Think About It

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about thinking.

I don’t think I’m doing enough of it. That’s not to say I’m an airhead, I have thoughts BUT they just aren’t as profound as I would like them to be.

My conclusion is I haven’t been feeding myself enough mentally.

So, what am I going to do – or what do I need to do? I need to start reading, watching documentaries and making things.

I haven’t made the time to read, it’s on my list of things I want to start doing. I want to read at least 1 book a month (this is a realistic goal, because I can generally finish a book in a day or two) any genre, fiction or non-fiction. I just need to start. I used to read quite often, and then school happened and my reading consisted of text books and lecture notes. School has been over since May and I have yet to pick up a book. It’s a tragedy. I feel like my vocabulary is digressing.

Reading opens the mind to so much perspective (and broadens your vocabulary), regardless to whether its fiction or non-fiction. I went thru a phase where I would only read non-fiction (I take notes while I read) it was great, BUT one day I decided to change things up and I read a novel called “These Is My Words”, it was life changing. It moved me in a way that none of my non-fiction books could have ever done and it inspired me to start journaling again. It was incredible. I highly recommend reading it.

Reading is so enjoyable and I’ve learned that you should not set limits on what you read, sure I want to learn more so non-fiction seems like the logical choice, but fiction can be just as enlightening – and it’s fun to escape – to laugh and cry and become invested in characters. I’ve learned it’s important to let your brain take a break from structure.

I don’t have a library card BUT once I move, it is the first thing on my list to get and then the world will be my oyster.

That’s actually some exciting news I can share – I AM MOVING OUT! I am taking my final step of independence. I am finally at a place where I feel stable enough in my life (especially mentally) to make the move. I am nervous to be on my own BUT I will have my trusty sidekick Nutmeg to keep me company. I have a plan of action – I plan to keep myself busy and engaged. I will be maintaining my doctor appointments and checking in with my family, so I am not being tossed out to sea with no lifeline.

I am very excited, and I can’t wait to share my new adventure with you. I anticipate my life is going to get a lot more interesting since I won’t be spending 3 hrs a day in my car and on a train commuting. There will be so much more to do, especially since I will be in the big city.

I’ve lived on my own before, but it was always a struggle as I was not mentally in a good place. This time I will be standing on a firm foundation and I feel like I have a strong grip on my life

One thing in particular that I am incredibly excited about is decorating. I love decorating and my apartment is a blank canvas – my reality check is it will take me a while to furnish my apartment ($$$) BUT when I do I know it will be just the way I want it.

I anticipate that I will be fueling my brain with new thoughts, and finding new inspiration. I am not saying that you should wait till tomorrow to make things happen for you BUT by moving out my circumstances will enhance my ability to fuel my brain a lot more.

Getting back on subject and touching on what I said earlier, I would like to start watching documentaries, or at least Ted Talks. Something to inspire my thoughts and to help me learn more. Movies are fine, sure, but there is something so rewarding about watching a documentary.

I also want to start making things. I want to get my creative juices flowing. Creativity inspires new thoughts and ideas and like I mentioned I am lacking in that department. I’ve found that I am not as creative as I used to be. And I partially think that is my own doing (part of me thinks my medication may have contributed to numbing down my creative flair BUT this is just speculation), I haven’t put myself out there. I haven’t intentionally acted to create lately, I have had a hard time feeling inspired BUT again I just need to start. If my creations are terrible, they are a starting point and they will get better.

I just need to step outside of my box – I have no doubt there is a way out if I apply myself. I’ve made myself aware of the situation, I’ve recorded my feelings and thoughts on it. Now the next step is to apply my plan of action and make a change.

Thinking is something I do a lot of, I don’t want to be on a re-run thinking the same thoughts and ideas over and over again. I don’t want to be a hamster on a wheel getting no where. I want more – there is so much more out there beyond my present scope.

Challenge yourself to think more profoundly. Don’t just “think” but think.

I’ll write an update down the road, hopefully I will have more thoughts to share on the matter.

– Steph

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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

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

How Tuff Are You?

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In society I think there is a misconception about what it truly means to be “tuff minded”. Tuff is not relentlessly going through life, guarding yourself against other people who cross your path, getting them before they get you. That is not the makings of a tuff mind. Rather I believe a tuff mind evaluates situations, developing the best approach that builds people up along the way.

Caring for others, in a world that screams competition; now that’s a tuff mind.

I watched a documentary and it made an interesting point that we are conditioned to compete from the get-go (there are some cultures that do not follow this approach). Firstly when we are placed in school where there is ample competition with peers, then entering into university MAJOR competitioand and lastly entering into the work force. All our peers are considered competition; standing in the way of us recieving potential awards, raises or promotions… competition, competition, competition. In order to succeed we have to pull away from the rest, leave them in the dust, step on a few small people to get to where we need to be. Casualties are inevitable right? Wrong.

This misguided belief, suggests there is no winning as a collective group. Instead we must strive to stand alone making our mark above the rest. But truth be told people get lonely standing apart from everyone, because we are not meant to be alone. It’s not in our nature. What one person can do alone is weak compared to the potential strength a group of people offers.

People are not tuff based on their “individual successes”. What truly makes someone tuff? Reaching the top while bringing others up with you, especially as people tell you it’s a waste of time and energy. That takes true strength and requires a tender heart. When you succeed and share your knowledge, you create a fulfilling life ultimatly yielding greater success. And when I refer to success I’m not solely referring to monitory value. I’m referring to life as a whole, living and feeling alive with purpose, now that is success.

*** Side note: I’m not condemning all competition because I myself am a very competitive person BUT the difference is as I compete with myself to be a better version of me I DO NOT put others down in the process (at least that is NEVER my intention). Putting others down is never necessary in order to achieve our personal goals. Winning and losing is a part of life and doesn’t singularly determine and define our value OR the value of someone else.

Put your tuff mind and a tender heart to good use, grow and inspire and lift others up along the way.

– Steph

Hot Hot Hot

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As you read this quote and then as you read this post …. pun intended 🙂

Have you ever lost your temper, I’m  talking fire-breathing-destroying-a-small-village-leaving-no-survivors-to-tell-the-tale type temper…. alright I may have exaggerated slightly… there are survivors, that’s the only reason the madness can be traced back to you.

If you have experienced the above… you are not alone. And yes! Perhaps that’s an extreme presentation… but I’ve dipicted it as such for good reason.

I’ve often found that when I have these explosive moments or perhaps when a member of my family does… it has absolutely NOTHING to do with what we are getting upset about! (I’m not referring to an average argument or upset…. I’m talking an extreme reaction)

Say for instance you gave me a …… red skittle. HOLY MOLEY you are the most inconsiderate, hurtful, malicious person! Ever! How could you just give me a red skittle like that! And the way you offered it to me! I totally heard attitude!

Clearly giving me a red skittle was not done to upset or offend me, BUT  because something is already brewing deep inside of me…. that simple fact you gave me my least favourite coloured skittle sent me off my rocker and the fire came out to play. 

Again … a bit of an extreme analogy, but hopefully you get what I’m saying. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly is making us upset…. or is causing our reactive and defensive mood. And when we don’t have a clear input BREATHING is essential for having a manageable output.

Taking frustrations and anger out on an unbeknownst victim is not the answer. And can strain relations  (speaking from experience) BUT what if it does happen, and we do lose it over nothing??? Aplogize. Simple as that… although it may cause you to bite your tongue and swallow your pride…. a sincere apology for taking nothing and turning it into contention purely because you are in that particular mood… yup that deserves some serious breathing exercises and an apology.

And what happens if you are the one on the receiving end of such a blast? Don’t take it personal! That doesn’t mean you accept it, it means you look at the bigger picture… and see if all the ducks are adding up… and usually they are not.

The past few days, an individual I am very close with has been in a very defensive & reactive mood. Anything and everything I said seemed to somehow turn into venom. I honestly was at a loss for words (hard to believe I know) I felt like I was only adding fuel to their fire! So, what did I do? I stopped and allowed myself to breathe. And then I reminded myself that they weren’t actually upset about the simple question or comment I made, and it was most likely something completely different that they were mad about. So with that mindset I approached the situation. Attempting to apply empathetic listening … just listening not replying…. and what happened? The fire ceased to burn me, and they explained what was really making their blood boil… which had nothing to do with me!

A piece of advice that has lessened my reactivity over the years is “don’t assume the worst from someone.” Generally our society does this. It assumes that the guy who cut us off is a jerk… rather than a guy whose panicking because his wife is at the hospital about to have their baby. Or that the grumpy cashier is miserable when in reality she’s a single mom working 3 jobs and just had a customer yell at her….

When we are in a reactive mode …this is when it’s crucial that we do not assume the worst behind peoples simple sentences and actions… and when someone does explode try to look at the bigger picture and not assume the worst of them … it’s a challange by all means BUT most likely that fire breathing dragon needs a good laugh and a giant hug… in order to let off some steam. Oh how punny.

– Steph

Flaws & All

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Sometimes I have goals and visions that I set out to do… the expectation is simple I will conquer the goal each and every day, every single time. Nothing can get in my way! …. wrong…. life does and as a result I FAIL miserably.

For instance I go to the gym no less than 4 times a week. BUT I was going 6 times a week for the past few months. I’ve definitely been swinging in my lows as of recent weeks… BUT still… the gym was something I had consistency with. THEN we can move onto the topic of eating … heck! When I start on my downward spiral it’s as if my stomach has no end for sweets… healthy-smealthy… it’s honestly such a challange. Emotional eating is a reality. I either eat eat eat OR don’t eat eat eat and I rarely just eat… with no extremes attached especially when im in my lows. Something my doctors and I constantly talk about… so with that said… should I scrap the gym altogether because I’m not meeting the quota and I haven’t been eating the way I know I should be?? Mmmmmmm no.

Failures are ineveitable I’m human; riding my bike daily has become a hit and miss…although I’m still pounding on my boxing bag… but holy cow! It’s hard keeping an unyielding routine… life sometimes gets in the way. Whether with health, travel, weather, appointments, family, and other hiccups that come up.

Falling off the bandwagon happens – we are human. BUT what’s more important than falling off is picking ourselves back up AND not ridiculing ourselves to the point where our negative self talk paralyzes our ability or desire to try again.

“If you’re tired of starting over – stop quitting”… I’ve seen this quote on few occasions and I have mixed feelings about it. “We only fail when we fail to try.” I like this quote better.

Sometimes by circumstance we fall off the bandwagon. Sometimes getting out of bed is a huge triumph all on its own. And getting to the gym can wait a day or two. That’s the reality. Going to work and keeping a smile on your face can be exhausting (story of my life this past week) so when the idea of hitting the gym arises, sometimes it takes everything I have to go BUT sometimes it’s just not enough so I stay home (and does anyone die from me taking a day off??? No). If anyone is going to do collateral damage from that choice, it will be myself – beating myself up.

Life’s plan is never going to be 100% error free.

I used to rip myself apart when I failed to meet any expectations or goals I set for myself… do you think that helped me? No. Just like it doesn’t help you. Have compassion on yourself… don’t be a push over BUT have compassion and recognize you are human. We fall BUT we can pick ourselves up. So leave yourself a bit of cushion room as opposed to sharp spikes.

We are what we do repeatedly. Strive for consistency… that’s what I do everyday, if I falter I DON’T throw everything I’ve worked for out the window!

Back to that quote… “if you’re tired of starting over – stop quitting” SCRAP that mentality! YOU DO NOT HAVE TO START FROM THE VERY BEGINNING JUST BECAUSE YOU FAIL (FALL)!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That’s like saying because you trip on a rock while climbing a mountain you have to go back to the start and begin all over again. Does that even make sense???! NO! Pick yourself up from where you fell and CONTINUE onward.

Build a habit of relentless commitment to try & try again. When you know there is no cap on how many times you can try you allow yourself room to breathe and to be human. You allow yourself the greatest chance to be successful. People who have found success, have found mistakes and errors a hundred times prior BUT the key is they did not let the failures deter them from their objective.

I fail…  but I don’t fail when it comes to trying or putting in effort. Anything worth having is worth working for. Work requires effort. Effort requires time. Time requires dedication. And dedication requires learning. And learning requires failure. Success requires failure.

I may not ride my bike everyday. That does not mean I fail at life. Perhaps it means I need to reevaluate that goal. Rather than every day … maybe I should try for an hr a week and go from there.

Something I get caught up in is running before I can walk. Don’t set unrealistic  expectations that will shake the ground you walk on. Build a foundation that you can challange and grow gradually with. Don’t add so many things to your plate that you set yourself up to fail. Tackle one or two goals at a time…. instead of 20… doesn’t that already sound a little less overwhelming.

Make goals. Achieve goals. Fail at goals but continue in spite of the failures. Live. Learn. Succeed.

That is my objective. And I hope you can find power and resiliency in your ability to be human.

– Steph

Live a Life of Learning

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I absolutely adore this quote! Knowledge is POWER muahahaha… just kidding no evil laugh. But on a real note, attaining knowledge is a wonderful gift each of us is entitled to (that’s right, every single one of us) Learning new things or relearning and bettering ourselves based on things we already know …. doesn’t that just excite the living day lights out of you???!!

I’ve always had a passion for learning. Call me a nerd, but I can’t pass up researching something I don’t know when it’s brought to my attention … for instance a friend of mine injured his hand/wrist. Beyond saying “that’s too bad” I asked what exactly his injury consisted of… hairline fracture, ligaments and two of his 2 carpals… I didn’t know where the carpals where located – so I Googled it and I can now tell you where they are…. although I don’t recall their exact names…. (I think I’d like to refresh and restudy the human anatomy…I once knew the medical terms but without application I forgot them)

In all honestly I l used to read the dictionary when I was in elementary/Jr. High … true story. I have a love of words and the proper application of them (although I am by no means perfect – but I try) I have a dictionary app on my phone and when I’m waiting … I’ll randomly read definitions (I don’t play games on my phone like my sisters do unless they are word/factual games … or brain power apps like “elevate” I highly recommend it… anywho that’s just my nerdy preference)

Trying to apply your knowledge is what makes you wise. Merely knowing is not enough. Sharing … that’s a form of application. Literally “doing it” is a form of application. And how great is the feeling when you do both learn and apply. Even if you fail! Failing is the perfect opportunity to learn even more!… like one of my previous posts “I never lose, I either win or I learn.

We are never too old to learn, self doubt and procrastination are our only enemy. I was inspired to write this post because I finally bit the bullet and committed to some formal learning I’ve been wanting to pursue…. drum roll please….. I registered to take a certification course for interior design! I’ve always had a passion and I’ve done my own readings on this topic, but I’m taking it to the next level. Ecstatic is an understatement for how I feel right now.

Additionally, I purchased a HUMUNGO package for learning Spanish. I’ve been meaning to do so for awhile… but I  was seemingly bit by the procrastination bug... no worries I squashed it (just like you can do) And now I am getting ready to refresh and apply what I know and embrace the imformation that I don’t. I always told myself I’d be fluent spekaing by the age of 25…. I’ve got 1 year and around 4 months left SO I better get crackin’.

What we can learn in this lifetime is infinite if we put the effort in. Learning to write in beautiful artistic fonts is achievable for people with chicken scratch writing (like myself) with patience and practice. A new talent can be developed by learning and practice and a willingness to fail BUT try again.

Don’t miss out on the beauty of learning, one step that’s all it takes to begin on an incredible adventure. Fuel your brain, fuel your passions, and you’ll fuel your soul.

– Steph