Are You Filling A Space You’re Not Meant To?

The most recent episode of Red Table Talk on Facebook Watch titled Healing Emotional Scars with Ciara is a good watch for anyone with a blended family, in a committed relationship, or is looking for inner personal growth…so, basically everyone?

Around the eleven minute mark, Jada and Ciara get into a discussion about navigating life with bonus children and parents.

“I have a bonus son from Will’s first marriage, who I adore, but in the beginning, it was challenging because Trey already had a mother, and I had to learn how to have that motherly compassion without trying to fill that space because it was already taken,” said Jada.

Filling spaces that are already taken, hot damn, let’s say it to ourselves again because I think this idea is universal!

This sparked two thoughts/questions:

  1. Where is the line between motherly compassion and overstepping boundaries?
  2. Where am I guilty of trying to fill a space that’s already taken?

Where is the line between motherly compassion and overstepping? Everyone’s line placement is subjective due to life experiences, but I do think it’s fair to say if someone has communicated where their line is and you keep pushing, that’s when it’s a problem.

The key is to have enough self-awareness to recognize when you’re feeling pushed and if/or when you’re doing the pushing (which ties into point two). People are telling you (verbally or with body language) how they want to be treated so if you choose to ignore by only doing what you want, that’s on you.

Where am I guilty of trying to fill spaces that aren’t meant to be filled by me? Oh, plenty, but I’ll only mention one, haha.

I struggle with feeling responsible for other people’s behaviors and/or actions when my worlds (friends, coworkers, family, etc.) collide.

It goes back to how I was raised and how the phrase ‘guilty by association’  was hammered into my head, that paired with emotionally immature parents who couldn’t control their moods was the perfect equation for me (the oldest) hoping if I could manage all the moods in the room a fight wouldn’t break out because when one did, it always ended up feeling like it was my fault.

So I tried to fill a space where I was in charge of everyone’s behaviors and actions to eliminate embarrassment on all sides, which made being in a room filled with people I knew impossible.

But FYI, people are responsible for their own actions, not you. Guilty by association is bullshit (I double checked with my therapist). This space is not mine to fill, and it’s one I’m happy to bow out of with my middle finger in the air, waving it goodbye.

Where are you trying to fill a space you’re not meant to fill?

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How Do You Stay True To Your Roots?

My biggest fear is one day I’ll wake up and won’t recognize the face looking back at me in the mirror. I worry I’ll get wrapped up in materialistic values and forget my humble beginnings.

Well-fed cornfields, dairy farms, and long country roads paint my earliest memories. The seclusion allowed freedom to shoot off model rockets with Dad and build bonfires in the backyard. Mom taught us how to build castles with books and how to use the floor vents to make sheet forts when the furnace kicked on.

Happiness never related to possessions, and it wasn’t until much later I realized my family’s resourcefulness wasn’t out of creativity but necessity. Growing up with less (and helping to carry my parent’s adult problems at a young age) made me grind for success.

A common phrase in my house growing up was “figure it out on your own,” so I put my nose to the grindstone and worked full-time while attending (and paying) my way through college. It took me almost eight years to finally get my Bachelor’s. I could only do so many college credits at a time because unlike most of my classmates, I also held the responsibility of living on my own with no financial backing.

This ambition to never quit and continue to strive for better is what landed me here, out of the restaurant industry with a job that pays well and has “regular” (off on holidays and a routine 9 to 5 schedule), located in sunny Orange County, California.

Now, when I wake up in the morning I have choices of what I want for breakfast and drive on a freeway that’s frequently littered with million dollar homes and exotic supercars, not a cornfield in sight.

Jlo speaks about this in her song, Jenny From The Block. “Don’t be fooled with the rock’s that I’ve got, I’m still, I’m still Jenny from the block. Used to have a little now I have a lot. I’ll always know where I come from (the Bronx!).

Most of us haven’t gone from a private person to a public person making millions but we’ve all experienced some form of reckoning that’s forced us to reconcile with what once was compared to what is.

Living in Orange County I’ve seen what an excess of privilege does to a person. I fear eventually I’ll get used to this good life (affording Brie, aerial classes, and financial freedom my parents never had) and forget where I came from and the values that got me here.

Now, this might sound crazy because I’m not Jlo going from nothing to holy-shit-something…

…but for those of you who have dug themselves out of the deep pits to successfully changing your own stars, know what I’m talking about. This abrupt, yet painfully slow transition from past to present is internally conflicting. And man, can we talk about the guilt for a damn second?

There are some days I have a really hard time digesting how much money I spend now compared to ten years ago. A little rotten voice in the back of my head constantly questions is what I’m buying sensible and how I should be saving it instead.

The truth is I’m not spending money on frivolous items, it’s being invested in my physical and mental well being, which is a tough concept to digest. Also, how come it feels so strange to invest in me? Ugh, a blog post for another day. 

So how do you make sure you don’t forget your roots?

There’s an old saying about acknowledging your path to success and the author from Bodhi Tree writes…

“There is no way to grow and strengthen if you are walking on flat ground. You have to climb. You have to fall and claw your way back up again, and when you emerge covered in dirt, sweat and smiles, it’s beautiful! It’s worth it. If you rub away the climb and the fall, you rub away the story itself.”

Basically? It’s practicing gratitude and honoring your struggle. Acknowledging a fear means you’re aware and won’t let ‘it’ happen because you’re not living with your head in a hole.

ps: I had an afterthought aha moment…what if staying true to your roots is just remembering your past, and bringing its best lessons and values with you everywhere you continue to go and grow? It’s not about reconciling, but an important piece of staying grounded. 

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is mental health awareness month and I wanted to dedicate this week’s post to remind everyone how important it is to keep the conversation about mental health-relevant.

Did you know:

  • 1 in 5 young people in the U.S. has a diagnosable mental health disorder before age 18.
  • Half of the adults who struggle with a lifetime mental illness had symptoms before age 14, but most received no help.
  • Only about 1.3 of kids with mental health problems today receive any treatment.
  • Every dollar invested in children’s mental health saves $7 in future public costs.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10-24.
  • Stigma, denial, and lack of access to care are barriers to healing.
  • The earlier a child receives high-quality, evidence-based care, while the brain is rapidly developing, the greater the possibility of a positive outcome.

I’ve started to align myself with brands and people who are invested in self-care and mental health. The T-shirt company Self Care Is For Everyone does both and I am IN LOVE WITH THEM.

Its mission is to normalize the conversation around mental health and provide gentle reminders to our community of their inherent self-worth by emphasizing the importance of self-care in hopes of creating a future in which suicide and self-harm become things of the past. Also, 10% from the sales on our site go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), which provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States.

This is also their definition of self-care that I love to read every once in a while for a healthy reminder it’s okay to put myself first.

To be able to take care of others, you must first learn to take care of yourself. Self-care is often used as a vague term but put simply, self-care is anything you do to be good to yourself. Self-care is consciously choosing to be kind to yourself in whatever capacity you need. This includes being compassionate in the way you speak to yourself. Self-care is needed for the well being of your mental health & your physical health.

Ironically enough, when struggling with a mental illness, basic self-care becomes the least of your worries. However, your mental health, physical health, and spiritual health are all connected and caring for all three can be a crucial part of the recovery process. While self-care means something different to each person you meet, we all need it to survive. Self-care is understanding how you recharge, or what you need in order to feel the strength to take care of everything else going on in your life. Having a self-care practice forces you to get to know yourself on a deeper level, to better understand what you might need in a given moment. Do you need to lay down and listen to music for a bit? Do you need to go for a walk? Or do you need to make time to catch up with an old friend?

I plan on buying a size small in every shirt possible, basically. I have the “Grow Through What You Go Through” and “You Are Enough” t-shirts, they’re the perfect reminder for me.

Click here if you’re curious to see if they’ve got a shirt perfect for you too!

What will you do for yourself this month?

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Reoccurring​​ Nightmare​s

Get to the coastline before sunrise to save your sister. My heart is beating out of my chest and my legs can’t run any faster, sweat is pouring from every orifice and it feels like I’m not getting any closer to the coast. I’m starting to panic. What’s going to happen if I can’t save her? I can’t even think it, there’s no question; I must save her.

Dangerous obstacles slow my pace, a few moments ago I had to outrun a gang of dudes and it sent me in the wrong direction. I fear I’m going to be late. An orange hue has started to paint the sky, time is running out. “Must run faster,” is on repeat in my head. I can’t breathe but I don’t care. Where is my sister?!

Yellow has begun to mix with the orange, at any moment the sun will crack the horizon; I lay eyes on my sister. She’s in a deep pit and our fingers brush at the tips. She’s just out of my reach. I’m as far over the ledge as possible, any further and I’d fall in with her. “Jump! Jump!” I scream. She’s drained, eyes sunken in, she gave up hope long ago. “Please!” I beg, “Jump, I’m here, I’ve got you!”

She makes a runner’s lunge and throws herself up. My feet are dug deep into the earth, my stance wide and strong. I grab for her hands, prepared to lock on tight. We catch each other’s eyes just as the sun hits her face. “I’ve got her, I can catch her. She’s going to be safe,” I say to myself.

As the sun rises higher, the bottom of the pit slowly crumbles and shows the sky. How did this happen? We’re high up, too high up. Just as our fingertips are about to lock the sun shifts and momentarily blinds her which makes us miss hands. One of us screams, everything slows down, and I watch her fall.


My recurring nightmare has the same theme. I’m in a desperate situation frantically trying to rescue someone (it’s been my dogs sometimes, too) and miss saving them by a fingertip every time. No one else is ever with me in these dreams, it’s only me.

I never really read much into it. Chalked it up to an active imagination. Then I read this book written by a psychologist who shares one of her patient’s reoccurring nightmares that sounds an awful lot like mine and shares this explanation:

“*Natalie’s dream captures what it feels like to be emotionally alone. She has to deal with everything by herself and doesn’t consider asking anyone for help. This is how children of emotionally immature parents feel. Their parents may technically be present, but they offer little help, protection, or comfort.

Children like Natalie often grow up like little adults, helping their parents, giving them no trouble, and appearing to need practically nothing. These capable kids may seem like they can parent themselves, but they can’t. No child can. They just learn to cling to whatever emotional scraps they get because any connection is better than none at all.

Natalie is a successful adult and has created a rewarding life both personally and professionally, so who would guess the powerful woman walking into business meetings with a great marriage, successful children, and close friendships because she knows how to relate to people from every walk of life is carrying this deep sense of loneliness with her in every aspect of her life? Her dreams pull back the curtain to reveal that loneliness.”

She goes on to ask Natalie if she ever wondered why she was always alone in her dreams. Before my eyes finished reading the sentence my heart had lurched to my throat. I’m alone every single time, too, and I couldn’t stop those tears no matter how hard I tried to look up.

And her explanation felt really familiar. I never considered the amount of emotional loneliness I carry around or what that feeling I’ve always felt had a name. Therapy is helping. I’m unwinding the patterns and being aware is lightening my load. I haven’t had this nightmare in a few months, so maybe I’m getting somewhere quicker than it feels.

reoccurring nightmares quotes about moving forward

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My First Trip To The Upper Left

A city built on top of a city surrounded by water and formerly known as the Queen City of the Pacific Northwest and the Gateway to Alaska is where I spent a long weekend last week.

Seattle was wicked cool, and worth the agonizing plane ride…kinda. The weather was gorgeous, sun shining for half the day and a cool haze for the remainder. It sprinkled a few times and I saw snow while hiking up Mt. Tiger!

On Friday I hiked it up to Kerry Park for one of the best views of the cityscape, ate BBQ inside the armory at the Seattle Center, walked through Sculpture Park, and finished the evening with a drink and an old friend at The Edgewater Hotel that has a view like no other. Sit in the lobby and order a drink during happy hour, you won’t be sorry.

Kerry Park, Seattle
Kerry Park

Saturday started at Pike Place Market with rows of fresh flowers, cheese churning across the street at Beechers and the longest Starbucks line you’ll ever see for convenient coffee.   The afternoon was filled with a hidden lighthouse and a bike ride down the boardwalk at Alki Beach with another spectacular view of the cityscape and futuristic Space Needle.

Alki Beach
Alki Beach

I got an early start on the day Sunday with a long hike up Mt. Tiger with the same old friend and her husband. But first, we made a pitstop at Caffe Ladro and got one of the best damn cups of coffee, ever. I went for round two on Monday morning, too.

Mt. Tiger, Seattle
Mt. Tiger

After the mountain whooped our asses (literally) and we refueled at a local Mediterranean eatery, they dropped me off at my hotel and I wandered down to Pioneer Square where I hopped on Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour. It came recommended and I too highly recommend it if you find yourself in Seattle.

Seattle is a city built on top of a city because of a massive fire and unstable (very wet) ground. This tour takes you down to the basement of Seattle where you can walk the old roads and learn the city’s history, like how The Emerald City was actually built by a woman and her…”seamstress” business.

I ate dinner at Petite Toulouse and got the spicy shrimp, homemade andouille and crawfish onto cheesy grits. The beignets are not like the ones you find in NOLA but they are at least the right shape. Also, STOP serving them with coffee sauce. I need raspberry!

Monday morning started the same way, at Caffe Ladro with The Perfect Bar for breakfast. After a semi-lazy morning, I hit up MoPop and got lost in its Prince, Fantasy, and Horror Fiction exhibits. Two hours later it was time to head back to the hotel and call an Uber to the airport.

The greenery and fresh air were exactly what I needed and I’m looking forward to more adventures this year. When I go back to Seattle, what should I check out next?

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The App That Helped Me Get Back In The Fitness Game

Can I just say, there are SO many health and fitness coaches on Instagram it’s kinda insane. I follow a couple chicks I respect but…other than that, lawd. have. mercy.

A few years ago my health and fitness routine spiraled into an unhealthy obsession. Living in Orange County, California, does come with an unsaid pressure to be fit, healthy, and young, but my addictive personality definitely added fuel to the awaiting fire.

Two strict diets, working out twice a day, not focusing on nutrition and feeling like I was running for dessert eventually tipped me over. After nearly two years on the hamster wheel, I finally fell off. And when I look back it’s easy to see it was only a matter of time.

I dropped to working out once a day, and then every other day, and then twice a week, and then oops skipped a week. All the while my caloric intake stayed the same and never adjusted to my new limited cardio. Twelve pounds (I stopped weighing myself after I gained twelve) and eight months later, I finally got myself back on the wagon and started practicing a balance between food and exercise.

Changing my mindset was priority number one, fixing my relationship with food was number two and finding a fitness routine I enjoyed was number three. And two apps helped me get number three situated.

7M for Women and ClassPass.

7M for Women is a FREE app with a variety of timed workouts. At the end of each session the same voice narrating your workout also tells you, “congratulations, work out complete,” and I was here for it. I needed that kind of affirmation in my life because it didn’t matter how long the workout was, I still got a congratulation.

ps: 7M stands for 7 minutes, as in a 7-minute workout, you still get a congratulations because showing up counts for something. 

ClassPass isn’t free, but the cheapest plan I was on helped me figure out what kind of classes I would want to invest my money in monthly, which led me to aerial fitness classes.

Never would I ever imagine I’d be putting my thing down, flipping it, and reversing it up on the silks and hoop, but here I am six months later and loving it. I live for my Wednesday night classes because once a week I prove to myself I can do the previously imagined, impossible.

But here’s the thing, I made a promise with myself I wasn’t going to over do it, meaning I wasn’t going to get competitive and only believe the workout counted if I was the best in the class and could outperform. Instead, my mindset was singularly focused on me, reminding myself I was doing it for me and for fun.

Day one is better than one day.

exercise quotes

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Overindulging​ In Details

Do you struggle with a compulsive need to justify your actions and/or analysis paralysis? I know I do and it feels like I’m on trial every day. And no lie, I’m exhausted. It is tiring to consistently live in a state of self-defense.

Today’s three big questions: Where did it come from? Why do I do this, now? How can I stop over explaining myself?

Context is king in my book because logic wasn’t welcome in most debates or conversations. Consequences were dolled out depending on erratic mood swings with bouts of violence. It didn’t matter if you could enunciate your feelings on the matter, and fact never beat fiction. The rules for living and disciplining never made any sense.

When your home environment thrives off criticism and every move you make is put under a microscope to analyze on a cellular level why you fucked up and how you should’ve known better, you begin to get defensive. You’re trying your damnedest to be good enough and it’s never enough.

I believe this creates a habit of needing to defend your actions which leads to striving for perfection in hopes you’ll be perfect and free from criticism, which then shapeshifts into analysis paralysis because you can’t move forward unless you’re absolutely sure nobody can come at you from any angle…

Now, as an adult, I feel obligated to give detailed answers to any personal questions thrown or tossed my way where it feels like my actions and/or behaviors are being questioned because I don’t want anyone speaking for me or twisting my words or assuming why I am the way I am.

I don’t want anyone else in control of my narrative.

Here’s the thing though, I can explain myself until I’m blue in my face to preserve how I want to be seen (to prove I’m good enough and smart enough) but it doesn’t matter because people truly are going to believe whatever they want to believe. If anything, over explaining, makes me feel less sure about my decisions.

What I didn’t know then is, it doesn’t matter how close to perfect you come when the person critiquing is looking for negatives, because when you’re only looking for the negatives you’ll find them every time.

And somewhere along the line my want to stay authentic, intertwined with compulsive justification. Being authentic does not require explaining all of your actions, neither does being honest and transparent.

Have you ever Googled, what’s the difference between honesty and transparency just for fun? I did and got this, “ honesty is when you reveal the truth you feel NEEDS to be known. Transparency is when others can see for themselves the truths they feel they need to know.”

Basically, if you live honest to yourself it will show. Not, must say all the things in order to be honest.

So how do I (or you) stop defending and over justifying your answers?

You’re going to hate the answer (because I did, too), but it takes practice and paying attention to when you overindulge with details. And also take the time to remind yourself you don’t NEED to explain yourself to anyone and everyone. 

Be comfortable with silence. Practice confidence, and remind yourself of how many obstacles you’ve already surpassed. You are capable.

Chinese proverb

 

Blank Stare & Nod

My brain has been fried hard and served up on a stale piece of toast. The last five months have a re-reoccurring theme; lack of control and this constant wake up call has flared up my anxiety about an upcoming girl’s trip to Seattle. Is the universe teaching me to let go of control so that when my plane goes down at the end of March, I’ll be at peace? Anxiety is a bitch.

If I had to sum up the last four-ish/five months it would be placed in a folder labeled, Are You Fucking Kidding Me! The short of it is multiple car accidents, one less car, Hubs out of work for 7-weeks due to injury from said accident which equals limited dough, to family turmoil, some more family turmoil, and if I continue it would no longer be “the short of it.”

Point being, I’m going through some shit and it’s been hard to stay positive, which is super relatable because we’ve all been there, feeling like someone took out our brains and scrambled them up while we watched with no idea how to take the spatula away.

And because I have anxiety and panic attacks, what do I do? Think, think, and think some more, because that’s what I can control and what feels ‘routine’ for my brain to do. And of course, it’s not the healthy thinking it’s the let’s think about the worst possible scenario and keep thinking about the worst that can happen until I can feel it tightening my chest and wah-lah, panic!

The upside? I’m still here, practicing gratitude and trying my best. This is what matters. I am trying my best.

How do I combat my anxiety and panic? What has worked for me is taking deep breaths and focusing on each inhale and exhale, when I was younger I used to count them but now the simple in and out of breath calms me.

Why don’t I get a prescription? Addiction runs in my family, both with alcohol and pills, so I don’t want to tempt the beast.

What has also helped me in more recent times is focusing on my own health both physically and mentally, and that I don’t need to learn how to conquer my anxiety, just know how to live with it and how to give myself grace when I can’t keep a handle on it because sometimes…

The only thing I can muster is a blank stare and a nod, and that’s okay.

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Everything Will Be Okay, It Could’ve Been Worse

“Everything will be okay,” and, “It could’ve been worse,” are two of the most deaf-toned responses to someone who has suffered a loss, survived a traumatic experience, or in the midst of a difficult time. What these two phrases do is actually dismiss any of the emotions the person suffering are experiencing.

About three weeks ago my husband was involved in a gnarly accident. A driver decided at the last minute he/she didn’t want to exit and slammed over into my husband’s lane, which fishtailed his truck up an embankment, flipped, and then rolled back down to the freeway exit. The driver who hit him never stopped.

His collarbone is fractured and hasn’t been able to return to work since the accident and won’t be able to for another couple of weeks, at least. It’s been difficult. The Hubs can’t lift his arm up, he’s in pain, he can’t work or do simple things like taking out the trash because it requires two hands to lift the lid and pull.

The air in our apartment is tense at most times because we’re both a little frustrated we don’t know what we didn’t know and we couldn’t know unless we’d experienced it prior. You think you’ve asked all the right questions but if you’re going in blind there’s no real way to know, until you’ve figured it out, which is frustrating and confusing. It’s been one big crash course in health and auto insurance.

It’s frustrating that some faceless no-name driver who caused this pain in our life, won’t be held accountable, because they simply chickened out and left the scene. How does that person even sleep at night? They don’t even know if he survived. Ugh, makes me rage.

Add the holiday season to the mix and currently, in the midst of moving apartments, “you’re going to have a bad time,” as that ski instructor on South Park once noted.

It’s been difficult. I’m grateful I got the phone call I did that night because I understand it could’ve been an entirely different situation, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get to feel frustrated and angry, or tired and upset just because it wasn’t a lot worse.

Two things have surprised me throughout this entire experience. One being how defensive I got when random people noticed my husband’s sling and asked what happened. Mind ya business. Two is how people respond after THEY’VE asked the question.

So how is he doing? Well, he’s in a lot of pain. We’re trying to do our best to keep his movements limited. Yeah? He’s SO lucky it wasn’t any worse.

How are you (me) holding up throughout all of this? It’s kinda sucky. He’s frustrated about constantly asking me for help and I’m frustrated about reminding him to ask for help so he doesn’t further injure it. Everything’s going to be okay. 

Was he able to return to work? No, the doctor wouldn’t clear him because he can’t lift his arm above his head. We’re a little stressed about an extra three weeks off. It could’ve been a lot worse, work won’t let him go. 

Over and over again the same thing, he’s so lucky it wasn’t worse, everything is going to be okay, it could’ve been way worse, over and over and over again. For the record, you don’t know if it’s going to be okay or not, nobody has a crystal ball they can look into and see that in fact everything will be okay. So. Hush it.

I’m a little surprised about how frustrated it made me, like why ask the question if you don’t want the truth? How come when we answer with the truth about our pain and discomfort it makes YOU so uncomfortable you fumble for a response? What if you just said nothing and sat in the suck with us for a moment?

I remember the friends who didn’t try to pull out some positive remarks to help “remind me of the bright side,” or try to give me some crap about life’s lessons. It meant more to me when their response was, “This sucks, I’m sorry. What can I do?”  Even if the answer was nothing, the simple acknowledgment of the suckiness made it feel less sucky, because it does suck and that’s okay.

 

Everything you have ever wanted, is sitting on the other side of fear.

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Girl, Routine Can Make Me Neurotic If I’m Not Careful

I’m not kidding girl, routine can make me neurotic if I’m not careful and I’ll tell you why in a minute. But first, can I get a high five for realizing this about myself? It’s like a huge exhale. Who knew it was so important to be curious, especially when it comes to yourself.

Over the last few weeks, I have been participating in Rachel Hollis’ #Last90Days challenge which is all about taking ownership in your own life and because the last 90 days of the year can be the most challenging, with holidays and extra family functions, it’s a great reminder that you get to choose what happens inside your own life.

The success in owning your last 90 days is completing Hollis’ 5 To Thrive each day.

  1. Get up an hour earlier than you normally do and use the time for yourself.
  2. Workout for at least thirty minutes.
  3. Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.
  4. Give up one food category you know you shouldn’t be eating.
  5. Write down ten things you’re grateful for every single day.

Simple or overwhelming, depends on the person. Know what I’m saying? This is where I begin to explain the title of this blog and first, I must note Hollis makes a point to stress these five are to motivate you not strangle you i.e. you’re not going to be on your A-game every day, so when you do slip up, don’t waste anytime crying over spilt milk.

A few months ago I wouldn’t have been able to HEAR the reminder because I don’t accept anything less than perfection when attacking a challenge or professional goal.

Case and point. For two years I had a strict exercise routine which included a morning mile and a half run every morning, legs every Tuesday, ClassPass once a week, swimming (during the summer) in the afternoons (my ‘fun’ exercise for the summer but not a replacement for cardio), arms and abs every other day and sometimes I’d double up.

I didn’t believe in rest days or legs that didn’t hurt for three days after Tuesday. If I skipped a run or just didn’t feel like doing the sit-ups, I’d feel like a failure and spin into an awful negative self-talk about how awful I was for not being able to complete one simple task, how could I be so lazy?

The over-exercising led to other issues. I ate whatever I wanted because I was exercising so much it didn’t matter. So when the wheels to my train eventually flew off, it took an additional year to figure out where I went so wrong.

BALANCE. I lacked balance. I’m an intense person, mediocre isn’t in my vocabulary. So I go balls to the wall with everything and have a hard time accepting I’m human, who can’t do all. the. things.

Let me say it again for those who might be sitting in the back row. If I’m human, you sure as shit are, too. BALANCE. BALANCE. BALANCE. BALANCE! There’s no reason to choke yourself, writing this because I need the reminder for myself!

And that is what I’ve brought to my Last 90 Days challenge. My Five To Thrive is tailored to what I need, not what I should be doing.

For example, I don’t get up an hour earlier than normal because my normal is already an hour early so I can run my pups. Instead of giving up a food group I’ve given up my fourth meal because it’s a bad habit I’ve been ready to give up. My thirty-minute exercise doesn’t have to be balls to the wall (like, can’t walk for three days) in order to ‘count.’ If I take the dogs for a walk for thirty minutes–that’s good, it’s about getting out and moving.

The best gift I’ve given myself these last 90 days is grace. I’ve missed a few gratitude journals and I give myself rest days from exercise. The world is still turning, and I’m not beating myself up about it.

“We tend to forget that baby steps still move us forward.”


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