Mindfulness

I’ve been chomping at the bit to blog the last two weeks, but (as you may have noticed), my site has been undergoing some changes. I’m officially self-hosting my domain (as opposed to having my blog hosted by WordPress. The transfer process took longer than I anticipated, but I’m finally master of my own site, and I’m excited to explore some of that potential.

I read a quote yesterday that stuck with me:

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nat Hanh

I’ve been thinking a lot about mindset lately, about making sure I’m in the right headspace when it comes to work, health, body. About being unapologetically, 100% me.

It’s not that I’m afraid to show who I am, insecurities and all. It’s more that I’m fighting with having these insecurities. I see some of them as silly, but here they are. They’re in my thoughts every day. And I’m working on many of them, but we are in this age and time now, where we want such instant results with everything. The truth is, none of these insecurities developed overnight.

There are things that I’ve found hard to accept over the last decade. Physical changes, professional challenges, loss, differences among friends. And I know that experiences help to shape who you are, circumstances can humbling, the people you cross paths with can influence you. But through all of this, I’ve been fighting with acceptance.

I let some really strong words from other people influence how I saw myself and my abilities, and I accepted for a long time that they were right. That all I amounted to were what they said. That they said what they did as some sort of “tough love” or “I’m your friend so I’ll tell you the real truth” kind of intention.

I never for a second questioned the people making the statements or their motives. Instead, I believed them. Blindly. Like a lost puppy. And I have to own that; it was my mistake to think their opinion mattered more than my own. That I could know better than others I held in such high esteem.

As I work on this novel, and I push her through some uncomfortable realities, I realize that I’m facing them myself. A part of my block is that I need to get to the other side of the tunnel as much as she does. I have to accept me for what I am now, and not who I can be, who I think I should be, or who anyone else believes me to be. I can strive to be more, try harder, and improve, but I can’t deny present time.

Sometimes, I think we worry so much about the future that we never really pay attention to right now. Where are we right now? Who are we right now? What can we be grateful for in this moment? When I saw “we,” I guess I’m talking about myself.

Anyway, one of my resolutions this year is to be more present, take more ownership, and really affect the change that I want to see in myself. If nothing else about me changes, and I’m in a vacuum exactly as I am now for the rest of my life, I am good with me right now. It’s taken a lot for me to be able to say that.

Do I see areas where I believe I can improve? Absolutely. But I’m accepting who I am, where I am, how I am. It’s all a testament of where I’ve been, what I’ve been through, and how I’ve handled myself. I can’t be mad at that, and I won’t apologize for being me.

I actually think I’m inherently good, kind, and generous to others, though often to a fault. I need to be more generous to myself, but I’m working on that. I’m really proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish so far, and I feel like there are some personal accomplishments that I’m not far from reaching. I’ll keep plugging along, but I’m going to stop and take breaths to enjoy moments as they happen.

New Year, New Opportunity

Are you one of those people that puts everyone ahead of yourself? I am, but I’m finding that to be a blessing and a curse.

I’m one of those people that would give my last to make sure everyone I care about is taken care of, even if it’s to my detriment. I want the people I love to be happy, to have what they need, and to feel like they’re progressing. I always figured that I would take care of me when everyone else was covered.

Slowly, I’ve come to the realization that needs are constant. Everyone always needs SOMEthing. And that’s not a negative, per se. It’s truth. At some point, we have to prioritize these needs, and I had to admit (to myself) that I can’t help you if I’m not helping myself. I can’t provide for you and yours, and subsequently leave myself in a position where I’m not cared for.

More often than not, I’ve found that some of the outreached hands will take and just continue taking, but they never offer anything back. They never reach back to try to lift me up when I’m struggling, nor do they try to provide for me when I’m in need. And I’m not saying everyone is in the same position to give in the same way or to the same magnitude, but you can always give SOMEthing. When you can’t give financially or tangibly, give encouragement, give kindness, give acknowledgement. Give from your heart.

In a nutshell, give a shit about someone other than yourself and your interests.

This year, I’m moving forward with an understanding that I’m not anyone else’s priority, especially if I’m not my own. I need to make sure I’m taken care of BEFORE I try to help everyone else.

BEFORE I give my last, I need to make sure I have a contingency. I can’t save anything for future or for emergency if I give everything away. There’s no rainy day fund. There’s no savings, because I exhausted it trying to help.

I find a joy in cooking and feeding others, but cared little about doing that for myself. About carving out that “me time” or making sure that I was getting what I needed emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, or intellectually.

This year is my opportunity to begin righting some of those wrongs. And it’s not about regrets, life is about learning and progress.

How will your priorities change in 2014?

Racking My Brain

Constantly writing and reading to keep the mind stimulated, but my mind keeps going back to him.  It’s literally been almost a year, but I find the heartstrings playing a familiar tune whenever my mind wanders.  And I don’t want them to, but they just do.  It’s got to stop some time.  The more busy I am, the less my mind will wander… At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

The last several months have been a whirlwind of work, moving to a new apartment, writing, reading, teaching, traveling, editing, and starting new writing projects that get in the way of the old ones.  But it’s a beautiful thing to feel INSPIRED.  It’s so much easier for me to put the proverbial pen to paper, rather than put time toward this blog, but we’re going to find a happy balance.

That’s a promise.

Closure

Sometimes you just don’t get it.  There’s no warning, there’s no explanation… Seemingly, there’s no reason.  And it hurts.  You feel rejected, you question everything that transpired, and you wonder what it is that you did wrong.  You’re assuming it was you.

If you can relate to what I’ve just said, I’m here to tell you that you can do everything right and sometimes it’s just not going to work.  I’m saying this from experience.  You can love, give, try, work at it, everything — but it still takes two.  That darn free will element.  But that free will portion is so clutch.

It’s easy to say hey, I’m a good woman.  I cook, I love sports, I play video games, I’m intelligent, I’m funny, I’m sweet, and I don’t need to be up under him all the damn time.  I have a life and my own friends, and I intend to keep them.  He compliments me, he doesn’t complete me.  He says he loves me, and I haven’t given him a reason to stop, so logic follows that he should just keep loving me.  Stop right there — that last statement is flawed.

I hate to compare love to a job, but maybe it’s not such a bad analogy.  A relationship is like at-will employment.  You can be fired without cause; meaning, you don’t have to do something wrong to be dumped.  Whether it’s timing, he decides he’s not ready, a lack of chemistry, a loss of chemistry, dishonesty, or whatever the case, you may not have done something wrong.  And, still, you’re now seeking closure for the end of a relationship.

But think about it:  you’d rather KNOW that someone wants to be with you, rather than feels like they HAVE to stay with you, right?  It makes a difference.  Knowing that someone chooses to spend time with you over someone else, chooses to treat you with love and respect, makes you a priority… Doesn’t that feel better than someone who is just with you for now, biding their time until something they perceive as better comes along?  Or better yet, someone who is with you for that one thing only?

It’s so easy to overanalyze every single event, thought, expression, conversation… But it’s pointless.  If it’s over, give yourself the time and space you need to accept that.  Whether you ever get that explanation you’re hoping for, you’ll find closure.  It’s really about getting back to the place where you can accept that you are enough.  With or without someone else.