Center Stage

Do you ever feel like the whole world has its eyes on you, watching your every move, decisions, and mistakes?  Well, to put it simply, most of the time they don’t.  We are the center of our lives and we are so in tune with ourselves and what is happening to us that we feel like the whole world is just as in tuned to us as we are.  The truth is, everyone is involved in their own lives and is not focusing, or watching us as closely as we perceive them to be.

There is no one that knows us better than ourselves, we know ourselves very deeply.  We know all of our needs, fears, desires, we have lived through all of our past experiences and that has molded us to create beliefs about ourselves, beliefs that we feel other people have about us also. In reality, other people do not see us how we see ourselves, they do not know us on the same deep level.

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How many times were you surprised by the response of others, where you thought they were thinking one way, but it turns out that it was the opposite?  For example, you have just finished giving a presentation at work, you feel like you blew it, like it was a failure, you think of all of the things that you forgot to say, yet when it’s over, you get amazing feedback from your coworkers.  Think of when you got a haircut that you didn’t like, or a minor imperfection that you have that you feel like the whole world notices, think of how many times you have brought those minor imperfections up to people and they respond by saying “Oh, I didn’t even notice until you said something!”  All of these examples show that we are entirely more focused on ourselves than other people are.  

In the world of psychology, there is a concept known as The Spotlight Effect, it basically states that we feel like we are being watched and observed far more than is actually happening.  I know that as a teenager I felt like I was always in the spotlight, always being observed and judged, but so did others of my age.  I still feel this way sometimes now as an adult, but I am so much more relaxed and I try to live life for me and not worry what others are thinking or saying about me.

I hope that this post has helped you in some way and that it reminds you to live your own life freely, be 100% you, and do what you love.  You are at the center stage of your own life and your audience couldn’t see you in a more brighter light!

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Distortions

We see everything in life clearly, or do we?  There is so much to see in this world and some of it cannot be seen with the naked eye, but even what we do see is not always how it appears.  How many times in your life have you been so certain that a particular person was a certain way and they ended up being the exact opposite, or a situation that you thought took place one way, actually unfolded in a completely different way?  Looks are very deceiving, things are definitely not always how they appear.

If you really stop and think about it, this topic could drive you crazy.  We see someone, or see things one way, but they are actually another.  Much of what causes us to see life distorted are our past experiences.  We know that x,y, and z turned out a certain way in the past, therefore we think it will turn out the same way again.  We can sometimes get caught up in assumptions, I know I do this, I assume things are a certain way just based off of how they appear, definitely something that I continue to work on because this mindset is not very helpful!

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Another aspect that creates distortions in our lives are our own fears and anxieties.  We all have things in life that make us uncomfortable at some point or another.  I’m sure that we have all felt like someone didn’t like us, or that the world was against us.  Picture this, you met someone new, they are quiet and don’t really want to engage in conversation with you.  Different people will have a different response to this, some will figure that the individual is just shy or reserved and needs time to become comfortable, others might think that the individual doesn’t like them, or doesn’t enjoy their company, they may wonder what they have done wrong.  What about when your boss e-mails you and wants to set up a meeting, some may just take this gesture as a normal part of business, where other people may worry that they are in trouble, or about to be given bad news.  We can see how our mind can cause us to see people and situations in a distorted way.

We can easily create a lot of unneeded stress in our lives by not seeing a person for who they are, or a situation for what it is.  It’s hard not to do, I struggle with this myself, but it is helpful for us to remember that things are not always as they seem.  

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Adapting to Change

For the most part, humans are pretty habitual by nature.  Most of us thrive with having a routine, we look forward to carrying out our daily rituals no matter how small.  We as human beings find comfort in the known, the routine, the predictable.  There are some individuals that thrive off of spontaneity and the unknown and some prefer a mix.  For me, I am very much a creature of habit, I enjoy having structure and a routine and most changes take me a while to adapt to.

In recent events, a sad and unfortunate Coronavirus (Clovid-19) pandemic has swept the globe flipping our lives upside down.  This virus doesn’t just have a massive effect on some people, or some countries, this pandemic has effected the entire globe.  The world has hardly ever seen such a nightmare, such a life-changing event.  In the blink of an eye, life has changed for all of us.  Our routines have been interrupted, our way of life has been modified, the hustle and bustle has been halted.  

Adapting to change is not easy, like I mentioned before, we thrive in the known and in our routines.  When life changes so suddenly as with the Coronavirus, we don’t have much time to plan, process, or adjust, it’s almost like you wake up and life is suddenly different.  Part of how we grow and become stronger is dealing with struggles, change, and the uncomfortable.  When change is unexpected and we are forced into a new norm, we have to learn to adapt as hard as that may be.  Thankfully, this pandemic will end, we will take control of this, and in the meantime we have to do the best that we can to maintain sanity and normalcy.

As with many things in life, this situation can be looked at as mind over matter.  It helps to remind ourselves that this is only temporary, we will have our routines back, we will be able to go out and enjoy life again.  Adapting to new ways of life, being around family 24/7, changes in routine, work, school, get-togethers, we will get that back.  No one wants to go through this, we must remember that and be there for each other.  As difficult as it is, try not to focus on what we temporarily lost, but to know that this has an end, and our love and support for our loved ones and humanity will get us through this.

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Change has the ability to help us realize what we have, helps us appreciate and be grateful for the little things, not taking for granted coffee with a friend, having a job to go to, going to the store without wearing a mask and gloves.  Change can be very hard, but it is also beneficial. The ironic thing is that change eventually becomes a new norm.

These last few weeks I have really had to keep my mind in check.  I’ve had to remember that this is not permanent, we are all going through a trying time, we get used to and find comfort in the familiar, but it does not help us grow.  Not only is my routine changed, so are those of my family and we have to learn to really find a compromise in our new lifestyle because we are all having to change and modify what we are used to.

My thoughts and prayers go out to this entire world.  We have what it takes to get through this and one day we will all look back on this as just a memory.  I pray for peace, healing, health, and safety for each of you. God Bless.

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Keep Your Mind on a Leash

I know that this title is a little out there and what I am about to say is ironic, but by “keeping your mind on a leash,” or in other words keeping tabs and having control over your mind and thoughts, it can really make for a more peaceful life. The mind is an extremely powerful thing.

Like many people, I deal with anxiety on an almost daily basis, it is very exhausting and really can make life quite challenging and unpleasant.  Over the years I have learned several techniques to try to minimize my anxiety and they do help, that is of course if I work at it and be consistent with it!

I’m sure that everyone has felt some sort of anxiety maybe during a test, before a presentation, meeting a deadline, gathering for a social event, having a fight with a loved one, these can all cause anxiety, however for those like myself, anxiety takes on a daily and persisting form.  There are times where I feel that my anxiety level is at a fair or good place and times where there is too much going on, my anxiety flares, and it feels like it’s consuming me.  I wanted to write this blog to give you some insight on what has helped me and hopefully it could help you too.

Our minds really do have so much power.  We must take great care of our mind and what we choose to “feed” it.  The thoughts that we think about ourselves and the world around us are very powerful even when not spoken.  If we make a mistake and we think to ourselves “I can’t do anything right,” if we close off communication with a loved one and think “They probably don’t love me anyway,” these are very damaging words and if repeated enough can cause you to actually believe these things about yourself to be true.

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Our thoughts and minds can run wild very easily if we let them.  When we feel anxious, when our mind starts wandering and our thoughts start racing and snowballing, it helps to put a stop to those thoughts right away.  The best way that I have found to do this is to negate, or counteract the thought that I am having. If the thought is “I always make mistakes,” negate that by thinking of everything that you’ve accomplished so far.  If the thought is “I am not good at relationships,” counteract that by telling yourself “Relationships are hard work, but are a learning experience and I am doing my best to better myself daily.”  We can be so hard on ourselves, other people tend to put us in a much brighter light, they don’t tend to see us the way that we see ourselves.  Replace negative and anxious thinking with “I can,” “I will,” “I am worthy,” “I am a good person,” etc.  Our minds can take a thought and run with it even if it is not even true at all.  Keep a tight watch of your thoughts and feelings. 

If you are like me, you tend to focus and worry about the future, we always hear that this robs us of the present and this is true, worrying about the future is not having control of our minds, we are missing out on what is right in front of us if we are thinking of something not yet here.  It is important to think and plan for the future, but not obsessively.  Life changes so much and so often and many times what we are worried about today may not even take place, or may not even be a worry in the future.  We can really get ahead of ourselves if we let it.  

By no means are these tips easy, I struggle daily with trying to implement these, but there is some definite relief and it is absolutely worth the try! Wishing you a peaceful and beautiful week, as always thank you so much for stopping by!

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The Power of Solitude

Once in a while we get the chance to sit alone with pin-drop silence. Most of our days are filled with the hustle and bustle of work, families, and other responsibilities that leave us in a near constant state of commotion. It is in these peaceful moments that we discover the power of solitude.

In life a lot of us, including myself, struggle with balance and this ultimately leads to a burnout. I feel as though balancing rest and work in today’s world is even more difficult. I am the first to admit that I burnout quickly and I require more downtime than most people. I believe this is due to me being a very “sensitive” person and I process life very deeply. I sometimes wish that I didn’t absorb so much energy and emotions as it is quite draining.

When we are with others, so much of our energy and focus are on other people. We keep up with the demands of relationships, work, school, and we are depleted of energy before we make time for ourselves. We need to learn to put ourselves first, because if we are not physically and mentally sound, we cannot possibly give our all in life. Think of the last time that you sat alone outside by the water, drank a cup of tea or coffee in your recliner with no one else home, took a walk in nature just you and the universe. How did that make you feel? I am guessing that for a lot of us, that feeling would be whole, peaceful, renewed, uplifted, and relaxed. I do understand for some that being alone may trigger fear, sadness, and loneliness. Some individuals are alone most if not all of the time and they crave human interaction. It’s all about balance. There were times that I was alone so much that I was depressed and craved companionship, I’ve also been in times where I was around so many people that I just wanted to hide away from the world and be by myself.

Solitude brings about both peace and strength. There is something so beautiful about being at one with yourself, feeling yourself breathe, and having no outside stimulation from the world. One can process thoughts and emotions and find peace in just existing. On the other hand, solitude requires strength as it is not exactly how humans are “hardwired.” There are individuals of course who are introverted and I do find myself becoming more introverted as I age. Solitude is also when we are forced to face our demons. Whether you prefer being alone, surrounded by people, or a mix, please make more time to do what you love and what renews and refreshes your soul. Your mind and body are so precious and we need to put ourselves first so that we can be the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be. Just a few minutes a day set aside just for you can make all the difference in the world.