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

Fearless

Let’s talk about fear.

Fear cheers you on as you remain stagnant. It keeps you complacent. It bars you from achieving everything you are capable of. It keeps you hiding in the shadows and cowering away from your incredible potential. It coaxes you into compromising who you are, telling you that you aren’t good enough and that failure is certain. Fear speaks only to your vulnerabilities and never to your strengths.

Fear keeps us glued firmly to where we are rather than pushing us towards where we should be. It keeps us small. It allows us to accept ourselves as average rather than exceptional. It stunts us and encourages us to compromise.

When faced with the possibility of change, fear highlights danger rather than opportunity. It tricks us into thinking that the risk isn’t worth the potential payoff. It deceives us. It tells us that we will never be able to do the things that we wish that we could do. It tells us that our biggest dreams are too big and too far out of our reach.

Fear is smart. It knows just what to say to get us stop dead in our tracks. It speaks to our insecurities. It’s a constant companion and it rages battle within us, pitted up against hope and self-love.

Fear makes us average. It convinces us that what we have is enough but tells us that we ourselves are not enough. It soothes our discontent and quiets our ambition. It assures us that we have enough time and that tomorrow or the next day everything will be better; that if we just hang tough things will change.

Fear makes us judgmental. It breeds resentment and jealousy. It makes us prideful and full of ego and empowers us with an intense need to overcompensate. It allows us to become less of what we are and more of what others think we should be. It makes us feel we have something to prove.

Now, let’s talk about change.

What if we were to cast away fear? What if we imagined our lives where our decisions were not curbed by the possibility of rejection, loss or failure? What if we allowed ourselves to explore who we could be if this excuse or that excuse simply ceased to exist?

What a world that would be. What a life that would be.

Someone much wiser than me once said that you can’t be in fear and faith at the same time. We only get so much time, time which slips away faster and faster each year, time during which we must discover who we are, participate in our lives, and determine the nature of the mark we will leave.

The opportunity to be great is always available to us. It is simply a matter of having enough faith in ourselves to try.

We have the ability to make the choice to change our lives. Not only can we change our own lives, we have the power to change the lives of others. We can make today the day; make today the day that we check our fears and start to fight for everything that lies on the other side of them.

We have the ability to say to fear: I see you and I will not let you stop me. We can be everything we have always wanted to be, if only we can come up with the courage to try.

Dedicated to all of my fearless warriors who inspire me each day to let go of the fear.

xoxo

Sarah

Giving Up the Security Blanket

Have you ever experienced a time when you have hit a goal or achieved a significant milestone, and all the feelings you are feeling are just so anticlimactic?

You don’t feel elated. You don’t feel triumphant. You just feel kind of, meh.

Tonight I have my last shift at the restaurant, and as happy as I am to finally have every Friday and Saturday evening off, there is something else I am feeling. Something less than happy, excited, or even just meh.

Fear.

I am scared to not have the extra income anymore. I am scared that without it, the debt that I have worked so hard to get myself out of will creep back. What is more, I have practically always worked in a restaurant. It is fun. It has introduced me to amazing people, and given me lifelong friends. It is a part of my identity that I have so say goodbye to, even though I may not be completely ready.

Sounds silly, doesn’t it? That I consider working in a restaurant part of my identity. Hear me out.

Working for the restaurant has taught me how to do many things. It has taught me to keep calm under pressure. It has taught me to think on my feet. It has taught me to keep my temper when dealing with a difficult guest, or an employee I don’t agree with. It has taught me to multitask, to problem-solve, to function as part of a team, and how to talk to anybody and everybody. It was there for me when I got laid off. It has been my motivator, my escape, enabled me to reach my financial goals, and it has been an invaluable source of networking and opportunity.

That is a lot to say goodbye to.

As hard as it is, it is time to let go. I have to look the fear in the face and have faith that I am opening myself up to new opportunities by doing this. I want need to focus on my career and my writing, and to actually experience what it is like to have weekends off. I am burnt out. I am tired of working exhausting shifts throughout the holiday season. I am tired of having to say no to so many things because I have said yes to making money, for so long.

The restaurant went from being something I needed, to something I was holding onto like a security blanket. Letting go feels strong and weak at the same time. Something inside of me is nudging me forward, away from the person I have been comfortable being and into who I am becoming.

Maybe it feels anticlimactic because it has taken me longer than it should to finally let go of that security blanket. Maybe this is the universe’s way of telling me to relax; to go with it, trust in it, and that every little thing is going to be okay.

Here goes nothing.

Have you ever said goodbye to something that you felt was a part of you? I want to hear about it!

xoxo

Sarah

*Top photo via Pinterest.