Journaling Through An Argument.

It sounds odd but hear me out.

Historically, during frustrating arguments or heated disagreements I’ve done one or all of the following:

  1. Clam up. Much like a roly poly, if poked in the right way at the right time, I’ll turn inward, clam up and zip up. My brain sort of just shuts down. Not good.
  2. Gotten defensive & word-vomity. I snap into defensive mode and without thinking, start doling out comments that I may not even mean. As the words fly out of my mouth, I’ll think “where is THIS coming from?!” or “I don’t think that’s even true!” I get overwhelmed and kinda go haywire. Not good.
  3. Taken forever to bounce back. After arguments or heated exchanges, it can take a loooong time for me to process everything, want to open up again, and/or apologize. Also… not good!

I’ve made it a personal goal this last year to improve myself in this area. I’m an intelligent woman and I should be able to clearly [and calmly] state how I feel & what I think during a disagreement. I don’t want to stay silent and I do not want to say things I don’t really mean. Finally, I want to be able to open up to the other person afterward with a clear head and understanding.

Photo by Jan Kahánek

So, as is my answer to almost everything, I’ve started journaling through it all.

No, I don’t pick up my journal in the middle of an argument. I pick it up after the other party and I go to our separate corners.

My aim with this is to teach myself how to think clearly and thoroughly while feeling angry or frustrated. Also, I always strive to examine things from all sides, so asking myself the following questions allows me to do that more easily.

  • What is it that’s making you angry/frustrated at this very moment?
  • What point were you trying to make before?
  • Do you truly believe in what you were fighting for? WHY do you believe it?
  • Do you have any idea why [the other person] feels the way they feel about this? Can you think of reasons they believe what they believe?
  • Pretend you are the other person. What do you think about the way that YOU are behaving? What do you think about the things that you are saying?
  • Do you feel frustrated that their view is different than yours? Why? Is there room for both?
  • Does your anger stem from something deeper, or is it JUST about this? What else could this possibly be about?
  • How is all of this making you feel physically? Are you tensing up in any areas?
  • Do you truly feel that any of this worth getting heated over?

After I’ve answered some or all of those questions, I feel a bit calmer and my mind feels less chaotic. I have a better understanding of what it is I’m fighting for and why my emotions are so attached to it. Lastly, and sometimes most importantly, I have given myself space to see and hopefully understand the other person’s perspective.

My ultimate goal is to get to a point where I can automatically ask myself these questions internally while I’m engaged with someone. For now, this practice is teaching me a lot.

=)

Talk to somebody!!!

(Advice I need to get better at following.)

My wedding is next month. We’re planning it and paying for everything ourselves, and so there’s been lots of logistical crap to figure out and a bunch of loose ends to tie up. The stress of it all PLUS normal stressors like work and life in general caught up to me [seemingly] out of nowhere. It hit me hard, friends. It hit me hard.

On top of all of the “to-dos” and general anxieties, I also had feelings of guilt. I’d been feeling like I’ve been an inattentive daughter/friend/sis/partner because my focus has been on this one big thing. My solution, of course, was to write all of this down. This practice usually suits me fine, but it just didn’t cut it. I did not feel better. I just felt alone and chaotic.

Photo by Blake Cheek

So, one day last week, I reached a sort-of boiling point and decided to call my mom. I cried into the phone and expressed everything to her. She calmly and lovingly told me that I needed to stop feeling guilty and that the people I love understand what I’ve got on my plate at this moment in time. She told me that what I felt was perfectly normal, temporary, and that I needed to stop being so hard on myself. At the end, she even added that from her point of view, I’ve been dealing extremely well with all of this wedding-related stress. (Bless her heart.)

A journal or list can’t say that kind of stuff to me. They can’t give me that type of attention and comfort. They can’t give me that additional point of view so clearly. I needed to hear all those things from someone I trust.

I’m not sure why, time and time again, I let myself forget how important it is to share what I’m feeling with others. I’m better at it than I used to be, but it’s still a work-in-progress situation. Perhaps writing this post and having it floating out in the ether will help me to remember.

=)

BATTLING A CRUDDY THOUGHT.

I had a big written list of limiting thoughts that were preventing me from starting this blog. I worked through it, reflecting on everything, and eventually got to a place where I’d confidently crossed off all but ONE

EVENTUALLY, I WILL RUN OUT OF INTERESTING THINGS TO WRITE ABOUT!

Photo by Brandi Redd

This thought burrowed into my mind and set up freaking camp. It felt like a bad commercial jingle that got stuck in my head, just looping and looping (I’ve heard this phenomenon referred to as an “ear worm,” which is the perfect name for it). No matter what I did, no matter how many ideas for posts I came up with, I couldn’t shake it.

My head was really being messed with.

I decided that the best thing for me to do would be to stop thinking about blogging and writing for a while. During that time, if a blog post idea popped into my head, I’d bat it away. That seems counter productive, but I wanted to make sure that I got enough distance from it all so that I could break the obnoxious loop.

RESUME BLOG WORK” day rolled around (because yes, I had made an official entry in my calendar). I sat with my journal and thought about the 2 weeks that had passed. I thought about the conversations I had, the things I’d learned, the movies I watched, the walks I took with my boyfriend, and so on and so forth.

A warm and fuzzy realization suddenly settled into my being. It wasn’t so much one specific thought, but a group of thoughts all coming to the same [warm, fuzzy] conclusion. I wrote them down as they surfaced. 

  • Infinite.
  • There’s an enormous number of things for me to experience.
  • My mind/awareness is a deep well that grows deeper every day as I experience and learn more.
  • I once read that your creativity is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets.
  • I encompass too much. I can’t run out of things to write about.
Photo by Harli Marten

I knew all I needed to know. There are SOOO MANY things to write about and more importantly, SOOO MANY ways to write about those things.

I was relieved. I’d kicked that sucker to the curb.

Sometimes, a thought is just a thought. It enters the mind for NO specific reason, and may have absolutely nothing to do with what you know to be true. I think in this case, it was like my mind’s last ditch effort to keep me from doing something new. Whatever the reason was, I didn’t have to listen.

I will be honest, sometimes it feels as though that thought is still kinda hanging out in the periphery of my mind, waiting to strike when I find myself in a low moment… but now I know how to smash it.

=)

6 Pleasant Things

I think it’s important to have clarity on what makes you feel good, no matter how small. Not only does it make you more grateful for those things, but it makes it easier to create opportunities to experience/do/have them more.

(1) First cup of coffee in the morning – Having mine as I write this and that is why it’s first on the list. I love the word coffee, I love making it, I love watching the half & half swirl around in my cup and create the dark camel color I aim for, I love the smell of it brewing. I even love audibly saying to myself “time for some coffee!” before I make it… and that sounds cheesy, but I do it because I find it allows me to truly appreciate the goodness that’s about to occur. Then there are those first few sips. PURE [CAFFEINATED] JOY.

(2) Having a deep, meaningful conversation with someone – When I speak with someone, whether they’re a loved one or a new acquaintance, and we’re connecting on every level and they’re giving me so much to think about… that just gets me so buzzed. I love it. I crave it. [Sidenote: I hate small talk. Let’s talk about your work problems or something instead.]

Photo by Clay Banks

(3) Sitting down after I’ve cleaned – The hours of work have been put in, there is no dust anywhere, the air is clear and it smells nice [because most likely, I will have just lit a candle], and everything is exactly where it should be. Sitting down in that sparkling clean environment and admiring my work… if only I could properly convey the feeling of contentment this brings me.

(4) Realizing that I’ve improved or changed in some small way – It often takes time to realize how far I’ve come or the way in which I’ve changed. I absolutely love that moment when it occurs to me and a warm feeling of pride kind of spreads out inside my chest (that’s how it feels – is that weird?). I set out to improve myself or change in some way, and I’ve done just that. It’s wonderful.

(5) Making lists – (…as I make a list.) Getting to-dos or thoughts or feelings down onto paper is so gratifying and it genuinely makes me feel good. Additionally, it is just frigging helpful. [It’s kind of my solution to everything. If someone comes to me talking about how they feel overwhelmed or scared or can’t decide on something, I almost always ask if they’ve made a list.]

(6) My head FINALLY hitting the pillow – It’s been a day, my eyes are closing on their own, and my body is slowly shutting down. The moment my head finally makes contact with that soft, splendid pillow… oh man. I ALWAYS make it a point to take a split second and be thankful for it when it happens.

=)

Falling off-track!

Just some thoughts.

Before July 4th, I felt on and present and motivated. Then, the holiday and beachy time away that followed created a [fun] disruption in my routine, as did my [awesome] bridal shower this past weekend.

I like to reflect on instances like this because maybe then I can prevent Future Me from falling off-track again. So, the question is…. why do I seem to fall off-track even when the circumstances and my state of mind are positive?

The answer is… I give myself permission to. A switch seems to get flipped in my head sometimes when out-of-the-ordinary things are coming down the pike.

Oh, my bridal shower is coming up this weekend? I must think of nothing but that for the next few days so that I can mentally and physically prepare myself for it! Laundry needs doing? Nah– I will get it done after the shower.

Oh, we are going away this weekend? Welp, no point in cleaning the apartment now. And no point in following my usual routine if I’m in a different environment! That can all wait ’til I come back!

(EYE ROLL)

I’m all for allowing myself to chill and take a step back sometimes from routine, but I need to quit giving myself permission to do it at the drop of a hat. I sell myself short, really. I allow this weird self-talk to enter and convince myself that there’s not enough brain power in there to handle all of these situations all at once.

I know I’m better than that. There is no need for me to allow these disruptions in my routine. I can handle plenty. I have handled plenty.

Onward!

=)

Keeping my sh*t to myself.

Lately, I’ve really been enjoying NOT sharing my goals with my closest friends and family 🙂


A few weeks back, I told my boyfriend that for the time being, I’m going to shut up about the things I want to do or work on. I said that I’d rather keep those things to myself until I feel I’ve made some progress. He replied “Oh sh*t, I was just reading a similar thing on Reddit/LifeProTips about that!” He said that the Reddit user wrote about the idea that it’s often better to keep your goals a secret, at least until you’ve taken real action or have some results to share. I read the post and looked into the idea some more, and found that it was actually a thing. Don’t get me wrong, I was not about to think I came to this idea completely on my own. I’m sure I heard it in passing a while back and threw it onto the back burner [of my mind] until I was actually ready to receive it. Well, that time had come.

Photo by Gesina Kunkel

I shared with a friend that I would love to start exercising in the morning as soon as I wake up. I told her that I want to start waking up half an hour earlier than normal, throw on workout gear right away (because that’s what they all say to do), and do 10 minutes on the bike followed by some crunches and planks. I told her how excited I was, that I was going to start small and work my way up, and that it’s going to really improve my mornings and my mood. Yea, so, that was about about 2 months ago now and that morning exercise regimen has yet to exist.

This has been a common occurrence in my life. I get really amped up about the thing I want to do (e.g. eat healthier, save more money), I talk about it with people, and I begin to picture myself doing the thing. What happens then is that it starts to feel like it has already happened; like I’ve already started… and I am filled with happiness from this. I’m filled with pride. BUT WHY? I haven’t even done anything yet!

Visualization is a powerful tool. Many athletes and high-powered people use it daily to get what they want and get themselves where they want to be. It’s something many of us do without thinking, but when you do it intentionally and wield it in the right way, you can truly benefit from it. Go read about it; it’s cool.

What I came to know is that when I talk about the thing I want to do, that’s the moment it feels real and that’s the moment where I begin to unintentionally visualize it [aaaand cue the endorphins, cue the false sense of pride, prepare to fizzle out]. That’s when I decided to experiment with the idea of keeping my mouth shut. Instead of talking to my pals about the thing I want to do, I will wait and talk to them about the thing I’m doing. Instead of allowing myself to feel proud of something I haven’t even done yet, I’ll wait and save that delicious feeling for later when I truly deserve it.

Well, OF COURSE I had to wait a few weeks to write about this because I wanted to talk about it after doing it for a while. So far, I am so pleasantly surprised by how good this little change in behavior is for me. By not openly discussing something before I do it, I keep myself from accidentally unlocking those feelings of pride, and that drive to actually get started remains in tact and gets me going.

=)

4 Things I’m Currently Focusing On

Photo by Mr TT

It has gradually become clear to me that I need to have defined areas of focus. If I don’t, I either become overwhelmed and try to focus on too much, or I focus on nothing and stagnate.

Today, I’d like to talk about 4 of the things that I’m working on right now.


THIS BLOG || I don’t have enormous and/or specific aspirations for myself within this platform just yet, but I do know that it’s something I’ll continue to focus on. I love creating. When I hit publish on a post and send my finished product into the world, I feel proud and so content. I also see this as a unique opportunity to engage with like-minded and maybe even more importantly, NON-like-minded people. Finally, I love having yet another excuse to expand my knowledge base and explore interesting topics.

NOT LETTING THINGS PILE UP || I have a natural tendency to let things pile up over time. These days, I am doing things on a more consistent, little-by-little basis. For example: instead of letting laundry pile up for weeks, I’ve been doing smaller loads once or twice a week. It seems to take less time and more importantly, it takes a lot less energy. Doing 7 loads of laundry on a Saturday or Sunday sucks a lot. Plus, I don’t give myself the chance to build up the task in my mind and turn it into something bigger and more unpleasant than it really is.

READING || I didn’t read enough in 2018 and it really bummed me out. I love reading, but if I don’t make it a priority to do so, I find that it will just slip through the cracks. Well, it’s a priority for me again. I make sure to open up my book at least once a day, usually when I crawl into bed. I won’t get into the joys and benefits of reading, I will just say that I am a happier person when I’m in the middle of a book. [I’m currently reading Dune.]

CONCENTRATION || I’m working on my power of concentration. I knew going in that this would be very difficult and it really is, friends. It truly takes practice. I’ve started small with tasks that take 5 minutes or less. For example: if I set out to brew some coffee or do a quick dusting of the bookshelves, I will do that and only that; I won’t pick up my phone in the middle of it and start scrolling through Instagram. Once I feel I’ve mastered this level, I’ll move up.


Of course there are many other things (e.g. my wedding in September!) that have my focus at the moment, but these 4 have had the most significant impact on my happiness and mental health as of late.

Normally I don’t like to preach, but do yourself a favor and take 5 minutes to define some of your areas of focus. I promise, it will help you immensely.

=)