Thinking Your Own Thoughts

I was on an airplane the other day having a hard time. I’m not a great flyer. The stress of nearly missing the flight did a toll on my body. I hadn’t slept much the night before. I was on a different timezone. The only food I had that day was hotel breakfast, coffee, beer, and some fried mac and cheese balls. I needed real food and space to move. My body was pissed.

I decided rather than trying to work or be productive on this late night flight where I felt like garbage, I’d just watch movies. I normally let a movie or a TV show on a flight be a treat rather than the norm. But on this flight, I needed to just keep my mind distracted from the various (understandable) whining happening in my body.

The only movie that looked interesting was “Leave No Trace.”

It was slow. The acting was great. The writing was refreshing. The cinematography was beautiful. And it was so different than so many blockbuster films I’ve recently seen. I loved it.

More importantly, it kept me from murdering my seat mate out of pure hungry rage. So that was nice.

leave no trace 2

There was a line in the movie that stuck out to me and has been in my head since I heard it (the sign of a really good story). In the film, the father and daughter purposely choose to live on the outskirts of society, wandering in the woods and staying off technology. At one point, their circumstances change and they have access to more technology. The daughter, who has spent more of her life completely off-the-grid, is somewhat anxious about what this means for their relationship to each other and to the world. The father assures her that, even with the distractions presented around them now, they can “still think our own thoughts.”

That line resonated with me. I’m by no means anti-technology. I participate (albeit often begrudgingly) in social media. I have a phone. I take my laptop on every trip I go on.

But I’m part of that older millennial generation that grew up in our formative years without it. I spent a lot of time looking out windows, playing in my back yard, creating stuff for the fun of it.

This is weird, but whatever – you’re here and reading this so you deserve a fun little weird tidbit. I used to love to lay upside down on a recliner and imagine that the world was flipped and the ceiling was the floor and the floor was the ceiling.

Yes, really.

The point is, I spent a lot of time thinking my own thoughts. I let my mind wander. My brain grew up with the understanding that it’s important to be present and it’s important to formulate your own thoughts and choose to spend your time in ways you feel drawn to (rather than are accidentally addicted to).

Like many people my age, I was an early adopter of texting and cellphone technology. I’ve been on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram all almost since they started. I was even part of that generation that needed a college email in order to get a Facebook account.

Stories for another time.

The point is, I’ve let social media and technology interweave and change my brain and my lifestyle without much thought. And now that I’m realizing the repercussions of that, I’m trying to give it some thought. My own thoughts. Not the responses or reactions of other people that the web is inundated with.

When I heard that line from the movie, I realized that, out of habit, I tend to let my mind wander on other people’s thoughts and creations rather than letting it wander on my own musings and observations like it used to. I’ve swung the pendulum far too far in one direction and it’s time to come back the other way.

not a drill

A world without social media or technology isn’t a world that exists anymore. But I can choose to create a world that better balances its existence with my own priorities. I can create a world where I participate in technology but don’t let it control me.

I can choose to create a world where I still think my own thoughts.

 

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Where Creative Inspiration Comes From

I have an update about the Insta Model.

I know, I know, I’ve seemed obsessed with her in my recent posts. But, to be fair, there was only the first one and then the update.

I was going to leave it at that until something happened. And after the something happened, my imagination had a heyday. 

That’s when I realized where creative inspiration comes from, which makes for a significantly more interesting post than simply using every week to update you on the happenings of a stranger.

But first, update on the stranger!

So I was in my crazy class the other day (Yes, I’ve been going a lot. It keeps me from being a monster). The class has a very popular teacher and is always pretty packed. The people who go are used to piling on top of each other as you lay your mat down, knowing that likely almost every inch of space will be used by the time it all fills up.

But there’s a guy who, the other day, I saw had a towel next to him. When Insta Model walked in, he moved it so she could have a spot next to him. (People do that a lot for their friends, I got no problem with it – it’s more fun to be tortured with someone you know next to you!) As I looked at them, I figured they had to be related. Like father and daughter or maybe uncle and niece. Or somewhat significantly older brother and younger sister. He greeted her going in for a polite hug and side kiss thing. She was cold about it but reciprocated.  She then set her mat down and went to get her 6 sets of different weights (that I do have a problem with, but I’ve already mentioned it).

That was last week. This week, I went to class and the guy was in his usual spot all the way in the corner away from the door and in the front. I like the corner opposite the door because it gets slightly less crowded, so I’m usually near there as well and near him.

This time, he didn’t have his towel next to his mat. He did have an open space, but he was letting anyone go there. I didn’t go there because, well, that’s Insta Model’s spot. I wondered why he wasn’t saving it for her.

I thought maybe she wasn’t coming. But this is Insta Model we’re talking about. She’s dedicated to keeping her muscle game on point.

Sure enough, a few minutes later, she strolls in straight to him. But she keeps her mat in her bag and simply hands him a check. She says “Here’s the check” quietly. He takes it and they don’t make eye contact. She then starts to walk away to presumably find another spot. She looks around the room and goes back to the spot next to him. “There’s no space,” she says, begrudgingly unraveling her mat by him. “That’s karma,” he says, possibly attempting some sort of tension-releasing joke to get a response out of her. It doesn’t work. She unravels her mat and gets her spot set up.

I have to unhinge my jaw from the floor because I’m sitting right behind these two during this interaction and wondering what the hell is happening, who they are to each other, what that check is for, how much it’s for, what the conversation surrounding it is, why she doesn’t want to sit by him now, how many times before they’ve fought like this, whose idea was it to exchange the money in the first place, what the hell he meant by karma, and a thousand other questions I had before we began torture class.

In the few more moments before hell class as I tried really really hard not to stare at these two and pick up on any physical clues they might give about their relationship, I realized that’s what creative inspiration is all about. It’s paying attention. It’s watching the world around you. It’s allowing yourself to be affected by people and their situations. It’s being curious and open to the small dramas that are playing themselves out in front of your eyes all the time.

It’s letting your imagination run wild.

After seal team six training class, I watched them even more. They didn’t speak much. A perfunctory nod as she left. As I was driving out, I saw him put his stuff in a gold pick up truck. A pick up truck in Los Angeles? How curious. He had bumper stickers in the back. One was a firefighter sticker. How curious. Was he a fireman? Retired? Is this pure agony class how he stays in shape? What do those tattoos on his body mean? How freaking curious.

I had so many questions.

I wanted to make the answers up with my imagination. I wanted to use them as inspiration for a story or a screenplay (though I settled for just this post…for now). For me, that’s how I express myself. Or, I might take on her mannerisms and act out what it’s like to be her. That’s because I’m a weirdo writer/actor type, so that’s how I get creative. But people are creative in so many ways.

The key to finding that inspiration is simply staying open and curious about the world around you. You don’t have to try. It’s already there waiting for you.

Even in the most basic moments in the most surprising places, you can be inspired. Even when you’re about to complete sixty minutes of gut-wrenching torment a nice class, you may find yourself creatively inspired.

The other side of that, of course, is you have to actually express it. The more you express the more you’ll find yourself inspired.

But that’s a post for another day.

 

Insta Model Truth

Careful who you admire, friends. For you, too, may be duped.

This is not a post that will criticize Instagram models. They’re just people doing their thing.

This is not a post that will remind you that everything you see on social media is carefully curated, filtered, and specifically chosen to be an artistic version of real life, but not actually real life. I would hope you know that by now and know how to keep your own boundaries to protect your mental wellbeing and happiness.

Nay, this here is a post to update you on a person I recently wrote about in a positive fashion. All good things must come to an end because I have seeneth with mine own eyes the truth about said person. And, forsooth, it is not pretty.

I’ll stop the half-hearted Old English thing. It just felt like it would add the right amount of drama.

I recently wrote about how I was “Inspired by Insta Models.” I pointed out in particular one person who looks like an Insta model and absolutely kicks butt in a difficult class. Both she and I have been committed to continuing to show up to this particular class. And the other day, we even practiced next to each other.

But then…it happened. She pulled a dick move.

Which, let’s be honest, is hard to do in yoga.

She did her usual kick assery with heavier weights than anyone else and with more energy and pizazz than anyone else. She’s a total badass.

During the cool down period (which, in my opinion, doesn’t last long enough but that’s probably by design because they’re trying to squeeze as much hard work as possible in the class and not give you ten minutes to chill out…), she continued to work out and do abs while everyone else was stretching. I hadn’t noticed if she did this before because I never sat next to her before. And that wasn’t even the part that bothered me. In fact, when she continued to do hard ab work when the rest of us were desperately trying to catch our breath I was like, “Dang, look at this total badass.”

After her ab work, however, she never took the time to stretch and meet the rest of us in savasana (the end to any yoga class). Again, fine. People skip out on the stretch and savasana part of class all the time. That, too, didn’t bother me.

What did bother me is that she gets approximately five sets of weights and a block (the average is two sets of weights and a block – and keep in mind by set I mean two weights). She gets a ton of them in heavy increments. So 10-12 weights sit around her mat while the rest of us have 4.

And she left them.

She just left them.

All of them. 

She walked out of class leaving the teacher to pick up her weights for her.

Now, listen, I was even willing to let this go. I came home and told my husband about it just to get it off my chest. But even then, I wasn’t going to judge her. I assumed she had somewhere to be. In the earliest classes, you get a lot of life butt kickers with busy schedules. So it’s understandable if sometimes you can’t see a class through to the end because something came up.

But she did it again today.

This very day, she did the same thing. Out early, all weights left.

I get that you need to leave. I get that you can’t carry multiple sets of weights back and forth in a busy room without making a scene. But you can carry one or maybe even two sets of weights. Maybe even the lightest. Maybe don’t leave all of them. Or, if you know you’re going to leave, maybe get fewer weights. Sure, it may affect the fact that you won’t have the perfect amount for one of the short sets of weight training we do. But you’ll certainly have close enough. And you can have fewer so you can actually take one of the sets back before you leave early.

Today, too, another woman left early. She left significantly earlier than most. But you know what she did? She put her stuff back before returning to her mat and grabbing it to leave.

You know what this did? Two things: 1. It made it so all of us still in the class could see this woman with brass balls be like “yeah, I don’t care, I gotta go” while we’re all still getting our butt kicked (so she risked embarrassment or judgment). And 2. It meant the teacher didn’t have to clean up after her.

Today when Insta Model Chick left, I felt slighted. Here I was adoring her energy and effort from a far only to have her spit my admiration back in my face like it was a carb she hadn’t allowed herself to eat in years.

For shame, dear Insta Model Chick. Treat your yoga studio like you do your body. It is a pristine temple that you have (at least a minimal amount of) investment to take care of.

 

Push to the End

I’m excellent at starting projects. I’m excellent at creating lofty goals for myself and ambitious schedules that will help me reach them.

But, boy oh boy, sometimes I have serious issues following through to the very end. I’m not talking about the almost end. I mean the very end. The last mile. The last class. The last week. The last few seconds of an exercise. The last anything.

There are times when this is reasonable, like when I set an already somewhat ridiculous goal for myself and am ok with ending it before I thought I would. But I realized not long ago that I was in a pattern of not finishing the very last stretch of what I started.

I didn’t go to the last class of my first acting class. The teacher was verbally abusive and not my style, so I had an excuse. I didn’t go to the last acting class of my wonderful acting class after that one. I was out of town and always knew I’d miss it. I didn’t go to the make up option I had because I was overwhelmed with work. And I almost didn’t go to the last class of another acting class I took, my reasoning being simply “it would go late and I was a little busy.”

When I started having those thoughts, I checked myself. That wasn’t healthy. That wasn’t helpful. And that wouldn’t get me where I wanted to go.

It’s fine to have a personality (like mine) that’s great with getting things started and excellent at blueprinting the method to achieve goals. But consistently not finishing – that last little push – what you start slowly erodes trust. It’s not bad, necessarily (since bad is a judgment and a great excuse to berate yourself, which I am not all about). It just means that I have to watch it. I have to learn from that. I can still harness and embrace the things that I’m good at. But I need to just be aware of the patterns I’ve set up for myself.

Even in my intense yoga class (yes, this yoga again), there are plenty of times when I want to stop. I have every excuse running through my head as to why I can just go into child’s pose instead of finishing that set of mountain climbers. But I have to train myself to follow through and trust myself that I can do it. 

Inevitably, when I force myself to follow through on what the whiny voice inside of me wants to skip out on, I find that there’s immense value in it. At the very least, I’ve shown that I will finish what I start. If I still don’t like what I’m doing or have other issues with it, I can decide in the future that it may not best serve me to commit to doing something like that again.

But if I say I’m going to do it, I have to do it wholeheartedly. And that means following through finishing every little push.

 

Overthinking

I have a tendency to overthink. It’s likely the byproduct of an overactive imagination. I like to think. I like to let my mind wander and get lost in the worlds of could be’s and possibilities. It’s helpful when I really want to get the root of an issue or a problem that’s bothering me. And sometimes it can be helpful in thoroughly planning for the proper preparation of a major goal.

But it has a dark side. My overactive imagination can easily wander down dangerous dark alleys. I can often find myself certain that there’s some underlying issue to a minor problem either in myself or in a loved one. I can convince myself through overthinking that whatever excuse I’ve come up with that will keep me from doing the work I promised myself I would do is reasonable and valuable – and that I’ll certainly find time to do that work later in my schedule. I can overthink reactions and interactions and getting to action.

I overthink. A lot.

But because I’ve become aware of this trait, I’ve been able to harness it better. I can let my overthinking out to play when it comes in handy. When I’m thinking up the rules of an imaginary work I’m creating, I’ll let myself overthink. When I’m crafting a business plan for a new endeavor and want to brainstorm all the possible ways I can get myself to a new goal, I’ll let myself overthink. When I’m staring out a window on an airplane considering what I want to do with my life, I’ll let myself overthink (assuming the airplane isn’t turbulent…that’s a bad time to overthink). When I’m planning to pursue a major goal and I need to craft the foundation of a schedule that will allow for it, I’ll let myself overthink.

Part of the reason I let myself overthink is because later, when it comes time to executing all the things I’ve been thinking about, I can put my overthinking mind down and simply act. I’ll know that I already thought through all the possibilities and decided this was the best course of action. So I don’t have any more thinking to do and can devote all my time to action. Once the action is done, I can go back to the thinking and see how I feel about the action. More often than not, I’m happy I did the action and didn’t let my overthinking keep me from it.

Overthinking isn’t the same as listening to your instinct. In fact, I’ve spent much of my life trying to shut up my overthinking mind so I can get in better touch with my instinct and my intuition. I’ve spent years overthinking the “right” move rather than listening to what I wanted to do most. I’ve convinced myself multiple times that I didn’t need to do something because it didn’t make perfect sense at the time, even if I really wanted to (and visa versa). And almost every time I overthink something and don’t let my instinct have any say in the matter, I regret it.

I would say I “learn my lesson” but because I continue to do these things repeatedly, I’m not really sure I have.

The lesson I’ve really learned is that my personality and my mind enjoy tend to overthink. And once I know that, I can embrace it and watch out for it. I can start to hear the difference between simply thinking something through and overthinking myself out of something that would be good for me. Once I notice it, I can simply thank my imagination for its active work and let it take a little rest while I go ahead and do what my instinct is telling me I need to do.

This is part of the reason I meditate regularly. I appreciate guided meditations, but honestly some of my most clear moments have come with just simple music or (and often even better) silence. I’m able to let my mind just relax and know that the thoughts will pass as easily as they come. And that they’re just thoughts. The more I see them as noise, the more I can cut through to get to the more powerful instincts that will serve me better than any of the noise.

Some people don’t have an overthinking problem. I admire you. I like to be around people who just do it because they said they were going to do it, with very little judgment about the situation. I’m getting more like that, but it takes a lot of work on my end. It’s not a major shift, it’s an ongoing, small, subtle change that I’m committed to and see results of incrementally over time.

This morning while I was at the yoga sculpt class I wanted to talk myself out of going to (but didn’t), my teacher had us do a particularly difficult move at the end of a particularly difficult sequence. I hesitated and she yelled “Don’t think, just do it!” I know she wasn’t talking directly at me, but she hit the nail on the head with that direction.

To be fair, I already thought about it so I did throw my knee down for a one minute and took an extra breath. But I didn’t let myself stay down and think about it for too long before I forced myself back up to finish out the exercise.

Sometimes, it’s not about completely eradicating yourself of a certain trait or habit. That’s too much effort and asking too much of yourself. You’re setting yourself up to get frustrated, inevitably fail, and lose faith in your ability to transform in the future. Instead, as it was in this case, it’s about understanding you have a tendency to do something, recognizing it, and choosing to overcome it when it doesn’t serve the you that you want to become.

And of course when it does, let ‘er rip.

 

Femoir the Podcast – Season 3, Episode 110: Season Finale

Hi again friends,

We’ve officially reached the end of this latest season of the podcast. These past few months have been an absolute delight (even if my microphone wasn’t always cooperative). In this season finale, we discuss:

Letting go

Working out

Discipline

Sparking joy (and Marie Kondo) 

How I’ll still be writing plenty of blogs right here on the reg

And my new collaborative and silly podcast, Hear Candy

Basically, it’s a “best of” of some of my favorite topics of discussion and also explains why you have to make space for certain things to enter your life, even if you really enjoy doing other things.

I discuss the upcoming (future, possible, unclear at the moment) next season and what that might be if and when it comes around. I’m comfortable with gray areas and hope you are, too.

I hope you enjoy it. I sure enjoyed creating this season for you and will catch you on all sorts of other internet channels very soon.

Take a listen here. 

90 Days to Disappointing Glory

Over the past 90 days, I embarked on a little self challenge. I did an acting self tape every day. Like, every day.

My goals were plentiful, but the main focus was improving my self tape skills and making it something that I just do easily and without questions. There was also a technique for self tapes that I learned not long ago that I wanted to keep sharp (especially because I wasn’t going to be in classes for a bit).

I had a ton of travel on my schedule. I had plenty of other things on my plate. But I did it. I did a self tape every day. For 90 damn days.

Yet, the title of this post as the word “disappointing” in it. Why?

Well, my friends, that’s because my quiet goal was actually 108 self tapes every day. It’s a weird number, but any of you yogis out there know that 108 is a magical number of transformation. I quietly told myself 90 would be amazing. But I figured by the time I got to 90, I’d be able to just keep plowing through to get to that strange and wonderful 108.

That wasn’t the case.

Instead, I found I was often phoning in the self tapes. Sometimes, it was by necessity. I would be traveling and simply didn’t have ten minutes to set aside to get on tape. There were other times my travel plans went awry and I thought I’d have time and I didn’t. I was in about 20 states on the east and west coast and plenty in between (some multiple times) over the course of these 90 days. So, for me, the fact that I could keep up the commitment to putting myself on tape every day no matter what was totally worth it.

But by the end, I was drained. I was physically exhausted and creatively pretty numb. I still kept up my self tapes but I was phoning it in. The last self tape was me doing one line from a movie (a famous line, to be fair). I tried to give it my own spin. I was simultaneously rewriting a feature script I’ve been toying with for years that I finally have the motivation to redo. So, again to be fair, I wasn’t doing nothing. I just wasn’t focused on the tapes.

And when that magical 90 hit, something in me said “We’re done.” Not that I won’t do more tapes, I actually have made some promises to writers that tapes are coming (and if those writers are reading this, they’re coming!). And I really enjoyed the exercise and, for the few real self tape auditions I did get sprinkled in there, it certainly made it easy since I was already in the groove.

But part of me feels like I failed. I set out for a certain number and I didn’t do it. This is a habit I have of setting myself up for something pretty intense and then often petering out just before the finish line. That’s why and where the “disappointed” comes from.

I let myself wallow in this for about a day. And then I looked at the body of work I had accomplished and listened to my own instinct which is begging me to spend more time focusing on some other projects, and I accepted it. Though these tapes didn’t take a ton of time, I wasn’t devoting the type of energy in the end I needed to devote for them to have any benefit. But I was going through the motions, which is something I’m not a fan of.

On Monday (day 91), I took a long look at myself in the mirror and asked if we were doing this. I knew the challenged of the week ahead and the focus that has been begging for me to put it in other places. I know this weekend I’d be heading off to celebrate my husband (who helped me do these self tapes no matter what his chaotic schedule and despite the fact that he is not – at all – an actor). He’s celebrating a major career goal and the last thing I want to do is ask him to pause time from his own celebrations to do my thing for a minute. We’ve done a lot of my thing over the past three months. We can take three days and do his.

There’s an ambitious part of me that’s angry I didn’t finish those last 18 days. And the funniest part is, a lot of my actor friends are beginning their own self tape challenge in May. So it’d be a great time to get motivated by other likeminded people do to something like this and follow through.

But I’m on my own journey. And I’m learning from every major accomplishment, minor victory, and overly ambitious disappointment. I appreciate things most when I actually focus and follow through. And sometimes that means pulling focus from one thing to have energy to focus on another, rather than trying to half-ass a bunch of things simply because I said I would.

90 days of self tapes, especially given my atypical travel schedule, is something to celebrate. Other people’s challenges and journeys are their own. I can let them inspire me and need not worry about missing out on them. In the interest of balance as a human and creative person, it’s okay to tap out now and still revel in the glory rather than berate myself for the misses.

 

Inspired by Insta Models

In an effort to get myself feeling like myself again, I’ve been attending a new fitness class. Unsurprisingly, it’s yoga-based (I know, I know, I never talk about yoga – you’re likely shocked…). It’s called Yoga Sculpt and it incorporates both yoga movement and weight-based workouts, plus intense cardio, plyometrics, and all sorts of other torture.

But I don’t just go to this class any time of day. I go to the very first class in the morning at 6 am at one of the busiest studios in the city. I go with the intense early birds and go-getters. It’s crowded and sweaty but effective…so I like it.

And, I learned after the first class I went to, that’s the time of day where the Insta Models workout.

Now you don’t have to be in insanely great shape (or insanely talented, let’s be honest) to be Insta Famous. And I have my own clear perspective on how I generally feel about being too obsessed with Instagram.

But there are a ton of people on Instagram who consistently show off their healthy lifestyles. And some of them don’t even need photoshop to do so. These are some of the people I’ve begun working out with in the morning.

Keep in mind, too, I live in Los Angeles where actors, models, and personal trainers (and often various variations of the above three labels) abound. I’m used to seeing pretty people and I’m used to seeing very in shape pretty people. So when I say I see these Insta Models…I mean they are genuinely beautiful people. Even with their sleepy makeup-less faces early in the morning.

When I went in the first day of class, I was intimidated. I already knew the class was difficult from previously trying it out (at a more reasonable hour). Generally the people in the class studio are in pretty good shape. But these 6 am class people… they’re no joke. The yoga outfits are on point, their weights are ready, and they are already warming up. Once we get started, they go hard. And you can see the results in their incredibly toned bodies.

There was a part of me (who I used to listen to a whole lot more when I was younger and insecure) who wanted to curl up and hide from these women. I felt like I wasn’t worthy. I am not in my best shape. And, honestly, even when I am these women are still on another level.

Instead, however, I decided to let them inspire me. I’d take my cues from the hard work they’re putting in all around me and let their motivation fuel my own. When I wanted to quit at something, I’d look around at the badasses who are putting in the work around me and try to keep up. And I’d let their fit bodies be a reminder of what you can achieve if you really commit. Because they’re not just filtering themselves and pretending to be in shape. They’re there putting in the work.

There’s one woman in particular who, I’m gonna be honest, is a freaking glamorous beast. Her outfits are beautiful. Her body looks photoshopped. She doesn’t even put her perfectly curly hair in a ponytail as she annihilates every exercise by going above and beyond even the rest of the class. While most of the class (myself included) are struggling to keep our 5 lbs weights going during some of the more intense reps, she’s using 10 or 15 lbs and going hard.

The other day as we were warming up, I saw her start to really dance to the loud music like she was getting in the zone. Years before, I might have listened to the forced inside and outside of me that said “Be jealous of her” or “Who does she think she is?” Now I see her getting her groove on with her heavy weights at the ready and doubling up on most of the exercises by pushing herself harder than anyone else and I think “Fak yeah, girl. If you can do that, I can do this.”

She and the other people in that early morning attack class are total badasses. And I’m inspired to be the same simply by being with them. Though, to be fair, you won’t see me post about it on Instagram because that’s just not my thang.

Femoir the Podcast – Season 3, Episode 109: Little Decisions

Hi again, friends.

This episode, we talk all about how those little decisions that seem meaningless in your every day life can really add up to big changes.

We discuss letting things go, how I’ve experienced big transformations through a series of small decisions, yoga (of course), the Myth of the Life-Changing Moment and, for some reason, limp dicks and Doomsday preppers.

***I also had major sound issues this recording, so thank you in advance for sticking with me as I figure out MicrophoneGate 2019.***

Also, I mention this in the podcast, but please @ me anything, everything, and always.

Subscribing and rating are major helps, but listening keeps it going.

 

Trust Issues

I’ve been having trust issues with myself lately. Usually, you have them with other people. But I’ve been generally good with other people and newly untrusting of myself. Like many personal issues, it didn’t happen overnight. It happened in small little steps. And now that I’m aware of it, I’m trying to make it right. But, as is what happens when trust is shattered, it takes time to rebuild.

Maybe this sounds familiar to you. Maybe you, too, have set lofty goals or made certain diet or exercise promises to yourself. You do whatever prep work it takes to make sure that you can achieve that goal. And then when the time comes to actually do it, something happens. You flake on yourself.

Or maybe you have every intention of showing up to a place where you said you’d be. You make plans, you pick the outfit, you assure other people you’ll be there. But when the time comes, again you stop yourself. You find an excuse to stay home or do something else – something more “productive.”

You set aside time that will definitely be used for that big project you keep wanting to work on. But when the time comes up, you waste it checking one last notification which leads to one quick search which leads to one more question which leads to you blowing all the time you had.

It happens quickly and with small – not big – decisions. 

In some ways, I am trustworthy. I certainly try to be honest and authentic as much as I can. But I’ve found that I’ve lately been more trustworthy with other people than with myself. I keep making and breaking promises with myself. I’m like the guilty parent who says they’ll do bigger and better next time, but can’t even seem to show up once despite all the promises.

Part of the problem is that I’m making too many promises. And that comes from having too many focuses that are all over the place. I keep promising all sorts of elements of myself that I’ll be totally dedicated to them. And I’m not.

I also am very ambitious and have lofty goals. So I know those goals require big dreams and huge chunks of energy and attention. Rather than focusing on exactly what I can do to better myself and only promising myself to do that one thing (or maybe those couple things), I promise myself I’m going to do all the things almost every day.

And when I inevitably can’t live up to the lofty promises I made for myself, I feel like I haven’t done anything. I completely overlook the thingsI have done. And I make myself a promise that I’ll do better. But if you’ve ever been promised something by someone who didn’t follow through before, there’s a visceral reaction when that person makes a future promise. You don’t believe them. You’ve built up trust issues.

I don’t like this feeling. I don’t like promising myself I’ll do certain things and not following through on all of them, so I completely overlook and fail to recognize the accomplishments I do make. I know it’s not a healthy headspace. But I’ve made and broken so many little promises with myself, it’s hard to reset.

Hard…but not impossible. Every time I say I’m going to get up early and I do, I rebuild trust with myself. Every time I make plans to go to yoga and I follow through, I’m building trust with myself. Every week when I promise myself (and you) that there will be a blog here for your perusal, I’m building trust with myself.

The key is to stop overextending and promising myself things I don’t actually have the capability to do. That way, I can recognize and enjoy the accomplishments I do achieve. And I have more energy and focus to achieve more. I like challenges, but I hate broken promises. So I’ve got to find that balance.

Maybe you know what I’m talking about, too.