Friday, April 27, 2012

How do you define your worth?

I want to share another one of my personal journal entries with you guys today. I don't know why I feel the need to post a large majority of my innermost thoughts and secrets on the internet. Maybe it's because I feel connected to you guys, and I know you'll understand and relate to me. Maybe it's because there is a tug in my heart to share my insecurities with the world instead of letting them collect dust in a notebook. Maybe it's because deep down, I don't really care if it's personal or not. After all, one of the reasons I started this blog was to get things off my chest in a healthy and therapeutic manner.

But mostly, I just believe that there is something to be learned from addressing our innermost thoughts and feelings. I think we owe it to ourselves and other people to just be honest about how we feel---unapologetically. I think it has a way of making us all feel less alone.

So this is what I wrote in my journal the other night at 4 in the morning. Maybe you can relate.

"I question my worth a lot. 

There is a tiny voice inside of me somewhere that tells me I'm enough just the way I am and that I have nothing I need to prove, but I often have a hard time believing that. I still feel like I have to live up to a certain standard before I feel like I matter, even though I know deep down in my gut that no matter what standard or expectation I live up to, I will always feel the need to push myself even further. 

I link my worth to the amount of money I have, how many mistakes I do or do not make, the amount of friends I have, my ability to make decisions, my communication skills, whether or not I have my driver's license, what I have or have not accomplished---you name it. 

And I have days where I genuinely feel worthy enough, but most of the time, I expect others to reassure me. And when I'm afraid they won't, I hide from them. 

I feel like I'm running out of things to celebrate about myself. Because according to what I've learned from society and my own negative self-talk, there is a lot wrong with me and a lot I should work on. I wish I liked myself enough to do something productive about it."

Yikes. I always get really anxious about hitting "publish" after sharing something like this. But I highly doubt I'm the only person who feels this way, which is why I'm going to publish it anyway.

It's kind of ironic, considering the fact that I'm always talking about how you guys matter ( and how you make a difference. And I mean every word when I say stuff like that. But like I said in the journal entry, I don't always believe the quiet voice inside of me that validates how worthy I really am. I start thinking about how my life is supposed to look.

"I'm supposed to make a steadier income."

"I'm supposed to have my driver's license by now, not an expired learner's permit."

"I'm supposed to get out more and be more social."

"I'm supposed to remember what I learned in high school enough to help my younger brother with his homework."

"I'm supposed to be doing more to achieve my goals."

When I let thoughts like this sink in, it becomes really easy to question my worth and really hard to reverse such a negative mindset. Then instead of being proactive and kind to myself (like I'm supposed to), I sit around and think about what a failure I am. That's when journal entries like the one above spill out of me.

So today, since I obviously appear to have fallen off the positivity wagon, I want to ask you guys a question.

How do YOU define your worth?

What makes you feel like you truly matter? What makes you look in the mirror and know in your heart and soul that you are important and worthy? What is your definition of "worth"?

I look forward to reading your answers.

<3 Madison

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Miscellaneous updates

Hello soul searchers! I have a few random updates that I want to throw your way.

1. My third Tiny Buddha post was published today, and it's about how the little things we do for people matter just as much as the big things. (I'm not sure if anyone else noticed, but there are a few errors in the post that I don't remember making, and my inner perfectionist/control freak is losing her mind. Gahhh!!!) But I hope you like it. ~

2. I forgot to mention that I also guest posted on awhile back. The post is all about balance and the questions I ask to try to maintain it. I wrote it just as much for myself as I did for others. ~

3. For those of you who want to keep up with all of my MindBodyGreen articles, here is my author page. ~

4. I updated my comment settings on this blog, so anyone can leave a comment now. I think only Blogger members could leave comments before. But I made it so that everyone is welcome to comment, and I encourage you to leave one if you have any thoughts to share. I love connecting with new people. (Please note that any comment that is inappropriate or glaringly unrelated to the post will be deleted.)

5. I applaud you for putting up with all of this shameless self-promotion. :-)

<3 Madison

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Keeping up with my moods

Happy Saturday morning friends! I hope all of your weekend plans look lovelier and more exciting than mine.

I just wanted to write another quick post about my emotions. (Yep. Another one.)

As I said in one of my recent MindBodyGreen articles (, I experience happiness in random, tiny intervals. For me, happiness just kind of comes and goes as it pleases.

I wrote in my journal the other night that nurturing my emotions was a lot of work. It is. Sometimes I feel like I'm physically, mentally, and emotionally trudging through quick sand. But I trudge on because I am a trooper at heart. I think we all are whether we realize it or not.

I've never turned to drugs, alcohol, or self-harm as a way of dealing with my feelings. Writing has always given me that outlet---which is why I have decided to start keeping a mood journal.

Every day, four times a day, I am going to write down my mood and the thought or reason behind it so I can keep track of my emotional nature and hopefully understand myself a little better.

And if my results suggest that I might need some help, then I will try to work up the courage to get the help I need. (Now that I mention it, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if I found out I was bipolar or something.)

We all need a healthy way to express ourselves and sort out our overwhelmingly massive amount of thoughts and feelings.

What will YOU do to sort out your feelings?

<3 Madison

p.s. I will be making some changes to this blog pretty soon---adding more features, playing around with the layout and design, etc. I just want to make it look really official and amazeballs. I'm not sure when I will start making these changes (I'm the biggest procrastinator on the planet), but in the meantime, given the fact that I am a bit technology deficient and creatively indecisive, I am open to suggestions. What would you like to see on my blog? Do you have any blogging related tips for me? Anything you think I should improve upon or do differently?

Feel free to share your thoughts if you have any! :-)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Breaking the cycle of self-punishment

Yesterday my mom asked me if I wanted to go see The Hunger Games with her. She had just finished reading the first book of the trilogy and I could tell that she was really excited to see the movie. I could also tell that she really wanted me to go.

I had told her earlier in the week that I wanted to read the book before I saw the movie because I didn't want the movie to ruin anything. So initially, I sighed and told her I would think about it when she asked me to come.

Less than five minutes after seriously considering turning down her offer, I realized that I actually DID want to go with her. I had already planned to get out of the house anyway and I needed a good excuse to do that. Plus, I rarely get to spend quality time with my mom because she works so much.

It made me think back to a Tiny Buddha post I read awhile back, titled "Do You Talk Yourself Out of Doing Things You Want to Do?" by Lori Deschene.

Here is an excerpt from that post:

"I believe the little things are the big things. 

It's the tiny choices we make about how we spend our hours that dictate how we spend our lives---whether we get out and enjoy what's in front of us, or make excuses to do what we always do or what we planned to do.

And this type of thinking can obviously impact the things we traditionally consider big---the choices we make and the risks we take in our personal and professional lives. 

If we're not self-aware, we can end up making all kinds of excuses to not do what we want....And we can convince ourselves it doesn't really matter.

Except it does. Whether it's a tiny choice or a big decision, if it's something we want to do, it matters."

I honestly feel like this was written just for me. I talk myself out of things, convince myself that those things don't matter, and then beat myself up when I realize that they actually DID matter, but that it's too late. This has been a rather repetitive cycle in my life. I have a habit of punishing myself. I can't really explain it and I don't really know why I do it.

It's like standing in the middle of the road while cars hit you, yet you continue to stand there instead of saying, "Gee, maybe I should get my ass out of the road so these cars can't hit me anymore." That's the best way I know how to explain it.

Maybe I lack self-awareness. Maybe the whole "being nice to myself" thing hasn't completely registered yet. Maybe I subconsciously enjoy flinging myself into destructive cycles because I'm so used to doing it.

I don't know. But it needs to stop.

So yes, I went to the movies with my mom (and my little brother!!) yesterday. I knew that I would just be miserable, bored, and lonely if I stayed home by myself while everyone else went out to do something fun. I knew that seeing the movie with my mom was more important to me than reading the book first. I knew that seeing Josh Hutcherson's face was totally worth making the trip. So I went. And I feel like that was a little step towards breaking the cycle of punishing myself.

And I actually really enjoyed the movie too. (It was a little disturbing and I'm pretty sure I had nightmares last night, but it was still good.)

I'm glad I went. Just for me.

Do something just for you today. You deserve it.

<3 Madison

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The story of my spark

When I was younger, I had a spark in me. I've been thinking about those times a lot lately.

Like how I had the biggest imagination. I would play dress up, have imaginary friends, and talk to basketballs instead of actually playing basketball. (I have footage of this.)

Or how I was never afraid to make decisions. I didn't think too much or talk myself out of things. When I wanted to do something, I just did it. Responsibilities and consequences were not an issue.

Or how I ran for school secretary when I was in sixth grade and no one thought I was going to win because I was the quiet, weird girl. Then my mom helped me run a kick-ass campaign, complete with adorable posters and a beautiful speech, which I delivered in front of the entire student body. And then all the people who thought I was going to lose were clapping when I won.

I used to sing. I didn't have a great voice (unless I was singing along with a CD) and I never had any professional training. But I sang anyway.

I used to dance. I didn't have many friends in my dance class and I was a slow learner. But I danced anyway.

I used to act. I got cut at many auditions and got so nervous in my acting class one time that I started crying. But I acted anyway.

I used to play piano. I could never quite get my fingers in the right formation and reading sheet music was about as easy as reading Sanskrit. But I played anyway.

I did all of the above imperfectly, but beautifully. Whenever I did something that made my soul open up, it didn't matter if I did it as well as everyone else. I just did what I wanted, when I wanted, and how I wanted.

I guess you could say I was sort of fearless. The spark that lived inside of me burned through my veins day in and day out. Looking back, I think I really underestimated the value of it.

And now I'm not really sure where it is. 

One day, I started to grow up. My big dreams were looked at as silly aspirations. Having a big imagination wasn't cool anymore. I got too wrapped up in everything I thought I was supposed to be doing to focus on what I wanted to be doing. People had expectations that made me feel like I never quite measured up...Like I was always ten steps behind everyone else.

And feeling important and worthy enough became the sole purpose of my life. Trying to please everyone else all while ignoring that spark I've had since birth ultimately led to complete self-destruction.

And then the spark was gone. The spark wanted no part of this self-destruction. Fear, uncertainty, angst, and emptiness replaced that spark.

I've been trying to get it back since the day I decided I wanted to be a writer. It pays me brief visits every now and then to feed my soul with a few drops of inspiration and motivation, but it has yet to stay with me like it did when I was younger.

Maybe the spark has been with me all along. Maybe it has just been hiding from the storm.

Maybe one day I'll be able to bring it to life again and nurture it the way I should have all along.

After all the damage I've done to myself, I owe it that much.

<3 Madison