Friday 30 January 2015

Punch fear in the face

Have you ever felt down and discouraged? Felt like there is nothing you are really good at, there is nothing that's your "thing", felt like you lack passion and focus in life? Have you ever felt boring? Average
Of course you have. You are human, after all, and we humans may be lacking in a myriad of ways (each in their own way), but one thing we are all really good at is this: We can talk ourselves down really well. 


Style: Laugh it off

This week has been for the pits. Nothing really terrible happened, but a couple disappointments coupled with some bad news have shown me that life is not all sunshine and unicorns.

But. Yes, there is a but. A big, huge, glorious BUT!

There is so much kindness in this life as well. Your comments to my last post were so incredibly kind and uplifting. Thank you all so, so much, from the bottom of my heart!!!

I also discovered a book that's the answer to all my angst and insecurities (review coming soon!), and that has put my recent bout of not-so-great days into perspective. 

So I decided to pick myself up, dust myself off, and laugh into the face of life's practical jokes. You can try to knock me down life, but I will just get up again!  

Dress: Nally and Millie, bought at Otter Co-op (our friendly neighbourhood everything-you-need-store) (sort of similar); belt: part of this ensemble (similar); clogs: Lotta From Stockholm

Have a fabulous weekend my loves, your support is so amazing, I'm so grateful for blogland and its friendly people!
Lots of love to you all. 


Thursday 29 January 2015

Down days

The other day I had one of those days were I felt beaten down by the world. I had certain expectations about the day, and they didn't come true. That's my biggest downfall: I imagine certain events, really built them up in my mind, until they resemble a scene in a fairy tale, and when they don't pan out like I imagined it, I am crushed. Usually they involve people who I assigned roles to they know nothing about, and when they don't fulfill those roles, I am bitterly disappointed.

I once read that one should "expect nothing, appreciate everything". Sounds harsh, doesn't it? Or is it wise and the recipe against disappointments? I'm more the kind of person who expects good things to happen, because I believe in the power of positive thinking. And also in self-fulfilling prophecies, and the power of visualization.
But when you vividly imagine something, really see it in your mind, and it doesn't come true - it hurts. Because you feel like you already had it, and it was snatched away. You got a taste of it, it tasted so good, and before you could take a second bite, it's gone.

After crying about it, feeling bruised and sad about it, and talking to three of my trusted confidantes about it, I came to a conclusion. Well, several conclusions, actually.

1. You have no control over other people, you can only control yourself. Meaning: Stop assigning roles to them they know nothing about.
2. Sometimes, people suck. They don't do what they promised. That's why I have dogs.
3. Don't expect too much. I can't get on board with the "expect nothing"-philosophy, but curbing my expectations seems like a good idea.
4. Accept that some days are shitty. Life ain't easy, and nobody ever said it would be. That's why there is chocolate.
5. Remember: the next day will be better. It's probably a law of physics or something, something about equilibrium? Whatever it is, I have learnt that if you had a really awful day, the next one will be better. Promise!
6. If you look long enough, you will find something that makes you smile and your heart hopeful again.

Because in the end, this world ain't too bad after all.


Tuesday 27 January 2015

What would you do with $100? + Let's grow together {link-up #4}

My husband and I are hairy beasts. He sports a proud chest of full hair, and can grow a beard that Grizzly Adams would envy. My ancestors must have come from the cold North, because my leg hair - when not kept in check - can double as furry pants in a pinch. Since furry pants are out I have to do my best to keep those hairs in check. My weapon of choice? The razor. Hair removal creams don't work for me, waxing scares me, and don't even get me started on laser treatments - I hear they are painful as well, and I'm not a fan of pain.
So shaving it is. It is quick, effective, painless - and expensive. We need the super-duty extra sharp razor blades for our coarse German hair, and it comes with a hefty price tag.

Imagine my delight when I came across Dollar Shave Club with their intriguing concept: Getting a razor delivered to your door, every month of the year. It starts at US$3.00/month (CA$3.50), which means you can save over a $100 a year!
Since I live under a rock most days, I had never heard of these guys before. That means I haven't tried them out yet, but I intend on doing so!

Even though I haven't saved money yet, I'm already contemplating what I will spend those $100 on.

Here are a few ideas:


Because, duh.

Spending future money is so much fun!
How would you spend an extra 100 bucks?  

*Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I wrote about it because I think it's a great concept and I love their commercial. I'm a sucker for funny commercials.* 

And now, let's link up my friends! I'm so happy about how well-received my little link-party is, and I'm looking forward to Wednesdays every week now. It's a happy hump day indeed!
Thank you all so much!!

Farm Girl


Golden light

While large parts of North America are battling blizzards and snow infernos, our little corner here on the west coast of Canada is positively spring-like. We had 15ºC/60ºF over the last two days, which is bizarre for January. And awesome. Scary, though - global warming is real, you guys!
Anyway, it was time to get some pictures of it. Here they are!

First snowdrop
Pigeons and a half moon
Flowering hazel
 Ducks walking
Goose with an attitude
Ram protecting his harem
Little disagreement (no worries, nobody got hurt)
Golden llamas
Winter sunset

How is your week going so far? Don't forget to link up with me tomorrow, anything goes!


Sunday 25 January 2015

How to get more self awareness

Here I was, sitting in my car in the parking lot after work, unwilling to turn the key in the ignition. As much as I wanted to go home, I hesitated - there were guests in my house, and I couldn't face to see them just yet. However, just sitting there made me bad tempered, because it felt to me that other people were keeping me out of my own home. I muttered to myself how stupid it was and how much I resented the whole situation and got myself pretty worked up.
As you can imagine, by the time I got home I was in a foul mood which radiated off me like toxic fumes and made everyone feel uncomfortable.

You may ask yourself: Had something happened? Were these guests unwelcome ones? Had there been a huge fight? Were they obnoxious?
Nothing of the sort. They were actually dear friends whom I loved and whose company I enjoyed greatly. I honestly didn't know why I was feeling that way, and was ashamed of myself. What was wrong with me?

Today I want to talk about something that is absolutely essential for your well-being and happiness. I didn't possess it for the longest time, which caused me a lot of anguish and unhappiness. You can probably guess what it is from the title - I'm talking about self awareness.

The above scenario happened a few years ago when I was sorely lacking self awareness. What I didn't realize at the time was that I am an introvert. I am outgoing, not shy at all and enjoy being around people. That's why I always regarded myself as a "people person". However, after a day at work where I deal with dozens of patients and co-workers I need some alone-time to recharge.
But here is the thing: I didn't know that about myself. I didn't know that there was a simple explanation for my feelings of dread towards having to deal with my friends at home. All I needed was an hour or so of being by myself, and then I would have enjoyed the evening ahead with my guests.
As it were, I felt stressed, resentful, and guilty about feeling stressed and resentful. Our guests sensed that something was off, my husband was angry, and the evening was a disaster.

This is only one example of what can happen as the result of a lack of self awareness. If you don't know yourself you might end up in the wrong relationship, with friendships that are bad for you, in a job that makes you unhappy, living a lifestyle that keeps you wishing for more.

I am the furthest thing from an expert on this topic (after all, I didn't know myself for 33 years), but I did learn a few things about gaining more self awareness over the last year and a half. It has made a world of difference in my life, and made me a whole lot happier!

Here are a few tips that helped me:

Read (blogs, books, magazine articles...)
I first started to recognize myself in the stories of others. I would read a blog post and find myself nodding along, thinking "yes! exactly!". Often it surprised me, because I had thought of myself as a different person. Then I came across Susan Cain's book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, and it was one of the biggest revelations ever. It felt incredibly liberating to find so many examples of people who are like me, and to learn that I'm not the only one feeling the way I do. With the internet at our fingertips, you can search literally anything - type "why do I feel" into the search engine, you might be surprised at the suggestions that come up!   

Talk - and listen
Having honest and open conversations is essential to learning about yourself. It doesn't even have to be with close friends - I have had amazing connections with virtual strangers, be it patients at work, someone I met at a dinner party, or via email exchange through blogging.
I particularly enjoy listening to older people who have a wealth of wisdom to share: you may identify yourself with a stranger more than with friends and family sometimes. Life has a funny way of sending people our way who can be helpful to us - let it happen and learn from it!

Be honest to yourself
Have you ever tried to describe yourself in a few words? It is surprisingly difficult. But since we all have to do it occasionally (for job interviews, our Instagram or Twitter accounts, online dating, the About page), it is a necessary task. And an important one! Here is the kicker: we may inadvertently lie about our character traits because we like to see ourselves in a certain light. For example, I used to always describe myself as a spontaneous, adventurous person, and I truly thought that I am.
However, after lots of self reflection I have to admit that I only like to be spontaneous when it's carefully planned, and while I like the idea of being adventurous, I often balk at the reality of it.
In short: I'm not as cool as I always thought I was.  
Which brings me to my next point:

Be accepting
Accept yourself for who you are. In the past I really struggled with perceiving myself as being different from most people. All I wanted to be was "normal". Normal, yet also cool, the life of the party, up for anything and a bit wild! Turns out I need to take medication for depression, I can't make small talk, I am awkward, and a creature of habit. Totally not how I wanted to see myself!
I also had to come to terms with my lack of desire for wanting children (I was convinced something was wrong with me), for not needing as much "girl time" as most other girls seem to, and for being a bit wacky. But you know what? That's me! That's how I was made, and there is nothing wrong with it.
Learn who you are, what makes you happy, accept yourself and be YOU! I believe that's the secret to happiness.

This may not be for everyone, and to be honest, I don't do it myself. But I blog, which is different yet similar, and it has helped me tremendously to figure myself out. Writing things down has a way of clarifying them for me. To quote Joan Didion: "I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear."
I couldn't have said it better.
Do you have any advice of how to become more self aware? Please share in the comments, I would love to hear it! 

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