Kindness

If you are anything like me, you are kinder to everyone but yourself. At least, that is what feels like your first nature. You care more about being kind to someone else because you don’t want to offend them. You are kinder to most strangers than you are to yourself. Sound like you? No, then this might not be the post for you unless you want to learn about someone you care about. It does sound like you? Let’s continue the conversation.

Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. I am generally automatically friendly, generous, and considerate to pretty much everybody. But, I can’t say that I am easily friendly, generous, or considerate to myself. This is something that I’m continually working on, but it doesn’t come naturally. But why? Why would I rather be kinder to other people?

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Give Yourself Some Credit

When you stop to look at your life and where you’ve come since some date, say high school, do you ever give yourself credit? Or do you tell yourself that you haven’t done enough?

To be honest, until I heard this in some video I was watching, I hadn’t really thought about it. I am really good about looking ahead at what I want to achieve and at how difficult it probably will be to get there, but I don’t look back at how far I’ve come.

Why don’t we give ourselves credit? Because it is easier to berate ourselves for what we haven’t accomplished that to celebrate the things we have. It is easier to be negative about the things we keep saying we are going to do and don’t. So many influencers tell us to not look back because we aren’t going there. But if we never look back, we will never know how far we’ve come.

How far have I come? What do I need to give myself credit for?

A whole fucking lot.

I graduated high school. I went to college. And I obtained my master degree. I moved out of New Mexico, twice. I stood up for myself in a shitty relationship and left. I worked two, sometimes three jobs to get through college. Every time I was laid off, I got back up and kept going. I bought a home. I’m renovating our home. I bought my dream vehicle. I have a job that is rewarding and mission driven. I am happily married (and marriage isn’t easy!!). I have great friendships.

If I want to compare my life to my family, then I am not a drug addict or alcoholic. I didn’t settle with living off of other people or the government.

In general, I take care of myself. I take care of others. I’m a damn good friend and wife. I never settle and I don’t easily give up. I pursue excellence (or close to it) in everything I do. My life is what I make it and I’m making it a great life.

There, that’s some credit I really deserve to give myself. Now it’s your turn, give yourself some credit. It doesn’t have to be a full history. It could be something as simple as something you did yesterday. Or today. You could give yourself credit for being in the middle of accomplishing something. Give yourself credit for being in a good mood. Give yourself credit for getting out of bed this morning. It doesn’t matter. Just don’t forget to give yourself credit.

Give yourself credit for anything and everything. Be grateful for what you’ve accomplished.

The Overload is Real

Until recent years, I never heard anything about people acknowledging being overwhelmed or overloaded, especially not in reference to emotions or sensory processing. I think the first time I heard of sensory overload was in reference to an autistic child. I know those who are autistic probably have a completely different level of sensory overload compared to those of us who are not autistic, but we all process sensory information differently and therefore it affects us differently. Sensory overload isn’t something that only affects our autistic population, it is something that can affect anybody.

Ever since first hearing about sensory overload, I opened my mind to learning more. I learned that not only can people be overloaded with sensory information, but we can also be overloaded from everyday emotions and environments. Some people never get overloaded and others easily do. Empaths are people who tend to be affected by sensory and emotion overload. For me, yes, my emotions absolutely get overloaded, but my sensory overload comes in the form of being overstimulated by entirely way too much going on around me for long periods of time.

I think it is important to point out that sensory and emotion overload does not outwardly look like what you see in movies or TV shows. While there may be some truth to what is conveyed, that is not typical for everybody. For instance, I do not have outbursts when I’m overloaded. I get stressed. My perfectionistic tendencies become more forefront to how I go about my tasks or activities. My need for being on time (read: no less than 10 minutes early) is exaggerated. I get short and snippy. I need shit put away in their damn places and why the hell is it still sitting on the f*ing counter after two days?! Then it might get to the point that I just break down crying. While this is my typical escalation path, each and every other person most likely has some other reaction to overload.

There is not one singular way for every single person to overcome sensory or emotion overload. The method that works for one will not work for others. The method that works this minute in this situation will potentially not work in the next moment in the next situation. For me, quiet time by myself helps. Sometimes all I can get it an extended trip to the bathroom or a longer than usual shower, but it is worth it. Most times, if I can take a couple of hours by myself, I recharge quite well. Driving by myself is extremely helpful, so I might volunteer to go to the store for something or go on a coffee run. When I hit my highest limits of overload, I need a few days to myself. To help with my day-to-day maintenance, I need one to two hours of quiet time in the morning by myself.

I have finally gotten to where I will take care of myself enough to request and even demand these situations so I can reduce and remove the overload from my life. I still battle with feeling guilty about it, especially when we have family over or when we are visiting family. This is something that I will be working on overcoming for quite some time. The point is that I finally do it for me and put myself first.

I didn’t go through therapy or any official diagnosis to get to this point. Some people need that assistance, some do not. I do not feel that my overload is to the point that I need medication for professional intervention. I learned tips and processes to overcome the overload the same way I learned that there was a perfectly normal explanation for these feelings I couldn’t explain: through research and personal growth. It has worked for me, but it might not be enough for you. Please, if you are unable to find relief through any process you try, seek out help from someone else, including a therapist. There is no reason any of us should suffer in silence. Being overloaded shouldn’t be an accepted normal living state. Find peace and methods to help you return to that peace. It is worth diving into the unknown and messy arena.

Just Do It

Remember that slogan that Nike uses? Yeah, I’m not talking about that today. Today I’m talking about just getting better or just being better or just stop caring about what others think. I’m talking about being told to just do it. I’m talking about the feeling of ‘why can’t I just flip a switch and be who I want to be’?

I’ve been told ‘just stop’ for many things be a few people. They think that it is easy to just flip a switch and stop worrying or stop having anxiety. They tell me to ‘just stop’ but they continue to criticize for the same things. We like to say it is because of them that we can’t move on.

Wrong.

It is our choice to listen to them and digest what they are telling us. It is our choice to shut them down when they go on another rant at us. It is our choice to stick up for ourselves. We simply have to just do it. It’s that simple.

Except it isn’t. Why? Why isn’t it that simple? Because there are a lot of emotions and feelings and subconscious thoughts that we have never controlled before. Hell, we’ve probably never even acknowledged any of the emotions or feelings. So no, we can’t just do it.

What about those of us who have been working on self-care and growth for months or years? Shouldn’t it be easy to just do it? I mean, some people think so. But it really isn’t that easy.

I am here to tell you that I go through ups and downs every single day, week, month. As I am writing this, I am getting ready to watch RiseX Live with a beautiful morning. I feel fucking fantastic and like all of my struggles are washed away. But then I realized, how the hell can I not maintain this feeling and confidence every single moment of every single day?

Because it isn’t that easy. It takes work and focus and intentionality. I look back and realize that anytime my subconscious and emotions take over, I am not focusing and I am not being intentional. You see, all that work I do, all that learning I’ve been doing, I have to keep doing it. I have to be diligent and consistent and intentional in bringing what I’m learning to how I live my every single day.

Growing and living the life that we really want isn’t about just doing it. It’s about the ups and the downs and the learning and the application. As Rachel Hollis says, “knowledge isn’t power, applied knowledge is power.”

So yes, just apply the knowledge. Apply it every single day. And when you take a step backward, that’s okay. Keep going. Don’t live in that backward space. Acknowledge it and journal on it to discover and unpack what is in that space.