Just Me

“If you are never alone, you cannot know yourself.”
-Paulo Coelho

Years ago I was offered advice to write down all of the things that I wanted in my life within the following five years, seal it up and wait to open it. I stumbled across this list recently when I was organizing my office (and ironically right before leaving on my first solo vacation in over a decade). Clearly marked, “Open October 2016.” Given that the deadline had passed six months prior, I opened to see my dreams unfold.

Listed: to have found love; to be married with a child or one on the way; health; working part-time doing something that I love; security in myself; sober; have a dog and cat; feel happy.

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It’s not a competition

There’s enough space in the world for us all to shine bright!

I love thinking about this and remembering that life’s journey is not a “competition.” Because despite my heart and good intentions, this is something I’ve had to work on… and continue to work on. Sometimes I have a knee-jerk reaction that when someone else is shining, my own light might be diminished.

We live in a competitive world where we are told that when one person wins, another loses. But that’s about our own fear and nothing to do with the other person. Comparing and judging comes out of fear. A fear that we’re not enough, that others will see that we’re not worthy or that something we want will be taken away from us.

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Soft Heart, Hard World

Many of us are feeling on edge right now. Life feels harsher in our current environment, and the weight of it all can seem overwhelming. For some, this feeling is not new, for others it’s an uncomfortable new awakening. No matter what your status, self -care is imperative. In order to give back and continue to use our voices for positive change, it’s important to rest and rejuvenate.

While we can’t control everything happening in the world, we can control our own environment and behavior.

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Stick with Love, Self-Love

Martin Luther King, Jr. was referring to opposing forces when he said, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” This is one of my all time favorite quotes. I hold a deep belief that light is always bigger than dark; forgiveness takes far more courage than anger; and that while the path can feel slower and harder, love always wins over fear and hate. These values hold strong and true when I think of the discourse of the world. But, today for the first time I read this quote and thought about how I could apply it to myself. I immediately stopped in my tracks.

For years my self-hatred was so deep, and the burden of that hatred was so heavy. On the outside I tried to appear like everything was OK. I led with my ego, and fed it constantly to cover the amount I didn’t like myself. If I had the right look, the right job, the right friends, the right boyfriend – then I would love myself. By all outside appearances, I had quite the high self-esteem and sense of worth. On the inside, I beat myself up over the smallest of things. I lived in constant anxiety and fear that someone would see the façade to the truth. I believed the truth was that I was unworthy of love.

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Gratitude isn’t just a word or a day. It’s a lifestyle.

imageAcross the country families and friends are gathering around the dinner table to celebrate Thanksgiving and share what they are grateful for this year. I love this day about community, food and gratitude – totally my type of holiday!

But, gratitude extends far beyond a day or a moment – it’s a lifestyle. Being grateful allows us to truly enjoy life. I’ve learned that no matter how bad it gets, there is always something to be grateful for, and holding onto that smidgen of gratitude can be the reminder that gets me through an hour, a day or a circumstance.

Nearly seven years ago I hit a rough patch in my life. Some would say things were falling apart. Today, I know it was my breakthrough moment, the day when things would finally start coming together. Why? Because I would be willing to live differently than I had ever before. I said no to self-pity, selfishness and being the victim. I said yes to a lifestyle of gratefulness, accountability and growth. Continue reading “Gratitude isn’t just a word or a day. It’s a lifestyle.”