Sorry, Falling Apart Piece by Piece

I’m losing sight of what it feels like to be healthy and normal again. I’m a little bit depressed, always sleep deprived, and always have some sort of pain. When I have the time and energy I have to work and I don’t have time to post here. I’m worried I’m not doing a good enough job at being a wife, cat mom, a professional, and it’s all really stressful. Still figuring out what’s wrong with me. I’m having trouble getting enough sleep to function. And being highly sensitive doesn’t help. Hope to figure this thing out soon. It’s really putting me in a negative place.

Goodbye for now,

Jen

Learning how to Network Effectively as an Introvert

I really want to get my business going as fast as possible and networking, word-of-mouth, and introducing myself to small local businesses are my best options. But, there’s only so much I can handle before my introverted, sensitive personality starts to get irritated, exhausted, and stressed. I hit that limit this week for sure.

This is definitely a struggle for me because if I network too much I will end up hating my business instead of loving it. If I network too less I won’t be giving my business the exposure it needs. I know I can find a healthy balance, but I do worry over time it’s just going to exhaust me to the point where I would rather be doing anything else. For now I’m staying positive about all the business opportunities out there for me. I know that once I have a couple different clients the networking will get easier and my business will become more fun, and I will eventually receive a lot of business just through referrals.

I don’t necessarily enjoy the networking I do even when I have the energy for it, but I’m convinced that once I start making friends it will get easier and easier. However, I’m absolutely concerned with where people’s heads our at with the design of some of these networking events. I attended one about a month ago that meets every Thursday for an hour and requires each person to pay around $450.00 for a year membership. I asked where the money goes and they informed me that it all goes to the corporate office. Then, they still have to pay for food each week when they meet. So someone chose to form this expensive group and charge people all this money when they could just create a small group of people who want to network and get together on a regular basis for free. I never went back, I never looked back.

There’s other networking groups with costs, but if I know my money is going toward something that I will benefit from directly then that’s another story. Very few networking events I attend are actually enjoyable. I feel like the elevator speeches and presentations are old, stale, and won’t last forever. I feel this is the older generation stuck in old techniques, yet I’m not sure quite yet how it could be done differently.

It’s Never Too Late To Apologize

Just the simple little words “I’m sorry” can be incredibly powerful to the person who receives them. Yet, some people don’t even know how to say them. I’ve experienced first hand relationships absent of those simple words. One person believes they are right about most things, and just brushes off the things they are wrong about as if they are no big deal. Never even thinking how it may affect the other person. The other person doesn’t apologize for the things they do wrong, because that would be unfair. It wouldn’t be balanced. Yet, the scale is already tipped by the person who always thinks they are right about everything. Anger erupts and quite possibly resentment.

But, the only thing that is needed is a simple understanding that were all not perfect, and we all make mistakes. I apologize in my relationships, and then the problem vanishes into thin air. POOF! Right before things get blown out of proportion. The person receiving the apology quickly forgives and forgets. When both parties can apologize right away, every time, a strong bond is created, and over time it grows. There’s a mutual understanding that we both make mistakes, quite possibly just as many. And although we are imperfect, we can view ourselves as perfect. Our ability to apologize removes our imperfections. We can easily accept the others apologies, because we know the same respect will be given when we make mistakes. We are then complete equals. Just as perfect and just as imperfect.

So Easy. Right? So, why is this so hard for people to do? Do people just have too much pride? Do people just like feeling in control of everything? Do people just like to view themselves as someone who knows more then others? I can’t say I would have an easy time apologizing to someone I don’t respect. But, by not being able to apologize to people you certainly don’t show them respect.

I also don’t agree with parents who think because they are the adult, they are superior, and therefore they don’t need to apologize when they mess up. By not apologizing to their kids when they mess up, they are teaching their kids the wrong lesson. A kid can learn a lot from a parents apology. They learn that even parents are not perfect, they mess up too. They learn to be more confident and independent because the parent shows they are not superior. They develop a respect for the adults in their life. They understand what is acceptable behavior for a parent, by the parent admitting they made a mistake. A parent is a role model.

When I was growing up, I was just taking notes on everything not to do when I became an adult or quite possibly a parent. I learned a great deal about what not to do. I never felt respected. In church the pastor said, “As role models for our kids we always think about how we treat each other in our marriage, so that our kids will know what is acceptable when they get married.”

I wish more people looked at it that way. I tested the murky waters of admitting I was hurt by something one of my parents did, and it’s been over a week with no apology. It’s still never too late to apologize. It shows respect.

The Power of Writing

Writing is powerful, it can completely transform a person’s views on the world and even change the very core of a person’s existence.

writingI feel this hole inside of me because it has been two weeks since I have turned whatever I’m feeling into words on a page. I spent all  last week developing writing for my business website and at the end of the week I could no longer string a sentence together. I’m definitely not cut out for the life of a full time writer, but that doesn’t mean I’m not one. I need to write, I have to write. I feel better after writing. According to the quote below I am a real writer.

“Real writers are those who want to write, need to write, have to write.” — Robert Penn Warren

As I was stringing words together for my website, I was amazed by the creativity that flowed from my brain to my fingertips. I honestly never really know where my writing is headed, and sometimes I surprise myself and impress myself. However, the writing is never as great as the first time that I reread it. The next time it just seems good, but not great. The next time after that I realize it needs work. But, sometimes I create that perfect sentence that I couldn’t possibly rewrite to sound any better. I chose all the right words and strung them together to deliver a strong message. I’m not even sure how the sentence came together, usually. It has the power of an inspirational quote in my mind, and I find quotes to be extremely powerful. There’s a few quotes that have actually made me change the way I see things. Even a sentence in a book or an article.

And among all the crappy sentences I have thrown together on a page, the one powerful sentence makes me believe I can alter the rest of my writing to be better, or even equivalent in perfection.

There is real perfection in writing, and it’s when a single sentence delivers a powerful message to the person who reads it. Just one sentence can set the tone for a writers whole piece of writing. Just one sentence can change a person’s perspective on a situation. Just one sentence can do imaginable things.

Some of the most famous quotes out there in the world were not even written by writers. They were just written by people who had something powerful to say. Here are a few quotes about writing I found that I really loved:

“When you’re writing, you’re creating something out of nothing…A successful piece of writing is like doing a successful piece of magic.” — Susanna Clarke

“Take away the art of writing from this world, and you will probably take away its glory.” — François R. Chateaubriand

“Let the power of words light the candles of our souls setting the world on fire ,inspiring greatness; for all things good can one day be great, if only you believe.” — Lori R Taylor

Thank you to all the writers of the world who are out there inspiring others. Your words can be very powerful.

Alone

100_2754I used to feel lonely in a crowded room, on a trip with my family, in school surrounded by other classmates, and those were situations where I wasn’t alone, not at all, not even slightly. I was an overwhelmed, introvert, who always felt out of place. The truth is I never had enough alone time when I was growing up. Even when I wanted alone time, I wasn’t granted it because my Mom didn’t understand my need for it. She was an extreme extrovert. Then, my sophomore year of college I got more alone time then I knew what to do with. My roommate moved out and I had the dorm room to myself. It was difficult, and I heavily relied on my television that was never working right to keep me company.

In my first year of marriage, I was jobless for awhile. I had the apartment to myself for 8 hours everyday; I was lonely. I hated it because the more time I spent alone, the more I would beat myself up inside. I finally had time alone, and all I could do was feel sorry for myself and feel the pain of being me. And when I wasn’t feeling sorry for myself, I was instead feeling anger toward my parents for trying to control my life.

Having barely any self-confidence, just makes life feel impossible. Now, it’s been 2 years since I’ve turned my views completely around. Now, when bad things happen and I’m disappointed by life I remember “the world is cruel, and harsh, and unfair,” it’s not me that’s the problem. With this thought in mind, I no longer have self destructive thoughts.

I used to be alone and it scared me. Now, when I’m alone it’s like a breath of fresh air. I rarely feel lonely. I don’t sit around feeling sorry for myself, or feeling bad about who I am. I see everyday as an opportunity to create something,  to learn something, to start building my own business, and my own future. Now, I can sit for hours in complete silence and be completely content. I used to need the sound of music or television, and now all I need is the sound of my cat meowing at me once in awhile and I don’t feel alone. Now, I’m more productive.

It amazes me how far I have come; from once believing I was trapped by who I was and trapped by my past, to now feeling empowered by who I am and who I can be. Now, all the things that people have made me feel bad about myself for are the things that I love about me the most. Now, instead of feeling inadequate and not as smart as the rest of the world, I feel smarter because I know that everything my schools, society, my old church, and family (consciously or unconsciously) made me feel bad about, are actually really awesome personality traits. I love everything about me that the rest of the world decided wasn’t worth anything. It makes me feel powerful. Now, I can even use that wisdom to educate people who are judgmental and have destructive views. Now, I’m alone but no longer lonely.

If you haven’t yet, I recommend reading “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Thinking,” by Susan Cain, I feel like it’s a book everyone should read.

“I deeply treasure my time alone, my solitude, and contentedness with who I am” -Jen

Quote of the day

I love this quote. I’m finding this to be very true for me.

welcome to my little piece of quiet

In light of their independent-mindedness, introverts are more concerned with the notion of authenticity. For them, this means identifying and holding firm to their own preferences and convictions, even when others are doing things differently. They are wary of ‘selling out’ or ‘selling their soul’ for the sake of conformity or convention.
-Dr. A. J. Drenth

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Everyone Loves an Underdog

If someone wrote a book about your life, would anyone want to read it?

Without struggle, without suffering, we have no story. No one wants to read about the person whose always got everything they ever wanted. No one wants to read about the person whose had an easy life and succeeded and everything they ever tried.

Everyone wants to read about the person who struggled, and then struggled some more, hit rock bottom, and then eventually succeeded, and even lived out their dreams.

I have been learning about underdogs for the past month, and the one thing that has really resonated with me is how difficult times can set you up to be more successful, then the person living the easy life. When life is difficult, we have to ask ourselves, “What can we learn from it?” We can learn more from the difficult parts of our life, then the easy successful parts.

A life with a good mix of drama, challenges to overcome, pain, along with success, and happiness, is the kind of life people are interested in reading about. Because everyone loves an underdog. Movies love to share the stories of underdogs from fictional characters to real life hero’s or just successes. Celebrities who were once sleeping in their cars are now living in mansions. I read an article recently that listed some of Hollywood’s biggest names, who were once homeless and living in their cars. I was very surprised! Read here.

I’m not entirely happy about the difficult things I’ve had to go through in my life, but I’m proud to be the person those difficult times has shaped me to be. I’m proud of the person I’ve become, and the person I can be in the future. I know that no matter what good fortune or success comes my way I will always stay true to myself. I won’t take anything for granted.

If your struggling in life, I hope you realize how much of a stronger person you will be because of it.

Ugly Places and Uncozy Spaces

Quick! run toward the exit maybe no one will notice! (that’s what I’m thinking, but I don’t).

I’m very particular about the environments I will allow myself to spend time in. Places with weird smells, dirty spaces, tight quarters, old, dingy styles, and damaged pieces, make me feel sick inside. If the place is all of the above I find myself feeling dirty and ugly in the space as if I’m absorbing the essences of it. Even after I leave I’m still not at ease. My mind can’t let go of the time I spent and the feelings I encountered in an uncomfortable place. I find myself yearning for a clean and cozy space or my own place.

One of these ugly places with tight spaces is my parents home, specifically their kitchen. I spent 18 years there, in a space that caused me discomfort and I couldn’t do a single thing to fix it. It never felt like home. Now I limit my time there, remember I’m no longer trapped, and prepare myself mentally in advance.

I don’t know why different spaces have so much of an effect on me, I’m sure it’s partly due to my sensitivity. There’s just no other place or space quite like home.

When I started looking for a house my husband pushed for a fixer upper. I on the other hand wanted something newly remodeled. I needed a space that right away felt warm and inviting. I couldn’t live in the stress and mess of reconstruction. I couldn’t have found something more suitable to my personality and my tastes. There’s definitely room for  a bit of remodeling and it turned out to need a lot of fixes. However, the main rooms in the house are cosmetically pleasing even without the fancy furniture we’ve been unable to purchase. Above all the house is not a cookie cutter home (this was very important to me), there’s not a single house exactly like it.

No matter how tough life gets and how scary the world can be it’s nice to have one place that will always feels like home to me. One place that resembles my creativity and uniqueness that is me.

Letting the Little Things Go

It can be challenging at times to not let little things anger us in our relationships with other people. I myself struggle with little things people say being highly sensitive. I struggle the most with people’s comments who don’t know me that well. I can take one small comment and completely blow it out of proportion in my mind. I would hate to make a bad impression around people I know I will being seeing a lot of – like people at work. I worry people will see the things I try to hide and see me in a negative light. I care too much what others think of me. One of the down flaws of being highly sensitive is how easy it is to become stressed and overwhelmed. I’ve also found that it can take me longer to learn new things, and I beat myself up inside with every mistake I make. I worry people will see these things and see me in a negative light. This among other things is one of the reasons I wish to be an entrepreneur. I just have to keep reminding myself that people see all my positive traits too! and there has to be more positive than negative.

When it comes to my relationship with my husband I make it a point to not let the small things get to me. Some people will fight and argue over the dumbest things and never apologize because they hate admitting their wrong. My thoughts are: why bother? I firmly believe that instead of getting angry about pet peeves and silly little things you should find a way to bring humor into the situation. Instead of getting angry at my husband for never putting anything away, or cleaning up the messes he makes I either clean it up myself or relentlessly tease him about it until he takes care of it. He always has a big smile on his face to match my smile when I tease him about those little things.

Nearly six months ago I was shopping at Bed Bath and Beyond with my husband to buy a gift for a wedding. It was the first time I’ve shopped there since they started their wrap your own gift idea. You get this station big enough for one person with all the paper, ribbon and tape you could possibly need. As soon as I started to wrap the gift my husband stops me to say I’m doing it wrong, I let him at it long enough to realize he’s doing a terrible job, so I take over, and then he takes over again, and then were at war to get this gift wrapped and the tension is mounting. Finally, I just break out in laughter realizing how ridiculous this must look to anyone around us – like a comical scene in a movie. We then work on tying up the bow together and laugh our way out the door – teasing each other about our wrapping skills. The memory of this is a reminder to me how a stupid argument can either escalate into a huge fight, or turn into a funny silly little story for later.

In our house there’s never any yelling and it’s very rare that there’s ever a real fight about anything. We honestly don’t see the point. We can communicate things just fine without all the anger and frustration. We are equals and treat each other as such.

Let the little things go.  No one is perfect, we all have imperfections and do some little annoying things that bother other people, but their usually not worth getting upset about. I know if I got angry with every little thing my husband did that annoyed me he would do the same toward me and this would just cause tension in our relationship. Sometimes we just need to admit that were wrong with no excuses and move on. In our relationship we both know how to apologize and it makes our relationship stronger because of it.