A Letter To Be Better.

Hi there, it’s been a while.

About four months, actually. So much in that time has affected my emotional balance. I find it compelling how we can realize that we aren’t exemplifying our most ideal versions of ourselves until we take a step back and look at our emotions. 

These past couple of months have been filled with questions like:

  • “What on earth is wrong with me?”
  • “Why can’t I talk to people the way I used to feel comfortable?”
  • “Why do I all of a sudden feel like the best thing I can do is pretend like I don’t exist for a little?”

Take a moment to think about this. If you had to ask yourself these questions, would you be able to answer them as quickly as you’d like? I’m not a woman of patience, so it should be quite obvious that not being able to answer these questions about myself was easily a huge frustration for me. I just want to look at the sky and scream “GIVE ME ALL THE ANSWERS!”

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I know where I want to go and my heart is dead set on making sure I get there. It’s the how and when that kills me.

How will I get there?

When will it happen?

I was speaking to my therapist last week and she raised a good point about my personality:

“You draw yourself in when things don’t go your way right when you want it.”

– Dr. Cool Woman Who Has Lived The Life I Want To Lead And Holds Me Accountable For Being The Overoccasional Wuss

Damn right I do. When I want something, I work my hardest to ensure that I get it. Not particularly in the storybook way that most people work towards things though. I’ll ask my closest friends and family for advice on getting where I want to go, and I’ll run amok trying to find ways to give myself the happiness I want from the next chapter of my life as quickly as I can.

Here’s the problem: There’s no consistency.

All the stubborn bits of my personality make it so hard to say this, but in achieving my goals, I haven’t been consistent. I’m really good at looking back and saying “Why Me?” when things don’t happen the way I want them to. (I’m working on changing that!)

Like my therapist said, when I don’t get what I want, I don’t treat myself or others how they deserve.

So I’m sorry.

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I’ve grasped at the straws of so many different ideas about how to live a better life that it’s shortstopped my way of getting there, and it has made me angry.

It’s changed the way I interact with people. Knowing myself, I know that I can do better than what I have been.

I’ve been a person that I don’t like. I’ve closed myself off to the world around me and don’t let people get used to my happiness. It doesn’t make you feel like a good person when you hear “I don’t know how to act around you because I don’t know if you’re angry with me or not.” over and over again. (True Life: It sucks, really really badly.)

How do you explain that you’re being a brat because you’re not getting what you want in life? In truth, you really don’t want that to be your explanation either.

Life isn’t a straight path of serenity where everything goes your way, and it has taken some time for me to come to terms with that.

What does make the crazy ride that life is much easier though, is consistency. Stay the course, as rough as it seems.

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I’ve said so much about how I’m going to make my life better, but really, what work have I done? (It’s embarrassingly minimal at best.)

As much as it sounds like it, this isn’t a self-deprecation post. I just want to be honest here.

I’ve been an impatient asshole these past couple of months, and I’ve been taking it out on others through passive-aggressiveness.

It’s almost the end of August, so I’ve really got only three more months of this year to do right.

I’m going to work on being a truly better me, and make my actions count, and more importantly, be genuine.

I know I have all the potential to be a good person and impart the talents I have to the world around me, but I need to be consistent in my steps from now on.

I need to say less, and do more.

I’ve got to think more before I act.

I need to rationalize more.

I need to enact consistency in my life.

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I want to be good not only for those around me, but for me. There is a light that I’m running towards, and no matter how hard or tough the road may seem, I just have to keep going.

I have to keep trying to be a good person.

I’m gonna get what I want. Maybe not now, but my these past months have taught me to be consistent with my actions. I’ve learned that consistency requires quite a bit of holding yourself accountable. I need to stop making excuses for why I shy away from making better decisions for myself, and work towards taking the risks I need to live a better life.

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So what I’ve learned these past few months is that life ain’t easy, especially living a good one. It requires work, and I can’t be lazy about the life I want to live.

I’ve got to look at consistency like a mantra. I don’t want to lose course on getting towards my best life.

So here’s to more patience and consistency for the rest of 2018 and onward.

I only hope to write about how they help me get better as a person moving forward.

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I Think, Therefore I Can.

When our universe began, it didn’t just appear through some kind of advantageous happenstance. There wasn’t some large explosion that unpacked our space systems either.

Our universe began as a very hot, dense, single point in space. There were no stars, no planets, no form, and no structure. The forthcoming potential of it was still awaiting the opportune moment to burgeon into the cosmic spectacle that it is today.

In the event that we know as the “Big Bang”, the singularity that our universe was began to expand. From this expansion, atoms began to bloom into the star systems and galaxies that we know today.

In our universe, everything is designed for a purpose. The breathtaking system of our cosmos and all its stars, planets, and galaxies works in a sophisticated and interwoven way where everything just makes sense.

In short, our universe is pretty darn awesome.

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As astrophysicist and brilliant mind Carl Sagan wrote in his book The Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective:

Our Sun is a second or third generation star. All of the rocky material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star stuff.

We are made of the same awesome stuff as our universe. Knowing this, it’s necessary that we treat ourselves and think of ourselves as such. Why sell ourselves short of the realities we know we deserve?

At times, I forget the power my thoughts wield. A la Rene Descartes: I think, therefore I can create an amazing life – or a completely sub-par one.

The thing about our thoughts is that what we think, is what we subconsciously deem to be our truth. This is why it’s paramount that we present our thoughts in the most positive light that we can, so we can give ourselves the glorious realities that we deserve.

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It can be laborious to try to fashion our thinking towards a brighter reality. We all endure our own circumstances with life that can cause us to be stiff-necked about changing it. Sometimes life is too good and we think it can’t get any better. Other occasions we’ve tried far too many times to take a leap and change our lives, only to find ourselves flat on our faces.

If you want change in your life and if you want it really badly, you’ll find the will to make it happen.

The issue is that we can get so comfortable with the fallacy that life now is what life will always be. Any attempt to come to terms with something other than what we see as our truth seems impossible.

As British philosopher and self-help dignitary James Allen stated in his book As A Man Thinketh:

Mind is the Master power that molds and makes,

And Man is Mind…

We are made of the sanctified power that created us. We are literally fashioned by the thoughts we process – our characters are the complete sum of our thoughts.

 

This is our power. If we give our minds the opportunity to be as boundless as the cosmos, we can take our realities to the places we desire most for them to go. If we never attempt to look beyond the horizon, we’ll never give ourselves the opportunity to behold the cosmic spectacle of our universe.

Our universe could have stayed a cold spot in space, but here we are within it getting to enjoy the beauty of its expansion. You’ll allow yourself to be who you want to be, that’s your choice as a human being. The sky will stretch as far as you let it. For the sake of your happiness, choose to live as luminously as the cosmos.

There are galaxies inside you. Let them sing.

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You Have The Most Fun At 21.

The other day my mom was looking through old photographs that we had boxed away. She found one of me at twenty one. I was with my sister and my cousins at the Empire State Building in New York, We’d gone to the city to celebrate my 21st birthday.

It was such a wonderful adventure. To start, we had breakfast at a really posh restaurant, did the whole Empire State Building experience, then indulged in some of the yummiest macarons at Ladurée near Central Park.

That day has always stood out to me as one of my happiest memories from being twenty one.

Having such a good start to a year gives way to setting high expectations for the rest of it. On my flight back to Florida, I watched New York’s skyline fade away with an optimistic smile. If my birthday trip that marked the beginning of a new age in my life went so well, the rest of the year had to go just as smooth, right?

Sometimes I wish I could travel into the past just to smack myself in the head for my constant overoptimism.

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It only took a couple of months for things to begin to go awry. I had encountered your typical bumps in the road:

  • Unexpected school expenses that I couldn’t handle. (I thank my lucky stars for the supportive parents I have)
  • Going to Urgent Care because one of my eyes wouldn’t open.
  • Being too shy to give myself the opportunity to hang out with this guy I thought was cute before he left the city.

Nothing that I couldn’t get over in a week, but still annoying to deal with. Life can’t always allow you to be great, right?

We all go through personal trials that test our limits every age, I naively thought these were mine. I didn’t know that my troubles would go deeper than that.

At the time, I sincerely believed that being twenty one was the official marking point in life where you cross the threshold of becoming an actual adult. You’re allowed to drink, get into more bars and clubs and people call you legal, so that means you’re an adult right?

Please, take as much time as you need to facepalm or shake your head at my twenty one year old stupidity.

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I was the typical mold of your average twenty one year old idiot. What made it worse was that I hadn’t fully come to terms with being comfortable with who I was, so I just did what I could to please people and to fit in. All of this doesn’t get any better considering that I’m one the most stubborn people you’ll meet.

Have you ever felt so distant from your actions that it seems as if you’re watching someone else? Doesn’t it suck when you tell yourself “Oh no, that really is me!”.

Twenty one year old me, was not who I truly am.

I don’t drink a lot, I hate clubs because there’s so many strangers all at once (and they smell terrible), I think the idea of hookups is weird and pretentious people anger me. Yet there I was, indulging these things.

Remembering everything about who I tried so hard to be at twenty one always makes me so angry. Sometimes I think about if there were ever a year that I could delete from my life, it would be twenty one.

As much as that age hurts me, I wouldn’t get rid of any of the memories it gave me.

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All the bad of becoming someone so outside of myself was a lesson. I didn’t want friends that only liked me because of what I showed them. I didn’t want to be with guys who made me feel that there was no reason to go past the surface of who I was. I didn’t want to pretend anymore.

I just wanted to enjoy being me.

It took a lot for me to learn how to step away from the herd and stop being a sheep. To this day, I still can’t believe that the moments I sacrificed being myself and exercising self-care just to please others are moments that were real.

The day I realized that it was time to step out of this personality I had adopted was simultaneously the most empowering and embarrassing day of my life.

The Embarrassing Part of That Day: I was crying in my sociology class and walking in and out of the classroom to scream at someone on the phone in my school’s parking lot over something really stupid – a boy.

The Empowering Part of That Day: I realized all at once that I was worth more than who I pretended to be.

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As much as I despise everything I did – and I mean everything – at twenty one years old, I’m grateful for what I learned from my actions.

I’m now twenty four and I’m not only comfortable with who I am, but proud of who I keep on becoming. I’m a young women driven towards her success and happiness. I still have my quirks, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and I’m always going to find room to improve myself.

I’m closing the chapter of looking at who I was at that time with distaste and moving on to accepting my actions. I can’t change those memories. I’ll never get rid of them, but I can accept that was who I was at the time and who I am today is growing to be better.

So to my bad memories, thank you. You’ve taught me who I don’t want to be.

 

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Growing Pains.

Which do you want? The pain of staying where you are, or the pain of growth?

– Judith Hanson Lasater

Growing up is really hard. I remember when I was in my early teens and wanted so badly to be an adult. I couldn’t wait for the day I turned eighteen.

I lived such a sheltered life. I was the friend during senior year of high school that had to be home by 9 p.m., even on a Friday night. If you think that’s bad, I wasn’t even allowed to watch television during the week. I could only watch it on the weekends if my homework was done. The life of a kid raised by an award-winning teacher.

I just wanted to break free. I got so tired of my life being so safe and by design, I needed to do something that would shake things up and bring some color into my black and white world. When the chance came to spread my wings and fly away to my dream city to study Mass Communications for my undergrad, I got cold feet and stayed home.

The worst part about it? I didn’t chicken out because of what others were saying college life and being away from home would be like, I thought of every single negative “what if” situation that made it easy to put it all in reverse and back out of the plan of moving to Boston before I committed to anything serious.

 

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On the surface, I made it seem like my decision to stay home for college was made because I was happy at home and content with the city that I was in. When people asked, that answered sufficed.

On the inside, internal rage and suffering were battling it out to see who could make my day worse by reminding me of the choices I didn’t make towards being an adult and more importantly, being happy.

The thing about my life that I’ve found disappointing is that with all that I’ve done within it, everything seems so tame. I’ve traveled a lot and I go on adventures that make it seem that I’m living my best life, but all those adventures are fleeting in the grand scheme of what I’ve given to myself as an adult.

Have I ever lived on my own? No.

Have I ever tried to settle down with someone? No.

Have I ever committed to something as an adult? Kind of. I bought a car on my own! That counts!

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The truth is, I’m scared. I’m scared to put myself in a situation where I’ve tried my hardest, and I fail.

I keep on thinking about all that I feel like I’m ready to do in life and all that I can do in it – it’s all so exciting. Then, the dark smog of fear slowly permeates the sweet air of my dreams, and all that I believe that I can do with my life is masked by an unnerving haze.

Every “I can” becomes “I could have”, and we move on to the next big plan that I set out for myself, only to let my fear get to me, and I back out before I even allow myself to see if I succeed or fail.

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I am so sick and tired of my overthinking. I’ve told myself that my fears were right for so long. It’s beyond an acceptable point and I’m just done with it all.

I can’t keep chickening out on taking adult risks. I told one of my best friends earlier this year that this is the year that I won’t be a little bitch. I think with the strides I’ve made this year, I’ve been keeping to that statement.

It’s time to keep that going.

For the past year and a half, I’ve been trying to move to Boston. There have been two significant times that I’ve told myself and others that I would commit to moving to my future city.

I’m still in Florida.

With both of these times, I’ve learned valuable lessons. I do plan on keeping to the statement that I told my best friend early this year, but not being a little bitch doesn’t mean I should act like a dumb bitch either.

I don’t want to jump on something I have to commit to and have to run home because I did it wrong.Commitment takes thought. Growing up takes learning. Both of these things take time and planning.

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I will continue to make this year about getting what I want. I want to move to Boston.

I’m going to suck it up and do the best I can to make the adult decisions I need to make to get there. This is the most ready I’ve felt for making this move and the moment I get there, that will be the moment I’ve reached the beginning of my adult life.

I need to stop hiding in corners for safety and giving myself an average life. I want to live freely, I want to truly feel like an adult, I want my own place so I can walk around with no pants on because it’s my damn apartment and I’ll do what I want.

I’m at that point where I was when I was a teenager. I want to be an adult. The difference this time around is that I’m open to learning about what it takes to make adult decisions and to pull the trigger at the most opportune moment.

It’s obviously not going to be easy. I see friends and family go through adult trials and tribulations and it’s nerve-wracking to witness, but the good they go through is really good. Most importantly, they have freedom.

It’s time to give myself my own freedom.

 

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photos taken by the lovely Taylor McGhee and Carolina Londoño. Ladies, support your lady friends.

You’re Just Too Comfortable In Chains

Here’s a sad story: I’ve always had a penchant for tender-footing around valuable decisions that move me towards living my best life.

I’ll see what I want in front of me, but with my deranged methodology of being a little punk, I’ll find someway to chicken out of doing what I need to get what I want.

It’s really annoying.

When I was younger, I held a very flippant attitude about my inner “punk ass”. I thought it was okay to divert my life’s course away from what I wanted for myself for the sake of sensibility.

  • I got an acceptance letter from Boston University for undergrad. This city has always been my favorite city. Did I go? No, I went to a local community college.
  • I always wanted to get a pixie cut, even in my teens. When I finally felt brave enough at sixteen to get a pixie cut, my hairdresser said that a cut like that would be too unconventional, too bold for someone my age. I just let her give me a trim.
  • I did whatever I could to hang with the cool kids in grade school. I never thought it was stupid to adjust my personality so I could be considered “cool”. I sat with the popular kids, even though my real friends were seated at other tables.

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In my mind, doing what was conventional was what should have kept me happy. Even though my heart cried out for the opposite of what I was giving it, I still kept on living on the terms of what was orthodox.

I was giving myself the most passive life.

Being a boring teenager evolved into becoming a droll adult. In my early 20’s I still felt as if I was incredibly commonplace and so far from the utopian model of a young woman happy with who she is, and what she was doing with her life.

I just think too much, this overthinking has always made me uptight.

When I was alone or with my family and closest friends, I felt loose enough to try and let myself be me. 

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Even around my family and closest friends, it was very tough to relax and be comfortable with letting all the elements of my personality shine. It made me very passive-aggressive, and it only grew worse the more I distanced myself from my portrait of happiness to connect myself with everyone else’s.

I’ll blame it on my youth for living that imprudently for so long. Wisdom and experience over time has taught me that what makes everyone else happy may not be for you.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve made strides that I consider tremendous towards my own nirvana. I’ve learned that the first vital step to take towards bliss is to stop caring so much about others and their thoughts.

Why should it be important what people who don’t play a considerate role in my life think about my choices and what makes me happy? So what if I cut my hair and it’s not conventional? So what if I decide to move 1200 miles away to a city that makes my soul burst with pure enchantment?

Why should I care about anything that doesn’t make me happy?

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No one should ever have to feel that they should skirt around their happiness because embracing it wholeheartedly would be discordant to what is conventional.

I’ve realized that putting myself in a mold that I don’t belong in is no fun and it’s not easy on the heart. I’ve grown from looking at life from the comfort of a safe ground, to stepping out of my comfort zone and taking the time to learn how I can live each day being a better me and learning to be confident in who that woman is.

It doesn’t matter who the rest of the world says you should be. If you’re singing a different song than the rest of the choir, as long as it makes you happy – keep singing.

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An Inner Revolution.

Have you ever heard of the January Blues? At some point in the early part of the year it feels as if there’s an all-consuming lull in positivity. The joyous and exuberant feelings that were celebrated with ardor throughout the holiday season – they become wisps of reality that we’re barely able to hold on to.

This year I honestly thought that I had successfully bypassed the dreaded January Blues. January wasn’t the smoothest sea I’ve sailed, but it was much more serene in comparison to any other start to the year that I could recall.

Silly me, my January Blues were just making a late arrival.

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To start, let’s talk about what went right in January:

  • I started up my blog again.
  • I bought a new car.
  • I reached a momentous level of confidence with how my mental health was developing.

It may be a small list, but with how stubborn I can be about making cosmic decisions in regards to my life and how long it took for me to feel comfortable with managing my mental health, it’s all monumental strides for me.

I was doing okay. I was able to express myself and diligently work towards my desired successes and be happy. From how my January was going, I really thought that for the first time in a while, I had successfully managed to step into a year without tripping over my feet. Things were going right.

Let’s not forget, I did say that my January Blues came late to the party.

Just when I thought that this utopian ride through 2018 would continue, I drifted into the doldrums as February came around. Out of nowhere, I lost sight of what I regarded as important and settled comfortably into stagnation.

Getting up everyday had a different meaning. Where I used to be estatic to start the day and get work done or learn something new, I just wanted to hide away from all responsibilities and activities that required me to move, and just take a nap.

Even being around some of my dearest friends and family members in places that bring my spirits to the highest level of ascension possible, I felt like I was experiencing something outside of myself. My bank of emotions had been significantly overdrawn.

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I genuinely felt that every word or action that I enacted needed a subsequent apology because I felt so distant from who I was being at the time. To put it simply – I felt awful.

What made me even more upset is that nothing prompted my behavior. There was no significant stressor that triggered my actions (or rather, cyclical inaction). It just happened.

I can call it a late arrival of the January Blues, but let’s be real. We can dress it up and give it all the nicknames we’d like, but the bare bones of it all is that this hollow feeling, It’s depression.

It’s not the first time I’ve experienced an emotional downswing like this, and I’ve managed it before. Once realized, I’m able to arrange my behaviors to do better, and best my depression as much as I can. It’s not something I’ve learned overnight how to overcome, and neither is realizing what it is that I need to overcome.

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Sometimes, you need to realize how low you feel to learn what you need to do ascend to the great heights you set for yourself. The lovely Kristin Ondocsin of the Skinny Intern   painted my feelings into life perfectly with this statement:

It’s okay to fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn flame.

As much as it frustrates me when these episodes come about, I’ve realized that despite the measures I take to manage them, at times they’re just unavoidable. It’s my due diligence to ensure myself that these depressive episodes don’t stay around forever.

As peculiar as it sounds, when my depression comes about, I learn quite a bit about how I feel, and what I need to do to spark my own inner revolution towards happiness.

The hapless truth about depression is that it’s unavoidable. Despite this, just because we get stuck in a low place doesn’t mean we have to stay there.

I’ve worked so hard to make sure that the mental space that I’m at is a good one. Just because my emotions take a downturn for a little bit, doesn’t mean that I’m going to allow them to stay low when I’ve experienced the best of being emotionally high.

I like being there. So it’s time to get up, and get back to the healthy space where I want to be.

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I’m Throwing a Me Party for the Rest of My Life.

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Something I’ve always found interesting is the way that people treat the word selfish.

It’s treated as if it’s a curse word, or taboo. If you look up the definition of it, the word selfish is defined as being devoted or caring only for oneself and being concerned primarily with one’s own interests.

At times it may feel like being concerned with yourself before others is a bad thing. If we take a step back and really look at selfishness for what it is, is it really a bad thing?

It feels as if there is a social construct that an individual is either selfish or selfless, and can’t be both at the same time. Being selfish is often illustrated as a socially ordained “thou shalt not”, while selflessness is portrayed as an instrumental piece in the dogma of how to be a good person.

I used to align with this perspective of selflessness. I stood wholeheartedly by the belief that being selfless and putting others before yourself was the most distinguished way to validate that I had a good heart.

It’s not.

Through my youth, all the way up to the early part of my 20’s, I thought that the best way to be a good person, was to do what I needed to serve the needs of those around me. It meant that throughout my life, I couldn’t find it within me to say “No”.

It’s not easy on the heart to say yes to everyone but yourself.

 

 

Rather than take opportunities that would really give me room to grow, I’d invest more time into what would make those around me happiest, even if it cost me my own peace. As long as they knew I cared for them, right? The thing about expending so much energy towards other’s happiness is that we can sometimes forget to focus on our own.

I invested so much of my own energy into sculpting who I was into the most altruistic version of myself. I wanted to be known for how devoted I was to making others happy. I stubbornly stuck myself into a personal psalm that my happiness could solely be achieved through the happiness of others.

Blame it on my youth. That was honestly the stupidest mindset I’ve ever allowed myself to have. You spend so much time talking others up that when it comes time to sing your own praises, they come out soft and continue to, almost as if you’re turning down the volume on how spectacular of a person you are.

This radical perspective that I held about selflessness hindered me from living the most idealistic version of  my life for too long. I had become such a passive individual because of expectations that I had set for others, only for those expectations to fall at my feet.

Why didn’t people reciprocate the regard that I held for them? What was so wrong with me that I couldn’t receive back all that I was giving?

It made me feel angry and lost. I had invested so much time building others and catering to their needs, that I didn’t give myself time to figure out what I wanted my life to be like.

What can you do when you want to live the best version of your life, but it involves being the one thing you’ve been told all your life you shouldn’t be? What happens when you for once, stop being so selfless, and start being selfish?

You start to live your life right.

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Let’s be clear. Between selflessness and selfishness, there is a spectrum. As with anything that we measure on a scale, if we invest too much into one thing, then everything becomes unbalanced.

Through being selfish, I’ve learned the importance of balance. I can’t just live life expending all my love and care into others, just like I can’t keep all the love I have within me locked away. The verdict of my self debate is that when it comes to being selfish and selfless, you can’t have one without the other.

The important thing to remember is to never tip the scales. In both realms of care towards others I learned that too much of one or the other is never good for the heart. If we give too much of our love away, we have nothing to give to ourselves. If we hold all of our love that we have within us, we set off the balance of what makes us human.

It’s okay to be selfless. Celebrate your friends and loved ones and exalt them for the light they bring to your life, but don’t forget to throw yourself a me party from time to time as well.

We were made to give and receive love, and the balance of how we do it is important.