Freefeel

You are Not Your Past: Dealing With Insecurities

I repeat, you are not your past. You are not in the past nor are you your past.

If you’re human, you’ve probably been through a thing or two, seen a few and felt a couple too.
But I’m here to tell you, you are not any of that. What you’ve seen, what you’ve felt and what you’ve feared is not who you are.

There is a place in the past that can sometimes haunt, most times hurt and all times harm. Harm in the sense that we feel fear, all of which is non-existent. Yet it can hold us back more than we do ourselves. You are not holding yourself back.

You, the full actual loving being you are, is pulling you out and pushing you on to become your best self. Along the process, the past, almost a bubble of insecurity, is dragging you down. If you feel weighed down, chances are there are great insecurities deep within you that need to be rolled out and ironed like a pair of tidy whities and boy shorts.

How? Dig deep. Your favorite kind of potato-chip bag deep where you can’t stop eating. But wait, don’t eat too much, you may feel a little sick. Our thoughts can be deadly but they are essential to funneling out who we are. When thoughts arise instead of trying to resist the feelings or have them consume you, take them as if you would a movie screening.

Allow them to float in front of you, as a movie , not within you. Watch the thoughts and question where they come from and what they are trying to tell you. If you take these thoughts personally and internalizes them, your wee soul will scrunch up and tighten.

Instead, simply view them. When they arise, write them down. Over time, you’ll start to see a pattern of thoughts that all lead to one insecurity. It will take time to figure out the source of this burden but overtime you’ll become more honest with yourself. Write your insecurities away. It’s a place to be honest. A place to be honest to not anyone but yourself.

Today, I wrote three pages worth of thoughts and found a note next to my three pages, it was half a page and signed with a heart. As I read it over I found out today’s journaling was no different than this note, although greater in length. What I had been dealing with three weeks ago was one in the same, only at the time, I could not fester the truth. The truth takes time but it heal you, help you and harness the real you.

One day you’ll realize, “the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” (AnaΓ―s Nin) Blossom, blossom.

Go on and Blossom.

yoncedanceforyou

How to Deal Wit Cho’ Bad Self

And no I’m not talkin’ about your booty poppin’, chair dancin’ self that can do more turns than a merry go ’round. I’m talking about your ‘bad’ self, literally.

The side that doubts, dwells, and desires. Yes, that’s normal. It’s normal to experience moments where we absolutely don’t know what to do. But we don’t have to live there. It’s a place of great fear and fraud. Fraud in the sense that you sell yourself short.

The key is to not beat this being away or beat yourself up over it, but instead to manage it. To treat it as you would with any other task, be it homework, work or chores. You need to pick it up, give it the love it deserves and be done with it. However, understanding that it may come back for a short period of time, in which case you should deal with it, with the same level of ease as any other task. It is not meant to harm you, it is meant to help you. Help you know more about who you are and how you are. It is to help you be whole.

Fear is a feeling of great doubt that arises from the unknown. It is unknown. It acts in a space that is not filled. This empty lot exists because there is something within your life that is not completely filled, and so fear arises to fill this space. Fun Fact: This space also welcomes fear’s twin, faith.

Fear is the same thing as faith. How? One is absolutely wonderfully positive and the other a great big scare! Well, they both require believing in the unknown, the only difference is one requires doubt to be put aside. It requires your light.

Your light is your full being, your full self, the person you envision when you dream of the person you wish to be. It’s yo ‘bad self.’ Yes, the fantasy girl you originally thought this piece was about. It’s her. Your full being.

You can be her. It actually feels amazing when you are her but for some reason we vacate in an area that doesn’t serve our highest self. We sell ourselves short and choose to walk in fault. You don’t have to be there.

When feelings of doubt arise, I want you to do three things: Stop. Pause, and jump. No seriously, try it. STOP. Stop the thoughts, stop the Instagram feed, stop the phone! Just stop. Pause; take a minute to enjoy the moment. Breath. Do some yoga, stretch your calves or play catch with an invisible dog.

Think that’s crazy? Those thoughts are crazy. Now JUMP! Just not off anything…that’s not good. Jump for five seconds. Jump next to a tree, jump a fence, bungee jump for crying out loud! We all need thrill to keep us alive, whether it’s a good five minute kiss or a shopping bliss, our adrenaline needs to be played with.

So, PLAY!! Get outside and go on wit cho’ bad self!

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Date Yourself.

No seriously, try it. This isn’t some “love yourself” rant, although that is a manifesto I heavily believe in, this is an attempt to notice what’s going on deep inside you. No, I’m not gonna tell you to meditate, although that’s an awfully good idea. And I’m not gonna tell you to share your feelings, although feel more than free to.

When I started thinking about what it means to ‘date yourself’ I was sitting in a coffee shop on 73rd and Broadway (my favorite place to hang out- yes now you can stalk me- jk.) in the lovely New York with ‘nothing to do.’ Nothing, not in the sense of down on my luck, absence of life.
‘Nothing’ in the sense that I did not schedule meetings, lunch dates or planned events.
I had a big event at night but nothing major during the day.

At least that’s what I thought. Truth was, I got in and comfy around 2:30, got my nails done at 3, had make up at 4 (in the COOLEST HOTEL IN CENTRAL PARK- YEAH LIKE THAT HOME ALONE MOVIE-YESS SOOO COOL!) and hair at 5. My event started at 6 and I was in a cab on the way to the venue by 5 PM. I don’t list this to ‘flip my hair and be so glamorous. Although I admit it is very glamorous, I say this because I think we undermine the importance of self care.

I think the idea of booking off appointments solely to take care ourselves sometimes is seen as secondary or not as important as say catching up with an old friend. I’ll admit, I reached out to a couple friends beforehand but our schedules didn’t match up so I ended up going off on my own. And although it’s always nice to see a good friend and hang out for a quick second, there is nothing wrong with not seeing them.
See yourself.

If it means spending a single dollar more on ourselves, we often cast it away as a secondary option. My challenge to you is if it takes care of you, PUT IT FIRST. In the process of working, hustling and bustling, sometimes you need to fully show up to be your fullest self.

If this means a blowout, some nails and a couple cocktails, go right ahead. I know, I know “who has the money.” I’m telling you, you do. You were just gonna ‘split the bill’ over lunch, ‘I’ll cover the coffee’ anyways, so why not pay for one and have some fun.

With yourself.

Indulge in how lovely you are. Treat yourself.
This doesn’t have to be some photoshoot self care, it could be reading a nice book or taking a hike.

It could be running by the lake or making cookies, for goodness sake.
This weekend, do THREE things to help you.

Often the best way to help the world, is to first, help yourself.
Take care of your being, you were built with great purpose.

Love,

Yourself.

jcole

You are exactly where you are supposed to be

Today was tough. Not in the sense that it was strenuous, unbearable or even tiring, more in the spiritual sense, when the mind is tough. We all go through things whether it be physical, emotional or mental but we all don’t have the opportunity to channel what is going on inside. Some of us resort to healthy means of dealing with our emotions while others may be a bit more destructive. Not everyone copes with pain in the same way, but that’s what makes us human. Each of us has our own fair share of struggles, whether it be a family member passing away or missing a responsibility. Be it large or small, we must accept what we deem as difficult and work to satisfy our full being by acknowledging that what we are going through is real, valid and just.

Something as small as this has become increasingly difficult in today’s age with social media. When we feel lonely or devastated, we pick up our phone and go through our feed, so there is no point at which we ourselves actually get to experience what is happening because we begin to live within other people. We are immediately drawn into someones life and experience what the pictures provoke, which may not be anything close to what we were feeling at the moment. As a result, we displace ourselves from the present moment and begin to feel absence, fear or anxiety. Thoughts can cloud our mind and in a lot of cases we become stuck and think that we are the only ones going through whatever we are feeling, since the photos we see illustrate another reality.

This post is to tell you that you are not alone. When you feel like it, I want you to actually experience what being alone feels like…you’ll realize just how alone you aren’t. Unplug for a day and live your truth. This means turn off twitter, back away from Instagram and close the Facebook newsfeed. Invest in what is in front of you. Catch up with who is in front of you. I tried this this past weekend and realized a lot of what I was dealing with was mental.

I realized that what we think is ‘social’ is the furthest thing from it. Social media is not increasing the interacton between those we love but is depleting actual human connection. Instead of following my feed, I decided to go to brunch with a friend, attend a carnival and take a walk by the river. It is probably the most peace I’ve been at since moving to Boston. This may be because I have a HUGE LOVE AFFAIR with New York. When I’m not there, it’s all I want so seeing anything in New York makes me feel like I’m not living my purpose. But that’s not true. I’ve been placed in an incredible awesome place at an incredible institution for great purpose. We are all given our present for great reason, whether we realize it or not, know that you are exactly where you need to be at all times. Know that what you are experiencing is merely shaping you for all the greatness that is planned for you. Every tear, every fear…it is all a part of the journey you will endure. Accept it, experience it and more importantly, learn from it. You are so not alone, and you will be so-okay!

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Why you’re doing social media all wrong

I’ll admit, I’m sort of a fan of social media. I’ve been on it since Day 1 and have got nearly 95% of all my jobs through it, yes it actually works. Whenever I hear about an organization or person, I immediately hit up Twitter. To my surprise, even some of the biggest names (Not mentioning any names) are doing their social media all wrong. Is that a thing? In this day and age, absolutely. There are so many opportunities via social media, whether it’s to extend your network, partner with organizations or even grow your clientele. Social media is an opportunity not to be missed. Here are some handy tips that some organizations tend to miss:

1) DO TWEET. We DO notice when your last tweet was from 2/16/2013. Not saying you should tweet at every minute of the day, but do make an effort to at least tweet once, I would personally say 3-5, times a day, depending on what your mission is.

2) Yes, there is always content to be had. I get the common ‘I’m out of ideas, I don’t know what to post about.’ Although my immediate response is, ‘maybe you should work a little more’ I refrain and instead suggest the following a) Don’t wait for Thursdays to throw it back. Repeating content and topics is OKAY, no one is going to remember something you tweeted about a month ago and it may be relevant within the coming weeks depending on trending hashtags b) Find interesting people to follow who are passionate about what you love and have a conversation with them, it’ll engage their followers and give you new ones. Or 3) Just browse interesting profiles and retweet content, in your own words, RTs can get a bit annoying if they show up too many times on a newsfeed.

3) Just stop. Seriously, STOP WRITING SO MUCH. 140 characters should also be the Facebook limit. Facebook is slowly dying down for informational content and is shifting to a rather image driven platform, like an Instagram, so your best bet is to 1) Post a high resolution photo (avoid the link box portion at all cost) with a caption and 2) Post during peak hours, a hot spot is 10 AM PST time. Facebook, especially for businesses and organizations should be fun, easy and engaging. Unless it’s a hard hitting topic, then it should be easy, engaging and compelling. No pressure.

If you’re doing things right, great. If you’re not too sure about this social media thing and still don’t think it matters, think about the most challenging issue you’re having right now. For example, at a previous job I had the staff were having a hard time ‘finding events’ yet used no form of social media whatsoever. Here I would suggest they 1) follow handles of organizations/people who run events in the area 2) Use hashtags that are relevant to the topic of the events they are looking for and 3) Encourage people in their database to submit events. Easier said than done, but it can be done. We have the tools at our disposal, get to creating, create your world, be it your next business, brand or band. You got this! #youwerebornthisway

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Do What you Don’t Love

Do what you love- it’s probably a saying you’ve heard a lot. I’ll be honest, I hashtag it pretty often. #noshame I think it’s what we’re all aspiring to do, to do what we love so we can lead a life that we love. In turn, happiness. So what happens when you’re miserable doing what you ‘thought you would love’?

It happens and more times than not, we don’t discover what we love until we do the things we don’t love. I know, I know, that may all sound like a jumbled mess, but bare with me. What is something you enjoy doing? I used to ask this question all the time when doing workshops and found, especially with an audience from about 14-17, they often replied, well, I don’t know what I love.

Occasionally there would be a girl or two who would refer to her babydaddy, but we won’t go there. Not with this post, at least. So what happens if you don’t know what you love? Nothing. It’s okay not to know. Before I got to writing, interviewing and speaking, I tried a host of jobs- one of them was even being a hostess. No lie. Although during the time I thought there was no way out – because I had to pay the bills- I was SO GLAD I took on the jobs I did, because they made me realize what I didn’t want to do.

When I started out as a waitress, I still had a passion for serving people. But after one too many spilled beers and foul odors, I knew this wasn’t the way I was intended to serve people. So I quit. I told myself I wanted something more, although catering events and serving horderves may sound fruitful and elegant, it isn’t the most rewarding job, for me at least. It works for many people and I know a number of people who LOVE IT and that is perfectly fine and wonderful, all the love in the world to them, I just knew it wasn’t my peanut butter, jelly and jam.

THAT IS ALSO IMPORTANT- understanding what is right for you may not be right for your best friend, your brother or your buddy down the street, and THAT IS OKAY. You must have the courage to fight for what you believe is right. So if you choose to quit your job, wait for larger opportunities or even take on a smaller role, know that you don’t need anyones approval but your own.

How do you know a job isn’t right for you? Well, you’ll usually feel it. Some apparent signs are

1) A shift in energy, you’re not able to give it your all.
2) Lack of presence, you’re constantly thinking about future/past jobs.
3) You feel undervalued and unheard

Don’t get me wrong, the following can happen at any job, even one you love, but if it persists for an extended period of time, say 6 months, I’d maybe take a break, access and reevaluate your situation.

If you reevaluate and realize you’re unhappy, it’s a good sign that you’re a wee closer to true happiness. When we don’t allow ourselves to experience things we don’t like, we rob ourselves at finding what we really like- kinda like dating.

There may be the rarity that you’ve always found what you liked and are living in yo dream land- if that’s you, I applaud you and send you 7 billion snaps. For the rest of us, don’t get too bogged down by the big picture. Have a goal but understand you don’t have to have step by step plan. Life is not a one way street, it’s a jungle gym. It takes winds, turns and crooked alley ways to sometimes get to where we want to be, and that is fine because man we’re gonna have so much fun along the way. Embrace the uncertainty that the pursuit of happiness brings, it’ll make you stronger. Strength comes by living each day with acceptance, gratitude and understanding that today is the ‘one day’ you’ve wished for all along. So push through. Cross off that list and do a little bit of all things to find your everything.

3 Things I wish I would’ve Taken to College my Freshman Year

In honor of a tweet I saw a couple weeks ago by BU, I thought I’d track back to my freshman year and list 3 things I wish I would’ve brought to kick off my college years!

1) Fearlessness. I was terrified…like all the time. I know this seems strange and totes not like me, but believe me, I was scared. Not necessarily of the new experience, but I felt like I didn’t belong and so I shut down. Freshman year was THE HARDEST YEAR, EVER. And surprisingly, now going into my Senior year, I’ve heard this by a TON of people. Freshman year stinks, but not to fear, it’s all a part of the process. If you aren’t having a good time, it’s okay to say so, it’ll help you access, reevaluate and work towards a greater time.

2) My Hobby. Fun fact, I’m a big crafter, I’m a creative baby that was raised with a hot glue gun in one hand and a sticker collection in the other. It brings me joy and peace of mind. But silly willy – and probably the more logical side of me- decided to sell her art supplies and crafting goodies before moving across the country. Probably wise for the time being, but in the long term I didn’t feel I had my creative outlet of expression. Eventually, when I went home for Christmas, I stocked up on some magazines, but they didn’t do the trick. So, I decided to seek elsewhere and joined organizations that were doing cool creative thangs. This definitely helped but if there is one thing I would suggest, it’s believe in your talents, hobbies, passions and pursuits, they’ll keep you sane…and grounded. <3

3) A Cleaner Slate. Sure, you’ve heard this one before ‘break up with your boyfriend back home.’ But more than that, try not to take extra baggage with you to campus, you don’t need it. Easier said than done, I know. But if you can try to slowly let go of anything that doesn’t make you happy, I highly recommend you do it. Sure, occasional skype calls are okay but eventually you’ll learn, there was a reason why it didn’t work out the first 4345 times. Just let it go. You’re in a new place, it’s your time to learn more about who you are, what you want and how to get it.

P.S. Totally ignoring people doesn’t work also. It’s hard on the soul, let things organically play out, don’t push your feelings, the truth will be apparent in time.

Why didn’t I list things you can run out and buy? Because most of those things, you really don’t need. Those cute white boards and dorm decor, totally not needed. To be honest, I didn’t have money my freshman year to buy food, let alone room decor. For the first couple months, I felt out of the loop because so many dorms were super cute and decorated to the T but when it came time to pack I was glad I didn’t invest any money in decor because 1) SO MUCH GOES TO WASTE 2) If you’re traveling distances, ain’t nobody got room for all that junk in their trunk, literally. As a senior, I’ll admit, I will be decorating my dorm, but with goodies I’ve snagged up over the years. With that said, should you choose to decorate, make yourself at home! Seriously, you’ll need a place you can come back to after a long day to call home. <3 This will be your home for the next…however many years you decide is best for you…make it a place you’ll be proud to have lived.

Warning: Items on this list can not be bought, they may be pursued and come from the personal belief in oneself. If there is one item you should take from the list, I highly recommend you take your own belief; your belief in yourself, and your belief in something larger than yourself- your ideas, your purpose, your future.

Feed your Faith

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