Posts tagged ‘self love’

2017, April 7

Finding your awesome

Today I want to take a second to talk about a very cool, illustrated creative journal, FIND YOUR AWESOME, by my friend Judy Clement Wall.

It seems to me that everyone lately is only thinking about themselves, and it makes me sad.
I think when people are dealing with some things in their lives, they tend to forget that everyone else also has stuff to deal with – more or less difficult then they themselves are. This is where it’d be great to also focus on others, because it really doesn’t take much time or effort to be attentive, and if one can, why not make someone’s day better? Even by simply smiling at them, by saying hello and asking how they are, it’s already a step in the right direction.
We need to be better, to be humans and care. Thinking about others will always make you a better person.

That said, it also seems to me that among family and friends, many people rarely put themselves first, or do, or buy things for themselves.
Yes, doing things with others will help make them be/feel special in your life.
But on the other hand, I believe that we need to take care of ourselves in order to fully be able to be the better people I described above. For people to truly be able to love other people and be kind, it all starts with self-love.

This is the message my friend j transmits through her creative journal. Go read her blog post about it, and watch her very cool animated book trailer!

In her own words, she wrote and illustrated FIND YOUR AWESOME not to help people become someone new, but to help them uncover the imaginative, openhearted, amazing selves they already are. She truly believes that if one completes this book, committing oneself to just 30 days of self-discovery and celebration, it will change how they move in the world and infuse their life with love, fun, connection, and creativity.

I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the journal! I believe that it’ll be, like everything j creates, a beautiful piece of art as well as a very useful tool for people to well… find their awesome.

J also has a challenge in store for her readers and friends – 30 days of self-love! Here’s the excerpt from her website:

“On May 15th, I’ll be embarking on my own 30-day self-love challenge using FIND YOUR AWESOME, and I’d love for you to join me. There will be a Facebook group, short daily emails of encouragement, and more animated videos to inspire you. It’ll be free, fun, and good for your soul, plus if you sign up, you’ll be automatically entered to win a signed copy of FIND YOUR AWESOME. (Even if you’ve already purchased my book , sign up. These little journals make wonderful gifts.)
I’ll be posting more about the book and the challenge over the next several weeks.”

Haven’t done a self-love challenge in a while, so I’ve already signed up, and I think I’ll post a little summary blog post every week on Fridays while the challenge lasts. They were fun to do during my year of following the 52/52 e-guide‘s assignments every week, so I’m looking forward to it!

2016, February 5

The power of small steps

Last January, during my year of following the 52/52 e-guide‘s assignments every week, I wrote a Life List. Even though I started out with the list looking more like a to-do list in the beginning, I quickly switched to dream-mode and thought of the things I’d really really want to do in this lifetime.

Now, my boyfriend is very realistic. He doesn’t like to make plans too far ahead, if at all. And it sometimes drives me nuts because I believe that the things that we focus on are the things that will surround us.
If we only focus on today, then weekend plans might fail because we’re not making an effort to think about them and make time for some things. Or if we only focus on having bills to pay and not having enough money, then that will be our reality. And we won’t be able to shift that reality until we start looking beyond our present, and start believing that things will get better. (I am quite bad at this one, after years of being in debt!) Then, we need to decide what it is we want, and take small steps toward those things.
For this reason, the other day I wrote a list of things we need to fix in the apartment, or stuff we need to buy. I’m hoping that being on a list will keep them more in focus as opposed to just in the back of our mind and never getting around to even think of them.

There are quite a few things on the Life List that I still need to start taking steps toward. Like turning my year of photo challenges into an e-book – I still need to sit down and work on it. Little by little, even if it doesn’t have to be done in one day, I ended up avoiding this item. Not sure why. But I fully intend to finally sit down and start assembling the e-book.

However, as I read it the other day, I realized that I actually achieved several things off my Life List. Also, I achieved quite a few things off the My purpose for money list that I wrote four years ago, when I had a total of four jobs at the same time by the end of 2012. It’s interesting to me how many similar items there are on both lists.
I traveled more in Romania and saw places I’ve never been to, alone and with loved ones. I re-visited places I loved (both in my country and across the border), and wrote a few travel articles. I visited friends from Great Britain and tried a lot of new kinds of food while traveling. I made a couple of my home-decor ideas reality decorating our small apartment, learned a bit how to drive, and saw the fireworks in Budapest, Hungary this New Year.

My most important item on the Life List and also on the My purpose for money list was by far to “Earn a living being a full-time writer/Turn writing into a priority and a steady income”. And you know what? I made that come true!

With a lot of support from my boyfriend, and learning more, I am now a technical author and love love love it! I recall writing a letter to myself talking about this when I was only applying for the job. It leaves me creative enough to write on my blog, too, and is still about writing, and editing and re-writing, etc. which I love doing as a full-time job. It gives me the chance to sometimes take the afternoon for reading, research and learning even more about the field.
It also gave me the opportunity to travel to London. Twice.
It pays better than any job I ever had before and now I can actually set money aside for travel and vacationing even if it takes a couple of months to save up. But I am finally out of debt.

Sure Life still gets in the way of things many times, but it doesn’t bother me quite as much as before. Because I am doing something I love and it made everything else much easier. I am definitely happier and more enthusiastic.

So if you ever stop and think about something you’d like to do as it being “unattainable”, please don’t. Try to break it down to small, achievable steps. Take one small step after the other, and it will all work itself out.

2015, July 6

Don’t ride anyone else’s rollercoaster

The assignment for last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly, was to keep ourselves in check and Don’t ride on anyone else’s rollercoaster.
Like I said in my last blog post as well, I think that we all do it, ride on someone else’s rollercoaster, more than we should. Or at least, I know I do. And it is time to correct that.
Even when you are  totally right to want to state your case, and believe that when you do the other people involved will act like sane, rational people – the moment they respond like spoiled brats, get off their rollercoaster and enjoy your own ride.

While being conscious of not getting on and riding other people’s rollercoasters, I remembered the following quote:
“How often do you let other people’s nonsense change your mood? Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? Unless you’re the Terminator, you’re probably set back on your heels. However, the mark of your success is how quickly you can refocus on what’s important in your life.” by David J. Pollay, author of The Law of the Garbage Truck.
So this past week, I payed more attention to both strangers and those close to me.

With the people I know personally, when a rollercoaster-jumping situation appeared, I focused and thought about times when I reacted inappropriately and thought what might be going on in their personal lives to make them react rudely. It wasn’t easy(!), but I tried to have more compassion towards those who were dumping their frustrations on me, probably unknowingly.

I kept my cool and responded politely. I kept in mind that I am in control of my responses to how others treat me, that I am the one who can let people ruin my days, and this helped me have happier days. I kept a smile on my face, stayed on the high road and didn’t get on anyone’s rollercoaster, or at the very least got off the rollercoaster quickly.

The assignment for week 27 is to Say Yes! To an outing even when you feel like you’d rather go straight home after work, to helping someone with what will take you ten to fifteen minutes instead of the hour it might take them, or most especially say yes to that wild, inadvisable dream you have. 
And as j explained it in the 52-52 guide, the most important thing during this week and this exercise is to “question every no. Understand where it comes from. Understand your reasons. If they’re sound, go ahead. If they’re based in fear, stop. Take a deep breath.” and say Yes.

How was your week? Did you manage to keep yourself from riding other people’s rollercoasters? Or did you cave in and felt miserable while trying to keep your own sanity? Did you remember that you are the one who can let others ruin your day, or keep them from doing so?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, June 29

Organizing something, or seven somethings

This past week, the assignment in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly was to Organize something, or seven somethings. And I took it very seriously.

I do love organizing, and even though I finished my Spring-cleaning-in-the-middle-of-Summer two weeks ago, there were still things I wanted to better organize. So here’s what my week of organizing looked like:

  1. I organized our closet (in three rounds), because I brought home clean clothes from my mom and after putting them away, figured the rest could use a little tidying up.
  2. Took the BF’s ties and sorted them into “Nice, “Okay” and “No way in hell” categories, and tied each one, placing them neatly back onto two hangers so they’re not all crowded onto just the one.
  3. I folded up his shirts because he doesn’t really wear shirts that often, and when he does he irons them before wearing anyway, so now they don’t occupy space on hangers unnecessarily.​
  4. This led me to organizing my own shirts, since there was all that free space to play with. After it was all done, I took all the left over hangers and placed them in a bag, then put them away.
  5. At my mom’s, I sorted and put away stuff I hadn’t even looked at since packing them up before the remodeling last year. It’s funny how easy it was now to get rid of the stuff I didn’t need from those boxes. Out of sight, out of mind, for sure.
  6. Still at my mom’s, I rearranged the plants on the window sills. I decided to also do some “gardening” (re-potting, clearing off leaves, etc.) so this took most of my Saturday to tackle, but I bet the plants will be prettier and happier now.
  7. And last but not least, I wrapped a box in X-Mas paper, and placed in it all the Christmas decoration we had in our apartment (which I took home to my mom’s because of the lack of storage space here, and was storing them there on top of my desk of all places)… I wonder why it took me 6 months worth of procrastination before finally putting that stuff away in less than half an hour?

The assignment for week 26 is, Don’t ride on anyone else’s rollercoaster.
In the 52-52 guide, j describes it this way:
“Don’t get on anyone else’s rollercoaster. If you’re the target of someone else’s crazy, don’t engage. If you’re the hand someone’s trying to grab, stand still, let them settle down and come to you; don’t feed the crazy by jumping onboard. Mark your sanity boundaries and stand firm.”

I think we all do it, ride on someone else’s rollercoaster, more than we should. So even when you are  totally right to want to state your case, and believe that when you do the other people involved will act like sane, rational people – the moment they respond like spoiled brats, get off their rollercoaster and enjoy your own ride.

How was your week? Did you organize something? Or did you organize seven somethings, same as I? Do you feel lighter now?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

 

2015, June 22

Letting go, and doing what I believe

For week 23, the assignment in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly, was to Let go, deeply.
Truth be told, and proven by the fact that I had no blog post up last week, I have a hard time letting go of stuff. In my previous post I said how lately, I’ve had so much on my plate, and so much worry overall, that this assignment will either come in very handy, or make me feel like I failed if I can’t fully let go… I hoped it’d be the first.
But that didn’t really happen before my second go at it this past week.

Reading a friend’s e-mail on Monday really helped me see that I was going about this from the wrong angle, and that I could be much better at it if I re-framed how I think of things.
She talked about how at one point in time she was engaged in what she felt was an unequal relationship with a longtime friend. She was sometimes accepting, sometimes felt angry, sometimes mourned something special that wasn’t a part of her life anymore. And, the truth is, this is one of my biggest issues lately, so her e-mail resonated with me in a way that nothing else has when thinking or talking about this.
My friend resolved this issue when she decided to let go. To let go of her own expectations around that friendship, and that way she didn’t have to let go of her friend, or the friendship itself.

This is something I tried my best to do this week. To let go, deeply.

There are a few relationships which chronologically frustrate me, and leave me feeling small or disappointed. Old friendships where we make plans to go out for weeks in advance because something always comes up.
And if we go out I feel like I’m just tagging along, or like I am kept out of the loop for the sole reason that in 99% of the time I don’t share my writer’s Facebook account and previously existing, real-life friendships. I recall my friends talking about some detail of their lives and asking when that happened, only to get the “Oh, you don’t have Facebook, so you don’t know” response. I didn’t get up and walk out right then and there, only out of respect for our long time friendship.
Now, I’m thinking that I don’t want to give up on the friendships altogether, but I don’t want to feel like this anymore, either. So, I’ll let go of my expectations from said friendships and call it a day.
This past week, I made a point of this and let go of the expectations that my friend should call me when school finishes as she said she would, or that my other friend reach out when she got back from her trip as she told me before leaving. I haven’t heard from either of them.
But I let go of these expectations, and I feel so much better this way. I did look forward to talking to them, but after letting go of my expectations, it didn’t bother me. I think this is one of the best decisions, and one of the most powerful acts of self-love I made so far this year!

For week 24, the assignment was to Do what we believe. And I have to tell you, it was a little bit harder than I expected. However, this assignment somehow resonated with me, backwards. It made me really think of my life and actions.
Because, even though I believe in leading a life where love is my religion, I sometimes do things that I’m not proud of. For example, I dislike gossip, yet I sometimes do it when I’m upset over something/someone instead of being more accepting.  I believe in leading a healthy life, yet I usually skip breakfast and sometimes have unhealthy food. I believe in supporting local businesses, but in this day and age of finding many good books online with minimal effort I don’t own a library card anymore.
I thought of many things that I believe in, and even though I found several things that I could be better at, it was such a great exercise to pay attention to what I advocate for and to what I absolutely know to be true no matter who tells me otherwise!

11247510_10153356488057836_2406541284998500992_n

The assignment for week 25, is to Organize something (or 7 somethings).
Here’s what j says about this assignment in the 52-52 Guide, and her recipe on how to go about it:
“This week is devoted to organizing: clearing, decluttering, simplifying. Here’s how you do it.
1. Pick a space; it can be as big as your garage or as small as your junk drawer.
2. Sort everything in that space into piles: a “throw away” pile for anything broken; a “donate” pile for anything you haven’t used in the last six months; a “moving on” pile for anything that makes you feel small or constricted or unbearably sad. (You might throw these things away or donate them as well, but they get a little send off, a formal, cleansing recognition from you that they no longer serve you. If they have sentimental value, or if dealing with them makes you squirmy and uncertain, you can have a friend store them until you’re ready to part with them for good.)
3. Take everything that’s left and make it pretty (or logical, or alphabetical, or color-coordinated).
4. Stand back. Gaze at your beautiful new space.”

Oh, this will be easy. I think. I do love organizing, and even though I finished my Spring-cleaning-in-the-middle-of-Summer a week ago, there are still things I want to better organize (like the closet, for example, or the 3 left-over boxes at my mother’s place which haven’t been unpacked since last Summer.)

How was your week? Did you let go, deeply? Or do you generally have issues with this, same as I? Did you do that you believe? How did it feel and turn your week around?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, June 8

Smiling at strangers

The assignment for last week in the year of loving ourselves fearlessly was to Smile at Strangers. It went oh-so-nicely with my favorite people moment, of which the conclusion was that a smile and two kind words can turn around your day, from my London trip! Here’s what j said about smiling at strangers, in the 52-52 guide:
“You may feel surprised by the times when you hesitate, or by the times when you absolutely don’t hesitate, and you see it happen, the little jolt in someone else, the light that comes on behind the eyes of a person who was, until the moment of your smile, running on autopilot.”

Smiling at strangers isn’t too hard for me. Not in the sense that I go about my whole day with a smile plastered on my face, but in the sense that I do my best to be kind to people and smile at them often.
I think that we don’t do it often enough. I think that people are so absorbed in whatever their everyday holds that they forget to notice other people… And it’s not a new phenomenon, either.

I recall working at the flower shop many years ago, and being kind and smiling at every customer. Every stranger.
An American lady came in and wanted 12 roses. I asked if they were for herself, or if she was buying them for someone. Given that I asked, we had a short chat while I was making the bouquet for her.
I explained to her that I asked especially because here in Romania, the custom is to buy an uneven number of flowers for surprising people, and an even number of flower if taken to the cemetery. And while personally I don’t see what the big deal is, many people here are likely to make a huge fuss if you happen to confuse the two.
After paying for the bouquet and just as we were saying goodbye, she stopped, turned around and said, “Thank you for the chat. I’ve been here for over a year and people aren’t too friendly, from what I noticed. It was a nice change!”, before walking out of the shop.

Needless to say, I was beyond happy that she felt this way about our short encounter, and ever since then I have made a point of it to smile as often as possible, even at strangers.
And, aside from the few times when I managed to pick up some stalkers, I haven’t regretted this choice.

For week 23, the assignment is to Let go, deeply.
In the 52-52 guide, j suggests it this way:
“Just before you go to bed think about the day that has just passed – all the fraught, happy, stressful, surprising, big, little, ordinary moments that make up a day – and feel grateful for them. They are, after all, absolutely unrepeatable. However delicious or distasteful they were, they were also fleeting, and they’re gone now. Remember them, and then let them go. Fully. Deeply. Tomorrow, everything is new.”

Generally speaking, I have a hard time of letting go of stuff. Lately, I’ve had so much on my plate, and so much worry overall, that this assignment will either come in very handy, or make me feel like I failed if I can’t fully let go… I’m hoping it’ll be the first though.

How was your week? Did you smile at strangers? Do you usually smile at strangers or are you shy and avoid eye contact altogether? If the latter, do you think it’d be a good idea to push yourself with this?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

2015, June 1

Visit a favorite place; send yourself a postcard

In the year of loving ourselves fearlessly, this week the assignment was to Visit a favorite place; send yourself a postcard. When I wrote my initial thoughts on this suggestion, I said that I can’t wait to look at postcards I brought home from places I visited, and maybe even mail one of them to myself!

Well, that didn’t happen. I don’t have *all* of my stuff with me since living with my boyfriend, and the pretty postcards I brought home from places I visited and loved are nicely placed under the clear glass top of my desk at my mom’s.
So instead, I decided to go through photos of my old trips. That did the trick!

I started with London, since that was my most recent trip, and looking through the photos on my phone, all the memories came rushing back. It also reminded me, that I delayed buying a post card on several evenings and ended up forgetting before I left on Friday… So, I e-mailed myself the photo below.

A smile and two kind words can turn around your day!

A smile and two kind words can turn around your day!

I thought about how much I enjoyed everything in London!
All the people who were very very nice, both at work and if I was asking for directions or anything they were kind and went our of their way to be helpful.
I loved the double decker buses! And while I was more comfortable riding on the top deck for more than three stops, it was nice because for two days I rode with my friend Stephany so was sure to get off at the right stop, and then in Kingston where I was staying/working I couldn’t have gotten lost had I wanted to, cause it’s such a small place.

It was funny, because I had a few days stay there, but I did not get used to which side of the road I was supposed to look before crossing the street (neither with looking down and reading where the sidewalk said to look, because obviously we don’t have that here in Romania).
Repeatedly I waited for buses on the wrong side of the street, and had several buses pass me before someone pointed out that I need to signal the bus driver (the way you signal a taxi driver) if I wanted it to stop for me.
And the currency… don’t even try asking me about it, because aside from the full pound, I have no idea which penny is which, etc.

Also, I even managed to overlook pushing the button which said “push to open door” and rode an extra stop with the train at around 11:45 pm only to then have to cross to the other side, wait for another train and ride one stop back to the one I needed.
The train conductor, a lady, smiled at me and wished me a good night as I was walking all tired, feet hurting and upset about having missed my stop earlier, towards the gates in the right station. She hadn’t seen my clumsiness, of course. This made me smile and forget about it all, thanked her and wished her an easy shift. This is one of my favorite “people moments” from that trip!

Writing this blog post, the assignment itself and going through the photos from my trip prompted the thought that I should mail myself a postcard when I travel next. From every trip, actually. It would be so cool to sum up a thought, a feeling and have it arrive by mail on a beautiful postcard after getting home.

The assignment for week 22 is to Smile at Strangers. Wow, does it go oh-so-nicely with my favorite people moment which I just detailed above from my London trip! Here’s what j said about smiling at strangers, in the 52-52 guide:
“You may feel surprised by the times when you hesitate, or by the times when you absolutely don’t hesitate, and you see it happen, the little jolt in someone else, the light that comes on behind the eyes of a person who was, until the moment of your smile, running on autopilot.”

How was your week? Did you leave visit a favorite place? Or did you also just take a stroll down memory lane by looking at photos, postcards and other mementos you brought back from previous trips? Have you mailed yourself a postcard either this past week, or ever before?

PS: If you’re interested in joining us, you don’t have to have the e-guide to play, but if you’d like it, you can buy it in the shop.

%d bloggers like this: