Show up for Life

hope on. journey on.

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Hope On. Journey On.

 

 

You Are All You Need

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How many of us actually have real, true self confidence? Do you believe in yourself? Do you believe that you can attain all of the goals you want to accomplish in your life? Are you always building yourself up, or bringing yourself down? Do you constantly tell others how amazing they are, yet ignore how amazing you are? Are you uncomfortable being alone with yourself?  There is only one person in this world that is always with you, and that’s you.  You cannot hide from yourself. Since you can’t run away from yourself, it’s time to learn to love and appreciate yourself, and it’s time to become your best friend.

People who struggle with anxiety and depression, tend to have very little self confidence.  When I was going through my anxiety, I really disliked myself.  I thought I was the biggest failure.  I looked at every other person and thought, “Why am I so weak?” I believed that everyone else could handle anything that life threw at them but me.  I was so angry at myself for letting myself be so weak.  I also depended on other people to make it through each day.  I did’t want to ever be alone, especially alone with just my thoughts.  The places, people, and things around me are what defined me.  I had no self confidence at that time, or self esteem.  Even if you have never suffered a mental illness, it seems so many people struggle with this issue of loving your whole self, and having self confidence.

Loving yourself means being patient with yourself. It means understanding that you are not perfect. You will make mistakes.  Some mistakes are harmless, some may be so big that you never think you can forgive yourself, but forgive you must.  We are only human.  Mistakes are a part of life.  If there are mistakes that you need to resolve, then take that first step.  Create a plan to resolve those mistakes, and start moving forward.  If you have hurt others along the way, then mend those issues. Be the first to apologize, and move ahead to find a resolution.  When you learn to be patient with yourself, you are learning how to love yourself more fully.

Being too dependent on others is a risky business to be in.  There were times I couldn’t even be alone, ever.  I had to fill the void in my life with people and things.  How many of us have to have the TV on all the time just to have noise?  Are you comfortable just sitting in perfect silence, with no music, TV, phone, or any other distractions? Are you comfortable just sitting there with you, your own thoughts, and nothing more?  I am totally guilty of using distractions.  Back in my anxiety days, I would have rather died than sit there alone in silence, with nothing but my overwhelming, anxious thoughts.  To fully gain our own self confidence, and self love, we need to come to the point where we can learn to be alone, and be ok with it.  Part of this is learning to accept that everything in life will one day leave us.  Everyone dies, and material possessions are fleeting.  We don’t know what life holds for us, but if we can learn to believe in ourselves, believe in our ability to take care of ourselves, then we can handle anything that may come our way.

I cannot stress the importance of watching your thoughts.  Write down your negative thoughts, and take a look at what you are constantly thinking about. You must incorporate 10 minutes of pure silence every day. Let your emotions come to the surface and acknowledge all of them. Do not belittle yourself for the thoughts and feelings that come up during your meditation. Instead take a look at them and then tell those thoughts that you are going to let them go now, and then find a center of peace. Imagine yourself in the most peaceful place you can dream of, and stay there. Throughout the day, constantly give yourself affirmations about yourself.  I am strong. I am capable.  I can take care of myself.  I can handle any situation that life may bring.  I am beautiful. I am handsome.  I am a good person.  I can achieve my dreams.  Whatever you want to see in your life, affirm it to yourself daily. Start adding these simple strategies and you will start seeing changes in yourself.

It’s time to become your best friend.  You are stuck with you for life, so start to love you. Forgive yourself, be patient with your weaknesses.  Don’t be so dependent on others.  Stop seeking approval from everyone else, and seek it from yourself.  You are magnificent, and it’s time you see that. Your potential is limitless, go find it. Don’t let anyone or anything get it your way of finding your self confidence.

“You were born with potential. You were born with goodness and trust.You were born with ideals and dreams.You were born with greatness. You were born with wings. You are not meant for crawling, so don’t. You have wings. Learn to use them and fly.” ―Rumi

Hope On. Journey On.

Jenna

All Kinds of Kinds

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photo via Sloan Photographers

I heard a song on the radio the other day, and I only caught one line of it, but it was talking about how the world needs all kinds of kinds in it.  She was actually referring to all kinds of people, but I immediately thought of how the world needs all kinds of kindness in it.  We certainly live in a world full of all kinds of people, and that’s what makes living in it so fascinating.  Each individual is unique and wondrous in their own right.  How boring it would be if we were all exactly the same, like plain spice with no sugar.  I love sugar! But our differences will ignite conflict sometimes, its been that way since the beginning of time.  We will not agree with everyone.  People may drives us crazy at times.  But, if we can learn to infuse a little more kindness into the world around us everyday, then our world would undoubtably, become a better place.

A few days after my Mom passed away, my siblings and I were at the funeral home planning her funeral.  I then got a call from my Dad who was in tears and said I needed to come home, the paramedics were there, and my baby who was 2 at the time  just had a seizure.  I couldn’t believe the timing.  I was terrified because her last seizure was very serious and we could have lost her. I raced back home, and luckily she seemed to be fine, but they insisted we take her in to see her Doctor right then.  My Husband and I took her into the Doctor and I remember I instantly broke down into tears. The Doctor seemed a little surprised and I said, “My Mom just died 2 days ago too.” That poor Doctor felt so bad and she said, “I am so sorry, I didn’t even know your Mom was ill.”  After that I went to pick up her medicine and I was in line at Wal-Mart of all places.  It was crowded and hot and I just wanted to leave.  I looked around at everyone and I distinctly remember wanting to yell out and say, “Don’t you even know that my Mom just died, and my baby is sick and just had a seizure.  Now I have to suffer through grief, and I can feel anxious episodes of anxiety returning and it’s scaring me to death.  I am worn out and tired from taking care of four young kids, and a sick Mom.  I want to just go into a dark hole and hide until everything goes away. Don’t you people even care?” No doubt this sounds crazy, but it’s what I was thinking at the time.

I used to be the kind of person that thought trials did nothing for me, except ruin my life. You know the people that say they love trials and are so grateful for them? Well, I certainly wasn’t that way, ever. I didn’t think there was anything to learn from trials, except that I was even more impatient than I previously, already knew.  With my first bout of anxiety years ago, I suffered in silence and I just wanted to get better and never talk about it, and that’s what I did.  After losing my Mom and going through anxiety again, this time around was a different story.  Suffering through grief is exhausting.  Grief is so hard to deal with.  It drains you physically, mentally, and emotionally. But, I was given so many acts of kindness from so many people it was amazing. People I hardly knew were bringing in meals, helping to clean my house, flowers were sent, cards were brought, my kids were taken care of. My eyes were open to the beauty of kindness and compassion that existed all around me.  So many people said they had no idea my Mom was sick, or that anything was going on. The random acts of service and love helped me through these trials.

As time went on and I healed, for the first time I looked back and saw the blessings and the lessons learned through that trial.  The greatest lesson that I learned was, I had a new-found compassion for all mankind. Sympathy and empathy for others had a whole new meaning in my life.  I realized that we have no idea the struggles that people are going through.  Just like people had no idea that I was struggling, we have no idea what is really going on in someone else’s life, behind closed doors. I started to look at people differently.  I started to cut people more slack.  If someone was in a bad mood, I would remind myself that maybe they are dealing with some serious issues right now, and it wasn’t anything against me. The truth is, we all struggle. No matter how much or little money you have, no matter where you live, or the cars your drive, or the shape you are in, we all have our own battles to fight. We will never know of the wars that are being fought in the recesses of another persons mind.  Instead of judging so much, its time we all show more kindness, compassion, sympathy, and love to those around us.

Let’s try to not take things so personally anymore. If someone comes home in a bad mood, it probably has nothing to do with you, they are fighting a battle that day. Instead of snapping back at them, pay them a compliment.  Tell your spouse how grateful you are for them working so hard.  Tell your kids how glad you are that they are part of your family, even if they tell you they hate you that day.  Smile at strangers.  Find small ways to serve those around you. Try random acts of kindness.  I promise you that no matter what front people put up in their lives, they all struggle with something. The truth is we all need each other. Kindness can mend a broken heart. Kindness can heal a wounded soul.  Kindness will change the lives of those around you, and also your own.  Toss out your old, judgemental ways of dealing with other people. Try a new approach that is more loving, kind, and positive, and you will see miraculous changes in your life.  If you look for the good in others, you will find it.  Let us sow the seeds of kindness, and reap the rewards.  “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.” George Washington Carver

Hope On. Journey On.

Jenna

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Growing up I had a good friend that I spent a lot of time with, and I was always playing at her house. One thing that always stood out to me every time I went over there, was how much they laughed. Even if they were having a bad day it seemed like they always […]

Things

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written by: Angie

“People are made to be loved and things are made to be used. The confusion in this world is that people are being used and things are being loved”.  unknown

Minutes after my mom passed away, we said our good byes and shortly after they came to take her body away. I sat there in her tiny apartment on the couch and little did I know I was about to have one of the most profound moments of my life.

As the burley dark haired men picked her up and wheeled her away, I sat as I watched her leave every earthly possession she owned behind. Her collection of grape designed trinkets, her old leather chest full of memories, her movie collection, her bed, her kitchen, her couches, tables, linens, and clothes. You know what? She didn’t take a single thing she owned with her. Not one thing.

I am a business owner with my husband, so I feel a large responsibility as well as my husband to provide for our children. Sometimes at night I dream of the material things I would want, like a huge tree house, or an amazing pool with a giant rock slide. Yeah, I’m not one for purses or diamonds. ;) But, I am quickly reminded that I have everything I need. Do you have a list of things you want? Do you often think “I will be happy when………”? Think of the material things in your life that are stressing you out right now. What are they? Is your living space too small? Is your car too crappy? Do you hate all of your clothes? Do you wish you had this or that, because you know it would make your life easier or you’d be happier?

It’s true some material things do make our lives easier. The thing is, they aren’t important. I think we all deserve success and should 100%  have financial goals and try to meet them. The problem arises when those goals become your first priority in life. When family gets pushed behind, when you become mean and competitive with friends, when all of your relationships become broken, because of the want or obsession for material things, success, power, and glory. It’s easy to get wrapped up in wanting these things especially if our friends or neighbors are purchasing fun new toys, cars, houses etc. It goes along with my sisters post regarding “The Jones”. We get so caught up in out doing each other with money and things of this world we sometimes forget we might be hurting or disregarding the ones we love.

Here are some tips that have helped me, when I get caught up in my pride and the “things of life”.

Stay off Pinterest and don’t cruise the internet. When I see all these amazing houses, clothes, accessories etc. I want it all. Take a break from it and go for a bike ride with your family.

Be very aware of your words. If you find your self saying “Well, when this happens I will be happier”. Try to replace that statement with “I am very happy in my present moment”.

Try taking a break off from work and spend an entire day or afternoon with the ones you love. Give those closest to you, your every attention and forget about the “things” in your life that you want right now.

Have genuine relationships with others. If you are using someone to get you further in life or your business know that in the end karma always comes around. It is important to associate yourselves with successful and uplifting people, but make sure those relationships are healthy and genuine.

Love is almost always the answer and in this case it is love for each other, not for material things. Try being very conscious of each moment this week with those close to you. Practice loving, respecting,  and honoring them with your time and attention.

Sometimes we want things to fill a void in our life. If this is the case, then try some self awareness exercises and see if you are are trying to replace something in your life that might not be as wonderful with something material. Many of us have been guilty of this. When I am stressed I eat. :) Some people instantly go shopping to deal with stress. It is okay to use that as a stress reliever, as long as it is done responsibly and not habitually.

I want you to know it is perfectly okay to want things. Things are an awesome part of life. They make the mundane fun and life exciting, but simplicity is also a joyful way of living. In the end, your possessions will not join you. You will leave them all behind. In the end your life will be remembered not by your possessions, but by the way you loved and treated the ones you possess.

Hope on. Journey on.

Angie

Stop Shoulding on Yourself

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Why are we constantly trying to “Keep up with the Jones?”  Why do we fall into the trap of looking at others and wondering why we aren’t more like them.  I don’t care how perfect peoples lives look on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or a blog, the truth is no one has it all together all the time.  No one has the perfect spouse, or the perfect children, or a life free of challenges from time to time. Everyone struggles with something, and trying to keep up with everyone else is just a waste of precious time, and time is something that can’t be taken back.

There’s an epidemic in our society, and we have all fallen prey to it, myself included.  I call this trap the “Shoulding on yourself trap,” or the “Shoulding on others trap.”  Some of the “Shouldings on yourself” may sound something like this:  I should be way more successful than the Jones are. I should have a nicer car like the Jones. I should have a cleaner house like the Jones. I should be skinnier than some of the Jones. I should never be weak, I bet the Jones aren’t weak. I should be making as much money as the Jones. I should travel more like the Jones.  The list is endless. Why “should” you do these things? Do you really want to do these things, or do you feel like you have to do them because you aren’t good enough? There is a difference.  If you have a list of goals that you want to achieve, and you want to on your own merit, then you are on the right track.  But trying to achieve things because you feel like you have to keep up with others, shows that you may be struggling with insecurities, and your own self worth.  Instead of “Shoulding on yourself,” a better way to accomplish your goals would be to say things like, I want to buy a new car because I have worked hard and it’s something I would really like. I want to lose weight to be healthier and feel better. I want to work on having a cleaner house so that I can feel less stressed and more relaxed in my home.  When you phrase your desires like this, it sounds way more positive and uplifting, and it takes the pressure off you. It’s time to start doing things for you, and not because you feel like you have to because everyone else is. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Stop bullying yourself.  It’s time to start seeing the value in you.

“Shoulding on others,” is also an epidemic that we all have been guilty of. My kids should never misbehave. My spouse should stop doing this, or start doing that. My friends should call me more.  My parents should babysit my kids more. My boss should see what a good employee I am.  Again the list is endless.  When we “should” on those around us, we are adding fuel to the fire. Of course we need to be honest and to give attention to things that really need to be addressed, but it needs to be done in a more constructive and positive way.  A lot of times we ourselves are the ones who need to change, more so than those around us. When we start focusing on how we can be better and really try to improve upon ourselves, suddenly those things that bothered us before don’t seem to be that big of a deal anymore.

Let’s take an honest look at ourselves. This society that we live in has become too overly concerned with what those around us are doing. The important thing to focus on is ourselves. Honestly look at the things that you are doing in your life that you are proud of, and acknowledge them. Give yourself credit for all the great things you do. Acknowledge those things that you want to improve upon and change about yourself, and develop a plan of action to start making those changes. Take one specific area each week to focus on. Write down 5 ways that you can start to improve that situation. Write down a positive affirmation concerning that specific area, and put it up on your mirror, or in your car, anywhere that you will see it and repeat it over and over again. Start to see yourself in your mind achieving this goal. Believe with all that you are that things will change. I love this quote by Lao Tzu, “When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”

This coming week use this affirmation each day and night by Louise Hay, “I accept myself and create peace of mind and heart. I now choose to free myself from all destructive fears and doubts.  I am loved and I am safe.” Let us start believing more in our magnificent selves. Stop comparing yourself to others, and be the best you that you can be. When you finally let go of the need to have everyones approval, then you will feel a release of pressure upon your soul, and your spirit will be free. May we celebrate others triumphs and love those around us, and likewise do the same thing for our own selves.

Hope On. Journey On.

Jenna

Journaling’s Healing Benefits

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After we lost our baby Beckham,the doctors told us exactly what we would have to do when we wanted to have another baby. They never did figure out if we lost Beckham because I may possibly have an incompetent cervix, or if the infection that I had put me into labor. I will never forget the room full of doctors and nurses in tears standing around me as they told me there was nothing else they could do to stop the labor. They tried all day but he was coming whether we were ready or for him or not. They told me the infection I had was so bad that even if they could get the labor to stop, the infection could kill me. Hearing this shocking news I sat there thinking of ways to possibly still somehow save him,it all felt like a bad dream but my labor just kept getting stronger and stronger.

No baby will ever replace Beckham. I love him so much and think of him often. But, I knew I wanted another baby as soon as possible. As soon as I got an ok from the doctor, that was the plan. About 4 months later I was pregnant with Krew. We knew it was not going to be easy, but we were so excited. At around 13 weeks of being pregnant I had surgery to stitch up my cervix, then around 18 weeks I started bed rest. I knew bed rest was going to be difficult, but I didn’t realize how hard it was until I did it. I tried to keep my positive attitude throughout the pregnancy. Of course there were good days and there were terrible days. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done, physically and mentally.

Growing up my Mom always had us write in journals. I am so grateful she made us do this. As soon as I started bed rest I started writing in my journal. I tried to do this every day and it helped me so much. I loved writing down all the positives in my life and everything I had to be thankful for through these difficult times. I always tried to write at least one positive thing each day. Not only did I write all of the positives but I also would write the negatives, when I was having a hard day. At first I thought it was silly to write down all of my bad experiences, but I can’t tell you how therapeutic this was for me. I am not a loud and outspoken person. I am very personal and like to keep things to myself, so this exercise was perfect for me. I would get it all out, and I would feel so much better after. Acknowledging the negative things that are going on in our lives is perfectly okay. Having a positive attitude doesn’t mean ignoring things that we may need to accept and then let go of. Life can be hard and we have every right to be sad, angry, and disappointed. Those are natural feelings. As long as we acknowledge those feelings, learn what we need to from them, and then gratefully move on. I remember around 28 weeks when we found out Krew had medical issues, I may have written about 10 pages in my journal. That was the hardest day of my pregnancy. I was so mad I wrote all of my angry and hurt feelings down. I immediately felt better, getting those thoughts out that I would otherwise have kept buried in.

I love that my Mom set such a good example for us to have journals. Journaling has helped keep me positive throughout my most difficult times. Through journaling I was able to overcome any doubts and fears I had with the pregnancy. It was a helpful tool for me to be honest with myself and my feelings. It also helped me to be thankful for all the  blessings I have in my life. If you don’t have a journal or have one but the pages are empty,  I challenge you to try it. Start today. Go grab a notebook and write down your feelings. Start simple. You will be thankful you did.

Hope on. Journey on.

Love,

Stephanie

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