There Is Beauty To Losing Yourself And Finding Your Way Back

There Is Beauty To Losing Yourself And Finding Your Way Back

If you're feeling lost too, here is how I found myself.
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For weeks I have been feeling like I was walking in the body of a stranger. I was still me but living my life in a way I hated. I wasn't organized, focused, compassionate or self-loving. Many days I asked myself, "Who am I?"

I find that a lot of my problems are solved through conversation. I don't even have to talk about my issues exactly. I could be talking to a stranger and have this "ah-ha" moment. Mine came a few days ago when I shared dinner with an acquaintance.

We talked about missing the summer time. We were happier, more focused, days seemed easier. I thought about this after dinner trying to figure out if the season was the problem, or if it was just me? Because even this time last year, I didn't feel lost.

I decided to walk through everything that was a part of my routine and bring that back in my life now.

1. Self-care Sundays

Every Sunday, I would wash and condition my hair, shave my body, and do a face mask. It was a great start to a busy week and made me feel beautiful and at peace.

2. Working out

I was in the gym three or four days every week and it made me feel great! I was always so proud of myself when I left and it really boosted my confidence.

3. Daily selfie

Yes, as vain as it sounds I had a mini photoshoot every day. I would put time into my outfit and makeup so I needed to document the results. This also helped me to boost my confidence and for some odd reason, I could be more focused knowing I looked great.

4. Used my phone wisely

I wasn't necessarily on my phone less but I spent less time on my phone doing nothing. If I was on my phone, I was keeping up with my orgs, checking my email, putting things in my calendar, and reading up on news. Now, I spend too much time on Twitter. And I love Twitter but I shouldn't let it take over my life.

5. Meditation

Meditating and my overall spirituality were the main things that centered me. Lately, it has been a lot harder to put it into my schedule, but I know that when I do, I will have lasting results.

6. Journaling

I think getting your thoughts down on paper is a tried and true way to stay centered and really get to know yourself and see how you are progressing in life. I used to do this at least 3 times a week. More as my weeks got stressful.

Getting back to the old but better me is going to be the biggest task of 2018. I have to make sure to keep up my daily and weekly routines and hold myself accountable. If you are struggling to get back a new and improved version of yourself, look back to how you were at your highest. What did you do? Do some things need to be added or taken away? Write or type them out as I did and keep working at it.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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A Love Letter To The Girl Who Cares Too Much About Everyone But Herself

You, the girl with a heart full of love and no place big enough to store it all.

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Our generation is so caught up in this notion that it's "cool" not to care about anything or anyone. I know you've tried to do just that.

I'm sure there was a brief moment where you genuinely believed you were capable of not caring, especially since you convinced everyone around you that you didn't. But that just isn't true, is it? Don't be ashamed of this, don't let anyone ridicule you for having emotions.

After everything life has put you through, you have still remained soft.

This is what makes you, you. This is what makes you beautiful. You care so deeply and love so boldly and it is incredible, never let the world take this from you.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You are the girl who will give and give and give until you have absolutely nothing left. Some may see this as a weakness, an inconvenience, the perfect excuse to walk all over you. I know you try to make sense of it all, why someone you cared so much about would treat you the way they did.

You'll make excuses for them, rationalize it and turn it all around on yourself.

You'll tell yourself that maybe just maybe they will change even though you know deep down they won't. You gave them everything you had and it still feels as if they took it all and ran. When this happens, remind yourself that you are not a reflection of those who cannot love you. The way that people treat you does not define who you are. Tell yourself this every day, over and over until it sticks. Remind yourself that you are gold, darling, and sometimes they will prefer silver and that is OK.

I know you feel guilty when you have to say no to something, I know you feel like you are letting everyone you love down when you do. Listen to me, it is not your responsibility to tend to everyone else's feelings all the time. By all means, treat their feelings with care, but remember it is not the end of the world when you cannot help them right away.

Remember that it is OK to say no.

You don't have to take care of everyone else all the time. Sometimes it's OK to say no to lunch with your friends and just stay home in bed to watch Netflix when you need a minute for yourself. I know sometimes this is much easier said than done because you are worried about letting other people down, but please give it a try.

With all of this, please remember that you matter. Do not be afraid to take a step back and focus on yourself. You owe yourself the same kind of love and patience and kindness and everything that you have given everyone else. It is OK to think about and put yourself first. Do not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. You are so incredibly loved even when it doesn't feel like it, please always remember that. You cannot fill others up when your own cup is empty. Take care of yourself.

Cover Image Credit: Charcoal Alley

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The 4 Js For Your Week

Grab your pencil pouch and pay attention.

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Mindfulness is a virtue. It is one of the reasons I love writing on Odyssey. It forces me to take a step back and look for inspiration in everything throughout my week. I like having the accountability to force my self to really think about what is going on in my life and how I feel about it. Being mindful helps me work on not having such a full mind.

I have always been a note taker. I own more colored pens than you could count and in every shade of every color. It's a passion. I also am an agenda gal. My planner might just be my best friend. I spend time each weekend laying out my week and reflecting on the previous one- all color coded of course.

While working at Camp Glisson over the summer, I spent a lot of time with kids having the best week of their lives. A popular way to get kids to talk about their week was to use the 4 J's. Outpost counselors thrived off of this method and it forced the kids to truly reflect on their time at camp. When starting college, I wanted to do the same thing, so at the bottom of each week I wrote out my 4 Js. Every Monday morning, I think back and write down anything that comes to mind. It has helped encourage me to think, to reflect, to focus, and to spend time focusing on how I'm doing.

Joy

This is your highlight of the week. This is what you liked most, what you enjoyed.

A couple of my Joy's from college: seeing camp friends at Freshley, saw one of my favorite bands perform, Austin came to visit me in Athens, the best night out for my birthday, beach weekend with my friends, an awesome semiformal, getting closer with friends, free food at Tate

No matter how small or how little, the joys in your life matter, and you should acknowledge them. You should go about each week with the mindset of waiting for something amazing to happen. It keeps you looking out for something worthy of the pink pen. It's important.

Junk

These suck. These are the bad things. These are the things you hate about your week, your lows. Even though it's not as fun to talk about, we all have our bad days and those are worth reflecting over too. It's how you overcome them. It's how you move past them. It's how you improve.

Some of my rough moments: my friends fighting with one another, drama, my friends leaving to go home for the weekend, a boy screwing over my best friends, forgetting about an assignment, midterms, sleeping in the study room, a bad grade on a Spanish quiz, being sick (yes it's been 4 months since I was healthy), a dawg loss (shhh we don't actually acknowledge it happened), general stress, etc

Big or small: shit happens. We forget about it. We move past the one bad grade that doesn't actually control our future and we make up with our friends who made us mad on our off day. The worst days are only 24 hours anyway.

Jesus

This one is my favorite. This is where you saw Jesus in your life during the week. It can be big or small. It doesn't have to be in a church. It can be anywhere in any aspect of life. It is important to see these. To be mindful so that you can be looking for Him. Acknowledging where the Lord is acting in your life is essential to him acting in it.

Some really cool places I've seen Him: in DZ bible studies and the community that fills them, in daily devotions that speak too close to home, in the BYX boys leading us in small group, in getting a good grade I prayed too hard for the night before (I got a 100 thx Jesus), in the message at freshley that showed me my worth, in my friendships with people who show the Lord's love to me, through the change in seasons, through North Campus in the fall, through answered prayers, through the life change that took place in Russell Hall and Delta Zeta.

The Lord is everywhere if you open your eyes to look. See him in people. See him in places. See him in experiences. That comforting feeling he brings is present outside of your pew.

Jelly

This is where you embarrass yourself and your friends. This is the funniest part of your week. This is where something crazy happened. This is where you felt like you got abs from laughing too hard.

I wore crocs downtown. I went out with my parents. My dad sang every word of Usher songs no one knew he knew. A crazy man came on campus to inform all the girls that "It is hot. Don't be a thot." Charles had to look up what "a hat without a top" is because he didn't know the word for visor. I almost got hit by a car at a crosswalk. One of my friends balanced a pizza box, a bowl, and who knows what on someone sleeping who didn't notice. I went on a date night and my date answered the phone "is this big sexy?" (referring to one of his friend's nicknames) but it was actually Papa Johns.

Life is a trip. Being able to laugh at yourself sporting 12 jibits on your crocs daily and falling down the huge staircase in MLC in front of everyone is just part of it. Keep a note of the funniest parts of your weeks because these will be the memories you want to keep track of and look back on in a couple months.

That it. Those are the 4 J's of my weeks. The 4 J's that encourage me to make sense of what's going on and to embrace it. Here's to the colored pens that keep track of everything I would normally forget in a few days. Here's to the memories that flood mindfulness. Here's to being aware of what is affecting your life and why it's important. Here's to the 4 J's.

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