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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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

 

the little things

I think we can all admit we’ve struggled sometimes with seeing the good things right in front of us. Like how amazing your mother really is or how much your sister really does show her love for you or how God has placed every star in the sky for our pure pleasure. 

It’s truly amazing to think of all the simple things in life that constantly go unnoticed or unsaid. It is also very sad. If we would pay close attention to be thankful for what we have instead of complaining about what we don’t, we would have a lot more peace. 

So with this post I am challenging you to notice the little things…

I challenge you to look your mom in the eyes and tell her you love her before you frantically storm out of the house because you’re running late.

Or tell your brother you’re proud of him for his accomplishments and that you’re glad he’s your brother. 

Or pray and thank God for another day of life and His unconditional love.

One of the biggest challenges I have had to overcome was a car accident that nearly killed me in July 2015. Other than learning the obvious lesson that a seat belt can in fact save your life, I learned something very valuable as a result of what happened that day. 

In life you will look back at the little things and realize they were the big things. 

I can assure you, people won’t remember that you didn’t have a homecoming date or that party you were or were not invited to or the time you accidentally wore black and navy, but instead they will remember how you took time and picked up their books when they dropped them all on the ground, or encouraged them when they seemed upset or how you helped with Special Olympics and put a smile on every face you interacted with. 

People don’t remember what you do, they remember how you made them feel. 

And with small gestures like holding the door open for someone, being a good listener or even just saying please and thank you, we can brighten someone’s day in a small way. 

So just remember to appreciate the little things as you go throughout your days. What can you do to make at least one person’s day a little better this week? That’s all for now…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

 

girl power

Hey guys! It’s been awhile because life has been super busy in the best way possible. This past summer was one I will remember for the rest of my life. I had the opportunity to go to Saint Lucia as mentioned in earlier blogs and OH MY !!!! It is so beautiful and none of my pictures even do it justice! The people there are amazing and so open to the love of the Lord. It was totally incredible and life-changing.

Okay so let’s get to the point of this post that has been something I’ve wanted to write about for awhile. Recently, I heard a story that literally made me stop in my tracks and say out loud, “Why is this okay?”

We girls have got to stop attacking one another.

This situation was a girl had been dating a guy who cheated on her with another girl (quick rabbit trail, don’t be in relationships just because you don’t want to be alone).  Now instead of breaking up with this guy who she knew cheated, and honestly I don’t know the whole circumstance so I am not judging whatsoever, she accused the other girl of lying and then actually started rumors about the girl! Should she have cheated with another girl’s boyfriend? Of course not. But what did the boyfriend get out of this? Rumors spread about him? No. His girlfriend breaking up with him. No.

The saddest part about this whole situation is this is not the first time I have heard of similar situations.  I get that every case is different, but tearing down another girl to make yourself feel better NEEDS TO STOP. I’m sure you will all agree that we are under a lot of pressure but girls, we need to understand, we are all in this together and none of us are perfect.

The last time I checked, God made us ALL in his image. I understand mistakes are made, friendships fade and hearts are broken, but playing dirty and attacking someone else’s self-confidence out of jealousy and insecurity is something that has been going on for way too long and needs to stop.

We girls have to stop feeding the double standard (and guys if you are reading this, you do, too!)

Now another thing that really grinds my gear is double standards. You know what I’m talking about.  It’s like the guy who hooks up with a bunch of girls is “the GOAT”, but a girl who does one thing, one time with one guy is called a slut and will forever be defined by that label no matter how much she changes.

Yep makes perfect sense, right?

NO IT DOESN’T.

The sad part of all this is that you would assume just the guys feed this double standard, when actually girls love to gossip about other girls this way, maybe even more than the guys talk about it. I totally get that sexual impurity is bad and we have got to have a higher standard for ourselves, but to not put equal blame on both genders NEEDS TO END. Shame is an ugly thing to carry and sadly too many girls are stuck in it feeling worthless when they should feel valued and forgiven for their mistakes. We don’t need to agree with those mistakes but we need to be encouragement for one another, don’t you think?

If you cannot relate to the last example, consider this. I know of a situation where a guy cheated in the relationship and he blamed his girlfriend because she didn’t “put out” enough, but then as soon as the girl cheated the guy broke it off and said he has no tolerance for cheating. And people seemed to be okay with this logic!

I wish I made this story up, but I really didn’t.

Now I get that the entire relationship was not healthy for that stuff to be happening, but do you see the obvious double standard? I hear some crazy one-sided stories involving  what’s expected of the girl vs. the guy in relationships and I hope every girl knows she deserves better than a guy who cheats (and vice versa). No excuses.

These types of things happen in today’s society, and not just once or twice, but it happens a lot. It makes my heart sad and I pray one day we all become more aware of how we treat others and really put ourselves in their shoes. In the meantime, I challenge you not to judge before you get a chance to get to know a person. How about if we stop labeling people, too? That’s just not our place to do that. We have no idea what other’s people’s motives are. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes will change your perspective and hopefully makes you do complete 360 on the way you see things if you have been believing that girls tearing down other girls and double standards are okay.

That’s all I got today, guys. Thanks for reading! xoxo

girl drama

Girls can be brutal to one another.

We like to hide behind fake smiles. But we all have done it. It’s easy to scroll through Insta and pass judgement on what someone is wearing, what they are doing or who someone is with (or not with anymore). Maybe because it makes us feel a little better about ourselves or maybe we don’t realize we even do it. Or maybe we have our own agenda like trying to make sure that cute guy we like understands what a horrible person THAT girl is.

Why does it seem like we don’t have any courage? Guys and girls should stop being afraid of confrontation. Phasing people out of your life with no explanation or back-stabbing and manipulating them is ten times worse than brutal honesty. I hate not knowing what I did to just make someone not care anymore. When we try not to hurt someone by lying and they find out, we do way more damage then just explaining the problem. How many great friendships or boy/girlfriends have we lost and we aren’t even really sure what happened?

I’ve had relationships ruined with people I do know because (mostly) girls who don’t know anything about me trash talked about me…people who “pick a side” and make up their minds about my motives based on their own assumptions. If you ever wonder why I’ve said and done things that hurt myself or others, then ask ME please. Don’t assume and turn people I care about against me, especially if you don’t even know anything about me. Or better yet, try to understand or get to know me instead of judging. I’ll try to do the same to you. We really need to be supportive instead of acting like everything we do is a competition. We also need to be honest and not twist things around to make the story a little more dramatic. And let’s stop the name calling and slut shaming.

It is also very sad to think of all the friendships lost because of a boy who couldn’t have friends that were girls if he was dating someone. And girls who got jealous and over protective so they attack any girl that even looks at their boyfriend. Some girls make everything a competition and it shouldn’t be like that. We should be working together, not tearing each other apart.

It’s much easier said then done, but what if for one day we decide we aren’t going to say anything judgmental about anyone? What if when we see THAT person pop up on our phone screen that we don’t let ourselves give in to a rude comment? What if we take time to reach out to the people God put in our lives just to let them know we care? What would our mindset be if we just encourage others instead of focusing on our hurts and feeling like a victim all the time? Because we are NOT victims. God will use every horrible thing that’s happened to us and what we have done and make something good come from it. If we really believe that we would live our lives so different and be a lot more forgiving.

So I encourage you to text that girl you have not seen in months or apologize to that friend who you may have hurt with mean words out of frustration. Let’s not judge girls for the things we heard about them and instead get to know them first. I’m telling myself all this stuff too because sometimes my own insecurity has me comparing myself to other girls. And always remember who has your back at the end of the day because I want my friends to know that I won’t let any competition over a guy’s attention or misunderstanding come between us.  Nobody is perfect so let’s try not to expect more from other people than we expect from ourselves and we should try to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. If you don’t feel accepted and valuable by the people you are hanging out with, then you are friends with the wrong people!

cocky or confident?

It’s been a little while since my last post. I have a bunch of ideas in my head but then when I try to write I feel like I keep saying the same things! I don’t always want to talk about negative experiences and having to grow from them becasue my life consists of so much more than that, but I do want to talk about the struggles I’ve experienced growing up trying to figure out what the difference is between being confident and cocky. I’m not sure I have figured that out yet but I think I have learned a few things that I want to share.

Although these both are internal feelings that we all experience I noticed that you can usually tell the difference by the way you treat other people. Being cocky isn’t just what we see the “mean girls” do in the Disney channel movies. Cockiness is putting yourself before everyone else and thinking you are better. It can come off as being rude, judgemental, obnoxious “show offs” and blowing people off. I have done all those things but didn’t think I was being cocky until I was on the other side being around someone else acting like that and it made me feel pretty worthless. It’s pretty horrible when you try to talk to someone whose responses just make you feel like you have been dismissed and you mean nothing to them.

But having confidence is being so secure in who you are that it makes you want to help others feel good about themselves too. When you are confident it doesn’t matter who is watching or expecting you to behave a certain way, you do the RIGHT thing and you value others. I also think that confident people realize they aren’t perfect and admit their mistakes, but cocky people act as if they are perfect and think that admitting they did something wrong makes them weak.

There was a time when I first became Miss Hummelstown that I legitimately was afraid to tell people because I didn’t want to sound cocky. I was paranoid everytime my mom took a picture because even though I knew that reason I wanted to be Miss Hummelstown didn’t have to do with wearing a crown I felt so judged! How terrible is that?? I know that sometimes in the past I had misjudged people for being confident and I was afraid people would do the same thing to me. Until I got comfortable in that position and confident knowing I was where God wanted me to be. I definitely didn’t feel like I was better than anyone else and I can honestly say the best part about doing it was seeing the smiles on little kids faces when I would color with them at the Christmas event or pass out Easter eggs (okay okay and riding in the mayor’s convertible was also one of my favorites…but I don’t think that makes me cocky, right?).

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that being confident is so much better on both sides than being cocky. And listen it’s okay to let people see the great things happening in your life! We should all be happy for one another instead of making it a competition or judging. Sometimes we just have to check ourselves. If you hurt someone’s feelings trying to come off as being better/prettier/smarter/more important than them or dismissing them, try to make it right. Think about how you want others to treat you and then try to do that yourself. I have literally stopped myself mid text message or conversation and thought, wow, I’m coming across like a jerk right now so I need to back off. That can be hard when we are feeling defensive or attacked but that’s where we have to have confidence and be comfortable with who we are and understand we don’t have to prove anything. Sometimes the best answer is not to tell everyone how right and awesome you are, but to tell someone else how valuable they are. It’s a learning process like everything else I have blogged about. Practice makes perfect, right?

regrets

regrets…

Lots and lots of them.

In past blogs I’ve mentioned that my whole life I have struggled with letting go of the past and recently I’m feeling wrecked over decisions I really regret making. It’s been hard to move past them. I have good days and then I have days I just feel broken and I can’t snap out of it.

Just being honest.

Yes, I understand we are only human and we all make mistakes. Yes, I understand things happen to us and we cause things to happen we didn’t mean to, but there are times when thinking of the past leaves me with nothing but emptiness in my heart.

So I’m struggling right now but I do have hope. I’m realizing that time doesn’t heal our hearts. God heals our hearts.

This is a tough topic to talk about when I’m personally struggling with it, but I know I’m not the only one who does so I thought it may help to tell you some of the things I have been doing to help myself get over constantly thinking about the things I did wrong and the consequences from those choices.

First you have to tell someone what you did and that you are struggling, whether it’s your mom, best friend, sister, a youth pastor, counselor or another trustworthy person in your life. And please make sure you tell someone if you are so overwhelmed with pain that you want to hurt yourself. We need other people in our lives to encourage us, hold us accountable and see things from a different perspective. Yes, that’s scary and being vulnerable. Trust me, it’s worth the weight that comes off of you when you tell someone you trust.

Next I think is helpful is to journal and write down everything you’re feeling… EVERYTHING whether it’s bad or good write it all down. Then give yourself 15-30 minutes to think about this choice you made, how you were feeling when you made it, were the consequences worth it, let yourself cry, pray and then that’s it, stand your ground that you know the situation can’t be changed no matter how much you think about it cause it’s in the past. I’ve made the mistake at times of tweeting stuff that I thought would make me feel better but it really didn’t and I just felt worse. It’s much better to journal just for you to see because nobody who just casually follows your Twitter will ever totally understand what you are going through.

Finally if this decision or regret caused hurt to others, you need to say sorry (preferably in person) even if they don’t except it, you at least owe them that. Make the decision to try to fix things if you can and if not, learn from it and don’t repeat it. I know I’ve hurt my family in the past but thank God we are moving on and I’m regaining their trust again. I’m sad to say I’ve done some pretty stupid things and have hurt some wonderful people in my life. The worst part is because it took me awhile to realize this, I’ve lost a couple really special ones. Those are the consequences I’m trying to live with and what motivates me from never taking anyone or anything for granted.

Although I have tried everything in the book to go back and time travel, I can’t. I don’t want this to be a heavy post but if there’s one thing I understand now is that God gives us opportunities and people in our lives and when we don’t treat them the way they deserve to be treated we can lose them. No stupid temporary lifestyle or convenience is worth that.

As much as it hurts me to deal with regrets, those decisions have brought me to where I am today so I can only do the best I know how to do going forward. I’ve chosen to try to learn from the past and think less about the regrets by controlling where I let my mind go. The worst thing you can do is allow yourself to be sad and lonely over the past which then makes you more likely to make more bad decisions. That’s just a bad cycle that will go on and on if you don’t realize it. That’s why I do better writing stuff down because I’m less likely to do it again when I see maybe WHY I did what I did.

Just remember that everyday we get a fresh brand new start to make better choices, learn from the past and live the lives we want to live. I’m reminding myself of that all day, every day!

 

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.

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.