One Little Word

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I decided to participate in the “One Little Word” campaign created by Ali Edwards. It is a challenge to pick a word you would like to incorporate into your daily life. It can be absolutely any word. I chose the word ‘relax’.

According to Google, the definition of ‘relax’ is:

  1. make or become less tense or anxious
  2. rest or engage in an enjoyable activity so as to become less tired or anxious

I am naturally a very anxious person. I overthink everything. Even physically I am very tense. Here’s an example…

Recently I got my first real massage. I was, of course, anxious and excited to go to the appointment. So, when I got there and got situated on the massage table and the massage began, the masseuse had to tell me multiple times to relax. She commented on how tense I was, and it really got me thinking that I have got to find a way to relax.

I have tried just about everything: meditation, breathing exercises, medication, yoga… it helps for a minute, but the anxious feelings, tenseness, and worry always come back. I’ve always been a worrier, even when I was a child. I used to totally stress about everything as a child, and it has carried over into my adult life. This is not my favorite characteristic of myself.

I think sometimes I just need a distraction; a way to get my mind off whatever is bothering me. I’ve taken up reading and that helps a lot of the time, but sometimes I just get overly anxious and agitated at the smallest things. I have to learn to overlook the small, unimportant negative things in my life and focus on the positive.

My goal for myself is to find ways to incorporate relaxation into my everyday life. I got a gym membership this week, so I’m hoping that will help. Thus far it just appears to be killing me, but only time will tell. Hopefully it will help get my mind off of stressful situations that come up in my life.

I thought the “One Little Word” campaign was neat. There are plenty of things I need to work on, but I think if I get the relaxation under control, other good things will follow (less stress, more happiness, etc.). I have to work on taking a deep breath and just taking things as they come instead of worrying about the future and stressing about what could happen.

This is going to be a real challenge for me, but I am going to try to relax.

What will your one little word be? How are you going to incorporate it into your life?
April

Your Legacy

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If you were to leave this earth tomorrow, what would you hope people would say about you and the life you lived? How would they describe you?

Would they say you were a wonderful person, who gave unselfishly and loved everyone or would there be an awkward silence while they try to pick their brain to think of something nice to say about you?

I hope it’s the first. And I hope you earned those words honestly.

People say you shouldn’t care what others think; and yes, this is true to an extent. However, I know that I want people to think I am a good person who they can rely on in a time of need. I want them to know that I care about our relationship and that they mean a lot to me.

Show people you care while you have time. Give them your undivided attention; put your cell phone down, get off Facebook, and look at the person who is speaking to you. Show them that their thoughts matter to you. Be the person who they can turn to when they are having a bad day or just want to talk to someone.

I hope I have been this type of person thus far. I hope the people in my life know how much they mean to me. I hope, when I’m gone, people talk about how loving I was and that I would have done anything for them… and I hope they really mean it.

Be sincere in your relationships throughout your life. They are more important than you may realize.

Strive to show people you care about them and that you are present in your relationships. Don’t be that person who is pretending to listen while you text under the table.

More than anything else, love unconditionally. Do not put limits on your love and gratitude. Give more than you take and be the person who people can always rely on. Be the type of person you would want to be friends with.

Don’t hold grudges. There is not enough time in your life to hold grudges. Even if you can’t forget something completely, forgive the person. Life is too short to be miserable. You will feel better in the end if you just let it go. Of course, sometimes there are things that you can’t let go, and that’s okay too. Sometimes it’s best to let negative people go and move on with your life.

Ask yourself these questions:

Am I the type of friend I would want to have?
How will people remember me once I’m gone?

If you can answer these in a positive manner, keep up the good work. You are on your way to leaving a great legacy.
If you can’t answer these in the best way, work on becoming the type of person you know you should be. Be a person who conveys love, gratitude, loyalty, and happiness every day. You can do it; don’t give up until you get to where you know you should be.

 

April

The Power of Positivity

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Can your attitude and thoughts change your life?

Picture this: the worst day of your life. You ripped your lucky pants in the middle of a crowded room, you spilled 1000 degree coffee on your boss, and you somehow accidentally shaved one eyebrow off. At this point, you just want to crawl in a hole and die.

But then you decide, “Hey! I woke up today! I have people who love me, and I have food, clothes (and more pants without holes), and a place to live. Man, I’ve got made.” And suddenly… you feel better. You can come out of that dark, depressing hole and smile a little.

Ok, so hopefully none of those things happened to you, but you get the point….

Positive thinking changes everything.

Sometimes it’s really really reallllly hard to find something positive in a crappy day. You may have to dig deeeeep to find something to make you smile, but when you do, concentrate on it and it will change your mood (if you let it).

And sometimes… you may just have to “fake it until you can make it”. I first heard that saying from one of my professors in college. It can be applied to pretty much every aspect of life. If you absolutely cannot find anything positive in your day, fake it. Think back to something good from previous days, or heck– just plaster a smile on your face and eventually you will begin to believe that smile.

A simple smile (sometimes even a fake-ish one) can totally change your mood. Try smiling at a random time and see if you don’t feel better. I promise you will; it’s really hard to be mad or upset while you are smiling. Or even better: try smiling at someone else– a stranger– and lift both of your moods. 🙂

So, since you took the time to read this, I want you to vow to find something positive in every day. Push those pessimistic thoughts to the back of your mind and replace them with positive thoughts. See if you don’t feel better! Put a huge smile on your face and grin a toothy grin at everyone you pass.

And remember this:

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
~Thích Nhât Hành

What helps you stay positive?

The Past is in the Past…

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Let it go.

I think we can all learn something from this wonderful Frozen song (that everyone in the world knows just about every lyric to).

Letting go and moving on can be a terribly difficult thing to do. Whether it’s a relationship or a traumatic childhood incident or something even worse, sometimes it’s just better to let it go. That doesn’t mean you need to forget it– that may be impossible– but don’t let it hold you back.

Don’t be scared to go on with your life and find your happiness. You deserve that.

Things happen to us that really suck (for lack of better terms). At the time, we wonder how in the world we are going to move on or even survive… But we do. And we come out stronger on the other side. We all feel like giving up sometimes, but you truly show strength when you continue your journey instead of surrendering.

For me, I have overcame quite a few obstacles from my childhood. A lot of unnecessary heartbreak happened early on in my life. But you know what? I have learned from it. I experienced some things I would never wish on any children, and I believe I will one day be a better parent because of it. I believe I have repressed a lot of childhood memories, but of the ones I do recall, I have learned something valuable from.

So, just because you “let it go” doesn’t mean you forget the relationship/event/situation, it means you learn from it and move on.

Be a better and stronger person because of it.

 

You Make Me Happy When Skies Are Gray

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I came across a new app called “Happier” the other day. Basically, you post memories or things that make you happy and share them with other members. So, I decided to create my own list of simple things that make me happy (in no significant order). Enjoy.

1) Children laughing. There are few things greater than hearing a carefree child laugh uncontrollably.

2) Old people. You know what I’m talking about (and if you don’t, you have no soul). They are just precious. I love to just smile and them and get a huge smile back. And don’t get me started on the old husband and wife holding hands in the mall. Cuteness overloaddddd.

3) Good books. I recently have discovered that I actually enjoy reading. The last few weeks I have spent countless hours reading and finding myself engrossed in the books.

4) Teaching someone anything. This is one of the greatest feelings ever for me. I love when I’ve been trying to teach someone something and the “light bulb” moment when they finally get it. Not to mention, I totally love learning anything and everything that I can.

5) Good food. Oh man, one of my favorite things to do is eat. I loveeeee food. I’m a very picky eater, but I can tell you who has the greatest cheeseburgers in every county around.

6) Sunshine. Especially when I feel like it’s going to rain forever. Cloudy days totally put a damper on my mood.

7) Getting an “A”. Don’t play–you know what I’m talking about. Pretend it’s no big deal; I know your insides are doing cartwheels with excitement.

8) Puppies. Is an explanation really necessary for this one? Is anything really better than adorable, loving puppies?

9) Clean sheets. One of the greatest feelings in the world is climbing into cold sheets (in the summer) that smell like Heaven.

10) Grown men talking to babies and/or children. You know what I’m talking about– the “baby voice”. There isn’t much more attractive than seeing a manly man hanging out with a child and carrying on conversations with them.

11) PJ days. Those every-once-in-a-while days where I don’t have to get out of my pajamas, do my hair, or leave the house. Ah, those are the best.

12) Doing something nice for someone. Even if it’s something small. Just smiling at someone or holding the door for a little old lady might make someone else’s day.

So what makes you happy? I don’t mean the new outfit you bought the other day or your new car– just something simple. What makes you smile? 🙂

To My Future Kid(s)…

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So, another one of my friends had her baby today (see picture). This just reminds me, once again, how not ready I am for kids. I will probably have them one day, once I’m married and whatnot.

But until that day comes I’ve decided to compile a list of some things I’d like to share with my future children (or any other kids/teenagers). Hope this isn’t going to get too awkward.

1. First off, you have the coolest mom in the world. Your dad is okay, too.

2. Life is really not fair sometimes. There are going to be some days where you just want to pull your hair out, poke my eyes out, and slash your dad’s tires. But my advice to you is: don’t– unless you enjoy the idea of juvenile prison. Really though, bad situations pass– you just have to keep going when you feel like giving up.

3. No matter what stupid, idiotic, childish stuff you do, I will still love you. Guess what? We all have done stupid stuff; although I was close to being the perfect kid/teenager (don’t believe what your daddy tells you about my younger days).

4. Absolutely no boyfriend/girlfriend is worth giving up your sanity. Do not depend on a significant other for your happiness. You can be happy with or without someone else.

5. Do not forget your morals in relationships. Boyfriends/girlfriends can sometimes make you overlook certain things that you are not okay with. Know what your deal-breakers are (see #6 for example). I promise, if you overlook something once it will continue to happen.

6. Do not EVER do drugs. I realize you are going to do some dumb things. Some dumb things are okay, like jumping in a big bouncy ball display pit at Wal-Mart. Drugs are not one of those things. People ruin their entire lives by deciding to give into the pressure ONE time. And yes, marijuana is a drug (crackheads and heroin addicts had to start somewhere and it’s usually with pot). Be careful and be smart.

7. You have to make your own decisions at some point. But with this freedom, comes responsibility. You may not understand why no one will buy you the super-cool pair of shoes, but one day you will have rent (or a mortgage), bills, car payments, insurance fees, phone bills, etc. to pay and you will totally get it. Life will go on if you don’t get the Coach purse that you are just dying to have. Once again, life is not fair. I promise you will have everything you need in life and more.

8. Put some effort into your education. It will make it a whole lot easier on whoever ends up paying for your college because hopefully you’ll get some scholarships and assistance.

9. Be polite. Use manners and apologize when you need to. It is so important for you to respect others, especially older people. Say “please” and “thank you”, and don’t be afraid to say “I love you”.

10. Work hard. Work ridiculously hard at everything you do: school, jobs, and everything else. When you start working, you are going to have to prove your worthiness to your employers. Start out strong and don’t give up. It might take a while, but you will eventually get the credit you deserve. Never ever give up on what you want. It is so easy to forget about your dreams– don’t. Set goals and work toward those goals.

**Note:
This list basically developed into a list of stuff I wish I knew at a younger age. Feel free to add your own advice/comments! 🙂

April

Growing Up is Totally Overrated…

When I was younger, I always wished I was older. Actually, for the last, let’s say 10-15 years, I constantly wished I could be a “grown-up”, be out of high school, be out of college, be married, have a big-girl job–you get the point. I’m pretty sure I thought the minute I hit that adult status, I would have an awesome life and that everything about life would make sense. I have literally spent so much time wishing I was in a different place in my life. Even now I find myself wishing I had it all together. I’m sure this is relatively normal for a post-college 20-something, but it’s still really frustrating.

I am really trying to focus on where I am right now, not on my ideal of where I should be.

It’s really tough though. Wouldn’t it be so great if we could just fast forward to that perfect time in our life? Oh wait, that doesn’t exist. Things will never be “picture perfect” like all of the Disney movies’ happily ever after endings. It’s life. It’s super-wonderful at times and it sucks at other times. You have to just learn to be happy with where you are in life.

Be grateful for the time you have on this earth. Show the people who you love that you love them. Laugh as loud as you possibly can. Do not dwell on the negative aspects of your life. I have been called negative one too many times (I always prefer to think of myself as a “realist”, but I’m beginning to think that’s just a toned-down version of “party pooper”). I sometimes struggle with finding the good in a lot of situations. I should feel blessed for all of the people I have in my life and all of the many great ridiculously amazing opportunities I have been given. I am giving myself a challenge to look for the best in every situation. This is going to be tough, but it will be so worth it. If you are reading this, I also encourage you to challenge yourself with this. When you get home, before you begin telling your significant other, parent, friend, etc. the bad parts of your day, say something positive that happened during the day. Make a conscious effort to acknowledge that the entire day wasn’t bad, and think about a time that made you laugh, smile, or just be happy to be alive.

I think every situation can be affected by the way you percieve it. You might be having the worst day you could possibly imagine, but if you focus on something positive (even if it’s the super-fantastic food you ate for lunch), you will feel better. Don’t focus on the bad; life if going to go on–regardless if you are miserable or if you are happy. You might as well smile and make the best of whatever situation you are in.

I think this whole “growing up” thing has its advantages. I mean, sure, I might have bills and responsibilities, but there are also some pretty cool things. I just bought my first brand new car (on my own!), I have my own apartment (that I pay for by myself), and I have a family that would bail me out of any crappy situation I got in if at all possible (within reason). Find your happiness in this crazy, non-perfect world!

It is pouring down rain in Alabama right now, which reminds me of a cliche, yet very appropriate, quote…

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”