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Why You Doin’ This?

So lately people around me have been writing blogs and starting Youtube channels, documenting their lives, thoughts, and challenges. The reason why I enjoy social media so much is because it serves as a platform for people to share whatever they want and gives the opportunity for others to relate. What better a platform than a blog? I have been considering doing this for a while now. The idea really stuck during summer but every time since the thought came up I pushed it away. I wasn’t even sure what exactly I would be writing about. But since I have basically nothing else to do right now and need some sort of creative outlet, it seems fitting. Writing is something I have always done; for some reason I’m drawn to it. It’s something no one really knows I do, until now. I remember in middle school having to write a book of poetry and though school projects were always the worst I didn’t mind that one. Even analyzing poetry and texts and listening to my interpretations compared with others has always and probably will always interest me. Bet that’s why I’m so good at overanalyzing.

I never really understood why I’ve been drawn to writing. Whenever someone caught me writing, I felt the need to hide. Writing this my dad walked by me and I felt the urge to switch to online shopping out of habit. It’s the things I’m most passionate about that make me the most nervous. Failure, not being good enough, even worse just being flat out terrible are all fears that make me the most anxious. When you’re bad at what you love to do, it can be disheartening. I used to rather never know than to know. Now I know better than that.

I didn’t realize until now, but I only have two goals in my life. The first is true happiness. Happiness is something different to everyone; maybe one day I’ll share what my happiness is. The second is to inspire. If anything I decide to share or have to say means something or makes a difference to even one person, I’d be on the road to being content. The problem is I’m not a good public speaker; it’s something I’m trying to better myself with. My shyness is something that developed from my experiences which is another reason a blog is more fitting for me. Another reason why I take advantage of social media.

With all of that said, my first piece of advice, a lesson I’ve learned, stop being afraid. Don’t be afraid to do what you love. Don’t be afraid to show it off and don’t be afraid of constructive criticism. It only makes you better. The nervousness and fear will dissipate with time. The fact that there is any nervousness or fear can even means it’s the right move depending on the situation. This idea has been floating through my mind for a long time but ideas mean nothing if you don’t act on them. People don’t know what you don’t say; you can’t inspire by staying silent. So, here’s what I have to say.

2020, we’re ready for you

2019 is coming to a close, which will mark the beginning of a new decade. I started the decade as a 13 year old middle schooler and I am ending it at 22 years old, with one class left in college. I, as we all, have experienced and learned so much that has impacted who I am today, and who I will be in the future. What better way to acknowledge this milestone than writing a blog post on the lessons I’ve learned from the year (and even the decade) in no particular order?

Lesson 1: Self-Love is the best love

The takeaway from this is to love yourself. Critique yourself because loving yourself is more than high self-esteem. Accept yourself because otherwise you end up diminishing yourself. Vow to improve yourself because you deserve to live the best life you can. Allow yourself to experience, grow, and change with life. Stop settling for less and allowing for what you do not deserve. Work hard to achieve your goals without overdoing it. Treat yourself with the same level of respect and love you would treat the people who are important in your life.

Lesson 2: Just Do It

 Some things are as simple as starting it. Reading one page can turn into a chapter. Doing one squat can turn into thirty. The only way to make a habit or even work towards your goals is to simply do what you can, no matter how small the first step may seem. 

Lesson 3: Change can be a good thing

I moved from California to Nevada to go to college. I was scared to move. I was nervous to get a new job and learn the ropes that came with working there. When I decided it was time for me to move on, I was unwilling to quit and find a new job even though I was no longer satisfied with what that job offered me. It seemed futile to have serious conversations with friends that I knew would lead to conflict, which tends to lead to change. I was nervous to join or try something new. My point is that change is scary. Deciding and accepting that something no longer benefits you is difficult. Going from something familiar to something unfamiliar can seem like a waste. It might make you wonder why change what is not broken. However, every change I have made in my life has improved me for the better, even if at the time it does not seem like it. You cannot grow if you stick to what you know. And if in the past year, (especially in the past ten years, you cannot say that you have changed or have made some sort of change in your life, it is time for you to self reflect and take some risks.

Lesson 4: Pick your battles and learn to walk away

Some things are worth fighting for. Some things are not. It is important to learn the difference between what is and what isn’t important in order to save yourself time and energy. Not everything you believe needs to be said out loud. Not every incorrect way of another needs to be corrected by you. Sometimes it is better to smile and keep it moving to protect your own peace.

Lesson 5: Honest communication is key

Communication is the most important lesson that I have learned. I used to be okay with getting walked  over if it meant I did not have to admit how it hurt. I used to let things go without realizing it still had an affect on my soul. I was under the impression that somehow, someone would know what I was thinking or what I felt, even if I failed to open my mouth. Communication is just as much talking as it is listening. Remember, no one knows what you don’t say. Communication can clear up misunderstandings and lead to a better understanding between both parties. Communicating the same point over and over again is redundant. If nothing changes after you communicate, then it is time to walk away from the situation. 

Lesson 6: It’s okay to be vulnerable

Being vulnerable is scary. It’s terrifying to put your thoughts and feelings out on the table without really knowing how someone else will react. Being vulnerable is eye opening. It is a way for people to validate your feelings and keep you grounded. It gives others the opportunity to see more of you, which can help others understand you. And at the end of the day, it feels good to open up and be vulnerable with others. It brings people closer together and it is a way to clear up what’s going on in your mind.

Lesson 7: Perspective matters

From my experience, the most understanding and empathetic people know how to look at a situation from different perspectives. Perspective is another reason why communication is important. Everyone has their own truth because everyone interprets things differently based on their unique background and experiences. Two people can tell you their side of an argument and be deemed correct in their own ways. Therefore, even if you have never experienced it for yourself, a situation may only make sense if you look at it outside of your worldview. 

Lesson 8: Balance all aspects in your life

Life is stressful, especially when we don’t use our time the way we would like or feel we should. If we don’t balance life’s offerings efficiently, it can feel like everything is falling apart. Balance looks different for everyone, so figuring out what a healthy balance of your activities looks like for you is vital. Do not be afraid to add more or take away from your plate. It is okay to share your plate with others, or give away what you do not like or cannot maintain to someone who is willing to accept it. Balancing naturally comes with placing priority among the different areas in your life. You get to decide what carries the most weight and is worth the most time in your life, whether its your hobbies, your family,  your friends, your career path, your love life, etc. Maintaining a healthy mind requires balancing your life. Balancing your life requires self examination.

Lesson 9: Don’t be fake positive 

It is okay to admit when things are going to shit. It is healthier to experience your emotions fully than pretend like everything is fine. Just because things are not okay now does not mean they will never be. It is okay to admit that things are hard right now, but know eventually they will get easier. Saying that you are unhappy, or that something sucks, doesn’t make you bitter, unless that is all you do. Don’t be fake positive and pretend like everything is all sunshine and rainbows when it clearly isn’t. It’s annoying.

Lesson 10: Take time to be grateful

Whether it is once a day, once a month, on holidays or special occasions, remember to take some time to appreciate what you have in your life. It can give you perspective and remind you to take a breather from the stressors of life.

 

Some other tips and lessons I have learned from the past couple of years include:

  • Journaling because writing down your thoughts can help you remember great moments and look at situations differently. It serves as a reminder to the amazing and the difficult days. Journaling is freeing.
  • Allowing yourself to feel your feelings because denying their existence does not make them go away. If anything, your emotions will just build up until the emotions are so overwhelming you explode.
  • Letting the past go because holding tightly onto it will affect your future and has the potential to hold you back.
  • Learning to say no because by being a yes man, you neglect your own thoughts, feelings, and opinions. It’s not enjoyable to do things you don’t want to do.
  • Self-reflecting is important! It can teach you about yourself, explaining why you do or react the way you do. It can help you find patterns in your actions or the actions of others. It can help you hold yourself accountable. It can help you set goals.
  • Everything happens for a reason. I am a believer in the universe and the interconnectedness of the world. Sometimes the reason for a situation occurring may not be philosophical or deep. It could simply be the result of your’s or someone else’s actions. However, most life events can teach you something about yourself, someone else, or the world if you look for it. Though it may not seem like it when you are going through it, later down the line you may be able to see why that situation occurred the way it did. You have to explore and self reflect about it though.

I enjoy symbolism and there is so much of it around the New Year, especially this year, with it being the start of a new decade. It feels like a new chapter. I used to hate New Year resolutions because I thought that they were pointless. In reality, they can help set the foundation for how you want to year to go. They can be used as benchmarks for what you want to accomplish.

Think about these past years and what you have learned, experienced, and enjoyed within them. Then, set your resolutions for the future year. This makes it easier to check in with yourself when the year is over.

Letting Go

I have a casual interest in astrology and, more specifically, astrology apps. I recently downloaded The Pattern for a variety of reasons, one of which was to help me discover why I was going through it whenever I seemingly was going through it.

Well one night/early morning I was going through it, and having my necessary, every-couple-of months-emotional breakdown. Thankfully, I was able to get everything off my chest to a great friend. I cried and vented and cried more about everything that I had been holding onto and subconsciously refusing to deal with and release. I even mentioned things I did not realize I was feeling, particularly experiences I had thought I moved passed until the words poured out of me. It’s funny what sorts of discoveries venting can bring about. It seems safe to say that dealing with the things that bother you requires more than just acknowledging it. Without understanding, accepting, and finding outlets in which to express it healthily, it’ll just build. That’s pretty much exactly what happened to me.

Every time I have these sort of breakdowns I usually dread everything for a couple hours and continue to self reflect about why I’m feeling the way that I am. These self reflections tend to lead to clarity about myself and the situations I’m in, as well as some sense of contentment. Usually, luckily, I’ll gain a lesson or two from it all. This post is meant to share the lessons I gathered this time around with whoever chooses to read this.

The center of my recent breakdown was about past relationships and how they have impacted who I am today. Everyone and every situation you’re in can teach you something if you choose to reflect upon it. Most of the people you meet and the situations experienced have had some sort of impact on who you are today, helping you to determine what you want and deserve, what you like or can tolerate, what you hate, etc. For me, (and I figure for others), some of my past is the reason behind my current insecurities and habits, examples being my need for reassurance and the fact I hate being told un-genuine and empty words, (outside of sarcasm and jokes obviously), no matter how minuscule.

The biggest take away I got this time around is that I have a habit of letting relationships from my past dictate and predict how relationships in my future will pan out. The mind, after all, is constantly looking for patterns to make sense of everything. I mentioned the app, The Pattern, earlier because the next day after the mentioned breakdown, I got a notification explaining that I was entering a new life cycle, where I need to let go and move forward from the past and the way I’ve interpreted how I’ve been treated.

The Pattern noted, “it’s time for you to be aware of what’s holding you back from evolving and to consider how relationship patterns have impacted your life up until this point.” I found it ironic and freaky because that was exactly what I had been doing the night before.  Though each insight on The Pattern is specific to the life cycles and patterns that are mentioned on the app (which is specific to the person) I feel the advice it gives has the potential to be beneficial for everyone.

The Pattern also said, “it [talking to the person from your past] can help let something go because you aren’t the same person you are when you knew them. These realizations can clear space for something new.” Using past relationships and situations to predict your future and understand your reality can actually be harmful just as much as we think it’s helpful in order to protect ourselves. It assumes the other person’s thoughts, actions, and intentions without factoring in their own perspective of things.  We are not the same people we were in the past. People who are current in your life are not the same as people who were in your past, even if there are similarities. 

Everyone has triggers and they may not be controllable. They’re residual affects of events from your past and reminders of old pain and memories. Some of the ways you have been treated can stick and affect who you are now and will be in future, especially if similar situations occur over and over again. Understanding and communicating these triggers and anxieties can ease the pain from them and can hopefully lessen the frequency of them.

“Time is going by and it will continue to do so with or without you. You can either adapt and accept the direction in which you’re being pushed or you can resist but you’re being asked to evolve by letting go of the past.” Holding onto the past, whether be experiences or people, will only hold you back. How can you move forward if you continue to live and dwell upon situations in your past? It’s okay to still be affected by the past. Some situations and relationships will take years and outside help to get over. Some may seem as though it is impossible to move past. Still, we can all try to “be conscious and make a choice of letting closure happen. Doing so will help you move forward to a new phase of life.”

This whole eight hour experience taught me that some people and situations you just have to let go of. Holding onto the past can also hold you back. You and I have to let go so we can grow and move forward with our lives. Sometimes closure is knowing you’ll never have answers to your questions or fully understand the situations or other people involved. Don’t get me wrong, it is okay to admit that something from the past still hurts. It is okay if it takes a while to come to terms with it, especially if it hasn’t been dealt with or handled properly. Still, we can make a conscious effort to understand it all and try not to let it heavily impact our present and future.

Just Do It

I know it’s been said countless times before, but I need the reminder so I’m going to say it again. And if you need a sign to start a task or make a lifestyle change in your life, this is the sign, and a reminder for you too.

I’ll start by repeating I love writing. Even though I share these posts, for the most part I write for myself. It is an outlet for me and my thoughts. I share them in case someone else needs to hear it as well. This blog is also a reminder for me to remember what I felt was important to share and to look back at the various places I have been in since writing. My point is that I thoroughly enjoy writing and this blog is something I’m proud of. Yet while knowing and feeling this way I still could not get myself to write a new post or edit my drafted ones. I am procrastinator at heart, but procrastinating something I actually enjoy, that is helpful for me, makes me ache out of guilt.

I kept asking myself why. Someone would bring up my blog and I’d say it had been a while since I have posted, but things are drafted. Still, I never made an effort to edit or post any of the drafts. The thought would cross my mind when I had some time to myself, and even then I was scared to come near it.

A part of this was the idea of perfection. I want to make sure what I am saying makes sense and that I fully stand behind what I am saying at the time I write it, and hopefully in the future. I want to make sure every word choice is intentional and my punctuation is correct. I read through the drafts over and over again thinking of more to add or what is over explained and needs to be cut down. The truth is that when you strive for perfection, and expect to actually grasp onto it versus making it a motivator, you are going to be working at it for a long while. This, like pretty much everything, is situational and may not always be a bad thing. In this case it was an obstacle. For me, striving for perfection was me making excuses for not writing and not posting because “it just wasn’t perfect or ready yet.”

The biggest reason I had been putting it off was that I sort of gave up on myself. I did not have the motivation because I convinced myself I was not sure how to word the things I wanted to say to effectively get my point across. Though that thought was valid, I let it dictate my reality in a way where I gave up before I even tried. I allowed myself to believe I would not be able to find the right words no matter if I tried or how hard I tried. That thought process led me to putting it off. I thought that the fitting words and phrases would magically appear in my brain and I’d write when I was ready. Now that I have made the discovery that I was lowkey giving up it’s brought me here again, putting in effort and making the first steps. And when you see this it’ll be a completed post.

So my message here is just do it. Nike has it as a slogan for a reason. It’s become cliche for a reason. It is so easy to get caught up in our own thoughts. It is so easy to make excuses for not doing what we say we want to do. It’s easy to be overly perfectionist that you end up wasting time. It can be so second nature that it becomes effortless and we don’t even realize we are talking ourselves out of what we want to do. We forget whatever it is we want to do is as simple as taking the first steps. I forgot going to the gym and exercising was as simple as stepping on an elliptical. I forgot reading was as facile as opening to the first page. I forgot writing was as uncomplicated as typing a couple of words. The rest follows and you can adjust on the way. This is your reminder, and mine, to just take the first steps in what we want and have planned. Just do it. You can do it.

Happiness is a Choice?

Every time I see or hear something that implies that happiness is a choice, I feel mixed emotions. I understand and agree with the logic behind it, but still a part of this belief makes me uneasy. I agree that if you actively choose to look at the positive instead of the negative, life becomes a little less of a struggle. Your mental outlook has a huge influence on how you interpret and live your life. Always being negative and self-deprecating will affect your demeanor whether you notice it or not. Deciding to be more positive can lighten your mood, and overall make being happy more achievable.

However, saying “happiness is a choice,” seems to imply that people who aren’t happy are actively and defiantly choosing not to be, when that’s not the reality of it all. Very few things are that simple. Generally speaking you can’t decide your initial, subliminal feelings. Emotions are a result of the chemicals in your brain, after all. The actions of yourself or others can influence your feelings, but in the end you can’t choose to feel a certain way about anything. All you can do is understand why you feel the way you do and react accordingly.

It can be difficult to be in control of your emotions and it takes time to train your mind to be stronger than and to reason with the way you feel. It’s okay to be happy just as it’s okay to be unhappy; what matters is how you react upon those emotions. You can’t fight what chemicals and how much of them are being produced (without external help or guidance) but you can decide “this isn’t how I want to feel… what can I do to modify this?”

Even more than that, happiness, along with every other emotion, is subjective. What makes you happy won’t necessarily make someone else happy. Happiness isn’t definitive either. There isn’t a clear cut way to make yourself or other people happy. Some days you just aren’t happy, just as other days you are. What once made you happy  won’t necessarily make you happy in the future. It is ever-changing. Happiness is fluid and intangible — never to be fully realized and possessed. Therefore, there is no secret key to maintaining a constant stream of happiness forever. Lastly, happiness is also influenced by things beyond our control. We can’t control other people and their actions and it takes time to create the type of life you want to live. It’s not helpful to tell someone to “look on the bright side of things” when they are constantly being bombarded on the daily from stressors.

So as a tip, moving into 2019 and beyond, don’t tell people they should, “just be happy,” to, “count their blessings,” or anything along those lines. Allow people to feel the way they do without judgement as you would want the same for yourself. As always, try your best not to make anyone feel any negative way. And lastly, take the initiative to train your own mind to be able to reason with the way you feel.

24 hours in a day

Hello! It’s been a couple months; I’ve been too busy to write and proofread, etc but since it’s summer, I have a little more time on my hands I’ll be posting as long as I got something to say. You haven’t seen the last of me yet.

But since we’re on the topic of busyness, and this is the trend right about now, let me just say my unpopular opinion. I don’t 100% agree that you can make time for everything and every person you love the way I used to. I agree with it on some degree because neglecting the activities and people you love will cause a strain. That’s what happens when there’s distance. Eventually you have to shave in some time.  But I would also like to point out, there is only 24 hours in a day.

About three to nine hours of that goes towards sleep, about four to nine hours goes towards making money, which is a total seven to eighteen hours of your day gone depending on your lifestyle. Then there’s the extra stuff: the errands, the classes, the volunteering, internships, the other job(s), your responsibilities at home, etc. And on top of all of that, you also have to take into account the availability of the other people involved; everyone knows how frustrating conflicting schedules are. Of course people make time for the things they want, but it’s unfair and such a huge pet peeve of mine, when people say “If you really wanted xyz that bad then you’d make time for it.”

I’m not saying they’re completely wrong,  but nothing is that basic. People are constantly prioritizing what they do and who they spend time with whether actively or not. Just because you aren’t their top priority at the moment you want to be one doesn’t mean you aren’t a priority. Just because you haven’t gotten to a certain project by a certain timeline doesn’t mean it’s not a priority. There’s only so much people can balance in a day and it’s different person by person. Just because you think you can do it all or make the time doesn’t mean someone else can. Don’t let people guilt you for being busy or convince you that you don’t care about something because of where your priorities lie.