If you’re going to focus on one thing, let it be observing yourself. Your reactions, your “flaws,” your behavior when no one’s looking and when everyone’s looking. What you’ve kept with you since childhood and what you’ve changed drastically. How you treat people you care about and how you treat complete strangers. Where you are, who you’re around and what you’re doing when your energy is thriving. Make note of the qualities you wish to change and those qualities you hope to continue to progress. Now it’s time to put understanding with those discoveries.
Something I’m currently focusing on bettering is my ability to communicate my intentions properly. Sometimes my mind is so scrambled, I end up saying something I don’t mean. My intentions might be pure but get lost in translation. I need to work on patience. Taking my time projecting my thoughts. Practicing listening first and speaking less. Another quality I continue to work on is adjusting my tone based on my mission and not my emotions. If someone I care about is bothering me, I want to respond in a way that reflects how I feel about them as a person, not in this moment. Maybe someone is having a difficult time understanding something I’ve explained. How can I explain in a more helpful way? Making sure my tone offers guidance instead of frustration. The golden rule comes in handy here, asking myself how I’d like to be responded to if I were the one with confusion. First, I discovered the issue. My words or my tone misrepresenting my intentions. But when I take time to understand why this happens, I provide the opportunity to fix it.
There is a reason introspection comes before action on my pages. Self-reflection is necessary to truly evaluate what steps should be taken to improve ourselves. Self-awareness is the most important quality a person can have when looking towards a transformation. I view my life as a never-ending transformation, considering my goal everyday is to become a better version of myself. Therefore, self-awareness is my most cherished quality. One I practice daily and strive to succeed in.
Sometimes the biggest challenge in making a change is believing that change is possible. The effort needed to make a change is manifested through visualizing what that change looks like. For example, when I first got off the medicine that was making me overweight, I lost almost 20 pounds through no change of diet or exercise. That glimpse of what my future could look like jumpstarted my healthy decision making. Seeing my own potential energized my drive to put in the work to accomplish those goals. It really is that simple. If I can see it, I can create it.
The person you want to be is already within you. Self-awareness is the key that powers the journey to becoming that person. Remember to be honest with yourself about your battles. The only person you’re fooling by masking your struggles is yourself. Anything you don’t like about yourself can be altered if you open your heart and commit to growth. Your flaws are only flaws if you give them the power to define you.
Who were you 5 years ago? Who are you right now? Who do you want to be tomorrow? Envision your character development and direct that story into your life. Your battles, your successes, your growth and your attitude are all part of your journey. All we can do is try to be the best version of ourselves and believe in our ability to make that happen.
I grew up in a small town outside of Boston. My style, my vibe and my identity, as most children, changed quite frequently. Most of my phases revolved around my obsession of that time. Elmo: Young, fun and vibrant. The OC: Chokers, heels, put together on the outside but not at all on the inside. Hockey: Sporty, chill, relaxed. While I don’t intend on settling with a permanent identity, I have found a more secure sense of myself.
It was my time living alone that accelerated these discoveries. My first apartment, no roommates, no supervisors, just an adult doing life on my own. No one to sway my choices. How loud I played my music, what I watched on TV, what I cooked or how I spent my time. The only thing guiding me was my intuition. My callings and my willingness to follow them.
I am coming up on my five year anniversary since moving to California. A calling that in ways pulled at me for over a decade, but came to fruition in one fell swoop. A move inspired by my passion to explore.
My adult phase is by far my most exciting. Adventurous, independent, confident. A fluid combination of beachy and woodsy. Free-spirited and wild, but simple and subtle. I am, for sure, a California girl.
I just got back to Boston for my first East Coast summer since I left and it feels strange. In some ways, I still feel like I belong. Life is familiar yet so dramatically different. This city carries so much meaning in my heart. The place where I turned my life around. Where I became something for myself and with myself. Who I am today, after five years living in Los Angeles, stems from who I was in Boston. I am still connected and with that I am reminded of the consistency in my matured identity.
While I believe humans evolve until the day we die, I am starting to understand a more stable idea of being. I have considered myself nomadic in this last phase of my life, but I am comforted by this feeling I have now. Home lives inside of me. Security is within my mind. No matter where I go or what new passions may shape my style, I am open-minded, grateful and free. I am me.
While ignorance may seem bliss at times, knowledge provides guidance to a more efficient lifestyle. With understanding comes ease. Just as a person might find it difficult to bake a cake without a recipe or put together furniture without instructions, we might struggle to maintain a healthy life without the proper tools and information to direct us.
Last week I was feeling great. High energy, high spirits, strength of mind. But the past few days I’ve been exhausted. Physically and emotionally weak. My diet hasn’t changed, and due to COVID and my responsibility to quarantine living in LA, neither have my activities. So what is the reasoning behind this fast decline? I believe it has a lot to do with my biorhythms.
There is a theory that as humans we have three different cycles, or biorhythms, that affect our daily lives. Physical, which is a 23-day cycle. Emotional, 28-days. And intellectual, 33-days. From birth we have been cycling through, going up and down on our abilities in these three categories. Our physical strength, emotional stability, and clarity thinking might not be as much in our control as we may have thought. However, if we can schedule more according to our cycles, we might give ourselves an easier time overall.
I get a feeling of relief when I am able to place responsibility for my lack of energy not on health problems, or even over working myself, but on inevitability. When my brain feels fogged for days on end, it probably is. The good news, I can release control. Work around what is. Give myself a break when I’m going through these weaker days and schedule appointments and activities on my stronger ones. Whether it is connecting with other people who have relating struggles or connecting with the universe, there is something to be said for justification. To have answers. To know what I’m going through is normal, and to know I’m not alone.
Another perk to knowing about our biorhythms is knowing we’re never stuck. There is an actual date in which we know we will gain back our physical strength, our emotional well-being and our thinking skills. Sometimes the hardest part of feeling down is forgetting what it’s like to feel differently. Getting lost in the darkness, unsure if there is an end to that tunnel. But now we know there is. We may just have to ride the waves. Not only is survival in our future, excellence is on its way. The idea of confirmed brighter days ahead is just about the strongest motivator to push me through.
I haven’t ever been fully invested in learning about horoscopes, but I wonder if biorhythms are incorporated in those “destinies.” I started comparing my biorhythms with those I get along best with. My best friend has high ability emotional days when I am on the opposite side of the spectrum. She is able to be there for me when I am down and vice versa. Another close friend has an almost identical physical cycle as I do. We are almost always on the same page about whether we want to go out and adventure or stay in and relax. Compatible energy is everything.
Below I have attached the site I use to calculate my biorhythms for a targeted date. So far, since discovering this theory, I have checked my charts twice. Once when my mother introduced the idea to me, curious if it had something to do with my high energy days. And again on the first days of exhaustion following. My chart was spot on.
Not only did discovering biorhythms bring comfort to my current state, but it reminded me of the most important lessons I live by: Let go of what is not in our control. We are never stuck in dark times. And, our company and who we choose to surround ourselves with reflect directly on our well-being. I am the type of person who appreciates an explanation to my suffering. While I don’t always get one, imagining possible reasoning can definitely bring about healing. If I use this information wisely, I can manage my lifestyle more efficiently.
I had an epiphany the other day. As kind as I think I am, I am 100% guilty of bullying. While I am confident kindness plants the seeds that blossom eternal beauty, I find myself sacrificing the opportunity. Forbidding myself from the kind of beauty that lasts, stored from positivity, stemmed through love. I pride myself on sharing kindness with as many souls as I can reach. So who am I bullying and why? I bully myself because I get away with it. Because somehow it doesn’t appear as cruel when the fight is internal. I am the victim to my own crime.
“That flab looks disgusting.” “You’d be prettier if you lost 10 lbs.” “Your arms are so ugly they make me sick to look at.” Imagine hearing someone say this. Cruelty in its rawest form. Picking on someone for the way they look, as if physical appearance ranked more valuable than love. I would defend myself and anyone else if I ever heard someone speak so horrendously. But I’m a fraud. I said those comments. And I said them to myself.
If I’m healthy and doing what I need to be doing to maintain a healthy mind and body, why am I unaccepting of that? Why does the number on the scale or the rolls around my bathing suit get to determine how good I feel? Even if I’m going through a period where I’ve been slacking in the health department, I deserve motivation to get back on track. Degrading myself will never encourage the kind of strength and self-love necessary to feel good. Why is it so easy to let my unkind self-talk slide when anyone else saying these things would be harassment?
I’m tired of worrying about my weight. Spending time and energy on fitness and clean eating to feel good only to spend more time beating myself up. I should be rewarding myself. Lifting myself up and reminding my heart what’s most important. I have a healthy body and I can have a healthy mind too, if I let it in.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I have a feeling if I had my idea of “the perfect body” I still wouldn’t be satisfied. All of our bodies are different. There is no evaluation to determine why one body would be more attractive than another. That would depend on who you ask, and where that person’s insecurities lie. The one thing I believe can be attractive to us all is confidence. I felt so much more beautiful when I was losing weight and proud of myself than when I was at my fittest and feeling like I needed more.
Our bodies are always changing, that’s inevitable. If I had “my perfect body,” every pound heavier would control my mood and who I am would be defined by insignificant, unhealthy obsessions. Is there even such thing as “my perfect body?” I’m sure if I got rid of the pieces of myself I wished away, I would find new pieces to attack. I think it’s more normal to be uncomfortable in our bodies and unbelievably special to fall in love with them.
Anyone who thinks it’s easy to love your body is wrong. But like any relationship, it takes work. Mutual respect, give and take, and lots and lots of love. Nurture your body. Vow to love it through thick and thin. The good times and the bad. Love its flaws. Forgive its past. Understand its worth.
I’ve learned an incredible amount during the process of my weight-loss journey. First and foremost, avocados are magic. There are so many healthy meals that are quick and easy to make. Neglecting my body and its needs will never leave me satisfied. Fasting could never give me the energy I need to accomplish the goals I strive for. If I’m hungry, I eat. I move, I work and I rest. It is not only a waste of time to feel guilty for enjoying a treat or giving my body a break, it is detrimental. Believe it or not, stress can create more unwanted body fat than eating poorly will. However, I also know that negative thoughts don’t leave with weight. Self-love takes a different kind of training. Beauty presents itself stronger when it comes from within.
My body is one-of-a-kind. My body is beautiful. My body deserves respect. It keeps my heart pumping and my lungs breathing. I owe my body my life, literally. I am grateful. I am bonded. If I love my body, my body will love me too.
Someone recently asked me, “How do you have so much to write about?” Weekly content of self-reflection comes easy when I’m searching. Everyday is filled with moments to be proud of, to learn from, to find deeper understanding in. Puzzle pieces of life to take away and find a place for. It’s what I enjoy. What brings me peace and connects me to my highest self. Writing encourages my spark, reminds me of my potential. How alive I can feel.
There is maturity in owning up to my ability to change things that can be changed. The work I put into my personal growth is something I am proud of. Each day I learn more and more about what it is I’m looking for out of life. Relationships, impacts I want to make, outcomes I hope to achieve. The more I know about myself, the better equipped I am to make decisions that fulfill an accomplished life.
I’m not one of those “doesn’t take life too seriously” kind of people. I’m deep. I like that I’m deep. I get a lot out of life being this way. I find meaning and I give meaning. However, lately I’ve been giving myself a break. Thinking less, flowing more. This balance is good for me.
While I do recommend every person try therapy as an outlet for whatever suits, I’m going through a phase where it brings more anxiety than solution. My blog requires me to soul search. Reach for answers, gather understanding, piece together a map that can guide me to an easier life. I take a lot of time out of my week to focus on what is therapeutic for me and apply it to my life. It seems when I had therapy marked on my calendar, it was cause for excessive reflection. Overthinking, paranoia, and honestly a headache of worrying about my own pain and suffering. What would be therapeutic to me, is to take time off from these concerns. To kick my feet up and relax. Focus my mind on anything but myself.
While I love how sharing my story makes a difference, I am brainstorming ways to give back that have nothing to do with me. Donating my time to a cause bigger than myself. Spending my energy for a day doing community service. Absent of personal worry. Not to teach myself a lesson or compare worse circumstances. Just simply to do good.
So, like everything else that’s good for me, I once again find balance to be my answer. Too much of anything can be unhealthy, even self-reflection. I vow to take time off. Give my mind a break. Understand that not everything I do or feel needs to be evaluated and let myself be. I take life seriously because I want to enjoy it fully. It’s time to give my mind a break, allow those moments of freedom and enjoy.
With Netflix’s Insatiable coming back with a season 2, my own “fat” memories and post-weight loss feelings have resurfaced. Not only can I relate to some of the consistent messages this show portrays, but I think the writing is incredibly realistic while remaining inspirational. A girl who struggles with weight and insecurity becomes skinny because of an accident that requires her jaw to be wired shut. She lost all the weight without doing any of the work and this topic is addressed over and over again throughout the show.
I’ve had people tell me I’m happy now because I’m skinny. It is one of the most ignorant misunderstandings I get. Just because I look thinner doesn’t mean I know how to be happy. It is the journey that comes from the work behind weight-loss that taught me how to transform not just my body, but my mind and my soul. Read more about this in my post, “The deep & rocky waters of loving yourself.”
The main character, Patty, battles with some issues I can’t exactly relate to. But, the general ideas on loving yourself from within, I stand by 110%. No matter what challenges we deal with in our personal lives, the solution begins with our perspective. Developing self-awareness and understanding our hurt enables the healing process. Defining the issues we hope to solve. Carrying an optimistic attitude. Believing in ourselves.
I am good, I am worthy, I am enough.
I deserve to be happy.
Seeing potential and then manifesting those dreams. This happy life full of self-love and accomplishment isn’t a figment of our imagination. It’s a goal, and with patience and determination, it can be our future.
There will always be something about the way I look that I can find to complain about. Sure, I lost weight. I still have extra skin on my thighs and stretch marks on my stomach. However, when I’m feeling good, distracted with positive thoughts and self-motivation, these complaints fade away. These nit-picky, unnecessary “problems” disappear. I actually become proud of my scars because I remember what they signify. My strength, my development, all I’ve achieved since I was the girl who didn’t even have a desire to live.
“Fatty Patty” skipped over the weight-loss journey. She used to dream about one day waking up skinny, as if all her problems would go away. But, when that day came, it was without any of her own efforts. She didn’t learn how much she’s capable of. She wasn’t able to see how strong she is. She never got the chance to believe in her own success. Each and every moment we have the opportunity to remind ourselves of these strengths. Every day is a new chance to listen to and love ourselves. Every dream and every goal we could possibly think of is made better once we learn how to love ourselves properly. There is no greater reward than understanding our own power to create a life that is fulfilling.
Is the stigma behind preferring a single, unattached lifestyle creating problems that may not exist? The term “commitment issues” tossed around as an answer to what may not be an issue at all. We all want different things. Isn’t it possible that fear is a misdiagnosis? What if I’m not scared, I’m just independent? What if my ideal lifestyle doesn’t look like you’d imagine?
My high school and college years I didn’t experiment much with dating. I was semi-promiscuous, interested in male attention and what comes with that, but never had boyfriends or even proper dates. I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin and I was still unsure of what could make me happy in my day to day life. I didn’t believe I was attractive or worthy of committing to. Heck, I didn’t even want to commit to myself!
Today, I’m still not quite sure what kind of relationship I expect for myself. Of course, I have needs for intimacy. Loneliness is definitely a factor in living a single life. But, I question what kind of relationship would bring me more joy than the one I have with myself. I am working through my wants and needs, imagining what my ideal relationship goals are and which boundaries or single perks I am willing to sacrifice to find a happy medium. I’m sure it’s possible to find someone with similar views when it comes to space, independence, loyalty, and other values I feel strongly about. Maybe I don’t see myself married with kids and a white picket fence. However, I could see the possibility of a shared home with individual space. My parents travel independently and even have their own spaces within their home to appreciate alone time. They provide an image of marriage that inspires me.
I wonder why being married isn’t an obvious goal to me when I was raised by what feels like the perfect couple. I’ve watched my parents lean on each other through hard times, find joy from each other’s company, make decisions together and grow together. They demonstrate an entirely positive experience, yet the idea of living with another person, or promising someone I want to be with them forever is something I struggle with.
How can I make a promise for forever when I can’t predict the future? Who I am today will be different than who I am in a year, and that is a goal to me. How can I be sure that the growth I am doing will continue to align with the growth of a partner? I want to put my best life first always and adapt and adjust as time moves forward. I also want that from someone I love unconditionally. How can I KNOW that means a relationship for the rest of our lives? Maybe I’m scared of being heartbroken or maybe I’m scared to break hearts. The promise to commit to someone, no matter what the circumstance, is a sacrifice to be made when being in a relationship is a priority. There is a difference between loving and caring for someone unconditionally and the work it takes to maintain a happy, healthy relationship. Relationship hurdles never end and can be extremely challenging to work through. Yes, I might find someone I communicate effortlessly with. We could form a team where our battles are fought together and working through marital struggles is a power we gain strength from. But are these battles necessary to my storyline? I believe my perspective of a relationship can be altered predominately by my preference. However handling roadblocks with a partner, instead of by myself, is inevitable.
Commitment issues are not what’s keeping me single. I simply haven’t found a romantic connection that makes me happier than life by myself. Someone I know I want with me on my journey, no matter what. Someone who adds to the life I’ve created instead of drains it from me. I haven’t met someone who makes me understand that sharing my life is worth the risk. Someone I trust committing to will bring me more joy, growth, and love than being alone. Until I find a relationship that appeals to me, I am more than happy living my life single. Why try to fix a situation that only feels “broken” because of “social norms?” I trust my process. I trust with an open mind and continual self-development and personal growth, no “issues” exist that can stop me from living my best life.
They say grief changes you. We are who we are because of our losses, as well as our accomplishments. I recently watched a movie where the main character had the opportunity to remain in an alternate universe, one where her deceased mother was alive and well. Having survived one too many losses, including my own brother, I wonder what that would mean for me.
I do unfortunately have the unsettling, impractical thoughts about what I’d do if it meant having Jeffrey back. If given the opportunity to sacrifice thing A to have my brother again, would I? Of course the situation is out of my control and these thoughts bring unnecessary stress. However, these thoughts, with careful depth, have the ability to unleash new forms of self-love. To recognize who I’ve become since this unexpected tragedy. What I’ve gained alongside this tremendous loss. I want to understand and give credit for the way I’ve overcome this particular hardship. Seek out the specific growth, as well as the already present qualities that could shine a glimmer of light onto this darkness. It seems impossible to live in a pitch black world. I’m thankful I have the power to seep what light I can onto situations that could blind me.
I wonder how it would change the person I am today if I could simply erase this loss. Would I still hold the accomplishments I’ve made in the past 21 months? Would other lives be affected if I didn’t have this experience to inspire through? I was already on this path to self-discovery and healing. My blog was already up and running. What strength did I acquire from this particular grief and how have I adapted from it? Am I more realistic about things not working out the way I always hope? I don’t feel strong by “surviving.” I used to survive, now I live. I don’t feel like my life is over because Jeffrey died. Lets be honest, life is shit and living is the hardest thing any of us can do. Finding ways to continue living while I still have so much life left is way more important than merely surviving. Maybe I’m stronger knowing I can live through tragedy.
My experiences not only shape the person I am becoming, but they provide meaning to the purpose in my life. They expand my ability to reach and relate to others. My story may not be simple or enjoyable at all turns. I may leave behind nasty falls, or hard to swallow memories in the rear view. However, with eyes looking forward, I find reward through the front windshield. To live a life where my brother is still alive, is to rewrite my future based on my past. Nothing is worth losing Jeffrey but he’s gone now and I’m not going to lose myself too. No situation has the power to reset my agenda prioritizing my past over my future. It would be a disservice to all I have gone through, as well as a disservice to Jeffrey, if I let this pain take away my ability to live. I have too much life left and it’s important to me not to feel like the best is gone. I haven’t had enough experiences to feel as though it can’t get better than life when Jeffrey was here. I don’t believe that I can’t still have highs that will feel like the best day’s of my life.
I choose to find meaning from my past by understanding its effects on my character. Applying my newfound strengths to provide myself a brighter future. No matter what I go through, my life can always be brightened by discovering new potential. My brother was part of my life for 24 years. For many of us, siblings are the relationships we have for life. Navigating the world from the same upbringing. Similar traditions, relatable lessons instilled. Someone to have your back, to be by your side during the happiest of times, and the worst. I’ve done so much since we lost him. I’ve travelled, built my blog, sold my photography, got my dog. I’ve met so many new people, some I choose to see again, and others who simply taught me lessons. I’ve been busy with what on the surface felt like distraction, but I ask myself what else could be behind these steps towards my future. How am I different from before he was here?
I lost my world the day my brother died. I was forced to enter my alternate universe, with no way out. Maybe my changes have just been accelerated. I was always this person, some things just snapped into perspective earlier. Who I am today is a more empathetic, loyal daughter. A more observant human. I’m a committed, grateful dog mom. I feel obligated to make positive changes in my life as soon as they prove worthy to my well being. I go the extra mile to check on my “strong friends.” I’m more in touch with my emotions. Gentler with myself. Patient in guiding relevant sadness through it’s necessary stages and preventing misguided worry to bring me down. Loss doesn’t change me as much as it proves my abilities. I am incredibly proud of the woman I am today. Just as you don’t truly know the type of mother you’d be until you have a child or the type of wife you’d be until you find a husband, the qualities we carry may be hidden until they are directly drawn from. I feel strength believing these qualities have always been a part of me. I feel hopeful understanding there are even more prideful qualities to be discovered. We may never be fully prepared for what life brings us, but we have it in ourselves to fight, to love more, and to live fuller. I look forward to uncovering more about the person I am becoming as I experience all that’s to come.
Many people are familiar by now with The Five Love Languages as defined by Gary Chapman. I recently took the online quiz to discover mine. I expect it’s very possible this order will adjust as I open myself to new relationships and experiences.
I was sitting next to a friend while she took her "love language" quiz and I remember her saying out loud, “who would choose a text over a hug?” It’s interesting how obvious these questions seem to us while holding completely opposite reasoning. It’s like when I wake up the morning of a big trip and compare it to what Christmas morning must feel like for those who celebrate. My equivalent to feeling feels from a hug is an “I’m thinking of you” text. To me, a hug doesn’t feel as personal.
I assumed physical touch would rank last for me. One of the many benefits to me getting a dog was to cuddle up. I needed to unleash, no pun intended, the softer, more emotionally connected side of me. I have trouble trusting people. Trouble believing my intentions are reciprocated. I struggle to believe people’s feelings for me are what they claim. What promise does a hug hold? How does someone show they care through touch? It seems so surface level to me. Anyone can give a hug. I hug strangers as a way of saying “nice to meet you.” A text is a step out of the way. A message that shows you’re in this person’s thoughts. They choose to reach out to you, not with their arms but with their heart. I understand we all work differently. I suppose connection for me comes from comforting my mind.
I wonder what the reasons may be for the lack of connection I feel through physical touch. I come from an extremely loving home. Through those dark years of depressed days and nights, my dad would lie next to me as I cried myself to sleep many, many times. I can remember him rubbing my back and always being there when I needed him. I craved his company more than anything. A promise my parents held, no matter what the circumstance, was if I needed a hug they would give me one. Whether it be after a nasty fight or I disobeyed rules, it didn’t matter, they would always be there for a hug. As much as hugs and warmth through physical touch were present in my home, I think we all felt more effective through words.
Another huge part of why I’m more closed off by physical touch is the fact that I wasn’t always as comfortable in my skin. For most of my life I was overweight. I was self-conscious when people looked at me, let alone touched me. I didn’t want others to discover every roll or lump that I tried tirelessly to keep private. “Will their arms even reach around me” and “does my skin feel like a fat person’s skin” were common thoughts of mine when experiencing these interactions. I didn’t love myself in a way where I even wanted to be in my own skin, why should I expect anyone else to want to touch it? As I shed the weight and gained confidence and a more fit physique, I didn’t all of a sudden become touchy. Self-love doesn’t go hand in hand with weight loss. However, the weight loss journey and practice reworking my thoughts can lead to a better understanding of how to love myself. Refer to my post, I Used To Be The Fat Girl. It makes sense to me why the other 4 categories rank first.
Quality time ranking first was surprising to me. I learned appreciation of alone time doesn’t necessarily affect the importance of undistracted time with the people I love. Feeling heard and special by those I care about is number one when it comes down to it. Being a good friend, daughter, cousin, etc. is a characteristic most important to me and to be seen as so is understandably just as important. I am able to grow more as an individual when I spend quality time with people I respect. A chance to practice listening as well as self-love. Time to feel valued as well as the opportunity to lift someone’s spirits.
It also makes sense actions that prove someone’s care mean a lot more to me than words. I’ve been led down the wrong path one too many times to believe in words as evidence. Although my instinct is to not want someone to go out of their way for me, it feels good knowing someone offers. Feeling wanted, recognized, important. I have to remind myself of the times I go out of my way for the ones I care about. It doesn’t feel like an inconvenience when it’s helping someone who means a lot to me. My mom likes to remind me that one of my best qualities is my ability to be a stand-up friend. With this ability, expecting the same from others may lead to disappointment. Although I try not to create hopes of what the people in my life may do to show me they care, any attempt fills my heart with gratitude. Like they say, it’s the thought that counts.
As I sat at the dog park writing this piece, I got a notification that a package was delivered to my apartment. I took a pause on writing, writing about receiving thoughtful “gifts” or “acts” that really show someone cares. The package turned out to be just that. While “receiving gifts” doesn’t have to mean literal gifts, in this case it was. My friend who visited me in LA a couple weeks ago, all the way from Boston, managed to make ME a thank you basket. A collection of things that TRULY show she listens to me, she appreciates me and she’s thinking of me. A completely personalized book titled “A Whole Book Of Things I Want Lindsay To Know When Everything Feels Terrible.” Each blank filled in specifically about our trip and the things we talked about. A fanny pack, with unicorns, because I had mentioned I was searching for one to walk my dog with. As well as a present for my dog’s first birthday, which is coming up in a couple weeks. Not to forget the thank you note I already received from her last week that may or may not have brought me to tears.
I’m a talker. I talk fast and I talk a lot. I’m easily carried away with my passions and calm and quiet aren’t my most frequent displays. Something extremely special to me is when someone is able to show me they were truly listening to me. Not an easy task and credit is always acknowledged. I respect when someone’s display of thoughtfulness shows attention to detail. For example, this book my friend customized as a token of appreciation. It was what was written inside of this book that meant the world to me.
Friendships like ours don’t come around often. Unfortunately, not everyone even gets to experience one like it in their lifetime. The full ability to be vulnerable, while trusting this person loves you for exactly who you are, is a comfort I try to explain further in my post, Treasure Friends.
Thoughtfulness goes hand and hand with selflessness. The ability to tune into someone else’s needs, show empathy and comfort, is one I make sure never to take for granted. It’s no wonder selfish people make my blood boil.
Sometimes it can feel like a let down when people don’t express love in the ways that mean the most to me. However, I am in charge of opening my heart to the idea that we all express and long for love in different ways. I need to allow for the fact that we don’t all have the same order.
The idea that a quiz can establish guidelines on how I want to be loved is a weird concept to wrap my head around. However, it seems obvious when I think about it. Basic understanding of what I like the most. I’d like to recognize my appreciation for quality time more than I allow my independent mind to accept. Discussions about love language are a great way to share with partners our needs and desires. It is also an important step to loving ourselves the way we deserve. Make sure you’re receiving what you need from those you hold close to your heart. Be open to the idea that your love language can be very different than your loved one’s. Encourage honest conversations and ask for what you need. Remember to also pay attention to what someone might need from you. Love language is a simple way to breakdown how we work. Supporting the results and tending to our priorities is how we can find gratitude through love.
I’ve come so close to writing this piece. My thoughts on heartbreak, what I’ve learned and am hoping to learn moving forward. Admitting my weaknesses, my failure to recognize and protect my worth.
How could I be so slow to fall in love yet trust the wrong person with my heart? Am I not smart enough to leave when red flags are slapping me in the face? I tell myself I did it for him. I was the one who had to stay strong, to fight for us. I was older, more mature. One day it would be worth it. I had unwavering doubt in him and because of that, we get to live our happily ever after. It’s not true. I doubted us every step of the way, I just ignored it. I chose to trust my heart over my mind. My heart was telling me to love him, my mind was telling me to leave him. As if my mind isn’t the part of me that is growing, learning, adapting to everything my heart goes through. As if my mind isn’t strong enough to make decisions for me. As if my heart isn’t breakable.
I held the universe accountable for my destiny. Relied on this idea that we were connected spiritually. That no matter what he or I did, whatever came our way, our stories were always going to remain connected. I lost confidence in my ability to write my own narrative and handed my cards to the universe as if I had no control over my fate. I fell back on horoscopes, signs, “twin flame” theories I wasn’t even sure I believed in, because it gave me an excuse to keep going back to him.
He was an addiction. Temporary satisfaction that strung along powerful disappointment. A way of filling this void of unreciprocated love. It was my first time being in love and I wasn’t receiving it back the way I imagined. Eventually, I found the truth. Just because I loved him, it never required him to love me back in the same way. He may not have been lying or manipulating when he did share his love for me, I just needed to understand what love meant to him. Acknowledge that the person telling me they love me might have a different definition of what “love” is. Our understanding of love, while maybe aligned for periods of our relationship, grew apart. As I experienced this kind of love for the first time, I was able to form my own definition, based on evidence, hopes, desires, fears.
Before this personal attachment to the feeling, love to me was just who you choose to spend your life with. Now, I realize just how much more love stands for. Love is the intangible string connecting your heart to another. The longing to spark a never-ending glow within their soul. The relentless ability to forgive. The added heartbeat to your dreams. The possibility of him loving me the way I loved him was what I was holding on to. I didn’t want a boyfriend before I met him so I told myself I wasn’t putting my life on hold to wait for him. I told myself I knew his potential and no time is too long to wait for the man I imagined he’d be. I should have trusted my gut. Spent time observing the tightness that surrounded my warmed heart. I shouldn’t have excused his inconsistency and inability to stay true to me.
My heart still warms when I think of him, but now it doesn’t feel so tight. He finally feels like a memory. A reminder of my capability. If I could love someone that much who didn’t love me in return, imagine how much I can love someone who does. He was my stepping stone into learning what love means to me. Learning what kind of person I would want to grow unconditionally in love with. Understanding my boundaries, and how to look out for love being offered instead of confused. We may not be able to control who we love, but we can certainly pick and choose who gets to hold our heart. I won’t stop sharing my heart, but I will allow my mind to tend more frequently to its tears. Our minds and our hearts are a team, and they are one hell of a duo you’ll be damned if you ignore.