I’ve been trying to be more vulnerable on here lately. Not only in showing my face more, but in the posts themselves. Today I woke up and I felt sad. My life feels wonderful, I just finished Christmas shopping, my birthday is coming up, and yet I still woke up with a lingering sadness. My first thought was that I had no reason to be, I was not allowed to be😬 Now, I grew up denying most emotions besides happiness and joy. Any of them I deemed negative-anger, sadness, frustration-I denied myself the opportunity to feel out of self preservation. Slowly and late in life, I have recently been learning about these emotions🌓And one of the biggest things I have learned is that there doesn’t always have to be a reason, but just because there isn’t, doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to feel them. I have heard from some spiritual people that we humans are all badass souls because we were put on this earth to experience an entire gamut of the most difficult, and at times most rewarding, emotions🌎So feel them. That’s what we are here to do. If you need to cry, cry! If you need to scream, give it all you’ve got💥You are not defined by your emotions, especially the fleeting ones. The ones that make you not want to leave your bed that day, the ones that make you so angry you might explode, the ones you don’t even understand. But that’s exactly it. You don’t have to always understand them, but you do have to feel them and once you do, they will pass. I have learned from fighting them for so long that it is the worst thing to do. You are allowed to feel everything🌹There is no right reason, there doesn’t even have to be one. You are allowed to feel them simply because you are human. You are not your emotions, but you are your courage to feel them, your raw authenticity, your willingness to love yourself even when you feel your worst and your strength to turn those tears back into the smile that shines so beautifully on your face. If it’s not there today, don’t worry, I promise it will be back soon. Hold on to that knowing and you can wisely accept any emotion that arises, realizing that it too will pass because you are one badass soul🌈🦅🐺🦋🔥☄️🌪
Yesterday, my little cousin called me. She’s a senior in high school preparing for college and she desperately asked me how I deal with stress. Says she has no energy to do much, isn’t motivated like she normally is. And it broke my heart. I told her that those are signs of depletion. She’s giving too much to everything besides her present self. Her job, extra curriculars, applications, worries for the future, parental expectations. Everything is for others and for future her. So she’s doing nothing to fulfill the soul that is in the present. Yes, our future is important. I commend her for her dedication and her determination. But it’s sad how our society encourages such a future focus. A future that we can never guarantee, that no matter how hard we try, we never have absolute control of. Our society fosters a forgetting of the present in favor of external expectations and it’s filtering into younger and younger kids. I’ve met students in 6th grade who are studying until midnight to get into the best middle school.. I mean what?! Since when did school become such a competition instead of a basic right?
I told her to get outside. Find the things that take her mind off the future, if only for the moment. If we can encourage kids again to live for the moment, to find wonder in the small things, to get outside, to be a kid like they’re allowed to be, maybe we can have a better world. We can teach kids to be kind to themselves over anything. Not selfish, but kind, self aware, self loving. Know how to love themselves so they know how others should treat them and how they should love others. Let’s bring our kids back to the present, to the little things that are the big things. Let’s teach them to not let life pass them by. That a better present is a better future. Too much stress can make us lose our heart. Too much focus on material success, monetary success reaps a society that’s riddled with anxiety, ego, stress, things that pull us away from our kindness, compassion, empathy. Let’s redefine success. Take kids outside. Show them connection. Show them how a smile changes a day. how to help an animal that can’t speak for itself. Let’s define success as a full heart.
Yesterday, one of my friends posted those tests that tell you which of 16 personalities you embody. I find them fascinating and with my answer (ENFP) came a quote “It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your hearts longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool- for love – for your dreams- for the adventure of being alive.”💙🦅🌲✨
Let’s ask each other the hard questions. Let’s take the time to get to know each other and understand what makes us who we are. Let’s learn all we can so we can be the best we can for someone in our communication, in our care, in our empathy, in our kindness, our compassion, our advice. Let’s try hard so we can read between the lines, we can see more than is shown and we can help more than is asked for⚡️If we really learn about the people around us, if we really know what hurts them, what makes them feel good, what makes them laugh, what makes them sad or angry or joyful, we can really know how to be the best and the kindest for them. Everything starts small🍄If we start with deeper connections in our own circle, express greater kindness within it, then hopefully those circles will grow, each person will show the same in their different circles and the compassion will propagate itself. And maybe one day we can make those circles expand enough to include the whole world in our efforts🌎🌍🌏So let’s ask! What motivates you to wake up each morning? What is your dream in life? What is your greatest fear and why is it so? Do you hold yourself back? If you had infinite power to change our world, how first would you make it better? Are you content with your life? If not, do you have the courage to change it? Where do you feel most at home? What would be your biggest regret in life and will you make sure you won’t have it? Who inspires you most? Do you prefer sunset or sunrise? If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Do you like waterfalls best looking down at their whole or standing underneath their power? Do you roll around in the grass when you get the chance?🌾🍃🌱☘️
When I was young, I had a dentist tell me I needed braces, so I never went back.. I liked that my teeth were maybe a little too big, the chip in my tooth was well earned in a soccer game and my imperfect teeth, I felt, made me me. It was before I started succumbing to the feelings of rejection and self judgment that led to bouts of unworthiness, depression, body dysmorphia, anorexia. In the words of Pink, “everyday I fought a war against the mirror.” When I found my teaching job, I realized that just by shining my light and being me, I could change someone’s life. It was not my looks, but my soul, my compassion, my quirks that made a difference and I loved myself for once✨But it is a constant battle I will always fight. Sometimes it rears its head without you even knowing that your insecurities are winning. Recently, I had more energy than I have in a few months and the epiphany set in. I was suddenly and unknowingly being nice to myself again, taking care of myself, feeding myself and it made me both happy and sad. Sad that our minds can make us be so mean to ourselves. Happy that I finally found compassion for myself again. Happy that I had a breakthrough in realizing, how was I supposed to be a beacon of light when I didn’t even have the energy to do so? How can I make sure kids love themselves and are being kind when I can’t even be kind to the one person who matters most? We make a difference not because of how we look, but because of how we make others feel. By showing them it’s wonderful to love yourself just the way you are and to smile because you do. There is so much power in not allowing your biology, your insecurities, your predispositions, your tendencies, your reflections to bring you down (it’s ok if they do at times) & letting your soul & heart lift you up. I think little me realized that my smile was a reflection of my soul and that was what mattered💫If only we all had that wisdom and knew that our imperfections, the chipped teeth, our battles we’ve fought against our mind and doubts make us beautiful because they make our heart and souls strong and empathetic. So fight that war against the mirror, and win. Even fight the dentist if you must😝
I read an old quote recently that came up as a memory on Facebook. I had posted it when I was in high school and to this day, it still resonates with me: “Before you can conquer a beast, you must first make it beautiful.” ❤️Recently, I had one of those Earth quaking moments. Those realizations that change the course in your life and you can never move backwards from. It was a moment where I looked at my past, I looked at the people who have caused much pain in my life, and I felt love towards them. I put myself in their shoes and empathized with where their hurtful actions come from, and realized that they do NOT have to do with me, but unfortunate things that may be going on in their own life. These actions are NOT proof of my worth, but testaments to the place these people are at on their course. I let go of the control of the things and the people I cannot change and the people I can’t make better. The people that are on their own self journey, and though it may be influencing mine, that too is part of theirs✨There is power in accepting the things you can’t control. Power in accepting that other people’s treatment of you is not a reflection of what you deserve or what you are worth. Abuse does not mean you are weak or that it’s the type of love that is meant for you. A person’s detachment does not mean you are not worthy of time. It means these people are working through their trials and you are there to be a part of it. It’s okay to be hurt. It’s okay to be angry, to be sad, to feel confused or to be in denial. In fact these things are necessary human responses that allow us to process our life and our own journey☀️But there comes a point in the process, where the hurt may still exist, but there is also acceptance. You come to realize that these hurts and these tears and this anger that come from this person, they are beautiful. Because they are YOU. You would not be you without the rock bottoms you have lived in or the darkness you have stood in. You come to realize that you are beautiful because these things and these people that have made you feel the opposite do not get to determine your self worth. You are a beast and you are beautiful🐗
I once fell in love with Turkey when I visited the country. The colors, the passion, the kindness, the apple tea in every shop. So much so that for a while I wanted the word “love” tattooed in Turkish, and I wanted it even more when I found out that translated it looked like the word “ask.” Because you never know someone’s story until you ask✨You don’t have the answers, you should never judge or assume about someone’s life because you don’t know the history that has led to their current smile. Maybe we post nice photos or statuses but we all still have our things that we suffer with. We are all doing our best with what we’re given in this life✨ There’s moments where we are met with the fragility of life. You never know when it will rear its ugly head for you or someone close to you🌊 The fresh scars I for the first time saw on the wrist of one I almost had to say good bye to. The ones that nobody saw because they hid them under their sleeves. Reminding you that, yes, life can change in an instant, so hold on to the things, the people that make you happy. Hold on to them and love them like hell, because you both deserve it. Reminding you that you don’t know everyone’s story, so be kind. Love them for your sake, love them for their sake, love strangers, love YOU! Love regardless of your fear because you never know if they will be gone. Love because there are those who are wishing they were. It is a constant fact that they can be. Love others BECAUSE of your fear for you know that everyone too fears in some way, struggles in some way, so have empathy💕When you have love to give, wear your heart upon your sleeve for the sake of those family, those friends, those strangers who may be hiding something under theirs. Love because we’re all trying to figure it out. Be kind because we’re all doing the best we can with what we’ve got❤️💕#worldmentalhealthday We can’t always know who is struggling, we don’t wear our mental illnesses, ailments or hard times on our sleeves, we often don’t understand (and many don’t try to), but we CAN always help by showing compassion to those we meet, showing them they’re worthy and trying to understand even if we don’t know how to.
A couple weeks ago, we took a group of students to the redwoods and guided them on an 11 mile hike where along the way we passed around 4 waterfalls. At one point we even hiked down steps that descended alongside the biggest cascade! I was awe stricken by the waterfalls, the giant trees, the ferns that decorated the forest floor (which did you know is called bracken?😳) and I felt so grateful to be able to show these students one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever been on🌲🌲 These students were some of the most dedicated, intelligent, determined young adults I had ever met and they inspired me and saddened me at the same time. These students had their sights set on schools like Yale, the cross country runners woke up at the break of dawn to run 16 miles before they would later embark on that 11 mile hike. Their dedication, their determination for their future is something to admire, yet at the same time I could see how society’s forward looking mind set had filtered into their every moment. The 11 mile hike became a race to the finish, to the point I could barely even keep up, and the waterfalls didn’t even encourage a second glance from the ‘finish line’ mentality🏅 I was once one of these students. I felt society’s pressure. I never stopped moving, playing sports, doing homework. I never stopped thinking about how every little thing would influence my future, what college I got into, even when the present passed me right by💨 Now, I stop, watch, listen to, play with the waterfalls. Now I am much happier✨ The students themselves did not sadden me, but society’s influence does. Setting your sights high for yourself is admirable. Believing you can be successful is inspiring. 24/7 dedication is incredible. I’m in no way saying that these things are bad, I’m in no way saying these ways of life are wrong. I’m saying that we as a society should find a balance and teach balance. That the future IS important, but the present is too. School for some IS important, but it isn’t everything, it’s not the only way. Pushing yourself IS important, but so is allowing yourself to slow down so you don’t push past the beautiful things in life. Balance IS important✨🍃⛰💫