Knowing Your Worth & When to Walk Away

Like many women, I myself have been guilty of this in past relationships. You hold on long past the relationship’s expiration date hoping that something will change, but all the waiting often leads to disappointment. Now let me qualify this by stating that this post is not meant to disrespect men. I absolutely adore men, and I do believe deeply that love and relationships can be lasting with the right person. For me, this is more about knowing your value as a woman and holding on to your dignity in love and life in general.

Knowing Your Worth

As women, many of us tend to act as caregivers and nurturers and this is a beautiful thing. We are used to giving love and affection to those around us whether that person is a child, friend, family member, husband, or lover. I myself thrive off of caring for others, but the problem arises when we begin putting everyone else’s needs before our own. Although tempting, especially in the butterfly-ridden, early stages of a relationship, don’t neglect your friends and hobbies for a man. This will only leave you feeling unfulfilled and unhappy.

Of course you want to make time for someone you care for, but just remember to make time for the other wonderful things that make you, YOU. I love adventure, hiking and trying new things I am afraid of and I enjoy spending some time alone. These are a few of the things that make me beautifully who I am, just as you have things that make you beautifully you. My supportive friendships with the other women in my life are also a big part of who I am as a woman. Spending time with my friends lifts me up and makes me a better human being.

Chances are that many of these things are exactly what made you attractive to someone in the first place. So in giving those things up, you are throwing away a very alluring and valuable piece of yourself. I also recognize that my time and attention are just as important as any one else’s and if my time is not respected then I just simply stop giving that person attention – this goes for any relationship (friendship, love, etc.). Save your dignity and refuse to beg for someone’s attention – it won’t work anyways (trust me I have tried).

The point is you are valuable, you are loving and you are beautiful. You simply need to find that person who sees these qualities you possess and understands that these gifts are precious.

When to Walk Away

Men are different creatures that I will never claim to completely understand. However, they are human just as we are, and will sometimes make mistakes and fail. It is okay to give good men the space to make mistakes. I can only hope to be shown the same grace in a healthy relationship. Some men also just need space and don’t know how to ask for it without hurting a woman’s feelings – space they should respectfully be given.

In the past I have been inclined to worry (there’s my anxiety kicking in) and ask what’s wrong and overthink everything until I have driven myself completely crazy. I know that I cannot be the only one who has done this in relationships. Recently, I have made a commitment to myself. I don’t take things personally until someone makes it personal. If someone is too busy for me or needs space, I simply give it to them and make time for all the wonderful things that I love. Sometimes men and women need alone time and you should allow a person to have that. My life is full and I don’t need someone to complete me, but if a man can add value and join me for a beautiful ride then amazing! That being said you can not control someone else’s actions and they are not a reflection of your worth as a woman. Sometimes it isn’t about you at all, it’s about fulfilling their own needs.

The problem is knowing when a relationship has crossed into unhealthy territory. As I mentioned, we all need space to ourselves and time for our own hobbies and friendships. That being said, if a man can not find any space for you on his calendar then don’t take it personally and don’t push for attention (again, save your dignity). Pull back and focus on you. Trying to force something that doesn’t fit is unhealthy for both people involved. You have too many amazing things going on in your life to focus all of your attention on someone who isn’t willing to be there.

I have held on to some relationships in the past where I gave everything I had of myself, but was not made a priority in any way. This will never change and sticking around is degrading, disheartening and disappointing. I held on because my hopelessly romantic heart thought that if I loved harder and gave more then they would see my value. I am here to tell you, I have tested this theory and it DOES NOT work. Forgive them, move on and focus on yourself. Make room in your life in case the right person comes along.

A woman is not defined by her relationship status, a woman is uniquely defined by what sets her apart and reflects the beauty inside of her soul. I am currently single and dating. This does not define me, as it does not define you. I am a career-driven, family-oriented, loving, daughter, sister, dog mom, and friend. I crave adventure, need time outdoors, and time for reflection. These things make me the woman I am. Focus on your relationship with yourself and the rest will fall into place the way it is meant to, but don’t force things to fit. Just let them go.

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Finding Balance

So I am a week behind on blog posts, but last week was a killer for me. I was stressed to the max and felt like I just couldn’t keep up with my to-do list (both for work & at home). By Friday, I was  so irritable I just knew I needed to readjust my attitude and get centered for the busy week ahead.

Do you ever just feel like… I am going to scream if I get one more email request for something someone needs “now”? Yea… that was me. Needless to say, if you spoke to me last week, I apologize for my less than bubbly disposition. There are certain things I have noticed have a tendency to greatly affect my mood throughout the week including the amount of sleep and rest I get and the time I make for myself.

Thanks to my generation (yes… I am a millennial) there is an expectation we should always be connected and available. Work days, are no longer 8 hours, and I know there are times I find myself checking email late at night. This is one thing that I have tried to really get a handle on not doing. After 8PM, I feel like whatever it is can wait until the morning. My evenings are for catching up with friends/family, snuggling on the couch, walking the dog, and taking care of me. It’s not that I’m less committed than those who do, it’s that ‘ME’ time is a necessity.

And now at the risk of sounding like an extremely old lady (I swear I am only 32), I try to get 8 hours of sleep throughout the work week. My devices go off at 8PM, and I am in bed reading a good book at 9PM. YIKES… I sound so old! It’s amazing how my evenings have changed over the last 5-10 years.

Gone are the days carousing at a bar on the weekends – although I’ll proudly admit I poured myself a bourbon or two last Friday. I need weekends to be restful and I particularly enjoy spending time outdoors. My work week is fast-paced and stressful, not to mention, I spend time the majority of my day at a desk in an interior (no windows/fluorescent light) office.

I am still figuring out balance and how to achieve it. But these are things I think we all need to be a bit more mindful of – particularly allowing yourself to unplug every once in a while. This doesn’t make you less committed or productive. This allows you to have time to pursue other interests, which in turn guards against burn out and makes for a more positive working environment for both you and your team. Make time for rest, the hobbies you love, and of course your family and friends.

Next weekend I challenge you to explore a new town, read a book, or take a yoga class – invest in your own happiness and well being.

 

My 5 Essential Self Care Habits

In this crazy, busy world we live in, self care is more important now then ever. It is often so easy to get sucked into the daily grind of work and other obligations, all while neglecting ourselves. But one thing we forget to ask is “does this really benefit my performance at work and in life?” – my guess is probably not. For me personally, I need my “ME” time to be a better daughter, sister, friend and employee. Taking time for myself allows me to decompress while boosting my creativity. There are a few things I try to make time for regularly in order to take care of myself.

Reading

I love to read – and not on an IPad or device. Oh no… I love a good old fashioned, finger print stained book and I can disappear into for an hour or so. I love the smell, the texture and the satisfaction I feel as I turn each page. Sometimes, admittedly I do listen to audiobooks (helps my morning commute go by), but in general I love having a physical book in hand. About a year ago I joined the Junior League’s Book Club, which has kept me motivated to read more. When I read before bed (as opposed to watching TV), I fall asleep faster and often seem to sleep more soundly. After a stressful day, it is also a great way to leave some worries behind for a bit.

Hair Appointments

Being on a budget, this used to be something I HATED to splurge on, and would often put it off until the very last minute. But now I just view it as an investment in self care. I have also started going to a stylist who gives an amazing scalp massage, understands my need for peace and quiet at times, and who never skimps on making sure I leave the salon completely styled and ready for a night out. I always feel relaxed and beautiful when she finishes which makes it feel worth the splurge. As a woman (I think most can relate) I often feel stressed, exhausted and tired. Once I hit the age of 30, I suddenly started to notice the aging process had begun, almost overnight. So now I am more appreciative of those moments when I feel beautiful and at my best.

Spending Time with My Dog

Okay, those of you who know me know that I am slightly OBSESSED with my dog. I know this may seem strange to some, but I don’t have kids and I live alone… so she IS my baby. Regardless of my obsession, I think dogs have a lot to teach us, especially when it comes to love, forgiveness and happiness. Minnie (my dog) reminds me to enjoy the moment, let my hair down and sometimes get my hands dirty. We have been on some great adventures together and on every one of those adventures, I have been “fully present” and that is more rare than you might think. She also never holds a grudge when I don’t get home on time, make her take a bath, or forget to pick up her favorite treats. This has been a great reminder to me that holding a grudge or staying upset only hurts me in the long run.

Spending Time with Friends

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to make more time with my friends. When I first moved to Louisville I had very few friends. In fact, my first year living here I spent a lot of time alone. I do think this alone time was good for me, because for the first time in my life I had time to stop and consider the woman I truly wanted to be without any outside influence. That being said, true friendships (not just party friends), push you to be a better person and offer support when you need it most. Over the last year I have made friendships with some amazing women (mostly through Junior League). These friendships have pushed me be bold and reach for my goals. Many of this women have served as my shoulder to cry on and a listening ear when things haven’t worked out as planned. Friendships like that are valuable and worth investing time in.

Making Time to Play

This may be the most important item on this list. Yes, I am a 32 year old woman and I still love to let loose and play. Life isn’t meant to be serious all the time, and I love to laugh. I like to be silly and tell stupid (usually corny) jokes. I LOVE dancing in my living room to 80’s music with the dog jumping around in confused excitement. I love to sing at the top of my lungs in the car and I need to consistently try new things (like the trampoline class). These things make me smile and laugh, and we all know that laughter is the best medicine.

We all need ways to unwind, especially when life gets stressful. These are just a few of the ways that I let loose. What are some of your self care practices?

 

 

 

 

Coping with Anxiety 3

Uncomfortable Truth

Even as I just write this post, I am beginning to feel quite self-conscious and anxious. Partially because the topic has been stigmatized, and though I have mentioned it in passing on other posts, I have never focused completely on this topic. I am the face of someone who copes daily with anxiety and depression. It is something I have struggled with since my early teens, but there are times it seems to rear its ugly head more than others. This often surprises those I’m not super close with, especially since I try to share mostly positive images of my life.

The fact is I do feel really positive in my life right now, but there’s sometimes a quiet whisper in the back of my mind that likes to focus on the fact that I’m not at the place I thought I would be at this point in my life. I have mentioned this before, but it often feels lonely that I haven’t found someone to share my life with, and that I am not sure if having children of my own will ever be something that happens for me (if my dating life is any indication – probably not). As horrible as it can make me feel, sometimes I am jealous when I see others moving through the phases of life like motherhood, and I feel left behind.

It also hasn’t helped that my dating life has been less than extraordinary. I’ve been in countless relationships that start out AMAZING, but somewhere down the line I tend to begin investing too much. I invest my time, and energy, and emotional support to make someone else happy, which is certainly fine to do in a balanced relationship, unfortunately I tend to be the giver and wind up feeling completely drained and empty. In past relationships, I have spread myself far too thin, as I feel many women probably do. I become the cheerleader, the confidante, and I try so hard to be light and positive with little given in return. Often after these relationships end I slip into a bit of a depression because I have invested so much time and energy and I feel betrayed.

This is actually how the hiking hobby began for me. I had ended a toxic, long term relationship, moved to a new city where I didn’t have any close friends, and began a new career. The first 6 months were lonely, and although I told no one, a lot of tears were shed. I desperately needed to feel strong and independent – I already was, but needed to prove it to myself. Hiking began to make me feel empowered, and I often do it when I need to clear my mind and feel strong, and capable on my own as a woman.

Aside from hiking, I try to be healthy and active which is a natural mood elevator for me. I also say “No” more – without guilt. Sometimes if I am feeling off, I back out of plans. I do this, not to be an ass, but because I know that is what I need to feel recharged. Sometimes I’m a crappy friend because I don’t text right back, but its because I need some time to myself to refocus my energy. And I am not writing this as a personal pity party, because I am slowly getting a handle on my life (I think). Really, I wanted to share this because I feel like if even one of my friends feels lonely, heartbroken, or like they just aren’t where they feel they should be, that they aren’t alone.  As we all share (myself DEFINITELY included) the happiest, most beautiful parts of our lives, and rarely give glimpses into the darker corners, it feels more important than ever to share my struggles.

I want others to know it’s okay to put yourself first, not answer your phone sometimes, and choose to do the things you enjoy. It’s okay to leave unhealthy, unbalanced relationships behind, because you want to invest your energy where it’s wanted and appreciated. And it’s okay to do these things unapologetically.

Ponderings in the Woods

This weekend I decided to head to Red River Gorge on Sunday because the weather was unseasonably warm and I just had to spend it in one of my favorite places! Sometimes the winter months can put me in a bit of a melancholy mindset, and getting outdoors always helps to shake that off.

I loaded up my gear and the dog in the car and we headed for the Gorge. This time I decided to hike to Moonshiners Arch and a few miles along Copperas Creek. My pictures don’t do the scenery justice. The cliffs of the Gorge rose grandly above us on one side and the meandering creek was on the other side, all while being enveloped in the lush forest. Moonshiners Arch is a little off the trail, but it’s a unique treasure with a hole in the top of the arch where the sun was peaking through.

As I walked I began thinking (I think a lot on my hikes) about many of the things I have been worrying about lately. Am I where I should be in life right now with regard to relationships (meeting the right person… how do people do it?!), finances – saving for a home, not to mention the trip I’m trying to plan to Machu Picchu within the next year or so, work performance, yada yada yada…. the list just goes on and on!

At a certain point I finally stopped myself and just enjoyed the moment. I sometimes think I focus so much on my future and where I think I should be and I forget to stop and appreciate the moment. Life is so precious and beautiful, and often times the most beautiful destinations are reached on the most difficult paths, and usually on a path few have traveled. We don’t have to keep up with friends and acquaintances because they are on their own journey.

My life is currently filled with adventure, and I am on my own so I have the benefit of making my own decisions, the ability to grab my backpack at anytime and head out the door. I love having my own space, my own rules and solo adventures. The other things will fall into place when it’s time. For now I will love on my beagle pup (aka best hiking partner ever) and enjoy the space I am in now.

What are some of your goals and dreams? Do you ever find yourself worrying about the things you don’t have, instead of appreciating the things you do? How do you find balance? Let me know! ❤

Living My Best Life at 32

And no where close to where I thought I’d be.

This week I celebrated my 32nd birthday (yep… the BIG 3-2). Birthdays have always been a bit melancholy for me. I think because it is a reminder of how quickly the years are going by. Often times, I seem to catch myself focusing on the milestones and goals I haven’t yet achieved.

Honestly, if you had asked me 5-10 years ago where I would be at 32 my vision would have been very different. Back then, I felt sure that I would’ve been married with children by now. Sometimes that isn’t always an easy pill to swallow, especially as I watch my friends begin that phase of their life. It has been a challenge for me to accept that there isn’t a “right” timeframe for life.

One thing I can undoubtedly say is that I love the life I am living. It isn’t always perfect and some days are better than others. My 30’s have been amazing so far and I feel less pressure to fit in and more relaxed in my own skin. I have fun, I challenge myself and try new things. This past year I have been fortunate to make new friendships with some of the most talented, compassionate and intelligent women I have ever known.

As I reflect on the last year, it definitely had its lessons and challenges – oh did it ever! But I am grateful knowing that everyday I am becoming stronger, braver and growing closer to the woman that I would like to one day be. I am living my life for me.