It is OKAY to Fail

Aye y’all!  Wow. I can’t believe we’re in our last week of March! Where has the time gone?! Like I could’ve sworn I wasn’t going to get out from this winter tundra my area has been having. Happy Easter to all my friends who are celebrating!

So Today’s blog post is dedicated to all my perfectionists.

Haha, anytime I think of the word ‘perfectionist’, I think about Monica Geller from Friends. She always has to win, always has to have the house (or apartment, if you will) clean, but basically she’s what I like to call a perfectionist. If you watch the show, you know what I mean!

But all joking aside, perfectionism comes from the stem of “(This/I’m) is not good enough.”, “This needs to look good”, “I have to look (good/thin)”, etc etc.

Personally, I know that I can get into this train of thought where I just want everything to pan-out exactly the way that I’ve planned it. Sometimes, however, life doesn’t always go the way we want it to go, and that’s completely OKAY. You have to get to a point where you can plan for all these things in your life, but in the end, you have to realize that life just, kinda happens and that’s out of your control.

Perfectionism comes from the same stem of control. We want to be able to control the things that happen to us. We want to be in control of how we want something to fit or something that deep down, we cannot change.

In fact, depression happens when there’s something in either our past or future that is out of our hands and we try to control it.

Anxiety happens when you expose yourself to stressful situations (like starting at a new school, meeting new people, etc). It’s not really a choice you have. Anxiety just kind of happens naturally. As things get harder or more advanced, it’s expected that you get with the ebb and flow of things. It’s hard, but not impossible to overcome.

Granted, there are some people who don’t have this problem or people who work on their anxiety and frustrations so that it doesn’t interfere with their productivity at work.

All I’m saying is, it is okay to fail.

When we fail, we learn from those mistakes. In fact, I’ve learned so much from making mistakes in my life and they have lead me to the conscious person I am today. I can’t change the past, but I can change my attitude to a more positive one and look at “mistakes” as works in progress.

I remember back when I was in high school, (damn, I feel old) I was in color guard for the marching band…

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Senior year. Fellow band kid at your service lol. (Fall 2014)

I had these instructors, who were some pretty great people and whenever we would work on a part of the show that needed some cleaning up, they would impress upon us to Make Different Mistakes”. It means exactly what it says. Make a different mistake so that you can continue to work towards being a better performer or a better person. The idea is that once you make a mistake, you learn from it, you grow and move on. However, if you make the same mistake on different occasions, then what does that say about you? Said mistake becomes a choice that you make.

There are people in this world who have a tough time discerning from their mistakes and think that what looks like the same mistake they made, is a different one on a minuscule level.

The important part is that at some point, you have to learn from those mistakes and be able to grow from them, not be mortified by them.

We aren’t perfect people, we are human. We fall, we rise and we grow. We are capable of making our own decisions.

I used to be mortified by all the mistakes I’ve made. I would look at them as a past I never, ever wanted to revisit for knowledge.

But how can we be scared of looking back on something that we ultimately wanted to do, at one point… and it came out pretty bad. There’s a lesson in every mistake.

Back when I was depressed, I struggled to come to terms with being okay with recovery. I wanted my recovery to be perfect and I wanted my depression to end by a certain date. What I have come to learn is, no one’s recovery journey is perfect. (It may take longer depending on how long you’ve dealt with an illness or if its been as a result of your upbringing and other external/internal factors.) As much as we want it to be, it’s the drive in wanting to get better that motivates us to work towards our better self.

I look back on my life now because of the sole purpose of providing you, the reader, an insight to how I dealt with a particular situation. With some of the things I look back on, I laugh. I laugh because I’m not a perfect person, I laugh because I see how far I’ve come, I laugh because I see that some of the things I thought were going to define me, ended up not doing that at all.

I’m thankful for the experiences that have lead me to today and while, I may get into my perfectionist ways, I know that I can always stay mindful of the fact that, it is okay to slip up. It is okay to fall down every once in a while, but what matters is how you get up and how you can learn from a situation.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t know what was right from wrong. So we have to be mindful of the fact that we are human and that we need to understand that making mistakes, is a fact of life.

so go out and make all the mistakes!!!!

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Getting Uncomfortable

Hey guys! So it’s been quite a while since I blogged on here… I’ve been going through some pretty bad writer’s block these past couple of days. It’s like I have all these wonderful ideas that come to mind and I know how I would start each one of these ideas, but the problem comes when I have to come to a decision of which idea I should write about first. Does anyone else have that problem? If, so let me know how you deal with writer’s block in the comments below!

Alright so, today’s post is going to be about getting uncomfortable, but with more of an emphasis of what the positives are in being uncomfortable in new situations or around different people.

Has anyone heard of the quote “Get comfortable with the uncomfortable?”

Well basically it’s one of the many quotes that says what it means and means what it says. We live in a world where we can modify our preferences to see only what we want to see. In other words, things we are normally comfortable with, like adorable animals standing on their hind feet, your favorite singer announcing their tour dates, a status update from your role model, etc. are what drive our news feeds on social media sites.

If you think about it, we’re tuning in more to what we agree with, issues that get us on a spiritual level, and tuning out to things that we don’t believe or agree with. So what this causes, is it causes a drastic rift between a lot of people. No one is willing to hear the others beliefs, because if they’re not the ones they hold dearly, God forbid they can’t be your friend or someone who you can talk about an issue with.BASICALLY… People are becoming friends with other people who believe the same things that they do.

My one question about that is: WHERE IS THE GROWTH?!

If you’re around the same group of people, with the same views and the same experiences, then your reactions to most things would be identical and frankly that ish gets boring.

If there’s one thing about me, it is that I am more than willing to be friends with just about anyone, regardless of your political and religious views. So long as those beliefs are within reason and don’t infringe on a human’s right to live. What I’m saying is, I wouldn’t be friends with someone if their purpose was to intentionally hurt me or anyone else*.

For the record, I wasn’t always this open and extroverted where I felt that I could be friends with anyone. There was a point in my life where I held a lot of high expectations of the friends I had and who I associated with. It wasn’t until I hit high school that I was surrounded with people who held different views. I went to a Catholic high school in my area and it was nothing like how I expected it to be.

My expectations prior to attending Parochial School:

  • That students had the same, if not, similar views on education
  • That students would have a faith in Jesus.
  • That students would respect the sisters who taught some of their classes
  • that students would give a damn about volunteering as a fulfillment of the spirit and not for individual gain

My Reality:

  • Many students did not care nearly as much about their academics (considering that their parents were spending well over 9 grand for tuition!)
  • Many students I knew didn’t have a faith in God and turned to other things that filled their soul
  • Not a lot respected the sisters
  • Not a lot cared about doing service, many felt like it was an obligation from their respective sports teams

Now this isn’t here to throw shade at anyone who went to this high school or Parochial schools in general. I actually enjoyed my 4 years at a Catholic school, there were some pretty rewarding qualities that I got from such an institution. For instance, I got exposed to where everyone came from; a lot of people came from various socioeconomic backgrounds, different towns, some went to catholic schools their whole lives, some just went because of how well the academics were, and so forth. The list could go on and on, but what I am trying to say is that these experiences helped me understand different viewpoints and while I didn’t particularly enjoy a lot of the conversations about their views, I had to learn that I couldn’t live locked in my little treasure chest of like or similar views, believing and agreeing with things that I was comfortable with.

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I had to grow. An experience like going to a new school, while it wasn’t easy, was a first step towards me getting uncomfortable in a new situation and helped me grow as a person. This would then begin a series of other experiences in my life where I was pushed out of my comfort zone, like flying alone for the first time, dorming for the first time, partying for the first time, etc. etc.

Fast forward to now and I have a pretty diverse group of friends.

One of my best friends is an Atheist, but they’re really chill, are more than willing to hear me talk about my faith from time to time, and tells me what their beliefs are. I found that we have the same outlook on Karma and on how the universe works.

My significant other likes the guy who is president. They have taught me how to listen to opposing views and provide me with some insight to some things, I would have never given any thought to.

Another one of my friends, is a feminist, they provide me with some very interesting insights about history… I could go on and on. But one thing is for certain: we can’t shut down a belief if we haven’t heard it loud and clear. 

Too many times we listen with the sole intent to respond. We don’t allow ourselves to listen to other view points. We don’t “let it sink in”. We speak before we even understand what the other person is talking about.

Imagine how much better the world would be if we actually spoke to each other and had a dialogue going about our many diverse beliefs. Would we then find a common ground in this mess?

We need to be better communicators with each other and realize that each of us has something valuable to contribute to the world. Understand where people genuinely come from. Each of us has had different opportunities and different walks of life that leads up to what our beliefs are and what our stances are on a wide range of issues. The closer we get to having dialogues and to listening to each other, the less disparities there are and the more hope there is for a world that can focus on the good.

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What Recovery Means in Terms of Mental Health

Hey y’all! Since I’m on spring break and currently visiting one of my friends at college, I have waaay too much time on my hands, so here I am, back again!  What’s good about this break is, I get to relax before getting back in the rhythm of school, next week.

Nah, but in all seriousness, I’m ready to start refreshed and anew.

So tonight’s blog post is going to be about what recovery means in terms of mental health.

So… Mental health, as we know it, is nothing to fuck around with. I mean, think about it, if we aren’t mentally okay, then how are we able to focus on the task at hand? We all cope with our mental health and unwind on our days off-from school, work, or both- in different ways.

Some people go shopping…

Some workout…

Some even just sit at home, heat up some tea and read.

Whatever you do to unwind, you get the picture. The thing is though, not a lot of people pay attention to their mental health or stress levels. In fact, it is something that people need to do, but many feel like they don’t have time to do so.

At least that’s how I saw it before I got depressed.


Not too long ago, I remember talking to someone about my mental health and how I dealt with it. I kept it brief, because: a) I do not remember everything when I was struggling with my depression and b) it’s too much to even talk about, it’d probably take a whole day to talk about it (but even then, I’d unknowingly leave out some important details). Regardless, this person noticed that I kept reiterating the lighter side of my depression, when I was in recovery.

“Karen, you keep saying ‘recovery’. What does that mean?” They ask.

I get it. It’s a questionable thing because mental health illnesses like depression and anxiety, can come back at any point in your life. It’s all in how you deal with it, that makes all the difference. I think this question speaks for anyone who is wondering what “recovery from depression and other mental health illnesses” actually means if it is something bound to come back.

Recovery in terms of mental health, means that you have been able to deal with your illness without the help of medications and instead, with a knowledge of coping skills (fancy word for ways of dealing/coping with depression and anxiety or other mental illnesses).

Coping skills are, but not limited to:

  • Deep-Breathing Exercises
  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Making To-Do Lists
  • Writing
  • Working Out
  • Grounding Yourself
  • Reading Self-Help books
  • Petting your dog/cat
  • Visualization

You can make anything (that is good for you, of course) a coping skill. Like I said before, it’s all in how you choose to deal.

You learn these coping skills, as you take medication or as you see a trusted therapist.

For me, when my depression hit, I was on medication for it. I had mild to moderate depression. Regardless of the severity in my depression, I believe it needed be treated and needed to be looked at as a serious problem. End of story.

The positive thing about my recovery, was that once I ran out of Paxil, I didn’t need to continue taking it. Medication goes a long way, but it can also become a crutch. That crutch can be a good thing and a bad thing, but if you feel like you’re doing so much better mentally, then ask your doctor if you can ween off of your medication. By ween off, I mean lowering your dosage of your anti-depressants or anti-psychotics under the supervision of a Doctor/Psychiatrist. The way I see it is, you don’t really want to be on crutches for the rest of your life, if you know that you are doing a lot better. You want to recover (there’s that word again) and possibly go back to a life where you didn’t have to worry about taking medication. This also means that you apply the coping skills in place of it.

The subject of medication and whether or not people with mental illness need it, is kind of a double ended sword and I don’t want to come off as anti-medication, because I don’t know what each person’s needs are. I’m writing this as an informative post and if you have something to add, please feel free to leave a comment below!

There are some people who need to take their medications, because if they don’t, they break out in hives or get weird bodily sensations that don’t help them focus on the task at hand and that is when medication is necessary. That is completely within their needs. Everyone has a different brain chemistry.

The thing about many of these medications, is they alter your brain chemistry. For example, when I was on Paxil, it gave me more of an appetite. With a significant increase in appetite, came my sleeping patterns. Essentially, the more I ate, the more I was able to sleep well.

Even though I gained 45 pounds, Paxil did its job as my anti-depressant and with the help of my family and medical professionals, I was able to recover from my depression. Because of this, I am forever grateful. Recovery ain’t pretty, but it’s well-worth the effort.

A good bit of recovery consists of 3 things:

  1. Having a good support system (friends, family, doctors, significant other, etc)
  2. How well the medications are and If they are doing their job (If they aren’t, then talk to your doctor about it)
  3. If you’re doing your part in remembering and working on your coping skills (making the effort in talking to a trusted therapist).

If you’ve hit a crossroads in your recovery, then try re-evaluating what is missing in your recovery. Do you need to start looking for new friends? Do you need another kind of medication? Do you need to see someone different? Speak up about it and make it known, because the sooner you know, the better off you’ll be when dealing with your mental health illness.

Make it a priority to check in on how you are doing and what you’re doing to cope. Life comes with all these crazy twists and turns, it’s up to us to decide whether or not we want to continue going with the fast paced lifestyle or to take a break.

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5 Ways Anger is Manifested

Hey guys! I’m currently on spring break, which gives me an awesome time to publish some noteworthy stuff that you can incorporate into your mindset and give you a dose of perspective on a thing called Anger!

Whether it be someone who cut you off on the road, some petty drama you got dragged into, or just relationship issues with the people in your life… Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that we’re well acquainted with our friend, Anger over here.

Sometimes being angry, isn’t the best way to live your life. Research has shown that people who engage in road rage (guilty), are more likely to have unnecessary stress in their lives.

But you already knew that, right?

Haha okay well, here are some things that I’ve noticed in the realm of anger and how people manifest anger in different ways. More specifically, it’s the 5 ways people commonly express their anger, the drawbacks and solutions of each.

Bottling it up

We all know this kind of anger. This is the kind of anger where it is just stuffed, stored, even buried deep in the ravines of the heart and mind. Bottling up your anger is not at all the most effective way to “dealing” with it. In fact, this is the most common way people try to cope with this anger. The problem is, however, this isn’t even a way to deal with whatever is bothering you at all. If you think about it, all of the anger you hold, has been stuffed into a safe that is wrapped with chains, padlocked and has a sign saying, “DO NOT OPEN”.

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This is a pretty volatile way of “expressing” anger because:

  1. It isn’t good for the person holding on to this deep-seated vendetta
  2. In any given moment, this person could explode in a fit of rage-i.e something much more destructive than anger.

Solution: Before you go off shoving things deep down, think about how valuable it would be to tackle the problem (or whatever is pissing you off) head-on. Another thing to do is you can sit down and talk over the problem with a trusted therapist, friend, or family member.

The One-Word Answer

Oof.  The ‘uh huh’, ‘cool’, ‘oh’, etc. Don’t even get me started on the one word answers. I know all about it, because this is the way I normally express my anger in a given situation. To make matters worse,  I’ll actually get to a point where I’ll wait until the other person asks me “what’s wrong?”. I learned to pick up on that habit quickly and try my hardest not to do it, because it can be a little annoying.

Imagine having a conversation with someone, either through texting or in-person. The conversation is going well, until you and the other person have a disagreement. The disagreement subsides, but you’re still mad about how after all the points that were discussed, conclude with “okay, lets just agree to disagree”. How annoying is it to have a person to just be like “okay” , “whatever”, “cool”, afterwards?

I remember back in middle school and high school, whenever we would have a confrontation through text, (which was all the time) we would say something along the lines of “k.cool.bye” and each person would tweak that phrase to their liking.

Solution: Before you begin to say your one word answer, take a step back and think about something else you could say. Instead of getting mad at what someone said or how they said it, try asking them, “what did you mean when you said (*insert what they said here*)?” By going about it this way, you’re able to articulate what someone said or did to you.

The Silent Treatment/Cold Shoulder

Oh wow. This is another common one. The silent treatment. This is a seething anger anyone and everyone can see, without you even saying anything. Only problem is, you’re not talking to the person who got you mad in the first place!

You are just sitting there, in all your seething anger glory, ignoring someone over something they did wrong. This is obviously not a healthy way to express your anger. Holding grudges does nothing but dig you in a deeper hole than you originally intended to. You hurt yourself more than you actually hurt the other person (no matter how many times you kill them in your head). You can’t walk away and ignore the person, who pissed you off, forever. You have to talk.

Solution: Get over yourself. Yes, get off your high horse. Step out of that comfort zone and actually have a conversation with the person. Communication is key in any relationship and if you see that there was something wrong, talk about it. We aren’t juvenile anymore. We’re adults.

Lashing Out

Being pushed to your breaking point and actually unloading all your anger on one person, is no bueno. In one way, you are expressing this anger and you are telling them that you have just gotten pissed off, but in another way, you’re unloading a ton of things that, later on, you’ll regret.

See, when you’re angry, your frontal lobe (ie the front part of your brain that helps discern behaviors, moods, impulse, etc) shuts off or becomes dormant when you lash out. It isn’t until after you’ve come down from the episode that you realize “fuck, did I really mean that?”, “Ugh, what is wrong with me?”, etc.

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Solution: Think before you react. Take a step back and listen to what the other person is saying. Before you react to a situation, you are still in control of your actions, your frontal lobe hasn’t gone dormant…yet. It’s only when you flip-out and all hell breaks loose, that your frontal lobe just becomes dormant for a bit and then resumes all its functions once you cool down. Also, learning what makes you tick helps loads, so do this by doing some introspection, i.e taking out a piece of paper and making a list of anything that makes you mad.

Isolation

Now this is different from the silent treatment. Isolation is when you become so mad, so angry, not at just one person, but at the whole situation and the people involved, that you withdraw yourself from it all together. You want no part in it. You’re pissed and just done with all of it.

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This is a bad thing, especially if you decide to isolate yourself while the situation is still in progress. Be it a discussion with the parents, a discussion with friends, etc. You should never shut down or mentally isolate yourself from a discussion the moment that you are exposed to perspectives that aren’t yours. In other words, don’t leave a conversation if the person has a different view on a subject you care about.

Isolating yourself doesn’t allow for you to listen to other opinions. Truthfully, it is an act of being stubborn. I used to do this all the time. Anytime I heard opposing views from anyone, I would shut down and write the person off.

Solution: Be open to all opposing views and hear people out. Take a step back and analyze why you are feeling hostile towards the subject. Allow yourself to be honest, without getting angry or condescending.

Anger can be managed and you can navigate through it. Most of these strategies have helped me in many situations. For more info on how to effectively communicate your anger or whatever is bothering you to the other person, check out my post on The Power of Communication

Sending a ton of love and light your way! Let me know if these mindful posts have helped you in your everyday life!

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‘Cause Baby You’re Worth It

Hey guys! I’ve been so busy getting all my assignments in for midterms (only to find out that most my classes have been cancelled as a result of this snowstorm). Before I begin, I’d like to wish a Happy Belated International Women’s Day, to women of the world. May we love them, respect them, and learn from them!

One day, I was driving home from school and was listening to the radio. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE to turn up the volume on a good song!

Has anyone heard of Fifth Harmony’s song “Worth It”?

I freaking love listening to this song and even though it has been played more than a million times on the radio, I still jam out whenever it comes on. On the day that I was driving back, however, I paid attention to the lyrics more than ever.

Give it to me, I’m worth it
Baby I’m worth it
Uh huh I’m worth it
Gimme gimme I’m worth it

These opening lines are so empowering. I know that this is in reference to a girl telling her man that she wants a specific thing, but to me, it means so much more. This sassy vocal in this doesn’t play around or beat around the bush. The singer knows what she wants and isn’t going to question it. I feel like that is what we all aspire to be.

How many times do we say “I’m going to be more true to myself” or “I’m tired of being afraid of who I am”? I mean, we are entitled to what we want and it’s up to us to articulate that. We DESERVE that, because baby, we’re worth it.

I’ve spent most of my life being afraid of who I am and who I wanted to be. It took me awhile to find my worth and that’s something I want to share. From a pretty young age, I remember feeling pretty shitty about myself. Then again, it wasn’t just me who felt this way towards me.

I often gravitated to the people who were “popular” or people who never really shared similar beliefs in terms of academics and success.

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enter 13-year-old me.

I surrounded myself around people who never even bothered to see my worth. What’s even crazier, is I thought that they would, only because I didn’t see worth within myself.

It took me a long time to get to where I am today. I’ve been dying to write about something like this but have not yet had the right words to describe my experience- or battle, if you will- with this, until now.

Looking back, I’ve always been outgoing, sassy and sarcastic, but only with the people I considered my friends and close family members.

It wasn’t until I got to college that all of that changed. One of the main things that I wanted to do was step out of my comfort zone. After all, I noticed a significant change in my mood, thanks to the anti-depressants I was on. While I was at college, I made a ton of new friends and I felt a sense of ease because I realized that I could be me. I could be me and see the load of worth I found in myself throughout my recovery.

The moment that you find your worth, is the moment that things start to come together. For example, when I set out to find a group of friends who shared similar beliefs and were people I could have fun with, life gravitated me to that.

I became this very outgoing sassy person and I loved it! I’m still this way today, but now I let it radiate through to everyone I meet, which is an amazing feeling.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the past and how it has lead me to now. There have been certain things that have definitely set me back, but now I’m getting into the mindful habit of not letting myself be stuck in the past. Instead of being stuck, I’m learning from the past because it serves as a big lesson in life.

However, I get that it’s so much better to ditch the past because who cares, right? The thing is though, sometimes the past serves as a lesson. When you notice something, like a pattern or even a habit you get into, from time to time, you become more aware of your own short comings.

For example, I had this unbearable habit of talking smack about my friends behind their backs to people they were close to. Time and time again proved that I cannot always trust people who are close to these so-called friends of mine.

But when life throws us a lesson, do we make the effort to listen to it and learn from it?

More than half the time, we don’t. Before we know it, we’ve fallen victim to the same thing.

Or like whenever I would engage in self-depreciating behavior, I remember holding myself up to a standard and putting all this pressure on myself to be the best. I thought that if I fell below that, it meant that I wasn’t deserving of all the good things in life.

It took me a long time to realize that I can never be perfect. The only one who is, is the big man upstairs.

Now, I am more conscious of being mindful whenever I make a mistake. In fact, I’ll do one of two things: laugh it off or just say – to myself – any of these phrases, “the more I know”, “good to know”, “well, you didn’t know, but you know now for the future”, etc etc. Even if I feel myself come to have self-deprecating thoughts, I stop it by saying “okay, so lets not get self deprecating up in here, let’s look for a solution to my problem, instead.”

It also boils down to whoyou surround yourself with and what you surround yourself with to feel worthy. Make sure that both your who and your what are positive things, because if you think about it, these two things are interdependent of each other.

If your who involves people who are toxic and feed off of your energy, then most likely your ‘what’ is going to involve some self-deprecating behaviors.

not at all saying that drinking is bad, but if you’re doing it to fill a void of worthlessness then check out my post on voids

The same thing goes with good things too. If your ‘who’ are people who motivate you, make you feel at ease, then your ‘what’ is going to be some mindful behaviors that are productive and help you work towards your goals.

Bottom line: Find your worth and see where it leads you. Engage in behaviors that promote mindfulness and allow you to grow. Look to the past and learn from it.

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“Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.”- 1 Corinthians 10:6-11

Sending love and light your way!

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