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

You'llBeABundleOfContradictions

“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.

 

motivation_brickwallscontradictions

 

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

We Are All Warriors. Every Day.

Culture & Society

I was racking my brains for what to write for today. I wanted to write this glowing post to honor World Suicide Prevention Day.

And then I realized something.

The reason why I couldn’t write that glowing post wasn’t because I had writer’s block. It was because I felt like everything I had to say on the subject had already been said.

I am not at that point in my recovery where I can believe that no one else can play my part. I’m at that place where I’m struggling to find the balance with living life and relying on my story as fuel. I went from not sharing my story at all to sharing it very publicly. And now I’m trying to find that middle ground.  Recovery is a daily process. It’s battle we fight every day. Everyone goes through pain. Pain and disability do not make us special. We are ALL warriors.

yourstuggle

 

 

 

The Truth Behind The Mask

Learning To Love Yourself, Re-framing Your Thinking

 

BehindTheMask

 

 

“To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.”

 

-E.E. Cummings

 

 

I absolutely hate it when someone tells you that everything happens for a reason. (And when someone tells you that you’ve chosen your parents, but that’s another story).

 

Yes, it’s true that the obstacles, the trauma you went through made you who you are. Yes, it’s true that those formative experiences may have made you stronger. But that doesn’t make them okay.

 

You were hurt. You have a right to be angry.

 

You have a right to be angry because we live in a modern society that’s pretty twisted.

 

We live in a world dominated by screens and unattainable “norms” of perfection where communication has reduced itself to the tapping of keys on a keyboard (or smartphone, whichever you prefer). It’s hard to be yourself amidst all that chaos.

 

Being yourself is hard. Society tells you one thing. At schools, the maze of cliques is a jungle in itself. And then there are the things you don’t see.

 

In my case, it was the tension caused by the contradictory East-West dichotomy. I conformed because it was the only way I knew how to survive. But rather than helping me survive, that conformity led to the one place I didn’t want to be.

 

I won’t go into the details here; you’ve heard me tell that story before.

 

We are all human. Words hurt. We can pretend that we’re fine when we’re really dying. We can project the image of being someone with no filter who doesn’t waste their brain or breath on something (or someone) at the edge of their peripheral vision.

 

But sometimes when the mask comes off we do care.

 

Some would say that the role play, the constant switching from role to role depending on who you’re with isn’t authentic.

 

My response is to read between the lines, because you may only know one side of a particular person.

 

Becoming yourself (and staying yourself) amid all those voices saying no, do this, do that is confusing. It’s painful. And it’s easier to conform than it is to stick out. Because going against the flow takes a lot of strength.

 

So the next time you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, remember that you aren’t alone. Everyone has issues, even the people you consider “flawless.”

 

We’re all just trying to be ourselves in a big, confusing world.

 

And that’s hard enough.

 

Image Credit: Pinterest

The 5 Keys To Overcome Your Fears

Re-framing Your Thinking

eroosevelt

What if you didn’t do something that scared you every day?

 

What if you did one thing that scares you per week?

 

I used to think that driving was the scariest thing in the world; I avoided driving like the plague.

 

I mean, can you blame me after getting into 2 accidents and constantly being yelled at when you’re that giddy 16-year old who dreams of racing down the 405 with the top down?

 

But I can now say that I’ve found a new Scariest Thing Ever.

 

And I’ve been doing it once a week.

 

Therapy.

 

Anyone who knows me knows that I wouldn’t wish therapy on my worst enemy; I would send it straight down into the seventh pit of Hades.

 

I keep my arms crossed the entire time.

 

I barely breathe for that entire hour.

 

I answer in clipped words.

 

Every bone is screaming at me to run like this man has a gun pointed at my head.

 

Do I like the therapist? Nope.

 

So WHY in the WORLD would I “want” to subject myself to sitting on a sweaty leather couch in a windowless room pouring out my heart (or as much as I feel is necessary for said therapist to get the answers to his questions) for an hour a week with my mother sitting in the next chair over?

 

Ask me that in a few months.

 

But I know for SURE that the Nike headline did not come to mind.

 

Because just doing it can be the scariest thing in the world. Sure, it may be one of the best pieces of kick-yourself-in-the-butt-and-enter-reality kinds of advice you can get, but sometimes it can be so unhelpful.

 

When you develop a fear, there’s a reason behind it, a story you have in your head. Something your mind wants to protect you from. It can be hard to “just do it” when all you’re hearing in your head is the wailing of an ambulance’s siren.

So how do you get over your fear?

 

  1. Find Someone Who Can Support You

 

I don’t care if it’s your best friend who you’ve known since you were 5 or your neighbor. Finding someone who knows you well and asking for support is essential.

I know for a fact that if I did not have the support of a life coach (who knows me outside of our working relationship) I would NOT be ready to step into a therapist’s office.

I’m not saying everyone needs to go find a life coach before you face your fears; not everyone can afford that. You don’t NEED to have a life coach, just having a close friend is good enough.

Knowing that you have a friend at your back who can support you when things get difficult is a big step in taking the leap to overcoming your fears.

 

  1. Don’t Push Yourself

 

I’ve said this before, but I have no shame in saying it again.

 

How many of you have compared yourself to your peers?

 

It’s easy to feel pressure when everyone around you is doing something, and you’re the only one who can’t.

 

Life can seem like a race.

 

I got my driver’s permit really early. I had these fantasies of cruising down the freeway with the top down.

 

It was easy; I had seen my parents drive me places all the time. You push a pedal and maneuver the car. How hard could it be?

 

 

I was yelled at, screamed at, had a few close scrapes.

 

Driving was not the straightforward, easy, fun thing that I thought it was.

 

It sucked having to ask my parents and friends for rides; I didn’t like having to take public transportation either.

 

But I was scared; I was more willing to spend more money and take more time to get places than confronting my fear.

 

It wasn’t until I started working on myself and let some time pass that I finally felt ready to try again.

 

You could say that I was procrastinating. But there is a strange part of me that is happy that I waited.

 

Because pushing yourself toward your goal can be good, but pushing yourself can also make you want to backtrack.

 

Everyone moves at their own pace. Just because you didn’t get something at the same time as everyone around you doesn’t mean that you’re worth any less than they are.

 

  1. Acknowledge Yourself For The Little Things

 

 

 

faith

Wise words, MLK. Very wise words.

 

I’m a planner. I like to have every detail in place.

 

But then I realized something: if I kept waiting for everything to be perfect, I’d be waiting forever.

 

When I finally decided to learn how to drive (for real this time), I went in and took the written test to get my permit.

 

Did I know who I was going to practice with?

 

Nope.

 

Did I know how I was going to get to practice in the family car on a consistent basis?

 

Double nope.

 

But I went in, took the test, and got that little piece of paper.

 

I made the first step.

 

Did my parents yell at me? Sure.

 

Did they guilt-trip me? Absolutely.

 

But as I returned home with that piece of paper in my hand, I felt so proud of myself. I couldn’t stop saying, “You did it,” over and over in my head.

 

I took my time getting home, took my time enjoying that feeling.

 

Because knowing that I had taken that first step rather than being dragged there, rather than being told that I “had to” do it was a lot more liberating than sitting in my house waiting for something to happen.

 

Sure, you may not have gotten over your fear, but the knowledge that you are taking steps to get over your fear feels pretty good right?

 

 

 

  1. Look At The Trees, Not The Forest.

 

I recently had a friend ask me if I could edit her work. That would have been fine, except for the fact that said work was going to be evaluated in order to determine if she could get her teaching credential.

 

Um. Gulp.

 

Really?

 

Can someone say pressure?

 

Having her send it to me in sections helped me maintain my sanity. I was able to focus on each respective section as she sent it without the thought of “Oh my god, the deadline is getting closer; I have to get this done. Wait how many pages again?!

 

I think the same is true for overcoming a fear.

 

If you focus on the little things you’re doing instead of the bigger picture, then it becomes less overwhelming.

 

Sure, not everyone is as detail-oriented as I am, and for some it might work to focus on the bigger picture. But some of us get overwhelmed too.

 

Breaking things down and focusing on one thing at a time makes things a lot easier.

 

  1. Take Time To Recharge

 

You wouldn’t go out for a run immediately after crossing the finish line at an Iron Man, would you?

Yeah, I thought so.

Every time I come back from one of those therapy sessions, it feels like I’ve run an Iron Man.

Heart pounding.

Barely breathing.

More tense than a coiled spring.

 

So yes, after those sessions I curl up with my dog, a cup of tea and Sherlock.

 

It’s important to take breaks and recharge, especially after you’ve taken little steps toward getting over your fear.

 

Because those little things are also big hurdles.

 

You don’t have to do one thing every day that scares you.

You just have to take little steps toward doing that one thing.

 

What sort of things have YOU do to help overcome your fears?

 

Image Credit: Pinterest