My Self-Love (A List!)

This is what self-love looks like for me:

  • Forgiving myself for mistakes I’ve made, and forgiving others so as not to waste my energy on anger. Forgiveness is a choice you make every day, to acknowledge and honor your hurt feelings/mistake, and then let them go. Life is so much sweeter when you do.
  • Being as nice to myself as I am to my best friends. It’s easy to get caught in negative thought loops, but I’ve been training myself to cut them short in the same manner I use with my friends. After having a few negative thoughts, I say to myself, “Hey. Quit it. Yeah, you fucked up, but move on and do better, you are more than capable.” Or, “You are doing so much better than you give yourself credit for! Own that!” I could go on, but you get the idea.
  • Acknowledging when I need to step my game up, and then doing just that. I think a lot of people view self-love/self-care as just cutting yourself slack, taking bubble baths with a glass of wine, or midday naps. While those types of things are exactly what you need sometimes, they are not the only way to show yourself love. Sometimes, self-love looks like waking up at 5am instead of sleeping in because I have to get a study session in. Sure, being up before the sun in the dead of winter kind of sucks, but future me will benefit from the choices present me makes. That discipline is loving myself enough to push and achieve my goals.
  • Honesty. To sort of piggy back on that last one point of holding yourself accountable… Self-love is being honest with yourself about your feelings, about what you want, about who you are. It’s easier than you think to lie to yourself–Barlow just helped me realize in my last therapy session that I was lying to myself about a relationship in my life for a while. I told myself I was happy, but really I was just lost. Self-awareness and self-love go hand in hand (in my opinion), but they are not one in the same. I’ve always been extremely self-aware, but sometimes my awareness falls short of understanding. I can identify my behaviors, my problems, even my feelings, but I don’t always know the reason behind them. So, self-love is searching for my truths, and being able to own them.

Some simple ones:

  • long showers
  • writing in my journal
  • spending time with my mom
  • spending time alone
  • talking to at least one of my really good friends each week

Aaaaannnnd one silly one for good measure:

  • Wrapping myself up in my blanket like a Severn burrito when it’s really cold outside (or I’m lonely or whatever 🙃)

What does self-love look like for you? Let me know in the comments!

 

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I’ve Been Life-Coached

I kind of got life-coached by Beau yesterday. (Yeah, we’re friends again.)

I know it’s been a while y’all, but I’m back, for now, and a little all over the place, which I’m sure you’ll see in this post. This is actually one of the things we talked about–why I haven’t blogged in so long. The answer is the same reason I haven’t moved forward in most any of the other areas in my life:

I’m afraid. 

Of what? Failure, mostly. I’m afraid of failing myself, of letting my family down by not reaching the potential they believe I have. I’m afraid that nobody cares about what I have to say, or about the experiences I’ve had.  I’m afraid that what I say I want to do isn’t actually what I want to do. I’m afraid that if I’m vulnerable on here like I was on my last blog, I’ll hurt somebody again. 

I’m sick of it. 

I’m sick of holding myself back, of dulling my light, and dialing back my feelings for the sake of others. I’m tired of trying to fit myself into this box that I constructed for myself when I was 12 years old. 

Architecture is great, but I don’t want to do it for the rest of my life.

I love my family, but I can’t let them continue to influence my decisions or how I feel about where I am in life. 

I want to write, and I can’t let my limiting beliefs stop me from doing that, from doing the one thing that makes me happiest. 

I’ve been in a pretty good place lately, stable, I guess. But, after my conversation with Beau yesterday, I realized just how much I’m suppressing. And it’s scaring me. I’m actually fighting back tears as I write this. 

On a slightly different note:

When Beau and I broke up, I had a feeling our story wasn’t over. I didn’t know what shape any future friendship/relationship would really take, but I knew there would be something. I still love him, I don’t think that’ll ever go away, but what I’m realizing now is more importantly: I still have more to learn from him. I don’t know if he’s learning anything from me, whether it’s about life, himself, or whatever, but he’s helped me.

What we established yesterday was that my fear of failure and everything that comes with it–disappointment, a sense of loss, a hit to my self-confidence–has paralyzed me. I’ve had this thought before, a long time ago, when I was super confused about my life, but it hadn’t occurred to me recently. When Beau said it, it felt like time stopped for a split second. A thud sounded in my head as my happily “stable” mind fell from the tightrope on which it was precariously perched. 

I’m paralyzed. 

My theme for 2017 was self-love. I’ve achieved that. I know I’m hard on myself, but especially after this year, I can honestly say that I love myself. I know that I’m worthy of love, that even though I make mistakes I’m still an amazing person with wonderful qualities. I don’t really need validation from other people (though it’s nice to get it sometimes). I accept myself for who I am while acknowledging that I can be better. I love me as I am, I love me for who I can be. I am enough. 

For 2018, my theme is Level-Up, because that’s what I plan to do in every aspect of life. No more paralysis, but movement. Hopefully forward and upward movement, but I acknowledge that life doesn’t always work that way, and there will be plenty of setbacks as well.  The point is that I’m ready. And I have every intention of gaining more clarity, direction, and overall satisfaction with my life. I plan to flourish. 

Until next time,

❤ Severn

Solid

I am strong, beautiful, and worthy. I am independent, confident, and whole. There is no one who can take these things away from me because they are so ingrained into who I am.

I wasn’t always this way, but that’s okay. It takes time to grow into yourself. Then it takes more time to grow into your next self. I relish in this process. It’s painful sometimes, but it’s necessary. If you reject these changes, you remain stagnant. And if you ask me, that’s unacceptable.

I change from the old me to the new me when I have to, but I always try to settle into the current version as fully as possible. It’s important; I am who I am in this moment for a reason. I have things to learn, people to affect. And I never know when the next change is coming, so I always make the most of these seasons. Or I try to, at least.

I don’t want to be a liquid. I want to be solid.

I refuse to fill the role available. I will make my own role, and you will make the space for me to fit.

Mental Health || Living in the Present

Recently, I’ve been struggling to remain happy. It’s normal for moods to fluctuate, of course, but mine have hovered on the darker side of the spectrum for a while now. I’ve been stressed, anxious, discontent, and confused about myself and my life.

After some reflection last week, I realized my problem:

I’m not living in the present. 

Sure, it’s a bit cliché–or at least it’s such a common trap to fall into that it seems I should have known better. But alas, I am guilty. I worry so much about the future.

  • When will I have enough money saved to move out?
  • How much can I put into my savings this week?
  • Should I focus on paying off my debt before I move, or is it okay to make saving a priority?
  • How can I change my study schedule to maximize efficiency and get my license as soon as possible?
  • What will my next job be?

Question after question, worry after worry. Not only is that unhealthy, but it’s exhausting as well. So, once I made my revelation, I decided to chill the hell out.

My life? Is freaking awesome. I’m employed, I live comfortably, my friends are cool and funny, my family loves me, I’m healthy, I have a car, my writing class starts soon, I’m pursuing my dream of writing a book, my faith grows more and more every day. When I make the conscious decision to focus on the now, I am instantly in a better mood.

However, I’m aware that just deciding to do something doesn’t mean it’ll work, so I asked Barlow for help. She gave me a great idea! Set a time limit on how far in the future I’m allowed think. Furthermore, adjust this limit based on the emotion I’m feeling at the time. For example: if I’m going to worry about the future, I limit myself to 1 week. I don’t allow myself to worry about never getting my license, only about keeping to my study schedule for the next seven days.

So far, it’s been helping quite a bit. I nip unhelpful thoughts about what’s to come in the bud, and I do something small to distract myself (like hum a song) until the urge goes away. It’s not super scientific, but it works for me. 🙂

Life is good, and I’m living it the best way I know how. I will continue to do that until I learn a better way, and that cycle will never end.

As basic a piece of advice “live in the present” is, I think everyone needs a little reminder sometimes. So, take a minute or two and really appreciate yourself for exactly who you are, and appreciate your life for all that it is–the good and the bad–exactly as it is.

Until next time!

❤ Severn

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Prayer

I didn’t go to church yesterday. Bible study is off for the month of July. I have been neglecting to read my bible everyday. Basically, I’m slacking on my Christian duties, and it’s because I haven’t felt very godly recently.

My decisions for the past month were not of Him, and while I know I have grace, I still didn’t feel worthy to come before the Lord. Despite my lapse in Christian behavior, a small, desperate part of me continued to pray.

I called out to the Lord multiple times over the last four weeks, “Lord, please close the doors you do not wish me to walk through, and may the ones you do swing wide open.” Now, I said these words, but the larger, selfish part of me hoped He wouldn’t listen. I wanted to do what I wanted!

Thankfully, my prayer was answered anyway this past weekend. Sure, it took one last bad decision to convince me the Lord has more in store for me. Plus a conversation with my best friend to realize I was selling myself short. But, I am capable of so much more than I have been doing, so why was I defying both my logic and values to do what feels good in the moment?

The honest answer is that I’m human. I’m weak, selfish, and confused. However, if I take the time to empty myself of toxic thoughts and worldly desires, I can be filled with the light of the Lord.

He loves me.

I break His heart a million times over, but he still loves me. Except for my mom, I know I will never find another love like His. And all I can do to repay Him is try to honor Him in all that I do, and love others as He loves me.

God closed a door this weekend–two, as a matter of fact. And while I’m not quite sure where the next open one is, I know it exists, and I’m excited to go through it. Prayer works, y’all. You just have to keep your eyes and heart open to receive the message the Lord is sending you.

Until next time,

❤ Severn

Loving God

Back in June of 2016 I was saved. My older cousin texted me out of the blue and told me about a small group he and his wife ran for adult-ish people. He invited me, but I told him I had plans. I wasn’t doing too well around this time, and the idea of going to a bible study seemed lame and foreign to me. I know I’d said that when I came back home I would try to strengthen my faith, but I wasn’t ready yet.

The next morning when I woke up, though, the first thought to pop in my head was, “I need Jesus.” It was such a clear, definitive thought; if I hadn’t known better I would have thought someone had said it out loud to me. While I got ready for work I forgot about it, but later in the day I was scrolling through my messages and saw the one from cousin again. “Oh yeah,” I thought. “I need Jesus.”

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So I sent him a message and told him I’d cancelled my (non-existent) plans and I would be there. He added me to the group’s Facebook message, so I saw that they were reading the book of Acts. I believe it was chapters 12-17, so before I went to the meeting, I pulled over at a gas station, took out my pocket New Testament, and read.

In that part of the book, Peter was in jail (again), and basically God sets him free. Literally breaks the chains around his wrists, and allows Peter to walk out past the guards unscathed. Easy peasy. Because God.

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Okay let me explain the mind-blowingness of it.

I was depressed once. I was falling back into depression. And then one random day a couple weeks after being back home, my cousin is like “Come learn about Jesus with this cool group of people!” And first I was like, “Nah,” then I was like, “Okay!” And then there I found myself. In a gas station. On a Friday night. Reading about how God saved Peter from jail.

Are my staccato sentences not doing it for you?

My depression = jail.

God = the way out of jail.

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It He was exactly what I needed, and the circumstances were just right for me to accept that. That night, I shared with my new group of brothers and sisters about my depression, about how I felt like this was exactly where I needed to be, about how I felt like God was telling me, “Severn, let me set you free.” After group was over, my cousin’s wife walked me out, and at the bottom of the steps in their apartment building, I was saved.

I know it sounds a bit cliché, but I swear I flew home that night. My car was gliding 10″ above the street, and I felt almost invincible, like I was shrouded in a glowing white light.

After that night, I began to see God in everything. It was amazing how much I could see once I actually opened my eyes. I’ve always believed in God, but I don’t think I’ve ever really appreciated him.

God loves us no matter how many times we screw up, whether we sin or don’t sin. All He wants is to love us, even though we break His heart repeatedly. The least we can do is love Him back as best we know how. That’s why I added loving God and living my life to glorify Him to my list of how to become a goddess.

We don’t deserve God’s love, and truthfully it’s not something that can be earned, but I know that if I love and praise Him, the blessings will continue to come down. (More on this later, I promise!)

 

Choices

Getting out of bed in the morning.

Driving to work everyday.

Sticking to my meal plan and workout schedule.

Talking to God every day.

Watching Netflix instead of studying.

Loving someone–or not.

These are all choices of varying importance, but they are choices nonetheless. Depression makes choosing a difficult task–sometimes impossible–but we can fight it. I fight it everyday, and for the past couple of weeks I’ve been winning.

I still don’t necessarily enjoy any of these things, but I’m doing them! And that in itself is something to be excited about.

❤ Severn

How I’ve Been Handling Life

  • productive distractions like laundry, cleaning, writing
  • non-productive distractions like Netflix
  • talking to my mom and friends about my feelings
  • repeatedly telling myself to get my life together, making plans to do so, and failing at said plans, repeat
  • therapy (yay!)
  • shopping (yay!)
  • many imaginary conversations in my head, but mostly just overthinking the shit out of my life, feelings, and things I can’t control
  • trying (and failing) to not think about Beau
  • reminding myself to love myself
  • taking baby steps to figure out what a “normal” life is for me

December Goals

1. Catch up on studying.

I am way behind, so getting back to where I’m supposed to be (according to my handy schedule) is top priority.

2. Go to the gym!

I’m shooting for 3x/week, but I will settle for two. I am so incredibly uncomfortable with my body, so sculpting it into what I want is key to my happiness. Also, I may be signing up for a training plan, so yay!

3. Self-Love

I’m not happy, and I spend a decent amount of time putting myself down. Admonishing myself for the thoughts I have, being mean to myself about my body, telling myself I’m not doing enough to live the life I want… deep down believing I don’t deserve the life I want. Well, I can’t promise that all that will stop–chances are it never will–but I can at least add some self-love to the mix to balance out the negative. And then maybe one day the love will overwhelm the rest.

Finish the year strong! What are you December goals?

 

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