Categories
my life positivity

eulogy for my past self

I would like to begin this post by disclaiming I am not at all an astrological die-hard. Prior to this year, my extent of interest in horoscopes was reading mine if I happen to be flipping through a magazine. However, anyone who is close to me can attest that Co-Star Astrology is now my religion. No literally, my aunt has said that multiple times now… Co-Star is an app which uses your date and time of birth to pretty much predict your whole live. No exaggeration.

First, let me explain what Co-Star actually is. The company describes their application as a “hyper-personalized, social experience bringing astrology to the 21st century.” Whatever that means. Pretty much you input your birth date, time and place (state) then using NASA data, photos of the sky at the time you were born are generated. Based on this, the special voodoo magic maps out the whole damn solar system arrangement from when your infant body entered this world. I don’t know what the hell happened, but Co-Star knows me better than I know me! I am hooked and have dragged so many of my friends into the cult with me. (LOVE YOU ALL!!) But that is a whole other topic which I can go on about FOREVER. But dude, I’m telling you, Co-Star is the bitch who straight up calls you out on your shit and you hate her because you don’t want to hear it, but at the same time… you know she isn’t wrong…

Download it here. It’ll change your life. I’m going to be honest right now… prior to writing this, I did not really understand the algorithm of Co-Star. I was content with thinking it was my CIA agent spying on me. However, I digress.

I was lounging on the bench in my backyard sipping coffee and reading through Co-Star, as I normally do. Now, it is important to understand Co-Star gives you A LOT of information to read through — it’s not your typical one or two liner. And religiously, each morning I read through and take note of anything that particularly sticks out to me.

“Remember how far you’ve come. Write a eulogy for your past self.”

Again, for those of you who know me personally or even those who have read previous posts — I have changed a lot as a person in the past 12 months. Hell, I’m not the same person I was a month ago! Life moves on, people grow, all that good stuff.

Anyway, I began thinking a lot about it: “Remember how far you’ve come. Write a eulogy for your past self.” After awhile of mental brainstorming, I mustered up the courage to put my thoughts on paper. Now here I am, taking another step by actually fleshing out the idea in a Google Doc, presumably to be posted for public viewing.

Wild, I know. So hey, if you are not me and you are reading this: Woot woot! Go Alex! You did it! 🙂 As I mentioned, it took me months to put the initial thoughts on paper! So as you could imagine, I have been apprehensive to share these thoughts so publically.

Here goes:
I wish I could experience the bliss that is naivety again — even just briefly. You thought you knew it all. There is so much you have yet to find out about everything. Be kind to yourself, babe. Don’t just promote self-love, actually learn to love yourself. Stop repressing who you are for fear of ridicule. You are your own worst critic.

Learn how to validate yourself rather than relying on others to validate you. You can’t love anyone else until you’re able to love yourself. And although I would love to believe simply telling you this is enough to help you avoid the inevitable troubles ahead, it isn’t. You are going to have to experience these hardships in order for them to make an impact. There are going to be times when you are going to question why this bullshit happens to you; just keep on keeping on.

Although you may feel as though the entire world is against you, it’s not — give people a chance! Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised. Remember that it is okay to rely on others. It is okay to build relationships; intimacy has many facets. And no, vulnerability does not equate to weakness. It is impossible to be a great leaders to others until you identify and establish who you are.

Be more in tune with your attitude. Take notice to who is surrounding you when you are most happy or most fearless. Keep those people near and dear to you. However, remember relationships expand and contract. Whomever is meant to be in your life will be there in the way they were meant to be, although you may not understand it at the moment. With that in mind, value the people in your life. Be kind to all — you never know who someone may be to you someday. And while I feel as though there is so much more to say, it doesn’t really matter what I do or do not divulge… you won’t truly learn until you deal with the situations first-hand. You are smart, beautiful, amazing and everything else that goes along with that. Remember that always.

One of the main reasons I was so apprehensive to do this is because, in all honesty, I felt it was kind of dumb. I was wrong. I KNOW, I SAID IT. Seriously though… knowing what I know now, I would have so much advice for myself. The question is — would I change my choices? No, I would not. What I have been through is what has made me, me. And I am finally proud to say I am in a place where I love me.

Thanks for reading!

Talk to y’all soon,
Alex

Categories
my life positivity

becoming overwhelmed

If you were to ask anyone who personally knows me they would describe my life as “hectic” or “chaotic” — no doubt in my mind! My life, just like everyone else’s, is complicated. As I mentioned in my first post, I have experienced many significant changes in my life within the past few months. And to be completely honest, I was very overwhelmed at first. I had a mini freak out, took a breath then realized: This is a normal response!  

Just like many other people I have a natural tendency to shut down when I begin to feel overwhelmed. My shoulders rise to my ears and my heart rate increases. At times when I’m really stressed out I even experience dizziness. These physical responses coupled with the intense mental strain causes everything, in that moment, to seem as though it’s too much to handle. This is exactly what happened to me when I tried to imagine what life was throwing at me. 

Life is a roller coaster! For the sake of this metaphor, this car has a lot more than one seat. Adrenaline junkie or not, everyone consciously choose to run the ride with each decision they make. Unfortunately, the part that sucks is that it’s your job to repair the ride when it breaks down. Too often we are distracted living within our own worlds that we forget the choices we make affect not only us, but those around us…

While the easiest option was to remain stagnant and be upset about the situation, this was not an option for me. So what did I do? I was forced to come to terms with the fact that the situation I was in was the result of choices I consciously made. Once I understood that, it was time to roll up my sleeves and attempt to repair this thing… and did I mention my tool skills were limited??

I devoted every ounce of my being to getting the ride back on track. With tenacious effort and mentoring from my amazing support system I was able to get the ride operating! Aside from feeling accomplished for repairing the mechanism, I refined my utilitarian skills. These skills allow me to be proactive in repairing minor issues before they cause a major malfunction. 

When it comes to my support system, I largely attribute my character development to my godmother. This woman is wise beyond her years and more than willing to share her philosophies with those who will listen. She is one of the most sensible people I know — making her one of the only people I truly listen to. I largely accredit her for my methods of dealing with stressful situations. Similarly to my aunt, I want to share my tips with those of you who are willing to listen. 

Pause and observe the situation.

I feel as though it is important to feel your emotions rather than suppress and hide them away in an attempt to forget them. You are allowed to freak out… but only for five minutes. 

No actually — Set a timer on how long you’re going to mope. Limit the amount of time you allow yourself to feel the stress and anxiety of being overwhelmed. Then move on and get over it! 

Emotional repression is actually damaging to your physical health! Countless studies show “feeling bad is good,” however, put a time limit on the negativity and prepare yourself to conquer the world. 

haha relevant

Take control.

I am a list person — I love making lists! Creating a physical representation of what you need to accomplish (…a list…) has been proven to help build mental strength. 

Feel free to flip flop this with feeling the emotions too! My typical process is making the list then freaking out over how much I have to do… then breaking it down and getting sh*t done!

One step at a time.

steps

Forreal though, deal with everything in small pieces. The inspiration for this post came to me  while I was (attempting to) clean and organize my bedroom. I tend to look at the chaotic wreck that is my room, imagine what I could be doing with the space then flopping onto my bed because I have no idea where to even begin cleaning, haha. 

As you can imagine, this is not a productive method. What do I do? Clean one part of the room at a time. I started with my tallest dresser, organizing my skincare routine, hair accessories and assorted decor until it was aesthetically appealing to me and I was content with my efforts. This same method can be applied to life; each action is a step you are taking towards a goal. 

Take a break.

Like most humans, I enjoy immediate gratification and the feeling of accomplishment accompanied with it. However, immediate gratification is a fleeting feeling; creating lasting happiness is a process. It is OKAY to not get everything done at once, so long as you are making progress along the way. Your physical body heals itself while you’re resting. The same applies to your brain — you have to allow yourself time to relax and unwind. 

It took me a little over five months to figure out what I now know. Although I may sound like I know what I’m talking about — I don’t. I am still learning, just like you. However, you have been fortunate and stumbled upon my tips to help you expedite your progress. 😉

Thanks for reading!

Talk to ya’ll soon,
Alex

References:
http://www.chopratreatmentcenter.com/blog/2017/04/26/heal-suppressed-emotional-pain/
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/insight-therapy/201009/emotional-acceptance-why-feeling-bad-is-good
https://www.fastcompany.com/3063392/how-writing-to-do-lists-helps-your-brain-even-when-you-dont-comple

Categories
positivity

becoming your best self

Thus far 2019 has been a very insightful, eventful and — not to jinx it — wonderful year for me! I have learned a lot about myself and my aspirations and I am at the happiest point of my life so far. June 1st, 2019, I turned 21 years old and have since been told repeatedly, “It’s all downhill from here.” However, I would consider myself a glass half-full kind of gal; I remain optimistic that the future I’m seeding will allow my love for life and vivacious spirit to flourish as the years pass. The new year opened a door introducing whirlwinds of change to my life — some good, some bad… 

Over the past six months or so, I have worked on identifying and correcting flaws in my ways of thinking, allowing myself to understand the world from a perspective other than my own. As humans we are often too caught up in ourselves and our individual worlds to pause for a moment and observe life from another’s view. And although it may sound like I’ve got this thing figured out pretty well — I don’t. However, I have learned how to better control my emotional responses which impact day-to-day life. Each and every moment is a learning experience. It is up to you to use your skills to learn from it.

I used to allow myself to become overwhelmed with emotion – typically anger – and sometimes ..often.. times acted irrationally. Again, not to jinx the good luck but since devoting effort to five steps my life has taken an upward trend! I am thrilled to see what future opportunities are ahead of me. (omg, so cheesy, I know.) But hey, sometimes you’ve just got to be your own hype-woman! 

Anyway, getting to the point — these behaviors are behind me and I’m thrilled to say I have changed… A LOT. I’ve since moved, followed the steps (duuuh, that’s why we’re here), traveled, transferred colleges AND got a haircut! Ya girl rebranded — ALEX SWANSON®

**DISCLAIMER** 
This is not at all me telling you what you must do to be happier — I am just sharing what has been working for me. 🙂

  1. GET TO KNOW YOURSELF.

Spend time thinking.

Anyone who has taken a psychology class has heard of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This pyramid-shaped model breaks down the five needs which must be satisfied in order to be our truest, happiest self. Within the five needs there are subcategories of needs — it is up to you to identify YOUR specific needs. When it comes to my personal needs I feel most happy, secure and confident in myself when my needs of power, sex appeal, love and belonging are met. Once you’ve realized your needs, work towards achieving them!

I’m a CHAMELEON, dawg!

Express yourself unapologetically — do what makes you happy without worrying about the opinions or critiques of others. Fashion was also something I was reserved about. I never wanted to stray too far from the trends for fear of being “too different” (which is so silly looking back). I’ve since learned to stop caring about what others like and wear what I like.

Preppy, punk, goth, sporty, tomboy… all potential answers for defining fashion sense. I’ve always struggled placing myself into just one category. Anyone who knows me knows I can go from a dress and heels to athletic gear and sneakers to bathing suit and flip flops… all in one day (shrug).

Fortunately, I am one of those lucky people who are able to seamlessly interchange styles (or so I have been told). 😬 That being said I have self-titled my fashion as “chameleon”. (More on this in later posts, I promise!) 

Basically what I’m saying is DO WHAT YOU’RE AFRAID TO DO and stop allowing fear to hold you back. I mean, I’ve wanted to blog for years now but I let the fear of what my peers might think stop me. Allowing the fear to be present prevented me from becoming my truest, happiest self — ALEX SWANSON®

2. FIGURE OUT WHO YOU ARE HAPPIEST AROUND AND EVALUATE WHY YOU’RE HAPPY.

Cut out toxic people.

Life is too short — and my time is too precious — to be spent with people who don’t have my best intentions in mind. Nowadays I surround myself with people who encourage me to be my best self and have a positive impact on my life. Although it’s common sense that toxic people do not have a good impact on your life, they are often the hardest people to disassociate from.

What makes you happy?

Evaluating the moment of bliss will help you to identify what is making you happy. The sense of smell is often associated with memories, making it a common trigger for emotional responses. Understanding what about the situation is making you happy will help for later controlling your emotions.

3. SPEND TIME BUILDING AND STRENGTHENING RELATIONSHIPS WITH THOSE WHO ENCOURAGE YOU TO BE YOUR BEST SELF.

“Ain’t nobody f**king with my clique, clique, clique, clique.”

Some of the most admirable people in my life are those which drive me to be the most authentic version of myself. Working towards building bonds with other individuals will help you throughout life whether it be business networking, friendships or romantic relationships! You will encounter people with mindsets which differ from yours. Just remember… there is always a silver lining.

4. BE SELFISH.

It’s okay to say no to hangouts. Spend time alone. 

While it’s important to spend time with other people, it’s just as important to spend time alone. I very much enjoy walking, especially around the city, so often times you will find me wandering around Philadelphia pondering whatever is currently on my mind. Another way I like to spend my alone time is with music playing softly in the background. Allow yourself to think freely… let your mind wander — you might be surprised where the thoughts take you. Chances are during these periods of thinking you are going to be faced with viewing the realities of yourself. Although this can be incredibly daunting, we must first come to terms with our true selves before we are able to explore further. 

5. WELCOME CHANGE INTO YOUR LIFE.

Switch it up!

Branch out of your comfort zone, meet new people, go to a coffee shop alone — do something  you wouldn’t normally see yourself doing and see how it goes! I used to be nervous about speaking to people I wasn’t familiar with. However, since giving people the opportunity to share themselves with me I have gained a lot of knowledge and been introduced to many different perspectives of life. I often use the opportunity to listen to and best relate myself to the individual. Understanding someone else’s perspective is key to understanding the inner-workings of their mind. Whatever the change may be for you, welcome it with open arms! The first time is always the worst. 😉

Well that was a super long first post but hey, I finally did it!! If you stuck around until the end, congrats to you! 

Thanks for reading!

Talk to ya’ll soon,
Alex