Lessons in Self-Love

Hey guys! This past week has been so crazy, but fun. I booked a photo shoot, caught up with some friends and started my internship at a local radio station. Through it all, however, I’ve been jet lagged as ever from Australia! Last night, was the first time–since Australia– that I managed to get a workout in at the gym. hopefully tonight, I can get another workout in and shake myself free of this dreaded jet lag, haha!

Today’s post hits a little close to home and it’s something I’ve been itching to talk about for the longest time. So I thought I would just open up with some stats (courtesy of http://cultureandyouth.org/body-image/statistics-body-image/body-image-stats/):

  • 20% of teens are either “rarely” or “never” happy with their body image
  • 52% feel that the media pressures them to change their body image
  • 73% of teens feel their appearance affects their body image

Bear in mind though, these aren’t the only stats I found and a lack thereof in self-love, isn’t just limited to teenagers, but also adults. It’s not just women who struggle, but men as well.

But I’m not going to spend this post, spewing statistics at you hoping that you’d understand the importance of how much of an issue body image, self-esteem, and self- confidence is. The bottom line is: It is still a problem. 

As far as I’m concerned, I hope that this post sheds a light on some prevalent issues of today and if you have something to add, feel free to mention it in the comments!

So remember when I said, that this issue isn’t limited to teenagers? A lot of times it starts in adolescence, but no one really talks about it following people into their adulthood, unless something serious, like an eating disorder, happens. Not saying that an eating disorder happens when you view yourself in a negative light, but a lot of things added to the mix can definitely take a toll on your mental health and perception of how things really are. It could go so far as seeing yourself inferior in not just a group of people, but when you’re alone too (more on that here)

Throughout most of my adolescence, I’ve gotten to so many low points where I felt that I was not worthy of a lot of things. Most of that stemmed from my low-self esteem.

This would follow a series of things that filled me up with doubt, surrounding myself with people who didn’t really value me. At one point, my self-confidence was a matter of  saying I was confident, but not believing it. Having that key component of believing in myself and in my endeavors further guided me and took me out of that comfort zone.

However, when I didn’t believe in myself, that became a different story. Whenever I didn’t believe in myself, I realize now that, I unknowingly refused to learn about myself and enjoy the process of being human. Like, if I didn’t believe in my abilities to do well on an assignment or whatever, then that would show through in my work.

The power of the mind is an amazing thing that should never be underestimated. When I talk about the fun adventures I have had, people often say “Wow, I could never do that!”, to which I reply with “not with that attitude” because if you think about it, no one is stopping you from doing the things you love, except for yourself. So unlearn those negative thoughts and begin to put yourself first!

It took me a while to unlearn a lot of self-deprecating habits. For example, to believe and actually love who I am, took me most of my adolescence to overcome. As an adolescent, I never thought that it was possible fully love yourself, just the way you are, and I thought that self-love was complete and utter bullshit. I thought “I love myself” was something people said on a good day, but never actually believed it on just any other day. Part of the reason why I thought self-love was bullshit, was also because I barely had any within myself to realize that I needed to be around different people. 

As a teen, I often put myself in groups where I seriously never fit in. It had nothing to do with size or skin tone, but it had everything to do with values and what I believed in. Granted, in life, we’re going to be around people who don’t really believe in certain viewpoints and that’s fine, but what is important is that the other people acknowledge those views and respect them as well (more on that here) .

Moreover, when I surrounded myself around the right people, I began to see how much happier I was, how much of a better person I could be and how I could achieve more with the right people by my side.

 

I feel like self-love flourishes more when you choose who you want to be around. A lot of times, our inability to engage in self-love is through fault of our environments. The more you say in a negative environment, the less able you are to have that energy you need to improve yourself. Many times, I have had to learn the wrong way, but there’s no fault in that because through it all I have learned to be thankful that those experiences have happened to me and they’ve lead me to the right people in my life.

Another thing I learned in my self-love journey, was to have positive mantras along my mirror. Positive mantras are amazing to have because they help you get into the right mindset for tackling the day. Here are some of my favorites:

“Don’t let your MIND bully your BODY”

“Work out because you love your body, not because you hate it”

“I am STRONG. I am BEAUTIFUL. I am ENOUGH.”

(source: greatist)

Too often, we wake up in the morning and we see ourselves in the mirror like:

and we don’t even give ourselves a chance to think about how good of a day we’ll have or anything! Then we mope along into the bathroom, take a shower, and get ready for our days.

Instead of doing that, try waking up more like

Think about how you will absolutely KILL IT, today and everyday! Stop being afraid of the day and just embrace whatever it brings.

Basically what I’m trying to say is, it is possible to love yourself and self-love goes such a long way. By focusing in on your own self-love journey, you can find the people, places and experiences to push you to become a better person. Always go down the path where you can grow and learn a lot about yourself in the process. The more you focus on your path of self-love, the more you attract people on a similar path. Love the skin you’re in and make it a goal to learn something new about yourself everyday.

Sending Love and Light your way,

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The Power of Forgiveness

Hey guys! I hope all of you are enjoying the first few days of the new year! If you’re having trouble finding ways to be motivated in your goals or have no goals for this year, check out my previous post Living Life With Arms Wide Open to see how you can get on the right track this year!

For the next couple of weeks, I am going to be doing a series called, “The Power of…”. My aims are to outline different ways in which you can incorporate certain virtues into your lives and become a better person.

So let’s get started, shall we?

Forgiveness. Where do I even start?

Forgiveness is a powerful thing. It sounds so easy to do, yet it is one of the hardest things a person has to overcome, depending on the severity of the issue. Sometimes, people go years, maybe even a lifetime without forgiving someone who has hurt them. Other times, it takes years and maybe a lifetime to forgive someone. The thing is: forgiveness not only helps you grow, but it helps bring peace within yourself.

I mean imagine having a deep seated hatred for people who have hurt you in the past. You’re mad. You’re furious, over every little thing they do and have done to you. What good are being mad and bottling up that anger?  It is not good for you, at all. You hurt yourself more, in the long run.

That’s why I don’t hate. I let go of all the people who have hurt me. When you let go of the people who have hurt you, you have room for more people in your life. Granted, if a relationship with someone close to you has drifted, due to a fall out, try your best to make amends on your end. If, after trying to make amends on your part, doesn’t work out or the person doesn’t answer you for whatever reason (phone number change, wrong email, etc), then take on the task of forgiving yourself.

As a kid, I used to get bullied. Now I know what you’re thinking, “kids just say the darndest things, they don’t mean it!”, what if I told you their words cut deeper than I could ever imagine? The same way one were to pluck away at the petals of a flower, is the same way bullies were able to pluck away at my weaknesses. I’ve been called everything in the book. It was awful. I did whatever I could: ignore it, tell them off or have my parents get involved with the school. One of the the three actually was proven effective. Thankfully, my last year in middle school, no one messed with me.

My point is, After I graduated from middle school, I was able to forgive the people that hurt me and most of all forgive myself. In the end, I went to a different high school than everyone else that year.

Don’t just forgive, to forgive. Forgive to close a chapter in the book that is your life. You don’t want to harbor any pain you have from that relationship. What will happen is it’ll pour over into all your other relationships and that’s not good either. It doesn’t allow you to heal. To grow.

Remember, the whole point of any change in your life, it starts with you.

If you’re trying to be a better person, start with yourself. Start by applying the power of forgiveness, by taking steps towards forgiving yourself and by forgiving others. If you feel that you should seek out a higher power, then do that. Personally, I seek God and I feel that when I ask for forgiveness, I could do it all in the comfort of my home or at church on my own time. When I have my time with the Lord, I don’t see a priest, but I let myself be free in God’s presence, speak from the heart, and pray at my pew.

It’s all about putting in the work and putting it all into action. The path to greatness doesn’t have to be hard. Just take it step by step and day by day.

Forgiveness is a powerful thing, Meredith. Not only to make the other person feel good, but to heal you. You need to forgive her, Meredith. Forgive her for not being Derek, for being the wrong Shepherd, just enough to remind you of what’s missing, but not enough to bring him back. That’s not her fault. You need to forgive her. You don’t have to like her, you don’t have to love her, but forgive her. So you can forgive Blake, for being in that room when a wrong decision cost you your husband. Forgive Derek for dying too soon. Forgive yourself for hating him for dying too soon. Let it go, Meredith. And forgive.”

Forgiveness. It’s the right thing to do.

The Drawbacks of Social Media

Hey, I know its been a while, I’ve been so busy with end of the semester stuff, but I’m happy to be back on here doing what I love! I hope you enjoy what I have put together in this post!

So Social Media… Is it all it’s cracked up to be? What’s its purpose? Is it used to show people up?

The whole purpose that social media serves is for us to keep in contact with the people we have had the pleasure of knowing throughout the years. but because life happens, we don’t have the privilege of seeing them as much as we’d like. That’s why creators of many social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and the like have created these platforms because they had a concept that we resonated with: we want to stay in contact with friends from childhood, family, and colleagues. But in the process of doing all of that, have we become so connected to the social media world, that we forget about the real world face to face contact we should be having with someone?

I watched this video on Facebook about the effects that social media has on our society, a while back(ironic, right?). In the 3-5 minutes of this video- that’s how long it was- it outlined the main problem with social media: as we become more connected to what’s happening, we’re passing up face to face contact with people and plugging into a world where we think we’re connecting with people, via (*insert Social Media site here*) but in reality it could be drawing us apart.

But don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I live under a rock and refuse to use social media. I use social media and personally, for an outgoing person like myself, I find absolute joy in posting pictures and sharing little snippets of my life.

But there comes a point where there should be some level of privacy. Like for example, I used to post just about anything and everything I was doing on Facebook, who’s birthday it was on Instagram (before they had that ‘stories’ feature), and any random thing on Twitter. I began to plug myself in and realize that these likes were ones that would determine my worth and I thought that the more I’d share, the more recognized I would be. In all seriousness though, now I look back at this and just think “boy, was I naive or what?”. There are certain things that should definitely be kept on the DL(down-low). Like if you are out with bae on a date, don’t snapchat your whole date with the world, because where is the fun in date night if you’re too focused on your post?

Part of the reason why I stopped posting a whole lot on social media was because I realized that in the end it doesn’t matter who liked my post and I really shouldn’t seek validation from a group of people who really only like a status update or a picture for the sole purpose of approval. I stopped caring a long time ago about it. Now, I’ll login to Facebook, post something new, some pictures from an adventure, or share something that really speaks to me, etc. but that’s it. I don’t worry too much because frankly it takes up too much head space. I don’t go on social media as much, and that is well within my rights.  On some days, I’ll post highlights and on other days, when I am doing something exciting, I’ll document the whole day. But it’s all in moderation.

Back on the subject of seeking validation, I learned that back when I took a Mass Communications course, my professor told me that there is a theory called Social Comparison Theory. Social Comparison Theory is a psychological theory that happens as we are looking at magazines, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat,(basically engaging in any form with the media) and we base our own self-worth on how we stack up against others. We look at these posts and think, wow that’s really cool how her bathing suit fits her or wow that vacation house looks like a dream. Sometimes, when we take it too far, it becomes a problem. That’s part of how eating disorders, mental illnesses, and other stresses happen. The media can be a dark place.

You have to keep in mind that while all these photos look glamorous and professional, they’re only showing you one perspective of their world. Sometimes, Social media sites can be a little biased, in that the people who share bits and pieces of their lives,  they only will post the photo that holds up this outer layer of ‘how ‘glamorous’ their lives are. You don’t know what could be going on in their lives. So don’t always assume that someone has a life that you dream of living, because there could be some underlying issues that they refuse to talk about with the rest of the world. In short, people will most likely post about whatever successes they have had in their lives. So just because you see someone having a greater success than you, doesn’t mean that you haven’t had any successes of your own. Never compare yourself to people. You’re doing all you can to achieve your goal and they’re doing all they can to achieve their own.

I like to think we all live some pretty cool lives. Each person you have that follows you has an opportunity to see a little bit of your world. Don’t down play that. Always keep in mind that, there is more to life than being on social media the whole time. When you choose to disconnect from it, life can be just as, if not more, fun.

Fear of The Future

Happy December, everyone! I’ve been so busy this past week, which was why I had LITERALLY no time at all to keep you guys updated on the next big thing! So I apologize, but I’m here now, so let’s talk!

Lately I’ve been doing things that plays roles in planning ahead. I’ve signed up for courses in Spring 2018, continued on my process of applying to colleges, applying for scholarships, among other things.

In the midst of all of this, however, I sense a familiar wave of emotion that kind of washes over me. Fear, if you will, of the future. The same fear that just paralyzed me and played an integral role in my depression the first time around. That same fear of the future, which made me realize that I would be going from a place where I knew where everything was and who my friends were, to a place where I didn’t know any of that and therefore, I would have to learn to do that all over again.

Learning new things and doing something different doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. It could be a positive experience for you. You’ll never know until you make that first step. I used to accept change with such grace, but what part of my anxiety and depression has affected was how I perceived change.

Now, big changes affect me, but that’s normal, right? People are affected in one way or another to big changes, like moving to a new city and going to school. For me, if I want change to happen in my life, I need it to be small and gradual. Of course, in this fast paced world we live in, nothing ever comes small or gradual, it comes at us the size of a train going 150 mph.

But I’ve learned that we cannot be afraid of that change. We must accept it and learn to face this fear, embrace it, and live our lives. The future is in another dimension, it’s something that we prepare for. Why should we be fearful of it? We spend years preparing for a job that we want, we take all the courses necessary to be able to do all things in an appropriate and ethical manner, we prepare ourselves for the degree we want.

As I’ve said before, it is normal to be afraid of the future, because that fear is the same fear that helps us and motivates us. This fear is the one where you actually care about being successful in the future. Paralyzing fear, however, has been known to be detrimental for you. You care too much and you literally cant sleep because, on top of caring too much, you are also thinking about it too much. Instead of working for us, it works against us and we work for it, fueling any insecurities we may have about ourselves. In reality, you don’t have to overthink your future successes, no one is telling you to detail every aspect of your future. Only you are ingraining that into your mind. I mean, think about it, if we were to narrow everything down in our future down to a T, where does that leave the present? Where are you now? What’s even more, is if all of us think too profoundly into the future, imagine how high our stakes are.

Imagine having only one aspiration that leads you to a house, family, etc., what are the odds that it might change? We shouldn’t have to hold one general idea or one general goal and expect that same goal to be the same. For example, for many years, I’ve always wanted to be a doctor or something along the lines of the field of medicine. I would watch all these medical shows and be fascinated at the knowledge of doctors in their fields. But then in my Junior year of high school, I wanted to be a Physical Therapist, I had my plan figured out, I would major in bio then apply for a seat in the Physical Therapy program at the college that I would go to. By the time I got to my senior year of high school, I wanted to become a Physician Assistant(PA), so I toured schools looking for a perfect fit in their Pre-PA majors. I didn’t really find it. So that’s when I resorted to Nursing. When I applied to a school for Nursing, I got my acceptance letter, buuut… I wasn’t exactly in the Nursing program, I was Undeclared-Nursing, which meant that I would be taking a course that was required of all first-year nursing majors and I’d have to work my way up into the Nursing program. I ended up switching my major the second semester of that same year. The reason why I took too long in realizing that working in the medical field just wasn’t for me, was because I was still stuck in that mindset of holding one general idea about myself and my future. When I realized this, I thought to myself, “what would my life be like if I wasn’t a nurse?” “What other job is out there?”.

Fast forward to now, I am happy to see how far I have come and how this experience has led me to where I am. I’m a Communications major with a focus in Marketing and I am looking to get my MBA in Marketing, as well. My dream is to work in Digital Marketing and hopefully contribute to the overall growth of sales and provide ideas for more traffic on certain sites.

The fact of the matter is this: You can plan for your future all you want, you are entitled to how you feel about it, too, but always be open to what life throws at you. Don’t ever feel like you have one set choice. In this life, we have an unlimited amount of choices and it’s up to us to find one that suits our goals. All of this is meant to give you perspective in this life, mapping out your future is a good way to start gaining some perspective, but don’t go overboard. Enjoy your present and be open to your future.

 

 

 

Dear Best Friend

Dear Best friend,

I’ve been thinking about you for quite a bit and it sucks that you live in another state, but I’m always here for you. You are hard-working, smart and brilliant, you amaze me with your ability to remember and recall things you have read. Lately, it seems like you’ve been pretty distant. Based on what has happened in the past, I get it. You have a tough time trusting people and when you do finally open your heart up to someone, especially a guy, you feel like you’re walking on air, because for the first time in your life you feel understood, validated. You shouldn’t feel validated by someone who just gives you the time of day, you should be finding that from inside of yourself.

Believe that you are worth more, that you are blessed beyond measure with a support system, and that you deserve the best. Learn to love yourself first before searching for a man who will give you that same satisfaction. I mean, think about it, how are people going to love someone who does not love themselves first? How can you want a love that everyone else has with their significant others, when you don’t have a loving relationship with yourself? I love you, but I cant make you see the way I love you, if you are not willing to see the beauty in yourself.

Don’t feel hurt by your past. The past is a lesson learned and it doesn’t always have to be a negative thing. The past is what makes us human, it makes us stronger, it molds us into the people we strive to be for tomorrow. The way I see it, that while the past is a mixture of good and bad things, you have a choice. You can choose to be afraid of the future and angry at the past or you can choose to be proactive and push forward, eager to see where the future takes you. You cannot be mad for what has happened. As the saying goes “whatever has happened, happened”, therefore whatever happened in the past, cannot be altered, changed, or deleted. You can’t go back and change it because what has happened, happened for a reason. As I’ve said before, do not look down at your past mistakes, situations, etc, those serve as a purpose to educate you, a chance for you to learn about yourself and the people involved. Past mistakes can be made into positive triumphs, but they cannot be made into positive triumphs if you continue paralyzing yourself over what has already happened. Enough! You’ve done all you could in the situation, if it didn’t work out, it didn’t work out!

You need to surround yourself with people who really see your worth and see you for the amazing person you really are, because you deserve it. You deserve to be free from your hellish demons, that whisper a lie to you every time you don’t perform up to par. Don’t let them win, don’t give them the power to alter your reality. Instead, ground yourself with the utmost truth, that you matter and the world is better a betterplace with you in it.  God made you in His image and likeness. Why would you think of yourself, otherwise? He makes no mistakes. You are my best friend and I want to see you conquer these demons and come out on top, for once.

But you won’t be able to conquer these demons in your head and the stresses of life, unless you become equipped to fight for the life you want to live.

Sending Strength and Love,

Karenn

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