What do you think of when you see the word listening? Yes it could be hearing something, maybe music, news, kids playing outside, or even someone typing on the computer. I think about listening rather as being able to focus on details to something and understanding them. When someone talks to me it is important for them to know that I am hearing the content of what they are telling me and I also am able to provide a comment about it.

Ever since we were children, we learned how to listen to our peers. For example, if my mom told me to take out the trash before she got home, I better listen to what she said or I was going to get into trouble. Later on in life we learned how to develop friendships. By doing so, we were listening to others about their interests, ideas, and feelings in order for us to be there for them. If we don’t feel like we are getting heard, it leaves us to feel almost as if we aren’t important enough to be heard. At least that has been something for me in life to go through.

I am currently training to be a peer mentor for other students and I have learned a lot of different techniques to be able to help to the best of my ability. I wasn’t aware of all the different ways individuals can confront a conversation. Two of the ways include empathy or sympathy. I consider these as the yin yang to communication. It is important to understand and fully hear what someone is telling you as well as react with the same feeling. If someone reaches out to you about a argument they had with someone, you won’t be excited or happy about it. You can react with sympathy by talking softer and being calm. Another important factor is to ask them if they just want someone to listen or if they want advice.

It is good to be aware when you might be overstepping. It is amazing to want to give advice, but listening is just as important. As long as we are showing we understand and hear what someone is saying, our relationships will be stronger. Others with know they can trust and rely on you. Sometimes it is okay to say no to others as well. If you do not feel like you are in a good place on your own, don’t push yourself to have to be there for someone else. If you need some time, take it! We can not help others if we are running low for care for our own health. Listen to what your own mind and body is saying and don’t ignore it!


Staying Connected

Life has a million things going on all at once. When we make one decision, it effects our whole future. Sometimes we get so consumed in what’s happening in our own life, we often can forget to check in on the ones we love. It is also difficult to reach out when we struggle with mental health, as sometimes we barely even have the energy to take care of ourself.

There is always a difficult time in life as we start out in school, then possibly furthering our education with going to college, and then we end up with a career and hopefully a family. I thought high school was the most challenging time in my life, until I got to college and I realized how much more reliability it is on yourself. It’s up to you to succeed and lead your education to the end line. Well as a perfectionist I have been spending all my time on my school work. I study, complete my work, and then recheck my work multiple times. I haven’t really spent time with friends and family due to it and it’s been making my relationships wither down.

I have started to become upset and felt alone. I felt like no one else was reaching out if I wasn’t. I wasn’t seeing anyone a lot like I did before and communicating was not being made between myself and others. I went into a spiral of more isolation as I felt no one would notice if I just stopped being around. I stopped believing in myself and the good that I bring to life.

One of the closet person I have in my life helped me realize what my reasoning could be for these feelings and actions. They said I was self-sabotaging. I was passively preventing myself from meeting my goals and being happy with what I am doing in life. I don’t have a great answer of why I was doing it or how I lead myself to doing that. Sometimes with mental health, we have to push ourself a litter harder to do the simplest tasks. For some people, it is hard to even take a shower. We don’t feel like we have enough energy to get up sometimes, because we are fighting a larger battle with ourselves on the inside. I didn’t have the energy to complete my assignments and make sure I was the one to check up on my relationships with others.

It was important to be aware of it so I knew what I needed to work on. I noticed I stopped reaching out to others to check in or make plans. My family back home stopped hearing from me like they used to and my friends noticed I wasn’t making any plans. It is important to push through and get the other end. Having connections in life is a necessity as it is a way for support, love, and a way to create memorable times. I don’t know what I would do without my family and friends because they are the reason I keep pushing forward in my life. They make my life exciting and filled with love and support. I will continue to push myself to keep them in my life and make a happier time no matter the fight!

Becoming You

These past few weeks I have oddly have had a lot of assignments due about self-reflection. As much as I thought I knew about myself, I didn’t. There were parts of myself that I forgot about and left in my childhood. These assignments helped me open some barriers I have developed and brought back some of my favorite memories. I thought it was really cool that my college classes had these assignments as it helped me reflect a lot on my life so far. I wanted to share this with you guys as it really was healing to work on. I encourage you guys to do some type of reflection through something that you are passionate about and like to do whether that is writing, art, baking, or even exercise!

Here is what I submitted as a reflection to my family/friends:

Looking back on my childhood, I remember being care-free. There isn’t as many responsibilities when you are a child. My days consumed of waking up, watching cartoons, playing, and spending time with you guys who are my family and friends. Every moment I remember being happy and appreciative of what I had. I could fantasize about how my future would be like. As a child, I thought I would always live in my childhood home. No matter what I did I always looked forward to time with you guys. You are part of the reason of who I am today. As I am beginning this new chapter in my life, I would like to reflect on some of the ways I made it to this point.

My favorite memories were you guys helping me learn to be creative and strong, just by hanging out with me. It is erratic to think how much of a tomboy I was! Any chance I could get my hands in mud, I would. Only a child can get so creative with mud and make a whole pretend restaurant out of it. Flowers, rocks, water, and mud turned into fake pies which I would happily serve in a planter pot to my loved ones. I ask myself all the time, how you dealt with that being served to you. It made my childhood a million times better because it fills my memories with laughter and merriment. Having both of you lovely brothers also added into my tomboy phase. It was easier for me to mirror my brothers’ actions because I wanted to be like them.

From a very young age, I could see how brave and passionate my brothers are about their goals. They do not give up on their dreams and they are always willing to put in the work. I remember the moment they started to help teach me the same mindset. It was the first time I was learning how to ride a bike and I was so eager to ride! I remember we were all outside, and the boys were riding theirs trying to help me learn. I quickly fell off my bike and my brothers told me “Just get back up and try again!” That was all it took for me to keep trying to ride, which finally I did! It would have been so much easier to begin to cry, run into the house, and give up which I definitely considered doing. Without them encouraging me and helping me believe in myself, I do not think I would have had the drive to keep trying. Even though I had an amazing childhood, I always had this fear of the future.

It was difficult to imagine the person I wanted to become. It terrified me to become a failure, which made me turn into a perfectionist. I was very hard on myself to be “perfect” at everything. I had the mindset to be the perfect student, worker, daughter, and friend. Being an over achiever about everything created a lot of stress and unhappiness for me. In middle school and high school, I did not want a grade lower than an A plus. I did not know how bad I was hurting my physical and mental state until I almost broke down my junior year. I was falling behind on assignments due to me spending five hours a day, just on notes and reading. Let’s not even go into detail about how I was during finals week! Anyway, I knew when it came time for me to go to college, I could not continue this unhealthy routine. An important step into this new journey in life, is to get rid of that mindset. I will succeed in a healthier and happier life by giving myself room for some mistakes. Without having some mistakes in life, there isn’t experiences to learn from. That is the majority of what college is about, right? A time to transition away from our  high-school child self, into an adult college student where we learn through education and personal development.

The things I could picture about my future were the traits I wanted to work towards having. Some of them are being kind, patient, forgiving, and hard-working. I developed some of these traits by the mentors through-out my life, but it is up myself to maintain them. I can always look back to fun memories with you all but it is amazing to think about what is waiting in the future! Those memories remind me that I was once care-free before I developed my perfectionist traits later in life. I am in the process of finding a good balance between the two. There are real pies to make now and I cannot wait to finally share ones that are edible with you!

New Beginnings

The best and worst thing that life brings us is challenges. Some of them are smaller than others but it still is a process to work through. We are allowed to grow as humans while working through the process. As my life was flowing quite well a log came in and held up my river (as my counselor says). This recent log was losing another member of the family. It was a very difficult thing to hear they were gone. As people say, it was like I always thought they would be there. I did not get many opportunities to see them a lot in life but there was a strong connection between us. I never felt I had a close connection with a relative like I did with them. Someone who showed me a love like they did. When I heard they were gone, my heart sunk.

Having connections in life is very important to me whether it is with a person, place, or object. To me, connections mean value, passion, love, respect, a drive to growth. One connection I am working on and will always be working on is with my faith. As a kid, I was stuck in anger with the wondering question of “why is there so much suffering in this world?” I couldn’t believe in a god that allows so much hurt, but I never looked past that. I learned that God allows the lessons that is behind the hurt which was a door I never could see. There is a lesson to everything if you look out for it. My recent lesson was letting myself be open to the answers that the universe was waiting for me to see. Every one has the right to believe what they do. Beliefs connect you with something you value and that should be respected. I hit a really rough patch in life last year and I had no idea where to pick up and start again. I allowed myself to let go and give the power to the one that truly knew where I needed to be. I kept trying to hold on to what I thought was the path I needed to be on but I was so far from reality.

Losing the connections I used to have was difficult but it created space to remember and be able to build again. Without going through those situations, I wouldn’t have been able to grow into the person I am today and grow my faith. I feel relationships are the most valuable thing in life, especially when I know how it feels to lose a loved one. I can definitely know it is difficult to love again after loss, but it is important to be in love with life. The sun continues to shine after every storm and there will always be a path that is meant for you. Every one is given a destiny and we can spend that life time working towards it.

So what do you say, join me and open the doors to new beginnings and create growth. No one has a better power in life but yourself. You know what it feels like to me at your happiest self because we have all are capable of it. It won’t always be given to us and there is a lot in this world that will try to take it. It is up to ourselves to work towards our goals and happiness. Life is exciting and has so many possibilities waiting for you. Anything is capable of happening if you truly believe in it.

Open Up

This week I wanted to focus on the idea of opening up to life and the many possibilities out there. My whole childhood I was in constant fear of everything and anything. I hid behind my mother because I knew I would be protected. Well I am now at an age where I have to rely on myself more. I’m not a child yet not a full adult. I am in my new transition to life where I am standing in front of life.

My parents are always going to be there and such a huge part of peoples life. They help develop who who are and how you grow up to be. As I am beginning to grow into myself more someone said to me: “You are in the stage where you are beginning to think for yourself and learn your reactions to life. Before it used to be, well my mom doesn’t think I should do that or my dad says that I am not interested in this so I shouldn’t.” Now it is all about me and the experiences I want to grow within.

I never found myself capable of this time and I still have my worries but I am willing to step up to the plate. I am ready for my path to begin and the journey it will take me on. It isn’t easy to be open to the phase, someone I was deeply close with wasn’t prepared at all and wasn’t ready. It’s also okay to be that way but I feel like it held them back from their potential. There will always be barriers in life but it is up to our own-selves to climb over them.

Believe in what you think is true to you! No matter what others think or say, always know that your values matter. We don’t get any day back so why not make it count. Be open and blessed to be on the journey you are on currently!

Growing Self-love

Appreciation for ourselves creates a personal growth towards happiness! If you are in constant dislike with yourself, do you think you’ll be enjoying your day? Of course not! Loving yourself leads to healing whereas hating yourself will keep you feeling down.

I always was afraid to introduce myself to other people because I didn’t like myself. I didn’t know what was fun and amazing about myself. I believed there was nothing. Staying in that mindset made it real because no one could see the good side of me. If I don’t show it to others no one could see there was a lot of amazing stuff about myself!

Here are a few ways that I to keep practicing self love:

1) Maintaining a Self-Care Routine:

Every day I try to make sure I do something more myself rather that be a little spa day or just making myself a good breakfast. It’s just as important to show yourself that you care and respect yourself like it is to show it to others. Each thing you do for yourself will create a stronger love towards yourself.

3) Exercise:

It is very tough for me to stay motivated to exercise but I always remind myself the importance of it. It is keeping me healthy and active! I always keep a goal for myself to improve how many push ups I can do or how many miles I can run. Doing that makes the exercising seem a lot more fun rather and interesting as I am always trying to beat what I did previously.

2) Journal:

Writing is such a great way to release anything that is on your mind. I love how creative you can be within writing as you can be telling a story through a song, poem, or book! One little word can provide such a bigger meaning that it makes all the difference in the world. For example, love. It is a easy word to use but once you say it, you are deeply connected to what your saying it towards. (Or that’s just me)

4) Keep a Healthy Diet:

A diet never means it has to be one for you to lose weight, it simply means how you are proving nutrients to yourself. I have always struggled with a good diet that my body seems to be happy with. It is always changing and making me switch up the foods that I eat. A good way that I keep up with this part of self love, is to be aware of what your body is trying to signal to you! Your body knows what it needs and what is doesn’t so make sure your giving it the love it deserves!

5) Growing My Spirituality:

This one has to be the most difficult one for me but the one I really appreciate. It isn’t easy for me to go to church and figure out my faith through a clergy. I get so nervous at church because I feel like I don’t connect like the others do. I rather read the Bible when I get a feeling too and get lost within songs that have faith I can connect with. I am not saying church is a bad thing to attend however it just doesn’t connect with me at the moment.

If you or if you don’t connect with any of my personal examples, try something of your own! Practicing to love yourself every day is a way to know yourself better. We are always growing who we are in life and it’s important to not miss anything in all the change!

Importance to Boundaries

How we let others treat ourselves begins with the boundaries we set. These boundaries help communicate our needs, interests, and limits to others. Without these set in relationships, there won’t be any limits to tell when our needs are not being met. Every thing lasts longer and is stronger when it’s build with a good foundation! How are good relationships supposed to last if there isn’t any boundaries between each other?

Setting boundaries has always been a difficult thing for me, especially with close friends. I don’t like to feel pushy or make it seem like I have to have everything a certain way. Being that way hasn’t helped me a lot because it was like I was a door mat being walked on all over the place. No one knew their boundaries with me because I wasn’t making them. The best way to create healthy relationships is to be open the moment you are connecting with someone. It doesn’t hurt others if you don’t set boundaries, it just ends up hurting yourself. By being open and telling others about your “guidelines” in a way, help them learn about your qualities like how you are as a person and what you want in life. Boundaries can change all the time because we always are evolving to something bigger and better.

Start of setting boundaries by thinking of how you would like to be treated by others and what you would like from them. For example, if you do not feel okay with somebody asking how much you make at your job, tell them “I’m really not comfortable telling you that personal information.” Express to them how you feel about the situation that way both sides can understand the boundaries. You do not have to go into depth about your reasoning. It is okay to feel what you do and why you feel it! Being able to tell others how you feel is a major step in building a connection.

If the other person isn’t valuing how you feel, do not take it personal as if you might’ve done something wrong. Individuals are able to feel what they do and they will have different understandings that we might have. It’s up to ourselves however to determine how we are treated. If somebody acts a certain way that you are not comfortable with, express it in a kind way of how it affects you and share a boundary you’d like to set with them. We all are at different parts in our lives and sometimes we won’t always connect with others.

The number one person in life is yourself. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, have you taken a second to see if you are taking care of yourself before others? If your life is jammed packed and you feel like relationships aren’t going well, stop and take a second. Take time away for yourself and reflect on anything that is bothering you on the inside. See if there are any changes that you can make to have enough time for self care. As well as check in on the relationships you have, if they are going well and if there is anything that needs to be worked on. Changes begin to happen when you start to accept them and make the move!

Healing from Music

Did you know that music is a type of therapy? Listening to your favorite song can lower depression, anxiety, and even your blood pressure! Many facilities and hospitals are using music as part of clients treatments. It helps with their pain management as well as additional support for their mental health. Music helps bring relief and a sense of calmness to individuals.

It has been proven in studies that music enables movement in the brain easier than it does without music. This means when you listen to a song that makes you happy, energetic, excited, your brain will continue to feel that way for a longer period after you have already finished the song!

My whole life I have had a close connection with music. My head was always filled with song lyrics instead of words to speak to others. I always have been interested in playing instruments because it is amazing how we are able to make music with our delicate hands. I got a piano recently and I have been at that thing for 24/7! It makes me feel so calm and a way for me to escape what is going on in the world. I love being able to play my favorite songs or play something for a loved one.

Driving is one of the most scariest things for me and I can’t be in a car without music. It helps relieve my stress and keep my mind focused on the song, while my eyes are on the road. My brother was the opposite of me. Listening to music actually made him feel stressed as he thought it was distracting him from focusing. Everyone has a different connection to music and when they feel best to listen to it. There’s so many different tastes in music and everyone has their own connection with it.

The key elements of music can stimulate the mind to think of certain memories. Lately there has been a lot of change in my life and I really have relied on music to get me through it. Having music on, helps me go back to a happy place and know that I can always go back to that feeling almost as if it is time travel! Whenever you want to escape what’s going on in life, try turning on one of your favorite songs! It is amazing to get sucked into the lyrics, melody, and emotions that are within a song. No matter what you are feeling, there is always a song to connect too. I challenge to find a song that brings you back in time to one of your best memories in life. One of mine is Here Comes The Sun by the Beatles!

Finding Yourself

Every path in life begins with self-discovery. It is how we can find our potential and purpose. Each decision we make is based off of what we truly need in life. The journey is all about the situations that get us there. Throughout the path, we grow and develop new interests and destinies. It’s up to ourselves to always listen and believe in our own mind, heart, and emotions.

This year started out just as crazy as 2020 was. Everything was clashing together, breaking all the things along my path. I had a plan and it all was washed away with nothing left. When I have no clue what to do, the universe literally took over. I lost relationships I should’ve long ago and then people from my past appeared. None of my paperworks would go through and then all of a sudden they were. Situations that I was stuck in become resolved. I felt like life was giving me an opening of time to relax and focus on a new beginning for myself.

Last year was really hard for me, as it was for everyone. I wanted control of everything because I sensed everything was going to fall apart. I am glad that I didn’t have enough control because I wouldn’t be in the spot I am today. I had to learn about myself through everything. I learned what I deserve and what I want to achieve. For a long time, I was stuck in this darkness that made me feel ugly in the inside and out. There was so much going on that I didn’t have patience for anything else and I just gave up on anything willing to be good because I thought I didn’t deserve it. I had to say goodbye to something I truly loved in order to start to love myself again. It was the worst roller coaster to be on for a couple months, but I began to step out more. I know what it feels like to laugh again and have this sense of peace inside myself.

There isn’t a box of normal to fit into because we all are different. We look, feel, sense, and think differently than others do. That is why it is important to be aware of ourself and understand what values we have. It’s okay to be open and show emotion! Life is one big lesson that creates a bigger you in the end. I definitely didn’t appreciate the few moments where I began to let myself be vulnerable. I had so much pain in the past that I didn’t want to open myself up to anything new. My past kept repeating itself however because I allowed it. Even if I was trying to protect myself for something, I was damaging the chance of any good possibilities.

It is an incredible journey to learn about yourself and truly get an idea of where your strive in life comes from. It’s important to fall in love with yourself before you try to find love in anything or any where else. The joy that comes within is the beginning to any moment. Others around you can tell you all about you and how they think you are but it’s up to you to make it a true statement or not. It’s nice to get a compliment but it can feel ten times better when you can believe it! Take time to practice being appreciative of yourself. For example, if you worked really hard at something, be proud of yourself! Tell yourself how much time you took for it and how strong you are! Express yourself and treat yourself just as much kindness as you would for someone else.

The Dimensions of Wellbeing

When we talk about wellness, it does not just mean our physical wellbeing. It involves many factors including physical, emotional, and even our spiritual wellbeing. These factors are spread out in seven categories which contributes to the quality of our lives as well as the things that have an affect on it. The dimensions of wellness includes physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environment, and vocational. By working on these at once or one a time can lead to a healthier future as well as a higher sense of happiness!

Let’s begin with the physical dimension. This focuses on having proper nutrition and enough exercise. Without healthy habits, our bodies can not respond in a normal way. If we do not eat when we get hungry, our stomachs literally feel like they will explode (or that is just me). It sends an alarm all throughout the body, especially if you do not drink enough water. I promise you the affects of not having enough water is not worth it, especially when you literally live in one of the hottest climates. Every day starts of with a meal so make it one that will support how you want to be that day!

Next off, there is the emotional dimension which is how we are able to express our emotions to ourselves and others. This dimension is also a great way to develop self-esteem and finding your worth. Learning more about ourselves and what we think is important in our lives, help us understand what we want in live, and how we can get there in a healthy way. A great step to truly do this is to listen to yourself. If you do not feel comfortable in a situation, listen to your gut. Never second guess yourself because some part of yourself always knows what path you are supposed to be on.

Intellectual dimension is where our creativity and imagination is encouraged. If you love to learn and are always creating different things, you have an high intellectual level! This one has to be my favorite ones because I feel close to it. I have a higher passion and skill in art and literature rather than math and science. I love filling my life with great adventures because it is a way for me to work on myself and learn new things. I went to Europe a few years ago and I found a whole other side of me there. I wanted to talk to everyone and that is definitely not normal for me. Within my own family it is hard for me to open up and express myself. Someone recently said to me the cheesy saying “Reach for the stars”, and I never have loved it like I do right now. I am at a part of my life where everything is changing and it is terrifying but exciting at the same time. My point of all of this is to not be afraid of going a little bit out of your comfort level because you never know what is out there! I have found more peace with myself as well as love. I have went through many things that showed me what I truly want in my life and I know now how to work in getting there. It never hurts to try something that will bring you great things!

Social dimension is the dimension where we contribute to ourselves and our community. Through this, we are able to develop the characteristics that will help you in social settings. These can include communication, reflection to others and ourselves, as well as being able to create relationships. As I mentioned earlier, I am terrified of talking to people. It is the most complicated thing for me because it isn’t easy for me to go out in public and introduce myself to others like I wish I could. People do not often get the right image of me because they see me as a snob or standoffish because I do not talk a lot. The truth is far from that because I love to meet new people but opening up to others terrifies me. I am so scared of others judgments but I give them the perfect opportunity too. During Covid, I have really pushed myself to work on communicating with others. I learned that they can not know the right side of me until I show them myself. I challenge you to communicate with others your thoughts and feelings. It isn’t easy but I promise you that this will help create healthy relationships with others, as well as help you gain confidence to open up!

Spiritual dimension does not necessarily focus on your religion but rather than your own values and beliefs. This dimension is another great way to self-reflect because it is all about finding inner peace as well as purpose. By having those two things, it is more likely to reach our full potentials in life. If you ever have a moment in life, think to yourself “What is holding me back?” and “Is there anything I can do to help fix this situation?” Life is full of opportunities for you to grow as a person and the important step in doing so, is to be open minded with it! Be present with yourself, everyone, and everything because all these moments combine together to create your journey in life.

Environment dimension consists of the affects actions have on Earth. This dimension is a way to create harmony between your life and the environment. We can not have a healthy life if our environment is not thriving either! Nature is one of the best gifts to have as humans and it needs as much wellness as we do. Reducing waste and recycling is an important way to connect with the Earth. If we do not protect it, what will? See what is around you in the world and if their is anything you can do to help it, please try!

Vocational dimension is the ultimate way to develop growth in life. Personal development is an important step to create a positive attitude in life. This dimension is a way to create a positive vision for your future. It allows you to build skills and a positive mindset to create the steady commitments needed in certain occupations. A certain tool is needed to do this, which involves being open to change! This is the hardest skill for me to have and is always being worked on. I do have to say, that is the most helpful skill to have because it creates lower stress for me in many situations. I always believed if things didn’t go a certain way, everything would fall apart. So if one little thing did not go as plan, I thought my whole life was falling apart (It is dramatic but true!) I built so many fears from this until I allowed myself to believe in a plan B, C, and even D if I needed one! No matter what, everything will fit into place because there is a special time and place for it.