Enough

One of the hardest things I grapple with is convincing myself that I do, that I am, enough.

There’s this incessant feeling ruminating in the background, this self-appraisal that often goes too far and bleeds into self-deprecation, that I should be doing more. That I should be further along. That I should be more than or less- confident, positive, secure, forgiving, responsible, kind, patient, loving, tolerant, trusting, insecure, critical, emotional, selfish, doubtful, resentful- than what I currently am.

I tell myself stories. Internal dialog that only I can hear, accept, or protest. These stories that I tell myself are scare tactics and a desperate preventative measure that a younger, more scared Sarah developed to protect herself. I spent more than a decade constructing a safe room that I could go and hide in when I was feeling exposed, challenged, or generally uncomfortable with the world around me. When things got too real for me, I would tell myself a story- I can’t, I’m broken, I’ll never get past this, I’ll never be better, I’ll never learn how- and go hide in that safe room.

The part of me that plays this tape of self-sabotage, the part of me that lets fear run rampant in the driver’s seat, it’s a diversion from the truth, from my truth. It no longer serves me. It is no longer helpful. It’s not even true. But expunging it? Removing it from my daily behavior and go-to when I feel scared or unsure? Now that’s the real trick. That’s where the growth lies.

__

There’s a book I read that is filled with daily meditations.

“When you have to make a decision or take a certain action, all that you can do is to do the best you know at that time, and if you do that you will have done your duty.” it said.

At the time I was developing my internal dialog about being broken and hopeless, the best I could do was adopt these protective mechanisms. Now I have been gifted with the opportunity to do something different, to do my best in this time I now stand in. I have been shown there is another way. A different way. A new path that I must explore.

Lean in. Don’t balk at the fear. Embrace the discomfort. Have faith.

The best part? Miracles of triumph and progress keep popping up like wild flowers in a field full of blooms. I see my life changing. I see myself questioning these stories I have always told myself. Where did they come from? Are they even true?

What is my truth?

My truth is that I am continuing to work. I am continuing to fall short. I am continuing to try new strategies and when one thing doesn’t work, I try something new. Again and again. I’m stretching. I am at my growing edge. I give it everything I’ve got. Many days, that is not enough in my book. But my truth is that it has to be enough. It must be enough to give as much as I possibly can every single day, investing in myself like a retirement fund. What it feels like is a lot of never-ending discomfort.

My North Star is hope. It’s deeper relationships. It’s giving more of myself. It’s living a life based on principle and ideals and connection. It’s never giving up on trying to fulfill the purpose that God has set for me.

__

If I keep looking at where I am falling short, I will miss all of the wins that I am accomplishing along the way. Some of the wins are so big I can’t even believe that this is my life. These wins are crucial. They help to temper the losses and the grief and highlight the silver linings that are present in every experience.

There’s incredible power in fighting like hell, not letting challenges tank you, and instead inviting them to sharpen you and soften you into a stronger, more resilient, more dedicated, and more effective person. You’ll find after that you are capable of giving more of yourself than you thought was possible and realize you have been filling your tank of self-love along the way. All on your own.

All the doubt and the fear and worry show you that you will continue to learn and fail and overcome and blossom.

And so we grow.

__

I hope you never give up on following your North Star. 

xoxo

Sarah

On Owning It

Life is like riding a bike.

Sometimes you have to pedal with all of the might you can muster, making your way inch by terrible inch up that long hill. And other times you can coast down with no resistance beneath your tires and the wind whipping gloriously through your hair.

If I picture life as a person, I see it as a jokester. You know the type; one of those people who thinks that super inappropriate things are really funny and who laughs at funerals. Life never takes itself too seriously. It likes to present a wide variety of situations in many unexpected forms just to make sure you really are on your toes at all times. It has an affinity for showing up in ways you could have never anticipated, will pound its fists on your front door at three in the morning just for a laugh, and it loves to pitch you curve balls to test your willingness and ability to knock them out of the park. Life has a grand ole time making sure that the only thing you can expect for certain is that things will turn out differently than you planned.

Recently, I was asked a pointed question that has kept me thinking.

How do think you react to adversity?

Great question.

I like to think that I take adversity in stride. I’d like to say that I handle all things with as much grace as I can possibly mobilize on short notice. I like to think that I do the best that I can while I keep a smile on my face and my heart full of compassion. I like to think that my experiences have taught me to be a strong and resilient person, capable of triumphing over anything that comes my way. I have overcome a lot, just like each and every one of you, and I intend to keep on doing just that.

But let me tell you that when life throws everything its got at me, one curve ball after another pummeling straight at me without pause, my reaction to adversity isn’t as pretty as I would like it to be. I’ve found that I move into silence rather than speaking my truth and that I falter in my faith rather than being able to turn it all over and trust in His plan for me. My positivitiy tanks.

I doubt myself. I wonder what I am doing wrong. I struggle with feeling wrong-sized and get angry when none of it seems to be working. Am I too sensitive? Am I unapproachable?

I switch tactics. Read more books. Reach out to others for help. I milk my support system for all its worth. Believe me, keeping me strong and centered and sane takes a village.

I am consistently revamping my strategy to figure out what the best fit is. I am constantly re-energizing in order to gain momentum for the next movement, looking to level-up and press forward. This doesn’t work, so let’s change it. That didn’t work, again, so let’s try this instead. Fail. Fail. Try again.

Do you know what all of the negative, uncomfortable and challenging feelings and experiences mean?

They mean that I am human. In progress. Developing. Learning. Achieving. Reaching. Trying.

I’m dealing with people, places and things that are not on my terms and that do not conform to my comfort zone. I’m like Silly Putty in the softening process; the part where you throw it around in your hands to make it pliable enough to mold into something entirely new.

I don’t like to think that I need molding. I don’t like to admit that I have areas I should work on. Who loves to pick themselves apart and acknowledge their faults? No person I know. But the sooner I get over with the pummeling, the faster I become ready to change my form. When I am warmed up and ready for a new shape, it means I am completely willing. It means both my mind and my heart are open to new ideas and new opportunities.

Let’s face it. Sometimes life beats the crap out of us.

We can either let it shatter us, or take it as a not-so-subtle hint from the universe that things are changing. Discomfort and pain are two of the greatest motivators for change, and change is always good.

I repeat. Change is always good.

Change forces us into action. Change improves us. Change intimidates us, seems impossible and then it teaches us that everything will be okay in the end. Always. Change shows us that the unexpected can lead to glorious results. Change terrifies us and then it chides us, whispering that we should have trusted the process the entire time.

So however you react to adversity, own it. Own it in its glorious imperfection and simultaneous badassery. You’re getting your tail licked and still asking for more. You’re waking up each day and focusing on the good. You’re giving it your best shot. Embrace everything and don’t get too caught up in the details. After all, it will work out just as it’s meant to in whatever amount of time it takes.

Own your abilities, inabilities, sensitivities, strengths, shortcomings, and greatness. Own your life.

Here’s to writing your legacy. 

xoxo

Sarah

On Being Your Own Superhero

Place your hands on your hips, feet shoulder-width or greater distance apart, and stare up into the sky for two minutes. How do you feel? Confident? Positive? Powerful?

There’s a study which proves that standing like a superhero for 120 seconds acts as a performance enhancer- increasing your focus, boosting your confidence, increasing your testosterone, and lowering your cortisol. Boosting testosterone leads to increased feeling of power. Decreasing cortisol, which is a hormone produced as a result of stress, makes you more capable of handling difficult situations. The superhero posture is also known as a power-pose, in which your body position is open and taking up lots of space. Power poses pack a whole lot of, well, power. They have the potential to not only change how the world perceives you, but how you perceive yourself.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that we are capable of anything, as long as we can put our fear and frustrations aside long enough to accomplish it. Even superheroes experience darkness. Even they falter and doubt, questioning whether they will be able to overcome the great adversity that faces them. They get scared, just like us.

And we, just like them, must take a moment to breath and find our inner strength.

Sometimes it feels as if there isn’t enough time. There isn’t enough time to put out all of the fires in front of you. There isn’t enough time to complete all of the tasks on your to-do list. There aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish all you need to do and also eat and also sleep. There isn’t enough patience left in you to deal with the most difficult of people over and over again, draining your life force. There isn’t anyone to turn to who will solve all of your problems- except for you. And it is all just so overwhelming.

On our darkest days we cannot and do not give up. We are survivors. We pick ourselves up and get it together and figure out how to solve it. We may not do it perfectly, but that does not matter. The important thing is that we do it. Again and again.

You’re struggling to do your best, and to be your best, and sometimes it feels as though you are hitting wall after wall after wall. It’s beginning to feel impossibly difficult to be truly seen or heard. You don’t know how you can possibly continue to keep giving so much of yourself when it seems to go so unnoticed by all around you.

Your effort is never unnoticed. In these moments, the ones in which we don’t know how to keep on going, we have to be our own superhero. It’s in these moments that we assume the wonder woman power-pose and channel all of our positive energy into believing in ourselves. Saying over and over, I know I can do this.

We dedicate ourselves to our education and our careers, to our papers and finals and our bosses and employees; to our parents, our friends, our boyfriends, husbands and children. We give so much of ourselves, for such a large portion of the day, that of course we get overwhelmed.

Deep breath. Take your moment, for you have earned it. One more deep breath, and then move forward. Put on your cape and your favorite shade of power-red lipstick, and walk back out into the world. Ready to conquer it all.

Because you will. You will conquer every last bit. You can do anything.

xoxo

Sarah

*The above mentioned study can be found in its entirety here:

Good Enough

I made it one of my goals this year to focus on embracing grace.

What does this mean exactly?

Well, it means that I am trying to be better at the things that don’t come very naturally to me. Patience, for instance, is a huge one. I want things to happen in my time and when I plan them, and it irks me to the core when things don’t go according to schedule. It means that I am trying to think more about my words before I say them, and not only that, I am trying to deliver them with more tact and consideration. I am trying to get better at considering others’ feelings before my own, and to not rush to conclusions.

Embracing grace means maintaining my positivity despite stressful circumstances. It means controlling my temper when I want to let the anger fly. It means smiling instead of shutting down, and listening instead of cutting someone short. It means making time even if I do not have it. It means making an effort to be more accepting that things will come as they will and all I have to do is not completely lose it in the process.

This is, at best, a work in progress.

It isn’t exactly convenient to maintain grace all of the time. In fact, at most times, it’s incredibly inconvenient. It isn’t the easy choice and it isn’t the comfortable one. It’s trying and frustrating and exhausting because life is trying and frustrating and exhausting.

However, if I give myself some space to reflect upon the last few months, I begin to see that slowly but surely I am getting better at handling things with a just a teensy tiny bit more grace. And if I take even more space and look at the me from a year ago? Wow is that a change. Situations that use to reduce me to a heaping pile of sobs now barely ruffle my feathers. I require less time to recover from the shock of needing a new plan, and am better at adjusting my end goals to fit the current situation.

Realizing that I am handling myself with just a little bit more grace than I did yesterday? That’s encouraging.

As I get older, the challenges I face only seem to get bigger and more complex. Honestly, sometimes I do not know if I can go forward with one more day. Problem-solving, time-managing, enduring…I am only one little human. I am only capable of so much and wouldn’t you know it, life keeps dishing it out.

However, conquering each new challenge shows me that I can and will overcome. It shows me that I am capable, no matter how impossible it seems. No matter how much I doubt myself, history has shown that everything will be okay in the end. If I am capable of doing something, then I think at my most basic level, I am capable of employing more grace while I stumble through it.

So, I am trying. I am trying to remember that I since I have no choice but to persevere, because giving up is not an option, that I may as well choose to simultaneously put grace at the forefront. I am giving myself pep-talks, refusing to reduce situations to inconveniences, and accepting that I can do it. Whatever challenge it is, I can come out on top, and maintain a certain amount of dignity along the way.

Still working on the patience. Still working on the understanding. Still working on the grace.

And that’s good enough for me.

San Diego on a Sunday. Just because.

A rare overcast Sunday in San Diego. Just because I love my home.

xoxo

Sarah

adulthood

I try to start every day with a to-do list.

Some days I get it all done. Some days I completely forget to even make a list. Most days I am somewhere in-between, crossing out the easier items with satisfaction and rolling over the rest to the next day’s list.

Order business cards. Work on my first ever Focus Word for the year. Write. Blog. Prepare for reviews at work. Fight writer’s block. Navigate the emotional exhaustion. Eat less sugar. Plan for what’s next. Try to be my best. Save money. Pay off debt. Try to contribute more to retirement.

Being an adult is hard.

Drop the donut, pick up a green juice.

It’s a new week again. Turn off the alarm, get ready, seek out some form of coffee. Walk out the door. Follow through on the next indicated step, even when I would much rather be doing other things. Complete tasks when and where I can. Writing instead of working, working instead of working out, waking up and going rather than sleeping.

Becoming an adult is hard.

Contribute to that retirement fund, even if the minimum is the only amount I can bear to see taken out of my minuscule paycheck. Feel guilty for not setting aside more. On the bright side, it’s taken out of the check pre-tax. I curse it all the same.

Gone are the days of sleeping until past noon. Was I really able to do that only a few short years ago? That person I used to be seems so far away now.

Adult responsibilities are hard.

Dentist appointments, self-evalutations for annual reviews, re-vamp the resume for the umpteenth time, network, promote ourselves, make time for cleaning and laundry. Daily tasks we all do, you and me, in the name of progress.

This is adulthood?

Express ourselves in ways that don’t offend. Be kind. Be there for a friend in need. Act as a shoulder to cry on. Be a motivator. Keep our promises. Be dependable. Pay our bills. Save. Invest.

This is us being adults.

Facing our fears. Squashing our insecurities. Refusing to run away. Choosing a path not because it is easy, but because it is what we want in our heart of hearts. Budgeting, planning, making a future.

We are a miracle, every adult one of us.

Who we are, what we are doing, the people we are becoming- we are amazing. We are so full of potential. We are the motivated, the capable, the go-getters. We are tenacious and stubborn and spunky and more self-seeking than we care to admit to, and we certainly won’t take no for an answer.

I never knew adulthood would feel like this. I never knew it would be so challenging, so exhausting, so enriching, so beautiful.

I never knew being an adult meant one simple thing: suiting up and showing up, every single day. So simple, yet so hard.

We have never been younger, smarter, more beautiful, or more ready to take on the world than we are at this very moment. This is it. This is our time.

Bring it on, adulthood.

xoxo

Sarah