2020 Recap

Since we are closing out this year, I want to ask you some questions before entering 2021. I would like the readers of this post to answer at least one of the questions in the comments below. If it helps, write down the questions before answering them. Let’s make this post an interesting one.

-What was one thing you learned about yourself this year?

-What mistakes did you make in 2020?

-What successes did you have in 2020?

-What was your favorite memory of 2020?

-How would you describe this year?

-What is one thing you are leaving behind in 2020?

-What was your biggest challenge in 2020? How did you overcome it?

-If you could give 2020 a theme, what would it be and why?

-Are you ready for 2021? Why or why not?

I hope that 2021 brings nothing but happiness and enjoyment to every person that is reading this post. Allow 2021 to be the reset you need to jump-start everything you are trying to achieve. Happy New Year!

Your Best is the Best

One affirmation that I love to use daily is, “I’m doing my best.” We can all benefit from this affirmation in our everyday life. Now you may be thinking, how can this affirmation help me? Well, let’s go ahead and dive in.

How often do we start something new, and once we see our progress, we begin to beat ourselves up? Please do not tell me I am the only one that does this. Why is that? Well, it is because we are our harshest critics. But we do not need to hard on ourselves. We are allowed to work on things without thinking it will be done right on the first try. We might not want to admit it, but we are not perfect (Ari, this goes for you, girl). We are not in a race with anyone but ourselves. So guess what? We can make as many mistakes, and wrong turns as we want. It is hard to believe it because we want things to fall in place the first time but trust me, the best; we are giving right now is worth a million gold medals. Trust the process.  Take the time to enjoy the work you are creating and watch the joy it will bring you.

Ode to Being Anxious

I want to share some things that make me anxious. Fun fact, I am currently anxious right now writing this blog, but I know this list could help others feel better about their anxieties. So without any more delay, here’s my list everyone.

I am anxious when:

-Things are out of my control

-After job interviews

-Meeting new people

-Dealing with a tough decision

-Being alone

-Waiting for an answer to a serious question

-When someone says they have something to tell you but have to wait until later to say something

-Telling people no

-Going to a party

-Driving

-Laying down in the dark

-I cannot understand why I am anxious

-I cannot get in touch with my mom or my husband

-Knowing that I have to go to the doctor

-Getting tests done

-Disagreeing with someone I love

-I do not eat

-I eat too much

-People looking at me when I walk into a room

-Running low on my meds

-Getting ready for therapy

-Thinking about death

-Going into stores

I know to some, these things may seem silly. But to people that deal with anxiety and depression, these things can cause you stress. Don’t feel bad if you are dealing with anything that makes you anxious. You are not alone; I am here with you. We will get through this together.

Ari’s 2021 Mantra

2020 has taught me two things: One, if people do not want to be bothered with you, leave them alone, and second, people love saying they respect you in your face, but when they get the chance, they will take digs at you. For 2021, I made a mantra for myself, and if you feel that something I wrote can help you, feel free to use it.

Ari’s Mantra

I will live with purpose

I will learn to trust my gut

Being alone does not make you lonely

I will only give from my overflow

Taking time for myself is NOT being selfish

I do not need to convince people of my worth

I will not cheat myself out of the journey

I will not place myself in a relationship that does not serve me

I will not compare myself to anyone

I am love

I am strength

I will be successful

NO.

How hard is it for you to say no? If you are like me, saying no feels like slapping someone in the face. Saying no makes me feel guilty even when I have a reason to say it. So what do you do? Should you say yes forever? Well, I have a list we can all use to help fight the fear of saying no.

It is okay to say no…

If it doesn’t make you happy

If you feel as if someone is forcing you

If it doesn’t fit your plans

If it makes you uncomfortable

If you want to be by yourself and relax

If your feelings are not being valued

If it goes against what you believe in

If it’s a family member

If you have no reason other than you wanting to do it

Understand that it does not happen overnight. But remember, you have the right to say no to anyone about anything. Saying no helps protect your feelings, so use it when you can.

10 Things I Need to Stop Worrying About

Writing this list was hard for me because worrying has become like second nature to me. Hopefully, by writing this list, I can help not only myself with worrying but help whoever reads this.

Stop worrying about things that are outside of your control. You can only handle what you can touch.

Stop worrying about people’s approval of you. You are entitled to make decisions for yourself without someone telling you that your choices are okay to them.

Stop worrying about the “what ifs.” When you allow yourself to focus on what may or could happen, you slow down getting to your goal.

Stop worrying about the future. It is your job to enjoy the time that you have right now. Tomorrow is not promised.

Stop worrying about how to fix other’s problems. When you take on someone’s problems, they began to become yours that you will never be able to fix. Your job is to focus on what you need to fix for you.

Stop worrying about being perfect. Sweetheart, we will never be perfect. But what we can be is our best while embracing our flaws.

Stop worrying about if you are where you should be. It is not about getting to a place at a specific time, but the lessons you learned on the way to that place.

Stop worrying about money. Your needs will be met. Trust the timing.

Stop worrying about issues from your past. You are not your past. You cannot change what has already happened, but you can grow from it.

Stop worrying about change. How will you grow and progress without changing? Changes bring on new chances at winning.

Dear 20 Something Ari

Hey Girl,

Right now, I am sure you are writing your fifth 10-year goals list, hoping that 30 never comes for you. Well, sis, it’s coming sooner than you think. But guess what? You do not have to have it all together before 30 comes. You are at a place where making mistakes should not drive you to think less of yourself, but the mistakes should be taken as lessons being taught to you. You are smart enough to reach any goal you set your mind to; just stop trying to focus on how quick that goal is achieved when it’s not the time for you yet. I know you see people you went to high school with having their degrees and starting new chapters for themselves, but understand you did not do anything wrong. We are not supposed to move the way we see others moving. That’s not how we were made. We were made to march differently and do so with ease.

Lastly, Ari, you are killing it! Just take your time and do not allow what you see others doing; keep you from being your true self. We have time, so take the time to enjoy the journey.

Love,

30 Something Ari

Don’t Obsess

This spot! It was driving me out my mind! What a spot—what a spot for a fellow to find! My troubles were growing. The way it kept going! Where would it go next? There was no way of Knowing.

–The Strange Shirt Spot

The above passage comes from a Dr. Seuss book called Seuss-isms. In the story of The Strange Shirt Spot, the little boy was obsessing all day with a spot on his shirt. He would clean the spot off his shirt, for only the spot to jump on something else. That strange spot was all he could think about, and I am sure I am not the only one that has been where this little boy has been with this spot. Let’s talk about obsessions and how we can combat them.

Our minds love to jump on one thing and will not let it go until it figures out the issue, or it tires itself out. The one big obsession I have is trying to figure out why people think and act the way they do. I will ramble on and on to anyone that would listen about how I cannot figure out why a person could respond or react the way they do. I would obsess so much; I would catch myself spending hours on Google trying to find counterpoints to a person’s actions or statements. Did my obsession solve anything? No. Did it help me sleep at night to obsess over it? No, it did the exact opposite. But I just had to know why. With therapy, I have learned that I cannot control everything that is going on around me. I also learned that my way of thinking is not made for anyone else. When I started understanding these two points, I was able to stop my fixation on what other people did or say.

We will all have moments where we will fix our mind on things we cannot control. But if we can remember that the only thing we can have true control over is ourselves, the less likely we are to obsess over things. As my therapist would say, “If it is not on fire, it is safe to say you do not need to give it all of your energy.”  

The Power of No

How many of us can say we can take no well? It is okay if you cannot, but what if we can look at the word no differently? Now before you say there is no way that the word no can be changed into a positive concept, I want to tell you a story about how the word no went from being the worst word ever created to landing my new job.

Education is my life, so much I am currently obtaining my Doctorate in Educational Psychology. Yes, I am a nerd. I always wanted to run a school or daycare, but life after Undergrad took a toll on me. When I landed a Preschool Teacher position at a child development center, I was excited. I loved the children, and I thought this could be a job that I could move up into a Director position. When I saw there was an opening for a floor lead, I quickly applied. “I should get this,” I said to myself, “I know Early Childhood Education like the back of my hand.” When I went to talk to the Director about it, she said there was no way I could be a floor lead. I was hurt. I have never dealt with someone telling me that I was not good enough. The parents loved me, and the kids did too, so I did not understand why she did not see the good work I could bring to the position. I shortly left because I knew that I would never get a chance to prove myself.

When I became an Academic Advisor at a University, I took to a Director there. He told me I had the potential to become a manager because of how effective I was at my job. He would give me articles to read about effective leadership, and I even started my master’s in Organizational Leadership to prove to him I was ready for the next step in my career. I knew I had a shot for the Advising Manager position that was opening up. I put my resume in, and I waited. When my Director came into our team huddle to announce who he was choosing, he selected a guy who did not have experience in working with students at all. You might be saying, “Ari that is rude,” hear me out, his position before that manager position was handling degree processing. Also, he could not calm a student down to save his life; and he would give me all of the “high touched” students as he called them. Again, I felt defeated. I could not understand why my Director would give me articles to read and put me on special projects that managers typically handled but could not see the leadership potential in me.

I became an Academic Advisor for another college; I knew I wasn’t going to move up there because my manager was only 10 years old than me. Also, she said I did not have the emotional intelligence to handle leadership, which, if you know anything about me, I am the definition of emotional intelligence. I know you might be thinking, “Ari, when will you get to the part where the no’s turn into something positive?” Just follow me for a little while longer. I recently applied for a Director position at a childcare center. I went in knowing that I did not have the managerial skills other than what I learned from my Organizational Leadership degree, but I could not pass on the chance to interview. I went into the interview, and I gave it my all. I left out of there feeling good about it, but still, in the back of my mind, I was thinking that another no was coming. I received a call on the last Monday of April from the Executive Director of the center. “Hi Ariel, I have some news for you about the position.” He said. “Yes?” I said nervously. Will this conversation be any different from the rest? “I want to welcome you to our team,” He said. “You are our newest Director!” I could not believe it. All the times I have heard no, and how I wasn’t ready for this type of responsibility, someone saw my passion and wanted to see me impact a team.

No’s can be tough to handle, but as my therapist said, no just means next opportunity. Someone’s no to you will be someone’s yes soon enough. You have to push away your doubts and allow yourself to get back out there to search for that next opportunity. Do not let no keep you from trying to reach a goal of yours.

Fighting the Unknowns

Many of us suffer with the future because we do not know what will happen. We want to be able to plan our next move, and no matter how well we think we have things mapped out, we are never truly prepared. Our anxiety plays a part in this because it wants to know where we are going before we get there. But how can we fight the unknown? Let’s talk about it.

One way for us to fight the feeling of the unknown is by living in the moment. We cannot change our past, nor do we know if the future is promised us, but we do have the chance to shape our present. When we live in the moment, we can prevent things from happening that may impact our future. We cannot fix anything when we are so fixated on how things were or how things maybe later on down the road. The only way you can calm your anxiety is by thinking about what you can control today.

Another thing is being okay with option number 2 or 7. We come up come with all these plans, but most of us want the very first one to stick. And do not get me wrong, your first one could be the one, however, what do you have for backup if it does not work? I have heard a lot of people say that having options is accepting failure, but that is not true; having other options is being realistic. As the old saying goes, do not put all of your eggs in one basket. By relying on one plan, you are setting yourself up from a major let down if your plan does not go the way you want it to work. Look at how many people we see as successful; they had several plans and options to fall back on if their first plan failed. Do not allow yourself to feel foolish because you want to make sure you have all your options laid in front of you.

To sum this post up, we cannot predict what the unknown looks like to us; but we can enjoy what life has for us today. Life is not a one size fit all. Life is about making choices and learning from them. Love the life you are living, and push through the unknowns. It will be worth it.