Let’s face it, you’re probably making it worse.

I know I am. It doesn’t really matter what it is, I’m probably self sabotaging in some way or another, and this especially goes for problems of the mental health variety. It’s not an unusual thing, we have a tendency to get in our own way, to trip ourselves up on strong emotions, doubts, or disastrous thoughts.

It’s hard to admit when we’re doing it though, we don’t want to be at fault, especially if we didn’t create the problem, but that doesn’t mean our way of “fixing it” isn’t making it worse. Nobody wants the blame, nobody wants to be the reason things aren’t getting better or moving forward, so we blame it on others, or outside things, but whatever we blame it on we try and make sure it is out of our control.

It’s easier that way and it certainly feels better, but owning up to the fact that you’re not helping yourself move forward is often one of the only things that can set you in motion again.

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On traditions: those worth keeping and those worth shedding

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As I’ve been going through planning this wedding I’ve been thinking a lot about tradition. My mother pushed for some traditional things that I didn’t think was needed, the double envelopes for the invites and printed cocktail napkins. I however found myself pushing for it in some other ways, the monogrammed thank you notes that are just so classic and southern, the traditional wedding vows, taking his last name. But, I also wanted some modern things as well. I’m not walking down the aisle to a traditional bridal march, but rather a beautiful piano song with no wedding ties. Our rehearsal dinner will be casual and have a taco food truck.

The mix of new and old and traditional and non-traditional got me thinking about how we view and use traditions in our everyday life. Obviously we all have family traditions that we love and value, but when it comes to societal traditions we seem to be trying to shed them. Traditional suddenly seems stuffy. Instead of classic, it’s being seen as dated. It’s a turn of events that I’ve hated seeing. Not because I think all traditions are worth keeping, but because I think there’s still value in a lot of them.

There is something really cultural about your traditions that link you to not only your location but also to your ancestors. It ties us to where we come from and how we were raised. It highlights our pride in our home and our people and I don’t think that should ever be lost. I don’t think taking pride in your heritage or culture demeans any others, but rather adds to the diversity that makes the world special.

I also believe that traditions often exist for a reason. Maybe not so much the monogrammed thank you notes, but the traditional family structure that keeps children supported by two parents. The structure that makes it so if one parent falls the other one will be there still. The structure that allows children to take care of their parents like they took care of us once they age. Keeping to these traditional structures, no matter how loosely the modern family does, can help keep children out of trouble and help fight off debt. There have been multiple studies on the fact that these systems work, so maybe it’s best not to throw them completely out the window.

Is there room for growth within tradition? Of course, there is a lot of room for growth. Traditionally women couldn’t own property or vote, those are traditions we should have promptly saw out the door. There are a lot of traditions that aren’t needed anymore, we simply grew out of them, advanced passed them, and some of them weren’t needed to begin with. But that doesn’t mean that we should throw them all out.

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The importance of identifying mental health cycles:

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Life comes in phases. It’s a up down cycle of happiness and sadness. A constant revolving door between good events and bad events. It’s easy to dismiss that fact, to overlook it and think that each bad phase is going to last forever, but they never do. So, why is it so easy to dismiss the cycle?

Our emotions are overwhelming. They completely take over our thoughts. Our memories of both good and bad times get fuzzy and we think the only thing we know for sure is the crisp emotions we currently feel.

Because of this it’s easy to miss the fact that it isn’t just happiness and sadness that cycle, but all aspects of our mental health. Anxieties that we have conquered in the past can come up again in different ways. Habits that we haven’t seen in a long while can come back when we least expect them.

We often find ourselves trapped in cycles without even noticing it, and perhaps that’s because we really can’t control these cycles, and they’ll always come back despite us. But not being able to control our cycles doesn’t mean that we can’t beat them.

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Let’s talk online dating:

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I meet my fiance on Tinder, so lets talk dating apps, shall we? Everyone is moving to them, maybe they aren’t as cliche or frowned upon as they used to be. I remember when I started using them Junior year of college (in 2014) they still had a ton of stigma around them, and rightful so, it can be dangerous to meet a random stranger off the internet, that hasn’t changed over the past 20 years.

But what is the key to making dating apps work for you, in a way that you want them to? In the “I’m not looking for a hook-up” way, the “I’m online shopping for my future husband” way?

Here’s some things I noticed after being on and off of them for three years (about a passive year in total) and finally finding love via swiping right.

  • First things first, let’s start with safety: Maybe it’s not worth saying anymore, maybe we have all learned enough by now, but I still feel like I need to mention it. Meet your dates in a public location. Drive separately, don’t let them pick you up and don’t let them know where you live. Spend your time with them around other people and don’t get yourself into a position were you could get hurt. Tell someone where you will be and what this guys first and last name is.
  • Keep your bio direct and your motives clear: State what you’re looking for. If you want to start as friends and see were it goes, put that in there. If you’re looking for a relationship, put that in there. Maybe all guys don’t read your bio (it’s true that a number don’t) but it’ll help weed out some of the ones that do but aren’t interested in what you are. If it’s not in his bio? Ask him and ask him early on. Don’t beat around the bush. It’s needed information. You want to be on the same page. Another thing? Believe him when he says he’s not looking for anything serious and don’t bother.
  • Make them text you for a bit: It doesn’t have to be terribly long, but it’s a good idea to text someone for a few days to get an idea of who they are. I know some people go on dates the night they match or the one after, but if you want to keep yourself from going on a lot of bad first dates it’s a good idea to slow the process down enough that you have an idea of who you’re going out with.

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Anna Down South: Some Updates

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I got rid of my premium WordPress account, so if you notice an ad or two on this site, I’m sorry. I couldn’t justify spending money on it at this point, with the new house and the wedding coming up, so when it came up for renewal I let it pass.

I love this corner of the internet. I use it to talk about my thoughts and feelings, and as much as I hope it helps you, I know I do it mainly for myself. I enjoy the outlet. My whole life I’ve struggled to put my feelings and views into words when speaking, but I’ve never had that problem while writing. It’s why this dyslexic girl majored in English despite it being tougher than normal. Writing is just part of who I am, it’s how I process most everything, and reading back on my past posts here has made me realize how our lessons often need to be learned again and again. They just don’t take quite like they should.

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Hypocrites calling each other hypocrites:

 

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I’ve started this post at least ten times and every time it ends up being deleted and the title alone sits in my drafts folder. Why? Because it’s something everyone already knows. Of course you’re a hypocrite. Of course I am. We all are.

It’s a fact we call people out on a lot. We like to tell people when they are being hypocritical, and most of the time it’s friendly. It’s just calling out when the pot is callingĀ  the kettle black. It’s easy to laugh about. We all have small moments between friends that makes everyone roll their eyes and laugh. But sometimes the topics are more sensitive and hypocritical moments are met with hard backlash and shame. I’m not saying that that’s wrong. People need to be told when they are doing things they say others shouldn’t. We shouldn’t be the exceptions to our own rules. But with the rise of people digging into old social media posts to call us out on our hypocritical moments, it leads one to wonder, where’s the line?

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