Putting Yourself on the Agenda

I had a realization while I was making myself a late breakfast. (Or was it brunch?) My thought was; If I ever find myself living alone, I would probably have the worst diet ever. This lightbulb moment arrived as I was making a peanut butter, jelly & kettle chip sandwich. Yup, you read that correctly. (It feels a bit like I’m reverting to my seven year old self) Not the best combination but it’s what was readily available in that moment. Why did I settle for such a meal? I do this often and it’s a habit I’m trying to break.

It’s way too easy to put ourselves last. I don’t know why this has been such a hurdle for me to get past but it has. I’ll do my best to make sure everyone else is happy while I “make due”. Over the past few months, I have been forcing myself to go eat lunch at decent place when I’m flying solo. I have to force myself to buy the things I want and need. New bras and underwear shouldn’t be viewed as a luxury. Those are things I need and can buy for myself when I have the money. Often when I have the money, I tend to spend it on the family instead.

Other family members seem much better with “self care”. My dad has gotten better about taking care of himself since my mom passed. He bought himself some new clothes. He is planning a beach vacation and is he does what he wants with his time. Perhaps that’s a perk of being single but even when my mom was alive, he tended to splurge on himself.

I get angry at myself when I settle and take myself of the list. Doing so is another unspoken message I send to those around me that “I don’t matter”. I do matter and I want to be treated as such! If I don’t value myself, who else will? If I don’t put myself at the top of the list, who else will put me there? No one. Treat yourself they way you expect others to treat you. Also, start say “no” when you need to. You’ll soon be happier for it. Your time and your happiness is important.

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Comparison: The Thief of Joy

I’m not sure who said it but it’s a true quote. “Comparison is the thief of joy and contentment”. This is something I’ve had to remind myself of whenever I start feeling dissatisfied with my life, which tends to be an frequent occurrence.

Social media, depending on how you use it, can be great or it can be a big source of unhappiness. Over a year ago, I followed a bunch of folks on social media, who were part of a reality show I really enjoyed. I made the decision to stop tracking them all because the dissatisfaction with my life was so strong, I was miserable. I wanted my own version of their life and I knew that was an impossible and unrealistic goal. Yesterday, I found myself scrolling through their Instagram accounts. They still have an idyllic life, one which I still cannot have for myself. I could feel myself returning to those old depressed and dissatisfied feelings.

People who have an image to maintain will always put the best version of themselves online. Actually, I’d argue most of us have some sort of image we’d like to present to the world. Then there are folks on the other side of the coin who strive for balance and they’ll include bad times as well.

Just about everyone I do follow on social media truly seems to live a much more interesting life than I do. They go on adventures with friends, there are pictures of themselves traveling, there are pictures with family. As an introverted person, living in a rural town in the back end of nowhere….comparing my life to others will certainly bring me down. I can’t imagine anyone jealous of my life which I’ve presented to social media as I feel it’s embarrassingly average. (The mass of my pictures are of my three dogs.)

To pull myself out of that comparison funk, I make a conscious effort to be grateful. Today, I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my dogs. I’m thankful I have a house to live in. I’m grateful for our local vet’s office because the staff there is wonderful. While I don’t like my job, I am thankful for the people I work with because they are great. I’m grateful for the small town I live in because I do well in huge cities.

I don’t have a huge house with loads of friends and family around but what I have is enough. The relationships I have are important to me and I actually like myself more than I used to, which is pretty damn important.

The Strongest Women I Know.

I want to tell you about the strongest women I know. “Small in stature and feisty but with a fire inside”, that is the best description of my sister. My sister is two years older than me. We didn’t get along well growing up and that unfortunately trickled into adulthood. All of that changed after she lost her husband suddenly, four years ago. Without a doubt, tragedy affects us drastically. The loss of my brother in law affected the entire family. A loss like that makes one realize what is important in life and it is also is a great catalyst for facing what might have once scared us.

So why is my sister the strongest women in the world?

My sister is the realest person I know. I might not always agree with her but she states her opinions tactfully, without apology. She wears her heart on her sleeve and she is the most romantic person I’ve ever encountered. She takes no shit from anyone, a trait which I can fully appreciate. She is the advocate for her family and has been since becoming a mother. She is determined and thinks for herself. When she sets her mind to do something, it gets done. Last year, at the suggestion of a friend, she went back to school. With her skills, her goal is to help others. She is a role model for her kids and she has taught them to not to give up on themselves.

Today would have been her and my late brother in law’s 20th anniversary. The grieving doesn’t stop even though time marches forward. One doesn’t “get over” such a loss, they only learn how to move forward through pain. I’ve watched her over the past four years and to see how she’s changed and grown as a person; I could not be more proud of her.

(This is my painting, “Womanly Tree”. It was inspired by my sister and her journey)