Be Proud of How Far You’ve Come

I’ve had a rough year with a lot of downs and not a whole lot of ups. Last night-during one of my insomniatic episodes and anxiety attacks I decided to go through the past 8 years of my life (for me that is 18-26) and really reflect on them.

Today on FaceBook I posted the following status:

In the past 8 years I have moved 7 times, lived in 3 different states,started and finished college, became part of the best sorority, started yoga, got my job, got my license, bought my own car with my own money, photographed 5 weddings and jump started my photography business, was part of two film projects, adopted 2 adorable pups, met my idol-twice, left the states for the first time, travelled to 4 different countries, opened up about my Anxiety disorder and really started to understand it and not let it define me, and honestly so much more. This is what makes me a success- even through all the rough times,health issues,and heartbreak I’ve managed to push ahead. Your turn- what have you done in the last 8 years that you’re proud of?

I kept my post as positive as I could and tried not to list too many of the tough times I had. I wanted to focus on the positive outcomes over the last 8 years. I asked my friends to let me know what they are proud of. All of the responses I received were beautiful in their own way. My friends talked about the struggles they overcame and the positive changes that have happened to them due to some of this chaotic mess we call life.They discussed life events, life changes, and so much more.

I chose to omit the rough patches in my status- not because I didn’t learn or grow from them, not because they didnt change me, or cause me to become strong- but because I wanted people to see that at some point you’ll only remember the outcome and the effect all these crazy events and days provided and that more often than not- the outcome makes you into the most amazing and beautiful version of yourself.

Be proud of how far you’ve come because shit happens, but what you learn and take from it is all that truly matters.

So, what about you? What have you done in the last 8 years that you’re proud of?

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Practice Makes Progress

At my yoga class on Monday our instructor stated that she never tells her son that practice makes perfect because she doesnt know what perfect is. Instead she tells him practice makes progress. This really stuck out to me because ever since I was little I’ve only ever heard practice makes perfect. I think that if I had had someone in my life telling me that no one knows what perfect is and that you can only make progress I wouldn’t have spent so much time thinking I had to be perfect.

I really love the idea of replacing perfection with progress because that’s really all we can do in life is move forward and continue to improve and grow. We will never be done learning or growing or improving ourselves. For me, expecially, this new version of that saying restores my hope. I know I won’t remember it all of the time, but if I can manage to get myself into the habit of saying practice makes progress maybe I won’t feel that daily pressure of needing to be that perfect person anymore.

So, remember, practice makes progress. We are all improving,learning, and growing every day.

Turning off the tape recorder

Ok, I lied. This post is not going to be about what I saw in the photo from my previous post. But don’t worry; I will get to that at some point. However, I just got back from one of my yoga classes and the focus of the class was one that really struck a chord for me.

Every week we focus on a certain chakra and what those chakras control and maintain. This week was about the chakra that controls stubbornness, your will, and your intellect- the Manipura Chakra.

Now, if you know me at all you know that I am very much a Capricorn and this makes me extremely stubborn. Yeah, I admit it. I can be very pigheaded and pretty much always want to believe I’m right. But, sometimes my stubbornness works in my favor- so it’s a good balance. But, what a lot of people don’t know about me is that I am also insanely hard on myself. I have a constant tape recorder going through my head that pretty much tells me I fail at life. Obviously this isn’t true- in fact based on facts alone I’m pretty damn successful. However, this tape recorder jades my view of this. During everyone’s favorite part of yoga (the part where you take a 10 minute cat nap) our instructor guided us through a mantra or meditation type thing. She stated that the only thing holding us back from being the new us and being successful is that stupid little tape recorder. Granted she stated it a bit more eloquently, but you get the point.

This really resonated with me and was kind of a wake up kick to my head. I know that I’ve been told a million times to not listen to the negative thoughts that go through my head on an hourly basis- but I’ve never really felt the push to really work on this idea. I mentioned in a previous post that I saw a therapist (yup- going back to this now). Well, she is one of the biggest advocates for turning off the tape recorder. Until I started seeing her I always half-heartedly followed the advice. But, with her I’ve actually tried (yeah she’s that awesome). Well, I felt and thought that I had tried anyways.

Now that I’m sitting here mulling over the words my yoga instructor stated tonight I realized that this isn’t necessarily true. I did try and truly thought I was making an effort- but, I was still letting my tape recorder control just how much effort I put in and what seemed like enough. This stuff isn’t easy ya know? I realize now that it’s never going to be easy to just brush off the thoughts and negative feelings, but I can’t put half the effort in and expect extraordinary results. I think I have also finally realized that it’s not going to be “all in a day’s work” and that it’s going to take time and a lot of practice.

I’ll probably mess up a few times and I’ll probably grow quite a bit more too. But, I guess that’s kind of the point of everything in life right? My challenge to you this week is to turn (or try to turn) off the tape recorder- even if only for a minute. Take those 60 seconds and realize just how epically amazing and awesome and unique and powerful you are.

The “T” Word

So, I’m going to talk about a touchy issue with a lot of people. I have seen this subject cause a lot of fights and a lot of silent treatment. It’s a subject  where most people say “well just don’t talk about it in public (or in private)”. This subject is *drum roll please…*

 Therapy.

Doesn’t sound so bad right? Wrong.

You’d be surprised how many people will give you a disgusted look,awkwardly shift in their chair, or just try to change the subject when you mention it. Maybe I just tend to notice the slight glances and clenched jaw aspect a little bit more than others, but this subject area seems to be a very uncomfortable one with many people (at least the ones that I know).

First let’s start with a break down of what therapy actually is.There are many definitions to therapy, but the three I have provided below seem to cover the bases. These are from Dictionary.com:

1.the treatment of disease or disorders, as by some remedial, rehabilitating, or curative process: speech therapy.

2.a curative power or quality.
 
3. any act, hobby, task, program, etc., that relieves tension.
 
Now, out of all three of these definitions only one matches what most people think of when they think “therapy”. The first definition is the only one out of all three that goes into the “professional” aspect. This is fine and great- we all need to know that there are many cases that fall under that first definition. But, this particular blog is to focus more so on the last two. Based on these last two definitions everyone goes through therapy. Everytime you do anything that relieves some sort of tension you have just done a form of therapy.
 
So, if you like to draw and it soothes your anger or nervousness- guess what- you just did some art therapy! If you like to garden when you are mad or have just received bad news…you just did therapy. Even drinking a glass of wine to wind down from a hectic day could be considered a form of therapy.
 
If we all do therapy everyday why does everyone get so uptight or awkward when someone mentions that they see a therapist? What makes this so different than reading a book to relax or blasting your music and going for a drive to the middle of nowhere?
 
The way I see it- people who see a therapist just need a little extra push or assistance in the right direction. Sometimes wheels get stuck in the mud or you need a stronger person to open the wine bottle. Everyone needs assistance here and there. I’m not saying that sometimes people don’t have some serious issues they need to work through in therapy. I’m just trying to relate the idea of therapy to every day life because to some people it is an everyday thing- even if they only see a therapist once or twice a week.
 
We all have experiences in our life that we have needed a second opinion on, whether it’s as small as “should I get the red shoes or the blue shoes” or as big as “should we get this house or the other”. We all need a little help in making big decisions that can impact our lives. A therapist just kind of helps push you into the reality of making your own decisions. Part of the definition for a therapist is “a being who helps…” Based off of this section of the definition a therapist could be anyone, including a puppy!
 
Technically we all see therapists, just for some that therapist is themselves or their pets. For others they need to seek assistance. Even people who see a therapist may not fall under that first definition though. Not everyone who goes to therapy and sees a professional has some deep dark issue or mental disorder. Sometimes they just can’t talk to others without receiving a biased reaction. And that’s the beauty of seeing a professional therapist- they will be real and unbiased. They won’t tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear.
 
 I’ll be the first to admit that I see a professional therapist and it took me a LONG time to be able to admit this at all. When I first started I was completely against the idea of therapy. I had been brainwashed into thinking that if I needed to go to someone else for help that I was weak and obviously couldn’t figure out my own life. Well…yeah! I was weak and I couldn’t figure out life-but not because I was seeing a therapist- it was because I was so completely lost and confused at the time that I couldn’t figure out right from left. Once I snapped out of the mentality of “therapist bad- suffering good” things started to actually take a turn for the better.
 
I won’t go into my wonderfully colorful experiences with therapy and the therapists I went to. But, I will tell you I still see a therapist and she is probably the best one by far. She has challenged me on so many levels and really made me think. And I’m not going to lie- she’s pretty fucking awesome. But, I get that seeing a professional isn’t for everyone. Do I think everyone should give it a try? Yes, not because we are all mental, but because sometimes it’s good to get a reality check from someone who can be 100% real with you.
 
So, if someone ever comes up to you and tells you they see a therapist or asks if they should go to therapy- don’t stick your nose in the air or walk away disgusted. They may just need that little extra push that playing soccer or singing gives you.