The 4 Life Lessons Of Seasonal Positions

Re-framing Your Thinking

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“You ought to be thrilled that you got a job in the mail room. And when you get there, here’s what you do: Be really great at sorting mail.”

                                                                                                                                                                              -Randy Pausch

Even if it’s just sorting mail or folding clothes at your local J-Crew, the littlest things can teach you the biggest things.

As the year winds down, It has been crickets around here. A major part of the reason is because balancing my part-time job as a seasonal retail associate along with my personal life and this blog has been a challenge. But this job has been an invaluable learning experience, even after just a few weeks. And that experience alone has made me realize the truth in Randy Pausch’s book when he said the following:

“No job is beneath you.”

Not that I didn’t believe him when I read that particular clause, but I have always found first-hand experience to be the best teacher. And while I don’t see myself working in retail forever, that’s not to say that there isn’t anything valuable to be learned from the experience.

Feeling Bad About Your Mistakes (And Apologizing Repeatedly) Doesn’t Help Others

 

This might be a “no, duh” sort of thing for some of us, but for me, it’s something that I’ve really had to learn.

Growing up going back and forth to Tokyo, I was surrounded by people who constantly apologized for everything, whether it was making a mistake while conducting a transaction with a customer in a bank or accidentally bumping into someone at the train station as they rushed to get to where they needed to be.

This is not to say that you should not apologize for your mistakes, but your energy would be better spent learning what you did wrong, how to correct it, and putting effort toward avoiding that mistake in the future.

Feeling bad about something that’s already happened doesn’t allow you to go back in time and change the circumstances or the mistake itself. Taking the experience and applying it so that you can avoid mistakes in the future shows people that you are flexible, and that you pay attention to detail. And you’ll save your employer and co-workers plenty of headaches.

Sometimes You Just Have to Say No (Or Ask People To Wait)

 

I once read a quote somewhere that said, “A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.”

I was raised to be a people pleaser. I learned to fear authority figures, especially those who raised their voices at me. I thought that the easiest way to be of service to people was to never say no when they asked me for things, especially when you’re providing a service or product to a customer. I did things not because I genuinely wanted to, but because I wanted to avoid getting into trouble. And because I wanted to please people so badly, they were able to manipulate me and push me around.

Looking back on my life, this pattern has been prevalent. I am the kind of person who wants to jump into something the minute you ask for it. But I realize that by continuing that pattern, I’m not setting boundaries for myself. Not only that, but I’m not providing good customer service to others.

Asking people to wait is never a bad thing. Sometimes you need to do it. Yes, providing prompt (and quality) customer service is important. But sometimes you need to ask people to wait. You’ll be able to answer questions for thoroughly and avoid feeling like a dog being pulled on a leash.

When you feel like a dog being pulled on a leash, you can’t do your job very well. And when you can’t do your job very well…we all know how that goes. You were hired for a reason. And as an employee, you are expected to do the job (no matter how menial the task is) to the best of your ability, and to the company’s standards.

And if that means asking customers to wait instead of answering their questions while you’re assisting someone else, than so be it.

Some People Will Be Rude, No Matter What You Do (But The Things They Say Have Nothing To Do With You)

 

I’ve said it before, but some people could just be straight up rude. No matter how courteous you are, it doesn’t mean that that courtesy will be reciprocated. And yes, for a sensitive person (like yours truly), it can take a while to shake off.

You have no control over how others treat you. What you do have control over is your reaction. So the next time someone snaps at you, swallow that snippy retort. Yes, easier said than done, coming from a self-proclaimed no-filter kind of girl. But there is a big difference. You are not with your BFFs having a girls night; you are in a professional working environment. And there are rules of etiquette that need to be followed.

Take Your Time

In today’s day and age when we get irritated if the Internet loads in 5 minutes instead of 5 seconds, we’ve become used to multitasking, trying to do everything at once.

But here’s the thing: rushing allows you to make mistakes. And mistakes often create more work for those around you. Taking your time allows you to ensure that you complete each step of the process to the best of your ability. And when you complete each step of the process to the best of your ability, customers can see that.

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather wait for something of quality rather than have someone rush through something and have a not-so-stellar final product.

Randy Pausch may never have gotten to play in the NFL, but football taught him valuable life lessons; you may not earn a Grammy or an Olympic medal, but that doesn’t mean that your experience (whether it be a seasonal job, internship, or quest to earn an Academy Award) counts for nothing. There are lessons to be learned wherever you are in life; you just have to be open to them.

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How To Prevent Your Self-Esteem From Taking You On A Roller Coaster

Culture & Society, Learning To Love Yourself, Re-framing Your Thinking

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(Originally posted on Hello Perfect)

With all the Insta-pics, tweets, and Facebook status updates, we look like we’ve got everything together. But sometimes, despite all appearances, the reality is far from put together.

In a recent article, author Sarah Varney shared the story of Carlos, a formerly overweight man, to illustrate the idea that despite the fact that someone looks healthy on the outside doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t battle past demons.

You can lose the weight. You can put on makeup. You can get surgery. But sometimes the external changes aren’t enough. Sure, having a great body is good for your self-esteem, but if you base your self-esteem solely on the media’s standards of beauty…well, you’ve seen what happens to girls who do that.

If you base your self-esteem on external factors, you’ll find your self-esteem speeding up and down faster than Roadrunner chasing Coyote. The key is to build your self-esteem from the inside out. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend my time building a solid foundation instead of chasing after my self-esteem like a beginner runner trying to run a 5k.

Cut Out Media

 

Yes, you did just read that. Yes, I know Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model are as addicting as Ben & Jerry’s cookie dough ice cream. But if you cut media out of your life (notice that I didn’t limit it to stuff you see on screens?), you get a chance to focus on yourself rather than trying to reach what is most likely an unattainable “norm.”

If that sounds impossible, start small. Cut out one reality show one week. Throw away those old issues of Vogue that are gathering dust on your desk. Watch one episode of Game of Thrones instead of holding a marathon and chowing on popcorn in the process. Media can be fun, but too much of it can be so damaging to your self-esteem.

Talk To Someone

 

            Yes, this goes against my entire do-not-rely-on-external-factors argument, but hold on for a second and hear me out. We are humans, not robots. We can’t do everything ourselves. We run out of steam so fast that it’s not even funny. That’s where talking to someone can help.

Now, when I say someone, I don’t mean anyone. I mean someone you trust. Someone doesn’t need to bring you down to make herself feel better. You might not be a chatterbox, but here’s the thing. The longer you keep your lips zipped, the bigger your problems get. Talking to someone can give you some perspective. You might realize that the thing you’re obsessing over, which seems like the worst thing on the planet a few hours ago, is actually the most insignificant detail in the world.

You don’t need to disclose your entire life story. Just tell someone that you’re having issues, and you need a pick-me-up. Sometimes all you need is a little pick-me-up (that is not in the form of tiramisu) to make you feel better and boost your self-esteem.

 

Focus On What You Do Well

 

I’m not going to pull a Louise Hay and go all self-help book on you, but sometimes we actually do need to focus on what you do well. Do you cook a mean spaghetti with meatballs? Take note of that. Are you the resident Miss Organization that everyone turns to because they know that you won’t lose anything you give them for safekeeping? Write that down. Positivity attracts positivity. Focusing on what you have and what you do well instead of what you don’t have brings more positive things into your life.

And who doesn’t want that? The best part about that is the fact that you can pull out your Things I Do Well list and look at it (if lists are your thing). You can keep adding to it. When you actually take a step back and look at it, I have a feeling that you’ll discover that you’re actually pretty darn talented.

Give Yourself Time To Let Steam Off

 

            If you’re feeling overwhelmed with things, excuse yourself. No, I can’t give you a machine where you can press the pause button on life, but you can voluntarily remove yourself from situations that aggravate you. The more you suppress your emotions, the more the steam builds. And the more you suppress your emotions, the more your self-esteem will suffer.

Let off steam in the best way for you. Write in a journal if that’s your thing. Go run a couple miles in the park if that’s your thing. Do whatever it is you need to do to let off steam. The worst thing you can do when you’re trying to boost your self-esteem is to ignore your emotions. You’ll just feel worse about yourself if you do. No one wants that, right?

You Are Going To Be A Bundle of Contradictions, And That’s Okay

Culture & Society, Learning To Love Yourself, Miscellaneous Musings, Re-framing Your Thinking

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“You’re too sensitive.”

“Don’t be so dramatic.”

“Just get over it.”

 

Sound familiar?

 

I think if we all were paid a dollar when someone said those things to us, we’d be filthy rich by now. Kids and adults can be cruel.

Okay. You might not think that those things are cruel, but even the smallest things can destroy your confidence, especially if you’re a hypersensitive person like me. I don’t care if you’re Jennifer Lawrence or your neighbor down the street. Everyone goes through those moments when their confidence is ground in the dirt.

And in those moments, it’s easy to look to the person you idolize. Yes, you know who I’m talking about. Those people whose Twitter accounts you stalk, whose magazine covers you buy the second they hit the newsstands. The ones you want to be.

Sure, they may look like they have everything, but that doesn’t make them immune to pain. Despite their “perfect” image (thank you very much every news outlet ever), the truth is that they’re far from perfect.

 

 

 

See? Case in point.

 

Social media has allowed us to filter our lives so much that it’s very easy to think that we are the only ones in the world who suck at life. We have become so gosh darn obsessed with the number of likes, tweets, and followers that we judge our value based on those superficial numbers.

 

You don’t have to be Taylor Swift, Emma Watson, or Selena Gomez to say something in today’s world that you’ll get flack for. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best singer in the world since sliced bread: Anything you do or say will be picked apart. You can’t please everyone. If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up becoming a doormat. And becoming a doormat is the easiest way to lose your sanity.

 

The only thing you can do is to try to please yourself. Just because you’re a little dramatic doesn’t mean that you have to put duct tape over your mouth every time you come across the person who called you a drama queen.

 

So what if you don’t think that One Direction is the best band to hit the radio waves since The Beatles? You don’t have to bend over backwards to memorize their names and listen to all their albums in one day just because you want to appease your friends who happen to spend their hard-earned money on concert tickets. You don’t have to justify your decisions or tastes to anyone.

 

You’re still young. We will always be students of life. You can believe multiple things. Your tastes will change and grow with you. You can be a drama queen and still be a mellow, relaxed person. You can like the Beatles, Patti Smith, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift & Demi Lovato all at the same time for different reasons, no matter what anyone tells you. You don’t need permission from anyone.

 

Finding what you like and what you believe is a process. Believing in yourself is not an easy, straightforward thing. You will always be a bundle of contradictions, there’s no way around it.

 

I’m going to try my hardest not to pull a Louise Hay on you, not because I have my doubts about the self-help industry, but because when you’re young, it’s really hard to believe that your flaws make you interesting, when all they seem to do is help you dig your own grave. Yes, your favorite celeb can help, but no matter how many times you listen to their songs on repeat, you’re the one who has to believe that your quirks make you who you are. And it can be really hard to turn Negative Nancy’s voice off.

But who else but you thinks the way you think, likes what you like, and does what you do? All of the stuff (good and bad) that you’ve been through has made you who you are. You might not be able to just shake it off (thank you, Taylor Swift for getting that song stuck in my head). You might let things change you, but that doesn’t mean that you’re any weaker than the next person. You can make the choice to use the obstacles and changes you go through as fuel. Or you can let them remain walls.

And we know what happens with walls.

 

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Image Credit

 

It’s a lot better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you are, anyway. I’ve tried being something I wasn’t; it was by far one of the most painful things I have ever done. It was a lot of lying. A lot of crying. A lot of pulling my hair out. A lot of filtering. A lot of hiding.

It took me more than ten years to realize this, but if you just put yourself out there, and KEEP doing it, the right audience will find you.

When you shed your mask, share your story, and be yourself no matter where you are in life, you encourage others to do the same. People will see their flaws in you and realize that it’s OKAY to be flawed, that you DO NOT have to have everything figured out, that you DO NOT have to hibernate like a bear waiting for spring. You can be a role model for others without going on American Idol or winning an Olympic medal. You can do that by living your life, quirks and all. Yes, you heard me. You may be someone else’s Demi Lovato, Taylor Swift, or Emma Watson. You just might not know it yet.

I’m not saying for you to blast Shake it Off and let criticism roll off you like water; you can do that if that’s your thing, but I think there’s still a lot to be learned from criticism. The important thing is not to let it get to you, because your haters will ultimately make you better. They will help you grow.

Take in what you want to take in, improve what you can, and keep living your best life.

And for those who just don’t give you the time of day?

Shake ‘em off.

Screenshot Credit: YouTube

How To Accept Compliments Without Feeling Guilty

Culture & Society, Learning To Love Yourself, Re-framing Your Thinking

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(Originally published on Hello Perfect)

I’ve always had trouble accepting compliments. Growing up, I learned that in order to be a “good” girl, you had to turn down compliments. So I did – but that only served to grind my self-esteem in the dirt.

 

Sure, it took me more than a decade, but I think I’ve finally figured out how to take a compliment without feeling crummy afterwards.

 

Say Thank You

 

In a recent New York Times article about dealing with digital cruelty, author Stephanie Rosenbloom ended the article with a quote from James O. Pawelski, who acknowledged that we are  “really bad, typically, as a culture about accepting compliments;” Professor Pawelski went on to point out that compliments are “meant to be taken in and really appreciated. They’re meant to be gifts.”

 

 

People don’t have to waste their breath paying you a compliment, but they do. They believe you’re worth it, and that’s worth acknowledging, even with a simple “thank you. “ Don’t you think?

 

Look For Things You Like in Others

 

I know, I know. Easier said than done. Sometimes people are mean. Many of us move through life reacting to what we’re told. But if you look for things that you like in other people, it’s easier to find things that you like about yourself. Sometimes the things people compliment you on are admirable traits that you can learn to like in yourself too.

 

Change Your Inner Dialogue

 

I’ll be frank here: I’m still working on this. It’s not like you can snap your fingers and your negative thoughts will dissolve. However, if you take a minute to say to yourself, “Wow, he/she thought I was [insert compliment here]. That’s awfully nice of them,“ instead of, “OK. Why did they say that? They don’t know what I’m dealing with,” you’ll feel a lot better about yourself.

 

 

Do you have any other good tips for accepting a compliment without damaging your self-esteem?

 

How To Glow With Good Self-Esteem

Learning To Love Yourself, Re-framing Your Thinking

 

howtoglowwithgoodselfesteem(Originally published on Hello Perfect)

I was the girl in school who was picked last for any game involving a ball. While I was never yelled at for not getting an A on my report card, my family expected excellence. They often recounted their own childhoods, what they were doing when they were my age.

 

Those stories only served to make me feel like I was an ant being ground to a pulp under the heel of their favorite pairs of shoes.

 

I used that feeling of inadequacy to push me. I kept telling myself to look at people around me, to try to better them. In a structured, academic environment, it served me well.

 

Without the structure, I flailed. I had to build my self-esteem in a way that didn’t rely so much on external factors.

 

Intimidating?

 

Yes.

 

Impossible?

 

No.

 

How did I do it?

 

Cut Out Friends Who No Longer Serve You

 

We’ve all had that one friend who likes to make themselves feel better by bringing us down.

 

During my sophomore year in college, a friend from my hometown and I decided to be roommates. One we started living together, I quickly discovered that her sarcastic sense of humor that I had once loved was borderline cruel.

 

I started avoiding her while I was on campus and at home, even when she dropped the classic, “We should hang out,” because I knew that she made me feel inferior when I had no reason to feel that way.

 

I’m not saying that you need to have friends who tell you that you’re the cat’s meow every day; it’s good to have friends who challenge you. Sure, you might love that person’s sense of humor or the discussions that keep you engaged, but if you leave a get-together feeling crappy, they’re not worth keeping in your life.

 

Block that individual on all social media accounts. Erase their number. Sit down and talk to them if you can and make it clear that you don’t want to be friends with them anymore. You don’t have to go into the specifics about why if you don’t want to.

 

You’ll find that ridding yourself of toxic relationships makes you feel so much better about yourself.

 

Wear Clothes That Make You Feel Good

 

If you’re comfortable and confident in your clothes, people will sense that. They will be attracted to that easy confidence. But more than that, you will start to feel comfortable with YOURSELF, which goes a long when you’re developing self-esteem.

 

So if you absolutely KNOW that wearing a dress to a big event will make you want to vomit, even if you’re feeling pressured to wear one, don’t. Find something that flatters you and that you feel comfortable in.

 

If you spend an entire event worrying about how uncomfortable a garment makes you feel, you won’t be able to live in the present and enjoy the moment – and learning how to enjoy the moment goes a long way in helping to build your self-esteem.   

 

Create Your Own Standards

 

I’ve found that building your self-esteem can often mean refraining from subscribing to the standards of others. Such standards are often unrealistic.

 

In order to deal with my depression and keep it at bay, I exercise for an hour a day a few times a week. A good day for me is where my symptoms are controlled, when I’m not triggered by anything around me.

 

Sure, to some people, that might not be their definition of wellness. Some people go lift weights for an hour, go to a Pilates class, and finish with a run on a treadmill.

 

I may not work out to that extreme, but I can go to bed knowing that I’ve accomplished something, and that feeling goes a long way in helping me to build my self-esteem. Knowing that I’ve done the best I can for myself, without worrying about what other people expect, makes me feel pretty invincible.      

 

Do Things That Make You Feel Powerful

 

Doing things that make you feel powerful goes a long way in building your self-esteem. You stretch yourself. You do things you never thought you could do. That feeling that you get as you relish in an accomplishment? Hold on to it.

 

A few years ago, I traveled to Japan with a parent for a family event. My family wanted me to say a few words at the gathering. I was petrified, but I calmed down once I was assured that my speech didn’t need to be 15 minutes long.

 

The day of the event, I woke up a ball of nerves and with a stomach ache. I tripped and tottered my way through the crowded Tokyo streets to the restaurant, where more than 30 immediate family members greeted me.

 

Each one of them sitting at the giant table proceeded to give a “short” speech. As I listened to them, I could feel my face start to whiten. These speeches were not 2 minutes long.

 

They were 15 minutes long.

 

How was I supposed to give such a long speech in my second language with a stomach ache?

 

I started debating the option of delivering the speech in English. I knew I could do that for 15 minutes. Most of the people at the table spoke some English. They would be able to understand most of it. After all, it was the thought that counted, right?

 

All these thoughts went out the window after I registered the loud whispers being exchanged among my family.

 

“Is she going to do her speech in English?”

 

“Her Japanese wasn’t that good the last time she was here.”

 

When it was my turn, I delivered my speech entirely in Japanese.

 

Was I nervous?

 

Yes.

 

Did people laugh at me when I fumbled over my words?

 

Yes.

 

But the expression on my family’s faces as I put them in their place was worth the fumbling and the excruciating stomach pain. More importantly, I felt powerful. I had done something that I didn’t think I could do.

 

I had pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I now believed that I could do things that I didn’t think were possible.

 

You don’t have to make a 15-minute speech in a foreign language to feel powerful. You just need to push your boundaries, prove to yourself that you can do things you didn’t think you could. Building your self-esteem starts with small victories. Count them. Write them down.  As you grow and evolve, things around you will change. But those feelings of power and self-confidence will stay with you even after the things around you disappear.

 

How have YOU built up your self-esteem over the years?

The Truth Behind Depression & Suicide: My Thoughts On Robin Williams’ Passing

Culture & Society, Miscellaneous Musings, Re-framing Your Thinking

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I am not a numbers person. Contrary to my stereotype, I was horrible at math. But consider this:

 

With numbers like these, you would think that depression would have been more widely accepted as a real disease. Sure, people are talking about it a lot more (which is great), but how long will that discussion last?

Will people take Robin Williams’ passing as the final kick in the pants and continue the discussion after his unfortunate suicide fades from headlines? Or will we forget about it and go back to our merry lives until another celebrity lends their voice to the issue or passes away?

The choice is yours.

I know where I stand because I’ve been on the verge of ending my life before. I’m still battling the demons of depression.

The hardest part was not the swallowing of the pills. It was not sitting for hours on a therapist’s sticky leather couch. It was not suppressing the urge to cut every time the medicine hit my system.

The hardest part was staying.

Staying alive for my friends and family.

Staying alive and hearing things like “It will get better,” even though life kept giving me reasons to throw the towel in.

Sometimes letting go is easier than staying.

 

I know that I didn’t believe that my life could get better. All I saw was the reality in front of me. And that reality was that my life wasn’t fun.

You could argue that suicide only benefits one person and leaves so many hurt people in the wake of tragedy. But I know that when I was thinking about dying, I wasn’t thinking about how selfish I was. I was not thinking that suicide would be a free pass. I was thinking about how I would no longer be a burden to my family and friends.

You could call Robin Williams selfish, but I’d be willing to bet that he held on for as long as he did because of his loved ones.

 

My friends are the only reason I’ve held on for this long.

 

Robin Williams was the one who said that we are all given “a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”

What will you do with your one spark of madness?

 

Why I’m On The Fence About The Self – Help Industry & The Key To Making The Changes You Want To See

Culture & Society, Re-framing Your Thinking

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I’ve been through 2 self-help programs. These programs told me I was going to “find my inner beauty in 3 months” and “find the career of my dreams (or something along those lines) in 8 weeks.”

These programs claimed that they would “fix” my life, in a sense.

Have I embraced my inner beauty or gotten my dream career?

Nope. Not yet. I’m in the process of doing those things.

Sure, these programs have helped me somewhat, but they are not a quick fix. They are advertised to make you THINK they are.

This is why I have a problem with them:

You can’t develop confidence in 8 weeks or whatever else these programs advertise. Building confidence takes years. Your career is a constantly evolving journey. Your “purpose” is going to change as you change. You have to put effort into instigating the changes you want to see.

These programs in the self-help industry don’t fix your problems. You do.

I’m going to say that again. We fix our problems.

In response to the New York Times article that discussed young girls and the fact that they use YouTube to validate whether or not they’re physically attractive, one reader left the comment:

“Sounds more like our culture is the issue-again. It says a lot when the standard for approval and acceptance for young girls is physical appearance-but not so much for young boys.”

Guys go through the ringer too, you know.

I don’t think our culture is entirely to blame here; our society is made up of individuals who have the opportunity to help shape our rules. So yes, that twisted society that we always say has to change?

You help make it too.

I’m not trying to make you angry and say that everything that happens in society is your fault. I’m just asking you to consider the fact that you might be engaging in little things that are helping to create a society you don’t want to see.

Gandhi was right. In order to change the world, you have to BE that change.

What sorts of changes do YOU want to see in today’s society?

 

 

 

 

How To Turn A Bad Day Around

Re-framing Your Thinking

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You know those days where everything that could possibly go wrong actually does?

You roll out of bed past your alarm. You spill coffee on your work clothes. You can’t find your keys. And when you finally do find your keys, you go to work, only to lock yourself out of the car. You’re sitting in traffic on the way to the airport. You miss your flight. The days where you constantly find yourself thinking, This is not my day.

 

We all have them.

 

I just had one a short time ago. Except this time, it wasn’t an endless ring of fiery hoops I had to jump through. I created this obstacle course with one mistake that could have been easily avoidable.

 

Not even finding a very uplifting post from one of my all-time favorite blogs could cheer me up. And this was while I was listening to music.

 

I was playing the “should have, could have” game for a good while. But we all know that that doesn’t do squat.

 

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Let Yourself Feel Frustrated

 

You might say, “So you missed a flight. Big whoop.”

 

Actually, to some of us, it DOES seem like we were crushed under a boulder, thank you very much.

 

Sometimes it’s hard to let things go. Sometimes the littlest thing can seem like the end of the world, especially if you’re a sensitive person like yours truly.

 

It took me a good half hour (or more) of writing in freehand to free myself from the grip of a panic attack. And even then, my old insecurities surfaced. And I let myself feel them.

 

You could say that the universe was trying to teach me something. And maybe it was. But in those moments of frustration, sometimes the last thing you want to hear is a cheesy line like “Everything happens for a reason.”

 

Because it’s hard to find a reason when you’re immersed in the moment, riding an unwanted emotional high. Actually the word “hard” is an understatement. It’s beyond difficult. It just sucks. You feel like an ant that’s been crushed under someone’s heel.

 

It’s going to take time to let your emotions pass through you. Sometimes you’ll feel better after an hour. Other times, you can take the whole day. Let yourself take that time, no matter how long you need.

 

Once you let the emotion pass through you, you’ll feel a little better. And then maybe you’ll be able to shift your perspective and focus on the good things in your day. You have to feel bad before you begin to feel better. Yes, it sucks, but unfortunately, there’s no beating your way around the bush.

 

 

Don’t Add Salt (Or Give Someone Else A Chance To)

 

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Who would want to add salt to that yummy cappuccino?

 

Sometimes the things people have to say just aren’t what you want to hear. Sure, honesty is great, but there’s a time and a place for it.

 

That place is not when you’re having a bad day.

 

You might come to realize the value of what someone is saying after sufficient time has passed.

 

But rubbing salt in a wound and pointing out the obvious is not the way to support them.

 

Know who you can trust to give you encouragement and pull you out of your rut. Cut unsupportive people out of your life if you can. If you can’t, try to distance yourself from them or find a way to interact with them in a way that doesn’t open all your old wounds.

 

Learning how to support yourself is key. Relying on other people to dictate your emotions places the power in their hands. It’s like handing over a puppet and its control to someone else.

 

I’m not going to say that there’s ONE WAY to learn how to support yourself because I’m not going to pretend to speak for everyone else out there who may have different coping mechanisms. Do what feels right for you.

 

You aren’t a puppet. You’re human.

 

 

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Appreciate Little Things

 

Yes, even if you don’t feel it in the moment.

 

It feels GOOD to get a text message from your best friend saying that she believes in you.

 

It feels good to hear the flight attendant say tell you that you’re not the first person in the world to miss your flight once you calm down enough to turn the drama queen switch off.

 

Appreciate those things. Focus on them. They’ll make your day so much better.

 

I promise.

 

 

What do YOU do to get over a bad day?

 

 

 

The 3 Most Important Things You Can Learn From Trying To Live A Remarkable Life In A Conventional World

Re-framing Your Thinking

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Who was your favorite Disney character growing up?   Yes, I know I’ve asked this question before; I know I’ve said I wanted to be Ariel. But Beauty and the Beast always had a special place in my heart.   Yes, part of it was because I wanted to live in that giant library in Prince Charming’s castle (because let’s be honest, what bookworm doesn’t?)   But it was also because I found myself relating to Belle, even when I was 5. I knew there was something more for me out there. I knew there was “something more than this provincial life.” Enter 2013, where I finally found a conference called the World Domination Summit that attempts to answer the question: “How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?”   A conference that answers this question? In my favorite city in the United States? Yes, please! I went. And it was magical. So naturally, I had to go again.

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And boy was it a roller coaster ride. Last year’s conference taught me a ridiculous amount. This year was no exception.

 

Expectations Usually Make Things Worse  

 

I admit it: I had impossibly high expectations going into this event. And then the structure changed. Not drastically, but enough to throw me. I kept comparing things from this year to last year. And although I loved the quiet time the big breaks allowed us (and the opportunity to go around my old stomping grounds), I wasn’t able to stay present, and enjoy the ride in some instances.   You would think that after my trip to Australia in 2012, I would have learned to expect the unexpected, but I guess the universe decided I needed another lesson.   So thank you, universe.    

 

People Want To See You Succeed  

 

I had always been afraid to say what I wanted. You could chalk it up to growing up in a bilingual house. In Japan, it’s not considered polite to be direct. There’s a lot of beating around the bush. And despite the fact that I don’t live in a place where there are bullet trains and cherry blossoms every March, I absorbed some very collectivist values.

On one level, I was not afraid to tell my friends what I wanted.

My friends know that I want to:

a)    Work and live in London as a content creator.

b)   Travel internationally and live abroad (in cities like Portland, Melbourne, London and Tokyo and other international locations) inspiring kids to believe that they can overcome any sort of obstacles they face, especially in the realm of mental health

c)    Use writing and media for good to help erase the stigma surrounding mental illness and build kids’ self-esteem.

d)   Be paid to do all this.

It’s one thing to tell your close friends about your dreams when they know that you’ve been traveling since before you knew what a passport was. But to tell every person that you met when they asked “So what do you do?” was a little different, even if you believe that everyone around you was just a friend you hadn’t met yet. I was floundering in my head for a good answer.   So rather than just going with the title that I gave myself on my business card, I told people what I wanted to do: I wanted to be paid to use writing and other creative mediums to inspire kids and help erase the stigma around learning differences and mental health all over the world.   That’s a lot more interesting and inspiring than just telling people what you do, don’t you think?

In the words of Elise Blaha Cripe (and I am fully aware that I may be paraphrasing): If you make a bold statement (like the one I just made above), it’s on someone else’s radar.   And if it’s on someone else’s radar, chances are that when they come across something that could potentially help make that dream a reality, they’ll pass the information on to you.   But you have to say your dreams aloud for that to happen.   And if you wait until you knew what you were doing, you would never do anything.

Because according to Amy Poehler, great people do things before they are ready.

At the very end of the conference, Chris pulled several people up on stage and gave them some incredible resources to make their dreams come true. He gave one attendee who wanted to write a book in 6 years the opportunity to meet with his literary agent; he gave one attendee 12 cameras for his non-profit. After hugs from the 6 attendees on stage, he closed with the following line (again, pardon the paraphrasing):   “We can’t make everyone’s dreams come true; but we have the responsibility to help each other get a little closer to the life we deserve.”  

I wholeheartedly agree.

 

Things Are Never The Same The Second Time Around  

 

They could be better.   Or they could be worse.   Chris Guillebeau and the rest of the team behind the World Domination Summit made some changes this year; for me, some of them stuck, some didn’t. But as Jadah Sellner would say, not all the pieces of spaghetti you will throw at the wall will stick.   The magic was just different in comparison to what I had experienced last year when I was grabbing at everything like a kid in a candy store with no expectations. Change is inevitable when you’re trying to improve. Sometimes those changes make lasting improvements; sometimes those changes make you backtrack. Some people will love the changes that you don’t really resonate with.   You just have to be insanely curious and find what sticks, and what doesn’t.   And if that means admitting that something isn’t working, that’s perfectly fine.   But taking imperfect action is better than doing nothing. You learn something new every time. Jadah Sellner summed this up perfectly in her speech when she said, “Letting go is hard. But holding on is like falling back on jet skis and being dragged around the lake.”  

I’d rather let go than be dragged around a lake, wouldn’t you?

 

These lessons weren’t the only thing I took away from the conference: I can now add World Record Breaker to my list of awesome, since I was one of the 808 people who baked themselves in the middle of Pioneer Courthouse Square in the process of breaking a world record.   I was lucky enough to find my tribe in a city that I love, and an equally supportive group of friends to keep the spirit alive, even a few thousand miles away from the Pacific Northwest. For the past two years, I’ve had amazing people come into my life from all over the world. You may not have found your people, but they are out there. Keep looking, and you’ll eventually find them.   It’s worth the wait, I promise you.

What have YOU learned from hanging out with your tribe?

How To Feel Powerful & The Hard Truth About Overcoming Negative Feelings

Re-framing Your Thinking

IMG_0208“It is doubtful that we came to feel undeserving on our own. We were helped to feel unworthy. We were taught it in a thousand ways when we were little, and we learned our lessons well.”

 

I think all of us would agree. We’ve all felt like the lowest thing on the planet at some point in our lives.

 

Not good enough. Not capable enough. Not pretty enough. Not [insert your word of choice here] enough. The list goes on and on and on.

 

In case you’re wondering, I am in the process of doing this. Every week, as per my coach’s instructions, I’ve been doing 2 things a week that make me feel more powerful and capable.

 

Here’s the kicker though: It can’t be something I would normally do. So even though lifting weights at the gym makes me feel powerful and capable, she wouldn’t count it because it’s been part of my normal routine for a month now.

 

Yes, I was groaning loudly when she said that.

 

What have I learned from this experience, you ask?

 

 

There Is No Easy Way About It

 

 

So how do you go about feeling more capable/good/pretty/fill-in-the-blank enough?

 

You do things that make you feel that way.

 

No, sorry. There is no way to beat around the bush. There just isn’t. I wish there was, but if it were easy, none of us would ever feel like a fly on the wall. It’s just like overcoming a fear: you have to do the thing that you’re scared of so that you build a new association with it.

 

Do 2 new things every week that help you build that feeling that you feel you’re lacking.

 

Want to feel more capable and powerful? Do 2 new things every week that make you feel capable and powerful.

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Go Easy On Yourself

 

What makes someone feel powerful varies from person to person. Your version of powerful might be doing something small (like connecting with someone you’ve never met over social media) or it might be something big (like lifting 300 pounds over your head). Acknowledge what you’ve done, even if it seems insignificant. What’s important is that it’s significant to YOU.

 

 

The Little Things Count

 

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: acknowledging yourself for the little things is important.

 

The things I did that made me feel powerful may seem insignificant to others.

 

For example, I tagged a celebrity in a post on Instagram, and they commented on my photo (the closest I think I’ll ever come to having a fangirl moment-see if you can find it!). Anyone who knows me knows that I am not the girl with posters of celebrities plastered on their walls, losing my voice screaming at concerts. (One concert in boy-crazy Japan was enough to cure me for more than a few lifetimes.)

 

I’d say that counted as going outside of my comfort zone.

 

It made me realize that I could do little things and still realize that I could stretch myself. It proved that I am capable of taking a risk.

 

And that made me feel pretty darn powerful.

 

What do YOU do to help get over negative feelings?