Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Giving It Up.

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. 

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.

Unhealthy friendships.
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.

Negative self-talk.
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).

Negative thoughts.
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.

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 


Elle Sees said...

i needed this post! i've been having a hard time with depression lately--almost certain it is a hormonal issue--but yes, hoping it fades quickly.
you are an awesome person with a lot to offer the world and i thank you for allowing me to be a part of your online journey!

Kizzy Von Doll said...

I can compare myself to others too often and I end up feeling horrible and then I eat junk and then I feel worse because I haven't taken good care of myself. Sometimes we have to remember that we are running our own race & those that don't champion for us, we have to leave at the sidelines. Body health is so important and I feel really sad at the state females treat themselves. We have to remember we are who we are meant to be & it's up to us to do what we wish. We compare ourselves to others, but sometimes the people we compare ourselves to are ones that are going through hell too. Our race won't be the same as someone else's all the time. We are a gift to the world and we must remember that, even in our darkest days. You are an awesome girl and worth every amazing thing in the world!! Love yourself and everything will fall into line!! I am working on getting back into shape really, I feel sluggish, so I need to take better care of myself :))) <3333

Olivia Fuller said...

Such a wonderful and inspiring post (from a wonderful and inspiring person :).) I've been working through some similar feelings too, career stress and self-confidence issues. I'm so glad you shared what you're going through, and how changing your mindset has helped. You're totally right, it really all depends on how you look at a situation, and if you look for the negative parts, or the good.
I've been meaning to start meditating too, to help relieve stress and become more in-tune with myself. I just find it so hard to relax sometimes, and if I am, I feel like I'm always behind a screen checking Instagram or something. I need to work on "unplugging" and just being with myself, reading a good book or doing something creative. One day at a time :). You've definitely inspired me to work on my mindfulness and being happy with who I am/where I am.

Wishing you happiness and peace, my friend!


B @ The Sequin Notebook said...

I always feel so much more Zen after reading your posts! I know I'm in need of a more positive outlook in certain areas of my life, and I like the idea of training yourself to push out negativity by focusing on the good things, no matter how small they may seem at first. I always find so much inspiration in your posts because they are so honest! Oh, and thanks for that reminder not to stress about eating some pizza, since we will definitely be indulging next weekend haha.

Sara Louise said...

Living in France was the best lesson in life and getting over things that I ever could have had because I basically had zero control over anything there and was forced to relax and learn how to take things in stride. That has flowed over into a lot of other aspects of my life and it's been a wonderful side effect of expatriation that I never thought I'd learn.

P.S. I'm so proud of you for putting yourself out there like this. You're a strong women and I'm happy to call you one of my best blog friends :) xo

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

Do you write your posts specifically for me? I deal with all of this same stuff (and I'm sure 99.9% of women do) and it's crazy how reading someone else's thoughts can make you realize more about yourself.

The most messed up thing is the part about friendship. I'm so hard on myself that I think it's my fault I have friends who suck the life out of me. Like what's wrong with me that I'm attracted to friends who aren't true friends. And don't get me started on weight. Again, I go the opposite route and just give up. Boo me! I really need to start treatment myself better.

This is why we need to live near each other. You're one of the most awesome, amazing, beautiful people I know. Anyone who knows you is lucky to have such a great person!

Remember, I'm always here. Sometimes it takes me too long to reply but I always love our emails :)

Shenine joon said...

I'm so glad a I read this post today and so glad that you commented on my blog so that I could find and follow you! I 100% believe in everything you have written and I struggle with it all too, I feel like most of us do. But getting rid of the negative people and the negative talk and thoughts helps so much. I just stopped reaching out to the people that felt more like an obligation rather than a true friendship. I felt so much butter. And the comparison thing is the worst for me, I get jealous and then angry. It's my biggetst struggle. We can do this and our lives will be so much better if we stick to it!

BLovedBoston said...

Oh girl there is so much amaznigness in this post! I can related to so much of this and I appreciate your bearing your soul and writing all of this! I think for me personally when ever I feel like I'm down or need an attitude adjustment I love reading quotes and positive words - it helps me so much!! Thank your for sharing all of this...xo!!

Christina said...

This is SUCH a great post! I've been struggling a lot with comparing, especially as a parent. Some moms seem to have it all with the perfect house and kids to boot. Sometimes I don't do enough as a parent, but when I focus of the kids I lose myself. And when I'm busy having fun with friends, trying to make myself feel whole, I feel like I fail as a wife. I don't know if I'll ever figure out how to balance it, especially when I go back to work, but I know I need to look at other people as inspiration and not competition.

I've also had to let lot of negative friends go lately. Some of them were easy because we just seemed to drift apart. But one friend wasn't taking the hint and we actually had to have a big fight and break up. It was awful at the time, but it's been three years and I've never looked back. Grumpy people really can suck the life out of you. You gotta look out for yourself first!

And I'm sorry I just unloaded all of my issues in your comment section. Haha! I love this post! It's a great reminder on how to treat yourself.

Bisma Rauf said...

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Elisabeth Sedlachek said...

I think you described my most recent issues on the road to happiness and less self-doubt. I struggle to be positive at times, the outside world can easily put me down but we have to remember that only we can make our environment more positive if we change the attitude.

I'm sure we can make it. Good luck with everything. xx