following your own path

If you’re trying to get to a certain destination in your car and you’re not paying attention, have no sense of direction, or you’re listening to the person in the passenger seat tell you where to go even though they have no idea what they’re talking about, you’re inevitably going to get lost. You’re going to end up taking wrong turns, finding dead ends, and you might get really frustrated and give up altogether.

If I’m being honest with myself, I don’t feel like I’ve followed my own path for the majority of my life. I’ve usually found myself being attracted to all the wrong people, seeking for answers and validation outside myself, and having no solid plan and wondering why I feel so lost, empty, and confused. I’ve sought out comfort and acceptance in negative places even though I knew deep down that I didn’t belong there. I tried and tried again to fit into this box of “normality”, whatever that may be. I kept finding myself in these situations where I felt defeated and I wondered why I just couldn’t attract the right people or feel truly happy for once. I realize now that it’s because I wasn’t even being true to myself.

Even though the Universe has showed me time and time again that alcohol just isn’t meant for me, God forbid I gave up something that was deemed so “normal” in society. Even though I know that I’m an emotional, sensitive, and caring person, I’ve tried hiding it and putting up a front since it’s not “cool” to have feelings and be transparent about how you feel anymore. I’ve ignored a lot of my real interests and hobbies because I was too worried about doing what everybody else was doing. It all sounds so silly to me now but it’s been my reality, and I know I’m not alone. A lot of people just don’t take the time to look in the mirror and check themselves to acknowledge what they’re going through. I often recognize similar qualities in other people even though they don’t recognize it in themselves.

It’s never been so evident to me how important it is to follow your own path and ignore everybody else’s. It sounds cliché and obvious but it’s one thing for someone to tell you something and one thing for you to come to terms with it on your own. Once you start going down your own true path, you find those who have paths that intertwine, and it’s natural and easy…you meet the people who are meant for you, and everything falls into place.

It’s been almost a year since I started this blog. One day, I felt like I had hit rock bottom. I didn’t know what else to do other than pray and ask for guidance on what to do next. I listened to a little voice who told me to just stop, surrender, and do what was right for me despite what anyone else thought or said. I knew that I’ve loved to write for as long as I can remember. I knew that I had a lot to say and regardless whether people liked what I had to say or not, maybe I could help or inspire someone else who knows what it’s like to feel lost and alone. I thought maybe if I could just help one other person, it would be worthwhile. And even if I couldn’t, at least I would be spending more time doing what I love to do.

I feel like everybody knows the right answer at the end of the day. We’re just stubborn creatures who don’t even want to listen to our own inner voice and we go about our daily lives instead, listening to what our ego says rather than what our soul wants for us.

 

rejoicing in your differences

When I read some of my old posts that I wrote when I first started this blog, all I could think was, “Wow…this girl that I’m talking about sounds like she pounds tequila bottles by herself every time she’s sad and wakes up in the morning with the shakes until she chugs a bottle of wine.” When in reality, I just used to go out frequently and do dumb things when I was drunk just like the next college idiot. I made mistakes and acted like a fool but jeez, I was a little tough on myself. I made myself sound so much worse than I really was just because I hold myself to this really high standard and want to achieve more and be better than the person next to me. I don’t do anything worse than the people I’ve been associated with for the past year. The only difference is that I acknowledge it, express it, and want to live up to my potential instead of living in a daze and repeating negative cycles.

Even my boss had to tell me the other day that I need to stop stressing so much. He told me that I’m doing better than most of the people he knows even though I’m always pushing myself thinking that I’m never doing enough. I’ve always been a perfectionist, yet that stems from the fact that I’m determined to achieve greatness. I never want to look back and think that there was something more I could’ve done. You might have no problem going out every night, blacking out all the time, hooking up with randoms left and right, spending your last dollar on a well Rum and Coke, and doing it all over again even though your life is essentially in shambles. I’ve decided that I’m not going to be that person. That’s my preference. I recognize my flaws and the areas of my life that I want to improve. Just because I talk about it, doesn’t mean that I have a problem and that the people who choose to live in ignorance and denial don’t.

But this time around, I’m going to give myself a little credit. Instead of focusing on my flaws, I’m going to focus on my accomplishments, my joys, my skills, my talents, my knowledge, and my ambition. I’m not going to mope around acting like I’m some helpless alcoholic when I’m just a girl who actually sees her potential and wants to live up to it instead of being like everybody else. I used to legitimately FEAR admitting to myself and others not that I’m not like everybody else. Now, I want to rejoice in it.

the cut off

If you want to see where you’re going in life, most likely you’re heading the same places that your friends are. So if you want to go in a different direction, sadly that means cutting off the people that aren’t doing anything to help you achieve your goals. Sometimes those people are actually the ones who are actively holding you back whether they realize it or not.

I hold on to the people I love with dear life. Some could say I cling too hard for all the wrong reasons. If I ever loved you or cared about you, I will fight to keep you in my life even if I’ve gotten every sign to let go. With that being said, there have been times where it’s gotten to the last straw and I’ve felt like I had no other choice. It’s like shedding dead layers of skin to become a brand new you.

So, how do you “break up” with a toxic friend? I wish I could offer the perfect right answer. All I can say is to not be afraid to do it. Don’t be afraid to end a relationship, romantic or not, that is keeping you from living up to your potential. I remember very specifically how different I felt when I stopped talking to a toxic significant other for a while. I felt like suddenly a whole space in my brain was freed up to occupy something new. I started spending my time more wisely doing the things I cared about and focusing on myself rather than focusing on pleasing somebody else or worrying about them, etc.

If anyone knows about being too afraid to leave your comfort zone, it’s me. My comfort zone is like my protective shell where I feel safe and content. It’s predictable and easy to live there. But you’re not growing if you’re not uncomfortable. Two years ago, I had to break up with my boyfriend who I was extremely comfortable with but that was about the only reason we were together. Just imagining us breaking up scared me to death because I revolved my whole world around that person so I knew my whole world would change. Once it finally did happen, my whole world undoubtedly did change but the outcome was amazing. Now, dropping people who have served their time in my life isn’t scary or daunting. I find it exciting. God doesn’t replace anything unless he’s going to replace it with something better. That’s a fact.

Hold your dear friends as close as you possibly can. Cherish them and realize good friends that motivate you and are there for you no matter what are a dime in a dozen. But those not good friends…don’t let them waste a second of your time any longer. There’s no need to have a huge fall-out filled with drama and tears. Simply start distancing yourself from people who hinder your growth and watch your life blossom.

Toxic-People-by-J-Clement-Wall

Thank you Judy Clement Hall for this infographic. She is an amazing artist and writer who inspires me to put the good word out there and be a “love warrior”. Check her out!

feeling the “shift”

There comes a time in every young adult’s life when they have to transition from a helpless, naive, carefree child to a responsible, conscious, and decisive adult. I used to (and for the record, this was not very long ago) DREAD the time when I actually had to use my noggin and not do all the things I want to do until I take care of all the things that I need to do. Paying bills, saying “no” to a good time, and thinking about the long-term results of your in-the-moment decisions. Sounds pretty boring, right? Truthfully, it’s the best transition you’ll ever make in your life. I used to think drama, problems, and chaos were going to follow me wherever I went. I was that whiny little girl saying, “But why meee?” when things were spiraling downward in my life. Then a lightbulb popped up above my head. There’s one person who is in control of my life and what happens to me…it’s not my friends, it’s not my parents, it’s not my significant other, it’s not my “bad luck”. It’s me.

The point that I’m trying to make here is a motivational one. If you think your life isn’t where you want it to be and if you think you’re stuck in a rut you can’t get out of, that isn’t true. You just don’t want to face two important facts about digging yourself out of your despair:

  1. It’s not going to happen overnight.
  2. It’s not going to be easy.

We live in a world where information is at our fingertips. There’s a GPS for that, there’s an app for that, there’s a prescription for that, etc. But I hate to break it to you. There are some things that even a robot or modern medicine can’t do for you. My dad and I both had a funny realization about ADD. Him and I have very similar problems with focusing, attention, and organization, yet we come from two different generations. He says he couldn’t even afford to think he had ADD as a kid, he just had to get shit done. He found healthy coping mechanisms, he forced himself to do things even though they were hard, and he didn’t give up. Nowadays, we look for shortcuts to solve our problems instead of doing the work to fix them ourselves. But there seems to be a similar outcome to using these shortcuts: The solution is only temporary.

I did the counseling. I got the prescription. I thought a pill was going to make me superwoman. Until I realized that there wasn’t much of a difference after a while. Another light bulb moment for me was when I stopped taking my ADD medication and I made the conscious effort to use calendars, to-do lists, getting into a healthy routine, and forcing myself to study with the help of pure willpower instead of the help of a quick fix. I thrived. I feel amazing. I have confidence in my own power which is something I never had before.

Don’t let the times we live in now get you down. Life has always been hard, life has always been scary, and the media has always sucked. Studying “The History of American Journalism” over the summer made me realize that the media has always done its absolute best to be sensational, dramatic, and do anything it can to create buzz or serve an agenda since the 1700’s. As a journalist, I’m telling you right now that most of the “news” is complete bullshit. Especially on the Internet. If Donald Trump is going to get any credit for anything, it’s starting the conversation about the fact that the media is biased and serves a specific agenda 95% of the time. Most of the news is also fear-based and purposely trying to scare you to always make you think that the world is going to shit. Life is all about perspective. Choose to focus on the good and the world will look good, focus on the bad and the world will look bad.

Even though I’m kind of all over the place with this post, the biggest takeaway is that you can’t control all the things going on around you. The only thing you can control is yourself. Don’t be afraid to make that “shift” from letting life take control of you to taking control of your own life. Cut off toxic people, sit down and make a plan towards how to accomplish your dreams and goals, and stop putting your potential on the back burner. Visualize who your best self would be and take baby steps every day until one day you look back, maybe even a year later, and realize it was all worth it. I’m going to share this video that I’ve watched almost 20 times already just because it has such a great message. It sums up basically everything I said about how making positive changes doesn’t happen overnight. Plus, it’s entertaining and funny so you won’t be bored, I promise. 🙂

LAST POINT I’M GOING TO MAKE: There will be people in your life that you’re going to have to distance yourself from when you’re becoming the person you want to be. They’re going to see you going places and resent you because they don’t have it in them to do the same. Ignore those people. Make moves in silence and kill it behind the scenes while they’re still making the same mistakes and feeling bad for themselves.