When I sit and reflect on my life (I sound like I'm actually 95 years old reminiscing on the good old days) and the changes that I've made or the lessons I've learned, one of the things that sticks out to me so much is just how an attitude adjustment really makes such a huge impact on the day to day. There have been so many times that I have been such a miserable bitch to be around, and honestly, I'm fortunate that I have people who stuck by me and helped me even when I was the ultimate negative Nancy to be around.
Toni Morrison said it best in Song of Solomon when she expressed that, "If you wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down."
That's not to say that you won't have days that just suck - it's life, and those kind of days are inevitable, but I've realized that the more that you focus on the minutia and bullshit, the worse your days become. There is also literally scientific proof that the more positive you are, and the more you train yourself to distance yourself from negative thought patterns, the longer you'll live, the less you'll get sick, and the better you'll be able to cope with stress when it comes.
Over the summer, I started meditating and listening to various positive affirmations to just try to reset myself and try to view the world differently. I'm a much more positive person than I used to be, but I'm also all about self improvement, and there were times that I got extremely caught up in pettiness or bitchiness, and I wanted to detach myself from that.
During the course of this quiet time with myself where I was just focused on my body and the words that were being said, certain things just kept being brought to my attention. There were situations, ideas, or people that I brought into my life that were just dragging me down, and the more that I focused on myself and bettering who I was, the more glaringly obvious certain things that I needed to change or remove from my life became.
So to keep myself accountable, and to continue on this journey of positivity and self reflection/growth, the following are some of the things that I need to give up/not concern myself with as much in order to grow.
Body image issues.
I've struggled with body image issues for as long as I can remember. I am my own absolute worst critic and can easily find a billion things to pick on myself for, which is absolutely messed up because if you're not in your own corner, you can't expect anyone else to be there either. I struggled with eating disorders for a very long time, and even now I struggle with falling back into that very unhealthy mindset and place when I notice any changes in my body (after Poppy died, I was at my lowest, which is embarrassingly shown below so that I can be reminded to NEVER get back to that, ever).
Probably one of the scariest pictures I've ever seen of myself.
Probably one of the scariest pictures I've ever seen of myself.
I keep comparing myself to how I was when I was 15-18 (playing varsity soccer, having a faster metabolism, and just being more energetic), and that's not a healthy standard. I'm never going to be the size I was when I was playing a varsity sport - and it was an unhealthy place for me to be in.
I think that for women in general, it's hard for us to love our bodies sometimes - there will be days that you might feel gross, weekends when you eat shit the entire time, but that doesn't define you.
Work out, do what you can, and learn to love and embrace who you are - approaching things from a healthy way and enjoying life is so much more fulfilling than being stressed about eating a few slices of pizza.
You are not your weight. And weight is not an accurate depiction of who you are as a person.
Give it up and love yourself.
This is one of the hardest things for me. This summer, during the initial phases of my quest for positivity, during my meditations, one of the things that was continuously repeated via Pandora was, "Let go of any negative influence over my life, whether it be an object or a relationship." Certain friendships I was fostering started to rub me the wrong way - as I journaled my feelings, I noticed that about a few people, I kept writing, "Ugh, constantly talks about themselves and is ALWAYS negative in how they view things," or on a different day, "Feel like this friendship is just sucking me dry." I started distancing myself, and the craziest thing is that once I created that distance, all of these people who are positive influences in my life started reappearing, people who push me and motivate me, and won't let me get down on myself (too often).
It sucks because there are times that you realize that your perception on what a good friend is was completely off. I had people in my life who were just dragging me down and allowing me to feel awful about myself, or were perpetuating that to build themselves up, so as hard as the distancing myself was, I feel good all around now.
I believe friends should kick you in the ass when you need it, but overall, they should be your number one fans.
I read an article somewhere that said that if we spoke to others the way that we speak to ourselves, we'd have no friends, ever. It's so accurate and yet we excuse it when we verbally beat the shit out of ourselves. I've really noticed that there are times when a friend is being negative about themselves, and I'm the first to say, "Hey, don't do that to yourself, you have characteristic xyz, so on and so forth," and I start listing all their positive qualities (because my friends really are so kick ass). Then two minutes later, I'll look in the mirror, and be like "Shit, you have sooo much you could improve upon."
Be gentle with yourself - think about every single obstacle that you've been through and how you've overcome it. You're legitimately a badass, and should love yourself the same (if not MORE) than you love all the people in your life! (Plus, guys - they love you, so clearly there is so much beauty in you).
I know this post is very namaste, bitches, but your thoughts influence so much. Think about it - if you wake up in the morning and start thinking about all the overwhelming amount of stuff you have to do, start worrying about deadlines, or a problem from the previous day, you've now allowed negative to be your first focus. Chances are, you're going to have a shitty day, and it's all because of YOU.
Work on a whole has been really shitty, and a lot of it stemmed from my own negativty. Every morning, I was waking up and would seriously say, "Ugh, this day just started and I can't wait for it to be over.. the kids don't want to learn, they don't respect me, I'm not doing a good job, I'm going to get a "1" on my observations (the lowest score, out of 4)..." Before I knew it, I was this black storm cloud who was going into work every day ready to bite someone's head off. I'd come home from work exhausted, because spoiler alert - when you expect to see the worst, that's all you're going to see.
Once I became aware of this, I decided to try a new approach and think of all the good, little things about each day. Even things like, "I get to avoid the crowd at Starbucks because I go in so early!" or "One kid wrote an amazing essay, so they'll pass the test quickly." And then those little things that I almost had to pull for started being huge things. I realized that the kids had my back when I did have my observation (where I had to pull something out of my ass because half my class was at a college fair and I was planning to assign busy work - they all rolled with my impromptu short story), I have kids who come to me for book recommendations... so it's those things that are going to keep me going, and I honestly don't hate going into work (most) days now.
Find something that you're constantly negative about, and see how you can switch your own energy towards it - take control of your emotions and I promise, you'll feel so much less stress, and just more power overall.
Comparing.This goes in accordance with some of the others, but comparison truly is the thief of joy. I think in so many ways, social media enhances our lives (hello, I get to know some awesome bloggers!), but it can also make comparing such an unhealthy and unnoticed obsession. Seeing so many beautiful people with seemingly beautiful lives can be hard to take, and can definitely increase insecurities to a max. Instagram will always be a double edged sword with me, because I love it, but seeing all the influx of thin, beautiful, stylish, fit women can make me feel like I need to keep up to standards that in many cases are unattainable.
In the end, it's repetitive, but it just comes down to trust, to loving yourself, and supporting yourself. Don't become transfixed on the person on Instagram or Facebook with bigger boobs, better pictures, and a better social life. It's all relative, and it's all a depiction of what we want to portray.
I saw a post on Facebook that said, "Hell is going to be us sitting in a room with all our close friends, and a constant stream of every single selfie we've ever taken and deleted." (Of course, I gasped in horror, but it totally fits, because how many selfies do we all take before posting the "perfect" one that looks the best? Follow where I'm going). Again, love yourself. You are who you are, and you're beautiful - I promise.
Those are just a few things that I definitely need to continuously work on - it's not an overnight process, but remember - cut yourself a break!
Because you're awesome.
What are some of the negative areas of your life that you work on/need to keep working on fixing?
Currently listening to: Spaceman (Original Mix) - Hardwell