As the aftermath of Jonas still grips the eastern coast of the United States I, like many of my fellow east coasters, have been stuck in my house for four days now, going on five. Snow days are fun for the first few days. The snow makes everything quiet and we can easily catch up on our sleep or episodes of the new show we are streaming, but after a few days the experience begins to cause a touch of cabin fever. The thought that even if I wanted to get in my car and go, there is a high likelihood that I wouldn't even make it past my block makes me very nervous.
I was very lucky to have electricity and a warm place to lay my head through this storm. My family and I were both terrified at the thought of losing power during this storm, as my neighborhood is known to do even after a quick thunderstorm. I'm very grateful of that, but my car remains buried and my neighborhood unplowed. Boo.
Being stuck inside for the past few days has given me a lot of time to work on my self-care. I've meditated daily, read a beautiful book I recently picked up (Light Is the New Black. Check it out if you enjoy spiritual reads), and even scrubbed my entire house. A tidy house and the act of cleaning helps clear my head and gives me a sense of peace, so it applies. It's been a productive few days.
Something that is often mentioned in motivational and spiritual books are the words of Jim Rhon, we are the average of the five people of which we spend the most time. If we surround ourselves with people who put us down or make us feel bad, we are likely to feel down most of the time and may even do this to others. Negative people like to pull people down just as positive people like to build others up. It's very important to surround ourselves with people who are striving towards their dreams and supportive of ours.
Something that I think is overlooked at times is how this applies to other parts of our lives. What we surround ourselves with affects us much more than we realize. The types of music, television, even the state of our house can greatly influence how we feel about ourselves and our world. Watching television shows that focus on the absurd beauty standards will often create a sense of not being good or attractive enough. Listening to music about partying, the degradation of women, and spending money frivolously can put toxicity into our lives whether we are conscious of this or not.
I remember about a year ago a song by Pitbull where he sings about using his rent money to party. I was seriously appalled that this type of song would be so well-loved, I heard it everywhere. Every time I heard him talk about this epic night being the "time of his life" I shook my head in disbelief. Sure it was meant to be lighthearted, but what kind of message is this to put out into the world. If someone is at a point in their life that spending rent money on a night of partying without considering the consequences, there is a serious problem. I come from an area where drug and alcohol abuse is an epidemic and this type of mentality is common. It was very upsetting to hear it celebrated in a song blared in clubs and on the radio everywhere.
Not only is the music we listen to important, but also our environments. This both includes our homes and where we work. If our homes are chaotic, this can often create a sense of chaos in our lives. If our workplace is toxic, it's very likely this will seep into our personal lives. It is easier said than done to immediately remove ourselves from environments that are bringing us down. If we are in a lease with a bad roommates or struggling in our jobs, it can spawn feelings of being stuck and hopelessness.
We are never as stuck as we feel and there are small steps we can make to improve the situation when we realize something is pulling us down. If your friends make you feel bad, address it with them and if it that doesn't change anything, you're honestly better off without them. If your roommate is a slob, make a safe place to retreat to in your home that brings happiness and peace. Find a way, any way, to surround yourself in love, support, and positivity even if it only comes from yourself for now.
Getting out of toxic friendships, jobs, or living situations can be scary. Feeling comfortable and fearing changes is one of the biggest reasons people accept less in their life. Know that as you follow what makes you happy and what brings light into your life, your life will only improve. It may be hard at first, but what great experience isn't? Thailand was the most beautiful, incredible, life changing country I have ever visited, but I still had to travel over 24 hours, very unpleasant hours, to get there. Don't let the small bumps in life keep you in crappy situations. Be your best friend, love and support yourself fiercely.
Have a wonderful week everyone. I love you all! Sending love and light your way. See you Thursday on my YouTube channel.
For those that don't know, I have experienced anxiety and depression since my childhood. I was given the diagnosis of "generalized anxiety disorder" when I was 20. When you have an anxiety disorder, it never really goes away. Anxiety and depression are always there, waiting in the distance ready to come back into your life if you will allow it. Allowing depression and anxiety to take over in your life isn't difficult at all. It's not some long dragged out process of becoming depressed. If any point I stop moving for a bit to rest or to feel comfortable for a little too long, not to feel exposed for a moment, it will sneak up and grab me tight.
Depression is funny in the way that you don't even realize what's happening until you're deep in it. Suddenly I look around and realize that I'm doing it again. I stop giving things my all. I start to spend more and more time in bed. I set the coast button and sit back as life moves by me on autopilot. I lived much of my life this way. I was unhappy and really didn't value myself, but the darkness felt comfortable, so I stayed.
I went through something very traumatic last fall. My life was turned upside down and I could no longer ignore that I needed to make drastic changes in my life. I finally admitted that this was all bigger than me, that I needed help. I began working with a therapist. I bought every self help book that was suggested to me. I reached out and grew much closer to my family. I shut everything out and focused fully on getting my life back on track. This was the most difficult time I have ever been through in my life and I'm forever grateful that it happened. I realized that everything in my life was a choice and I finally started making choices for me.
It's easy when we have these huge accomplishments to get stuck admiring our handiwork that we forget to continue moving. I talked about this in my last post, but I recently heard it explained as, "spending too much time polishing our trophies" and I thought it was a perfect description. So, what does this all have to do with social media? Well, social media is where a lot of us tend to display our trophies proudly without any of the tears, failures, and stumbles it took us to get there. Trying to keep up with it all can easily snowball into feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy.
Although social media is amazing in so many ways, it can become a toxic poison in our lives. Social media is awesome in the way that it can help to connect us all. With a click of a button I can reconnect with someone from my past that I have missed. I can even connect with people from other states, countries, continents that share my interests or views. There are many people on my social media sites that I may have only met once or we only know each other from those sites that I am so grateful to have on my feed. There are so many incredible people on my feeds that help to lift me up and I would love to get a coffee with some day. I really love that and I love that I can so easily connect with so many beautiful souls that I would not have had the opportunity to get to know otherwise.
Given all the great things about social media, there is a dark side as well. When I use Facebook or similar sites, I'm exposing my most inner thoughts, outrages, and humble brags with all of my friends and acquaintances. It's so odd that people that we once met at a party or someone we have never met can now come to our page and make judgements about our lives, our appearance, or can even argue with us about our differing political views. It is when social media's purpose of connection is mutated into a means of comparison and distraction that we begin to suffer. It is mere human instinct to wish to belong and be liked. When it comes down to it, our social media feeds are not reality. It's a distraction from the real world and it's easy to get swept away in the fantasy.
I began this website as a way to share my journey and connect with others. I thought the best way to get my work out there would be to share on social media. This has worked in some ways, but I have found that when I share my work on social media it is so easy to get caught up in how many likes and the response of others that it begins to cause me a lot of unnecessary anxiety. I find that the more time I spend on Facebook the sadder I feel. I feel sad that so many people no longer seem to value life or loving each other. I start to compare myself to the others on my feed. I then begin to care too much what people think of me and I stop living authentically.
Before I know it, I'm staying in bed until noon and lashing out at my loved ones. Depression and anxiety are waiting there to welcome me home again. It is so easy for me to waste over half of my day checking then refreshing all of my sites that I look up and it's dark again, another day wasted. I don't want to live like that. Being depressed feels easy and comfortable in the moment, but it's also so miserable. After experiencing how incredible and beautiful life can be, I can't go back to allowing depression to run my life. I can't go back to sleep. I feel myself drifting off, my eyelids are getting heavy, so it's time to smack myself awake.
I have found that I'm happiest and most fulfilled in life when I'm creating and focusing on love, loving myself and spreading love to others. Using social media to compare myself to others no longer serves me, so I'm letting it go. With that said, I'm going to be taking a break from social media; a much needed social media detox. I need to take more time to focus on myself and working towards my dreams. Luckily for my readers, this means much more writing and hopefully better content since I am freeing myself of these self-imposed shackles. I will still be active on my Instagram (heartsvoyage), here, and I created a youtube channel, which I will provide the link for when my lovely partner can teach me how to make videos (he's the tech genius, I'm still figuring out how to use my fitbit). I hope to provide weekly blog posts and videos within the next month. Yay, progress!
A note for anyone currently suffering from anxiety, depression, or just doubting yourself because of too much comparison, know that you are beautiful. You are an amazing person despite how you are feeling right now. You do not need to look around or seek outward validation. You are an individual and can kill it just by being you. We all are different and have something unique to offer to this world. Don't deprive the world of what you have to offer because of fear or doubt. Don't hide your shine, the world wants, no needs, to see it.
Depression is so hard to untangle ourselves from, but it starts with untangling that first knot. Try to do something just for you today. Go for a walk outside, take a long bubble bath, take 10 minutes to meditate, just do something that is 100% for you today. Do something that will benefit your body and spirit like eating better, exercising, releasing what no longer feels right, or doing some inner work. It begins with baby steps and soon you will be able to wave goodbye to your depression and walk in the sun where you belong, I promise.
Thank you for reading. Sending love and positive vibrations your way on this beautiful morning.
As a twenty something woman, a "millennial" if you will, I am not a stranger to the term "fear of commitment". This is usually used to describe the feeling many of my peers experience when trying to navigate the messy, often confusing, maze that is intimate relationships. This is not a blog post about that kind of commitment. I'm taking this post in another direction, one that will be just as relatable, however.
No, this is not about the fear of committing to others. I'm going to talk about the paralyzing fear we experience over committing to ourselves, committing to our dreams. How often are we told in this world what to think, what to do, how we are to measure our success in life? We are born into a world that has the plans for our lives typed, printed, and laminated before we take our first breaths. We are lead by our guardians, elders, society at large, to fulfill the duties and obligations that were set out before us, before our parents and before theirs. While we strive to live up to these standards in life, we are constantly bombarded with sources telling us why we will never be good enough. We aren't attractive enough, not rich enough, not enough charisma, we don't have the right type of clothing. It's a crippling cycle we can easily find ourselves lost in without a second thought.
You hear of countless people that give up on their passions to live a more predictable, acceptable life that ultimately makes them unhappy. They will often site money or their obligations as reasons for why their dreams are just out of reach. This is always such a saddening thing to hear uttered from a someone's mouth. When we are lucky enough to experience when someone opens up about their true passions in life, there is nothing better. You can practically see and feel the positive energy seeping from their pores as they talk about this subject they adore. It then usually ends with a shrug, a downwards glace, or a list of reasons why this passion is an unrealistic pursuit.
So, why do our dreams seem so far out of reach? We see and hear about people every day that really went for it and found success. Why do our dreams seem so crazy? Have you ever overheard a friend talk about a huge leap of fate they were making in pursuit of their goals? Was your first response joy or fear that this loved one would ultimately fail?
The belief that our dreams have no basis in reality or the idea of pursuing this dream some part of their youthful ignorance and should be let go are never true. The real, honest truth is that your dreams are just are real and life-like as your current crappy job. All you have to do is put in the work to achieve your vision and man, is it work. It is downright terrifying. It requires countless lost hours of sleep and busting your ass to make it happen work. It takes a true commitment to ourselves and making those damn dreams real already.
I think this is something we have known deep down all along. We give up on our dreams because it seems easier in the moment rather than really going for it, but that is also incorrect. Our dreams aren't dead in our childhood. They will forever be in our hearts, forever haunt us. Our dreams will forever leave us feeling like something is missing or something isn't just quite right. Our hearts refuse to be silenced, no matter how much we push it down. I think deep down we are just afraid. We are so scared to make a real commitment to ourselves and our dreams because we are afraid of failing or worse success. Even with the fear and dangers of stepping out to live our dreams, aren't the best things in life a bit terrifying? The fear of committing to ourselves is something worth conquering just like our anxious feelings of really falling head over heals for someone. Don't let the fear of commitment prevent you from falling in love with your life.
If you are ready to conquer your fear of commitment to yourself and your dream, please consider my offer of one free month of life coaching. It is completely free with zero obligations to any person willing to start the work of letting go of the fears and making your life something beautiful.
And now I leave you with this:
"If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives." - Lemony Snicket