A lot of you know that I attribute most of my recent personal growth to one book: ‘You Are a Badass’, by Jen Sincero. It was the perfect ‘self-help’ book for me, as it’s written in a witty, relatable voice but contains SO much goodness. I plan to read it again once I get through the two books I’m currently reading, in order to hopefully take from it additional insights I may have missed the first time around. I’m a big believer that reading a book that really resonates with you more than once is beneficial, as you’re in a different place in your life each time you read it, having a different perspective that allows you to take away different insight you may not have been able to fully see the first, second, or even third time reading it. I want to pull out 3 things that really struck a chord with me while reading, and how I’ve tried to understand and relate it to my life personally.
As someone who’s ridiculously hard on themselves, giving myself grace has always been a challenge. I can be very over-critical (of myself and others) in my quest for perfection, but I’m learning that not giving yourself grace ultimately just ends up hindering your end goal. Do yourself a favor; when you don’t know, or when you do something wrong, or when you’re not feeling like you’re in the place you’d like to be in — just breathe. Remind yourself of the progress that you’ve made this far, because most of the time it’s way more astounding than you think when you take a moment to reflect. Being hard on yourself isn’t an accomplishment and it doesn’t make you a hero. It stops you from growing and allowing yourself to make mistakes, and to be human. As Jen Sincero writes: “there’s a very unfunny comic joke: in an attempt to protect yourself from pain, you perpetuate behaviors that create the very pain you are trying to avoid.”
A bad habit I’m trying to kick is constantly comparing myself to others in the blogging space. It’s so easy to compare your beginning to someone else’s end, and then feel immediately discouraged that you’re not there yet. This has actually been so discouraging for me in some instances that without really recognizing it, I lose significant motivation in the pursuit of my own dreams for an extended period of time. In giving myself grace in those situations, I remind myself that I believe in divine timing of everything in life. Trust that you’re where you’re supposed to be for a reason and keep going forward, even if you don’t necessarily know the exact next steps or even where you’ll end up.
This is a big one! While you’re making these amazing strides in life, it’s oh-so important to remain grateful. Why you ask? Because when you’re making big changes in your life and inevitably hitting obstacles right and left, it’s important to find positivity in order to propel yourself forward, opposed to getting discouraged enough that you end up stuck again. I don’t consider myself to be a very negative person, but there are certainly specific instances that derail my positivity and make it difficult to come back. So in order to keep a positive vibe on a daily basis, I express gratitude nightly and it’s honestly really helped me manage negativity. I’m not saying that you can’t be upset or irritated with certain things or moments, but this little routine makes it easier to move past it quicker.
So here it is: While laying in bed with the lights off, about to fall asleep, I give myself a minute to reflect on the day and then list out 10, very specific things that I’m grateful for that day. I’m not talking: ‘I’m grateful for my sister’ or ‘I’m grateful for my food’. Although those are certainly stellar things to be grateful for, getting more specific forces you to view negative situations with a positive spin.
I’ll give you a real life situation that just happened to me as an example! I needed to renew my passport for some upcoming travel and had already filled out all the paperwork and gotten an updated passport photo, all I needed was to drop it off at the Post Office to pay for tracking. I went on my only day off during the week and decided to try to squeeze it into an already busy day but was excited to check it off my list. Aside from the fact that it took me 10 minutes to find a parking spot in this dinky little location, I was immediately told that I didn’t have what I needed once I got to the counter. My application wasn’t printed correctly and I’d need to re-fill it out. On top of that, my passport photo, which I had taken at a convenience store a couple of days prior, wasn’t correct, and the Post Office location I was at no longer had passport photo services. Great. So I’d need to get a new photo elsewhere, re-fill out the paperwork and then go back to the Post Office to mail with tracking. Something I was so eager to check off of my list turned into 3 more to-do’s and I was so annoyed. While I was so clearly irritated in that moment, I had a thought in the back of my head. Although I was annoyed I couldn’t immediately be done with this task, I was grateful the woman behind the counter was so determined to not accept what I had because there’s a good chance it would have been rejected. I was already down to the wire on timing and was expediting my renewal, and had I submitted it the way it was, there was a good chance I would have been denied, therefore having to scramble to resend and also repaying the expedite fee. So, finding the silver lining or nugget of positivity as I like to call it, came in handy. I didn’t stay stuck in it, I instead told myself that ultimately I should feel grateful for the end outcome (I’d get my passport on time with no issues).
gumpt·tion (noun): shrewd or spirited initiative and resourcefulness.
I believe that in order to make big changes in your life, you need to not only think different thoughts but DO things differently. You can’t have a new life without having different thoughts, perspectives, habits and actions. Sometimes embarking on a change of those exact things is overwhelming and seems impossible. I’ve found a way to manage those feelings a little better; it’s to blaze through them like they don’t exist! Which is where gumption comes to play. Push, push, push yourself and don’t stop; move forward in the direction of your dreams like it’s your last day on earth. I know this is much easier said than done, but how you handle stressful obstacles and overcome them, makes all the difference in achieving what you want. You’ll need to be resourceful in how you get past obstacles in order to push past them. Obstacles aren’t meant to be easy, which means most of the time, the solution isn’t easy or right in front of you. So that requires you to get creative on how you intend to get through it. Something I tell myself often that keeps me hungry and persistent, is that most of the time as soon as you’re at the moment that you feel like you want to quit, that’s the moment you should continue pushing because 90% of the time success is literally just on the other side of it. Remember that temporary failure only becomes permanent defeat when you say so. Play to win, instead of playing not to lose.