moving on

At some point, most of us have struggled with being disappointed with things and let down by people and then not knowing what to do about it. Do we stay to work through it or should we move on? With that we need to know there’s a time to question what happened, process it, mourn a loss, and there is also a time to move on.

1. A time to question.

Obviously when we are disappointed and things didn’t turn out how we thought we always have questions,

Why did you do this to me?

Where do we go from here?

What am I supposed to do to fix this?

These are all legitimate questions when losing something or someone. There are millions of other questions that are specific to situations, and it’s okay to ask and to wonder, but don’t let that wondering and “what ifs” take up too much of your time and energy.

2. Process.

Along with the questions, some people don’t get closure and never will. If you are one of those people, I pray God heals your soul in order to forgive an apology that was never given. Processing is the time when you take an honest look at what happened, pray and decide whether you try one more time, wait or move on.

For example, you have a relationship or friendship that just is not going well so you confront the issue and the other person doesn’t care or isn’t willing to change; obviously you will have questions and mourn that relationship, but in order to grow and have a positive outcome from this situation, you have to move on. That doesn’t mean arguments between two equally committed people can’t be worked out but do NOT let yourself stay stuck in one-sided relationships! And once you move on don’t reopen that door. God allows that door to close for a reason, so don’t keep rehashing things and repeating cycles. People and circumstances can eventually change, but someone once said “don’t keep watering a dead garden.”

3. The mourning.

This is the time you give yourself to mourn the relationship, person, thing, etc. It’s okay to be upset, we as humans were blessed with emotions and it’s okay to be sad at times, but you can’t let that feeling overtake you. Nobody or no loss is so important that you question your own value. Now I can’t tell you an exact amount of time it takes to mourn, because it is different for every situation, but I can tell you a rule I have tried to follow, if it won’t matter to you in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes upset about it. Sometimes things that seemed like a big deal at the time, really weren’t when I thought about it like that. Now I get it takes a lot more than five minutes to mourn a relationship or person, but try not to focus on what you don’t have and don’t let the past consume your thoughts. One thing that also helped me was praying and knowing that I would not always stay sad because God has good plans for my life.

4. The moving on.

Well this is the hardest part, but the most rewarding part. How cool is it to see someone you used to trip over and feel peaceful instead of sadness? It is such a rewarding feeling to see how much progress you’ve made! This is the time to really focus on the important things in life, maybe your priorities need to be fixed and you need to really dig deep down to see what you did right and what you did wrong then learn from it.

Sometimes in the past I have struggled with this moving on part but the one thing that FINALLY broke through to me was someone once said to me,

“I want to look in that mirror at the end of the year and say to myself, I have no regrets.”

We have all been hurt and been through situations that we wish ended differently, but dwelling on these issues for too long can lead to a lot more heartache in the end and we can miss out on the great stuff God has for us now because we are too distracted. Although we aren’t all perfect, I think it is important to keep our future selves in mind when making decisions in the present. If that means letting go and moving on, then I encourage you to do it even when it’s hard.

That’s all I have for now. Hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving and MERRY CHRISTMAS SEASON!!! xoxo

 

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who’s controlling your emotions?

You have most likely heard advice that it’s not a good idea to let people control our emotions.

“But I can’t help how I feel. He/she just makes me so mad/upset/frustrated.”

But here’s the thing. We CAN control how we feel by not allowing someone to be the main reason we are happy or sad. Sure, situations happen that can make us feel a certain way, but if we allow what other people say about us or how they treat us influence us too much, it just isn’t very healthy for us and those relationships will suffer. Whether friends or dating, we have to be careful not to rely too much on other people to make us feel valuable.

Here’s how I look at it…

If you let it ruin your day because someone didn’t snap you or text you back right away or maybe they waved at you differently or seemed distracted talking to you, you gotta check yourself. I’ll be the first to tell you that I struggle with this and have gotten so upset if I did not get the response I expected from someone I was close to…or thought I was close to. But is it really such a big deal or was I holding people to unrealistic standards or expecting them to make me feel good about myself when that’s not anyone’s job to do that? Or maybe I misunderstood and we just weren’t as close as I thought we were? Whatever the reason I have to be careful not to allow it to influence me so much that it completely changes my mood and tempts me to do or say stuff I’ll regret.

I have put myself through this more times than I should have. I have allowed things like getting no text back or someone ditching plans completely ruin my mood for the day. And I’m not excusing that it’s okay for you to let people consistently be rude, lie or ignore you, but I realized that I’m not going to let rejection paralyze me anymore. I’ve felt so upset or angry over what someone said or didn’t say to me to the point of it having a negative effect on my schoolwork, sports and other relationships. It’s a slippery slope that many people fall into without realizing it. Once you let the hurt someone causes to overwhelm you, it will affect other things that will keep affecting other things and so on. It’s easy to blame the actual situations for making you feel so bad but really, it comes down to this: why do you give so much power over your happiness to another person?

So I am here to offer some help, but I can’t say I have mastered this myself. I’m still trying not to overthink everything and put unrealistic expectations on situations or myself but I have done a few things that help….

1. Take a break.  Give yourself some space. Put your phone down for a few days (like seriously put it down, don’t pick it up. When I have done this in the past sometimes I have given to my mom and she doesn’t give it to me until the day we agreed on lol!). If you don’t get rid of your phone totally, at least take a break from SnapChat or Twitter or whatever triggers you when you see something that puts you in your bag or makes you want to punch a wall.

Will it feel so weird? Yes.

Will it be so hard? Heck ya, but I can promise you after a few days it’s so refreshing and you realize that you feel a lot more peaceful not relying on Snaps and seeing who liked your tweets to feel good about yourself.

2. Get to know and enjoy being by yourself. I know this may sound weird, but do things alone that you never have time to do. Usually when you do things by yourself, there’s not the usual noise that distracts you from processing your thoughts. I like to paint. You can just splatter all your emotions on a canvas, even though it might not turn out how you want it, it’s unique and beautiful, which is a reminder of who God created us to be. Or take a bath. There is nothing taking a bubble bath can’t solve! Play music. Write in a journal. Go for a run. Start a blog…haha.

3. Talk to someone you trust who is older and wiser. We tend to forget our parents usually have been through a lot of what we are going through. Tell your mom or dad what you are struggling with and be open to their advice on how to get over it. They will want to help and be there for you. Chances are they have already noticed by your behavior if you have allowed someone else to control your happiness so it won’t come as a surprise to them!

4. You need to know your weaknesses and what triggers you to get so upset. If you feel misunderstood, write it down. If someone hurt you, write it down. If you feel ditched, write it down. If you feel like you always give and the other person just takes, write it down. I’ve written down the specific things that hurt me, cried a little or a lot (which actually feels good when you are done) and prayed about it. Then I crumple up the paper and throw it away. Most people don’t realize but doing a physical act like that is actually very powerful and can lift a lot of weight off of you.

5. If you feel like someone is controlling your emotions even if they don’t realize it, tell that person how you feel about him or her. Be honest. Sometimes hiding the way you feel makes the feelings stronger instead of just dealing with them. I have started to try to be more vulnerable and instead of saying “nothing is wrong” or ignoring something that bothers me, I try to communicate with the other person. You can’t force them to communicate back but at least you know you tried so you can move on. And if someone truly wants you as a friend or wants to be with you in a relationship, they will want you to grow and not want to play games with your emotions. Maybe you’ve just come across as clingy or needy to someone and once you realize that you can fix it in the future by communicating honestly.

6. This one is tough. It’s important to realize that if the relationship isn’t helping you grow or it’s very one-sided, you may have to adjust your boundaries. It is just like weeds in a garden, you wouldn’t just let the weeds continue to grow and grow until they take over your whole garden and eventually ruin the pretty flowers. No, you would weed your garden in order to let the seeds grow into the beautiful flowers they were planted to be. The same goes with relationships. Sometimes we have to remove people for a season so we or they can grow. Maybe it’s temporary and sometimes it’s permanent. It depends on how much you or they are willing to grow, change and work towards making things better. If you have an unhealthy relationship with someone that overwhelms your thought life, it can carry over into everything else in your life. Just as I mentioned in the beginning, when I relied on other people to make me happy all the time my self-esteem, schoolwork and even how I played field hockey suffered A LOT because I was so distracted with how bad I was feeling and I just didn’t know how to make it stop. Nobody can make you happy 24/7 so then you blame them because they can’t meet your expectations. I hate that I have done that and I pray I never do it again.

You can’t completely stop caring about how other people treat you, that’s not what I am saying. It’s totally okay to feel angry and hurt and also happy and content with people in your life because that’s reality. What I am saying is to check all of your relationships and  if you notice any type of pattern with that person having a big impact on your overall day-to-day feelings (good or bad) then maybe it’s time to take a step back. If we do this we can deal with arguments, break ups and rejections in a reasonable way without causing more damage or saying and doing things we regret. And hey, we can do this together because I am really still learning this myself!

That’s all I got. Love y’all! xoxo

 

Being Vulnerable

Being vulnerable. Opening up. Trusting someone to know the real me…not just the good parts that I want people to see. That’s scary.

I have really struggled in my past with not having the best judgment when it comes to who to trust and who not to trust. I seemed to always get burned by the same flame twice, or in reality, more like eight times.

It’s really tough to decide when to be vulnerable or to trust someone because we never truly know another person’s motives. I had been told many times in the past I was “too trusting” because people have used that trust to manipulate me or gossip about me. After hearing this over and over then being hurt because of it, I just stopped being vulnerable with people, put on the fake smile and built walls so high around my heart that nobody was going to have the power to hurt me ever again.

And sadly I didn’t even realize I did it.

I went from trusting almost everyone I talked to and trying to see the good in everyone to refusing to be vulnerable with anyone, even people who loved me and should have earned my trust. During this time, I hurt the people I loved the most because I just couldn’t put into words what I was feeling or what I was struggling with and my anxiety went through the roof. I second-guessed every decision I made, listened to bad advice and then got defensive over my mistakes. I felt sick most of the time. Depending on who I was with was how I would feel and act. Because of how insecure I was, I cared wayyyy too much about what everyone said about me. I overthought every situation and just basically shut down.

And again, I didn’t even realize I did it.

I didn’t want to let anyone see the real me with failures, doubts and shame, so my doors were closed and locked. My closest relationships struggled because I was afraid of trusting anyone with the truth of things I did in my past that I regretted and if they did know I figured they judged me for them. I just couldn’t let myself be vulnerable with those closest to me so it was a downward spiral of me not opening up, being crazy moody, pushing the people I loved away, then feeling rejected and hating myself when they gave up on me because I didn’t think I was valuable enough to fight for.

It wasn’t until a few months ago that I started to figure out this destructive habit of mine. It was actually a conversation with my mom over a hurtful situation that helped me realize it. She said, “In order to  get help and be understood, you need to ask for help and communicate how you really feel. Stop pretending you don’t care or it’s going to cause more pain.”

It was then it dawned on me that I was actually the one not fighting for me so how could I expect anyone else to?

Although that sounds like such an obvious thing, it’s harder than it seems when you aren’t really aware of closing yourself off. If we act like we are just fine in the lifestyle we are living and we don’t tell anyone what’s actually going on with us, everyone will assume we are good, when in reality we are paralyzed with pain and too afraid or proud to admit it.

So the reason for writing this is to encourage you that it’s okay to be vulnerable and trust people who love you even when what you want to share is messy. It’s actually been a relief to admit painful things and it has helped me move on from my past and make better decisions. It’s also normal to struggle being vulnerable, but just make sure you invest in people you trust.  And please don’t make the mistake I did of realizing it too late and losing a good relationship over not being able to open up and being afraid if someone special really knows the good and the bad parts of you they will leave you. That fear just led to insecurity and confusion then before I knew it, my entire thought process was wreaked. Keep in mind that if someone does leave because they don’t like or want to hear about the messy parts of your life, then you are better off  because that was not love (but that’s a whole other post for another day!).

Trust is a balance like anything else in life I guess. I have tried getting better with this by taking my time getting to know someone first and praying about it. And you can observe a lot about people’s motives and loyalty by how they talk about others. And listen, you may be vulnerable a few times and not get the response you were hoping for. We all make mistakes on both sides of trust but learn from them and don’t give up.

Recently I have really gotten a better sense of who I can trust to open up to and who doesn’t invest in me enough to be allowed access to the stuff below the surface. It’s important that we are also trustworthy…it can’t just be one-sided. I still try to see the good in people, but I do it VERY carefully and with the understanding that it takes some time and effort to know who to be vulnerable with. Just don’t be afraid to do that with the right people at the right time.

Expectations vs. Lies We Tell Ourselves

Expectations…

a term defined as “believing that something is going to happen or believing that something should be a certain way,” or in other words, high hopes that the outcome of a certain situation will be what we want it to be.

I want to be real for a minute. In the past, I personally have really struggled with allowing myself to be in certain situations that put too much pressure on myself while having the expectation to do the right thing. If you still don’t quite follow here is an example: I have struggled with depression and very bad anxiety in my past. Now not that it was the main reason, but there were certain people and things I participated in that triggered it. My expectation was that I could be around that type of atmosphere and those people, but not end up feeling depressed and lost. That was not a very realistic expectation for me personally.

Now what determines a “realistic expectation”? It all depends on how much you personally struggle with whatever temptation you are dealing with. Everyone has different triggers. So say if hanging out with a certain girl makes you feel very insecure and upset to the point you start feeling like doing things you know aren’t good, are you going to stick around? I hope not! You can’t keep lying to yourself believing this friendship doesn’t affect you in a negative way. Or, if you like a manipulating guy who only likes you back if you want to do sexual stuff, you may want to reconsider how serious you want that relationship to be and don’t allow yourself the pressure of being put in situations time and time again where your expectations can’t be met. Stop lying to yourself it will get better on its own.

It is a very tough process of giving up things we never thought we would have to, but it is an important first step of healing and meeting our expectations (which I hope are high!). One of my struggles has been picking up on other people’s pain and having an unrealistic expectation that I can “fix” them because I know they are hurting themselves with their destructive behavior. But I have realized that I can’t control them and in the process of trying to help them, I have gotten hurt because I wasn’t aware I was giving them the power to negatively affect my own choices. Only they have the power to change, I can’t do it for them. This situation has gotten me in trouble multiple times, because instead of me influencing them, they influenced me and it put me in some tough decision-making positions. I believed things that were not true and it cost me. I’ve learned how to set up and keep boundaries to make sure I meet my own expectations of keeping out negative influences and that has meant cutting off people months ago that I know were not helping me meet my personal expectations.

Although some may call me selfish, I’ve decided my spiritual, physical and emotional health has to be my first priority. Think of it like this, how will we be able to save a drowning person if we can’t swim? It is not only hurting the other person, but you are going down with them. I hope that as I grow I can also help others who are settling for lies and not meeting their expectations. I’m in a much better place lately including having done all the things I suggested like cutting off toxic people and things that I know will trip me up. I’m not going to lie, I’ve made mistakes in my past and I’m still dealing with regret, loss and pain but I have faith in God that’s going to get better.

It can be very hard to walk away from negative situations that have felt comfortable for so long, but if you want to match your reality with your expectations you have to do hard things. I’ve learned it’s definitely worth it.