Replacing Apologies With Gratitude

Replacing Apologies With Gratitude

"Thank You" is the new "I'm Sorry."
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When I was younger, I was a sounding board for many of my friends who felt they didn't have anyone else to talk to. I heard stories of depression, anxiety, suicide and anything else you can imagine teenagers between the ages of fourteen and sixteen have to say. It was a really demanding and heavy job; I often felt that I had no where to release my own feelings and began to absorb others' on top of my own. Soon, I found myself in a toxic environment where I was doing everything wrong and so I began apologizing for everything, even when there was nothing to apologize for.

Being in a toxic environment is like suffocating; being surrounded by several toxic people at once is like drowning. It's heavy, it's debilitating and you always feel guilty and shameful. Toxic relationships have a way of bringing you down, as if you were shackled to a wall inside a tornado. Manipulative people take your fears and insecurities and their own insecurities and demons, and your life becomes a whirlwind of darkness. You feel as if everything is your fault, because they make it seem like you're to blame. You're not, and sometimes you know you're not, and that's what makes everything harder.

Leaving a toxic relationship of any kind is stressful and scary; you're never quite sure if you'll make it out alive. The first few steps of freedom are light and airy, and you wish you had done it earlier, if only you had known you were being manipulated. The bad times don't stop there though. After leaving a relationship like that, sometimes you take those habits with you long after the fact.

Always feeling as though things are your fault is a common habit that follows you and weaves its way into your other relationships. The roots a toxic person digs into you are so deep, even when you thought you had severed the last of them, there are still seeds hiding underneath your memories.

Often, people don't know how to tell you things aren't your fault. They don't understand where the toxic roots come from, and they don't understand how to comfort you when you feel the way that you do. They often say something like, "Oh my god! Stop apologizing!" or "It's not your fault." Well, we all know it's not your fault, but it's become a habit to feel like it's your fault, so you speak that feeling.

The best way for both parties to decrease the amount of apologizing and animosity toward the constant apologizing is this: simply replace the word 'sorry' with 'thank you'.

When someone is speaking to you about something that is bothering them, do not apologize. Instead try saying, "Thank you for confiding in me." When someone is apologizing for something that isn't their fault, try saying, "Thank you for listening to me." or "Thank you for your concern."

The thank-you-replacement can go for other situations, too.

Instead of apologizing for being late, try saying, "Thank you for waiting for me." Instead of apologizing for speaking your mind, or expressing your feelings, try, "Thank you for understanding and comforting me."

Stop apologizing for everything. It's easier said than done, of course, but it's pretty simple to replace an apology with an expression of gratitude. You will begin to feel less heavy with guilt, and the roots of that toxic relationship will eventually dissolve as you become more thankful for your surroundings.

When I was a junior in high school, and I found myself surrounded by toxicity, I found the clearest way out of the situation and rode the solo wave for a while. It was difficult to repel the signs of red flags I saw in other people; I was always on my guard so that I wouldn't be in a similar situation again. I was so scared of being sucked back into the darkness that I didn't know how to immerse myself in meaningful relationships again.

When I began replacing my apologies with gratitude, it was like I had opened an entirely new door to my future. There is so much beauty in the world, and we take advantage of it every day. Expressing gratitude for my friendships, my family and myself became something I would try to build on in the future, and attempt to gain more of as I grew older. The remnants of guilt and heaviness from my previous toxic experiences soon faded away and dissolved into my past.

I am still triggered by some things relating to those relationships today, but I no longer let them weight me down long term. I remember to thank my lucky stars for what I have in present time, and what those toxic relationships have provided me with since. Gratitude in place of apology has opened my eyes up to the little things, the little bits of beauty we forget to remember.

I am thankful for the light I have discovered outside of the toxic relationships I once had. There was a time when I thought I'd never see the beauty I have. Getting away from toxicity is difficult, but it is not impossible. Know that gratitude will always be waiting for you to embrace it, even when you think there is nothing to be thankful for. There will always be something to be grateful for, and unlike guilt, gratitude is never apologetic.

Cover Image Credit: Allef Vinicius

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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4 Things To Do When You're In A Depressive Episode

Even if you don't have any plans besides staying home all day in a depressive puddle, doing these two small things helps put me into a more productive mindset.
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Depressive episodes are debilitating, to say the least. They come when you least expect them and gnaw at your mind, leaving you numb.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, I have the tendency to go through depressive episodes. These episodes generally last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. They usually happen for no particular reason, with no warning.

And there's not really that much to be done in terms of curing it. It's more about just getting through it.

Since we are nearing the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, I thought I'd give my advice on little things you can do when you're in a spot of depression.

Every person's mental health experience is different, so what helps me might not help you. Also, this advice is dealing with short-term depressive episodes, not chronic depression.

Here are four things that help me cope with depressive episodes.

1. Get dressed and make your bed.

Even if you don't have any plans besides staying home all day in a depressive puddle, doing these two small things helps put me into a more productive mindset.

Realizing I've been in my room all day, with blankets, snacks, and my laptop just thrown across the bed and myself still dressed in pajama pants at 5 p.m. usually makes me feel worse. It makes me feel like I'm just wasting away in my room rather than doing something with my life.

Getting dressed and making my bed sets me up for a more productive day.

2. Watch a feel-good movie or TV show.

My go-to's are usually the movie "Mamma Mia" and the TV show "Psych."

Saying laughing can cure depression would be completely ridiculous, but laughing does make it more bearable. Watching something funny and uplifting helps remove you from the despair that you feel like your life's currently in and reminds you it's not all bad.

3. Dive into your work.

Whether it's school or a job (or both), ignoring your responsibilities can make you feel worse in the long run, since it adds more stress on to you in the future. Also, working on something else can serve as a distraction.

Yes, it is harder to focus when depressed, but you need to push through it and force yourself sometimes so that you don't let this disease impact your day-to-day life.

4. Don't think too much about why you're depressed.

Questioning why you feel the way you do is best left in therapy.

Asking yourself things like "What caused this?", "Why did my mood suddenly shift?", and "Was it because of so-and-so?" can lead to really destructive thought spirals.

These thought spirals could lead you to believe that something that definitely didn't cause your depression in fact has.

It's easier to accept that sometimes mental health problems come without any kind of warning.

Don't focus too much on the "why" of it. Getting through it should be your main priority.

Instead, focus on how you will get better eventually. Even if it seems impossible at the moment, you will feel good again.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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