If you were to ask me what my greatest fear is I would tell you, hands down, I’m afraid of the dark. It’s true! I am absolutely 100% afraid of the dark!
I know, silly right? It’s one of the most cliche’, ridiculous things that a girl could be afraid of.
But let me explain. It’s not necessarily the dark itself that I’m afraid of. I mean, darkness isn’t really anything but the absence of light. No. It’s not just the dark that makes me nervous. It’s whatever’s lurking in the darkness that I fear.
When I was little, probably five or six, the creepiest things would always happen to me in the middle of the night. I swear there was one time I was staying up reading and my chair moved in the corner of my eye!
Boy, you better believe I ran out of there and slept in my parents’ bed that night!
And it never really helped that I’d have nightmares leaving me curled up in a ball waiting for a velociraptor to claw into my back. Yeah… I saw Jurassic Park when I was way too young 😛
Fear is a valid emotion
“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~Nelson Mandela.
We all feel it. It helps us stay safe. It’s that gut reaction that protected us against predators and enemies in the wild. However, how often has your fear stopped you from doing something that might’ve changed your life for the better? Now that’s something to consider.
So, what are you afraid of? What’s holding you back from fulfilling your dreams? Write it down. Once you can recognize what you fear, you can take the steps to conquer it.
Find A Method To Cope With Your Fears
“Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyways.” ~ John Wayne
No matter how bright the day was, I’d always have the night to look forward to. Because I was a night owl, that meant I was the last one awake in my family. Which meant I had to turn off all the lights.
When the time came for bed, I would press my hand over my heart and imagine a huge shield wrapping around me. Then I’d leap down the stairs, flip off all the lights, run up the steps, and slam down the rest. In total darkness, I’d bolt down the hallway and hide in my bathroom until my heart calmed down. It’s pretty silly, but it worked for me.
Find out what works for you to cope with your fears and make a plan of action. Do some research. Find out what other people have done to get over their own fears and copy them. You may always have your fears, but they don’t have to stop you from living your dreams.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
You know, I still get afraid of the dark. I still get nightmares about velociraptors (It’s really dumb). Sometimes I have to keep a light on at night or else I can’t fall asleep. But that hasn’t stopped me from moving out of my parents’ home. That didn’t stop me from working in the wilderness for 8 months. And it won’t stop me in the future.
Whatever it is that you fear, keep finding ways to fight it. Keep fighting and keep trying. You’ve got this!
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US. Each year 44,965 Americans die by suicide and for every suicide there are 25 failed attempts. Why is that? With all of our modern conveniences and technological advances, one would think that people should be happier in these modern times.
According to healthline.com over 350,000,000 people suffer from depression globally. “From 2008 to 2010, more than 8 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 22 reported a major depressive episode in the previous year.” These percentages have only increased per the latest report given by the World Health Organization.
A Global Epidemic
That’s a staggering, tragic amount of people. What is the cause and what do we do? How do we fix this?
I think this poem might have some insight into the dilemma.
When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.
Author: Unknown Monk 1100 A.D.
It starts with you and me.
So what does that mean? How are we to change? And what do we need to change?
Well, how many times a day do we look at ourselves in the mirror and feel negative about our image? I’ll raise my hand to that and say TOO MANY. How many times a day do we beat ourselves up over little, inconsequential things?
I think that’s where we need to start. There’s a toxic amount of imagery thrown at us daily about who we should be and what we should be doing with our lives. And if we’re not living this perfect standard of “normal” something is wrong with us. We’re broken.
I’ve felt that.
For years, I battled with my self-worth. That I didn’t deserve to be alive. That I was just a burden to the people around me. Trash.
And it got to the point where I wanted to end my life. I thank God for the friends I had and for my loving family who helped me fight through that. And honestly, it’s still a struggle.
How Many Others Suffer In Silence?
How many others think they’re broken and nothing but death can solve the pain they’re experiencing.
Their lives matter. Your life matters.
An amazing blogger, BeautyBeyondBones, a woman who has struggled with anorexia and continues to fight every day to love herself, said something profound about this. “I had to stop seeing myself through my distorted and irrational eyes. I had to see myself through God’s eyes. I had to see myself through the eyes of my Creator, who loves me unconditionally.”
I had to learn the same thing with my depression and past trauma. Here’s the truth: all of us are broken in one way or another. But that doesn’t make us worthless. Those cuts, bruises, violations, whether physical or emotional, shape you and can teach you powerful lessons. They allow you to connect with the rest of us who also have scars.
You, your soul is beautiful.
Nothing can take away your worth. Nothing.
But I can’t convince you of that. No one can, except yourself.
I don’t know your beliefs, but God has always played an integral part in my life. He has taught me how to love myself and I wouldn’t be alive without him. He was the one who showed me that my life mattered. That no matter what, I was loved and accepted by Him. If we can learn to see ourselves as God sees us, as his precious children, we can learn to love.
I’m not suggesting that we need to think and stress about what’s wrong with us. No, that can lead to a dark road. And no, I’m not suggesting that you have to convert to some religion you don’t believe in.
What I am saying, is to practice loving and accepting yourself. To find out what’s true about you and the world around you. To get help from a professional if you need it. And if you feel inclined, to pray and meditate. To focus on what’s beautiful about you and why you’re actually amazing!
And then pass it on. Love other people. Show them how amazing they are. Because we’re all in this together 🙂
It starts with our own thoughts and hearts. So, what will you do today to love yourself more?
Sleep and I have always had a love/hate relationship. If you were to ask me whether I’m a night owl or an early bird, I’d say I like staying up late enough to watch the sunrise. Yeah, I’m that person who’ll stay up until four in the morning reading a good book.
But that is finally changing!
After years of hearing my brother get up at four in the morning to get to his job or listening to my mom talk about getting up every morning at 6:30, I’ve always wanted to get better at going to bed early. If only just to prove that I could.
Well, I’ve been doing some research to help me get more Z’s at night and wanted to share them with you 🙂 If you’re a night owl like me, I hope they can help you get some more sleep at night.
Keep your food out of the bedroom
When I get off work, all I want to do is grab a meal and curl up in bed to watch a video. The problem with this, is that I’ll get so comfortable in my bed, I don’t want to move. Soon, one video turns into hundreds and at midnight I gape at the clock wondering where my time went.
Instead, keep your meals in the kitchen. It’ll stop you from vegging out in your room or even on the couch.
Create a daily, consistent sleep schedule
Know when you want to get up and when you want to go to bed. Develop a nightly ritual so your body will know it’s time to sleep. If you have a bathtub, it’s nice to take a bath or at least let your feet soak for a few minutes. It’s calming and eases the tension you’ve been carrying all day. Also, adding lavender drops or Epsom salt is really nice as well.
Avoid electronics an hour before bedtime.
I’m terrible at this, but it’s so true. Try to keep your phone off or outside your room when you want to sleep. It’s so tempting to jump onto Facebook or do an internet search, but allow yourself a break. The bright light tricks your brain into thinking its noon.
Also, it’ll help to de-clutter your mind if you give yourself an hour to wind down and relax. Many professionals recommend keeping your electronics out of your room, but if you’re like me, that’s really really hard to do. Especially if your alarm is on your phone. Just ensure your electronics don’t take away from quality sleep.
Focus on relaxing
Bedtime is not the time for sweets, alcohol, drugs, caffeine, or any other kinds of stimulants. Curb your sweet tooth by drinking some warm milk or even water. (We all could use more hydration) just don’t drink too much or else you’ll find yourself running to the loo in the middle of the night.
When you’re in bed, take deep calming breathes as you prepare for sleep. If you need, keep a journal to write out anything on your mind. That way you’ll keep yourself from hamster wheeling over every little detail of the day.
Make your bedroom your den
Make your bed something that you long to sleep in. (It’s recommended that you get a new mattress every ten years if not sooner). Try sleeping in a hammock or on the floor. Both have surprising health benefits. Put a little lavender oil on your wrists or a dried sprig in your pillowcase. Also keep it dark and cool. Most experts recommend keeping the temperature between a cool 60-67 degrees. Again, think of it as your cave or den. Someplace you want to curl up and fall asleep in.
What helps you get the most rest? Mention it in the comments! As always, thanks for reading!
There are a lot of really great websites to help you with your sleeping goals. I’ve listed a few of them here in case you want to find more help.
Here are some other websites with sleeping tips:
For those of you with newborns here are some sites with tips to help you get the best rest that you can while your little one grows:
Also, here are some great foods that you can try to help you sleep better:
I want to tell you something that was a slap in the face for me a few years ago. The only person keeping you from doing what you want to do in your life is yourself.
Kind of stinks huh? That person staring at you every day in the mirror is the only one stopping you. All of your dreams could be your reality if you get up, dust yourself off, and go for it.
So, today I wanted to talk about some ways that you can take responsibility for your life and go for your goals.
Recognize That This Is Your Life
“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.” ~ Bob Moawad
In order to take responsibility for your life you have to realize that this IS your life and that you have control over your actions. I can tell you right now, nature has the last laugh. Life can and will rock you to the core and you won’t have any control of the situation.
However, you do have control over how you handle the situation. And that can change everything.
Stop Making Excuses and Start Finding Solutions
“Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.” ~ Dale Carnegie.
I could probably think of a thousand excuses why I can’t go to Hawaii. Oh, it’s expensive. I don’t want to go by myself. Who would want to save up to go with me? I can’t take off from work. And on and on the excuse reel goes.
But you know what? There are plenty of women who travel solo these days. Yep, it’s true. Also, I bet I could find someone to go with me. It would take planning sure, but I bet someone would! And my job has always been pretty chill about vacation time.
It’s that easy.
All you gotta do, is flip your excuses on the head and start imagining solutions.
Okay, so I guess it’s not that easy. However, it is possible. It just takes practice and a willingness to try something new, maybe even a little scary, but it’s SO worth it if you can really start living the life you want.
“An Investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
In your quest of taking responsibility for your life, you’re going to have to learn some things. And that doesn’t always mean going to college. (I could list a lot of positives for going to college and a lot of negatives. It really blows down to what’s right for you.)
Get some books. Read history. Study people who are successful and are living their dreams right now. Emulate them. Reading this blog is a good start, but there are TONS of resources out there that can help you on your way.
Develop Good Habits
“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” ~ Henry Ford.
When I say habits, I don’t just mean physical actions. What you allow yourself to think about is a habit.
When I was growing up, I developed a nasty talent for blaming myself for inconsequential things. It got to the point where if I couldn’t figure something out, I just figured I was an idiot.
When my quest for a different life began, I started to see myself in a new way.
I remember once being backstage with my stage crew working on lights and not being able to open one of the back fixtures. I kept trying and trying, but the dumb thing wouldn’t cooperate! As I worked, I grew angrier at myself. I must be an idiot. Any person could open this!
My stage manager comes up to me and asks if he can try. I give it to him and he tries to twist it off.
It doesn’t work.
It was like a lightbulb flashed above my head. Just because I can’t figure something out doesn’t mean I’m stupid!
Eventually we did manage to get it off, but the point I want to make is, what are you allowing yourself to think about? How do you see yourself? Are you your own best friend? Or worst enemy?
It makes a huge difference. Changing your perception of yourself will change your world.
Love and Forgive
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr
This is something that I struggle with. It’s so easy to get caught up in our problems that we forget the people around us who are fighting and trying every day like us. And it’s easy to forget that you, yourself are also doing the best that you can.
If you do the same thing I do and tend to blame yourself for things, it’s okay. Learn to recognize that pattern and flip those thoughts on their head.
When you feel that negativity coming, stop.
Imagine what you would say to your best friend. And say those words to yourself.
“He couldn’t win, but he kept running. And when the storm caught him, it didn’t matter that he’d died, because he’d run for all he had… We all die in the end, you see… So I guess what truly matters is just how well you’ve run.” (Sanderson 1202)
It’s your life. Make it the best life you can 🙂
If you’d like to read more, here are a few other articles I found on this topic. I highly recommend the series that Forbes did, it’s really good!
Sanderson, Brandon. Words of Radiance. Tor Fantasy, 2014.
I hate change.
I’ve always hated it.
Change means saying goodbye to something I’ve grown comfortable with. It means I have to be tossed back into the frying pan of uncertainty bringing on a whole mess of anxiety and sorrow.
…Have I said I hate change? 😛
Yet, change seems to find itself in every aspect of our lives. (Whether we like it or not.)
I felt like change would be a good topic for this week because I’m in the midst of a huge change in my job. With the turning of seasons, many of my co-workers are now moving on with their lives and going to school and elsewhere. It makes me feel like the last little puppy left in the cardboard box who has to wait just a little while longer to find her place.
After spending so much time with these amazing people in the wilderness, laughing together, singing together, suffering together, and crying together, they’ve become like family to me. I don’t want to let that connection go.
It’s hard. It’s hard to be grateful when I may never see them again.
So… for my wounded and crying heart, I wanted to address change and how we can embrace and welcome it, instead of fight it back tooth and nail.
Enjoy Every Moment of Every Day
Things are constantly in motion. Death, job loss, debt, moving… life is constantly changing for better or worse. Worrying and stressing about those problems only makes them become mountains impossible to climb.
So, take a step back.
Change your train of thought to something different. Find something small that you can smile about. Something like a child’s laugh or spending time with an old friend. Find joy and gratitude in the present.
Laugh despite your hardships.
Listen to Music
“Where words fail, music speaks” ~Hans Christian Anderson.
Music has always played a vital role in my life. Having a song in my heart gives me the courage to do difficult things.
According to Psychology Today, “music therapy has demonstrated efficacy as an independent treatment for reducing depression, anxiety and chronic pain.” Music has a way of lifting up the soul when all else fails. It can be a powerful tool to help you go through your change.
It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.
I don’t know your personal beliefs or religious viewpoints, but the idea that even if I may never see these people again in this life, perhaps I may see them again in another life.
That gives me hope.
Believing that this goodbye is only temporary brings me excitement for the wonderful reunion in the future.
Change Your Perspective
I believe that everything happens for a reason and the experiences that we go through are meant to teach us important lessons.
Try asking yourself what you’re supposed to learn from this experience. Maybe this hard change is leading you to a once locked door that’s opening up to new and wonderful opportunities.
You never know 🙂
Make a list of 20 things you can do to treat yourself and then do 3 of those things each week or month. It could be anything from getting a massage or buying ice cream and watching your favorite movie. Doing something that brings you joy helps to cope with the pain of changes that can and will happen in your life.
In summary, change can be hard and painful, but there are things that we can do to cope. Instead of letting life slap us around, we can take the reigns and move forward, letting the change be our strength.
I’m sad to say goodbye to so many remarkable people who have changed my life. But I’m so grateful for all of the memories I made with them. I know that no matter where they go, their lessons will always be in my heart.
I want to wish you all the best in the changes that are happening in your own life. I hope that some of these tips may help you transition through successfully and that you can find joy in every day of living.
if you have any other tips for dealing with change please mention them in the comments. What has helped you in the past? I’d love to hear!
As always, thanks for reading! 🙂
(Edit: I wrote this post over a year ago and it never saw the light of day. Even though I’m not in the same place I was, I still think these principles are useful and I hope they help you with whatever changes you’re going through.)