Blind to the Beauty

darkness

I’m really at a loss for words at the amount of unspeakable tragedies I’ve been hearing about lately. It seems that every day, I turn on the news, and I hear about another life being lost. Another daughter, sister, niece, mother, son, brother, nephew, or father had their life cut short due to careless and senseless violence. I can’t seem to wrap my mind around any of it.

What is the world coming to? There is more hatred that exists today than I ever imagined possible, and my greatest fear is that it is only going to get worse. If only we fought as hard to understand and accept each other, as we do to hate and argue with each other, then the world would be a much better place. Sadly, I don’t know if that will ever happen. We live in a world where people feel the need to have their opinions validated all the time, no matter what. People are so quick to judge others if their opinion or outlook on life is slightly different than their own. This judgment, these disagreements, all of this hatred…it can’t be solved with violence. It just can’t. All violence is going to do is add more fuel to the fire. It’s going to intensify that hatred even more, and cause further tragic events to keep happening.

Is that really the kind of world that you want our future generations to grow up in? To teach them that it’s okay to dislike or hate someone because of the color of their skin, their ethnicity, their religion, or whatever beliefs that they may hold? Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t fight as hard as he did to have racism still be as much of an issue as it is today. Women didn’t fight for equal rights as much as they did to have feminists still fighting for what they fought for so long ago. I could go on and on about how I feel that the world we live in today is literally a slap in the face to some of the most prominent and influential men and women in our nation’s history, but I won’t.

However, I will say this: something needs to be done to end all of this senseless violence. Everyone shouldn’t have to live in fear of being harmed in some type of way. That is just not okay. So, I encourage you all to change that anger and hatred into love and acceptance, even though it may be incredibly difficult. The next time you want to say something hurtful to someone, judge them for their beliefs or even consider acting upon your hatred with violence, stop and take a second to see what it would be like to be the person on the other end receiving those hurtful words and harsh judgments or maybe even that fatal shot. Think about their families, their friends…anyone who may be affected by such a loss. Think about how you may be affected by it. I can guarantee you that it won’t be a good feeling. If you can do that and recognize that the change to a better world can start with you, then maybe that will be the key to making all the difference.

Be kind more and hate less, for hatred is the very thing that makes us blind to the beauty in everyone.

A Leap of Faith

Change.

Good change. Bad change. Unexpected change.

It’s something that is bound to happen in our lives at some point in time, whether we’re ready for it or not. We may choose it or it may just happen on its own. Sometimes, it can be pretty scary…taking that big leap of faith, taking risks, getting out of your comfort zone, and starting something fresh and new. Something that’s different, terrifying, and exciting all at the same time.

…yet, the fear is the most beautiful part of change for me. 

You see, I’ve gone through changes a time or two in my life, and every single time, I’ve figured out that it’s put me on a path to something far greater than I ever could’ve dreamed of for myself. If someone would’ve told me five years ago that I would be where I am today, I would’ve laughed at them and said that there was no way that would be possible. This would’ve occurred quite simply because of the fact that I had absolutely zero confidence in myself, and I was completely closed-minded and blind to any ounce of ambition that I possessed.

If you look at me now or currently know me on a personal level, you’re probably thinking that’s crazy, right?

Whenever I mention my past (and some present) insecurities to people, their initial reaction is always something along the lines of “why on Earth do you think that about yourself?” or “you’re way too hard on yourself.” And that always gets me asking myself the same questions. Why do I spend so much time stressing over minuscule things and worrying about things long before they happen? (if they even happen). Why do I sometimes talk myself down when I should be bringing myself up?

Is it because I’m such a Type A and a perfectionist that really hates making mistakes? Do I put too much pressure on myself because I want to be extremely successful in life? Do I do it all because, being a child of divorce, I constantly feel the need to be a people pleaser? When, in reality, the only person I should be worried about pleasing is myself.

The answer is….I honestly don’t know.

But, what I do know, is that somehow my crazy ways of overthinking and overanalyzing have gotten me to exactly where I am today: living in a new city while managing graduate school, as well as a brand new job, both full-time, all for the sake of a promising career. Things in my life have been changing pretty darn fast lately. I haven’t really had much time to wrap my brain around everything that’s been happening. And maybe, that’s for the best, because, for the first time, I’ve realized that change really can be a good thing. And sometimes, you have to fall apart in order to rebuild the pieces and figure out who you’re meant to be.

I know I certainly don’t have it all figured out yet, but one thing that I know for sure is that, right now, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be in life.

…and that’s a pretty amazing feeling. 

So, don’t be afraid of change. Set your fears aside and embrace whatever life is bringing your way with open arms and open eyes.

Choose Kindness and Laugh Often

In honor of Random Acts of Kindess day that occurred the other day, I had this heavy on my heart and thought I would share.

  
Kindness is one gift that anyone can give at no expense whatsoever. Hatred and cruelty takes so much time and effort, and they also drain you mentally and physically. To me, it just makes sense to choose kindness, even when it seems like such an impossible thing to do. Laugh often and fight harder to empower and bring each other up. It won’t make you a better person to try and bring someone down. Let your light and beauty shine through from the inside, because, after all, happiness lies within. 💕 #foodforthought #nationalrandomactsofkindnessday

“Be kind, for everyone you know is fighting a battle that you know nothing about.”

Love,

Jordan

A Light in the Dark

  

I know it’s been quite some time since I’ve written anything here. To say that life has been busy and time just seems to slip away from me would be an absolute understatement, but it would also be the absolute truth.

I came across a quote the other day that stated “this past year has been a year of intense growth,” and it resonated with me deeply because I’ve spent the past year really getting to know myself and figuring out who I am as an individual and what I want out of life. It also got me thinking about my life and where I was a year ago, five years ago, even ten years ago, and where I’m at in my life now. I’ve realized that I’ve come quite a long way. I’ve overcome so many things, and accomplished so much more than I ever thought I was capable of doing. I’m on an amazing path to accomplishing even greater things, and I am just so incredibly proud of myself. Words can’t even describe how amazing it feels.

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on the person that I used to be, and sometimes, I wonder how I ever let myself become that person. That person who is now so much a stranger. I had reached such a low point in my life that I absolutely hated the person staring back at me in the mirror. That person was an incredibly broken girl who spent the majority of her life being angry at people and situations she couldn’t control. That person spent years sacrificing her own happiness for the sake of pleasing other people. That person let society and other people define who she was. That person constantly told herself that she was never good enough and could never truly amount to anything. That person was so incredibly full of self-loathing and self-hatred that there were times when she would wonder if anyone would ever really miss her if she were gone.

That person let the world change her smile, when she should’ve been allowing her smile to change the world. 

But that person doesn’t exist anymore. That person is simply just a ghost of who I used to be. A ghost of everything that I really wasn’t. That broken girl is simply a distant memory that has been forgotten.

I’ve heard it said that maturity doesn’t come with age, it comes with experience, and I am a firm believer in that. Going through hurtful experiences at a young age taught me quickly just how hard and ruthless life can be. However, I wouldn’t take those hurtful lessons back for anything, even if my life depended on it. I always tell myself that God never gives me anything more than I can handle, but looking back on my twenty-five years of life, I’m pretty sure there were quite a few times where I felt He might’ve trusted me just a little too much. I mean, if we’re being real honest here, I wasn’t even supposed to make it out alive in this world in the first place. But, for whatever reason, I fought through and survived, and I feel like I’ve been fighting to survive ever since.

But, isn’t that how life works? We go through hell and back, just to figure out who we’re meant to be. We all fight to survive. To live a life that we can be proud of. Yet, we never really stop and take a moment to reflect upon exactly how far we’ve come. We don’t take time to reflect on our own strengths and dismiss the opinions of others. We’d rather focus on things we’ve lost or focus on arguing against each other or hating each other. We live in a world where society tells us how they think we should live our lives and what we should believe. And if your beliefs are different than someone else’s, then all hell breaks loose. As a result, we’re all losing sight of ourselves. In some instances, people are losing their lives. When did it ever become okay for someone else to dictate how you live your life? And why do we allow everyone else to define us? Why is there so much hatred in this world, and when will it ever end? I keep seeking to understand it all, and I truly believe that it all stems from something much greater, deep within our own individual souls.

In light of recent events, I encourage all of you to do some serious soul-searching. If you have any present anger, let it go. Cry and take full advantage of any tears of sadness you may have. Embrace happiness and acceptance. Hold your loved ones a little tighter, and make sure to let them know just how much they mean to you and how much you love them. Stand up for what you believe in. Understand that not everyone will view the world the way that you do. Pray for those who need our prayers. If you don’t pray or aren’t spiritual, then send some positive vibes to anyone who may need them. Just try your very best to be a light of goodness in a world full of darkness.

But, most importantly…

Never lose sight of who you’re meant to be. Never let the world change your smile. 

 

 

 

 

Through A Stranger’s Eyes

food for thought

Perspective. It’s something that seems so incredibly easy to attain, yet we always find ourselves struggling to really, truly gain it. We feel that fighting fire with fire with someone will make them see the world the way we see it. It will make them understand us. The way we think. The way we feel. What makes us smile, what makes us laugh. What makes us cry, what makes us happy. Perspective will allow us to see the light in each other’s eyes and we’ll all be existing with this sincere, mutual understanding of each other full of appreciation, respect, and empathy, no matter our pasts.

In a perfect world, that would be ideal. In a perfect world, everyone would get along. We wouldn’t judge each other or disrespect each other. We wouldn’t intentionally want to hurt others who have hurt us just because we want them to feel our pain. We would all exist with a complete and mutual understanding of each other. No judgment. No hatred. No more fighting fire with fire.

But…wait, this isn’t a perfect world, is it? It’s a world full of perfectly imperfect people who are so quick to fight fire with fire. So incredibly quick to criticize and judge, yet so slow to even attempt to understand. Far too quick to speak and certainly too slow to listen.

I think that sometimes it’s difficult to try and view yourself and your struggles through the eyes of someone else. Just like its hard to see other people with their struggles and attempt to understand it all for yourself. I’m guilty of this. I think we all are, but I think it takes an incredibly strong person to take a step back and re-evaluate their own lives in order to figure out what they can do to better themselves. Not everyone is capable of doing such a thing. So, if you’re one of the rare people who can do so, then consider yourself very lucky. I know I do.

With that being said…have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could meet yourself from a stranger’s perspective? What would be your first impression? Would you like you? Would you find certain things about yourself that you love? What about things that maybe you’d like to change? Would you sit there and criticize yourself for how you look or what you say? What about what you wear? Would you want to get to know you? Or would you quickly turn your shoulder and look the other way? Would you run as fast as you could from yourself? Or would you be willing to give yourself a chance to learn a little bit more?

This is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I know it may seem weird, but I think it’s a good tool to use to re-evaluate yourself and every aspect of your life. We could all use a little fine-tuning every now and then, don’t you think? So when you use this “let me see myself from a stranger’s point of view” tool, you really get a chance to dig real deep and do some serious soul searching. You give yourself the opportunity to see yourself from someone else’s perspective. They may think that you’re just flat out beautiful and perfect in every way possible. Hopefully, you’ll be able to see yourself this way, as well. Then, you can use what you learn and possibly help others to do the same. Who knows what you’ll find out? Chances are you’ll probably surprise yourself. You may notice a difference in how you react to certain situations. You may realize you need to change your mindset and attitude toward different things. Maybe instead of lashing out when you’re angry, you may realize that you need to tone it down a bit and react in a more civilized manner. Maybe instead of constantly criticizing yourself, you’ll learn to truly love and embrace yourself. Once you get in tune and in love with yourself, then maybe you’ll be able to view others differently with an open mind and a kind heart. Maybe you’ll be able to see the good in them, and you’ll seek to understand them. You’ll want to accept them for exactly who they are. You won’t want to change them or force them to change themselves for you.

Because the truth about life is this: we all just want to love and to have someone to love us back. We all just want to be treated by others how we would treat them. We all just want to be accepted for who we are. We all just want to be truly and blissfully happy.

So why on earth do we constantly do everything in our power to fight all of those amazing things? Because we’re human, and we all have our own ways of coping with things. Some of us are scared. Maybe too scared to face our fears. Some of us are perfectly content with the lives we’re living, and possibly incapable of believing that life could offer us something more. I think the thing that scares us the most is the fact that we’re so afraid and intimidated by the things that we don’t understand. And that is where we need to become a little bit more brave. The sooner we understand that we won’t always see eye to eye with everyone we meet, the better off we’ll be. But, we also need to be okay with the fact that our opinions won’t always be right. Our arguments won’t always be valid. Our truths won’t always be the real truth. We need to accept the fact that people won’t always see the world from our eyes. But maybe, just maybe, that acceptance is the key to perspective. The key to that sincere, mutual understanding of each other full of appreciation, respect, and empathy.

Maybe I’m too much of an optimist for thinking that this could actually happen. I tend to be a very wishful thinker. But, I do believe that we all deserve a chance to be respected and appreciated for exactly who we are.

We all deserve to be understood. We all deserve to be loved.

And, well…that’s really all that matters.

Embrace

Wow, it sure has been awhile since I wrote anything on here. I have been one super busy girl with no signs of slowing down! But I had a little downtime to write a little something, and I figured it’s worth sharing, so here it is…

It’s funny how life works out sometimes, isn’t it? One day, you wake up and find yourself dealing with things you never thought you’d ever have to deal with. It makes you angry, sad, frustrated, confused…and eventually truly grateful. Out of every burden comes a blessing in disguise. Something greater and bigger than you ever could have imagined. And you may not be there yet, but you will be. All good things take time. You may not be exactly where you planned to be, but you are exactly where you are meant to be. Thank God for that and embrace it. Trust in Him that the greatest things in your life are yet to come.

There is always a silver lining. Always.

It’s just up to you whether you choose to see it or not. So I encourage you to wake up with a smile on your face and happiness in your heart every day. I know it may be tough at times, but just think about what a difference you could make in someone’s life if you choose to smile instead of frown, if you choose to laugh instead of cry. Choose happiness over sadness and anger. Choose compliments over criticism and love over hate. I promise you it will make such a huge difference in your life.

Life’s way too short to be anything but happy. So ask yourself this: if you were to leave this world tomorrow, how would you want to be remembered by others?

Keep that in mind and strive to be the best version of yourself every single day. Always remember to treat others the way you want to be treated. Also remember to embrace your life for exactly how it is and enjoy every second of it. Live in the moment and make unforgettable memories. For one day you’ll look back on your life and think “it sure has been one hell of a ride, but it was truly worth every single second.”

Make your life so beautiful that it’ll be worth remembering.

Looking Back

As I awake this morning, I find that there are several thoughts and feelings weighing heavy on my mind and heart. I feel like my chest is just so constricted, and I know that I won’t be able to move forward with my day without letting them all out. I initially felt a little sting of sadness, based upon recent conversations I’ve had with certain people in my life, but I quickly realized one thing that’s changed within me, and that’s the fact that the sadness I feel for a brief moment fades away rather quickly. Way more quickly than it has in the past. At first, that realization was a little overwhelming to me. My go to coping mechanism has always been within the comfort of my own sadness and sulking in it for far too long. To break free of that has taken time and, to be honest, it flat out terrified me, but now I’m looking at it as positive progress and great strides that I’ve made for myself over the past few months.

I’ve been doing a lot of self reflection lately, which I feel has been a very good thing. It is also very long overdue because I neglected myself for years, which was probably one of the most incredibly unhealthy things I ever could’ve done for myself. Now, I can sit here and place the blame of my self neglect on other people and situations in my life, but it is not going to help me at all. I’d be simply making excuses for myself and not accepting the fact that I myself am the one to blame. No one else. Just me.

You see, it’s so easy to lose and neglect yourself with another person. We find some common ground with them, and immediately, we want to do everything we can to make sure they stick around and like or love us for exactly who we are. We get so attached to the idea of them and the dreams we could have together that we start sacrificing ourselves and our own happiness to make sure they’re always happy. We compare them to the idea of the perfect person that we’ve created in our head, only to end up disappointed with them in the end because that person is just an unattainable figment of our imagination. We push other people away and sacrifice our time just to be with that one person, and in the end, you’ll realize that the only person you’re hurting is yourself. It’s like this constant need to impress them and strive for their attention, but those needs and desires never get fulfilled by that person. This doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships, it also applies to friendships and relationships with everyone in our lives. I say this from experience. I see it everyday in people I know. We’re all so desperate for attention and appreciation from other people that we truly forget that the two main people we should seek this attention and appreciation from is God and ourselves.

In God’s eyes, we’re beautiful and perfect in every way imaginable. The struggles we face will only make us stronger, and even in our darkest times, we will find happiness. As perfectly flawed human beings, we need to remind ourselves of this constantly. We need to do a much better job of empowering ourselves and lifting our own spirits up instead of allowing ourselves to feel completely shot down all the time. One person can say one little, negative thing and instantly, your day and your mood is ruined. You can sit there and over-analyze every thing that person said until you believe it yourself. You can choose to let it break you or you can choose to let it make you. My best advice would be to let it make you into an even stronger and better person than you were yesterday. Don’t let one person’s words get in your head and change how you feel about yourself.

I’m saying this because I’ve done my fair share of letting other people’s words get to me. Trust me, I know it isn’t always easy to just ignore them and let them go. I’m well aware of people’s opinions and feelings about my life and my past relationship with my ex. Growing up in a small town where everyone knows everyone and wants to be involved in their business doesn’t exactly make it easy to avoid the whispers on the street. The difference between me then and me now, is that…well to be blunt, I really don’t give a flying you know what about what anyone says about me anymore, and I definitely don’t hold my tongue anymore either. It’s funny how life works out sometimes, and one thing that I feel needs to be said (because I know it is on everyone’s mind) is the fact that karma’s a bitch and it will always find you, no matter how much you try to run from it. So now, I’m holding my head up high because I know my worth, and I’m not going to let anyone else’s opinions change that or bring me down. I consider that a great thing. Honestly, what good would it do for me to dwell on other people’s negative and spiteful words said about me for the rest of my life? I’m sure that would be one dark and downward-spiraling path to go down that would only lead to disaster. Sorry, but that is not the path that I’m choosing for myself.

I know people who are allowing themselves to head down that path already, and to those people, my prayer for you is that you find the strength within yourself to see your worth and potential that you can give to this world. I pray that you will find happiness and love within yourself again. It was placed within you when you made your entrance into this world, and although you’ve lost sight of it now, I promise that you can find it again. I pray that you will be able to forgive yourself for any mistakes that you’ve made and that you will be able to someday turn your self-hatred into self-love again. Remember that there’s a light within each of us that can be shown, as long as we’re willing to open up and allow it to be seen.

This is my prayer and wish for all of you today. I hope you all can see yourselves the way God always has and always will: beautiful and perfect in every way imaginable, no matter what.

Never forget that.

Love,

Jordan