Just A Little Boost for the Brain

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How we think & what we think effects how and what we do within our lives.

It’s a pretty simple equation, although the work put into to achieving  the equations proves to be  challenging.

I have a quote on my mirror and it acts as a positive thinking reminder. It goes as follows:

Positive Thoughts = Positive Results
Negative Thoughts = Negative Results

This quote is pretty black and white, but in its simplicity it does the job. It reminds me that if I want to be a positive version of me I need to master how I think about me in a positive light.

I strongly recommend having a reminder posted so you can look at it and remind yourself of your goal. Avoid the concept out of sight out of mind and embrace positive self talk as a tool in your arsenal of self betterment and love.

– Steph

Are You Knocking on the Same Door?

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This quote is pretty much amazing!

Going through life I think it’s safe to say that we all get excited when new doors of opportunity are opened for us, the notion of something better coming our way is fantastic, right?

But! How in the world will we ever get to those doors if we do the same-old-same-old? Complacency & Comfort these are the two words that lead us to the same door we just walked thru.

Let’s use another analogy…. You are taking a drive and you come to a fork in the road, you can either turn left or right in attempt to get to your magnificent destination with a magnificent door. You decide to take a left, sadly this left ends up being a big loop that brings you right back to your original road, so once again you are faced with that fork in the road. What road do you pick?

Holy cow!!! You pick the left again!! What??! Wait??! Why??!  Why would you pick the left again when you know it swings back around to where you originally started??

Your answer  “Ohhh silly Stephanie, I turned left again because I know that road already; I  know what to expect, I know where all the bumps and potholes are in the road now and I don’t know what to expect when I turn right.” Does that answer sound logical to you?

Taking the right, that would be a path you’ve never been on, it might be a little bumpier than the one you’ve already driven on BUT out of the two options it will be the path that leads you two the magnificent destination you initially set out to find. How can I be so sure? Because the left road, the one you’ve driven on and chose to drive on again and again gets you no where. It’s a fact I know & you know, yet you choose to drive it over and over again thinking maybe just maybe it’s going to lead you to that magnificent destination this time.

We can’t get somewhere new, we can’t experience something new, we can’t grow into someone new IF we keep driving down the same road and keep opening the same door.

What is that quote about insanity…. trying the same thing over and over again with the expectation of a different outcome, now I’m not saying your insane BUT if the shoe fits … haha I am totally kidding I’m seriously not calling anyone insane. What I am saying is be aware of the doors your walking towards and going through, if it’s the same one over and over again then you need to brace yourself for an adventure to go towards the new door full of glorious new opportunities!

Ask yourself and take your pick.

-Steph

Don’t Let this Rob You

“I’ll be happy when -”

How often do we fall victim to this elusive statement? How often to we rob ourselves of happiness in the present momemt because we are so consumed with the final destination that we believe will cure all our woes?

I’ve been incredibly guilty of using this phrase excessively in the past, I used it so often I probably could have had my trademark stamped on it.

So what changed? I’ve taken back the power to be in charge of my happiness; I’ve acknowledged and I call it for what it is – a dreadful distortion. It has been a hard mental habit to kick BUT like I always say – progress not perfection.

When we always look towards the “I’ll be happy when”, we miss out on the now. We miss out on memories that could have been beautiful because we are harvesting a continual dissatisfaction with our current situation.

I’ve literally moved to different cities in pursuit of my “I’ll be happy when”, and did I find my happiness? NO. I’ve starved myself because I thought I’d be happy when I was skinny – was I happy? NO I’ve bought things because of the temporary happiness I thought they’d bring was enough for me to be happy at that time. Was it? NO, no it wasn’t.

Being happy with the journey builds so much more confidence in one’s self than seeking a stagnant destination. Once you reach whatever you’ve deemed your happiness, is that it? Will you do nothing else, will you pursue nothing else? Most likely not SO what does that mean? It means you will then attach your happiness to another ending, you will never experience a completeness.

“Finding Joy in the Journey”, a worthy phrase to try to live by. Your journey, and your happiness is not determined by one single moment, it’s a compilation of moments. Of course there are things that will make us happy that we haven’t achieved yet BUT as we work in achieving those goals the key is to stop and smell the flowers that are along our path, recognize what we have right in front of us THAT will contribute to our goal becoming that much better when attained.

How sweet will be our happiness when we can literally be happy in the present moment, without our happiness being dictated by it’s attatchement to someone or something singularly.

-Steph

Make a Move Monday!

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Guess which one is my gloved hand ….

If you guessed pink, you are correct! The blue glove belongs to my sister, I bought us matching gloves because we’re cool like that …. or extra nerdy… take your pick.

Today was day 1 of our 3 month fitness journey that we are embarking on together. Fitness is important to me and I wanted to share that love with my sister (s).

I was fortunate enough to win 3 free months at my gym; I could take them for myself or give them to another individual. I’ve chosen to give the membership to my older sister so she can workout with me. We both have an end goal after our 3 months is up and I’m incredibly excited and motivated to share this experience with her.

My Stats: June 15th
Height: 5’4 3/4
Bust: 43″
Waist: 31.5
Hips: 44″

For clarificationdont i don’t care about the weight on my scale, inches are what I care about. For kicks & giggles when I reach my 3 months I’ll post what my weight is at currently and what it is when I finish. Weight is not the important factor on a fitness journey which is ironically also called a “weightless journey”

Why not? Becauese we all carry our weight differently and we carry/build muscle mass, so it’s important not to get caught up with the number on the scale.

I’m curvy – it’s in my genetics, I’m half Nicaraguan so the Latina side kicked in for me and my figure. Do I have a thigh gap? NO! Will I ever have one? NO! Am I okay with that? YES! Once upon a time I thought I needed that gap in order to be beautiful I needed to be super skinny … I loathed my figure BUT one day it hit me, my curves were beautiful, my thickness was beautiful and once I started working out because I loved my body it became a passion of mine, an oasis on earth, I could be refined and enhance my natural features. Don’t work out because you hate your body, work out because you love it and it’s the only one you’ll ever have.

Enough babble for now.
But Monday AM gym time – Done.
Monday 30 min bike ride (with my younger sister)- Done.

Happy Monday & good luck checking off a goal on your list today!

– Steph

Out with the Old – In with the New

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When it comes to getting rid of a bad habit or even a crummy ex *cough cough* which is basically the same thing. I have a few words of advice that stem from personal reading, talking with one of my super heros a.k.a my doctor AND from direct experience.

Firstly, replace the bad with something new! If you are going to cut something from your life you are inevitably going to create a space, a void, a black hole! Do you catch my drift? You will need a positive replacement in order to sustain long term results. Something that will help you be a better version of you. I’ve turned to reading books, hitting the gym, cross stitching  (you read that right! It’s a skill under development)
If you choose to drop a habit a positive replacement is a must. It allows you to focus your energy elsewhere, and acts as a positive reinforcement for the new direction of your life.

Secondly, self talk. Postitive self talk. How we talk to ourselves is critical to how we see ourselves. If you always talk down to yourself, telling yourself you’re going to fail… you will. If you break yourself down before you even give yourself a chance to try… you will in fact fail. AND then you’ll talk yourself down even more for failing like you said you would. Don’t do that! Positive affirmations, Progress Not Perfection.

Which leads me to number 3. Be realistic. When I ended it with my ex, I gave my self an unrealistic timeline of 2 weeks. 2 weeks and I would be over a 2 year relationship… that stemmed back to us being in each others lives since gr 8. Unrealistic much??! And when I failed I was so angry at myself. I was weak, I was pathetic, he wasn’t worth anymore of my tears…. blah blah blah. BUT the flaw to my plan and train of thought was that I forgot I’m human. We are all human so lets be realistic. My reality was not 2 weeks to be over him… heck I’m in the months zone and I’m just getting “over him”. My reality was “don’t go back to him!”And I got that right this time. Why?? Because I began to let myself hurt, cry, be angry, confused and I let myself miss him without condeming and repremanding myself. GIVE yourself realistic goals; when you make a significant change allow yourself to mourn or think of what you let go BUT remind yourself that your letting it go for a reason AND that there is so much more good life ahead of you.

Lastly… give yourself a pat on the back. Acknowledge and give yourself credit for deciding to make a change in your life. Recognizing is one step, taking action is the next. So your on the right track.

We’ll get there – progress not perfection.

– Steph

The Great Purge – Love

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I’m a recovering addict. Not of drugs but of a love that was enveloped in abuse. I was in a relationship that had conditions and it had cycles. Predictable cycles, everything would be going along perfectly then he would drink. He would drink and turn into a monster. He would say things I never imagined he would ever say to me. Call me things I never imagined he would ever call me. Accuse me of things I’ve never done NOR would I ever do. But he did.

I’ve never called him anything, I’ve never put him down, sworn or cursed at him -I just don’t believe in treating people like that.  (I don’t swear at all- just a little fact about me)

Something I’ve tried to live by all my life is “you can’t take back the words you speak, you can’t take back words that are seered onto the mind and heart.” I am very careful and cautious of the words I speak, I have a pretty good memory and I know what it’s like to hear things I can forgive but can’t forget.

I am a very self aware person. I knew I was in an abusive relationship. So why did I stay? Because I truley lived him and wanted to believe he would change. Such a cliché, I know. I would cry as he yelled at me, I’d leave and vow I was never going back. BUT then he would call – he’d beg to see me so he could say sorry in person and I’d go but I’d always go with the intention to look him directly in the eyes and say “NO, not this time, we’re done.” I wanted to prove to myself I was strong enough. But time and time again I wasn’t – he’d apologize and hold onto me so I couldn’t leave say it would never happen again, give me his sheepish adorable half smile and say that he loved me and couldn’t be without me. His apologies were always so convincing….and then I’d say if he ever treated me like that again, it’d be over. He’d kiss me and say “never again mi amor”.

But his words were always just words.

I lived for the good times and braced myself for the bad. Because deep down I knew they would always come. And I prayed that once they did I would be strong enough to leave for good. Sometimes I’d get father than either of us expected … but in a matter of weeks I’d go back to him whether by mine own doing or his. “We loved each other.” But love shouldn’t have a price and his love did.

The last time we broke up, there was no going back. I had a close call- I almost went back; but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror knowing what he did, knowing all he had done. I couldn’t look my family in the eyes any longer knowing I let him treat me so bad AND that this time they knew. (All the relationship advice I’d give my younger sister and cousins was to prevent them from dating a man like the man I was dating – twisted I know!)

Months. It’s been months…. and I’m not perfect I’ve broken the “no contact rule” and replied or messaged him… but the sick feeling that he’s the same hasn’t changed. I’m a possession more than a person to him. He “loves”  me or rather loves owning me … a sad truth.

The good times were so good. He made me laugh in a way no one else has ever been able to make me laugh. He allowed me to be my silly nerdy self and loved it. He would listen to my worries till 3 in the morning and reassure me all would be well.
BUT then he’d break my heart like no one else could and he’d try to put it back together just so he could break it again.

Not going back to him. Not allowing his words to speak louder than his actions – has been one of the greatest challanges of my life. The memories good and bad have been flooding my mind lately. Flooding my heart. I get so overwhelmed sometimes I can’t breathe. But I’d rather lose my own breath than allow him suffocate me ever again. He was my grade school crush, the little boy I’d always dreamed of dating. But when my dream came true it slowly turned into a nightmare. The years he was in my life before we dated and the years he was in my life as we dated are just memories in the past. And they have no future.

The reality of letting it all go is hitting me hard. I feel like I’m so close to freedom. The Great Purge is taking place and the result is my mind and heart are clawing at any memory for dear life – fighting to stay in the cycle BUT not this time.

I let myself cry, I let myself miss him, I let myself want him. But I will never let myself go back to him.

His hold on me is weakening. My love for him no longer compromises my love for myself. His love does not validate my worth. It does not complete me.

I COMPLETE ME. I respect me by both my words and actions.

It’s hard. It is so hard. (It has been an ongoing process letting myself morn in all the stages – my doctor has helped me so much I can’t even imagine and sometimes I wonder how successful I would be without him and the support of my family and friends)

All that matters is that I  know I deserve more. And I know and tell myself that one day I will be in a relationship that offers the love and respect I deserve and offer equally.

Don’t allow yourself to accept anything less. We are stronger than we think.

What I am experiencing are growing pains. But at least I know I’m growing-  stronger. Even the strong cry. Remember that.

Steph

You Learn Something New Everyday

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Emotionally action-packed, keeping myself and you on our toes. Bipolar, it’s all in how you look at it… I’m really leaning towards the theory of being … super heros. Enhanced senses to emotions, ohh yeaaaa.

Your Happiness – Your Choice

Happiness - Problems

There have been so many times in my life where I allowed my happiness to be consumed with my situation BECAUSE my situation was less than ideal. Rather than focusing on what was in my control, I focused on what was out of my control. Rather than looking at everything I had, I looked at all I was without (mentally, physically). I played victim and let my surroundings dictate my happiness rather than claiming my life for my own. BUT once I did claim it and took control of my life, that’s when things changed. That’s when I started dealing with my problems rather than letting them have their way with me. (I’m not perfect at it but I’m getting better at it)

We are stronger than we think, life is to be enjoyed not simply endured. Yes! There may be times when we hold onto life with just our finger tips; but the fact is we are still holding on (give yourself some credit) – we know life is worth fighting for and living. I’ve made so much progress with finding happiness this past year with the help and support of myself, loved ones and doctors. Happiness is a journey  it is not a destination; remember that just because we are not always happy it does not mean we have a bad life. I have my weeks where I struggle to remind myself of why I love life BUT I am getting better at recognizing my reminders, I don’t always have a “reason” for my depression. But I have a reason to hold on till the sun comes out again. And that’s the kicker, don’t forget it.

A SIDE NOTE: I did not choose to be bipolar, people do not choose to suffer from depression. I know what its like to wake up numb for no reason and to cry out because your entire being; your soul hurts beyond comprehension. I don’t always get to “choose” to be happy; to wake up with the luxury of picking how I feel BUT I do get to choose how I hold on — I get to choose to go through the storm in order to find another sunny day. My choice of happiness involves me claiming my life as Stephanie’s, not having my diagnosis claim my life.

– Steph

Knock Knock – Whose There?

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Guilty as charged!

I have definitely built nice tall, thick walls with barb wire at the top and a moat surrounding them filled with boiling lava.

My family’ has called me out on my walls. My doctors have called me out on my walls. I’VE even called me out on my walls.

People, my self included do not need walls; we need boundaries! (Which is what I’m working on establishing diligently)

Boundaries have been a hot topic between my therapist and I. (Like I mentioned I’ve had my fair share of walls)

Boundaries are slightly different than walls. However, they both have the same goal. To keep the hurt out.

Walls hurt us more than they help us, boundaries on the other hand when done correctly protect us AND allow us to grow into our best version of self.

Walls backfire for the sole reason that as much as they keep people out they keep your feelings locked in. They harvest a distrust of the people in your life AND they belittle your ability to trust yourself.

Respect.
Respect yourself enough to build boundaries. Allow yourself to permit and validate your feelings. Don’t keep them locked up burning you on the inside.  Find a healthy way to express yourself; stand your ground. Make it clear to the people in your life what you will AND will not tolerate. AND if they don’t respect that; don’t surround yourself with them.

Boundaries, are permeable. You can move people closer to you or keep them farther away at bay. You have your guard up with a gate THAT you only have the key to open. People can look at you and they will know what you are about BUT they may not be permitted to be within your closest boundary unless you allow them.

Feelings are not a weakness, they are our biggest strength, if we can recognize how to listen and address them. (Something I’m learning)

Don’t miss out on a potential friendship or relationship because you won’t let anyone in AND you won’t let yourself out – out of fear.

We all have so much to offer. Take baby steps, because they are steps non the less. Ask yourself what you want, it’s not selfish it’s self care and love. And we all deserve that.

-Steph

A Little Reminder

Awesome Monday

My Monday started a wee bit late, but I when I woke up it was with excitement for the fresh week ahead of me!

I started my morning working towards one of my goals – CARDIO. I went for a 30 minute bike ride with my younger sister (I am really going to try to be consistent with implementing a daily bike ride) After I finished biking, I  put my wraps & gloves on and pounded my punching bag for a good 20 minutes (with skipping intervals in between)

 

I feel alive and I feel happy EVEN if it is a Monday. Monday is a prime example of choice. We can choose to dread Monday because its the end of the weekend OR we can choose to be AWESOME! Because, why not? Why not be awesome on a Monday? Let the adventures of a new week begin!

– Steph