14 Life Lessons Learned and Relearned in 2014

Run Into 2015 with a Few Important Life LessonsIt’s the last day of the year, and we’re all summarizing, dissecting, evaluating the last 12 months in our heads. Was it a good year, did we acquire any new life lessons, did we accomplish something new, did we lose, did we win – how’d it go?

For me, 2014 was such a great year that I’m almost sad to see it go – it’s truly amazing how much can change in the span of one orbit around the sun! In Sonia’s world, 2014 was a year of renewed strength, of change, of battling fear – and dare I say winning! – of adventure, of laughter and lots of action. Now that I talk about it, I think I need a nap – but one of those my heart and belly are so full that I could use a good snuggle-to-bask-in-the-glory-of- it-all naps. But since I have to get ready to go out and bid farewell to this incredible year, I’ll stay awake instead and share some life lessons I learned and relearned this year – hopefully they can bring you a little insight to run into 2015 with.

Here we go!

Life Lessons #1: The healing process is greatly aided when you make a decision to move on, make plans to help in that decision, and stick to them like your life depends on it – because well, it does.

Life Lessons #2: You never truly forget someone you once loved, but you CAN find ways to move on and focus on lessons rather than on negatives. You can come out of pain victorious – but you have to make the decision to do so!

Life Lessons #3: People say I plan too much – but in 2014, I learned and relearned, that without a plan, nothing gets accomplished. On the other hand, with a solid plan and solid action, the world can be yours. But listen, don’t get crazy – you can’t and don’t have to plan every second, but set some goals, think about what you want, and make it happen. Just like this…1, 2, 3…!

Life Lessons #4: Treat your happiness like it’s your job – work hard at it, put effort into it, commit to it – and stop waiting for other people to get it done for you, because they never will.

Life Lessons #5: If you are secure in who you are, no one can bring you down for long- so if you don’t know yourself quite yet, get to knowin’ right now!

Life Lessons #6: People will always try to tell you who you are, what to do, how to do it, and what choices to make – be patient with them and know yourself enough to nod politely, walk away peacefully, and then make your own decisions. Only you know what truly works for you – don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Life Lessons #7: When people question us and our characters, it hurts. Listen, take it in, re-evaluate, and take what makes sense while throwing out what doesn’t. Just because someone has an opinion, it doesn’t make it fact.

Life Lessons #8: Change is incredibly scary, but stagnation is death. Take some chances, risk something, make the change your life, mind, body and spirit crave – you’ll get through the scary stuff, I promise. But never going for it will always weigh on you. It might even kill you.

Life Lessons #9: There’s a lot of things in life we can control and many others that we simply cannot. Focus on what you can control, and stop beating yourself up about the things you can’t. You will be so much more at peace this way!

Life Lessons #10: Measure your life by the things that matter to you instead of constantly trying to live up to someone else’s definition – because try as you may, you never, ever will.

Life Lessons #11: When you go through something hard, share the lessons you’ve learned, share your wisdom – help someone else get through it a little faster or easier than you did. It’s cathartic, it’s good for the soul, and it puts healing out into the universe – you don’t have to be a writer to make a difference with your stories. Don’t be stingy – and share. It makes a huge difference!

Life Lessons #12: There’s something about turning 30 (at least for me) that makes you appreciate your parents more – understand them more, give them more credit, thank them more. Maybe it’s the realization that they won’t be here forever or having a deeper understanding of your own imperfections. Whatever it is – it’s a beautiful, beautiful place to be. Cherish it, and make sure to let them know how much you appreciate them.

Life Lessons #13: Your life is yours to make – so stay alert to all the people and things that try to divert you – because you will encounter about a bazillion, and never, ever forget it.

Life Lessons #14: Happiness is not about perfection – it’s about taking all of the many imperfections and working with them, around them and through them – declaring loudly, “You can’t stop me!”

That’s it for today, folks. Here’s to a 2015 filled with even more life lessons – and more good, more smiles, more love, more positive change, less bad, less frowns, less hate, and as little negativity as humanly possible – because, well, negativity is just YUCKY! That’s right – I said it – with the same disgust a toddler gives his broccoli – YUCKY!

Always keep your eyes open – those life lessons can be a little sneaky sometimes, but they’re there. Happy New Year ya’ll!

Love,
Sonia, Word Share Junkie

A Circular Progression: Changing Hate to Love

 


Changing Hate to Love Hey ya’ll, and happy Wednesday! Guess what? I’ve got a little, big somethin’ on my mind and in my heart, so I thought we’d have a little chat about changing hate to love.

Here’s the thing – and get ready to get deep with me for a minute here. As human beings, it is perhaps one of our greatest misfortunes that so much of our history is plagued with dark, fear-rooted, often unreasonable, purely wasteful hate. We hate and hurt each other because we are different. We judge and ostracize each other because we don’t agree. We kill each other because we are greedy, self-centered, jealous and cruel. And recent events only confirm this circular progression and perpetuation of senseless, incredibly unproductive hate where I fire, and you fire back, then I fire again, and it never ends, until our spirits are defeated, and there is no one left to fire back at.

Still, on the other side of all of that – we are all basically good (I believe) and basically the same. We all have blood coursing through our veins, thoughts in our heads, people and places that we love, things that we care about, feelings we feel. Every color, every size, every shape, every origin, every preference – smiles, cries, loves and hurts – in much the same way.

And yet, we focus so much on all the ways in which we are different – finding fear in the unknown, thinking we have to understand each other in order to respect each other, believing we have to love or get along with everyone in order to believe they are worthy of the same rights we enjoy, thinking basic kindness should only be reserved for those who reflect back what we see in our own mirrors. We work against each other instead of with each other – toward war instead of toward change. We pick and choose who we deem worthy of basic humanity. We perpetuate hate. We feed it. We light it up. And in the end, nothing is accomplished. Our problems get bigger, our pain becomes deeper, and our lives become broken.

There’s another way. We can start changing hate to love today if we just try to be a little more intentional with our interactions, and open our hearts a little more to the basic humanity we all share. Think about it. What if we just focused on all of the ways in which we are human, and made a real, conscious effort to lead with love and light – whenever possible and as much as possible – and left everything else behind? Couldn’t we be more productive, more efficient, more fulfilled, healthier, happier, brighter, and less plagued? Couldn’t we start changing hate to love? I think so.

And listen, I can’t change your ideas, your beliefs or your prejudices – whatever they may be, but I just urge you to think in terms of kindness, think in terms of humanity, think in terms of our shared experiences rather than our polarizing fears. Remember that the hate you emanate breeds darkness and contempt in your own life and heart – and in the lives and hearts of those you care about too. Wouldn’t you like to see a little changing-hate-to-love action happening in your own life and between those you love?

Don’t worry. We can start small. Let’s be nice to each other – classic, simple, straightforward NICE. Let’s open doors for each other and forgive people when they bump into us. Let’s say please and thank you. Let’s offer up a hand and help. Let’s not respond to hate with hate – let’s think for a moment that maybe a person who is being hateful is suffering – maybe they had a bad day, maybe they don’t feel well, maybe they’re scared – and let’s fire back with a smile. Let’s start changing hate to love. Let’s say good morning. Let’s say excuse me. Let’s be polite to people we don’t understand, to people different from us, to people who might scare us. Let’s be open and honest. Let’s communicate. Let’s not pick and choose who we are kind to on a daily basis – instead – let’s just choose kindness – every time. Let’s start changing hate to love!

I’m not saying these small acts will change our deeply wounded world in moments, days, months or even years – but the sum of days full of small decisions to lead with light and love instead of with darkness and hate – I believe can begin to mobilize slow, meaningful, purposeful, continuous change, and light a path towards something better so that future generations can live in a world with a little more understanding, a whole lot more love, and a little less war.

I don’t know – maybe I’m being overly simplistic or entirely idealistic. Still, call me crazy if you must, but I think it might just work. Come on – are you up for it? Let’s band together and start changing hate to love today.

Love,
Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Photo © Ivelinr | Dreamstime.com – Love Or Hate Photo

Monday Morning Rhyme: How Do You Know?

Monday Morning RhymeHow do you tell a racing mind to walk steady?
How do you tell a soul burning with wild dreams, the world isn’t ready?
How do you tell a heart full of passion to feel less heavy?
How do you tell a dream laced with certainty and riddled with obstacle, the time is not now?

How do you cling on to hope when the clock keeps ticking away from you?
How do you stay true to a vision that constantly makes a mockery of everything you feel to be so true?
How do you quiet the doubt and the fear when they speak so damn loud?
How do you scream a scream piercing enough to be heard over that ever expansive, ever hateful crowd?

How do you know you’ll ever get where you’re trying to go?
How do you know you won’t cripple in failure before you reach that goal?
How do you know you’ll find the strength to endure all the ways it can go so wrong?
How do you know you’ll get past the melody and write your life’s song?

How do you know you don’t already possess everything you need to make a real change?
How do you know a good dose of faith and humility won’t be enough to make it that final stretch?
How do you know you don’t need to have all the answers to get to the top of the stairs?
How do you know hope, hustle and grit won’t get you there?

Happy Monday!

Love,
Word Share Junkie

Word Share Junkie is Moving. Come With!

For about a year and a half or so, Word Share Junkie has been my little labor of love, and your support along the way has made it that much more special! Trying to stick to my passions and developing this blog while workin’ and moving, and workin’ some more hasn’t been easy. At times I really wish I could share more often – but the thing is, I haven’t given up. And isn’t that what it’s all about? I hope if you’ve learned anything from me, it’s that – never give up!

So in the spirit of stickin’ to it even if it’s progressing slower than molasses down a hillside, I am moving Word Share Junkie over to GoDaddy where I will be able to do a little more with the blog (sorry WordPress, I do love you so!). The sad, sad part? I can’t just take my WordPress followers with me, unless you follow by email. But there’s a fix!

If you would still like to keep up with the random musings and motivations of Word Share Junkie – and I know you do – please shoot me a quick email with the subject line, “Coming with,” to wordsharejunkie@gmail.com. That way, once the blog/domain has transferred over to GoDaddy, I can send you a quick note to remind you to re-follow. You can also just subscribe by email now to continue receiving updates. 

Easy right?! Totally! It will only take a second, and I would so love it if you came with! Let’s continue on this journey together.

Love,

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Get Inspired: 30 Life Lessons for Your 30s

30 Life Lessons for Your 30sThis year I turned 30, and that got me thinkin’ – thinkin’ a lot about what a different person I am (in a good way!) at 30 than I was throughout my 20s – especially in those painfully wisdom-less, self-esteem scarce early years. And then I thought who doesn’t love a good I-can-relate-to-that list?

So tell me. How many of these lessons can you relate to, or are still learning? Take this 30-layer trip with me, and let me know in the comments. And if you have a new lesson to share, please give it to me!

Now let’s get to it.

30 life lessons for your 30s #1: You can settle for less or you can wait for more. It’s up to you.

30 life lessons for your 30s #2: Where you come from doesn’t have to define where you go.

30 life lessons for your 30s #3: People make time for the things they care about. Excuses are just that. Excuses.

30 life lessons for your 30s #4: You can learn to derive joy from the smallest things – practice really makes perfect.

30 life lessons for your 30s #5: Being single is not a death sentence – it can actually be a blessing in many ways. Stop beating yourself up about it!

30 life lessons for your 30s #6: Loving yourself is the most important thing you can do for anybody else – you cannot give what you don’t have.

30 life lessons for your 30s #7: You will never feel like you have enough money – it’s OK!

30 life lessons for your 30s #8: There are no expiration dates on dreams – I’ve shared that one before, but it’s such a good one!

30 life lessons for your 30s #9: True love still very much exists. It’s just not as common or as easily attainable as people would like to believe.

30 life lessons for your 30s #10: Emotional abuse, no matter how big or small, is still abuse. And it’s absolutely not better or worse than physical abuse. It’s simply abuse. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

30 life lessons for your 30s #11: You CAN build the life you want – but you have to put in the effort.

30 life lessons for your 30s #12: Life is hard but life is also beautiful – focus a little more on the beautiful.

30 life lessons for your 30s #13: Inspiration is all around you – just open yourself up to seeing it.

30 life lessons for your 30s #14: There is extreme power in positivity, and there is extreme loss in negativity.

30 life lessons for your 30s #15: Being yourself is a whole lot less trouble than pretending to be otherwise. Fight for your right to be you no matter how many times that is questioned.

30 life lessons for your 30s #16: Friendship is one of life’s greatest gifts – nurture it.

30 life lessons for your 30s #17: Follow your heart, but take your brain with you.

30 life lessons for your 30s #18: You have to actively choose life. It will not just come to your doorstep.

30 life lessons for your 30s #19: Your struggles don’t have to win. Not unless you stop fighting.

30 life lessons for your 30s #20: A man or a woman cannot complete you. They can only compliment you. Strive to be complimented not completed.

30 life lessons for your 30s #21: There is always a positive way to say things – even the most negative things can be delivered with a positive twist.

30 life lessons for your 30s #22: A bad day, a bad week, a bad month or even a bad year does not equal a bad life.

30 life lessons for your 30s #23: If you’re always comfortable, you’re never growing. Get a little uncomfortable, will ya?

30 life lessons for your 30s #24: Your instincts are your body’s way of giving you important information about your surroundings. Pay attention!

30 life lessons for your 30s #25: Someone somewhere will always disagree with your choices, no matter what they are, so you might as well choose for you and try to be happy.

30 life lessons for your 30s #26: You will never be perfect, but you will always be special.

30 life lessons for your 30s #27: Be a light to others whenever possible – and watch a little more light come your way too.

30 life lessons for your 30s #28: Bullying doesn’t end in the playground. Be prepared to stand up to bullies throughout your life.

30 life lessons for your 30s #29: Struggle builds character – when you can’t seem to find any other light in your strife, focus on that.

30 life lessons for your 30s #30: Showing emotion isn’t a sign of weakness – it takes incredible strength to be vulnerable. Let yourself feel. The only weakness is in hiding.

Photo Credit © 72soul | Dreamstime.comSchool Life Concept. Photo

Let’s Discuss: The Stigmatization of Depression

Depression Defined

Hi folks. Let’s get a little serious today, shall we?

As you all probably already know, the passing of our beloved Robin Williams and the somewhat ironic circumstances under which it occurred, has spurred a lot of conversation over the last few days. Some of it has been sweet and thoughtful. Some of it has been tasteless and cruel. And some of it has uncomfortably settled somewhere in-between the two. With this surging debate on depression and mental illness, suicide, and our misconceptions about what kinds of folks are susceptible to this stuff, I suddenly felt a need to candidly speak on the topic. So here it goes.

When I first heard the news, I was shocked – as I think most of us were. I can’t say that I ever thought of Robin Williams and depression in the same sentence before, or even remotely at the same time even though it turns out he’d been struggling for years. And perhaps that is one of the biggest lessons in all of this – that depression can surface is some of the most unlikely places.

Think about it for a minute. How could depression be a choice, a weakness in character or nothing more than situational sadness – as it is often stigmatized in society and in the media – and still have found a way to attack an incredibly accomplished and loved man with a spectacular career – a man who possessed an inspiring talent big enough to bring joy and laughter to so many people around the world? Doesn’t that demonstrate the power of deep, intrinsic sadness and how predatory it can be? I’d say so.

And yet, after scrolling through dozens of sympathetic and shock-filled social media posts regarding William’s passing and the circumstances behind it, there it was – the inevitable judgment, hatred and mis-education that [sadly] compromises so much of today’s online experience. Words like coward, suicide promotion, choice and selfish began to fill the commentary – and I thought how lovely – listen to these people who have likely never dealt with actual addiction or depression passing judgment on something they don’t understand. As I read more and more, I came across an increasing number of individuals turning the sad passing of a legend into an opportunity to spew hate and spread rampant mis-information just because they can, and just because they have easy access to a mass audience that will listen.

Come on folks. Haven’t we learned this lesson time and time again already? Don’t we all know by now that it is from hate that so much of the evil in our world stems? When we hate, stigmatize and blame, we shut people off – we leave no room for healing and we invite more pain. In our society, depression and mental illness is often so stigmatized and so silenced, that many of those who suffer from it are forced to suffer in silence. They do not seek the proper help. They attempt to fix something that is much bigger than themselves by self-medicating or taking other measures. And then when it becomes too much to handle all alone, we judge them. We call them cowards. We view the sympathy and understanding of others as the promotion of suicide. We point fingers, and we blame. But rarely do we truly understand what was going on inside that person’s brain, inside his or her feelings, inside that broken heart, that would have driven them to take such extreme measures. Can you imagine how big the turmoil has to be to get there? I can. 

I have been there. I have suffered from depression, and it’s still something I have to work on every day — fighting it with everything I have. Doesn’t it all make a little more sense now? Yes. That is a large part of the reason why I push positivism so much, why I work so hard to find the good in all the nooks and crannies of everyday life – it’s why I fight – because fighting is what has helped me escape that darkness, stay healthy and become a source of light – at least I hope – to others.

You see, depression is a very strange and powerful force. I know firsthand how hard it can be to explain to people who have been fortunate enough to never experience it how tangible and real depression can actually be. To me, depression is best described as this hopeless, gaping, stinging feeling right in the middle of your chest – it causes physical exhaustion, random tears, sometimes outlandish thoughts, desperation, restlessness and a long list of other things. When it’s really bad, your body literally hurts and the thought of getting up or going out to complete the smallest little task – hurts even more. Smiling hurts. Conversation hurts. Pretending — it hurts. At times, your bed starts to feel like the only safe, comfortable place in the world – where the pain seems to subside even if only for temporary relief, and so you cling to it.

Often you just have no idea why you feel this way – and that right there can feel sufficiently maddening. You think, well, nothing is particularly wrong right now. Why am I so sad? Am I going crazy? What is wrong with me? These questions only serve to amp up the hopelessness and self-loathing – and the vicious cycle continues to spiral out of control, often gaining dangerous momentum.

Luckily for me, through the grace of God, the universe or who knows what, I have been able to work through my depression, and I have stayed relatively free of it for the last few years — with only short-lived bouts here and there. Still it is always there – in the back of my mind – the possibility that it could creep back on me at any time – and that, most days, is mortifying in and of itself.

I was very, very lucky indeed, and I still am. I was able to overcome. I found light. I found a way to turn my sadness into an almost obsessive mission to practice positivism and healthy emotional habits as often as possible – to fight and to not let it get too big. I constantly read messages of hope, and I spread my own to others. I have learned to catch myself when I start to feel the smallest inkling of that awfully familiar sting, and I fight. I force myself to get up and go out and connect, to get dressed and show up. I fight.

But here’s the thing. What did I do to deserve the ability to overcome? Nothing. Am I somehow better, smarter or more capable because I was able to escape my depression – and the suicidal thoughts that did cross my mind quite often circa 2009 – than those who did not find an out before it was too late? Of course not. So how can I judge? How can any of us judge? How can any of us truly know the kind of pain inside a person, and the reasons why they might have or might not have overcome it? Why should we call them cowards when they fought some of the strongest demons that can afflict a human being – depression and mental illness. Who are we to assume they are weak or selfish or unworthy? 

So here’s a thought. Why not promote openness and sharing instead? Why not extend your hand to someone you suspect might be struggling with this kind of battle? Why not choose to lead with kindness instead of with hate? Don’t you think that would help stop someone form committing suicide more so than shaming them for their struggle, and making them feel even more alone than the demons inside already do?

This is critical folks. We will never be able to walk anyone to the light, if we continue to lead with darkness. Let’s try a little harder today, please. Let’s try to respect the struggles of others so that they might respect our own. Let’s work together and not against each other. Let’s be a little bit more sensitive to the things we don’t understand. Let’s ask more questions and make fewer assumptions. Let’s do better. I know we can.

And to those suffering from depression or from similar battles, if you feel like no one in the world understands, I’m here to tell you that I do. I really, really do. Reach out to someone for help. Leave the shame at the door, and put your life and your well-being first. You CAN escape it. You CAN find light. You CAN find happiness and health. You CAN overcome. You CAN. I promise you, you CAN.

Love,

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

A Love Lesson: Thank You for Not Loving Me

Love LessonDear Eric,

Sometimes we want something so bad, that we shut our eyes, and we follow it blindly, even if we step on hot coals as we do it. We clutch on to it, and we don’t let go despite that frightening feeling in our guts telling us it’s slowly killing us.

It’s now been about eight months since we stopped dating, six since I’ve seen you, and about five since I’ve talked to you. Still, it has only been maybe a month or two since the weight of your memory on my mind, on my heart, and through my deep struggle to move forward after what I Iovingly like to call the Major Mind F**k of 2013 begun to lift.

To some people, our relationship or the major lack thereof, was not real. It was fake and disingenuous and forced. It had too many rules, and none of them worked in my favor. It’s hard for them to understand why it became so big for me, why it hurt me so much, and maybe even why I’m still talking about it today. And for the most part, they are right. On your side it was all of those things and less. But for me it was real. It was very real. Our weak, borderline abusive, unhealthy, pathetic time together is the closest thing I’ve had to a real relationship in a decade. It meant something to me. It meant everything to me. And when you pretended to love me, I believed you. I shared things with you and opened up to you romantically in a way that I had not done with anyone in my adult life. I opened my arms, and I said, “Here, take it. Take it all.” And you did. The problem is you gave me nothing in return.

During that entire year together I struggled with my feelings for what I came to know as a bad person. I struggled to look in the mirror and respect myself, because I knew very well that I was putting up with all of the things that go against everything I believe in, and everything I preach. I let you control me. I let you demean me. I let you disrespect me. And I let you do it over, and over again. Although it was never anything particularly huge, the sum of all the small ways in which you would devalue me and the love that I wholeheartedly offered to you even when you didn’t deserve it (and your rarely did), became much more than I could handle. I began to see your lies, the coldness in your eyes, and the emptiness in your heart. Still my stubborn heart loved you, and at times I thought I’d never find the strength to let you go.

I spent all of 2013 questioning. I questioned my worth. I questioned what I might be doing wrong to deserve your cold-hearted ways and your refusal to commit. I questioned whether the games were real, or simply in my head. I questioned my strength, and whether I would in fact end up settling for someone like you, even though it has been my life’s mission to never settle. I was so scared. The good thing is that, much to your surprise, I did finally find the strength to let you go. It took me a very long time, but I did it. I said I’d had enough, and I walked away. Sure I struggled to cut the cord completely at first, and I might have reached out many times when I shouldn’t have, but as the days and months went by, I felt like I could breathe again. I felt like myself for the first time since I met you, and I began to regain my confidence and my strength. I began to see that it had been your negativity that had brought me down, and that I still had it in me to be very much victorious. My only weakness had been loving you. I was not depressed. I was simply in a bad, soul-sucking relationship. There’s a huge difference.

After more tears than I’m proud of having shed, in the onset of 2014, I made a decision. I was going to live more life. I was going to give up dating for a while. I was going to seek out new adventures, make new friends, take trips, invest in me, regain my center and heal. And for the last six months, I have filled my calendar with musicals, volunteering, ballets, dinners and travel. I intentionally sought out friends, I made plans, I lived. I stopped waiting around for you or for anyone, and I LIVED. Some days I was so tired from all that living that I wondered if it was all worth it or if I was going too far with it. Would this work? Could I once again take control of the happiness I had slowly and painfully let you suck out of me?

Guess what? I could, and I did. Today, as I write this, I am healed. Your rejection and your pain pushed me to reevaluate my life, to get back to my dreams, and to remember, that although I do very much want and believe in love, marriage and children, I have never wanted to be the kind of woman who revolves her life around a man, especially around an unworthy one. I have always wanted my life to be a big adventure full of progress, success, friendship, experience and healthy relationships. I want a partner who can add to my life, and not one who constantly takes away from it. I want to share my life with someone as bright as me, so that together, our lights can shine even brighter and help others in the process. All you ever did was dim my light. For a while there, you damn near shut it off.

But now, I’m in a whole new, beautiful place in my life. Last week I moved to NYC, and this Monday I started my dream job as a writer helping to inspire young girls to have courage and be all they can be. What could be better than that?! The possibilities ahead are endless, and my adventure lives on in true Sonia fashion. I am healed. I am happy. I am ready to date and believe in love again. I am ready to never accept anything less than the treatment I deserve. I am ready to stand up for myself and to be firm. I am also ready to be soft, tender and open with someone who will be able to accept it and appreciate it. I am ready to believe again in the power inside of me, in my resilience, and in my ability to move forward into bigger and better. I am ready to be Sonia again; whole, happy and ready to take on the world.

The lessons your pain taught me are proving to be invaluable. They have made me stronger and better than ever, and they have pushed me into this amazing place where I sit right now; a place where I feel almost invincible. My breaths are deep, and my gratitude is big. I remember now. I DO have control over my happiness, and no one can take it away from me unless I let them.

So thank you, Eric. From the bottom of my now-whole heart, thank you for not loving me. You gave me the love lesson of a lifetime, and changed me forever in the best way possible.

The end.

Yours truly,
Sonia

Hate is Hate: The Donald Sterling Fiasco

Hate is HateHey ya’ll.

I’m just now catching up with all of this Donald Sterling news (I know, have I been under a rock?!), and I’m really glad he’s been banned and that it’s been made clear this kind of behavior will not be tolerated in the NBA. Also, WOW. Just WOW. It’s still bone-chilling to me that we live amongst people in 2014 that would still say such things and worst, believe them. It scares me, and it saddens me. And no matter how many times I see it or hear about it, it still shocks me. Maybe I’m living in the ideal versus the real? Who knows.

Anyway, as the ban was announced, I quickly noticed several individuals that would be and have been just as quick and disgusting to say ugly, hateful things about gay people, homeless people, disabled people, overweight folks, etc. etc. etc., all in a rage on social media about the racist comments made by Sterling. Suddenly, I just felt the need to remind everyone that HATE IS HATE. It’s all the same, and it’s all just as horrible, unproductive, mean-spirited and completely unnecessary as the comments made by Donald Sterling. No matter how you slice it, HATE IS HATE, my friends. Regardless of who started it, or who you think deserves it, HATE IS HATE.

So the next time you start to feel like you’re on the right side of it, I urge you to please think again, and please, please keep it to yourself. You don’t have to understand, like or even accept everyone, but please just try and find a way to respect them and keep your negative feelings tucked inside instead of spit off into someone’s face. Respect. It’s the very least every single human being deserves.

Now go out, and have a beautiful, positive, hate-less Tuesday. K. Thanks!

Love,

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Photo Credit © Raywoo | Dreamstime.comWiping Off Hate Photo

Grit and Glory: The Battle of Intelligence vs. Grit

Grit and Glory: Hello. I am a survivor.

I absolutely love TED talks. These days it seems I hardly go a day without listening to at least one or two. And each time, I am inspired and reinvigorated to dig a little deeper and push a little farther than I had previously thought I had it in me to do that day.

I find hope, reassurance and energy in every talk. It’s the kind of stuff I truly believe we could all use more of on the daily; real, eye-opening, often sensitive, and perspective-filled content that helps us to live better, to be more open and to experience life, if only for a few minutes, through the words and circumstances of others so that we can learn to be a better version of ourselves.

And, although I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a TED talk, the one I came across today has to be one of my absolute favorites. Go ahead. Trust me. It’s more than worth the six or so minutes.

Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit.

There you have it. Grit and glory, baby! Grits are in fact a higher indicator of success than intelligence – I’ve always suspected it, but it’s nice to have a trained psychologist confirm it. In fact, I’ve written on a similar topic before related to a study I came across a few years ago. Grit (and hope) is the reason I’ve arrived anywhere in life. It’s how I made it into graduate school twice even though I’m a terrible standardized test taker (I mean, TERRIBLE). It’s the reason I completed an MBA with honors despite my more than lackluster ability with numbers. It’s how I’ve managed to become pretty tech savvy and contribute more at work. It’s the reason I’ve found my way through difficult economic times. It’s the reason I’ve been successful in my career (success has a different meaning for each of us). My driving force, grit and glory!

It’s how I’ve overcome the extreme shyness I experienced as a child and as an adolescent. It’s how I’ve conquered the emotional issues of my past. And its how I’ve slowly moved away from the statistic I could have easily become and the poverty I was born into (although very first-world in nature). It’s how I’ve managed to do and experience the things that often seemed out of my reach in my previous poor-girl mentality. Yup. You guessed it. Grit and glory!

It’s the reason I’ve accomplished or finished anything in my life – not because I’m smart enough to be a rocket scientist (yeah right!) as many of my schoolmates back in high school would say when they wanted to flatter me into helping them with homework or a big project – but because I have GRIT and lots of it. I never give up. I never take no for an answer if I really want something bad enough. I always find my way. I research. I figure it out. I stay up late. I wake up early. I ask questions. I dig. If this doesn’t work, I’ll try that. I examine all possibilities. And I get it done, whatever it is, and I get it done well. Dare I repeat – grit and glory!

So the next time someone tells you you’re not smart enough, or the next time you start to tell yourself that – I don’t want to hear it. Remember this TED talk and my subsequent rant, and remember that passion and perseverance – or grit – can get you there every time. No excuses, just hustle, grit and glory!

Love,

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Loving Yourself: The Power of A Selfie Date

Loving Yourself: The Power of a Selfie Date

Haaaaaay. #selfiedate

This past Thursday, I had a very long, exhausting day at work, and going to do more work (albeit physical and not mental) at the gym after the office just wasn’t sounding very appealing. I wanted a nice meal, a drink, a movie to get lost in – a distraction and a night of fun to distress from the day. I needed a little quality time with my selfie.

As I thought about this concept of having a selfie date, I realized how badly I didn’t want to go through the hassle of texting people to see who wanted to come with, wait for a reply, coordinate schedules, etc. So instead of all that ruckus, I decided to take control and just head out on a lovely selfie date (you know, kind of like the photographs we all like to take of ourselves and post on Facebook  and Instagram, but way more fun!), blow off some steam without any complications, and have a great night – just me, myself and I.

At first, I was a little afraid to go sit at a bar by my selfie, and have my meal and my much-needed drink all by my lonesome. Would I look pathetic, I thought? Would I feel uncomfortable? Should I just stay home and have a glass of wine in the comfort of my non-judgmental couch? But then I thought no, if I stay home I will do nothing but take one sip of wine and fall asleep at 8 p.m. That is not what I was looking for. I wanted to get out. Besides, I do things by my selfie all of the time and have a good time, so what was my issue now?

So I took my fears and hesitations, shoved them in my purse, and walked down to a nice, quaint neighborhood bar that is just a few blocks down from my apartment. I arrived, looked around, and suddenly I didn’t feel so afraid of my selfie date. I took a seat at the bar, ordered my vodka soda with extra, extra limes, a scrumptious steak salad, and got comfy in my stool. Within just a few minutes, I made a new friend – Tom if I remember correctly – shared some stories, had a very tasty salad, and enjoyed a basketball game on the big screen TV (I don’t even like sports, but for some reason, I was thoroughly entertained).

As the minutes wore on, I began to feel a combination of things – all of them very positive. I was proud of my selfie for getting out on my own, and for overcoming my fears. I felt good that I didn’t give into the easier route of just staying home on the couch. I felt content at the realization that new friends are ready to be made everywhere you go, that people can be very friendly, and that I was not the only person enjoying a selfie date at the bar. I am not weird, I thought. I am brave, and there are many others just like me.

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and so it did. Suddenly I realized I was cutting it a little close to make it to the movies in time for the next showing of The Lego Movie. So I closed out my check and proceeded to jog/run to the movie theater – all with a nice little selfie date buzz on me. I had 20 minutes to get there and it was quite a long walk, so why not speed up the process a bit?

As I ran, I felt so free. I began to feel very present with my selfie, and I remember thinking, wow, I’m a lot of fun!  I thought I’m really having a great time, and there isn’t even anyone else with me. It was a crazy cool feeling. There was no one waiting for me at the movies, no one to care if I was late. But I had made a date with my selfie, I wanted to watch that movie, and so I ran to show up for ME on time. What a beautiful thing that is – to show up just for yourself.

I made it to the theater just in time — all out of breathe but excited to have made it. I bought a water and got comfy in my chair. And again, I began to feel that feeling of freedom I had felt at the bar. I enjoyed the movie, I laughed, I cried a little at the end (what can I say –I’m a sucker for inspirational storylines), and then I had a lovely walk home, and went to bed. And woo, I was exhausted! And it was all from a great time with just me, myself and I – well, and I guess ol’ Tom was pretty entertaining too. The selfie date was a total success!

So whether you’re single like me or have a partner, whether you have two friends or 100, once in a while, don’t be afraid to get all dolled up and go out on the town with just your selfie and a pocket full of hope. In fact, make it a priority. Learn to enjoy your own company, and exercise the courage to talk to new people, to try new things. Enjoy a show – laugh, cry and be inspired, savor a meal, laugh at yourself, have an adventure. Remember that you are your friend too, that you are fun and exciting and a great date.  Remember that the relationship you have with yourself needs nurturing too, that you need your own love, attention and encouragement as much, or sometimes even more so, than you need that of others.

Go on, plan that selfie date, and get to know the beautiful, fun, exciting you in a whole different way!

Love,

Sonia, Word Share Junkie