Why is it so Hard?

Before I get started, get your mind out of the gutter! 

In all seriousness, why do we make things seem as if they are so difficult? Well, because they are! Duh!! 

Actually, no, they aren’t. They can be anything you want them to be. In my case for this episode, I’m going to talk about work and life in general. Now, I know that there are genuinely some problematic aspects to life; I’m not denying that. What I am referring to are the things that we can control and how we react to everything in life.

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Episode 19: Why is it so Hard?

Failing Imperfectly
Failing Imperfectly
Episode 19: Why is it so Hard?
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Why is life so difficult? Why can’t we just get a break? There are things about life that we cannot help, but there are so many that we can. I’ll tell you how I am working to overcome my mindset about the difficulties in life.

My Intuition Has Served Me Well So Far

Intuition is defined as the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. In more simple terms and how most of us refer to intuition, it is a thing that one knows or consider likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning. Some people simply refer to intuition as their gut feeling.

Some people don’t know how to differentiate their intuition (or gut feeling) from simply making a decision. But there are those of us that feel sick if we go against our intuition for a lot of decisions. These decisions can be as simple as “do I buy that new purse?” or as complicated as “is this the end of my relationship?”. There are an infinite number of reasons our intuition will tell us what to do, or what not to do.

I haven’t always listened to mine. I ignored mine for a lot of my life so I could push myself to be someone I thought would be liked by others. I ignored mine so I could be who I thought others wanted me to be. I’ll tell ya, I had some amazing times during those years. I had a lot of fun and I pushed myself socially more than I ever had. But I also had a lot of walls up and I was living by the seat of ‘when is the next party’. Instead of listening to my intuition, I made a lot of mistakes.

Over the years, my focus has changed. I no longer live for the next party. I have become more true to who I am and I have worked to accept who I am. Part of who I am is my intuition. My intuition is LOUD.

Let me take a step back for a second. Intuition and the subconscious mind are two completely different things. Some people don’t know the difference. My intuition tells me whether or not I should buy that thing (in very simple instances) or if I should accept that invitation or not. My subconscious tells me that the person who invited me will be upset with me if I don’t accept the invite. The intuition and the subconscious mind have two very distinct voices in my life and more often than not, they are contradictory.

Take for instance this past weekend. It was a holiday weekend where family and friends get together. Eddie went out of town to assist his cousin with moving some furniture so I had the entire four days to myself. As soon as this plan was made, I could NOT wait for this weekend to get here. This weekend was going to be a recharging weekend of pure me time. Then I received an invite from one of my dearest friends to hang out for the holiday. My subconscious told me I better accept that invite or that friend is going to be pissed at me. My intuition told me that I should not accept the invite because I need the me time that I have been looking forward to. I need that recharge time. Many times throughout the weekend prior to and during the holiday day, my subconscious chimed in and told me that I needed to make it work. My intuition gave me that sick gut feeling every time my subconscious brought up breaking my me time.

My subconscious and my intuition often fight like this. It is very confusing and if I don’t listen to one, I regret it in one way or another. I am still working through my emotions of regret for not accepting my friends invite because my subconscious is still telling me how horrible of a friend I am. All the while, I feel more refreshed and ready to take on my goals, my work, and be around people again.

My intuition looks out for me and makes sure that I do things to take care of myself. My intuition makes sure I am safe, I recharge, and that I don’t spend when I shouldn’t, among so much more. My intuition screamed at me for quite a while before I listened and quit drinking. Every time my subconscious jumps in to remind me how good wine tastes, my intuition reminds me about my health and my goals.

Being connected to my intuition also helps me to pull out of my emotional pits of someone else’s problems. Being an empath means that I absorb so much of the world around me. My intuition helps me to decipher those emotions.

Intuition is here to keep us safe, just as our subconscious tries to. But our intuition, in my opinion and from my experience, has a more unbiased opinion. I will keep listening to my intuition, to my gut, for as long as it continues to serve me well.

You Are Too Close

Part of who I am yearns for closeness and feeling love from others. But the rest of me yearns for solitude. It is a difficult balance that I used to ignore by drinking alcohol to be more social. Alcohol released my feeling of overwhelm or nervousness when around others, especially large groups. I used to think I was weird or had something wrong with me. I mean, there are lots of things wrong with me, but this isn’t one of them.

As I continue to grow as a person, and as I continue to research and learn more about who I am and the emotional and psychological dimensions impacting my life, I have discovered that I am easily overstimulated. Once I discovered this, I had a direction in how to adjust my life so I can recover from over-stimulation a lot easier than relying on alcohol to relax me.

One of the effects of being an empath is that we get overwhelmed and overstimulated by too much physical contact or too much time spent with others. Those who aren’t empaths and may be extroverts don’t understand this at all. They take offense to us needing to distance ourselves and take me time. My husband is one of those extroverts. He lives to have a lot of people around him and thrives off of the energy of other people and large crowds. I thrive off of alone time and no contact with other people. We are very different and once I stopped drinking and these needs became more prominent, it was a bit of a shock. We had to learn to function together with our different personalities while also learning to honor each other’s needs.

This quarantine and social distancing has affected both of us very differently. In the early months, he was driving me absolutely crazy. We were following the stay-at-home orders very closely and weren’t seeing local friends or family. Eddie has been working from home consistently and had no human contact other than me. I was losing my mind. I got to the point that I told him he needed to go to someone else’s house so he can get his energy out with other people. Since he didn’t have any interaction with other people outside of Zoom calls for work, he was driving me insane. Eddie is a fun guy who likes to pester and annoy me. It’s all loving, but I had hit my capacity for handling it. We had no time away from each other, even with him now having an office in a basement room.

As for me, well I’ve been generally perfectly fine staying home and not seeing people. I struggled when we had a friend here for about a month and then my mother-in-law right after, but it wasn’t anything to do with them. My struggle was primarily around having too many people around me. I didn’t feel as though I had any separation from people. As long as this quarantine/stay-at-home/social distancing continues and as long as I can get Eddie out of the house and in contact with other people who are staying home too, I could stay home forever. Yes, I want to travel, but without other people around.

I foresee that once life starts getting back to normal and we are able to be around larger groups, I’m going to have to slowly re-integrate myself into groups. I’m going to have to be more prepared and plan for giving myself the time and space I need to recharge. I’m going to have to be able to identify my reactions that indicate I am overstimulated. I’m going to have to relearn how to stand up for myself and my need for space and quiet. It won’t be easy, but to preserve my sanity, it will be worth it.

Shame

Yesterday I posted this blurb on Instagram. And now I want to expand on it even further. You see, shame is something that we each deal with differently. We might see some of our shame journey in other people, but it is still different. No matter how different our shame is, we are not in this alone. You are not suffering through shame’s grasp alone. I am not alone in my shame.

Shame. That’s the topic of the coaching session I worked through tonight.

Shame. It’s the biggest issue I’m working through right now.
Shame. It is the first emotion I feel when looking at this video.

There are so many reasons I almost didn’t share this with you. It clearly shows the weight I’ve gained over the past 3+ years between the infertility treatments, traveling for my last job, and my inability to workout with my back/hips; I feel stupid dancing in the office for 30 seconds; and I was only confident for about a quarter of the 30 seconds.

The reason I decided to record myself doing this 30 second warm up to the coaching session is exactly all of that ⬆️. I share with you so many things from my personal growth journey, but I’ve also hidden other things.

Shame. Shame is what tells me I shouldn’t share what I struggle with.

Shame is exactly why I’m sharing it.

Shame keeps this battle raging within me every single day.
I didn’t start Failing Imperfectly because I wanted to hide behind shame. I started it to share my journey so that maybe I can inspire you to dig deep and get into the messy process of taking control of your life.

Shame is what makes me worry who reads this, making me afraid family and friends with think less of me.

Shame keeps so many of us hiding in the shadows. I don’t want to hide anymore. I want to grow to become a confident woman who loves myself for me, including ALL of my flaws, without caring about others’ opinions, spoken or unspoken.

Shame. I will take back my life.

Shame’s grip on me is slowly loosening. I will not give up.

Shame has told me for far too long that I’m not worthy or not good enough because I am different. Shame told me I was shit because I came from a rough childhood. I had no idea that there were others who struggled the same as I did, or very similarly. I was so sheltered in my shame, I was blind.

One thing Rachel Hollis said that really sticks with me is, “What if He made me this way on purpose? What if we need your weird?”.

What if He made me this way on purpose. I had never thought of it that way. I am who I am because I am who He wants me to be. I am my own kind of weird because He made me just the way I am.

Shame told me that who I am is wrong. His love tells me that who I am is who He created me to be.

No matter how many times I hear that, no matter how many times I read those quotes on Pinterest, it never sinks in. Shame overrides it.

I am here to tell you that you can overcome shame. I haven’t done it yet, but I will get there. I have seen it in so many of the coaches and influential women that I follow. I will continue to work on shame for the rest of my life if that is what it takes.

Is shame something you struggle with?

Day 1: Me

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I haven’t been feeling myself for a while. I feel as though I’ve completely regressed in all the work that I did to improve my mental health. Looking back, I think this happened over the period of more than a year with many different events triggering further setback. I wouldn’t say I’m depressed, but I would say my stress and anxiety are at an all time high. This became most evident during this Christmas break on our annual trip to be with my husband’s family. One event with two comments set my mood for the entire trip. To be fair, I was in my hormonal swing with my period imminent.

After two days of seclusion and rest (thank you Eddie for being sick)….

Today is Day one. Day one to taking back myself. Day one to becoming the woman I know I can be. Day one to overcoming stress and anxiety for fun and ease. Day one of the rest of my life.

I don’t have all the answers or a clearly defined plan. What I do have is the desire and courage to say I am going to experiment and move through this. I am going to be me. I am me.

It isn’t going to be easy, nothing is. I have to make some serious changes in my life to focus on me again. First thing I’m going to do is drastically reduce the amount of time I spend watching TV. Second thing is getting my nutrition back in check. Third, I am going to spend time every single day working on me.

Today didn’t start off the best. I woke up stressed. I have no idea why. Once I realized I was already stressed for the day, I actually got to thinking back and realized this is how I’ve started every day for as long as I can recall in the past few months. Stressed. Wake up stressed. Go to bed stressed.

So, I started this morning by getting ready early. I have no commitments until this evening, but I am committing to myself to get ready and feel good. I put on relaxing instrumental music. I cleared thought from my brain and just listened while I showered. I wouldn’t let myself feel. I wanted to just exist in the relaxation. It actually helped. To take it even further, while I was getting ready, I picked an episode from the Anxiety Coaches Podcast that I thought was relevant. I truly believe there is something in the universe that guides us when we need it most and this was one of those moments.

Gina, the host, focused on the work of Dr. Sarno and Steve Ozanich relating to TMS and anxiety. The part that stuck out to me the most and what prompted me to listen to the podcast twice, was this:

“Thinking has replaced feeling. So they become thinkers so they can’t be hurt by their feelings. Thinking has become their coping mechanism.”

I didn’t write down the comment exactly, but as it struck me. They were referring to those who have anxiety so that is the definition of ‘they’ and ‘their’ in the paraphrased sentences above.

I am one of those that is being described. All I do anymore is think. I think that I’m feeling, but after listening to the podcast, I really don’t think I have felt anything in a while. As I look back, I believe that I have been thinking emotion as it relates to situations. I haven’t actually been thinking through how the situations truly affect me, I just think a quick response and go there. I try to apply only logic to EVERYTHING. I put myself into a position where I couldn’t be and wasn’t fun because in my thought process, everything had to follow a strict logic. That logic in my mind was things being perfect or along a black and white line. Everything I encountered had this flawed logic applied.

No wonder I have been eternally stressed. I was applying flawed thinking to my life rather than living in the moment or in the feeling.

Today is day one that I am attempting to pull myself out of my head and into my life. I am working to pull myself out of the fear that I am and never will be good enough to be part of Eddie’s family. I am pulling myself out of the fear that if I actually shared with my family or friends things in my life, I am a burden to them. I am pulling myself out of the fear that if I share with family or friends, they will think less of me or judge me. I am pulling myself out of the fear that if I say anything to anybody, they will go talk shit with others and prevent others from wanting to actually get to know me. I am pulling myself out of the fear that I am not worth being loved.

I know some of you will read this and think ‘holy shit this girl has got problems’. Yeah, yeah I do. They are from a lifetime of stress and anxiety telling me false stories that I believe. It is easier to believe what our mind tells us as it is trying to protect us from subconscious fears. It is easier to hide in our thoughts more than in real life.

But today is day one. I am taking back my life from my subconscious and I am going to live my best life. I am going to put the work in. I am going to move through this.

I am…

… who I am and that is who I’ll be.

A few years ago I bought Staying Strong by Demi Lovato and her first entry was about finding your own motto. Ever since the day I first read that, I established and clung to the motto “I am who I am and that is who I’ll be.”

I haven’t always lived by that thought, but it has always been at the back of my mind.

At some point in the past couple years, I posted a picture of my air dried hair, with all the waves and frizziness asking if it looked good enough. Someone responded “it is whatever you want it to be. ” This is something I’ve really been telling myself lately.

You see, I get into my thoughts extremely easily and I seriously criticize myself because I want to fit what I think is acceptable to society. I want to be perfect do NOBODY will dislike me or judge me.

At the same time, I’m jealous and envious of people who are who they are and don’t give a damn, and of people who wear whatever they are comfortable in. These are negative, disempowering thoughts that direct how I act.

That’s just the thing, I have lived 99 percent of my life based on my thoughts. My thoughts are run by my subconscious. It is really difficult to have a say in thoughts that are run by something we have little to no control over.

As each of use try to better ourselves, we frequently come across the saying “change your thoughts and you’ll change your life.” I have held onto trying to change my thoughts so I can change my life for years. It has helped some, but there is so much improvement that I still need to do.

While reading Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life, I came across the following paragraph:

“You are not your thoughts. You are not defined by what’s inside your head. You are what you do. Your actions.”

Gary John Bishop goes on to share how sidestepping feelings to instead focus and take action provides better results than leaning into the feelings that can just be plain unreliable. Take for instance getting an assignment done at work. If you don’t feel like doing it and you give into those feelings, you procrastinate and leave it until later, impacting other assignments or activities. But if you were to just lean in and get it done, you will have more time later for other things and will probably be less stressed (another feeling).

If we give into feelings or wait for the perfect mood, we are never going to get anything done. We are always going to feel stuck. Our inaction is keeping us there more than our abilities ever will.

By doing, we get done what we need or want to. We are working towards our potential. Not only does doing get our shit done, it actually also changes our thoughts.

Whhhaaaaattttt?!

Stop and think for a minute. Remember the last time you were working on that to do list and you just kept checking off one thing after another? How did you feel? What were your thoughts telling you?

They were probably telling you that you really are a badass. I know that’s how I feel when I am getting shit accomplished.

If we continue with action no matter how or what we feel, our thoughts will start to change. They will start to match our badass action and we will just keep doing.

The key is to fully immerse ourselves into what we are doing and the chatter in our minds will slowly get quieter and quieter.

We have to remember though, that our thoughts can still become our reality at any time. The more negative we think, the more negative we act, and the more negativity we find in our lives.

My life lately is a perfect example of all of this.

Work has been hell. I have been stressed and beaten down. I haven’t taken care of myself or my house. I’ve been grouchy with my husband. My thoughts have controlled my actions. It has gotten to the point that I want out. I want something different.

My actions, or rather inaction, has breed the negativity. I am underpaid for what I’m doing and that feeling of not being appreciated at work has just made it worse. Everything together is adding up. But without action, I can’t change any of it.

This blog also suffers. I want to get on a regular cadence of posting, but I’ve let my feelings run my life. I have so many feelings that I give into rather than taking action.

I can’t grow without making changes. You can’t grow without making changes. We need to control our actions. We need to take action. Without action, we won’t change a thing.

I’m ready to take action, are you?