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how I got here: a journey to self love

Sometimes I post little question boxes on Instagram asking for prompts from my followers/friends about what I should write or share about. Then, sometimes, I forget to follow through and write about those things. Oops.

I was scrolling through my archive and found a reply from my friend Alicia nearly a year ago saying “tell us about your journey to self love.”

And today, I’m feeling inspired. Here’s my journey and some key pieces along the way that have helped me evolve into the woman I’m becoming — a woman that’s better than I was yesterday, each and every day.


I want to start by saying I am just like you. I am sitting in my bed in my sweatpants on a rainy Saturday. I have days where I cry in the mirror and I have days where I dance through my neighborhood. I “jump to put jeans on” if you will (such a great lyric by Beyonce, amiright?).

You do not have to take my advice or believe that everything meant for me is meant for you. That’s one thing that I fully acknowledge — we are all on different paths. I’m just telling you a little bit of my journey. (When I use the word ‘journey’ too much I feel like I’m on the Bachelor, ope.)

Your journey may have already started, or maybe you’re at a crossroads and learning how to love yourself is top-of-mind. Whatever your scenario (if it’s like mine or totally different) I want you to know that there is always more love and light and grace to grant ourselves.

*** I also want to be sure to say that I have never hated myself. I know that is a privilege in itself. Even on my darkest days, there has never been hatred in my heart directed at myself. If you are feeling self-hatred, I highly recommend you discuss this with trusted people in your life and/or consult a mental health professional.

The song that just came on my shuffle is so fitting for how I feel right now. If you want to listen along as you read, here it is: Girls Like Me: Martina McBride.

My journey, for all intents and purposes of this blog post, will begin with getting my heart broken.

When I was in my relationship, I think I spent too much time giving love and not nearly enough time loving me. I neglected it. When my relationship ‘ended’, it ended a couple times, off and on, and threw me for a new loop each time… until I finally called it quits for good.

I can look back now and laugh because the breakups got easier each time. By the final time, when I decided to stand my ground, I was slowly beginning to realize that I was deserving of so much more — in every facet of my life. I needed to learn who I was without anyone else. I needed to learn how to just love ME and MY LIFE as is. I was already on the up-and-up (following these steps) and I wasn’t about to be dragged back down.

However, it still hurt. I cried and cried and cried. My car became my sacred place to go when I needed to be alone and no one could hear me sob.

I was grieving the life I thought I was going to build.

And that’s where it started. I grieved. I grieved some more. I continued to work through my process and my eyes began to open to the life I got to build for myself. Just me. Myself. However the hell I wanted to.

things that helped me love myself (and my life) more

  1. Share your grief/sadness/trauma/loneliness with someone or some people who love you.

My friends, and (probably most importantly) my mom, were and are instrumental in my life. My mom offers the perfect mix of listening and advice, but never letting me get away with too much of my own bullshit. In the moment, I hate it (“Just let me vent!”) but afterwards I realize that she’s usually right. She always offers a listening ear and is my biggest supporter in everything that I do. She proofreads nearly all of my blogs for me and sends me a text “I’m watching your IGTV!”

2. Re-evaluate your circle.

This goes hand-in-hand with my previous note, but I have to acknowledge that my friendships have ebbed and flowed over the last couple of years. I am a person who recognizes that friendships have seasons. Some seasons are just a shifting (schedules, priorities, etc.) and some seasons come to a close because they no longer provide you with the necessities of friendship. It’s okay to release friendships that no longer elevate your life.

3. Learn your natural tendencies.

Like I said — when I was healing, the process was long and hard. I sat with my feelings. I learned their names and sorted through the memories that were associated. I became familiar with the times when I needed mental rest, emotional rest, physical rest… I learned how to begin to balance my life again — and to give time to the things that deserved my time rather than what demanded my time.

Learn how you recharge — some days, I want to hole up in my room and not see a soul. Other days, being by myself makes me feel like I’m going insane. Honor that recharge time, and seek the experiences that will fill your cup.

4. Don’t be pressured into a timeline.

I’ve written about this before and I probably will again. Do not feel rushed in your own life — not about healing, or ‘moving on’, or dating, or marriage, or a career, or a degree, or anything in between. You’re on your own journey and it’s meant JUST FOR YOU.

5. Talk vulnerably — often.

While I’ve gained more and more confidence about what I share online in the past months, I wish I had opened up earlier (and when it hurt more) but I hid a lot of it due to shame. Even if these vulnerable conversations don’t happen with strangers on the internet (like me!) you can share them with that trusted circle or your momma.

6. Absorb content that feels good.

Unfollow the accounts that make you feel anything less than fabulous. If you feel weird about unfollowing — hit that mute button, baby! Follow accounts that encourage you to think differently, love yourself, see yourself represented, or that make you laugh!

7. BIG, AUDACIOUS DREAMING.

I LOVE THIS STEP. I’ve been doing better at this as of lately — speaking my dreams into reality! I have a vision board in my room and I see it every day — manifesting the dreams that I have for myself. I am trying to encourage myself to dream big and continue to work hard for the life I’m trying to build.

8. I joined a gym.

I didn’t join this gym to get a revenge bod. I don’t work out for aesthetics. I work out because it makes me feel good and gives me an amazing community of women. That’s how you achieve self-love — by doing things for how they make your soul feel. I’ve written about it before – this gym has changed my life. I can schedule that me-time into my days and devote that time to clearing my mind and honoring my body.

9. I made some awesome playlists.

For a long time, I could only listen to worship music. It soothed my soul. Then I transitioned and created my ‘lady jams’ and ‘breakup and glowup’ playlists. Listen to music (again, absorbing content) that makes you feel good, dance around the room, and remember your worth. You deserve dance parties and bad bitch bops.

10. Travel.

While I know this isn’t possible right now (thanks, COVID) I do think it’s an important piece of the puzzle. I hope that when COVID is in the rearview mirror we can all hop on a plane to celebrate. Traveling opens your mind, your eyes, your heart, and just allows you to be present. I am a better version of myself during and after my travels. Book the flight.

11. Last but not least: have fun.

Self love is a journey and you’re allowed to have fun along the way. You might cry one day and laugh endlessly the next. Don’t take life too seriously. You are worthy and amazing just as you are. Life is fun — don’t be afraid to join in.


Remember: I don’t have it all together. Somedays, I totally fall apart.

That’s okay.

Life isn’t meant to be perfect — but it is meant to be whatever the hell you want it to be.

Your way. Your timeline. Your pieces to the puzzle. Your growth. Your journey.

Mine’s been a little funky — but I like where I’m headed. I’m proud of me.

And of course: I love me.

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“and I don’t even know you yet.”

Last night, I sat down to write “A Letter to My 2020 Self.” This was my final goal of January, and I officially completed every goal I set for myself for the month. I thought about sharing this letter in a blog, but it ended up affecting me so deeply and personally that I’d rather just stick it away in a folder of my computer for a snowy January day next year.

via @raniban on instagram

However, I will share the sentence I wrote to close the letter:

I love you, Alexandra Grace of 2020, and I don’t even know you yet.

And that’s when it hit me.

I didn’t even know this version of myself one year ago. Looking back, I think the ‘love’ I had for myself was nearly completely defined by how others perceived me, loved me, viewed me, enjoyed being around me, or other standards. For much of that time and the months that followed, I was happy but simply going through a lot of the motions of life. In the pit of my stomach, I still felt not good enough. I felt like nothing I did was amounting to anything, a restless stream of busyness and lack of accomplishment. I had severe burnout and experienced intense heartbreak. I was in an extremely dark place, and I fought tooth and nail and crawled out of that dark place inch by inch by inch. That army crawl toughened me up like a soldier heading into battle to fight for my life and the version of myself I wanted to be.

Today, I can honestly say I love who I am becoming. I still struggle as much as the next person. I procrastinate. I’m always late. I find it hard to socialize, yet I hate being alone. I feel my emotions perhaps too deeply. I overcommit and fail at tasks. I even did my fair share of crying as I wrote a letter to myself… prophesying and praying that when I look back on this year I’m overwhelmed with pride and joy. Despite my struggles and everyday downfalls, I have worked really hard to get where I am. I’m nowhere near the top of the mountain, but damn the view gets better the further I go. There is no quick fix, no diet, no podcast, no workout, no face mask, no self-help novel that will give you all the answers. My answers for how I’m striving for better will not match yours. That’s okay. We’re all different. Find what makes you feel more alive, like a breath of fresh air has been breathed into you. As for me, I’m living life for me by saying goodbye to things that no longer serve me, devoting time to develop healthy habits, and listening to a whole lot of worship music…. and I guess I’m writing letters to myself, too.

If how I’ve felt lately is a trajectory path for the upcoming year, I’m feeling pretty good about it. I don’t know my 2020 self, but so far my 2019 self is the best version of myself that I’ve been in a long time.

I encourage you to write a letter to yourself. Maybe it’s just for next week, maybe it’s for a certain month, maybe it’s a year or 5. Write to yourself. Proclaim your hopes and dreams for yourself. For me, it was a written prayer and vision board and journal entry all at once, and it was absolutely cathartic.

always,

Alex

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don’t rush me.

Sometimes, people like to tell me that they feel inspired by the quotes or sentiments I share. My usual response is that I need the inspiration as much as the next girl, and I like to share things like my personal ‘note to self’ quite frankly.

So here’s my latest note to myself…. don’t rush. Don’t rush yourself. Don’t let society rush you. Or friends rush you. Or comparison rush you. Or the devil rush you. Or any other force that’s making you feel like you’re falling behind in your own life. I have friends that are married. I have friends that have babies or babies on the way. I have friends that have found that forever kind of love. I have friends that are casually dating. I have friends that just signed a contract for their dream job. I have friends planning a big move after graduation. I have friends that are in a season of life that isn’t fun. I have friends that are taking one day at a time. I have friends jumping in head-first. All of these scenarios are okay. All of these scenarios are not my scenario.

Don’t. Rush. Me.  – a note to self.

Let’s get one thing straight: I love being twenty-one. I am ONLY twenty-one… and that is fantastic. I am learning to soak in the sunshine in this season of my life. I have loved my collegiate experience, but I’m happy it’s coming to a close. I have five more years on my parents health insurance. I can order as many pink fruity cocktails as I want. I can book a flight to anywhere in the world and have an adventure. However, the things I stated above (love, babies, marriage, careers) often tempt me with negative thoughts; the idea that I’m somehow ‘behind’ in my own life perforate my mind more often than I would like to admit.

I’ve been turning this thought over and over in my head for weeks. WEEKS, y’all. And it seems like everywhere I turned I’m being subjected to quotes, media, and an unusual influx of awesome wisdom in this area of timing and placement and comparison and youth. (including those ten-year challenge photos… I did not participate but sure did enjoy seeing everyone in their pre-pubescent glory)

So here’s the gist of it… I’ve compiled some awesome thoughts from other people and Pinterest and books and other fun places as reminders to myself and others, paired with some personal reflection on each tidbit. Here we go:

“I can’t count the number of times in my life when I’ve beaten myself up because I thought my goals had expiration dates.”

Rachel Hollis (Girl, Wash Your Face) 

Okay, wow. This hit me as I’m reading through and I had to stop and underline these words. My goals do not need expiration dates from me or from anyone else. I have time. I am only twenty-one and I am allowed to be young and strive for my dreams with grit and grace. Set goals, not time limits.

“Some days life is all about your dreams, hopes, and vision for the future. But there are some days when life is just about putting one foot in front of the other. And that’s okay.”

Unknown

I like this. I like this a lot. I don’t need every single day of my life to be spent focusing on the future. Some days I need to spend time getting through today and living my life in the here and now.

“I am 21 years old. No I don’t own a home. No I don’t know what I’m doing after gradation. Yes my parents pay my phone bill & car note. I am allowed to be in my twenties, change my mind, have help, take my time, figure out my life, and have fun doing it. Stop rushing life.”

@ajoielle on Twitter

yessssss, sis. I’m so in this boat. I am so blessed to have supportive parents and blessed to live in a season of the unknown. There will be so much in life that is determined or pre-determined for me. Right now, I’m basking in the glory of God’s plan and God’s timing. I refuse to rush my own life into a season that’s not meant to be for me.

“We’re obsessed with this idea of being domesticated and having our shit together. It’s kind of sad actually because I don’t think we ever get a chance to enjoy our youth. We’re so concerned about doing things “the right way” that we lose any sense of pleasure in doing this the wrong way. Live now and make mistakes. Live in the present and grow up in the process.”

Unknown

Grow up in the process. Let’s not have our shit together. Let’s be messy. Let’s drink tequila. Let’s split our pants on the 9 dance floor during finals week. (Okay.. I’d prefer to not do that one again.) Let’s make some freakin’ memories while we are 21 so we have some good stories to tell our grandbabies, y’all.

“I’m too young to feel like I’m running out of time.”

Unknown

I have so much life to live (God-willing). I have survived so much thus far and am so proud of the progress I’ve made… but I hope I have only lived 1/4 or 1/5 of my life. THINK ABOUT THAT. I have lived not even a quarter of my life and I feel rushed? No way, José. I have such a big, beautiful, wide, wonderful life ahead of me that will be filled with more adventure and love and light that I can possibly imagine.

“Your twenties are not your years to make money. Your twenties are your years to find yourself and have fun in the process.”

my future boss (whoop whoop)

Heck yeah, boss man. I am here to make some memories, to have fun, to travel, to laugh, to dance. I am not here to adhere to other people’s guidelines or ideas for who I should be or how to live my life. I don’t need to make money. I need to find myself.

“Happiness is not a checklist. A dream job, a fast car, a good home, even love, mean nothing at all if you have not yet found a way to feel full and content in your own mind and heart.”

@aburt17 on Twitter

Goodness gracious it’s difficult to be 21, graduating college, and single in South Dakota. Comparison hits you like a truck full of heart-shaped cement bricks. If you would have asked me a year and a half ago, I would have said I thought I’d be getting married this summer. HA! I have to laugh because I’m still a kid in so many (wonderful) ways. I love to be an adult and am learning to thrive off of my own independence, but deep down we all have a biological and physiological need to feel loved. Acknowledge that. Lean into that need… but do not succumb to the need. Do not settle for less because your heart yearns for love. This leads right into my next quote….

“I owe it to the person I’m going to be with to keep going and fighting for love, because at the end of the day that’s the only thing that will get me closer to my person.”

Katy Bellotte (Thick & Thin Podcast, Ep. 8)

Whatever this looks like for you: self-care, taking personality test, figuring out your love language, wearing more cute outfits, going out more often, swiping on the dating app (not for me, but you do you boo)… find ways that can only enhance your journey to love. In the end, I’m a faithful person and my momma is the first one to remind me that God will place Mr. Right in my life with the time is right. I am just doing what I can with what I’ve got (me and my own personal choices) to advance those odds. Or recognize that right now in this season of my life I’m not meant to be preparing for loving Mr. Right by dating casually… I’m preparing for Mr. Right by learning how to love myself for exactly who I am.

“She is going to travel the world one day. But first she has to accept this journey that she is on. The path her life is on, is only for her eyes. The lessons she learns each day, are only for her mind. This adventure she lives, is only for her.”

T. A. Bhatti (@tbhatti7 on Instagram)

This is the final nugget of knowledge I’ll drop on you (and myself) tonight. I tend to re-read my blogs a lot. I write exactly how I speak, and I feel like re-reading my blogs is like giving my weak self a pep-talk from my stronger self. 🙂

I hope that you can relate to these feelings of rushed-ness. Let’s collectively take a big breath and thrive in the sunshine today. This season of life, this journey, this path, this lesson, this adventure is ONLY FOR YOU. Let’s live like it.

always,

alex.

messy hair, wrinkled shirt, tongue out. 21. just doin’ me.
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the breakfast club: dance 231

My dance professor ended our final class period by saying… “In my twenty years of teaching many classes, I can say that this one has been my favorite and really mean it because of all of you. I have dubbed this group “The Breakfast Club.” Laughter and cheers exploded in the studio. 

Our Breakfast Club: 9 college students of different ages, backgrounds, and dance experience who came together for a 2-credit dance technique class…. a class that I’m sure none of us will ever forget. 

tappin’ away 

I’m honestly so sad to be writing this blog, because it means that the semester is over. I can’t even think of the right words to describe how this class has impacted me, but the sentiments that my professor left as feedback on my final reflection summarize my vibe pretty well: 

Your positive attitude toward the class, my teaching, and the content played a large role in your learning. It was fun to watch your confidence and skill improve over the semester. It was also refreshing to watch you be empowered as you worked through relationship issues. You seem like a very different person today than the one who walked into the studio in August.

-Mel 

I cried reading those words. 

As a senior, it’s easy to think back on collegiate experiences and feel pangs of regret. “I should’ve done this, I wish I had never done this, If I could do it again I’d do this…” all of these are common thoughts. My version? I wish I had become a dance minor.  As I finish this semester, however, I no longer view this as a regret. I truly believe that I was meant to take this dance class in this season of my life. It has benefitted me so greatly both mentally and physically as my life has done a 180º turn in the past year. As life was changing and I was changing, this class was a beautiful reminder that dance will always be there for me. I smile as I reflect back on my time spent in the studio this semester.

Some of my favorite moments of the semester have been the beginning of the class period where Mel asked us how we’re doing. This question isn’t the surface level “How are you?” where everyone responds, “Oh, I’m good!” We all wore our hearts on our sleeves… even if it happened by stating what item of furniture we felt like that day. On more than one occasion, I felt like a doormat when I entered the classroom and left feeling like the comfy recliner. Tears were shed in our class… but none were because of what was happening inside the studio. The studio was a safe haven from the craziness of college and life. The studio was where our Tuesday and Thursday mornings began, quite often with a smile. This is what I will remember most. 

a group of us also took part in the Christmas Celebration!

As I look back on the goals that I set at the beginning of the semester, I am proud to say that I feel proud of what I have accomplished. My first goal was to increase love /appreciation for my own body. I have given myself so much love this semester. (yaaasss!) Beyond the studio, I’ve spent hours at the gym, I’ve practiced more positive self-talk, I have spent time in reflection. I have become active on social media in encouraging others, especially women, to love themselves, be encouraging to others, and live their truth. In the studio, I gave my all… my FitBit happily tracking my morning dance sessions as a workout. While I didn’t always succeed at keeping my emotions out of the studio (thanks for the hugs, Mel), dance helped me to channel many emotions. 

My second goal was to improve my technical skills / embrace a new learning style. This was so much easier than I anticipated. I have learned new terminology, frameworks, and steps and put them into action. My mind has opened to new pedagogy both for dance and collegiate instruction. The word I would use to describe Mel (Dr. Hauschild-Mork) would be transformative. I hope to implement what I learned from her in my own classroom next year. I felt challenged by the content, but in the way that every person who enjoys learning wants to be stretched… just beyond the comfort zone. I feel like a much stronger dancer due to not only the refreshing of old techniques but the addition of new techniques, terminology, and dance history. It was equally as wonderful to see this growth in my classmates, especially those who had not danced in this kind of setting before. I felt so giddy watching them nail a move or step… perhaps even more so when they didn’t quite nail the step but gave it their all and had a smile on their face. That’s what it’s all about. 

Me being ridiculous, Matty laughing… the usual 

In this class, while we all formed a great friendship (so much so that we asked to be randomly assigned to groups for the final project), we also formed awesome relations with our randomly assigned ‘dance buddies’ from the first week. I was lucky enough to be paired with two lovely ladies because our class had an uneven number. During our final exam time, we shared a thank you note and small, homemade gift with each of our dance buddies. I will cherish the words of thanks that my dance buddies wrote me: 

“Alex, you’re probably one of my favorite people to get feedback from. Your positivity tempers my tendency to hear feedback as huge negatives I take personally. I want to thank you for your supportive disposition and constant encouragement that is felt in all you say and do.” 

– a dance buddy 

Oh miss Alex, thank you for your words of encouragement throughout this dance course. It had been a long time since I had danced in this way and I came in feeling very nervous. You made me feel like I was doing a good job and that my body looked beautiful while doing the moves. You are a strong woman, Alex. You will dance on to do great things.” 

– a dance buddy 

…like, wow. I was blown away by their kind words and even more touched by the hint of sparkle in each of their eyes as I read these words out loud. What truly beautiful souls filled the dance studio this semester. I don’t always feel positive; I don’t always feel strong. I aim to be an encourager in what I say and do and I know that I sometimes fail… but these two amazing ladies made me feel like a million bucks by sharing their experiences with my encouragement. I feel like God is showing me my divine purpose more and more every day and he did so even within the dance studio this semester. I left a mark on these two ladies, and they left their mark on me. I am so grateful for the friendships made in this class… I could add many more examples. 

my final choreo group 🙂 

One last thing that I am thankful for as I end this semester was the opportunity to see Haley each and every Tuesday and Thursday. We planned this accordingly so that we could take this class together during her first semester as a jackrabbit. After four years of friendship from afar, driving Haley to dance class, listening to worship music with her, and reflecting on our days has been such a highlight of my semester. Haley often reminds me of myself. I refer to her as my “little sister.” I have expressed to her that I am so happy that she can continue to learn from Mel and advance her dance career here at State. Through Haley, I will live my “what if.”  

my friend, my sister

The fact that I have accomplished my goals, made friendships, danced my heart out, and learned so much more than the Cincinnati step just furthers the idea that I was meant to take this class during this season of my life. I will always look back on this class as one of the most impactful classes for me here at SDSU and as a constant reminder to never stop dancing (and to never forget the breakfast club.)

To my breakfast club pals: I love you all and you’re wonderful. Thank you so much for creating the environment we shared this semester. The class was amazing, Melissa’s pedagogy is transformative… but the class could never be the same without each and every one of you. 

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+Encouragement, -Toxicity

I have a sticker on my laptop that says, “Be An Encourager.”

I see it nearly every day. It’s the perfect reminder for who I want to be right now. I have been working on myself wholeheartedly since this spring. I made a conscious decision to be a better person. Well, scratch that. Perhaps, I acted with intent to strip away the years of negative self-talk, gossip, failed friendships, daggers in the back, and held-in bitterness that harbored so much hatred and hurt in my heart to reveal the person I have always been and have always wanted to be.

As my dance instructor stated today, “You are in charge of your own authority.” What she meant by this is that I have the right, the option, the privilege, the courage, and the power to be in charge of my own life. My faith and the amazing people in my life feed me love and support and strength, yes, but I am making decisions for me. Honestly, I don’t believe that I am changing who I am. I’m just becoming a more true version of myself. This true version of myself includes empowering others to live better and more true lives by making my own life a labor of love and choosing to remove toxicity from my mind/heart/soul/life.

beanencourager

• • • On being encouraging • • • 

Whenever I’m asked what my biggest pet peeve is, I answer: “when people are fake.” My favorite word will always be authenticity and I see it as a core value to who I am as a person. However, I want to be an encourager. I want to support my friends, my family, women I barely know, people I don’t know, and anyone in between.

So here I am – balancing my authentic feelings and thoughts and brokenness and healing and awesomeness and magic and beauty and emotions and mishaps with my love for people and the feeling that my purpose in life is to make others’ lives better. I will never be fake. My support, my love, my encouragement will never be fake. I have a lot of love to give. I may not comment on all your posts or message you every day or be able to provide the perfect advice… but when I feel it, you’ll know that I felt it. Support doesn’t need to be seen. It needs to be felt.

How can I encourage others? How can I make others feel loved, supported, valued, and worthy? How can I make someone else smile?

How can you?

lakenatural

• • • On removing toxicity • • • 

Now, let’s switch to the flip side. Since I have begun encouraging others openly and vocally, I have concurrently found myself attempting to remove toxicity from my life. That may be physically removing people from my life, quitting negative habits, or finally deciding to unfriend/unfollow certain accounts on social media.  Honestly, the social media accounts took a long time. I would look at these accounts to stay ‘in the loop’  because I hated to be uninformed. I saw knowledge as power and power was necessary for me to maintain my hard armor shell that protects my soft and easily-hurt heart. Deep down, however, I knew that this was unhealthy behavior. It didn’t help. It didn’t protect me. It didn’t give me power. It made me hurt, it made me weak, it made me angry, bitter, jealous, and resentful.

I find it hard to balance caring so much about people (not wanting to hurt others’ feelings) and not caring what other people think (because I value myself and believe that some things are truly toxic for my own mental health.) This mental gymnastics is really hard. I wasn’t giving myself authority. Those people and my allowance for them to continue to be in my life was toxic. It was time to let go.

I finally committed to myself and made those decisions to remove myself from toxic situations. I had someone ask me today, “Do you hate _______?” after knowing that this person and I had crossed paths negatively around a year ago. He asked this question in case we would all be mingling in the same group this week for homecoming celebrations. My response was simple… “I feel that that scenario would be toxic for my mental health and I’m not going to choose to put myself in that situation, but I’ll see you around!” I am putting myself first. I am putting my mental health first. Maybe that’s selfish to some… but it’s also self-love. I don’t need to speak negatively about that person or continue to be held up on negative experiences. Sometimes the mature thing is not to make a choice between forgive and forget, but to simply acknowledge that it happened and that you don’t need to place yourself in that situation or any situation that makes you uncomfortable.

In removing toxicity, I am being my own encourager. It’s okay if other people do not understand that.

fallleavesabove

• • • On where I am • • • 

So that’s where I am. And I’m okay with that. I do not need to let the negative things weigh on my heart when I can simply acknowledge the existence and learn to live and breathe through them. I am currently trying to live and breathe and pray and work through my heartbreaks and to encourage others that they can do the same. I am being my own encourager by removing the roadblocks of negativity and toxicity that stand in my way. I am creating a life I love and learning to fulfill my purpose. I am staying true to who I am and discovering new things about myself every day. I am still a work in progress; an imperfect girl loved by a totally perfect God.

So, today and every day: I challenge you to encourage others but do not forget to encourage yourself and make ‘selfish’ decisions that benefit your heart, soul, and mind.

always,

Alex

fallselfiesweater
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Rose Colored Glasses

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“I wish you could see you the way that I see you.”

Has anyone ever heard the expression of wearing “rose colored glasses?” It means to see things in a way as if they may be better than they truly are.

With the people I love, I guarantee that my glasses are the rosiest. When you truly care about someone, everything is good. All flaws disappear, irrelevant when compared to to the beauty of that person’s personality, their laugh, the way their eyes light up with passion… The things that may frustrate you or that aren’t the prettiest aspects of their life submerge, hidden underneath all the perfectly wonderful parts.

I just wish the people I love could see themselves the way I see them. Beautiful. (or Handsome.) Strong. Funny. Passionate. Authentic. Intelligent. Wonderful.

In today’s society, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in everyone else’s ideals of beauty or perfection and being discouraged by others who are so stereotypically perceived as ‘beautiful.’ I do the same. I find myself avoiding the mirror on days like yesterday when I’m sick and had absolutely no energy to do my hair or makeup. For me, it’s always been look good feel good. When I put effort into my appearance, it makes me feel better about myself and the day ahead. People ask why I’m dressed up and I’ll respond, “It’s Tuesday!” Clothes are a way I express myself, but when it comes to doing my hair and makeup I see it as a near-necessity most days.

However, this is changing. I’m surrounded by people who constantly build me up and truly value all my quirks and flaws and parts of me that may be a little rough around the edges. I’m feeling extremely grateful lately for the people in my life who take the time to tell me the positive things, who build me up with kind words, who admire parts of me that I didn’t even know existed.

I always imagine if I could see myself through someone else’s eyes. Not a photograph, not a mirror… completely from someone else’s point of view. Someone who cares about me. There’s another saying… “keep smiling, you never know who’s falling in love with that smile.” Whether this is romantic love or friendship, I think it’s pretty true. If I could see myself through someone else’s eyes: would I love myself? Would I sit in awe of the little things I do that I didn’t even realize? Would I say, “Wow, I look so beautiful when I…”?

In one of my classes we talk a lot about self-awareness, self-image, self-esteem, and self-concept. I guess I’ve always thought of myself as a person with relatively high self-esteem. I think that I’m just a pretty strong person. I have a thick skin. I am also a person who likes to believe that I’m always right… so regardless of other people’s thoughts I still feel fabulous. (**cue Sharpay’s entrance.) 

Still, I have days where I don’t feel beautiful and it’s hard to love myself and give myself the credit I deserve. That’s where the amazing people in my life come in… they wear their rose colored glasses and encourage me to be the best person I can be while simultaneously boosting my mood and filling my heart.

Surround yourself with people who love you so much and care about you so fiercely that they wear their rose colored glasses every day.  I’m absolutely certain that my glasses are on.

My springtime mission: wear my rose colored glasses when I look in the mirror. Cut out the negativity, the questioning, the worries. Surround myself with the people who care. Have fun, have faith, and keep smiling.

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these aren’t quite rose… but hey. ❤

•••

“The person in life that you will always be with the most, is yourself. Because even when you are with others, you are still with yourself, too! When you wake up in the morning, you are with yourself, laying in bed at night you are with yourself, walking down the street in the sunlight you are with yourself.What kind of person do you want to walk down the street with? What kind of person do you want to wake up in the morning with? What kind of person do you want to see at the end of the day before you fall asleep? Because that person is yourself, and it’s your responsibility to be that person you want to be with. I know I want to spend my life with a person who knows how to let things go, who’s not full of hate, who’s able to smile and be carefree. So that’s who I have to be.”

– C. JoyBell C.

Freckles – Natasha Bedingfield