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

 

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people pleaser

Did you see her Snap story?

Did you hear who she was hanging out with Saturday?

Did you see what she was wearing?

 

Since being in high school I was always so worried what other people said about me. I feared being judged and excluded over what I would do and post or who I was friends with, so on and so on. It wasn’t until earlier this year that I really grasped the concept of doing things for myself and not caring what others said. I’m not talking about being rude or gross and saying “Too bad, that’s just me.” I’m saying that I tried to stop following the crowd when it was headed in the wrong direction and I stopped pretending to care about stuff that really wasn’t that important.

Being a “people pleaser” is a huge issue and teens don’t just struggle with this…even adults do. It’s a want and need to please others, feel accepted and go to huge lengths just to be liked by others. It usually means giving up our own identity in favor of what is popular or expected and that’s not usually a good thing as a teenager. Let’s just say a lot of what is considered acceptable by kids my age isn’t usually good for us.

Recently I have started to do things just for myself without needing the approval of anyone else, including this blog! In recent months instead of being so attached to my phone and watching what everyone else was doing, I’ve started journaling, painting, taking photos and singing just for my own self enjoyment. I stopped apologizing constantly for normal stuff like sharing my opinion and I’ve tried really hard not to let people get to me when they think it’s funny to embarrass me or someone else I know and love because we aren’t doing what everyone else is doing.

I’ve even changed up my style. I find myself shopping saying to myself, “Is this what the rest of the world expects me to wear, or do I actually like this?” because that was one of the things I struggled with even at a younger age. I always wanted to look like everyone else and be complimented except the problem was shopping for clothes at all the “cool” places was conflicting with what my mama thought was appropriate for me to wear! So let’s just say it was a constant battle of “you are not walking out of the house in that!!”

Now I understand more of why she told me that and I have embraced my own style which is a little more….ummmm…..”conservative” than in the past. I still get to wear what I like and those fights don’t happen anymore. It’s actually funny because I noticed that I get more compliments now on more appropriate clothing choices than I did when I was wearing stuff that caused big fights with my parents. Who knew?

Another major thing I have recently realized is that I used to post VSCO and Instagram pictures, tweets, Snapchat stories, and Facebook statuses just for likes or favorites; I wasn’t posting them for my own enjoyment. I would spend so much time making sure I was happy with how I looked and I would agonize after posting a photo that no matter what I never looked good or I sounded stupid. Black and white got a little gray sometimes and I know there were things I should not have posted. Now when I share anything, it’s pictures/updates of things I enjoy doing, happy memories or with people I enjoy being with. I’m NOT perfect with every post….I still have weak moments and wonder later if I should have done it but aren’t we all a work in progress? I do try to post things that make me happy and I also don’t spend hours anymore obsessing over who likes it or didn’t. If people don’t like what I post they can scroll past it or unfollow me!

And listen, we all have found ourselves either judging others or being judged and realizing that has really helped me to watch myself better. We can’t possibly know what motivates someone when they are friends or not friends with someone, they post a certain photo or tweet something, or break up with a boy or girlfriend, etc. without really knowing the person and situation. We are all still learning so I have made an effort to be more encouraging instead of judgemental.

To be honest, it has been hard for me to stop being a people pleaser but now I have made an effort to be more aware when I start to fall back into that mindset (and it helps to have family/friends hold you accountable). I pray about it, too and that really helps. Personally I want to be free to live life the way I want to in a respectful way that helps other people feel better instead of worse about themselves. It can be lonely at times not “fitting in” by doing things it seems like everyone else is doing but in the long run it’s worth it. Life is hard. It hurts sometimes and we really do need each other to be more encouraging.

I am far from perfect but I’m learning that life has a lot more to offer than shallow conversations and being petty. You should never have to pretend to be someone you aren’t or beg another person for attention…you are way too valuable for that. I am trying to practice being more genuine and vulnerable and in this process I’m learning who my real friends are, too. No more wasting time with people who don’t really want me in their lives for the right reasons.

So I encourage you to put down your cell phone, live in the moment and go have fun with friends being real and doing what you know is right for you to do. I heard a really cool quote one time that went something like this:

Are you truly happy or do you just want people to think you’re happy?

That really hit me hard because let’s face it, why are we doing some of the things we do especially if we know they aren’t good for us? Let’s stop putting on a show just so other people accept us. It’s crazy to think that just a few small choices we make in life could completely change everything and we will be happier and not so stressed out.

That B Word…

Okay we all knew this blog post was coming soon, so I might as well get it out now… I am a teenage girl so my and my friends’ lives have always seemed to revolve around boys. Although I have grown up in an all girl family, I still found myself almost constantly around the male species. My mom tells me I was one of only two girls many times in the church nursery and at my preschool. The boys in elementary school were always less drama than the girls so I preferred to hang out with them.

As I grew up, I watched my mom and dad’s relationship very closely; my dad was my hero when it came to men. I looked up to him for everything, and at some points I would wish I was a boy, just so I could grow up to be him. The reason I am telling you this is because my dad did everything right…he threw the baseball with me, he took me fishing, he prayed for me, he cuddled with me when I was having a bad day and he respected me when I needed space, yet as I grew into my teen years, I found myself still craving that male attention. I think most girls can relate to this.

At times I look back and wonder where things went wrong…was it the time I told my first crush I liked him? Or was it the time that “player” of a boy texted me and said I was “hot”? Was it the time I had my first kiss? The time I drank and let my guard down…again I’m being real here. I’m not proud of some of the choices I made but I sure did learn from them. These are all questions that haunt me of why I made guys paying attention to me such a big deal. Why did it take me so long to realize when enough was enough?

What hurts me the most is the fact after all these idiotic choices I made, my dad thought it was his fault that I was trying so hard to get this type of attention. He wondered what he did wrong to make me crave it. But he didn’t do anything wrong…it was me and what I thought I was expected to do. Although I made those choices and I take full responsibility, today’s society has taken the word “morals” and has done a complete 360. I allowed negative influences and unhealthy stuff that seemed “normal” to dictate some of my choices. If you are on the internet you can agree with me that females are being viewed constantly for sexual enjoyment and many seem to actually enjoy doing it. Sadly, in today’s society being told “your a** is fat” is considered more of a compliment than “you look pretty today.” It’s totally normal for girls to be expected to dress and behave inappropriately to be accepted. Even by other girls!

I have this one friend who is the most gorgeous person I have ever met in my life, she is outgoing, she is crazy smart, she can sing, dance, her artwork is phenomenal and she is the total package. The only thing is she has been very picky with who she gives her time to and recently she has enlightened me on the fact she gets very lonely and that no one is interested. Now this is coming from a beautiful girl inside and out who gets attention, just not the kind she thinks she needs to be getting.

What? She’s amazing in every way possible but she’s not getting told her bootie looks good in her snap story so she thinks no guy is interested in her? And why aren’t they?

How sad is it that boys thinking you are sexy is so highly desired in today’s society that we forget all the valuable things we have to offer. Today’s norm has taught us girls that male attention along with being talked and thought about sexually is the ultimate goal. We will have power if guys find us attractive.

How messed up is this?

This is something I wish I knew about sooner and wish I had understood the trap I was falling for. I realized that however I put myself out there to the world is what I will attract. I have absolutely no desire for shallow relationships with anyone based on appearances.  And I admit I still slip up every once in awhile being overly concerned about how I look, but now that I have became aware of this behavior, it gets a bit easier to fix each time.

I have lived so much of my life trying to make sure I looked good for guys to notice me or to make my boyfriend feel proud to be with me (even though my last one was a good guy who never expected that…I just assumed he did) but one day awhile back I decided to really focus on myself and what I wanted and what made ME happy.

And I am not being over dramatic when I say this…but it has literally changed my life. I now have girls’ night outs with no guys and have the time of my life and I used to not be able to do that. I can put my phone down and live in the moment. I don’t have to try to look perfect for every picture I’m in. I’m enjoying this freedom and not trying to impress anyone. I’m not going to be giving my heart away based just on comments about what I look like…I want someone interested in the real me.  I’m in no hurry to date because the bar has been set high and there’s no need to rush anything.

So I guess the reason I am writing this right now is for girls to know that you need to start loving yourself and you never have to act or dress a certain way to get attention from guys. And just know there are respectful guys out there! If he’s a good guy, sure you want him to think you are beautiful, but more importantly he will take the time to get to know your heart. And just know that you are not alone in this struggle of wanting that kind of attention, but you deserve better than just being told you’re hot.

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.