I’m 25 I’m not a (In reverse chronological order) Counselor, social worker, missionary, lawyer, businesswoman, senator, cook, massage therapist, marine biologist, or aviator… like I thought I’d be But I am a creative soul. I… More
An unfortunate part of my anxiety and also my empathetic yet controlling personality is that my brain tends to tell me that I’m not doing “enough”. It wouldn’t really matter what area of my life you asked me about: my spirituality, emotional/mental/physical health, marriage, friendships, family, I could give you all the ways I’m not doing enough to better myself in any one or all of them. But that worldview doesn’t take into account or credit myself for all the progress I actually HAVE made.
The thing about focusing on the ways you need to grow is that it’s too easy for those things to become all you see. You started off with good intentions but somewhere along the way you put on positivity blinders. When you look at yourself now, maybe you don’t see all the ways you’ve already been growing and becoming a better, truer, version of yourself.
The only way to change this mindset about ourselves is to start acknowledging our growth to ourselves and others. Use honest but positive phrases in both self-talk and conversations with others, such as “I need to communicate better with my partner, but I’m really good at communicating with colleagues and clients!” or “I struggle with vulnerability but I’m working on that by doing _____”. By saying the things that you ARE doing, you will realize how much it really is.
It can be overwhelming in this really sad and sick world to see everything bad around us and feel like we aren’t doing nearly enough, but all we can do is make our sphere of influence a little better and brighter. If you’re doing all the good you CAN do where you are with the people you see, that’s a whole lot of good ❤️
(Inspired by Nikita Gill)
I was born with a fire
Inside my fragile body
It began as a spark
But soon became an inferno.
For many years
My little body burned
With the light of confidence.
But with every candle flame I blew
On my birthday each year
A little of my fire died with it.
As I blew more and more of me out
To be more what the world wanted
The world slowly snuffed me out too
Until all that remained
Was a tiny spark
Of the fiery star I used to be.
I’m learning to light my own fire
To feed my own flame
And burn brightly once again
Adult friendship is one of the hardest things in the world to manage. It’s much harder to have friendships now than it was when we were young. Between jobs, pets, kids of our own, friends still in school, relationships, and trying to maintain some time for personal relaxation, it’s hard to find time to spend with our friends.
On top of the difficulty of finding time to be a friend, it becomes increasingly important to be selective with whom we cultivate friendship. As adults, we no longer want to waste energy or time investing in a friendship that doesn’t align with our values, build us up, and make us better. We also don’t want to invest in people who won’t respect us or our boundaries and don’t have pure motives for friendship. It is incredibly difficult to find friends that meet all of these criteria, even without the stress of not knowing when you would spend time with those friends if you did find them.
It’s also difficult and often painful discerning when to hold on to old friendships and when to let them fade naturally if that’s what’s meant to happen. People frequently grow apart as they age, and it’s often hard to recognize that and address it honestly without fear of hurting the other person or fear of letting that person go. But as much as it may hurt to let old friendships fade, it would be just as harmful to hold onto something that no longer benefits both parties. Toxic relationships don’t always have to be abusive- sometimes there is just too much codependence between people or one-sided dependence from one person. Letting go of that can often give both parties a chance to grow and flourish as their own person.
Overall, it’s important to remember open, honest, kind communication is the key to successful friendships as an adult (and really any relationship). Establish boundaries and expectations early on in the friendship and you will have fewer conflicts down the road. When conflict does arise, communicate compassionately and honestly about what you are feeling and thinking, and ensure the other person feels safe to do the same. If someone isn’t willing to communicate with you, you can’t force them. Just move on and if they come around later on you can cross that bridge when you come to it. Any friendship will have difficulties but those difficulties don’t have to mean the end of the friendship. If you can overcome obstacles within your circle of carefully chosen friends, you will most likely have those friends for life.
Be patient, forgiving, and kind, but don’t be a doormat. You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, just make sure you give your friends the same consideration. After all, friendship is a lot harder as an adult.
In the immortal words of Kendrick Lamar: Be humble. Sit down. Two parts to humility that people forget way too often.
We lose our humility the second we lose our ability to laugh at ourselves. If we can no longer find humor in our faults and failures, we’ve become too proud. And I don’t mean laugh at yourself in a self-deprecating way; I mean laugh at yourself because it’s not good to take yourself too seriously. Find humor in the silly mistakes you make instead of beating yourself up for them. Laugh at yourself and let it go. You’ll find people respond better to you and are more honest with you when they know your ego isn’t too delicate for them to keep it real. You also grow more that way too.
Along with that- sit down, shut up, and hear about someone else’s experience. Grow from what other people have to say. Listen to their stories, find the parallels with your own life, find the differences, and take all of that into your perspective of the world. Don’t be so proud and take yourself and your struggles so seriously that you can’t hear about another person’s struggle without minimizing or erasing it and its impact on their life.
Become self aware enough to distinguish between issues of self that you should be serious about: esteem, responsibility, growth, the effect of your big mistakes on others – and issues that you shouldn’t be serious about: pride, ego, little mistakes, things outside your control.
Don’t turn little things into big things. By doing so, you lose the ability to distinguish between the two and before long you won’t know yourself whether something is or should be a big deal to you.
What would life look like
If one day we all woke up and decided we wouldn’t be driven by shame
What would our relationships, our careers, our purchases, our days look like if we just
If we looked in the mirror and said: I like what I see; I like who I am; I like where I’m going
If we owned ourselves entirely and stopped letting other things and fears take possession of us.
What if we stopped letting shame over past failures or petty insecurities
Drive our lives
Imagine what we could be and do
How very strange
That our lives
Are revolving doors
Loved ones and friends
In and out
Preface: I was talking to a friend and she mentioned struggling with some tough emotions after the birth of her second child. I’m not a mom but I know a lot of you are and maybe you need to hear what she has to say. So I asked her if she would want to write a post for this blog and she gracefully agreed. Here it is.
“When Postpartum Isn’t a Fairytale”
Motherhood. It’s 10 months (because who are we kidding, it’s not 9) of back busting, heartburn raging, hormone exploding pregnancy. It all leads up to that glorious moment where they plop that bright pink newborn on your chest after hours and hours of grueling pain. You gaze into their little scrunched up face and feel the overwhelming flood of emotions.
They are everything you ever hoped for, everything you ever imagined. You inhale their sweet baby smell, and know you would die for them. You loved them from the moment they drew their first breath. You feel the all-consuming love from the warmth of their little body against your chest.
Except, that’s what the movies show. No one tells you that this picture-perfect fairytale of child birth and motherhood is far from the truth for some women. Women like me. No one tells you that when you look at their face, you see the eyes of a stranger staring back at you. No one mentions that the sound of their crying sends chills up your spine in the middle of the night when all you want to do is sleep your life away. No one tells you about the dark shadow hanging over your back and bringing ice down your neck, making your shoulders tight. No one brings up how much pain you will be in after giving birth. The soreness, the stitches, the contractions that continue long after labor is over. And the emotional pain. People fail to mention how motherhood can be awful.
And it is because no one talks about this that mothers feel so much shame when these feelings rear their ugly faces. Why I feel so much shame. People stare at you slack jawed when you explain that you just don’t feel that “intense love” towards your newborn. People gasp when you mention the invasive thoughts of hurting yourself or your new child. Shame. You already feel it, but people’s reactions multiply it by a thousand.
You worry that they feel you are an unfit mother. You worry that you ARE an unfit mother. After all, what kind of mother wants to just drive away and never come home? What kind of mother doesn’t want to hold their own baby? Or can’t stop crying long enough to feed their baby? What kind of mother feels nothing for their own flesh and blood?
Your body is a ghost of what it used to be. Bright red stretchmarks flash across your sagging, heavy stomach. Not to mention the mess down below. You don’t even want to look down there. Trust me. Put the mirror down. Then add these feelings about your own body to everything else you are feeling.
How you are feeling every emotion at once. Your baby doesn’t latch to your swollen, painful breasts. Frustration. They scream from hunger and every fiber of your being just wants to be able to do what is supposed to be so “natural”. Again, people never told you that natural doesn’t mean easy. Anger. Your baby loses weight. Panic. They are hungry. They scream and cry. You scream and cry. Sadness. “Don’t use formula, just push through it,” people tell you. You feel the pressure to do what is “best”. Pressure. Social media says it’s true, your cousin says it’s true, your grandparents and parents say it too. So, who are you to not to do what’s best? Failure.
A failure, that dark voice in your head tells you. You give baby formula because they still aren’t up to their birth weight by 3 weeks. You sob at the doctor’s office as they hand you the sample canister of formula. Handing you the white flag of defeat. Loss.
But you aren’t a failure. You are a warrior. You just did the most incredible thing you will ever do in your life. You just experienced the closest thing to magic that humankind will ever experience. You created, grew, and brought another human life into the world. From practically nothing. YOU did that. That is bound to leave some scars and I’m not just talking about the physical ones.
Your brain has been forever altered. Flooded by the hormones of motherhood. And sometimes, those hormones do harm. You are NOT a bad mom because you have postpartum depression. You are not un-worthy of your child because you have postpartum anxiety. You are simply a mother, who is feeling the aftermath of the magic. Bringing magic in the world will always leave a mark. Sometimes those marks are a little deep. And that’s okay. You are strong. You are a goddess. You created life.
So, quit beating yourself up. Do what you must do to get through the days. Go for a drive, see a therapist, paint a picture, read a book, cuddle that wrinkly potato baby, and god forbid don’t beat yourself up for seeking help. You earned it. And just know that it will get better. I promise you that.