Just a few thoughts…

Archive for the tag “Mental Health”

Extra Weight

A few weeks ago I met up with one of my longtime friends for a “gym date.” We usually meet to run or have lunch, so catching up and simultaneously lifting weights is nearly impossible. Catching up won, and we finally realized that we can’t meet at the gym if we never see each other! We got on the subject of eating/working out, the ups and downs we’ve both experienced in our self-image, and how we currently feel. Even at 30-ish years old (combined-obviously), the both of us can still chat for hours on the subject.

Most of us spend the majority of life working at a job and working at relationships. Each day we meet new people, maintain relationships that are already established, and connect with acquaintances. It’s not easy to keep up with all of them, in fact, some relationships end up falling short of quality attention. One relationship that commonly gets the short end of the stick is the one we have with ourselves.The friendship we foster with ourselves is just as important as any other. In fact, it may be the mostimportant. Here’s why: The tone we develop in our own heads may be the blueprint for the rest of our relationships. If we start allowing abuse, negativity, hatred, and criticism early on, how will we treat others? More so, how will we allow others to treat us?

I was extremely lucky to grow up where I did; in that small town, the future was as bright as the 1,ooo,ooo,ooo stars in the clear sky. We had great education, emphasized work ethic, and huge expectations for what was to come in life. Personally, I think I was so busy doing, doing, doing that I never stopped to think about much else. Somewhere along the line, I developed unattainable expectations for myself and it started to wear on me. If I wasn’t the best at everything, something was wrong with me. I took motivation to a whole new level, and never even realized what it was doing to my self pep-talks.

Overtime, all this does is chip away at our organicism, uniqueness, confidence, wholeness, and sturdiness as an individual. It’s almost as though we have this friendship/relationship with someone who constantly tears at us, and negatively influences the way we feel about ourselves, but we can’t end it! If we stick around long enough, we develop a sense of distorted comfort. Once we invest a certain amount of time in relationships, it’s almost worth it to stay…so we tell ourselves. It’s a good ol’ ball & chain.

Instead of being our own best friend, we’re our worst enemy. Who would’ve thought that your worst enemy is the closest person to you?  We believe things that aren’t true! We made them up in our heads, and they’re preventing us from living the life we saw when we were children. It’s simply a habit; believing negative thoughts about yourself, your ability, and your skill is reversible. We can replace a bad habit with a new habit through a conscious effort to flip every single negative self-comment.

Think about it…would you be friends with someone who didn’t build you up? Who made you doubt yourself and question your beauty, intellect, humor, wisdom, talent, and ability? Would you let your friends be friends with someone like that? Absolutely NOT! If you find yourself hearing a little voice in the back of your head bringing you down, allowing negativity, telling you to blend in instead of stand out, convincing you that you can’t be amazing-Break up with it. Shut it down. Don’t believe it! Replace it with a positive affirmation because THAT is the truth, and your true friend talking.



A Full Plate


I love talking; shocking, I know. I also love to listen. One of my favorite things in life is to find myself hours later deep in conversation. It could be about anything, really, but my top favorites are personal growth, relationships, and food. I LOVE food. Those conversations, especially when you’re hungry, where you just sit and talk about how delicious food is? It makes me hungry just thinking about it. One day I’ll write about the decadency of cake….

We’re not going to talk about food today, even though we’re talking about having a full plate. By “full plate” I mean the idiom “my plate is full, I can’t take anything else on.” We naturally use this term for declining invitations because we are too busy. I would like you to think about it in a mental/emotional sense while reading this. Put your life on a plate, and see how it fractions out. Is your plate full of your food or others’?

My friend’s husband and I were talking awhile back, and he made a great point that stuck with me. We were talking about this crazy life, and he referred to having his wife, two kids, and not much room for anything else. Obviously he has relationships with friends, co-workers, and roles aside from being a husband/father. But what he chooses to nurture ultimately rests in his family and self.

I think that growing up is more than just getting older; it’s making a life of your own. It’s putting things on your plate that fill you, and require attention. There’s a difference between worrying about others, showing concern, and just talking about their lives…gossip; we all do it! When we spend too much time talking, we might not be proactively helping them, and we might also be ignoring our own helping on our plate.

You’ve reached the (young) age where your plate takes precedence, and if there’s room, fill it with YOU-grow, learn, reflect, dream, and inspire. We tend to get bored and settle on the topic of other people’s lives, which isn’t a crime, but isn’t character building for ourselves either. Also, we might let it take up some mental-rental space for free, which leaves room for comparisons, judgements, and then overdue necessary eviction notices!

Oh ya, always make room on your plate for cake.

The “F” Word

When I was about 10 years old, maybe a little older, my Dad slammed me in the door at our family’s restaurant. Not just my hand or my arm, but pretty much half my body. We were running around and he didn’t know I was behind him, and he shut the door with me in it. I think I was more shocked than injured, which is crazy considering the size of my father. He felt terrible, I was crying, he apologized, I forgave him. He obviously didn’t intentionally sandwich his youngest child in between the wall and the door, so how could I be mad at him? After all, he IS the kindest man that ever lived; but at 28, it’s still very much unforgettable. I forgave, but never forgot.
Forgiveness isn’t always easy, mostly because we don’t know where to start. Not all situations are cut & dry, black & white. What does it even mean, really? If I wrong you, and you forgive me but not forget what I did, and every time you see me you’re reminded of what happened, did you really forgive me? Whoa! It gets kind of blurry.
I try and look at situations in terms of what part I am responsible for. How did I help create/propel/act/react to lead it to where it resulted? We all know someone who points the finger and blames everyone else for misfortune or mistake. There’s a time frame before that happens when we can pause and take ownership for our role in every moment. People are people, and you know exactly what I mean! We get hurt, we wrong each other, we fight, and we change relationships forever. It’s not intentional; it just happens. We ALL get slammed in a door. Before you run around blaming others, stop and think about what you did to allow the situation. I knew my Dad didn’t know I was behind him, but did I yell, “Dad! I’m behind you!” No. So was it completely his fault for shutting the door behind him with me in it? Absolutely not.
Most often we need to start by forgiving ourselves before we can forgive others. Forgive yourself for taking a risk. Forgive yourself for making a decision that didn’t end how you hoped. Forgive yourself for not setting boundaries when necessary. Forgive yourself for following someone through a door. YOU’RE HUMAN! The day we stop learning is the day we stop living, right? We always look for the best in others, and sometimes we get disappointed. Rather trust and get burned then never trust and never know; that’s what gives us dimension.

So the next time you say you’ve forgiven someone, make sure you’ve forgiven yourself first. Take ownership of your percentage of the event, and really think about how you stand. Forgiveness is not an emotion.  It’s a choice. It’s a verb. It’s a conscious action. It’ll make you better friends with yourself.

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