Thankful Thursday: Is This What I Truly Want?

Thankful Thursdays on Food4ThoughtNYC

“We have to confront ourselves. Do we like what we see in the mirror? And, according to our light, according to our understanding, according to our courage, we will have to say yea or nay — and rise!”

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”

-Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s poetry always moved me, but I didn’t quite appreciate the beauty and simplicity of her words until recently.

My journey- sometimes impossible but always worthwhile- continually forces me to confront my past, my fears, my choices and my vision of a life that I am working so hard to shape each second of every day.

It’s not easy. Nothing worth having, ever is.

But Angelou’s words always seem to appear when I needed them most, as a reminder to strip down the obstacle to it’s barest core and walk away from it with a lesson instead of a burden.

I’ve worked myself into the ground, trying so hard to do everything I can to move past this point in my journey and get to the next level towards my higher purpose. It’s as if I’m trying to make up for eight years of stagnant growth in a few months.

I ignored my body’s urgent messages, namely exhaustion and lack of focus, to slow down and committed myself to a grueling schedule.

I made excuses for skipping the things that actually make me feel good, like exercise and healthy eating, and told myself that it would have to take a backseat to what was necessary in the moment.

I forgot that experiencing the journey moment by moment was the whole point here, and the destination is only a byproduct.

We work ourselves into the ground or up against a wall and grind ourselves down even further until there’s nothing left. It’s become a silent disease that cripples us and stifles our passions. But we sacrifice it all for a vague dream or a status quo, never taking the time to stop and ask ourselves:

Is this what I truly want?

Maya Angelou was a remarkable woman in so many ways. She left a permanent mark in the world with her brilliance and her dedication to teaching us the most important lessons in life: self-acceptance, equality, kindness, dedication, love.

I’ve given up so many times in the past at exactly the point that I find myself now. I get so tired and the vision that appeared so sharp and bright when I began, suddenly gets blurry and confusing.

But if there’s anything I’m grateful for this week, it’s that I’m hitting that turning point and choosing to ask myself the important questions so that I can continue moving forward, not backward.

Get a workout in. Skip the piece of cake and reach for fruit instead. Go to bed earlier to get quality sleep for the day ahead. Saying no when I possibly can’t get it done. Saying yes when fear tells me not to. These are the little steps I’m taking to get there, bit by bit.

Thankful Thursday 529

Do you take the time to take care of yourself?

What are you thankful for this week?

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Thankful Thursday: The Ones Who Get You

Thankful Thursdays on Food4ThoughtNYC

 People inspire you or they drain you- pick them wisely. -Hans F. Hansen

 You know who I’m talking about.

They’re the ones you turn to when no one gets what you’re trying to say.

The ones who have your back when someone screws you over or if you hit hard times.

The ones that make you laugh until your sides hurt and you can’t breathe, but you have to keep laughing because they’re so damn funny.

The ones who can read your face and then read your mind like a scary psychic, only it’s not scary. It’s awesome.

The ones who challenge you to push yourself a bit further than yesterday without ever making you feel like a loser because you haven’t quite reached your goals yet.

The ones who let you go on and on about the same crisis that’s kept you in the dumps for awhile and know when to just listen and and when it’s time to intervene.

The ones who make it okay to let out your full crazy- you know, the little peccadilloes you keep hidden from the general public- without judgement. In fact, they let their freak flags fly too.

The ones you don’t have ever have to explain yourself to because they know you well enough to understand who you are deep down and ultimately what you need.

The ones you trust and love, and more importantly, who trust and love you. As is.

Yeah, those guys.

To all my ones who’ve been there for me through it all; traveling around the world, frat parties, dancing in store windows, career changes,  breaking lifting records, tearful confessions, breakups to makeups to breakups again, running away, family fights, and all of the firsts:

You’re the ones that make all of this worth it.

Thankful Thursday: The Ones Who Get You

Who are your positive influences?

What are you thankful for this week?

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Thankful Thursday: Why Not Me?

Thankful Thursdays on Food4ThoughtNYC

The alarm went off at 3am.

What the hell am I doing up at this hour?

Groggy and bleary-eyed, I rolled out of bed and turned my computer on.

Ah, this is what happens when you procrastinate, I told myself.

I’d let myself go up against a deadline and decided to wake up several hours before the workday so that I could finish my writing assignment. Having been exactly here before, I started the familiar process of beating myself up over a myriad of issues all contributing to my having to sit at my desk at 3am.

“If only you’d gotten yourself organized….”

“You always do this…”

“Everyone else has their shit together, but you can’t…”

You get the idea.

Have you ever stopped and listened to how you talk about yourself? It’s brutal.

Most of us have moments of doubt. New experiences and challenges often brings out our fears, which have a powerful hold on us whether we like it or not.

I recently went to an event hosted by Jillian Michaels where she spoke about how to lose weight, exercise, and build confidence to reach our goals. Interesting enough, although not particularly earth-shattering. Nevertheless, Michaels is a badass and a great speaker to boot, so I followed along.

What caused me to perk up and take notice was this question she asked:

Why not me?

Simple enough and one that I’d heard in some variation for over a year now. But in that moment,  it sounded so right.

I can sit here and talk until I’m blue in the face about how you need to celebrate all of the little unique foibles and idiosyncrasies that make up who you are. But I rarely do that for myself, and if I do, I usually dismiss it as being too selfish.

That’s all fear. That I know through and through. How do I break that fear cycle?

Michaels spoke about fear and tore apart the notion that the goal is to be fearless in all of our endeavors. Fear is a normal human response to situations that cause stress. We’re fighting a losing battle if we think that we can just ignore fear and “fake it ’till we make it,” without putting in the work to change our inner dialogue from one of discord to one of compassion.

Fear sneaks up on you. It knows when your guard is down and it keeps you immobilized, especially at times when you really need to move.

At 3am on a Monday morning, I felt that fear creep in as I typed away, until I asked myself:

Why not me?

And I kid you not, the fear slowly faded. My energy levels kicked up. My focus cleared and I felt a renewed sense of purpose.

Years have gone by with me wringing my hands, worrying myself to death over not accomplishing the course that I thought my life would take by the time I hit 30. I built up expectations of what my life should look like and when things didn’t go according to that plan, I very meticulously broke myself down until all I had left was fear and self-doubt.

The truth I’ve come to accept is that there is no “plan”, no one-size-fits-all approach to life that applies to everyone. We’ve created a status quo to follow, and kill ourselves to fit that mold. Creativity is stifled in favor of a life that we don’t want to live, and yet we don’t stop to consider what we actually want because we’re so afraid of going off that beaten track.

Each of us has a gift to contribute to this world that you alone can bring. There are realities that ground us, but by ignoring your inner voice, or worse, giving it a regular smackdown so that you can continue living unhappily, is unacceptable.

I’ve asked myself this question almost daily and each time I find myself pushing a little bit further past the walls I’d built so long ago to get closer to my passion and truth. I’m working harder than ever to accomplish goals and more importantly, I’m taking better care of how I talk about myself.

Instead of beating myself down, I’m choosing to lift myself up, to be grateful and forgiving, to be curious and determined, to be accepting of my fears but balanced in my approach. Some days are harder then others, but I’m investing the time to improve my relationship with myself and that’s worth the effort.

Ask yourself this question each time you experience fear: Why not me?

Thankful Thursday: Why not me?

How do you talk about yourself?

Why do you think we follow a status quo?

What was your answer when you asked, ‘why not me’?

What are you grateful for?

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below, or on FB and Twitter.

As always, keep paying it forward. Stay healthy! 🙂

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