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.

=)

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.

=)

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.

=)

Keeping it light.

Part of what inspired me to write this was another post on the blog Untangled called “My mind is tired of mindfulness“. It’s a great, short read; go for it!


I ponder over my personal development a lot (hence this blog), and I know I’m just one of many. It’s no wonder that this is the case considering “Personal Development” and “Productivity” and “Life Hacking” and aaaall that jazz is enormously popular these days. Bestsellers about nurturing effective habits crop up [what feels like] every other week, articles on powerful morning routines seem to publish every hour, and blog posts about all of the above are popping up more and more frequently (like this one!).

Once a person starts down the road of personal development (there’s that phrase again!), mindfulness, and other things of that nature, it can become difficult to stop. Some of what you’ll read and hear all over this realm are things like:

Consistency is key.

Good habits form when you make small changes every day.

You will see a difference when you are willing to put in the work.

Consistency. Every day. Work.

I’ll state the obvious here… I don’t disagree with any of these statements. I’m simply pointing to the fact that it’s not a wonder that people get swept up in this stuff so quickly, or that they feel guilty and maybe a little paranoid when they give it a rest. If you break the consistency, if you break your streak, if you stop the work for X amount of time, will you immediately slide back and find yourself stuck again? That’s a question I’ve certainly asked myself and to be honest, I do think that sometimes the answer is yes. For me, that will have to be okay.

Some may disagree, of course, which is great. Everyone has different circumstances and goals, everyone processes change differently, and everyone works at different paces and in different ways (even if all these differences are subtle). All of us cannot possibly be on the same exact page when it comes to something so personal as personal development.

Photo by Carolyn V 

I just need a break from it sometimes, and it’s really as simple as that. I’m the type of person that turns inward very easily, and if I spend too much time there, things start to get very exhausting and fuzzy. As long as my breaks (ranging from an hour to a day to a couple days) are completely intentional, I am golden. If I start to let things slip a little bit at a time, day after day, without thinking and without having a reason behind it, that’s when trouble ensues-but I won’t get into that. Today, I’m choosing to keep it light! And now I think I’ll go make a nice cup of tea like the one in this really pretty photo.

=)