Room for growth: Some mistakes I’ve made lately.

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I was thinking about accountability. I was also thinking about growth and how the internet is a highlight reel. I was thinking about how all these things mix together. For younger people it’s harder to process the fact that you’re not seeing everyone life as it actual is by following them online. Adults know that, and we know that well, but we have no drive to make dents in our online perception because we all like looking better than we actually are. We like to display ourselves as if we have no room for growth, because we are, for lack of better terms, fully grown.

I don’t want the internet to know all my darkest secrets. I’m really careful about not posting anything that will come back and bite me later on. I worry about what I like and how it would effect me if someone I knew scrolled through every single Favorited tweet of mine. It’s something to be careful about- after all employers, colleges, and people in powerful positions are known to do that.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be held accountable for my failures, because being accountable for them helps you grow, and no matter what social media portrays we all have a lot of room to grow. So how do we frame our online landscape to push us towards growth and help us become more?

Part of that is following people who inspire us, who teach us things, who motivate us, and who do so with honesty not envy. We need to follow people who are accountable and who are open. That doesn’t mean that they blast their mistakes with reckless abandonment, but it does mean they share their growth that came from past mistakes. It’s a easy way to say “yes I mess up” but also “I’m better off now because I corrected it”.

I don’t really find myself inspiring or motivating, but I thought I’d share some of my recent mistakes with you and what I learned from them. Then at least I can try to take steps toward inspiring and motivating myself.

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Anger and outrage and crying wolf:

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Anger and outrage are really strong emotions, anyone who has ever scrolled down their Facebook feed would probably agree. People have a lot of feelings and emotions and they want them heard. There is nothing wrong with sharing your opinions or emotions, but what is the key to having them be heard?

It’s not overusing anger and outrage as tools. If you’re angry all the time people don’t take your anger seriously. If you’re outraged all the time people don’t take your outrage seriously. It’s the emotional version of “the boy who cried wolf”.

That’s not to say that there isn’t enough terrible things happening in the world for you to be outraged or angry about. The world is full of terrible things, that’s not in question, but how much you choose to focus on them and how much you get upset about the not so important things really sets you up for screaming into the void.

The void doesn’t care what you think, nor does anyone else who is also screaming into the void.

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OOTD: and finally meeting God’s plan

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Photography by: Sarah Warden Photography

( Sweater: Gentle Fawn // Jeans: Banana Republic Outlet // Boots: Dan Post )

We all create timelines for ourselves even though most the time things don’t happen like we planned or when we planned them. God doesn’t take orders from us, and while He cares about our plans sometimes He has more important things for us.

My own timeline has been destroyed so many times I don’t know why are bother rebuilding it. I just like having a plan of when things will happen. Having the goal of it happening just doesn’t seem to be enough. I want to outline my life, no matter if it ends up being followed or not.

I make them just to have God throw them away, so I found myself laughing when I realized that one of my timeline items had ended up working out.

In college I had sworn that I wanted to get married by 25, but after graduating and getting deathly ill I had decided that that was just another item to cross out. After all, how would it be possible to make that happen? I stopped thinking about it then, but low and behold, I’m going to end up getting married exactly three months after I turn 25.

Turns out I had finally managed to be on the same page with God about something, not that I’m going to get used to it.

The risk of falling too hard into a niche:

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We love our niches. We’ve been told to seek them out since we were kids. Find your people and everything else will fall together! And I’m not saying that our people aren’t important, in fact, they are one of the most important things in our lives. All I’m saying is that we don’t want all our people to be exactly the same, just like we don’t want all our creative work to be the same, or all our habits to stay exactly the same.

We’re human beings, we don’t make progress or grow if we just do the same things over and over again.

If you find people who are too much like you, or only enjoy work that is exactly like the work you create, you’re not going to change any. You’re not going to be pushed to grow, you’ve never going to need to step outside of your comfort zone. You’ll create a beautiful little bubble around you and you’ll never be challenged. It might sound nice in a lot of ways, but without being challenged we will never achieve more than we are now. Without being pushed outside our comfort zone we’ll never learn that we do better work there. We’ll never learn that our people weren’t helping us but holding us back. We’ll never know that we can be more.

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Let’s talk about Sacrifice:

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I used to give up things for lent as a child, we didn’t make a big deal of it,  but I remember doing it. This year I decided to give up gluttony, which looks like giving up late night snacks, eating less overall, and eating better overall. I decided I wanted to partake because I realize that I’m bad at giving things up.

We don’t talk about sacrifice enough when we talk about getting our goals. We streamline the discussion by talking about hard work, like those two things are completely interchangeable, but they aren’t. Sacrifice is hard work, but working hard doesn’t mean that you’re truly sacrificing, especially if it is hard work you enjoy.

The point of sacrifice is that you’re giving up something you don’t want to. The point of sacrifice is to suffer now in order to succeed later on. In terms of your life it means later on in the years, in terms of your soul it means later on in the next life. But either way you have to give things up to get anywhere.

The path you are on has lead you to where you are now, but you might not get any farther if you don’t change yourself. You might be stuck here or stuck inching along at a snails pace forever. You don’t want that, but you might deserve that with how you’re currently living.

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Seven Things:

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  • The most inspiring story as of late has to be Selma Blair making her struggles with MS known. Chronic illness is a terrible burden to bare, it is greatly misunderstood, so spreading awareness is wonderful and brave. Here is her interview about it.
  • This video showcases a church doing ash Wednesday drive thru style. I normally don’t have ash’s on my forehead today, but I love the reminder that seeing them brings no matter your denomination. We’re all mortal and not meant for this world but the one after.
  • I’m a pen snob, just ask anyone, I’m really picky and I have a lot of opinions on what makes a good pen, so I was happy when I found a ranking of 100 pens. Though my favorite didn’t make it high on the list (which makes me wonder…)
  • This articles headline says it all: Religious practice is declining. Here’s why that’s bad news for disaster recovery.
  • I haven’t had a lot of luck with underwear and bras from Victoria Secret, which was my go to when I was younger. They’ve gotten uncomfortable and the quality has decreased, there has also been a lot of backlash against them for not being body positive, so I was really excited to hear that Target is launching three new intimates lines, because let’s be honest, I was in Target anyway!
  • This baby panda video is insanely cute and funny. It’s hard getting work done with the help of baby pandas!
  • This article on the cult of wellness touches on the same topics I did in my Lyme Disease post on fake medicine and real medicine. This article though speaks about the wellness move in general, from oils to Fitbits.

What is the key to beating depression before it really takes root?

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I was able to successfully ward off depression my freshman year of college, but I wasn’t able to do so my senior year. What was so different and why didn’t I catch on in time to fix it?

It’s a question that crossed my mind today when I thought about how long it had been since I mindless danced like crazy around the room. I did it a ton my freshman year of college because I knew it made me happy and I needed it, along with a lot of other things, but since then? It’s been a hot minute since the last time I cranked music just to dance by myself. That led me to ponder on the fact that I didn’t do it my senior year of college, which was the year that my depression actually caught me. I work so hard to keep it away my freshman year, why didn’t I attempt to do the same three years later?

It’s a multi-layered question, but I think it can help me understand how to catch my depression in earlier stages in the future. Sometimes pulling out all your coping mechanisms is enough, sometimes you need medication, but the fact is it’s always easier to fix it when you catch it early.

My freshman year was hit with really bad break ups, both a romantic one and one with my best friend. I knew I had every reason to be sad. I acknowledged that sadness and I knew that it was logical. My senior year was different, it shouldn’t have been, but it was. My close college friends all graduated a class before me and I became isolated the same way I had my freshman year, but I still had friends in the area so I dismissed the sadness. It wasn’t valid and I was fine. I kept telling myself that, and it’s amazing what lying to yourself can do. You can convince yourself that crying every night is completely normal, and I did. Was it because my pain was more understandable my freshman year? Was it because I knew college sometimes started out rocky and that break ups were always messy? My senior year I thought I was supposed to be clinging onto my last years of college bliss, but instead I found myself angry I wasn’t done yet. Everyone around me was sad to be leaving, did that make me feel like my emotions were less valid?

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