Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Eliminating the "I could always just quit" mentality

"If this opportunity is too challenging or involves too much hard work, I could always just quit."

I don't know about you guys, but I have a bad habit of thinking the above thought. It's like a safety net or emergency exit I formulate in my mind..."If this gets too hard, I could always just quit."

When I do this, I basically consider the idea of quitting before I've even started.

It's one thing to decide in the midst of a new opportunity that it's not really right for you after all. It's quite another to think about quitting before you think about your capabilities as a resilient human to pull off whatever it is you're trying to pull off despite the challenges and hard work that may and probably will arise.

I've noticed that whenever I truly give myself a chance and commit to not quitting, I handle conflict and new opportunities exceptionally well.

Maybe you just landed a new job that seemingly involves an overwhelming amount of pressure.

Maybe you're moving to a new city for one reason or another, and you have no idea what's going to happen once you get there.

Maybe you're having an ongoing conflict with a friend who really means a lot to you, and you're wondering if it's time to walk away even though that's the last thing you want to do.

Once you start something or at least somewhat commit to something, you can't just decide that you're going to quit. Especially if you know that's not what you really want to do anyway---if you know that you would regret quitting and mentally harass yourself about it for a long time.

I'm a recovering quitter. My tendency to quit everything kept me standing in one place for a long time, wondering why I never got anywhere. The truth is, I still have a tendency to quit certain things that maybe I shouldn't be giving up on so soon.

Everyone will inevitably be tempted to quit at some point in their life. Quit school, quit their jobs, quit their relationships, quit their dreams.

But please don't quit yet. It's not over until your soul says it's over.

<3 Madison

p.s. Here are some additional resources in case you need a little extra push to keep going:



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why all choices are ultimately the right choices

In case you guys don't know, I have an inner wise woman living inside of me. She frequently gives me blog ideas.

The other day, she said, "I guess there really is no such thing as a wrong choice."

I very often obsess over whether or not I'm doing the right things and making the right choices and going down the right paths. It takes me twelve hundred billion years to make decisions---especially big ones. I have a tendency to doubt and second-guess myself a lot. Sometimes I can be so sure about something and then wake up one morning with a sinking feeling that I have no clue about it at all. It's frustrating. It's confusing. It's heartbreaking. And it sucks.

It makes me wonder sometimes...How can we ever truly know if what we're doing/deciding/saying/planning is the right thing?

We can't. 

I know that can seem like the worst thing ever sometimes, but if you look at it from a different angle, it can be the best thing ever.

In the end, there are no wrong choices. Sure, we make mistakes and have regrets. But every single choice ultimately takes us exactly where we need to go. Some of those choices may lead to bumps in the road, but that's all they are. Bumps. They can't stop you or destroy you. They can only help you grow and encourage you to keep going even after you hit them.

Every little thing that happens to you and every little choice you make is shaping you into who you are and who you will become.

If you don't believe me, just think about a time in your life where you felt horrible as a result of a perceived wrong choice. Maybe you dated "the wrong person" and they broke your heart. Maybe you made a series of "wrong choices" that led to a downward spiral. Maybe you uprooted your whole life for something that didn't work out. Maybe you just simply did something you wish you could take back.

Within all of these circumstances, there was a lesson, wasn't there? There was a lesson, and there was growth. You may not have realized it at the time, but those things later shaped you into who you are today.

Where would we be without mistakes? A life without mistakes would be awfully boring, and I assure you that this blog wouldn't exist and my whole life as I currently know it wouldn't exist if I did everything "right."

There are no wrong choices. Every choice leads to experience, learning and growth. So do whatever you want and try not to worry about the outcome.

I will if you will.

<3 Madison  

Friday, June 14, 2013

You can't Google your way through life.

I can be super dependent on the Internet sometimes for two main reasons.

1.) I work from home and on the computer, so I frequently get distracted by gossip blogs on Yahoo and cat videos on YouTube. (Just kidding. I'm more of a dog person.) Sometimes Googling what I should eat for lunch seems like a better alternative to just opening the fridge and finding something on my own. 

2.) I have a really hard time thinking for myself sometimes. It's something I struggled with in the past, and I am someone who can honestly admit to Googling, "What should I do with my life?" on multiple occasions. I would always cling to an external source to tell me what to do and how to do it instead of just making my own decisions. I never trusted myself. I have since gotten a lot better at trusting myself, but I still fall into familiar old patterns of relying on the Internet to tell me what I should do. And if you tend to do the same thing and you're anything like me, you probably read articles and then fail to truly take action on anything you read in them. I'll read something, think, "Hmm...Interesting," and then just go right back to what I was doing. 

I think our reliance on the Internet is causing a huge disconnect. It disconnects us from genuine human interaction, it disconnects us from taking action on things, and it disconnects us from trusting ourselves and making our own decisions without a second opinion from eHow. And I know this insignificant little blog post isn't going to change that, but I guess I just wanted to address the issue and get it off my chest like I do with every other blog post I write. 

So I'm going to present myself (and you, if you're interested) with a challenge. No Googling how to do something mundane or personal for the rest of the summer. If I'm doing research, that's different. But I am going to do my very best not to Google things like "how to make a difficult decision" or "how to communicate effectively" or "how to not be scared of bees anymore." Because chances are, in the end, I will still have a hard time making a difficult decision, I will still communicate ineffectively (or not at all), and I will still be scared of bees. I realize now that no amount of Googling will truly change those things. But taking action and thinking for myself might.

Take the challenge with me?

<3 Madison       

Monday, June 10, 2013

Thoughts on self-hatred

This isn't exactly breaking news, but I really hate myself sometimes. In fact, I've been hating myself off and on for the past couple of weeks.

Self-love is really hard when you know yourself better than anyone else on the planet. Every flaw, every mistake, every rude thought, every limiting belief, every weakness, every failure---It's all there at the forefront of your mind screaming, "Look at me!"

I don't entirely know why, but I've just been in this horrible off and on funk for the past couple of weeks. I've had a really hard time loving myself.

I've judged and blamed other people in my head, which makes me feel like a bitch. I've chosen chocolate chips and doughnuts over carrots and broccoli, which makes me feel like I lack self-control. I've been working and wasting time more than I've been playing, which makes me feel like I don't really remember how to play. I feel like I've been running from myself, and I have no idea what exactly I'm running from, which makes me feel stupid and weak. I've been comparing myself to other people, which makes me feel like I don't measure up. I've been failing to write inspiring, uplifting content, which makes me feel like a fraud.

And while not everyone will write these confessions on the Internet, I think a lot of people feel the same way. That's one of the reasons why I do this. It's hard to write your fears and weaknesses in permanent ink and let everybody else read them, but I can only hope that there will be one person out there who thinks, "Finally someone understands."

Hating yourself really sucks. Thinking that the self-hatred will pass quickly and then waiting around while it takes its sweet time sucks even more.

I wish I had some kind of super inspiring after-thought, but I don't.

All I can say is that maintaining an unconditionally loving relationship with yourself is hard work. But I try to get a little better at it every day.

<3 Madison    

Monday, June 3, 2013

A friendly reminder to say, do and feel whatever you want

I recently finished watching You've Got Mail for the first time, and there were a couple of lines in it that stood out to me and inspired me to write this post. I want to take a moment to share them with you. (In case you haven't seen the movie, Kathleen and Joe are the main characters.)

Kathleen: People are always telling you that change is a good thing. But all they're really saying is that something you didn't want to happen at all...has happened.

Joe: It wasn't personal.
Kathleen: What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn't personal to you. But it was personal to me. It's personal to a lot of people. And what's so wrong with being personal anyway?

I just admired how open and blunt Kathleen's character was. She didn't really pay a whole lot of attention to "rules" and commonly tossed around words of wisdom like, "Change is good" and "Don't take it personally."

She was heartbroken by said change, and she simply did take it personally...Regardless of whether or not that was how she was "supposed" to feel.

So that got me thinking...

Maybe it's okay to be hurt and angry because of something someone else said/did instead of forcing yourself to "let it go" or figure out the role you played in the situation. Maybe you can just simply give yourself permission to be upset when someone else says or does something that you know is wrong.

Maybe it's okay to lead what society would call an "average life" instead of constantly striving for greatness and figuring out a way to leave some sort of epic mark on the world. Maybe you can just simply wake up, tell your loved ones good morning, eat a bowl of cheerios, and go to work and let all of that be meaningful enough.

Maybe it's okay to be terrified and resist change and grieve loss instead of doing something proactive or busting through your negative feelings. Maybe you can just stay in bed all day, cry, or have a mini anxiety attack if that's what you feel you need to do.

Maybe it's okay to change your mind about a goal instead of feeling like you owe it to yourself to follow through no matter what. Maybe you can just choose another path and still be happy and fulfilled.

Maybe it's okay to sit at home all day and watch TV or play on the Internet instead of going out and making new friends every day. Maybe being your own best friend and having a comfortable handful of loyal friends who won't forget about you two days later is more than enough.

Maybe it's okay to keep personal matters to yourself instead of feeling obligated to share everything or answer people's questions when they ask things like, "Are you dating anyone?" or "How much money do you make?" or "What's your bra size?" Maybe you can just say, "I'd prefer not to discuss that," and not give two shits if your unwillingness to discuss it offends the person who asked the question.

Maybe it's okay to call yourself a writer, cook, musician, grown-up, whatever even if you're not widely considered to be a "real one." Maybe you can just write, cook, play music, or have responsibilities and allow that to be a perfect reason to call yourself a writer, cook, musician or grown-up.

Maybe it's okay to do something even if your family or friends disapprove. Maybe putting your own happiness first is more important in the end. (Spoiler alert: It is.)

Maybe it's okay to consume fast food, heavy pasta, dairy products, soda, meat, cookies, chocolate cake and caffeine. Maybe making a green smoothie every morning or reading blog post after blog post about why your eating habits suck isn't your cup of tea.

Maybe it's okay to roll your eyes at widely distributed bits of wisdom that don't serve you and help you feel like the awesome human being that you are. Maybe you can just say, do and feel whatever you want.

<3 Madison