Category Archives: addiction

Having trouble defining who you are?

Imagine you’ve died. People have come to your memorial service, and are seated in wait of the eulogy. Take note of how many people are there, and who is there. Are people crying? Who is giving your eulogy? What will this person have to say about your character, what mattered most to you, your attitude and life? Imagine, realistically, your eulogy. How do you feel about what has been said? What would you like this person to say?

This is an exercise I came across several years ago when I asked Google, “Who am I?” I had decided to change my lifestyle at the time because it wasn’t benefiting me, the problem was I had no idea what to do instead. I had trouble defining who I was and what I would now like to do because I use to tie all that this to the lifestyle I was no longer living. One of the websites I came across (which unfortunately I can no longer find) suggested thinking about the above questions could help me figure out what was important to me and what I could strive for. I then had an idea of what new habits to take on.

Which would you rather be known for?

Think about the legacy you would like to leave behind. That is your true you. If you want to be known as someone who was always laughing and smiling, begin doing the things that allow you to do that. Eventually, u will kick it, literally, so live your life doing those things you’ve loved according to your imaginary eulogy. Build habits to encourage your true you to emerge.

Best advice about kickin’ it

Over the years, talking with friends and family, I’ve picked up on some good advice. Life altering advice. Advice that changed my perspective on achieving my dreams and goals. Sometimes, the same advice can be given to you over and over again, and whether it has to do with wording or timing, eventually something clicks. These 5 tips did just that for me.

1. “Edit and let go of scenes that don’t go with the overall movie of your life.”

Easily disappointed, I would often find myself thinking about what didn’t work out. Past relationships, jobs, opportunities. What is so interesting about this is that those people, places, and things that I was afraid to let go of didn’t even come close to what I truly desired for myself. My uncle, a film maker, told me once that life is like a movie. Though we may spend hours trying to film one scene, when it comes to the editing process, we may find that that scene really has nothing to do with the overall big picture. Though you invested your time on this scene, maybe more so than any other, you have to be willing to let it go. In real life, we have realize that though we may have invested our time in people, places, or things, it may not go with the big picture of our life movie, and that is OK.

2. “Don’t focus on what you don’t want to do, do everything that you love instead.” 

After attending my best friend’s memorial, I met his son’s mother. Through our grieving we became good friends. Once when she asked how I was doing, I told her I was frustrated. I knew all the things I wasn’t supposed to do, but little about what I should do instead. I knew so little about what I would like to do that i would revert to thinking about what I didn’t. It was a miserable and painful process! She gave me a two week challenge: Do everything you love to do. Think about thoughts that make you feel warm, eat your favorite food, listen to your favorite music, watch your favorite T.V. show. Do all and everything that favors you.

3. “If you were taking a trip, and several miles into it you took a wrong turn, you wouldn’t go all the way back to your house and start over, would you? So why do you have to start over every time you take a wrong turn in life? Just get back on the right track.”

How often is it that we won’t try that last time because of all our failures to arrive to that destination goal? For me, giving my dreams one last shot was close to not happening. I remember telling my uncle ,”I wanted to give up, what was the point of trying? My life has been a repetitive cycle of ‘starting over.'”  When he responded with the metaphor about driving, it made sense. Who really would go all the way back to their house and begin driving again after making a wrong turn 10 miles into a trip? That’s when he explained to me the importance of not throwing out the baby with the bath water. It’s not about starting over but getting back on track, building on what you’ve learned in between.

4. “If it was meant to be, nothing that you do will stop it from happening. If it wasn’t meant to be, nothing that you do will change that.”

A bad habit that I’ve struggled with is trying to control the outcome, especially in relationships. When insecure, which if applying the 10/90 rule my insecurities may have absolutely nothing to do with the relationship itself, I begin to act out, creating pressure and spinning my wheels trying to get the outcome I want because I’m afraid it won’t happen. A friend once told me after beating myself up about my behaviors that if it was meant to be, there was nothing I could do to stop it from happening. Likewise, if it wasn’t meant to be, there was nothing I can do to manipulate it into existence. Knowing this relieved me of the pressure to take forceful actions when it would be best to go with the flow instead. Everything works out as it should.

5. “Keep on dreaming, even if it breaks your heart.”

Part of the country rock song “Even if it breaks your heart” by the Eli Young Band, this lyric hits the nail on the head. Because success includes times of failure, the risk in not achieving success has to do with the temptation to give up when it looks like your goal is out of reach. The ability to continue and persevere in spite of those times has a lot to do with whether or not you dare to dream. After years of heartache, it can be painful to dream about what you want out of fear it may not happen and you are letting yourself down by doing so. But the truth is, what you want is important and possible, always. You need to keep on dreaming, even if it breaks your heart, because the only way your desires can come into existence if if they remain alive. Sometimes, it’s not the right people, places, or things, or that you’re desire is wrong. Be patient for that perfect fit, and don’t give up in between.

Be your own cheerleader

“We are what we think about all day long.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

When you’re anxious, sad, or experiencing intense emotions, do you ever pay attention to the conversation you have with yourself? Do you tell yourself things like, “If I wasn’t so stupid things would have turned out differently,” or “I’ll never be able to what he or she does?” More often than not, we become unaware of the negative dialogue within us. Having repeated these things to ourselves over and over throughout the years, they become “facts” hardwired in our brains as truths, causing us to take steps towards making those statements a reality by not trying. However, though these negative statements about ourselves have dominated our thought life, u can kick it by taking steps to be kinder to yourself. What are you declaring over your life? Are you your own worst critic of biggest fan?

In this scene from movie “What The Bleep Do We Know,” experiments from a water molecule study performed by Dr. Masaru Emoto is being shown to those passing by at a train station. The experiment analyzed the effect words have on the water crystallization process. What was found that water which was blessed resulted in beautiful crystallization, opposed to being cursed with words such as “ugly” which resulted in the water’s inability to form. “Makes you wonder, If our bodies are 90 percent water, imagine what our thoughts could do that to water, imagine what our thoughts can do to us.”

Another 90 percent rule: 90 percent of how we feel about ourselves has to do with they way we talk to ourselves. When we like ourselves–in our relationships, in our work role, etc.–the more we like others! Wake up and tell yourself “your healthy” or “your happy.” Affirm yourself consistently with positive blessings instead of letting the world affirm you, taking you on an up and down roller coaster while it does. Our thoughts create our future. Though the video below is long, it’s worth checking out.

Relax, just do it

I used to think the goal of meditating was to unlock this door to another dimension of life. I realize now it’s to quiet my mind to unlock the door of anxieties that keep me from enjoying the moment.

Additionally, I used to think meditation meant being quiet, and was used to make you brain quiet enough to sleep. I have also come to realize that meditation not only offers peace, but redirects energy from worrying to focusing.

The best part is that you can do it around people, outdoors, and through movement. It’s even more simpler than you might think.

linda mar beach
Pacifica State Beach at dusk.

After a week of stressing about school, falling short on some of my new habits I’ve been trying to make routine, I found myself at the beach. As I noticed the birds, dolphins, and puppies that were walking by, I noticed I wasn’t thinking about my problems. I felt the sand on my skin, the cool wind on my face, and without trying I was able to let go. Focusing and being is a huge part of mindfulness, and is the essence of meditation. I left the beach calm and collected, with a new perspective around my school work, and energy to do it. I found myself drawn to the surrounding nature the rest of the week.

I decided to map the locations that I’ve experienced such peace. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area these locations are wonderful to meditate at. If you don’t, you might think of some locations similar to the ones I mapped.

There you go, taking things personal again…

Do you take things too personally? It can be normal to internalize situations, opinions, behavior from others, after all humans are not mind readers or God. It’s impossible to always assume it’s not our crap- everyone has an ego and at one time or another thinks it’s all about them. But what if it’s all the time?

I struggle with this a lot, and taking things too personally a majority of the time is a habit. It happens in class, at work, but most noticeably with my boyfriend or family. Matters close to the heart. The stress affects my relationships and discipline to get things done. Almost all of the time, the energy spent toward getting worked up was not even worth it, because whatever it was I took personal had nothing to do with me!

Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

Motivational Speaker and Pastor Joel Osteen talked about this in one of his messages, about being neutral to this kind of behavior. Not paying any mind to it. Really, if you have goals for yourself, you need to save your energy to meet them, carry them out. Carrying around the baggage of others is going to weigh you down, keep or prolong you from your destiny. You got to let it go. It is especially hard when we want the people close to our hearts to approve of us, praise us, but not every battle is a battle we need to fight or even drain ourselves with worry over. Especially when it’s really not about us in the first place!

When I find myself taking things too personal I have to remind myself it may not be real what I’m trippin’ off of. When I can’t I lean on people I can trust to help me do that. When I do, i’m reminded also to practice compassion for myself and others, and leadership. It’s an opportunity to be an example to the people around that you don’t have to be a victim to a bad habit, that u can kick it and they can too.

The first and worst: circular thinking

Ever wonder how you acquired that “bad habit?” I’d be willing to bet it started with this: Circular thinking.  This video couldn’t be more true about the nature of unhealthy thinking. You weren’t put on the planet to feel so miserable! Whatever your bad habit is, you need to know this one thing about it: it begins and ends with your thinking. Naturally, we are all creatures of routine, made to be habitual down to the way we produce cells. Our thinking and feelings are no different. They hold the potential of becoming just as much a bad habit as our bad habit. We develop different ways to cope as an escape to these thoughts that make us feel powerless,  some of these coping mechanisms made our circumstances worse. Soon they become second nature, actions that are done without thinking, we think, until they become so mindless that we are back to perpetuating the busy thinking in our head. Exhausting. Our thoughts and actions are tied together, but just like any other habit, you can overcome it. The good news is all it takes is a progression not perfection for there to be results.

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
Corrie ten Boom, Clippings from My Notebook

So, what can you do when you begin to get sucked in to those thoughts?

divergent

If you’ve seen Divergent- which I highly recommend if you haven’t- you got to do what Tris does- remind yourself “It’s not real.” She had the ability when faced with her fears to call it what it was: false evidence appearing real. Almost always are the thoughts of worry less factual but fear based. Name your thoughts when they start to mimic the above video, acknowledging that they are circular thoughts, then moving on to what is real, applying grounding and mindfulness techniques.  Most importantly, be realistic.  You may go back to worrying minutes later, but be vigilant in your efforts because u can kick it.

U can kick it

You can do what you have to do, and so

u can do it even better than you think you can.

That’s the truth- you can do anything, and probably better than you think. Whatever the bad habit, from back talking your little old mother to substance abuse, u really can kick it.

I’m writing this blog to remind you this. Too often there are people who will tell you “Don’t bother to try, you’re probably going to fail” or they’ll say nothing to you because they’ve written you off for not succeeding to your full potential or goal yet. There will always be people like that.

There will always be people like me too; real. I am not perfect, I am a creature of habit, though many have not been pretty, I’ve worked hard to rid some of them for good. This is how I know you can can do it, and I did it because others shared with me. The people who told me about what I couldn’t do, helped me… to beat myself up. There were days I gave into the negativity. Even so, there were time when someone shared with me hope and it clicked. I want to share those things with you. The information and tricks that make recovery easier and manageable, the benefits that come from setting a goal and completing it, the amazing and possible direction your life can go and everything in between to get you there.

U can kick it.