This article certainly isn’t an answer or a theory. It’s a weighted question. And in a world that is so consumed with hatred and negativity and destruction, it is a journey. How does one practice mindfulness? Recently, in lieu of finals week, the volunteers at my campus’s wellness center hosted a party in which they gave away tea and pamphlets on being calm. One of the pamphlets had instructions on how to be mindful when eating and showering. When showering, pay attention to how your skin feels in the air before the shower and then how each warm drop feels on your skin. Hear the water hit the floor, and listen for each individual drop. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Though helpful in some of these small aspects of life, bringing peace to my mind before class each morning, I now seek a pamphlet that teaches me how to lead a more mindful lifestyle. Constantly I find myself getting angry at the smallest things and my anger sends me spiraling towards anxiety and depression. I get tenser as time passes and I struggle to make my body function as it would if it were healthy and happy. My heart tightens and my breathing feels weighted and I hate the world and the people in it. If I catch a happy moment, or even a series of happy moments that stretch into a week or a month, my body never fails to repeat the cycle of hatred. I want to know how to me more mindful. I want to not only feel mindful and appreciative when I am happy, but all of the time. When my vision blurs and I gasp for air, I want to know how to resurface. Meditation only works for so long and comfort fails to present itself in times of need. Netflix recently released a documentary called Minimalism. It was really good and provided a different perspective on happiness and what lengths people go to in this capitalist world to achieve it. The philosophy of the featured men was to only own products that added meaning or purpose to your life. Now, picture your own happy future through rose colored sunglasses. Lots of money? A cute house and a nice car? Love? Now picture a sad future. It probably looks desolate and lacks material goods. This is because the American Dream has been modeled around money and STUFF. Working hard and finding happiness at the end of the road. You either have it or you don’t, apparently. But if this goal is so unachievable for so many people, why is it still practiced? Happiness isn’t supposed to come from goods, it’s supposed to come from within. Mindfulness helps you find happiness from within and helps you appreciate what you already have, and shows you what gives you real happiness in your life and separates it from what brings you negativity. So now the revised American Dream is mindfulness. Is it just as unachievable as the first or is it something that can be taught? I’d like to find out.
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.
Life is hard for a perfectionist, and it only gets harder if it keeps itself up.
There is such little room for a perfectionist to mess up, and college is full of mess ups. That's why no one should expect themselves to keep entertaining the thought of perfection past high school. You can always chase it and never reach it, or you can work as hard as you can and get exactly where you want to be.
I was a perfectionist my entire life.
People always criticized me for it and said it would come back to bite me later. Of course, I never believed them because it worked out in my favor. I was getting where I needed to be and all the self-discipline is what I assumed got me there. Fast-forwarding to the present, they were right. It did come back to bite me. Actually, it is biting me.
I was setting myself up for failure all that time and I ignored it. I was only after perfection up until college because it wasn't that hard to obtain. I didn't have to study and I had time for my friends. But then things got harder out of nowhere and I was not prepared at all to shift the standards I had for myself.
As a perfectionist, I constantly compared myself to other people and made sure I was doing better than the next guy, or at least just as well. That didn't work for long. I stopped competing with others because I learned that no one is worth beating if they aren't even chasing the same goal. And that helped me learn to quit competing against myself, too, because we're on the same team.
Freshman year of college, I almost pulled it off. The perfectionist in me nearly won. Then I started reasoning with myself and I figured out I had limits to what I could handle and I stopped pushing myself past them.
There are sacrifices that have to be made in reaching success.
College is like the triangle you can only pick two things from. On it might be grades, free time, and work, and you have to give up free time to have a job and good grades. A perfectionist will try so hard to get all three, and they may be able to at first. But it catches up with you.
Then there are other times where you're lucky to get one piece of the triangle. It's a game of going back and forth and testing patience in the pursuit of greatness.
I may end up with an "A" in a class because I only studied for that one exam, and in return, I might fail a quiz that same week. It would have bothered me to not evenly distribute my time and to not do perfectly on all of it, but it's actually OK. And the job that may take up way too much of my time will look really good on my resume and the time I didn't have to enjoy myself won't matter later.
And as bad as they seem at one particular moment, sacrifices are worth it in the end. Some things just carry more weight than others and the further I've gotten, the more I've figured it out. And I just try to remember that when I reach the point where I've gotten exactly where I wanted to be, no one is going to ever know what I had to give up to get there. And there's even a chance I won't remember either.
As long as I'm actually trying as hard as I can and I learn from every hiccup and mistake, things will work out the way they should.