Tag: motivation

Personal Growth… What is it good for?

Absolutely everything…

Here’s an experience that I will never forget: when I was in my early teens my mom made me read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. As someone who has been an enthusiastic and avid reader my whole life it was strange to be forced to read a book; forcing e to sit at the table until my plate was empty was normal, forcing me to clean up after myself was (and oftentimes still is) normal. Bur reading? Reading has always been and will likely always be something I love to do, just like writing. Hell, I even bring books to social events just in case. But that book in particular was a different story. The books I read for school were for a grade, the books I read for pleasure were self-explanatory, and so I found no purpose in reading that one. My mom wanted me to, sure, but why? In my mind I was already a “highly effective” teen, whatever the fuck that meant. I was good in school, not really rebellious aside from my love of heavy metal and my lack of religious beliefs. I didn’t go anywhere or do anything because of strict parenting and for the most part I was okay with that. A book on improving myself was boring and unnecessary.

That was then.

Honestly, if I could go back in time and make my teenage self read that book I still wouldn’t. Not because it was a bad book, I’m sure it isn’t. I’m sure it helped someone who needed it, but I don’t think it would have made much of an impact on my life. I never finished it and being forced to read it at all made me dislike books in the personal growth genre as a whole up until about a month ago. A whole nine years of my life.

Truthfully it took me feeling like I hit rock bottom to actually pick one up. I had a general sense of dissatisfaction with where my life was and no idea at all as to where it was going. I felt stuck in my unhappy situation. I had nightmares about being trapped in the house or having my mouth suddenly glued shut when I was trying to say something important. When I woke up my prison was less literal, my silence my own doing and not the work of some invisible magic glue. Still, my reality was the same. Every day. I think a lot of us know what it feels like to wake up every day feeling unhappy with where we are in life. Whether you wake up in a place you don’t want to be, you wake up broke, you wake up single, you wake up to do a job you hate, or all of the above plus some. A few of us found our own way out of the cycle of unhappiness on their own, and if you’re one of those people then I am so proud of you. Really, I am. I am applauding you right now even though you can’t hear it. That’s awesome.

Some of us are working on it. I am one of those people and if you’re right here with me then I’m proud of you too. We should all be proud of ourselves for attempting to better our situations. Whether you quit the job you hate, are trying to find an affordable place to live so you can finally have the peace and quiet you need to move forward, finally grew the gonads you needed to ask that person out, are trying to pay off debt, or even just drove past McDonalds even though you’re hungry because you know you have food at home. Amazing. Keep going.

But there are some of us who are still stuck. Some of us don’t even know where to begin when it comes to making their quality of life better. I was there. We’ve all been there. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re one of those people because going from being stuck to pulling yourself out of the quicksand is rough. It takes a lot of strength, energy, and motivation. How I found that motivation is by doing the exact thing I spent nine years thinking was a waste of time. I picked up a book on personal growth. I was in a “Better or Bust” mindset, forcing myself to either find a way to start getting my shit together or let depression and anxiety sink me down further and further until I reached a point where suicide became an option…again. But I couldn’t let myself sink that low. I knew that if I allowed it then the chances of me living to see twenty-three were slim to none. Being the person that I am, I knew that if I could find the time to lay around feeling sorry for myself then I could also find the time to learn from someone who actually made it out. Sure, some of the books feed people some self-entitled bllshit and some of it is so unrealistically positive that it goes down more like a spoonful of sugar instead of the medicine a lot of us really need, but it was better than nothing.  Nothing is what I was doing, and by just reading a book I was taking a first step forward toward actually doing something.

I’m not saying that your life will suddenly and miraculously do a complete tailspin by reading a few chapters of You Are a Badass. Reading is a step in the right direction not the full solution. Treat it like you would treat getting good advice from a friend (notice I said good advice). Actually do the exercises that the books suggest, even if they make you feel stupid. Do I feel like an idiot when I look at myself in the mirror, beat on my chest, and repeat positive affirmations to myself every morning? Yes. But did I notice myself starting to change for the better as a result of doing it? Also yes. That change is what is keeping me going. That change is why this blog exists. Could I have figured my shit out without ever picking up a book to begin with? Maybe. Maybe not. But why learn the hard why when there are thousands of people who have already and are trying to pass that advice down to me so I won’t have to? That’s just immature and illogical.

There is a page in the works on this blog where I’ll put my own personal suggested reading, but don’t let that stop you from looking for yourself. Your struggle is different from mine. How you learn is different from how I learn. Maybe you’re more of a podcast listener than a reader or maybe YouTube videos are more your style. Learn your way, but please learn. Learning inspires growth, and growth will get you far from where you are right now. If where you are right now is nowhere in comparison to where you want to be then what do you have to lose? Even if you start moving forward only to fall back down, you’ll notice that you won’t be as far down as you were when you started and that in itself is an improvement.

So I’m leaving you with homework: whenever you have the time, take your first step. Find a book, or a podcast, or a video, or an app that will help you and inspire you to get off your ass and start moving toward where you want to be. You won’t regret it.

 

Just DO it!”
-Shia LaBeouf

 

 

 

Dating? In THIS Social Climate?!

This is a post about a four letter word. I don’t know why, but the concept of dating has almost ceased to exist in our generation even though we now have a million and two different ways to find love. If that is even our goal anymore. We swipe right to fuck. We slide into DMs to fuck. We meet up and have a great time over dinner… to fuck. But when actual emotions and commitment become involved, holy shit. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve personally been told “I’m just not looking for a relationship right now,” I wouldn’t have to decide between a cheap bottle of wine and gas money for the next two weeks. We took the dating game and made it harder to play than Jumanji.

Just one question though…. Why?

Is it because we as a generation are afraid of the future? Afraid of commitment? Or are we just lacking the basic values that we need to get this right?

 

A few weeks ago I decided to take a day to take myself out on a coffee date. I got dressed up, my makeup and hair were on point and I wore a really nice but really comfortable pair of shoes. I took myself out to one of my favorite coffee shops just to get some quiet time in to read and write and just enjoy my own damn company. So I sat at one of the outdoor tables with my iced Americano and opened my book. Not even a full ten minutes later some random man decides to occupy one of the empty chairs at my table – of course the one directly beside me.

“You look lonely,” he said as he creepily leaned toward me. I wasn’t. “What’s such a beautiful and sexy young lady doing out here alone?” I gestured toward my book in hopes that he’d catch the hint and my RBF would tell him to fuck off. But of course not. He stayed planted in that seat for a solid twenty minutes just to keep telling me that I’m beautiful and sexy and that he wanted to take me out. I gave him absolutely no feedback. I looked up from my book maybe three times during the whole one-sided conversation. It may make me sound cold and I’m pretty sure I can hear a few guys yelling somewhere in the distance… something about why they don’t bother to try anymore, but I had my reasons:

  1. I’m taken.
  2. Being called beautiful really doesn’t pique my interest.

I admit that I’m a person who grew up kinda ugly but got more attractive with age. I cut my hair, cleared my skin, and got a better fashion sense. People rarely gave me a second glance in high school and then WHAM. All eyes turned to me at once at around seventeen. I never liked the attention at all to begin with, but I was even more unhappy with the particular type of attention I was getting. Those people knew basically nothing about me and they never wanted to. They just wanted me in their beds. Some were successful – most weren’t. Most of the successful ones only got the chance because I was particularly drunk or bored, sometimes a combination of both. Except for one guy, but he’ll come up again later.

The type of attention I was getting almost made me completely call it quits when it came to dating. I saw myself moving forward in life alone. Moving to New York to become a Big Time journalist and living in a loft – just me and maybe like a hundred cats. I was perfectly fine with that outcome and that option still hasn’t completely left the table. That’s the first piece of very important information that I think some may have completely forgotten.

It’s okay to be single.

“Easy for you to say. You have a boyfriend while I’m over here dying of soul crushing loneliness.”

Okay, true. I get the pleasure to very sensually reach across the table and stick my index finger in my boyfriend’s nose (it’s not gross, it’s affection… unless I find gold in the mine). But so what? I haven’t always had him and it’s not guaranteed that I always will.

Dating is a game of chance. There’s a fifty percent chance that we’ll stay together, get married, and adopt two hundred cats.There is also a fifty percent chance that we’ll get sick of each other and call it quits. I’ll get my loft in New York and a hundred cats. What do I lose? The ability to pick his nose… and a hundred cats. So in total, not very much.

Don’t get me wrong, I care about him. He means a lot to me and it’s a pleasure to be with him. If he dumped me right now I would probably cry, have a few anxiety attacks and waste the next month’s worth of free time in bed eating py and drinking a lot while binge watching Netflix. But will I die? No. I’d eventually get up, shower, and remember that I’m an independent and intelligent woman who loves herself more than anyone else but my mom ever could. Then I would proceed to better myself, further my education, and make enough money for my loft and hundred cats. IF someone else happens to stumble into my life, cool. They’d better be ready to deal with anxiety and depressive episodes cause boy, I’m full of ‘em. But am I going to doll myself up and sit at a bar looking sad until somebody walks up and bus me a drink, then shove them into a garbage bag and hold them hostage in my loft until Stockholm Syndrome kicks in? No. One, that’s illegal. Two, that’s not what I want.

Which brings me to my next point: know what you want and what effect having it will have on your life. Just knowing that you want to be with someone isn’t enough, because that’s how you end up in a mess (I mean, do you want fuckboys? Cause that’s how you get fuckboys…) I’ve seen people go through so much unnecessary drama and heartache because they either didn’t know what they truly wanted or they settled for what seemed to be okay.

Know what you want and don’t settle for anything less because you deserve all of the happiness in the world. I used to tell my family that I wouldn’t date anyone until the Universe showed them to me in a really extravagant way. I’m talking clouds parting and cherubs singing and a random fuckin’ unicorn kind of extravagant. Obviously that isn’t literally what happened when I met my bae to be (did I just call him that? gross…) In reality I thought he was really annoying. But then one day the Universe tapped me on the shoulder and went “You know that person you weren’t looking for? The fun one with energy, ambitions, and the ability to introduce you to new things in life? Well…there ya go!” And I was like “What? HIM?! You’re joking, right?”

A thing to know about the Universe… it has a sense of humor without actually having a sense of humor. Like one of those people who say hilarious things but when you look at them they’re being dead serious. And that’s why you really need to know what you want, because if you say “I just want a relationship! It doesn’t matter who with!” Then here comes the Universe with the musty skater boy who makes rape jokes and is uncomfortably close to his mother. And if that doesn’t teach you what you want then you’ll keep getting what you probably don’t as the Universe keeps dropping shit off like an outdoor cat bringing dead birds into the house.

The truth is, everything you want is out there. The companion, the money, the car, the house, the cats; all of it is out there waiting for you. You just have to know what you want and be prepared to put in work to be ready for it. Or be ready to have a shit ton of dead birds on your porch… your choice.