On Your Darkest Days


I am going to share with you one word that I’ve applied to my life and it’s made a huge difference. 

Compartmentalize

It’s a big word with a potentially big impact. 

Let me tell you why. I have lows, and they can be bad, they can be ugly, they can be long. BUT just because I have them doesn’t mean everything is bad, it may seem like it BUT it’s just not the case. 

So what does that mean? It means that there is more to life than my low. More to life than your low, and if you can compartmentalize while you are in your low you will see that more clearly. 

Someone recently asked me how I was doing. I’ve been in a low lately, and this was my response: “Personally I’m not really feeling well, but if I step outside of just me – work is great, my family is doing good, the gym is going really well, and I have exciting plans coming up. Aside from “me” feeling poorly everything else in life is going great.”

Did you catch that? I expressed that me alone I am not doing well, but when I looked at different areas of my life, when I looked at all the pieces that equate to making up my life – the verdict is that my life is actually going really well regardless.

I may be feeling poorly but that doesn’t mean my life is a reflection of that. 

And for so long that was my thought process. If I feel terrible my life is terrible. This was my mindset and it was a black hole that I would feed in my darkest hours. 

Am I perfect at compartmentalizing? No, but I have realized that when I try to go thru my dark days with this mind set, it makes everything that much easier. And I am sure if your lows are anything like mine, they are anything but easy.

There are so many layers to your life. I guarantee that they all can’t be going downhill just because we feel like we are in the depths of despair. If needs be write it down! Write down what is going right in your life, separate to your feelings. I am always an advocate for writing down your thoughts, there is something so powerful about seeing something tangible. So instead of writing down your feelings – scratch that. Write down what is going right, whatever that might be. Make a distinction between how you feel and what is going on in your life. You’ll be surprised that things aren’t as bad as they seem. It may be annoying to hear BUT when you are the one convincing yourself of that rather than someone else, its so much more bearable.

Hopefully this can help you battle your darkest days. You are stronger than you realize. 

– Steph

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Let it go! Let it go!… Let Them Go!

I like to think I’m a pretty good friend, that being said lets delve into the topic of friendship and when a friendship should become void (because the reality is sometimes that needs to happen)

Being a “good friend” can often mistakingly turn people emotional punching bags and/or door mats. How in the world do we end up so far off  base? I think it has something to do us offering a sincere love… it’s defiantly fair to say that I’ve fallen victim to this.

Once upon a time I had a friend, I loved her dearly and always made sure I was there for her. She had experienced quite a bit of difficulty involving her family. And it’s definitely fair to say she had a lot of anger built up and a pretty low self esteem. So, as her friend I’d always try to reassure her that things would get better, I’d try to remind her of her positive qualities and strengths, she was incredibly beautiful and I’d express this to her as well since she’d always put herself down. Basically I was a support that she fell on heavily and eventually she exhausted the resources.

It’s not that I was incapable of continuously complimenting or reassuring her, or taking her to appointments and finding the silver lining in life… I could do that till the end of time for a friend who needed that extra boost. However, I was not willing to do be abused by her. She often lashed out not physically but verbally, and it wasn’t always at me. It came to a point where I felt like I was a walking apology… for everyone she came into contact to, waiters, cashiers, guys, my other friends, family… she found a need to verbally be aggressive and mean.

People literally would do nothing other than breathe BUT because of her negative experiences in life she felt like she had every right to loathe everyone … Even her compliments would be double edged… holding an insult in the same breath.

I completely understand and support getting friends through a rough time. I’m not one to jump ship and bail just because the going gets tuff. BUT when tuff turns purely into ruff… you should reevaluate the situation and friendship.

Ruff… for this posts sake is going to be dipicted as a “friend” who feels the need to fight with everything and everyone for no reason. Ruff is putting down people incessantly just so that they can feel better about themselves REGARDLESS to the fact they will continue to talk themselves down as well. Ruff is closing their heart to gratitude and instead fill it with hate and jealousy. Ruff is a ugly…  that just keeps getting uglier.

There came a point in my life where I was seeking goodness, positivity, respect, & silver linings… and this friend that I had for a numver of years had no desire to look or develop these attributes in her own life. I expressed that I could not and did not appreciate her slander of innocent people or myself just because she felt life had wronged her. Life is perfect for no one, I can testify to that myself.

We can choose to become bitter or better. She chose bitter. And there came a point where she was draining the happiness, the light, the good from me and never replenishing it. She brought drama that she always seemed to thrive on, and that was not and is not what I want in my life. So 4 years of friendship… came to an end. It was hard because we had been close and obviously shared good memories BUT it wasnt worth my health & happiness.
You can be there to help and support someone all you want BUT unless they want to help themselves… it’s futile.

After that particular friendship came to an end it opened room up space in my life to meet some amazing people, who I  gratefully call my dear friends today. Leaving that one friendship took away an immense amount of drama and stress. It took away her belittling me or insulting me when she felt like it… ultimatly it helped me work towards a happier life, which was exactly what I wanted.

I did not let this one individual dictate my happiness, I did not let this one experience make me afraid to open up and find another friend. Not everyone is “friend” material in your life BUT there are a select few and when you let go of the bad ones you’ll find space you never knew you had for the good ones.

Don’t twist yourself into thinking that you’re being “a good friend” by staying in someone’s life who uses and abuses your love. That is not a friendship. Friendhship is a two way street, if you uplift them then you better darn tootin’ expect them to uplift you. If not..  reconsider how you feel and if it’s worth it. Because you my deary are worth it.

Let go of unhealthy, to find healthy and happy.

-Steph

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

Is Your Heart Beating?

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Here’s a nice spin on life.

Beyond the joys of having bipolar which is in a league of its own when it comes to having ups and downs, this quote allows you to look at these cycles from a different perspective.

The ups and downs that everyone has regardless to mental illness or not, are a declaration of life. It’s inevitable. There is no possible way to have a flat line…. unless we die… I know thats a bit morbid but it’s the truth. Perhaps we may have less spiked highs or lows giving us a relatively calm experience, however if we only ever barley make a dent in the highs and lows I’m fairly confident we’d be living a boring life (no offence). There would be no spice. And a little spice is nice.

Highs and lows are inevitable and because of this it’s critical we learn how to manage both spectrums. The past 10 months I’ve worked incredibly hard trying to learn better coping skills for both my highs and lows. Life is unpredictable, YES we can plan and prepare ourselves to a certain extent which is what I’ve tried to do BUT the prepreation should be dedicated to dealing with the unexpected. I’ve mentioned I’m a HUGE planner but life doesn’t always go according to plan AND honestly sometimes I’m grateful for that. When it goes unscripted it makes me go beyond my comfort level try something new, learn something new, meet someone new to live a little more then I thought possible.

Up or Down, I’m grateful I have life. I’m grateful I have this life to live, learn and grow. Consider your heart beat as a declaration of embracing the highs and lows because they are ultimately what keep us alive.

– Steph

One, Two Skip A Few

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Today is one of those days that makes all other chaos freeze. One of my best friends flew in for a visit, I haven’t seen her for 3 years BUT that time and distance has not detracted from out friendship. And over the course of the past 4 days we’ve had so much to laugh about and we have built some magnificent memories including a few firsts, such as canoeing  (My friend had never before canoed)

I’ve honeslty never been one to have an overwhelming amount of “friends” I’ve often stuck to myself BUT over time I’ve had the honor of meeting some incredible people that I sincerely felt I could call my “friend”.

I think it’s fair to say that I’ve had many acquaintances throughout my life BUT the quantity of those relationships were never AND are not even remotely close to the quality of the few friendships that I have developed. My father always told me “it’s better to be alone than in bad company”,  I hold that advice with high regard. It’s fair to say that when I’ve let that rule of thumb slip I suffered the consequences.

Be open to friendship; although I thrive on my own I have never passed up the opportunity to invest in a worthwhile human being BECAUSE I think there is a rarity that surrounds meeting someone who you truly get to feel “at home with.”

I had the honor over this busy weekend to make a new friend. Although it’s early on I am confident that our friendship is going to grow and build into something wonderful. “We clicked” a silly little cliche that holds it’s own.

Here’s to a new week, filled with new opportunities and new beginnings.

Never doubt your worth, never lower your standard to appeal to someone that had no intentions of lifting you up but instead only pulls you down. Keep good company & Keep growing! 

– 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