I am so glad you’re joining me today. Can we just break the ice right out of the gate? These days, things are WIERD. I’m not sure what day we are on of “social distancing” / “quarantine” / “self-isolation”… but what I do know is, nothing feels normal.
Most days I wake up and forget the reality of how this pandemic has disrupted our daily rhythms. Everything, from the most simple act of going to my favorite local coffee shop in the morning, to getting dinner with friends, and even going to church on Sunday morning… it’s all different.
Honestly, I forget what day of the week it is more times than I would like to admit, and more often than not I feel in some sort of a “funk” at least once a day. But you know what? I would bet money that I’m not the only one… especially if you’ve made it here with me today, and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all.
I find comfort in the fact that I am not alone, and you should too…but that isn’t enough for me right now. I truly believe that this is a time not only to care for one another from a distance, but be proactive in supporting each other. The best way I know to do that is by sharing practical tools you can add to your “tool belt” right away, to use as little or as much as necessary, no expiration date included.
Sound alright with you? Let’s jump in!
5 Immediate Mood Boosters
+ bonus challenge
- Re-read a message that made you smile. Or maybe it’s a voicemail you have saved on your phone. Either way, remind yourself that you can carry happiness with you even when it feels like nothing in your immediate reality seems like it.
- Do something for someone else. Kindness is not only contagious, it’s heart warming. Maybe you send your neighbor some cookies anonymously, or do something extra at work to make someone else’s day easier. Even the smallest acts can have the big impact.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes and do one small task on your to-do list. One small burst of productivity can change your mindset.
- Make a list of all the things you are responsible for…then applaud yourself for taking care of YOU. Treat this as a reminder for how valuable you are.
- Put on your favorite dress and lipstick, just because! Remember the days when you used to play dress up? That girl is still inside you! Adults can play too. Give yourself permission to have some fun and feel fabulous…. yes, I said fabulous.
Bonus Challenge: Get dressed every day. Yes, even when you won’t leave the house. Start with 7 days… then see how different you feel!
Why? I’m glad you asked! The simple act of getting dressed every day may result in the following symptoms including (but not limited to);
A change in mindset. There’s just something about changing from the clothes you slept in that wakes up your mind. You’re suddenly ready for whatever the day throws at you.
Feeling good. When you put on “real” clothes, even if it’s just leggings and a t-shirt, guaranteed you will feel more put together and just overall more positive all day long.
Improved self-care. The fact is, when you get dressed you’re taking care of yourself, and that’s important.
P.S. – If you want to treat yourself a little, here is something that will do just the trick: Ivy & Leo is offering you 15% off your entire order when you use the code “meg15“.
Re-Framing Self Talk
I’m going to throw this out there, a lot of us are either alone, or “in our heads” lately. With less distractions, there is more room for thoughts to enter our conscious mind. This can be helpful, but if you’re anything like me, I KNOW I can be my own worst enemy. Our brains mean well, we talk to ourselves in a way that protects us from getting hurt. Sometimes this comes in the form of guilt, obligations, justifications, “what-if” scenarios, the list goes on. It’s time to pay attention to the way you talk to yourself, take the control back, and re-frame self-deprecating thoughts into positive statements.
“I have to…” I CHOOSE to.
“I should go to the gym/ eat healthy/ stop being lazy…” I WANT to feel better.
“I can’t do this…” I’m going to take this one step at a time.
“I must get everything done to feel accomplished.” I have accomplished what I can today, it’s okay to leave a few things for tomorrow.
“People won’t like me if I...” I can’t control what other people think, and I choose not to spend my time and energy worrying about them.
“I’m going to mess up.” I won’t assume the worst before trying. Plus, what if I succeed?
“If I make a mistake I will no longer be worthy or valuable.” Making a mistake makes me human, my worth is not measured by my mistakes.
“People will criticize my opinion… so I just won’t say anything.” I am allowed to have my own opinions and I won’t jump to a conclusion.
+ extra credit exercise
Feelings are coming up left and right these days…just me? I bet I’m not the only one. Okay, so what are all these emotions really trying to tell you? Let’s take a brief overview…
Insecurity – I’m human.
Emptiness – I need to fill my tank with something that fuels me.
Stuck – I’m forcing clarity.
Confused – I’m scared to choose (or afraid of what I don’t know).
Lost – I’m on the verge of a breakthrough.
I know this is a short list, but I think it helps to put our emotions in a place we can see them. By doing this, we can learn to recognize what we are feeling as it comes, practice rooting down into what we know, and using it to process how we feel.
Extra Credit: Take an inventory of all the emotions you are feeling. Write them down. Then, pretend you are talking to someone you care about. With grace, respond to that emotion with an “I am” statement.
These are just a few of the things I am doing to get myself out of the “funk” I have been feeling lately. Which, trust me, is easier said than done. I know I’m not the first person to experience these feelings, and I am certainly not the last. However, I think one of the most important things to remember through all of life’s up’s and down’s is, YOU ARE HUMAN. All of us are bound to make mistakes, have bad days, and to need someone to lean on. I am going through this with you, WE are going through this together. Let’s look out for one another. Let’s equip each other with tools to live better. Most of all, let’s be gentle with ourselves and practice patience and giving ourselves grace.
Verse of the Day:
He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” So I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.2 CORINTHIANS 12:9
Let’s get this out of the way, the phrase “I’m not good enough” is a lie.
Let me tell you from the bottom of my heart if this is how you feel, my heart aches for you because I have been there… and sometimes I still feel that way. I understand how easy it is to subconsciously start to believe this lie and I understand how easy it is to accept as your truth. That doesn’t make it any less of a false statement.
Our motivations, achievements, insecurities, and fears often attach themselves to this notion of being ‘enough’. In a world where we are in need of constant approval to determine our self-worth, it’s almost a part of the normalized equation. We grasp on to external, socially defined goals (whatever that may be for you) and tell ourselves that when we reach “X”, “I’ll be enough”. We pursue a goal with no other reason but to achieve something. That’s the transaction we are taught to believe. But, as I think you know, that feeling of fulfillment (the enough-ness) never comes. The goal is set, you reach said goal, move on to the next one. The bar moves. Constantly.
Maybe you got the job you’ve always wanted, you passed the exam, you went on your dream vacation, you made it to the explore page on Instagram, you finally got that guy’s attention, you found stability in a great group of friends…but it’s still not enough. The fact is, you’ve worked hard to get where you are, everything is going right, you should feel like it’s enough. Yet, here we are telling ourselves, “The only reason why it doesn’t feel right is because I’m not enough. That has to be it, right?”
So, if we are all experiencing this, why is it a problem? Besides the obvious fact that it feels pretty terrible to believe this about ourselves, believing “I’m not enough” is a problem because we end up unconsciously operating from this place. The good news? There is a way out, and it starts with these simple reminders followed by small actions that eventually add up to improved self-worth and the awareness that, yes…YOU ARE ENOUGH.
Giving your all doesn’t mean you have to do it all.
You’re allowed to pace yourself. The guilt and stress you place on yourself are going to do more damage than saying “no” or “not right now” ever will. If you are constantly measuring yourself up to a standard you or someone else has set, you will constantly be chasing happiness without ever fully being satisfied.
Try setting reasonable boundaries for your work, social, or health related obligations and appreciate the things you have accomplished, however small they may be.
Every day may not be good but there is good in every day.
Even though your life is overwhelming right now, it is still just as beautiful and accomplished as your most perfect days. You don’t have to be “on” all the time. In fact, you shouldn’t be! Sometimes we need to experience the “lows” to appreciate the “highs”. Some of the best moments are made apparent to us when we experience painful or hard seasons.
Try writing down little moments you experience on a note in your phone or in the margins in your planner when they happen. Check in with it at the end of the day, or even the end of the week, and remind yourself that even on the most mundane or stressful days, there is still good.
Everyone won’t see the value in what you create, that doesn’t mean it’s not meaningful.
Your successes are yours to define. Not everyone is going to think the same way you do, it’s just a fact of life. You will find that some of the accomplishments you feel proud of don’t get the same reaction from others, and that can be a real downer (if you let it be). If you are proud of something you have done, created, thought, said, realized, whatever it is… BE PROUD. Shout it from the mountain tops! It’s not what others think that give those things meanings, you do.
Try to honor yourself by showing your boldness to others. Don’t ask for feedback, or even expect it, just put it out there. Whether it is something artistic, a thought, an idea, or new found talent, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and be proud of who you are and what you have done. Some people can get intimidated by the fearlessness and vulnerability of others, don’t let that stop you.
Your best is enough.
Your value is not attached to what you accomplish. You are doing the best you can with what you have been given and that is something to be extremely proud of. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, if today you have given your all and you’ve taken a step forward, that is enough. You are enough.
Try writing yourself a love letter. Yes, you read that right. List out the things you admire about who you are aside from any merit-based accolade you’ve been given. Need help? Ask a friend you can confide in, maybe you can both do this with each other and help someone else notice how much they truly are valued too.
You belong here just as much as anyone else.
Read that again.
…okay just one more time.
Rinse and repeat.
If no one has told you recently, let me just chime in to your life for a second and truly tell you, you are so incredibly important. You belong in this world and you were created to do wonderful things that only you are capable of. Your place in this world is right where you are. Yeah, right there, where you are right this very second. There is a reason you are here. Even if you don’t see it right now, you’re still allowed to take up space
Try taking up space. Be unapologetically yourself. Clichés aside, if you ever feel like the people, environments, or objects around you are making you feel small or “less-than”, it’s time to cut that out of your life and move into a space where you can root down and grow. Think, hermit crabs…. yeah, I went there. As a hermit crab grows, it’s forced to find a new shell. During that transition the crab is particularly vulnerable, but it is necessary for it to continue on with life. We aren’t much different. As we grow, we are also forced to change. Each season of transition comes with its own challenges and might leave us feeling especially vulnerable (which is when we tend to sink into the background), but I challenge you to keep taking up space. YOU BELONG.
Get ready everyone, the holidays are officially here. You know what that means… BLACK FRIDAY.
November 29th is the big day, and it’s coming up FAST. Not to mention, if you wait ’til then to shop you’ll miss out on some of the best deals this year. Big box retailers like Target, Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart are already offering some great deals, and it’s only going to ramp up from here. Get excited!
Whether you’re shopping for gifts for your family, or you want to get the best deal on that one item you’ve been eyeing, it helps to have a plan of attack.
Where and when will you shop?
How much are you looking to spend?
Will you be shopping online, or in-store?
These are all good things to think about and ask yourself before hitting the “add to cart” button. Come on ladies (and gents) this season, let’s shop smarter! Who’s with me?
I know it can be overwhelming to keep tabs on ALL of the sales going on, so I wanted to put a list together for y’all. I will keep updating this list as sales change, so you can bookmark this page and come back to it as we get into the holiday season.
Thanksgiving Hours: TBD
Black Friday Hours: TBD
Online Sale Hours:
Target hasn’t yet released its’ Black Friday ad or shared when stores will open for shopping. However, last year stores opened on Thanksgiving at 5PM, closed at 1AM, then reopened at 7AM for Black Friday shoppers.
EXTRA TIP: Target has a history of offering gift cards with many of their deals.
Some items worth noting…
Thanksgiving Hours: 6PM
Black Friday Hours: Stores stay open from Thanksgiving day.
Online Sale Hours: Wednesday, November 21st at 10 PM.
Walmart hasn’t posted its’ Black Friday ad yet, however they have already shared a few early Black Friday deals that are worth checking out.
Like last year, the sale will start at 6 p.m. (local time) on Thanksgiving and run on their website all day. Although many people will opt to shop online, some doorbusters will only be in-store, so check back in for those items. This year, expect MAJOR deals on TVs and phones.
EXTRA TIP: Walmart will be releasing its store map this year so that you’ll get to the best deals even faster if you do choose to battle the crowds on Black Friday.
The best of the best so far…
Thanksgiving Hours: N/A
Black Friday Hours: N/A
Online Sale Hours: New sales will go live 24 hours per day!
Amazon usually celebrates Black Friday with their countdown format — Happy HoliDeals. This “lightning deal” format means that many of the top items sell out within a few minutes. Keep your eye on the “upcoming deals” tab on Amazon’s website. This is also the perfect time to snag some of the sought-after smart electronics Amazon offers at the lowest prices; think Kindles, Fire tablets, Fire TV Sticks, and Fire TVs.
Best sellers include…
Thanksgiving Hours: TBD
Black Friday Hours: TBD
Online Sale Hours: TBD
Like other retailers, Best Buy hasn’t yet shared Black Friday details. If last year is any indication of how this year will go, doors will open on Thanksgiving for doorbuster sales at 5PM.
EXTRA TIP: Best Buy bundles various items with free gift cards. Best Buy also offers some of the best deals to its My Best Buy rewards members, which is 100% free… and you should DEFINITELY sign up before Black Friday.
Thanksgiving Hours: 5PM
Black Friday Hours: Staying open from Thanksgiving. Doorbusters until 1PM.
Online Sale Hours: 12AM on Nov. 28th
AD: click here
It may not be your first stop, but Kohls should definitely be on your list of stores to snag some great deals! The first few pages of the ad are filled with electronic doorbusters, including an Xbox One X bundle, Nintendo Switch bundle and various smart home gadgets.
EXTRA TIP: Say it with me…Kohl’s Cash! Kohl’s offers $15 Kohl’s Cash for every $50 spent November 25 to 29 and can be redeemed from November 30 to December 9, 2019. There is also a coupon on the 3rd page of the ad for an additional 15 percent off your purchase.
Thanksgiving Hours: TBD
Black Friday Hours: TBD
Online Sale Hours: TBD
I am anxiously awaiting the sales for AE (and its aerie counterpart). Check back in for updates!
Thanksgiving Hours: CLOSED
Black Friday Hours: 10AM
Online Sale Hours: TBD but Cyber Monday deals are reported to go live December 1 at 9PM PT.
While it is unknown what will be available in-store, Nordstrom is is offering up to 60% off from now through Cyber Monday.
Some fabulous finds…
past (adj) gone by in time and no longer existing.
It a bittersweet reality, that each one of us have a past. Whether that be good, bad, traumatic, blessed, complicated, or otherwise, we each have one.
Some of us are ashamed of our past, some of us want to bury it, black it out, forget it ever happened — it’s simply too heavy to cary under the weight of our obligations, pressures, and stressors in our current reality.
On the other hand, some of us cling to our past, put it on a pedestal — it’s the unachievable, nostalgia we long to have back.
Somewhere down the line, we stop assessing our past by what happened to how it happened to us. As if we have no active role in the equation anymore.
The question turns from an introspective, “how do I define my past?”, into an external facing, “how does my past define me?”.
When do we let the things that happen to us start defining who we are rather than taking ownership and control of the perspective?
Want to know a secret? Lean in close…there are a few things you need to know.
Your past does not define you.
That regret, shame, disappointment, or pride that shadows your memories, is not who you are. Sure, you walked that road and experienced first hand the moments and circumstances more intimately than anyone else on this earth, but in this current moment — right now — you have a choice. You can hold on to the past or use the experiences as lessons for personal growth.
Hold on to it and you are stuck recalling negative memories, without learning from them.
Lean in to it and gain perspective that shapes your character and is reflected in the person you are becoming.
Your past does not need justification.
You are the only one that will have experienced your truth.
Your first hand account of what happened, or what you felt from your perspective, is yours — no justification necessary.
I find myself getting defensive over things that have hurt me or that I am invested in, emotionally or otherwise. I think this comes up a lot when we look back on our past and, more specifically, when we own our past.
Although the outside world can’t see it, the moments we have let define a spot in our lives carry weight and tremendous value in some way. Quite frankly, others may never understand the impact or meaning it had and could be quick to assess it without knowing the full picture or context, but that doesn’t mean we need to guard it with our lives and defend it through excuses, leveling, or justification.
Thinking you have to provide justification for your first-hand experiences is living in fear or letting your past define you, fear of judgement. In reality, the past you carry with you doesn’t need justification. If you feel like you need to justify it to others, you may have to take a good look at who you are surrounding yourself by. The people who you choose to share your life with should be the same people who accept you for who you are fully and completely, in the present moment, in what’s to come, and for everything that you’ve been through before now.
Your past is the past, treat it as such.
Don’t beat a dead horse. Truly. I think this cliché applies here, don’t you?
We can get so hung up on things that have happened to us. I know for me, I will be out and about, going on with my day and suddenly a memory from 5 years ago pops into my head. Suddenly, mu thoughts are consumed with “what if” questions and a detailed analysis of everything, looking for an alternate solution or something I could have done differently.
Hello, over-thinkers anonymous, I would personally like to introduce myself. — Hi, I’m Megan.
*collective response* : “Hi Megan.”
You don’t even need to be an over thinker to have this experience. So many of us carry the past into the present. We let it hold us back or tie us down to what we knew, rather than exploring and growing into who we are becoming.
The past serves a purpose, but at some point we must let that purpose be the past, go to where we are being called, and be where we are now.
It’s okay to let go. It’s okay to feel pain, anxiety, bittersweet, joy or happiness when letting go. Let the past be the past, be present in that decision.
Now be present in your life.
All the Labor Day weekend sales you need to know about, in one easy list.
It’s Labor Day weekend, and that means lots of online sales. Don’t waste time searching the internet for the best deals, here are all the stand-out sales in one place just for you. Happy shopping!
Peace happens as a result of acceptance.
It’s been occurring to me lately that many of us crave a sense of peace in our lives. We crave control over this peace. However, somewhere along the way, an idea, school of thought, belief, or person comes in and suddenly, the peace we thought we had control over, is put into question.
Do you know that feeling — being unsettled or shaken — because of something outside of your control?
I do. It can be torture.
Here’s my question to you: How can we achieve peace or become more at peace when we rely on others for acceptance?
When we hold on to the ideas and narratives that we have no control over, we hold ourselves back from finding peace in our reality. The truth is, as humans, we don’t have control over many things — especially the thoughts and opinions of others.
In these situations, you can fight against what those thoughts or opinions are, or you can respond by accepting what it is. When you accept, you stop fighting for things outside your control and start to become more at peace with what is, creating more room for true self-expression and growth.
Don’t know where to start? Let’s try these five together.
1. Everyone is not going to like you.
So you’re not everyone’s cup of tea, go figure!
Maybe it’s my personality type, or maybe you feel the same way, but I’m going to be honest with you anyways… I have always wanted people to “like” me.
I grew up in a military family. I was always the “new kid,” and it stuck with me into adulthood. I also know a lot of people who have lived in the same place their entire lives and they feel the same way. So, my understanding is that humans want to feel like they fit in somewhere. Social media has definitely added pressure to these feelings, but I don’t think there is much we can do about that now.
What can we do? We can accept the fact that no matter how hard we try — no matter what we wear, say, do, you name it — we will never be able to please everyone.
Sure, it’s a tough pill to swallow, but I will tell you from experience; the second you recognize the only person that has to like you is YOU, the pressure is off.
If someone doesn’t like you, it’s on them, not on you. Find peace in the fact that you can’t control that. It’s their loss anyways, because you are an incredible person and they are missing out!
2. You won’t always get closure.
Remember that one that got away? They got away with out a word…and probably for a good reason.
Let’s face it, humans desire to have closure or resolution in any given situation. Truly, it is human nature. There is something about having things come full circle or getting an explanation for things that we don’t understand that makes something easier to put behind us.
It’s only fitting that when we don’t get the type of closure we want, we can find it very difficult to move forward with our lives.
If you think about it, though, seeking closure is only giving someone else the control over your sense of peace. Basically, you’re saying, “I can’t move past this until YOU give me closure…”
We can’t expect the outside world to take care of our feelings — we get to take ownership over them ourselves.
Sometimes you have to let go, let God handle the rest, and don’t look back.
3. You don’t always have to know what you want.
If you want to know the truth, I still can’t decide if I like pink or blue better. It’s as simple as that. Okay, well maybe the adult word is a little more nuanced… but you get what I mean.
We are held to an expectation that we need to have it all figured out by [enter age here] OR ELSE you are — falling behind, lazy, incompetent, indecisive, and a whole list of other adjectives that will lead you into a spiral of self deprecating thoughts.
What if I told you that all that pressure you are feeling to make up your mind is completely made up?
Well, it is.
At some point someone probably asked you, “What you want to be when you grow up?” or, “What is your five year plan?” Great questions… I still don’t know the answer.
Humans are meant to change. What we want changes and that is okay. Don’t get caught up in not knowing. Instead, take a step back and reflect. Now is a great time to find peace in the opportunities ahead and ask yourself some questions to find clarity.
4. You’re allowed to let things go.
Except kites, hold on to those…. way more fun that way.
Forgive me, I had to lighten the mood somehow.
In writing this, I just realized how many puns could follow this heading *enter Frozen meme here*.
Elsa had a point though — letting go of what we can’t control is one of the most powerful things we can do.
There are going to be many things in our lives that may serve a purpose for some time, but there may also come a time that we outgrow that same thing. Kind of like a hermit crab and a shell.
In scenarios that we feel distress, or pressure, sometimes the best way to find relief is to let go of what isn’t serving us any more.
5. You are responsible for your own happiness.
The second you start to depend on something or someone else to cultivate the level of happiness you feel, you’re setting yourself up to be let down.
Read that again.
Your happiness cannot, will not, and should not depend on anyone else but who? — YOU.
Accept it and lean in to it.
If there is one life lesson I could teach myself sooner, it would be this one.
Taking personal responsibility for your happiness means not blaming others for your unhappiness. It means figuring out ways in which you can be happy despite what is going on around you.
When you accept and recognize that your happiness depends much more on your attitude, you can stop worrying about the rest.
Moral of the story: You have control over your life. Don’t let objective, external circumstances steal your peace.
Whoever said too much of a good thing is never a good idea definitely didn’t know about this jumpsuit. There are very few pieces in my closet that I can get unlimited wear out of, but y’all… this one is so good I bought it in several colors!
The sky is truly the limit here, but sometimes it helps to have a visual. You most likely have most of these accessories (or some version of them) in your wardrobe, so it should be easy to re-create. Let me know which one is your favorite!
Psst… want to save some money?
Use my code:
to take 15% off your entire order at Ivy & Leo
(Disclosure: I DO NOT receive a ‘kickback’ from this, I just want to help you thrifty ladies get the most bang for your buck!)
24 years on this earth is no where near enough time to have this whole life thing figured out. I’m hardly scraping the surface of this journey we call life, but I have learned a lot along the way. Everyone has their own story and experiences that are unique to their life, myself included. We live, we learn, and we have a lot more in common than we think, most of the time. I could sit here and talk about how I have been through incredibly trying times (which I have) and times I could have never dreamed of, in amazing and also heartbreaking ways (again, been there)… but so have every single one of you. So I’m not going to do that. I’d rather share what came from those moments, what I took away. By no means do I claim to know it all, whatsoever. In fact, I KNOW I have so much more to learn… and one day I’ll probably look back at this post and laugh. For the time being, I am just going to let future Megan figure that out. In this moment, my birthday, I’m 24 (which, might I add, is a pretty irrelevant birthday. Really y’all, nothing crazy about a 20-something). Anyways, I look back to 16 year old Megan who thought she had it all figured out. OH MAN, how I wish I lived in that blissful state ignorance again some days. No, what I really wish, is that I knew then what I do now. The list could probably be hundreds of lessons long, but for your sanity (and mine) here are a few things I wish I could tell teenage me. Who knows, maybe you need to hear some of this too.
1. Life keeps going.
Believe it or not, life doesn’t stop, even if you do. Giving up, moping around, waiting for someone else to give you the go-ahead, won’t attract the attention you think it will & sure won’t help you in the long run. Sure, people are (and should be) empathetic, and sometimes you need help to get going, but it is 100% your responsibility to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward, no matter how fast or slow that is, just don’t let life leave you behind.
2. Leave insecurity behind.
Here’s a real talk moment, people are not going to be concerned with what you’re doing because most of the time, they are way more worried about themselves. Truly, if you think for a second someone is going to pick out that small wrinkle on your shirt, or the fake tan splotch on your elbow, or the fact that you’re a little bloated one day at the pool, you’re sadly mistaken. Not that details don’t matter, because they do in some instances. But I promise, you are your own worst critic and guess what, so is EVERYONE else. Confidence is sexy, own your everything, even the parts you don’t like.
3. Take the risk.
If there is anything I have learned, it’s that the “safety net” you think you have now, can (and at some point probably will) disappear. It’s a lot harder to learn how to swim when you’re pushed into an ocean with no life preserver. Create your own by taking risks. Learn how to make things work when everything seems to be against you. Jump at the things that set your soul on fire, even if those things scare you. I firmly believe it’s in all of us to not let ourselves fail. Risk has such a negative connotation to a lot of people, but try thinking about it like an opportunity. Whether it’s trying something new off the menu, moving to a new city, starting your own business, signing up for a new workout class, you WILL learn something about yourself, you WILL grow from it, and you WILL thank yourself you did instead of asking “what-if” later.
4. Ask questions.
Learning never stops & NEWS FLASH, NO ONE can possibly know EVERYTHING. Your mom said it best, the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask. I’ve learned to ditch the “sheeple” attitude when someone brings up something everyone else seems to know. It’s not embarrassing to admit you don’t know what you don’t know. In fact, when you speak up and ask someone to explain it to you, they will probably be incredibly flattered! Have a question? Just ask… and now I am starting to sound like a bad advertisement, so I’ll move on, you get the point.
5. Hurt people, hurt people.
Yes, here we go with the cliché. But seriously, I think the majority of us forget this when we are in the middle of feeling pain, heartbreak, resentment, jealousy, etc. Just as much as we don’t want to admit it, we routinely act on impulse when we feel emotions, ESPECIALLY hurt. You’ve experienced being hurt. Maybe it was a breakup that was strung out way longer than it needed to be, with hurtful messages or spiteful actions… or maybe it was a co-worker who just made your life a living hell for seemingly no reason. Those people were hurting in some way, and it sucks you had to be their outlet to release that hurt, but stop holding onto it. When you start holding onto hurt, you’re going to perpetuate the cycle by letting it out on someone else. Learn to forgive, even if they don’t deserve it.
6. Let yourself love.
Love often & love hard y’all. Here’s the thing, we shy away from love because it makes us vulnerable… vulnerable to what, you ask? SEE ABOVE. But let me ask you this, if the person you love — a sibling, parent, spouse, crush, friend, boss, you name it — were to leave this earth tomorrow, would you regret never telling them how much they mean to you? Love is a strong word, I get it, but love is one of the most powerful feelings we have & it’s not supposed to be just ours to keep. When we allow ourselves feel it, and even more importantly, outwardly show it, we are sharing something that softens our hearts and those around us. So call up whoever it is, send a text, slide into the DMs, do what you need to do, make sure you are loving on other people, because someone out there needs it. Who knows, maybe you’ll lift that someone out of their depression (even if it’s for a second), maybe that someone is your soul mate, maybe you just haven’t told your sister you love her in years. Taking this a step further…
7. You have to love yourself first.
The best way to practice up for #6 is to start with YOU. It takes a really strong person to love themselves because we know our flaws better than any one else on this earth. It’s one of the harder things I’ve had to learn to do… and I’m still learning to be completely honest. Kudos to the people who have this one down, because it is not easy. Especially since no outside influence can do it for you, it has to come from within. Once you have it down, though, it makes it a whole lot easier to share love with someone else
8. Remember your past, but don’t dwell on it.
Another cliché coming right up… “Only look back to see how far you’ve come”. Yeah, it’s a good one right? You’ve probably seen this one plastered all over an inspiring picture on Pinterest. On too many occasions, I have found myself going over things that have happened years ago that I still feel guilty for or wish I could go back and re-live. The problem with that is it takes me out of the “NOW”. It’s important to check in from time to time to reflect and be proud of where we were — we are all products of our past after all — but don’t linger. The only moment we have is the present, if we keep dwelling on the past we will miss what’s right in front of us.
9. The scale is a piece of garbage.
Yeah, that thing you have in your bathroom… here is your warm invitation to go chuck that thing out the window. Seriously, when did we let numbers start to dictate how proud we are of ourselves, how happy we are, how beautiful we are?! I bet you if you walked around town right now NO ONE is going to sit there guessing how much you weigh, why? Because that’s the LEAST important thing about you! I’ve had to learn this the hard way, but truly, no one is going to remember you for the number that shows up on a scale when you step on it. Sure, health is important (I’m getting there) but there are so many other ways to “measure” our body & guess what? The scale isn’t the boss anymore.
10. Take your health seriously.
Now that we have gotten rid of the numbers game, it’s a good time to mention this; You have only ONE body in this life, take care of it. Health is a whole lot more important that vanity and you have to be honest with yourself if you’re neglecting it. That yearly doctors visit we all hate going to where they poke around in places we wish they didn’t have to, important. The therapist you’ve thought about going to see because you just need someone to listen to you about whats causing you anxiety, important. Going to the dentist to get your teeth cleaned, important. Saying no to the intense workout because your body is craving rest, important. Eating at least one green vegetable when all you want is fries, important. These things all add up to help your body function in the most optimal way so that we can enjoy the other things life has for us. Stop making excuses and keep yourself accountable for this, you’ll be happy you did.
11. Bring the jacket.
On to a lighter topic. Mom was right, AGAIN. If you’re walking out the door and it even crosses your mind for a second that you might need a jacket, bring the dang jacket. Minor inconvenience to carry around an article of clothing you aren’t wearing, but you’ll be happy you had it when all the sudden, it becomes the arctic tundra and your arm hair is standing straight up.
12. Trends repeat themselves.
Remember when we thought flare jeans were so lame? Or how about that time we just couldn’t imagine a life where turtlenecks were “fashionable”? What about shoulder pads…overalls even! Here we are, living proof that trends do, in fact, repeat themselves. Moral of the story here is, if you like something, don’t wait for it to be “cool” to wear it. Just throw it on and wait for the world to catch up! I draw the line at velour track suits and studded belts, sorry y’all.
13. If you say you’re going to be somewhere, be there.
It shouldn’t have to be said, but I’ve been on both ends of this one. If you make a plan, have the courtesy to follow through, or at least give advance notice if something comes up. No one likes a flake. This comes down to committing to something and being able to stick to it. If people around you constantly see you backing out of plans, they will eventually stop inviting you and no one wants to feel left out, it sucks. So next time you make a plan, show up, it’s as simple as that.
14. When people treat you like they don’t care, believe them.
If I could go back and shake myself during all those times I felt hurt because of what someone DIDN’T do, just to tell myself this, I would. Maybe it’s just me, but I do set high expectations for people and I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt when they fall short…but girl, let me tell you, actions speak louder than words. If someone isn’t going out of their way to keep you in their life, whether thats a friend, significant other, family, you need to let that toxic relationship go. Relationships are a two way street and if someone cares about keeping that relationship, they will show it. It really sucks when it’s someone you care about too…but in the end, if that person isn’t lifting you up and adding a positive value to your life, it’s time to re-evaluate.
15. No pressure, no diamonds.
Pinterest is coming for me at this point…but bare with me. How are diamonds formed? Under pressure (ice ice baby… okay I’m done, I had to, I’m sorry). Same goes for us. Some of the best outcomes happen when we’ve made it through really tough times. Adversity has a funny way of kicking us down to show us that we can get right back up and stand even taller the next time. If you’re anything like me, a little pressure is just what I need to kick myself into gear and get stuff done! When we’ve procrastinated to the last second, pressure is what fuels us to succeed. I think the same thing applies to life. When everything is against us, as humans, we will NOT let ourselves fail 9 times out of 10. And what do we have to show for it? It’s not cubic zirconia I assure you that.
16. Take your makeup off.
Switching gears again. I think I’ve learned this one a little later than I would have liked to admit, but that’s alright! I’ll set the scene, you’re back from dinner with friends, or a late shift at work, and you are SO tired… all you want to do is put your head on that pillow and knock out. BUT WAIT… that fabulous full face of makeup is still sittin’ pretty (thank you setting spray, amirite?). Do you; a) get up and wash your face OR b) forget about it and deal with it tomorrow….. A LADIES, ALWAYS A. No more excuses, this goes along with the health thing. Take care of the skin you’re in.
17. You’re allowed to change your mind.
College major, political beliefs, what you want for dinner, favorite color, it’s completely normal to change you mind. In fact, it’s encouraged! We grow up and we grow into who we are meant to be. Things happen to us (or others) that change our outlook and our opinions, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. You don’t need to explain it to anyone and you don’t need to justify it either. Own it.
18. You’re right where you need to be.
Even if that’s right in the middle of the chaos. Not the easiest pill to swallow, but I’ve leaned that you have to have faith there is a method to the madness you’re experiencing. When you start to trust in the process and embrace the “journey”, a lot of the stress and anxiety that come with anticipating reaching the final “destination”, fade away (or at least become more bearable).
19. God never gives you things you can’t handle.
This almost goes hand-in-hand with #18. What we are going through is meant for US. How cool is that? Each experience, the best, worst, and everything in between, are custom made just for YOU. Even if you aren’t religious, or if you believe in something other than God, I think it’s important to learn that we CAN get through what we are going through. This goes back to the “look how far you’ve come” thing. Seriously, take a look, you’ve done all of that… and you CAN & WILL do so much more!
20. The only person you can depend on, is you.
Yep, another tough one. I bet you can think of a time when you were let down because of someone else. It happens to me all the time. I’ll be honest, I’m still figuring this one out. There is a balance in there somewhere, but what I have learned is sometimes you get to be the boss in your own life. Sometimes that means playing the boss and the worker at the same time. We can only control what we do. So, if you are the one who is calling the shots, the only person who can let you down, is you. Don’t give that power to someone else, it’s not their place to be the boss in your life. Be the most dependable person you know, every chance you get.
21. You can’t change/fix people.
I’m pairing this close to #20 because there are instances where other people influence your life. Sometimes, those people do things that aren’t in line with how you would do things, or how you wish they would do things. My mom has spoken this into my life more times than I can count. We all have our “people”. Some stay, some go, but at any given time you are almost guaranteed to have someone in your life other than yourself. Key words, other than yourself. They are their own person, with their own baggage, successes, failures, quirks, etc., and you have no power over that…at all. When you bring someone into your life, you are accepting them for every part of them, the good and bad. Don’t think for a second it’s your job to fix them or mold them into who you want them to be, because the only person who can do that is them (see #20). You have a choice to embrace people for who they are, or make a decision not to keep them in your life if who they are isn’t serving you, and that’s it.
22. Give what you expect to receive.
Isn’t it funny how the simple things we learned in grade school seemed to just fly out the door as we got older? You might recognize this one as the “Golden Rule”. Remember it? I’ll go ahead and remind you anyways. Treat people how you want to be treated. This goes for friendship, kindness to a stranger, love, the list goes on. What you give someone else is what you should expect to receive, and it’s important to remind ourselves of that.
23. Have fun.
Oddly enough, I was on the phone with my Dad a few days ago when it occurred to me… I forgot that I am ALLOWED to have fun. Not just on weekends or when I’m with a friend, but in everything I do. Work, chores, *insert a thousand other things here*, you are allowed to have FUN! For me that came in the form of a new job opportunity. My dad pointed out that I was pigeon hole-ing myself into a certain path that I honestly would have been miserable doing, but I thought it needed to be because it was “work”. Anyone else? Life is too short, y’all. If you aren’t having fun, you gotta change something! Who cares if school tells you that nine to five, cubicle jobs are what you have to look forward to. If you aren’t happy, if something doesn’t sound like fun to you, do something else that is. It’s out there, I promise. Create a life for yourself that you are energized by every single day.
24. Life is short.
This might sound odd coming from a 24 year old, but hey, I’m a human too! I think more than ever it is becoming apparent to me how fragile and limited mortality really is. I don’t want to get cynical or dark here, but the more I see reports on the news of shootings or car accidents, I can only think to myself, “If this were to all end right now, would I be happy with the person I am and the life I have lived?” I think that’s a healthy thought. We should constantly strive to live the life we are proud of and be the person your little, five year old self wanted to be when you “grew up”. Every day, every week, month, year, is a chance to do that. Don’t waste it.