I Have a Lot of Empathy

What is empathy and how do I know if I have it? Is it really something I can “have?”

According to Psychology Today, empathy is the ability to recognize, understand, and share the thoughts and feelings of another person, animal, or fictional character. Empathy is not to be confused with sympathy. Sympathy is the feeling of concern for another person or a desire for the other person to be happier. When a person exhibits empathy, they are feeling the grief or sadness or angst of another person. When a person is sympathetic, they are recognizing the feelings the other person is having and are wishing that person well. You can by both sympathetic and empathetic at the same time, but they are not interchangeable.

Yes, empathy is something that every person can have. Empathy is something that is generally developed as children. There are some people who do not know how to be empathetic and then there are the empaths who are so empathetic that they sometimes aren’t able to distinguish an empathetic feeling from a personal feeling. People can have a lot of empathy and still may not be true empaths.

Those of us who are empaths struggle with the feelings of others’ situations taking over our life. We may end up with anxiety or depression. For example, I am an empath who has to cautiously determine what shows or movies I watch because I take on the stress or pain of the characters. I really enjoyed watching Sons of Anarchy years ago, but my empathetic response left me feeling extremely stressed the rest of my day. I had to stop watching the show. This was the first true example of recognizing what was happening to me that I could identify as a trigger. Even still today, I started watching Outlander and had to pause and maybe even stop because of the reaction I was having to the show.

Shows are just one example. When my friend lost her father recently, I took on the pain and feelings and emotions of losing a wonderful father. It was as though I personally lost a father. Maybe it didn’t help that my dad had just overdosed and proved how far gone he is. Either way, I had a rough few days around my friend’s father’s passing.

When my friend’s are going through hell, I am right there in hell with them. When family is struggling, I am struggling too. I absorb the feelings of what other’s around me are experiencing and experience it with them. This is not something intentional that I do. In fact, I don’t know how to minimize it or even prevent it. I have not learned of any method of potential control over my empathetic response.

So, how do you tell the difference between having a lot of empathy and being an empath? It may be simple, it may not. I truly believe there are different levels of empathy and different levels of being an empath. If you are at all concerned that your level of empathy for others is causing issues in your life, I recommend speaking with a professional. As for me, right now I can generally identify when it is happening and I can work with it.

Empathy is important in our lives and in our society. I wish more people were just a bit more empathetic towards others. We might see more people caring for other’s and helping each other more.

I’m Sensitive

For the majority of my life I put on a front and pushed myself to be a badass who isn’t sensitive. I may be a female but I’m not a girl! I had no intention of being viewed as “just a girl” or as a sensitive person. I was taught those were negative and weak.

There is so much negativity in our society around the term sensitive and the phrase “like a girl.” I think one of the most common statements I can think of is “she/he throws like a girl.” I can rattle off a bunch more statements, but I think you already get the point.

I was taught that being sensitive was unacceptable and you better not cry or I’ll give you something to cry about. Sensitivity was a derogatory reference and I wanted no part of it.

So I really tried and pushed to be a badass who could lift this or dig that or take care of this or a woman who was strong and never cried. I never wanted to be viewed as sensitive or weak.

Until I couldn’t hide my sensitive side anymore. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but there was some kind of switch that was flipped and I think it was around the time that I fell in love and all of my barriers were crushed. I had no walls to hide my sensitivity anymore. Over the years, I have become more and more sensitive and more and more introverted. Especially since I quit drinking.

I’ve struggled with being sensitive and overcoming the negative connotation that I grew up with. And then I heard someone refer to themselves as an empath. It intrigued me. And once I started hearing it more, I finally decided to look into it. What exactly is an empath?

I found an article on healthline.com titled 15 Signs You Might Be an Empath by Crystal Raypole which references work by a couple of different people. Just reading through these 15 signs opened my eyes to more of an explanation of who I really am. Yes, I am sensitive, but even more so I am an empath. I feel like I finally have a description to a lot of my feelings. The 15 signs included in the article are:

  • You have a lot of empathy
  • Closeness and intimacy can overwhelm you
  • You have good intuition
  • You take comfort in nature
  • You don’t do well in crowded places
  • You have a hard time of not caring
  • People tend to tell you their problems
  • You have a high sensitivity to sounds, smells, or sensations
  • You need time to recharge
  • You don’t like conflict
  • You often feel like you don’t fit in
  • You tend to isolate
  • You have a hard time setting boundaries
  • You see the world in unique ways
  • You sometimes find it tough to cope with sensory and emotional overload

Almost every single one of those describes me without any further detail. If you do want further details, the link to the article is above.

Personally, I’m going to be reading the book she references next and I think I might share a series here about each sign. I feel like there might be some of you out there who could be inspired to hear that you are not alone in some of the feelings that go into each of these characteristics.

Being sensitive is truly just fine. There is nothing to be ashamed of. I simply have to keep reminding myself of this.

Live in The Moment

I’m sure you’ve had someone tell you this a time or two. Or you’ve been the one telling someone else. Is living in the moment easy for you? It is, then this post may only help you understand those of us who can’t. If living in the moment is a struggle for you, you are not alone my friend. This is one of the most difficult things for me to do in life.

Glennon Doyle summarized it perfectly in this explanation in Untamed:

It’s just that living with anxiety — living alarmed — makes it impossible to enter the moment, to land inside my body and be there. I cannot be in the moment because I am too afraid of what the next moment will bring. I have to be ready.

Living alarmed.

Those two words explain so much about my life without going into great detail. I live alarmed and on edge every single day. I have to be ready. I have to be prepared. I have to know what is coming next so I can be ready for it.

I have to be observant and watchful.

I have to be inconspicuous and calm.

I have to divert the crisis that is about to happen.

I cannot live in the moment and enjoy it because I have to be ready for the next moment that is almost surely going to be some sort of disaster.

Anxiety tells me that something bad is always going to happen next and that I need to be prepared to control it. I need to be prepared to take action. Anxiety leaves me living in constant vigilance of what is coming next.

Not just next in the next second. Next in the next minute. In the next hour. In the next day. In the next month. In the next year. In the next five years. In the next eternity. Whatever is next, I have to be ready.

Spontaneous fun? No, that is not acceptable. I can’t be prepared for it.

Just chilling and hanging out. Mmm maybe but I’m still going to be considering what is coming next once I stop chilling. Also, this must be planned. It cannot be spontaneous.

Why does everything just want to be spontaneous and live in the moment when there is surely something that will go wrong?!

Because they are wired differently.

It doesn’t mean we are bad people because we can’t live as free as they can. I know we have times that life seems easy and spontaneity is possible and living in the moment is possible. We can all get there occasionally. But when we can’t, we are in a constant state of panic.

Some people call us high-strung. They are wrong. We are sensitive people who just want to make sure everyone we love with be alright. And that everything is put away where it goes and done exactly as we think it should be. That’s how we stay safe.

Living in the moment sounds delightful and terrifying at the same time. If you live or are around one of us who carries anxiety with us, give us a little grace as we navigate spontaneity and working to live in the moment. We are working through more than you can see on the outside. We are struggling and happy at the same time, most of the time.

Living in the moment will work for us sometimes and not others. It is nothing against you, it is merely how we are wired. We are working through it. We are struggling. We are overcoming. Take our hand and help us through it without condemnation or some smartass comment. That doesn’t help.

We want to live in the moment, but we also want to hide from the moment so we can prepare for the next one.

Why Am I Stressed?

I have been asking myself this a lot lately and haven’t been able to put my finger on a specific answer. Then I get more stressed because I can’t figure it out. Stress is a vicious cycle for me that comes out towards others. Stress is a battle I have fought all of my life and will continue to fight every single day. For me, stress is like bad heartburn that never leaves.

But it isn’t just stress. My stress enables and exaggerates my anxiety. When I’m stressed, I snap about things that aren’t perfect or my anxiety about what might go wrong or who I’m offending is quick to escalate. A lot of people say “get over it, just relax” and I wish I could. I fight every single day trying to figure out how to just chill out. I watch other people act like they have absolutely no care in the world and I am almost envious of how easy it is for them. At least it looks easy from my point of view.

Right now, as I’m writing this, why am I stressed? I can’t nail down one specific thing. I feel like it is a smattering of multiple triggers that keep compounding on each other.

Seeing that we are coming out of quarantine, you might think it is because we can’t go anywhere. Nope, I am LOVING staying home. I am an introvert who likes my freedom at home. I mean, I do like to travel, but as I turn internal and search, not traveling is not even bubbling as a potential trigger. But I think I might have just identified one thing from a previous sentence. “My freedom at home.” I haven’t had my freedom at home because I’ve had house guests for over a month. Maybe this is one of my triggers. This introvert hasn’t had her space or things exactly as she wants them in her house so she is triggered.

I did tell Eddie the other day that I am over-peopled. You know, it’s an extension of being over-stimulated but because people have been around too much. I can kick Eddie to the basement or outside or even to a friends’. I can’t boot house guests. It’s not like I don’t like these people, hell, I even love them. I think I’m just coming to a realization that I can only tolerate extra people for so long and then I need space. This may sound rude to the house guests, but it isn’t. It is a personality and self-care acknowledgement. I’m not going to boot my house guests at all. I will just space them out a bit further next time they might be here one right after the other.

Work has been so busy that it is definitely a stressor. I feel like I haven’t been able to get anything accomplished even though I have. I know this is one of my stress and anxiety triggers so I am making sure to disconnect and not review every email that comes in after I’ve logged out for the day.

Why am I stressed? I think I found a couple of reasons, but I think there are more. For me there usually are.

While yes, stress is a bad thing for us, we can’t always prevent it. We must work through it and keep going. Or take a break and fully disconnect. Both are necessary, but sometimes only one is possible. The most important thing about being stressed is to work on not living in that stressed feeling. If we can do a little work and a little more to overcome the stress, we will get through it. The day that we live fully in the stress is the day that we start shutting the door to coming out of the stressed mode. Don’t live there. It won’t do you any good.

How do I get unstressed? It depends on what is happening in life. Right now, I am breathing through every moment that I feel the stress coming on and taking over. If I miss the onset, I apologize for the flip out I just had and reflect on how I could have identified it without demeaning myself. I also try to remove the direct stressor or something else to allow more room for whatever is going on. Crying helps too. Let it all out.

Life can be stressful. Life can be beautiful. My life does not exist without both the stress and the beauty. I choose each day to work past the stress to see the beautiful life that I have created.

Be A Warrior

Be a fucking warrior. You do you girl. Who the fuck cares if you have a little extra to love? Love yourself no matter what you look like. Love you for who you are, not what the world sees. Don’t take no for an answer. Failures are only speed bumps. Go after what you want. Live your life for you. Stop taking their shit. They don’t live your life, you do. Be you. Climb that mountain. Change that job. Stay where you are. You get to decide.

This is your one life, live it your way. Keep those you love close. Keep those you like close. Leave the assholes behind. Stand up for yourself. Stop letting them walk all over you. You get to choose who is in your life. You are beautiful. You aren’t perfect. You don’t need to be perfect. Enjoy being imperfect.

Pursue your dreams. Change your dreams. Sleep in. Wake up early. Take a load off and catch up on that show. Get your ass in gear and get some shit done. Do it all, do nothing. Eat healthy. Enjoy the cake. If it makes you happy and alive, do it. If you are stressed about it, rethink it.

This is your one life. It. Is. Your. Life. Your’s alone. Do it your way.

Thoughts About Family

I’ve seen so many quotes that say things like “family is everything” or “blood is thicker than water.” These are all over social media and people use them in everyday conversation. The underlying theme is that, no matter what, family sticks together.

I wish life was as simple as that. For some families, it is. For mine, it is not. If I were to stick with my family no matter what, I would not be where I am today. I would be living a much different life supporting people who only take from others or supporting everything the drug addicts do. If family was the only thing that mattered in life, my life would be miserable and depressing.

The thing about family is you can’t choose who your blood family is, but you can choose who you consider family. Blood may literally be thicker than water, but familial blood does not have to rule your life. Your life is yours to live.

I choose to associate and keep close quite a bit of my family. I used to force relationships with more of my family but got tired of being the only one who put effort into those relationships. Keeping family close means different things for all of them. It depends on the relationship. It depends on their efforts as well as mine. Relationships are a two-way street.

I have family I would give a chance to have a relationship once they turn 18 and can make decisions for themselves. I have family that will never have a chance to come back into my life. That sounds harsh, but it is my reality. I choose not to support those who keep taking more and more from me or those who abuse drugs and emotionally abuse those who take care of him.

That brings me to my father. I don’t even like calling him that. It feels dirty. It feels wrong. I could use sperm donor, I think that is from a movie, but I can’t think which one. But I’ll call him dumbass because that is what he is. Dumbass has been a drug addict most of my life. It has escalated year after year. More and more drugs. From meth to opioids, he is or has been on all of them. Well, dumbass broke his ankle, got home from the hospital and then overdosed on what he had in stock. If my grandmother had not called my sister worried because he wouldn’t answer the phone, he would have been there on his own and may have possibly died. How do I feel about that? He died to me many years ago. There is no feeling left there except for disgust and annoyance. Today I am more frustrated that he keeps manipulating my grandmother to pay for things that allow him to be home and continue using drugs. Dumbass text me two days late for my birthday and included the typical poor me message. First, he got my phone number from my grandmother’s phone without my permission and has sent harassing messages a few times since. Second, this is the first birthday in over 10 years that he even bothered to try to get a hold of me. Selfish. He is extremely selfish.

Recently, one of my friend’s lost her dad due to health complications. I was more devastated about his death that I would have been for dumbass’. Her dad was a good dad. He was loving and funny and a guy I enjoyed being around. I can’t imagine not hearing his jokes and voice ever again. He was more to me than I ever thought. It sucks that death brought those feelings. I already miss him and it’s been years since I saw him.

Family is not just comprised of those who you share blood with. Family doesn’t have to be people you see or talk to frequently. In my opinion, family is a connection that can’t be explained. My family is comprised of more than just my blood relatives and I will do anything for that family.

The Reason is Fear

My last post was a follow up to one from a couple months ago and today’s post is kind of a summarization of what I’m realizing the common theme is.

The theme is fear. The reason is fear. Fear is what causes my need to people please. Fear is the root of feeling like I can’t live my life, my way, in my own home.

This fear is irrational and is obviously ruining my days and weeks when other people stay long-term in my home. I have allowed this fear to control everything about me. It paralyzes me. I allow it to paralyze me.

I am laying here on the couch writing this as my friend is at the lake for the weekend. Sigh of relief, I have my home back. It feels refreshing.

Then I think of her returning and all of the things I can’t do so I don’t wake her in the morning or offend her or give her reason to judge me for what I am working on. I can’t listen to anything with my office door open. I can’t record in my own office so she doesn’t hear me and can’t judge me. I can’t go about my day the way I am used to.

It’s not just her. It is anybody that stays with us. I tell myself I can’t do all of these things so I don’t inconvenience our guests. Their comfort in my home is more important than my comfort in my home.

Why?

Fear.

Where does this fear stem from? Why do I continue to let it rule and ruin my life? Why don’t I just stop and do my thing in my home?

This fear stems from always getting in trouble for making any kind of noise in the house at anytime that interrupted my parents. It isn’t just about music. This had been ingrained in me so much that walking hard of the wood floor terrifies me and when other people do it, pisses me off or makes me think they are angry. Making any kind of noise with dishes, plates or pots and pans or anything, when moving about the kitchen is torture to me. Why are you so angry that you have to slam the dishes around? I’m so sorry I made noise when I put the pan away.

Noises. Any kind of them. They all cause me deep rooted fear of inconveniencing others or pissing them off. I don’t want to make other people angry. I do everything possible to make people happy because when they are angry I’ve obviously done something wrong.

This fear is as deep as any fear can be. And writing this post is helping me to identify is better than I ever have. Just thinking about all of the noises that cause me fear in my own home has made me realize that this is most definitely a bigger issue to work on than just people staying in my home and me feeling that I can’t live a normal life. I mean, I don’t typically make noise when Eddie is sleeping in on the weekends. If I do, there are multiple doors and a pillow covering his ears so he can’t hear me.

It definitely isn’t them. It’s me.

I continue to live with this fear because it hurts so deep when I feel I’ve been too loud or pissed someone off. This pain is more than just in my bones. It’s is my entire being. It literally takes over my body and mind. Pushing against that pain and fear causes more pain and fear.

The only way I can see to push back against the fear and overcome the pain is to start small. Small noises. Maybe some music with the door closed. Maybe not yelling at Eddie to stop stomping or asking him why he is so angry that he has to stomp. Maybe recording the next video in my office regardless of who is in the guest room next to me. Maybe working from the couch when I want and asking my mother-in-law to turn the TV down (you know, the next time she is here). Maybe listening to the next morning show with the office door open. All the while not saying sorry.

Maybe one little step at a time will help me to overcome the pain from the fear. Maybe it will help to break down that fear and that wall. Maybe I can finally release myself from the fear of noise pissing other people off.

Maybe.

Follow Up: I Can’t Do What I Need in My Own Home

I wrote Fear: I Can’t Do What I Need in My Own Home a few months ago, but I have returned to this fear and to this struggle. This time is different. I offered to let a friend stay with us until her renters move out at the end of May. She has stayed with us for just about a month and it has been one of the most difficult months of my life.

I have a deep rooted need for control, especially in my own home. My friend is so different from me, which isn’t a bad thing, that her schedule each day is completely different. She cooks separate meals at a much later time. She doesn’t get up very early in the morning and the room she is in is right next to my office. None of these are major issues, simply things that change my way of living.

I am a creature of habit and am very specific about how my things are used and treated. I have lost my ability to play music before 8:00 am on a work day or to leave my office door open all day, whether or not I’m on a work call. I am struggling with someone else using all of my dishes and cooking in my kitchen. I am struggling with my refrigerator being extremely full. Oh and we are still in the recommendation of social distancing and her office is still not fully open.

I am struggling with impacting her life or inconveniencing her. It is a mix of me being more worried about her than myself and me being possessive. I am struggling with another cook in my kitchen, a really fucking awesome cook at that.

I feel like this season happened to help me grow. I am being pushed outside of my comfort zone and it is definitely uncomfortable. There is nothing my friend is doing wrong. She hasn’t broken or ruined anything in the kitchen. This is all me and I know it.

I’ve also come to realize that I really suck at small talk. As in, I don’t know how to do it. At all. I struggle with being told the same story multiple times.

Why am I sharing this? Because I know I am not the only one struggling with the need for complete control or the only one who sucks as small talk. I know that you might be just like me.

I also know that no matter how difficult this season feels, I am growing through it. There is something I’m meant to learn from it. Maybe my capacity for not having complete control is being expanded a little. Maybe I’m being challenged to learn how to engage in small talk. I haven’t figured out exactly what my takeaway or takeaways will be, but I know that I keep finding myself in this situation for a reason.

What is currently challenging you?

Special

I just want to feel special.

Ever had that feeling? No? Are you sure?

I thought I was above that kind of need. I didn’t want to be a person who needed to feel special. I saw those people as being self-centered.

Until I started doing self-care and personal growth. Then I realized that it is okay to want to feel special. In fact, feeling special is such a good feeling that not many people get to experience.

By now, if you have read any number of my other posts, you might recognize that I wasn’t really ever made to feel special growing up. I grew to believe that I didn’t deserve it. (See What We Deserve) I made events like my wedding about everybody else. I didn’t even demand to have much for myself, it was all to make sure everybody enjoyed the day and everybody else was taken care of. Oh and things went according to schedule. I truly regret this about my wedding. But I didn’t know any better.

It is only within the past few weeks that I have started to allow myself to desire feeling special. So I thought. Well, at least in conversations with my husband. But during my meditation this morning, I realized that I was holding onto a past dream because of the feelings of being special I have wrapped around it.

I have been holding onto the feeling of getting pregnant and the baby shower that is all about me and the baby. I have been holding onto the dream of feeling a baby move within me while having people be interested in me without there being some health issue that I’m working through. I’ve been holding onto what I deemed the love that I would finally get because I got pregnant.

I wanted to feel special and in my subconscious, getting pregnant would give me those feelings.

I don’t have to get pregnant to be special. I’m not going to get pregnant just to feel special. That doesn’t work anyways.

I just have to treat myself as though I am special. I cannot expect anybody else to do it for me. To feel special, I have to start treating myself that way.

I want to feel special and I am going to treat myself as though I am.

Fused Thoughts

During my guided meditation this morning, the idea of fused thoughts was brought to my attention. I had never heard the concept before, but as soon as it was explained, a light bulb went off in my thoughts sending me in so many different directions. It’s as though this concept of fused thoughts explains so much about how my mind behaves.

I knew I had to share this concept with you and did some quick research to look more into it. In “Are You and Your Thoughts the Same?” on Psychology Today, Sarah-Nicole Bostan provides the following definition of cognitive fusion:

Cognitive fusion is a construct stemming from Relational Frame Theory which forms the basis of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy and is understood as a state in which one is unable to distinguish between the content of one’s own mind and what he or she is actually experiencing in the world.

It makes complete sense to me. My mind will run absolutely wild thinking of all of these scenarios, usually scenarios that involve conflict, and will cause tension within myself. Not only do those thoughts cause immediate tension within myself, they cause a sense of tension walking into situations with people in the future. It’s as though my mind only knows how to plan out future situations with scenarios involving some kind of conflict that I am involved in because others harass or bully me. I can think back to many different times that my mind has created these scenarios and then I get to the situation in question and I already feel on the defensive.

It’s time to stop these thoughts. It’s time to work on these fused thoughts and stop allowing them to negatively dictate my future. But first, why does my mind immediately go to negative situations?

I believe my mind, and probably yours too, jumps to negative scenarios because that is part of our subconscious fight or flight programming. It is easier for our minds to see the negative or potentially harmful scenarios because that is what our brain was designed to do so many years ago. Now that we all live in a vastly different world than when our lizard brain was formed, we have this pent up fear that isn’t as vital to most of our lives today. I believe that pent up fear is what causes our minds to jump to negative scenarios with the automatic cognitive fusion that we are experiencing.

So, how do we change this automatic process? We take it one step at a time and start to notice when these thoughts are occurring. Of course, we won’t be able to always identify every single instance, but if we start trying and we start identifying more and more, we will begin to take over the cognitive fusion process.

During my meditation, the lesson on how to change the trajectory of these thoughts was to first identify when they are occurring. If we can start to recognize when these thoughts are taking over, we can start to change them. The meditation suggested that once we identify the fused thought, we mark it as ‘noted’ and change what we are thinking. I want to take that a step further in how I plan to use this method. Note the thought, acknowledge it and say thank you but I’ve got this. Then change the scenario. Who was being a bitch to you? How were you getting hurt? Change it. That person is showing you more love than you’ve ever experienced from them. That situation you were getting hurt in is now a situation that you are shining in.

I truly believe that these fused thoughts are part of what keeps me limiting myself. So instead of just trying to push the thoughts away, I want to refrain them to help me grow into appreciating and celebrating myself. I want to refrain them to my advantage.

In my quick research to share this thought with you, I also came across a list of other methods to defuse the cognitive fusion. I only resonate with a couple of them, so those are the ones that I am going to share. They follow along the paths that I’ve been using for my current growth process.

Name your mind with a capital M. Using this method, the suggestion is to think of your mind as a separate entity and give it a name, Mind. When you identify one of these thoughts, or simply some anxious thoughts, acknowledge them by saying “There goes Mind again” or “Mind is at it again telling me how everybody hates me”. This method is very similar to what Andrea Owen suggests for identifying and naming your inner critic. So no matter what you name that inner voice, acknowledge it for the lies it is telling you and tell it to fuck off.

This one is a fun one that I actually adapted to how I know I can use it. Imagine you are sitting in a car listening to some awesome music, then a shitty song comes on that just makes you feel horrible. What are you going to do? You change the channel. When your mind goes into one of these fused thoughts that you can identify, change the channel. Your mind sent you down a path that your family member is telling you much you keep fucking up? Change the channel. You walk into their home and they are happy to see you and give you a compliment and a hug and welcome you in. They ask about your life and share theirs. It’s a loving situation.

No matter what method you use, or what combination of them, I know that these will help you, and me. I truly believe that if we can get a hold of our unconscious thoughts, we will be able to improve our anxieties and our life ten fold.

How are you going to work on your fused thoughts? Do you have any common ones you can identify right now?

I Am Truly Blessed

My birthday is coming up and my mother-in-law and two of my sister-in-laws asked me what I wanted. I honestly had no idea what to tell them. Things that I want at this point of my life are pretty expensive because I simply buy the little things. Right now, what I want includes a new camera body or additional mods to add to my 4Runner. I would never ask them for any of that because I don’t want them to spend that much money on me.

As I sat trying to figure out what to tell them, I realized how truly blessed I am. I go through my life every single day writing down the simple things I am grateful for from the last 24 hours and acknowledging other things I am grateful for as I am finishing my morning meditation, but I don’t stop and think about everything I am truly blessed with. These days, with the economy the way it is and people losing their jobs because of COVID, I am at what feels like, a unique spot in life. I am blessed to still have my well paying job with a company that is continuing to break barriers in our industry.

I am also blessed to have my home and all of our stuff that we can simply purchase as we want or need. Compared to when I was growing up, I don’t have to go without anything. If I want something, I buy it or I save and buy it. I am healthy, have what I need or want, and live in a safe place.

You know that saying ‘stop and smell the roses’, well, the same applies to gratitude. Stop and take notice of what you are blessed with. Be grateful for whatever you have along with your health. There are people who are far less fortunate than we are. I am truly blessed and grateful for everything.

Fear of the Future

I sat down tonight to work on my road map to accomplish my dreams. I sat down to listen to Rachel Hollis explain how she does it and during the meditation, a realization hit me in the face. I am afraid of the future. I am afraid to fully let myself dream and see myself in that dream. I’ve been holding myself back because I can’t see myself in the future that I’m trying to create for myself.

I’m still stuck in the future that we left behind. I’m stuck and I haven’t allowed myself to grieve and move on the way I need to. I have let my fear of a different future hold me back.

The future I am stuck in has us raising children. I don’t know why I’m stuck there, we have made the decision and I’m truly happy with the decision to not have children. Maybe there’s a part of me that still wants to feel the baby growing within me. Maybe there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to let go just yet.

I am happy without children. I have found oh so many blessings in not having children. I couldn’t consciously imagine having children anymore, it just isn’t part of my life. But when I daydream as I’m falling asleep, I can’t envision a different future.

I have spent so much of my life daydreaming different scenarios of having children. I have spent so many sleepless nights conjuring up these amazing futures in imagination of children and happiness.

But I haven’t pivoted those dreams. I haven’t pivoted those thoughts right as I fall asleep. I haven’t fully allowed myself to move on.

As I was listening to Rachel, I realized that I have been fearful of the unknown. I don’t know people in my inner circle who have lived child-free lives. I don’t know what that looks like. I don’t know where I want to be in five years let alone ten years. I haven’t allowed myself to fully dream the new dreams.

I have work to do. I am going to get back to this video and start working on dreaming up my new future. I am going to push through the fear of the unknown to create a new future, even if I don’t have any examples of what I’m going to dream up.

Where do you see yourself in five years? What about ten years?