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How to be a Practical & Socially Conscious Minimalist
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One of the popular criticisms against minimalism that I actually love is how elitist it is. The common saying minimalists use is "to only buy what you need", but that implies that everyone has the privilege of being able to afford to buy more than they need. I know this was not the intention of the movement, but it does exclude a large portion of the population. 

Since those phrases are geared towards those with privilege it is important to point out that most of the problems that are caused by overconsumption are from people of privilege over-consuming, so yes... they should buy less. The problem is stating that this lifestyle that underprivileged don't get to be apart of will lead to happiness. 

I do see the benefits of a minimalist lifestyle, since I try to adhere to it as well. I follow a different set of rules than the extreme minimalists do... such as only owning 500 items. I can't afford to only own 500 items because I need to keep, for example, extra parts from an old computer in case I need them for my new one or for another project. So... here are some practical rules to follow if you want to basically just stop buying so much crap and get your life organized while also being socially conscious about it. 

1. Donate

The only thing you should be throwing away when you're purging all of your crap is garbage. Like on hoarders when they do not even throw away their trash. Or if your furniture or clothes are beyond the point of being useable. If it is useable, donate it. Like I said... there are many people in underprivileged communities that you can help by giving them what you don't want instead of a landfill. 

2. Remember that Your house doesn't need to look like this 

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This is minimalist decor. There is also minimalist art. You don't need to strive for this. I think this is impractical. I want to see pictures of my family on my wall, I want to be inspired by artwork, and I love lots of pillows and throw blankets and I'm still a minimalist. The main point of minimalism is that you rid of the excess, not that you rid of everything. For me, excess is cable television and bulky exercise equipment because I don't use or love either of those things, but there is still some stuff in my house. 

3. When you buy, make it matter

I honestly hate the "vote with your dollar" mindset... that you can just buy eco-friendly clothes and save the Earth. It's not possible and there needs to absolutely be real and drastic policy reform in order for that to happen. It also excludes those who don't have enough money to chose what they buy, they have to buy the cheapest option available. 

With that said, if you do have privilege and you are buying things and experiences, educate yourself on that company. Even if you have to buy from WalMart, look them up, research them, tell people about them, teach your kid about them, and vote with your actual ballot for people who are pushing for reform. If you do have the privilege of having options, always always always chose the most ethical option you can because unfortunately, money is power so give power to those that really deserve it. 

4. Give Experiences Instead of Gifts

I've wrote a lot about this in my other posts, Minimalizing your Life, Not Just Your Closet and How to Change the World by Changing How You Give. For Christmas this past year I took my boyfriend to see Jay-Z instead of an actual present and we had a blast and made memories and that's better than any gift I could've given him (especially because he already has everything he needs/wants). 

5. Reuse

It is absolutely okay to have a room full of junk if its intention is for it to be reused. There is a reason why folks in the depression never threw anything away. It's better for the environment that you reuse the parts from that old computer (to use my previous example) than it is for you to throw it away. When I came up with the idea that I wanted an aquaponics unit that could fit on my counter I was able to make it that day and only had to buy a water pump and a goldfish to make it because I had all of the materials, which is again better for the environment because I didn't have to throw away the packaging for the new stuff. It was also better for my bank account. 

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How to Let Go of Shame and Bring In Success
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Shame 101

The simple definition of shame is a painful emotion caused by a strong sense of embarrassment, failure, worthlessness, and/or disgrace.

Shame follows people with addiction, hurting families and unhealthy relationships. Others can shame us and we can shame ourselves with some version of "who you are isn't okay, and nothing you do will change that. Shame on you."

Characteristics of shame

Unhealthy shame is the most detrimental human emotion. It is based on the different expectations that are placed on us by ourselves and by others. This results in the want to hide or cover up or escape. On the flip side, healthy shame leads to the blessings of humility and spirituality. 

Defenses against shame: 

addiction, anger, rage, perfectionism, etc

Descriptive shame words:

shy, embarrassed, inferior, stupid, dumb, inadequate, failure, guilty, humiliated, disgusted, worthless, mortified, a monster

Rules that follow shame

  • control
  • no talking
  • denial
  • incompleteness
  • perfectionism
  • blame
  • unreliability
  • disqualification

Symptoms of unhealthy shame

Shame is difficult to diagnose on others because most of the time it is something we're hiding from the outside world. Like when you hear people talk about someone who committed suicide and they say "they showed no signs that they were going to do that". Well yes, they actually probably did show signs, but they might not have been as obvious to observers because the person was TRYING to hide it. We try to hide what we're embarrassed of. I'm going to list out how to self-diagnose yourself though, and honestly I would argue that everyone has some level of unhealthy shame in their life and I would blame it on the cultures we grow up in. And you do not need to check ALL of these to have unhealthy shame as they are all evidence of it on their own. 

- You can't bring yourself to do things, go places, or be around people because you feel intimidated

- You experience recurrent bouts of depression

- You are in self-isolation: physically or emotionally distancing yourself from others; especially those you care about the most

- You pretend to be someone you are not

- You rely on bad habits or substances to medicate inner pain and self-loathing

- You exaggerate and or lie about yourself, your accomplishments, and your lifestyle; you brag or name drop

- Your public identity and your private self are markedly different

- You have had suicidal thoughts

- You assume the blame when someone treats you poorly or hurts you

- You make excuses for people who abuse you or treat you with disrespect

- You are unable to accept yourself as only human; instead you see yourself as subhuman or superhuman. You are unable to accept that there is both good and bad within you; you cling to a view of yourself that is all bad or all good or you alternate between the two

- You keep secrets about yourself, and you feel bound to carry them with you to the grave

- You keep a shameful part of your life separate from the rest of your life, even in your own mind; so that your behavior in one area is markedly different from the rest of your life

- You deny the nature and severity of your addictions

- You lose yourself in the needs of others: busying yourself by taking care of others; rescuing them; trying to control, fix or change them; and trying to solve their problems while neglecting your life (also known as codependency)

- You feel driven to achieve, overachieve, and excel to feel okay about yourself; you try to prove your worth by what you do (my number 1 problem in case you were wondering)

- You focus on the flaws and failings of others; being judgmental and critical draws attention away from you or consoles you that you aren't as bad as the object of your criticism 

Shame, Guilt and Toxic Shame

So now we now what shame is and looks like. Guilt is associated with shame because it is believing what we did is not okay, however, it can be beneficial when it affirms our values and motivates us to change like feeling bad that we hurt someone's feelings so we don't say that again next time. Shame can also be healthy when it causes humility so it's believing that we are limited and make mistakes. Like when we get into a car accident and realize we're not perfect. Toxic shame however is where the danger lurks because it is the belief that who we are is not okay, that we are worthless. 

How to address your unhealthy shame 

Unhealthy shame is only going to hold you back from your success, whether that be in your career, your relationships or your happiness. Releasing unhealthy shame takes time, but once you do it you will feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of your shoulders, you're going to be motivated to change your life, and you'll grow so much spiritually. 

1. Switch from shame-based systems to self-love systems

Accepting who you are and that who you are is okay is a HUGE undertaking. And taking baby steps, in my opinion, is the best way to handle this. When you feel the shame creeping in just recognize it, stop, and change the station so the voice in your head now tells you that you are worth it. Remind yourself that this is cultural and not a fact and that you're a badass until you believe it. And again really try to fall in love with who you are. All of my posts are so woven together with this concept because it is the ultimate life lesson in my opinion. 

2. Expose shame and treat it like a feeling

Call that shit out. Go and see a therapist and talk about it. It grows so much stronger when it's hidden. The second you put the spotlight on it you'll be more in control of it. Calling it what it is is almost always the first step when dealing with feelings and emotions as I wrote about in my other post about feelings

3. Track it to its roots

Here is definitely where I would recommend therapy. If you're like me then you bury that shit deep down inside and lock the door so I honestly don't even know where to start when it comes to tracing my roots. Therapist studied how to do this so let them help you. 

4. Change what's needed

Once you start doing all of these things you'll realize what's causing you shame. Is it perfectionism? Change what you need to. If your job is forcing you to be perfect try to find a new one or change the environment. Is it your relationship? Change it. Perfection doesn't exist so if your world is asking you for it... move. 

5. Release the shame

And once you've got what's causing the shame in the palm of your hand, open it and let it go. 

 

And if you need to be reminded that you're a badass... read this post :) 

 

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The Other F Word: Feelings
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Just in case nobody in your life has told you this... IT IS OKAY TO HAVE FEELINGS. Even better yet... YOU NEED TO HAVE FEELINGS because if you don't that makes you a sociopath. 

And just in case you haven't been told this either... IT IS OKAY TO FEEL YOUR FEELINGS. There you now have permission to be a human. 

I understand that this is MUCH easier said than done as a lot if not most of us have been raised to believe that showing emotion is showing weakness and that if you feel sad or hurt you need to just bury that deep down in and move on. Well this is SUPER unhealthy and it leads to negative consequences and behaviors later on. Your feelings will manifest later on, but stronger and more powerful if you immediately resist your feelings when they're brought up. 

What you resist persists

Let's talk about core feelings

What I'm realizing more and more (including in myself) is that society doesn't really ever talk about feelings, like what they are and how it feels to feel them. You can't talk about how you feel shame if you don't even know that shame is a feeling, right? So I'm going to list out core feelings so when you feel something and you can't identify exactly what you're feeling and you want shove it under the figurative rug in your head you can refer to this this and distinguish it. 

ANGER

FEAR

SAD

HURT/PAIN

LONELY

GUILT

SHAME

LOVE

HAPPY

JOY

GRATITUDE

WILLING

HOPEFUL

PEACE

And just as a reminder: all feelings are okay

The way out is always through

I can verify first hand that shoving your feelings deep down inside is super unhealthy. Personally, I did it because I thought it made me independent. If nobody knew that they could make me feel an emotion that meant I had complete autonomy of my emotions and that made me stronger and invincible. 

No, no, no. It made me weaker, apathetic, and I was called a robot multiple times. I thought it was endearing at the time, but looking back it was naive and childish and I'm paying for it now by having to sort through the emotions I didn't deal with back then. 

Our emotions and feelings control us if we resist them and until we allow ourselves to really feel the emotion they'll incubate and grow stronger. Anger is a huge one for this. I know that if I am truly angry at someone and I don't talk about that anger, I just shut my mouth until I'm "over it" that I'm going to end up exploding at them for the stupidest thing. 

Talking through your emotions is essential for healthy relationships, too. I really mean this. Not talking about your feelings can lead to codependency and depression and weaker relationships. If you directly state what you want and what you're feeling you'll create an environment where clear and MEANINGFUL communication can occur. Whether your relationship is romantic or platonic it is important to remember that talking about your feelings should strengthen the relationship and if it weakens it you should rethink who you're spending time with. It is important for your growth and sanity that you're in an environment where feelings are okay to be discussed. 

HOW to talk about your feelings

If you're at all like me THIS is where you struggle. I know I need to feel my feelings, I know I need to talk about my feelings, but for some reason knowing I need to do it didn't motivate me enough to actually do it because I didn't know HOW to talk about them. So don't worry, I got your back. 

First thing you need to do is resort to the list of core emotions. You need to identify which feelings you're feeling and use the words. Don't use a weaker synonym version of the word to shake it off. You're entitled to feel that emotion and synonyms will often times have skewed meaning and the goal here is for clear, meaningful communication. 

Next see if you can figure out why you're feeling that way. If you know a person is causing you to feel that way use the "I feel ____ when you ____" set up. So "I feel hurt, sad, and lonely when you make plans with me and cancel last minute" and an example is also necessary so "like that time when we planned to go to the concert together and the day of you called and told me you couldn't make it". This is healthy communication. The other person can't say "oh I don't do that" because you gave them a concrete example. And you're feelings have been stated and now they know that they caused you to feel those negative feelings. 

If you don't know why you're feeling a certain way just start talking about your feelings. Find a trusted friend and say "I'm not sure why, but I'm feeling sad right now" and allow yourself to feel sad. If it's consistent you should seek therapy (or really just seek therapy anyway because every single person should be in therapy) and maybe see if you can talk through why. Personally my go-to is my mom because I can literally be like "ugh I feel so sad today for no reason" and she'll point blank tell me "there's definitely a reason" and list to me alllllll the things in my life that could be making me sad and once I identify it I can feel it and let it go. 

And then allow yourself time to feel it. Rushing this is counterproductive. Take the time to heal. You wouldn't take your cast off of your leg after 2 days and say "well I need to get over this and walk because I have stuff to do" because you would re break it right? Same thing with your feelings. You need to treat your emotions as REAL and don't push them aside too early. Everyone is different and you're allotted as much time as you need to heal. 

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20 Tips to Prevent Burnout

1. Stop people pleasing!

This is absolutely number one just in case you think this is too long to read because this is most important! Stop living your day for everyone else. Don't go to law school to impress your parents if you want to be a photographer. Don't plan your coworkers baby shower if you won't love every part of the experience. Don't make plans with people who don't take your thoughts and feelings into account. There are three easy steps to accomplish this:

1. Think about what is being offered for a moment. For example: your coworker asks you to plan their retirement party. Tell them you'll think about it and get back to them in a timely manner. Then think about it.

2. Weigh the outcomes. There are two in this instance. 1- I plan the retirement party and waste my time and energy doing so. 2- I don't plan the retirement party and waste no time or energy on this. Are you close with this coworker? Then maybe you're not wasting anything. Do you dislike this coworker? You're probably wasting valuable resources planning it, then. Weigh the costs and benefits of the decision.

3. Decide. And this is the hard part for most people, but it doesn't have to be. You either say "I'd love to" or "I appreciate you trusting me with this task, but I don't have the time". Short and simple. Don't make your decision based on the happiness it would bring them, but on the happiness it would bring you. If making them happy TRULY makes you happy - then do it. If not, spend your time on better things.

2. Change your diet

All I'm going to say on this since people HATE being told to change their diet is if you eat better you feel better. If you feel better you won't get burnt out so quickly. That is all.

3. Make sure you're getting enough sleep

I'm dead serious about this one. I hate that our culture praises those who sleep less as if that shows what a strong work ethic you have. No no no... without your 8 hours you are working less efficiently and if you know me you know that my number one concern is efficiency. I can get so much more done in one hour of time if I'm well rested than if I'm tired. PLUS fatigue is the reason why most car accidents happen on Fridays - people haven't been sleeping all week. Do us and yourself a favor and sleep! If you're not convinced I wrote a whole post on why badass bitches sleep A LOT!

4. Ask for help

Share carpool responsibilities for your kids, make sure you're splitting up group work, make sure your partner and you are sharing home responsibilities, and if you need help with a task ask someone for help knowing you'll return the favor when they need help. If you're not surrounded by people willing to help you then you need to rethink your relationships.

5. Time block

Don't work on writing your 25 page paper all in one sitting, do it in 5 page increments and take a break every 5 pages where you meditate or take a short walk, etc. This is super important for big goals. Just spend an hour every day on your goal and chip away at it until you reach it. If you're trying to build your business overnight you're going to get burnt out and quit really fast. Life's a marathon and you need to pace yourself. Which leads me to my next point...

6. Stop procrastinating

You're burnt out because you waited until 12pm to finish your report that's due the next day at 6am and not only are you stressed about the time crunch, but you're going to be running all day on no sleep making you less sharp - which leads to a less efficient day meaning you have to stay up late again to get all of your work done because it's taking you longer to complete. Schedule your responsibilities and stick to them so you can be at your most efficient and still have time for self-care and sleep and joy.

7. Make time for joy

And no this is not making time for self-care, that'll be another point. Joy is simply joy. Making time for what makes you laugh and what gives your life purpose. This is essential. I recommend making a list of the things that bring you the kind of joy that fills your soul and incorporate something from that list into each day. All day your draining your life source battery and joy is how you recharge it.

8. Stay off of social media

You've got to trust me on this one. People on social media are either complaining or bragging. You only see the BEST parts of peoples lives and then you end up comparing yourself to them. They're using filters, only showing the glamorous part of their day, and it's all for show. Studies have proven that people who use social media are left feeling more depressed than before they logged on. You need to lessen the amount of distractions in your life and keep your focus on your goal without comparing where you are in life to other people.

9. Make sure you're taking time for self-care

I really don't feel like I need to write a lot for this one... self-care is easy. Make sure your basic needs are met and you're taking time for YOU. Personally my self-care is done when I'm alone so I wrote a post that's 100 things to do alone if you're looking for some ideas.

10. Take time to be creative

This is so important. This isn't just a taking a break or letting your mind wander. Creating makes you feel important, it gets your using your right brain, and it's how you stay motivated. The less creative your responsibilities are (i.e. work, your major, running kids to soccer practice, etc) the more time you need to be creative to make sure you have that balance. Creating inspires and inspiration keeps you motivated and happy -- you'll be depressed and burnout super quick if you only focus on the boring stuff.  I wrote a post on how to become inspired and find your passion if you're more interested in how to do this.

11. Stay hydrated

Just do it... if you're not drinking your weight in ounces of water every day you're not hydrated your body isn't at it's peak. Hydration = burnout prevention. Write it down.

12. Plan your goals

I mean sit down and plan out your next week, month, year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, etc. Where are you headed in your life? Where do you want to go? I recommend starting at 20 years and working backwards. This doesn't have to be set in stone, you can always change your mind, but it's much less of a mental strain if I know that by working on my business 1 hour a day I'll get to my 20 year goal then if I'm stressing out over how I'm going to be the person I want to be. Sit down, write it out, and calm down. I use the bullet journal method and wrote a post about that as well if you're interested.

13. Spend time in nature

The most important reminder spending time in nature gives me is that there is more than my tiny little perspective of the world. If I don't turn in my paper by midnight the sun will still rise, the Earth will still turn, and the little things I do every day are really not that important. Just go and take a walk outside of the city and remember that.

14. Ground yourself

This needs to be done every day. The busier you are the more grounding you need. I already wrote a whole post about how to ground yourself so check that out!

15. Keep your energy levels high

If you're struggling just to get out of bed in the morning you're probably already burnt out. You need to follow the other steps on this list, but I also wrote a post on how I got through this. I was sleeping 12 hours and would wake up feeling like I didn't sleep at all and couldn't get out of bed and so I wrote a post on how I got my energy back so you can implement some of the things that helped me in your own life.

16. Cut the bad fruit off of the tree

This goes along with the first point of not pleasing people... but really you NEED to remove toxicity from your life at all costs. Cut off toxic relationships, toxic friends, toxic family members, toxic responsibilities, etc. This is crucial. All of those things are draining your energy and you're going to get burnt out so much faster. If a person or a task isn't making you feel healthier or good about yourself or helping you achieve your goal you're wasting your time and energy. Again, I'm all about efficiency so trim up your life.

17. Get rid of stuff

Burnt out? TIME TO PURGE. You're wasting time and energy organizing your crap, cleaning your crap, looking for your crap, moving your crap to make room for other crap and it's exhausting. Believe me I know how you feel... I grew up with a type A mom who needed everything organized with labels BUT THERE WAS SO MUCH STUFF. It was just organized clutter. If you don't NEED it or LOVE it toss it. Byeeeeeeee. I also wrote a whole post on how to minimalize your entire life - not just your stuff. Read that one too. :)

18. Stop feeling guilty

Guilt burns me out faster than any other emotion. It takes about 3 seconds of a guilt trip for me to need a nap. This is so hard for people and I get it... but it's really something to work on. Be yourself unapologetically. If you fuck up then apologize and move on. You've learned from your mistake, be grateful for the lesson, and don't dwell on it. Stop feeling guilty that you're not around enough for someone, that you can't afford a birthday present, etc. If you're doing the best you can then the people in your life should respect that. If they make you feel guilty then resort back to point number 16 because you don't have time for that kind of negativity in your life. You have shit to do.

19. Be patient

You're not going to be a millionaire at 25. You're not going to live in a fully renovated penthouse at 26. Even if you know 20 year olds who are - you're probably not because most are living in shit holes and that is 100% OKAY. Even if you're 40 and you feel like you don't have your life together yet it is okay. Make a plan and chip away at it and be happy that you have a purpose. You're burnt out because you're impatient and you think having the penthouse is what will make you happy, but you're wrong. Working towards the penthouse is what will make you happy.

20. Believe you can do it

Otherwise known as your self-efficacy - this is psych 101. If you truly believe you CAN accomplish it then you will. That way a 25 page paper goes from this huge monster you have to slay with a toothpick to just "oh yeah that'll be nothing I can totally do that". You raise your self-efficacy by remembering all the times you have accomplished a similar task in the past... "Remember last semester when you wrote that 20 page paper? This is only 5 more pages". It might suck to accomplish it... but just reminding yourself that it's totally doable makes all the difference.

Gratitude : The real secret to happiness, success and healthy relationships

Get ready for the best piece of advice I could give to anyone. The most important lesson I've ever learned is that gratitude should always be your number 1 focus. Here's why...

You'll be happier

Newsflash... happiness is not a destination. You can't book a flight to happiness and spend the weekend. If you want to be happy you need to be happy that you even get to focus on your happiness. You need to be GRATEFUL that you get to work towards a goal. You need to be GRATEFUL for all of the experiences, materialistic things, and lessons you have had throughout your life because they were blessings. Whenever I get pissed about something not going my way I look back to who I was in 4th grade... if I had no experiences I would still be that person and there is no way in hell I would rather hang out with my 4th grade self than the woman I am now. I'm thankful that I've had and will have the opportunity to grow. So now when something shitty happens in my life I can look at it as a lesson and say thank you to the universe for helping me grow. I have nothing to be sad about when I look at life that way leaving only room for happiness.

You'll be more successful

Because guess what? You're going to be grateful for your day and actually use all of it to its full potential. You're going to be grateful for any handouts, advice, help, or advantages that come your way and you're going to use them to help yourself be more successful. You're also going to be grateful that you received so much help and give back when you have the means, which builds you an army of loyal followers instead of enemies you stomped on to get where you are. You're going to be grateful for your success, you're going to thank the universe (or God or whatever you want to call it) and in return for your gratitude it'll supply you with more (I mean look at Oprah she can't give money away as fast as she earns it, but the flow of energy keeps in coming in).

You'll have healthier relationships

I'm not a relationship expert, but I do know that if someone does something for you and you don't say thank you, resentment will build and it'll leave a crack in your foundation. I literally say thank you for every single thing like letting me eat your leftovers or even just hanging out with me. I've never met anyone who ever said "I don't want to hang out with so-and-so because they're just so grateful for everything I do for them". I have, on the other hand, heard the opposite on multiple occasions. The more gratitude I get for doing things for other people the more things I want to do for them. I mean just be grateful that they're even in your life and watch how the relationship builds. BTW this includes romantic, familial, and platonic relationships.

Oh and...

you should be grateful regardless because if you're not you look like an asshole to anyone who has less than you do. Go stand in front of the kids living in landfills in Brazil and talk to them about how rough your life is because you got a speeding ticket WHILE SPEEDING. You're problems are only problems because that's what you've labeled them. I call them lessons or maybe even inconveniences, but my problems are not problems compared to 99% of the problems everyone else in the world has. Show some respect.  

 

 

 

Why Having Weaknesses Is A Good Thing

Self-esteem is a tricky thing. Something that I've noticed recently, though, is that everyone is so obsessed with focusing on their weaknesses because they see someone else who is better at it and they covet. I'm going to explain why you need to see having weaknesses as a GOOD thing.

Self Awareness

Most importantly... be grateful you can even see your own weaknesses. This means you have some level of self awareness. If you think you don't have any weaknesses you're delusional and it's going to stunt your growth. For those of you who know what your weaknesses are, great, good for you. I'm proud of you for internalizing your talents and realizing what you're not so good at. Keep doing this your whole life. Think of what comes easy to you and what you have to really force yourself to try to do.

Narrow Your Focus

Weakness help you to narrow your focus. You know that you're following your life's path when everything seems to come easy to you. For example... it is really difficult for me to be around dark, negative energy for long periods of time, so being a social worker probably isn't the best career choice for me. I know that taking on people's problems as my own is a weakness, and therefore I never pursued a career that would make me do that.

If you're starting a business you can recognize your weaknesses to outsource and do your strengths yourself. If you're great at design, but you're lost with programming, hire an IT person and stick to the design. Focus on your strengths and allow others to come in and beef up the weaknesses.

Stay Humble

Knowing your weaknesses is going to make you stay humble. Humility is such an underrated attribute. Not only are you going to be able to focus on your strengths to be more successful, but while you're doing it you're going to appreciate other people who's strengths are your weaknesses and nothing makes a person like you more than when you appreciate them. This isn't always everyone's biggest concern, but when I look around at the successful people who stayed humble, they're the ones who are not only successful materialistically, but they're leaving a legacy.

5 Steps To Dealing With Negative People

All of us either have to deal with negative people all the time, or we are a negative person. One of the aspects of being the best version of yourself is knowing how to behave in every situation in order to reap maximum benefit from that situation. Most of these lessons I've learned the hard way, though, so I thought they'd be helpful to others.

Photo source:  here

Photo source: here

Cut the energy off as soon as you leave

This is super important for the rest of your day. It doesn't matter if I'm spending 5 minutes or 5 hours with this person, as soon as I leave them I say to myself "I give your energy back to you with peace and love" and push it off of my body. If you don't need the visualization then you can just take a deep breath or whatever. I, however, do need to visualize that negative energy leaving or I carry it with me all day.

Try to stop them from complaining

This is where knowing the difference between complaining and venting really comes in handy. Venting, in my opinion, is when a person is telling a story about something bad that happened to get it out of their system so they can move on, like mini therapy. Complaining is talking about bad things that they either can't change or are unwilling to change. I'll listen to anyone vent, granted I might cut them off if turns into rambling, but everyone has to do it and it doesn't make them a negative person. Complaining is something negative people do, and I do not have the time for that. When I notice complaining I just simply say "what are you going to do about it?". If they say "I don't know", I say "well I can either give you advice or we're moving on to talk about something else". They usually get the point. Since I've set boundaries with the people in my life, including coworkers, they know I don't take bullshit and I won't sit through it, it's just my personality. If you need to set your own boundaries I wrote a post that will walk you through it here.

Be an adult

As an adult you don't HAVE to take anyone's BS. You also cannot be an asshole about it. Finding the sweet spot in the middle takes practice, but you can do it. Adults don't let negative people walk all over them, but they don't just stop doing business with them either. There's a way to talk to them that might not turn them into positive people, but it will at least shut them up. You can tell them to stop complaining as I mentioned above, you can be overly positive when you're around them because attitudes are contagious (although this can be exhausting), you can motivate them to be positive, such as, "that comment isn't going to help us move forward in an efficient way, I'd like to keep comments as positive as possible" for business environments at least. You can use similar language for personal environments. The point is... you're an adult, so act like it. Stop acting like a child who needs to conform and let people walk all over them.

Adapt

This is slowly becoming my favorite word. When I'm with a negative person I try one of these tactics and make note of the result. Did it work? Great, use it again. Did it not work? Okay, tweak it and try something different. Negative people are seriously my least favorite to be around. I'd rather be with someone who fundamentally disagrees with me on every platform than one who complains and is negative, but agrees with me. However, every person is going to be different, meaning, there is no catch-all for negative people. You gotta use different formulas for each one.

Make sure you're not a negative person

If you're surrounded by negative people, chances are you are one. Misery loves company and I'll say it again, your vibe attracts your tribe. Have a good, positive attitude and you'll be surprised how much good karma is going to come back to you, how many people are going to be more positive around you, and how much happier you'll be in general.

10 Things Independent People Do Differently

1. They set boundaries

It is not a coincidence that I am putting this as number one. Think of these 10 traits as steps to becoming independent. The very first thing I want you to do is sit down and write out your priorities and decide on your boundaries. I wrote a post 4 Reasons Why Boundaries Are Important and How to Implement Them. It goes into more detail about exactly how to frame your boundaries. Setting boundaries is what separates dependent people from independent people. For example, one of the boundaries I have set is that when I need alone time it is okay for me to tell people no or to go away. If people have a problem with this I know that if they're not going to respect this boundary they are probably not going to respect me in many other areas of my life and therefore I do not need them in my life. It will block out soul-sucking, energy vampires from your life. Your energy can be your own with boundaries, PLUS you'll be happier and more badass telling people they need to respect your boundaries, you'll no longer be walked all over.

2. They have a positive attitude

ANOTHER post I've written on this subject is 4 Reasons Why You Need To Check Your Attitude. The thing that independent people have that dependent people don't is a sense of confidence. They may not know for a fact that their making all the right decisions, but they know that they're going to get to where they need to go by making them. Fake it until you make it if you have to, and at first you probably will. Start having faith in yourself, in the people around you, and in the future. Stop worrying so much and focus on being positive and following your intuition. You have a purpose on this Earth and the only way you're going to fulfill it is by following your intuition and putting your faith in it.

3. They have strong relationships

And why do they have strong relationships? Because they set boundaries, but moving on, it's important that this is talked about. Independent people are not lonely people. Let me repeat. INDEPENDENT PEOPLE ARE NOT LONELY PEOPLE. Having a support system behind them is what allows them to thrive and make good decisions and build their confidence. If you're in a relationship, romantic or otherwise, and they are not helping you in this way, as an independent person it's time to cut the chord. Independent people may not have a ton of relationships, but the ones they do have are positive and worth the energy they're putting into them.

4. They do not covet

One of the most important traits that independent people hold is not competing with others, but rather, with themselves. Something I always say is the only person I want to be "better than" is yesterday's version of myself. They don't spend hours on social media because they know it's all false and it's only the best illusions of other people's lives. They don't want to have a ton of stuff to prove to other people that they're "better". In fact, emotionally independent people are usually minimalists who practice detachment. This is much easier for some than others, but it's a practice, something to work towards.

5. They are their own sun

I came up with this phrase this past weekend when having this discussion with one of my best friends and I thought it was a great way to put what I've been trying to say. I phrased it like "I have a lot of people in my life who bring me warmth, but I am my own sun". So if a person leaves my life, there is still warmth that I create without the need for their heat. I can enjoy them, and love them, and want them in my life, but if they leave it, I am not forced into the tundra. I think this is something to definitely keep in mind if you're trying to be independent. Make sure you're in charge of your own joy and other people can amplify it.

6. They practice self awareness

And notice I said "practice". They do not have themselves COMPLETELY figured out, nobody does, and nobody can because we are constantly growing. However, it is super important to keep in mind that knowing yourself is absolutely critical to being independent. If you know who you are then it makes it almost impossible for someone else to come into your life and tell you who are. I know for a fact that I am healer, I am always trying to help and heal every single person I meet, so if someone were to tell me that I am currently destructive I wouldn't believe them. And that's important because the way I see myself is what I make decisions off of, and how I see my self worth and self confidence. Knowing who I am means it's my job to tell others who I am, and not the other way around. To increase your self awareness you can always be taking personality tests, getting psychic readings, palm readings, past lives readings, etc. You should always take a moment to formulate your own opinions about books, music, movies, etc, before you allow others to offer theirs. And you can start paying attention right now to your intuition and your emotions. When do you feel happy? When do you feel sad? What makes you cry or laugh? These are good first steps.

7. They don't make excuses

If you're late, you're late. Nothing else made you late, you did not do everything you could to be on time and it's your fault. That doesn't mean you being late is a bad thing, however, everything happens for a reason. If you're late and your boss fires you then you weren't meant to work there. The point is, independent people take responsibility for their actions.

8. They don't blame others for their problems

This goes along with my last point, but it needs to be said. If you are going through shit then you need to realize that there is a lesson the universe is trying to teach you. If you are going through the same shit over and over again, you're not learning your lesson and the universe is going to keep giving you the lesson until you learn from it. When independent people are constantly getting fired they take a step back and look at the bigger picture, they learn the lessons they are supposed to, and they adapt their behavior.

9. They know happiness is not a destination

I was listening to an interview with Jewel, who is a fascinating human being btw, and she said something that just really hit me. She said "people act like their going to stumble upon happiness like it's Europe or something". It's so true. Happiness isn't the end goal, folks, and in fact viewing it that way is exhausting and disheartening because you're never going to reach it. Happiness is a byproduct of fulfilling your life's purpose. You fulfill your life's purpose by doing what makes you happy. You know what makes you happy through self awareness. These are all connected. Independent people aren't distracted by trying to be happy, they know happiness will be there so long as joy is in their life, and they chase joy.

10. They adapt

Trump gets elected? Adapt. Your spouse files for divorce? Adapt. Your dog dies? Adapt. Your job moves you across the country? Adapt. Stop thinking that where you are right now is where you always need to be. You need to move on and adapt to your situations because learning to adapt is where we grow as humans and as cognitive beings. I'm not saying suppress your emotions, in fact I'm suggesting the opposite. You need to feel those emotions so they can guide you into learning the lessons from the experience that you need to, but you need to continue to look forward and view your future with hope. Be a problem solver and not a whiner.

How To Change Your Life By Starting A Bullet Journal

I know the title of this post seems pretty dramatic, but starting a bullet journal changed my life for the better. I've been talking about bullet journals in my posts and podcasts so I feel like it's really only fair if I explain how to start one, why you need to start one, and give you a peek at mine for an example (examples always help me visualize the point of things).

My bullet journal looks like it's been beaten up pretty badly because it has... I bring it with me everywhere.

My bullet journal looks like it's been beaten up pretty badly because it has... I bring it with me everywhere.

What is a bullet journal?

After I graduated college my dad bought me a journal as a graduation present to write down the next stage of my life. I didn't know I was going to turn it into a bullet journal at the time, I just knew that I had a lot of planning to do so I started to use it for that. I was looking for ideas on pintrest and found out what I was doing was called bullet journaling. I'm not entirely sure what the proper definition of one would be, I would describe it as a customized life planner. The overall purpose of one is to plan your life, your entire life, or at least whatever portions of it you feel you need to write down.

Why start one?

If you're anything like me you have all of these ideas that you want to accomplish, but you're not really sure how to. Bullet journals are the vehicle to help you actually achieve your goals and become more productive. I'll list out my different pages later, but anything you want to learn, or accomplish, or track, you can keep it all in your bullet journal. PLUS if you're a creative, like me, outlining the different pages are my version of those adult coloring books that everyone is obsessing over right now.

A peek at my bullet journal

I think it'll be more clear if I show you pages from mine. You can click through a few of them below. I'm not going to show every page because that would be like taking pictures of a private journal and I'm just not ready for that yet.

I'm working on my 2017 bullet journal now and I decided I wanted grid lines to make charts easier. Here is a list of pages that my 2017 bullet journal will incorporate:

2017 goals, Places I Want To Go, Reading List, Spiritual Goals, Workout Tracker, Yoga Tracker, Meditation Tracker, Packing List, Gratitude Tracker, Savings Tracker, Daily Routine, Weekly Routine, Monthly Routine, Daily Goals, Weekly Goals, Monthly Goals, Blood Type Diet Foods (look into this if you haven't!), Gardening Planner, Trip Planner, Level 10 Life, Monthly Tasks, Budget, Bill Tracker, Non Profit Planner, Brain Dump, Dog Tricks, Self Care Ideas, Spiritual Journal, Podcast Ideas, Blog Post Ideas, Blog Goals, Challenges

Those are what I have so far at least, I'm constantly adding pages whenever I need to plan things.

Explanation of some pages

Level 10 Life: This page is honestly where you should start. You come up with 10 categories (you can see mine listed above) and then you write down your 10 goals for each category. I have at least one daily goal, one weekly goal, one monthly goal, one yearly goal, one 5-year goal and one 10 year goal for each category and the other three are fluid. The reason why this is crucial is because it is going to help you prioritize your goal so when you go to make daily, weekly, monthly, yearly tasks you can refer back to this page. For example, if your goal is to read one book per month then when you're writing your monthly goals you add "read one book" and since you know you're going to have to read every day for your daily goals you write "read 30 minutes". It takes your larger goals and forces you to narrow them down into daily tasks. Another example would be for one of my spiritual goals I have "become a yoga instructor in 5 years" so I will need to construct a timeline that breaks down what I have to do every year, every month, every week and every day to reach this goal in time.

Savings: To track my savings I make a rectangle with what I'm saving for written above it. I then calculate how much I am going to need and divide that amount by how many months are between now and the due date. I make a box for each month with the accumulated amount written in each box and when I go to do my budget for the month I know how much to extract. For example, If I need $500 in 5 months for a trip I'm planning, I make a rectangle with 5 boxes and "$100, $200, $300, etc" marked in each box. When I've saved the amount in the box I color it in.

Brain Dump: This page I use for all of the ideas that run through my head no matter how crazy. They go here if I'm not sure if I want to dedicate a whole planning page to them, but I don't want to forget about them either. A lot of the time they're just notes to myself like "do a photoshoot with grandma soon and write a post about her"... stuff like that.

Trackers: These pages are what keep me motivated. You can see my workout tracker in the slideshow above. In each square I marked A, B, C, or D and these correspond with a youtube playlist of workout videos (because for those of you who don't know I hate gyms and the commute to one and back is a waste of precious time). I like to work out at home or run, hike, etc. I just go to my tracker and look at the day I'm on, go to the corresponding youtube playlist, and click shuffle so I get a random workout. After I complete the workout I color in the square. When all the squares are colored in I get a massage. Easy peasy and I'm motivated to do it.

Trip Planner: I use this page to calculate every single detail of a trip I'm planning. I mostly do this so I know EXACTLY how much to save for. I plan for gas by mileage, hotel, meals, everything. It also helps the other people I'm traveling with so they know how much to save for as well and what we're doing, etc.

Index: It is super important to keep an index because you're going to have a lot of different pages and looking for each page is going to be a waste of time.

These are just a few of my pages... if you have any questions or want any explanation of the other pages comment below or message me on Snapchat, whatever works! I'd be happy to explain or send you a snap of my page.  I will also be writing future posts about bullet journaling because I really believe it is what ambitious, but overwhelmed people need to be successful.

 

4 Reasons Why You Need To Check Your Attitude

1. Your vibe attracts your tribe

If you want to be surrounded by positive go-getters you need to be a positive go-getter. The vibe that you put out into the universe is the vibe that you're going to get back. My favorite quote is "you can't change the people around you, but you can change the people around you". If people around you are super negative and enjoy having pity parties every night you need to cut the chord and surround yourself with more positive people. And positive people generally only want to be around other positive people.

2. You'll be more productive

If you want to know the real secret behind being productive, here it is. You have to WANT to be productive. Your attitude needs to be in a place where you actually want to do the things you're thinking about doing. If your attitude is checked you'll love learning, working out, reading, and crossing off whatever is on your to-do list because you know it's making you a better version of yourself.

3. More opportunities will be available to you

This one is huge. I don't believe in luck. I didn't receive any of the opportunities in my life because I sat around and waited for them to happen. My attitude was checked. I was open to new experiences, I wanted to be better, I wanted to further my education, I wanted to be successful, and I was excited about any opportunity that came my way, no matter how small. Nobody had to beat me to go to class when I was in college because I WANTED to go. Nobody had to force me to apply for internships, I WANTED to learn and when I got there I took advantage of every learning experience. The people who are giving out opportunities can see the glimmer in the eye of the person with a good attitude. And since good attitudes are few and far between, having one automatically gives you an advantage.

4. You'll be happier

Warning: don't go trying to chase happiness. Like I explained in my post about resolutions it's not going to make you happier, however, not being excited about life is sure not going to help either. If you work on trying to be more grateful, more humble, and more helpful, you're going to be happier. You can take my word on this one. We've all met someone with a positive attitude and we've all met someone with a negative attitude. Which one seems happier? Which one would YOU rather hang out with? With one is going to get farther in life? Check your attitude and be the positive person. No excuses. :)

6 Reasons Why We Need To Be Inspired

One of the most tragic things to hear, in my opinion, is when I ask someone "what do you do for fun" and their response is something along the lines of "oh I don't really know, whatever". It makes me want to shake them, but then I have to take a step back and remember that most people not only don't spend time working on what they're passionate about, but that they don't even know what lights the fire in their soul. Again, the only word I can use to describe this is tragic.

The first step towards finding your passion is finding inspiration. Here are 6 reasons why we need to stay inspired.

 

1. It will give your life purpose

We all know that feeling when we don't have a purpose. The best way I can describe it is depression (not clinical obv.), although that could just be because of my ambitious personality, so without purpose I feel utterly useless. It's easy to tell when I'm lost, I stop caring about everything and sleep even more than I already do (which is a lot).

When I'm inspired, however, it's the exact opposite. I can cross 50 things off of my to-do list, go for a run, and come home and write an inspiring post because my life blood is back. When I feel like I have a purpose then there's a reason to get out of bed before the sun (my least favorite thing to do ever btw). There's a reason to run 3 miles before dinner. There's a reason to stop binge watching Netflix and read 200 pages a day. There's a purpose for me to be alive.

2. Your relationships will be healthier

Again, when I'm on a date and I ask someone what they do for fun and they respond with "whatever" I scream internally. That means they have no passions of their own and they're probably going to focus on me in all of their free time and that's the perfect breeding ground for a toxic relationship. If you're free time is filled with your projects and passions then you won't have time to sit around and think of all the negative stuff about your partner. PLUS there's the added bonus that if you both have your own passions and projects then at the end of the day you get to come home and talk about them, and be excited about them. Personally, the most attractive thing on someone is watching them talk about what they're passionate about.

3. Your attitude will be better

Which means your life will be better. You'll start to realize people will want to hang out with you more because you have so much more to talk about and what you do talk about is all positive. When you see hope in your future it affects your attitude and when you have a positive attitude you manifest positive things. I mean think about it. You know when you meet someone and they just have so much light in their eyes? And when they talk you actually want to listen, you're not forcing yourself to? These are inspired people. Contrast them with the ones with empty eyes, who spend the whole conversations complaining because they have nothing of their own to talk about. It's brutal to listen to them right? Be the inspired person.

4. You'll grow your network

The more projects you do and the more experiences you try the more people you meet, simple as that. You have to go out into the world (even the internet world) and do things and talk to people. The benefit is that you're going to meet people with similar interests. The larger your network the more successful you will be and the less hard you will have to work to be successful. You never know who you're going to meet and when you meet them doing what you're passionate about you already have something in common.

5. You'll be emotionally stable

The best part about having my own projects, my own passions, and finding my own inspiration is that none of those things have to be given to me by someone else. That is giving someone else way too much power. My happiness needs to be controlled by ME. I mean other people can come into my life and bring added joy, but my purpose for waking up in the morning cannot and will not be decided by any body other than me. And again, if I'm immersed in my projects then there are other thoughts to fill my time. And this is especially helpful after a breakup, if you're main purpose in life isn't your partner, then if they leave they didn't leave with your passion. Your ego won't be hurt because you're in charge of it. If someone tries to take away the light in your eyes they won't be able to because you control the flame.

6. You can make a difference

The best part about having your own projects is that you can likely make a difference through them. Love sewing? Donate blankets and clothes. Love painting? Donate artwork for charity auctions and such. Love working out? Train others and motivate them to get healthy. Love gardening? Teach children in your community, or even your own children, how to (this is what my non-profit is going to do btw ;)) All of these things bring communities together. Your passion, while it may be exactly what you need, is not about you because your life is not about you. When you're using it to make a difference you're going to have your sense of purpose filled, you're going to feel great about yourself, and people are going to admire you.

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire - Ferdinand Foch

I'm going to write a post shortly about how to stay inspired so stay tuned!

Update 12/19/2016

The follow up post can be found here: 7 Ways To Become Inspired and Find Your Passion

Why Badass Bitches Sleep A LOT

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a professional sleeper. I sleep more than anyone I've ever met and if I don't get my sleep I am a walking nightmare. I don't apologize for it. I know that I need sleep, I inform people around me that I need sleep, and yet somehow people are shocked that when I don't get my 8 hours I'm cranky. Also... society treats sleep as a weakness, when on the contrary lack of sleep is definitely one of our biggest weaknesses.

You know what I mean right? There's always that person who brags about how they can function with only 4 hours of sleep per night. Well that's great and all... but it is HORRIBLE for your body not to sleep. This is why I don't feel bad when I sleep for 12 hours and take a 2 hour nap in the middle of the day.

Sleep is a MUST if you want to be a badass bitch. Productivity does not depend on how much you do, but rather the quality of what you're doing. So yes you might be able to get more done if you sleep for 4 hours instead of 8, but the quality of work you're producing is sub-par because your body and your brain is not at it's full-functioning, supreme state.

Here's a list of the benefits of sleep.

1. Your memory will improve

What is more badass than a person who can remember conversations and details about certain situations and meetings without having to write them down or ask what they missed. The most impressive people, IMO, are the ones with a good memory.

2. You'll be more creative

A study from Harvard University showed that while you sleep your brain goes through your memories and strengthens the emotional components of your memory during sleep. This helps you be more creative and creativity is the epicenter of a badass. How are you going to be innovative if you're not first creative? Plus... your brain processes information while you sleep so you'll be able to think of new ways to look at something or think about something and new ideas and inspiration are likely to spark.

3. You'll have less fatigue

I mean obviously... if you sleep more then you're less sleepy. A Standford University study goes further, however, and discovered that athletes who slept for 10 hours each night improved their sprint time and stamina and reduced their daytime fatigue. Again, how productive can you really be at 3pm when your body is begging you for a nap and instead your pushing it to send out work. You're working harder, not smarter, when you allow your body to feel this fatigue throughout the day. I'm productive from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep because I'm well rested.

4. You'll be sharper

When you meet a real go-getter, you know, the type of badass that makes you think "wow this person really has it all together", would you describe them as dull or spacey? No. You describe them as sharp and someone who is on top of it and paying attention to their environment. When I'm sleep deprived I am super cranky because I have to use so much more energy to engage in conversations with people. And I often have to tell people "sorry I only got 4 hours of sleep so I probably won't remember a lot of this". When I get 10 hours of sleep, however, I can hear something once and remember it for the rest of my life. This is just me and how my brain works, but I'm sure yours is somewhat similar. Everyone is sharper when they get a good night's sleep.

P.S. This is also why I was comfortable napping throughout finals week. I knew I would remember more and do better on my exams if I was fully rested.

5. You'll maintain a healthy weight

Another study from the University of Chicago discovered that dieters who got more sleep lost more fat, when dieters who got less sleep lost more muscle mass. The folks who got more sleep were also less hungry throughout the day. I know this to be true personally, because when I'm sleepy I want to eat all of the high sugar foods I can to spike an energy burst. When I'm well rested I'm satisfied eating greens and vegetables instead.

6. You'll be able to manage your stress

If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol you're probably not getting enough sleep. I'm not a doctor so I'm not saying ALL you need to reduce these is sleep. I am, however, suggesting that lack of sleep intensifies these factors. People who sleep more are proven to be less stressed than those who are sleep deprived. And let me tell you this about stress... you need to avoid it like the plague because it sort of is its own plague. Stress raises your cortisol levels and cortisol leeches vitamin C, which usually results in you getting sick. It's pretty hard to be a productive, badass bitch when you're sick. Also, stress is directly related to rapid aging, the formation of cancer cells, and heart disease. When I have a stressful day I go right to sleep.

7. You'll be happier

Sleep deprivation is also linked to depression. In fact I tell people this all the time, sleep is how I cope. The more stressful and even traumatic my life is, the more I sleep, and it's why I am so calm all the time even in depressing situations. I never wake up from a nap sad or pissed off, except for the fact that I wish I was still sleeping...

So as you can see there are many benefits attributed to getting a good night's sleep. There are probably even more I haven't listed here, but you get the idea. So now everyone who takes pity on me for how much sleep I need can stop because I'm actually much healthier and way more productive for it. If you want to be a badass you need to take care of yourself, that means eating well, exercising often, and sleeping a lot!