life curation

Reblog: Rooting 101 – The Importance of Investing in Self

Hello everyone! If you all recall, I mentioned last year that I would start reposting blog entries from my now defunct blog. Here is a post I wrote about investing in self and becoming the “whole” package. I thought it would be relevant at this time, with so much emphasis on leveling up and lifestyle enhancement. Enjoy!

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I wanted to write about investing in yourself, because I’ve noticed that many women fail to do this. These are bright, beautiful women that may be a perfect package in one area of their lives, but the rest is in shambles. Here are a few famous examples:

-Halle Berry is a physically gorgeous woman that bears the emotional scars from paternal abandonment and abusive relationships.

-Paris Hilton has money and is attractive but has a history of poor social interactions with other women and a string of failed relationships.

-Rosie O’Donnell is funny and famous, but has publicly struggled with obesity for years. (Recently, she has been successful in her weight battles- kudos to her!)

-Countless singers (including three of my favorites, Billie Holiday, Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse) had wonderful voices but suffered from drug and alcohol addictions that eventually cost them their lives.

-Countless actresses (including two of my favorites, Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe) were immensely talented but suffered from drug and alcohol addictions, as well as mental health issues.

Each of the women I listed above have/had golden lives: money, fame, beauty, access to the best of everything. Even with all of those perks, they still had messy lives in one or more areas. This is not a bash session: I sympathize with anyone struggling with life-limiting circumstances. But I want it to be clear, NO amount of “stuff” can make up for deficient interior lives. NO amount of stuff can cover over the insufficient coping skills that result from neglecting to invest in self.

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I’ve seen that the only difference between the girl that gets everything she wants and the girl that seems to always come up short is the amount of personal investment. There are a lot of women that are completely average in many ways, but they still live their lives in a way that makes them happy. However, I’ve also seen women that are above average, even extraordinary, in different ways, yet they are always unfulfilled and disgruntled about their lots in life. Many “average” women are proof positive that self investment, along with a positive outlook, WORKS.

I can’t take credit for all of the tips I’ve listed below. I have one friend that has employed most of these tips in order to create her dream life. She is well on her way to accomplishing all of her goals because of the time she has invested in herself. Most of these tips are things that she has recommended to others, especially since some people want to know her “secret”! Then, those same people seem discouraged when she tells them the truth and they realize that it isn’t a “secret” but hard work and self investment LOL! They seem disappointed that they can’t take a “shortcut” to happiness and fulfillment. Oh well: anything worth having is worth working for, right?

Get Therapy

This is a biggie. Too many women refuse to properly address what’s going on with them. There is a stigma associated with getting therapy: some people still believe that only “crazy” people need therapy. I’m convinced that the people promulgating this stigma need therapy more than most LOL! Therapy is a way to get an objective view of your circumstances, habits, and belief system. This is critical, especially when making life changing decisions.

Getting therapy is now easier and more discreet than ever. There are therapists online that accept clients from anywhere. Some people may benefit from having a face-to-face therapist, and that is fine. It’s just a matter of knowing what works and doing whatever is comfortable. If a person just needs to “talk”, there are websites that offer FREE active listeners. Options are available regardless of monetary and time constraints.

Speaking of comfort, therapists are just like any other medical professionals: people should only work with those professionals that make them feel comfortable. While the subject of conversation may be uncomfortable, the therapist should never be callous or cold.

Spend Time on Uplifting/Inspiring Things

How many times do people spend time on activities that make them feel bad? From church sermons that don’t nourish the soul, to family gatherings that leave one’s blood pressure high and spirits low, many people regularly engage in an assortment of discouraging activities. Most of this depressing activities are actually habits that have gone unquestioned and unchecked. It’s time to embrace uplifting and inspiring things only!

Part of spending time on uplifting things includes being far more discriminating about exposure. Limit (or stop spending) time with dysfunctional family members. Stop supporting churches that don’t leave you feeling closer to God. End your newspaper subscription (I’m serious: if the news is too depressing, limited contact is advised. If you *really* need to know something, someone will tell you; if the person that shares dismal news does so too often, cut that person off, too). Read the books that you want to read. Listen to music that excites your ears and heart. Learn what you enjoy and spend time doing those things.

Designate no less than 30 minutes a day to engage in self care

Self care goes beyond manicures, pedicures, and massages (though these are great self care options!) The concept of self care involves engaging in anything that takes care of some aspect of self. It could involve pouring a glass of expensive wine and dancing without abandon. Or, self care could be the “spa day” from heaven. It could be as simple as taking a nap or as complex as attending a retreat halfway around the world. No matter how self care is defined, at least 30 minutes per day should be dedicated to it. That’s just enough time to do something notable and enjoyable.

Those 30 minutes do not include the basic maintenance one engages in regularly (shower, tooth brushing, getting dressed). However, an extra long bath, that relaxes the nerves and soothes the soul, a thorough dental cleaning that makes one’s smile extra bright and clean, or spending some time playing “dress up” and feeding one’s inner child can be considered a form of self care.

Embrace a clean diet

It is possible to invest in self while eating junk food around the clock. But, those investments will be limited, because in order to enjoy them fully, good health (the result of healthy foods and exercise) is needed. This also connects to the concept of  “self care”: the best way to take care of self is to give the body what it needs to function at its maximum potential. “Clean diets” are a fad at the moment, but good, healthy eating habits never go out of style. As far as I can see, any eating regimen that consistently features nutritious food options and consistently eliminates junk or unhealthy foods with low nutritional value is a “clean diet”.

I’ve read and personally know of some people (including myself) that felt a massive energy surge after eliminating certain foods. Generally, food now is different from how it used to be (unless 100% organic or home-raised food items are consumed). So foods that used to be okay or “safe” may no longer be good for the body. Research, experiment, and stay consistent when things work: these are the keys to designing a clean diet that stands the test of time.

Start journaling

An important starting point for self-investment is self analysis. Understanding where a deficit may lie is the first step in fixing it. One of my dearest friends began her transformative journey by writing regularly in a journal, then looking back over her entries and learning what needed to be changed. Keeping a journal-even for a short period of time- can expose lots of inconsistent and damaging behavior and thought patterns.

Try keeping a journal for 30 days. Write in it every single day, and vow to cover at least a full page or two. Writing out frustrations can be extremely cathartic, and preserving happy moments in words can create a wonderful record to read and recreate those feelings. If it works well, then the journal can become a regular habit. Or, journal during unhappy times or exciting times. This can help with giving one a healthy channel to release unpleasant emotions or serve as a medium for capturing happy emotions to be remembered in the future.

Do a social media fast

When I hear of people that are news- and information-weary, I immediately think of how much social media these individuals use. Information overload is exhausting, and social media is rife with both unsettling and useless “news”. Not only does social media wear on the soul, but it is an immense time suck. Consider the concept mentioned in the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell (I’m sure I first learned of this book from a BWE blog, just can’t remember which one). It mentions the 10,000 hours to mastery rule. How many of those potential mastery hours are squandered on social media? Unless the goal is to master social media, those hours are wasted and cannot be recaptured. The best solution is to take a break from social media.

The harder it is to disconnect from social media, the more likely that the temporary break is needed. Social media addiction is real! Even fasting in small doses that increase over time (a few hours, then a day, then a few days, then weeks) will work. The best way to make a social media fast more tolerable is to plan something else during the time that the fast will occur. Perhaps some therapy, self care, preparing a clean meal, or journaling should be done during the social media fast. Or, plan to work on that 10,000 hour goal during the social media fast.

In conclusion, I believe that the self-investment is truly the key to a balanced, happy, fulfilled life. Understanding one’s value, and preserving it, is critical to living well. Employing some of the tips above (or any other tips you may have found effective ) should result in a higher quality of life.

writing

Writers Wednesdays – Choosing a Topic

Hi everyone! Last week, I mentioned that I had something special coming . . . And here it is!

I’m doing a writing challenge (so far, I’m the only participant!) for the next few months. Since one of my New Year goals is to publish 5 books in this year, I knew that I’d need to make writing a more permanent part of my routine. Going forward, each Wednesday will be Writers Wednesday, where I will discuss a different topic related to the book that I’m working on at that time.

This week, I’m discussing the importance of choosing a topic- or, rather, letting a topic choose YOU. It’s funny: whenever I decide to write a book, I am careful to allow inspiration to take me to the topic that I should develop. Whenever I try to overstep inspiration and “force” a book idea, I end up giving up before I can finish. I need the initial fire of inspiration to help me identify topics that will hold my interest from start to finish.

If you find it hard to finish a book that you’re writing, it may be helpful to examine whether the topic truly interests you and feels inspired, or if it’s a topic that you chose because it seemed logical (for instance, writing a book about cooking because you’re a chef). Sometimes, “logical” topics are uninspired and end up taking a lot longer to complete than topics that somehow “find you”: these subjects aren’t necessarily your current area of expertise, but you still feel compelled to write about them. When you rely on your emotions moreso than your reasoning mind, you’re probably operating from inspiration.

Now, don’t get me wrong: it’s possible to choose a book topic using logic and feel inspired while writing it. But if you find that you’re losing interest before you can complete your manuscript, you’re probably “forcing” your writing, which takes the joy out of the process. Learn to listen to inspiration so that you can enjoy your writing as you complete your book.

I selected my topic for my current book, and I will start writing today. I’m excited to see where this process leads me! I’ll give you all more details next week, but until then, take care.

life curation

Feeling Uninspired?

During this time, I’ve seen a myriad of articles (heck, I’ve even written a few posts!) that assume that being in quarantine automatically means that we have both time and inspiration to finally go after the things that light us up. It’s assumed that (prior to COVID-19) the only thing that was missing from our big dreams was the time to pursue them. And, for some of us, that is true.

However, there is a far more insidious culprit that many of us face when it comes to pursuing our dreams. There is a not-so-small group of us that have lots of time due to being quarantined but almost ZERO inspiration. Oh sure, we see something cool and inspiring online, or we get fired up when we listen to our favorite podcasts. But, when it comes to actually implementing our OWN ideas, we find ourselves feeling stuck and not particularly interested in walking that path just yet.

Some of us aren’t feeling very inspired at all.

I have a couple of theories on why that is, and I’ll share those in a moment. But first, let me state that even though I’m currently working on a side project that I adore, I did not feel inspired when quarantines were first implemented. I was still dealing with managing my fibro symptoms (which were intense at the time) and trying to find a compromise between my need to earn a living and my physical limitations. To say that I was uninspired would be an understatement.

But, something changed. My grandmother and her sister began staying with me, so that I could care for them while the world dealt with coronavirus. I found myself hearing stories that I’d heard before, but I was hearing them as an adult, and gleaning new lessons from them. In the midst of these conversations, I found my new inspiration. The unexpected effect has to be the single most motivating thing that has occurred in the past few years.

Now, back to why many of us aren’t motivated. Most of us are TIRED! Think of the intense schedules that most of us had pre-COVID; we needed some time to decompress and finally BREATHE after living hectic lifestyles. At this point, the only thing that can lead us to inspiration is giving ourselves room to rest and just take care of ourselves. If you are taking care of yourself, you are already doing enough. Give yourself credit and don’t worry about “inspiration”: inspiration comes in when you have room for it. It’s difficult to make room when your basic biological needs (like rest) haven’t been properly met for an extended period of time.

Exhaustion can impact our ability to create and be inspired

Another reason why many of us aren’t motivated and inspired is due to the fact that we feel anxious about the current state of the world as well as our personal well-being. This goes back to biological needs (think Maslow’s hierarchy of needs pyramid): security is a basic need. If we don’t feel secure, it can be challenging to ascend to those higher levels of the hierarchal pyramid (which is the space where inspiration usually resides).

Yes, it is possible to be inspired by feelings of insecurity and exhaustion. There have been many products developed out of these emotions, and those products have been wildly successful. But it’s important to note that inspiration – the spark that makes you want to get up and do something incredible every day – doesn’t play well in spaces of insecurity, exhaustion, anger or depression. Not to mention, these emotions tend to deplete your energy, while inspiration tends to fuel it. Basically, the energy of inspiration runs counter to the “lower” feelings that you may experience. I’ve found that I’m more inspired when I’m feeling calm, healthy, and secure. However, that’s been my personal experience: if you’ve experienced something different, then completely disregard when I’ve stated and continue doing what works for you.

So, if you haven’t feel feeling inspired, give yourself a break and a little grace. We’re all doing the best we can. Eventually, our world will return back to the hectic, exhausting place that it was before (albeit with additional safety precautions) and we may not have another opportunity to truly GO SLOWER and take time to appreciate what really matters. So enjoy this time and continue doing your best: that’s inspiring enough.