Thursday, December 26, 2019

Your emotions are valid

Emotional validation is the infrastructure for emotional safety in any relationship. It is an important tool for healthy communication, emotional intimacy, and love to flourish, and is also one of the most important things a parent can do to raise a psychologically healthy child.

That is why its polar opposite, psychological invalidation, is so painful, detrimental, and debilitating to the human psyche. It involves the process of telling someone that their internal experience is not important and is considered a form of emotional abuse that occurs in many social landscapes, structures, and relationships.

Because it can be so subtle, many people do not know when psychological invalidation is happening, or worse, think that it is normal. Furthermore, emotionally dismissive people may not recognize their behavior, which makes it all the more insidious.

Psychological invalidation is the act of rejecting, dismissing, or minimizing someone else's thoughts and feelings. It implies that a person's experience is not important, wrong, or unacceptable. It is a damaging form of emotional abuse, which makes the recipient filled with self-doubt.

Emotional abuse occurs whenever an individual is dictated on how to feel, told they are too sensitive or dramatic or advised not to feel a certain way. It denies the rich emotional repertoire that makes people wonder and complexly human.

Although this form of abuse is extremely hurtful to experience, it is particularly painful and degrading for someone highly sensitive, a survivor of abuse or trauma, or struggling with depression or anxiety.

Psychological invalidation can be perpetrated by oneself or by another person, such as a friend, romantic partner, teacher, colleague, parent, or family member.

When psychological invalidation happens, the person who invalidates is not aware or conscious that they are doing so; they believe they are genuinely helping the other person and do not purposely intend to shame their thoughts and feelings. They think they can help the person feel differently by forcing them to brush aside their present emotions. That is why emotional invalidation can be hard to confront - the perpetrator often does it unintentionally and ever so subtly.

If a person is aware that they invalidate others, they do so as a way to manipulate and establish control over another individual. They try to make the other person question their thoughts and feelings and exerts effort to deny their experience, which is how gaslighting occurs. By implying that the other person is overreacting, emotional abusers skillfully blame their abusive behavior on someone else.

Reasons for psychological invalidation can range from an inability to empathize with not knowing how to validate others and express it effectively. Sometimes it is used as a power move to suppress an individual's feelings and control them. A person who unintentionally invalidates, on the other hand, maybe uncomfortable dealing with another person's feelings.

If someone says "it could be worse" it minimizes someone's pain and forces a toxic positivity on them.

Or if they say "you shouldn't feel that way" it conveys superiority over someone and denies their experience by making them feel small.

Men are persistently told to "man up", stereotyping them into believing that burying one's emotions is "manly." It is completely false, and nobody, particularly men, should feel that their emotions are strange or unattractive.

A common example of someone not recognizing they are invalidating someone is saying "I  know exactly what you're going through" which is a way of minimizing and dismissing the other person and refocusing the attention to the perpetrator.

"You're too sensitive" and "I'm sorry you feel that way." The former avoids responsibility for the offensive thing they said or done and the latter avoids accountability and implies how you feel is not important and has nothing to do with them.

A person who emotionally invalidates may deny your experience altogether, saying that it never happened, that it doesn't make any sense, or telling you to stop making things up.

Moreover, psychological invalidation may include physical reactions, such as eye-rolling, walking out of the room while you are talking, or distracting themselves by looking at their phone.

If you notice that you have been psychologically invalidating toward others, the chances are that you had a parent, teacher, or friend who did the same to you. But the good news is, you can improve your behavior and take the first step toward change.

If you are reading this post and realized you are invalidating or have invalidated someone but not quite sure how to be more validating there's still hope. The first thing you can do to validate someone is to acknowledge or reflect on the other person's experience. Let them know that you hear them and that it is okay and valid for them to feel that way. "I hear you are feeling disappointed about what happened." Then, try to empathize and see things from their perspective. A helpful thing to say is, "I can understand why you feel that way." It's important to remember that validation is not about agreeing with someone; you can have different thoughts or opinions but still be able to empathize with the other person.

Avoid giving unsolicited advice, and if you feel the need to, always ask them if they want help with this problem. If the answer is no, keep on listening. Remember, it is not your responsibility to fix anyone.

Validation means acknowledging, accepting, and understanding another's feelings and thoughts and that you support them in their perspective. It allows another person's internal experience to exist without having to judge it or brush it under the carpet. For example, if a child is afraid of the ocean, an invalidating parent might say, "Don't be silly, the ocean is nothing to be afraid of." A validating thing to say instead would be, "I hear that you are feeling scared. Can you tell me what makes you afraid of the ocean?"

When you are around someone who is validating, you feel that it is safe for you to be yourself.

If you have a habit of invalidating yourself, you can start by practicing simple affirmations that accept your feelings and experiences.

"My feelings are valid, and they matter."

"I respect and honor my feelings."

"I accept my feelings as they are and acknowledge that they are not wrong."

"I will be compassionate with myself and listen to what my feelings are telling me."

"I choose to be around people who are loving and support my healing and growth."

Emotions serve an important purpose and will almost always point to something that needs to be acknowledged. They are not right or wrong - they are a reflection of your inner experience. If you are the recipient of invalidation, know that you are not crazy or unstable - your thoughts and emotions are valid because they are real.

If someone is emotionally invalidating you, it is understandable that you defend yourself and increase your efforts to be understood. Being the recipient of invalidating comments triggers a fight-or-flight response that will either make you act aggressively or defensively. However, this will only establish conflict and division and play into the perpetrator's plan of distracting you from the real issue at hand.

Instead of getting angry or defending yourself, do not accept the invalidating statement. Let them know calmly using "I" statements how you feel, and be prepared to end the conversation if they do not hear you or want to hear you. Let them know that you will discuss the matter with them when you feel safe to do so. Be neutral and assertive and set clear boundaries with them.

If this person continues to emotionally abuse you, invalidate your feelings, and resist change, it may be wise to take inventory of the relationship and think about whether or not it is worth your time and investment. If you state clearly to that person how you want to be treated, but he or she is unwilling to communicate and compromise with you respectfully, perhaps it is time to walk away from the relationship to protect yourself. I am a strong proponent for therapy because it is an effective way of dealing with the intense emotions of being emotionally abused and can help you reclaim your self-confidence and assertiveness.

Validation doesn't mean you lie or agree with another person, but to accept someone's experience as truthful for them. Surround yourself with people who support this, and who are kind, encouraging, and validating.

Equally as important is being in a compassionate relationship with yourself. Remind yourself of your inherent worth - that you are enough and that you matter, regardless of what others think or say about you.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

How to love yourself, even if no one else does.

First, the second part of that title isn't true. You simply forgot who loves you, or you need to find more that do. But there may be times where you feel alone and depressed. Almost everyone has that occasionally or is strong enough to admit it. It's not easy to talk about, but loneliness, feeling unwanted, and even self-hate from time to time are extremely common. If isolation drags on for weeks, you'll want help from healthcare experts, but if it's not so severe and happens on occasion I will suggest a few things.

Compile the love you've felt. Whether it be a handwritten letter from your mom, a photo of you hanging out with friends on your birthday, and any awards you've won. They don't have to be recent, recognition spans your whole life. And they don't have to be physical either. Take screenshots of kind words from others, like Facebook comments. When I feel like I'm not being cared about, I go down my social media timelines and read comments that reassure me that I am loved. Doing that gives the perspective that others have cared about me before, and they will again. By realizing this, I care about myself. It's a process and never will happen immediately. One can't instantly "snap out of it". It "takes time" as the trite but true saying goes.

Give up on something worth dropping.  Burdens are bedfellows with loneliness. Some people who'd like to have more social life are crushed by the rat race or their own compounded fears which hold them back. By cutting off the fat, it frees you to take on more meaningful things. Less worry means more freedom to self explore and pursue interests. When you find yourself especially stressed or anxious, those are otherwise-unpleasant moments you can use to your advantage. Especially if you’re crying and in a lot of anguish, determine in a flash what’s worth keeping, and visualize it like this: you are a burning building. If you could rush into yourself and save only a handful of things to take to a new you, what will they be? Take a mental inventory, or even better, write them down so you can visualize it, and put it aside until you feel more rational. Then look at it again, and join your thoughts of the now with what you had felt then.

Celebrate your similarities AND differences. Too many people make the mistake of singling out what’s common or how they’re different. This is defective, too-filtered thinking because success is neither completely familiar or alien: it’s both. All of us are humans and subject to emotions. By consequence, all of us have problems but some of us deal with them more effectively than others. We are all variations on a common theme. If you’re concerned about body image, it’s good for all humans to be healthy. But it’s unachievable to duplicate someone else’s figure. You need to do what’s right for you and being inspired by someone isn’t the same as cloning them: it’s taking your hero’s “recipe” and improvising a new mix with it.

Be brave about what you really like. Many people have secret “guilty pleasures”, be they pop songs or other recreational activities. If it does no harm to your health and well-being, why must it be guilty? Strip away the “layers of mindfat” and be earnest. This prepares you to meet other likeminds (as opposed to “lowminds”, who don’t contribute to your interests). Here’s the problem: so many of us, even those who are no longer teens or in college, live under the specter of “peer pressure”. We’re afraid we “won’t fit in” if we speak to the contrary. And especially if we dig something that’s popular, we’ll be subjected to redundant reminders like “Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s good”. You need not get into wasteful word wars and endless debates about the merits of something. If you feel a certain other person or group repeatedly opposes what you care about and that’s regularly getting you down, then spend more time with people who do share your appreciation. The Internet is laden with all manner of subcultures and microcliques, so even if you’re geographically-challenged, it’s possible to find others you connect with.

Be a little more selfish. Selfishness isn't always a bad thing. Some people are prone to giving too much to others and not feeding themselves, so if this is you, you need to adjust. More importantly, you need to be strong before you can strengthen others. It’s true that in giving to others, you may experience a positive feedback loop of joy, but you need something to start that off. Feeling your own dreams are denied because you’re always supporting others? Let them know what you want to pursue, and if they’re quality people, they should come to collaborate on yours in-kind. Love flows both ways in the best relationships.

Adapt, evolve, iterate. Emotions come in cycles, and each time you go through feeling unloved, benefit from it. Go deep inside your head and familiarize yourself with why you feel this way, what triggers it, and when this is most likely to happen. By learning you, you’ll have better control over the cause-and-effect of your unhappiness. Extreme cases require medical treatment, but in the vast majority of instances, you have, or will adapt to have the power to do something substantial.

Writing in a journal. Even if it’s a few self-confessional paragraphs, it provides self-validation. Simply “getting it out” makes you feel better, and based on what I said above, don’t waste attention on those who don’t appreciate your bravery. Gravitate to those who do.

Don’t ever think “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t know enough”. Having struggled with pain, you’re good enough. Having experienced suffering, you know all about it. With all the talk about “believing in yourself”, that should never be taken in a vacuum. Each one of us is influenced in positive and negative ways by external forces, and our lives are never static. The balance is dynamic, our moods shifting by day, or even by hours. What we choose to expose ourselves to and participate in is a large deterministic factor on our world outlook, and this is especially true in an age where more people choose what news they’ll watch, not because it reports with objectivity, but because it tells them what they want to hear.

Ultimately, it’s initially hard to “pull yourself out” when you’re feeling kicked like a stray dog. But this is why I shared the above. There’ve been times where I was sure everyone hated me, but then I realized that this was just a temporal lie, my fallible emotions playing a nasty trick.

I hope that these words will guide you to a path of realization and solidifying the fact that people do care about you. The most important person amongst those people is none other than you!


Saturday, August 24, 2019

How to survive a breakup

For some unknown reason, I take better advice from myself when I write something rather than reasoning through my own thinking, which is a paradox because I have to think of what I want to write before I write it but somehow it takes a better hold of me in this format.

Quite recently I've experienced a breakup, and through the effort of keystrokes I am helping myself and hopefully, this will help someone else as well. Surviving a breakup is difficult because your imagined future disappears and you find yourself suddenly on a precipice. All of the dreams, all of the fantasies that you had with the other person, now have to be undone. And you have to recognize that reality that you constructed together will not be lived.

These are the things you need to do in order to survive a breakup. Accept that the breakup is the right thing and that it's happened. Accept that you can control nobody except yourself. Realize that you cannot invest your wellbeing in the perception of another person. Learn to let go and move on.
Trust that the future is going to be okay for you. That not only are you going to find someone more appropriate, because that in a sense is a repetition of the pattern that you're trying to break. But you will find in the world, everything you need if you are willing to let go of other people's approval as the primary source for your self composition, and instead, find a connection to something beyond that.

Usually, when you have a co-dependent person in a relationship, it is because you've nominated them, or cast them in a role that they are not able to fulfill. A role that traditionally would have been fulfilled by a kind of icon. In a sense, romance is the imbuement, or endowment of the other, with qualities that no human being can ever have.

So you relinquish the person as an ideal. You become open to better possibilities, and primarily you let go of the idea that you know what's best for you. You open yourself to new advice, and you recognize that you are worthy of real love. I know what it's like, as soon as the relationship ends, you forget all the things that you didn't like about the person and go 'Oh no, they were perfect! Oh God, what am I going to do?' You set up your mental habits and patterns for maximum self-persecution and this is a habit that has to go, otherwise, you will repeat the same thing in every relationship that you are in. Use it as an opportunity to change, and know that the 'greatest love of all' is within you, and you are worthy of love.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Be happy, it's your own responsibility

Many people wait for something to happen or someone to make them happy. If you expect others to make you happy, you will always be disappointed. Being responsible means not blaming others for your unhappiness. It means figuring out ways to be happy despite others’ (negative) behaviors and despite the external influences. In many cases of unhappiness, people experience difficult circumstances that create paradigm shifts, whole new frames of reference by which they see the world and themselves and others in it, and what life is asking of them. When you are caught in the stress of life, you can easily forget your responsibility and how you should react to stay happy, comfortable and calm. You will stop to notice what is awesome and magical in life. No one can make you happy, nor can you make anyone else happy. Instead of looking to get happy from a person or that new retail therapy purchase, or an external factor, view relationships as outlets for happiness, and focus on how you can give more happiness. When you leave your happiness in someone else’s hands, you’ll end up being dependent on them and when they leave you, you’ll become empty inside. Everything outside yourself can help you get better in life, but they are not the means to your happiness. Don’t be easily discouraged by unfavorable circumstances. Happiness is a choice. You have the ability to control your own emotions. Do not let anything or anyone rob you from your own happiness. Drop the negative, toxic people and dramas in your life.

Accept you for who you are. Accept that there are things that are beyond your control. Accept the things you cannot change. Stop comparing yourself to others all the time. Channel your brain to make a better comparison in your long-term interest, growth, and happiness. Change the object of comparison to yourself. If the urge to compare is too strong to ignore, measure yourself against yourself. Once you truly understand how to let go of your comparison mindset, you will see the world from an entirely different perspective. The dangers of pinning our happiness/progress with on how we measure up to others are too great to ignore. The more you desperately want to be like someone else, the more unworthy you feel. The more you desperately want to be happier, the lonelier you become, despite the awesome people surrounding you. The key to the good life you really need is giving a damn about what’s important to your growth and total well being. Chances are you are paying too much attention to negative information. When you start aiming at something different — something like “I want to be better than I was yesterday ” — your minds will start presenting you with new information, derived from your previously hidden self, to aid you in your new pursuit and quest to become a better version of yourself.

Happiness isn't a destination, it's a habit. It’s what we do to make everything else in life awesome.
And once we make that internal shift, we can put our day-to-day external frustrations into perspective. Our brains are wired to be negative, but the good news is that you can train your brain to hold on to happiness.

When your happiness is in the hands of other people, they determine when you can be happy. Free yourself today and be responsible for your happiness. The next time you want to look for happiness, take a look at yourself in the mirror. That reflection is the one who is responsible for your happiness.
Starting today, exercise your brain for happiness every day, and over time, you’ll train it for happiness and a better life. As you increasingly install experiences of acceptance, gratitude, accomplishment, and feeling that there’s a fullness in your life rather than an emptiness or a scarcity, you will be able to deal with the issues of life better.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Finding joy

The pursuit of finding that seemingly unreachable goal of self-actualization. The desire to succeed in goals and dreams is vacant mostly due to me not being of well mind enough to even know what brings me happiness. Things I think I like make me feel indifferent. Detached. Unfazed. I think that's the depression.

This may sound self-depreciating, I'd rather I myself only bear the frustration of failed attempt at becoming cheerful or feeling satisfied rather than anyone else feel the need to make me happy and become disappointed when they don't, to which I hope they understand someday it is not their fault. Some have been hurt from trying this, and I feel terrible for that happening, to which I blame myself. Even though I know I may not be able to help it at times.

That is a reason why I tend to isolate myself, so that I don't hurt others who make an attempt to help me. I'd rather not be helped at all than for someone feel like they have failed me. Yet I know that I'm in desperate need of it. The worst battle sometimes is between what you know and what you feel.

I need to love myself. Be kind to myself. More importantly, find myself. Only then I think I will find happiness. It's possible. I may not see the way but I know it's there, somewhere.

It's going to just take time. All I have to do is imagine that some time in the future I will be through this already, and it will be like I'm there.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Practice makes perfect.

Sometimes, I get caught in the trap of thinking that some things are just feelings and emotions. We think often that love is just a feeling. Or that being positive is just an emotion. But I believe love and positivity isn’t a feeling or an emotion; it’s a practice.

It’s something you have to go out there and do. It’s something you have to live. And that isn’t easy.

It actually requires a lot of strength. Why? Because there are a lot of hurt, sad, and angry people in our world right now. And while things like the Internet and social media are great for providing a platform to put your message, it also opens you up to new levels of criticism and judgement.

I am reminded that love, empathy, acceptance, joy.. None of these things are as simple as a feeling or an emotion. They are a practice. A discipline. A muscle you need to keep strengthening.

They are an action you must keep taking; time and time again. It’s not just an intellectual awareness- it’s an action.

Because intellectually, I know that I should have empathy for these people who can be cruel and hurtful. But, sometimes, when it’s two in the morning and you just wanted to fall asleep without being bothered by someone's opinion of you on Twitter, it’s hard to act from a place of compassion and calm.

And that’s because it’s not about knowing. Everyone knows what love is. Everyone knows what empathy is. But not everyone acts from a place of kindness, from a place of joy, from a place of positivity and love.

Because thought is easy. Action is hard. Habit is hard.

And if what I’m talking about right now sounds like a lot of work to you, well.. it’s because it is a lot of work.

And if it wasn’t a lot of work, it wouldn’t be worth it. Because it’s supposed to be a lot of work. It’s supposed to be hard. It supposed to be challenging at times. It’s supposed to be difficult in moments.

Because that is the work. That’s the practice. That’s the discipline.

And the pain that we sometimes feel when we are being called be positive in our lives despite all the negativity that might surround us, that pain has purpose. We need that pain.

We need that resistance. We need to struggle. We need it to be hard work.

Because without it, we would not learn. We would not reflect. We would not evolve. We would not forgive. We would not accept. We would not love.

Like any practice, there are some days this is easy and some days this is hard. Today, for me, it feels easy. It feels effortless. It feels right.

But I know not every day will be this way. I know that there are some days you genuinely feel it and there are some days that you have to be more conscious about staying the course.

Love is a practice. Empathy is a practice. Acceptance is a practice. Positivity is a practice.

And, on the other side of the same coin, the inverse of all those emotions are a practice too; hate, judgement, denial, negativity. Whatever we feel, whatever we think, however we act, all of those are things we are consciously reaching for. We are choosing them. And we have the choice to keep picking it up or to put it back down.

Anyways, at least that’s what I think...

The only thing I really know, is that we have no control over what others choose to practice. We can only control what we choose to practice.

And while some might call a desire for love and for positivity “soft” or “weak”, I think it’s the opposite. Because love requires strengths. And positivity requires a personal commitment; a personal discipline. It takes balls and bravery to walk out in to the world each day and not let yourself get drowned in the pain and the hurt and the confusion. Because you can’t control what anyone else is going to practice.

All you can do is wake up each morning, put a shirt on, and ask yourself: what am I choosing to practice?

And maybe that quest for happiness we are all on has a lot to do with getting to a place in your life where you finally have a good answer to that question. Maybe that’s what this is all about.

Or maybe I’m just a 30 year old, punching plastic keys on a computer and ranting on ablog post about stuff I am no where near smart enough to be talking about.

Maybe it’s all of the above.

Maybe it’s none.

Truthfully, it’s probably somewhere right in the middle.

I don’t have all the answers. Actually, I don’t have any of the answers.

I only get to ask the questions.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Help

People don’t get happy or get healthy or heal all on their own.We need other people to do that. We need other people to call us out on our behavior. We need other people to pick us up when we’ve fallen. We need other people to take a bottle out of our hands, and we need other people to help put hope back inside our heads and our hearts when we’re hurting. No matter what life looks like, we all need support. It’s why we get married and have families and stay in touch with friends. A good story requires more than one character. And a good life requires more than a singular existence.

We all want --need-- to be connected. It’s why everyone in line at Starbucks is head down on their iPhone because we want to tap into the familiar and forgiving space of an old friend, family member or someone we love. We’re continually longing for that sense of connection and meaning. Yet sometimes, when it comes to pain, we have a strange relationship with community and being connected to others.

It’s easy to live in community at birthday parties or at Thanksgiving or Christmas. When we need help, however, it suddenly seems pretty easy to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. The word “community” starts to look a lot more like the word “accountability.” And the last thing anyone who’s depressed or addicted or hurting wants is someone who knows and loves them well enough to look them in to the eye and say “You’re not doing so well. And you need help.”

The last thing we want is someone to keep us accountable. We’re scared of that. And maybe we’re scared of it because deep down we know we need it the most. I’ve lived in those moments of isolation. Often they become more than moments... they become days, and days become weeks, and weeks become months, and suddenly you’re so disconnected from everyone else, you realize that you’ve become completely disconnected from yourself.

There is a form of philosophy called Ubuntu. It can be described as this.   “A person is a person through other people. I can’t be all I can be, unless you are all you can be. I am, because we are.”

Beneath the poetry of those lines, there’s also a heavy truth. We find our meaning in other people. We find our love in other people. We find joy in other people. So why, when it comes to recovery and healing a hurt soul, do we look to ourselves for all the answers? To me, accountability via other people is the most often neglected approach to healing and hope. Perhaps because it’s easier to tell someone to see a doctor or start taking a pill. Maybe we undervalue the role we can play in someone else’s recovery. Maybe we’re just scared to step into that role. I just know that people need each other. And they need each other the most when life looks heavy and painful.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

You are not alone.

You can’t make it through on your own. None of us can. That’s why, thank goodness, you are never as alone as you sometimes feel. So many of us are fighting the same exact battle alongside you. You may feel alone sometimes, but you are not alone in being alone.

To lose sleep worrying about a loved one. To have trouble picking yourself up after someone lets you down. To feel rejected because someone didn't care about you enough to stay. To be afraid to try something new for fear you may fail. None of this means you’re weird or dysfunctional. It just means you’re human, and that you need a little time to regroup and recalibrate yourself.

No matter how embarrassed or pathetic you feel about your own situation, there are others out there experiencing the same emotions. When you hear yourself say, “I am all alone,” it’s just your mind trying to sell you a lie. There’s always someone who can relate to you. Perhaps you can’t immediately talk to them, but they are out there, and that’s all you need to know right now.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Life lessons rant

Some life lessons I learned and advice to other people.

If you try to control everything, and then worry about the things you can’t control, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of frustration and misery. Some forces are out of your control, but you can control how you react to things. Everyone’s life has positive and negative aspects whether you’re happy or not depends greatly on which aspects you focus on. The best thing you can do is to let go of what you can’t control, and invest your energy in the things you can,  like your attitude.

When it comes to damage control for other people, leave it alone!! Don't try and solve the problems that others have made for themselves. Don't even give them a chance to talk their way out of what they've acted themselves into. Allow them to learn the lesson of the consequences of their choices. Don't throw hard earned money away trying to bail someone out of a situation that they created. Muster up the courage to say "no". The best thing you can do for them is to let them take responsibility for their own actions. Make up your mind not to be a rescuer or an enabler. Let them figure it out and handle it. The sooner you do this, the sooner they will learn their lessons. They have their own journey. Keep your money in your pocket and keep the drama and stress out of your life. Resist the guilt trip!! Don't give it any more energy and protect your peace of mind. You deserve to be happy!

When it comes to self doubt, you might think you’re not good enough, but you’ll surprise yourself if you keep trying. Your past does not determine who you are. Your past prepares you for who you are capable of becoming. What ultimately defines you is how well you rise after falling. Don’t ever be afraid to give yourself a chance to be everything you are capable of being. Forget the haters. Never undervalue who you are and what you’re capable of. Excellence is the result of loving more than others think is necessary, dreaming more than others think is practical, risking more than others think is safe, and doing more than others think is possible. It’s time to believe in yourself and in your dreams. It’s time to take the risk of living your true life. It’s time to hold your head up, and decide to never let anything turn you around. It's time to recognize that you have more in you than you've been expressing.

You have the power to live a bigger life. Challenge yourself. Take the risk! Become daring. There are things in your life that are no longer you and you know it in your heart. There is no law that says you have to carry the whole world on your shoulders. And the emptiness and lack of fulfillment inside is becoming too much to bear. It’s time to take care of you. Live your dream. Take off the cape. Do what you know and not what you feel. You deserve to live too! You have needs too! Give yourself a mental break and take time to get centered, grounded and reconnected with your spirit. Allowing your time to be wasted with people who are not serious is not fruitful and it’s stressful. Staying in a job where you are not appreciated or valued or validated is draining and toxic. You will survive. You always have! Life is on your side. You’re more powerful and stronger than you give yourself credit for being. No guts, no glory. You have one life to live, live the life you love and love the life you live. Family and friends may attempt to discourage you. Tell them thank you, I got that, and move on. At the end of the day, it’s your life. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to make your life a daring adventure and to manifest your GREATNESS. Keep in mind, it’s lonely at the top, but you eat better.

Never let anyone crush your dreams. Do just once what they say you can’t do, and you will never pay attention to their negativity again. Don’t walk away from these negative people… RUN! Good things happen when you distance yourself from negativity and those who create it. Truth be told, no one has the right to judge you. People may have heard your stories, but they can’t feel what you are going through; they aren't living YOUR life. So forget what they say about you. Focus on how you feel about yourself, and do what you know in your heart is right. 

It sounds harsh, but you cannot keep every friend you've ever made. People and priorities change. As some relationships fade others will grow. Appreciate the possibility of new relationships as you naturally let go of old ones that no longer work. Trust your judgement. Embrace new relationships, knowing that you are entering into unfamiliar territory. Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to meet someone that might just change your life forever. 

Be patient — even if you don't have a dime in the bank, lost your job, or your money. Be patient. You have the power in you to pull this out. Don't judge yourself based on what you don't have. What you have is enough. Hold the vision. You have the power in you to resurrect your dreams, and make them become a reality. Work on yourself. Believe in yourself, and in a power greater than yourself. Be patient and keep moving forward. Things will work out for you. 

Life will keep moving. Some people will be there with you for some time. Some people will go away. But those who find you special will always find ways to be with you.

Sometimes it’s impossible to know exactly how another person is feeling or what kind of emotional battles they’re fighting. Sometimes the widest smiles hide the thinnest strands of self-confidence and hope. Sometimes the ‘rich’ have everything but happiness. Realize this as you interact with others, long before you pass judgement. Every smile or sign of strength hides an inner struggle every bit as complex and extraordinary as your own.

It’s a sage fact of life, really, that every one of us encompasses a profound and unique set of secrets and mysteries that are absolutely undetectable to everyone else. So smile at people who look like they are having a rough day today. Be kind to them. Kindness is the only investment that never fails.


Forget all the reasons why it won’t work, and believe the one reason why it will.

You are stronger than you think you are. It doesn't matter what you are facing...a lost relationship, job, bankruptcy, foreclosure, health challenge, or financial situation. You have the power in you to recreate it all over again from scratch. It does not matter how old you are. Don't beat yourself up. It's natural to feel sorry for yourself, or feel frightened and want to give up. It doesn't even matter if the people that you thought would have your back have deserted you. You are still breathing. You're still here, and you have the power to win.

You are more powerful than you think you are. Remind yourself of this. Stand up within yourself. Gather your mental, emotional, and spiritual strength, and speak from deep within your spirit and your soul. Take back your power Say..."I will survive. I will thrive. I am coming back. Giving up is not who I am. I will stay the course, and persist until I succeed." You might have to do this while down on your knees, praying, crying, and screaming at the top of your lungs. Resist the feeling of being overwhelmed, powerless, or being a victim. You will survive and thrive again!!!
 
 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Public Misconceptions

When you have had MS for a long time, it's easy to forget what it was like to not have this disease. It's also easy to not think about what it's like from the outside looking in. Recently, I overheard a discussion from a group of people at work talking about the reality show, Dancing With The Stars. I never watch it, mostly due to the fact the entire show can be summed up in the title. They were talking about Jack Osbourne, son of Ozzy Osbourne, who was diagnosed with MS this year. One person in the group said "I don't understand why he has MS if he can dance, he must be faking it to get attention." It made me realize that a large population of people still do not know what Multiple Sclerosis is. This makes me want to be a patient advocate speaker so bad.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

From a wheelchair to running shoes

I'd like to share my journey from disability to what I am today, a happy and energetic person who runs every other day.

My journey started when I was about 13 or 14 years old. I started noticing my body going through changes (other than puberty). I noticed I started getting tired at random times, anywhere from after I woke up to the middle of the day at school. I also noticed my speech was slurred, random body parts feeling numb, and being very forgetful. Every day was a different experience.

Most of the symptoms went away for several years until I was 19. I started having vision problems and experienced the all familiar fatigue again. After the trips to the optometrist, the ophthalmologist, and the neurologist, I learned that I had Multiple Sclerosis

Two years later, I lost feeling from my waist to my feet. I was in a wheelchair for two weeks. I really didn't think I would be able to walk again. Luckily, I was prescribed a high dosage of an aggressive steroid every day for a week and got feeling back in my legs. After that, I was off and on a cane until 2009. I haven't had an issue with my mobility since then.

I started running in the warm winter of December of 2012. I needed a hobby that got me out of the house and wasn't too expensive, running was perfect for me. I would run half a mile twice a week until it got colder in January. My legs started to feel stronger and I felt like I could breath easier and had more energy. When it got warmer outside I started running again. I'm proud to say since March of 2013 I've been consistently running 3-4 times a week with a distance of 1.5 to 5 miles each run. I am grateful to be as healthy as I am, for being an MS patient who has had the disease for almost 17 years. My motivation for running is to run while I still can, and for those who cannot run, or even walk, themselves.