existed for awhile there, but I’m so grateful for the lessons I learned during those times. However, now that I’ve grown so much since then, I can whole-heartedly say that I am very much in the becoming whole phase of life. It’s taken me some time to actually reach this point. If I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t so sure that I ever would, but I’m certainly glad that I’m here.

This “becoming whole” phase of my life has definitely been the most rewarding and eye-opening for me. For the first time ever, I’m finally living my life on my own terms, and I’m really taking the time to figure out who I want to be as a person and what I want out of life. It’s actually pretty exhilarating. I’m not sure that I’ve ever really done as much soul searching as I have just over the last few months, and I’m enjoying it a whole lot. I’m writing so much more and discovering new creative passions. I’m excelling in my career and growing professionally, just like I’ve always wanted to do. I’m also finally working on truly loving myself for the first time in a very long time.

It’s honestly hard to put into words exactly how I’m feeling in this phase of life. It’s exciting and mysterious all at the same time. I’m finally realizing just how important my relationship with myself is. I’ve said for years how important it is for us to work on our relationships with ourselves, but I’ve never fully taken my own advice. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I’m finally starting to do just that. I mentioned in my previous post how I often write the words that I need to hear, and that is completely true. I often find myself saying positive things to others, but it’s a whole lot harder for me to do that for myself. I’ve definitely become more self aware in that aspect, and I’m getting better at keeping my negative self-talk at bay. I’m definitely a work in progress, and I’m completely okay with that. In part with becoming whole, I’m also finally and truly becoming myself, and I’m loving it.

Day Twenty-Nine: Enough

thief of joy

Day 29: In the epilogue, I talk about how the journey to “enough-ness” is never complete. Talk about your own journey to enough-ness, and how you’ve learned to embrace who you are, flaws and all.

I’ve always wondered who came up with the idea of individuals being enough in life. I think we’re all internally driven to be something more for ourselves, but I also believe that society puts a ton of pressure on us to be acceptable by whatever standards they set forth. Honestly, I think it’s impossible for us to be completely accepted for being who we are, and that mentality is exactly what makes us all feel like we’ll never be enough. There’s always someone more successful than us, prettier than us, skinner than us, more in love than us, happier than us, etc. As long as we allow ourselves to compare our lives to that of others, we’ll constantly be in limbo with wondering if we’re truly living up to our fullest potential.

It’s human nature. It’s normal. It’s expected, but there’s just one little thing that we all need to remember when we start doubting ourselves and questioning whether we’re enough: COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF JOY.

This is something that I literally have to remind myself of every single day, usually multiple times. I’ve always struggled with insecurities, and I’m sure I always will. I’ve been told my entire life that I’m too hard on myself. It’s something that I’m well aware of, and I do my best to work on it, but old habits die hard. Some days are easier than others. I have a list of things that I don’t necessarily like about myself, but as I get older, I’m realizing just how much more I need to work on finding things that I do like. I need to treat myself better by only speaking kind words. I consider myself to be a pretty nice person to other people, but lately, I’ve been wondering why the heck I can’t be as nice to myself as I am to others. It can get pretty frustrating. A lot of times in my writings, for example, I write words that I need to hear. However, it’s usually easier for me to direct them towards a more general audience because it feels less intrusive to me.

Throughout this challenge, I’ve shared a lot about my past experiences and lessons I’ve learned. Although, I’ve grown so much over the last few years, there’s still a part of me that wonders if I truly am enough. To be quite honest, I’m not sure that that wonder will ever truly go away, but I’ve accepted that. I realize that I can be a work in progress and a masterpiece at the same time. My quest for being “enough” may never be complete, but I don’t really think that it’s meant to. If I reach a point in my life where I feel like I’ve fully accomplished everything that I wanted to accomplish, then I’m sure I’ll still want to know what more is out there for me. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

I think one of the most beautiful things about living is knowing that it’s a journey full of unexpected twists and turns that will only build us into stronger individuals.

Day Twenty-Eight: My Happy Ending

Day 28: Also in Chapter Twenty, I talk about what my own “Happy Ending” looks like now, after everything I’ve learned. What does YOUR Happy Ending look like? In love and in life?

When I stop and take a second to really look back on my life, I realize that I’ve never truly had a vision for my happy ending. The term “ending” to me seems too concrete. Too definitive. I don’t like to look at my life as this obligatory journey that’s just going to abruptly end one day. I also don’t like to think about my happiness ending. I want it to continue throughout the entirety of my life, and on and on through eternity. So, I guess I’ve never actually given any thought to my “happy ending,” because I don’t look at my happiness as something that can actually be measurable in time. I want it to encompass everything in my life that ever has and ever will bring me joy.

I also know that I literally have no idea what path I’ll end up on throughout my life. I stopped trying to make plans for myself a long time ago. I take everything that comes to me in my life with open arms, while also knowing that it may not last forever. Where I am right now may not be where I end up in a year or two. I truly just don’t know, but I’ve grown to appreciate the uncertainty. I’ve grown to love it and look forward to it because it really is such a beautiful thought to know that some of our best days really haven’t even happened yet. They lie ahead of us, and the mystery of it all gives us something to look forward to. At least, for me, it does.

When I envision my future, I see a woman who’s truly happy with herself and her life. She’s loved unconditionally by someone. Maybe, they have a family together, a few dogs, and extended family close by. But, the most important part is that she’s reminded everyday of just how appreciated she is, even on the days when she can’t feel it. She’s reminded daily how much she is loved, even when she doesn’t feel like she can love herself. She’s encouraged, even in the moments when she really struggles to believe in herself.

You see, happiness in life isn’t always a beautiful and effortless thing. It’s chaotic and messy, and sometimes, we can’t always see it when it’s staring us right in the face. Especially if it’s disguised as something ugly. So often, it can be overlooked, and the internal joys tugging away at our hearts can be suppressed by fear and despair. This, I’ve learned. So, even though, I’m not too keen on “happy endings,” I’m a full supporter of “happy journeys” throughout our lives.

…and I can honestly say that I’m finally enjoying my happy journey. I just can’t wait to see where it ends up taking me…

Day Twenty-Seven: Let It Be

Day 27: In Chapter Twenty, I talk about how I finally learned to “Let It Be.” Talk about what these three words mean to you. What does “letting it be” look like? How do you practice just “letting it be”?

When I think of the words “let it be,” I think of peacefulness. Stillness. Calmness. Also a little touch of surrender mixed with acceptance. Letting it be can encompass so many different things, and it can be applicable to many facets of life. Yet, how often do we struggle with actually letting things be?

You get in an argument with someone, and you should just let it go, but you don’t. You get angry for some kind of bad situation life has thrown at you, and you should let that be, but you don’t. Instead, you cling onto the emotions that you’re feeling right in that very moment because it doesn’t make much sense to you to feel anything else, right? I’ve been there a time or two in life. Coming to terms with things is not always easy. I surely used to struggle with letting things go and letting things be. That’s not a secret at all. However, I firmly believe that I never would’ve learned the significance of letting it be without the disappointments I’ve faced in my past.

Sometimes, we just have to trust that God and the universe, they both have our backs all the time, even when we don’t think they do. This is something that I’ve come to find more and more in recent years. There are moments in my life now when I’ll find myself getting stressed or anxious about something going on in my life, and it makes me feel so uneasy. I don’t like it. So, I’ll take a deep breath, close my eyes, and just try to get my mind to relax for a little bit. It usually helps. Meditation, yoga, positive affirmations, journaling, writing, reading, having good, genuine conversations with family and friends…these are all the things that help to keep my mind at ease when I feel overwhelmed. When I need to be reminded to just let it be. I can’t control everything in my life, no matter how hard I try to. Little by little, I’m growing more accepting of that, and I’m becoming more open to just letting it be.

Day Twenty-Six: Gone Too Soon

Day 26: In Chapter Nineteen, I share the story of a dear friend who took her own life. Talk about how suicide has touched your life or the life of someone dear to you.

I don’t know of many people in this world who haven’t been personally affected by suicide in some way, shape, or form. My heart breaks for all of those who couldn’t see the light in their darkest days. Now, they leave behind loved ones who have to grieve their noticeable absence for the rest of their Earthy lives.

The first time I really heard about suicide was when I was about 10 or so. I actually don’t remember my exact age, but a distant family friend took her own life. She left behind a daughter the same age as me. It was just so hard to comprehend at the time, but her struggles with depression eventually came to light in the days and weeks following her death. She wasn’t someone I knew very well, but the news of her passing left us all in disbelief.

A few years later, I experienced the effects of suicide once again, but this time, it was more personal. A friend of mine from high school chose to end her life one Tuesday night at the young age of 20. She was someone who I spoke to often in high school. She had such a great sense of humor, and she always knew how to make me laugh when I was feeling down. I would bring her and her brother home from school most days, and I remember those car rides were always full of so much laughter. We went to different colleges after high school, so we didn’t always see each other often, but we kept in touch. One of the last conversations we ever had was us giving each other updates on our lives, how we were doing in school, and how we needed to get our old friend group together for dinner or something since it had been awhile since we had all hung out. At the time, she was double-majoring in Psychology and Sociology, and had plans to go to graduate school back in her home state of California. On the surface, it appeared that she was doing great. However, she was fighting some demons that none of us truly knew about.

I remember seeing her sister post a status on Facebook about her passing. My immediate thought was “God, I hope it was a car accident.” She and I had always talked about our mutual disdain for people either a) failing to use their turn signals while driving or b) driving miles and miles down the interstate with their turn signals on. It was our biggest pet peeve, and we often joked that that’s how we would die one day. Hence, the reason why that was my immediate first thought. It sounds incredibly morbid, I know, but something told me that that wasn’t the case. I wanted to believe it was a car accident because my gut instinct told me otherwise, and I didn’t want to accept that reality. I instantly called my friends, and we were just all in such disbelief. We cried so much that night, and by Saturday, we found ourselves at the funeral home saying goodbye to our friend.

We walked in and saw her sister. By this point, we kind of knew the details of what exactly happened. Her sister was so strong, but I remember she told me “just be aware, it doesn’t look like her. Her makeup’s not the same.” You see, my friend always had the best winged eyeliner. She was so good at it; it was like her signature thing. Her sister was right. It didn’t look the same at all. I’m never one who likes to go up to caskets at funerals. To be honest, I absolutely hate it. I don’t like to remember people that way, but in this case, I knew I had to go up there. I had to offer her parents, sister, and brother my condolences. I remember seeing her best friend just continuously sob uncontrollably. She was crying so much, she actually left the room before the service even started. Towards the end of the service, my friend’s sister and aunt spoke about the importance of depression and suicide awareness. That’s about all that I remember as far as words go that day. Physically, I was sitting in that room at that funeral home, but mentally and emotionally, I was gone. I remember getting to the service, but the service itself is still, to this day, a blur. I guess I subconsciously blocked it from my memory.

It just recently made 8 years since my friend’s passing. It’s not something that I talk about often, but there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about her. I find myself wondering where she’d be today, had she chosen to stay. I used to struggle with feelings of guilt a lot at first, as did most of my friends. We all wondered if maybe we would’ve been better friends to her, kept in touch with her more, like we said we would…then, maybe it would’ve made a difference. Maybe she would’ve known how loved and appreciated she really was.

I still let those thoughts creep into my mind. I still occasionally feel some guilt and sadness that she’s no longer here, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this, it’s that we all have to cherish our time with our loved ones while we have it. I now make it a point to check up on my friends more when they don’t seem okay. I always try to cheer them up when they’re feeling down.

…and someday, I’ll make it to Abalone Cove in California for my friend. Maybe then I’ll be able to feel some of that peace that she always felt there.

Day Twenty-Five: Chasing Faith

Day 25: In Chapter Eighteen, I become a “Church Chaser”! 🙂 Share your own story of faith. Your beliefs, your journey to find a church or place of worship, and how believing in a higher power has impacted your life.

I’ve always considered myself to be a religious and faithful person. I was brought up in the Catholic church. I attended Catholic school from kindergarten until eighth grade. At the age of sixteen, I chose to get confirmed in the Catholic faith. However, now, as an adult, I can say with full disclosure that I no longer attend the Catholic church. There are just certain things in the faith that I do not fully believe or support. I often found myself being told what to believe, and I never felt that I could think for myself or search deeper into my relationship with God as a Catholic. This is just my own personal experience. I have several family members and friends who are still very active in the Catholic church. I have nothing against it. It provided me with a great moral upbringing, and I do have a lot of fond memories from it growing up. It just isn’t for me anymore.

With that being said, I stopped attending church not long after I got confirmed as a teenager. If I went on Sunday’s, it was usually because my mother forced me to. I didn’t attend church too often in college. Occasionally, I would go to mass on a Sunday here or there, but it was never a priority to me. I went to a non-denominational church back home a few times, but I really didn’t start going back to church on a weekly basis until I moved to Nashville. One of my best friends invited me to go with her to a local community church one Sunday evening, and I fell in love with it after the first service. Everything just finally started making more sense to me, and the messages that the pastor delivers each week always resonates with me on such a deep level. It’s always so applicable to whatever I’m going through in life, and it’s exactly what I need to hear, even when I don’t always know it. I like walking into a church that is far from traditional. I feel less intimidated and less judged. I love that this church focuses so much on serving those in need, not only within our Nashville community, but globally, as well.

I don’t consider myself to be a perfect Christian girl at all. I believe in God, but I’ve certainly had my moments of doubt when I turned my back on Him. I’m still very much in a phase of life where I’m trying to develop a deeper understanding of God and my own faith. I think I’ll be like that for awhile, to be honest. Regardless, I’ve learned that nothing in my life is ever up to me. It’s all up to God, and I’m doing my best to trust in His plan, even when I don’t always understand it.