Settle & Die (Inside)

How Alive Are You?

OK, so maybe my headline is a little drastic, but you get where I’m going with this. When you settle in life, whether it’s in relationships, in your career, your family life, where you live, your friends, or anything else, you start to die inside a little. You know in your gut the current situation is not making you happy anymore,  you know it’s not enough for you, you know you deserve better, but you stick around, because let’s be honest, that just seems easier. But is it really? In the end, settling for less than what you want or deserve out of life is so much harder. Like SO much harder!

The pain of giving something up that you love, have become accustomed to or are just comfortable with will fade and pass with time, just like everything tends to do in this life. But the pain of holding on, of giving up on yourself, of sitting down and shutting up, will most certainly haunt you forever. It will just build up in the pit of your stomach, churnin’ and grumblin’, until your soul starts to disintegrate piece by piece. And while, on the outside, you might very well seem alive and well, on the inside, where it really counts, you will feel like you’re not really living at all.

So today, I urge you, let go of the comfort, let go of the things or people in your life that make you unhappy, and make room for the things and people you really want, for the love you deserve, the job of your dreams, the life you envision for yourself. Don’t get to the end with a heart full of regrets. Instead, travel your journey with the peace of mind that you have given it your all, that you said, “No,” when it just wasn’t enough, and that you are giving yourself every chance to really live and be HAPPY.

For me this is still quite the little tumultuous battle, but through all of the mental, emotional and spiritual growth I have experienced in the last few years, I have felt the immense benefits time and time again. Once the ouchy fades, I can stand tall and proud, knowing I work every day to do the best I can for myself, to advocate for Sonia, to support her, to demand what she deserves, and I’m much healthier and happier for it. Won’t you do the same for yourself?

With love and hope,

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Short & Sweet: Tuesday Motivation Tidbit

Today, I just wanted to share a quick note on giving it your best. Even when life stresses you out, when people give you grief, when you start to feel like you really don’t know if you’re coming or going, or coming again, give it your best. And by that I mean give every day your best. We are human, flawed, limited by time and resources, and this just 24 hours in a day to get it all done thing isn’t changing anytime soon. So if you didn’t reach that goal today, if that dream seems like it might take just a few more weeks, months or even years, if you had an argument, if you lost a battle, constantly remind yourself that tomorrow is another day; a brand spankin’ new day full of brand spankin’ new possibilities.

Letting your day’s disappointments take over you will only diminish your chances at shining tomorrow. So always, always stay positive, take a lot of deep breathes and talk to yourself, a lot. And no, that doesn’t make you insane in the membrane even though many of us like to make that joke. I believe and know from experience that talking to yourself is one of the best ways to stay connected with your own needs, to reflect and to find better ways to tackle tomorrow. What am I ALWAYS telling you? Be your own best friend, be your own hero, be your biggest supporter. This counts the most on the not-so-good days.

Tell yourself it’s going to be OK. Talk through the problem in your head. Give yourself a good ol’ fashioned pep talk, and see how quickly you start to regain confidence even after the worst of days. Positive thought is a self fulfilling prophecy, and not the bad kind. It’s the very, very good with a cherry on top kind. Plus, you must never, ever give up on yourself no matter how many times you might fall. Those falls are just life’s sneaky little tests, and you have the power to pass them all if you believe it hard enough.

I’m off to the warm beaches of Miami for a few days, so I won’t get a chance to write until next week. I hope you all have a positively positive week, and keep those spirits up, no matter what trouble you might find. I will work to do the same.

And thanks to the folks who followed the blog this week, and all of those who’ve followed or Liked before. This space means a lot to me, and I’m grateful that you are finding value in it.

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

FEAR is a Bully & a Phony

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Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about fear, and I’ve come to realize how much of our lives are affected by what seems to me is nothing more than a big, grizzly, rock throwing bully. Too often, we let fear stop us from going for professional opportunities, from loving, from trying something new, from taking a risk, changing our path, expressing ourselves, and just living.

I’ve always been one to fight fear, and trust me, there are many things that scare me. But I’ve always forced myself to face fear, to go for it, to fight back, because fear is rarely ever real. Fear is something people use to modify your behavior, to convince you to live your life based on their expectations. I also believe fear is something life uses to test you, see how easily you will give up, how quietly you will stay seated.

In true Word Share Junkie style, I’ll share a few ways I’ve fought that bully fear throughout life, and how much better things turned out because I did. Here’s hoping I can inspire a little gumption in you today to stand up to the bully, and take more control over your life and your destiny.

When I was a teenager, my dad was insanely strict and really not a very laid-back fellow. I was always a little terrified of him, not because of any psychical threat, but because his screams were so chilling and stomach crushing that they instilled fear. Fear of what, I’m not exactly sure. But even with that fear nestled firmly in my gut, I began to fight back. I’d always ask for logical explanations when he’s day no to a simple outing request. I’d call a friend to drive me to work when he wouldn’t show up to do so, because he didn’t want me to work, even though I’d get in trouble for it later. I voiced the fact that I was a good student, a good kid and a hard worker, and I deserved certain liberties.  And sometimes, it got really nasty. I felt like I was somehow causing trouble for others, especially for my mother, but in the end I realize I was standing up for myself and against the illusion of fear, and today I believe my mother is proud of me for that.

When I moved to Chicago back in the summer of 2010, I was terrified. I didn’t know how it would go for me here, and I was afraid I wouldn’t hack it in my MBA program. I’m a smart girl with many talents, but math had never been one of them, and I was afraid a curriculum heavily focused on quantitative courses would crush me. I was afraid to leave behind a full-time job to go back to being a student, living on loans and interning, etc. Leaving my little sister was insanely hard (she was 8 at the time), and I was afraid she’d resent me for it.  I was also dealing with everyone around me doubting my decision to leave, and trying to guilt me into staying.

But I packed up that fear, and I drove to Chicago anyway. I busted my butt in school, and made it through those quantitative courses, and got my degree. I found internships, encountered many great mentors, developed a lot of incredible friendships, lost 50 pounds, and became a better person for my little sister to be around when I go home to visit. The depression I experienced in Miami for too long had lifted, and I could now be more there for her than I was ever able to be when I lived in the same city.

When I finished school, and realized it was time to really start pushing on my writing career, my author and motivational speaker dreams, I was terrified too. I’ve always been an extremely open person, and I’ve never really been one to hide anything (like, ANYTHING), but it was a different thing to start writing everything down for strangers to read. It was incredibly scary to think of putting myself out there in such an honest and explicit way. I was scared of what people might think, how my family might react, etc. I was scared no one would be interested in what I have to say or share.

But I started the blog anyway, and continue to work through my book and my fears, build my social media presence, forging ahead to where I see myself in maybe 6-10 years. I somehow find the time to work on everything piece by piece while I do the other things I love; marketing, nurture friendships and relationships, and live my HAPPY.  Plus, I’ve received some great feedback, and heard from many folks who are already saying my message helps them in some way.

As my final example, I’ll bring up LOVE for the first time on this blog (oh boy!). I haven’t had the best luck in this arena, despite my general success in most other facets of my life. I haven’t really had a real relationship in about a decade, although I’ve dated quite a bit. I’ve been hurt and disappointed immensely many times, and given up on the whole idea of love for long periods of time. But now that I have realized the growth I’ve attained from those experiences, I choose to love regardless of the fear. I choose to be open to it despite the very real risk of getting hurt. I choose to fight back, because I know I deserve love, I know it’s out there for me, and I know I will attain it.

So really, my point is where would I be today if I had succumbed to fear? Where would I be if I had allowed my father to control my life, if I had let people convince me to stay in Miami where I was terribly unhappy? What kind of life would I have if I had allowed my fear of numbers to keep me from attaining that MBA and taking my career to a new, desperately needed level? Where would I be if I had let all of my past experiences and history with emotional abuse keep me from loving people openly and completely, from believing in others, from believing in the good in this world and in us all?

It’s a scary thing to imagine where I’d be, and I’m so glad I’m here and not there. So when you encounter fear, recognize the bully, and fight. Once you get past that initial hump of fright, you will realize fear is also a big phony, and you will have won because you dared to question it, fight it and reject it.

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Confessions of An Achievement Junkie

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This week I’m feeling that old familiar feeling that only really escapes me occasionally. For me, that feeling is restlessness. It creeps up on me often, and maybe it’s the result of many years of school, moving around, constant change, and constant achievement. I always think I want stability, but a few months into a routine, and the dream wagon in my mind begins to churn its wheels again. They are so loud and abrasive that it’s almost impossible to ignore the noise.

For the better part of my 20s, I was always working on or finishing up some degree or other (I LOVE to learn!), starting new internships or jobs, moving, ending and beginning chapters, losing weight, movin’ on up, getting that big raise. And now that I’m here, in a good, stable place, and it’s time to settle into my career, into routines, into life and bills and errands, I am struggling to sit still.

The blogs can’t write themselves fast enough. My book can’t seem to move forward as fast as I’d like. My motivational author/speaker career seems so far off in the distance, although sometimes I feel like I can almost touch it. My professional challenges can’t seem to stay challenging enough to keep me excited. I want more, higher, better, all the time, and it’s hard to keep up.

On the other hand, I get tired, I can be totally lazy sometimes, and I’m not always as motivated as I’d like. After a full day’s work, the gym (when I make it there), errands, etc. it can be hard to put as much time into everything I want to accomplish as I’d like. But nevertheless, my mind is always going, always planning, scheming, dreaming. Sometimes I think this restless nature and accomplishment obsession will be the end of me, but mostly I realize it’s what keeps me so alive.

You see, I never want to get too comfortable. Coming from an environment of mediocrity, complacency and routine, comfortable is my absolute worst nightmare. Although it might make me crazy sometimes, I never want to lose this fire, and this unquenchable need to do more, reach new destinations, experience more out of life.

Sure, I realize complacency might be the easier route today, and sometimes I wish I was more comfortable with simplicity and routines, but in the long-run choosing restlessness will undoubtedly create a much more full and satisfying life. And that’s what we’re all after in the end, no? So as I struggle with my own restlessness, my message to you is to embrace it, fire it up, and let it drive you. Don’t try and quiet it. Don’t put out the flames. Definitely don’t listen to people who tell you you’re asking for too much out of life. They are just asking for too little.

I wholeheartedly believe that restlessness will lead you to something amazing. I know it will get me there. I’m not sure when or exactly how, but I know it will.

Tell me, do you ever feel restless?

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Never Back Down from a Worthy Fight

Megaphone announcement

 

What follows is my friendly reminder, and your very special Word Share Junkie public service announcement for this week. Please pay ATTENTION, and enjoy!

I always say I’m a lover and not a fighter, and that’s true, but there are some fist-less battles that are worthy of a fight, and one in particular that I will never back down from. I am talking about the fight to be yourself, live your life the way you see fit, and obtain unequivocal, delicious happiness, whether others agree with your methods or not. As long as you are not hurting anyone, no one has the right to tell you who to be, how to act, who to love, or how to live your life. How many times do I have to say this? Apparently, a lot!

This weekend I was reminded of this very important life-long battle by someone who takes every opportunity to take a dig at me or let me know that who I am is wrong. I’m talking about everything from my lipstick to the way I talk. And at first, I was very upset by this, but then I came back to my Super Woman senses, and realized, hey, I love who I am. I am a good person. I am living a positive life surrounded by a lot of wonderful people who really see me and accept me, and I’m just trying to do my very best to live happily and productively. I am merely trying to take the lessons of my past and turn them around into something positive that I can be proud of and then share with others to hopefully help them achieve their HAPPY. Amidst tears, I quickly had to remind myself that this kind of constant bash treatment I experienced is nothing more than projected insecurities and should never, no matter how incredibly difficult it is, be taken personally.

Again, as long as you are not hurting anyone, stick to your guns like gum to a shoe, and continue to be YOU, in every situation, under every circumstance. Define your happiness in whatever way seems right to you, and chase it. Because the truth is that no matter what you do, people who are against you or generally negative will always find a way to judge you and try to put you down. It’s simple though. They can never win unless you let them.

Some battles are not really worth your energy, and you can’t go around trying to be a super hero about every little thing. But, when it comes to your right to be you and live happily, you better fight like hell. Because when it’s all over, if you lived your life based on others’ judgments and expectations, you will have not lived at all.

And guess what? The best part is that this whole weekend ordeal actually helped me get a little bit closer to really nailing down how I want to go about my in-the-works book My Funny, Sad Life. I know now that I will make it a series of shorter books, with each one focusing on one particular topic to help others reach their full potential and live a happy life. Book #1 in the series?

My Funny, Sad Life. Fighting for Authenticity in an Unoriginal World. 

Well I’m still working on that title, but you get the gist. So thanks hate! You only continue to strengthen my resolve and propel me forward into my dreams. 🙂

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

From STRESS to STRENGTH in 24 Hours

Whoa! This week just came out of nowhere and slapped me in the face with STRESS. Per my usual style, I think there is a great lesson to learn in my current (although already much better) plight, so I will share it with you! Let me explain how I went from STRESS to STRENGTH in 24 hours. Here it goes.

Bye, bye Ms. Jetta

My sweet, reliable 2006 Jetta Volkswagen has been living on the struggle bus for a few months now. I really don’t know anything about cars other than how to turn one on and drive it, but I’ve had the feeling for some time that something was terribly wrong. You see, the ol’ Jetta got into this nasty little habit of jerking or stalling while driving. Sometimes it was soft and sometimes the jerking was so bad, my body would actually bounce a little off the seat as an involuntary shriek would spill out of my mouth like a baby rejecting split pea soup.

I knew this would not be a cheap repair or a simple process, so I just kept prayin’ on that ol’ steering wheel, and counseling the car to stay with me for just a while longer. Last week, though, the jerking was becoming noticeably worse and worse, so it was time to bite that awful car repair bullet. I had to take it to two different places, and deal with the whole rides there and back situation for several days to get to and from work while the car was being checked. The last place finally told me the sad, sad news. My baby’s transmission had all kinds of problems I couldn’t even begin to understand, and it was best to take it on home to the Volkswagen dealership, and check whether I had any kind of extended warranty on the transmission.

So, fine. I take my car home, and ignore my troubles for one more night through arcade games and some major dancing. Hey, it was Friday night. I can’t be consumed with STRESS on a Friday night! So, the next night I decide to face my impending financial doom, and start looking in my car file for any shred of hope I could find. And there she was. So pretty, so crisp. It was an extended warranty for the transmission valve body (whatever the heck that means!).

I make my appointment to take the car in to the downtown Volkswagen dealer Tuesday morning, and I’m feeling pretty breezy at this point. I drop it off at 7am, and they assure me that if it’s the transmission valve body, they would repair it at no charge. BUT, around 4pm, while I worked from home, I got the call. There was a whole heck of a lot more wrong with the car than this transmission valve body business I thought would save my poor me, and it would cost way more to fix it than the car was worth. Plus, I still owed over $5k on it. It was now time to consider purchasing a new car somehow, with no down payment ready and totally unprepared for such a purchase.

So I take my STRESSED out little toosh down there, and there they were just waiting to take full advantage of my desperation. Somehow I was convinced I was getting a great deal on trading in my car, and leasing a brand new one for a lot more money despite my awesome credit score. They even made me believe I had actually negotiated down the price significantly when I threatened to leave and go somewhere else.

They also insisted this lease on a brand new Jetta was their best deal, even better than any used car they had available. It was not until I got home, and began to really analyze the situation that I realized I probably should have taken my car, and shopped around for a better deal. There, I began to freak out. My car payment would now be higher and so would my insurance premium because of the leasing situation, and the car wouldn’t even be mine. Plus, I hated the feeling that I had just been majorly played because I wasn’t really thinking straight, and to top it all off, my school loan payments start this month! More STRESS.

I go back this morning and attempt to express my disdain and realization that I probably got majorly ripped off, but they have very convincing answers to all of my accusations, plus said I didn’t have an option to back out. I basically left feeling incredibly defeated. Plus, it all happened so fast. I didn’t even really have time to get used to the idea of getting rid of my former companion, the car who had been with me through so much. I was STRESSED, confused and mourning. Situations like this bring back a lot of my poverty and single hustler noise. They remind me that no matter how far I’ve come or how hard I’ve worked, it will still take a long time to fully remedy the effects of that poverty, and that I have nowhere to turn for a little financial assistance in times like these.

Moving from STRESS to STRENGTH

I took the day off of work and basically spent it freaking out, nauseated and majorly STRESSED. But in-between all of that I also made some calls, moved some bills around, reviewed my budget, found some solutions, searched for freelance work,  and slowly started to travel back to STRENGTH. It is now about 24 hours since I originally came home from the dealer with this shiny, new financial burden, and I finally feel like everything is going to be OK. I even found myself looking in the mirror, and saying, “You see? Everything is going to be OK. You’ve always made it without anyone’s help, and you’re going to make it now.” And most importantly, I now have a safe way to get to and from work. My poor ol’ Jetta was nothing but a ticking time bomb.

So what’s my lesson to you? Life is stressful. You can’t always plan for big changes, expenditures or losses, but you can always turn things around, choose your attitude, and find some different options. Take your time to grieve, scream, cry, freak out, and STRESS – whatever you need to do – just let yourself feel it out. And then, once you’ve allowed yourself that time, make a nice cup of chamomile tea, get your thinking cap on, and focus. Don’t let the STRESS break you down for too long. Instead let it remind you of all of the wonderful things you’re capable of, and every STRESS you’ve overcome before. Start focusing on solutions, and forget regret. Also focus on everything you have, and how much worse it could probably be. Most importantly, remember,we can never go backwards, but we can always move FORWARD.

Sonia, Word Share Junkie