There are No Expiration Dates on DREAMS

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When we have goals or dreams we ardently desire, we tend to get discouraged by the ticking of the clock, and the passing of the weeks, months and even years. I struggle with this all of the time. There is just SO Much I want to do, and even though I work on it all a little at a time, in-between work, errands, and life, I never feel like I’m doing enough or moving quite fast enough. But I think that’s just the nature of a passionate heart and a super over-active brain – probably not bad things to possess.  The thing to always remember is that there is no expiration date on dreams. There is no – if you don’t accomplish it by this date or that year, it’s time to give up. It’s not milk or a steak. It’s a DREAM. If you let them, dreams will die, but they never expire on their own.

So on this hectic Monday, my advice to you is to try and focus on the big picture, on the small steps you are taking each day, each week or each month towards you dreams and goals, and I will try to do the same. I think that as long as you continue to hold those dreams in the forefront of your mind and heart, and never completely abandon them, you will eventually reach that goal. Just remember to feed it, water it, and nurture it, even if it’s for five minutes today, an hour tomorrow, and a day next month. Focus on your progress, not your set-backs.  Because I have experienced it firsthand many times, and the universe really does reward effort, patience and perseverance.

That’s my quick note for today. Here’s to a happy, positive and productive Monday. Dream on dreamers!

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

3 Paths to Internal Woosah

Keep Calm

Life is like a really intense contact sport. Living it well requires attention, focus, practice, coaching and hard work. In my early 20s I feel like I was the worst player that ever played the game. As I’ve matured and worked my way through the tail end of what clinical psychologist Meg Jay calls, “the most important decade of adulthood[1],” I’ve come across three crucial paths to internal woosah. By always doing my best to follow these paths, I find I am less anxious, more confident and much happier. Check ‘em out, give ‘em a try, and let me know if they help lead you to a little more delicious internal woosah.

1. It’s not personal.

These three simple words really have the power to change your life if you repeat them to yourself enough and really practice what they preach. Essentially, the,” it’s not personal,” path to internal woosah means you have to stop taking things personally. I’ve talked about this concept before in Say no to HATE, where I strongly believe that 9 times out of 10, when people mistreat you, hurt you or reject you, it has little or nothing to do with you. That is their noise being projected onto you, but it rarely says anything about what you may have done wrong, and everything about the issues they might be experiencing.

Many of us walk around carrying the heavy weight of taking every little thing personal (big offender right here), and assuming that every time we are on the receiving end of hate, or a bad attitude, it’s because we did something to deserve it, or we are not worth any better. When you encounter these things on your daily life routes, practice saying to yourself, “It’s not personal. It’s not personal. It’s not personal.” Take a few deep breathes as you repeat it in your mind, and watch how much better you start to feel. It works like a sweet, sweet charm, every single time.

It took me a very long time to realize that the hate in my life was never personal, that I never deserved it, and that it never had anything to do with me as a person, but it’s by constantly focusing on, “It’s not personal,” that hate rolls off my shoulder like butta more often these days, helping me to be much more relaxed and happy.

2. Self-awareness is key.

People have always told me that I am a very self-aware person, and lately I’ve come to realize how much that has helped me on my journey to HAPPY. To me, being self-aware means being honest with yourself and others about your weaknesses just as much as you are about your strengths.

For example, I know I am very sensitive, that I can be overly trusting and passionately emotional. I know the things that stress me out and the things that drive me. I know the environments and the people that lift me up and those that bring me down. I know I’m a good writer, and terrible at math (I can make it happen, but man does it hurt!).  I know what I like, and what I don’t, etc., etc. And I use all of this information to manage my life better. Being self aware helps me play up my strengths and make the most of my weaknesses.

By denying the things that you struggle with or aren’t the best at, you only make your life harder, because then you’re just trying to force things. So don’t be ashamed of your weaknesses. Instead, turn them into strengths by being open about them and managing your life AROUND them, not BASED on them.

3. Apologize when an apology is due.

Every single one of us makes mistakes and lots of ‘em. We are all majorly flawed, and that’s part of the beauty of life. Most people are good and usually not out to intentionally hurt others. So when you fudge up, admit it, and apologize. Constantly being too proud or feeling like you’re above apologizing, only creates negative feelings for you and the others affected by your actions. Don’t bottle up guilt or leave others without the apology they deserve. A simple apology can keep a situation from blowing up out of proportion, and can often help heal those we’ve committed mistakes against.

And if you wholeheartedly apologize for your mistakes when an apology is due, and your apology is not accepted, at least you can rest easy knowing you owned up to it, and tried to make amends. You cannot control other people. You can only control yourself. So do what’s right regardless of the response you receive, and then good or bad, move on knowing you did your best.

Also, it is important to note that sometimes it is healthy to apologize even when we believe we haven’t done anything wrong. Although you might not have meant to hurt someone through your words or actions, perhaps they were interpreted the wrong way, and still managed to hurt their feelings. It might not have been your intention, but feelings are non negotiable, and you can’t tell someone they feel the wrong way. So apologize for the misunderstanding, explain your true intentions, and leave the hurt behind. Don’t let a stubborn heart create an empty life. 

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Even the Hopeless Have Hope

Hope

This weekend was a true lesson in hope for me, and I want to share it with you. After all, anything that can strike a little hope in your heart seems especially fitting this week after the nauseating events that took place at the Boston Marathon yesterday afternoon.  So here it goes.

On Saturday, I spent a few hours (ended up feeling more like five minutes) volunteering with a church program called Youth Lounge. Please note that whether you believe in church or religion is not the point here at all, so regardless of your beliefs, I urge you to read on. Anyhoo, I had been searching for a volunteer opportunity for a while now, and this really seemed like the perfect fit. I felt that my positive energy and optimistic attitude could help uplift these young people and inspire a little hope in them. I never thought they would do the same and more for me.

Youth Lounge essentially provides a safe space for homeless and at-risk youth in Chicago’s Lakeview community. A majority of these teenagers and young adults identify as LGBTQ, 90 percent of them are people of color and a little over half of them are homeless. Youth Lounge is put on by Broadway United Methodist Church volunteers twice a month on the second and fourth Saturdays, and provides a home cooked meal, activities and a loving environment for these struggling youth.

This particular Saturday was my first time volunteering with the group, and as a hyper emotional person, I was afraid. I was afraid to unintentionally make it about me. I was afraid to make these kids feel as though I felt sorry for them or looked down on them in any way. And as they started walking in the door, many of them with luggage and bags in tote, the tears began to well up in my eyes. I took deep breathes, and kept telling myself, you have to smile, this is not about you, they need your HAPPY.

Little by little, I completely forgot about my tears, and began to be inspired by them. Here they were, so young, many with no place to live, no safe environment to trust, and yet they were so luminous. Many of them knew each other and ran to one another in warm embraces. Many also made jokes and were happy to see the volunteers they already knew. Suddenly, they were not victims in my eyes. They were just kids and despite their situations, they seemed joyful and full of life. They seemed to be oozing with HOPE.

The afternoon began with several musical performances after which the kids all sat down to brightly decorated tables for a warm, home cooked meal prepared by some of the volunteers. They all gathered with their friends, chatted and laughed as the volunteers came by to take their orders and serve them. Some kids seemed very comfortable being served and others seemed almost shocked at the niceness and attention being offered to them. One particular youth could hardly look me in the eyes as I asked him what he wanted to drink and thanked me quietly almost five times.

Dinner time went by so quickly. I forgot about all of my feelings, and suddenly I just felt so focused on giving them what they needed. Soon it was time for the beauty parlor activity. Before the youth had arrived, I had helped set up a little nail spa in the back of the room. Their names were all put in a hat, and several were chosen to receive a manicure. Although my shift was over, I decided to stay a little longer and help do nails. I love getting my nails done, and did it on my own for many years when I couldn’t afford to get them done. I still get a great sense of progress and relaxation when I go have them done, and I couldn’t wait to offer the youth a little pampering and sense of being special.

I had two gentlemen “clients,” and they were so excited to be pampered. They both chose to have their nails polished in addition to the manicure, and I was happy to help them express themselves. One of them told me all about his foster mom as I did his nails, and the other told me about his struggle with drug abuse and having to fight just to be himself in public. He had been to rehab and told me all about how he’s doing much better now.  I was so glad to hear it. They both laughed and joked with me, opened up to me, and taught me more about hope and resilience than I had ever expected them to.  They had fighter spirits, and despite everything they had been through, they seemed to appreciate life and find ways to smile.

I learned so much from these kids in just a few hours. I learned that you can have nearly nothing and still have a huge smile on your face. I learned that there is always something to look forward to in life if you choose to see it that way. I was also reminded that even though I have my own childhood and adolescent noise, I am so, so lucky. I always had a roof over my head and food to eat, and my parents, despite their many imperfections, never abandoned or disowned me. I was reminded that there is hope all around me, all around us, even from unexpected sources. And most importantly, I was reminded that if those who we would expect to be hopeless can find a way to have hope in their lives and in their hearts, those of us who have been more fortunate can certainly find a way to be more hopeful and optimistic each day.

My thoughts, prayers, hope and heart go out to these beautiful young people, to all those affected by the events in Boston, and to all of you out there searching for a better day. I urge you, as I always do, to pay attention. Hope is all around us, and ready to help us make it through just about anything. At least that’s my hope. 

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Turning Childhood Noise Into Adult Shine

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In this blog, I talk a lot about the negative facets of my childhood, and how they’ve pushed me to fight for a life and a Sonia that I can respect and enjoy. Because I believe there is always a positive way to look at things, always a way to make a little sweet juice from a lot of rotten fruit, today I want to focus on all of the positives in my childhood negatives. With this, I hope to help you channel your inner positivity guru so that you can think through how some of your life’s negatives are actually crawling with positive goodness.

Finding ways to be more grateful in general, especially for things that are not so shiny upon first glance, is one of my proven paths to feeling happier on a daily basis. Plus, the more you practice looking at things positively and pulling strength from negative situations, the more you build up your ability to deal with problems and bad days quicker and more effectively. I don’t know about you, but anything I can do to feel joyous corn more often than I feel down, sounds like a good plan to me! Here’s a few ways I’ve turned childhood noise into adult shine.

Parental noise = Kick-ass fighter attitude

Sure I have daddy issues out the wazoo, and sure he’s not my favorite person in the world, but it is because of him that I have become such a fighter and life enthusiast. It is because of him that I work so hard and stay so focused on chasing and protecting my HAPPY with everything I’ve got. It’s why I strive to be a good person in every situation, and always ensure people know my word counts for something. And it is why I am dedicated to helping motivate other people towards a better life.

Plus, although his methods were not exactly material for a parenting magazine, and they definitely made life as a child and teenager pretty hard, I am grateful that he was so strict. I think it always kept me on the right track, and now, even as grown woman, I still savor and cherish my freedom every single day. And finally, although my relationship with him could use some major TLC, I have one hell of a mother. A lot of people don’t have solid relationships with or support from either parent, and I can appreciate how lucky I am to have her despite the imperfections.

Additionally, my parents live a very sheltered life. They don’t drink, or go out, or keep friendships, really. Growing up, my father believed that as long as your basic needs were met, you should be happy, and anything else was just asking for too much out of life – boooooring. This was always troubling to me as a kid who just wanted to learn, explore and grow. So I’ve made it one of my life’s missions to seek out experiences, keep close relationships, have a lot of fun, and learn, learn, learn.

Finally, life was also very controlled growing up, and now having control over my own life, where I live, how I spend my time, how and where I choose to be spiritual, and how I run my life overall, is exhilarating. And don’t you think that just because I’m 28 and living over a thousand miles away from home, that the attempt to control my life has changed. The difference is now I am not afraid to stand up for myself. My childhood taught me the importance of really living life and living it my way, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Poverty noise = Drive, Humility and Appreciation

Let’s be real. Growing up poor sucked. Hell, it still sucks, because even though I’ve moved myself out of poverty, I still deal with its backwash in many ways. For example, I’ve lived in Chicago for nearly three years and I’ve never been visited by my parents or my little sister mostly because of money. Even when I graduated from business school last year, no one came, and those kinds of things hurt.

I always have to be the one to make the trips to Miami, during which I always have to spend a lot of money, because everything’s on me. Every year, I help fund birthdays and Christmas for my little sister, and although I’m more than happy to do it for her, that kind of responsibility is hard when you’re just trying to make it yourself and managing a pretty penny in debt. From a very young age, it’s been me, and that’s it. I’ve always had to help myself, because there’s never been anyone to help me. I’ve always known that if I screw up, there’s nowhere to turn.

On the bright side (you know how I love to find it), I believe it is all of this that has made me such an incredibly driven and proactive person with quite the hustler spirit (the good kind of course). It is because of my poverty noise that I am always striving for better, and I’m never afraid to work just a little bit harder. It is also because of my poverty noise that I can still appreciate every single little luxury and even the smallest step of progress I experience. It is because of this that I cherish my education even if I will be paying it off forever! I know how easily I could have ended up on another path, and I’m certain it was worth every penny.

The Point

My point is that there is no need to wallow in childhood noise and sorrow your entire life. If your childhood wasn’t the best, why would you want to drag that into adulthood? It’s time to take a good look at how you grew up, the good (there is always a little good to consider) and the bad. Then use the bad to propel you to build a better life for yourself, do it differently and break the chain. Take those negatives and use them to make you stronger and strive for better. Don’t use them as an excuse to live an unhappy life or treat others unfairly. By doing that, you only hurt yourself and the ones you love. Don’t you want to create new patterns you can be proud of?

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

3 Ways I Never Gave Up

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I’ve never been a huge fan of the word NO. It just always seemed too limiting to me, and little by little, I discovered that NO is usually nothing more than an easy way out; nothing more than a test of how fast I, or anyone, will give up.

When I was younger, I remember asking my overly strict father to give me a good reason why I couldn’t go to the movies with friends. I held a job since I was 15, I was an excellent student, I was a responsible kid, and I deserved a YES. After all, I wasn’t asking to go to a rave or anything outlandish for a 16 year-old. So I’d say (in Spanish), “Give me a logical reason why I can’t go, and I will let it go. I don’t even need money to go. I make my own.” Dumbfounded, more often than not, he’d budge and say YES. Why? Because you can’t fight logic, and most of all, it’s hard to fight that kind of gumption from a teenager. It might be important to mention here that I grew up being terrified of him, so standing up for myself was an even bigger deal. I think it was the beginning of a life of fighting NO, even when I was shaking in my boots while doing it.

So how do you fight NO? It’s simple. You fight NO by never giving up, by not allowing others to define your limits for you, by showing people you really want IT (whatever that IT might be), and by demonstrating that you’re worth the YES. To illustrate my point and hopefully inspire a little NO warrior action in you, here are three ways I fought NO and never gave up (I’ll share more examples in the future). I’ve briefly discussed some of these situations here before, but I really want to take a fresh look at them through a “never give up” perspective, so here it goes.

1. When I applied for my first master’s program with the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida, I was denied acceptance based on one factor. I’m a horrible standardized test taker, and I just wasn’t cutting it on the GRE (Graduate Record Examination). The rest of my academic record was impeccable, but the test weighed more, and there I had it, a big ugly NO staring me in the face.

But, no ma’am. I wouldn’t stand for it. I knew I was just as capable of completing that program as other applicants with higher test scores, and I firmly believed I deserved a spot. So, I fought, and wrote a letter to the Dean that started out something like this:

Dear Dr. Treise,

They say 90 percent of life is just showing up. This is me showing up.

Then I went on to explain that my rejection seemed unfair in light of an otherwise impeccable academic record, and the fact that I was passionate about the degree I wished to obtain. I asked her not to judge me based on one day and one test, but on a lifetime of hard work and dedication instead.

So what happened? I can’t remember the timeline exactly, but I think it might have been about a week after I sent the letter that I received a phone call from Dr. Treise herself expressing her awe at my initiative and personally welcoming me into the master’s program I had originally been rejected from. I finished that degree with a 3.77 GPA, and a successfully defended Project in Lieu of Thesis despite an abysmal GRE score. I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder in my life, but I wanted it, and I did it.

Bam. NO? I don’t think so!

2. Moving to Chicago from Miami took me about three years from ideation to fruition. It seemed like everything and everyone was against me. My family did not support it, and neither did my dire financial situation. Lots of people around me told me I was crazy, and that I should accept the life I already had. Say whaaat? That is super limiting talk, and this girl just doesn’t play that.

Despite all the negativity, I’d apply to jobs, get interviews, and get close to an offer, but at the end of the day I wasn’t local, and thus came the rejections. At some point, I started sending hard copy resumes and cover letters to employers asking them for an opportunity to speak to them, and explaining that I wasn’t looking for relocation assistance (heaven knows I needed it, but I’d figure it out when the time came). I even scrapped together some money to come visit Chicago and setup appointments with employment agencies. The answer was still I’d have to move first. Then, in one of my last desperate attempts, I applied for a 10k private loan to make the move. DENIED.

Finally, the idea came to me that I had always wanted an MBA, so why not now? That would be my ticket to Chicago. So I used my tax return to start the process, take the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test), apply to several schools, etc. Here again, worst standardized test taker possibly EVER, so I bombed.

I was shattered. I’d never get into an MBA program now. I cried for a few days, and then I got right back up, and began devising my next plan. I borrowed the money to re-take the test, and this time I did a little better; good enough to gain me an acceptance from one great school, even if it was on probationary status.

So I made the move, and lived off of loans, part-time work/internships and entry-level jobs until I finished the degree and got settled into a great full-time position at the right level and for a lot more than I had ever made before. Plus, I was off academic probation within one straight A quarter, and was hugely successful throughout the entire program.

NO? I won’t make it? I’m not smart enough? Errrrr. WRONG.  I still made it ya’ll.

3. Back in 2009, life was ROUGH. Nothing seemed right. I was broke, heartbroken, lost and confused. I’d worked so hard my entire life, and it just didn’t make sense to me that I was struggling so badly just to make ends meet and keep my spirits up. It was then that I slowly started to awake to how my humble upbringing, lack of parental support, and history with emotional abuse had really affected me. There were days when something as simple as grocery shopping seemed like climbing Mount Everest. I remember oceans of tears, and a feeling of hopelessness that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.

But I kept chuggin’ along. I stayed focused on my escape to Chicago. I kept working through the tears, both at my day job and freelance writing at night. I scrapped money together to visit friends in other cities and take a few breathers. I pushed through the hopelessness, and I fought, because I always knew it had to get better, and there was something bigger waiting for me.

And now, if that Sonia met this Sonia, she wouldn’t even recognize her. I have taken control of my life, my surroundings and my feelings, and I’ve been on HAPPY Street for close to three years now. Of course, I have bad days. That will always be a part of life, but now I have the tools to recover faster.  Plus, I’ve learned to seek more love from myself than from any outside source, and now I’m not so vulnerable to the things I cannot control.

Sometimes I think what if I had given up then? What if I had taken all of life’s NOs and ran with them? I would never have been able to enjoy the person I’ve become, the life I’ve built, the wonderful people I’ve met, and this frequent feeling of JOY that fills my heart where a lot of sadness used to live. And there we have it folks. The moral of the story is you should never let others define your limits. Just because someone else might not have been successful in a similar endeavor, doesn’t mean that you can’t find a better way.

Do you have a fighting NO and never giving up story you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it, and others can surely benefit from it as well. Come on, give it to me!! 🙂 And remember, success is not always about being the smartest person in the room. More often it’s about hard work, perseverance and heart.

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Motivation Contagion

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The other day I was sifting through Psychology Today when I came across an article entitled Motivation is Contagious, and I thought, yes!  Motivation contagion; that’s where it’s at. When I surround myself with positive attitudes, smiling faces, life enthusiasts and believers, I feel alive and exhilarated. On the other hand, when I find myself surrounded by the opposite of all that positive deliciosity, my body tenses up and I want to scream. Blame it on the daddy issues, or what have you, but I just can’t, and why should I?

I’ve worked so hard to bring the happy, hopeful, laughter-filled Sonia to life – the one I always knew lay under the environmental oppression – that I simply refuse to let anyone or anything get in the way of that, and I’m burning to help you get there too. The more I come across others on this same path to light – as I increase my social media efforts, research optimism and positivity, and increase my general attention to all of life’s little motivators – the more excited I get to keep going with this blog, keep pushing through with my book (man, it’s a lot harder of a process than I thought!) and keep spreading my corn.

Sure, there are people who don’t get it, but then there are all of those wonderfully wonderful emails, text messages and social media comments I’ve received throughout the last two years or so of this journey towards healing and living light, letting me know I’ve made a difference in someone’s day or life. Those are the comments that remind me that there is a need out there for a whole lot of motivation contagion, and I am well equipped to fill this need in anyone who will listen.

So when you’re feeling high on life, when you find a way or reason to believe better is possible, or when you just have a good day, I urge you to share, share and then share a little more. Don’t worry about folks who will find it annoying or try and throw a negative at your positive. Push through that because it is those people that need your HAPPY the most. And when someone says or does something nasty to you, breathe, take a step back, and think about whether you want to give power to negativity or whether you want to let positive take the score.  Because like I heard somewhere a few weeks ago, when you treat people with love and respect, they react and they rise to the occasion (or something like that, but you catch my drift :)).

Just as a little example, this morning, I let a car pass me on the highway on my way to work, and the guy proceeded to give me an enthusiastic thumbs up through his rearview mirror. It made me smile, it put me in an even better mood than jamming to Coolio’s Fantastic Voyage (classic!!) on the 90s station already had me, and I’m still thinking about it now.  It was a small gesture, but motivation contagion is best accomplished by small gestures that add up and snowball into bigger ones.  Plus, here’s a little secret, the more you make an effort to motivate others, the more you end up reinforcing the HAPPY and motivating yourself!

How will you spread your best today?

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Say No to HATE

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Can you read that? It says, “Keep breathing people. It gets better. One day at a time.” Hey, even bathroom walls can be inspiring sometimes, and I thought it was a great way to kick off this post! Here it goes.

Some people might say I’m restless. I’ve moved relatively often, and I’m always looking for the next step, trying to make a new friend or find a better opportunity. Then again, I think most of us in our 20s or even early 30s are in this stage of searching for what fits. Fortunately, I can confidently say I’m in a pretty great, stable place right now. I will never stop looking ahead or cooking up my next step, because I’m a dreamer and a doer, and that’s what we do, but I’m content with my job and career, my home, my life, my friends, and my general surroundings, with the occasional tweaks of course.

Now, after a good deal of work to get to this great place, I feel like I’m more of a fighter than I am restless. I fight and hustle for the surroundings I want. I work to be in the places and around the people who bring me up, not tear me down, and I know exactly why that is. As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in an emotionally abusive environment. But I’m not a child anymore. I don’t have to accept hate, and I work every day to move away from the sources of negativity that I simply refuse to be a part of. My life won’t be about that. I’ve firmly decided it.

Sometimes we find ourselves in less than desirable situations, and we feel stuck. We feel like we owe something to the people or surroundings that are bringing us down, and so we stick around as our souls slowly deteriorate. We justify staying maybe because it’s easier than leaving, it won’t rock the boat or it will keep others satisfied with us. But you really have to snap out of it, and realize that you always have to look out for yourself. I fiercely believe, and have really come to learn, that if you don’t take care of you, no one else will. Someone I once dated said to me, “If no one will be nice to you, at least be nice to yourself.” Maybe I’ve shared that phrase with you before, but it’s because I found so much power in it. I used to think he was selfish, but now I understand exactly what he meant.

I say if you don’t like me, that’s cool, because I do, and I’ve always got somewhere else to go.There is always a new place to live, a new friend to make, a new person to date, another job, another city, another way. If you don’t feel good or right where you are, don’t stay there for anyone else. You have to fight for the life you want, or it will slowly but surely slip right out of your hands. I’ll never forget an article I once read about hospice workers, and what they heard most often from their dying patients. They said the thing they regretted most was living their lives for others, and not for themselves. And you don’t want to have that regret, do you?

So what if people judge you for leaving, try to guilt you into staying, or attempt to justify the very actions that are making you want to leave? If your gut, and let me tell you, that sucker is very knowledgeable, is telling you something is off, then go. Search for something better, for a place that will bring your spirits up and just fit better. How many, many times have I heard I’m too sensitive and it’s just me, or, “I’m just like that. Don’t take it personally?” I’ll tell you. Too many. Possibly my favorite is when someone tries to tell you the way you feel is wrong. It’s a feeling! It’s not fact, and there is no such thing as a wrong feeling – a wrong idea or action, sure, but never a wrong feeling. The way you feel is the way you feel, and you have a right to express those feelings. People don’t always mean to make us feel a certain way, and I get that, but the feeling is still real.

If someone can choose to be a bully, be hateful, rude, derogatory or downright mean, then I can certainly choose to walk away from it. I don’t have to accept hate, and I never will again. For years, I thought I had to. Maybe I even thought somehow I deserved it. But I don’t, and you don’t either. No one does. That hate is all theirs, not yours, and you can say no to it. A plain and simple, “NO!”

Like everything else on the road to HAPPY, turning your back on hate can be incredibly hard. Hate is often manipulative and can sometimes come from people you love, and that’s why it can be so hard to take a step back and really see it has nothing to do with you. I’ve had to walk away from jobs, family members, roommates, cities and friends, and it hasn’t been easy. The backlash hasn’t always been pretty either. But I’m committed to building a positive life surrounded by positive people, to smiling as often as possible, and to simply feeling good. I deserve it. I know that now. And if something or someone is making me feel uncomfortable in some way, I have every right to walk away. I still work on this every day, because I can be a bit of a people pleaser, and of course I want everyone to love me (we all do), but I’ve come a long, long way from the hate that used to envelope me, and now I can’t imagine life any other way. Unfortunately, life involves hate, and I accept that, but whenever possible, I can walk away from it, and I will.

How will you say no to hate today?

Sonia, Word Share Junkie