What I Have Learned

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At 41 and about to cross over into 42 I have learned a lot about the world around me and myself.  My life has been full of ups and downs and through it all I grown to be a happier and healthier woman.  Lately, I admit sadness takes up residence in a corner of my heart due to loss of a relationship but as I have experienced before, this too shall pass.  As I move through my day, getting up each morning to make my bed, meditate and pray, shower, brush my teeth and feed my pets, these routines give me comfort. My drive to work each morning is usually listening to an audio book and often my morning routine at the office means arriving early and involves coffee, checking emails and maybe a little time to write.

As I move through my work day I like the freedom to work through each task at my own pace and often work through my lunch hour because I truly love my job.  Leaving around 5 each day I listen to my audio book again or sometimes I choose to listen to music.  Evenings may very, but often throughout the week I have dinner either alone or with my daughter, if I even eat dinner.  Sometimes my evening classes in grad school prevent even having time for dinner.  When I am home alone and don’t have class I may take an hour for Netflix or Prime, use the evening for study time or reading a book of my choice.  Reading soon leads to crawling into bed and a cup of hot tea before finally falling asleep.  Then I wake the next day to do it all over again.

Sometimes, I may go for walks in the evenings after work or have dinner with a friend.  Occasional yoga classes, kayaking or hiking on the weekends keep me active.  I try to plan little trips throughout the year to explore a place I have never been in one trip and to get my beloved beach time at least once a year.  I love my three cats, my dog and my house plants and my beautiful 18-year-old daughter who is in college and works.  She makes occasional appearances to spend time with her mom when she isn’t working on school, working at the restaurant or spending time with her boyfriend and friends.  I am a partial empty nester, which means I spend a lot of evenings throughout the week home alone, but that doesn’t really make me lonely.  I have learned to really appreciate my alone time.

As I recount my day to day activity I realize that I am living a blessed life.  I have so much to be thankful for and I have learned that being exactly where I am is enough.  I have spent most of my life striving to be, do, and have more and honestly, it can be exhausting.  Just accepting and fully appreciating who I am, what I have accomplished and all the people I have met, experiences I have had, places I have traveled….I know I have done well and nobody can take that away. I have learned that people may come and go in our lives but those who truly have touched my heart will remain in my heart.  I have learned that to truly forgive brings a peace that cannot be matched.  I have learned that there is no wrong way to love and you cannot love too much, there are just people that may not be ready for the type of love or the amount of love you have to give.  I have learned that no dream is too big and no act of kindness is too small to matter.

Some mornings I may wake thinking I just don’t feel like going through the same old routine again, I just want to pull the covers over my head and hide out.  What I have learned about that feeling, it is normal.  We all have days where we can’t really explain why but we just don’t want to get up and go.  I have also learned that pushing through is often good but sometimes it is okay to just call in to work and take a mental health day.  I have learned that it is okay to not always be positive and have a smile on your face, but the more you smile the better life usually is.  I have learned many things in my life and as Thanksgiving approaches and I reflect on the last 41 years, I know one thing is for sure, I will never stop learning.  The peace of slowing down and appreciating exactly where I am in this moment is truly the best lesson I have learned yet.  I ask that as you prepare to have time with family and/or friends this holiday season to just fully appreciate the moment and always look for the lesson.

With love, health and happiness,

Stacy

What is a Great Partnership to You?

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When I think about all I have learned in my life through experiences and my relationships I am able to see how my desires in life have changed.  To say that a person never really changes is a bit of a myth in my opinion.  The truth is, the people who are not changing are not ready or do not have a desire to.  Change is always possible and often necessary in order to live a full life.  I am definitely not the same woman I was at 21 or 31.  I have grown a lot through the years and I feel I am getting better with age.

So with that being said, I also realize my desires in a relationship have changed.  With the ending of each relationship it is good to re-evaluate where we are in life and reflect on the things we found good and bad in the relationship.  Breaking it down during the grieving process is not just helpful to make sense of things but helpful to gain clarity on what you want to do differently moving forward.  I know there are things I will do differently moving forward in my life.  I have spoke about setting boundaries and I believe that is one area where I am definitely going to be stronger but also paying closer attention to a persons other relationships.

When I think about a great partnership I often think of qualities I would like in a man, the real focus for me is not just his individual qualities but how he interacts with the world around him.  Observing an individual and how they interact with their family and friends, coworkers, strangers they encounter in a normal day… I have found this to be the most telling about an individual.  We often tend to put our best foot forward when we are newly dating and really like someone, so we are more likely to be on our best behavior.  I prefer to take a different perspective.  The level of openness, vulnerability, time devoted, and how a person communicates and interacts with others that have been in their lives for a while will give you better insight into what you will see of them once you are passed the honeymoon stage.  This is probably the most valuable lesson I can take away from my most recent relationship.

Looking back and considering the interactions and relationships that already existed  I can easily see all the signs of things that would never work to nurture a happy healthy relationship.  I admit I saw it early on but as a typical therapist minded individual I saw potential for change and believed I could be the catalyst.  Unfortunately, I chose to ignore the fact that the desire and readiness for change in him had nothing to do with me. I know looking forward I would like someone capable of building deep and beautiful relationships with the ability to openly communicate and be vulnerable, challenge himself to take risks when it comes to connecting with others.  A person who initiates the hard conversations and the intimacy.  Someone who is willing to face a challenge head on and not run away when things get hard.  A man who understands in order to keep the spark alive it takes effort and doesn’t just happen magically.   These are things that set a man apart for me.

My parents have been married for 56 years and they are the first to tell me that relationships take work.  Yet they also express the absolute purest form of love with each other that I have ever seen.  As I watch my dad help my mom in the kitchen they tease each other and my heart feels full of joy.  A simple kiss from my dad to my mothers forehead as he passes by to the sink with a dirty dish….my short mom reaching for a bowl on the top shelf and my dad laughing as he reaches to get it for her.  My older brother is married with four little boys, we get excited and talk loud retelling funny stories on each other.  My 18 year old daughter watches her four nephews run around like crazy and becomes more clear on the fact that she does not want children…we laugh because we both know someday she will.  Observing my family at the holidays and how we interact I know love is a staple that can be easily found.

I know not all families are like mine and not all people have had good examples of a healthy relationship.  The desire to learn, understand, grow and have those relationships has to be there in order to change for the better.  This can be scary and hard at first, if you haven’t allowed yourself to be vulnerable and face the hard conversations before but it is so worth it.   People who truly love you and want to know you will respect and appreciate the effort.  Observe those you are getting to know and may be considering spending more time with.  Long talks over dinner can tell you many things but just watching a person interact with others is even more telling.  Learning about a person takes time, don’t rush it, and pay attention to actions, they often speak louder than words.  Watch, listen, and learn….

With love, health and happiness,

Stacy

Be Your Own Mentor

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I have been struggling lately to find a person in my career field that fits the profile I am looking for in a mentor.  I have longed to find someone that I can connect with on a deeper level who has this incredible mix of wisdom, humor, experience and passion.  This search has definitely led me to some interesting people who may fit one aspect or another in the list, but not the full enchilada.  I want the full meal deal and I have come to realize that what I am looking for may not exist…at least not in my area.  So I have decided that having one actual individual to look to for guidance may not be where I am meant to look.  My curiosity has led me to many great books, blogs, journal articles, pod casts, people of history, YouTube videos and TED talks.  So maybe in a round about way these individuals are combined and through my own leadership in discovery I have become my own mentor.

The wealth of knowledge at our fingertips today makes it easy to be our own mentor and I believe the days of practicing under one professional to learn a certain method are going by the wayside.  As research and methods intermingle our learning expands and we all end up with our own versions of success.  This does not just apply to the career field but to our spiritual and political beliefs as well.  Our experiences, environment, relationships and interests create this beautiful mix that is unique to each of us.  When we share our own unique perspective on the world then we can begin to discover other like minded individuals and maybe even discover new ideas that challenge where we started in our belief system.  The once rigid systems of politics, religion and career structure has become more flexible and a lot less black and white.  Practices of holistic and eastern medicine are beginning to compliment the more traditional western medicine with meditation, yoga, massage, and acupuncture.  I spent 15 years of my life working in chiropractic and holistic medicine and I love the study of how the body and mind connect and work together. This has led me to finish my degree in psychology and mental health counseling with the hope to combine the two into a unique mind and body practice.

As I move forward in my education I realize that I have brought together the knowledge of many professionals, from all fields, to create the practice I want to share.  I have realized that when you discover a unique path that no one has traveled down before then it is not likely you will find a mentor…you have to be your own.  This can be a little scary, but if you look hard enough you will eventually find others out there with the same vision as you.  If you don’t then you can’t let it discourage you, it probably means you are on to something truly original and worth pursuing.  The search for meaning and joy in life comes from within and finding our own path is important, sometimes that means taking the road less traveled.  When we go down that road we may find that no mentor is necessary because you have the power to seek the knowledge and the ability and capability all within you.

With love, health, happiness

Stacy

Seeds That Grow Our Future

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I started my life on a small farm in Southeast Missouri.  As a kid I grew up fishing for catfish in the pond on our farm, picking blueberries, peaches, and pears right off the tree.  I spend many hours sitting on a milk crate pulling weeds from the peppers, tomato and strawberry plants and chasing all the farm cats around the barn.  Even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I had a blessed life on a back dirt road with a creek to swim in with the neighbor kids and nights spent catching fire flies.  My mother used cloth diapers she washed and hung from the clothes line in our back yard, I had a grandmother who actually chewed snuff and spit it in an old coffee can and bottle milk was still delivered to our door step when I was just a baby.  I drank well water that was produced by a spring fed creek near our home and didn’t have a soda until I was 10 years old.  I played sports and rode my bike and my brother and I would have wars with sling shots using black walnuts and acorns as ammo!

My mother taught me about how to grow herbs and all their uses, about home remedies and essential oils. My primary care physician was a chiropractor that I would babysit for and when his kids grew up I then transitioned into the chiropractic office as a file clerk and learned to take SOAP notes working after school each evening.  Little did I know these seeds planted in me as a young kid and teenager would follow me into my life and career goals as an adult.

After getting married, moving to Texas and having a baby, I returned to Missouri.  I ended up being hired on at a very busy and successful chiropractic office in my new Missouri town and I worked there for 15 years learning every aspect of the practice.  I could do the billing and coding, the therapies, x-rays, scheduling, collections and I learned about natural health and wellness.  I studied the muscles and bones of the body, vitamins, supplements, hormones and the science of diet and exercise and the holistic benefits of essential oils, massage, meditation, yoga and of course chiropractic and physical therapy.  My interest in the mind and body connection began to grown around the time I went through a hard break-up and some health issues all at once.  I was in my early thirties and ready for a change.  Even with all the healthy physical changes I was making in my life I was still struggling and I realized how important our mind can be in the process.

With the support of my boss I went back to school while working for him.  He allowed me to work on my projects and pick his brain on thoughts and ideas.  I knew I wanted a degree in psychology but not just a mental health counseling job, I wanted something outside the box that would incorporate everything I know and love.  I left the chiropractic office after 15 years and went to work for a private practice counseling center while completing my masters degree so I could learn the office management aspects of insurance and billing for counseling providers and to get my supervised hours.  The connections I made with the chiropractor and massage therapist have been great and I have a vision to work with them again when I complete my degree.  I want a holistic practice that incorporates mind and body care.  We will create a space for guided meditative yoga, massage, coaching and therapy for individuals and groups.  Individuals can be counseled on every aspect of their lives and learn mental and physical ways to manage stress and live their best life.

This vision is in the works and something I have been meditating on and working towards my whole life.  I think about my childhood and pieces from my past, how it all adds together in a path that has lead me to this point in my life.  I am excited about what I have learned, who I have become and what the future holds.  The wealth of knowledge I have gained in my life is something I want to share with others.  My degree is not quite complete and I still have a lot to learn (don’t we all) but on this day I am feeling blessed as I look at how far I have come.  Those seeds planted along the way have made me who I am today.

With love, health, happiness and blessings

Stacy

Your 5 People

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It has been said that you adopt the behaviors, habits and thoughts of the 5 people you hang around the most.  So stop and think for a minute…does this thought make you feel proud or panicked?  Honestly?  It made me a little worried when I thought about it. I am forced to spend time with some people, family or coworkers,  and if I am so busy that I am not getting much time with friends I value and admire then I may be absorbing some aspects of others I don’t really care to have in my life.  I felt the need to tip the scale a bit more in my favor by making time for those people who really motivate and inspire me to be a better version of myself.

Have you ever met a person and the conversation flows so easily and every topic lights a fire in your soul because you can relate to their perspective so easily?  Or maybe the person who just throws out a perspective that you have never considered before and suddenly you are asking rapid fire questions to learn more about where their thoughts and ideas come from and how you can learn more?  Is there a person in your world that you are in awe of their career, their relationships, their style, their looks, or financial gains?  Why not ask them how they do it?  You think these people got their without asking questions or being on the learning end of the spectrum at some point?  I think the world today has created a bunch of competitors and that can be great up to a point…those failing points are when competition becomes a game where everyone thinks they should win no matter the effort and the other fail is when people become so competitive they refuse to learn from others because they think they can do it all on their own.  Those two extreme ends of the spectrum will create a monster.  As I often in say, balance is key.

Surrounding yourself with amazing people who are doing and succeeding better than you is actually a win for you.  Learn to be humble, accept the fact that you really should not always be the smartest person in the room and if you are, you are doing yourself a great disservice.  I grew up in a household where not knowing was a weakness and shameful.  My Dad would get so frustrated if he quizzed me and my brother on a subject and we didn’t know the answer.  It didn’t feel like a learning opportunity with gentle guidance, he just made us feel stupid.  So I learned to associate asking for help and not knowing the answer with being stupid and weak.  This has been one of the biggest struggles in my life, I always felt great embarrassment when it would come to admitting I didn’t know the answer and sometimes bigger embarrassment when I would not admit I didn’t know and just pushed through hoping no one would notice.  As I have gotten older and went through raising a child of my own, my perspective on this subject has drastically changed.

I have asked myself who the top five people are in my life right now that I feel could benefit me in my goals.  Some may say this is very selfish, to choose friends and relationships based on your selfish needs, but I strongly disagree.  You can have people in your life that you love and respect for exactly who they are and not want anything from them and especially not want to be anything like them, but that is rare.  We are naturally attracted to people who we can see qualities that we value in ourselves or qualities we wish we had.  Those people are the ones you should be making more time for.  Do not be afraid to admit you do not know things, ask questions, look for people you admire, find yourself a mentor in areas that you are interested in learning.  My mother often would say “birds of a feather flock together”.  As a teen and young adult I thought that phrase was kind of dumb because I knew I was hanging out with some bad influences and believed I was the “good girl” in the group.  I thought I would be the one they would come to for advice on life and maybe even influence them in a positive way….but the opposite happened. We may think we are stronger than we actually are, over time some negative relationships and people will change us whether we want to change or not.  Be aware of co-workers or friends who constantly share their negativity and find a nice way to remove yourself from their vent sessions.

At the end of the day, everyone needs a little motivation and support to stay on track, make sure your home team is one you are proud of.

With love, health, happiness with a supportive top 5,

Stacy

Coping with Stress

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When you start to live a truly full life it can be exciting and rewarding.  I have a full-time job managing a busy counseling office, full time college completing my counseling degree, part-time waitress & bartender at my boyfriends restaurant, a mom of a teenager, a sweet dog and 3 lazy cats, paying the bills & the mortgage, trying to stick to a healthy diet and exercise routine, keeping up my look with hair, nails and fashion.  From self care to balancing work and school and financial responsibilities it can all add up to a lot of stress!

Research has steadily proved that stress is one of the leading causes of health problems. The need to deal with it has become more of a need to just cover-it-up and avoid by incorporating things that may not be any better for us than the actual stress itself.  Some of us eat more because of stress, some smoke, some drink, increase caffeine intake, some take medications (maybe you do all the above)… all to deal with the stresses of life.  When we adopt these bad habits we are actually just making matters worse.  After reading and listening to thousands of books, articles and research journals I have experimented with many different methods.  In this process I have come up with a few that really work for me and are much healthier.

  • Routine

When I first started my personal journey to de-stress my life I found the number one tool was having a routine.  Having consistency in your life makes life much easier and less stressed.  Important routines are morning and bedtime routines.  Having a certain time you go to bed and wake-up each day will not only give you the proper rest you need to fight off sickness, but it will make life feel a lot less chaotic.  I can tell when I stay up too late the night before and it throws off my routine the next day.  I don’t want to get out of bed and then I feel rushed when I finally do motivate at the last minute.  Planning out what you will wear and what you want & need to accomplish the next day is a great way to mentally prepare you before you go to bed.  Have a routine of washing your face, brushing your teeth, adding a nice night cream to your skin and listening to a meditation at the same time every night.  Also, (as most of us already know), reduce your screen time and remove technology from the bedroom as much as possible so you are not tempted to stay up late watching TV or getting on your phone.

Once I get up in the morning I like to exercise first thing and then shower and ease in to my day with a light breakfast, morning news and a cup of coffee while I get ready.  I listen to an audio book on my drive to work and I like to get in my daily water intake as I go through my morning.  I drink water upon waking and throughout my workout, then another bottle after my workout while I am getting ready and then a third bottle on my drive to work.  I usually have half my water intake complete before I even sit at my desk in the mornings.  Having routines at each part of your day can be very beneficial.  I have a routine I go through once I arrive at the office as well, to insure I am as productive and efficient as possible.

  • Preparation

The next valuable tool I have learned and applied in my life is preparation.  Being prepared saves you time, money and frustration.  Have a certain place you always keep your phone, keys, wallet/purse and other important items so you are not always looking for them.  Lay out your workout clothes/shoes and work clothes/shoes for the next day so you don’t have to waste time in the morning looking for them.  If you have a certain travel coffee mug you like make sure it is washed and next to the coffee maker the next morning.  Check your calendar the night before and prepare by making a list of any errands or special events you need to take care of in your day so you are not caught by surprised or miss something important.  People who follow certain diets do meal preparations so they have healthy food choices, this is a great example of how being prepared can keep you on track.  Walking yourself through your day the night before is a great way to do a mental check-list to be sure you have everything together.

  • Organization

Organization goes along with preparation in a lot of ways, but it gets a little deeper.  Anyone who have recently read the book or watched the show Tidying Up knows how helpful and refreshing the look of a truly organized home can be.  A clean and organized home can drastically reduce stress in life.  Be diligent about cleaning out pantries, closets, dressers and cabinets.  Throw away or give to charity what is not serving you anymore.  I have slowly been doing this in my house and it does create a better feeling when I come home each day and go into my kitchen to prepare a meal.  Opening the kitchen pantry and refrigerator to see it clean and neatly organized is very rewarding and encourages me to cook more instead of eating out.  Having my closets and dresser neatly organized with clothes I love motivates me to immediately put away my laundry instead of leaving it in the basket or piled on a chair in my room.  Organizing my bathroom has been the most helpful, having makeup and other beauty products neatly separated in baskets makes getting ready each day a breeze!

  • Mentality

Lets be honest, you can have routines, be prepared and organized and still have mountains of stress.  Your mental capabilities really come in to play when the going gets tough.  Are you a Negative Ned/Nancy or a Positive Paul/Pam?  Your brain and thought processes are like muscles in the body and you need to be honest with what process you choose when shit hits the fan.  Are you instantly thinking the worst and giving up by pulling the covers over your head, or are you a person who tackles the tough stuff head on with grit and determination?  You can train your brain to handle things in life just like you can train your body to run a marathon.  For many people, once they adjust how they perceive the world around them then their entire lives change.  Your mental loop can make or break you in high stress situations.

I am taking an online class and I had logged on to take a quiz.  The quiz allowed me 20 minutes to answer 15 questions and as soon as I hit the button to start the quiz the page just froze.  The quiz would not load on my lap top and I felt the panic rise within me because I had no idea if the time was ticking away on the quiz as I was waiting for the page to load.  It took me 15 of that 20 minutes before I was finally able to get the quiz to load on my computer and I then had only 5 minutes to answer 15 questions!  Needless to say, I did not do well on the quiz and for about 5 minutes I felt frustration, anger, and stress.  However, instead of going into a complete meltdown I simply emailed my professor and explained what happened and went on about my evening.  My younger self would have let it ruin my whole evening but the fact is, shit happens and sometimes there really is no matter of preparation, organization or any special routine that is going to stop the flow of shit.  That is when you have to be able to depend on your mental strength to logically evaluate the situation and decide if you have truly done your best.  There is no sense dwelling on things if you have sincerely tried and done all you can do.  Acknowledge your anger, frustration or any other emotions you are having and then move on.  Never feel bad for being emotional but never remain in that emotional state.  Allow yourself to cry or vent about the stress in your life and then let it go or do something about it, but do not be the person who constantly cries with no action or effort to fix it.

  • Wise Choices

Last, but certainly not least, take responsibility for choices you have made in life.  We all make mistakes, we may rack-up debt and have financial stress, we may not take care of ourselves and end up sick, only you know the truth of why some stress is in your life.  Owning your role in it is a bit of a relief in itself.  Once you stop pointing fingers you can focus on what steps to take to remedy the issue.  One of my favorite quotes comes from Andy Stanley:  In light of my  past experience, my current circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing for me to do?

I believe the main goal in life is not to just survive but to thrive.  In order to do this we must constantly learn and grow as individuals.  When a person has something to strive for they are usually happier and healthier.  Having hopes and dreams that you choose for yourself can be invigorating.  Do not focus on what others think you should do, not even what may be considered the right or wrong thing for you to do, instead ask what is the wise thing for you to do?  Nobody else knows what you want in life better than you and if you are unsure maybe you should explore those questions.  Making choices for yourself instead of living the hopes, dreams and expectations of others can relieve a lot of stress.  Without a plan you cannot possibly know where to start and that can be stressful.  What do you want out of life?  Are you making the wise choices to make it happen?

In conclusion, stress is just part of life, but it doesn’t have to take over your life.  To keep a healthy balance it requires really knowing yourself.  Your routines, level of preparation, organization and mental strength will be different from everyone else.  Don’t add stress to yourself by trying to take on a morning persons routine if you are a night owl.  Be realistic and create a lifestyle that works for you!

With love, health, happiness & less stress

Stacy

 

Learning

Our journey in this great big world should be full of experiences that consist of fun, adventure, struggle, happiness, sadness and through it all we should constantly be asking ourselves what we have learned from each of those experiences.  Every relationship, no matter how short, and every opportunity, no matter how small, is a chance to learn and grow.  I embrace each moment that scares or worries me because at 40-years-old, I realize that those are the things that will probably offer me the most opportunity for growth.

I love to read books, magazine articles, blogs, listen to podcast, listen to audio books, TED talks…basically whatever I can get my hands, ears or eyes on to consume some knowledge and become a little more informed and wiser each day.  When I consume some information that I feel is really speaking to me that is when I like to share it with you, my small little group of readers who get a peak into my soul searching lessons on life.  Today I share with you a best selling book called Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis.  It really touched on a lot of areas that I personally feel inspired to write about in my journey as well.  I think of her as a bit of a soul-sister in her values and experiences in life because her book and her words seriously speak to me on a deeper level.

I find it important to surround yourself with individuals who can motivate you to constantly strive to be a better version of yourself and these people can surround you through media as well.  I read blogs and can feel a connection with people half-way across the planet because they may be experiencing or thinking about the very same issues that are affecting me.  This connection through media today is often looked upon as a bad thing, but I can also see how beautiful it can be when used in a positive way.  Speak your mind, share your thoughts and welcome others thoughts and opinions knowing that every comment, questions and share is an opportunity for growth.  I love hearing about great books, podcasts and blogs that inspire and motivate so please share any and all!

Lets all learn together and from one another because we are all in this big beautiful life together!

With love, laughter and endless learning

Stacy

Accepting

I have been through many transitions in the last decade of my life.  I will be turning 40 this month and I have been taking inventory of my life up to this point.  Re-evaluating what I have accomplished so far, what I hope to accomplish in the future and the changes I may need to make to get there.  I also have learned one very valuable quality in past few years, the art of accepting.  To be able to accept myself and be happy with where I am right now in life.  To not constantly dwell on the what ifs of the past or the goals of the future, but just be in the now.  I have also learned the art of truly accepting others.  My relationships with friends, family and my significant other have reached a point of true unconditional love that I have not fully realized before and this comes from accepting.  However, with all of that been said, it brings me to a bit of a down side to becoming more accepting.  Sometimes we must accept the fact that no matter how hard we try to be supportive to some people in our lives they may never grow to the level we hope to see them.  We outgrow people and in the process sometime we try to change them but in the end we have to accept them for who they are and where they are at in life.

I do believe that relationships all have seasons, some may last a lifetime of seasons and some may be just a summer love or a close friendship that we encounter during a difficult time in our lives.  In the end, all of them are important in creating who we become.  I have had a friendship that has faded in and out of my life for about 12 years now and I often question why I am still friends with this person.  Usually friendships, like any relationship, have a give and take that is easily understood between the people in it.  So as I re-evaluate my friendship with her I realize that I seem to put forth an effort consistently with advice and listening to her but I ask myself what am I getting from this?  Now, let me clarify, when I say that we all get something out of a relationship, I mean a healthy relationship is usually friends calling each other to talk and listen about their lives, making lunch or dinner plans with each other, inviting each other to special events.  My struggle with this particular friend is things are a bit one sided and though she may want my advice she rarely applies it.

Should I simply accept my friend for exactly who she is even when I see she is making the same mistakes over and over?  Accepting is a hard process in situations like this.  I have told her my thoughts in previous situations and after years of her not taking my advice she was hurt very badly and finally moved on from a guy in her life.  Basically, I realize that some people just have to learn the hard way.  Now I see her in another life situation where I am trying to advise her and I feel de-ja-vu.  So I stop and ask myself, why am I so anxious over this?  It isn’t my life.  These choices will not effect me.  If she isn’t learning from her past mistakes then that is her problem, I have enough to deal with in my own life.  So is part of accepting others simply coming to point of just getting exhausted to the fact that you might as well be talking to a wall?  They ask your advice but rarely take it and then later tell you that they should have listened.

Accepting others for exactly who they are, good, bad and the ugly, can be very hard but I have brought it in to perspective for myself.  When I feel myself wanting to step in and be the voice of reason with my friend I stop myself.  I no longer put as much effort in to her life but instead focus on where I can make a difference in my own life.  I turn my focus inward and ask myself what I can be doing better and where I may be repeating some of the same mistakes over and over in my life.  In this process I have found that discussing my personal progress has made a big impression on my friend.  By practicing what I preach I have proved that positive changes can be made and that actions really do speak louder than words.  In turn I have also realized that I am happier when I am not worrying myself over someone else’s issues.  By accepting others for who they are you are releasing yourself from responsibility for who they are and that is pretty freeing.  Sometimes we feel protective over our friends and want to guide them like we may do a child but that is not a true friendship.  We are all in this together and everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, if we just focus on our own path and support each other on those paths life really gets much easier.

Love, happiness, health and acceptance,

Stacy

Baby Steps

Today I am thinking about what it is like to live in all or nothing world.  A world where we want to make thing happen now.  Instant is the key to everything lately.. but is it really better?  I have found that what is gained easily is not appreciated enough and often lost just as easily.  In the past I have said that I am going to accomplish something, like lose a few pounds, and I have a tendency to be really strict with myself for a week or two then I slack off.  The problem is I am looking at the end result.  I am trying to accomplish the goal as quickly as possible with an all or nothing attitude.  I have learned that the real practice is in the everyday, little choices we make.  If we break things down in to smaller steps, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute…then we are more likely to make wiser choices.

If you make a bad choice in the morning it doesn’t mean that your day is already ruined so just keep making the same bad choices.  If you are falling down the stairs you don’t shrug and say…might as well keep falling…you try and stop the fall! Every wise choice made adds up.  Every minute of exercise instead of sitting on the couch, every sip of water instead of a soda, every positive thought…they all add up!  Those baby steps in life are what eventually add up to making a really rewarding life.  We usually don’t become a drug addict, obese, or cheat overnight….there are little choices made over and over that lead us to those results.  Those repeated bad choices add up to being an addict or obese or cheating on someone you love, or any of the other many bad situations in life.  Every day we are faced with thousands of little choices that map out what the future may hold for us.  The choices we are making right now, in this very moment, are what will shape our future.

What are you thinking right now?  Are you being a positive person today?  Are you being thankful for what you have and where you are in life?  Are you being helpful and kind to those around you? Have you let those you love know it?  Every day we should strive to be the best we can be and it all starts with the little things.  Choose to read books or have relationships that teach you something and add to your life in a positive way. Are the people, places, things, activities that you surround yourself with making your life better or do you feel stressed, sick, and tired?  Those people, places and things are not to blame…YOU are.  Take responsibility for your choices and if you are not happy, then have the courage to make the changes necessary to get where you want to be in life.  It is okay to love a friend dearly but admit that you have outgrown them.  You don’t owe anybody anything in life and if they make you believe you do then they are not good for you.  Life is about growth and learning and helping others learn and grow as well. A good relationship will encourage you to grow to your highest level even if it means moving on from them.

I would like to introduce you to a very wise man that I often listen to and he gives great perspective on many things in life…Jay Shetty.  If you have a chance please follow him on YouTube.  He will open your eyes to a wonderful way of thinking.  The following video relates to my post today…ENJOY!

 

 

With love, health, and happiness

Stacy