The Importance Of Starting

The Importance Of Starting

Why we need to stop being afraid and start working towards the life we dream of.
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“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” ~Mark Twain

After realizing that we are not where we want to be in our lives, doing something about it tends to become an idea that is rarely followed up with action. Once we get caught up in a routine – whether we view it as a safety net or a rut – it is easy to keep going through the motions. Sure, we may daydream about what more we can do, or we end up moping about how we allowed our lives to become so monotonous. Either way, we stagnate. We remain still. We throw pity party after pity party for ourselves that no one would show up to even if we bothered to send out invitations. We do nothing and accept that this is our life now.

That alone is why starting is the biggest step we could take. The idea of doing something – anything – to improve our lives is better than sitting back, doing nothing, and being bitter about it. Even if it is as simple as altering the routine to incorporate more vegetables or as drastic as deciding on a new career, it is a new beginning.

So, if all we have to do to improve our lives is to start working towards our goals or making changes, why don’t we? The answer, unfortunately, has been with us for millions of years. We are humans, and we are afraid.

Fear is the underlying creature that prevents us from going forward. We are afraid of failure, having difficult discussions, rejection, getting our hearts broken, not being able to compete with our peers, becoming resentful of others, and the list goes on. The worries of negative outcomes are so overpowering that we do not consider the positives. Success, resolution, acceptance, finding happily-ever-after with the partner of our dreams, thriving, or finding a new love of humanity. Now, isn’t taking a chance of finding happiness or achieving all we dreamed worth the risk? The answer should be “yes, absolutely!”

But when fear makes a nice little home for itself in our heads, we reexamine our situation. We start defending our lifestyle, or else start convincing ourselves that it is not that bad.

Yeah, we may not have our dream job and we dread going to work every day, but it pays the bills.

Never mind the fact that the spark from a relationship is gone. We still like our partners enough, so why rock the boat?

Oh, an amazing opportunity to attend a distinguished university is knocking at the door . . . but it is too far from home. That’s okay, there are other schools.

You know, we always wanted to chase that one dream, but it is unrealistic that we will ever achieve it, so why try?

It is easier to put up with current circumstances than to make changes. We make excuses. We talk ourselves out of it. We can tell ourselves that we are being rational, realistic, or that we are overreacting about how bad things really are. The truth is that we are scared. Not to insinuate that being cautious is a bad thing. On the contrary, when we make drastic changes it is good to have a stable head on our shoulders. It is normal to doubt and second guess, but it should not be our kryptonite. We can weigh the pros and cons (in fact, we should), and explore all the options. One can say they want to be an actor/actress but should not necessarily go on the first thought of uplifting their family to Hollywood. Alternatively, they could enroll themselves in local theatre, learn about the industry, educate themselves on casting agents, and investigate any independent talent in the area. In short, there are numerous approaches to accomplishing goals. Look through them all, see which one seems to be the best fit, and go for it. Just do not be scared away because it seems daunting or impossible.

The reality is that very rarely does anything happen when we just sit and wait for something to happen. Okay, it is possible the we will fail . . . but it is equally possible that we will not. Amazingly, a lot of how our story ends will depend on us. The brilliant thing about failing is that it is not always the be-all, end-all of our lives. Rather, failure is a setback. We will have the opportunity to try again. Circumstances may vary, but the only time we completely fail is when we stop trying to reverse our setbacks. If we keep being resilient, keep working, keeping trying, and continue pushing ourselves forward, we will eventually get to where we want to be. The only time that stops becoming a possibility is when we stop trying.

Our future – the one of our dreams – is out there, but it will not get here with us sitting idly by. Our dream jobs are not going to fall into our laps, so we should start taking the steps to get it. We are not going to get an education by dreaming about it, so it’s time to take a trip to our local community college to explore the options. The attractive person we always see at the coffee shop may just be the person of our soulmate, but they are too shy to ask us out, so it is up to us to take the chance. Nothing is going to be accomplished with us wondering about what could happen. That will come with us doing. The procrastination, fears, and excuses stop here.

Challenge: Start the change. Let’s weigh the options and talk ourselves out of being afraid. If we do not take action and if we are discontent with our lives because of it, we have no one to blame but ourselves. On our marks . . . get set . . . START.

Cover Image Credit: Tara Barksdale

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There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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When You're With The Right Guy, He'll Take The Time To Learn About Your Mental Illness, Trust Me

If he wants to make it work and really loves you, he'll learn all of your ins and outs.

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My boyfriend and I have been dating for a little over a year. The journey we've been on to get to where we are now has been one of the scariest and most fun roller coasters I've ever been on.

My mental health has come in the way of a lot of relationships, both romantic and platonic. I've never quite been able to find a way to master explaining it to people. And I still haven't. Explaining what can happen in your head, when you can barely explain it to yourself is a very difficult and often heart wrenching task.

When I had started dating my boyfriend, I was scared to tell him about my mental health. While I have gained a lot of confidence and it isn't nearly as severe as it was years ago, I know how it can get when "one of those days" comes. I know how scary I can get when I fall into a panic attack. I know how hard it can be to look at someone you love while they have a tear stained face unable to tell you what's wrong.

In the past I've tried two different things. One being that I wouldn't tell them at all and I would try to go day by day like I didn't have this cloud above my head. Once they'd see what I can get like, they'd leave. They "couldn't handle the amount of work I needed" or they felt burdened by being with me. Some would even say they "love me too much to put themselves through seeing me like that."

The other option I tried was putting it all out on the table. I had tried that once. I had told my most recent ex boyfriend everything. I laid it all out on the line, hoping that it would be different. At first, it was. He was comforting and understanding. Until it got to a point where he was using what I told him against me.

He knew my weak points. He knew what would hit the hardest and he was good at what he was doing.

It wasn't until my current boyfriend that I realized that isn't how love should be.

He could tell from the beginning that there were missing puzzle pieces. There were walls that I had build around me that I wasn't about to let just anyone knock down. At first, I found his pestering quite rude. Until he proved his point. He had come to me one night and said he wanted me to tell him everything. No details left behind.

I kind of sat there with my mouth open. I actually tried to pretend as if I didn't know what he was talking about. Within minutes, I was spilling everything. Every crevice I could have touched base on, I did. While I thought he was going to look shocked, scared, or bored even.

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He was looking deep into my eyes the whole time. He never broke eye contact with me. He was focused and didn't say anything, just nodded his head. After I was finished and the tears were falling, he held me in an embrace and the only words he could mutter was, "You are so beautiful and one of the strongest people I know. You will get stronger. I promise."

He's taken the time to learn everything. He's watched psychologist's lectures, he's read articles. He's done everything in his power to learn what I need on my dark times. He honestly has gotten to know me so well, I think he knows me better than I know myself.

Not only has it helped our relationship as a whole, but it's helped me learn about myself in a way that I couldn't quite do on my own. He's offered me a kind of love that I've never had before. One where I don't have to fear rejection or getting left behind.

Ladies, if he's the right guy, he'll do whatever it takes to make sure that you have exactly what you need. Not just physically but mentally as well. My guy knows the days where, I could just really use a good cry and being held for 20 minutes. He also knows when I need reassurance.

A guy that truly loves you will learn these things about you. He won't ignore you, he won't brush it off and say "you'll be fine."

Take my word on it, that's the guy you'll want to marry someday.

I know I do.

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