Are You Actually Thankful?

Are You Actually Thankful?

What we should truly be thankful for.
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This time of year always calls for people listing the things they are thankful for in a Facebook status (I am totally guilty of this). BBQ chicken pizza, my dog, Sephora, good beer- etc. The list goes on. It's nice and cute, but it is usually fairly superficial and practically a copy and paste of the next persons. In my few years of "adulthood," I have begun to truly understand what it means to be thankful. It isn't just you listing the things you love once a year, it is so much more than that.

It is thanking God every single day for the things you are blessed with and doing your best to thank Him for them.

It is being conscious of the good things in your life and not feeling entitled to them.

It is working hard to maintain those things and understanding the true value of them.

It is understanding that there are so many others in this world that are not blessed with those things.

It is being empathetic towards those who don't and doing your part to make the world a little brighter for those people- even if that means just being genuinely nice to them when you interact. You don't need to donate money or move mountains to make a difference. Sometimes, kindness can go a long way and that just might be the thing they are thankful for today.

Two years ago, I began to work in the social work field with young children and teens who have had it rough in every aspect of life. They grew up in poverty, within the system, with almost no stability. Working with these children changed my life. When I first went there, I will admit, I was not truly thankful for my life. I was struggling personally with difficult things. At the end of every day, I was angry with life and how things had turned out for me, but that changed with this job. These kids were thankful for things that I had never even once thanked God for, things that I just expected as I had always been given them: love, affection, stability, food, shelter, school supplies, a safe, secure place to go home to, etc. I vowed to myself that every single day for the rest of my life, no matter how bad things got, no matter how difficult my demons were to face that day, I would find something to be thankful for.

This one small act of acknowledging my blessings has changed my attitude about life, my ability to handle stress and my overall happiness. I have been through difficult things as we all have, but pushing myself to fully understand what being thankful truly means has healed me the most.

I encourage you, no matter who you are or what you have been through, to try to gain a little perspective. If you are beaten down by whatever is going on in your life, try to branch out. There is always someone of greater need in your community that could need a little company, a helping hand, a smile, some change. Whatever you can give, give it and give it your all. I promise you, not only will you be making a difference in someone else's life, you will be able to look at your life more positively and become an overall happier person now that you are capable of seeing what you truly have.

So, tell me, what are you thankful for?



Cover Image Credit: John Pavlovitz

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Stop Missing Summer Because Of Your Terrible Sleeping Patterns

It's a bad habit.

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We've all been guilty of a self-indulgent lie-in from time to time, whether we went to bed late the previous night or need a mental health day. But when summer rolls around, it becomes so easy to let the occasional lie-in until noon turns into a horrible habit.

Admittedly, it is nice to put off responsibilities that hang over our shoulders during the school year by staying in bed. It's great to be lazy every once in a while. It can do wonders for your mindset.

However, if you have nothing begging for your attention when the semester is over, that habit can become self-destructive in a way. You stay up past midnight, wake up around noon, dress—and then, the day is nearly over.

It becomes a vicious cycle that is difficult to undo, and if you don't undo it, you're missing out on a large chunk of your summer.

I find this has been happening to me recently. I stay up until two in the morning as I only work a few days a week, and wake up around noon. But in two hours, my sisters finish school, and what have I accomplished? Absolutely nothing!

The self-indulgent lie-in becomes miserable as you see those wasted hours turn to dust, and before you know it, you've already been at home for a month. What do you have to show for it? Days spent waking at noon and barely being productive?

If your sleeping patterns are in your control, I'd advise you to curl up in bed earlier, wake up earlier, and enjoy the world earlier. This is the free time you've been craving all year, and if you're not enjoying it properly, no one else will! The second you let your summer fall out of your control, you become irritated with yourself for letting it happen at all.

There is so much to take advantage of in the early mornings that you're sleeping through! So dress, head outside, and breathe in the summer for what it's worth!

(Also worth noting that sleeping until noon occasionally can be wonderful too, as we all need our relaxing time, but don't get sucked into the habit all over again.)

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