Day 41: Anxiety: Terrorist of the Heart

I have always been a little on the anxious spectrum (read: A LOT of anxiety). I have been accused of wanting things to be perfect more than once. I have stressed over really insignificant things. I had a panic attack or two in undergrad over certain courses. It’s fascinating though that I never had that issue in vet school. Maybe I matured, or maybe I was just so busy running down a metaphorical, muddy, wet, hill, trying to keep my feet under me, that I didn’t have the space for the anxiety.

I have been able to let go of so much over the last year and my life has been a lot better for it. I have days now where I am happy and full of a feeling of love and that never used to happen. It is truly a new and wonderful experience for me. One of those happy days hasn’t shown up in a while though. The last few weeks, shit, since the first part of December really, has been filled with hit after hit. I am used to dealing with pain in my life and I am used to moving on past it. I do this, most of the time, by starting over in a new location, a new job, a new life. Nothing has ever really changed though. Each time I have moved I have eventually been confronted with the same realities. I started to evaluate this a few months ago and I have realized that I need to change the way that I confront life or these patterns will keep repeating themselves. So I decided to stop running from things and start having the hard conversations and seeing if I could cultivate the relationships that I wanted to – including the one I have with myself.

I have been really REALLY struggling with my job situation the last few weeks. I have been thrown under the bus, threatened, lied about and had my concerns completely ignored. I have had to sit in HR meetings and hear that my feelings weren’t valid and that it would take 3-4 more indiscretions at the hand of this other person before they would actually interject. I have presented management with written proof of lies and still nothing was done, threats were not taken seriously and there were no suggestions made for solutions. The manager in question was offered a promotion and took it. Thankfully, my new manager sees a lot more than the old and is taking a firm line on nasty behavior and while I am grateful for that, I still go to work everyday completely dreading it.

My bouts with anxiety have usually been very small and short lived, but with a lot of little insults and it has taken a toll on my physical body, one which I have been really focused on adjusting and healing from. This current work situation though is causing all of these things to come up that I thought were handled, so clearly I need more work in that area. My health is suffering too at this point and I am at a place where all I want to do is hibernate from the world.

I have a REALLY hard time when there are outstanding issues with other people. I usually feel so much better once I have said my piece and so has the other person and we are able to move forward in a constructive manner. This guy though, he completely lies. Blatant, bold, lies. And I cannot move forward with a person like that. I cannot close this loop. There is almost this forced stagnation taking place that is causing a whole boat load of anxiety. Quite frankly I don’t know what to do about it. And in the interest of not running I am trying to stay and work through it. I am placing boundaries, being an adult when we have to communicate and trying to keep my head down and do my work. My new manager has asked me not to leave yet as she is trying to change things as I am honoring that. I find myself, however, once again working with this guy this weekend, just the two of us and each text or ring of my phone is causing this volatile reaction through my body.

I wish I could put into words what anxiety feels like for me. It is this deep sense of desolation, a gripping of my heart and an actual pain in my chest. It is a heavy weight like a blanket that covers me and I just cannot seem to get my heart engaged in anything. It is a buzzing stiffness in my nervous system that is almost palpable. It is almost like all of my other systems have gone quiet, until it is safe to come out again, including my heart. In these moments I literally battle myself because the point in staying and fighting for life is to come at and be able to keep your heart open in the face of adversity and I feel like I am wearing myself out trying to do just that. It is bleeding over into other areas of my life as well. I am also finding myself confused about when is appropriate to throw in the towel and move on versus what is me just wanting to run, and I feel next to nothing in my heart right now to even help make that decision.

I heard this quote yesterday from Brene Brown, she said something along the lines of “pain that is not transformed is transferred.” I am seeing this happen so clearly with my situation. From a health standpoint the anxiety is showing up as back and shoulder pain, stomach issues and debilitating fatigue. From a relationship standpoint I am catching myself mentally taking my shit out on others. I did have a pretty big win for me though earlier this week, when I actually told someone what I was feeling and that it wasn’t a good time to chat and they honored that and I ended up having a productive conversation with this person at a later time about it.

I know I need to move this. I need to broaden my perspective to see solutions that I cannot right now. I know I need to calm my nervous system and remember to breathe when I am confronted with this person. I need to put this energy into creating something, and I am doing that right now. I also know I need to have some patience and compassion for myself and some appreciation for the fact that I am doing the work and making progress, even if it’s hard to see.

I got out of my funk for a while today and made some space between me and this anxiety. I had to go on a call earlier and when the text came through I just started bawling. No part of me wanted to go. I wanted to sit in my own shit and sulk and cry and snuggle with my dogs and find all of the things that are wrong with my job and with this situation at work. I wanted to lament the fact that I was alone and getting through the pain of an already bruised heart and I wanted to be stuck, because it is where I have lived for so long there is some comfort there. I still battle with myself to change things. Not because I have a hard time doing it, but because sometimes I don’t know if I really want to. Then I wonder, what kind of person wants to stay in a pile of shit. I will tell you… one who believes they aren’t worth more. Even though I know that isn’t true, I cannot come up with another explanation as to why I choose to live my life in that way sometimes. I think in some ways it is an emotional addiction. It plays to the victim stories and fear that pervaded my childhood.

Every shift, every action, every word, every thought…. one has to be diligent in the area of transformation. I think for some people it is easier. They seem to get these concepts and actually FEEL them and make shifts and have epiphanies and pops and their world changes very rapidly. I am not like that. I get all of the concepts and in many ways have a wisdom about them that surpasses a lot of other folks in this space, but the shift from thinking to feeling has been and continues to be the slowest part for me. I asked myself this today, don’t you WANT to feel happy? And the answer in that moment truly was, I don’t know. And there is the ugly truth. I don’t know sometimes.

What’s that old fable about each of us having two wolves inside us and which one are we going to feed…. I feed both… and I still haven’t breached that 51% that feeds the lighter one. Some days I find humor and joy and love. Some days the anxiety wins. Some days I reach neutrality like I did today. I found some space between me and my emotions and I let them be but didn’t interact with them, didn’t let them devour me. Did I have a happy day? Hell, no. But I did claw my way out from misery and despair and that, that is progress. In doing so a little bit of energy came back, a little bit of motivation came back and my life got a little bit lighter. From that space I can start to use the other tools. I can start to focus on feeling lighter. I can shift my energy to what I am gaining from this situation knowing that every conflict or problem provides positives if you are just able to look for them and I can evaluate how this is helping me with my future goals. In doing so I feed that white wolf just a little bit more. ❤ ❤

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

Day 40: The Best I Could

Sometimes the best we can do on a given day pales in comparison to what we are capable of.

We make decisions and actions with the knowledge and wisdom that we have and we move through life moment by moment the best we can. This doesn’t mean that I am always acting in my highest power or that I am happy all the time.

Sometimes the best I can do is get out of bed, get my body moving and stumble through my day.

I have been sitting down to write a post for the last 45 minutes. I have three started, none finished, and little inspiration.

Then I remembered this journey is about self love. Yes, I wanted to write everyday. So here I am writing…. it may not be a winner, it may not be “good” or full of wisdom, but it is the best that my tired mind and heart can muster.

Whatever your day today, know that here, there is love and acceptance and the knowledge that we are all doing the best we can. Sometimes self love is admitting you need a night off. ❤ ❤

Day 39: The Space Between

I have had this really distinct feeling, the last few days, that I am moving through glue. I call this place an emotional purgatory. A space between worlds. I talked about the crazies a few days ago here and how they come to be when there is a space that you are in that is between your new life and your old life. It is not a pleasant place to rest and is 100% not a stopping point. The longer the crazies go on, the more pressure and funk surround you. I think the level of crazies that occurs is probably in direct proportion to the “bigness” of the life change at hand. Currently, the one I am going through is pretty large. I shouldn’t be surprise. I have about a four year expiration on staying in one place and doing the same thing day in and day out. I am just not meant to live with my days decided for me. So, on to the next adventure.

I am tired of working a 9-5 job. I am tired of having to answer to a boss and a manager and of having a hundred different levels of “checking in” that need to happen to get through the day. I want a job where I can be my own boss, make my own decisions, not have someone looking over my shoulder. I simply don’t need that. I know a lot of people who do, and a lot of people who love the oversight and not having to make decisions, and I applaud those people because they do jobs that, quite frankly, I don’t want to do and give me the freedom to pursue my dreams.

I also want a job that I can leave behind for a while.

I may work a 9-5 and technically am supposed to be at the clinic for those hours, but the work is never ending. The patients don’t automatically fix themselves by an appropriate time in the afternoon, the client calls and emails don’t stop after five. If I could set my own hours, maybe I would feel different, but I can’t. I have to be at work from 9-5 and then I am still expected to be present and available whenever clients/patients need me. I was told by the CEO of our company that unless I was prepared to work 24/7 I was not going to make it in this profession and maybe he is right. I definitely do not fit into the current paradigm. I have been trying to maintain some anonymity with this blog but it is time to come clean on one thing.

I am a veterinarian. I work primarily with horses. The expectations of an equine vet coupled with long hours, limited pay, a dangerous profession and the endless other stressors make it a really hard profession to survive in and we are seeing a higher attrition rate than ever before. Don’t even get me started on the stifling student loan debt and the hugely inflated cost of higher education.

Quite frankly, I am sick of it.

I used to love this profession. Before I started vet school I was working two jobs, attending two universities to get my prerequisites done, I was volunteering to gain experience. I was up early, went to bed late, was hugely motivated and thought I knew what I was getting myself into. I would drive an hour one way to get to the clinic I worked at, they would call me in the middle of the night for emergencies and I would go, happily. I loved it. Right up until I was handed my diploma. I had just spent four years taking 20+ credit hours a semester on top of working three jobs, I was exhausted before I even got on my feet. I took my first job, an internship (basically a requirement to work in equine medicine), making barely enough money to survive.

Once I was out in the “real world (and out of my internship)” things were a lot different. Suddenly I was responsible for cases. Solely responsible. I had to make all of the decisions, have all of the hard conversations, come up with treatment plans and ideas, taking all of the little considerations into account before making recommendations.

Medicine is not cut and dry. Especially vet med. In addition to having patients that can’t talk, we don’t have insurance to subsidize treatment in many cases. We have to balance what is the gold standard of care and all of the things we would like to do in the best interest of the patient with the owner’s budget. We also have to have realistic expectations of what treatments owners can be expected to take on at home with regard to their comfort level and patient disposition. We have to be able to justify every test that we want to run, and we should be able to do that! The disconnect comes in though when clients compare veterinary care with human medicine. They don’t realize that their doctor often just asks for a whole boatload of diagnostics knowing insurance is paying for it. If you actually ask your healthcare provider to explain why they are doing what they are, sometimes they can’t, and damn they don’t like to be questioned. I was fired from a doctor for asking why she was running the tests she was and for asking if we could consider an alternative treatment opposed to a strictly Western based one. Her response, “that’s not how I was trained so it doesn’t exist in my world.” Many of them are afraid to look outside the box and think critically about their patient as a whole. Symptoms are treated, not underlying causes. This is COMPLETELY opposite to vet med.

Veterinarians are an amazing group of people. We work our asses off. We love your animal and we try really really hard to do the absolute best we can with often limited resources. We, or at least I, try to practice preventative medicine in the hopes that we can you pet healthy enough to not require many veterinary visits. Most clients do not understand how much we care. They don’t understand that we go home and pour over literature trying to find something that will help your terminally ill pet. They don’t understand that we may have to end the life of a patient we have known for 15 years and five minutes later go into a room with a bright, happy family who just got a new puppy, pushing down our own emotions so we can be present with each case. They don’t understand that we discount work…. A LOT… in order to be able to provide better care than what you can afford. They don’t understand that the constant belittling of the veterinary profession and bitching about invoices makes us insane because if we actually charged for all of the things we did (like a hospital or human doctor would do) that your bill would have been twice what it was. And they don’t understand that we have one of the highest suicide rates of any profession.

Our work is dangerous and very emotional but we often have to stifle that emotion so we can continue with our day. We are constantly questioned and belittled and in my experience this also includes from family members and friends, so there is little reprieve. We have to know about multiple species and are expected, by clients, to know EVERYTHING about all of them. In the equine world we have trainers pushing for meds and injections that sometimes aren’t in the interest of the patient. We are constantly asked to compromise our values in order to provide a service for many of our competition clients. We are asked to give our cell number out to all of our clients who sometimes, because they thought of a question at 2 AM, will text or call at all hours, not realizing we just worked a 14 hour day where we had one pee break and our lunch and dinner consisted of a gas station hard boiled egg and some peanuts, and we can’t turn our phone off because we are on call. Most people will never know the jolt of resentment that comes when our phone does goes off because we are so damn tired and realize that once interrupted, won’t be able to fall asleep again. Most people will never know the heartache that comes when we lose a patient and wonder if we had done just one more test or procedure if we could have saved them. Most people will never know the absolute guilt that comes with having to tell someone, I’m sorry I can’t help you today, it is my day off. That shit gets into the heart and stays there.

And many people will never know what it is to see a mountain of debt so high that as a single person I can barely buy a used car and forget trying to buy a house… Most people won’t know what it is to go to work everyday armed with the knowledge that what they are making is a drop in the bucket, enough to survive but not enough to even begin touching the principle on their loans.

So, I am changing my current reality. I am choosing to believe that there is a different life for me. One where I can breathe. Where I can help people and have an impact on humanity. Where I can pay off my debt and live a life that is both satisfying personally and professionally. I don’t think I will ever stop being a vet, or stop working long hours, or obsessing about my patients, but I will stop being someone who is consumed by this profession and I will start being someone who does it my way. I will be an oar that is helping to shift the paradigm for all of those bright eyed veterinary wannabes that will come after me. In writing this I realize I do really love this profession. But I love me more.

So… this purgatory…

I really went off on a tangent there. I guess I am more passionate about it than I thought. I don’t want other people to feel like I do right now. I don’t want people to feel stuck or pushed into a corner with a weight on their chest because they love what they do but realize it isn’t sustainable.

I want people to feel freedom in their minds and hearts. I want them to have room to breathe, no not just room to breathe, room to take huge, full breaths, freely and openly while spreading their wings. Before I can make any sort of change in this world, I have to learn to do that for myself.

In many ways this blog started as a way to process feelings about Mr. X, it was a way to place a microscope on my life and examine all of the things that I need to change and adjust. It started as a way to get through some heartache and has turned into a hyper-focused evaluation into the edges of my own humanity, a way to stretch my own boundaries and not just discover, but create the life I was meant to lead.

Part of the process of “rebirth” is swimming through the mire and muck. It’s recognizing that the purgatory, while an uncomfortable place, is also a place of tremendous growth and means that there is movement. It is a place where one can either swim forward or backward. Decisions are being made, progress is being made, but nothing is written in stone yet. It is a sacred place actually. It feels like total shit, but is the breeding ground for the next better thing. So as I find myself here, trying to breathe through the glue, attempting to keep my head above the surface, I find a massive amount of appreciation, because I am here. I am alive. And I am well on the way to creating whatever the fuck I want. ❤ ❤

Image by Nicholas Demetriades from Pixabay

Day 38: The Rejection Label

I am in a couple of Facebook groups that are dedicated to relationships and how to make them better. One of them is comprised mainly of people who have been broken up with or are going through a breakup or divorce. The cool thing about this group is that the majority of its members are doing the work to better themselves, so there is a lot of accountability.

Every once in a while though, someone posts some nasty vitriol about an ex or some whiny diatribe about how they were wronged and victimized. Some of the people truly were, there are tales of abuse and narcissism that would raise goosebumps on even the most hardened of mental health professionals. A lot of the people posting these other tirades however, are clearly at the beginning of their self help journey and have yet to do some inner work and there is a resounding disregard for how their actions could have impacted their current reality (this isn’t a judgment, I was that person not too long ago). Most of the pain that they write about is from being rejected and feeling like they aren’t good enough. This was a huge topic in one of the groups today and it got me thinking…

We have all been rejected… many, many times. It is interesting though that rejection plays such a huge part in our growth and development, yet so many people avoid taking the risks to avoid the possibility of being rejected. In relationships especially, there is so much weight to be perfect for this other person one is engaging with. This type of thinking is flawed. What are the chances, with a population of more than 7 billion people, that your soul mate lives five minutes away or will be the first person you swipe right on (or is it left… ). Probably pretty slim, and I also think this means there are a lot of people that a romantic relationship could work with. Do I think there are these once in a lifetime connections? Absolutely. I have one. But they are, in my experience, few and far between, or perhaps…. once in a lifetime!

Feelings of rejection come in, once again, when we have an attachment to a certain outcome. We want love, the person we have feelings for says they don’t love us. We want that dream job, we don’t land the interview. We want to make oodles of money and we fail in business. None of these events is comfortable, but whose to say that losing that love didn’t allow for another, even deeper connection to come in. Or that job… maybe not landing the interview meant you weren’t ready for the position and preparing a little more would result not just in snagging that job but the capacity to perform better in the required tasks. We fail in business, but the things we learned along the way so that we can try again and be successful are invaluable.

There are so many things in life that come down to perspectives. Everything really… Every situation in life and how it is processed and interacted with comes down to the perspective you take. We have this incredible capacity to make every situation a learning experience to pull from the positives, or our own unique form of hellish misery.

How do I ease the pain of perceived rejection?

I recognize that it isn’t rejection and often times isn’t personal. Yes, relationships are different in that there is a kind of personal rejection, but… rejection is such a nasty word. How about incompatibility. Even just changing the language of that one word eases the tension a little. Just think, if I am looking for that once in a lifetime relationship I have a 1 in 7 billion or so chance of finding it, of course I’m going to “reject” a lot of people, the same goes for that person you are about to have a first date with! Being incompatible with someone just means you weren’t a match, it doesn’t mean you weren’t enough!!!

When looking at the job scenario, YOU are not being personally rejected, your work might be, the results of your laziness and procrastination might be but as a person and a being you are not. Same as the failure of a business, these pitfalls are more a reflection of poor preparation, sloth, mistakes in decision making, but are not in fact a personal rejection. Are there times of true rejection… absolutely. But most of the time coming to the conclusion that it isn’t personal is easier than one would think. Sure, it still hurts, there will be grief and tears and a process to go through and it is a rare day that I can face a feeling of rejection and shift it in the moment. In fact, when I feel rejected I have to stop and really remove myself from the situation and very mindfully figure out what my takeaways are.

There is life after rejection. The quickest and simplest way that I know to reclaim that power and move forward is to take some time to figure out what was gained from that situation. Think of all of the experience, the wisdom, the strength and resilience added to your pot of skills. Then you take all of those things and melt them together and mold them into a new goal and you set forth knowing you are a little bit wiser and a lot more prepared the next time around. Maybe you learned you needed to set boundaries, maybe you learned you needed to acquire a certain skill to be a better candidate, maybe you realize you need to learn better money management in order for your business to be a success. Whatever it is, no matter the depths of hell you just went through, there are lessons there. Is this easy to do real time? Fuck no. Sometimes it isn’t easy to do for weeks or months, but if you open yourself up to seeing the possibility that there were lessons to be gained then you are setting yourself up for a resilient rebound and ultimately a game with clearer rules and increased chance for success.

Don’t fear rejection. That is the simplest way to end up dying with regret. Take the chance. Kiss the guy (or girl). Open your heart, go for that big idea. After all what is rejection really but a second chance at success. ❤ ❤

Day 37: What Do You Want?

My goodness, I am distracted tonight. After last night’s glorious lack of inspiration I fear I am not much better off this evening which means… it’s time to go back to basics!

I just got done with Mike Kemski’s two week PowerLife Challenge. It was an amazing group of people all dedicated to transformation, everyone was taking the steps. We all got “lifed” in one way or another and everyone kept carrying on with this amazing amount of love and support. It was a really great group. I would HIGHLY suggest doing one of his challenges if you have the chance.

The one thing that Mike always starts his programs with is target practice otherwise known as “What do you want?”

For the longest time this was so hard for me to answer. What do I want? It’s a paralyzing question for most people. I could only start by answering with what I didn’t want. I didn’t want to be worried about money, I didn’t want to live in a house that feel oppressive and small. I didn’t want to be alone. Even writing those things down feels… icky. It feels a little bit like a stroke of negativity that I have been trying to shift all my life. It feels like fear based thinking. And it is. … but…. it’s a great place to start on this process of transformation, because if you are like me, the don’t want list is very long… which means that it’s a very easy tool to use because the opposite of that, the want list, will be equally as long. It means that you have a lot of targets and a lot of things that you want which provides motivation and momentum.

There is this flawed thinking in the personal development world that anything that is negative is bad, that if you think negative thoughts you will draw that into your life. There is some truth to that. If one constantly seeks to find the negative then that is what will “come into your life” but it is more a matter of awareness. What you are looking for, you will find. These negative things though, they exist for a reason. They provide contrast and are the duality to the positives (one cannot exist without the other). If all you see is negatives and you want to see the positives, then USE the negatives to see the positives. It’s really simple actually. In this case we want to figure out what we want and all we have is a list of don’t wants.

I don’t want to worry about money – so what I do want it to have enough income coming in that I can make purchases without anxiety or concern, this will lead to a feeling of freedom.

I don’t want to live in a small, oppressive house, so what I do want it a living arrangement that is big enough where I feel unencumbered and have all of my things around me comfortably, this will give me a feeling of openness and freedom.

I don’t want to be alone, so I want someone in my life who I can have a fulfilling and loving relationship, this will make me feel secure and cherished.

That’s the other thing about our want list, what we are really searching for is a feeling, or several feelings that lead to an overall elevated quality of life. The tricky part here with some of these goals is not getting too attached to the future vision and being open to how those things might show up. Alternatively the goals can be very specific. I can say I want a two story home with a hot tub and a granite counter top kitchen and that is just as valid. That might make me feel successful for example.

So why did I go back to the beginning? It’s a good reminder for me what I want this blog to be and I am hoping it will help me get back on track and find some inspiration to write.

What I don’t want is this to be a dumping ground for all of my emotions. What I do want is a safe space where I can come to write about my own personal development and journey into loving myself deeper with the hope that these words will reach other people who are on a similar path. It will hopefully provide some inspiration or at least motivation to them to strive, not for perfection, but for progress in building the life they want and will provide a body of content for what I hope will one day be an illustrious career as an authenticity and mindset coach.

Once I have my don’t want and do want list (this is an exercise in duality), it’s now time to look for resources to help me get what I want. This is where the power of perspectives comes in. All day today I have been worried about what I was going to write tonight. NOTHING CAME TO ME…. and why would it? I was meeting the task with anxiety and fear, but now that I have revisited my mission I can look back on my day and see I actually had a lot of resources that could have contributed to a post tonight.

I was in a really crabby mood this morning and instead of running and hiding from the world I chose to tell the person I was supposed to work with that I was not feeling like having company and would she mind doing some other tasks today. Old me would have just let her come with and would have not spoken three words the entire day and instead been pissed about my lot in life. So right there is 1. huge progress and 2. a lesson in communication and asking for what you want that could be a topic to write on.

I had a run in with the unflattering man that I work with. He and that situation is an endless source of input on what not to do and how not to be a team player… more material.

I had to search long and hard for motivation for my day job, more material there on how I found some today.

I also took the alone time I needed, put in a motivating podcast, thank you Russell Brand, and by the time I got through my morning was in a much better mood so… material on shifting mindset.

See…. there are resources all around us all the time. It is a matter of asking how can this help me get to that. How can my dogs help me blog better? They provide a sense of well being that can get me centered to write. How can my chic fil a help me blog better? I can’t think very well on an empty stomach and it saved me time from cooking so I could sit down to my computer after a long day. How can the veggies I bought at the store help me (I know I know… yes I bought veggies and then had fast food), they provide a nourishing meal that will help my cells work efficiently which will improve my thinking and clarity… etc etc. You get the idea.

So really when I look around, I have a ton of inspiration. It is just a matter of seeing it and using it. And now that I have this one in the books, I have a lot more material for the rest of the week. It’s simple really, what do you want? It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It is basically a process in learning to make decisions. Find a target, identify resources to help you, interact with 3-5 of them every day, gain confidence in decision making, pick another larger target and keep going until suddenly you are living the life you imagined! ❤ ❤

Day 35: Navigating Life As An Introvert

In my orientation to one of the colleges I went to we took a Myers-Briggs personality test. If you don’t know what that is, it is this LOOOONNNGGG series of questions that you answer that lumps you into one of 16 categories based on your reactions to and perceptions of the world. I came back as an INFJ. What does that mean exactly?

I – Introvert – I am energized by alone or quiet time

N- Intuition – Seeing patterns and possibilities in the world, preferring ideas and concepts to facts

F- Feeling – Prioritizing people and emotions and making decisions based on values and feelings

J- Judgement – Liking the outer world to be orderly instead of spontaneous (I don’t remember why this is labeled as judgement)

Again, what the hell does that all mean?!

It doesn’t even matter, it is a construct that puts people in boxes of which I am pretty opposed to. Mostly because I have never fit into a box. And you know why? It’s because I am a damn INFJ! This personality type makes up just 1-2% of the population. In all seriousness though, taking that test and being “discovered” and realizing that how I saw the world was indeed a “valid” way to view it was comforting. It was the first time in my life that I ever felt some repose in who I was, I felt seen. Even if it was a test, taken on a computer, with no real person attached to it. It meant I belonged somewhere. Looking at the above “definitions” of that personality type it amazes me that I made it through school. They told me and the one other person in my class that was an INFJ that we would struggle (did we band together and support each other, absolutely not, put two introverts together and all you will get a lot of silence haha). What they didn’t tell us was how our personality type would be an asset to our profession or how they would support us in our journey. That’s probably because they didn’t know… and truth be told, not many traditional institutions will offer support because we are so rare, it is simply not financially sound to help the outliers, cover the 80% under the bell curve and call it a day… well thank you very much, I will do it on my own anyways!

**As an aside I find it so interesting that everyone strives to be unique, to make their mark in the world, yet we fear so much being different or being seen, and that we derive such satisfaction from labels because it makes us more understandable. It gives us permission to just be…. but that’s a topic for another day (and obviously one which I am not immune to). **

INFJ’s are really cool. We are highly empathic, compassionate, perceptive individuals. We travel by a set of deeply entrenched personal values and are very idealistic. We are often discouraged by the harshness of the world but still choose to take positive action. We have intrinsic motivation to create a better society. We profoundly value deep, authentic connections with people and we realize those are few and far between so when we have that we cherish and tend to it deeply. We do not shy away from a person’s complex problems as we realize we are complex ourselves. We can appear gentle and reserved, but have a depth of spirit about our ethics and morals that can show itself with the ferocity of a viking warrior if those values are under fire. We feel intensely and deeply and if we do not feel appreciated we will withdraw. We can be stubborn and obsessive when we are under stress. We can come across as extroverted because we care deeply and connect deeply with people which can be confusing when we retreat to a quiet sanctuary. We are intimate with a very small, chosen few and even from them we sometimes pull away completely to recharge.

As a young kid, I knew I was different. I was told time and time again I was difficult. Difficult to get along with, difficult to love, just plain difficult. I shunned so much of me for so long. I used to hate who I was, that I felt so out of place and didn’t know why, that I couldn’t seem to figure the world out. I was so disheartened and confused by the darkness in the world. Seeing on paper what I was feeling and what I had known about myself for so long was oxygen to a dying soul. It would be another six years before I would find a group of people who would accept me for who I was and in that would find a person that encouraged more of me to come out of my shell. Now when I read that paragraph of attributes it makes this warm feeling in the center of my heart, because those things are pretty cool, and very powerful. To be able to connect deeply and to seek to create a better world, to allow only authenticity… these, to me, are super powers and I feel… proud… proud of me, of what I have to offer this world. That is such a new and novel feeling. Knowing some of these characteristics and being able to read more about the psychology of my particular personality type allows me to evaluate blind spots more effectively. As long as they resonate with me of course! Yes, INFJs are difficult. But it is only because we don’t really fit well into this mold of society. We are labeled such because people don’t and often can’t understand us because we are the way we are. I for one wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s a really interesting dichotomy to grow up how I did. I never fit anywhere. But I also never tried to. I hid myself instead, I think because I knew inherently that I belonged SOMEWHERE, I just didn’t know where it was. I think it was my want for authenticity that left the core of me intact. It was covered in a lot of layers of shit and negative conditioning, but now, each layer that is revealed is like a shiny new object. Even the negative or darker stuff. I am able to step back and say, wow this really interesting thing is coming in… here is why and here is how I can shift perspective on this. I do this a lot with being an introvert. I get told all the time I need to be more social. I need to get out more. I need to do blah blah blah… People don’t get me, but I do. And more importantly I can appreciate me and feel a sense of pride and understanding in myself and my differences. I no longer feel guilt at needing space to recharge or for not feeling more social because I know that my solitude makes way for those attributes that I so deeply value, and taking time for me supports my highest self. And I also know that if I am shying away from people it means that their energy doesn’t feel completely authentic and to find those who I fit with I actually DO have to get out and explore a little more.

Image by si_kor from Pixabay

So how do you travel through life as an introvert?

It’s the same as anything else. You love and accept yourself. You learn to see yourself for the power that you do have. You embrace the fact that you don’t fit in and understand that that means you can present a really powerful new perspective to the world and you accept that you have a lot to offer.

And when you find those select people in your life who just seem to get you, or maybe they don’t get you but they accept you… you hold onto them. You create a support system and you put your energy into those relationships that do fill you up knowing that they don’t come along very often. And even if those relationships don’t look how you think they should, or love doesn’t show up in the way you imagined, you adjust to accommodate those special people in your life.

I, for one, love being an introvert. I am so firmly one that I have never even considered trying to be more extroverted. It’s far too draining and I know would never work for me. I know some introverts who try and succeed and can manage the energy pull, but not me. I will forever need recharging, and that’s okay, because when I do show up in the world it is as a massive fire ball of love and affection and it has the capacity to heal (at least this is what I am told!) and I am starting to see that evidence. Each time a person says thank you, or you’re inspiring or your support has really helped me, I take those words and plug them into the part of me that needs evidence to see my potential, and while I will never feel that I am doing enough, or saying the right things, or showing up enough, I will know that I am making a difference.

Being an introvert shouldn’t be shunned. Being different should be celebrated and honored, even if it is in a quiet, gentle manner done in the sanctity of a comforting solitude. There is nothing wrong with any of us. We all fit in somewhere. We are all a part of this pulsating energy that makes up this global collective. It may be the amazing 80% that dictate society, but it is the 20% that brings in more diversity, that sees the world differently and offers perspectives and passions that bring an additional layer of beauty and joy to life. Let me be clear here, I NEED that 80%. Those are the people who bring light and energy easily into this world, they create so many of the gregarious and beautiful things that we have. I could not survive without that 80% nor would I be different if they didn’t exist. The people under the bell curve drive society. And…. We are all unique. We are all special and we should all celebrate what we are, because at the end of the day we are all gifts to each other and shouldn’t strive to be anything other than authentically ourselves. ❤ ❤

Lotus Image by Carl Chen from Pixabay

Day 34: “You’re Far Too Sensitive!”

We live in an age where emotions are starting to come alive in a healthy way. People are looking inward for change and are seeking to experience the world from a new paradigm, where our emotions do not rule us, but are simply sign posts and guides to show us what it means to live in our intended frequency.

As a kid I used to hear some iteration of the words above, “you’re too sensitive,” “why are you so emotional?” Hearing those things made me feel like I was defective, like what I was feeling was wrong, the way that I felt was separating me from the rest of the pack so was threatening. I learned a long time ago that showing emotions was dangerous and resulted in conflict. The one other person in my life who was and still is very emotional is my mother. But there is emotional, and then there is emotional intelligence and her emotions often go unchecked and run rampant leaving a trail of destruction behind them. It was from her that I taught myself to shut in and hide the things that I was feeling, because I saw the wake it left and I didn’t (and still don’t) want to be like that. The result was this fantastic emotional constipation that resulted in a completely stifling apathy and an almost total breakdown.

It took me about six months of inner work before I started to feel anything again. Now, I feel … a lot…. it’s almost overwhelming at times to try to manage. I had gotten so used to navigating the world through this wall of defensiveness and anger that living any other way seemed really vulnerable and scary and really unsafe. Now, I cry…. a lot. Sometimes it’s super annoying, but I can also appreciate that I am feeling again and that crying is just an expression of this overabundance of emotional energy, and is a sign of a passionate awakening that is happening in my heart. I also love, so deeply that it warms my body and floods me with light, and I feel everything in between.

Looking back, I can see how far I have come. I can see myself starting to open my heart to people. I can see myself beginning to express love and not NEEDING other people to reciprocate. I am learning to put it out in the world in a way that gives back to me.

So why is this coming up today?

I work with an assistant on Saturdays. She is young, I think 19 or 20. She feels things really deeply. She is this effervescent kid who really REALLY tries so hard to do a good job. She started in our company in one of the lowest positions that she could be in. She worked that job, pretty happily for over a year. I knew that she has had some issues with depression and had some tendencies to let her emotions get the best of her at work. I watched her work her ass off for a year only to get passed up for promotion after promotion and I started to ask people why. It was really interesting the perspectives that were out there. To me I saw this super eager kid who was looking for someone to give her a chance. She is smart as hell and quick as a whip. She has this awesome sense of humor and cares deeply for all living things. She thinks ahead and anticipates needs and runs circles around some of our other assistants. When I started asking why she was getting passed up I kept hearing the same thing, she’s too sensitive, she’s too emotional.

Now, I don’t have kids, I don’t profess to know how to raise them, but I do think it is our job to teach future generations how to manage themselves instead of hiding who they are. I could see so much love and passion bubbling out of her and each time someone gave her feedback like this I could see it cutting her to her very core. And let me tell you, it hurt her something fierce. She would come to me in tears trying to figure out how she could exist in this world and I felt for her so much because I went through that struggle too. Her and I differ in that I am a lot stronger. That’s not a judgement, but a fact. She was on the verge of ending her life several times over really trivial shit because it felt so damn big to her. And I had been there and I knew what she was going through and while those thoughts had crossed my mind I realize I can endure a lot of pain. It is one of my strengths because it also means that I don’t compromise and I don’t settle. Anyways… this isn’t about me…

Back to E. Her and I would chat, and once I realized what the “problem” was we started to talk about it. It absolutely broke my heart to see her going down this path of self doubt and trying to figure out how to fit in this world by making herself smaller. One day we were in the car and she was really upset about the latest person passing her over and she said she knew she was too emotional and I told her “No, you aren’t too emotional. You are just right, you are passionate, you feel and love deeply and sometimes that comes out in ways that make other people uncomfortable. It is okay to feel what you feel and to express what you feel, you don’t have to stifle yourself, you only have to figure out a way to manage constructive expression while still being true to you.”

I have no idea if anything clicked or if what I said made a difference, and I probably never will. I don’t need to know. What I do know is that once people started seeing her through a different lens, and she started to see herself through a different lens, things at work started to go much better for her. The next promotion that came along… was given to her.

She still struggles with this world. A lot at times. And we still talk, but she doesn’t need the same support anymore. It has been pretty cool to watch her grow and blossom in her new role and amazing to see her stepping into who she is. Everyone that passed her up is starting to see it too. We talked today about the goings on in her life and what she was doing to show up for herself in the face of adversity. I am really proud of her.

So is there such a thing as too sensitive? No. We are all perfect just as we are. It’s all in how we choose to use it to show up in this world with the gifts we came here with. Yes, there are times when I feel like I don’t belong here, that I am too sensitive for THIS world, and then I realize it is actually a super power. Feeling like I do means that I have a huge capacity for love and caring and empathy and compassion. It means that the people that I choose to shine my light on can bask in an ocean of love, as much or as little as they can take, because I have that capacity. It means that my heart can take a lot of pain and has a passion and sense of right in it that means I will, and do, stand up for what is right in this world because I want the world to be a better place when I leave it.

I don’t always get things right in the “wild.” It’s much easier to write about how I am inside than it is to express it out in the real world. But, each word changed, each expression realized, each awareness brought to the surface brings me closer and closer to authentic expression in all areas of my life, not just behind the keyboard. It brings me closer to speaking my mind without worrying about what other will think. It brings me closer to unlocking my true power. It brings me closer to love. With each exploration of depth of these glorious emotions I can start to see how truly powerful I am, how richly I feel and I can start to realize just how much I have to offer the world.

And so do you, if you are brave enough to look.

Too sensitive, nah…. perfect from where I’m sitting. ❤ ❤

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Day 33: Drowning In A Sea Of Crazy

There is this phenomenon that happens when you are in the midst of transformation. It occurs when the life you are living no longer fits but the one you are creating isn’t ready for you to step in.

In the personal development group that I am in we call this “The Crazies.” And damn is that an appropriate term for it.

The crazies is not a fun place to be. It feels like you are drowning in a violent sea that keeps battering you, wave after wave comes just at the very moment you are gasping for breath. It feels like falling down an endless well, clawing at the stone walls, unable to grab hold, breaking your nails off in the process. It feels like a torturous, endless death. Time slows down, hours feel like days, days like weeks. You get the idea. It is not pleasant! And unfortunately, it is a prerequisite for growth. I have yet to meet someone that transitioned smoothly into their new life. Perhaps for people that feel a little less deeply than I do it isn’t quite so dramatic a transition, but for me… it’s almost always brutal.

I am in the thick of the crazies. It has come after some pretty big momentum which was born of some pretty massive hurt. The momentum carried me through a couple weeks, allowed me to focus on what I want for the future and just when I feel like I am getting my feet underneath me, the crazies come in full force. They show up in the negative self talk that clouds my mind, the constriction in my heart, the concern for the future unwritten. They make me feel like I am losing my mind, like all of the things that I have learned the last year have meant nothing, that I have not made any progress. Even though I feel that way, I know it isn’t true. Just the fact that I am recognizing what is happening and am able to sit in it knowing I will come out the other side shows huge progress. A year ago I would have lost my mind. Now, I do what I need to get through, knowing that I will indeed get through.

So what do you do when the crazies strike?

For me, I take a deep breath. I recognize them for what they are and for what it means about my progress and my future. I reach out to a friend for support, if I have one that isn’t traveling through the same darkness. But probably the most important and the whole goal of this blog….. I show myself compassion. I listen to what my mind is saying, I evaluate the words and see if they are true and then I change them. Sometimes I literally say “Okay, if I was talking to a friend what would I say?” I zoom out and evaluate the situation from a different vantage point. I look for resources to keep supporting my goal. I drink water. I force myself to work out and maintain all of the good habits I have created the last few months and I love myself. Resisting this phase is pretty useless and only prolongs the suffering. Most of the time the crazies only last a few days. For me this has been going on longer and much longer than I would like, but each day brings me closer to the end and nearer to the future that I see for myself.

Today I woke up in tears, I realized what was happening and thought to myself, “bring it on, bitch,” cause I know I am strong enough to weather the storm. ❤ ❤

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Day 23: Embracing The Negatives

I know what you’re thinking… “girl, that’s supposed to say positives right?”

Nope. I got it right. Embracing the negatives. Sometimes there is a place for that, when the “negatives” can be used strategically to push forward. And right now, for me, that place is heart ache. ** Maybe I should change my language here. Negative has this connotation of being “bad” but for purposes of this article, a negative is just something that isn’t aligning with my desired outcome.**

We are taught that the only way to be happy is to focus on the positives! Let love in! Shun the bad! Nope…. nope, nope. Not for me. There is a reason the “negatives” exist. They provide contrast and are tools in themselves. They are powerful guides and shouldn’t be ignored. It is all a matter of how those tools are used as to whether they can be constructive or destructive.

The sticky thing about grief is that it comes in waves. One day I can be rocking, creating my own sunshine, the next I can be sobbing on the floor. This is when you can embrace the negatives and use them to slingshot you forward.

Getting over the life you saw yourself having with someone is hard. Sometimes you do have to embrace the negatives, put the positives in a box, and even though it’s a much bigger box than the negatives, you have to shove it aside for a moment.

Sometimes all I can do to keep moving is replay all of the things that were said that are the evidence for why we won’t be together. “Maybe we aren’t good for each other.” “Our season is over.” “We do better at a distance.” All of those little knife wounds are actually my friend. My way to move on from the one person who has asked me to do so, who has needed space every time we see each other. The one person that feels like home. The one person my heart practically bleeds for. The way to successfully do this is to not make it personal, because it isn’t. All of those things are a reflection of situational issues, not a reflection of me as a person. And they are all in fact, correct and honest and vulnerable. And even in that I find more love for the keeper of those words. See… herein lies the problem. I understand so completely where this man is coming from and I love him so much that I find appreciation for the things he says… even when it cuts me to the core.

The “negatives” are an exceedingly skewed perspective of a really beautiful relationship (and they aren’t negative or bad, they are just honest and authentic – it is my perception of them that labels them as negative). It is a perspective that I know will cause its own hurt as these words are devoured by the other player. But the negatives function as evidence. It’s building a case. It’s ushering my heart to a place where it can open the door for something else. Because if I focus on the positives, the “you’re beautifuls” and the “I love you’s” right now, it lets my heart take the wheel. It’s lets in hope. It lets in a love that cannot be tamed. It lets my imagination run wild. For each brick of a boundary laid I am there on the other side pulling it back down. I am there telling myself we just need more time, he needs more time. I require a massive amount of energy to move, to shift… my heart has a huge capacity and can handle a ton of shit. Filling it with these things pushes out some of the romantic tendencies and allows room for the new landscape. Friendship. In displacing the romantic and allowing friendship to enter instead, that positives box can be cracked once again and those beautiful words can be taken back into the heart under a different lens. I am loved, I am beautiful, I am capable, I am cared for, I am safe. In any relationship it’s all a matter of adjusting expectations and wants and aligning goals.

This can be done gently and lovingly and in honor of both parties and that is what I am choosing today. I have no anger or resentment towards Mr. X and maybe I am right, we do need more time. In this moment though, we aren’t meant to be and I have to focus on that right now so that I can stop the loop of what ifs that I am trying to use to define our future. Stopping this cycles allows me to appreciate the present moment and the relationship that we do have.

So yes. Sometimes focusing on the negatives is all the self care I can muster for one day. Because all I really need to do is keeping taking one step at a time. ❤ ❤

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Day 16: The Power Of Language

I love words.

I love how some words you can put together and they create a melody in the mind.

I love how talking about the whisper of the wind through fragile, curled leaves elicits a picture in my mind, and one in yours, and they are completely different.

I love how when I write “his firm, calloused hand gently traced the outline of my face and I melted into his touch,” my body warms and I revisit a feeling that holds a special place in my heart.

Words can be powerful. Words paint pictures, tell stories. They have the ability to elevate humanity or bring it to its knees. Words are also meaningless. A series of letters put together, sounds that are appealing to the human ear. Words are capsules. At their simplest they are a few letters that represent something. At their most complex they are containers for emotions, for energy, for various interpretations and perspectives.

Words. Have. Power. …. but only as much as we give them. And how do we do that, we give them energy. The speaker or writer puts energy into them, the reader or interpreter, input their own energy into them. Those energies merge and intersect in a human dance that we know as communication.

But what about when our words work against us?

I talk about the concept of highest energy wins here. The concept is simple, what you give your highest energy to will win. If I am sad and focus on all the reasons I have to be sad, I will be stuck there. If I am focused on finding problems and not solutions, problems will abound. If I focus on all of the ways the world supports me and my goals, that is what I will find. This one, for as basic as it is, is still a concept that I have to put conscious effort into. I KNOW I can shift my energy and I can see HOW to shift it but sometimes I simply … don’t. There is less effort required to maintain my current low vibration than there is needed to elevate it… but that’s a post for another day.

I grew up in a family where there wasn’t a ton of positivity. There were mental health issues, serious depression, a lot of fear and a lot of anger. Conflict resolution usually meant someone was yelling and someone was crying, and if that didn’t work, the best defense was silence. I learned really really well how to be silent. When I was able to gain independence and leave, I was out the door. I had a brief stint back at home in my 20s and nothing had changed, and still hasn’t. Looking back through our family it is the same pattern. No one is really open to having the hard conversations. Relationships are built on hiding one’s needs and wants in an effort to be the least offensive to the one who gets the most easily offended (the highest energy being victimization usually) in an effort to have some sort of rocky “peace.”

For me, that’s just not good enough any more. Before I could even attempt to broach those family patterns though, I had to become aware of myself and my language and the energy behind my words. This has been, for me, the most difficult part of my own development, because much of the time I don’t think before I speak. That’s not entirely true. I think before I respond to someone. I actually listen and weigh my words and how they will likely be interpreted by the listener and then I try to respond with love and compassion. And then there is how I talk about myself. That’s where thinking stops and my default settings kick in. That is when mediocrity and self distortions are fully present and where bringing myself down so that others can “rise” is alive and well. I don’t even pause most of the time. I am getting better. There is much more awareness now than ever before and sometimes I am even able to catch myself mid sentence and course correct.

It’s interesting too, my internal self talk is not really very negative. A lot of times I don’t have much chatter going on actually. There is a lot of singing in my head… but most of the time there is a lot of feeling in my heart, so breaking the pattern of negative self talk hasn’t been too difficult and now as soon as one of those thoughts enters I am really quickly able to recognize the lack of value and flip the script to something useful and empowering.

The scenarios that are harder for me are in person conversations with people. They ask, “how are you?” and it is like I pull from a few default responses, “I’m fine, thanks,” “I’m okay,” “can’t complain,” and so on. Many times now after those responses leave my mouth I am able to think “hm, am I really fine?” What defines the word fine for me, is that an accurate assessment of how I am, what does “how are you” even mean to me? Does it mean how is your heart feeling, how is your physical body… there are so many options. Sometimes I will ask for clarification from the asker, but most of the time I choose to try to craft a response based on my meaning for “how are you” which to me means, “how is your heart feeling?”

Some people are open to this and a conversation starts. Some people look at me like I have three heads, which is a great reminder that 1. some people just aren’t for me and 2. I probably could have expressed myself in a more accurate way that would have produced less confusion and a more productive conversation.

See….. it can get confusing really quickly. So I have to break this down for myself into a couple tricks/tactics.

  1. Text message can be really useful in the beginning stages of working on your words with other people. It takes an extra second, but you can read what you write before sending and make sure it is what you actually mean. This has increased my awareness SO MUCH.
  2. In person I try to take a brief pause before answering a question. If I am out eating I might wipe my mouth with my napkin first, or I might distract myself with something in the vicinity. Nothing obvious, but it is a way to just pause for a second and evaluate my feelings and come up with a response that is actually true to me. If I am with someone I know intimately I just take really LLOOONNNGGG awkward silences until I know what I want to say. 🙂
  3. Perspectives – I have worked SO much on changing my internal perspectives and have found that focusing on that alone has created some massive shifts in my outside language. Am I fine? No, fine to me is surviving. I am thriving and in this moment I am _____ (insert emotion here). To me even being angry is “better” or at least more aware and accurate than being “fine.” Though some days when the world is a little overwhelming, “fine” is all I care to muster.
  4. Progress over perfection. I fuck my language up. A lot. And it’s okay, because I have the awareness that I am not being true to myself and I am able to pat myself on the back for that recognition and then alter the behavior moving forward. Sometimes it means I repeat myself a couple times until I get it right, but most of the time if I take a second to feel into my heart I am much better able to articulate myself.

It can seem like a lot of work sometimes, and it is. It is babysitting an adult who isn’t behaving how you want them to behave and it is retraining thought patterns, displacing the negative with positive. That stuff all takes time. Just like working out at the gym, if you continue to do the work, you WILL see the results. You just have to keep going.

For now though, I am thankful for written word. For the chance to express myself in my own authentic way, pouring my heart out through my fingers and onto my keys to create dialogue that represents the core of who I am. And I know, if I keep going my spoken language will follow. ❤ ❤

** This is where I put my plug in for my buddy Mike Kemski and his PowerLife Highest Energy Wins Challenge which starts January 6th.

I started working with Mike almost a year ago but if I am honest with myself I really only truly started applying his principles (that I learned in one of his challenges) about 60 days ago. He tells you if you give is a solid 60-90 day effort big changes will happen and he is right.

I focused on a target of physical fitness since I needed something that would build some confidence about my ability to use his principles and to see if they would work for me (which they did, and they work for anyone as they are universal laws). In the last 2 months my energy has increased at least 2 fold, I have dropped weight and put on muscle. I am definitely more physically fit. I am also way more confident in how I look, in my strength and in myself and my ability to reach goals. I can look at myself without cringing and it has less to do with what my body looks like and a lot more to do with how I am carrying myself and my own personal satisfaction with my achievements. I have also opened doors to improving my financial situation and found motivation to create (in business) that I didn’t have before. I have met a ton of new people and have made connections and gained resources for financial and personal gains in my life. I have also become stronger in my convictions and less willing to take bullshit from people and have been able to, lovingly and compassionately place some much needed boundaries in my life. I could go on….

Mike’s steps are simple and actionable now. You will see results rapidly and you will have community support like no other. If you resonate with any of my writings and want to check out Mike’s written word, find him on Facebook. If you want to jump into some down to earth, easily accessible (for any level/income/goal) life principles with guidance and clarity, join his challenge. The link is here: