Keep It Simple, Stupid: Eliminating Stress In A Stress Induced World

 Life is about moving forward, right? … At least that’s what they tell me.  Some days I feel like I am in a rut.  I look at my life and feel like it is at a stand-still, and other days I feel like I am climbing straight up the ladder at an alarming rate … feeling like I am on top of the world and nothing could bring me down!

When I look at those “stand-still” days I have to wonder, what exactly is it that makes me feel like this?  Is it a person who has hurt my feelings? a circumstance in my life that I feel helpless and stressed out about?  …  sometimes it’s not anything – but just a nagging, “blah” feeling I have.  We’re allowed to have those days, right?

Most of the time, through my own experiences, there is, indeed, something to blame, or pinpoint.  Sometimes I am just not able to see that clearly.  Sometimes it’s a situation, or feeling that we’ve buried or tried to ignore that, over time, has manifested itself into our subconscious .. triggered by another stressor … and is now waving it’s hand right in front of your face saying, “Hey you!  Long time no see.  Remember me!!??”

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Some of the situations that i’ve noticed over time in my life, and my friends lives seem to be as follows; 

People Who Bring You Down:  Friendships, and relationships should help you, not bring you down.  Find time, and people who are similar to you – people who are smart, forward thinkers, positive and happy.  Surround yourself with people you bring you up, not down.

Work, Or A Career You Dislike:  Don’t settle.  This part of your life takes up SO much of your time – and for such a long duration of your life.  I don’t think that there is a job that we will necessarily love going to everyday, but there are jobs that we are suited for that bring out our best that we can excel in with some good efforts.  Find it.  Do your best, and feel rewarded.

Your Own Negativity:  Be aware of your mental thoughts.  We can be our own best friend, or our own worst enemy.  We wake up to our thoughts and go to bed with them. They are our prime influence.  What are you telling yourself on a daily basis?  Are your thoughts motivating, and positive? Be honest with this one.  It’s okay to have negative thoughts at times…. just don’t let it consume your mind.  Have your bad thought and move on to something positive.  Don’t stay in that grey area for too long … it is far to easy to become a habit.

Messy Living Area, And Workspace:  This one makes me cringe.  A house with a toddler is extremely hard to keep clean but there are no excuses for a messy work environment (if you have your own office).  Be responsible for your space.  A clean and organized area makes me feel great – motivated – clear minded.  I could go on and on about how it is good Feng Shui, and a great motivator to getting a good grasp on the tasks you need to complete –  I work my best in this kind of environment.  It helps me to stay focussed, and feel a sense of accomplishment as I work through my day.

Running Late:  I don’t know about your, but running late, or being late for an appointment is something that throws my whole day off.  Being prepared and organized sets my day on the right track and keeps it there.  Give yourself plenty of time for everything that you are going to do that day – try to enjoy the day as it goes by.  Don’t be stressed with not having enough hours in the day.  If your day gets to that point then be honest with yourself – have your overbooked?  Do you need to reorganize your day to give yourself enough time to do things properly? … Give 100% when you give, and if you can’t you should figure out how you can try to change it. Remember, there are 365 days in a year … rearranging your schedule to be sure that you are 100% prepared, and present can help keep your world from feeling chaotic.

Fitting In With The Crowd:  This can be especially true for our younger generation .. and now that I have children I admit that I sometimes feel this way – but most of the time I couldn’t care – well, at least in the comfort of my own home 😉  Sometimes we let the social scene get the better of us.  I did it when I was younger.  Try to stay true to who you are.  Be yourself, and love who you are.  Don’t conform to be a part of the crowd.  Over time you will realize that it doesn’t matter and much of the energy wasted is on the wrong people, and for the wrong reasons.  This one is all about trial and error.  I’ve learned over the years that my efforts to “fit in” really did go unnoticed.  Where are those people now, now that I stopped trying to fit in?  The real ones stick around because they care for you for who you are.

All Work No Play: GUILTY!!  life is about balance – so find it.  Think of life-like a scale … finding the balance equals harmony.  Letting one end of the scale outweigh the other only causes imbalance in our lives.

Debt:  This is a huge factor for so many people these days.  It’s so hard to avoid this because we live in a society where everything costs money.  In our generation it is so hard to move forward and so many of us try to – usually by accumulating mass amounts of debt, which only cause mass amounts of anxiety, and stress.  Try to remember that living a simple life is the best.  There are not a lot of things we need in this life – food, shelter, clothing, and friendships.  Yes, I love my designer handbags, and sunglasses, and clothes .. but truth be told.  I look back now at all of the money i’ve spent over the years and I feel a huge sense of guilt – mainly because I now look at my son and I think that there were not many things that really brought me true happiness.  The few things in my life that did – came in the form of my husband, and my son.  Things that I could never buy.

Dishonesty:  Living a life of lies, and being lied to are things that are not only hurtful but damaging to yourself, and potentially damaging to friendships that you do that to.  Being honest can cause awkwardness at times, but at the end of the day it helps me sleep at night.  I’ve been lied to many times before – and by people who are extremely close to me.  It hurts me a lot – but at the end of the day I remember that I go to sleep with a clear conscious.  If I was the liar, I don’t think I would sleep as well at night 😉

Infidelity:  Again – this has everything to do with being honest.  Be true to yourself.  Be true to those who you have in your life.  There is nothing more hurtful to me than knowing I hurt someone out of selfishness.  This is one of those things- If you are not happy – then work through it, or go in a different direction.  Don’t try to combine two different worlds thinking that you will find happiness – you won’t.  What I can guarantee you will find it guilt, negativity, and a whole lot of tears … by yourself!

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What many of us do not realize is that it is so easy to get back on that great path where we feel rewarded and fullfilled in life – all we need to do is eliminate the chaos and clutter, and keep our worlds simple.  Don’t overwhelm your lives with things you don’t need.  Figure out what you really need to survive.  At the end of the day this list can go on and on.  The point is that if you are living a life that is honest with yourself, you will eventually begin to feel a sense of fulfillment and positivity.  Now, I am not saying you will be skipping down the road feeling hunky dory 24/7, but you will find a world that has a lot less stressors, and chaos. 

Keep it simple and do good.  Good things are rewarded with good karma.  In the grand scheme of things i’de rather live a simple mediocre life filled with positives than a negative chaotic life that I don’t want to wake up to in the mornings.

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Checking Out Of Heartbreak Hotel: When The Reality Of Broken Love Makes You A Better Person

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In May of 2005 I found myself lonely, desperate and completely heartbroken.  I was at the end of my relationship of 6 years.  I wasn’t only losing a relationship, I was losing my fiancé … or as I thought of it at that time in my life, my future and my whole world – as I once thought.

Years later, as I look back at my life and relationship and think about why it failed I shamefully admit that there were so many reasons that I was blinded to.  I turned a blind eye to many red flags and simply walked through the motions of what and how I thought a relationship should progress.

I was in my early 20’s when it started dating this fellow and at the 5 years mark we started talking marriage … after all, isn’t that how long most couples, on average, date before moving to the next phase in their relationship?

Had I known that this relationship would not have been my “happily ever after” would I have given so much effort, given so many chances, forgiven so quickly? .. probably not now, but as the person who I was then, I honestly can say I hadn’t given the whole idea of real love an honest thought … I simply wanted to be in love, loved and starting a future as a wife, and one day a mother.

In my past relationships i’ve had a horrible habit of selecting the wrong individuals to pursue.  From physically, to emotionally abusive … i’ve managed to find all of these broken people and gather them under my wings.  Time after time forgetting that I was the one who would pay for their “issues” in the long run.

I have to admit that over the years I progressively selected better situations, and individuals to share my world with however they were still extremely broken people…  and they were, over time, going to break me down.

So, in 2005, at the end of my engagement I did what any heartbroken girl would do … I went out and bought myself a $50,000 car, went shopping, and started going out all the time.  Meeting new individuals and getting more involved with the social scene.  I was broken and digging an even deeper hole, but ultimately, this very move is what tossed me into my very own personal world of self discovery.

I slowly realized who I was as an individual.  What I liked, what I didn’t like.  What made me happy, what didn’t.  To be honest, not many things did – I was living a life of avoidance by keeping myself so social.  I wasn’t dealing with the issues that had compounded over the years – the effects of the physical and emotional abuse that I had endured over the past decade of my life.  ALL of my long-term relationships.

If there is one thing that I wish I could have understood in my very own personal experience was that the emotional abuse that I endured was far more damaging than that of the previous physically abusive relationship.  In my world I had things ass backwards …  I, for some crazy reason, justified that if I wasn’t being hurt physically then I was in a normal relationship.  I think that’s why the relationship lasted as long as it did.  I was passive and lacked self-love.

The relationships ended in their own ways, and I look back now thinking 1) it was inevitable, and 2) how did that not happen sooner?  Some of the last memories I have of that relationship were of my waking up alone in bed and finding that my keys were taken out of my purse, my car “gone” and my fiancé out until the wee hours of the morning (he would take my car so he didn’t have to open his garage door and potentially wake me up).  Random phone calls to him that were quickly hung up on, or answered with a “wrong number” response – until I realized these were women he was out meeting during those wee hours of the morning.

I sacrificed my sanity, wants, needs and desires as a young woman wanting to explore the world and find happiness.  I was betrayed, hurt, broken and oh so confused.  I devoted my world to someone who didn’t deserve the attention, and I was left with a lot of negative and confusing feelings to work through over the next few years.   A LOT!

Time and years moved on and eventually I met my husband – and proudly I can say, with confidence, that this is the first normal relationship that I have ever been involved in.  He is patient, respectful and full  of love.  Things that I deserve as an individual, wife, and mother.  We can have the best connection doing absolutely nothing at all because there is a mutual respect and love that we share.  It is genuine.

Taking time to understand who I was – the things that I wanted.  The things that I liked, and didn’t like allowed me to have the confidence and develop the self-love I required in order to be available for that “normal” relationship that I had been seeking.  Looking back I realized that I had nothing in common with those people.  Yes, I cared about them, and they cared about me but that was not love.  You can care about many people, and many things in your life but it doesn’t mean you are meant to give your life to them to the point where you are giving up your own thoughts, and desires in life.

A part of me feels that I wasted much of my young adult life not knowing what a normal relationship was but it allowed me to appreciate the real and true one that I now have.  As in any relationship/ friendship there are times when we, as humans, do come across like we take that person for granted.  Perhaps I do not say it enough, or show it enough at times but I truly appreciate the lessons that life has given me … I now know how to love myself, and because I am able to do so I am now able to share my life with my amazing husband and family.