The Single Girl’s Guide To Making the Most of the Holiday Season

“Y el novio?” season is officially canceled! For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, “Y el novio?” translates to the nosy question your relatives ask every year when you see them for the holidays — “And your boyfriend?” Um, no thanks!

It’s a well known fact that people like to couple up around the holidays. It’s cold outside and everyone suddenly wants a cuddle buddy before break-up season (aka, Summer) comes around again. But for us single girls, the holidays don’t have to be a bummer just because we don’t have a cuddle buddy (besides our pets). In fact, one of the perks of being single is that you don’t have to agonize over a present for your partner or split up the holiday time between your family and theirs. You get to do your own thing! Here are some ideas for making the most of your holidays as a single gal:

  1. Throw a sleepover! Volunteer your place to throw an old school slumber party with all of your best girls. Make sure you go all out with Christmas decor (hit up the Dollar Store or Target’s Dollar Spot for cheap but fun options) and make cute pajamas mandatory. While you’re at it, organize a gift exchange or a White Elephant game. And don’t forget that (preferably spiked) hot chocolate!
  2. Organize a Secret Santa. Do it among your co-workers or your close friends or even your family. Make sure everyone provides a short wish list and that there’s a reasonable cap on prices to make it easier on everyone.presents
  3. Take yourself out on a date. Who says you need to have a significant other to go on a date? Be your own significant other! Taking yourself out doesn’t mean you have to go out on date night and ask for a table for one at a candlelit restaurant surrounded by couples. Hard pass! Instead, get all dolled up in an outfit you feel fierce in, do your hair and make-up, and smile in the mirror because you’re doing this all for yourself! Take yourself to the movies, or to a coffee shop with your favorite book in hand, or shopping in a cute part of town that you don’t normally go to.
  4. Decorate your space! Blast some Christmas music, make some hot chocolate, and decorate your space to get in the holiday mood. Get on Pinterest to pick a theme for your decorating style. There’s so much to choose from!Christmas decor 1Christmas decor 2.png
  5. Bake something! Grab a friend or two and host a night of baking (and drinking) Christmas goodies! As someone who has zero experience baking, I think it would be fun to have a little baking adventure and figure things out as you go. It might be helpful to have at least one friend who knows what they’re doing though.
  6. Host a breakfast for your friends. Bring on the mimosas and the waffles! Again, cute PJs should be mandatory!Breakfast Pic 1
  7. Donate to Goodwill! The holidays are the perfect time to clean out your closet. Take out those old sweaters and jackets you haven’t used in years so someone else can get some good use out of them. Cleaning out your closet is also a super fun way to go through your clothes and put together holiday outfits you probably didn’t even know you had. Get creative!
  8. Update your beauty routine. Jump on YouTube and check out new make-up artists to liven up that same ol’ routine, whether it’s make-up or skin care. There’s so much information out there, you’re bound to learn a new tip or trick. I also always find it fun to check out make-up artists’ holiday looks and practice them for Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Think lots of glitter and red lips.  makeup.png
  9. Spend some time being a homebody. Take a cozy candlelit bath. Watch Christmas movies all day. Drink coffee. Write in your journal. Reflect on all you’ve accomplished this year and set intentions for next year.journal
  10. Spend more time with your pet. I think we can all spend a little more time walking our dogs or playing with our cats. If you don’t have a pet, now is a good time to consider visiting an animal shelter and adopting one!pets
  11. Make Christmas cards for your friends or family members. Even if you can’t get gifts for everyone, a cute hand-decorated Christmas card is a thoughtful little present. And they’re so fun to make! christmas cards.png
  12. Catch up with old friends. You know there are friends you haven’t seen in the longest time. Set up a coffee date or just shoot them a friendly text to let them know you’re thinking about them. Typically people have some down time during the holidays, so it’s a great time to set up a catch-up date.
  13. Travel! Or be a tourist in your own city. Hit up a winery with your girlfriends for a day. Visit a part of town you aren’t familiar with. Or take a solo trip to a city you’ve never been to. For more ideas on solo trips, check out my post here.
  14. Cook something to contribute! I am by no means an expert in the kitchen. Hell, I’m barely even a beginner. But last year I got the bright idea that I wanted to contribute something to my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. So, I learned how to make baked extra-cheesy mac and cheese. I practiced a few times before Thanksgiving so I could get it right on the night of. Like I said, I’m a TOTAL beginner. So if you’re more experienced, pick a dish you haven’t tried before and practice beforehand. It’s fun trying out a new recipe!
  15. Grab your best girlfriend and splurge on a fancy dinner. I’m a huge fan of this one! It’s usually a rare occasion when I splurge on a fancy meal at an uppity restaurant, and typically this is done on a special romantic date BUT it’s so much more special when you go with your girlfriend(s). The fact that this isn’t a normal outing makes the whole experience more exciting. Plus, its fun to get all dressed up! Some restaurants have lunch specials that are a little cheaper, so there’s no excuse to not try this one out!

30 Things I Learned Before Turning 30

  1. You will be happy again. Things will get dark. You’ll lose your way. Sometimes, you’ll lose yourself. But you have to fight for your happiness, and before you know it, you will be happy again one day.
  2. You don’t have to be in a relationship to feel whole. I spent way too many years in my twenties in serious relationships when the relationship I wish I would have focused on was the one with myself. I’ve enjoyed getting to know just who I am, but I wish I had started this journey sooner.
  3. Pick good friends. I’ve been lucky in this department (or I just know how to pick ’em!). My friends have been there for me when I wasn’t always present and wasn’t being such a good friend in return. Spending time with my friends makes my soul happy.
  4. Traveling is not overrated. I read once that everything looks better on television, and so traveling is overrated. THAT IS NOT TRUE! Things are much more magical in real life.
  5. Traveling alone is a must! Book a trip to a city you’ve always wanted to visit. Part of the fun is planning your itinerary before going. And no, it will not be weird or lonely to travel alone. If you want to check out my first experience traveling alone this year, check it out here.
  6. Parts of me still feel like a wild, clueless, but well-intentioned sixteen-year-old…and that’s okay! I can’t have it all figured out just because I’m a little older. I can still aspire to be this totally put-together gal that doesn’t spill coffee on her clothes and wears heels to work every day. But I understand every day is different, and I am different every day. It’s good to have this aspiration, but I won’t get down on myself for not living up to it daily.
  7. Living by yourself is a beautiful luxury. There’s something about having solitude in your home all to yourself. There’s something about decorating your space the way you want to and taking candlelit baths and reading by your windows without disturbances. If you have the means to try it out, do it.
  8. I may be turning thirty, but I am still immature in some areas. And I think that’s okay. There’s still plenty of time to “grow up.” It’s all part of self-discovery.
  9. Get a pet! It will teach you commitment and patience. Some of my happiest times have been sitting alone with my dog and laughing out loud at the weird things he does.
  10. Spending time with my family has made me the happiest. They are always my safest place. They are always my source of comfort. Don’t take your family for granted.
  11. You will never be too old for Disney World.
  12. Finding ways to keep growing and learning. Take a class in a subject that interests you. Read books that teach you something new. Learn to make some cool cocktails or learn how to play an instrument. I took guitar lessons this past year and it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had.
  13. Work isn’t everything. Have career goals and strive for them, but don’t get so caught up that you don’t enjoy your time outside of work because you’re thinking about work. Be present.
  14. Therapy should be a basic necessity. I can’t live without it. Finding the right therapist takes work, but it’s so worth it.
  15. Curate your social media. If a certain account is making you feel bad about yourself, you find you’re comparing yourself to someone else, or an account is overly negative, UNFOLLOW. I have made it a point to only follow people and accounts that make me feel good and provide something valuable to my life. I want to see things that make me happy.
  16. I need loads of positivity in my life. Be it through podcasts, music, shows, or movies, I always need that extra kick of good and happy feelings. I don’t like drama, not even in my entertainment.
  17. Life will knock you down when you least expect it. Take baby steps to get back up. Forcing yourself to jump right back into your fast-paced schedule will only make you feel worse when you’re not up for it. Take some time to heal what you need to, then slowly find your way back to your routine.
  18. Have compassion with yourself. Just like we have an inner-critic, we ought to strive to have a compassionate voice in our heads as well.
  19. Stop comparing yourself to others! You will never find joy in this. Focus on yourself. Compete with yourself. Strive to simply become the best version of you.
  20. I love my body. It took me a long time to get here – thirty years give or take. This doesn’t mean I don’t constantly work on improving it and becoming a healthier me. It means I don’t hate on my body or speak negatively about it, and that has made the biggest difference for me.
  21. Trust your intuition. For a long time, I neglected mine and it caused me a lot of pain and anxiety. If you see red flags, if you have a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach, if something just does not feel right, trust that. Our bodies know things that we don’t.
  22. Do things before you’re ready. You can’t live life afraid. It’s always going to feel like you can be more prepared than you currently are. Everything will never be just right before you can start, so start first and then figure it out along the way. You’ll get the hang of it.
  23. Failure is a good teacher. You won’t always succeed the first time around. Hell, you may not succeed the fiftieth time around. But there will be lessons learned, always.
  24. Be proud of where you come from.
  25. Help others in any way you can, with what you have, and where you are.
  26. Take time for yourself. It’s okay not to say yes to everything. The people you matter to will understand when you have to take time for yourself.
  27. Dabble in learning to cook! I’ve learned a few recipes this past year and I love the feeling of being in the kitchen acting like I know what I’m doing. Knowing how to whip up something you can share with others gives you a little jolt of confidence. Plus, it’s nice to cook delicious homemade meals for yourself.
  28. Becoming self-aware. This has been one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned. We can’t take care of others unless we understand ourselves first — unless we can step back and understand why it is that we do the things we do. Be conscious of who you are.
  29. Rectifying childhood issues. For example, I have abandonment issues stemming from childhood. I wouldn’t know this if I didn’t go to therapy, and understanding it has helped me become aware of my thought patterns. You have to heal to keep growing. Also, healing is messy. It is not a magical moment with candles and incense. It hurts, but it makes you so much stronger when you come out the other end. And yes, you will always come out the other end.
  30. Don’t play games with people. Whether it’s with a new crush, a new friend, or even with your family, try not to be someone you’re not for the sake of what people will think. Be authentic. Be honest. Be yourself.
  31. And as a little bonus to carry on into a new, bolder, and more magical year, the best advice my mother has given me: “Quierete, y cuida tu corazon.” Love yourself, and take care of your heart. 

HOW TO: DEAL WITH TOXIC PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE

We’ve all dealt with that person in our lives who exudes negativity or brings your energy levels down in some way. It’s natural to want to stay friends or acquaintances with this person because most of us don’t know how to express that, well, they are being toxic and they need to stop it. If you’re dealing with a toxic person in your life, check out the following tips. I hope they’re helpful!

Tip #1: Know that this toxic person has issues with themselves, not with you.

What they say and do is a reflection of who they are and what they are feeling. Some people have unresolved anger or are predisposed to negativity. Some of them are completely narcissistic. Many of these people act on those feelings because they either don’t know any better or feel that hurting you will make them feel better. This is called insecurity. Reassure yourself that so long as you haven’t done anything to hurt this person, the toxicity they are emitting has nothing to do with you.

Tip #2: Remind yourself of who you are and what kind of person you are.

Chances are you’re a good person who is kind and compassionate, along with many other great attributes. This is easy to forget if you’re constantly being told or made to feel the opposite. You are not a bad person. You have no reason to dwell in negativity. It’s important not to lose sight of this because the moment you do, it makes it so easy for this toxic person to take advantage of you and your feelings. Remind yourself constantly of everything good you have to offer and hold on to that like your well-being depends on it, because it does. Make a list and keep it handy when you’re having a moment of weakness.

Tip #3: People change. This includes you. Accept that.

Sometimes we stay in friendships or relationships we have outgrown because we’re afraid of letting go. We believe that because we became friends with a person when we were twelve, we owe them our time for the rest of our lives. This is simply not true. While it’s admirable to have loyalty to someone, it’s not okay to keep being loyal when it’s producing self-harm in the form of negative feelings. You don’t owe anybody your time or friendship. Recognize that you are different people and it’s perfectly normal to go your separate ways.

Tip #4: You’re not going to please everyone. And that’s okay.

There’s a saying that goes, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there will still be someone who does not like peaches.” This means that no matter how good or kind or friendly you are, someone can still refuse to like you. Plain and simple. So why waste your energy trying to win somebody over? Instead, use that energy on people who love and energize you in return. 

Tip #5: Confront this toxic person.

I don’t mean you have to get aggressive or obnoxious in your confrontation. This simply means you can do something as straightforward as asking them if there is a problem you don’t know about or something that is bothering them. You can also tell them straight up if something is bothering you and why. Sometimes there is no other solution than to address the elephant in the room. Talk it out, but remember to remain calm and objective.

Tip #6: Set boundaries.

I am very adamant about things that I don’t want to talk about, and it’s easy for me to shut down a conversation or action I don’t feel comfortable with. But this takes practice. It’s completely okay to tell somebody, “I don’t want to talk about this” or “I don’t want to do this.” If they ask why, you have absolutely no obligation to explain why. “No” is a complete sentence. Boundaries are healthy and necessary so that people who feel they want to take advantage of you do not walk all over you. And if all else fails, at the end of the day, sometimes all you can do is ignore or possibly even block this toxic person.

How to get over a break-up (Or some ideas on how to try)

There’s no sugar coating it. Break-ups suck. They FUCKING suck. Whether the break-up is mutual or not, break-ups are bound to cause you some (maybe a lot of) heartache. They will definitely cause a change you may or may not welcome. And they will cause a shit-ton of confusion. And ain’t nobody got time for that.

Because I am a huge nerd, whenever I have gone through a break-up I have desperately wished a how-to book on how to get up and get over your now ex-partner existed. Now that I’m a little older and just a little tiny bit wiser, I have made some realizations about this whole break-up mess that have helped me power through the heartbreak and endless barrage of questions.

I obviously know that everyone’s breakup is different. Thus, this article will only help so much. Unfortunately, by the time you finish reading this article, you will not be over your ex (but here’s to hoping). These are things that worked for me. Some may help you, some may make you say, “You have no earthly idea what you’re talking about.” All your reactions are okay. And it’s totally okay that you are here in the middle of this moment of what feels like despair in your life. It’s all going to be okay, I promise. (Cue all your “fuck off” eye-rolling reactions here, but keep reading).

  1. The beginning of the end is the hardest, and it will get worse before it gets better. Accept that now.You’re here. It happened. Shit has hit the fan and you are now forced to have everything around you change. There’s no running away from it. So embrace it. The scariest part is the unknown, not the actual being alone part. I’m not going to lie. Typically, it’s going to hurt more and harder before you start feeling better but if you’re armed with that knowledge now, you won’t be surprised by it. Be comforted by the fact that it happened and guess what? The world didn’t stop spinning. You didn’t stop breathing. You didn’t lay down and give up. It hurts like a bitch, but you’re still standing.
  2. Spend a lot, a lot, A LOT of time with people you love and who love you back. Did I mention a lot?
  3. Reconnect with YourselfRemember who you were before this break-up. Remember who you wanted to be. Remember who that little girl or little boy or little human dreamed of becoming. Are you still in touch with that dream? What can you do to get back to it?
  4. Reconnect with old friends and acquaintances. Hell, make some new friends!I feel that I have always been blessed in the friendship department. I do have a lot of friends I love and that have stuck by my side. And thank goodness that they chose to stick with me. Whether it’s intentional or not, when you’re in a relationship, you tend to neglect your friends more often than not. At least I did. I neglected them entirely too much. But when I came out of the relationship, my friends didn’t miss a beat. They were there to catch me when I felt like shit. They made me laugh. They didn’t call me out for not hanging out with them as often as I used to. And that made me love them even more.
  5. Try things you’ve never done before or things you’ve always wanted to tryTry a new recipe (or just learn to cook something if you’re anything like me in the kitchen) or take up learning to make cool cocktails or sign up for classes to learn how to play an instrument. Just get out of your head and busy yourself with something new.
  6. Ask yourself who and what kind of person you want to become.Then spend a lot of time discovering ways to become this – your highest and best self. Journaling helps so that you don’t forget your goals and ideas. Talking to a therapist helps. Meditating helps.
  7. Try not to date right away.Go back to #6. You can’t figure out who your highest, bestest true self is if you’re sharing your time and amazing personality with someone else. Remember, in order to give to others, you must be overflowing yourself.
  8. Don’t tell yourself you’re over him/her/they if you are not. It’s okay not to be.You’ll get there. The day will come when they are not the first thing that pops into your head in the morning. There is no rush to be over this person. Take your time healing. Also, remember that healing is not a fast, magical, relaxing time. Healing is painful and dirty and hard. But healing makes you stronger.
  9. Don’t call them. Don’t stalk their socials. Out of sight, out of mind. Stalking them will never bring you joy, so why even do it? Block, block, block!
  10. Work on that negative thinking so you don’t get eaten alive by anger/negativity/depression/sad shit in general!Okay, I’m going to get a little personal here, but I have to do so in order to explain how this vital step works. When I started recognizing that I was finally getting over my break-up, I began noticing that little venomous thoughts about my ex would creep into my brain. These thoughts would then snowball into more and more negative thoughts until I was fucking pissed about things I remembered or some new scenario I had created in my head that wasn’t even real. Then I would get mad at myself because I would remind myself that THIS RELATIONSHIP IS OVER AND NONE OF THIS MATTERS AND I WASTED TIME EVEN THINKING ABOUT THIS. Other times, just my ex’s name would pop into my head and a slew of curse words would follow because I was livid. Again, I felt angry at my waste of energy on these thoughts. It was a vicious cycle.
    • I began to be more patient with myself. When a negative thought came into my mind, I tried to catch it as early as possible, take a deep breath, and tell myself it’s okay to feel angry but I had to let this thought go. Imagine your thoughts are like clouds. You can’t control them as they come into your head, but you can control how much you focus on them. Just because a thought comes into your brain, it doesn’t make it true. Make it a point to observe these “clouds” and just let them pass by.
    • Bonus challenge: I talked to my therapist about this and she encouraged me to take it even one step further. Whenever I had a negative thought and my anger would come tumbling out right after it, rather than just observing my feelings and moving on with my day, she told me to stop and also ask myself, “Why do you feel this way?” Then I had to answer my question so I could validate my feelings. For example, if I thought, “Homeboy is a really bad dude” (but in much more explicit and unsavory terms that I will not get into here) then I had to answer, Why is he a bad dude? And then I would think, “Because he did or didn’t do so and so and it really hurt my feelings.” I know this sounds like a lot of work, but this process helped me realize that my feelings of anger were justified and understanding why I was angry also helped me realize that sad part of my life is over and I’m content right where I am because I no longer have to deal with it.
  11. Talk to a Therapist.I honestly don’t shut up about this, I know. I’ve talked about finding a therapist before. You can check out that article here if you’d like.
  12. Just be sad.My biggest problem has always been the fear of sitting still in the silence and letting the waves of sadness completely wash over you. That sounds poetic, but it’s actually the most hurtful shit ever. You gotta feel it to heal it. And, again, a lot of us are under the impression that healing is magical and full of candles and incense and flowy clothing. But healing is hard work. It’s dirty and rough and you have to dig through the mess to find the root of your pain to make that pain stop. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Allow yourself to sit with your heartbreak, because if you don’t, it will catch up to you and manifest itself one way or another, in multiple different ways. It can manifest itself through misplaced anger or in your next relationship. Some days are going to hurt like hell, and some moments are going to feel like you can’t even breath because it aches so much. Some days you’re going to cry more than you thought you possibly could. You will ugly cry, you will cry loudly, you will cry in the shower. Just accept it and let your body react the way it needs to. All of that excess energy needs to be released, so don’t be afraid of it. There is a misconception that to cry or to feel things equates to weakness, but I think that’s completely wrong. Allowing yourself to face that pain is what makes you brave. Knowing your heart is going to crack in different places and being courageous enough to say, “I’m still going to feel this and accept it and honor it” is what allows good change to happen. Growing up hurts, and accepting changes hurts. But being strong enough to endure it instead of running away from it is what makes all the difference and allows true healing to happen.
  13. Forgive them and have compassion. This one is HARD! How do you forgive someone who  broke your heart and why would you even want to anyway?! Here are the answers: You forgive someone who broke your heart for yourself, not for them, and you forgive them by finding compassion for them. I still struggle with this, but it’s a constant battle I try to win. Staying angry with someone and refusing to forgive them is a slow poisonous death to you, not to them. Release that pain by remembering this person as a child – they know not what they do. I know that’s weird, but it’s easier to have compassion for someone when you remember we’re all just out here trying to do our best. You may not like this one, but I promise it’s the most rewarding one.
  14. Be grateful.Be grateful for life. For your health. For every moment. Life is so beautiful and full of adventures. Don’t stay stuck in this one bad thing that happened. Learn from it, release it, and carry on being mindful that this will only help us grow.

 

The Truth About a Broken Heart

There’s something to be said for having a broken heart. A broken heart sucks, but it’s also a gateway to brand new beginnings. This may just be me, but the last time I had my heart broken (and it was really broken – I mean shattered), I also felt deep down a tiny tinge of excitement and relief. That may have something to do with the kind of relationship I was in, but regardless, I looked forward to what lay ahead in the unknown just a little bit.

Life can set us back in the most unexpected times and knock us down when we’re least expecting it. Instead of laying face down on the ground, though, we can take these experiences as opportunities to grow. And growing hurts. Growing isn’t easy, that’s why some people stay stuck in the place where they’re at for the rest of their lives. But we don’t have to stay stuck. We can make the decision to keep moving.

It sounds simple to tell someone to get back up and back in the game after a heartbreak. The truth is that it’s easier said than done. In order to keep moving, we have to take baby steps into the new unknown. There was a time when I was knocked down after going like what seemed 100 mph. I had been exercising consistently, eating cleaner, meditating daily. Basically, putting a lot of effort into really taking care of myself. Then the storm hit and I got thrown way off track. I barely had the energy to get out of bed without crying, let alone exercise, cook, meditate, and write. There have been times in the past when I got knocked down like this, and before I knew it, a year had passed me by and I was still not taking care of myself. I decided that wouldn’t be the case this time, and I would get back to my self-care habits. But I still didn’t have the energy to do so, and the pressure to get back to it just kept building.

What I realized during this time was that it takes a lot of tiny steps to start feeling normal again. Instead of jumping right back up and kicking it into high gear, we need to get up slowly. We need to dust ourselves off and start walking, not running. I did this by spending time by myself and re-aligning. By re-aligning, I mean I mostly sat around with my dog, read books, and watched (cried to) a lot of Queer Eye. Your re-alignment may look different, but all it is is to spend time doing something you love and that doesn’t require a lot of effort. You’ll get back into the swing of things eventually.

That’s not to say there won’t be fear and doubt that you’ll experience along the way. A broken heart takes time to heal, but that doesn’t mean you have to be sad the entire time. Change your perspective and find excitement in your new path. You’re going to have new adventures, meet new people, try different things. You get to meet yourself again, free of anyone or anything that was holding you back before. Even if you weren’t being held back, you still had someone to answer to. There was something to account for, but not anymore. And that’s a good feeling when you really think about it. You get to create yourself – who you are, what you like, what you wear, read, watch, etc. and creating is not boring. There will still be tough times, but you’re tough, too. A broken heart can show you just how strong, creative, powerful, independent, and compassionate you can be. Learn to embrace it and reconstruct slowly but accordingly.

Positive Self-Talk To Practice Daily

I know I’m not the only one who has the habit of calling myself “stupid” or “an idiot” whenever I don’t get something right. Negative thoughts are ingrained into our brains whether we make a conscious decision to think about them or not. Most of the time, these thoughts are so severe that we don’t even notice we’re saying them to ourselves.

We may not be able to control the negative messages as they pop into our heads, but we can learn to become aware of them and change them over time. It takes a lot of work to even become aware of these thoughts, but once you make the decision to notice them, you will. Slowly, but surely.

Here is a quick list of phrases you can start practicing today:

Instead of: calling yourself an idiot because you did something “wrong”…

Try saying: Everybody makes mistakes. I’m only human. My mistakes are part of my learning experience and they help me improve.

Instead of: calling yourself fat…

Try saying: I am grateful for this body that I have. I will do my best to take care of it. I am learning what I need to do to take care of my body.

Instead of: comparing yourself to others…

Try saying: I bring something different to the table, and that is [blank]. I accept myself as a unique and worthwhile person.

Instead of: thinking you are worthless…

Try saying: I have so much to offer. My life has meaning and purpose. I have a lot to be proud of.

Instead of: believing you have nothing to contribute or worth saying…

Try saying: My experiences are unique to me. Nobody else can speak about them, and only I can tell my story.

Instead of: convincing yourself you should be doing more or doing better…

Try saying: I am completely lovable just as I am today. I am enough here and now. I will continue to change and grow from a place of self-acceptance.

Instead of: saying you’re not smart enough…

Try saying: I will learn how to do this.

 

Letter to You- You Are Doing Great!

Hi there.

I know you are scrolling Instagram, double clicking away. Or maybe just lurking. Or maybe you’re comparing. We tend to do that a lot — compare ourselves to other people on the ‘gram. We compare our pictures, our bodies, our jobs, our families, all of it! Most of the time, we don’t even notice that we’re doing it.

I’m not here to tell you to stop it. You do you, boo. I’m just here to tell you to become aware of it so that it doesn’t become harmful to you. We fall into these traps where we see a flawless picture of someone or an award they post or a promotion someone just got and we think, I should be looking like that/performing like him or her/working as hard as they do. We think we need to be doing better or doing more. But why?

I’m here to tell you that you’re just fine just the way you are. You’re better than fine! You’re you! There is no other person out there that is you. Even if you’ve been sitting on your ass all day watching Netflix. Even if you haven’t washed your hair in six days. Even if you’re underweight or overweight or you just failed out of college or you don’t have a job right now. None of these things make you less worthy of love, appreciation, and compassion. There is no need to keep comparing ourselves to others to become better. Work on yourself, for yourself, and things will fall into place. I know this sounds very generic, but it’s also true. When we focus on ourselves, we begin to make things happen. We simply have to desire it enough to work for it.

Nobody is posting the struggles or shitty pictures on those Instagram squares. It’s only for the highlights, so there’s no need to feel bad over it. That shit about being “on” and looking flawless all the time is NOT real. You don’t need to look like anyone other than you. So relax, maybe wash your hair when you’re ready, and enjoy this life being yourself.

XO,

Dania

 

Carbon Copy Love by Briana Walters

I LOVE, love. Underneath the cynical, realist vibe I give off, I’m a sucker for a good love story and a secret (and now not so secret) hopeless romantic. With couples like Prince Harry and Meghan, John and Chrissy, Faith and Tim, KimYe… It’s easy for me to dream up what I hope my love life could possibly look like. Amirite? I want to love and be loved. Don’t we all?

But what happens when love is the opposite of everything you thought it was going to be? When it brings you hurt and pain instead of pure bliss? When your happily ever after isn’t quite the way you thought it would turn out to be?

Our view and perspective of love shapes the relationships we choose to be in. So what is authentic love?

Here is what the Bible says about love:

“Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut. Doesn’t have a swelled head. Doesn’t force itself on others. Isn’t always “me first,”. Doesn’t fly off the handle. Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others. Doesn’t revel when others grovel. Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth. Puts up with anything. Trusts God always. Always looks for the best. Never looks back, but keeps going to the end.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 msg

I’m sure most of you are familiar with this passage. At weddings, I often anticipate this scripture and repeat it with the officiant as they recite it.  However, despite the familiarity, this truly is what genuine love looks like. It’s sacrificial. It’s not all talk, but action. It’s taking the good, bad, and ugly and still wanting to be with a person. It’s dying to self for the benefit of the other person and the relationship. If our view on love isn’t rooted in the One who IS love, we can often mistake what we think is genuine love for a carbon copy.

A carbon copy is when a person or thing is a close resemblance of someone or something , but isn’t the original. It’s masked. It’s counterfeit. It might look the same, talk the same, and walk the same, but at the root it’s just a look-alike or copy, if you will.

Have you ever experienced carbon copy love? Been in what you thought was “love” then came out of it and was like, “What was I thinking?!” You thought it was the real deal, but it turned out to be a big lesson for you? When you’re in a carbon copy relationship, it’s often hard to see the truth because you’re so caught up in the person and the idea of what you think the relationship could be.

Here is what I’ve found to be signs of carbon copy love:

1. You lower your standards.

I could probably write a WHOLE post of this sign alone. I have found myself doing this numerous times. I know what I want in a significant other. I’ve made “the list” and checked it twice, but yet I find myself compromising those values to fit the person in my life. I try to justify the red flags I already see and say things like, “I think I could put up with this. It’s not too much for me to handle. They might change.” When really, I’m tolerating behavior and characteristics that go against what I want and deserve.

2. You begin to doubt your worth.

Sometimes people jump into a relationship with baggage or unhealed wounds. Healing and wholeness are important when beginning a relationship. Without them, space is left for insecurity that when unaddressed can cause friction with the person they are dating now. Then there are times when these emotions are a result of the person they are currently dating. Their actions are not matching up to their words or there’s inconsistency. You begin to think something is wrong with you or you’re not enough when really, it has nothing to do with you at all.

3. You hurt more than you are happy.

All relationships have their ups and downs, but when you can count more bad days than good, it’s not healthy. You try to hang on to the few good days you do have, but sometimes that is not enough. You try to tell yourself that love is painful when really it’s not suppose to be.

We’re often looking for quick fixes to satisfy the void of love that we’re desiring. I know this feeling. I’ve been there. But not seeking and leaning into wisdom when we’re dating or knowing when to walk away from a love that isn’t authentic can cause us to settle in something that’s temporary. We’re craving a contentment that can really only be found in Jesus. Our love story with Jesus is the greatest of all time and His love for us is eternal. It never fades or runs dry. His love for us was sacrificial and came at a cost.

I recently sat down with my pastor who spoke truth into my life. He told me something that I think people in this “waiting season” or “carbon copy love” situation need to hear:

“I am the prize. I am worth the wait. The right person will come at the right time.”

It ignited a spark in me to not settle. It’s not conceited to feel that you deserve the best. It’s not wrong for you to be picky when it comes to a significant other. Why? Because God wants the absolute best for you! His love for us is not a carbon copy so why would He want you to settle for something that is less than real?

Don’t let fear cripple you from walking away from that comfortable/familiar relationship. Don’t let society pressure you into thinking that time is running out for you to find love. Don’t let loneliness make you forget what you are worth.

You are of the utmost value. You are worth the pursuit. You deserve authentic love. Don’t settle. Don’t compromise. Keep fighting and believing that God has your best interest at heart.

I have to remind myself of this every day. I don’t know why certain relationships didn’t work out. I don’t know why I haven’t met “the one”. Perhaps God is not finished with me in this season, and maybe He hasn’t completed His work yet in you too. But what I do know is I don’t want a carbon copy love. I want the real thing. The way God intended and designed a relationship to be. You should too because “YOU ARE WORTH THE WAIT. YOU ARE THE PRIZE. THE RIGHT PERSON WILL COME AT THE RIGHT TIME.”

XO,

Bri

Original article appeared on BrianaWalters.com

MEET THE AUTHOR

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My name is Briana, but those who know me best call me Bri. Through maturity and some experience, I’ve learned to value the life I’ve been given. I want to enjoy and share it with the people I love. I plan on living my best life and you should too! My hope is to inspire others to step out and live the life they were created to live!