A Letter to My 20s

Dear the 20s,

I feel grateful and fortunate to make it to year 30, but also have felt a bitter-sweetness as I’ve approached this milestone. And I doubt I’m alone in this feeling! Many peers are also approaching or have already approached year 30. And ultimately, we all have different milestones and new chapters we are approaching in our lives. With new milestones come new changes, new fears, and new expectations. But as we turn the pages in our lives, I always think it’s important to reflect on the chapters we are now leaving behind. I can now reflect on my 20s and acknowledge all I’ve gained, and also lost, during that time in my life. 

The 20s are supposed to be a monumental phase within our lives, and I couldn’t agree more. This is a time where we are entering into adulthood and have huge expectations to take on the world. We have all these plans in our head, and different time frames we are determined to reach. But my 20s (very late 20s!) taught me that these time frames and expectations do not always work out, and that’s okay! I’ve learned that I have to live life on my own terms, and not the terms that society creates for us. We may not always be where we want to be, but if we can just hold on and stay true to ourselves, we will eventually end up right where we are supposed to be. So thank you 20s for the times I saw my failures as a dead end, for the comparisons to others that decreased my self worth, and for the unrealistic expectations I placed on myself. Without these moments I would continue to be running from failure, I would continue to allow shame to make me feel less than what I really am, I would be continuing to chase perfection, and I would be continuing to let fear dictate my path rather than following my passion. I’m human and will continue to have fears and anxieties, but thank you 20s for opening my eyes to the countless possibilities that exist when I am outside my comfort zone. 

I’ve gained so much from my 20s, but the losses experienced were the most life changing. The 20s brought a lot of unexpected events. Certain events make us question the world around us and question the essence of our existence. There are always things we wish didn’t happen, or that we wish we could change. But all we can do is reflect, learn, and move forward. We don’t always get the answers we desire, or get the closure we need; and this can be heart breaking. But in these moments we gain a different strength that we may have never knew existed. Although the sadness isn’t completely gone, I can still say thank you to my 20s for changing the way I now view the world. I know that nothing is guaranteed and that life is extremely fragile. I’ve learned to take nothing for granted, to be intentional with my time, and to value those around me. Thank you 20s for showing me that my strength is immeasurable. Thank you 20s for showing me that if I can just show up for myself, sometimes that’s all we need. The present moment is all we have, and I want this next chapter to embrace the present and let go of the anxieties that exist outside of the present. 

So as I continue to reflect on the 20s and move forward, I can honestly say I have no regrets. I am content with what I’ve done and who I’ve become, but the striving for better will continue. So thank you 20s for setting me up for a successful 30s. Thank you for the lessons about self worth and self love. Thank you for the changes, big and small; which I have now learned to embrace. Thank you for showing me how to stay true to myself, while also seeing the truth of others. Thank you for bringing amazing people into my life and excusing those that no longer provide what I value in a relationship. Thank you for allowing me to recognize what no longer serves a positive purpose in my life. Thank you 20s for creating a stable foundation for me to flourish in. We can’t be for sure of what’s to come, but I know where my 20s have taken me, and I’m hopeful for the path ahead. Thank you 20s for the fun, the relationships, the losses, the growth, and the lessons. I’m turning to the next chapter in my life..a chapter full of unknowns, new lessons, new challenges, and new joys. A bittersweet goodbye to the 20s but an exciting and hopeful outlook on my 30s. Thank you 20s for this woman you’ve created; she’s strong, fierce, and unapologetic, and she’s now ready to say hello to the 30s! 

Living with Intention

As we end 2018, hopefully there is much gratitude, reflection, and excitement for the new year. The most important thing to remember as we enter 2019 is to live with intention. Being intentional is better than setting goals. Intention requires us to carefully plan, to reflect, and to consciously make effort for changes we want within ourselves and around us. The article below from Goodtherapy.org, discusses this, and most importantly provides questions that I feel are important for all of us to answer as we approach a new year. May we intentionally live out our desires, needs, and dreams; and remember that we can not continue to do the same things, and expect different results. Happy New Year!

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/living-with-intent-clarifying-your-values-for-new-year-0104184

Living Our “Best Life” AND A Fulfilled Life

The theme of 2018 has been “living my best life”. This is a great motto, and makes a great hashtag! I for sure want to live my best life, and maybe I’m close, but I am not there yet; and I’m concerned that majority of us aren’t either. We will all define best life differently, but what does this truly mean? Is it connected to money? Careers? Vacations? Family? Being authentic? Probably all of the above. And maybe this is also tied to our goals? I’m assuming those living their “best lives” have reached their desired goals? Or maybe just the pursuit of these goals defines us living our best life. I personally still have goals to reach, and although I am enjoying the journey and am grateful, I feel I am not at my best life yet. I’m living a grateful life, and I know that the best is yet to come! But this is less about me, my goals, and how I define “best life”. And more about this intuition that something is still missing in regard to this motto. In no way do I want to minimize your desire to show off your “best life”, and thrive within that life. But I question if we are living a fulfilling life? What makes you feel fulfilled and what gives you purpose? It is very possible to live our best life, but to not live a fulfilled life. It’s when we can reach our true purpose and feel fulfilled is when our best lives can emerge.

Social media is filled with best life posts and hashtags. But those are simply snapshots of great moments; but are these moments transcending into more areas of our lives? The answer may actually be yes for some of us, I am not writing to say otherwise, I am simply creating space for reflection! My fear, and the reality because I’ve experienced this within the work that I do; is that we are simply creating this ideal of a best life, that may not actually exist. But in a quick snapshot and post, we can disguise this. And some of us are not disguising, we are truly living our best life, but forgetting to connect to those most important to us. We continue to live in a disconnected society, where we may be living our best life, but our neighbors, and even our best friends; are struggling to make it through their days. We can find fulfillment in our lives when we are able to reach out to others, touch the lives of others, inspire others, and help others. Of course we cannot save the world, but are we even helping those close to us? Are we making an impact in other ways that could lead to a more fulfilling life? A life based less on the evaluations of others, and more on a genuine connection to others.

Reach your goals, travel, play, and live life based on your terms-these are definitely musts and allow us to live our best life! But remember to find fulfillment in the life that you are living. When we feel fulfilled-we truly can live our best life. I am continuing to work toward my best life, and want to help others live theirs as well! On a final note: It is OKAY if you’re not living your #bestlife right now, or if it does not look like someone else’s. Do not compare the status of your life to others, nor feel your life is inferior to others. Believe that you can always create the life you desire and most importantly, the life that you DESERVE!!



Living a Soft and Strong Life

A recent theme and discussion that has emerged in my interactions is this concept of being able to live a life that is soft and strong. There can be many interpretations of what this means, however, I simply believe that a soft and strong life means a life that is balanced. When you think about the words soft and strong, these can be complete opposite. Sometimes we think opposites cannot co-exist, however, we need such complimentary qualities to bring a balance to our lives. I attempt to embrace a softness and a strength within my life. This is not easy to do, because we have learned that being strong is the only option. We are told to be strong, handle things on our own, and never let anyone know your weaknesses. I believe this is a false message we have received which has negative effects on us. Due to this expectation to always be strong, it is imperative that we begin to acknowledge the importance of living soft AND strong. I relate softness to openness. We cannot always be strong and hard because we then shut out those around us. We put walls up and refuse help when needed. When we have an openness, or softness, we invite opportunities to authentically connect with others. This requires self-reflection, and truly asking ourselves; is my strength over-powering my softness? Because true strength is also the ability to be soft. True strength is living your life boldly and fearlessly, while also being able to acknowledge times you are unable to be strong. I embrace my strength, while also embracing my soft side; and I encourage you to do the same. Embracing both of these qualities allows us to be who we truly; an individual with multiple parts. Strong, soft, and authentic.

"Everyone is Going Through Something"

Professional basketball player, Kevin Love, shared an amazing story about his mental health. He hit many relevant points; from the societal pressures for individuals to silently suffer, to the fact that everyone is struggling with different things. No matter how much money we have, or the fame that surrounds us, no one is immune to the struggles of life. It is necessary for our culture to shift from this judgement around mental health. Individuals are silently suffering, and feel they are unable to ask for help. This leads to detrimental isolation, and can lead to the violence that we see around us today. As men, you do not have to figure it out on your own and be strong; and as women, we do not need to remain quiet. For some reason, we've shifted into this "all-or-nothing" thinking. We think that if we ask for help, we are not strong; if we struggle, we are inadequate. However, we are able to struggle and still be amazingly strong. Strength is vulnerability. Strength is acknowledging that you can't always figure it out on your own. Strength is being okay with not being okay. Strength is speaking out despite the shame you may feel. Kevin Love exemplified true strength, as well as many others who have began to speak out; and I hope others are inspired by these stories. We may not all want to share our struggles to this extent, but hopefully we can have the realization that we are not alone. 

Read his full story below:

Everyone Is Going Through Something | By Kevin Love

 

Love is a Choice

I recently read an article by Seth Adam Smith about the choice of love, and figured it is fitting to share on Valentine’s Day! This article highlights the fact that there is no such thing as a fairy tale ending. Love and relationships are hard work and we must make a choice to go on this journey of ups and downs. In the article he discusses embracing the imperfections, walking the path together; despite what this path may look like, and committing to love. “Real love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person”. It is important to remember this within our relationships, however, it is just as important to remember this for ourselves! This article discusses relationships, however, I feel all these points are important to remember for the self too. When we can unconditionally love ourselves and make a choice to love ourselves, it is easier to love others. You do not need to be in a relationship to read this article, and you do not need to be in a relationship to enjoy Valentine’s Day! This is just like any other day which requires self-love and love for those that surround you.

“Real love is like the north star in the storms of life; it is constant, sure, and true. Whenever we’re lost and confused, we can find strength in the love that we have chosen”

 

Follow the link to read more:

https://upliftconnect.com/real-love-is-a-choice/

 

 

Authentically Vee

The Emotion of Shame

What is shame?

Shame researcher Brene Brown defines shame as a normal and universal human emotion, and is also one of the most painful emotions that makes us believe that we are flawed or unworthy. It is an intense negative emotion that hits the core of a person’s being. Shame is commonly confused with guilt. Shame is an emotion that reflects the deep-rooted feelings of the self. Guilt is a feeling about our behaviors. We feel guilty about actions we’ve taken and often try to repair, we feel shame about who we are as a person and often try to hide. Feelings of shame can cause individuals to be constantly critical of themselves, often finding something to criticize about their appearance, behavior, or personality; and even causing individuals to be critical of others. Research by Loader describes the emotion of shame as the inner experience when we feel uncovered and when private aspects of the self are unwillingly revealed, such as our physical bodies, actions, or thoughts. Shame often arises when we are perceived differently than we want to be seen by others. Shame results in urges to hide or withdraw. Instead of acknowledging shame, usually other feelings are used to hide shame. Shame is often hidden with avoidance, anger, and at the more severe level, substance abuse. When shame is acknowledged, individuals are able to thrive within their authentic beings and connect more with others. The only way to heal our shame is by talking about it, which begins with an awareness of it.

How does shame affect our thoughts?

It is easier to acknowledge our feelings of shame when we recognize our thoughts. Most thoughts that are negative judgments about ourselves as a person are often related to feelings of shame. These are some examples of thoughts that are related to feelings of shame:

  • There’s something wrong with me

  • No one will ever love/like me

  • I am not enough

  • I am inferior to those around me

  • I am not important to others

  • I am a failure

  • I am unworthy

Have you noticed any of these thoughts, or similar thoughts, in your own life?

A big step to dealing with shame is becoming aware of your thoughts related to shame, and making attempts to shift your thoughts.

How does shame affect our relationships?

Shame makes us want to withdraw and hide, which is detrimental to our ability to connect with others. Shame leads to us feeling disconnected, isolated, and lonely. We long to be in fulfilling relationships, however, our feelings of shame often prevent us from authentically connecting within these relationships. Shame arises within relationships when an individual feels judged, and when one feels they are perceived in a negative way, which will enhance the need to withdraw. We fear that if we show our true selves to those we are closest to, they will not like us or will judge us. This leads us to connect with others by not truly connecting. We are not our authentic selves within our relationships because we have hidden aspects about us that are important to share. Relationships require a vulnerability, however, this vulnerability is often avoided. The very things that enhance our authenticity are the things we avoid the most. Acknowledging our shame and embracing vulnerability are key to being authentically ourselves, and in authentic connection with others.

How is shame interfering in your relationships with others? Are you authentically connecting with others?

 

Authentically Vee

 

 

 

 

References:

Brown, B. (2012). Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead. New York: Gotham Books

Loader, P. (1998). Such a shame—A consideration of shame and shaming mechanisms in families. Child Abuse Review, 7(1), 44-57.

 

Overcoming the Superwoman Syndrome

As women, we often feel that we must do it all. We feel that we need to perfect every role in our lives; this is what the term superwoman syndrome encompasses. The desire to do everything and striving for high, and often unrealistic, expectations at the expense of our own well-being. I participated on a radio show in which we discussed this superwoman syndrome and methods to overcome this. Listen below to hear the conversation and see how this may apply within your life.

https://www.spreaker.com/user/knashradio/accelerated-radio-network_8170