Life Talk: True Friends and Toxic People

So much of our lives are spent interacting with other individuals on many different levels. We can have acquaintances, friends, family, significant others, coworkers, etc. Each encounter and individual that we meet has the power to impact us greatly…positively or negatively. I personally believe that certain individuals and situations are brought into our lives to serve a specific purpose.

I used to accept just about everyone into my life when I was younger. I definitely learned the hard way that this was not an ideal way of life, but every relationship and situation that we go through has the power to make us stronger. I’ve been through my fair share of fake friends and toxic people, but I have also been blessed with some true friends along the way. I must say that the older I get, these true friends sure do seem like one in a million, they are such a rare find. I do believe that part of this is because as we age, we have a better idea of the qualities that we look for in people when entering into any sort of relationship.

The older we get, we truly realize how precious our energy is and how much the people in our lives affect us. We start to notice who has been our true friend through good and bad and who has been there only at their convenience. Sometimes we may have a friend that is a true friend, but yet a toxic friend as well, or we may have a definite toxic friend that we should remove from our lives.

There are signs of a true friend and a toxic friend. True friends feel like a 50/50 give and take relationship. Both parties feel cared for and supported, there is no selfish or self-absorbed behavior. True friends should feel like a good balance, they should make you feel comfortable and able to be yourself. You’ll find them around during the good times and the bad. Toxic friends on the other hand usually don’t give you the best feeling. The relationship may appear one-sided, they may expect you to be there for them, but when you need them they can’t be found. Toxic friends will use us, put us down, and drain our energy.

I try not to let the past friendships and relationships affect my current and future ones, but having had many fake and toxic friends over the years, I have slowly built a wall up and it is harder to allow people in. I have to remind myself that new individuals are not part of my past and they deserve a clean slate and to be given a chance, some people are truly good and not out to do harm. Trust your gut instincts when dealing with others and love and cherish the ones that are truly there for you!

Knowing who to remove from your life can make all the difference in the world. Your energy is very precious, preserve it.

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The Passage of Time

It hit me the other day…I was pulling into a parking space, just getting home from work. We had gotten a 10″ snowstorm the weekend before and as much as I love snow, finding enough parking after a storm can be quite difficult. I remember shortly after the storm, the snow was piled up all over the roads. As beautiful as it is, it made parking a little tricky for about a week. I remember coming home everyday trying to maneuver my car into a space. I couldn’t wait for the sun to melt some of it away. We had a really warm day the other day, it reached over 60 degrees and the remaining snow had melted away and that’s when it hit me…

A brief moment of sadness rushed over me as I pulled so easily into my parking space. I know this may sound crazy, but this small routine moment made me reach a large realization. I have heard this time and time again, but have always found it difficult to do…that is to live in the moment. As life unfolds, I tend to just go through the motions, or look to the future, sometimes dwell on the past, but hardly ever live for today and in the moment. There can be so much that we are missing when we are not fully paying attention to our present moment. Good or bad, as hard as it is, if we are constantly stuck in the past, or focused on the future, we are missing the here and now.

When we practice living for today, so many opportunities can flow to us, we are more open and focused on our surroundings, our energy and minds are set in the present moment. Easily parking my car, such a simple event, was what I needed to really push myself to try to live in the moment. I was so busy wanting the snow to melt so that I could park my car with ease, that when the snow did finally all melt away I missed it because I did not fully enjoy it while it was there.

Time cannot be taken back, if we focus on today, we can start getting the most out of life. This will definitely not be an easy habit to change, but I am appreciative of my own mini wake-up call. Enjoy each day and each moment, for time keeps pressing on and is soon to become just a memory.

Life is a Beautiful Mess

What an adventure life is! It’s quite a journey with highs and lows and everything in-between. I’m sure that a lot of us have had some sort of envision of how we hoped or expected our lives to turn out. For example, you may have hoped to attend college, but couldn’t, you may have envisioned getting married, then having children, but maybe you’ll be doing that in a different order. Possibly you’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition that has changed the course of your life or reordered your dreams. Whatever the case may be, I just want to leave you with this message: life is messy.

It is natural to have certain envisions for your life and when they don’t happen, or they happen at a different time than you wished, we can often lose hope. It is in these moments that I try to remind myself that my life is playing out just the way it should and that everything happens for a reason. These are just my beliefs and opinions that I have, they help keep me going. Life doesn’t have to go perfectly or exactly as planned, we are only human and we have minimal control over most things in life. It’s okay for life to take you to places that are not the “norm.” When we realize that life is messy and not meant to be perfect, we can release some control and stress over feeling responsible when things don’t go as we want them to.

I have had many events in my life that definitely brought me down in the beginning. I had to work through the “loss” of particular parts of my life that I had envisioned that either won’t or didn’t occur as planned. After the acceptance process, I was able to look at life from a different point of view. I would look for the positives in a situation and keep those in mind instead of dwelling on the negatives. Even in the darkest times, there is usually a silver lining. Also, realize that there is no perfect life, that life is messy and chaotic, it’s a series of events that help us learn and become stronger.

We often look around at other individuals and we see them laughing or smiling, or we see joyous pictures of people on social media and think that others must have a much better life than us, or that they must be happier than us. When you sit down and talk to others, you will realize that everyone has a battle, we are all dealing with something. When we talk to others, it can help us to realize that we are not so alone, we don’t have to feel so alienated. Whatever you are dealing with at this moment, please don’t give up hope and just know that things have a way of working themselves out in the end.

Your life story has the ability to impact so many. Stay strong and may all of your dreams come true!

Decoding the Anxious Mind – Tips to Relieve Anxiety

Most of us feel some sort of anxiety in our lives during specific life situations like a new job, moving to a new house, having an argument with a loved one, giving a presentation, etc., however there are individuals like myself that struggle with anxiety on a daily basis. This is the more extreme form, not your typical anxiety here and there. In this blog I will be talking about my personal experience with anxiety and also tips and tricks that I have found to be very helpful along the way.

I have dealt with anxiety since I was a young child. Things often worried and scared me without any particular reason. I remember being so tense about things and I couldn’t relax enough to be a wild and free kid like many children are. I of course had a ton of fun in my childhood and have many great memories that I will never forget, by this I mean I was an overly-cautious child and that hasn’t changed much to this day! As I grew into my teen years, my anxiety became more apparent. I was extremely shy, I hardly spoke to anyone. My hands would sweat and I was afraid of what others thought of me. I was so shy and nervous that it prevented me from even knowing what to say to other people, I had a lot of trouble keeping a conversation going with anyone outside of my family. I believe that anxiety and shyness are in most cases part of being a teenager, however my anxiety was extreme and impacted many areas of my life. Now, as an adult I still suffer from anxiety, but I have made a lot of improvements by submerging myself into situations and forcing interactions with others until they became natural. This took years and years for me to be able to do, but now good luck getting me to stop talking!

I am reminded of my anxiety on a daily basis with varying degrees depending on what’s going on in my life. I have experienced those dreaded panic attacks, moments where you literally cannot get your mind from snowballing from one idea or fear to the next, and times where you feel like you are literally going insane and losing control. I have thankfully found ways to manage and lessen my anxiety and I am happy to share them with you! In some cases, the tips below will not suffice, there are cases where individuals should seek a professional to help them develop a deeper understanding of where the root of their anxiety might be coming from. Here is a list of tips that have helped me:

  1. Be out in nature – it’s so peaceful and relaxing and makes you realize that we are a small part of something so much greater
  2. Go for a walk – the physical aspect is very good at calming anxiety, being exposed to nature is an added bonus if you walk outside
  3. Take a hot shower or bath – heat is so soothing and relaxing and so is the sound of water!
  4. Write or journal – express and relieve emotions. I love to write and blog
  5. Have a hobby and a focus – this keeps your mind busy, an idle mind is not a good thing, there’s too much thinking. A hobby gives you focus and hope as well as something to look forward to, it’s a nice distraction
  6. Talk with like-minded people – this can help you realize that you aren’t alone and you aren’t as different as you feel from society. I know a lot of times I literally have anxiety about having anxiety, so just to know that there are others that have similar fears or experiences, makes me not feel so alienated

I truly hope that you have found these useful!

The Inside Scoop: How to Prepare for a Job Interview

First of all, congratulations if you have secured an interview! If you are still looking for a job, it’s definitely out there, keep going, I know it’s not an easy journey. If you already have a job that you are happy with and are reading this, I truly appreciate your support! I have been through several different types of interviews in my life and have come up with some tips on how to prepare for an interview, some of the most common interview questions I’ve been asked, and tips during the actual interview. Here we go!

When you have found out that you have an interview it elicits many emotions: fear, excitement, happiness, nervousness, etc. To ease the not-so-pleasant emotions of interviewing, it can help your anxiety by being prepared and having a general idea of what to expect. As with most things that life has to offer, not every experience is going to be the same. These are tips that I have discovered that have helped me and hopefully you too!

When preparing for your interview, it’s a good idea to come up with a list of questions to ask the company that you are interviewing with, this shows interest and drive. Visit the company’s website to learn more information about them and get a better understanding of what they do, it is a true benefit to have basic knowledge of the company. Pick out your interview outfit! It’s best to dress to impress and it will help boost your self-confidence. When you look your best, it also helps you feel your best.

Before you go to your interview, consider going for walk, meditate, call a family member or friend, even journal to release some emotions.
During the interview try your best to be relaxed. I know that’s difficult! Let your confidence shine! Just be you, remember that the company already likes you, or they wouldn’t have asked you to come in for an interview. During the interviews that I have had, most of the time the individual interviewing was taking notes and not staring directly at me, this took some of the edge off. Since you have made preparations for your interview, you are likely to feel more at ease.

In hopes to help you even further, here are a list of common interview questions that I have been asked:

  1. What are your best qualities?
  2. What areas can you improve on?
  3. Why have you chosen this job?
  4. What skills do you have that you can apply here?
  5. Can you name a time when…? (Situational questions)
  6. If your boss told you to do x, y, and z, but you felt it was wrong, what would you do?
  7. What would your past employers say about you? (If applicable)
  8. What do you know about our company?
  9. How would you describe yourself and what are your future goals?
  10. What would your ideal job be?

Thank you for reading and best of luck to you!!

Dreams: Where Will Your Mind Take You?

We are at the mercy of our dreams as we slumber. We lay down hoping for a good night’s sleep, but sometimes our minds have other plans for us. There are pleasant dreams and ones that we know as nightmares. As we sleep our bodies are perfectly still, yet our minds wander through journey after journey well beyond our control.

Why do we dream? Some say it’s due to the food that we eat, problems that we haven’t worked out during our waking life, intuitive dreams that give us a glimpse into the future, or simply an overactive mind not able to settle down. Whatever the reason, dreams have always been of interest to me, it just fascinates me that we could be fast asleep yet our minds continue to do what they do best.

I go through periods of dreaming all the time to hardly dreaming at all. For me personally, most of my dreams have been either fear-related, working out a current struggle or worry in my life, or dreams in another fantasy land. I have also had dreams of deceased loved ones that felt so real. Those are truly amazing, you feel as though you are with that person, it’s such an amazing and comforting experience. Then we have those dreams where we are in an unknown location with unknown individuals. How do our minds come up with these!? Our minds are so creative and can think of so many things, even those not humanly possible, and ones that are so off the wall.

This of course is just my opinion, but I feel as though dreams serve as a kind of connection between here in the physical world to that of the spiritual world. In some ways, I believe that dreams are messages to us unveiling parts of our subconscious. They may draw attention to certain areas of life, or play out a scenario over and over until we have worked out the issue…oh those repetitive dreams! Do you have any interesting dreams to share? I would love to hear them!

The Magic that Happens Just by Being You

Be yourself…that sounds easy right? After all, we are living everyday as ourselves, or are we? I am sure that a lot of us can think of a time or times in our life where we didn’t stay true to ourselves whether it be due to stigmas in society, peer pressure, fear, whatever it may be, it prevented us from being our authentic self. I believe that for many of us, we don’t realize how often we “stray” from ourselves. For example, we could hold back on saying something in a meeting, limit sharing our thoughts, feelings, and opinions with friends and family, or not sticking up for what we believe in.

It seems as though many of us have this innate fear of being seen as different, being judged, fear of trusting and opening up, fear of failure, not being loved, so many other reasons that prevent us from being our true selves. One factor that I have noticed especially in myself is that once I let go of my fears, the world opens up to me. This of course, is not always easy to do, but when we start to love ourselves, boost ourselves the way we so easily boost others, say what we feel, and ask questions, that’s when the magic happens!

photo of three women lifting there hands

We can learn to be ourselves by analyzing the way that we approach people and situations that happen to us in life. We can pay more attention to our interactions with family, friends, coworkers, others in general. Are we saying what’s on our mind and in our hearts? Are we asking questions when we are worried about something instead of believing that we already know the answer? Do we stick up for what we believe in? Do we push ourselves to do the best that we can in life? We can be conscious of the moments and situations where fear takes over and use them as opportunities to slowly start putting ourselves out there. Overtime, this can become second nature.

As with a lot of aspects of life, we cannot control what others do and say, only how we handle ourselves in these circumstances. There will be people that judge and form opinions about us, but I personally have felt that the freedom that comes from being your true self far outweighs any backlash or fears. When you allow yourself to be open, vulnerable, fearless, you open up so many windows of opportunity in the areas of life and personal growth. I have found that living my authentic self has decreased my worry and anxiety and has let me grow and develop as an individual. Remember, you are amazing and beautiful just as you are…let it shine!!

man standing beside cliff