These Things I Know (UPDATED)

The hardest part about this blog post was coming up with a name for it 😀

About a month ago when I picked up writing again, I mentioned I was working on a reflection – some lessons learned, some life rules I’ve adopted, some general thoughts on life. And it’s finally ready!

But to pick a title …. hmmm.

See, it’s not all lessons I’ve learned, nor is it purely a list of “life rules”. Some of it I’ve personally experienced; others I’ve observed. But when it comes down to it, I decided that everything kinda falls into a broader bucket of things I know to be true.

So without further adieu, I give you These Things I Know 🙂

  • Life Rule #1 is “Don’t Be An Asshole”.
    • And I should clarify that this is a blanket coverage on all interpretations of that word – being shady, rude, arrogant, selfish, disrespectful, obnoxious, inconsiderate, or unkind. And if anyone wants to bring this negative junk around me? BYE FELICIA. #sorrynotsorry
  • If you break Life Rule #1, realize it, acknowledge it, apologize for it, and then move on.
    • Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. And in general, they only become super problematic if you don’t learn from them and make the same mistake over and over again.
  • One of my favorite quotes need to be rewritten.
    • I love quotes, really. But some should be updated to be more easily understood and put into practice, because their meaning can get lost in flowery and eloquent language. For example, take one of my favorites – “actions speak louder than words”. Totally believe it, agree with it, and live by it. But it’s too proper. My proposed alternative is: “Words don’t mean sh*t unless they’re backed up by genuine, honest, recognizable action.” BOOM. See, now isn’t that more clear?
  • Big goals are great, but you have to break them down into realistic and manageable pieces to feel like you’re getting anywhere.
    • This was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me. I set big goals but then get frustrated when I don’t make as much progress as I think I should be making or if it’s not happening fast enough. And I fall off the wagon and get angry with myself. I will be much more successful at setting and sticking with goals if I make them manageable and realistic. Take weight loss as one example. Instead of just having a big goal of, “I want to lose xx pounds”, keep that big goal in mind but I shift my thinking to be, “I want to lose 5 pounds to start”. Then when that happens, reset and think, “Awesome, now I want to lose 5 more” until I get to my big goal.
  • Self-care is critically important, in all ways … physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
    • And sometimes you have to prioritize one aspect of self-care more than others.  And that’s okay.  You figure out what needs more of your focus, work through it, and then re-evaluate.
  • All relationships are two-way streets. Period, end of story.
    • Doesn’t matter if it’s a family member, friend, spouse or significant other, business associate, neighbor. Both people have to be willing to make an effort. And if that doesn’t happen … if only one person is putting in the effort …he or she will eventually stop trying. Trust me on this. I’ve done it – stopped trying. It sucks, especially when it’s someone you care about a lot. But it’s easier than constantly feeling ignored or that you’re the only one who cares about said relationship. BUT, that being said ….
  • Relationships can also naturally ebb and flow over the course of time, particularly with people who are in your life for awhile.
    • It’s natural. You just have to accept it and figure out how what works for you and (insert name). But do NOT use this as an excuse to ‘phone it in’.  The note above still applies. There’s a definite difference between not putting in effort to maintain a relationship with someone and being apathetic versus navigating periods of time where it’s harder to stay in contact with someone or when you might not feel as connected (i.e. vacations, big life changes like moving or having a kid or starting a new career, new relationships, etc).
  • Every single one of us is capable of doing hard things.
    • You may take a different path than others, it may take awhile to do it, and/or you may not get it right the first time. But everyone can do hard things if we put our minds to it, if we stay focused, if we don’t give up.
  • Don’t ignore your feelings, especially when you are struggling with something (big or small).
    • Find a way to work through them, and realize that how you do that will differ from everyone else. Some people journal, some talk to friends and family, some seek help from a counselor or therapist, some exercise, some travel. Figure out what works for you. When I was going through stuff last year, I chose a combination of those examples above plus had what we jokingly called the “shouty caps notebook”, when I’ve had some strong and/or angry words to get out of my system but didn’t want to or didn’t feel like I could share them in real life 🙂
  • And also, remember that just because someone doesn’t outwardly express how they feel doesn’t mean they don’t feel.
    • Big difference between not showing feelings versus not feeling.
  • If you want to help someone going through a tough time, do something, anything, to show you’re there for them. 
    • Words are great, sure.  But they’re easy to say and don’t always come backed up with actual meaning.  (See bullet point 3 above.)  Asking someone “how can I help” may or may not do any good, because often times he or she who is struggling doesn’t know how to answer that question.  I was one of them – at the time, I didn’t know how anyone could help.  So instead, aim for something different … set aside quality time to spend together, pop in a favorite movie and watch with them, cook them a meal, go out for a coffee, take a walk or try a new form of exercise together, share a favorite book/lyrics/quote, drop a card or letter in the mail, etc.  SHOW THEM you’re there, don’t just tell them.
  • Choose your words wisely, especially during emotionally heavy situations.
    • Once you say them or write them, you can’t take them back, no matter how hard you wish for someone to forget them. It’s simply not possible.
  • Also, be careful with how much you decide to share with people.
    • This is particularly true for new or difficult or confusing situations you find yourself in. Really think about it … will what I say do any good?  could it permanently change how I think about someone or how they think about me, and how will I deal with it never being the same?  how will I feel after – happy, relieved, warm and fuzzy, embarrassed, etc?  Again, it’s worth repeating – once you put something out there, you can’t take it back. Is it worth the risk sometimes?  Absolutely.  But not always.
  • What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
    • Kind of an exaggeration (the ‘killing’ part), but it’s true. Similar to “you can do hard things”, you CAN and WILL get through tough times. And often you’ll come out better and brighter after the darkness 🙂

Take care of yourself, and take care of each other. Remember Life Rule #1. And let’s make it a great week!

Cheers,

SMR

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Must Always Remember

I just want everybody to be happy. That’s just me and who I am. It’s hard-wired in my DNA.

I’m a fixer, a worrier, an overanalyzer, a heavy-duty empathizer, and a protector when it comes to the most important people in my life 🙂 And by extension also to the people who are important to MY people, whether I know them well or not.

I also want to be the best spouse, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, etc that I can be, at all times.

Because of that, I often … okay, super often … neglect to remember this:

AND … through focusing so much energy on being whatever type of friend my people need, whenever they need it, I sometimes (okay, LOTS of times) forget to take care of ME … which should be equally as important as taking care of and looking out for others.

It’s kind of like the “secure your own oxygen mask first” instructions you get during the pre-flight safety rundown on an airplane, you know? You can’t help others well if you’re not putting yourself first.

Plus, in addition to it not being my job to be everything to everybody, it’s damn near impossible. Believe me, I’ve tried. Doesn’t usually end well.

Maybe it’s obvious to most, but maybe this can be a reminder for someone else, too 🙂

This is just one of the lessons I’ve learned/re-learned/realized over the last year or so. More to come. Alllllmost finished with Part 1 – stay tuned!

Cheers,

SMR

New Years Countdown, Tiara-style

Happy December, folks!  I cannot believe we’re at the end of 2017.  Where in the world did this year go?!??

I’m gonna get real honest…

A good chunk of this year was really rough.  I lost my way a few times and was no longer myself – my true, genuine self.  While I’m a pretty open book with most of my life, I don’t open up about the tough stuff at all.  So even some of the people closest to me didn’t know I was struggling on a very regular basis.

Don’t get me wrong, there were some definite bright spots throughout the year.  And I’m not blind to the fact that I am blessed in many, many ways.  But everyone has their challenges, right?

I’ve only started really being “me” again over the last couple weeks, which has felt awesome.  I still have tough moments, but I know now some of the triggers for them and am better at realizing when it’s starting to happen so I can try to head it off as much as possible.

Unfortunately, the timing for getting back to being me isn’t perfect – we’re heading into what for the last eight years has been my least favorite month.  And I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little worried about regressing to a not-myself, unhappy place again….

BUT, to try to combat this, I’m going to do a New Years Countdown, tiara-style 🙂

Not only will blogging every day this month help ME focus more on the happy but hopefully it will bring a smile to your faces, too!

To kick things off, below is a photo of one of my very favorite things.  We caught this sunrise on Thanksgiving morning and is by far one of the BEST sunrises we’ve ever seen from our house.  The sky was beautiful, and the reflection off the pond was unreal.  It still takes my breath away.

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Until tomorrow!

Cheers,

SMR

Please Stand By…

It’s been a long summer. Definitely awesome moments, but a good number of tough ones, too. 

I’ve been saving up all my vacation days to take some sweet trips this month and won’t be writing for awhile. 

So…. 

BUT, have no fear – I’ve loaded the Facebook page with at least one post a day for the next few weeks. Oldies but goodies, I promise 😉  Click here to check it out and “Like” the page to get some daily happy in your news feed.

Cheers y’all,

SMR

Two Years in the Blogosphere

Two years ago this weekend, I started this blog.

WHOA.

Time sure does fly, doesn’t?

For the most part, I’ve loved writing here 🙂  It’s been fun, it’s been happy, it’s been therapeutic.  I’ve laughed, I’ve smiled, I’ve cried.  Sometimes I get in a groove and write daily fora while; sometimes it seems like more of a chore and I step away from it for awhile.  But I’m still SO happy I did it (and plan on doing so for a long time)!

One of the coolest and most unexpected things that’s happened as a result of sharing the happy on this blog is that it’s allowed me to connect with people in a new and different way.  Some of them I know, some I don’t. Some are my oldest friends, some are schoolmates or former colleagues I haven’t seen in years.  From talking with some of these folks, it’s become clear that this space is no longer just for me, but for others, as well – whether it’s just for fun or because they need some extra happy in their lives, too.

As a fun reflection, I took a look back at my writings and pulled some of my favorite posts.  If you’ve missed any of them or want to check them out again, click the links below.

(And yes, I know there’s a lot of them.  I have a lot of faves.  Don’t have time to read them all?  Bookmark the page and come back to it later 🙂 )

Thank you too all who follow along (and welcome, to anyone who’s here for the first time)!  I look forward to continuing to share the happy 🙂

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Cheers!

SMR

 

Your Tribe


Too often we either struggle to realize (or wait too long to make a change) when we have people in our lives that maybe shouldn’t be or at least shouldn’t have such a large part in it.

Not everyone feels this way, but I personally believe that you should surround yourself with people that bring you peace, happiness, joy, and positive vibes, and people who help you find those things within yourself. 

And if someone doesn’t fit that bill? Think long and hard about how much you want them around. Life is too short to do otherwise.

We have the power to choose who we surround ourselves with…those who are in our tribe. Yes, there are times when it’s unavoidable to be around someone with negative energy or someone who you just plain don’t like – such as a particular family member or coworker – but for the most part, it’s up to us.

Here’s some quick math: On an average workday, I sleep 7-8 hours a night, take about an hour to get ready, spend 1-1.5 hours commuting, and work anywhere from 8-10 hours. So, for five days a week, that leaves me with about 4-6 hours where I get to choose what I do and who I spend time with – about 15-25% of my day.

In the grand scheme of things? That’s not a lot of time. As harsh as it sounds, why would I waste any of those hours with someone who doesn’t bring positivity, happiness, joy, and peace to the table?

Make good choices, folks. Choose your tribe wisely 🙂