Motivation is a interesting concept. Motivation is defined as the reasons, desire, and willingness for someone to do something. And while it appears to be a simple concept, it is not. Many things can hinder motivation. We all know how hard it can be to stay motivated because we have experienced some form of laziness or procrastination. But what if you need to stay motivated while you are experiencing the unthinkable? The unthinkable is not just a bad day or frustrating mood. We have all read the blog or listen to the audible about how to stay motivated during these times. Sometimes you wonder if the very people giving the advice have ever suffered worse. Have they ever been broke beyond comprehension? Or have they suffered disenfranchisement and horrible pain? It’s not like everyone doesn’t go through something but sometimes the advice on motivation can seem silly. So how do you keep motivation during your lowest point? The simple answer is you don’t. Let’s get real, when you are going through a difficult time it’s hard to stay focus on anything else. The truth is you have to just keep going. It’s not glamorous, there is no meditation you can do, no matcha green tea latte to drink, nor yoga pose to implement. It is a simple decision in resilience. The ability to survive with eventually having hope your situation will be different. It’s continuing to build your dreams piece by very small piece until you get what you want. So yes, I know you want to quit. Yes, I know that it’s hard and frustrating. Yes, some people have it easier than others. And yes, like the Nike ad says, “just do it.”
There are times when you find yourself in a situation and all you want to do is run. Right now, the urge to run keeps me up at night. How do you get out when you feel stuck in something you want to escape? I have tried meditation, prayer, exercising, and just plain hope. But I still feel lost and frustrated. So how to we deal with this feeling even when we know we are blessed?
1. Always acknowledge how you feel. I write this a lot; but the first step to healing is to identify where you are. It can be painful but if you feel that you are trapped, claiming it is the first step in beginning to take notice of what is keeping you in prison.
2. Remind yourself of what you are grateful for. Showing gratitude is not going to on its own take you out of a dire situation. But it can begin to illuminate or spark hope.
3. Keep in mind that your life can change in a instant. In a moment life can be drastically different than what you are experiencing. You never know when it will change, which is why maintaining hope is needed. But I have personally seen so many people do a complete 360 in their lives in less than a year. If they can do it, so can I, so can you.
4. Make a list of things you want to do. The imagination is such a gift that can really bring you through the darkness. Making plans, having hopes, and dreaming can really ignite undeniable passion. Passion can be the nucleus of hope which in turn inspires change. Whether your dreams come true or not, having them keeps you striving for something better. It can excite you and keep you focus on finding a way out.
5. Get out. Ultimately, if we feel trapped, we have to work to change our situation. It may not be easy or one may not know how. But we must take baby steps in order to move through the journey. Hopefully looking back one day to notice just how far we have come.
I always wanted to contribute something to the world. To share my experience with others but I always grappled with how honest I would be. It’s not because of what others thought but simply because I enjoyed my life being surrounded by mystery. Also, I delighted in the presumption of perfection. No matter how far from the actual truth. Many of us at some point in time are faced with the question, do we share our truth? When the story of your life is marred with mistakes and obstacles the answer always seems like a resounding “no”. On the contrary, it is those stories that have a greater place in the human collectiveness because they are relatable. I wonder how we got here in time? How did we end up with a culture dedicated to false ideas and non flexible thinking that is limiting everyone and everything?
The biggest “aha” moment I have had in life is when I learned that no matter what my goals were, I had to learn how to surrender the results. Surrender is to cease resistance to an enemy or opponent and submit to their authority. The idea of giving up your power to an enemy or opponent is terrifying. But the kind of surrendering that I am referencing in this blog, is really the act of “giving up” or “handing over” your intentions to something bigger and more powerful than yourself. That something more powerful is often seen as God/ the Universe. And whether you believe in God or not; understanding that there is always a unknown factor in life, is critical to not being restless all the time.
I was the prime example of someone who worried about everything. I worried about a marriage I had yet to be apart of, money I desired so much, and the fictional things that could come in and ruin the life I greatly desired. I had goals that I saw myself accomplishing. Instead of taking these goals step by step and allowing that “X factor” in life to get me there, I become discouraged when things did not go the way I imagined. This cycle of dreaming actually never got me to achieve my goals, simply because I stood in my own way.
It is common in the Christian faith to lean on God. Many pray for what they need. Then they implement faith. Trust that their prayers will be answered. But because I was too impatient for such a thing, My prayers were never answered. My ego led me to believe all kinds of things but the obvious. I didn’t know how to surrender. I didn’t have faith that the universe was working in my favor. I was caught up on the details of life and not the actuality of it.
I have since learned the importance of faith and surrender. And I did this by trial and error. I stop striving to “make” things happen in my life. Instead I let go of controlling the outcome. If I wanted something I went after it, did the steps it took to make it happen, then I allowed the fruit of my labor to come into fruition. What is the point of accomplishing a goal if you don’t have confidence in your results? I began to realize that I have little control over what happens around me. I no longer wanted to struggle with how I thought events should occur in my life. There is so much around us we do not have power of. This brings peace in knowing you can only worry about what you have direct influence over.
I also began to live in the present, instead of an imaginary future. I began to be thankful for what was in front of me. The past is nothing I can change, the future is uncertain, staying focus on the moments of the present helps me to surrender to the greater blessings in my life.
“To stay present in everyday life, it helps to be deeply rooted within yourself; otherwise, the mind, which has incredible momentum, will drag you along like a wild river” – Eckhart Tolle
We all struggle to let go of what we expect out of our lives. But sometimes the best things will come to pass when we allow the organic flow of life to move.
I think the desire to always better your life is admirable. It’s around this time of year that we put more emphasis on our plan for our future by creating our New Year’s resolutions. Want to lose weight? Make more money, or fall in love? This is the time to manifest those dreams. But just like it is positive to make intentions for your life, making a resolution is a catch 22. While everyone is encouraging you to set new objective for 2019, it’s also imperative to understand why it’s easy to set a plan that never gets accomplished. Here are six reasons why achieving resolutions are harder than you think.
Changing your behavior is not that simple. Our behaviors are the product of a combination of personality, temperament, attitudes, thoughts, feelings, and values. Our learned experiences influence us on both a conscious and subconscious level. They have deep origins that reach far back in our human experience. Sometimes it takes great work to uncover what motivates our true actions.
It’s not even your goal to begin with. Deciding that you want to try the new Keto diet? Or wait, did you want to go take Yoga classes? Get rid of coffee? Often times we hear other people say their goals and believe that we should do the same. But if it is not something you are truly inspired to do, you will not be able to sustain the action. Stick with the goals that have meaning in your life, because when times get tough, you will have a bigger motivation to get you through.
We have no plan. It doesn’t matter how many resolutions you make, if you don’t have a plan to achieve them, it will be harder to get them done. It takes on average 66 days, a little over two months for us to make habitats automatic in our brain. But behavior, our personal beliefs, and life circumstances can change it anywhere from 18 days to 254 days. Having a plan will help reinforce the action while overcoming the obstacles.
Our resolutions are broad and large. “I am going to eat better” or “I am going to exercise more” are not specific enough. Hence why a couple months later they fall by the waist side. When you are more specific for example, I want to lose 10 lbs. You are more likely to accomplish it because it is a clear aim.
Motivation isn’t real. People are always saying that after they do this, then they will do that. Motivation is not something that you magically wait for when everything in your life is perfect. Motivation comes after you take action. After you write the first page of your book, after you go for a 5 mile run, after you write your proposal. Take action now on the things that you want in life. Waiting for inspiration is like waiting for a shooting star, you never know when it’s coming. The more you live in the world, the more the world will inspire you.
Timing is everything or Not. Saying you are going to make $100,000 in six months or workout for six days a week may work for some but most people going from 0 to 100 is not realistic. You are more likely to achieve your goals one small step at a time. If it takes you twice as long to attain them it’s still progress. And it stands to last longer because you have incorporated it better in your everyday life.
There’s nothing wrong with using this time to reflect on where you have been and were you are going in your life. Bringing in the new year is a great time to do just that. But remember that each year that passes is truly a blessing. And the journey to be better will be continuous, not only in the year to come but for the rest of your life. Keep your resolutions clear, realistic, and attainable for you. If you didn’t make last years intention try it again this year. For success comes from consistency, discipline, patience, and drive.
The East Coast has recently been slammed with a colossal snow storm. Allowing me much needed time to catch up on rest and watch the ever charming CountDown to Christmas on the Hallmark Channel. I am determined to get through all twenty-two new original movies. And while my goal maybe ambitious, during this time of year I am ever more appreciative of the themes that each movie carries. Ultimately Hallmark embodies family, love, and the Christmas spirit.
But one ideology that seems to reign true in each movie storyline is a city girl whose obsessed with her career finds herself in a small town during Christmas time. While there, she meets a small town beau who teaches her the meaning of Christmas and true love. And although all the movies are not exactly the same, there are your typical American girl meets a European prince movies, they all basically center around this essential theme. Small town living is a better life.
As a bona fide city girl, who is about to make a move to one of the biggest cities in the world, these movies have me shook. I am headed to New York City in search of landing love, having a family, and starting my career but according to these Hallmark movies I have it backwards. How do you know if your journey is right for you?
The truth is you will never know for sure that a decision won’t have its ups and downs. But here are three ways to lead you in the right direction.
1. You are excited by your future. The biggest clue that your next step is meant for you is that you are excited about the outcome. Fear and “what ifs” may creep in but if you’re ultimately excited for the future, it’s a good indication to take the plunge. Your enthusiasm for the future is what not only will take you through the hard times but it will identify the areas of your journey you need to focus on. What we love to do is what makes us happy.
2. Everything somehow happens organically. I have spent a great deal of my life forcing things to happen and then complaining when they don’t materialize or if they do not happen the way I expect. I have learned that there is a natural flow to life. Even including love. And while I don’t have all the answers to why things go the way they do, I know if something is yours it will come to you with some sort of ease. Not to be mistaken for not working for it. Your journey may still come with hard work, but at one point you will see the pieces easily fit together.
3. You are willing to follow through. It takes a lot of mental energy to make a decision. Especially if you see too many choices or are not clear as to what you want. But simply being open to where the journey is going is a great sign that it’s for you. Allow your excitement and willingness to open the doors to a free flowing experience.
It is possible that my “better” life is in New York City. That the love I see in my future is not in the small town I reside in now, but right in the big city of my dreams. I’m excited to move to NYC as a more prepared individual. And while I understand the pros and cons of small living versus big city living, there’s no telling what my journey may have in store for me. You know the John Lennon quote “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” Or the Yiddish proverb “We plan, God laughs.” These quotes speak to the unpredictable nature of life. If you can understand fundamentally that no choice has a guaranteed outcome but a hopeful one, then you have greater knowledge that all the decisions you make in life will shape and mold you. Ultimately landing you exactly where you are meant to be.
My life is taking another pivot that I never expected. I have the opportunity to go to school and move to New York City. A place I have always wanted to live. And as excited as I am about this new chapter that I am embarking on…to be frank, I am terrified. Yes the girl who ziplined in Jamaica, moved to Paris for a year without speaking the language, and battled the hollywood landscape is scared. I am not even a little scared. I am shaking in my boots, holding on for dear life petrified. I am afraid that I will make the same mistakes I made when I lived in Los Angeles. I am afraid to be broke again unable to buy a home, I am afraid to be lonely dating one man after another, and I am afraid that I will become that cliche single girl watching her youth slowly fade away as she struggles to keep up with the pace of the city. I wish I could say that my fears were based on rational reasoning, but they are not. As a basic human emotion, fear has its purpose. It warns us when we are in danger and starts the physical mechanisms that protect our survival. However, when unwarranted, fear can be debilitating. Here are six clues that fear is holding you back.
You only see the negative. While there is positive or negative with any situation; someone who is fearful will only see the adverse effects. If you are faced with a new situation but are overly consumed with what could go wrong, there’s a chance that you are allowing fear rather than freedom dictate your action. Fear only identifies failure and pain.
You avoid anything new or unknown. If we could stay in our “comfort zone” forever, life would be much easier. Fear allows us to stay with what is familiar to us even if the situation is agonizing. It makes you think that what is recognizable is better than what is foreign. But sometimes our biggest blessings come in the form of what is unfamiliar. Anything new allows us a chance to grow and learn more about ourselves.
You don’t stop to think about it. Taking time to analyze what you are doing is a good thing. Fear influences us to act quick without weighing all the options. Take the time you need to make a decision. If you act in fear you can make a decision that you would most likely regret.
You are shrinking or staying stagnant rather than growing. We should always be growing and learning new things as we continue to go through life. Continuing to acquire knowledge has been linked to better health and longer vitality. But fear will convince us that pushing our boundaries will only lead to rejection and failure. It is often rejection and failure that become our best teachers in life.
You shut down your intuition. One of our most valuable gifts is the intuition each and every one of us are bestowed. Many great people have become successful by listening to their “gut.” Intuition is our natural compass that advises us on what is good or bad. Listening to your inner self is a way to understand what makes you happy. If you let fear rule, it will be difficult to hear the voice within.
You are unable to make a decision. Although making no decision is a choice in and of itself, fear will paralyze you to the point that you second guess yourself. It helps you to avoid moving in any direction because either would be wrong or have devastating consequences. Fear takes away your ability to choose what you want. Conversely, leaving it up to chance. Something that may not go in your favor. It is better to choose, fail, and learn from that choice than to constantly allow fear to dictate your life.
If you have been hurt, failed, or gone through any sort of trauma the fear is real. And it is very easy to allow past experiences to cloud your future. What I discovered about my fear to move to NYC is that, I am ultimately scared to fail again. It was hard for me to not only recover from my past mistakes but to forgive myself for making them in the first place. But I can either live with my fear and allow it to clip my wings or I can acknowledge that I am afraid and address the issues head on. I choose to face my fear head on. If you are feeling afraid, identify your feelings. You can talk, write, sing, journal about them. But once you have processed them, let them go. Remember this quote:
“If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. “
Patience is not one of my strong points. It’s never really been something that I have particularly enjoyed either. If I want something, I tend to want it right at that moment.
A relationship can either be bliss or wrapped in confusion. The idea of opening yourself up to someone can be difficult especially if you don’t know how they feel about you. This lack of clarity can cause you to act in a way that make or break the connection. Here are 8 ways to know things are headed to love.
You guys talk about the future. One of the biggest signs that someone is taking you seriously is if they bring up the future. Whether it is going on trips together, celebrating the holidays, or even talking about marriage; if one is making the effort to include you in future plans it is a good sign.
They are honest with you. Another sign that someone is serious about your relationship is their willingness to be open and honest. When someone shares their true feelings and desires, is forthright about their past, and takes every opportunity to confide in you with personal topics and issues they are showing you how much they trust you. Trust builds intimacy which is exactly what love needs to survive.
They listen to you. Listening to your partner is a key ingredient to a healthy and happy relationship. When one chooses to be present with you, they are showing you what is important to them. There are so many distractions in our everyday life, if someone is choosing to be with you over looking at Instagram, they are clearly showing you that you play a central role in their life.
They respect you. How someone treats you is a clear indicator of the way they feel about you. If your significant other puts you down, treats you without any consideration, never compromises, is controlling, and does not see you as an equal then they are definitely not respecting you. If you don’t have respect for something, you tend not to be serious about it. Although some people see respect in different ways, there are clear signs of what it is not.
They introduce you to family and friends. Meeting people’s family and friends is a huge barometer for how seriously they are taking your relationship. Although there are some people who are open enough to introduce a casual hook up to their family, most people see it has a huge step. They are telling not only you but the people closest to them how serious things are getting.
All they want to do is make you happy. A common sign that things are getting serious is how dedicated someone is to making you happy whenever possible. For instance, if they take the time to surprise you with gifts, do favors, help you out in anyway that they can, they are actively building a connection. When someone makes your happiness their top priority they will create opportunities to show you that they care. Often times random acts of kindness are not random at all but an chance to signify that they have your well-being in mind.
They invite you into their world. Whether it is giving you the passwords to their social media accounts, a key to their apartment, or they want their friends to be your friends; an invitation to these things is a figurative way of “letting you in”. This can build trust and closeness. It also can let you know how much they see you as apart of their life.
They say “I love you.” Not every person who says “I love you” means it. Some people say it to appease a lover or a friend. But those three words, coupled by actions is the winning combination. Not only will someone who loves you tell you, but they will show you. Early morning messages, checking up on you randomly just to see how you are doing, they go out of their way to make your life easier, they light up when you are in their presence, they ask your opinion, they protect you, and finally they share the things that matter most to them. Actions do speak louder than words but words are like icing on the cake.
Once you fall in love, you start to care about the other person just as much as you care about yourself. The journey to love can be fraught with many obstacles but the expressions of love are as clear as day.
Having to make decisions can feel paralyzing. It’s easier to convince yourself to allow the flow of life to choose an outcome for you, especially when having to make a big decision. I have faced this all too many times. My desire to be perfect or everything going as planned overshadowing the necessity to make a choice quickly. Thus forcing me to not move at all. Sometimes not moving seems like the best option. This paralysis can seep into small decisions. Consequently our lives begin moving into limbo. Too many of us are living in the in-between. The in-between is defined as the intermediate, the middle. Living in the in-between is another way of saying to be living in the middle of what is happening now, without focusing on a destination or achievement.
Sure it can be fun to be free spirited with no immediate need for direction. But when you find yourself living between two worlds without a foundation, you end up feeling exhausted. Here are six ways to become more decisive.
Ask yourself what you really want for yourself? Knowing what you want is the biggest component to becoming more decisive. Anytime you face an obstacle, you can remind yourself of the overall objective. Being aware of what aligns with your goals allows you to see what is worth your time and what is not.
Address your fears. We are often indecisive because we fear all the negative outcomes that could or could not transpire based on our decision. Some of your fears will be justified while others will be irrational. Being able to manage your fears will allow you to overcome them. Make a plan in order to address your fears but make your decisions based on what you want your outcome to be. You shouldn’t allow fear to decide your fate.
Stick to what you decide. Practice living with your decisions. Consistency is key in accomplishing any goal. If you practice sticking to your choices with the smaller things in life, it can have a huge impact on the bigger things.
Listen to your gut. You institution is your internal gps system. It uses past experiences and cues from yourself and your environment to make a decision. It happens so quickly that it doesn’t register on a conscious level. Everyone has one. It’s goal is to always protect you. Our “sixth sense” has all the answers, we just need to listen.
Have confidence that you win either way. Whatever decision you make, rely on the knowledge that even if you fail you will learn from the experience. You will jump over whatever hurdle comes your way and be better prepared for it. This helps you to make decisions from a place of strength and not fear.
Stop thinking, just do it. No more planning or worrying, make a decision. Let the outcomes be what they will be. Have faith in all the steps you are taking to make clear decisions.
The hallmark of success is the ability to make clear, decisive decisions quickly. Being decisive will save you time and energy. Know that indecision is a choice in and an of itself. You will have more confidence if you make choices and stick by them. No matter the outcome.
I use to think that I wholly lived by the Golden Rule, treating others the way I would like to be treated. It was taught to me by my parents, in church on Sundays, and most of my good girlfriends were the shining example of it. But it wasn’t until recently, when I discovered how far I was from actually incorporating it deeper in my life, other than to a stranger standing next to me at Trader Joe’s.
This was revealed in the history of my personal relationships. I was a ghoster. I am not proud to say it but I was. “Ghosting” is when someone you are dating or friends with suddenly disappears from communication without any explanation at all. They stop answering calls, texts, and emails. They remove themselves from your life completely. That was me, queen of the ghosting. I use to just disappear, thinking that my problems were so much more important than keeping in touch with people who loved and supported me. Or I was just too cowardly to address any real issues with others. I ghosted first dates, friends, and even some family members. All the while I knew it was wrong, but I just was too exhausted or caught up in my own troubles to do anything about it. Ghosting can happen days, weeks, or even months into a relationship. Often leaving the ghostee confused, angry, and disappointed.
Although not new, Ghosting is actually a popular phenomenon. Thanks to social media, about half of women and men have experienced some form of it and almost equal number have actually done it. But I wasn’t faced with my ghosting tendencies until I was ghosted myself. And believe me…I was pissed. Like roll your eyes, scream to the top of your lungs, break things pissed.
Why do People Ghost?
The irony was that I was not so much angry that the relationship ended. I was livid because the person did not have the respect to talk to me. And before I could pick up the phone to leave the worse voicemail ever, it dawned on me that I have ghosted people so many times I probably couldn’t even count. I had to be honest with myself. Ghosting is rude plain and simple. You fail to take another person’s feelings into consideration, and only concentrate on your needs. I mean this is basic life lessons; you learn the Golden Rule in preschool. So then…why do people ghost?
It’s easy to say that the person who ghost you is a bad person with a lack of respect for people. But it is not that simple. There are many psychological reasons why people pull a disappearing act. At its core, ghosting is about avoidance. People who engage in ghosting primarily focus on avoiding their own emotional discomfort. Because social media allows for less of a connection, there are less social consequences when you drop out of people’s life. So many people are doing it, that we become desensitized to it, and are more likely to do it to someone else.
To my fellow ghosts, according to relationship research, ghosting is the worst way to end a relationship. If one person ends a relationship through avoidance it can trigger anger in the other person. If the whole goal was to avoid dealing with conflict, ghost can find themselves in the middle of a showdown, because the person hurt has confronted them. Costing the ghost much more in the long run. This can be destructive for both parties. Ghost actually tend to have long lasting consequences from the guilt they feel for taking the easy way out.
Ghosting is the ultimate silent treatment. It is viewed by some mental health professionals as a form of emotional cruelty. It doesn’t allow for the person being ghosted emotional closure. If you have found yourself dealing with this, acknowledge your feelings, talk about it with someone, and let it go. If you are ever tempted to ghost…don’t. Remember the Golden Rule and treat others the way you would want to be treated. Confronting your feelings can actually have an empowering affect. When I decided to no longer ghost, I decided to be honest with people (even if it wasn’t pretty). Being honest with my feelings made me feel liberated. I felt like a better person for knowing I was doing the right thing by someone else.
Don’t allow someone else’s bad behavior to affect how you show and receive love. Not everyone has the emotional maturity to communicate and create a thriving healthy relationship. Live your life by staying committed to treating others with integrity. Do the things that make you happy. Know that if you are someone who treats others with respect then the ghoster was never on your level to begin with. You might have dodged a bullet. (It’s also good to rest in the knowledge that what goes around, comes around and there is no better teacher than the Universe!)
I would love to tell you that I was brilliant, full of energy, hard working, and inspiring every single day of my life. But the reality is that sometimes you just don’t have anything to give. So I am taking up the cause of self healing by advocating for doing absolutely nothing. We live in a busy world full of iphones, snapchat, uber, emails, CNN and anything else that vies for our very short attention spans. Causing us to have more and more bouts of “adult attention deficit disorder”. The body breaks down when under extreme stress. As you have heard “stress can kill”. And for that reason I would like to remind you of 5 benefits when you do nothing.
You give yourself a break. For some reason our culture believes that doing nothing is a sign of laziness. But our brains need the rest. Sitting and doing nothing allows for the mind to recover from all that it has been processing. It helps you to notice your thoughts, emotions, sensations, external environment factors and other things you might have missed in your busy day. When you have a practice of doing nothing, you naturally increase your awareness of your surroundings.
Stress goes bye bye. Stress is the leading cause of so many diseases. In order to relieve stress you don’t have to do an activity like working out (although it greatly helps). Just by doing nothing you free up energy that your mind and body have been using. Doing nothing can help promote the natural process your mind and body need to keep you healthy.
It keeps you in the present. We are constantly worried about tomorrow. Doing nothing allows you to focus on the present instead of all the things you need to do for the future. Sometimes we just need to be. Being helps to keep you grounded. Especially in a world fixated on what is to come. When you are grounded you are better able to be appreciative of what you do have.
Your intuition gets better. Intuition is the ability to understand something without the need for conscious reasoning. There is so much stimuli in our world, we are often preoccupied with external factors instead of listening to the voice within. Doing nothing can allow your intuition to be magnified. Often times it is your intuition that will hold the answers you seek.
It releases what has been suppressed. Both a blessing and a curse, releasing emotions that you have long suppressed can be one of the healthiest things you do for your emotional health. Doing nothing allows for introspective thinking. Giving you the time to address what you have hidden deep in your inner world. Although painful and scary, there is nothing like addressing and conquering your problems. Doing nothing gives you the space to do that.
It’s extremely tempting to be on the never ending cycle of achievement. But more often than not, you accomplish more when you give yourself space and time. Doing nothing is not only helpful in maintaining your sanity but is mandatory for your overall health. So the next time you are doing nothing, don’t feel guilty. Realize that it is all for your ultimate goal; a better quality of life!
The more I evolve; the more I realize that open and honest communication is something I have not been doing in my romantic relationships. I by nature am a very private person. So faced with the opportunity to open up to someone, I naturally run and hide. Add to that some hurt I have experienced; and voila! Walls around my heart. I have mastered the art of answering questions in ways that keep my secrets super close to my chest but creates a false sense of intimacy to the person I am speaking to. Or so I thought. I was called out recently for my bad behavior. All I could do was admit the truth.
I live by the motto ““All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.”
― Gabriel García Márquez, Gabriel García Márquez: a Life
But my secretiveness is preventing me from finding the one. How do you open yourself up again after you have been hurt? Here are 10 ways to open up to love again.
Let Go of the Past. You can’t take heartbreak with you into the next relationship. It maybe very difficult to ignore what has happened to you but it’s unfair to allow that heartbreak to shape your other relationships. Every single interaction we have in our lives is meant to teach us something, even if the lessons are hard to learn. Let go of the past so that you can have a different future.
Appreciate the Lessons. If I could have gone through life and never experienced heartache, pain, and disappointment, I would have. Yet, ever lesson I learned has made me a better more compassionate and empathetic human being. It’s possible that I may have never been the person I am today without them. Appreciate the lessons you have learned in life. Although painful, you never know how you can use that pain to fulfill your purpose.
Leave bitterness and resentment by the wasteside. When you have been hurt it can be easy to assume everyone is bad and out to do harm. Instead of being stuck in your feelings of pain, learn to forgive. Realize that the person who hurt you wasn’t meant for you. There’s nothing you could have done to change their behavior. All you can do is be the best version of you.
Time is your friend. After you have been hurt it’s understandable to need time to heal. Give yourself the time you need. When you truly heal from pain, you are least likely to bring the past with you into a new experience. Then you can move on to have a more fulfilling relationship.
The Universe Has Your Back. Trust in what the Universe is bringing to you. Sometimes the Universe has better plans than we could ever imagine. Let go of the things that you cannot change. Put faith into the fact that your life will develop in the way it needs to. And always know the universe has your back.
Honesty is the best Policy. Be honest with yourself. Sometimes when we look at the past, we see it through rose colored glasses. Let honesty guide your choices. It may reveal things you might not have seen first time around.
Enjoy the Single Life. If you decide that you need time alone. Enjoy it! There is nothing like falling in love with yourself. The time you spend alone will help you to identify what you are looking for in the next relationship.
Acceptance is Key. People have a hard time accepting the truth. If you put into practice the acceptance of yourself, others, and what is; life will be much easier to manage. Acceptance helps you to realize that love is a gamble. A gamble that is never guaranteed but always worth it.
Try Again. Failure is a big part of life; including in the romance department. One or more failed relationships does not signify that it will always be that way. We learn, grow, and change constantly. After you have mourned the lost of the relationship, go out and try again. You will find hope in that which is new.
You are Meant to be Loved. Love is one of the most powerful feelings in the world. Everyone is meant to experience it. But you cannot receive love until you first love yourself. Know that if you are alive, you are destined to be love. Find that love and cherish it when you do.
Being open is easier said than done. Especially if you have been burned. It can feel better to hide and protect yourself from the world. But the reality is that in doing so you are actually limiting yourself from advancing into the next stage of your life. Trust in the lessons you have learned to guide you to where you need to be. Stay true to who you are. Know that by being open you could be inviting your next great epic love.
As the world becomes more and more a “hookup” culture, the chances of finding ourselves in relationships that start off sexual without the intent of a commitment are high. There’s always the possibility that later we may even discover that we like that person for more than the physical aspects they bring to the relationship. This leads us to ask ourselves, if hooking up can really turn into something more lasting? I have often heard many people say that casual sex never results in a long term relationship. But the reality of how hookups, casual sex, and one night stands end are actual quite different than what people expect.
Traditional ways of courtship no longer exists. We meet the majority of our future prospects through dating apps like Tinder and Bumble. Apps that allow you to scan through potential mates the way you would look for something like a car or a house. Judging people based on arbitrary stats that give you no inclination as to what kind of person someone truly is. So it’s no wonder why people are not sure if hookups lead to anything significant.
But I have really good news! According to Match’s Annual Survey of Unmarried Americans:
...A quarter of singles have converted a one-night stand into a long-term relationship.
In a Washington Post article, Helen Fisher, famed biological anthropologist and Chief Scientific Adviser at Match, says that casual sexual relations serve an important purpose, can have wonderful outcomes (when safe and consensual), and can often develop into serious partnerships.
In addition, A recent study from the University of Iowa found that a significant percentage of current relationships began with nonromantic sex.
There is hope. Although it can happen it requires communication and both parties to mutual desire a meaningful relationship. Here are three ways to turn casual sex into something more serious.
Watch the clues. The best way to see if your hookup is taking the relationship to the next level is to pay attention to what your partner says and does. Does he or she text you only at night? Or do they text you to solely interact with you? The closer you pay attention to the clues your partner is giving you, the more you will understand whether or not they are ready to take the relationship further.
Spend time together. Taking the relationship out of the bedroom will allow you to develop a better connection that can lead to something long term. Be proactive in spending time together. Ask that person on a much more conventional date like a party or going to the movies. This will enable you to see the person in a different light and begin the steps to changing the dynamic of the relationship.
Tell them how you feel. Nothing beats being honest. If you really are ready to turn a casual partner into something more significant, the best thing to do is to talk to them about how you are feeling. If they are positive to the change, great! But if they are resistant then move on. It’s never worth being with someone who doesn’t want to be with you.
Now a days women are gaining more independence financially, politically, and culturally. The rules of coupling are changing. This will definitely lead to a more open view about the way men and women interact with each other in romantic relationships. Remember that you have your own journey. Everyone gets to where they want to be in different ways and that includes long term relationships like marriage. Even if that means starting off as a hookup.
I was on the phone with my Life Coach. Yes, I indeed have a Life Coach. And she asked me to perform a exercise answering one simple question. What shows up when you do? Before talking with her, I had never even considered such a query. I was then encouraged to ask some of the most important people around me. And as the list of amazing qualities started to flood in on my phone, it dawned on me that I wasn't exactly living in my essence. I actually didn't even know what it was. The irony is that all the traits others saw in me, I would not have written down for myself. I knew in that moment, that no matter what happened in life, I was going to live my true essence. No matter the pain I experienced, the disappointment I have seen or the confusion I bear, that finding out about my essence, is a top priority.
What is Essence?
The essence my Life Coach was referring to, is an energy. The life force within all of us, that makes us exclusively who we are. Essence is the core nature or important qualities within each human being. It is also called your "soul" or "spirit". And although your mind is apart of your essence, it is not exactly our minds at all. This force has nothing to do with how you were raised, who has influenced you in your life or what has happened to you. There is a truth about you that stands no matter what your story is.
Improving your life comes with strengthening your connection to this energy. I had a revelation that I wanted to move through life in the fullest expression of my essence. This lesson was recently challenged when I met someone new. Instead of moving from essence, I built as many walls around myself as I could. I wanted to make sure that I was never hurt again and I had the upper hand. Even before the person was in my life in any significant way. What makes it even more paradoxical is that openness was one of the qualities listed in my essence activity. So why wasn't I open when meeting this new person?
Past experiences can stop us from acting in a way that is true to our essence. What I learned from that experience is that people treat you the way you allow them to treat you. When you are true to who you are, then you can take comfort in the fact that there was nothing you could do to stop another person's behaviour. How they choose to act in a situation is their issue to bear. So for instance, if your essence is unconditional love and you showed it to a significant other but they still ended the relationship. That has more to do with their ability to receive or acknowledge unconditional love, than it does with your ability to give it. Even if the situation leaves you heart broken.
Moving from essence lifts a huge weight off of your shoulders because then you can begin to identify the people and actions that align with your values. When you are uncertain about whether a person or situation is coming from your essence, ask yourself; Would an infinite being truly choose this? Am I moving from my essence?
Being aware of your essence does not stop people from hurting you. Because people are often looking out for their best interests, they engage in activity that consciously or unconsciously may hurt others. Knowing your essence helps you to live an authentic life. It minimizes you having regrets because you understand what is serving you and what is not.
Essence Take Away
Take the time to hone in on your essence. It is the engine in which our souls revolve around. To embrace your essence is to never work against yourself. Your essence does not need to change or be altered. It is the amazing, unidentifiable, universal magic that makes you uniquely "you".
The process of self improvement can be tricky. One minute you are excited for what you have discovered about yourself and recognize the changes you've made, the next minute you are doing the same negative patterns that made you seek help in the first place. Continuing to grow and evolve is often hard, long work. I recently found myself engaging in old negative patterns that might have jeopardized my chances of having something that I always desired. Furthermore, I realized how much I wanted it, when presented with the reality that I might have lost it forever. Unfortunately, only time will tell what the outcome of the current events will be. And while what patterns I engaged in are important, they are not the focus of this writing. It is the cycle of bad behaviour that haunts my mind. After experiencing my "Aha" moment (a moment of sudden insight), I was consumed with wanting to break all of the bad cycles I had acquired. Most of what I was doing, was so ingrained in me that it took a second person to point out how my actions could be perceived. This got me thinking. If you are stuck in unfavorable patterns, how do you break the cycle?
Cycles in and of themselves are not bad. A cycle is a repeating process that yields the same results. For our example, it would be repeating behavioral patterns that produce the same conclusions. There are three different types of cycles: positive which yield positive outcomes, negative cycles which result in negative or unwanted outcomes, and neutral which have neither negative or positive outcomes. If you want to move your life into your desired direction, then it is key to learn how to turn negative or neutral patterns into positive cycles.
All of the problems that we face in our life, are attributed to negative cycles. In order to stop these cycles, one must first understand where they began. They are often short term actions that may bring gratification in the moment but hurt us in the long run. Because humans are creatures of habit, the more we do something, the easier it becomes to justify the action. This is what creates cycles.
How to Break A Negative Cycle
In the book The Power of Habit, New York Times investigative reporter, Charles Duhigg states that habits or cycles have three fundamental elements.
1. An external cue or trigger
2. A routine which arises
3. A deep-rooted reward for the behavior
Even negative behaviour offers rewards. According to Duhigg, the only way to adjust the cycle is to identify the cue, the routine, and the reward they bring. Identifying your negative cycles is already half the battle. Knowing that you have patterns you need to change opens up the opportunity to change them.
1. Forgive Yourself. We harbor so much emotion about the things we don't do correctly. We can live for a long time not realizing our bad patterns, but when they finally show themselves, we are often left thinking we are crazy. Beating ourselves up for experiencing the problem over and over again; thinking we must deserve what we are going through. Realize that it is not your fault. That along the way, your subconscious picked up a habit that does not ultimately serve you. So much of what we do is controlled by our subconscious minds. Often times we don't even know that a subconscious thought is holding us back and influencing our actions.
2. Understand Where The Pattern Comes From. Because cycles are repetitive patterns, you can start to identify common traits, characteristics, and events. Go over them, write them down, and analyze what is commonplace. Understanding where the cycle comes from will be an important step to breaking it.
3. Be Clear About How You Want to Live Your Life. Being clear about what result you want from your actions can be a big motivator in breaking cycles that aren't productive. The clearer you are the better and easier it is to stay on track. You can always ask yourself, "is this activity compatible with my overall goal?"
4. Don't Be Afraid to Change. Try new behaviours that will alter the bad cycles you have experienced. Rely on habits that are positive because they will lead to positive results. Disrupt the cycle by disrupting the pattern. If you cannot identify your triggers, try changing your routine. It could give you insight into what has caused the cycle to begin with.
5. Move On. Ultimately, you have to trust the work you have done to break your negative cycles. It will take hard work but it is worth it to have a healthier, happy life. You have to forgive yourself for what you have been doing and trust in the process to do better.
When you uncover a negative cycle that is holding you back, it can be devastating. Don't spend too much time beating yourself up for what you could not see. Be appreciative that you have brought to light a old behaviour or negative cycle that you need to break. Do the work to change it, the sooner you get to work, the sooner you can break the cycle. Just like working out, maintaining a positive perspective takes continuous effort. You will be a better person for it.
When I first read the famous book "The Secret", by Rhonda Bryne, I thought this is the missing piece in my life. The ability to create whatever I want, simply by focusing on it. And even though the Law of Attraction isn't quite as simple as just asking for what you want, it was going to lead me to my divine destiny! The book is chalk full of famous experts who sing the praises of our desires shaping our world. It delves deep into the thought processes that support manifestation. Yes I said it, the magical buzz word; manifest! It's everywhere. On t-shirts, pictures, iphone cases, and New York Times Best Sellers. People are telling us how to do it and how much it has changed their lives. But as familiar as we are all with the word, really what is manifesting? How come it doesn't work instantly? And does it really work at all?
What is Manifesting?
I think we all have a basic understanding of the power of positive thinking. But manifesting is something different. It is the power to intentionally create what you want by using your thoughts and feelings. The dictionary definition is to show something clearly, through signs or actions. Many specialist in the fields of metaphysics, mystical principles, and the field of science have all confirmed the power of this principle. Spiritual manifestation revolves around the new age idea of The Law of Attraction. In simple terms, this law states that if you think and act in a positive way, then good things will happen to you; conversely if you think and act in a negative way, then bad things will happen to you. This concept has been around for a very long time, from the ancient Hindu idea of "Karma" to what it is known in modern times as "Positive Thinking", Mental Science", "Pragmatic Christianity", or "Practical Metaphysics". The benefit of Manifestation is it is aimed at having a more targeted response, unlike "Karma" which is much more random and vague.
How Does Manifestation Work?
Manifestation works in three different ways; spiritual, psychological, and physical. On the spiritual plane, it is believed that thoughts carry their own energy, which attracts whatever the person is thinking about. This energy is not considered good nor bad; it is a neutral energy. It is believed that in order to harness the energy you must first know what you want, ask the universe for it, feel and behave as if you already possess it, and finally remain open to receiving it.
On the psychological plane it is more like a "self-fulfilling" prophecy. If you believe in what you want and know that it will happen one day, then you act in a different manner than if you believed the opposite. Everyone faces obstacles but if you know that what you desire is on it's way to you, you see the obstacles as temporary setbacks. Unlike someone who thinks their dreams and desires are unattainable, they will see obstacles as a sign of failure thus giving up.
Lastly, on the physical plane there is potential scientific evidence for how it works. Human thought is a biochemical process of neurons being transferred between different synapses in the brain. Positive neuroplasticity refers to the brain's ability to adapt and change. Research shows that the adult brain changes over the course of one's lifespan based on negative or positive intrinsic or extrinsic influences. It seems science believes you can retrain your brain to heal past trauma and other disorders. We can now rewire our brains if we dwell on positive feelings such as joy, productivity, and peace.
Why Doesn't Manifesting Work Instantly?
There are times when you hold the intention for something and it comes to pass; sometimes in a way that feels very supernatural. Synchronicities happen, new people or circumstances come into your life to make your desires possible, probably, and best of all real. But other times you feel as though the process is not working. What happens then? Your thoughts are electromagnetic waves. The Universe reflects back to you what you are thinking. If you fail to be clear about your intentions, and don't put enough energy behind it, then the Universe is unable to create it in the physical world. Holding your intention requires persistence even when and especially when there is no evidence of it coming to fruition.
It can also take a long time to manifest your desires if you are not really committed to it. If you are not truly passionate about your intention, it doesn't have the energetic steam it needs to manifest. It takes honesty to identify whether you truly want something or if you think that you should want it.
If you hold a unclear intention it can be harder to create what you want. The best way to get what you want is to be clear and focused. The more specific you are, the better it is to achieve. Finally, if you intentions conflict with your beliefs, you are not likely to manifest it. The Universe has divine insight. It knows when you are embodying the qualities, characteristics, habits, and behaviors of gratitude for what you desire.
Does Manifesting Really Work?
I think most of us have experienced wanting something like a new pair of jeans, obsessing over them and finally getting them as a gift for your birthday. This is a simple way to see how manifesting works. Everything around you was once just a concept in someone's mind. Our current lives are a reflection of the decisions we've made or the goals that we focused on. So does manifesting work? Yes. You currently live in the reality that you created whether consciously or not. What manifesting does not do is to eliminate sorrow or hardship from you life. There will always be barriers and hurdles to overcome. But what is hopeful is the limitless potential in the Universe. Inside of you is the ability to access it. Manifesting is the key to that potential. Remember that manifesting takes skill, training, patience, faith, and best of all, gratitude.
Just the other day I received a call from a good friend of mine who I hadn't heard from in a long time. She is the kind of friend that is fun to hangout with but always disappears on a random journey for months at a time that leads her to be in mysterious locations doing even more mysterious things. She had recently had an "aha" moment. So she naturally called me to share the details. Being the self help connoisseur that I am, I was all too happy to hear what insight she discovered on one of her many adventures.
"I think I know why my life is where it is..." she said. I listened in closely. "I am the victim of self sabotage." I was silent for a minute thinking she was going to break the stillness anytime with a laugh. The idea of being a victim of something you are perpetuating seemed like a oxymoron but then again what did I know. But she didn't. She was serious, dead serious. As she continued to explain the many events that led to this new self discovery, I got to thinking... was I a victim of self sabotage? And if I was, why was I just discovering this now? Here are a few signs that you are sabotaging your happiness and how to stop.
1. You procrastinate. I cringe every time I think of the many times I have procrastinated. We have all experienced procrastination at some point in our lives. This was my entire college experience. In fact I don't remember not procrastinating in school. It is defined as the act of delaying or postponing a task or a set of tasks. However, it is deeper than that, it is a mysterious force that keeps us from completing the most urgent task and sometimes replacing them for less important duties. So why do we procrastinate? Behavioral psychology research has discovered a phenomenon known as "time inconsistency." Time inconsistency alludes to the proclivity for the human brain to value immediate rewards more highly than future rewards. This explains why we may procrastinate despite our best efforts. Although there is some science to describe our tendency to procrastinate, at times we are doing it because of avoidance. Usually, we are trying to avoid something like change or failure, and even sometimes making mistakes.
How to Stop: First recognize that you are procrastinating. If you are putting things off indefinitely or switching focus to avoid doing something, then you can safely say that you are procrastinating. Once you identify that you are indeed doing it, ask yourself why you are really putting these certain task off. You need to understand the reasons why you are doing something in order to tackle them. Then finally adapt a strategy to stop you from procrastination. Procrastination is a deeply ingrained habit that can change with diligence and time.
2. You destroy relationships. We think by avoiding heartbreak we are protecting ourselves. But sabotaging the relationships around us is a sure sign that we have other underline issues. If you exhibit jealous behavior, focus on the negative instead of the positive, always put other things in front of the relationship, often cancel plans, show up extremely late or dwell on the past you are subconsciously doing things to undermine your happiness. It starts off as small things that over time build up to become huge road blocks to having a healthy fun relationship.
How to Stop: You have to begin with being honest with yourself. Observe your behavior in relationships without judgment. Sometimes we pick up these behaviors as survival techniques in our childhood that no longer serves us in adulthood. Identifying your triggers can give you insight into where you developed these patterns in the first place. To know that you are being trigged, take notice of the intensity and quality of your emotions. Disproportionate reactions can be clues of childhood trauma. Examine when you are most susceptible. Maybe you are dating someone who reminds you of your past. If your emotional reaction to your partner is the same to what you have experienced before, you may automatically behave the way you use to in the past. Identify what behaviors you should leave behind. Development a new vision for yourself and decide how you are going to implement it. Try to find someone who can support you in your mission to change, then stay focus on what your vision is. We all backslide sometimes. Know that the process of change requires one step at a time. Remember to keep trying no matter what happens.
3. You try to control everything. The deep need to control gives people the false impression that they are kept safe. People feel that if they are in control, then nothing can go wrong. But if your happiness relies on your ability to control life, then you will never truly be happy. Control does not exist, there is no amount of planning, affirmations, or daily activity that is going to guarantee your safety from life's ups and downs. When you try to control your circumstances, it prevents the space for bigger and better things to enter your life. For example, if you are trying to control your partner instead of ending things, it could be impedeing you from finding someone who is more compatible.
How to Stop: Learn how to surrender. Trying to control everything stops you from growth and acceptance. Focus on what you can change, and surrender what you cannot. The hardest thing is to know the difference.
4. You are afraid to ask for help. Nobody knows all the answers. Our society prizes itself on people who appear to have succeed without any help, but that is never the case. People shy away from asking for help because they do not want to appear weak or incompetent. Not asking for help can gamble the outcomes of your goals, making projects or activities delayed because you were not willing to swallow your pride. Lack of communicating your needs can lead to the alienation of others, and to finally lose their trust. Also you miss out on opportunities to grow and learn from others who would have otherwise helped.
How to Stop: Be straightforward, clear, and concise about your needs. There is nothing weak about asking for help. Make sure that you ask for help from somebody who understands how to assist you. That means possibly turning to someone other than you parents, friends, and partner.
5. You don't relish in the good stuff. Countless times I have talked to people who have amazing things happening in their life. Great jobs, cute guys, nice friends, beautiful children but they are so focused on their problems that they don't take the time to acknowledge the blessings. It's easy to focus on the bad stuff. It could actually feel good to complain. Our brains give more attention to negative events than they do positive. Negative events pose a greater risk of danger so the brain alerts itself. But when you overwhelm yourself with negativity it makes it nearly impossible to see the good in life.
How to Stop: To break yourself out of negative thoughts you can start with proactive thinking. Proactive thinking is forecasting a future situation and making a plan of action instead of waiting for events to happen. This would be forced positive thinking, meditation, and engaging in good behavior. Start by taking time to appreciate the good things in your life. Identify the things that make you happy, try to remember every nuance about the experience. As you recall the memory, commit to only the things that make you feel favorable about your circumstances.
There are many ways you can engage in self-sabotage. Life is a process and no one is happy all the time. If you are engaging in these destructive behaviors you are ensuring that you are going to stay in that state forever. But by being aware of your negative actions, you can circumvent the effects that self sabotaging has on your self-esteem. By tackling your inner messages and conduct, you can put your life on a better trajectory that leads to ultimate satisfaction and fulfillment.
All anyone can talk about now a days are the wellness holy grails; Kale, Kombucha, Açai bowls, and the restorative powers of Yoga. And although yoga has been on the lips of the fitness obsessed for many years; new studies show that the yogi population is increasingly growing. According to a new survey by Yoga Alliance and Yoga Journal the number of Americans doing yoga has grown by over 50% in the last four years. With the increase in numbers going from 20.4 million in 2012 to over 36 million as of 2016. This statistic makes my inner wellness goddess sing. A whole world full of yogis!!! But before I put on my Mary Jane Capezio tap shoes to celebrate, I want to show you that yoga is not a trend but a holistic practice that is here to stay. Here are some unforeseen reasons why you should join the yoga movement.
1. It helps with your emotional & mental health. Studies have shown that yoga could benefit those living with depression, schizophrenia, other psychiatric conditions, and sleep problems. Developed 5,000 years ago in India, yoga is a comprehensive system for well-being. It incorporates physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual disciplines in order to work with the nature of being a human. From the Sanskrit root verb yuj meaning to yoke, join or unite; yoga is seen as a divine union between the physical and spiritual self.
2. It helps you to build a sense of self. Through yoga, you are encouraged to cultivate a more nonjudgemental self relationship. You are building self trust which inspires you to live a better life by eating healthier and exercising more. When you are rooted in your sense of self, you develop a healthy balanced ego.
3. It improves your romantic relationships and increases your fertility. When you are more peaceful and centered with yourself, you will be that way with the people around you. This can have a huge effect on your romantic relationships. Yoga helps to reduce stress, increase relaxation and opens up energetic channels. With yoga our sexual lives are enhanced by making us feel more comfortable in our skin. Conception becomes easier as yoga allows more blood flow to the reproductive organs, improving organ activity, and boosting hormone functions.
4. It boost memory. When we reduce mental stress and physical tension, we are able to recall things easier and have more organized thoughts. Having a clear mind improves cognitive functions. Cognitive abilities are linked to goal-directed behavior and the ability to control knee-jerk emotional responses, habitual thinking patterns and actions.
5. It teaches us patience. Meditation is one of the cornerstones of yoga. Add meditation and the physical poses of yoga and it can challenge anyone's composure. It takes patience to clear your head, not move, and not allow the issues of the day to run through your mind. Just like the patience one needs to master the most difficult yoga positions, you need patience to care for your relationships and allow them to flourish.
The true spirit of Yoga is about compassion, awareness, and acceptance. Yoga is about becoming aligned with our individual self, making room for the truth of who we are both in body and in mind. As we let go of judgement, and begin to recognize our own ever-changing nature, we recognize that life is not a competition but a individualized journey. Allowing Yoga to truly be all-inclusive.
My favorite show when I was younger was Sex and the City. I watched that show religiously. So much so, that even to this day, I am able to quote the series verbatim. I loved the message of the show. A world where woman had control over their own lives, talked about fashion, sex, love and friendship, and they did so without any qualms. Many people think the show only celebrates the wonders of female sexual liberation, but for me the characters were smart, well-paid women who weren't afraid to show their femininity and live life on their own terms. Guys were not the center of their world but an added blessing to the incredible life they already had. Plus who doesn't love the New York City backdrop?!
This is what I wanted and craved; a life on my own terms, whatever that meant at the time. Any opportunity to put on my self imposed Manolos, was my chance to make this my reality. Unbeknownst to me, I would get a fraction of this life style. My life use to consist of all consuming friendships, huge glamorous dreams, and the freedom to discover myself. And while that was great, it left me presently at a crossroads. Just like the characters, I woke up one day realizing that I didn't have much stability in my life. I had only accomplished a small percent of the dreams I wanted so badly. So I had to ask myself...Did I want a life solely based on the dreams of my past? Dreams from a younger self who romanticized single-hood and the importance of being too independent?
To find the answer, I took my parents up on their offer to go back home. Thinking I would surely find the answer in a environment that was the opposite of the one I came from. But all I found was a reflection of my former self and the yearning to return to the life I had before. Then something unexpected happened. I began to no longer take the extra effort to put on a pair of heels, or make sure every curl in my hair was perfect. I threw away all of the shoes that hurt my feet, even if they were cute, and I gave away all of the clothes that cut off my circulation to the Goodwill. I started reading spiritual books, and listening to enlightened teachers. I woke up early to mediate and pray. I stopped caring what happened on the E channel. I found a new focus as materialism no longer reigned supreme. And though I have improved for the better and I have gained much needed clarity, I still missed my former self. I miss the glamour and excitement of that girl. There must be some way to reconcile the two images. The one of the single city girl whose focus was on the friends she loved, the places she wanted to go, and the spontaneity of life with the enlightened, save the world, stability focused yogi. Here are some ways to not get stuck with ideas of your past self and start living in the present (and perhaps marry the two).
1. Express your feelings about the past. Often times when we are comparing our current selves to our past self, it is usually to an idealized version. Society teaches us that we must never downgrade, regress, or backtrack in our life. So if we are in a position that may appear as if we have not evolved from our past we experience fear, anxiety, and angst about our future. It is important to know that there will be times in your life when your current situation feels as though it does not compare to the glory of your past. But the reality is we often are either comparing ourselves to our perceived "peak" time, or everyone else's favorite version of us, or we are longing for an glamorized or even fictional past. When you address those feelings, start being honest about those times in your life because you just might discover that it wasn't all that it was cracked up to be.
2. Be positive. Maybe it's true that you use to have more friends, traveled to exotic locations, wore the best clothes. Instead of focusing on the negative, start to reassess the way you see it. You may have had tons of friends but now your attention is on the quality of friends you have versus the quantity. You might not have the trendiest clothes but you now have classic pieces you can past on to your future daughter. Look for the positive in your life. Focusing on the negative can prevent you from seeing all the many blessings that are around you.
3. Concentrate on your progress. Life is a journey, not a destination. There will never be a time when you have completely arrived. You will always have a new challenge to overcome. So celebrate your small wins in life. Give yourself credit for the things you have accomplished, conquered, learned, and experienced. You will marvel at your growth.
4. Identify what matters. In the words of Dr. Seuss, "Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Concentrate on what is affecting your life now. Discovering what is touching your life in the present will help you stay focused on what is important.
5. Have a sense of humor. So what you gained a couple pounds, you aren't going out every night, or you haven't gotten a pedicure in a year. Sometimes the best way to handle things is with a sense of amusement. Try to bring optimism, humor, and levity to any situation in life and it will make things lighter.
There is nothing wrong with appreciating your past self. Looking at the past can be a reminder of how far we've come in our journey. Just remember as American journalist Katherine Anne Porter says, “The past is never where you think you left it.”