Categories
self discovery

A Girl Finding Her Identity

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When I was young- probably 9 or so- my cousin called me selfish.  Yet to explore any sort of self discovery or identity, I was shocked.

This stuck with me for years, and later I began to show many behaviors that were selfish.  I continually told myself I was misunderstood, different, and unloved.  I began to doubt myself and who I was as a person.

Where did I fit in this world?

I faked sick on family holidays and refused to believe I belonged.  I detached from the people who loved me the most, unaware how important family and my roots were.  I was antisocial, confused, and misunderstood.  How could anyone understand me if I couldn’t even understand myself?

On a 9th grade trip to the Birch Run outlets with my mom, I remember picking out a sleek dark purple jacket at Ralph Lauren.  I felt like a star.

Upon returning to Traverse City, I pranced around downtown, running errands with my mom wearing my black Express pants, envisioning myself in a place like Chicago or even New York City.  I dreamed of being somewhere different- somewhere no one knew my name.

Somewhere along the way I started to identify as the “black sheep.”

I didn’t know who I was at age 15, but I was certain I didn’t belong in Michigan.

As I went on to college, making new friends and seeking the approval of fraternity boys (some of which I’m still friends with today), I was lost in a sea of vodka and $1 beer. I did whatever I could to find love, but most of all, acceptance.

My drinking began to get out of control, and so did my self respect.  After college, I moved in with an older boyfriend who I later got engaged to.  I thought this relationship would save me from the all-nighters and my bad behavior- which it did, for about a year.  Then, I gave back my Princess cut diamond and took off to San Francisco.

I did the cities- 7 in all.  I worked in fashion.  I considered law school.  I did the startup thing.  I had no idea what I wanted, so I kept running from myself- only to find myself right back where I came from 12 years later.

As an adult, I’m aware I’m still a little selfish- and now, it’s okay.  This kind of selfishness is self-care, which at the core isn’t selfish at all.

The difference today is that I know how to set boundaries, but also to welcome the love that surrounds me.  My identity was never lost- I needed to mistakes, try things out, and move around to truly learn who I am as a person- and that being myself was all I ever needed all along.

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Categories
self discovery

Nothing Will Go Away Until It Teaches Us What We Need To Know

Running away from my problems used to be my favorite coping mechanism.

I can still fall prey to this old bad habit; I’ll hope people who bother me will disappear, or I will leave situations when I’m uncomfortable.  However, every time I do this the same people pop back up, and the same situations manifest in a different way… over and over again.

It’s a fact.

I could write about endless examples, but there’s one I have in mind which was so bitterly uncomfortable that I’m still surprised I got through it.  When I had a difficult roommate, I obviously thought the solution was to move.  To run away.  Despite receiving the silent treatment for weeks, I didn’t leave- and get this:

I was kind.

I still said “excuse me” when we would pass each other in the hallway, and I still tried to be considerate despite her obvious distaste for me.  Although I really had no idea what I had done wrong, I didn’t cower or run away- but I did later learn she had been secretly drinking.

It wasn’t even me that was the problem.

Old Kristin would have run away to avoid the feelings of rejection, discomfort, and anger- but New Kristin dealt with the situation, stuck to her guns, and now has a much better living situation because she stuck with it.

Completing things you started can be difficult- especially for someone like me who hates to be uncomfortable.  If you were to ask me in an interview today if I am a “team player,” I would probably stop lying and tell them I work best independently.  The truth is, I’m not a team player- I’m one of those kids who got frustrated in school and did the entire project themselves.  As a control freak and type-A person, I kept trying to do everything myself, over and over again, and do it MY way.

But those bad roommates will keep coming along, and so will team assignments.  It’s up to you to choose how to handle them today.

Maybe I do work best independently, and I look forward to the day I don’t have roommates anymore.  Nevertheless, as long as I remain teachable and willing to put down my ego and learn to live life differently than I used to, I’ll be just fine.

Categories
conscious living mindfulness

A Woman’s Intuition is Always Right

You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you first meet someone?

That little sign that says, “stay away,” or even, “he seems a little douchey?”

I try not to generalize or stereotype (keyword: try), so I often used to ignore that gut feeling.

I give the poor chap the benefit of the doubt, despite his obvious attempts at overselling himself. Over the past 15 years or so I’ve seen the same patterns, over and over, and as soon as I do, I shake my head and think “damn it, Kristin, you already had this one pinned.”

Within the first few exchanges, if a man suggests going on vacation with you, talks about your future, wants to introduce you to his family, or takes you somewhere elaborate, run. Fun fast.

Listen to your intuition.

It won’t oversell itself to you.

Categories
conscious living mindfulness self care

Positive People: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

“Stay positive” has been a common term loosely used in day-to-day life, often by people who say they’re positive, yet act the opposite. Although the power of our thoughts and words are a major component in personal growth, the way one acts around others plays an even bigger part in the Power of Positivity.

Positive thinkers aren’t just people who avoid negative thoughts- they are people who know how to handle the negativity rather than avoiding it.

So, what else makes a person positive? Over the years I’ve thought about this quite often- especially when navigating my own challenges in life. Here are a few things I’m still working on myself, and may even help you along your own journey.

They Go With The Flow

Positive thinkers know they can’t control each and every situation. Instead of causing a fit when things don’t go their way, they find meaning and lessons in everyday life.

They Grow From Experiences

Have you ever noticed how the same challenges pop up in your life, but manifest in different forms? Whether it’s the sexist boss or the obnoxious roommate, you’ll continue to encounter these people until you learn how to handle them in a new, more productive way. The universe is funny like that.

They Admit When They’re Wrong

Positive thinkers are able to push their egos aside. They know when and how to be humble, and are comfortable admitting their shortcomings- especially when it affects the feelings of those around them.

They Know How to Say No

This is extremely important- setting healthy boundaries can be crucial to maintaining friendships and honoring one’s own self care. People pleasing may seem like the easier route, but will wear you out in the long run. It’s better to be honest and say “no” than to build resentments.

They Don’t Change Around Other People

Positive thinkers stay true to themselves around everyone in their life. They hold strong to their opinions, but don’t take offense when others don’t agree.

It takes a lot of practice to handle negative people or situations, but when you discover your truth- and walk in it- your life flows more effortlessly. You will no longer take everything so personally, not will the opinions of others matter so much.

When you love you, magical things start to happen.

“She’s already had everything she needs within herself. It’s the world that convinced her she did not.” -Rupi Kaur

Categories
mindfulness

Onion Layers

PSA: It may sound like I’m talking about groceries, but don’t be fooled- I’m not.

Have you ever pushed your feelings down so deeply that they come up to the surface all at once?

Me too!

This morning I found myself thinking I was frustrated with one thing, only to discover I was peeling 10 layers of an onion.  When I went to talk to someone about it, 10 more layers unfolded.

At this point I’m a complete crying mess full of impending doom (and those weren’t actual onion tears, either).

But today, I am able to honor even the uncomfortable feelings- because I’m learning to get through them.  I’m proud of myself for not running from my feelings like I used to.

People are often used to me smiling and spreading good cheer.  It makes them feel funny when I’m not that person they’ve grown to know.  However, I’ve learned that holding in your feelings and frustrations doesn’t serve anyone.

I’ve spent my entire life acting, pretending everything is just dandy.  I’ve worn a mask of having everything “all together,” only to fall apart like a house of cards.  For over a decade, I’ve simply moved cities, changed jobs, and left relationships when times get tough.

But not today.

Today, I’m going to keep pushing through the discomfort.