Opinion is not fact. That’s a fact.

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Opinions.

Everyone has the right to have and hold one, but the fact of the matter is they are only opinions, they are not facts. Opinions are not the beginning or end of your life.

Previously I’ve encountered opinions that were not so kind (as I’m sure everyone has at one point and time). Previously these cruel opinions would hurt me, impacting the way I thoughy about myself or things that were important to me. BUT once I was exposed to the simple mental reality that they are not fact… it hit me and I was free from the bondage. Opinions had/have absolutely no power over me or you, unless we allow them to.

If I taste a cake and think it’s absolutely divine, heaven sent and could bring world peace that is my opinion. You on the other hand could taste the exact same cake and feel death tapping on your shoulder; that is your opinion, and I  have absolutely no right to push my opinion on to yours, claiming mine is correct and your cries invalidity. And just because you think the cake is a pretty parcel of death… doesn’t mean I should change my opinion just to please yours discrediting my own feelings.

Our opinions do not have to agree… Does that mean we can’t be friends? Does that mean we can’t be colleagues? Does that mean we can never get along or be in the same room till the end of time? No! of course it doesn’t mean that. What it does mean is we have to make a choice – to respect each other and respect that we are both entitled to hold an opinion AND we are both entitled to voice it without trying to shove it down another person’s throat claiming “fact!”

Just because we do not agree, does NOT mean that we do not love or care for that individual. That is a common misconception within our era. We claim that “if you are not with me” –  “you are against me”. Also very wrong. People cannot force their opinions on others with the expectation that they will receive “respect” and “acceptance”. It is not right to take away the rights of others, just so that you feel your opinion is being validated. No one has the right to condemn anyone’s feelings. Acceptance of an opinion is very different than supporting an opinion. And we have the right to choose either without being called the enemy.

Again, it all comes down to respect. Respect each other enough to hear differences, respect each other enough to accept those opinions and differences WITHOUT the expectation that we have to support them as well.

Are there lots of opinions I don’t agree with? Heck yah! LOT’S & LOT’S! But that’s the beauty of remembering those opinions are just opinions, not facts.

Remember opinions can change, they don’t have to be written in stone. Perhaps they will change by circumstance, experiences or association BUT never through force or disrespect.

Respect yourself enough to hold an opinion. Respect others enough to allow them to have there’s. Respect each other enough to recognize they don’t have to agree in order for you to be civil or a part of each others lives.

Fact is fact. Opinion is just opinion.

– Steph

Are Your Priorities Straight?

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I saw this quote and it hit a little too close to home as of lately. When I go for something or someone I go whole heartedly. I put in my best effort so that if it doesn’t work out I can say to myself “I gave it my all, I have no regrets” Yes, I may be disappointed BUT I always have at least a small peace of mind knowing it wasn’t because of my lack of effort things didn’t pan out.

When it comes to people there is a fine line between putting in extra effort; making an individual your priority whilst you still appear as their option. Sometimes I blaze in a fear that if I don’t make the extra effort, the individual I’m interested in won’t stick around to dedicate time to get to know me and I’ll miss their boat of opportunity. Does that sound familiar? Now, that my dear friends is STUPID talk!!!

If they can’t bother to make you feel like a priority once you’ve clearly indicated  they are to you, why should you even want to get on their boat?! Most likely you’d be the one who ends up paddling all on your own while they sit back and lounge. Enjoying how much effort your willing to put in just to be around them. Not cool. If they can pick up a paddle, don’t get on their boat!

I offer a lot whether in a friendship or a relationship. I know I’m worth effort just as much as I know someone I’m interested in deserves effort. BUT putting in all the effort AND then trying to convince yourself that your not…. now that’s getting a little twisted and needs to be straightened out. It’s one thing for a person to be shy, but it’s another to go out with that person multiple times and still find or question where you even stand on their priority list, if at all! If they can talk to you on the dates all hunky doory I’m sure they can find a minute or two to talk to you during the week.

As I mentioned in a previous post “I know what I bring to the table, so I’m not afraid to eat alone” I plead with you to take a minute and shake your head if your in this predicament. As charming and good looking or funny as the person may be in your presence (potentially because your the one who drove out to see them instead of them coming to pick you up) remember how they make you feel in their absence.

Do you feel like an afterthought while they are a constant thought? Guilty as charged, and it’s getting old really fast.
Its in my family’s nature to be straight foward when we want something. I definitely inherited this trait, so I will definitely take action to initiate contact BUT just like it’s not my duty it’s not your duty to upkeep that interaction all on your own… no matter how smitten you may be.

Ease up and let the person put in some work. And if they don’t just as you’ve feared… owwww it hurts the ego BUT it remember that more importantly it  saves the heart.

Don’t settle. Don’t allow yourself to feel less than. Be bold. Be honest and if they don’t make the cut, it’s their loss not yours.

This week I will be putting this post into action. I am scared senseless. But what I fear is wasting my precious time on someone who thinks of me as an option. I’ve been there done that AND I promised myself I’d never do it again, I’ve caught myself in the act and I’m gonna do something about it. If I caught you in the act as well…. think about what I said. You deserve as much as your willing to give. Remember that. Don’t row the bought for the both of you.

– Steph

Find A Little Freedom

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Read this quote… alright, read it again… and now read it one more time for good measure.

Now relax, sit back and allow yourself to savor every single word. I really want you to think about what you’ve just read; what this quote actually means. To me it means freedom and it means liberation!

I think and over think to a point where I can literally make myself sick. And more often than not I’m worrying about things I have absolutely no control over (can I get an AMEN! if you know what I’m talking about) So what has been my antidote to fight these turmetulous thoughts? Learning. Learning has seriously been my saving grace in life, and undoubtedly it can be one in yours as well.

Applying ourselves to different scenarios, exposing ourselves to different situations; this is living. This is what life’s about. This is exercise that our minds yearn for, not worrying incessantly.

Yesterday I was determined to be productive; challenging both my mental  and dexterous skill set. So what did I end up doing? I went to a pick n’ pull car yard! I am by no means a mechanic however, I did some research and I knew which parts I wanted to fix up my little beast of a car. (Beast in the sense that it’s a little car that keeps running even though it shouldn’t be.. it’s a 2003 Toyota Echo)

Generally speaking the parts were mostly cosmetic… visors and knobs however there was a side mirror I wanted to change and a hefty piece which involved me taking apart my passage door… the door stopped opening from the inside… due to some hardware mechanical problems involving latches and jazz…. sorry for that poor description.

Anywho, I was up for the challange, and wanted to feel good about passangers being able to escape from my car incase we ever got stuck on a railroad track with a train accelerating towards us… yes a wee bit dramatic BUT you never know!

So I went to the car junk yard, I hunted down old echo and I jumped in getting my hands dirty AND I loved every single minute of it! I honestly felt like I had stepped onto the set of “I ROBOT” or a random “end of the world” type movie where there are scavengers digging around haha… it was so awesome!

After I collected my treasures I went home and got to work. The cosmetic pieces and side mirror were a walk in the park to install (a man at the junk yard helped me get off the mirror, so I knew how to put it on) the side door took some time, patience and detective work.

The self satisfaction I felt from trying something new and learning something new – was priceless. There was no fear, worry or regret as a result of this learning experience. And the focus I had on the task at hand helped keep my useless worrisome thoughts at bay.

I love learning and I never really thought about why. But when I read this quote it really hit home. In a world plagued with worry, fear, and regret… learning remains untouched & untainted. It acts as a refuge that offers our minds rest and growth.

To live a life of learning, is truly living life. Happy adventures everyone. Try something new, remind yourself how truly capable you really are. And embrace the freedom learning truly offers.

** side note: the impressed look on my family’s faces and exclamation “you did this on your own??!” when I showed them my car all fixed up (door locking and opening)… was a pretty sweet bonus!

– Steph

– Steph

Your Happiness. Your Center.

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I am a very passionate person. When I feel, I feel intensely whatever that particular feeling may be. It is to my greatest advantage and also my demise. My psychiatrist made the polite and funny comment that putting aside my bipolar I am very intense compared to most people. Another anology was that I’m like a Ferrari, I can go from 1 to 100… incredibly fast. So my psychologist and I have been customizing my “personal  handbook” so that I can navigate my speed better.(emphasis on I)

My mind is simple, yet it’s more complicated then you could ever imagine. When I approach a situation there is a straight forward solution in my mind, and therefore things should go a certain way. Simple right? No, it’s not. As much as I may see a simple route to obtain optimal results I am only in charge of myself. I can only act for myself and other people have their agency to act on their own. They bring in variables that I cannot control. This can be so frustrating! But it’s life. I can choose to accept it or let it dictate my happiness.

By all means, not knowing how everything will turn out brings excitement into our lives. Yet, it can also brings an unrealistic amount of anxiety. It brings a vulnerability that I detest. BUT I am working on accepting, because vulnerability means we are actually living.

Variables can never fully be accounted for. No matter how much you plan. No matter how straight forward the solution may seem to you. Things will go wrong or have hiccups. This leads me into the topic of what is your center?

Going back to the book I read “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. The author Stephen Covey, made a brilliant point about our center. Often we fluctuate when things don’t go our way, we react, we break down, we devalue ourselves, we are filled with sorrow, regret … and so forth. Often these emotions can be prevented or at least the severity of these emotions can be prevented. How? By having the proper center.

How often does our centers revolve around a relationship? We want to make the other person happy so that it makes us happy; they are our world. Or perhaps with our career; we are on top of the world and we are successful we receive promotions, acknowledgment and awards, or maybe we got laid off and now we feel like the biggest loser ever. Perhaps our family is our center, we don’t act without thinking about how our family may judge us, or we don’t try new things because it’s too far from our family. Or maybe it’s friends, we live to be with our friends to have happiness by association, acceptance.

Yes, all of these centers have their notable appeal BUT they are all flawed. They are flawed because they are not grounded they can fluctuate and change. People come, people go, people die, and circumstances are never set in stone. Therefore those centers always cause a discourse within ourselves. The change and dependence causes an uproar of emotion good or bad. We lower our value or we question our capabilities.

So what should we have as our core center? What should we revolve around? Principles. Principles and Values. Honesty, integrity, hard work, empathy, love, kindness and so forth. Principles never change. They are steadfast and are exactly what we need to brace ourselves for the unknowing circumstances of life.

When we react based on emotions that revolve around people, it can be catastrophic BUT if we react to situations based on the values we have a chance to breathe and acknowledge that even though the situation whether it’s a pass or fail we still have value.

I fell victim last week on basing my happiness around the acceptance of a certain individual. I really wanted him to like and accept me, and my happiness was swept away by this outcome. And honestly I haven’t so unhappy with so much anxiety in a long time over another human. The confidence I have about myself and what I offer seemed to be annulled AND for what??! So that another person could dictate my value! I don’t think so! I have value that’s immeasurable, and so do you. And no single human or group of people have the right OR should be given the power (by you) to determine your worth.

I’ve been going over my core. The principles it has and I’ve been feeling more at peace. If this particular individual doesn’t want to be apart of my life, so be it. At least I can tell myself I was true to myself and therefore it’s for the best.

Don’t let your emotions consume you. Do a self check and remind yourself of the principles you are centered on AND don’t allow yourself to be blown all over the place by an thing or anyone. Live fully, love fully BUT recognize that by doing so we step into the unknown BUT we have our moral compass that will never abandon us when we need a change of direction.

– Steph

Don’t Lose With Love

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Love is incredible. Whether your being loved or you love someone. It’s one of the truest purest emotions I’ve ever felt in my life… and I’ve felt a lot of emotions. I love my family, I love my little Nutmeg, I love my friends. And in all honesty I love everyone that may sound like a cliche BUT it’s true, when you look at someone and think of their value, their individual worth and their story…. how could you not love them? (Does this love match the love offered to those closest to me? No, that’s on another level BUT it is possible to still care and sincerely want the best for all people because of love)

I don’t commit to people easily when it comes to friendships or relationships but when I do, I do. I don’t mess around or play mind games, plot or talk behind peoples back. Those are ugly traits and I’ve been exposed to them enough to know THAT I never want to subject someone else to that behavior. THAT is not love. When I love, I love fully because time’s precious and anything can change in a heart beat.

Yesterday I had a panic attack, I am getting better at not having them so frequently… I’m probably down to 1 or 2 per month. And even so they are not always severe BUT yesterday’s was a doozi. I was with my sister at an appointment, it was literally an all day event and at one point I received an unexpected call. Nutmeg was gone. My heart felt like it had been stabbed and I couldn’t breathe. Nutmeg is A. 4lbs B. Adorable C. Not wearing her city dog tag (it’s too big and she always gets her paw stuck in it) and it was just starting to storm, which gave me even more reason to panic (and yes in my head I was like why the heck did she get out outside just as thunder was coming she is terrified of thunder??!). She was out their all alone, anyone could find and take her forever and she hates storms… (Yes, I recognize that was me being pessimistic about people being honest and kind hearted.. which in situations like these I need to work harder at not doing)

One minute I was laughing the next minute I felt like I was dying. Love is so powerful which is why I will reiterate  love fully because you never know what could happen. Gratefully I was called within the hour that Nutmeg had been found… she was hiding and curled up behind my car tire (I honestly had been crying and hyperventilating the whole time… talk about getting a headache) I honestly had been praying in my heart and I do acknowledge Nutmeg being found was a blessing NOT luck. As well I couldn’t believe the kindess that was shown towards me – neighbour’s I didn’t even know were out looking for her, this acted as a reminder that I need to have more faith in the goodness of people.

Unfortunately the reality of life is that we are not always so fortunate as find what is lost. And because of this I imlpore you not take the ones you love for granted or rather don’t take sharing your love with then for granted. I have tried to live in a way that no matter what happens my family and friends know I love them. When I was 15 a hard reality hit me and since that moment I’ve tried to never leave without saying “I love you”, because quite frankly it could be the last time I get to. I’m human I get angry and I storm out because get I need to get air… but in those moments I always try to breathe and put real life into perspective (it’s fragile) this usually results in a grumpy “I love you”… but an “I love you” none the less.

Although I would have died on the inside had Nutmeg not been found, I did have the slightest piece of peace knowing I gave her a kiss on the head before I left, and she knows that she’s loved.

Life is so unpredictable and things happen beyond our control in the blink of an eye. But even so, we have a choice, we can choose to live in a way that the ones we love know without a doubt they are loved at all times, they don’t have to wonder. Make sure you let the people (or pets) in your life know that you love them. Don’t let simple opportunities pass you, only later to be filled with regret or remorse.

Time is not a certainty BUT love is and it’s yours to give, give it wisely, give it fully and give it honestly.

– Steph

What is Beautiful?

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It’s a beautiful Saturday, I woke up this morning and finished watching the BBC film Jane Eyre. I was in the mood for a tragic love story last night BUT my meds kicked in before I could finish it… go figure. So this morning as I ate my cereal, I had tears in my eyes and my heart full of love. The character Jane Eyre… holy guacamole! Words do not adequately express the strength of that young woman.  (I’ve yet to read the actual book… I really should. It’s fictional which I’ve generally strayed from BUT ohhh the substanace of Jane Eyre is completely applicable to how we can choose to rise above our unfortunate  circumstances, I imagine I could take a few notes)

I was supposed to meet a dear friend of mine for lunch today. (in a city 1.5 hrs away, she also drives 1.5 hrs and we meet in the middle) However, I was not feeling up for the drive… I’ve had headaches nearly every day this week and I never get headaches so the drive seemed quite daunting. Gratefully my friend understood and we made plans to see each other at a later date. So all is well, no one died. And I got to breathe a little easier. (I’m pretty sure my headaches are a consequence of my anxiety being a little higher this week… so fun. No…not really)

So, my Saturday has been spent in isolation by my own doing. (My parents are also away visiting my eldest sister H) And I’m happy with the choice to be on my own today… the inner nerd broke completely free and I have unexpectedly spent over 5 hrs (& still counting) studying my spanish. Who knew it could be so captivating??!

I remember when I was taking spanish in school… it was so bothersome, and yet here I am years later trying again… and I can’t seem to to get enough. I think mindset is critical when it comes to learning anything. If you look at the potential impact, application, or relavence I guarantee your interest will go up a few notches. (this is a goal I have in action with a plan!)

I love school, I’m not the best student… BUT I’m not too shabby (that was me self conciously trying not putting myself down… because as humans we do that a lot when it comes to our talents or skills. Own it, if you’ve got it. That’s not being conceited, it’s being proud of what you’ve worked for)

Anywho, when I’m not in school I still like to study and learn on a variety of topics. If someone mentions something I do not know, I look it up. I LOVE Google! I have a firm belief that continuous learning is imperative to living a full life as you discover passions and talents you otherwise would have missed out on. Does that mean I need to memorize the periodic table? … no … I could watch tutorials on making fondant cakes and give it a whirl (which i’ve done and adore doing now) or  read about our emotional EQ, study interior design, practice instruments or singing, try my hand at art… anything that engages your mind and asks you to think in a different way.. or perhaps offers a new perspective.

I am not the best student, but I am a good student AND I attribute that to being hungry. Hungry for knowledge; knowledge that I can apply and turn into wisdom.

Some people are primarily attracted to physical features… yes I fall into that category but only for a brief moment. As soon as someone opens their mouth… thats what seals the deal for my interwst. Intellect that’s what gets me every time regardless to him being a 10/10 or not. And in all honesty, YES I want to be considered beautiful by my partner BUT beyond that I want them to think my mind is beautiful. My thoughts and ideas, everything I have been learning about and bettering myself with. I want them to think that is a timeless beauty that I have.

Beauty starts from the inside. Loving ourself and building ourselves. Knowing we have no limits aside from the ones we place on ourselves. Be strong and learn. Love learning and you will set a a fire within you that will go on forever whether in isolation or in the companionship of others. Learning is timeless. And it’s fun. It doesn’t have to be boring, it can be exciting and engaging.

A beautiful women or a beautiful man, with a brain and a compassionate heart… that’s a lethal combination.

Happy Learning.

– Steph

Your Scars. Your Strengths

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This has to be one of my all time favourite quotes! Alrighttt … alrighttt… I say that about every quote BUT this is seriously one of my favourites … and the imagery that it’s placed on … my oh my, just beautiful.

Scars don’t have to be physically seen in order to be classified as a scar or to earn merit… that may seem like a pointless fact to state BUT I want to make sure it’s clear and that you remember it.

Scars on the heart & the mind… those are the scars that can often do the most damage. I’m not taking away from the severity of physical scars because all are important to recognize. And the reality is whenever there are physical scars, emotional scars are also. All in all, once we accept these scars as a testament to our resiliency we can find and build new strengths we never imagined.

How many times have you thought “I can’t do this! I can’t take this anymore!” I’ve done that on numerous accounts, yet here I am writing this blog. I am alive, I survived. And there you are, reading this blog, you are alive and you survived.

We are so much stronger than we think. We go thru trials and hardships and yet we survive them even when we feel down and out. The fighter in you, the strength in you it’s unyielding. And all those scars, they remind us that we chose to live.

We live with errors of decisions, consequences, taunts from others, mental illness, physical illness, loss of loved ones, failed ventures… we live. We learn and we become stronger. You and I are so much stronger that we realize.

Our past is nothing to be ashamed of, it happened it’s over and we can learn and move on from it. The scars we bear do not make us less than. They show and manifest our resiliency our triumph over adversity. They open your eyes and heart up to new perspective.

Never be ashamed of your scars. Because they show that you are stronger than whatever it is that tried to hurt you. Even when that battle is with your self (which is often the hardest battle). You are strong, you will crawl if you can’t walk BUT you will rise up and when you do your example will lift others up who may be experiencing such pain as you once had.

You act as a beacon of hope for life itself. And for that reason embrace your scars. Hold your head up high, and know you are strong.

– Steph