It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

It’s okay to be utterly defeated but still feel happiness.

It’s okay to want something you can’t have but appreciate all that you do.

It’s okay to miss someone even if you’re surrounded by so many incredible people.

It’s okay to not be okay.

If you feel anger, push it into a place that will fuel you.

If you feel sadness, cry until your tears float you a little closer to the sky.

If you feel abandoned, hug yourself with warm blankets and tea or let someone else do it for a change.

It’s okay to not be okay.

When you want love, know it arrives and leaves exactly when it’s supposed to.

When you want happiness, know that it starts with the way you view the world.

When you want success, know how hard you must fight to make it yours.

It’s okay to feel a little disappointed.

It’s okay to feel lost.

But when you decide to stop cringing from your safe place in a ball on the ground, stand up.

Find what you love to do and do it with passion.

It’s okay to not be okay but it is NOT okay to let it consume you.

Surround yourself with people who love you and love them fiercely.

Go on an adventure even if you don’t feel like it because you know the memories will be worth it.

Laugh as much as possible and daydream about where you are headed.

You can do these things even if you don’t feel okay.

You can experience happiness and still not feel okay.

It’s a process of growing.

It’s a process of becoming something utterly new and that IS okay.

Take your life day by day because that’s really all we can handle in 24 hours.

Plans change daily, futures are made up on the spot and dreams just keep getting bigger.

Chase down what you want and make it yours.

It’s never too late to start again.

We do it every morning.

Until Next Time,

Anna Marie

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Life’s Little Therapies

There are certain instances in life that you just sit back and think “WOW, did that just make me feel better…”

Life has a funny way of teaching you therapeutic ways to make yourself feel better without you even realizing it. Check out the examples I came up with below.

Riding in a car with the music loud… There is just something about loud music that speaks to you in a car that let’s you experience the environment around you. Riding in a car soothes the soul and rocks your anger to sleep. The music lets you belt out your favorite words and says exactly what you are feeling. The combination drowns out the thoughts in your head as your journeying to somewhere different (even if it is just on your way back home).

Seeing something new… Whether it’s a back road you’ve never taken or a town 15 minutes away that you have never explored, a change of scenery is stimulating. It occupies your brain and can erase your worries for the time being. It’s a reminder that the world is huge and there are opportunities everywhere.

Sticking your feet in the ocean… Grounding yourself. Letting the waves wash over your toes and sinking your feet into the sand is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world. It’s a gentle motivation to stay calm and breathe. It makes us feel peaceful and whole in the mass of the world. It is by far one of my favorite therapies.

A get together with your closest friends or family members… There is something about sharing laughter with those closest to you that can lift your spirits. Reminiscing on old times, creating new memories or just sitting in their presence can make you feel so much better. The presence of someone who cares about you can really make you feel less alone and give you something to look forward to. It’s a way to distract yourself from negativity and reach for the ones who can make your happiness soar.

Indulging in something you love… What is your favorite hobby? What is something you haven’t done in a while? Whether it’s cooking, reading, running or calling your grandma, do something that you know will make you feel relaxed or calm. Sometimes we don’t feel like doing anything at all but by letting ourselves just sit around, we aren’t taking a step forward. At least grab your favorite snack or dance around to one song. Do it for you.

These are a few of life’s indulgences that can raise your mood and make you feel even just a smidge better on a gloomy day. Remember that time will pass whether you are enjoying it or not. Take advantage of what days you have left and be happy.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

The Fight to Forgive 

Forgiveness. It’s easy to say, hard to feel. It’s easily forgotten yet one of the most important truths of letting go and moving forward.  

You need to forgive yourself. You need to forgive others. 

For a woman who has only spent a little over two decades on this earth, I have encountered a lot of struggle. Isn’t that the story of quite a few of us? My struggles may seem more difficult or much simpler to someone else but to me, they have been challenging opportunities to showcase my strength. They have downright sucked and believe me- I was not this philosophical when I was in the midst of tears and anger.

The truth is you are going to get hurt. By friends, family, significant others or even strangers. You are going to be tested and when it comes down to it- you can succumb to the anguish or rise to the journey. 

You are going to be beaten down at some point in your life and you are going to feel like you are on the ground cringing at what life’s next blow might be. It’s true, if you stay down you aren’t going to be able to fall much harder. If you get up you are recognizing the chance of landing in that same spot in the dirt. 

You don’t think of this moment as pivotal. You don’t realize that deciding to stand up is going to influence how you fight the next battle and the one after that. You have no idea how standing up will strengthen you and your soul to the next challenge you face. The next war you fight with yourself or another person might bring you down but you’ve stood up before, this time it’ll be a little easier. Still difficult but once again your legs will strengthen and your heart will beat stronger. 

The person you were just became a little more determined to fight for happiness. The person you are is not going to let anything stop them from chasing a life they deserve. You don’t wait for anything. You seize the day and take your next step forward. 

You can’t do that unless you forgive yourself and anyone else and let yourself let go. Don’t let go of the memories or the happiness you had. Let go of the poison that infiltrated you. Let go of the pain and the hurt and all of the betrayal you feel in your heart. Forgive yourself for the blame you have hung on your shoulders. Forgive someone else for the decisions they have made. No matter how hurt you are, forgive them so you can be happy and move on. Forgive them so you can push your hands into the earth and force your feet to balance on the ground. So you can dust yourself off and start the next chapter. 

Take your time to forgive but push yourself to not let huge events control you. 

Time is precious. It’s quick and quick sand. It pushes you into the future and  pulls you into the past. It’s the beauty in the mirror and the wrinkles on your forehead. Time waits for no one. 

Therefore, the longer you take to forgive- the longer you will beat yourself down for the past that is now occupying your present. The harder it will be to forgive once you start holding a grudge. 

Forgive. Let go. Move on. Find happiness. Easier typed then practiced. I know. ❤️

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Good Morning Beautiful

Good Morning Beautiful,

Are you aware of what you mean to this world? Here you are, just starting another day. In the midst of waking up and you don’t even realize the lives you’ve touched, the knowledge you’ve learned or the accomplishments you have achieved.

It’s early and yet you can’t even begin to understand the impact you have had on those closest to you. You, my love, are a shining star. You are brighter than all of the fireworks in the fourth of July sky. You are lovelier than the reddest of roses. You are as kind as the sun warming our skin and as loved as the holidays.

Today is just another day to you but to those who get to love you one more day? To them, this day is another smile they can cherish, laugh they can join in with and another heart they can open up to. Don’t you recognize your value?

Today is the start of more memories, more connections- another step forward in your beautiful life. You are just waking up and you haven’t yet recognized the potential you have to change your world and those around you. All it takes is one smile to feel better, one laugh to make a connection and one person to change you.

Don’t you see? You already mean the world to so many people. You already have touched the lives of those around you. You already have made a life worth living. Recognize how lucky you are. Would you really want to be someone else?

If you are struggling, let me tell you something. The strength you so badly crave is right inside of you. Whether you have recognized it or not, you have what you need to grow. You don’t need to be fixed, you just need to grow and learn from what ever has happened. That strength is beautiful.

Be exactly who you want to be today. Be a person who would inspire you. Or maybe, just be a little bit better than yesterday.

Good morning beautiful, I hope you have a good day. You deserve it.

Until next time,

Anna Marie

Dear Broken Heart

Dear Broken Heart,

I know what you feel right now. I know that your chest is caving in and you feel like an elephant is sitting on you. It feels like your heart is trying to pump concrete through your body and it’s slowly turning to stone. You feel like your mind is obsessed with “what ifs” and “whys” and as hard as you try, you can’t stop the tears from falling.

I know that every time you see something another memory surfaces. Every time something good or bad happens you think of that person. Every time someone asks you if you’re okay you say yes to be polite but know that right now, you’re far from okay.

I know that you don’t want to deal with the questions because you still haven’t answered them yourself. I know that no matter how many people tell you “you deserve more” you nod even though you don’t feel that way right now.

I know that the one person you want to talk to about everything isn’t here for you anymore. I know that you want so badly to talk to them. I know you can’t help but feel hope that some day they will recognize the mistake they made in letting you go. I know how hard it is for you to even consider letting go.

I know that you can give yourself the best pep talk in the world but you can’t force yourself to feel better. You still need time to overthink answers and cross check reasons and dig for any shred of light that might give you the strength to move past this.

I know that right now, you feel like a failure. You feel like there is something wrong with you that cannot be fixed and that you aren’t worthy of love. You feel betrayed and broken because you would have done anything for that person.

WHAT I KNOW… My sweet, injured heart, is that you will be okay.

It’s okay if it’s not today. It’s okay if it’s not tomorrow. But every day you will have a moment where you do feel okay. And in time that moment will grown into minutes, hours, days until eventually you feel strong and whole and ready to open your heart again.

You are worthy of love and affection. You are beautiful and kind and if someone gives you up, they are giving you a chance to be found by someone else who could love you deeper. Even when all you want is that person, you might not get them again and to accept that, is to understand that you cannot change it.

You are going to struggle to understand and that’s okay. You are going to hope that he is going to run back to you and for now, that’s okay. You need hope to give you strength so you can let go.

You are going to be terrified of moving on because you aren’t sure if you want to. Breathe in, breathe out. Take time to yourself now because that’s what you deserve.

Let go of the pain. Of the guilt. Let go of the self-doubt.

How do you look into the eyes of someone you love and tell yourself it’s time to walk away? When that person can look into your eyes and tell you that they don’t want you anymore. You deserve to be wanted. You deserve love.

Take time for yourself to put back together the pieces. It’s up to you, not to anyone else. You are strong enough to heal your heart and come out of this stronger and even more willing to fall in love again.

It’s you. You have to be the one to save yourself. You have to love yourself so you can be loved again. It’s horrifying and heartbreaking but what you need right now isn’t him or her. It’s you. You need yourself to stand tall and to lift your chin up. Be proud of what you have given and understand that after all of the effort, it’s your turn to let go so you can be happy again.

You’re the hero in this story and you will feel strong again. The love you need has to come from you right now. We both know you deserve it.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Breathe: Travel Will Heal You

Whether you’re going through a loss, heartache or bad times, travel can heal you.

I’m not advocating that you run away from your problems because that won’t make a trip worth while but escaping the environment you’re in might just be exactly what you need to heal.

Maybe you need fresh air, ocean waves washing your worries away and new faces.  A place that will be kind to you when you need gentleness.

When the world is horrible to you, surrender yourself to it’s uncertainty.

Let the trees wave hello and the ocean lift you up. Let the crisp air fill your lungs and give you a new energy.

Breathe.

Let yourself find what is important to you again. Discover what makes you happy, what you value and where you will go from here.

Breathe.

Let the clouds shelter you from pain and the mountains hide your worries. Let the grass tickle your feet and the wind take away the negative thoughts running through your brain.

Breathe.

Maybe time away is exactly what you need to find yourself again. You can process the changes life threw at you and understand what happens now.

It will be a way to heal yourself and to throw yourself into a place you don’t know so well. All so you can heal.

A place to let it all go.

Anger, fear, confusion, weakness, doubt, sadness.

Let it go.

And breathe.

Until Tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Depth of Feeling: I’m Letting Go of Poison

I think I’m overly attached to people. I think I feel things really deeply and when I find something good, I will do everything to take care of it because I have experienced a lot of bad. Sometimes I hold on a little too tight and if I need to completely let go, it breaks my heart because once I am close to someone, I will never truly let go without the memories surfacing once in a while. My depth of feelception (new word) is extremely massive and I’ve come to realize while it can be really beautiful, I really don’t like it sometimes.

Have you ever struggled with this? Feeling too much? Is that even a thing, because it sounds ridiculous. It’s accurate for me though, I have these moments where I feel things far too much. I’ll give you an example. I had a really good friend my freshman year of college. We got really close and had these heart to hearts that made us bond over a lot of similar experiences and trust each other.

Long story short, we had a falling out.

This is when I realized my super hero powers did not work on friendship. I tried keeping in contact with that one good friend I had, invited her to meet up to no prevail. I said that if she told me the time and place, I’d be there because I wanted to fix our friendship. She said she would text me asap. She didn’t.

And after all that trying, I stopped. I felt really hurt by it.

I still feel that stab of pain. This happened months ago and it still makes me feel betrayed when she pops up in my world. To me, losing a friend that was really close to me is like having a piece of yourself break off. I trusted her with a lot of my life stories and put a lot of time into building a friendship with her and when something like that isn’t reciprocated, it hurts. It sounds like we broke up, which I guess, we kind of did.

In other words, I felt this way deeper than a lot of people I know would have.

They would have been like, fine, I don’t care and I will get a new friend who values me. Of course, I knew I didn’t need a friend who wasn’t interested in being a part of my life anymore but it sure made me feel like I wasn’t all that special or important. Looking back, that’s not what I should have been feeling.

I have learned so much about myself and one thing that really surfaced was how insecure I was in a lot of my relationships. I usually think that when something goes wrong, it’s because of me. It’s because I’m not good enough or special enough or worth enough time to be a part of someone’s life. That’s really hard to say because it is really a summary of how I have felt through way too many relationships I have or have had in my life.

It’s almost embarrassing to say that this is how I have worked for the past 20 years and I didn’t even know it was one of my downfalls until a few days ago.

It’s really frustrating when I take a look back at these times because that’s not something I want to continue to feel about myself and it will only cause more insecurity in the future.

Since I have recognized this, I have started to give myself a lot of pep talks. Something along the lines of you can’t control how others interact with you but you can control how you interact with others. If someone isn’t a positive person in your life, you need to let go. It’s not your fault, it might not even be their fault, but it just so happens that friendships come and go and you’re probably better off without each other. 

This doesn’t mean you are unimportant because you are. Whether people recognize it or not, you are very important to quite a few people out there. But sometimes, it’s just best to let go of a poisonous flower rather than to keep staring at it’s potential beauty. If someone doesn’t recognize your value and can’t reciprocate your friendship, it’s time to make a change and sever those ties. 

Why? Because we all deserve an empowerment squad that surrounds us on a daily basis. It doesn’t mean that those people we let go are not special or worthy, it just means that they don’t mix well with what we want to conquer in our lives. That’s a hard realization, but it’s an important one. One that I am working on every minute.

I figured out that there is only so much I can do. Instead of feeling as deeply as I do and coming out disappointed, I need to change my mindset. I need to realize that I have worked hard at something and sometimes that isn’t enough. In the world, people will come and go but the people who stay will be those who share a mutual respect and compassion with you. I need to work on forgiving those who wronged me and feeling okay with letting go of people who aren’t lifting me up.

Most importantly, I need to cherish and love the ones who do this for me. Instead of dwelling on the friendship failures, I will begin dwelling on the beautiful people who have gotten to mean so much to me over the past 20 years.

This is a lot of deep thinking for a Monday, but the gray skies made me go into a very rich state of mind this morning. This was really deep and personal, but I know I’m not the only one who experiences these emotions. Thank you kindly for reading today and I hope to hear your thoughts.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie ❤

P.S. When I say relationships, I don’t mean between my man and I, I mean all relationships in my life. Family, friends, acquaintances, the whole shebang. 🙂

Unexpectedly… My Leadership Class Helped Me Find Myself

I’m a leader. WHY? Because I’ve been told so.

No, really, that’s valid.

This semester of college has provided me with a business course that is all about learning what kind of leader you have the potential to be. Honestly, I didn’t enroll in this class on purpose, I just begged the business department to put me in an elective for my minor so I could graduate on time. Call it fate? Call it luck? Call it desperation?

Anyways, I went into this class with no expectations at all of what would happen. I sat in the front on the first day with a bright eyed teacher that was bursting with content and excitement. “We are learning about leadership and how to become a better leader through practices you will  use in and outside of class.” She said, “Some will blow this class off, some of you will be changed by it.”

Seemed basic enough. Little did I know, this class was going to help me find myself in the midst of my college years of chaos. She wasn’t kidding, I was changed by her course.

Ever since high school, I wanted to know who Anna was. I heard things from others, felt things on my own, but I never really understood what it was to be me and why I did the actions I did.

In this Leadership class, we took a lot of self-evaluations, personality tests and created charts of goals and values. The year started with recognizing what huge events in your life transformed your energy and either rated a 10 on the scale of happiness or a 1. We worked through how those significant events might make us better decision makers or choose a certain way of thinking or feeling.

When I looked at these huge events, financial instability, bad family relationships, adventure, first year of college, I realized a lot about myself. I am a stickler with my money and where I spend it because I have seen what money loss can do to people. I value close relationships because I haven’t always had the best relationships in my immediate family. It was a lot to take in and a lot to learn about myself.

We continued these practices and I continued to learn who I was.

We did practices like sitting down and listening to someone completely and devotedly. We learned how to apologize to someone sincerely. There were a lot of random practices that sound like you wouldn’t get much out of them but let me tell you something. Going into our professional and personal lives, we were asked to practice these exercises and when I tried it out, it changed the way I communicated with people. I put down distractions and got into deeper conversations and put meaning behind “I’m sorry”. I was able to strengthen relationships at work and at home because I learned how to become a more effective communicator and listener. In a leadership class.

What does that have to do with leading?

Scholarships awarded for my leadership excellence and for being a great student.

Scholarships awarded for my leadership excellence and for being a great student.

Leading isn’t just about power and brains, it’s about compassion and gaining the respect and trust of people so they want to follow you. If you don’t understand yourself, how can you begin to understand others? Knowing yourself will allow you to recognize how you need to interact with someone and what they might need from you. You will  know what kind of values you need to honor and what skills you have to offer. That is when you will start to realize how you can put yourself in the best set up for success.This is how you learn what kind of leader you are.

If you learn how to communicate with people and can contribute a meaningful conversation whether it’s telling them what to improve on, praising them or asking them for something, people will start to recognize those strengths and come to you when needed. Learning how you can function as a better leader will make it easier for those to follow you.

We did goal setting and career sheets to help us recognize what we want in our lives and what we can do today to start chasing our goals. Isn’t that incredible? Your goals don’t just happen, you have to start doing what you can today to make them a reality. For some reason, this was a huge moment for me when I realized that I am in the process of some huge dreams I value and can start working towards others right now. I found out that I am doing pretty damn good right now. I realized that I am in a really strong place for my career and can continue to shoot for the stars.

One of my favorite projects had us request three stories and statements from those close to us. We had them describe what they think makes us different from others and we had to compile the feedback into a consensus agreement. When one person tells you that you are a hard-worker, you smile and feel good about what you are doing. When twelve people email you back and tell you that they see how hard you work, you realize that it isn’t just a compliment, it’s one of your strongest attributes. I found out that not just one person thinks I am caring, but 8 out of 12 people emailed me back with examples of just how caring of a person they see me to be. This made me feel good and confident in how I was presenting myself as a person.

Throughout all of these reflections and assignments, I came away with an insanely in-depth evaluation of who I am. I learned how to communicate more effectively, what values are important to me, what I dream of and how I can achieve it, what goals are priorities for me, that I have about 15 dream careers, that I am a positive, caring, hard-working person in the eyes of others, that I am really good at planning and not so good at intense pressure situations.

I learned more about myself in this semester and honestly more content in this class than I have ever learned in a class in college. I learned that by understanding what I need and who I am, I can educate myself easier and through engaging in practices, I have learned much more valuable lessons then by reading a text book.

This class was the most valuable I have ever taken and I only wish this professor could be cloned and teach everywhere. I found myself as a person and understand a lot about why I do the things I do and more importantly, how those things will help me succeed in my dreams. (CHEESY). But seriously, this class was inspiring.

I had to gush because this class rocked my world.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie ❤

I Finally Figured Out If I’m Happy Or Not

Wow, this past month has stretched me in so many different directions. I feel like Elastic Woman from The Incredibles. How is it that one person can feel so obligated to do 14,000 things in one day? (Exaggeration, more like 13,999.) College, I tell you, it’s all because of college and the extremities that are attached to it. I needed that break last week but boy, it sure feels good to appreciate blogging again.

Now for the meaty section of today’s post. I have had a lot of crazy jam packed checklists to accomplish lately and while I was tackling these huge feats of work, I had some time to day dream and think about a really important question: am I happy?

I was stunned when I couldn’t answer very easily. I was laying down before bed and I thought, what constitutes as someone being able to say that there are definitely happy? Then I thought of something that one of my friends recently shared with me. She has been going through a lot and she said “You know Anna, I have realized lately that I have a lot of bad days.” At the time, I was just trying to be her friend and comfort her through her bad day, but it really got me thinking.

Do I have a lot of bad days too? Does a string of bad days lead to bad weeks, bad months, a bad year, a bad life? It kind of dawned on me that in order to be happy, I had to start by having good days. Of course, you can’t force those on yourself, but you have to know what contributes to your good days and what triggers your bad days. We need a little of both because how else would we tell the difference between them? It’s just a matter of which ones we have more.

I looked back on the past few weeks and thought about the good days, the bad days, the normal days and really evaluated which kind of days I was having most often. I felt kind of ungrateful when I realized that I have had a lot of good days lately.

I am smiling because it represents happiness.

I am smiling because it represents happiness.

I thought, maybe I’m just lucky, which can definitely be so, but I had to start giving myself some credit too. I am where I am today because of my hard work and commitments in my life. I have chose to do certain things every day that really contribute to a good day for me.  Even in the midst of this stressful time with challenges being thrown at me left and right, I have had a lot of good days.

I thought, well, does that mean I am happy? So I dug deep into those days and found that I was doing things that were truly making me happy. I was learning, loving, sharing and challenging myself every day. Bad days were ones that I couldn’t control. Days that were triggered by other factors that I only have half the say in. On these good days, I would seize random opportunities to go places and do things with new friends and that really set my mood soaring.

I realized, I have worked hard, really hard, and I have earned these good days. It was the best feeling in the world. I want to continue to earn these good days through positive energy, building relationships and taking adventures whenever the chance comes around. I have a lot of good days and to me, that means I am happy. I am living a good life and I really am happy. Are you?

That’s a lot of deep thinking for a Monday. 😉

Take care and until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Shutdown or Breakdown: You Need a Break

You’ve been there. So much stress and pressure building up on your shoulders until you’re positive one more day might send you over the edge and two more days will make you unbearably crazy. Three days and you’ll pull an Anna and lay face down in bed until the world is ready to embrace you in gentle arms again.

Exhibit A of a breakdown.

Exhibit A of a breakdown.

The importance of shutting down may seem a little immature, like a misuse of time or unproductive, but it’s actually the opposite of those. By giving your mind and yourself a chance to have fun and relax, you’re healing yourself. You’re refreshing your ideas and getting your energy back. You finally can let loose before getting back to the grind.

Whether this is on a weekend, an evening or your 2 hours in the middle of your day, you need to shut down. Take a break from social media, your phone and anything else that will make you stressed out. Do you. Take a walk, watch a movie, lay in bed, catch up with someone you love or just sit there and breathe.

But I don’t have time. Yes. Yes you do. Don’t say that. I used to over commit myself to so many things before I realized that I wasn’t even having fun doing any of them anymore. That’s what your activities should do. Make you have fun. Let you let go and forget about everything for a while. Do something that you don’t just cross of your check list.

Breaking down is what happens after all of the stress and inability to shut down attacks you. You might feel better afterwards, but shutting down in the first place is going to prevent a hysterical break down. Breaking down leads to a night of tears or anger that doesn’t need to be there if you take care of yourself.

There is a lot of talk of taking care of yourself psychically, but remember to care for your emotional and mental side too. The energizer bunny will still die out of batteries at some point right? We need time to recharge and recuperate before jumping into the next day’s battles.

Do yourself  a favor. if you need to, start small. Snatch an hour out of the day that’s just for you. A time for you to recharge. Whether that’s taking a bath, sitting outside or enjoying an iced coffee while reading your favorite book, do something for your brain. Take a break. I know how much everyone of us deserves it.

Until tomorrow my friends,

Anna Marie

P.S. If you have any advice that works wonders on healing your stretched thin self, please share. I know we could all use ideas to wind down.