The Pursuit of Happiness

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are three unalienable rights listed in the Declaration of Independence. It isn’t Life, Liberty, and discovering happiness, or stumbling upon happiness or uncovering or finding or….. the list could go on. It is the PURSUIT of happiness. I take this to mean pursue what makes you happy, always. Stay with me here, I am getting to the point, or I will eventually.

It took me watching a Will Smith video- the one where he talks about love and happiness- if you have not watched this 2 and a half minute video then you should!! Anyway back to the topic, it took me watching this video to realize nobody can make me happy- they can add to it, but not make me happy. I probably would have come to this conclusion eventually but it would have taken a bit more waiting, a bit more heartache, and a bit more headache.

So let me tell you about this light bulb that went off in my head. YOU ARE THE ONLY PERSON WHO CAN MAKE YOU HAPPY. PERIOD. Simple as that. I used to have this mindset of “I’ll continue to date this person because he made me happy once, so he can make me happy again”….”If I had this title at work I would be happy”…..”If I made more money… If I buy this…. If I accomplish this…. If I am acknowledged for this or that…..” I had this mindset, like so many do, that I could be happy if someone else made me happy by doing something. But I wish I would have learned sooner the it isn’t your circumstances, job, people, significant other, etc. that would make me happy. Those things can only add to your happiness. They are not the existence of your happy.

Being happy is completely 100% a CHOICE!! All you have to do is open your eyes in the morning and choose to be happy, choose to be grateful, choose to be upbeat, just choose. Not happy? You are choosing that, you are choosing not to change. Is it easy to change your mindset and take accountability for your reactions, maybe not but you can start by showing up!!

Start with the little things that feed your soul. What hobbies do you have? What passions do you want to pursue? What sets your soul on fire? What people ADD to your happiness? It does not have to be big things, do an inventory of your life, make a list, and start with one change. Are you waking up grateful? Are you socializing with good people? Are you improving and growing? Are you taking care of yourself? Are you involved as much as you would like in your church? Are you reading books? Are you creating? Are you spending enough time in the sun with your dog? Bring it back to the baby steps, its not an overnight change. Start small, pick a few and make those things a priority. No excuses, no “I don’t have enough time” or “It’s too uncomfortable” Just do it. Make that conscious choice to be happy, pursue what will make you smile and laugh out loud!

That is my lesson in this life journey- pursue happiness always, choose happy, decide what can add to your happy.

xo

Inadequacy, Fear, and Moving Past it

Do you ever have that overwhelming feeling where you question whether you’re good enough? Or that what-if fear of failure? Trust me you are not alone, everyone has those days, me included. It usually begins with overthinking a small thing, and then slowly grows into this black cloud that blankets your mind. 

I recently begin losing myself to this black cloud of self doubt, so I turned to this group of amazing woman who, like me, are interested in giving back and building a business. I laid it out, admitted that I was feeling inadequate, and out of place in every aspect of my life- I wasn’t sure if I would get any response, I was nervous to hit that post button. But those woman came forward to lift me up and embrace me with such genuine kindness and loving support! They let me know I wasn’t alone, they gave me self care ideas, shared their own struggles and just embraced my fears of not being good enough turning them into nothing with their validation that I was worthy of everything in my life!

I came to realize that I am not alone in stumbling through life and these types of feelings. This fear of not being good enough to…. whatever it might be, is just that a fear. Each of us have different feelings of being inadequate- for me its wondering if I’m good enough to pass a test, or to get the training at work I’ve been asking for, even whether I’ll be a good mother when that time comes around. Lately that has been a big one for me, watching my sister with her three kids when they are whiny or fighting and I no longer have the patience to be around them no matter how much I love them- I have to remind myself to take a step back. Step back and simplify things; look at the bigger picture. I tell myself that of course I’ll be a good mother, that it’s always different with your own kids because you are with them every single day watching them grow, learning their personalities.

Taking that step back, simplifying things, treating yourself, talking to others- that’s how you move past that feeling of not being good enough, that fear. You have to take one step at a time, love yourself in all your glory and flaws. This journey in life takes the most unexpected turns and twists and sometimes you have to remind yourself that you are worthy of all the blessings and you just need to slow down and breath.

For my fellow bookworms, or anyone else reading this, I once came across something in a book that resonated with me so much that I wrote it down so I could always look back on it and that is the following from book #5 of Catherine Brockmann’s Troubleshooters,

” Break it down into smaller moments. Heartbeats if you will. Boom. You take one step forward. Boom. You take another. Boom. Breath in. Boom. Exhale. You don’t set your eyes on the end of the week, because that’s too far away. That’s an impossible goal to achieve. You keep it doable. You don’t look beyond that very next step that you’re going to take.”

For me this is something I really struggle with, because I’m a planner- I love lists and planners and knowing what I’m going to do. But sometimes that just becomes too overwhelming, exhausting even! I lose the enjoyment in the little things, in the sunrises and sunsets, in the kisses from the one I love, and that is where the fear and feelings of being inadequate kick in. I lose myself in trying to plan for the unexpected journey that comes with life.

So if you can take just one thing from this post- remember to slow down and simplify things once in awhile. You’ll thank yourself and you’ll enjoy more when you don’t lose yourself to this fear. Take one step at a time, love yourself for you are only human and this is your life- don’t let fear steal it away.

xo

Becoming Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

Being uncomfortable has never been my forte and yet lately I feel like I have dived into the deep end of uncomfortableness in the form of vulnerability. Anyone who knows me knows I like my walls, rarely do I let people inside of those walls, and rarely do I open up easily.  I guess this is why I started this blog to be able to become comfortable with vulnerability. After being diagnosed with CKD I had a really hard time letting people know about it. It took time for me to open up, over the years it got easier as I became more accustomed with being vulnerable. Not that I’m even close to being comfortable when it comes to vulnerability or stepping outside of the comfort zones that my walls provide, but I’m learning how to be.

Sometimes in order to achieve growth in your personal life though stepping outside of comfort zones is mandatory. I was recently placed for evaluation for a transplant. Talk about stepping outside the comfort zone! It didn’t really hit me until I was sitting in the class getting information poured into my brain. This was real. This was happening. And the only thing I had control over was who I told about it. I took a leap and did something that completely scared me – I let every single person I work with know I was being evaluated for a transplant. I told myself it was because of the upcoming flu season, and I guess it partly was, but i don’t think that was the full reason, nor do I think I’m ready to dig deep enough to find that reason. In doing so, in telling them, I received concern and support that I didn’t know was there, I even had a few coworkers ask questions because they were going through similar things. I was able to help others and open the doors for others to help me.

For me vulnerability is scary and overwhelming and questionable. I know that good things can come from letting my walls down and letting people help and putting myself out there- outside of a comfort zone I have come to rely upon although a bit unwillingly.

I also know that my struggle with vulnerability and being uncomfortable can be a struggle for others to understand. I have an amazing support system; friends, family, coworkers. Even an amazing guy who is ready to hold my hand through it all. Everybody needs someone who will ride this crazy roller coaster called life with them, someone who makes you forget about how scary it can be to open up and be vulnerable, to let the walls down, someone who can help you grow, push you outside of your comfort zones.

I guess if you take anything from this rambling its to find someone to help you to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Even when it becomes scary to let someone in, even if it scares you to be vulnerable or step over that line that separates your comfort zone from the unknown, because facing your fears grows who you are as a person and having someone to help makes it that much easier.

Nothing Good Can Come From Fear

Fear. The most self-crippling mind game we play. It is something that is always there, in some form or another. Fear of Rejection, Fear of Failure, Fear of Judgement, Fear of What If, I could probably come up with 101 different types and kinds of fears that we, as human beings have. But this post isn’t to name fear or even to tell you how to fight fear, because you can’t fight it. That is one thing I’ve learned, although slowly; fighting the fear just strengthens it because your last strategy and the one before that and the one before that didn’t win at least not for long. It only added to the fear by causing doubt.

So now you’re probably wondering “what the heck?!” I promise this is going somewhere, just keep reading. Fear is only as strong as you make it. Fear is only as scary as you let it be. You can’t fight it but you can overcome it. I won’t say it is easy, but it will definitely be worth it.

Facing your fears can be the scariest thing in the world! Yet that’s the key to overcoming them. It is the only way to move forward and allow yourself to grow. This is something I even struggle with, for example I stay with a job I’ve found I no longer enjoy because it has a decent paycheck and good insurance benefits. I let the fear of losing that keep me from looking for something new, and from gaining the tools to start my own business and leave that job. But here is where you and I might be different; I know that fear is keeping me here, I know that I am letting fear convince me that I am stuck, and I know that this crippling fear is holding me back from my full potential. You may be wondering how is that different? Knowledge. And with this knowledge of what this fear is doing I am letting it fuel me to take that step forward- I am facing my fear little by little. I may not be applying for other jobs yet, or paying for a coaching class yet, but I am letting it help me decide what I do and don’t want, I am letting it push me to look into more schooling. I also know that I have people to help get me through the bad days and to celebrate the little accomplishments with me.

Have you figured out the post yet? I’ll give you a hint: Face your fears. Push through them, don’t let them stop you from having the best, because guess what? You absolutely deserve the best. You and I deserve real love, and our dream job, and that we each deserve the confidence to be our true selves. The fear will always be there, but instead of letting it terrify you and put you into a quicksand trap, face it, embrace it, acknowledge it, work through it, learn from it, grow from it, show fear who is in control. You don’t need to dive into the deep end, you can take baby steps, but move forward through it. Nor do you have to do it alone, ask for help, there is plenty out there.

 

Paradigms and Perspectives

I posted a video on my Facebook page [Soul of a Virgo: An unexpected journey through life] from the infamous Sean Whalen about perspectives and mind set and how all you needed to grow was a simple small daily change. I really liked his perspective and it got me thinking that it applies to both ends of the spectrum.

If each day you wake up a little bit earlier than the day before, take a minute longer to mediate, read one sentence more, you start to create this habit of well being and growth and positive thoughts. The same can apply to decay; sleep in longer each day, rush to work, spend more time with toxic people you will become more unhappy. Yet there is this paradigm you have that tells you the reason you are so unhappy isn’t because of these habits of negativity you are having, it’s because of the toxic people you work with and the job you don’t like. Yes those feed into the unhappiness, but it starts with how you start your morning and the choice you make to be reactive or proactive.

Lately I have really struggled with this concept. I had to step away from myself to see this bigger picture. It really hit me on my way home from a 4 day weekend vacation, the closer I got to town the more stressed and down I became, I felt like I was driving right into a cage that I would be eternally trapped in. A week later I sit here, wondering what am I going to write? I had planned something but it just doesn’t seem fitting, and it dawns on me that HEY!! how about this whole unhappiness thing you’ve been struggling with. I mean I know I’m not the only one out there who goes through this.

So long story short, to change paradigms and perspectives small daily changes are needed. This won’t solve the toxic coworker problem or whatever you have challenging you right now, but it will help you deal with it. Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier than yesterday, read a paragraph from a motivational, inspirational, or favorite book, spend 5 minutes going through a guided meditation, post positive words on your mirror, give thanks, put on that lipstick, spend time with your dog, set weekly goals, whatever you feel is needed to make your soul come alive again. And if it is a job you dread going to – find something else! If its a toxic person you’re around – give yourself space away! If the resolutions and goals you set in January are too overwhelming – break them down!

If you need some recommendations on what to read, message me I’d love to share some. If you want some inspirational people to follow on social media- Chiara Mazzucco and Sean Whalen are my two favorites! (And no they don’t pay me to endorse them) There are so many resources out there to help shift your paradigm, to give motivation, to inspire, to help you be happy!! Sit down and make a list of what makes you happy and what doesn’t, then brainstorm ways on removing what makes you unhappy. You have one single life to live, why spend it in worry and stress and unhappiness?? Go enjoy your life journey, make memories that you can tell your grandkids about. Do whatever it takes to change to a positive mindset!! You will be happy that you took those 10 extra minutes each day.

You Are Capable of Doing Hard Things

Being capable of doing hard things is something that I’ve seen a lot lately on social media. It is also something that I’ve been thinking of writing about and just haven’t made time for. So here is my two cents on doing hard things….

I grew up and went to school in a small town; my graduating class was around 300. After graduating my then adviser became principal. For the last three summers Jody Rich has bicycled across the country to raise money for schools through the PAACE scholarship program he started. I bring this up because he is a big believer in doing hard things. Throughout the school year he spot lights students who are his H.E.R.O.s (Hard Experiences. Relentless Optimism.) He is constantly reminding his students that they can do hard things. During his coast to coast rides he takes his experiences on his bike and relates them to life lessons. His most recent one really struck a cord with me. He wrote “At times in life you are faced with a project, a trial, or a hardship that seems insurmountable and too much to bear or do. In those times remember that you can do it, but you have to gear down and slow down and pace yourself and use all your resources. If you do, you can overcome anything!”

This message came a just the time I needed to hear it. I am determined to overcome my own hard trial. I just found out that I am being recommended by my doctor for a pre-transplant evaluation. Although it is finally an answer to the seemingly endless waiting it is hard to hear. Really all I need is a different perspective on what this means: This is just money in the bank. This is something that I have reminded myself for the last week. Like actual money in the bank, it is there when you need it, a precaution if you will. The pre-transplant  evaluation is just a precaution and it will allow me to completely skip dialysis when it comes to that point.

Sometimes all that is needed to overcome hard things is a different perspective and slowing down.  Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. Choose one thing to focus on at a time  and work on overcoming that single obstacle. Use all of your resources. Reach out to those around you. Take care of yourself. Do what makes you happy. Find a hobby. Try new things. It isn’t going to be easy, it’ll more than likely be a struggle. But you were given this mountain to show others that it can be overcome; that they can overcome their own struggles. Just remember that you are not alone, that even the small victories count and need to be celebrated. Enjoy your Journey through life and live slow.

Being Vulnerable

Two months ago I finally decided to share my blog with others, it was a hard thing to do because my very first post was one that made me feel very vulnerable at the time. That was the post that said “Hey guess what everyone, I have Chronic Kidney Disease (stage 4)” It’s something I’ve been dealing with for about 4 years now and a transplant is coming quicker than anticipated. It used to scare me to share that with other people. I didn’t want others to know, I didn’t want to be vulnerable.

I waited months to tell my sister, even longer to tell friends, and much longer to tell extended family. I told myself it was because I didn’t have all the answers, but really it was that I was afraid of being vulnerable. I hated the look people would give me when they found out, that look of sympathy, I still hate it. Now I just realize that it’s okay to get that look, because from their perspective I am a young woman with so much life ahead and its a tragedy that this has happened.

I had to learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable when it came to being vulnerable. It wasn’t an overnight thing, it took months of practice, in fact I’m still learning. Being vulnerable is such a difficult thing to do because there always seem to be thoughts of doubt and possible judgement from others. I’ve learned that you can turn your vulnerabilities into strengths; like me writing a blog about it.

Life is an unexpected journey with bumps and mountains, you can’t let something so small seem so big that it keeps you from living. Take chances, be uncomfortable, live, grow, be vulnerable. Most of all though, Learn! Even if its something like becoming comfortable with being vulnerable

Those Who Have It All Together

I had a really close friend request a post about courage and doing what you want, not what others want from you. So here goes….

Those who seem to have it all together, actually don’t. There is something that sets them apart from others. It’s a piece of advice I learned and have passed on to others who ask me for advice on how to move forward. “Do You” It is as simple as that. You need to put yourself first, make yourself a priority.

At first it was so hard for me to make myself a priority, I had always taken others into consideration, let them give me little pushes towards what they wanted me to do. I wanted to please people, to make others happy, no matter what the cost was to me. It took a lot of courage to make the change to work on myself and what I wanted. I was that lioness lying in wait among the tall grass, that sleeping giant waiting to show the world who I was.

All I needed was someone to show me I could. Someone to tell me that they had been where I was and had been successful. I found that person at an Outlier Event, Chiara Mazzucco, and begin to follow her on social media. I eventually got up the courage and took the leap to enroll in a beta course on reinventing yourself. I was scared and nervous because I didn’t know what to expect and it ended up being the best decision I ever made. I learned to grow and to move forward. I learned how to start doing what I wanted. I made a goals again, and a vision board, and even a bucket list! Things I hadn’t done in years unless it was required for a class.

I can’t tell you how many times I was nervous to do something. Job interviews, dates, publishing my blog. It was never about having or not having courage and confidence, it was about telling myself I had those things. And it was also realizing that if something scares and excites you, then it is right and you need to go for it. Take the leap, you’ll land where you fall anyway, so whats stopping you?

Anything is possible, sometimes you just need a reminder that you can do it. Let this be your reminder. And as far as courage, well fake it until you make it! (I’ve gotten pretty far by faking it and telling myself that I had courage, or confidence, or well anything really). You can do anything, or be anything, it’s time to leap out of the tall grass, time to wake up and let the world know who you are!! Just remember, do you, put what you want first, meet the goals you set, and remember who you are; a beautiful soul who has so much to show the world!

A Lesson Learned from my Kidney Disease

My dad has told me this numerous times and yet it didn’t sink in until the last few years. It’s okay to have a bad day! This is one of the lessons I’ve truly learned throughout  this 5 year and counting trial. Have that bad day, just don’t unpack your bags and stay there; have your bad day and then move forward. Sleep all day, be moody, get cranky, spend time alone, take the day for yourself and push reset. It’s okay to sulk and throw a pity party and feel sorry for yourself. For a day, 1 single day. No more than that.

That’s right, bad days are normal and needed. You can’t appreciate the good days as much without the bad. We all have them, and yes it can be hard to get past them. For me bad days are a wake up call because there is something going on in my life that needs to change. Bad days pose the question “Why didn’t I wake up and choose to have a good day?” Bad days make me reflect and try to figure out what really has me down. Its called embracing the darkness so that I can more fully enjoy the light. I don’t necessarily want bad days, but I don’t hate having them, I’ve come to enjoy the solitude that they bring.

For those of you currently having a bad day, I promise it will pass. You will get through it and it definitely will not last forever. Sometimes it just takes someone else to tell you that because of the dark place you’re currently in. Bad days are all part of lifes’ journey, so when they come change into comfy clothes, turn on Netflix, and take a rest from your everyday life. You, beautiful soul, deserve to have a bad day on occasion, just remember not to be hard on yourself when it comes because it’s just a part of the journey.

Back to the Basics

Keep things simple:

  • Breath
  • Laugh
  • Smile
  • Give Thanks
  • Be Happy
  • Do you
  • Have Faith
  • Trust God
  • Love your family
  • Spend time with friends
  • Enjoy life

Don’t let life’s stress overwhelm you. I know its common, but can we break that cycle already?! Stress is so damaging!! I should say TOO much stress is damaging, because a bit of stress is good its what gets us out of our comfort zones and pushes us to grow and expand, but too much is unhealthy!

I need this reminder just as much as you, and like me I bet you can start to tell when there is too much stress even when you don’t feel it. Tight muscles, tired, grouchy, and little motivation because you have this immense weight upon your shoulders. Trust me I get it, I’ve been dealing with insurance authorizations or lack of for the last two weeks. I’m one of those people who does not have patience for waiting around for an answer, I want things figured out. That has been the most frustrating thing about having this Kidney Disease- The WAITING! Waiting for test results, waiting for appointments, waiting for insurance, waiting for answers. And you know what? God is probably trying to teach me patience but boy am I a slow learner! The waiting is stressful, but lucky for me I have amazing people in my life who remind me to keep things simple.

So, I guess in a nutshell that’s my lesson for you. Just don’t overdo it, enjoy life, remember the simple.