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Category: Thoughts

Tuesday Thoughts: advice to my younger self.

Last week I came across this video from CBC Radio. CBC made a special video message, to people of all ages to offer words of wisdom to their younger counterparts. It reminded me of this and this, of which I read well over a year ago. These articles inspired me to write a similar letter to my 20-year-old self when I turned 30 (which was already two months ago).  While I also intend to do the same to my 40-year-old self, expressing what I hope to learn in this next decade. Since I have not really started on either (besides a few things I have jotted down in my iPhone), I thought I would get started and share a few things I wish my younger self had known. (You will find similarities from mine and the previously noted article.)

  • beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This may sound shallow, but I will admit I am vain. I spent a lot of time in my 20’s putting energy into my appearance (still do, but not nearly as much). It was important to me that others saw me as beautiful, as in “supermodel beautiful“. It was not until around 27 I realized no matter how hard I try to appear a specific way, beauty is relative to what someone believes is beautiful. I find many people and things attractive that others do not, and vice versa. Everyone has a different perspective and those perspectives are what makes people and things beautiful. Finding yourself and doing what makes you feel beautiful is what matters and is what will shine through.
  • rejection is okay. It really is! In my early twenties when looking for a job I really struggled with rejection. I remember feeling sick to my stomach with nerves on days I was supposed to hear back regarding and interview. As I have grown up, career related or not, when I am rejected from something I know there was a reason for it and that rejection will help me follow and find my purpose.
  • regret teaches great lessons. Time and time again I have been told not to have regrets because you only live once. Well, I have a lot of regrets, and I am okay with it. Why? Because I have learned from them. Do I regret not studying abroad in college? Absolutely. BUT instead I stayed on campus and started a relationship with the man that is now my husband, so how can I really regret that choice? Instead of dwelling on the fact I did not study abroad I focus on the fact that I am now able to travel the world with someone special to me. Do I regret a million things I have said or how I have acted towards my parents, siblings, friends, colleagues and husband? Sure, do! But I have learned from my actions and am able to be more aware of myself. Regret has taught me some of my most valuable lessons in life.
  • you can not force friendships. A lot of the time friendships are more of a timely matter rather than a true bond. I have no close relationships with anyone from high school and a handful of intact relationships from the hundreds of friends I had in college. I forced myself to stay in touch with many from my younger days and in my late twenties realized many of my friendships did not have the same foundation as they did in years past. We had grown up, and had experiences that changed us, and a lot of time these friendships were just not convenient. Many friendships slowly faded, some grew substantially and I am forming (what I like to call) “my village”. I have realized I do not need to force connecting with each friend each week. The friendships I know will last are those that I may not talk to or see for a while, but when we do it is as if no time has passed at all.
  • no one knows what they are doing. Everyone is in the same boat, trying to figure out this life thing. We all have our challenges making due with what we have, nothing will go right 100% of the time, but you figure it out as you go. The more and more I hear from others who are older, this is a constant tune. I do not think this ever goes away, no matter which decade.
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Friday Reads: on marriage.

This week marked my husband and mine’s third wedding anniversary. A few weeks ago we were talking about how at the three-year mark we really feel married. We definitely always felt married, but it is different no longer being newlyweds. A lot of the newness and excitement of marriage may have worn off,  but so have some of the challenges the first couple of years of marriage expels. Not to say challenges no longer exist, because they do, but they have become more manageable with the skills we have learned and the tools we use. Marriage has been the biggest commitment of our lives and trying at times it is always the most rewarding. I had anticipated writing much more about what I have learned about myself through marriage, and what we have learned as a couple, but I think I will save it for another time.

Some recent reads related to relationships and marriage have offered a lot of points I agree with. Feel free to browse below:

What Causes Love to Go Away? (goop)

40 Rituals That Make Relationships Last 40 Years (marc & angel HACK LIFE)

3 Important Realizations that Build a Strong and Lasting Marriage (The Art of Manliness)

Rules For A Happy Marriage: 4 Secrets From An Expert (Barking Up The Wrong Tree)

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Friday Reads: expect less, appreciate more.

Recently someone told me I “set the bar high”, it was not the first time I have had those words directed towards me. I had taken that statement as a compliment, assuming others look at me as someone with prestige. Now, I am starting to hear these words a bit differently. Reason being, I am tired of being let down. It is not others, or my own experiences letting me down, it is the habit of letting my expectations get out of control.

At the new year, I chose a mantra for 2015. This mantra is “Expect Less, Appreciate More”. (In fact, these words are the wallpaper on my iPhone as a daily reminder). It has been really hard to keep myself in check. As far back as early childhood, I can remember having ideas in my head of what experiences would or should be like. From there I developed a lot of expectations of myself, and as I got older I (unfairly) developed expectations of others. I believe some expectations have benefitted me, however overall and on a daily basis my expectations have hurt me more than helped me. I continue to find myself disappointed in reality versus my expectations. Especially when it comes to my expectations of experiences and of others.

I’ve found myself having high expectations of things such as a perfect vacation, or the perfect date night, only to be let down. (Even writing those words makes me feel selfish, for the fact I can afford to travel and I have someone that likes to take me on dates). My expectations of others have gotten me into even more turmoil. I have gone out of my way to do things for others, expecting something back, only to be baffled when nothing was received. I have had countless fights with, and let downs by my husband because he did not read my mind meet my expectations. Expecting specific behaviors of him, and even worse, gifts from him, have created unfortunate memories in what should be fond.

Appreciation is helping me turn my expectations around. Having expectations has not gone away, but are looked upon in another way. If I find myself having expectations of an experience, I choose to see them as dreams. Dreams where I can appreciate the opportunity and remind myself to truly savor the moments ahead. When it comes to expecting things from others, I have learned if I choose to do something for another it should be because it makes me feel good and I want to do it, not because I expect something in return (even if it is just a sign of gratitude). Not having expectations of what my husband should do for me, makes a thing like an occasional bouquet brought home much more special and romantic. I am more appreciative of our time together and more aware of the ways he shows love. Finally, when it comes to myself, having fewer expectations of where I should be or how I should be doing things has allowed me to slow down, gain patience and see the big picture.

This is a BIG work in progress. I guarantee my husband will read this and think I have a lot of work to do (which is true!). Things rarely ever turn out the way you expect them, so try to limit expectations (or, at least, look at them differently), and appreciate as much as you can. It takes time, be easy on yourself.

In the meantime here are a few articles related to managing expectations that helped me put things in perspective:

Managing Your Expectations Is The Key To Happiness (Elite Daily)

What You Appreciate, Appreciates (Deepak Chopra)

What To Do When You Are Feeling Disappointed In Your Relationship (The Change Blog)

Give More, Expect Less (Kingpin Lifestyle)

How To Manage Your Expectations (Oprah)

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Friday Reads: dealing with anxiety.

I am a naturally anxious person. It is hard for me to relax, I tend to worry about or over think almost everything. I accept it is a part of who I am and have found ways to help me cope in times when anxiety gets the best of me. Understanding ways to deal with anxiety (outside of medication), has been difficult and takes a lot of practice and acknowledgement of how I am feeling and why I am feeling that way.

Recently someone wise told me to focus on facts, instead of beliefs or feelings. For example, I have been feeling anxious about an upcoming social engagement. Worried about how I should behave to appease others and what people will think of me, has made me anxious for days, even having nightmares about what terrible things could happen. I really wanted to let go of negative feelings around an evening that should be fun and enjoyable. Looking at the facts of the event rather than my or others beliefs/feelings of how things will be, has helped separate my worry from what is reality. Fact: I will show up at 6 p.m. Fact: I will enjoy an evening outside. Fact: I will be spending time with family. Fact: I will be eating dinner. These are all things that are true. The beliefs and feelings I am putting in my head of what others may think are just thoughts (not reality) giving me anxiety. It is totally unnecessary and I have to let my ideas go in order to enjoy my time. It is that simple.

I could go on and on about my struggle with anxiety and coping mechanisms and promise to do so eventually. For now, I will end with a few articles about dealing with anxiety. Let’s try not to be anxious this weekend and enjoy the two days ahead. Happy Friday!

5 Steps for Tackling Anxiety (cupcakes & cashmere)

How To Deal With Anxiety Step One (HEADSPACE DAILY)

Do You Worry Too Much? (A Cup of Jo)

5 Tips for Dealing With Anxiety (Inc.)

James Altucher: Four simple steps to stop worrying today (THE CRUX)

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On Gratitude.

“Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin and an antiseptic”- John Henry Jowett

I love this quote. It is so true. I came across it recently and it reminded me of how necessary it is for me to practice gratitude.

Something I learned from online entrepreneur, Lewis Howes is to end your day vocalizing three things you were grateful for that day. Usually, I share these things with my husband, and sometimes we take turns telling each other. Other times I will say them quietly to myself or in my head. When I am diligent about this practice, it makes a world of a difference in how I am feeling. When I am not expressing gratitude I find myself stuck in a rut, engaging in negative self-talk, comparing myself to others and dwelling on things from the past. It is NOT fun and I hate feeling this way.

Like anything, certain rituals can wear out and need a refreshment. This article from Barking Up the Wrong Tree, inspired me to savor moments. I am one to rush through the day, going from one thing to the next. My weekends are almost always packed full and are over in the blink of an eye. Making a habit of savoring an experience, whether it be unique or repeated makes me appreciate what I have and slows things down so I can truly enjoy life. For example, when I get home from the gym in the morning I have a list of things to do to get my day going, which is when my daily anxiety begins. Instead of diving right into these tasks, I will stop and look into the eyes of my little pup excitedly waiting at my feet. I will follow this look with a couple of minutes of playtime, cuddles or kisses. I savor this moment. I recognize that I will not have this opportunity and feeling with her forever. In these moments, the anxiety disappears and gratitude returns.

It is fact, people who practice gratitude are healthier emotionally and physically. I find it impossible to feel let down, negative, upset, etc.. when thinking about what I am grateful for. When I am mindful of this I feel a shift in my mind and body setting a positive tone for my behaviors and overall well-being.

Here are some of my favorite articles related to practicing gratitude:

How To Find Happiness: 3 Secrets From Research (Barking Up The Wrong Tree)

7 Ways to Change Your Attitude When You Can’t Change Anything Else (marc & angel HACK LIFE)

How to Start a Gratitude Practice & Change Your Life (tiny buddha)

A Practical Guide To Gratitude (UNSTUCK)

The Science Behind Gratitude & How It Can Change Your Life (happify DAILY)

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