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

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

Luck Needs Your Faithful Reminder Tonight

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve really become serious about making progress on what has evolved from one huge book with every life-improving/motivational topic under the sun to a much more digestible series of eBooks that will each cover one topic. One night a week I come to a Starbucks in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago because its open later than any other coffee shop I’ve seen. And, I write.

It’s a really great spot for writing. This location has an awesome set-up with a sort of counter-stool area that allows you to work while you look out onto the street. Watching people walk by and life happen while I write just helps me stay focused in a weird way. I am productive here. My creative juices just go buck wild.

Now this is also the neighborhood where I volunteer every other Saturday with what is mostly street-based youth. In the last couple of weeks, as I’ve been writing and watching life happen from this Starbucks window, I’ve seen several of the youth I volunteer with walking by. A few of them pace back and forth for the several hours I sit here, suitcases in hand, often looking lost and as if they are just passing the time, because well, they have nowhere to go. And it’s incredibly heartbreaking.

Here I sit drinking my $5 coffee, thinking of myself as unprivileged because of the circumstances I come from, constantly stressing out because of the mountainous debt that keeps me up at night,   and forever worrying about how and when I am going to get to where I want to be in my life with respect to career, love, family stability and everything else I worry about. When will I finish these books, when will I have financial stability, when will I truly get past the issues of my troubled childhood?

But then I see these kids, walking back and forth, with everything they own in one suitcase, trying to figure out where to sleep tonight, and I remember just how incredibly lucky I am. Suddenly, I focus less on everything I do not have, and focus more on all of the great things I sometimes take for granted in my life. I start to pay more attention to all the luck I do have, despite whatever misfortunes I might struggle with.

So I just thought I’d write a little note to encourage you to focus on everything that you have, and try and give less heart and brain space to all of the things you wish you had or you feel you’ve been cheated out of in life. Because if you have a roof over your head, health in your blood, and food in your stomach, you are already so much more fortunate than a lot of people out there in this troubled world. 

If you really try and focus on the fact that you are indeed very lucky just a little more often, I think you will find more HAPPY in your heart and more peace in your mind. So tonight, before I go to bed, and every night after that, I will say to myself, “You are very lucky,” and I hope you will give it a shot too.

With eternal 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

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

3 Paths to Internal Woosah

Keep Calm

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

1. It’s not personal.

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

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

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

2. Self-awareness is key.

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

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

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

3. Apologize when an apology is due.

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

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

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

Sonia, Word Share Junkie

6 Ways to Self-counsel

Man, it can really be a doggie dog (dog eat dog) world out there for someone trying to stay POSITIVE. Some days it’s like trying to ward off those gremlin-looking monsters that shoot at you in video games. But I still believe you do so much better by at least trying, by smiling at evil and maintaining your cool in every situation. It’s so hard, but it’s all about that fighting spirit I’m always talking about.

Here are six self-counseling approaches I take to warding off negativity, especially on the really hectic days. And yes, it includes a lot of talking to myself which I believe, contrary to popular belief, is incredibly helpful in navigating your way through life. It all goes back to that concept of being your own #1 supporter, your own best friend. Try them sometime. I think they can help you too!

    1. “You are SONIA. This situation does not define you. These people do not define you. You are smart. You are capable, and you can do anything.”
    2. “You did your best today. Tomorrow is a new day to make it better and shine.”
    3. “You will never please everyone. Accept it!”
    4. “I am not better than anyone, but certainly, no one is better than me.”
    5. “You can’t do it all at once. One thing at a time, you will get there. Be patient with yourself.”
    6. And finally, after a bad day, I just try to go out and do something that centers me and brings me back to who I am.  I do something I’m passionate about or have a lot of fun doing.  I reach out for support, and meet up with a friend. I remove myself from the negative situation or thoughts, and get back to my happy place.

So, tell me, what do you do to center yourself after a bad day?