Stop Apologizing

Rachel Hollis wrote a book directly dedicated to this thought. She talked about all the things that women commonly apologize with. I received this quote on a cute little card in something I ordered from the Hollis Co. and I turned it into a little graphic that I read every day when I go through my gratitude in the morning.

Rachel said this quote in her book Girl, Stop Apologizing and it has resonated with me ever since. I feel like I’m somehow connected to it. Like it is speaking directly to me.

You see, I’ve been apologizing ALL of my life. I seriously mean all of it. I was always getting in trouble, sometimes for things that didn’t even make sense, I had just irritated my parents, so I was always apologizing. I still apologize for a lot of things that happen every single day. You might be asking, then why the hell does this quote resonate with me? Well, because I know and I am working on learning how to live my life without apologizing. I am learning how to be unapologetically me.

I know, the term ‘unapologetically’ is thrown around like its a badge of honor. It isn’t. But yet, it is. Every person defines living unapologetically differently. Some flash it around like a reason to be a douchebag. Some flash it around because they love their not-so-common attire. Some flash it around to be part of the social media movement. But for some of us, it simply means that we are trying to and learning to live our lives for ourselves rather than apologizing for everything.

We want to stop apologizing for everything about who we are. We want to be able to live a free life, loving ourselves without somebody, anybody else telling us we have to apologize for it. We want to lean into who we are without worrying about offending any and everybody. We want to live into being our true unique selves rather than trying to live according to what social deems is socially acceptable.

Going from apologizing for everything to living unapologetically isn’t easy and the road is most definitely not straight. I will have some really good weeks and then bam! I am right back to apologizing for everything. I blame hormones. I blame changes in my overall environment. I blame anything and everything. I apologize for blaming. Then I stop to realize blaming isn’t getting me anywhere fast.

Sitting down and working through the events over the past few days and weeks help me to identify what caused my path to fork. I sit and do thought work (sometimes written, sometimes not) to see what triggered me. Then I gather all of the conclusions I’ve come to and I start again. I start undoing the apologizing and start focusing on what I know I can change. I start releasing my stress again. I lean back into being me and living for me, regardless of the outside world. I create another fork in my path.

I want to stop apologizing because I know that there is so much more happiness on the other side. I know that my life will be more fulfilled when I lean into who I am and stop apologizing for it.

I am me and that is who I’ll be. No apology needed.

Relapse

Just the other day I was coasting along through life doing absolutely fantastic at identifying when my inner critic chimed in and started leading me down a path, or when my anxiety was starting to flare and cause panic, or even when I was about to go down a road of fear, misunderstanding, and old habits. I was fucking rocking it. I’m rocking it right now.

But I hit a week where that was no longer true. This was a week of confusion, what felt like extreme exhaustion, bickering because I couldn’t put myself first no matter what Eddie said, staying inside feeling trapped, and so much more. I was struggling but I wasn’t able to identify it. I didn’t identify it until one morning after we had our worst bicker in so long I can’t even remember how long it has been.

This week was the first week I was home, restricted from traveling, restricted from going to yoga, restricted from buying groceries because people cleared the stores out, and the weather was gray and dreary. This was the first week that the COVID-19 panic truly set in. This was also the week that the largest earthquake in 10 years hit Utah.

It was a funky, weird week. There was nothing normal about this week and it truly showed in my mood. And my emotional reactions. Thank God I was not on my period during this week, Eddie would have lost his mind.

I am calling this my relapse week because I lost all knowledge and connection to the work I have been doing over the years. I didn’t really even know who I was. I was merely going through the motions, barely getting by each day. Have you had a day like this recently? Or even a week?

How do you handle your relapses? I assume this will happen more than once in my life. I assume I will encounter this discomfort again in the future. I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I would say this probably wasn’t the first time that I got to this point. I relapsed when we were going through infertility treatments. I relapsed when I couldn’t barely walk before my spinal fusion. I haven’t even been on this good track for a year. But this relapse was the shortest.

I was able to identify that something wasn’t right after we had a pretty bad bicker. It was the end of the day and I was chillaxing on the couch. It was weird that I started to realize what just happened. I literally had this “what the fuck” moment. I felt blindsided that this relapse had happened. But then I started to think through the progression.

I worked through identifying how the spiral happened. I identified what the warning signs would have been. I discovered what the triggers were that sent me to the full relapse point. I pretty much retraced the entire week. Then I made a decision.

I decided that the following day would be a fresh start. After all, each new day truly is a fresh start.

So I did. I started fresh. I woke up early like I normally do automatically. I had my morning doing my Start Today Journal and Planner, I had lots of coffee, meal planned, paid bills, and set my intentions for the day. I started fresh. I started the day just as I would any other day that is a good day.

And you know what? It worked, mostly. I was struggling to come out of the mood, but I was controlling all of my thoughts. I was identifying my feelings. Then we went off-roading. My mood wasn’t the best when we started, but after sticking with the truck at the bottom of a trail that I didn’t want it to go up (hey, it’s perfectly capable, I just don’t like pin striping and I’m not ready to put a scratch in her), I had some time to just gaze into distant mountains and to walk around the hills we were in. This alone time in nature was a Godsend. I needed it. My mood completely changed.

How did I get out of this relapse? I pulled myself out of it by doing the things that enrich myself. I pulled myself out of that relapse by realizing that that person who was showing up that week was not the woman I know that I am. I pulled myself out of that relapse because I’ve been working my ass off to grow emotionally.

I am going to continue to work my ass off because maybe next time instead of a week, my next relapse might be just a day.

I Don't Know How to Set Goals

I’m not a goal setter.

Goals are too restrictive.

I was never taught how to set goals.

Goals aren’t achievable in my life.

I’ve set goals before but have never accomplished them, it’s no use.

Have you ever caught yourself saying or thinking any of those? I have. The one I used to use the most was “I’m not a goal setter.” I would come back to that over and over again. I look back now and see that it was just another excuse to stay stuck, to not do hard things.

I wasn’t ever taught how to set goals, but for some reason, that was never an excuse for me. I actually didn’t learn how to set goals until within the last couple of years and it still took me time before I set goals.

In my opinion, goals require feeling behind them. If I set a goal and I am not emotionally vested in the outcome, I’m never going to do the work required to reach that goal. If I set a goal that I’m kinda invested in, but am not sure how I truly feel about it, then I’m still not going to do the work. I have to feel into what I want the outcome to be before I will actually put in the work.

Goals can be huge or they can be extremely simple. It doesn’t matter. One of my goals right now is to get through this social distancing a stronger person. Most days have been downright difficult. Why? I couldn’t tell you. Especially because I’m an introverted homebody. But I hit a low point and it took a day or so to realize what the hell was making me forget ALL of the work I’ve done.

Another goal I have is to plant and truly take care of some herbs. I have these cool planters, but I always let the herbs die. I don’t plan enough meals to use the fresh herbs. Now I’m looking to find more meals to make that use the herbs that I plant.

A big goal that I have that I keep having to come back to is to become debt free. It isn’t an easy goal to achieve, especially when there is so much to buy and make life easy. Or food to eat. Or cute clothes that can make me feel better in my own skin. Or, or, or. To accomplish this goal, I’ll have to make a huge mindset shift. And I have, but then I get lax on my mindset and it goes to hell. Each day I am closer to achieving my goal, the more I feel the feeling of relief and joy.

So how do you set goals?

You have to have things that you are emotionally invested in achieving. Did you read my last post I Don’t Know How to Dream? If you haven’t, go back and read it.

To know what goals to reach for, you have to know what your dream for your life is. You have to sit down and truly look into the future and what you want out of your life. You cannot just simply set a goal and hope for the best. You have to be invested in the goal.

Setting goals just to set goals doesn’t work. If you set a goal to run a 10K but have absolutely no interest in running or physically cannot run, you aren’t going to achieve that goal. If you set a goal to become a millionaire but have no interest in working your ass off, then you aren’t going to reach it. If you set a goal to pay off your debt but keep spending frivolously, you are never going to pay that debt off.

Take all of the dreams you wrote down from the previous post and break them down into action items. Some with have high level action items that break down even further. That’s good. Those are your stepping stones. Keep breaking these steps down until you have actionable steps that you can achieve one after the other. You just set goals. Each of those actionable steps is a goal.

You can set goals. You just have to get out of your own way and allow yourself to dream and become emotionally invested in those dreams.

What are some goals you are working towards right now?

I Don't Know How to Dream

This is not an uncommon thought. I was one of the people who didn’t know how to dream for many years. At least, that is what I thought. I was wrong.

I may not have thought that I knew how to dream, but I knew I was able to push forward. In all that I accomplished up until realizing and truly beginning to dream, I simply pushed forward for something better. I knew I wanted more, even if I wasn’t sure what I truly wanted. I knew I couldn’t stay stuck, that wasn’t the life I wanted to live.

Do you want more? Are you refusing to stay stuck by pushing forward through anything?

Girl you are dreaming! Seriously. You are. You might not have direction towards those dreams, but you are dreaming. Just like I was. You are already one step closer to opening your mind up to big dreams.

That one step for me was to sit down and write out who I saw myself being in ten years. I learned how to do this best from the Start Today Journal practice. I had heard multiple books or podcasts explaining this process before, but Rachel Hollis explains it so well and lights a fire within me that helps me to open my mind. Every time I do it, I dream bigger and more clearly.

Rachel goes into depth in one of her podcasts and in her Start Today Journal, I’m going to summarize what I learned here.

Rachel asks a few key questions that get you started on envisioning yourself ten years from now. Why ten? She does this ten, ten, one process. Ten years, ten dreams, one goal. I’ll let you listen to her podcast to learn more, but here are the key questions I absolutely love.

  1. Who do you want to be in ten years?
  2. A decade in the future, what is the very best version of yourself doing?
  3. What’s a bigger version of the best version of you living every day in the best state that you know how to be?

There are many other questions that she poses, but those are the three that prompted me the most. The next step is to write it all out. Write out everything that comes to your mind, even if it doesn’t seem realistic. As you are writing, do not judge anything that is flowing, just write it down. Do not hold anything back.

This is how you open up and prompt yourself to dream. Now that you have it all written out, you can see what dreams you truly have. Your dreams are there, you just have to stop burying them. You have to open your mind and emotions to letting these dreams come out of hiding.

It’s okay if you don’t get much written down the first time. I didn’t. I had hardly anything. But I do this dreaming every three months. Every time I do it, my page gets fuller, my mind opens more, and I feel more and more connected to what flows.

Now you have a starting point of how to set goals to become the person you dream to be. Yes, you can be a goal-oriented person. This is another practice you have to open your mind to. You already did the hard part of opening your mind to your dreams. Now you get to turn those dreams into reality.

Let Your Inner You Come Out

Let your inner you out to have fun and come alive.

I’m not sure where I heard this, but it immediately resonated with me. I am one who has been extremely rigid in my way of living in the past few years. I cared so much about other people’s opinions that I didn’t let myself be myself. I wouldn’t laugh at some things, I tempered how loud I laughed, I let go of all of my sarcasm and wit. I became a person who didn’t want to offend or be considered weird or even stand out.

I boxed myself up and shoved me deep inside. I wasn’t living.

Then I heard this statement and I knew I needed to hear it in that moment. I immediately wrote it on a sticky note and stuck it to my monitor. Then I made a phone background and it is still there. I need a reminder every day to let myself be myself. I haven’t fully broken through the fear of leaning into who I truly am in every single situation. I’m working on it, but I have a long way to go.

I’ve been louder, I’ve laughed more, I’ve been sarcastic more. I’ve been open and honest with coworkers that I’m working on growth and that I appreciate and need their constructive criticism for the work I’m doing, even if I don’t change anything.

If you are anything like me, let yourself out. Have some fun. Fuck what other people say. You are a wonderful person that has hidden all that wonderfulness for far too long. Try a little each day to bring your inner you out to have some fun. And if you need a daily reminder, here is my phone background. There’s a lot of empty space because my main screen apps are around the text. I literally fit it to my app layout. No matter your layout, this will be a wonderful reminder for you too.

What would you do differently if you let your inner-self out to have some fun?

Dreams

There is so much programming out there telling us to “follow your dreams” or “let your imagination run wild” or even “you can be anything your heart desires.” The problem with this programming is that it isn’t universal. Depending on where you grow up and where you come from, you might not have dreams, an imagination, or even know anything more than the small environment that you are part of. Dreams are not universal.

I was one of the kids who didn’t actually hear any of this programming as a child. My programming was more along the lines of “graduate high school before getting pregnant”, “anybody better off than us are assholes”, or “so-and-so should be taking care of us because they are better off.” There was no hope, no dream in the future that was being programmed into me. There was nothing bigger than living off of family who made a life for themselves. Doing more, being more was never a thought.

My imagination as a child was very limited. I didn’t know anything outside of the small town and poor life I was growing up in. I didn’t have good examples in my everyday life of following dreams or even dreaming big. Goals were not something that ever crossed my mind.

Today I am living a vastly different life than the one I grew up in. Why? Because I took the glimpses of life outside of the poor situation I was in from what little TV and movies I watched and books I read and knew there was more out there. I didn’t know how much more. I didn’t ever consider that I would be where I am today. I just knew I wanted more.

My first real dream I followed was going to college. It was never a consideration for my parents to even encourage college, but I knew I wanted to go. I figured going to college would give me an edge on living a better life. Once I was in college, I started seeing more and more of life outside of living a poor life, counting on everyone else. I knew before college that I wanted to live my own life and support myself, but my eyes were being opened and my mind was learning.

I never dreamed of getting my MBA or becoming a project manager, or being a traveling professional. I never dreamed of making the salary I do today or buying a home. I never dreamed of sharing my life with random people or becoming an overlander who has gear to travel to places most vehicles can’t make it. I never dreamed of working from home from a mission-driven company. I never dreamed of most of what exists in my life today.

I did dream of being a writer as a kid, but thought that would never happen because I wasn’t rich enough. I attributed everything to money. Yes, money does provide a lot, but so do goals and dreams.

Today my dreams are bigger than I would have ever expected growing up. I wouldn’t have even imagined my dreams were a thing. That’s the difference of the environment that we are in.

I frequently question why people don’t get off their ass and do something about their situation. I did, why don’t they? I’m learning that it isn’t that easy for some people. The programming that we receive during our formative years can and will determine everything about our life. Some people don’t have the mental acuity to look outside of the hear and now. I frequently lose my patience when people limit themselves, then I have to remind myself that I have limited myself in various ways throughout my life.

Not only does it take hearing or learning about what else is out there, it takes desire to do more. For those of use who come from places where dreaming isn’t or wasn’t a thing, it isn’t just about the dreaming. It is about what we have access to. Some people don’t even have the limited TV or movies that I had. Some people don’t even have books. These people may have a burning desire for something more, they just don’t know what that is because they are in a place where their imagination and ability to dream is limited.

Unfortunately in our world today, there is still so much limitation on the ability to dream and imagine a different life. We have a long way to go.

I am sharing my story because I hope that if you are reading it and you are someone who is in a position that doesn’t have access to anything that will stoke your imagination and dreams, it will give you a little bit of hope for something more.

Growing up I didn’t dream of a better life without the input of TV, movies, and books. I thought the only way to get a better life was to be born into it. Today, I work on my thoughts, dreams, and overall knowledge every single day. My inputs have changed my life tenfold. I am where I am today from one little dream, living a better life than what I grew up in. I didn’t know what that would look like, but I chased it.

What did you dream of when you were a kid? Did you have big, audacious dreams? What life did you dream of?

Consistency And Stability

My parents got divorced when I was 12. Every year after that, my mother moved us to a new home or moved our trailer to a new location. We were always moving. Gone were the days of any consistency with life. Stability? Yeah that didn’t exist either.

I moved out when I was 17 and moved frequently for a few years after that. I think the longest I was in one place was when I lived in Ohio for 22 months. Once I moved out on my own, I also changed doctors and hairstylists frequently. Nothing was really consistent in my life, except for a couple of friends.

I lived with Eddie at his mom’s house for 18 months and then we moved to Utah. I stayed with some friends at the time for a few months (Eddie was traveling 100 percent of the time for work), then we got an apartment. Then we bought a house. We moved into this house in March of 2014.

The most consistent and stable things in my life have been two friendships, my almost nine year relationship with Eddie, raising Chloe for seven years, living in our home for six years, and my hairstylist, dentist, and chiropractor of six years.

I realized the other day that my life is finally changing to what I always dreamed it would be and that is probably because I am finally consistent with a few things in my life. For me, my life always felt like it was in turmoil, nothing was ever just good.

Our home is still in renovation mode and we still have things we need to pay off, but that is okay. This is our little piece of heaven and stability that I’ve always craved. We have a built a life of stability that I almost thought I would never have. I built a desire to have more than what I grew up with and I have it.

I don’t think I would have been able to truly care for my health or my emotions, or even quit drinking if I didn’t have this stability and consistency in my life. I wouldn’t be here today.

A lot of people don’t think twice about how long they’ve lived somewhere or how long they have been going to the same dentist or hairstylist, but I do. I mean, until this dentist, I NEVER got cleanings because I wasn’t raised doing it. My hairstylist met me when I was more particular and a pain in the ass than ever and embraced keeping me as a client. When I realized how long I’ve been with her, I got emotional. Yeah, yeah, it could have been the period hormones, but I truly appreciate the consistency I’ve had with her. She is dear to me and we’ve been through some life together. Unless we moved states, which isn’t happening anytime soon, I don’t think I could leave her.

Being able to look back and see where I’ve come from to where I am today is kind of overwhelming. Holy crap, I just teared up. I can look back at all of the instability and inconsistency in my life and feel so much gratitude for where I am today.

If you are in the throws of instability and inconsistency, I want you to know that you can have both stability and consistency in your life. It doesn’t happen easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. If you are here reading this, you are showing yourself that you want more. The key to getting that more is taking life one step at a time. Start buying laying the first brick of your new foundation.

What is your picture of stability and consistency? Is it a consistent place to live, a consistent relationship, or even a consistent job? Lay one brick at a time. Find a place that gives you almost everything you look for in a home. For me, it was a yard, close to stores, space for guests, space for an office, and a garage. Lay one brick buy finding that place within your budget. You might have to get something that needs work, but that’s okay too.

You can get the consistency and stability you want in your life. One brick at a time. That’s how I have both in my life.

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

Not long ago we had company for a week. Company that we love having and wouldn’t want to push away. But I work from home. And I tend to work in more locations than just the office with the desk. I have a lounger section of our couch and the kitchen counter that I work from. Working on a laptop makes it easy to have a spare charging cord for mobility and moving wherever I feel.

But, when we had company, I felt like I was stuck in the office. It came to a point that I had to make a decision: let my feelings make me feel like a prisoner because I thought it would be rude to work where I’m the most comfortable, or do what my body needed and find a middle ground.

You see, it isn’t as easy as just hanging out together doing our own thing, the company requires the TV on all day, louder than I prefer. I can’t work with TV all day. I felt like I would be rude if I told the company that they had to turn the TV off or down to accompany me. I felt like I would be an asshole to this person. Some people would tell me that I am rude for just writing about this situation or that I’m being selfish or nitpicky about the situation.

But I really needed my spot on the couch. It was the days before my period and my back was tired. It needed different support than my office chair, I probably could have even laid down some. I physically couldn’t stay in the office without getting more and more uncomfortable.

So, I had to choose, give in to my fear or do what I needed for me.

I chose to try to find a middle ground. I get up and start working much earlier that the company gets up for the day, so I definitely worked on my couch then. As different calls came up I worked with the company to make sure we both got what we needed.

Yes, I felt like a major asshole, but this is my house and I have a right to take care of myself. I have always feared doing something for me over inconveniencing someone else. I ALWAYS put myself out so I wouldn’t cause any issues for anybody else. Fear was running my life in these situations. I deserve to be cared for by myself. Nobody will care for me more than I care for myself and nobody should. Nobody will give me permission to care for myself, I have to give myself that permission.

I am slowing learning to work through my fears and overcome them, especially when it comes to inconveniencing or putting out other people. I 100 percent deserve the same care and respect I give them before I give it to someone else. I am slowing learning to respect for and care for myself first. By caring for myself first, I can give more.

Let that sit with you for a minute. The more I care for myself first, the more I can give. Does that sound backwards to you? It did to me the first time I heard it. Now that I’ve worked on it and started putting myself first, I find it to be so true.

You have to fill your cup before you can fill anybody else’s cup. You can’t give from an empty cup. You can’t give from a tired, worn out self.

You do you and you do you first.

Are You a Chameleon?

Do you mold yourself to the people around you? Do you change to fit into the situation you are in? Are you a chameleon?

I was. I was for most of my life and it defined who I was. I didn’t know how to be anything different.

Being a chameleon for me meant that I had no idea who I was. I didn’t allow myself to be known. I didn’t allow myself to even know myself. I didn’t want to know myself.

Why do we become chameleons? Why do we feel the need to hide who we are? Why can’t we just be ourselves?

Because our society puts SO much pressure on us to fit these molds that are unrealistic. Our society wants us all to be the same; look the same, talk the same, live the same. Be. The. Same. Individuality is not rewarded or even encouraged.

I’m tired of it. I’m tired of trying to fit into this mold. I’m tired of hiding who I am. I am tired of not knowing who I am. I’m tired of being a chameleon.

I want to let myself out. I want to learn who I am without the boundaries of the mold. I want to be me.

Do you? What do you want? Do you know? Have you thought about it?

I didn’t start thinking about it until I started reading personal development and opening my mind to a different life. I didn’t even think that I was a chameleon until I started learning about how we tend to change who we are to fit into situations. I didn’t know what I wanted in life. I didn’t know who I was.

It all starts with one thought. One realization. One step. We can all find out who we are if we just take the one step. If you feel lost, if you think you might be a chameleon, take the one step to acknowledge you have room to grow.

I say this over and over again, it all starts with one step. One thought. One realization. Take the one step and you too can learn how to break free from the mold. You can learn how to become who you truly are instead of being a chameleon.

I can’t say I’m absolutely no longer a chameleon. But I can tell you that I am getting closer and closer to breaking the habit. I’m taking it one step at a time.

NQTD

When you make a decision, how often do you question it? Are you like me and question most decisions you make? No? Okay, well maybe this isn’t for you then. Yes? Oh then stay tuned.

Why do we question decisions?

I have learned that I question my decisions because I haven’t trusted myself. It’s a sad realization and a challenging one to overcome. It isn’t as easy as just starting to trust myself. There is work to be done to figure out why I don’t trust myself. Then there is work to start trusting myself, one decision at a time. Then there is the work to stop questioning the decisions I make.

I’ve done a lot of this work without realizing I’ve been doing it. In fact, I didn’t realize it until I heard of NQTD. I honestly can’t remember where I heard it, but I wrote it down. I knew this would make a huge difference in how I continue to grow. What is NQTD?

Never. Question. The. Decision.

I chose to eat that cupcake, don’t question the decision.

I chose not to get on the treadmill, don’t question the decision.

I chose to sit on my ass and binge on TV instead of writing or recording a video, don’t question the decision.

I chose to go out even those I didn’t want to, don’t question the decision.

Get the point?

As you start to trust yourself more and more, stop questioning decisions. No, it’s not easy to remember to not question things. If you can start with just one decision, start with not questioning just one decision today. It doesn’t matter what the decision is, just choose one.

Here are some steps that can help you work through why you might be questioning the decision:

  1. Stop yourself in your tracks
  2. Identify the decision you are questioning in detail
  3. Identify what feelings are attached to the questioning of the decision
  4. Write out or think through how it relates to trusting yourself
  5. Write out or think through what would happen if you didn’t question the decision
  6. Seriously, what is the absolute worst that can possibly happen?
  7. Now, stop questioning the fucking decision!!

If only point number seven was that easy, right?!

As you work through each decision that you question, it does become easier. It isn’t a quick process, but it is worth it.

I used to question simple things like telling someone within our family about something in my life, answering a coworker about what I did over the weekend, the food I was eating, or even the color I painted my toes. I look back and think that I started with the little decisions. Those were the easier ones to tell myself to stop questioning.

Something I do to help myself work on things is putting a wallpaper on my phone with a gentle, feeling generating reminder. Here is one to help you to stop questioning your decisions.

They Aren’t In My Life For A Reason

I have many people who I do not allow in my life for various reasons. I have some people that I’ve allowed back into my life, but I’m struggling giving them full access again. There are some people I have on a line of whether or not I continue to associate with them.

Many people see me as a bitch for being this controlled about my life. I’ve had family members threaten to not attend big life events because I refused to allow my father to even attend. I get told that ‘they are your family, it doesn’t matter’ when talking to some people, even when they have cut off contact to some family members. Hmm, that doesn’t make sense.

People who are not me feel that they get to judge and comment on my decision. However, I disagree. This is one thing that I have done amazingly well at, regardless of what other people say. I have protected my peace from people who I cannot have in my life for whatever reason. I have protected my emotional and mental health because of it.

I know that I am where I am today because I cut ties with certain people. I’m frequently told I will regret it when they are gone. No, no I will not. I cannot control other people’s actions, but I can control mine. By controlling my actions, I am able to live a healthier life.

For example, I cut my mother out of my life as soon as I did not need her for FAFSA forms. I didn’t talk to her at all and I didn’t see her even in passing. The first day that I went to see her in the nursing home when my uncle placed her there, was the first time I had seen her in eight or nine years. She didn’t know who I was. She thought I was her mom or her sister. She had hit a point with her early onset Alzheimer’s that she was in her final years.

I wasn’t there for her in the times she needed support. I wasn’t there to make healthy decisions for her. I wasn’t there to be the one to take care of her until medical staffing was necessary. I wasn’t there to make sure that my older sister took care of her properly, even though she didn’t. I didn’t step in to take legal custody of her, my uncle did.

I do not regret it. I do feel bad that I wasn’t there. I do feel bad that I hadn’t known that she was diagnosed and that she needed care. But I don’t regret it.

Avoiding the family members that I do isn’t about me being better than them. It’s about me protecting my emotional and mental health. It is about protecting myself so I can live a healthy, fulfilled life.

If I didn’t cut ties with these family members, I wouldn’t be the me that I am today. I wouldn’t be the strong person who is continuously working on herself. I would be living a path being held back by intense stress and shame. I would be financially supporting addicts who only blame others for their situations.

No, I’m not a bitch. No, you don’t get to judge me. No, you don’t get to hold me to a different standard when you’ve cut ties with family members too.

No, I do not regret cutting these ties. My health is more important.

When Caring Turns Into I’m Not Good Enough

I am learning more and more that I care about people more than most. What I mean by that is that I am always finding ways to make other people feel good or to take care of others or to lift their spirits. I do it because I love seeing people’s eyes light up or seeing them feel loved. And I probably love seeing those because I always wanted that feeling within myself.

I am currently struggling with a situation of feeling like I care about other people more than they care about me. I am struggling with going down a spiral into I’m not good enough to be cared about.

I recently learned that one of my friends is going to have a major surgery in the next couple months. My first thought was, I would be willing to hop on a plane and go help out while working remotely. My second thought was, they have people close by, I’m not needed. My thought that is sticking with me and is really filling me with consternation about my level of caring and being good enough, is that I can simply send flowers to brighten my friend’s day.

How does that leave me in consternation? Because I had my major surgery nine months ago and I didn’t get any flowers or signs of love or caring from anybody but Eddie’s cousin who I asked to make me carnitas. I am going down this thought spiral and it is uncomfortable.

Why am I the only one who cares enough to show it? Why am I not good enough to be shown this type of caring or love? What have I done to other people that I am not thought about when in the same situation? Why am I comparing this friend’s situation to mine? I’m being selfish because I am turning this act of love that I want to do around making it about me. Will the flowers even be appreciated? I’m fucking stupid for going down this spiral. Who cares what others do for me, do what I want for them regardless. I’m dumb for expecting or even hoping for the same level of caring or love that I show to others.

I can go on and on. These are the thought spirals I battle consistently. They aren’t helpful by any means, nor are they easy to control. I’ve overcome many of them, but this one is one I am still working through.

I believe I have this thought spiral because my love language is Acts of Service. And to me, doing something like sending flowers is an act of service. Some of you might not agree with me, but hear me out. I see sending flowers as an act of service because, to me, the action is not about giving a gift, rather it is about enriching the other person’s life. Putting a smile on their face. Giving them something beautiful to look at while they are laying in bed recovering. I see it as an ease to the burden of the recovery process.

It isn’t that I’m being selfish in comparing my surgery and situation to my friend’s, it’s that I cherish acts of service and the situation is a trigger for identifying where I did not receive acts of service when I feel compelled to do it for someone else. In the end, it has nothing to do with that person that I love dearly and what wasn’t done for me. My thought spiral is wrapped up in my love language. My feelings are wrapped up in my love language.

I am not making this person’s surgery about me by working through these emotions and thoughts. I am finding new situations to work through that I need to realize that I may care or show that I care more than other people even think about. Eddie tells me all of the time that I am more observant and care more than the typical person. I think about other people more.

We talked about this the other night and I acknowledged what Eddie says which helped me realize that my thoughts are connected to my love language. I doubt I will ever find someone who is as cognizant of other people’s situations and needs or simply as cognizant and caring of other people’s emotions. I have to work through not feeling like I’m not good enough because I didn’t get the level of outward caring that I give to others. I also can’t expect that anybody do as much as I am compelled to do for others.

So do I hold back on how much I give to others because I don’t receive the same? Historically, I have. I have felt that since they don’t care enough about me and that I’m not good enough for them to acknowledge whatever it is I am/was going through, then why would I do it for them? But as I continue to work on my emotions and overall health, I realize that line of thinking isn’t helping me at all. In fact, it is probably limiting me because it is creating some level of pain within myself through the comparison.

I am working to truly feel through and understand that just because I care and want to show that I care, more than other people typically do, it doesn’t mean that I am not good enough for the same level of caring. It just means that other people don’t focus on it as much as I do.