Untangle Yourself

Image

divine

 

I never really understood the extent and significance to this statement. Once you learn to relax and let loose the massive grasp of control you have on every detail in your life, the more likely the Universe will be able to intervene more impressively. I have always struggled with anxiety and depression and the one thing that has become my safety net is my attempt to control everything around me –because in my eyes, this is how I can become less anxious, and less fearful of what may happen –I “know” what will happen, because I’m “in control of it!” Right? No, fortunately this is not the case in life. Yes I may feel “safe” and “guarded” due to my safety precautions, but in reality, I am not letting myself live my life –I am forcefully controlling and steering, and that’s truly not the point. This leads to anxiety, frustrations, and negativity. We are meant to be steered and guided by a greater force –in whatever you believe, the Universe helps and aids you in every aspect of your life. Once you open up, and let yourself be helped, your world opens up to these extraordinary possibilities.
Over the past year I have been trying to go back to school. I only need a few more classes before I am able to transfer to a 4 year. Because of my domineering attitude in my decision making, one obstacle kept springing up after another. “I need it THIS way, not THAT way. I CAN’T do it that way, I don’t WANT to do it that way.” Because of this, I became increasingly frustrated, and was very close to giving up. I took a break from my endeavor and unceremoniously came back to it recently. It just so happened that the day that I tried to sign in to apply again, my old password came to me, and some way or another, I signed up exactly a week before classes started –not only that, but the one class that I needed in order to transfer had a few spots still open and it fit into my schedule right after work. There are honestly no words to express how extraordinary and amazing the Universe is… how things come to you, how things just fall into place at exactly the right moment. All you have to do is learn to relax and let go and really absorb and understand exactly what that means. <3 

Don’t Over-Complicate Life

Image

grateful

Definitely had to be reminded of this today. I’ve been super frustrated with work lately and I realized that it really doesn’t need to be like that-I’m only reacting that way. So I stop myself, breathe, and figure out what I can do to make the situation better -put music on, change my methods, and recognize that these little irritations don’t matter as much as the big picture. I am so grateful for the life that I have. That I’m here and that I’m ME-everything that I’ve done in my life, the steps, the words, the directions I’ve taken, it’s all led me to this point now and I’ve affected everyone that I’ve come into contact with. We are all more meaningful and influential than we give ourselves credit for. I’m thankful for kissing all of the frogs in the past and being found by someone that makes me realize that all of those terrible dates, and boyfriends, and searching, and frustrations may have only led me here for an amazing reason… We live in this absolutely beautiful and stunning place and whenever you walk outside into the sunlight, let it awaken your gratefulness for all that you have, all that you will receive and all that is yet to come. ♡ 

The Stars Within

She stepped barefoot through the wet grass,

Green flecks sticking to her toes.

The wind pushed back her hair like invisible fingers,

Tracing the outline of her features.

She held a cross-body bag close to her hip,

Her hand clinging to the top zipper,

Fearful that its’ precious contents would spill out.

She gently undid the top of the bag,

Wedged her hand inside and grasped a small book.

It was drenched in stardust,

Trickling onto the ground and her skirt; sticking to her palms,

There was a trail of wet, dewy stars trailing behind her.

She carried a tiny, infinite universe within her bag,

It held endless possibilities and it was up to her to dream and create them.

She wrote and drew all of her wishes, hopes, and desires in her star-kissed book.

Every time she did, she created more stars, nebulas, and everlasting life and light.

Anything and everything she wanted,

All she had to do was visualize and she instantly created it.

 

She was grateful for her gifts and abilities,

However, there was a loneliness inside her heart,

She yearned for someone extraordinary to share her creations with.

She began to write down all of the qualities she would like in another,

She was detailed in her wishes and a small nebula started to form.

It was tucked away in the corner of her universe, between two planets.

She waited patiently but the nebula did not expand as quickly as others had before,

It seemed suspended in its’ growing state.

She continued on, designing more and more of her unbounded universe,

And soon she put the beautiful, odd nebula out of her starry head.

 

With every dream and star she created,

Another piece of her was unmasked,

Gathered from the lush and vaporous universe.

Soon, her whole heart was revealed as she gazed at her cosmos, satisfied with her innovations.

In the corner of her eye, the unusual nebula began to spread out,

Clouds of colors and light start to form until an immense orb of light shoots out into the vastness.

She shields her eyes.

When she regains her vision, the nebula is gone.

All that remains is the night sky and stars in the distance.

 

Perplexed by the strange occurrence, she scoops up her bag and continues walking.

Tiny droplets start to fall from the clouds up above,

Beads cling to her cheeks and eyelashes as she starts to jog out of the rain.

Puddles form on the ground and she realizes that they are full of stardust.

She looks up at the clouds and they emulate the nebula mist she saw in her universe.

 

She sees something up ahead through the starry haze and her breath is taken away.

On the path, there’s a bright figure of glimmering fog floating in her direction,

As the silhouette glides closer, she senses a sparkling energy in the air, pulsing from the tiny, electrifying cloud.

Distance starts to close in and a feeling of familiarity and intimacy rush and warm through her heart, radiating outwards.

Her legs pull towards the cloud like a magnet,

As she approaches, reaching her fingers out, the mist envelops her in its’ stunning, warm light.

It seeps into her skin, flowing through her body, filling and saturating her.

All at once, she feels full, whole and light as an angel’s feather.

Her eyes are shimmering more than ever before.

She is the most brilliant and radiant star in her sky.

She is complete –filled with all of the love she has given to every starry fragment.

She is her ultimate creation; she is her universe.

 

stone_shaped_heart_by_CatchMe_22 - Copy copy

 

I’ve been working on this short story for a few weeks now. I kept going back to it, changing and revising it because I never felt like it was complete. In the beginning, I had planned to have her meet the love of her life in the ending but it just didn’t feel right after it was all laid out on paper –something was off. It seemed like one of those Disney fairytales where the princess cannot be truly happy or whole until the prince comes to rescue her. In my feminist habits, this is absolutely furthest from the message that I wanted to convey.

However, writing this has been a journey all on its’ own for my own realization that the only true love that you should be looking for is the one with yourself. You know in your heart that you deserve more than the relationships that you’ve had in the past, so why don’t you act with that purpose? Knowing is one thing but acting with that knowledge is true wisdom.

You can only find your better whole when you’ve created yourself first. That’s one of the major lessons of life –we’re uncovering so many different pieces of ourselves along the way. Sometimes our path gets shrouded with missteps and we end up following our emotions rather than what our heart is really trying to tell us. I feel it’s rather simple but we overcomplicate it so much that we lose the true meaning of life and of love.

Create yourself and I don’t mean in the way that you need to make up who you are. You already are who you are –give as much love as you can to every piece of yourself; you’ll unfold and blossom. Use that passion to build yourself up, never tear yourself down; learn what works and what doesn’t; take time to heal when another’s actions harm you –your scars are lessons that make you resilient. But truly, once you find that passion within, it’s like you unveil all of the parts of yourself that you never realized were there. Your own creativity and your love will move the mountains that you place in your own way. And once you fully act with love, there’s no reason for your true self to be covered up anymore. And maybe that’s when you’ll find someone that sees that beauty and loves every piece of you.

 

The Only Exception

I always make it a point to write from my heart on all of my topics; however I prefer to keep my personal romantic endeavors quite vague and inexplicit. This article will be an exception to that.

I’ve come to a point in the last few months that I was considering deleting my online dating account. Honestly, trying to filter out who’s actually genuine and real is draining and exhausting. It had made me despondent and I started believing that there really are no gentlemen left –only lost boys disguised as them.

In my experience over the last four months, I have come across only one noteworthy man. Let’s call him Gary for anonymity’s sake.

Gary seemed very put together –he was handsome and witty; he was working on his MBA, had traveled all over the world, and had studied abroad in different countries for school and for work. For all intents and purposes, he actually had his life and future together which was quite refreshing. Frankly, I was intimidated –he was intelligent, articulate, but for some reason, it was hard to ascertain his attraction towards me. I had honestly never met anyone like him before; he made me flustered. However, his conversations with me came off as ostentatious and hard-hitting. This gave me the impression that he thought I should inform myself more on social issues –which is not entirely false, but there’s a gentler and cordial approach that could have been used. I responded with silence and felt stifled. Despite my instincts telling me we were absolutely wrong for one another, I continued our puzzling friendship and intimate involvement; mostly out of boredom and curiosity. I wondered if he would ever open up and really share himself with me; but I took it for what it was and concluded that he did not want anything more than our current arrangement.

A little over three months went by and we had a routine that we would hang out every weekend; I would sleepover and quickly and quietly leave in the morning. I had never been in a situation like that before so not having those definite borders within an established relationship was new to me. And although this different approach was thrilling and exciting; in retrospect, I was settling for comfort and fun over my well-deserved butterflies, romance, and passion. He never made me feel that he wanted to be amorous with me and it was my fault for continuing on, letting him believe that I was content with it. Again, another self-respect lesson. Why settle and spend time with someone you know you have no future with? You’re only postponing for when the right one will come along.

I sent him a message explaining how we weren’t perfect for one another, how our fling had obviously fizzled out, and just being respectful of our friendship and our time together –because in all honesty, I did really enjoy his company –he is a very distinctive and clever guy. I was basically giving him an out if he wanted it –testing the waters to see if I should just move on or not.

Now I’m not going to go into detail about the events that transpired afterwards. As much as I am hurt and saddened to not have him in my life any longer, I am not the type of woman to rant to the online world about the specific wrongdoings of another. When two people are not right together, no matter how much you care, it just won’t work out. And he made it clear that he truly had no idea what he wanted –and it definitely was not me.

The Universe pushes us in the right direction all the time –especially when we’re off track. If we don’t make our move and sit in the wrong place for too long, we get burned by our inactions. Settling for something not meant for you is being indecisive and you’re only hurting yourself. You become too afraid to make a choice to walk away. And truthfully, I was afraid to walk away –as casual as it was. Closing the door to a situation is always frightening because it’s hard to see yourself without them or having things be different.

This circumstance has positively changed my perspective and opened my eyes. Of course there were a lot of other interactions with different guys and possibilities, but none of them are worth mentioning. I truly know what I want in the man I give my heart to –whether he’s online, already in my life now, or I meet him someday. Settling for anything less than what I want is unacceptable. Being “casual” with someone is completely overrated and absolutely beyond complicated. Adding sex into the mix of an already confusing situation made me feel attached to someone I really didn’t feel a strong connection to in the first place. I need to be clear-cut and honest about my feelings with someone and I want that fully reciprocated. I don’t deserve being tossed back and forth because someone doesn’t know what they want. I want someone that knows exactly what he wants and isn’t afraid to express that and go after it. I want to be chased, I want to be pursued, I want to be won over by someone. I want romance and I want to be treated like he believes I’m the most incredible woman in the world. Because at this point, I’m aware of how easily I open up my heart to people and that’s really not being fair to myself. How can I let someone fight for my heart if I just openly give it to them initially?

So whether I meet someone online again, he’s already in my life, or I haven’t met him yet –he’s got to pull down the stars from the heavens if he truly wants me and my love entirely.

DSCN1622

Unacceptable

His words cut through me like a knife,

“I’m looking for someone I could potentially get married to. Anything less…you and I…this is just not acceptable to me anymore.”

And I knew we weren’t right for one another –we were far from good together. I didn’t feel the sparks, I didn’t feel that warmth rush through me when he looked at me or when he said my name –there was no romance –I felt none of that.

And for me, that was unacceptable because I want the butterflies, and I deserve the passion and the love from someone that takes my breath away. All I felt from him was comfort –like the arms of an old sitting chair –you know it smells musty but it’s so comfortable and worn in that you don’t want to move. And now that that contentment was gone, I was angry; angry that I wasn’t the one to say it first. It wasn’t fair to either one of us. We both deserved more…

The Universe pushes us in the right directions all the time –especially when we’re off track. If we don’t make our move and sit in the wrong place for too long, we get burned by our inactions. You have to keep moving, you have to be proactive in your decisions.

No one can ever make you feel a certain way without your permission. Yes, they can make you happy, yes, they can break you down and hurt you; but until you realize that you are the final say in the matter, anyone can affect you however they want. You are the only one in control of your own life; so you have to take charge of your own happiness -it’s a chosen perspective. Do not settle for what is not right for you. Surround yourself with those that would bring down the stars for you.

stars

Moving Past the Haze

            You meet someone and you’re instantly attracted. Your physical and emotional magnetism is electrifying. Your lips touch and you begin to feel that lovey-dovey haze trickle down, obscuring your vision. Your hands embrace each other and you feel that rush from your inner hormone cocktail mixed with: dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and oxytocin; which stimulate your crazy, love-induced behavior.[1] The mixture of emotions effervesce when you hear their voice. Temporary insanity arises when you await their call or text.

            We’ve all experienced the beginning of love when it takes over our being. Our judgment and decision-making is skewed and all we contemplate or desire is to be with this other person. Yet every so often, this screen that is formed becomes so rigid and firm that this lovely cloudiness does not fade away easily. This may not happen to everyone but when emotions run high, situations can become more complicated than they should be. This hazy vision begins to confuse your judgment of this person and you look past their undesirable traits and behavior. It’s as if this passion has high-jacked your brain and you’re only able to notice their enjoyable and pleasing characteristics. After becoming sexually involved with your love interest, it only goes downhill from there –the hormones that are stirred up after sex only increase your love and attachment ten-fold. These fuzzy feelings are fantastic –at first; but they can cause you to only see minor parts of a person. So how do you clean off this filmy condensation of love and see this person for who they really are?

            I’ve been in unhealthy relationships that have lasted way past their expiration date. Yet even in retrospect I am unsure of the reason that I stuck around. Last year I was in a relationship that was detrimental to my wellbeing. It was an incredibly, emotionally abusive involvement and I became numb and oblivious. I felt like my head was in a cloud and that I could not see the relationship or him objectively. I did not feel like myself and I continually felt off. I was determined to clear my mind so I began to reflect on myself and the relationship in its entirety. Personally, I look at the potential of a person –the good in them regardless of their bad choices and actions. I realized that his over-protective and manipulative behavior was coming from a very insecure place within himself –this had nothing to do with me. I looked past what I loved about him and the good times that we had shared and saw the situation for what it truly was –unhealthy. Training yourself to have a fluid perspective is a beneficial way to see past your emotions. Emotions are meant to aid you in your decision process yet sometimes it’s hard to look past these intense feelings.

            This type of overwhelming passion is represented in various media varieties. For example, the Bachelor television show airs a competition of twenty-five women contesting to win the heart and a marriage proposal of the main love interest. In my opinion, this show is degrading and belittling towards both sexes. The program nationally broadcasts open ‘relationships;’ aggressive hostility and competition for the attention and love of a man that is fawned over mainly for his physical appearance and sexual potential.

            Due to the excessive media exposure of this past Bachelor season with Juan Pablo, I decided to catch a few episodes –mainly for the strong and independent women that confronted the sexist and disrespectful Bachelor. It was interesting to see how this superficial love affected a lot of the women on the show; and what was more fascinating was seeing them snap out of it when they realized who he truly was.

            Juan Pablo is nothing more than a handsome face that turned out to be extremely rude while utilizing the excuse of being honest. He slut-shamed his pursuers, only spoke of himself, and for the sake of being ‘truthful,’ was not genuine with his feelings towards any of the contestants; especially the last remaining women. Nonetheless, it was apparent how strongly, Nikki, the woman that he chose, was under the spell of this love haze. She stayed with him regardless of being disgraced after he stated on the last episode, “I’m not 100% sure I want to marry you, but I’m 100% sure I do not want to lose you.” You could see the disappointment in her eyes and how much she was holding back her hurt feelings whenever he spoke to her. But why did she continue to stay considering her unrequited love? Whether this performance is staged or not, this represents what so many people experience in dating and relationships –inability to separate strong emotion from our perspective.

            Emotion is defined as: “a subjective, conscious experience characterized primarily by psychophysiological expressions, biological reactions, and mental states; it is often associated and considered reciprocally influential with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and motivation.”[2] Emotions are evolutionarily meant to aid you in decision making to keep you alive and carry on the species.[3] However, I feel that over the centuries, our culture has embraced our emotions more tightly than to our basic gut instincts.

            Learning to consider your emotions and feelings with a grain of salt is difficult but not impossible. In some cases, you may feel overwhelmed by your feelings about certain people or situations –this makes it difficult to assess and make wise, healthy decisions. In order to attempt to move past the hormone-stimulated, “honeymoon” feelings, contemplate on the following ideas:

Self-Reflection: Take a step back from the situation. Choose a few days to be on your own. Reflect within how you feel about yourself and your circumstances. Regaining your perspective is key in seeing something or someone objectively. Also, being solely by yourself helps reclaim your own personal perspective –when we are with others, we tend to veer our perception to match those around us.

Self-Awareness: Consider all of your feelings, not just the ones that make you feel good. Have you been ignoring some of your thoughts? Did your love interest say something that made you cringe? How often does this happen? Assess how you feel in every situation. Are you more comfortable by yourselves than with your friends or in public? Is there a reason for this? Do they ever make you feel bad? Are you feeling manipulated? Contemplate your initial responses. Trust your gut instinct!

Objectivity: Be aware of yourself in every situation. Do you notice your emotions overriding your decision process? Do you put this person ahead of yourself? Increasing your self-awareness aids you in becoming objective about the situation and people. You have allowed yourself to step back; you are not as emotionally attached to the situation so you are neutral and less biased. Now look at the person and the circumstance without all of the intricate emotions laced into it. You’re able to see things more clearly and your awareness and instincts will guide you. (Wake up your inner wolf! Haha..)

Communication: It is always best to communicate your feelings. However, use your best judgment in expressing yourself. Specifically word your conversation as to not put the other person on the defensive. Try: “I FEEL like this WHEN YOU…” Focus on how they react and handle your interaction. Do they openly listen and respect you? Do they become defensive? Can these issues be resolved? Will change occur? Keep in mind that people do not change entirely, so if there is a trait that bothers you about this person, really stop and think if you can get past it.

            These steps help guide you to utilize your emotions in your decision making and to increase objectivity within your perspective. Emotions are there to help, not to overwhelm you. No matter how intensely wonderful you feel, your emotions can overshadow your true insight. Regain control over your brain! Just because you feel a certain way, does not make it true. Become aware of yourself and those around you and listen to what your heart tells you. Regardless of how your situations work out, you will always gain an experience, a lesson, and a story to share. Absorb as much as you can from the world around you and be mindful of your instincts. Wake up the inner YOU!

[1]http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/hottopics/love/

[2] “Theories of Emotion”. Psychology.about.com. 2013-09-13. Retrieved 2013-11-11.

[3] Monique’s well educated brain. :)

 

Image( http://www.mymodernmet.com/photo/2100445:Photo:410229 )

 

How Your Outlook on Life Helps You Realize Who You Are

There is a saying from Stoic ancient philosophy, “There is no good or bad, there is only perception. ” I feel that this statement can be accurate when describing different outlooks. Life happens all around us and despite our convictions, it does not stop or slow down. So how do we preserve our character? –we change our perspective. It is our choice whether to look at life positively or negatively and once we choose, that is what we seek.

In high school, I was a predictable moody teenager; yet depression and anxiety became an ever-growing setback. Unfortunately, depression runs in my family so that gloominess stuck around me for quite a few years. It was hard to shake off but there was a succession of days and weeks where my outlook slowly started to transform. I began to reflect being negative and despondent was absolutely exhausting and pointless. Picking out the bad only brought upon more negative because I was searching for it –I was familiar with it. Our minds are endlessly fluctuating by means of our environment, the people around us, and most of all, our attitude. Human beings are an amazing species because we alone can change our viewpoint on the world. We can choose whether to be ignorant, informed, optimistic, or pessimistic. We can decide to look at things in a certain hue –once this occurs, we start to seek out this color in everything we experience.

Being positive definitely does not mean that you are happy and carefree one-hundred percent of the time. Having a positive outlook means that you are able to look for the good in everything that you see and experience –it means that you perceive things differently. In every day that passes, you prefer to explore the good even when depraved things occur. Like attracts like. Those that inflict pain and hurt in others are only breaking themselves apart. You cannot expect good things to come into your life if you do not first create good and positive feelings in yourself and in those around you.

Being positive leaves you with more of an open mind and you tend to make clearer choices. You are able to let go of the strong emotions that are connected to certain situations and can view it objectively. You see a path cut out for you and can perceive your future fearlessly. Your anxieties and nagging fears stray away because you know that everything has a purpose. Your self-esteem and confidence are ignited. You feel as if you can do anything -you are limitless. You find that there is no point to regret or be depressed about what has already been. Being anxious about the future is useless. When you are living in the moment, you are truly at peace. Of course you can have bad moods and feel melancholy at times, but the difference is that you know that this passes.

Do you continually have problems with that unpleasant voice in your head? –stop and tell yourself something positive. For every negative thought passing through:

“You’re fat,” “Why would you do that!?” “You’re not good enough”;

tell yourself something positive that you love:

“Being fit doesn’t happen overnight -I’m working on it,” “I can’t change what already happened so I’m moving on and I can only go up from here,” “I will always be great and enough! I am ME and there is no one in the world exactly like me”

This is a lifestyle change and an improvement that I myself strive to work on daily. You have to make an effort to retain positivity. Instead of saying “I have to,” to something that’s not favorable (I.e. chores, homework, work, etc.), start saying to yourself “I get to,” and it will slowly change the way you think about it. Remember, not everyone has the life that you do so be grateful for yourself.

Being positive shouldn’t be looked at as a chore –it’s a standard of living and it gets easier to acclimate yourself so that it comes as second nature. It becomes simpler to let go of things that do not better you. This makes you realize your goals and how to pursue them and gives you the ability to let go of your fears regarding them. You become more accepting of criticism because you know that you can always do better.

Some people have approached me telling me that because of my bubbly and optimistic outlook on life, I am therefore naïve and have “obviously not had hardship in my life.” Quite ignorantly said and furthest from the truth. Every one of us goes through our own journey –we should never compare ourselves in regards to our path in life –there is NO COMPARISON. It is absolutely silly to assess because we are all so different and we are meant to learn various lessons. The reason that I am this way is because I’ve embraced who I truly am. I look for the good in life because I believe that that is what I am meant to search for. When you are going through hardship, it is easier to accept when you look at all of the beauty around you. Sometimes not everyone can see or be aware of it so they need someone to point it out to them. And, yes, of course there is death and suffering in the world, but as with everything, there is balance. Once you get through the tough times, you become so much more grateful for the good in your life.

DSCN1616

Let light in and out

Image

Let light in and out

11 Ways to Become a Resilient and Great Friend

Friendship is different for everyone. The qualities and ideals that we look for in others may depend on how much we value and respect ourselves, our family, our education, and so on. I’ve narrowed it down to eleven concepts I believe are most important in being a resilient and great friend:

1.       Learn to love yourself.

If you’ve been reading my blog thus far, you have heard me say before that all of your relationships stem from the one that you have with yourself. If you love and respect yourself, you know how to love and respect others equally. Before you can be a good friend to someone else, you have to be your own best friend first. Self-love improves and forms the love that we are able to have for others. This process really does begin within and if you cannot acquire love for yourself, it’s not possible to love another from a positive and sincere place. First and foremost, if you want to be a good friend, you need to have an authentic and confident state of well-being.

2.       Listen.

In order to be a good friend, you have to be an excellent listener. Be authentic and actually listen to what another is saying. There is a difference between someone being there and hearing what you say and when someone actually pays attention and focuses on you.

Don’t interrupt. You may want to share something but wait until the appropriate moment to chime in –no one can stand being spoken over. You’d be surprised with how many people don’t realize this.

Put down your cellphone and put your full awareness on the conversation. I’ve been trying to work on this when I’m with friends –I give myself a no phone rule –keep it in your purse or pocket until you’ve left. This shows that you care more about the person in front of you than the Internet or someone that is not present. Give full attention and awareness –it shows how much you value them.

3.       Speak from the heart.

Being true and upfront about your feelings is so important. I’ve found that by just being honest with those in your life, it is less stressful than tiptoeing around and being careful not to offend anyone. Why would you want to be friends with anyone that isn’t being one-hundred percent truthful with you? It’s a lot of wasted time and energy when you’re not being straightforward. Did your friend say or do something that upset you or made you really happy? Tell them and don’t be afraid to express yourself –that’s what friends are for! There is also a way to be direct that is both respectful and does not come off as callous –be wary of how your audience is reacting. If they’re starting to get defensive, probably a good idea to be a bit gentler in your approach –not everyone is used to others being so forthright.

Give genuine advice. Are you not a fan of your friend’s most recent conquest? Is your friend being unreasonable about something? Do you feel they were in the wrong in a situation? Be direct and supportive with your advice. If you are asking for advice, chances are you want the truth; so be sincere and speak from the heart. Sincerity attracts the like.

4.       Be supportive.

You do not always have to hang out or see someone in person to be supportive –instead, you can encourage your friends emotionally. Especially with various outlets of communication, you can always make time to be a reassuring friend. Being supportive can have various meanings, but to me it is to be a good listener and be dependable. This can be done in different ways depending on who you are as a person. I’m definitely not the type of person that is able to stop whatever I’m doing to visit a friend in need –I’m in my late twenties and that’s just not feasible any longer. However, if one of my friends needs to vent or needs advice, I am always willing to take a few minutes to be there for them. Take a step back, be empathetic, be aware of what your friend needs, and follow your instincts.

5.       Be conscientious.

Nothing is worse than having a friend that doesn’t understand boundaries. This just goes back to the fundamental basics of human contact. Just because you are close to someone, does not mean that limitations and etiquette no longer exist. Be polite! Speak with your friends, do not talk at them. Share time speaking and ask questions –a conversation is never one sided. No one wants to hear your voice the whole time they are with you.

Respectfully ask when someone would like to hang out and if they are available –do not tell them or be insistent. Feel the water and be aware of what type of person your friend is and respect who they are –you may not agree with everything, but that’s okay. The older that you get, the less free time we have; so treasure and value the time you get to spend together and take what you can get.  There are some friends that I only get to see once in a blue moon, but I appreciate every moment spent with them.

6.       Build trust.

Trust is the rich, lush soil for any relationship –it needs a solid foundation for it to grow. If you rely on someone, you feel safe and comfortable with them. In order for any secrets to be shared or any fondness to develop, a sense of security must be put in place. You’re not going to want to be around someone that makes you feel uncomfortable. Building confidence in others is effortless by listening and being respectful. If you’re loyal, keep secrets, and mutually share, you’re in the process of building trust. Just be yourself and the more natural you feel, the better the communication will be!

7.       Remember birthdays and special dates.

When certain people remembered my birthday (outside of Facebook) last week, I was ecstatic. I’m pretty big on birthdays, but even if you’re not, having someone acknowledge the day you came into the world feels pretty fantastic. You don’t have to be Leslie Knope (from Parks and Recs) and celebrate the first time you shared waffles together, but just be mindful and attentive to the important moments in your friend’s lives –they will appreciate you more for it.

8.       Be respectful.

Everyone is not going to think or believe the same way that you do. It’s okay for others to have different beliefs and differences in opinion. It is possible to be friends and care for someone that has opposite views. I have had a friend for fourteen years and he and I could not be more different in politics, religion, and everything in between. He is still one of my very best friends and just because I do not agree with him on everything, does not mean I do not respect his outlook. To be fair, the opinions that we feel strongly about we normally avoid the subject completely because we both know that we will fight till the death on them. Just be considerate and respectful of those around you and never try and change who they are. You can disagree fully while still accepting who your friend is as a person.

9.       Forgive.

You don’t necessarily have to forget, but you must always forgive. Never hold grudges. I’ve realized that forgiveness can be fussy and you really have no control over it. The way to forgive is for your love for another person or yourself to overlap the anger or hurt. It’s easier said than done and it definitely does not happen overnight. Though, the more thought and intent you put into forgiving rather than holding onto anger and hurt, the simpler it becomes. Holding a grudge is like putting a huge boulder in the way of your path –it’s just blocking your way and it doesn’t let you move past until you break it apart and walk over it. I wouldn’t say that you should forget –learn your lesson about why something that someone said or did made you upset and discover that about yourself. You and your relationships can become deeper because of it.

10.   Laugh.

There is nothing more important than laughter. Laughter can form friendships, mend fences, and strengthen love. Make sure to laugh and have fun with one another. If you can joke and tease and not sweat the small stuff, you can always get through the challenging moments. Always remember to smile and in turn, make those around you glow as well.

11.   Share your life.

The whole purpose of friendship is to have someone to share your thoughts, your dreams, and your fears with. So ultimately, you have to find somebody that you have a natural connection with. Personally, I have a lot of acquaintances but for me to actually open up to someone, you have to be an extremely special person. As you share your dreams, goals, and viewpoints, your friendship grows richer and more rewarding because you cheer each other on and encourage each other’s growth. It’s wonderful having these friends that support you all the way. If I didn’t reveal a special part of me, we wouldn’t be such great friends. So share a part of yourself with another –more often than not, you will be accepted unquestionably and loved all the more for it.

All of these ideas are interconnected –they usually go hand in hand with one another in any relationship. Be genuinely yourself and the rest comes naturally. Friendship is similar to a puzzle –the more pieces of yourself that you share, the more pieces you get in return, and when you step back after years of creating, you realize it’s become this beautiful masterpiece that you share with another like-minded individual –and you cannot get anything better than that.Image

28

Usually around my birthday, I like to sit back and reflect on what I’ve learned over the last year and how I am so blessed to be where I am presently. Honestly it has been a whirlwind of tears, smiles, and the most demanding lessons I’ve had in recent years. All the while, I’ve really discovered who I am and what I am passionate about.

Life definitely threw some curve balls at me and I had my ups as well as my downs. The daunting occurrences are usually the most abundant in regards to lessons. Last year I was in a relationship that was awful to my wellbeing. It was an incredibly emotionally abusive involvement that constantly depleted me. For some reason, the way that I was being treated had completely subdued my strength –especially my voice. I had lost myself entirely. I am unsure how I let someone do this to me –maybe it was his sweet words or his promises to love and protect me. Yet this protectiveness was coming from a very manipulative, and insecure place within himself –this had nothing to do with me. Once I realized this, it’s like the sun shined down through the haze, and it opened up my eyes as to what the reality of the situation was and we ended it. Shortly thereafter he reached out to me and we started regaining contact again. I had found my voice and I was not going to be subdued again. Consequently, I severed all ties with him and learned to walk away. He was a boy with a lot of potential but he was lost and blind, and because of this, he could not accept my love. Love really does begin within and if you cannot acquire love for yourself, it’s not possible to love another from a positive and sincere place. He loved from a place of fear and confusion. We all have to learn the differences in the ways that others care for one another –when we find the right person, that love will grow genuinely.

Walking through life, we have to be aware of all of the signs that the universe is gently pushing into our path. Sometimes, it’s figuratively neon signs saying, “This way Monique! Monique! Over here!!” with huge arrows and flashing lights and parade music. Ignoring these signs results in the universe getting really annoyed with you and it plans to take it out on you in a passive aggressive way. Trust me –learn your lessons the first time around. You really do not want to have life smack you in the face again and again trying to get a point across. It is NOT fun.

I had multiple opportunities and chances to leave my place of work last year. It had become a toxic environment from all sides and I felt like I was not going anywhere –and I really wasn’t. Life was trying to push me out, but I was being stubborn and wanted to stay. I was very comfortable, excelled at my job, and had mastered exactly what to say and do. Sometimes, life needs to challenge you in ways that may be uncomfortable at first, but it really is better for you in the long haul. We are human and are instinctively attracted to experiences that we feel most comfortable with. Yet, the juiciest pieces of life are when you get out of your comfort zone and you are put on edge and it’s difficult. Follow your path in life gently, be aware of yourself, and you will realize how much the universe is trying to tell you. Life has a plan for you, and when you steer off into uncharted territory because it feels comfortable, life is going to punch you in the face with a huge wake up call. Just listen and it will get easier.

I have experienced and learned so much about myself while being 27 years old. I have realized that my voice that I had uncovered again is really rather strong and resilient. I would not know this about myself had it not been for the painful and heart-wrenching encounters I endured. When everything seems dark and awful, just remember that without going through this, you cannot truly appreciate the good. I’d truthfully rather be hurt than to stay closed up and never experience anything at all. Besides, if we’re never broken, there’s no chance for light to get in or out. I know that my 28th year is going to be exceptional.

Future goals:

  1. Plan my trip to Spain/Europe
  2. Continue writing and expanding my blog
  3. Do something creative everyday
  4. Do something in nature everyday (possibly do #3 and #4 together!)
  5. Put myself into uncomfortable situations (the good kind obviously…I’d rather not be kidnapped, k, thanks)
  6. Clear all of my debt and successfully plan my finances for the future
  7. Endure my stepping stones as I make my way to finish school.
  8. Finish my BA and graduate in 2017 or before.

Bring it on!

DSCN1628

How To Find Resilient Friendships

Meeting new people and making new friends is just as challenging and as difficult a process as dating. Basically it’s platonic dating without the enjoyable and exciting pieces. In college, it was so effortless to make friends. “Aren’t you in my philosophy class?” “How do you like Professor Whatshisname?” “Can we meet up and compare notes before the midterm?” You have so much common ground with the people surrounding you that it’s like a big lively forest of possible new friendships.

You graduate from college, get a grown up job, and learn not to mix your personal life with your professional life. While all of this is happening, all of your college buddies start to have long term relationships, start moving away to fun and exciting places, get married, have babies (not necessarily in that order). And then there’s you –working full time, growing into an old lady or man with a set bedtime, multiple dogs or cats that you prefer to hang out with more than people, and declining going out for a drink past 9pm because you know how beyond grumpy you’ll be in the morning –hasn’t anyone heard of making plans on weekends!? So where do you go from here?

I have never been one to have a huge, concrete group of friends that has stuck by me throughout the years –this was never my path in life. I have had friends come into my life and just as easily we grow apart. Nonetheless, everyone comes into our lives for a reason and at exactly the right time. I think there is a purpose as to why I haven’t had consistent companionship in my life. Instead, I have a handful of true best friends that are all over the world. These are the types of friends that no matter how much time has passed, no matter what little tiffs have transpired over the years, we can start chatting with one another as if we had just spoken yesterday. Those are the kinds of friends I keep–the resilient ones that have the adaptability to endure our ever-changing surroundings.

So how do you find these certain individuals? –you look for the signs that are all around you. If you find someone interesting, and you do not know what to say, start asking questions–what do they like to do, what’s their favorite food, have they ever traveled, etc. Finding a foundation for shared interests is the start to a good conversation and this can lead to a great friendship. As with dating, if you have to push it and the conversation is obviously not flowing naturally, don’t sweat it –it’s not you, it’s not them –just some people do not mix well together. Look for those that you are drawn to based on your passions and your interests.

When I was thirteen years old, I was sent to a private high school where I only knew one other girl from my previous school. I was very nervous and uneasy about not knowing anyone, especially since everyone was familiar with one another beforehand. My good acquaintance had told me to find a girl she knew whom would also be attending my high school. I kept this thought in the back of my mind, and finally a few months later, I found her –curls of thick golden hair, a big bright smile, and a tremendous welcoming demeanor –she was exactly who I needed in my life at that time. We instantly bonded and became best friends and about a year later, her family decided to move to Nevada for work. Funny thing is, she is still one of my best friends today. We do not have to speak every day, or tell each other everything, but we have that friendship that is unspoken and irrepressible. For these types of friends, you have to be aware of the hints and indications in your life that try and steer you towards them. Chances are, you will learn your biggest and best lessons from them, so pay attention!

Just as with the soul mates that come into our lives (read my previous article for more info :) ), you are pulled and nudged in the right directions when meeting new people –there’s always illuminating clues that predict if a person is meant to stay in your life. The universe gives you exactly what you need at that time, so be cautious with what you ask for. Be passionate, be genuine, be completely and irrevocably yourself, and those that are like-minded will start appearing more and more in your life –you just have to look for them.

DSCN1740

Finding Your Soul Mates Along the Way

I am the type of person that with each new experience and person that comes into my life, I strive to grow and learn from these chance encounters. I believe that there is a purpose for everything that happens in our lives. A smile from a stranger, tripping on the sidewalk –there are various intents as to why these things can happen. You’re feeling melancholy and a stranger smiles at you. It’s pretty hard not to smile back and in turn, your mood elevates. You tripped on the sidewalk, but you laugh it off and start to pay attention to everything around you and you find you are pleasantly surprised. You can choose to look at things from a positive or a negative perspective –it’s your choice. I choose to look at things in a positive light; and, yes, it’s kind of difficult at times, but life is about finding the good and overcoming the obstacles.

The people around you are meant to teach you lessons about yourself, love, and relationships. This is the whole reason that we are here on Earth –to learn to love ourselves and others. I believe that the special ones that come into our lives, such as family, best friends, and lovers, are our soul mates. A soul mate is someone that is intended to instruct a very important lesson about ourselves. Have you ever had a strong connection to someone that you couldn’t overcome? It’s not necessarily a sexual attraction, but something that literally pulls you towards each other, like a magnet? More than likely, that was one of your soul mates. So what did you discover from them?

I have had quite a few soul mates in my life and though most of them have only been with me for a short time, the impact of those experiences will stay with me always. So, what have I learned from these endeavors?

My initial encounter with love was a mess of hormones, confusion, and all of the exciting and terrifying feelings of first love. It was one of those fun relationships where we would literally break up every month and get back together after a few days –we were VERY young and stupid. After about four to five years of this, the finale was intense heartbreak where I was completely inconsolable, weeping in a ball on the floor, unable to move. So what was the point of this catastrophe? The cause of our ending was that it was unquestionably not meant to be but my lesson is accurately the most important piece of me that I have discovered. I learned that I should never be with someone that has to think twice about being with me. You should never undervalue yourself, no matter how much you love the other person. If it is a relationship full of imbalance, you are not meant to be together –and most of all, you deserve more. I feel that this is one of the greatest lessons you can acquire –to fully love and respect yourself. If you don’t, then how can you expect others to?

I am a very nurturing and supportive person –I can’t help it as much as I want to stop. As I’ve said before, people annoy me greatly; nonetheless, I attempt to do my best at helping and supporting those around me. Part of the reason that I am so drawn to psychology and self-development is that I have grown through the same occurrences, and I would like to share with those around me. The downfall of this is ending up in long, drawn out relationships where I end up looking after the boyfriend, rather than having a healthy, and emotionally stable connection. Despite these unfortunate relationships, I’d much rather have experienced them now while I’m younger, and gathering what I need from them, than ending up with the wrong person for the rest of my life.

I’ve realized that there are different types of love and in order to make a relationship work, you both need to have that same amount of passion towards each other. If you realize it’s not working, it’s unfair for BOTH of you to continue. Again, you are undervaluing yourself because you don’t want to hurt the other person but you’re really harming each other more by keeping the relationship going. It saves a lot of time and energy to be honest with yourself and others. Like pulling a bandage off –it’s better to pull quickly and endure the high, stinging pain that results, than slowly taking it off –you are just extending and strengthening the pain and hurt even more.

I’ve learned that no matter how much you love someone, if they don’t love themselves, all of the love in the world will not show them what an amazing person they truly are. I’ve always rolled my eyes at the statement, “You have to love yourself first,” but after my last relationship, I never comprehended how significant that truth really is. Just as you learn to love from your parents, the root of love really does start with yourself.

Being on this dating website, a few friends have commented that I’m rushing to find “my one,” and that you find your soul mate when you’re not looking. This is not my reasoning for being on a dating website –I’m not looking to get married or start a family ANY TIME SOON. I have truthfully not been legitimately single and enjoying life on my own since high school and I’m not content with going into my thirties like that. As I’ve stated in prior posts, you do not realize how hard it is to meet people. I’m not looking to date a bunch of guys at the same time and I’m absolutely NOT going to start sleeping around with them either. I want to meet new people and learn about their experiences and their journeys, and open myself up to different ways of living life. In a perfect world, I would ditch everything and just start traveling the world by myself and do it that way, rather than looking at a computer screen, but that’s not achievable for me right now. I’m working towards my dreams and my goals and while I feel like I’m stationary in an ever-moving world around me, I want to learn more and grow more before I even think about settling down -that’s never been one of my goals in life. I want to stumble upon my lessons in life and learn about myself and others, and if I find that “one,” along the way, then he will be one of those soul mates that I was drawn to so powerfully.

 

“New People”

I’m 27, and in a few weeks, I will be turning 28. (AHH!)

I have come to that point where I wish I could go back to my earlier 20-something self, and kick myself in the ass for not figuring my shit out earlier. Dump the dick boyfriends I was dating at the time, focus on me instead, tell myself, “Hey! Wake up! There’s crap you have to take care of! You are not getting any younger!”

I am a headstrong and opinionated woman, and I decided to take the road less traveled by others. Each decision we make, leads us in the direction that we’re meant to be, and this was mine. I am forever grateful for all of the lessons that I have learned along the way. I feel that I am consistent and diligent in making sure that I am aware of what I am meant to learn from any situation or person that comes into my life.

To be honest, in recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to meet new people. And when I say, “new people,” I mean people that are worthy of being an acquaintance or friend in my life. I.e. a genuine, no bullshit person that respects me, makes just as much of an effort to stay in my life as I do theirs, and is a true, supportive friend. Really not that much of a demanding request, I know, but more rare in this area and time than you would think.

I finished my Associate Degree in Psychology in 2009. My family fell upon some financial and health difficulties, and at that point, I put my schooling on hold and started a full time job in management to help out and ease the stress of the situation.

While I was attending community college, it was easier to meet similarly-thinking people around me; whereas at this job, my social circle was secluded to younger coworkers. Unfortunately these friendships that I started were looked down upon by upper management. While I worked 50-60 hours a week, going out into new environments and meeting new people just wasn’t feasible. Additionally, the friends that I did have strong ties with over the years, started to move away and move on with their lives, as people do.

I recently started a new job that is in a stuffy office and while I enjoy conversing with my new coworkers (there are only 4 of us), I have become directionless in meeting like-minded people. Getting outside of my comfort zone and meeting people at shows or in bars (ick) has helped but finding those really, really good people that push you to do your best is still hard to find. Don’t get me wrong. I am perfectly content being solo -I really am. I’d rather go off on adventures by myself than with other people. I tend to find the majority of the population, and the people around me rather annoying. Yet, I still have that desire and yearning to be close to others – I am only human after all.

Recently I’ve decided to stop focusing so much on those in my life that do not better me as a person. Unfortunately for me, that leaves less than a handful of people –which I am not complaining about because I’d rather have them than shitty, annoying people. I believe that the people you keep in your life should help feed your passions. There are various soul mates that can come into our lives –some are friends, some are lovers, and some are even enemies. Each of them are meant to be in your life at exactly that stage for the benefit of aiding you in your journey and learning a major lesson about yourself. This, I feel, is why I crave that comfort of new people –to open myself up to new experiences and learn different things about myself.

…..Consequentially, I have signed up for a dating website. Hey! If you’ve been reading thus far, you have realized how hard it is to meet people! And, though I don’t believe I’ve met anyone worthwhile as of yet (maybe…we’ll see about this one), I have gained the urgency to start a blog about all of the fantastic and hilarious stories that come out of dating and the awkwardness of meeting new people. So if this is my lesson involved in all of this, at least I am exercising it in a creative way.

So…I feel like this was my introduction of this new blog. Check back for my adventures in meeting and dating new people. I hope you will be entertained. :)