being honest

Why is it so hard to tell the truth sometimes?

This is something we all have struggled with in our lives and I think will continue to struggle with. We use the word “honesty” a lot but do we truly know the meaning of it? We use it a lot of different ways and it seems to mean different things. We yell down the hall at a sibling saying we hate them  for stealing our clothes, but do we honestly hate them?  Or we tell our moms half of the truth for our plans that night thinking we are technically being honest.  Or we over exaggerate about almost every story we tell? Or we only share a few basic facts about something we screwed up on so when the truth is eventually revealed we can defensively say “oh but you didn’t specifically ask me THAT question!”

Honesty is defined as: free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere

SINCERE.

If that part of the definition doesn’t make us feel a little guilty about the times when we twisted the truth for our own benefit, then I don’t know what will! We sometimes think being honest just means being blunt, rude, and not having a filter like being “brutally” honest. But according to this definition, honesty means telling someone something in a sincere way, without twisting it, being manipulating or making it out to be something that is not 100% true.

Let me tell you this, I wish I had been honest more because, man, things in my life would have turned out so different. I wasn’t honest with myself or people I could trust and it cost me. Even today, so many of my issues are self-inflicted and if I just could tell someone I NEED HELP when I am struggling, things could go a lot smoother. I wouldn’t have suffered and caused so much pain if I could have been honest all along and my life would look different.  I can say that for the most part, I am happy where I am at right now, but I do have some regrets and things I would have done different if I had the chance to go back. I’ve just decided not to let regrets hold me back from enjoying my life now and pursuing my dreams.

I’ve realized that honesty is a lot more than just telling the truth all the time. It’s also about owning up to mistakes and choices that should have probably gone a different way and realizing what got us to that point. When we make mistakes we, as humans, feel like we have to cover it up and hide it. It’s our human nature. But there is so much freedom in telling someone the whole truth, even if there are negative consequences. It’s just such a relief not to hide.

Even though I already said that I do still have some regrets,  overall I am at peace with my past and the things that have happened to me. Being totally honest about stuff I really messed up on isn’t always easy, but I have comfort in knowing God has healed me from those painful things. And the way that led me to that healing was by being HONEST with myself and trusted people like my mama or a mentor or my sisters, or even my dad. And yes, those details are somewhat embarrassing and even awkward to tell someone, but the freedom you feel after telling someone you trust is like no other.

You know how when you cut yourself and go to your mom and ask for a Band-aid, instead of just giving you a Band-aid she says “let me clean it out first” and you know you wanna sprint the other way cause you know how much it’s gonna BURN when she cleans it out.

Welp, that is pretty much an example of being honest in those messy situations. You are going to want to sprint in the opposite direction, it’s gonna burn and hurt in the moment, but the consequences of being honest and vulnerable with someone you can trust are so rewarding and healing.

Another huge part of honesty is trusting. In order to tell someone the truth we subconsciously don’t even realize this, but we have to trust them that they will receive it. So when I screw up and go to sit down with my mom to talk about the problem, I have to trust that number one, she won’t tell anyone unless she asks me first and number two, that she will receive what I am saying and help me make a change or get through a situation (or out of one too!!). I pray that I not only have people I trust with the truth in my life, but that I can also be trustworthy for someone else.

And just an observation here but does anyone else  despise how common outright lying, distrust and “tweaking” the truth (there really is no such thing as a little white lie !) are so common in today’s relationships? Even when someone asks what’s wrong and the response is “I’m just tired” or “I’m just busy” but it really is just that person avoiding a conversation, that’s not being honest (and how many times have we all done that??)! I am telling you right now if someone’s behavior is doing nothing but hurting you to get what they want by lying and using you over and over again, PLEASE GET OUT of that relationship.  And know the difference between someone who loves you and lies in an attempt to protect you (although that’s still that’s not remotely ok and needs to be dealt with) and someone who lies because they don’t want to get “caught”. Listen, if you’re a dude (or a girl) reading this and you lie to your gf/ bf or family or friends on a regular basis, please consider writing down everything you know you lied about, talk to the person you have been lying to and tell them what you have been doing and that you are going to be more honest from here on out. It’s going to be really hard and it’s a risk but imagine if everyone did this and wiped the slates clean? I’m telling y’all there is freedom in admitting where you screwed up, asking forgiveness and then letting go of the past.  I would never suggest doing these things if I didn’t do it myself.

I hope if you read this and get anything from this post that you understand this: telling someone you are struggling and being honest (and sincere!) in relationships, friendships and family will literally change your life. If anything knowing we are going to be more honest makes us think through our choices better since we will be accountable for telling the truth. When I am tempted to lie, I literally ask myself how would (fill in the name) feel if they found out I lied to them about this? It will also make life so much easier because if your honest all the time, you don’t have to remember who you told this or who you told that, because you will be consistent in everything you say. And I know some people aren’t gonna receive the truth very well, but give them time to process especially if it’s a tough situation and the truth hurts. I know I have had to give some time and space (and prayer!) to the people I have lied to and it’s totally understandable. And please don’t expect anything less then to receive honesty back, don’t settle for relationships and friendships that you can’t trust. Telling the truth really  should be a normal expectation.

Love y’all and I am already working on another blog to get out over the weekend. Feel free to comment anytime with topics you’d like to hear about. xoxo and enjoy some time off for Easter break. <33

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Self-confidence

I think we can all relate to struggling at some point with trying to figure out who we really are and what we really believe. That’s part of growing up and I don’t think we will ever stop learning things about ourselves. So how do we view ourselves now? Do we like ourselves or not? Did you know that self-confidence really just means that we can trust in our God-given gifts without thinking we are rock stars?

And the reason for this blog post isn’t just to say…

“You need self-confidence to be happy so love yourself more, pamper yourself with bubble baths and tell someone you love them, blah blah, blah…”

All that stuff is great, who doesn’t love a relaxing bubble bath or telling someone your true feelings? But I hate to break it to ya…you can’t stay in the bathtub forever and sometimes the feelings you share aren’t mutual. So now what do we do to really take care of ourselves, to maintain our self-confidence, when reality hits hard?

Let’s start with this…

Know the difference between CONFIDENCE, PRIDE/COCKINESS and INSECURITY.

When you have self-confidence, you are so sure of who you are and who you are meant to be that you can humbly put others’ needs and success before your own. So in other words, it’s knowing your worth so well that you want others to find theirs, too!

Cockiness is putting your own needs and success before others…and usually in an obnoxious way! Believe it or not, cockiness can actually be a sign of not having much self-confidence. If someone is hurt or very insecure, many times they try to cover that hurt up with being so into themselves and telling everyone how much better they are then everyone else. Or maybe someone is acting cocky because they have been told for a long time how amazing they are at doing something and it just goes to their head (hey, and maybe we can relate to that at some point in our lives?).

When you are insecure, you just can’t be recognized for anything you do well. You get uncomfortable when people complement you. You may also be the person who apologizes for breathing. If that’s you, most likely you aren’t just shy, you have been hurt and this is your way of protecting yourself from getting hurt again. It’s time for you to break out of that and enjoy being you.

Here’s some things to consider and figure out if you are self-confident, cocky or insecure:

1. Are you able to recognize your strengths and gifts, and with that are you also able to share your weaknesses in order to receive help?
If you answered yes to these questions, then YAY. That’s good to be aware of your strengths and work on your weaknesses buuuuut if you answered no, let’s talk. Listen, it’s hard to live in this current society and have a high opinion of yourself. It’s weird how we will post selfies and then tell everyone how ugly we are. I know that I have felt uncomfortable when someone has pointed out something I’m good at (and depending on who and where, felt REALLY uncomfortable when they pointed out something I’m not so good at haha).

Sometimes when I’m really struggling with feeling insecure and worthless, I look in the mirror (lock your door if you want cause this is kinda awkward the first couple times and it would be even more awkward if your like 10 year old brother walked in) straight in my eyes and say, “You’re special and talented and God created you for a reason.” I usually say it 13 times cause that’s my favorite number but do it however many times you need to say it until you believe it.

Secondly, being able to realize your weaknesses and get help isn’t a bad thing at all. I think our generation thinks it’s so weak asking for help and so many of us have trust issues that we would never admit we are struggling. Nobody wants a lecture but sometimes that’s exactly what we need.

Hear me on this, if you’re struggling with something, please tell someone close to you. If my friends or family are hurt, I want to know, I want to help. I want to know if you think about harming yourself, I want to know if you feel like you need to go back to that guy who only snaps you at midnight for what he can get from you that night. I want to know if you feel confused, worthless or upset and I’m sure I’m not the only person who cares. You would be BLOWN AWAY about how many friends and family care about you and want to help you if you give them the chance to.

2. Do you get easily offended when someone corrects you or points out a weakness?
If you answered no, then good job! But if you answered yes, why does being corrected bother you? When we get offended, we are allowing ourselves to let anger and sadness take over our thoughts and that will kill our self-confidence. It’s totally okay to be disappointed when a negative comment is made, but think about the source and if it could be true or not instead of “I can’t believe she said that!” and telling the first 14 people you see how rude she is. Sometimes we don’t even realize how other people see us! In any case, don’t let someone’s comments or opinion affect your emotions. People can only build you up or tear your down if you let them and we should never rely on opinions (good or bad) for our self-confidence.

3. Do you get angry or jealous if someone gets a compliment or is recognized in a positive way?
If you answered no, then dude, you’re good once again! Thanks for reading my blog even though it seems like you don’t need it lol! But if you answered yes, this is a serious character flaw. I do think just about everyone goes through feeling like this at some point. Deep down we all want others to see the good things in us so when we are ignored while someone else gets the attention, we can be crazy jealous and react in a bad way. If this happens to you on a regular basis, talk to someone about how you feel so you can figure out what triggers you when this happens and fix it. Some of you may say, “I can’t be happy for him, he did that one thing that one time and he doesn’t deserve to be complimented… blah blah blah.” Whatever someone has done to you that hurt, you need to forgive and move on for your own sake. If you are truly self-confident in who you have been created to be, you won’t be threatened by other people having success, no matter who they are.

4. Do you find yourself posting things for the likes, retweets and comments rather than the actual content or just for your own enjoyment?
If you answered no, you’re probably lying soooo but this one is tough. I think because it is “social” media we all post for the attention or why else would we post things in the first place? But getting frustrated when your selfie hasn’t reached 100 likes in 15 minutes may be an issue. I would suggest a social media fast until you get your head on straight and not be obsessed with how well your posts do. It’s really important not to get your confidence from social media because that’s so up and down! It’s no better thinking that the girl with 500 likes on a pic is better than a girl who got 70 likes on hers…but we are all guilty of this kind of thinking and then we wonder why we are so cocky or insecure. Trust me, I can assure you that when you stop refreshing your phone every minute to see whether “Johnny” liked that selfie you just posted, you will thank yourself.

5. Okay thanks for sticking with me, here’s the last question…do you believe God makes mistakes?
If you answered yes, I would love to sit down and chat to see why you think that and hear you out. But if you answered no, then why aren’t you loving yourself and others and seeing all of us as God’s creation? If we could all have confidence that we are created in God’s image and if we could love ourselves and others the way God does, this world would be so different. I wish I could see people through God’s eyes because His love is completely unconditional!

I do hope you take some time to really evaluate how you feel about yourself and I hope this was helpful. I know even as I wrote it, I started realizing some things that I could change. When life hits hard and things don’t go as planned, we need to remember we still have a purpose. And if you didn’t get anything out of what I wrote up to this point, please just get this: You are so valued and I hope you start to look at your life as important while you also see the value in other people, too. Believe in yourself, realize your gifts and admit your weaknesses. Okay that’s all for now. Love y’all! xoxo

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

 

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