38 Things I’ve Learned So Far In My 38 Years

A pink and purple lotus has Happy Birthday written over it in script

Thursday is my birthday! I’m turning 38 and glad to say so. I’ve never had a problem with getting older. Reading about other women finding each successive decade an improvement had a lot to do with that. So far, I’ve found them to be right, and I’m really looking forward to my 40’s. I’ve learned so much over the years, and I look forward to learning more.

So, to celebrate, I decided to use a post idea I saw on quite a few other blogs, and listed out 38 things I’ve learned in my 38 years alive.

1) Other people’s opinion of me is none of my business.

They are going to think what they’ll think. There is nothing I can do about it, so why worry.

2) Nobody is worth changing yourself for.

Always be true to yourself. The most important thing is that you are happy with yourself. It doesn’t matter one bit what other people think if you don’t like yourself.

3) You can’t own people.

Not for love, and not your kids.

4) If you love someone, love them as they are, not as you wish they were.

5) There will always be someone to criticize you; just do your thing.

No matter what you do, someone is bound to judge you and be unhappy, so don’t worry about them, and just do what you want to do.

6) Don’t try to change people.

You can’t, and you shouldn’t.

7) Worry is pointless.

Either you can change/control things, or you can’t. Worry doesn’t change that.

8) Do what you love.

Don’t let life pass you by without doing the things that you love. Find time, make it happen, and ignore anyone who scoffs at you.

9) Your style can be whatever you want it to be.

If you like it, wear it. You don’t have to stick to any set rules when it comes to dressing yourself.

10) Things you procrastinate are rarely as bad as you think they are going to be.

Most times, when I dread doing something, and put it off, the stress of knowing it is waiting for me is worse than actually getting it done.

11) Let the past go/Forgive yourself.

The past is in the past and can not be changed. Don’t bother yourself wit it, but learn and move forward.

12) Failure is a chance.

It’s a chance to learn and improve. It’s only real failure if you quit.

 

"We are all failures - at least the best of us are." J.M. Barrie

13) I love plants, but I suck at gardening.

14) Never diet.

Dieting doesn’t work, isn’t healthy, and isn’t necessary.

15) People are mostly nice.

My social anxiety makes me constantly worry about being judged and more. When I am able to push myself to interact with people though, I usually am pleasantly surprised with how kind they are. It is rare that I have a really bad exchange with anyone.

16) I have good instincts about people.

When I do interact with them, I am rarely wrong about my impressions of what kind of person they are. I’m a damn good reader of people, and have learned to trust my gut if something seems off.

17) High thread count sheets are worth it.

Seriously. They feel wonderful and last longer. Spring for them when you get the chance, or ask for them as a gift.

18) Credit cards are convenient and evil.

Avoid them if possible.

19) Life is impermanent.

Nothing, good or bad, lasts long. Enjoy the good while it is here, and know that the bad won’t last forever.

20) Don’t do what you don’t want to do.

Within reason, don’t do to anything you don’t actually want to do. This isn’t me telling you to break the law or be irresponsible, but play close attention to everything asked of you, and don’t do anything you don’t want to and don’t have to do. (and “what will people think” doesn’t count as a reason you have to)

21) Say “yes” more often.

Not to other people, but to opportunities that you come across. Don’t miss out on opportunities to widen your world view, learn new things or have new experiences.

22) We only have one life, it is up to us to make the most of it.

Find a dream and go after it.

23) Dreams don’t have to be huge.

It isn’t a dream only if it is thinking big like being a baseball player or an actress. Your dream can be whatever size is right for you. Finding a way to be able to support myself has become my dream. It may seem like small thinking to many, but it is just right to me. If it excites you and gives you drive, you’ve got yourself a dream.

24) There is no such thing as normal.

25) When something interests me, I hyper-focus to learn as much as I can.

Knowing this, I do my best to make sure I still pay attention to my needs and practice self-care.

26) Not everyone thinks the way I do.

You can’t always follow someone’s line of thinking or why they do something. Sometimes their brain works in a totally different way. This isn’t always bad or wrong.

27) There is no way to exactly understand someone else. Don’t judge.

Nobody in the world lives the exact same life. You can’t do a straight across comparison of anyone’s experience, so you never know exactly what they are thinking or what you would do in their shoes.

28) Monogamy is not the only right way.

It works for some people and not for other people. Find someone who has the same needs and keep the communication open. All different types of relationships can work.

29) Be in more pictures.

Don’t avoid pictures, because either you or your loved ones will want to see them one day.

30) Own your emotions.

Feel them. Deal with them.

31) We are each responsible for our own feelings.

Don’t rely on someone else to make you happy. Know that it is not your job to make anyone else happy either. If you are mad or sad, figure out why and fix it for yourself.

32) Good, supportive shoes are worth the money.

Proper shoes can make a difference in how you feel from your feet all the way up to your neck/head.

33) Cooking is one way I express my creativity.

I used to think I wasn’t creative at all, and then my husband pointed out I am able to be creative with recipes and ingredients with tasty results most of the time. I’m pretty proud of that fact.

34) Listen to hear/understand, not respond.

Pay attention the next time someone is talking to you. Are you formulating a response? Or are you really listening? True listening is a huge improvement to relationships.

35) Don’t help other people to your own detriment.

By all means help others, but not so much that you don’t notice you are sinking yourself.

36) There is more than one definition of success.

Decide for yourself what your definition is.

37) Mental illness is the same as any other illness.

There is no shame in having it, and you deserve to get treatment while being treated with the same respect afforded to any other person.

38) I’m still learning and working on many of these.

Just because I learned about it, doesn’t mean I’m done learning it.

 

That’s it for this year!

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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A Letter To My 16 Year Old Self

Dear 16 year old me,

Hi! Things are probably a little complicated right now. Please sit, and take some time to read a little advice I have for you from my place of perspective.

Yearbook photo of Leigh at 16 years old, junior year in high school.

Stress less over your grades.

Yes, they are important, but I promise it isn’t worth the stress you put yourself under. Do your best, and know that is enough. Don’t stay up until all hours trying to make it perfect. Go do more with friends.

Speaking of which…

Real friends don’t regularly leave you out of plans.

And a real best friend doesn’t let them. You have friends outside of your main group, so make some plans with them and have fun.

Yearbook photo of Leigh in yearbook, wearing Josh's Quail Valley jacket.
My yearbook photo of me with the yearbook staff.

Tell your mom what goes on at school.

That’s her territory too, and maybe she’ll have some ideas for you. You aren’t on your own yet, take advantage of that fact.

Just do the damn chores she asks you to do.

Doing housework will never get easier, and it will make you a little more prepared for dealing with your own place.

You are right to trust your gut.

It rarely leads you wrong. You will find you are spot on about people most of the time, and really accurate in other situations too.

You are not fat, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you were.

Keep moving like you do, eat what makes you feel good, and it will be fine. What your body can do is much more important than what it looks like, and you need to appreciate it.

Write down those recipes from your grandmas.

Anything you like, get that recipe for later. Sure, they can make it now, but you never know if you will want to make it much later on.

Year book photo of Leigh singing in a vocal concert. Other faces are masked with smiley stickers and musical notes.
Myself singing in a vocal concert. Other identities have been hidden with stickers. 🙂

Guilt trips say more about the person doling them out than about you.

Don’t let them get to you. If you feel confident in your choices, let anybody else’s opinion roll off your back.

I think that is about all that applies for now. Have fun these last years of high school, and don’t worry. You will have very few regrets.

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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Resource Roundup: Over 25 Amazing Sources for Info on Self-Acceptance and More

I’ve been told by my friends that I have awesome “Google Fu” skills. Maybe that’s why I love looking up things, or maybe I have great skills because I love the search. Either way, I spend a lot of time searching either Google, or more likely, Pinterest, for any and everything I’m interested in learning about. I have quite the personal Pinterest account, and my blog’s account is getting there too.  With over a thousand pins (after only 3 months), there is a ton of info to go through. I thought it would be helpful to round up some of my favorite, most useful pins that I’ve found to share in one place, and so this resource round-up was conceived!

Self-Acceptance

Resource Roundup

First, if you are new here, you might want to check out this post and this one, to see what this “self-acceptance” thing is all about. Now for some great links.

How Radical Acceptance Can Help Your Self-Esteem – This article, by Emily Roberts, is filled with great info such as:

“Radical acceptance doesn’t mean you approve of what happened, you can hate it. It doesn’t mean that once you accept the situation you will become soft or allow other bad things to happen to you. This is fear-based thought. The truth is, you can’t change the situation, but you can change how you want to live your life”

Do yourself a favor and go check out the rest of the post. You will never regret it.

Self Esteem Interactive Online Tool – A note to my readers on their mobile devices, this link is going to work much better on a computer. Bummer. But, it is worth getting your butt to a computer to check it out. This interactive tool from Simply Stepping is such a wonderful idea! I’ve, personally, never seen something like it when it comes to self-esteem/love tools. It really does a great job visually demonstrating how to replace those negative thoughts we all have.

8 Ways That Self Acceptance Will Change Your Life – This post by Christie Inge gives a phenomenal run down on why to mess with this whole self-acceptance thing.

How to Silence Negative Thinking – If you click on the link, there is an article to go with this that you can go read if you want. I really like the part that I pinned though:

silencenegthoughts

This infographic from mindbodygreen is fantastic:

negthoughtinfo

If you want to look into self-acceptance some more, feel free to check out (and follow!) my Self Acceptance Pinterest board.

Self Love

Self love can feel wrong at first if you are new to it. It isn’t narcissism or selfish. It is vital. I haven’t written anything solely focused on it yet, but I have some great links to share.

What Self-Love Means – There is so much I love about the Tiny Buddha site, and this article is no exception. Please check it out. Banu Sekendur has many examples listed out, and simply makes understanding this concept as basic as possible. This is an excellent post all around.

Daily Self-Love Checklist – I just love this idea. Please click on the link to go to her site, and actually download the list. You will get a much better quality list if you do that rather than try to just save it from here. (Disclaimer: I do not support or encourage any type of dieting. I am a firm believer that the diet culture needs to be left far behind us. More on that later.)

dailyselflovechecklist

22 Ways to Love Yourself More – This post by Sharon Martin has terrific ideas for showing yourself some love. I enjoy the included graphic that summarizes it. Do visit the link though since she expands a bit on each idea listed.

22lovemore

3 Ways to Practice Self Love – I adore this woman’s writing style. Please go check out Alessadra Braun’s site and take a look around. She has a free Self-Love Bootcamp that looks just tremendous!

How to Fall In Love With Yourself – I love this post as a “how to” fall in love with yourself and not another “ways to” show yourself love. Being told how to show yourself love is all well and good, but it’s like being told to hug your pain-in-the-ass sister/brother as a child. This article helps you to find that love for yourself that may be hiding for now. Marelisa Fabrega of Daring To Live Fully does such a wonderful job getting the “how” across to her reader.

How to Feel Unconditional Self-Love – This post has such a beautiful way of describing self love and how to find and show it. Suzanne Hayn has a remarkable way with words and is a must to check out.

Need more on self-love? I have a Pinterest board full of it.

Self Care

Self care is extremely important. I have touched on it a few times here and here. There will be more in the future. I have found some great links on the subject as well.

First I have this great graphic. The link on Pinterest didn’t go back to the original creator, so I’m not linking back. Instead, here is Pamela Redmond Satran’s site.

10 Scientific Ways to Become Happier – I am a firm “believer” in science. Mention something that doesn’t have peer reviewed science behind it, and I’m going to give you a raised eyebrow. That is why I was so tickled to see this chart. Each approach included has actual science behind it as to why it works. If you click the link, the article has some links to articles that explain the science.

Quick Solutions for Panic Attacks – This chart has simple, quick ways to try to get a leg up on a panic attack. I love the simplicity, and how user friendly it is. You can easily print it out, cut out the examples, and keep them handy for any panic attack. In addition, Simply Stepping has a post about panic attacks and what to do right on that page. There is also a link to a one on one session for more anxiety support.

6 Ways to Practice Self-Care When Rest is Out of Reach – This is the perfect post for anyone who thinks they are just too busy to take care of themselves. Brittany L. Bergman gets it and tells you just why you are wrong.

Seven Self-Care Strategies for Those Struggling – This is a beautifully written post about the less fun parts of self care. The author of The Span of My Hips covers the topic with understanding and wonderful insight. Don’t miss out on their knowledge.

25 Ways to Use Your Love Language for Self Care – Check out this link to find out your love language, and get suggestions for self care related to your needs. This infographic summarizes well, but check out Liz’s site Soul Warriors for more insight, challenges to join, and freebies.

How to Create a Self-Care Plan, And Why You Need One – Sometimes we just need someone to hold our hands to get something done. That’s why I think this is a great post to check out. Morgan, owner of the blog Enlightened State, does just that when it comes to a self care plan. She explains why you need one, gives an example (of her’s!) and even offers a free printable worksheet if you need it. So great!

Create an Emergency Self-Care Kit – Self care kits are awesome to keep on hand for when you are having a bit (or a lot) of a breakdown, and need to take care of yourself, but can’t think of what you need.  Jenny, of Inky Paws Art, shows you hers and has a great visual full of suggestions for you to use to make your own. Make sure you check it out!

Big List of Self-Care Activities – Shaunacey, of Simply Shaunacey, has created a wonderfully long list of self-care activities to check out. When you are making up your own list of ideas for planning out your self-care, visit this page and give this list at least a once over.

If you want more on Self-Care, visit my Pinterest board. I also have one filled with DIY self care products.

A More Fulfilling Life

Sometimes you find you need more to your life, a purpose that is more than just living day to day. I looked for mine for a long time, and I know it is a terrible feeling to live with. So, I have compiled a variety of pins with ideas on how to find your purpose or lead a more fulfilling life in general.

9 Ways to Figure Out What You’re “Meant” To DoBrianna Wiest, an author at Bustle has nine great questions for you to ask yourself. Once you get to the end of the list, there is an excellent chance you will have an idea of what you are “meant” to do in this world. At the very least, you should learn more about yourself, and it is always nice to have more insight to your inner workings.

Three Necessary Ingredients For Creating A Life You Love – Please do yourself a favor, and see what Karen from One Salty Kiss has written on the subject of not just loving your life, but creating a life you love. She covers the topic in a fantastic fashion. Don’t miss out.

4 Signs You Aren’t Living Your Purpose – Be sure to click on the link and enjoy the post related to this graphic. Rachael, author of the blog HerAfter, has plenty more to offer on these points, and it is well worth your time to go read it.

Any of these three work for you? Need different ideas, or just want to do more reading on this subject? I have plenty more on my Pinterest board.

That’s all I have this time. Let me know if you liked this idea, and I’ll be sure to make up another resource roundup in the future. Remember, I have a lot more pinned over at Pinterest, and I’ll be adding more all of the time.

Leigh

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5 Steps Toward Self Acceptance

These are not only steps toward finding self acceptance, but will eventually become habits to help you keep it up.  The journey toward self acceptance is not just a long road, it is unending. Life isn’t static. You are always changing, and so will your feelings about yourself. You will need to have habits in place to help yourself continue to find self acceptance.

So, what are some steps you can take on this journey? I’ve come up with five to discuss with you today.

1) Forgive yourself

Any past mistakes you have made, forgive yourself. No matter how big or small. You did your best, at the time, with what you knew. Now you know better, so you can do better, but you need to move on from the past.

It does you no good to dwell on those past mistakes. It changes nothing. All you can do now is move forward knowing better.

2) Work on fighting negative thoughts

That inner critic you hear doesn’t speak the truth. If the thoughts you hear aren’t something you would say to a close friend, disregard them. They aren’t helpful, they’re just unwanted, harsh judgment, and you don’t benefit from it.

The best way I’ve found to counteract negative thoughts, is to immediately tell myself, “No. That isn’t true,” and then correct the thought. For example, if I think, “No one likes you. No one really wants to be your friend.” I right away stop myself, sometimes with an actual, “Stop it,” and think, “Of course that’s not true. You know you have people who would be there for you if you called. You know you have people who enjoy spending time with you.”

It feels really awkward and weird at first, but with repetition it feels more natural and becomes automatic. One day, you will suddenly realize you are having fewer negative thoughts overall.

3) Stop comparing yourself to anyone

Seriously, anyone. You are a unique individual. No one on Earth has the same life experience as you. Think on how amazing that is!

No one has gone through the exact same things. No one is at the exact same place in their life. There is just no comparison to make.

Accept your life as the singular experience that it is, and see it as one-of-a-kind, to be appreciated with all its ups and downs.

4) Accept your flaws

Your flaws are part of the human experience. They are part of what makes you unique. It isn’t only your gifts and positive qualities that contribute to your uniqueness. Your faults really do add to who you are as a person.  Sometimes they are what draw people to you and even endear you to them. They are also opportunities to grow and learn. You may or may not be able to change what you perceive to be a flaw, so accept your flaws, because they make you who you are, and you are an amazing, distinctive individual.

5) Create a support system

Surround yourself with people who support you and accept you as you are. Find people who believe in you and are uplifting to be around.

If there are people in your life who drag you down, reinforce your negative self talk, or criticize you, ask yourself why you allow it. You deserve better. Distance yourself from such people so they can’t reinforce your negative thoughts.

There is so much more to finding self acceptance, but this list will get you started in the journey. If you found this helpful, please feel free to share it with your friends on Facebook, etc., and be sure to subscribe so you can easily join me back here for more tips and helpful posts.

(Edit: I have since written this post which contains 4 more steps you can take toward self acceptance.)

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My Inspiration for this Blog (part 2)

And then comes the middle…

In the midst of this, I started watching YouTube videos with the kids. They had some favorites they wanted to share with me, and I thought it would be good bonding time.  It turned out to be some great laughs for me. My kids have good taste!

I decided to watch past videos, and looked up their funny stuff on Pinterest. If you know me, you know this is typical. I’m a “researcher”. I always like to know more.

I learned that these two funny guys are incredible people. They care about their fans. They have struggled themselves, and want to be there for their subscribers. These men are Phil Lester of AmazingPhil and Dan Howell of danisnotonfire.

I found quotes like these:

It's a good thing to be strange, normalness leads to sadness. --Phil Lester

You are an independent mind in this universe that can do everything and anything you have ever dreamed of. --Dan Howell

Am I important? You are the center of your own universe, as a human with existence. So yes, you are important. Every human that can realize they're in existence, is important. Always remember that. --Dan Howell

Then I ran across these:

You are a human with one life, and it's up to you to make it the best life you can. -Dan Howell

You decide who you want to be, and do what you want with your life. -Dan Howell

These quotes hit me hard. Like “having a freaking epiphany” hard. I can actually do what I want with my life. I really don’t know why it took this particular wording, at this particular time, but it did, and it clicked.

So then I was thinking, what do I want to do with my life? What will make it the best life for me? It’s the same questions as before really, but something clicked in my head. So I thought, no matter what I do, what does everything I do come back to? I want to help. I want to help people. From there it was a matter of brainstorming and narrowing down ideas until this blog was born!

(Now, at the beginning of this, I stated that my inspiration for the blog was embarrassing for me. Why? Well, for some reason I’m a bit embarrassed to be so inspired by two twenty-something guys on YouTube. Is that reasonable? I don’t know, but there it is.)

Interested in more? Check out my Posts To Start With page to get started. Make sure you subscribe to get notifications about my most recent posts too.

 

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My Inspiration for this Blog (part 1)

I found a new purpose to my life in a kinda round about way. It sounds dumb, and is a bit embarrassing for me, but I want to give credit where it is due. I suppose it starts with a quote.

A story begins somewhere…

Over time I have read plenty of great quotes. Wonderfully uplifting, motivational words. For example:

Choose everyday to forgive yourself. You are human, flawed, and most of all worthy of love --Alison Malee

I don't know a perfect person. I only know flawed people who are still worth loving. --John Green

My Inspiration for This Blog pt1

There are so many more. These are great, but didn’t help me with one of my bigger problems. Not only do I suffer from low self-esteem, but I’ve been struggling to find a purpose beyond being a mother.

Trying to be OK with life in general not having a purpose didn’t help. I still needed a direction for myself.  For the longest time my kids were enough. They take enough time and energy those first few years, it can be very easy to let them be your sole focus. So, with my kids being out of the stages that require such intense focus, I found myself a bit lost. I didn’t need to spend all my time chasing them, researching solutions, and caring for them. I had unfocused time that was filled with nothing of importance.  This contributed to my depression to the point where my whole existence was centered around trying to survive depression and anxiety.

Now I have the right meds, and they made a big difference, but I was still struggling somehow.

Go to Part 2

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