Good role models aren’t the ones trying to influence people.

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Instagram influencers. Political influencers. Bloggers even.

If you scan the internet it seems that people aren’t just sharing their lives with you, but they’re trying to get you to live more like them. Whether it’s by changing your lifestyle, buying brands, or changing your opinions, there are a lot of people who want you to change. Maybe they want to be the standard that you’re reaching for, maybe they just like the fame. Whatever the case, the people who are trying hard to influence and be role models… they’re not normally the people you should aspire to be.

The best role models are ones that guide you through life. Their values are set and admirable and their life, despite it’s struggles, has joy in it on a really fundamental level. The best role models are moral ones. They are the content ones. And they are the ones we’d still like to be like when they are in their seventies. Good role models aren’t hard to find, despite what people say, there are a lot of good people in this world. Of course no one is perfect, but a good role model doesn’t pretend to be. They wear their flaws and they work on bettering them.

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The need for habit refining:

20190402_172743.jpgEvery once in a while I realize that I haven’t cleaned up my habits recently. I know I should be always working on refining and editing my habits, but I don’t know how realistic that is. We call them habits after all, they come naturally, we do them without thinking.

It’s also why they are hard to change, not that I’m telling you anything new. Bad habits die hard, they are something you really have to fight with. It takes a long time to establish new habits. I know they say 21 days, but lets be real, some habits are easier to form than others. It’s not all simple math.

It’s hard work, which is why we aren’t working on them all the time, we have other problems to deal with, life takes over. Self refinement can wait.

Until it can’t. Until we have a rude awakening. Then we get back to it trying to edit and chip away at our bad habits while we lay ground work for new ones.

Well I’m back with my rude awakening. My pants are tight, my diet has been terrible lately. I’m snacking on anything that’s not nailed down. I need to be eating better and less. I need to be taking better care of my body. I need to be getting more exercise.

When you have one of these rude awakenings it often doesn’t end there. You think “oh I need to fix my diet” but then you realize that you need to exercise, but then you realize that you need to fix your posture from working at a desk because it’s leading to back aches when you work out. Then out of nowhere you realize that you’ve abandoned a hobby that you need to pick back up and stop spending time in front of the T.V.

I say its out of nowhere, because it seems to be, but really it’s not. Once you start working on improving yourself you start to see things that you need to improve everywhere. It can be a bit disheartening, but it doesn’t need to be. Finding things to improve means you’re growing and a lot of people don’t put enough effort into growth. It’s not that other people don’t have as many things to improve, it’s just that they’re not doing them. You’re already on top of the game just by seeing these flaws, these bad habits to fix.

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Air them out: Why communicating our emotions is so important.

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I wear my emotions on my face, it’s a curse and a gift. It’s a curse because I have very little control over it, it happens in a split second and often by the time I get rid of the expression or slight tone in my voice it’s already been noticed. It makes people ask about my emotions a lot, which in turn, has gotten me to talk about my emotions a lot more. It made me realize how important it is to air out our emotions on a regular bases.

It also made me realize that some of my emotions are stupid. I’m not going to lie about that. Not every emotion needs to be spoken or written or told, some of our emotions seem to come out of nowhere and defy our common sense, but paying close attention to our emotions and which ones keep swinging around help us determine which emotions we need to be ignoring and which ones mean something.

Hint: If it happens over and over again, no matter how stupid it seems, you should figure out what is causing it at it’s root. It’s probably more important than it seems.

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Don’t underestimate average everyday memories.

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When I was packing my childhood bedroom, before moving into my wonderful new house a few weeks ago, I was drowning in nostalgia. I kept finding little bits and pieces of my past, of everyday things that meant the world to me as a child. It was an interesting experience because it opened my eyes to what I remember most for the past and what memories really mattered to me.

I have a lot more memories of playing with my mom as a child then I do of going to Disney as a child, that isn’t surprising, because we only went to Disney once and played on the regular, but those Disney memories hardly even show up. They meant a lot to me in the moment, but looking back? A scattered memory or two made it through, and none of them stand a chance against my mom and I’s weekly tea party.

We make a big deal out of these once in a lifetime experiences, and some of them really are truly remarkable. I’ll never forget visiting Rome, just like I’m sure I’ll never forget my wedding day. But the everyday moments can mean that much too. We don’t realize how much we enjoyed our crafts with our grandmothers until we are no longer doing crafts with our grandmothers, then we realize that it was some of our most valuable time spent together.

This might not be news, in fact, I hope it isn’t. I hope you’ve looked back at life enough to really enjoy those amazing and seemingly average memories. But that isn’t all that this post is about. It’s not about just looking back, it’s about how we are living right now. How we are making use of our time at this moment.

Chances are we are looking forward to the next big thing and letting the day to day grind get lost in the mix. Chances are even if we know that our daily memories are important, we are still neglecting them, because we’re busy. We have a lot to do, sometimes too much. So we let them pass as if they are unremarkable. We don’t enjoy them for being the special and wonderful things that they are.

And honestly it’s tragic to only enjoy these memories in the past tense when they are here to be enjoyed in the present.

So I pose this challenge to both myself and others, enjoy the mundane, find wonder in the everyday, don’t let these beautiful things only be enjoyed years from now. Embrace them. Rejoice in them. And love them now, while they are in front of you.

Little Fixes: Getting rid of my road rage made me a better person

 

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We all have little problems, problems that we sweep under the rug because they don’t seem to be a big deal, or we don’t see how changing them will change anything else. We try to tackle bigger things, and sometimes that works out for us, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes these items are to big to tackle all at once. Smaller problems also take time, but not in the same way, they take a week or two of constant reminder and discipline instead of months of it. But they change our lives too, sometimes in ways we wouldn’t think.

I recently was in terrible 5 o’clock traffic and got cut off by someone who almost missed their exit. I cursed under my breath something terribly unkind and had a moment of clarity were I realized that that action didn’t warrant that insult. I’ve cut people off in traffic before and it really wasn’t that big of a deal, because more often then not, it’s a mistake. This break through thought kept circling back around every time I muttered something unkind in traffic, and I started to realize just how often I was doing it.

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The steps on the road to self improvement:

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A while ago, when I wasn’t as busy because of sickness and had been spending a ton of time in prayer, I was hyper focused on self-improvement. And let me tell you, It’s a lot easier to improve yourself when your life is at a standstill. I had a ton of time to think about my bad habits and how they formed. I was able to come up with lists of good habits I wanted to create, and since I wasn’t doing anything else, they were easy to make time for. But when my life picked back up I dropped a lot of the work I was doing, not because it wasn’t important, but because I was so busy that things were getting forgotten, or I simply didn’t have the time to chart it all so I lost some of my accountability.

Life happens like that, it comes through and sweeps us off our feet and it takes us sometime to get them back under us.

My life hasn’t calmed down any, in fact, it’s gotten busier. I’m starting a new treatment plan for my Lyme Disease, Chris and I are planning a wedding, and we’re buying a house. A lot is happening, but I’m starting to feel the tug to revisit that list of good habits I wanted to create, because after all, being busy isn’t a very good excuse for not bettering yourself.

It’s harder than it should be to get back in that zone. It’s hard to think about good habits once a day and it’s even harder to make time to form those habits. So what is a girl to do? It seemed much more black and white when I was bedridden.

  • Make a list of everything you want to accomplish. Want to be a morning person? Want to do more small acts of kindness? Need to pray more? Struggling to nourish our body correctly? Make a list of all the key traits your best self would have. If you need to make smaller points with steps you need to take to make it happen add those. Once you have it in writing you have a goal to reach.
  • Carve out time to review your daily goals and report on your steps to self improvement. Maybe you keep a journal with boxes to check off like I do, or maybe you keep a list on your phone that you simply scroll through, either way, taking time to remind yourself what you’re trying to do and seeing if you’re producing results is a good start.
  • Don’t focus on everything at once. It gets so overwhelming if you do. You’re not going to be able to pick up ten new habits at once. You’re not going to be able to stop all your problems cold turkey, and that okay. Pick the ones that our most important. Prioritize your list. What do you really want done now and what can wait till your farther along this journey. Sometimes we need to make progress before we can even start to look at the details. That’s perfectly normal.

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When Self-Acceptance Gets in Our Way:

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Self-acceptance is really important. As someone who was bullied very badly as a child I’ll be the first to praise loving yourself even when others don’t.¬†Self-acceptance isn’t very controversial, nor should it be, but it has its down falls when its taken too far. And I’m not talking about narcissism. I’m talking about when self-acceptance gets in your way of progress.

You should never be 100% satisfied with yourself. It’s dangerous, because it means that you don’t try to improve yourself. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be happy with yourself. You can accept yourself as being the beautiful work in progress you are. In fact, that’s what you should do.

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