No Need to Feel Guilty

guiltyMy son and I had a conversation recently and he was talking about how he felt guilty for not being where he thought he should be at his age. I knew how he felt because when I sit down to think about where I could be if I had only did this, or started earlier, or not listened to so and so… I totally understand, yet now, I realize that I am right where I am supposed to be. I am content in my space and working my way toward my next one.

It really doesn’t matter how many times you have felt it, how long ago it was, the guilt sometimes still lingers. You feel bad about the setbacks, the curveballs, the failures that you bought on yourself…some of those choices may still hurt you today.

If you’re anything like me, you have tried several times to revamp your schedule, read aguilty2 lot of self-help books, blogs, and magazines. Did you think it was a great idea to start waking up an hour earlier like I did? Did you cut people and things out of your life…or maybe you started journaling, meditating, taking walks, or eating healthier. So…how is life looking for you? Pretty good right? But I am going to honest…inside, I still sometimes feel that even with all of those “checked boxes”, there is an unfinished, unchecked box that will finally put me on top.

I understand that feeling of incompleteness when you see a friend living the dream and you are not quite where they are. Especially with my blogging. It’s been over a year and I don’t quite have the traction I wanted but I have faith and I am researching and watching others work. I believe that when it is my time…it will be MY time!

guilty1Yes, you have changed so much about your life and you still feel like your life isn’t “dreamy” enough and admired by all. You haven’t gotten down to the size you wanted, wrote that book, paid off all of your bills. or still at that job you hate. I still have to work on getting up early but still getting enough sleep. I am nice to people but I have to admit that my thoughts are not always as nice. I need to work on that too! We all try our best, but we are still getting average results. This is true but we cannot stop hoping and believing that we can have what we have envisioned if it lines up.

Change is not going to happen overnight for many of us. There are steps we are going to have to take and it may get messy. There isn’t much that another person can tell you to guilty3do because your moves happen in your power…not theirs. Things can and will get better, in time. Maybe not in the timing you would like, but they will. You will walk in the dark, over the hills and in the valleys…but as long as you continue to go forward, you end up miles away from the guilt you felt for not being there already. And celebrate every mile because there are times when just taking one step will take a lot out of you. You will only get to your next stop when you are ready. Getting there may mean letting go of the comforts of where you are. Piece by piece, step by step, mile by mile…just move forward… and move without forcing yourself…when you are ready.

You woke up this morning and you planned to do the best you can. You are taking one step at a time. You are strong, your heart is beating. Just by being alive, you are making someone’s day! They are smiling and at peace because they have access to you. Your brain is functioning and you have passion. Your passion says a lot about you even when you have nothing to say.

Guilt may be chasing after you but look at you! You are still moving forward! Guilt has been whispering in your ear that you are hopeless and helpless but there you are, helping others. Your life means something. You are doing enough….you are enough!

guilty5Don’t let guilt ruin how you feel. You don’t need a certain “checklist” to look at to see if you are living a meaningful life. You are doing what you “should” be doing. Do the things that matter the most at that moment. You will accomplish what you ultimately want to …in time. You are not behind! You are on the path that was fashioned for you. You may not be the greatest, richest, smartest, or sexiest person in the world, but you are the greatest at being YOU! Your life is not perfect, but it is yours and it is not the catastrophe that you sometimes tell yourself that it is.

Speak life into your situations. Search for the good and forget about feeling guilty for where you are. If you focus on that, you cannot see the light on the other side of the tunnel. You are more than the titles you have, your degrees and other accomplishments. You are more than what people or your past says about you.guilty4

Think about what you have done, what you have been through. You are a survivor, a warrior, a lover, you are adventurous, a teacher, an influencer…you are a beautiful soul that is open to everything, you are ever-changing, winning…and you are NOT a quitter! You are who you are. You are exactly where you are supposed to be.

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I Want MORE!

iwantmore1We have all heard the saying, “less is more”, right? When it is said, the person is most likely referring to getting rid of things in life. Decreasing items, activities, people or just doing less. Maybe throwing away clothes or excess things you own, maybe even removing habits that you see as negatives in your life and they do not serve the good in you.

I am all for it! Actually, I am working on ridding myself of some material things in my home that I am not using but they are taking up space. After seeing how much cleaner my home is getting, for some reason it makes me feel better and I want MORE!!!! I am all for that minimalist movement. I feel like not only does it make my surroundings lookIMG_2071 good, but I feel like I can think more clearly. I wonder if that happens to everyone…

The “Less is more” mentality is used on every part of our day. We focus on having less anxiety, having less debt, not over-thinking, living with less regret, and having fewer friends to name a few. Everyone wants fewer of all of those things, but what if we focused on the “MORE” in our lives?

Putting all of our focus on what we don’t want does not help us get what we do want. If we are doing this, we are giving all of our time and energy on the removal of people, things and our mindset. This is pretty negative to me! This is us thinking about the “take away”. Concentrating on the subtractions…I do not want to give too much time to that. Remember what you focus on, grows!

I spent a lot of time in my younger years focusing on what I did not want in my life, and honestly, those things became monsters! They were bigger than anything I wanted to have.  I had to stop focusing on things that would keep me where I was, or drew me back in life, even if it’s was to remove them…That is giving it energy…life.

IMG_3009I am working on freeing myself from that way of thinking and focusing on what I want MORE of. I mean, how can we expect to create the life we want or become the person we imagine if we only focus on what we don’t like? Or what we don’t want? I am putting my focus on what and who I want to add to life. Doing that, I am acknowledging what I want to subtract but I am not feeding “the monster” by giving it all of my focus. I am also making a choice to add experiences and enjoying them rather than focusing on the negative. Being open to what we can have will be more enjoyable than focusing on what we don’t.

That has been a mind-blowing shift in my life so far…I feel so much lighter! There are fewer should’ve, would’ve, could’ve times when we focus on what we would like MORE of. Don’t pray for another job, another lover, or to live somewhere else. Look at where you are and how far you have come…embrace this space! Smile while you think about the good qualities you have…just focus on what you can do to add MORE into the life you have now. What is supposed to be yours, will be yours if you and it lines up with your given destiny so why stress?

When we spend time thinking about subtracting, it closes us off to MORE and makes ustrysomethingnew think small. If we focus on the things we want to add, we are focusing on the upside, on the current and possible growth in our lives. I am not saying acknowledging the negative is bad. We have to be open to seeing it and growing from it. Focusing on it will not help us grow or give us feel-good feelings so we should not dwell there. More positive leads to less and less negative.

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We are still going to get hurt by a person, relationship or life experience. Instead of looking at this and living in the hurt or pain, focus on the lessons, the good that did happen, focusing on bringing the right people that will bring the right energy into your life. Are you still having negative thoughts? Do not try to suppress them! I just think MORE about the positive things that I see and feel and the things that I am grateful for. 

Because I am a plus-size beauty, I get anxiety when it is time to purchase clothes….yes I do! But instead of staying with the feeling, I am talking to myself MORE (not answering back though 😉 ) about the parts of me that I love and reassuring myself that the rest of me is just as beautiful. I am not the most confident woman when it comes to the physical me and I am working on not focusing on the parts of me that I feel aren’t so sexy or the insecurity of all that thinking. I am a work in progress trying to be MORE accepting of me…all of me. There is more to my “sexy” than meets the eye.

That is where I wanna put my focus…

iwantmore

Comparison Can Bring You, Joy, Too!

goodcomparison4Sometimes we watch people “come up” and the green-eyed monster shows up on our shoulders making us wonder why they are getting the things that we have been longing for. Friends are getting new jobs, new lovers, getting engaged or married, having babies, buying nice things, becoming famous, getting promoted and/or getting recognized.

We can look at what is going on in their lives and not feel negative emotions. It’s possible! You can admire what you see happening in their lives without questioning your own success. Economists and psychologists call it downward comparison.  If you compare upward about things you can’t change, then you’re just going to feel stuck. No Bueno!

Comparing ourselves to others does not have to be an unhealthy, negative practice. It doesn’t have to be self-loathing or full of jealousy. Comparing yourself can be goodcomparisonproductive…say whaaaaaaat?!

There are pros and cons to this thing right? It is not good if we are trying to gain a sense of superiority or avoiding challenging yourself to do better. Or comparison can remind us of our own fortune…it serves as a reality check.

It can motivate us, give a different perspective, and make us appreciate our lives.  Comparison can lead to some incredible breakthroughs.

I know this sounds completely unusual. The internet and popular opinion say that we should stop comparing ourselves to others. There are so so many articles out there that tell you why you shouldn’t compare…and I agree with their points. This is just another way to look at a comparison.

goodcomparison1Honestly, we should definitely delight in the success, well-being, and growth of our loved ones. A little comparison can cause a light to go off in your head…your life and motivate you to not only aim higher but to put some action to it. Celebrating others and comparing may help us see where we are,  how far we have come and that we should be celebrated too. It can show us that we are worthy of more and push us forward.

When you see others win, you realize that you deserve more too, that you can grow as well, your time may come later but you are still worthy of your heart’s desire if it lines up with your destiny.

This is something that I have been working on for a while and it really has kept me on goodcomparison3track. I do not have envy in my life. I feel good about who I am becoming. I spend less time being self-deprecating (not all the way there yet- this will be a long journey for me) and it feels good to have less negative emotions flowing through me.

After comparing yourself, you may look yourself in the face and affirm your values, your own worth, and even bigger, what you want out of life.

In the book, Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holidays says, “Stare at it until you can. Only then you will understand what matters and what doesn’t. Only then can you say no, can you opt out of stupid races that don’t matter, or even exist.

goodcomparison5Stare at it…

Look at it…

Soak in it…

Own your feelings! The more we look at other people and compare our movements with theirs, we will look at where we are and where we wanna be. You will understand what matters to you and what doesn’t. You will learn your worth and act accordingly…

Health Minute: Celery

celery3

When my babies were smaller, I used to love making “ants on a log” …that was their celery4favorite snack. “Ants on a log” is easy to make and is a tasty and healthy snack. All you need is celery, peanut butter, and raisins. BOOM! They didn’t even know how healthy that was..hehehehehe

Now that they are older, unless celery is in a recipe, I do not even purchase it very often…not until recently when I was refreshed on its benefits and how it can change your body.

They say that celery is made up of mostly water and holds no nutritional value. This iscelery2 not true! Celery provides us with a few health benefits.

Now, celery is made up of 95% water, that’s true but it is a vegetable that is very high in fiber,  which aids in digestion and promotes regular movement (we all need that!). When you eat it in combination with whole foods that are high in fat and protein (hello peanut butter, hummus), it is said to help you lose and maintain weight because it helps to keep you feeling fuller longer…..hello!

Celery has phytonutrients, which have anti-inflammatory properties. I usually looked to turmeric for this but that is a bonus. Phytonutrients are good for your liver function as well.  It’s also packed with essential vitamins and minerals including folate, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin C.

celeryIf it is gonna benefit you like this, why not reintroduce it into your diet, I am! I actually wanna try it with hummus…I have never tried that because I can’t get past the look and the fact that I am a mom who nursed all of her children (baby poop)…but I am going to give it a go and see what happens.

Don’t forget that because it is made up of mostly water, it is a good source for hydration. We have to drink lots of water, especially during the summer. Staying hydrated is going to give us energy, keep our skin looking good, rids the body of toxins, and keep us from passing out in this heat because of dehydration.

So give celery another try….Here are some other benefits….

  • Lowers inflammation
  • reduces high cholesterolcelery1
  • treats high blood pressure
  • fights infection
  • cures bloating and improve digestion
  • reduces the risk of UTIs
  • boosts your immune system
  • improves your mood
  • fights cramps
  • reduces blood sugar
  • improves eye health
  • boosts energy and brain health

let’s go!!

7 Ways To Simplify Your Life

Simplifyyour lifeLately, I have been trying to simplify my life. I was starting with my home. Throwing away or giving away things that no longer serve me. Every day, I am becoming more and more aware of what is really worth my energy.

I am seeing that my life will not be better if I do more, add more people to my circle, or make bigger changes. My life can be fulfilled, happy, and very exciting without putting more things on my list or people in my circle. I just need to have the courage to prioritize looking at the things and people in my life and rid myself of the extra. I know that it is possible to do less and live more and that is what I am aiming for this second half of the year and going forward.

Having a lot of people around me had me focusing on a lot of extra BS and that had my energy all over the place…if not drained completely. I cannot even count how many times I said “yes” when I wanted to say “no”. Am I the only one? Probably not! No wonder we are anxious in the presence of certain individuals. It is time to trim the fat ( when I said that I was looking down at my belly as my laptop is sitting on my lap and I have 60 days before my cruise….anyway). simplifyyourlife3

Ok so decluttering your life can cause so many good things to happen. For one, I have been removing the negative thoughts and toxic people from my mind and my heart and that is making room for more good…I am so ready for that!

So how can we declutter?

  • Clean up and keep it that way! I am currently going through my home room by room throwing away what no one can use, giving away what I don’t use and keeping what I love. What else helps is cleaning up after yourself right away after you get everything cleaned up. I am now feeling less stressed when things are being kept tidy and neat. This is an easy way to simplify your life. For some reason, it gives me a calming feeling and opens up my mind to be creative and to think clearly. Cluttered home gives me a cluttered mind…
  • simplifyyourlife1Go a day without spending money! Lord knows that this is hard for me. It is so easy to spend money, and it can be so convenient. It is very challenging to stay away from your morning Starbucks or picking up a quick fast food meal. I want to challenge you to make your coffee at home…and your meals. Even if it is for only one day, it is one way to control some of the aspects of your day…, especially your bank account balance.
  • Say what you mean, and mean what you say! Make an attempt to simplify your thoughts and what you say. Be authentic and sincere. We have to stop sugar coating and just share what is on our minds. When we do this, we are being true to ourselves. We do not have to apologize for what we feel, just speak our truth. It’s just that simple. Or is it?
  • ok, so let’s release some social pressure here. Say No! Do what you feel like doing and do not feel pressured to help or entertain others if you do not want to. Do not feel guilty for not going somewhere, that is a good way to always feel pressured and overwhelmed. Do what YOU want to do and kindly turn down what you do not. You do not even have to drop an excuse or reason. Find comfort in knowing that yousimplifyyourlife2 are doing what makes you feel fabulous and not FOMO anymore.
  • Reduce your commitments. A lot of us have so much on our schedules. Too many things that have to be done…at home, work, school, in our religious and civic lives with our friends and family..oh don’t forget our hobbies have to fit in there. I write everything down in a giant planner and that thing is marked up on most days. It can be overwhelming. I decide which of these are going to bring me joy and value and I ditch the rest. I do not want to invest my precious time doing things that won’t add to me. Let’s get rid of the rest. Sorry, not sorry.
  • Examine your routines. There aren’t many of us that have a set routine in our daily lives. Without that kind structure, we sometimes end up with chaotic days and are less productive than we thought we would be. If it’s better for you to do your laundry all in one day instead of several days through the week, do it. Write everything down that you wanna get done that day. If you do not get it done that day, move it to the next day…do that until you get it done.
  • simplifyyourlife5Declutter those friendships. It does not sound like a positive thing but we have to realize that we have let some people stay in our lives longer than we should have. We have to spend time with people that add to us. People that have positive energy and vibes that make your heart smile. Hanging around those kinds of people help you to feel happy and grow.

If life is what we make it, and you are not satisfied, we have some work to do. Let’s dosimplifyyourlife4 more of what we love…those things that make us happy and make our lives lit!  As we declutter our minds of the people and things that cause us to be or feel out of character, we will have room for the people and experiences that bring us to life. Those things will be easier to see when the messiness is cleared away. At the end of the day, this is the only life we have to live…why not do it to the fullest with the things and people that give us energy, not drain us.

 

My Sister is Here!

IMG_3399So it is happening!! My sister is moving to North Carolina to save me! My baby sis, Dee is a lot younger than me but our communication over the years has been easy. She is a mature young soul and she has my sense of humor…what a blessing! Having family around feels good. Connection with my siblings gives me a different kind of feeling. We laugh, play, and have conscience conversation, which someone like me craves a lot of.

This may be a new chapter for her but it is also for me and my family. We get to love on her, show her unity, support, and utter shenanigans on a daily basis. It won’t all be fun and games because growth is always necessary. I can’t wait to see what the move to a new environment is going to do for her…and me. Here’s to Sister Love!!SGFR2736

 

The Importance Of A Sister

© Shiv Sharma

Published: June 2008

A sister is someone who loves you from the heart.
No matter how much you argue, you cannot be drawn apart.
She is a joy that cannot be taken away.
Once she enters your life, she is there to stay.

A friend who helps you through difficult times,
Her comforting words are worth much more than dimes.
A partner who fills your life with laughs and smile,
These memories last for miles and miles.

When she is by your side, the world is filled with life.
When she is not around, your days are full of strife.
A sister is a blessing who fills your heart with love.sisters1
She flies with you in life with the beauty of a dove.

A companion to whom you can express your feelings,
She doesn’t let you get bored at family dealings.
Whether you are having your ups or downs,
She always helps you with a smile and never frowns.

With a sister, you cannot have a grudge.
She is as sweet as chocolate and as smooth as fudge.
Having a sister is not just a trend.
It is knowing you can always turn to her, your best friend.

Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/why-i-love-my-sister

Misconceptions = Missed Opportunities

misconceptionsNo matter who you are, relationships are very important for you. Close relationships, either family or long-time friendships, are what we build our perceptions on life from. We all see things through our own special “lenses” and make our own stories from our experiences. With that being said, most of our time is spent with the people that have a direct impact on how we see the world around us.

Because we are all imperfect, we will sometimes fall short on seeing love as it truly is. The people in our lives may hurt us or we may hurt them and then comes judgment. But we do not just judge the action, we judge the person and love itself…we may even throw in the towel and quit the person and LOVE altogether. How many times have you heard someone say, “I am through with love” just because of their experience with one person?

There are so many misconceptions about love and relationships and I think we can tackle a few of them now so that we can learn to love people where and how they are, in turn loving ourselves. misconceptions4

For one, you do not have to agree about everything! In my experience, when there are differences, and mature communication, the relationships are strengthened, examined, and value is added to each person when you are free to say how you feel without judgment. If your loved one cannot speak their opinion without you feeling the need to change their opinion, is that an act of true love or control? We do not have to debate with people just because they do not see life the way we do. It actually makes life more interesting to see a situation through the eyes of a loved one and it can bring us closer to them.

Why is it that we would rather be the one whose right than be the person who asks questions to gain an understanding of another’s opinions? I think a lot of people love to hear themselves talk and do not have time to listen. While this person is talking away, they are missing out on the chance to see the other person’s ideas; see where they are misconceptions1coming from, and therefore get a different perspective. From my recent encounters, I feel like we are losing the beauty of an actual deep conversation. I don’t mean all…but I do mean some…In any conversation we have, we should look to be enlightened some instead of looking for the moment to tell someone what to do or say or how to be. Instead of being so combative, we should ask more questions ( except surface talk…I cannot stand surface conversation for more than a minute.) to find out more. In doing so, it may change the way we see things and we may find out that we are not as right about something that we thought we had figured out.

Another misconception about relationships is that humility makes you weak! Because we all have different opinions about things, there is bound to be some shaky ground when we are having conversations with others. Many of us have believed something for so long that the standard of thinking that we have will never change (or it seems that way). Not many will admit it but I think that a lot of people want to change someone’s mind about what they believe without even wanting to know why they believe what they do. They don’t know what the other person has gone through or the experiences that have impacted their view of the world. They just want the person to agree with their views…narcissism at its finest.

We have no reason to look down on or speak negatively about ourselves. We do have tomisconceptions2 be careful not to think too highly of ourselves though. It can be dangerous if we are “getting high off our own supply” and thinking that we can do no wrong. Humility attracts people that want to share and dialogue. Humility takes us away from seeing ourselves as “perfect” and encourages dialogue…giving us an opportunity to add value to each other.

People are different and that is one thing in life that we cannot avoid. Why try to avoid it anyway? We should embrace and try to understand the differences that we have. Gaining understanding helps to reveal the beauty that really does still exist in this world and makes every day a special and unique. We should not assume that we cannot give love to people that do not look, act, or think the way that we do. That’s lame and can leave us lonely if we get extra literal about it. More importantly, is that what love looks like? There is gonna be friction involved when we are dealing with other people. We can learn to respect the differences and let others be free to be themselves in our presence…especially because we want that same thing from them.

There is a problem with us wanting people to think the way we do. I get it…it is your world and in your world, you are always right! We need to embrace everyone with their different thoughts and beliefs…make a big ol’ unity salad! (yes, I am hungry)….anyway…how boring would the world be if we all thought the same, had the same interest and whatever else…clones…boring! I guess people wouldn’t look down on misconceptions3each other or talk negatively…still would be boring. Wanting others to be just like you ruin the chance for diversity, unity, civil dialogue…and growth!

Allow people to be who they are around you. You will deepen your friendships and relationships and find out so much more about who they really are. You may even find out who you really are! You may also find yourself sharing more about you. Adding value to each other is an important part of what deep relationships are all about.