Does Therapy Work? YAAAS! Abso-change-your-life-lutely.

Does Therapy Work? Yaaas!Ever felt like you needed to talk to someone, not friends or family or a partner, but someone completely new, unbiased, and maybe even professionally equipped to really help you figure some things out that continue to bog you down year after year?

Have you then quickly let go of that need and given into the stigma around therapy instead?

“I don’t need therapy. Only crazy people need therapy. Does therapy work? How is talking to a complete stranger going to help me? Therapy is too embarrassing. No. Forget it. I’ll just continue to deal with my issues alone.”

Sounds familiar? That’s OK. It happens. Many of us are afraid to reach out for help even in our darkest hours because we let the stigma around therapy make us feel weak, crazy, inadequate, and lots of others icky things.

Today, I want to tell you how potentially nutty it is to just sit back and watch issues devour your potential happiness and everything around you just to give into this whole silly idea that it matters what other people think. Don’t you want to be freed form your struggles? Don’t you want to smile more? Don’t you want to live, and I mean truly LIVE? Do you know that facing your problems and reaching out for help actually takes a lot of courage?

Stop running away from help, and start thinking about opening your arms to something that could truly change your life for the better, for good. For me, just one year of therapy (I had gone sporadically before, but never really stuck with it) helped me let go of some very deep-rooted issues I had been dealing with my whole life. These were things that were holding me back in relationships, in my fight for happiness and even in my career.

That’s why today I’ve decided to share with you an email I recently sent to my old therapist (if someone has impacted your life in a positive way, no matter how big or how small, please take the time to let them know!) in hopes that it might encourage you to walk away from the stigma and walk into the light of healing instead.

Does therapy work? YAAAS! Abso-change-your-life-lutely. In fact, I’m thinking of finding a therapist in NYC to get a little tune up. This is, after all, a lifetime journey y’all!

XOXO,
Sonia, Word Share Junkie

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Hi Mark!

I hope you will remember me—I know it’s been quite a while since our last session (December 2013). I’ve been wanting to send you a note for quite some time now, as I realize more and more every day how everything you taught me still helps me SO much. In fact it even helps me help friends going through similar situations, and that just feels wonderful! Our work together made me forever stronger and more confident, and gave me a lifelong set of tools I use every day to manage my emotions and keep my HAPPY going strong.

About a year ago, I moved to New York City where I am a writer for the Girl Scouts national office, and I really believe it was our work together that gave me the courage to take these next steps in my life (this job has really been a dream!)─leaving Eric behind and slowly healing from that year+ whose lessons are still with me every single day. I can really say I am more settled, more at peace and happier than ever.

I have also been working very hard on my eBook series. I’m on the third book already, and hope to launch the series on Amazon at the end of this year. Your words and advice have helped me to continue to push forward in this endeavor as well, step by step, day by day, and this has been a  blessing as well.

So in conclusion, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I feel freed from so many of the issues of my past (what a relief!). My family and I are getting along great─even my dad and I are on the best terms we’ve ever been, and it is because of what you taught me and talked me through for just one year. How incredible is that?

I hope this email finds you well, happy and healthy, and again thank you so much for what you do. You have an amazing gift, and I am so grateful Katherine sent me to you when she did. I feel certain no other therapist could have done what you did in such a short amount of time. I sing your praises to my friends and champion the power of therapy to anyone who will listen─all the time.

If there is ever anything I can do for you, maybe a testimonial for your website or anything like that, I would be more than happy to contribute in some small way.

THANK YOU!!!!

Sincerely,
Sonia

© Arfabita | Dreamstime.comBreak Out Photo

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

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

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost, They Are Alive

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Not all those who wander are lost. It’s a line from the poem All that is gold does not glitter, written by J.R.R. Tolkien for the Lord of the Rings. I’ve never actually seen any of those movies, I know, GASP, but I came across the quote somewhere in social media land today, and I thought, aha! Isn’t that the beauty of the digital age we live in? You can catch small, but meaningful gems at every random click of your mouse. I’m corny, and I know it. Also, I love it. Anyway, here it is:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

That line is so true. Not all those who wander are lost. Some of us have a “nasty” little habit of constant daydreaming, planning, searching, looking – for a little spark, for a new adventure, for a fresh accomplishment, and that some of us is definitely, unequivocally, me. But it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m lost.

All my life, I’ve heard things like:

“You’ll just make yourself unhappy by expecting so much out of life.”

“You have food, water and shelter. What else do you need?” (I’m so serious. I was totally told this at 17.)

“You’re restless. That’s bad for you. Just sit.”

“Oh, stop being crazy. Stop trying to be a hero.”

Despite the nags, I’ve always pushed for more, questioned things, searched for progress, and I strive to move forward in some small way every chance I get. If you’re anything like me, and people also tell you to stop daydreaming, or just settle for what you have, stop being ungrateful, or that you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment, I invite you to take a stand with me, and yell, not all those who wander are lost! 

Try new things. If they don’t work or you fail at a new venture, try something else. Keep moving forward and searching. Make a little tweak here. Make a little tweak there. Never settle. Don’t listen to fear or failure. They are your teachers, your friends, and your road to glory. They are not your enemies. Don’t let anyone make you impossible-minded. Always stay possible-minded and forge ahead. Figure out a way to get where you want to go. Don’t let the passing of time without successes deter you. Triumph rarely happens in a day.

And when you achieve one goal, set the next. Always strive for improvement. Always find new things to excite you and fulfill you. It’s not frivolous or ungrateful, and it doesn’t even mean that you’re entirely unhappy with your current situation. But there is so much to experience in life, why stop at the now?

The day you stop daydreaming, planning, hoping and wishing, I suggest you check your pulse. All those who wander are not lost, baby. They are ALIVE.

Happy, motivated Tuesday ya’ll.

Love,

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Live. Learn. Do Better.13 Awesome 2013 Life Lessons!

13 Awesome 2013 Life Lessons

Whoa! It has been WEEKS  since I’ve written. You know how it goes. The holidays tend to derail us from many of our regular routines especially with travel, family and all that good stuff. The good news is I just couldn’t let the year slip by without offering a little last-minute inspiration.

Here are 13 awesome lessons from 2013. It’s sort of a culmination of everything I’ve written about this year. You might have learned some of these lessons already, and others might offer a little something new to think about, I hope! Enjoy, and have a fun, wonderful and safe NYE! Thanks for reading in 2013!

Life Lessons #1: Settling is only a temporary fix. Hold out for the thing you really want, even if it seems incredibly far away.

Sometimes we chose to settle because it hurts too much to keep waiting for the thing we truly want, or because we feel like we will never find it. Whether it’s in love, in career, or in general life, settling might give you a temporary sense of relief and security, but in the long run, you will end up more unhappy than if you had just held out a little longer, and waited for it to be truly right and satisfying. Like they say, often people give up right before they were about to achieve success. Hang in there. Don’t settle!!

Life Lessons #2: Stop going to the hardware store for milk!

I learned this one from a mentor, and it is truly a glorious lesson in all its simplicity.

Stop going to people or places that you already know, from beating that dead horse one too many times, will not yield the desired results. For me, this year, that really translated into forcing myself to stop going to a proven toxic person and expecting love, understanding and compassion. It’s not there. That hardware store will never have milk in stock! Stop it. Just stop it.

Life Lessons #3: Love is real.

Love isn’t easy to find or maintain. Love is messy and riddled with imperfection. But this year, attending the wedding of my friends Sophia and Ross (a story of international love), taught me that love is real and can exist purely between two people despite distance, barriers and complications.

When love exists, there are no excuses, no pretences, no distances too large or obstacles too high. You should never have to beg for it, work endlessly to make it work, or constantly be on edge about it. Real, healthy love will just flow. It will have its bumps in the road, but it will always find its way. When it’s right, it will not be so hard. Wait for it to be right. Anything else is just a waste of heart and energy.

Life Lessons #4: A narcissist only wants an object’s adoration, not the actual object.

This one also came from a mentor, and it has served as a great reminder for me. I do think it’s rare and sometimes hard to spot, but the world has a fair share of folks who truly care about nothing but themselves. These are folks who will manipulate you, play games with you, and do just about anything to feel your adoration and feed their ego. But, they don’t truly want you, only the attention you offer them. Stay alert, and when you feel this happening, run. Run fast.

Life Lessons #5: Standing up for yourself is not mean. Its right, and it’s necessary.

It’s taken me quite a long time to understand that standing up for myself does not make me mean. You have to do it, because no one else is going to do it for you. Standing up for yourself takes strength, conviction, and self-love. Stop worrying that you’re being mean, and just do it when it becomes necessary. Others will respect you more for it, and you will respect yourself immensely for it as well.

Life Lessons #6: Not everyone in your life belongs in it, and that’s OK.

It can be a sad realization that some of your current friends are not a positive influence in your life, but hey, it’s called growth. People outgrow each other. It’s natural and a necessary part of building the life you want surrounded by the energy that will help you maintain your well-being.

Life Lessons #7: You CAN learn to stretch your money a little farther if you just pay attention to your spending.

I struggle with money mostly because of sizeable debt. But hey, who doesn’t? The good news is this year, I’ve really learned that if I just pay more attention, that if I do not charge things I know I cannot pay off in the upcoming month and if I charge things that I know I can, if I just say “no” to unnecessary spending, that bank account doesn’t look quite as sad three days before payday as it once did.

Just pay attention, don’t give in to every spending whim you have, and watch that check stretch a little bit farther every time. Stop thinking so negatively about money and  somehow it will just work itself out.

Life Lessons #8: Time does heal wounds, but you have to give it time.

You will never get over something or someone, if you don’t muster up the strength to walk away and give it the time it needs. Stop picking that wound while pouring salt on it. Walk away, cry it out, let yourself feel the pain. Give time a little time. It will be OK. But if you don’t walk away, the pain will never end.

Life Lessons #9: Being happy takes an everyday fight. It doesn’t just happen.

Life is complicated, and there are many things on a daily basis that are just out of our control. But there is also a lot you can control. You have to put the effort into your happiness. You have to wake up and choose to be positive about the events of your day, push yourself to get to that gym and eat that healthy dinner, make an effort to connect with friends. Fight for it, don’t just sit around and wait for it.

If you feel sad, push yourself even harder to get up, get out, be productive, and not give in to feeling low.

Life Lessons #10: There will be great years, there will be just good years and there will be hard years. But all of them can still yield important lessons, delicious laughter and much-needed growth.

Not every year is going to rock. This year was not my favorite by far. But there were still a lot of good times, laughs, lessons, and a whole lot of growth. Learn to appreciate those things. Be grateful for the good that comes out of the bad. And keep remembering that tomorrow is a new day, and today, tomorrow is a brand new year!

Life Lessons #11: Don’t get overwhelmed by the size of a goal, and give up. Take it one step at a time, and celebrate small accomplishments.

Sometimes we get overwhelmed by the size of a goal we want to accomplish, and decide it is just easier to give up. Try and set up your goals in more digestible, small steps, attacking one piece at a time. Celebrate every time you get past one small step. If all you can see is 0 to 100, you will always feel defeated.

Life Lessons #12: You have to take care of yourself first in order to have anything to give to others.

It’s not selfish. You have to take care of yourself; of your well-being, your health, your mind, your heart, you life. When you are at your best, you are able to offer your best to others. Constantly focusing outside of ourselves can sometimes leave us with nothing to give. Take care of yourself, and do it well. Never, ever feel guilty about that. It benefits you and  everyone around you.

Life Lessons #13: Be kind, and the kindness will always find it’s way back to you.

There are a million good reasons to practice kindness in our every day lives and interactions. But if you want to focus on just one, realize that what you put out into the universe is likely to come back at you. Be a friend, and when you need one, there will be on there for you. Help someone in need, and when you are in need, someone will appear to offer you that same hand. Be understanding, and when you need someone to understand you, that understanding is likely to come out of some corner, somehow, some way.

Love,
Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Be Happier with One Very Simple Life Hack

Be Happier with a Smile

Start being happier today! Did you know the most critical time to smile, laugh and dance is when you’re not feeling you’re best? That’s right. When you’re having a tough time with certain situations in your life, when goals seem to be walking farther and farther away from you, when things seem a little or a lot off-balance, when your heart is broken, when you find yourself a bit lost – that is the time to smile.

That is the time to push harder. It’s the time to give yourself a pep-talk as often as you feel you need it. It’s the time to read corny, motivational things, to scatter affirmation sticky notes all over your apartment, to blast a nice Wilson Phillips jam (or some other free-your-soul, sing-your-heart-out kind of jam you might like). That is the time to tell yourself everything is going to be OK over and over again, because if we’ve all learned anything from tough times, it’s that everything always turns out OK. Sure there are scars, and big changes, and loss, but in the end, everything turns out alright, life goes on, and you find happiness again.

Stop thinking tough or confused times are not times for smiles, laughter and dancing. Those are the times when it matters the most to push yourself to be positive, to get up, dress up and show up (as Regina Brett would say), to find joy in small things, to try new things, and fight, fight, fight. It is the time to believe the hardest in yourself, in your potential, and in the good things that are destined for you. It’s the most important time to do all of the things that make you happier. 

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my Sunday night pep-talk to you and to myself. I hope it helps get your week started off right! It’s so simple. Cheese it up more, especially on the bad days, and see how you start to feel happier in no time!

Love,
Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Letting Go: 5 Important Things to Remember

Letting GoLetting go is HARD. It takes work, dedication and focus, and it can be so easy to slip back into the same unsuccessful routine of holding on. Letting go can be especially hard when what you are trying to let go of is not particularly inclined to let go of you, when the object of your dismay is for whatever reason inclined to keep feeding into the cycle, into the same evil game you’ve grown so tired of playing.

In this case, the ball is in your court, and the strength has to come from within you. No easy outs here. So as I go through my own process of letting go, I thought I’d share five things that are helping me through it on a daily basis. I hope it helps you let go of something you have known for quite a bit is bad for you, toxic to your well-being, or simply not the right fit for you, so that you can become more open to something that IS.

1. There are strong, undeniable reasons behind your decision to let go.

Remember these reasons. Every time you start to get sad, run through them in your head, write them down, say them out loud. Until you have moved on, don’t let these reasons escape you, for a second. Remember that each time you return and give up on your task of letting go, those reasons will be right where you left them, ready to take over your energy again and haunt you. It’s like that saying going around the social media channels says – If the past calls, don’t pick up. It has nothing new to say. It’s so true ya’ll.

2. Letting go is hard and it hurts, but not more so than holding on in vain.

Letting go can be incredibly hard. We’ve established this. But think about it. If there are numerous reasons that brought you to the decision to let go, and you know there are, how much worse can this pain you feel while trying to let go be than the pain you felt as you continued to hold on to something that made you so unhappy that you made the hard choice to let go?

Imagine how much better you will feel each morning that you wake up and realize you are no longer in the holding-on-by-a-string game. Think for a second how much healthier you will feel when your every day, every moment is not consumed by the negativity of a relationship or situation that just has nothing left to give. And finally, remember that the pain of letting go will pass, but the pain of holding on, as long you continue to clutch onto it, will not.

3. Sometimes it’s OK and absolutely necessary to love someone from afar.

Sometimes we have to let go of people that we love either because they do not love us back, or because they cannot love us in the way we need to be loved. Letting go does not mean you’ve stopped loving someone, it simply means you are making a conscious choice to love and protect yourself first.

Love does not mean you should stay in an unhealthy situation. All that will breed is bitterness and hate, and anything BUT love. So if you know you are not fulfilled in your current situation, let go. Do it for love. The right kind will not hurt so much. It will not be so hard. I’ve learned this the hard-headed-gal way. Do it better than me, today!

4. Letting go does not make you a quitter.

If you ask me, holding on to something you know in your heart of hearts has run its course, is what makes you a quitter, not the act of letting that go. Holding on means you’ve quit trying to find true happiness, it means you’ve quit on yourself, quit on your health, and quit on those around you.

Letting go makes you a fighter. It means you still have hope and faith that you will find something that is right for you, a relationship that will bring out the best in you and in someone else, a relationship that will give hope and faith to those around you.  Plus, when you do the best for yourself, you set an example for those around you.

5. Letting go opens up your world and your energy for something better.

And finally, how can you make space for something good and healthy and fulfilling if you continue to hold on to something that is only eating away at you, something you know is so wrong?

Focus on the fact that by letting go of an unhealthy relationship or situation, hard as that may be, you are opening up your energy, your spirit and your life to the endless possibility of something better, something good, something delicious. Let that thought get you through the tough moments when you want to run back into the arms of the thing that was making you so bitterly unhappy that you finally decided to walk away.

And most of all, just remember, as they say, that this too shall pass, but you’ve got to give it room to do so.

What are some things that help you through the fierce act of letting go?

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Dream Juice: Fueling Your Dreams with Hope

Just a little dream juice for this lovely Tuesday afternoon.

Don’t get frustrated. Never give up. Just keep on taking those little steps with a big heart full of even bigger goals, dreams, and faith, and you will get there.  At least that’s my story, and damn it, I’m sticking to it! Stick with me?

Love,

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

Dream Juice: Fueling Your Dreams with Hope