In. Out. Deep Breaths.
This is how I get through tough times throughout the day. This may sound silly, but don’t discourage the idea until you’ve tried it. I’m amazed by how often this one simple thing completely calms me down or at least distracts me enough to chill-ax a little bit.
Many stress factors affect us daily. Our jobs. Our kids. Our families going through a tough time. Taking time to care for ourselves. And many other situational stress points that keep us tightly wound if we’re not concentrating on breathing.
The metaphorical sense of taking a deep breath is just as important as the physical one. What I mean is that sometimes we need to a step away from the situation more so than we need to take a breath. Maybe your “deep breath” is walking into the other room and sitting quietly for a minute or two. Maybe it’s taking a walk around the block. Maybe it actually is stepping outside and taking a deep breath of fresh air.
There’s a reason why “I need to get some fresh air” is a thing. Removing yourself from a situation and taking in a deep dose of oxygen can invigorate your brain and help you think more clearly.
Be aware of your own self. Know when you need a break. Know when removing yourself for some fresh air will do everybody good. Take long and slow deep breaths. Fill your body with energizing air that will clear your mind. Remind yourself to be present in the moment. Allow yourself to admit you need a break. Then, come back recharged and ready to go.
You may be wondering why I tend to “look back” at the past often instead of gazing out longingly to my bright future. Well, the truth is, I’m still healing. I’m still dealing with a lot of crap from my past (some stuff goes WAY back) that I never dealt with when I was younger. I guess I didn’t know how.
So, yes. I’m going to talk about old stuff again here today. You want to know the real truth, though? Processing painful stuff from my past couldn’t happen at any other time in my life as it can now.
For the first time in my life, I can think more clearly and decipher between the emotions I was feeling at those dark times several years ago. Now, I can see that I wasn’t just sad, I felt betrayed. I wasn’t ignoring my feelings, I was burying them. I wasn’t always a bright and sunny happy girl, but I wanted to make sure everyone else thought so.
This stuff runs deep within my veins and being unable to attend therapy sessions like I probably should be doing, I’m sharing them here. In hopes that someone else may benefit or someone may have an emotional “aha” moment themselves, I will continue to show up here and share my thoughts.
There are bits and pieces that I will rescue from the wreckage that is my earlier years, but I feel like the most important part is forgiving myself. Not learning from my past, I am still pretty harsh on the previous decisions I’ve made. Instead, I need to focus on the good back then and what I want to salvage to take with me into the future.
I don’t know about you, but I thank God every day that my life is drastically different than it was in the past. I’m not saying that this is something self-promoting and I’m awesome for realizing what a disaster my life used to be. Just simply stating how grateful I am to not have to live that kind of lifestyle any more.
“What kind of lifestyle?” you ask. Let me paint you a little picture.
Several years ago, almost 4 to be exact, I was living a life of total chaos, only I didn’t realize it until the ticking time bomb was ready to detonate right in front of my face. My marriage was collapsing right in front of me, I was binge drinking on the weekends to drown my sorrows, I wasn’t getting where I wanted to be with my career, I was dying inside emotionally from the passive-aggressive/co-dependent relationship I had created and encouraged with my husband, and I was just downright unhappy with where my future was headed.
Needless to say, I wasn’t happy with myself or where my future was headed. I needed to make a change. I had spent so long trying to change everyone else around me – my husband, my parents pending separation and divorce, and even the uncontrollable situations at work – that I forgot I’m only in control of myself. Realizing only I can make changes in my life, I finally felt that time had come.
I’m happy to report that today our marriage is solid and strong with a foundation we tore down and rebuilt ourselves from the ground up. We are different people today than we would have been had we not decided to drastically change our lives. I quit my job that was ultimately toxic and very hazardous to my life and my marriage. We made a fresh start in a new community and continue to keep growing and improving ourselves.
What’s your story? How are you different today than you were 5 years ago? 10 years ago?
Sometimes we have to motivate ourselves to simply get out of bed. Sometimes we spring right up with no hesitation. Why is that? Maybe you are excited about something fun you are doing or you are going to have lunch with someone special you haven’t seen in a while. Maybe you are motivated and inspired to get to work because you absolutely love what you do! (That’s the dream for everyone, right?)
Hopefully you have found some sort of motivation in your life where you can turn to when things start getting tough. Maybe it’s a friend. Maybe it’s a sponsor. Maybe it’s a family member who has loved you through all of your life’s ups and downs. Maybe it’s an internal motivation you find when you take better care of yourself. Whatever the case may be, please continue to look for new ways of motivation each and every single day.
With all of that being said, I believe it’s perfectly normal to be motivated and encouraged with all of your life’s endeavors and still have a little fear. I’m not talking about the crippling fear that controls your life and keeps you trapped in a deep, dark hole. I’m talking about the kind that makes you question your own motives. The kind of fear that for a split second makes you wonder if you are making the right decision.
This kind of fear is more of a pass-through tool. It’s not meant to come in and set up shop in our lives. It’s meant to enter our consciousness, make sure we are paying attention, and then say adios before we’ve finished our next thought. It is just the right amount of fear. It’ll keep us on our toes, but also keep us aware of the decisions we are making.
Don’t take this the wrong way, but how often do you look in the mirror and tell yourself, “Man, you’re looking good today!” Okay, maybe not verbatim of that last sentence, but when was the last time you thought, “I’m finally starting to look on the outside how I feel on the inside.” (Which could be a good thing or a bad thing…)
This isn’t about vanity or conceitedness. This is about appreciating yourself and your body in a way that only you can do. Sure, you can listen to people tell you all day what they like and don’t like about you. They can list all of your flaws and imperfections, making you feel about the size of a kitchen mouse. Or they can go on and on and on about the sheer beauty you radiate every day just getting out of bed in the morning. (I’m pretty sure no one gets out of bed “glowing” like they do in the movies anyway. I’m just saying…)
What I’m trying to get at here is that if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else is going to do that for you. Sure, other people can believe in you and know that you’ll be alright in the long run, but what good does that do anyone if you don’t believe it yourself?
I know we all go through seasons of high and lows in life, but when you look in the mirror do you recognize the person staring back at you? If you answered “Yes”, then great! Ignore everything I’ve just said and move on. But if you answered “No”, what can you do to remedy this situation? Can you get in better shape? Can you start dressing better, even if you’re only going to be at home all day? (I’m guilty of wearing too many pony tails, no makeup, sweatpants, and baseball caps!) Can you get more sleep? (Is there a store where we can buy more sleep?) Could you use some more energy? (I can always use more energy!)
There are numerous ways in which we can be working towards a better version of ourselves, but if we can’t even recognize the our own image in the mirror then that’s definitely where we need to start.
So take a look in the mirror today. Do you like what you see?
Since this is a place of vulnerability and honesty, I have a confession to make. I noticed I hit the “200 posts” mark the other day here on The Truth Behind Nothing. Wow…200! That’s a big freaking deal. No, it’s not the measure of success for most people, but then again I’m not comparing myself to most people.
I’m astonished that I hit 200 posts simply because I’ve wanted to quit basically ever since I started. (I know that’s probably not something I should admit on a blog where I’m trying to help and encourage other people, but hear me out!) There have been mornings where I sit down at my computer and think, “There can’t be another word in my brain that could inspire or encourage anyone else. I might as well give up. I should just quit right now!”
But then something strange would happen. I would get an idea of how someone else encouraged me or how an experience helped me change my perspective. There have been many healing proclamations made here on this blog and I’m grateful for every single one of them.
So what I’m really trying to say here is please don’t give up on your dreams, whatever they may be.
I’m an aspiring writer. I’m working my butt off every day to get better and to deal with the messy things in life along the way. I hope you decide to do the same thing. Just get started and keep going! One day, you may wake up and realize you’ve practiced your craft over 200 times without even knowing it.
Over the past few years, I’ve turned into a vivacious reader. I didn’t care at all about reading growing up. Just enough to get me by in school and in college. Only required reading was on my list to study. But lately, I’ve been devouring everything from audio-books to eBooks, books borrowed from the library, books given to me by friends and family, and everything in between. I just can’t get enough.
This morning, as I was reading from a prayer book I’ve already completed at least 3 times, I stumbled across a passage about being ready. The writer can be paraphrased as saying, “If you’re looking for excuses, you’ll always find one…You’ll never be ready for anything God calls you to do…he doesn’t call the qualified…he qualifies the called.” – (Mark Batterson, Draw the Circle)
The reason why I bring this up today is that I never feel like I’m ready for anything of significance I’ve done in my life. Ready to have kids? Nope. Ready to get married? Not 100%. Ready to own a home? Uh…. Ready to quit your job and be a stay-at-home mom? What? Now? Ready to be a writer? Okay now, I think you’ve taken things a little too far here. A writer? I was terrible in English and I have a Marketing degree.
I wasn’t ready for anything of these things and I’m still not ready for things that I’m currently working on, but if I waited until I was legitimately ready things would never happen in my life.
Don’t wait until all of the pieces fall magically into place. You’ll be waiting a lifetime for that to happen. Keep doing life and listening to that small voice inside of you saying, “I know it’s scary, but you’re not alone. You can do this. It’s time for you to believe in yourself as much as I do.”