Three Steps Toward Living a Happier Life

Hey guys! It has been so long since I’ve last written and I am truly sorry about that. I have been working on growing in my spiritual journey and lately I’ve been taking a lot in, but I haven’t been putting much out. I feel that one of these blog posts is well overdue!

Since graduating college in December, I’ve had some struggles in regards to figuring out what comes next. In college everything was very structured and I had a consistent schedule to follow, which has all since gone away. This has thrown me off a bit, so for the past few months I have been doing things to help me receive guidance on what’s next for me and to figure out what’s been leaving me feeling stuck.

While I’ve matured quite a bit and and feel much happier than I used to, I knew there was room for improvement, and I sensed that something was off within my internal world. When I dug deeper, I became aware of that one of my biggest issues has been that throughout most of my life I have always blamed my discontentment with ‘what is’ or what you might call my current life situation on someone or something else outside of myself.

Some common patterns of thinking I often thought included things like:

“It’s my parent’s fault that I didn’t begin working toward a better life right after high school because they didn’t push me hard enough, they didn’t help me enough.”

“It’s my boyfriend’s fault that I’m unhappy in our relationship because he doesn’t understand me.”

“It’s God’s fault that I have anxiety and my life sucks”.

The list of blame went on and on, everyday. I also believed that if only my circumstances or life situations weren’t so shitty, or if I lived somewhere else, or if I had more money/ opportunities, then I would be happy. If only everyone and everything else around me would, change, then things would finally be better! (Is that too much to ask?! Lol.)

That mindset obviously got me nowhere, and upon reflection it’s even comical now. Embarrassingly enough to admit, it took me until recently to truly realize how pointless and wrong this kind of thinking was. After much time spent with myself, my self-help books and listening to my favorite spiritual leaders through videos on YouTube, I came to discover one of the most important things I’ve ever learned, which is this: The only one who is responsible for my life situation is me.

I must say, I did not want to accept this at first. I’ve always struggled with admitting when I’m in the wrong, and so I went back and forth for awhile. It was very hard for me to understand that what I had always perceived as other people’s ‘bad’ actions were in no way the cause of my unhappiness. Somewhere along the way, I developed the false belief that the things I experienced in my life and the deeply ingrained habits I had were out of my control. I thought that I was either born with these traits, or I couldn’t help it because of the way I was raised, or I didn’t have enough opportunity where I grew up. I thought that I had to live the way others around me did, and settle for a mediocre life I didn’t want because who was I to make a change? I went back and forth between the belief that others were just lucky, and that God simply loved certain people more and didn’t want to give me good things. I’m serious. I was in major need of some help and a new way of thinking!

Clearly, I was burned out on life. I felt stuck, sad, and fearful that I would never accomplish anything that felt worthwhile to me. I had hit rock bottom. But as I’ve said before, rock bottom isn’t a bad place to be because it is there that change is inevitable. I knew that I could not continue living the way I had been, thinking the thoughts I did of blaming everyone and everything around me, and ever be happy.

So how did I quit blaming others? I was glad to find out that it didn’t have to be a long, drawn out process that took years in therapy to overcome. If you are in this place yourself, you can actually begin to take back your life right here and now. So below, I want to share with you three ways you can overcome the feelings of blame, guilt, and stagnancy, in order to create the life you’ve always wanted.

1. Forgive the people that you’ve been blaming. I almost wrote “Forgive the people that hurt you,” but then I realized that statement is totally contradictory to the whole message I’m trying to convey! In order to complete this step you must understand this: Nobody can hurt you, unless you let them. And even then, it’s really just you hurting yourself through your own allowing.

We are perceiving beings who like to categorize and judge things in order to make sense of our world. We like to label some things as “good” and other things as “bad”. By doing this, we feel a sense of control and understanding of the world around us. However, this kind of labeling is problematic, because due to everyone’s wide variety of differing beliefs and life experiences, we are all bound to see things differently at some point in time. Therefore, when we are perceiving someone’s actions and we don’t like or agree with them, and we think they should be some other way or do something else in order to please us, or that they should know better than to do what they did or didn’t do, we get upset and it becomes the other person’s fault that we feel bad.

In reality, the majority of the time those people that we think hurt us didn’t even have that intention at all. We can never truly know what someone is thinking or seeing because we do not share the same experiences or set of beliefs. Once we realize this, we can forgive that person, because we can see that that person is not their actions, and that they see the situation from a different vantage point than we do. We can choose to see them through loving eyes.

Even if someone did intentionally try to hurt you or did something that was absolutely malicious to your physical self, you don’t have to let it affect you any longer. You being upset at them forever, or letting their past actions keep you from moving forward will never punish them, it will only hurt you. Whether you can see it or not, even if they seem completely happy on the outside, if they did something terrible to you they are obviously no in a healthy, loving place themselves because it is not possible to be happy, healthy, and loving and do hateful things to others. Ultimately, you can trust that they will have to deal with that on their own, you just may not ever visibly see it.

You will never stop the cycle of pain and negativity by not forgiving that person. It doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with them or even have them in your life at all. It’s simply about witnessing your feelings of blame and hurt, seeing how these feelings are of absolutely no benefit to you whatsoever, and letting them go so that you can move on and get on with your life. Unforgiveness does nothing but hold you hostage. So, forgive that person. Don’t let their actions, which are never really about you anyway, affect your well-being any longer.

So how do you forgive? Your heart will know the best way to go about it for you, so I suggest spending some time alone and praying/meditating. In the silence, you will receive the answer. The last time I had to forgive someone who I felt hurt by, I decided to contact them and be really honest about my feelings. However, I also acknowledged where I had been wrong (which took awhile to see, but usually it’s not just a one-way street!) and I apologized for those mistakes. I also asked if there was anything else I’d done that they felt hurt by, and then apologized for those things, whether I agreed with them or not. I then asked for forgiveness but told them to not feel obligated to forgive me. Finally, I let them know that even if they did not forgive me, there was absolutely no hard feelings or resentment from my end and I wished them nothing but peace and love.

I understand your experience may be completely different than mine, so make sure you do what is right for you. Contacting them may not always be the best method. If you feel that getting in touch is definitely not the appropriate way to go about it, then simply praying about it and then wishing them the best might be all it takes.

I also want to mention that forgiveness doesn’t have to be a one-time process. If you start to feel old feelings of resentment rising up, which is not uncommon, then you can say to yourself, “I choose again. I choose to forgive this person.” After that, think about something you do appreciate about that person, even if it’s just the lesson they’ve taught you. You can also send them love and happiness through your prayer. Once you release resentment, you will feel so much lighter and freer. Let that heavy burden of unforgiveness go so that you can experience true joy and peace!

2.Forgive yourself. Often when we start to realize that we are the only one responsible for the way our lives have turned out, we start to feel bad and begin blaming ourselves. In turn, this brings up a lot of bad feelings like guilt, shame, and regret, which just continues the cycle of negativity. You realize you aren’t happy and it’s nobody’s fault but your own. However, hating yourself is not going to make things better so you must forgive yourself.

So how can you forgive yourself? When you start to notice yourself feeling these negative emotions toward yourself, you can simply pray, “Thank you God for giving me the ability to witness that I feel bad in this moment. I don’t want to feel this way, so I forgive myself, I love myself, and I choose to be grateful for all the mistakes I’ve made because they’ve led me to this moment. Help me see myself through your eyes of love. Help me choose again.”

Remember: BLAMING YOURSELF FOR YOUR LIFE RESULTS WILL NOT MAKE YOUR LIFE BETTER. No amount of guilt or anger toward yourself can ever fix things. Punishing yourself won’t somehow compensate for your mistakes. See yourself in a loving way, knowing that you did the best you could with what you knew, and be grateful that you have grown and can now make even better choices. You have to love yourself if you want your life to be a joyful one, and you cannot love yourself and be mad at yourself simultaneously.

3.Take full responsibility for your experience. It can be hard to believe how everything in our lives that we see currently is a result of our thinking and emotions. Where you live, your relationships, your job, your financial situation; every one of these things you’ve attracted through your thinking. The universe doesn’t delineate between good thoughts or the things we want, and bad thoughts or the things we do not want. To the universe, if we are giving our attention to it, we must want more of it. Even if we are just thinking about how we do not want something, more of it is what we are going to get.

This idea sounds scary when you first realize it, especially if you’ve done a lot of thinking about what you don’t want. The good news is that there is almost always a time delay before a manifestation, so you can quickly jump off the train of negative thinking if anytime you find you are on it. Author and speaker Abraham Hicks always says, “Reach for a better feeling thought.” You may be in a very low place right now, but if you can just get some momentum going in the right direction, it is guaranteed that you will get to feeling better.

It is important to note that you may not be able to go from feeling intense depression to being overjoyed in a few minutes, but you can take small steps, perhaps going from depression to anger, from anger to indifference, from indifference to hopefulness, from hopefulness to optimism, and from optimism to joy, until eventually you get to where you want to be. It is hard to make such a huge vibrational jump from a very bad-feeling emotion to a very good-feeling emotion. But, if you stay determined to feel better and keep reaching for what makes you feel better in the moment, eventually you will find the joy that you want.

The basis of this step is that you are the sole creator of your reality. If you are unhappy, you made yourself that way. If you don’t like what you currently see, you can either change it, do something else, or accept it and change your mindset about it. You cannot depend on others to change or things outside of yourself to change in order to be happy, because you might be waiting forever!

You can have or do anything you want, but you must take personal responsibility for how you feel. It doesn’t matter if you messed up or never felt happy in the past, make that change now. The universe will give you what you want, but you have to see it and believe it before you receive it, and doing that entails feeling good now.

The universe responds to your vibrations (feelings) constantly, so how you feel is what you are going to get back. Your feelings are indicators that let you know if you are on track with your desires. You always have the choice, so choose joy, in every moment. Choose to see the good in every situation. Be thankful for what you have, while also being expectant and eager about where you are headed. Whether you believe it or not, moment by moment you do get to decide how your life goes. No one can take your joy or peace away, so don’t give it away!

I hope that helps! If you still have questions or need to talk to someone about the topics in this post please don’t hesitate to reach out, that’s what I am here for! 🙂

P.S. With summer coming up, I promise to be writing more often and I would absolutely LOVE to know what you guys would like to read next! Some topics I could possibly write about include anxiety, panic attacks/panic disorder, derealization disorder, positivity, mindfulness, being an introvert/INFJ, how I find inspiration, or anything about music to listen to or books to read! If there’s something else you’d like to read that I didn’t mention, just let me know! Sending you all lots of love and light, always ❤

Keeping Faith through Discomfort

Compared to who I was even just a year ago, I am totally changed. I no longer wake up in the morning fearing how bad my anxiety is going to be that day, or wondering in what physical way anxiety is going to manifest itself in my life. However, every now and then, anxiety tries to sneak its way in. Since I am easily able to spot anxiety for what it is now, it often uses various disguises in hopes that I won’t catch onto it until it’s too late. One of the most common disguises anxiety uses with me comes through the form of dread.

Dread has been a prevalent feeling throughout my life. Even as a young child I remember always dreading some future event. Only within the past year or so have I realized that dread is an extension of anxiety.

I often dread doing simple things, like going to the grocery store, going to the bank, or making a work related phone call. (Thankfully no longer because I’m worried about having a panic attack while I do them, which used to be a daily reality). I also dread bigger things like starting a new job, events where I’ll be doing some public speaking, or long-term planning for my future.

Whenever I start to feel dread within me, along tags its best friend avoidance. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sabotaged my own mental health because I put off tasks until the last second possible because I felt a sense of dread toward doing them.

After a minor inner breakdown I experienced recently because of issues I caused myself through avoiding important tasks I needed to complete, I finally stopped and reflected.

I went back to the root of the problem and I asked myself, “Why am I avoiding these things? Where is this feeling coming from?”

I quickly saw that these seemingly simple tasks caused immense dread within me. I then asked myself why I was feeling so much dread. What is it about these tasks that makes me feel so anxious that I avoid doing them altogether?

I came to the conclusion that it’s not even that I am afraid of these tasks themselves.
Like I said, I’ve worked really hard toward my mental health and I no longer fear having a panic attack or getting sick all the time when out in public. It simply comes down to not feeling like putting in the work to do these things.

This isn’t the real me, though. The real me, my true inner self, wants the best for me and thus, wants me to get stuff done. Instead it is my ego (you might think of the ego as the devil) holding me back, keeping me lazy and complacent, because it doesn’t want me to move forward anytime soon in my life. And why? Because if I did, it knows that each time I faced a task that I ‘dread’ doing, I would get closer to completing God’s will for my life, and it obviously doesn’t want that to happen. So it sends dread to me, in hopes to prevent me from reaching out to fulfill my calling.

I understand this now, and it’s always nice to bring this truth back into my awareness. However, the discomfort and dread is still there. So I have created a list of four things to remember when I need to accept the discomfort and move through it, rather than around it. To be honest, there really is no way around discomfort if you ever want to get anywhere significant in life. Every time you try to go forward, it will keep popping back up through different people or situations. So, you might as well go through it now! Now is all we ever really have anyway.

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1. Stay connected. I cannot stress this enough. I know when we are being challenged the only thing we usually want to do is lay in bed, curl up into a ball and forget about the hard stuff coming our way. The last thing we feel like doing is taking time to pray or meditate. However, these are the very things we need and the only things that will get us us back on track.

On the other hand, I’ve noticed that many times I’ll be having a series of good days, where things are going really well for me, and I am all too often tempted to not workout or meditate because I don’t feel like I need it. I’m feeling good so obviously I can skip it just this once, right? Well, once usually turns into several days, and before I know it, I feel like crap again. Sound familiar?!

This is why we MUST stay connected. During the good and bad times. It is the only way to keep the peace even when our outside circumstances are anything but peaceful. For me I stay connected through prayer, meditation, yoga, working out, reading books about positivity and spirituality, listening to music, writing, or being out in nature. Whatever works for you is fine, the key is to just do something to stay connected to the source! Otherwise, you will quickly deplete your supply and thus, keep reinforcing the cycle of negativity in your life.

 
2. Know that challenges aren’t bad, they’re simply strength builders sent to help you grow. I have believed the lie for far too long that if I’m feeling some level of discomfort, that the situation causing the discomfort must not be right for me. I used to take it as a sign that I was on the wrong path and that I needed to run away– fast. However, I’ve come to find that discomfort is usually a good sign that I am exactly where I need to be. If you find yourself feeling this way it simply means that you are growing!

God often sends discomfort or disruption into our lives to keep us from staying stagnant. He loves us too much to keep us where we are. If we never had anything come into our lives and upset everything around us, what would be our incentive to change? More than likely, we would never change if we always stayed comfortable. Sometimes God sends discomfort because it is the only way to annihilate negativity or fear-based thoughts (lies) from our lives. It brings these lies out of dormancy and makes us aware of them, which is ultimately the only way we can get rid of it.

Growth is challenging at times, I’m not denying that. And just like with any physical workout, it stretches you and takes you beyond anywhere you’ve been before. If it’s easy, you aren’t doing it right! The process of growth is hard, but once you’ve completed the challenge you will be so glad you did it and you will never the same. So don’t run away from hard times. Don’t complain about how hard they are either. Instead, see them as opportunities sent from God for your personal growth. Every challenge has a miracle hidden beneath its surface!

 
3. Know that peace only comes after obedience. We often wait or at least want to wait until we feel peace about a decision before stepping out and doing it. We believe that if we don’t feel a sense of peace (comfort) about it, or that if it doesn’t make sense logically, then it must not be God’s will.

However, a motto I always strive to live by is that ‘it’s not faith if you use your eyes’. God wants us to live by faith, and he typically won’t send us peace before we do something, because that shows no faith. All that shows is a trust in comfort and complacency rather than a trust in God. But God is that still, small voice within us that often makes no logical sense whatsoever saying, “No, do it first, and then you will feel the peace you long for.”

Peace comes after obedience, not before. You will feel peace afterward knowing that you went by faith and not by sight and trusted in God instead of logic. You will feel peace when you believe the truth that he wants the best for you, and that ultimately his ways are higher and more knowledgeable than our ways. We must always remember that he see the entire picture of our lives from his vantage point; we don’t. We don’t have all the details yet. Knowing this, we can easily move forward in discomfort, trusting that he is bringing the highest good for all through it, and that he will make a way even when there seems to be none.

 

4. Know that resistance blocks the flow of God in our lives. When we resist what is now (our present circumstances/conditions), or when we resist what we need to do in the near future, we are only getting in the way of God’s plan. Our resisting thoughts literally block the easy flow of God’s energy through us. This doesn’t mean the situation itself is easy, but when we obey God through surrendering to what is, instead of resisting it or wanting what we don’t have, we begin to feel an ease and a peace inside, regardless of the degree of difficulty on the outside.

Somehow our spirit’s seem to ‘just know’ when we are in our flow. It cannot be explained or comprehended, only felt. When we feel dread, tension, anxiety, anger or stress within ourselves, these are all clear signs that the channel through which God’s life energy can flow through us is blocked. The good news is that we can easily return to the life source within us through a simple prayer such as, “I witness that I am being blocked by fear. I forgive myself, and I return to love right now. I choose to see this situation through love.” A quick prayer like this can easily change your whole mindset and put you back on the path of love, where life flows through you freely and you don’t have to dread anything because you know that God has your back.

“I witness that I am being blocked by fear. I forgive myself, and I return to love right now. I choose to see this situation through love.”

What allows ordinary people to accomplish things that seem extraordinary is that they do the things others are unwilling to do. They know that talent alone won’t save them. There are so many talented people who let their dreams die young because they don’t want to put in the effort. They don’t want to be noticed. They don’t want people to talk about them. They don’t want to be uncomfortable. They want an easy ride, and if it doesn’t come easy they don’t believe it’s meant to happen. While of course belief is key to accomplishing a goal, actions are absolutely necessary too.

I refuse to let my dreams die. I refuse to settle for a mediocre life. I refuse to live only for the weekends. I refuse to live paycheck to paycheck. Therefore, I must rid myself of complacency, procrastination, dread, and yes, even my comfort, so that I can live out my dreams and make room for God’s will. Remembering these four things I’ve listed above every day will help me do just that, and I hope they will help you too!

So what about you? What do you do when you feel anxiety, dread, or even just a lack of motivation begin to rise up within you? If you have any tips, please share! I look forward to hearing from you! As always, feel free to share this blog if you resonated with it in any way.

Sending love and light your way,

Kara ❤

The Benefits of Solitude

There is nothing I love more than sitting at home alone on a rainy day, coffee in hand, reading a book, listening to music, or writing. For a lot of people this kind of day would be considered dreary or boring, and I get why they would feel that way. But for me, the freedom I get from spending time alone is one of the best feelings in the world.

If you are an introvert, living in today’s fast-paced society can be mentally exhausting. You may frequently wonder what is wrong with you, asking yourself things like, “Why don’t I like doing what everyone else likes doing? Why don’t I want to go out and party every weekend?” It is easy to feel out of place in this world when you are an introvert because our society more often than not encourages extrovert behavior. If you are anything different than that, you’re often labeled weird, rude, or anti-social.

Fortunately you are not the only one who feels the way you do, and there is nothing wrong with you! Being introverted doesn’t make you weird, awkward or anti-social. You don’t have to have social anxiety or even be shy to be introverted. Being introverted simply means you need more time alone than others to recharge in order to function at your best.

Once I finally began embracing my introvertism, I discovered that there are actually tremendous benefits in making time to be alone, which is why I’ve created a list of three reasons why solitude is beneficial for introverts.

  1. Solitude is a great opportunity for improving your mental health and practicing self-care. Every time I use my alone time wisely (meaning I don’t spend hours on my phone aimlessly scrolling through Instagram!) I am able to do things that make me feel better, both mentally and physically. When I am alone I can freely exercise, meditate, listen to a podcast, take a bubble bath, practice yoga, read, write, or listen to music without any interruption. All of these activities help me clear my mind and relieve stress, and through taking the time to care for my well-being, I have learned how to analyze and reflect on any negative thoughts that enter my mind and then replace them with positive, uplifting truth. Since consistently taking the time for self-care in solitude, I have adopted a totally new and much healthier mindset that wouldn’t have been possible without my time spent alone learning during self-care.b48266a03ba269ac93545f4ae3a07165
  2. Solitude gives you the time and space to create your art and be creative in your work. Your work shouldn’t feel like work; your work should be your art, and I don’t necessarily mean art as in drawing or painting, unless that is your thing! I mean art as in whatever you love to do. For me, it’s writing. Whenever I am alone my mind tends to wander, and I often get my most creative ideas during this time. My daydreams become ideas that I use in the stories I write. When I am with other people it is very hard for me to be creative and focus on my work. The stimulation from people talking or the TV blaring in the background is not a conducive work environment for me. However when I am alone, I am able to take create a calm, quiet environment that allows me to concentrate and get more work done while still making the work enjoyable. Many times I don’t know how I truly feel about something or what to do about a situation until I start writing about it. Being able to put my thoughts in writing allows my mind to make sense of all the ideas bouncing around in my head.                         e30d6daa223a94f6bac2ea2a694d6491.jpg
  3. Solitude allows you to get to know yourself. When I finally grew too tired to fake being friends with the people in my life who I was just friends with for the sake of having friends, it left me with quite a bit of free time. In this time away from those people who had a large influence on what I did on a daily basis, I was able to start over. I got to know myself. I rediscovered who I was, what I liked to do, what I wanted out of life and who I wanted to be. The new things I found myself doing I never would have done before because it wasn’t considered ‘fun’ or ‘normal’ to my so-called friends. However, I’d decided that I’d much rather be alone than settle for a ‘normal’ life. In this process I learned to love myself, which unexpectedly was also the cure for my anxiety disorder. Yes I was lonely at times, and I sometimes doubted my decision to end these friendships, but it ended up being one of the best choices I’ve ever made. I discovered that I am my own home and I already have everything within me that I’ll ever need. I no longer need outside validation from anyone or anything, and that has been the most freeing experience I’ve ever had.

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Contrary to the belief of many in today’s society, there are extremely positive advantages that can be gained through spending time alone. Although sometimes working and/or being in a loud, largely populated area is unavoidable, and it definitely isn’t healthy for us introverts to completely isolate ourselves from others, we don’t need to feel guilty for taking some time to be alone every so often. So please don’t be ashamed of your introverted ways! They make you, you. 🙂

What are some benefits you have seen in your own life from spending time alone or being an introvert? I’d love to hear from you! As always, keep checking the blog for new posts.<3

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