How beautiful living an intentional life can be, friend, and this seems an opportune time to think about the intentions we set and hold to in our lives as we approach the ending of one year, and the start of another.
Our lives are full of endings and beginnings, aren’t they?
Both being points in which we can pause to reflect and to set goals and intentions.
There is a difference, I think, between living intentionally versus being goal oriented.
Goal oriented sets you on one path, to accomplish, to reach, to grasp one thing.
A promotion at work, a set amount in your savings account, a number of miles to run by weeks end.
These things, in and of themselves, are not bad. Goals are wonderful things to set, to aim and strive for, and – even better – to accomplish.
What is dangerous is the worth and importance that we can often place on these accomplishments.
Even worse, the failure we can feel when these things don’t come to fruition.
Intentions, instead, provide you forward momentum while also allowing the flexibility and acceptance of other things to come that are unplanned or unexpected.
Those wondrous surprises that you could not, or would not, have planned for yourself.
Living with intention gives your life guiding principles in HOW you want to live in each moment, and HOW you plan to exist within the world and the life you occupy in the present.
There have been many times in life that I have failed to reach a goal that I’ve set for myself, additionally, there have been times I’ve felt a failure as a result of this.
It has only been later, as other things in my life fell into place, that I was able to recognize the benefit of some goals I’d set not working as I’d planned… because, friend, there was something else intended for me.
I’d have suffered much less disappoint if, instead of focusing on the end result, I’d enabled myself to enjoy the journey and take note of the experiences along the way.
Living in the enjoyment of each step taken, versus only the realization of the end of a journey, to me is the epitome of goal setting and intentionally living functioning in tandem.
So, while we strive to go on more adventures, save money, lose weight, be better parents, better spouses, more confident, get a raise, receive a promotion, write a book… whatever that external goal is… let’s also commit to showing up and being present.
Let’s be intentional in all the moments, being sure to focus on who we are and how we’re showing up, from the starting point to the finish line.
And, if we veer off coarse, and miss the mark we’re striving for, let’s be sure that we showed up in a way that we can still allow and permit ourselves to celebrate.
Ultimately, friend, what matters is that each of us can look in the mirror and like who we are. This doesn’t occur because of all the external things we accomplish.
The check marks we cross off, the mile stones we reach, or the finish lines we cross.
These things can provide points of pride, but don’t give self worth. Self worth is cultivated from within.
It’s who we are throughout the journey, and the person we’ll find at the end.
So, set the intention for who you want to be, how you want to show up, as you also determine what goals you want to crush.
But if you don’t, know that you are never a failure if you can look at yourself and be proud of the person you were along the way and all the places you visited both within and outside of yourself.
Your Trusted Friend ❤
There are some words that just capture the things that matter so well.
Like many things, media is a powerful tool that has the ability to give us a lens into ourselves… but it can also be used to manipulate and separate.
It’s easy for me to focus on the things that I hate about media… but then I remember the ultimate power of media comes from within and what we allow to hold space.
I don’t watch a ton of television anymore, but I remember being pulled into Grey’s Anatomy just like so many people and the character of Meredith is relatable in many ways.
She begs a man to love her, while also being a strong capable woman…
No woman wants to see herself in a situation in which she begs a man to love her, yet many of us find ourselves in just that position.
Because, ultimately, we do want to love and be loved. We want to be chosen.
Until we learn to adequately love and choose ourselves, we look for this validation from outside sources.
Once we learn to choose and love ourselves it doesn’t hurt quite as much when others choose not to.
Not to say it still doesn’t hurt, it does – but we recognize that we don’t WANT someone incapable of choosing us AND we know that not everyone can or will.
Since we do have this limited life experience, we do want to choose wisely what we do with the time that we have.
What kind of life do we want to live? Who do we want to love and be loved by? Are we the best version of ourselves that we can be?
Deciding can be hard… it means choosing a course of action… but as long as we FIRST choose ourselves our actions will be in tune with our flow state and with our heart’s resonance.
So, breathe in. Breathe out and decide.
Your Trusted Friend ❤︎
I have been working on my relationship with my body, and a part of that requires looking at the messaging that I have received that has helped to form that relationship in order to systematically confront and dismantle what isn’t serving me.
Growing up young girls start receiving comments on their bodies and the pressure to look or to appear a certain way.
There was a time in our youth that we played with wild abandonment, not carrying if our belly had roles when we sat or about the hair that grew between our eyebrows.
Other people at some point made us feel that these things (and so many more) were wrong, unattractive, and needed to be fixed.
Instead of being people, we became objects to be viewed.
Not only to be perceived by others, but we also started to view ourselves through the perceptions of others…
trying to see what the people around us saw in order to ensure we were the most visually pleasing version of ourselves that we could be.
Instead of living and playing and being, we started perceiving.
This often translated into telling ourselves we would be happy and content with ourselves IF….
if we fit into a certain size of clothing.
if our breasts were less saggy.
if we had fewer wrinkles.
if our body was smooth and hairless.
if our stomachs were flat.
if our cellulite were gone.
if, if, if…
so we start buying products, clothes, and creams, get procedures, and stuck with needles in search of that place where we will finally be happy and satisfied.
Perfectly pleasing, beautiful, and desirable.
There is nothing in need of fixing, except perhaps the relationships we have with ourselves and the way in which we view and carry out the relationship with our bodies…
as the home of our soul…
the thing that makes you, you.
Your Trusted Friend ❤︎
It’s not fine, but it’ll be okay.
There was something so reassuring and affirming about hearing those words.
Countless times throughout the day we are asked how we are and many of us respond automatically with those simple two words,
Or, how many times have we been treated in ways that are the opposite of fine, but when asked what’s wrong instead of an honest exchange we say,
How many times is this your response when you are not fine, or it’s not fine?
And why are we not allowed to claim it?
What prevents us from really sharing how we are?
What we’re thinking?
Or how we feel?
I’ll never forget when I drove through a coffee drive-up window and the barista, with a big smile, leaned out the window and asked me how I was doing and I didn’t say I was fine.
I couldn’t say that I was fine.
Instead, I cried.
Then I told the cherub-faced barista with a smattering of freckles across her nose that I’d just learned that my boyfriend of three years had cheated on me… from his daughter.
It just spilled out, and as it did I instantly said that I was sorry and covered my mouth with my hands… my eyes wide in terror.
“I’m so sorry,” I reiterated, “I’m fine.”
Without missing a beat, this girl responded to me, “It’s not fine, but it’ll be okay,” then refused my payment for my coffee and said some other pleasantries that I do not remember.
I do remember, however, the power of those words.
It’s not fine, but it’ll be okay.
There are times when we are not fine.
When we are sad, angry, hurt, disappointed, let down, anxious, or scared.
There are times when people will do things that cross our personal boundaries
that result in feeling unwanted, unappreciated, undervalued, or dismissed.
It doesn’t have to be fine. As soon as we allow ourselves to not be okay, we can work towards the healing that needs to take place in order for it to become okay.
I recently had an appointment canceled on me with no warning.
My first impulse was to take care of the other person and to ensure that he didn’t feel bad for letting me down.
It wasn’t fine that I wasn’t treated in a way that honored my time and energy, however, by honestly talking about that it could become okay.
Apologies and reparations could have been made, but only if I am honest in claiming when it isn’t fine.
It’s not fine, but it’ll be okay.
Your Trusted Friend ❤︎
So often we become robotic clock punchers.
Living our lives by routines and obligations.
All the things on our to-do lists become quiet bossy dictators of our time, and take over our minds with frantic worrying.
Let’s decide what we think.
Push the worries aside…
the pile of laundry or dishes that await, the paper that needs to be written, the grass that needs to be mowed…
whatever it is that is worrying decide, right now, to stop letting these things consume you.
Because you know what?
They’ll get done, and then you’ll have to start again.
These sorts of never-ending tasks, the never-ending ‘to-dos-, are not worthy of our worry.
They don’t deserve to take up that much space in our brains.
They don’t deserve to become a source of tension and argument within our relationships.
They don’t deserve to have our energy reserves and leave us fuming
Because it’ll all get done, and then we’ll have to start all over again.
So, for now, let’s live.
Your Trusted Friend ❤︎
We live lives full to the brim with various events and doings, but only a handful of them are mile markers.
Events that mark a significant period of time, events that veer us off course, and – if we were a house – these are the ones that gut us down to our studs leaving only the frame.
Thus giving us the opportunity to rebuild from scratch.
At the moment it always feels like an absolute shit-show, though.
We cling to the comfort of what is known, even if what is known isn’t good for us or is something that we’ve outgrown.
Change is deeply uncomfortable and, as a result, often comes at the impetus of a soul-shaking event.
Research has shown that major life events, that completely throw our usual lifestyle or routine out the window, can give us the best opportunity for making real, long-term changes in our behavior.
These are the mile markers.
Those life events which result in a dismantlement, so that we can be reinvented.
The unexpected breakup that forces us to get more deeply in touch with ourselves.
The job loss that invites us to look for other possibilities to provide for ourselves and our families.
The death that reminds us of the importance of investing in the people and relationships around us.
The accident or illness that revealed the strength and resolve within us.
These markers always served to bring me back to myself, or they tried.
I have been reinvented again and again by the significant periods that have washed over me and torn all the comforts away from me.
These are the times and moments that are my mile markers, because my life was on a predictable comfortable course – only to be redirected.
The markers signify a memory that often means so very much in the direction that my life took, the path that led me to not only where I am, but the person that I am.
I’ve been redirected, often forcibly, to explore the direction of my life and who I am.
At the moment I’ve often felt defeated, broken, lost, lonely, desperate, and hopeless.
Looking back, though, I can experience almost a fondness for the events which broke me so that I could be remade.
Your Trusted Friend ❤︎
When I was little I had a gap in my two front teeth.
It was large enough to fit a nickel and a dime pressed together perfectly.
I know this because a friend handed me a nickel and asked if it would fit between my teeth. When it did easily she scoured her pockets for any more loose change and handed me both the nickel and a dime.
It fit, almost getting stuck. I had a brief moment of panic when I removed my fingers and the change stayed between my teeth.
Fortunately the change, after that brief moment of panic, fell out.
People noticed my gap and teased me about it.
I was called names to the point where I learned to hide my smile.
As soon as I was able to get braces to repair the gap, I did. I am now the proud owner of a gapless smile.
When I got older and saw a model in a magazine proudly and boldly displaying her gap-toothed smile that looked an awful lot like the smile I used to have I felt a tinge of sadness.
I had let factors outside of me tell me that there was something wrong with me that required fixing.
There were years when I was insecure about my smile and hid it behind my hand or closed lips.
So often the things that make us different or unique can also be a source of embarrassment.
I wish I’d had the confidence to own my smile with pride. I wish I had believed the one teacher who told me that my smile was beautiful.
Because it was.
Your Trusted Friend ❤︎
Relationships can be minefields.
As every one of us is a unique individual, it can be difficult to truly understand the people around us; their views can be so drastically different from our own as to be incomprehensible.
This isn’t necessarily wrong or bad, it’s just that we’re standing and looking a different way, seeing a different perspective based on our unique history and experiences.
Sometimes, people are further along the path and know what’s coming around the corner when you do not.
I met someone who I instantly felt that I knew, it was a deep sense of “Hi, I know you,” and yet we were strangers.
This was a gift to meet someone and feel that deep connection so effortlessly.
With time, though, I recognize why he felt so familiar and known to me.
I knew him because I used to be him.
There were so many ways we could understand one another because some of our darkest trauma and trauma wounds were identical.
We were, however, in different places in our journal towards healing.
You see, much of my trauma had resulted in me becoming a co-dependent people pleaser.
I felt deeply afraid and unworthy of love so I would do everything I could to prove my worthiness, to prove how good and great and special and unique I am.
The proving wasn’t only for those I was wooing, it was for me too.
I see that now in the rearview mirror, the ways I desperately clung to situations that didn’t serve me because I thought if I could earn the love and approval of someone else, then that would mean I was lovable.
So, I knew him because I used to be him.
I saw the ways he yeared and reached for affirmation and emotional regulation outside of himself because those used to be the same places that I looked for validation.
The insecurities that arose in questions and comments…
“Why are you dressed up, is there someone you’re trying to impress?”
“I saw a look between you and so and so that seemed meaningful, is something going on between the two of you?”
“You feel different, what’s going on? Do you still like me?”
“I don’t think anyone here likes me.”
“No one understands me.”
“You don’t understand me.”
But you see, I do understand you because I used to be you.
I used to look outside of myself for validation, and attach it to whether or not someone else decided to choose me.
If you don’t love yourself and feel wholly worthy as you are, this is the evidence.
These are the landmines you’re planting in your relationships.
The doubts, the questioning, the need for validation, and for someone else to be responsible for your emotional regulation.
I know, because I used to plant them and then be surprised when they would erupt in my face.
Your Trusted Friend ❤️
Recently I reflected on what happens when you step outside of your comfort zones to change, grow, and bloom into something new.
The external result of your internal changes may be to make others uncomfortable with the new and unfamiliar version of you.
There will be those that cannot continue on a mutual journey with this new you, as they do not have space for your growth. However, there will also be those that celebrate your evolutions and make space – rejoicing in getting to know each new incantation.
There have been times in my life where I have felt pulled or called to change, grow, and/or do something differently.
One of the ways in which I have grown the most is in my ability to release the urge to people please and to move away from codependent relationships.
For a great deal of my life instead of looking internally to see what would bring me the most peace, I looked to the people around me and evaluated what would cause the most discomfort for them and this is what informed my decisions.
Allowing external factors to influence and impact who I shaped myself to be, versus looking inward at what brought me the most peace, resulted in me losing myself.
I put on the costume of who others expected me to be and strove to please and be loved by others by the things I put on, instead of working towards loving myself and finding what brought me peace and joy.
People pleasing and working to earn the love and approval of others was something that I had to let go of.
Instead, I recognize that I am worthy of love just by being.
Not long ago I found myself in a relationship with a beautiful, but incredibly insecure man.
I felt these insecurities like weights on my being.
The time I was going to work and he asked me why I was dressing as if I was single or when he asked if there was something going on between me and my best friend’s boyfriend because I had touched his arm in the midst of a conversation.
Both situations had me questioning who I was and how I was presenting myself in order to be perceived in such a way by someone that I cared about.
I felt myself leaning towards changing myself in order to make him more comfortable and to not provoke his triggers or insecurities.
As I felt this pull to change and alter myself for another, I recognized that this did not feel natural for me.
There was nothing wrong with the way that I dressed or the way in which I interacted with the significant others of my friends.
Abandoning myself and choosing something outside of myself would only result in misalignment within me, even if it may make someone else happier or more comfortable with me.
The more instances of insecurity that popped up over the course of our relationship the more I felt the danger of abandoning myself for my ex and his comfort, of doing something just to make him happy, the more clear it became that this wasn’t a healthy relationship for either of us.
There was a moment when I recognized that the old version of me would have been perfect for this man, as she would have changed her clothes and avoided her friends in order to ensure that her partner felt loved.
Now I recognize that this isn’t love, it’s self abandonment and – while I could very well have made someone more comfortable for the short term – I would have lost myself in attempting to be the perfect version of myself that I thought he wanted.
If that’s love, it’s not the kind of love that I desire.
I want the kind that invites me to be myself and celebrates in the birth of each new authentic version of me.
A love that is not threatened by any part of me, but is able to admire and appreciate.
Your Trusted Friend ❤︎
Opening yourself up to something new can be scary, whatever that ‘new’ might be.
It’s easy to get stuck in comfort and what is known and familiar.
While I do think that there is something valuable in being able to be content in life, I also think that it is equally valuable to grow and expand.
There will be people who are able to make room for your growth, and will celebrate.
On the flip side, there will also be people who will not be able to accommodate.
There have been times when I have played small out of fear of losing those that had an inability to make room for my growth.
So I squashed myself, like squeezing into jeans two sizes to small, I bore the discomfort because it was known and familiar and didn’t cost me anything extra… except my discomfort.
As a woman this has been a burden that I’ve been conditioned to bear, to put the needs and comfort of others ahead of my own.
To be self sacrificing.
As I’ve gotten older and recognized what this has cost me, I’ve had to unlearn this habit and learn – instead -to put myself first and that by doing so it doesn’t make me selfish.
I recently learned of a potential opportunity, a whisper of something new.
It excited me, but my first thought wasn’t on what would be best for me, what would be best for my quality of life, it was on what I’d be leaving behind and what that would mean for those that a would be impacted by my absence.
So, I prepared for a possible shift and imagined myself leaving the comfort that I’d established.
There was a whole life I was able to visualize for myself that I hadn’t even contemplated before and with this vision I prepared to act as soon as the possibility became reality.
In this space I felt myself grow and while the opportunity didn’t materialize, I feel a new found freedom in the fact that I was open to possibility, to change, and to stepping outside of the life that’s become so familiar to me.
Additionally, I embraced the disappointment.
That’s where I am now.
Disappointed and releasing a vision I had for myself, while leaving space for something else to bloom and grow.
Apparently, this round, was just the practice match.
Your Trusted Friend