Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thoughts On Change

Photo on 2012-02-04 at 18.33

I don't know what it is, but lately I've been in the most introspective, analytical mood ever.  Maybe it's because Henry just turned one in November, maybe it's because these are the last months before I hit the big 3-0, who knows...but I've been thinking a lot about the past few years and everything I've learned. 2011 was such a year of growth- obviously having a child is a huge part of that- but I think it goes beyond just becoming a Mom.

The other night before bed I spent an hour or so reading back through the archives here.  Even though this blog is only a few years old, reading some of my earlier entries made me laugh (and cringe). I sounded so naive, so idealistic...and I think this past year has really carried me into a place of reality, with myself and with others. I think for a long time I was still figuring out who I was- and really, do we ever know? As expected I'm still learning something new everyday, but I definitely know the kind of person I want to be- and more than anything that person is positive, loving, and kind in all situations. It's simple really- I want to be my best self, and I want to surround myself with positive people who are also working towards the same.

I've had so many long discussions with Hank about the intricacies of personality; about how we have these things ingrained in us that are so difficult to change. Possible, yes. But often very hard. As far as me, I have things I am always working on. Take a positive attitude for example: some days it comes naturally, but other days it's a decision, and some days I don't really even want to expend the energy to get there. Is that weird? It's like I know I'm in a bad mood and it's a simple fix, but I just continue to go along in my negativity rather than change. I'll be fully aware of it but yet do nothing to shift it. It's interesting to me, to be totally self-aware but yet still not be able to change exactly when you'd like to. I know change comes gradually through repeated effort to get there, but it's still interesting to think about how amazing the human mind is, both in its willingness to change and stubbornness not to.

What works for me is looking at life on a day by day basis. I'm a huge big-picture thinker and I'm always dreaming of the future, but when I know I need to work on something it's important for me to stay grounded and focused on the now. Cutting out sugar was hard in the beginning, but I took it day by day and all of a sudden I find myself finishing up a month of sugar-free living, and I feel proud of this accomplishment. So right now I'm just taking each day for what it is, a chance to be the best person, wife, and mother I can be; a daily chance to achieve small goals that eventually work into the bigger picture. I know that if yesterday I found myself in a negative place, today I can change my attitude and be kinder to myself and those around me. I know that if I get into a disagreement, if I didn't make good food choices, if I was more lazy than productive, then right now I can do it differently. And doing this day after day, making small decisions to be better, leads to positivity being a part of the majority of your days. Then weeks. Then months...

Most of all I'm trying to be kinder to myself. I'm a perfectionist by nature but I'm learning that nothing will ever work out to be exactly how I planned or pictured. And that's okay. I'm not a fortune-teller, so any firm expectation I have in my mind will never be met, because it's impossible to see what lies ahead. All I can do is keep working on little things everyday, accepting myself, and moving positively forward. It's exciting really, seeing changes, and totally satisfying to take a step back and know that you are in fact accomplishing goals you've set out for yourself, no matter how long it takes.

So with that said, is there anything you find yourself working on, on a daily basis? Do you have anything about yourself you want or need to change but have a hard time doing so? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for reading. xoxo

33 comments:

  1. I am constantly struggling with anxiety especially social anxiety. I just have this awful fear of doing anything or letting myself have fun because I'm always worried I'll say or do something stupid. Even if no one else thinks that, it's what I think. Lately that's been on my mind 24/7 about how I can't seem to do anything right and feeling like a failure. I let myself get negative always and just simply feel crushed most days. That's something I would like to change about myself. To be able to fix it or just able to deal with it is something I want so badly. It's so hard though and many times feels quite impossible. Day to day I'm trying to do it. So, thank you for the post. Sometimes it's good to hear that everyone is dealing with something or working through things.

    Have a good sunday!

    xo

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  2. It's so funny how sometimes the right words find you at the right time... I've only recently started reading your blog, and just saw you tweet this link so decided to follow it. I've spent the last few hours in tears at the thought of having to go to work tomorrow. Your words have helped immensely and reminded me of what it is I am trying to do as well - thank you! :)

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  3. I know how you feel. I am such a perfectionist by nature too, and often that is my biggest downfall. It's okay to just wait and see how things turn out to be - I don't have to know everything and be in control of everything.

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  4. Maybe it's something in the air. I am turning 29 next week and I am also in a very analytic place. I am also not a naturally positive person - in fact I would say I sometimes have depressive tendencies and have worked hard at that for years (which is why my Positivity in Parenting post was so important to me). For me, after having a baby, having my blog, a portrait photography business, starting/launcing a website, finishing my degree all this year has left me in a place where I'm not taking very good care of myself and my body is reflecting that. I decided, last night actually, that I have to completely switch my priority lists around and put myself first because if I keep putting myself second I'll never get around to it. =) I'm excited to see how you continue to improve.

    Kacie

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  5. I definitely could've written this--I'm feeling very similarly lately and I know what you mean about the struggles between self-awareness and feeling helpless to change. I think we talked about this when I was in Arizona actually :)

    I read an article recently on cracked.com, and the writer was saying that every two years or so he decides he finally "gets it," and then two years later realizes what an idiot he was, haha.

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  6. I'm a perfectionist, and I worry.. A lot. When I was younger I used I have such bad anxiety. I'd work myself up so bad about these things, going to school, meeting new people, I'd literally make myself sick. It got so bad one year I even had to do tests at the Doctors. I've gotten a million times better, and I've definitely broken out of my shell ( I'm pretty sure putting a bumper sticker on my Ferrari was a major help with this situation ) I stil worry about silly things, things that shouldn't be a worry yet. Am I going to be a good mom some day, am I making the right decisions now for later in life. It's cliche but I need to remind myself that life's short, you live once, and you need to be the best you can be everyday to live the best life you could live.

    Thank you for this post.

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  7. Hi. I have been fighting with myself to realize and be ok with the fact that not everyone is going to like me. I've mostly made peace within myself save a large recurring family issue. I'm learning to let go and and trying not to let people's mean comments and spreading of lies get the best of me. That's not to say I don't have my days and my "break downs" when times get ugly. It is so hard for me to understand how people can be so thoughtless and have no problems justifying being so unkind to other human beings. But this year is my year to let things go and let positivity take over. Wish me luck!! And thanks for being so open and honest. It means a lot!!!

    Wishing you and your family lots of love and happiness!!

    P.S.- I too am a tattooed mom (of 5 kids). I loved your blog on that topic. So inspirational and true!!

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  8. I absolutely loved this post and its subject matter. I find that each day I have to try hard to notlet silly things irritate me. I am not really that calm of a person when it comes to inconsiderate people. I have to consistently remind myself that it's not a big deal, forget about it, remain calm and carry on. I hope one day it becomes second nature.

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  9. "To be totally self-aware but yet still not be able to change exactly when you'd like to", that's my life ;-P

    I think this 2012 is a year of big changes. It's been a hard month for me, but I see this as an opportunity to get better.

    Love,

    Monica

    normalsoup.blogspot.com

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  10. hmmm.. where to start?:)

    trusting fully in the Lord, patience, peacefulness, gentleness. did i mention patience?:)...

    the list could go on and on!! ... thanks for some lovely insights here.

    hugs.

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  11. I wonder where we get this idea of perfectionism from. I know there are a lot of us who have these tendencies? Is it something we are born with or something that is learned? For me, my Dad is also this way, but did he teach me to be like this or if I'd grown up elsewhere would I still have this instinct?

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  12. I've had the hardest time to stay on a regular exercising routine..untill about a month ago..I don't know what happened...but all of the sudden it is working. I don't have to force myself and I don't feel like shit while I'm doing it :) It feels so good and inspiring now, that I really feel bad if I haven't had my daily workout. I Love that! I really think it just had to happen. Forcing it, just didn't work.

    My biggest problem though that I am working on ever since I'm a little kid, is staying focused and positive. I have (just like you I guess, when I read your posts) the tendency to let myself get completely negative and "self loathing" because of something that happened or that just didn't work out. I think about everything for faaar to long. Analyzing it to bits and pieces (usually with a negative touch)
    It runs in my family. It's a daily struggle on staying positive and keeping those thoughts at bay so I can stay focused on what's really important.

    I'm extremely happy that I know about this struggle though. That I'm aware of my life and my habits and that I'm willing to change my flaws. I Love that fact about myself. That is definitely one realization that came the last years.

    I think it's like with the exercising..... someday (after all the practice) it'll just make click end it will get easier and easier by the day.

    :)

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  13. As a person that suffers from depression/anxiety I'm constantly working towards being a better and more confident me. It's not easy. I am aware that I have these problems but I also know that I can't let it rule my life and that this is a day to day thing. I have to make a decision to wanna make my life better and healthier everyday. Some days I don't (can't) care. It's a struggle but I'm still trying and will keep trying. Definitely helps that I'm also stubborn. :p

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  14. I really have the hardest time with diet & exercise. I was a bit overweight in high school and the summer before my senior year I finally got so sick of feeling uncomfortable in my own skin that I quickly dropped 20 pounds of the excess weight before the school year started. I currently would love to lose about 10-15 more pounds (I am no longer overweight and carry my weight very well despite my height but the numbers on the scale and the way I feel in my jeans tells me I need it) but I can't find the same motivation to work out and eat well that I once had. I ALWAYS feel a million times better after a hard workout and am ALWAYS proud of myself for eating healthily, so I can't understand why I so often choose to stay on the couch, rather than make it happen. It's a constant struggle. But one that I know I need to overcome to be the best me I can be.

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  15. that is the kind of read I needed right now...Good Luck !

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  16. You know how some people are addicted to drugs? My drug is food. I am not incredibly obese, but I could stand to lose weight - and I have been working on it. With every meal I make the decision to eat well, I have earned a small success. Those small successes build on one another and lead to a successful life. Like you said, I have to take these things day by day, because I am not perfect, even if I am a bit of a perfectionist. The second part of this effort takes place in my mind. It's where I am kind to myself no matter what and forgive myself for not being perfect. I love myself as I am, although I want to make changes.

    The other thing I am working on is something I have not had to implement yet. Whenever I am in a relationship, I give so much of myself. I do this, even when I can tell my partner is unwilling to do the same. Instead of saying what I want and need, I tend to stick around and work even harder to compensate for some guy who isn't really serious about me. I am now nearly 31, and I really want to build a life with someone and have children. No longer am I willing to put up with anyone's crap. I want to be with someone who really loves being with me, too. In my next relationship, I am going to be honest about what I want and expect. If the guy does not feel the same way, I am going to move on. It's not a loss if it wasn't going anywhere in the first place.

    Thanks for this post!

    Cheers,

    Alison :)

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  17. You're the perfect writer. You put things I think into words. I too am a big-picture thinker and a perfectionist. I believe those two traits are both a blessing and a curse. But I guess everything really is. Thanks for blogging and writing. I look up to you as a person and mother. xo, rv

    http://aneclecticheap.blogspot.com/

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  18. This is spot on with where I am right now as well, maybe it's because my son is the exact same age as your's and I'm also finding the beginning of this second year as a mother a time of hyper-self-awareness. What I can't stand about myself is that I fixate on little things and just cannot let it go! I'm trying to work on that. It isn't easy.

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  19. I really love honest posts like this, posts that let us know that even the people/bloggers we look up to don't have a constant stream of perfect days :3

    I know this could come across sounding silly, but I'm trying to learn to be happy single. Not just surviving and okay with it, but genuinely HAPPY and not even wanting to be in a relationship. I'm naturally a romantic and I think I alway will be, but I am trying to tone it down and focus on meeeee for now. :)


    xo
    http://kittysnooks.blogspot.com/

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  20. Around 30- I'm 43 now- I had a major epiphany about my perfectionism that changed me from that day forward. I discovered that I was alienating my friends, my peers and other mothers because I was going overboard with every little thing. I was that mom that, when people encountered me, they would ask: "How does she do it!!? Case in point, dinner parties. I'm quite domestic, so hosting large dinners was something I did often and fairly easily even though I had 2 little ones at the time. These parties were well done, but instead of impressing people or making them feel welcome and relaxed which should be the point when you entertain, I ended up intimidating our friends to the point that they felt like if they reciprocated it would not be good enough. I feel terrible about that. Once I dialed my perfectionistic efforts back, I found that people were more comfortable with me.... and I realized that really no one cares if you do something perfectly.... They just care about you! So don't worry too much about how clean you house is, how great your lasagna tastes or if you have the perfect shoes for the outfit you have on. If you are constantly trying to be "perfect", you may risk making your friends feel inadequate. Since learning this important life lesson, I have realized that good enough, is well, really good enough.

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  21. I am trying to work on stress reduction and management. I can feel my stress and how I deal with it spilling over into my interactions with my kids. Yes, sometimes they are the cause of the stress, but they don't mean to be; they are just kids, young ones at that. And the more calm and kind I can be, the more likely they will be calm and kind as well.

    Thank you, Danielle, for your honest words. If only there were more conscientious people like you in the world ...

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  22. I do believe that things, thought, images, people etc... comes to our life, when they actually have to come. There are no coincidences.

    For me, today... Your words meant exactly this. I was reading your lines with tears in my eyes... your words touched me at the right moment. And gave me some answers, affirmations and vision for my life too.

    Thank you for sharing! I hope we do 'meet' again, when we 'have to'!

    Take care!
    XX,Bogi

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  23. A year and a half ago an ex-coworker of mine died suddenly in his sleep. He was only 33 and we had worked together for over 9 years before I left California to live in Las Vegas. This happened in the middle of my husband and I going through the hardest 2 years of our 11 together (at the time) and right before I was to turn 31. It really made me think about what I was doing with myself and what I wanted to change. I created a bucket list and started evaluating every aspect of my life. It helped me work harder to fix my problems with my husband, get over some of my insecurities that were causing major issues and find a job I was happier with.
    Instead of change it was learning to focus. I have to remind myself everyday to focus on the goals I want to accomplish and focus on the good things that make me happy.

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  24. Absolutely - the exact same thing. I like being a positive person and I like being kind and I like reigning in my judgement... but sometimes it really does take effort and now and then I fail. But I'm working on it. :)

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  25. It is so hard to change even if you really want to. I am a very critical person + I can nit pick things to death. My husband is a somewhat sensitive person + he sees the good in everything which was a major attraction. That is what I want in my life, but my mind sometimes more than not always wants to go to the negative place. I don't want to criticize my husband or make him feel bad. I want to be a carefree person that is full of happy thoughts, but I have to work hard at it. I'm trying to let things go + be happy. I know our marriage will be a happier place because of it. Sometimes I say things without even thinking about it + when it comes out of my mouth I think "really? did you just say that? why?!?!". You can't take things back. You can only more forward + try to be the person you want to be. I need to remind myself of it daily.

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  26. I definitely find myself doing that pretty frequently. Something bothers me, I feel myself get into a bad mood and then I acknowledge that and stay there. I get so emotionally lazy. It's always a good reminder to me that joy is lasting and permanent even though happiness isn't. I may not feel happy about something, but I can choose to see joy in a certain situation. Just gotta keep reminding myself!

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  27. I really have the hardest time with staying satisfied with what I already have. I have this insane need to always, always gave to change SOMETHING about myself. Be it something small like forming new habits like keeping my toes painted or wanting to completely overhaul myself and my entire life. Change of wardrobe/style, change of scenery, or change in company. These feelings will come and go, and when they come, they come like a hurricane and I can't ignore them. I'm just trying to be happy with myself and with what I have and get into the habit of putting these feelings down in a physical manifesto, like my bloc or just on paper to go back and flip through later. I was never happier than when I simply decided to BE happy. If something got me down or overwhelmed me, I just decided not to let it and chose to be happy instead. I'd like to re-enter that state of mind. You always post the best thought-provoking questions, Danielle. Thanks :)

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  28. I remember feeling very intro/retrospective right before I turned 30. It's funny, and people told me this would happen, but there really IS something about reaching that milestone that matures us if we are willing to let it! Best wishes for the next few months:)

    I am also a perfectionist and really have a hard time letting go of the little things. I'm trying to work on being satisfied with my best, even if it's not perfect, and moving on so I can successfully live in the moment. I tend to get caught up in the details and stop living life in the pursuit of perfection. Since that can never be fully achieved, I tend to spiral down to a place of paralysis. Here's to hoping we both tackle that pesky perfectionism and live in the now.

    Thanks for another great post, Danielle!

    xo
    toridawn
    (twiget on IG)

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  29. Funnily enough, I blogged about something similar yesterday. Being a STAM has been a diffcult journey for me. I am such a people person and that the solitude had often left me demotivated and stuck in a funk. I have really been working, day to day like you said, to make my life better. I want to be a SAHM and I love my little girl so I have been working on making necessary adjustments. I blogged about my tricks to stay motivated and positive (http://prairiehen.blogspot.com/2012/02/mm-staying-motivated.html)

    xoxo,
    Sara Stoff

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  30. I couldn't agree or relate with you more. I just turned 30 in september and for some reason this wanting to be the best me has been on my mind for the last year. Mostly I find help in prayer and talking with my husband. I try and find that one thing I need to work on and when I feel that I am becoming better in that area I can move on to something else. But like you said, it's a daily thing. It's not magic and becoming 30 didn't change me into a super mom/wife. BUT, with age we become wiser and these things that we see in ourselves that we want to change is actually a good thing. I think about all those sad people that never want to change their attitudes or personalities for the better, they are fine staying the same. Wisdom we are gaining as we get older allows us to see the things we need to change and allows us to change them. You're on the right path. =)

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  31. I guess I would say that I have the same issue you do with being kind; both to others and to myself. Some days, it is so easy to offer a smile and a kind word. Other days I don't even want to think about it. But know that other people feel the same way definitely makes me feel less alone. Thanks for that.

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  32. Hello, I totally relate to this post. It's amazing to read something that I could have written myself. I fight negative thoughts daily and, like you, some days are easier than others and sometimes I just call it quits for the day. But reading this, somehow it made me feel like I'm not alone.. and if you can do it, maybe I can to. Thank you. And greetings from Portugal (too bad you won't understand my blog (I assume you don't speak portuguese), or maybe you could relate as well). xoxo

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