mindfulness

The Story of My Life?

Photo by  Kelly Sikkema  on  Unsplash

What story do you tell yourself about your life? Is this story helpful, unhelpful? We all create a story, or narrative, that fits together our experiences, emotions, thoughts, etc. Often the stories that accumulated over time form our perception of ourselves and guide our thought processes and decisions. Depending on the narrative we subscribe to, we may find ourselves subconsciously overidentifying with experiences that confirm our self concept and disregarding experiences that do not. While there is nothing inherently unhelpful about this very human and adaptive process, it can lead us to create and uphold a narrative that does not serve us.

For example, perhaps I have had several experiences of discouragement in my recent past (i.e. the history exam that I performed poorly on, the misunderstanding with a friend, the rejection from my most recent love interest, the summer job that I was not offered). These experiences may contribute to a subconscious narrative that “I am a failure”. This self-perception can lead to unhelpful thoughts (“why me?”, “this ALWAYS happens”, “I can’t do anything right”, feeling unmotivated, rejected, disappointed, and perhaps a lack of pursuing opportunities for potential success. It is common and natural to tune into the experiences that validate our self-perception. That said, in doing so we often ignore additional experiences that contradict our created narrative. In the example above, I have also sought additional help in history following this test and now better understand the subject, I have built new and seemingly more positive peer relationships with my friends from swimming and found a summer job that fits better with my schedule (even though it was not my first choice). Because the later experiences do not fit in with the failure story I tell myself, I may be completely ignoring the non-failure aspects of my circumstance. Again, it is totally human to be attuned with the circumstances that fit in with our self-concept; however, I encourage practicing self-reflection around how your narrative is serving you. In the example above, I am not only experiencing unhelpful emotions and perceptions of myself, but I am also riddled with barriers to seeing my success and cultivating new opportunities for myself.

How do we change the narrative? Now that we have practiced self-reflection on our narrative and evaluated that it is NOT serving us we can make some changes. See below for some helpful tips on shifting your experience:

  • Practice intentionally observing thoughts, feelings, and experiences that contradict the narrative you have created

  • Identify what you would like your story to look like (whether or not you believe this is possible, simply imagine what you would like your life story to sound like)

  • Begin thinking about some small actions you might be able to try that align with the story you envision for yourself (break down actions into realistic and manageable steps)

  • Practice self-compassion and know that it is challenging to shift our narrative and does not happen overnight

  • Care for yourself by paying attention to your thoughts and feelings and tend to them accordingly

Remember that YOU have the agency to write and rewrite your story, so what do you want it to say?


Back to Nature

Photo by  Tomek Baginski    on  Unsplash

It may be scorching hot outside, but keeping in touch with nature is still important. More and more tweens and teens are so plugged-in to technology and social networking that they aren’t spending nearly enough time outside. Exploring nature is beneficial to kids because it decreases stress, increases a sense of community and belonging, and provides meaning and purpose that can increase tween’s self esteem, confidence and sense of place in the world. 

Since it is 100+ degrees on Texas summer days, you may have to get a little creative! We’ve collected some ideas to get you and your child started so you can get some fresh air this summer and stay cool at the same time.

  • Bring your child and their friend to Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center 

    on Thursday nights for Nature Nights 6-9pm

  • Visit local watering holes

  • Visit Breed and Company or your favorite local nursery to pick up inexpensive clay pots, some dirt, and plants. She and her friends can decorate the pots and plant some flowers to put in their rooms or on the front porch!

  • Go to East Austin Succulents (These plants can actually survive the Texas heat, and you will find some really cool looking cacti! Be on the lookout for a Living Social Coupon or a Groupon from them!)

  • Rent a Kayak off of Town Lake (aim for early in the morning or in the evening to avoid the heat)

What are some ways you stay cool while keeping connected to nature?

The Upside to Downtime

How many times have you hear yourself respond to a simple "How have you been?" with something along the lines of "Busy, but good!" There's an element of pride to this constant state of busyness, mixed with a desire to seem productive, sought after, the opposite of lazy. There's the need to reassure oneself and others that our time is not idle, that we are making the most of each day. The irony is that the act of maintaining a constant state of busy can get in the way of living in the moment and slowing down to appreciate the here and now.

High schools in particular champion the busy mindset, and lead us to think that downtime is wasted time. We push ourselves and our teens to do more, achieve more and stay constantly on the go.  After-school activities, sports, clubs, committees and more can take up precious evening hours after school. While our interests and hobbies are worth pursuing, and of value, the key to maintaining one's sanity through all the busyness is balance. 

Balance is the act of placing as much value on unhurried, unscheduled free time as we place on the various tasks at hand. Balance means letting ourselves off the hook when we decide not to take on one more commitment, choosing to stay home on a Saturday night with a good movie instead of going out. Balance looks different to everyone, but the essence of it remains universal. That we strive to value all facets our time and make room in our lives for the decidedly un-busy act of slowing down and letting go.

As with most things in life, the balancing act is a practice and a journey, not a final destination. Each day we learn new ways to let go of busy and embrace idle.  How will you find the upside to downtime?

‘Moving Towards’ in Relationships

Karen Horney, a major psychological theorist of the twentieth century, wrote about three general “movements” that people engage in when relating to others.  These are movement towards, movement away, and movement against. How we engage in each of these movements is important, because they can either be healthy or unhealthy. For example, moving against can help a person develop a sense of personal control and identity, but it can also lead to aggression; moving away can help a person develop competency and individuality, but it can also lead to isolation; and moving towards can lead to connection and interdependence, but also neediness and anxiety.

Moving towards is the foundational movement of romantic and family relationships.  It is impossible to have depth of connection without moving towards another person.  One way to increase the chance that moving towards someone will result in healthy connection is an attitude of what I call “vulnerable engagement”.  At it’s most extreme, this attitude mirrors how you might approach an injured wild animal: you become as nonthreatening as possible while still moving towards and you expect that you might elicit a negative response.  In approaching an animal, you become nonthreatening by crouching down, moving slowly, and speaking softly. In a relationship, you speak softly and start by talking about your own experience and emotions. An animal might have a negative response of biting or scratching, but a negative response from a person when you are trying to move toward them is that they move away or move against.  

The movement away or against can be subtle or forceful, but it is negative because it precludes the connection that you are trying to achieve.  This is the vulnerable part of the engagement. It hurts when you try to connect with someone and they turn against you or pull away. If you then react to defend yourself because you are hurt then it justifies the defensive posture the other person took in pushing you away. It is very hard to not respond defensively when someone hurts you and a defensive response can be the right response in many situations but remember that in this instance you have initiated the interaction because you want to connect with the other person.  One thing that helps me in this sort of situation is knowing that moving against and moving away are important. I want the people I love to have their own identity and individuality. When I can accept that sometimes those movements need to be directed towards me, I can let it go and try to connect in another way or at a different time. As that goes on, the other person’s needs for those negative responses diminishes and I find that my movement towards them is more often met by a movement towards me and we are able to meet in the middle. I find that depth of relationship to be worth the vulnerability and pain of the times we fail to connect.

 

Practicing Peace Amidst Chaos

Photo by  Liana Mikah  on  Unsplash

Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash

Change can feel generative, restorative, and exciting; while at the same time feeling terrifying, unpredictable, and like you’ve lost control. With the changing of life seasons, relationships, or jobs it can feel like you’re on a boat in the middle of a tumultuous sea, being tossed about and clinging for dear life. Not having a say in a major life change leaves us feeling powerless, and at times grieving and hopeless. So how can we stay calm when we feel we’ve lost our power? Here’s a few small yet practical steps that have proven successful for myself and my clients.

  1. Reflect on what you can control and what you can’t - A thought exercise I frequently do with clients is to have them draw out two concentric circles (one inside of the other). In the outer circle list all of the things that you have no control over- such as the weather, other people’s words and actions, illness, job markets, etc. Then on the inside circle list the things that you do have control over- such as your actions, what you say, what you eat, how you react to someone else, and what you think. So often we are focused on the things in the outer circle, and desperately want power over things that are just frankly impossible to control. This leaves us stuck spinning our wheels feeling frustrated and burnt out. By shifting our focus to what we do have control over, we can start to remember that we do in fact have power over many aspects of our lives.

  2. Create a routine, and stick to it (as much as you can) - When things seem upended and unhinged it’s important to establish at least one or two consistent things in our day to day life to keep us grounded. A routine can be as simple as making your bed and walking your dog every morning, despite the chaos of what the rest of the day may bring. It could look like carving out 30 minutes every evening to talk and connect with your partner before bed. Make sure it’s realistic, and try to stick to it as much as possible, while also giving yourself permission to miss a day or two.

  3. Ask for help - You are one person, and even though you may not realize it, you do in fact have a capacity for how much you can handle on your own. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I urge you to reach out and ask for help. Ask for help watching your kids, proof reading a resume, taking care of errands, or just having a loved one spend time with you and offer a listening ear. Asking for help takes a lot of courage, and it is worth it. And when someone offers help- accept it! People find joy and meaning through supporting people they care about, so remember that you are not a burden.

  4. Prioritize your time and energy - There is only so much time in the day, and when we have a lot on our plate to deal with we frequently find ourselves left with no energy and no time left to take care of ourselves. Make it a point to figure out what is most important to right now in this season and focus on that. Make time to take care of yourself- sleeping and eating are essential. Ask yourself “what people in my life help me feel valued, rejuvenated, or understood?” and invest your time with those people. Remember that it is okay- and healthy in fact!- to say no to someone. If you don’t have enough time or emotional energy, make that clear and prioritize yourself and what’s important to you.

  5. Cultivate a mantra/ positive affirmation/ mindfulness practice - When we’ve got a lot on our minds, it’s way too easy to go through the day without connecting to our breath or quieting our brains. Mindfulness doesn’t need to look like an hour long meditation or full yoga flow. It can look like taking a deep breath first thing in the morning and trying to think of at least one thing that you’re thankful for. Keep it simple, and realistic. Having some kind of positive mantra can be a big help in times of change, because it can keep you connected to what you value. See the poem below for an example of a mantra that helps keep me grounded.

I hope that by taking care of yourself, you begin to feel a little more anchored in the middle of a sea of chaos. You may not be able to stop the waves of change, but you can control how you react to them. I want to leave you with a prayer/meditation/poem that helps me to remain grounded and open handed when it comes to change. When I read this I like to sit with actual open hands, palms facing up and symbolizing a release of the ways I fight against things I have no control over, and rest in the things that I can control- my thoughts and my actions. The Welcoming Prayer is by Father Thomas Keating, and although it has been used traditionally in spiritual settings, I invite you to adapt it to fit whatever best helps bring you into a place of peace. Swap the word God for anything that resonates meaningfully with you- nature, the universe, your own inner strength, peace, a loved one, etc.

Welcome, welcome, welcome.

I welcome everything that comes to me today

because I know it's for my healing.

I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons,

situations, and conditions.

I let go of my desire for power and control.

I let go of my desire for affection, esteem,

approval and pleasure.

I let go of my desire for survival and security.

I let go of my desire to change any situation,

condition, person or myself.

I open to the love and presence of God* (or nature, the universe, your own inner strength, peace, a loved one, etc.)

Building Family Rituals This Summer

If there’s one concept most families are familiar with (and crave), it’s the idea of routines. Routines help us stay organized and keep track of multiple moving parts. Routines are what help family members decide how to spend their time, together and separately. Rituals, on the other hand, are how families invest time and emotion. Rituals are predictable activities that help family members forge a strong sense of group identity and belonging.

Rituals and routines are especially crucial during times of high stress and transition, which occur frequently during the adolescent years. This life stage is marked with navigating the unknown, searching for identity and juggling physical and emotional changes all at once. Routines and rituals at home can help adolescents and their families find some footing. So how do we put rituals into practice? Many people associate this practice with holiday rituals and celebrations, for example: your birthday rolls around and you can predict how the day is going to go. Ideally, your loved ones are gathered with cake and candles, invested in spending time together and creating memories for years to come. However, rituals can also be the small things, the day-to-day moments that add up. Maybe family dinners or car chats after a soccer game; the intentional moments that allow space for communication and connection. Rituals are the wonderfully predictably practices that remind us we’re in it together.

While rituals can vary greatly by family system and culture, what each family deems worthy, allows it to become worthy. Here are a few simple ideas that can help your family get the ball rolling with establishing your own family rituals:

  1. Family Game Night: This is a time for play and laughter which directly contributes to a sense of connection. Also, allows family members to take turns pitching in game ideas and rule suggestions.

  2. Bedtime rituals: For littles, this can include storytime and snuggles. For older kids/teens this can mean identifying a high/low of the day or some form of emotional check-in before closing the day out.

  3. Family Meetings: Intentionally and consistently set aside time time to allow family members to discuss various topics and bring other family members up to speed on what's going on in their lives. Even allow space for discussions around changes in family rules or routines, or bring up ways to better meet family needs.

  4. Family outings/road trips: Hit the road! Whether this be an annual family vacation or perhaps just a short Sunday adventure. Your family can easily alter this based on time or financial constraints.

  5. Family walks/ exercise: Perhaps there is a sport that your family is interested in and would benefit from participating in together. Or keep it simple and take a short walk around the neighborhood to unwind and talk.

  6. Cooking/ Meal Preparation: If this is something that could be enjoyable for your family, let everyone get involved. Even allowing room for family members to experiment with recipes or learn how to make traditional family recipes. There is so much creativity and love that can go into cooking. (Note: if it wouldn't be enjoyable to get the whole family involved in the cooking, remember that there are people who enjoy to cook for others and some who take joy in eating it! That's how we bring everyone into the fun!)

  7. Family Wishlist: Set time aside to identify some wishes/goals for each season or calendar year as a family, and make it happen! Maybe in the summer you want to have a cookout, swim or make time to go the county fair. Allowing each family member to contribute and then feeling the gratification when you cross each item off the list!

These are all general ideas that can be adapted to each family and their unique needs. However, feel free to take this concept of family rituals and add your own twist!

How to Get Unstuck

Photo by  Radu Florin  on  Unsplash

Photo by Radu Florin on Unsplash

Have you ever felt stuck in a situation, an emotion, a thought pattern? It is extremely human to find ourselves physically and/or metaphorically stuck in unhelpful circumstances. It is also extremely human to feel as though there is little agency you have in shifting your experience in those moments. While it may feel accepted as fact that you do not have the ability to shift your experience, I encourage the practice of creativity and flexibility in cultivating more helpful experiences and therefore shifting associated emotions, thoughts, and attitudes.

For example, let’s say you notice that you've felt down recently. Perhaps you missed a deadline at work or in school, you felt excluded in a recent social event, or you've experienced conflict among family members at home. These circumstances might contribute to feeling down, lonely, unmotivated, etc. Furthermore, we might create a dialogue around our recent experiences linking them together (i.e. “Life feels really challenging right now at work/school/home and I seem to be the common thread among these incidences: it must be my fault”). The events, emotions, and thoughts noted above can contribute to a mindset of feeling stuck. Whether or not our perception of these experiences is accurate is inconsequential. However, the ineffectiveness of this perception really does matter; it can be incredibly unhelpful in allowing us to moving forward. 

I encourage a shift in focus on noting what works for you in cultivating helpful emotions. Reflect on experiences that bring about more neutral emotions such as contentment, connection, peace, calm, etc. Perhaps during your reflection you note the following - doing yoga cultivates peace, spending time with genuine friends cultivates joy, cleaning your room cultivates calm, etc. While seemingly unrelated to your current experience, you might identify that there are experiences that you’ve had that do bring about more neutrality and even positivity. We can then choose to cultivate more of those emotions in our day-to-day by practicing intentional choices about what we do that promotes certain feelings.

Of course, taking a yoga class or going to summer camp (both experiences perhaps offering helpful emotions) are not always accessible to us, so we might practice creativity in how we can do something similar in order to foster similar emotions. While doing more of what feels helpful and less of what might not change the circumstances we find ourselves in, it can create a felt shift in having agency over our lives, emotion regulation, our attitudes, and our ability to continue moving forward.

See some tips below in cultivating more helpful experiences:

  • Reflect on what works for you and what doesn’t

  • Identify how you want to feel and what makes you feel that way

  • Practice creativity in cultivating more of what feels good and letting go of what does not

  • Remind yourself that nothing is permanent, everything is temporary - emotions, thoughts, circumstances will pass and practice intentionality around those that feel helpful while knowing that the unhelpful ones will pass


Self-Compassion: Becoming Your Inner Ally

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“Through self-compassion, we become an inner ally instead of an inner enemy”.  

-Kristin Neff, PhD

We’ve all had the concept of self-esteem thrown down our throats, which usually teaches us that the ultimate goal is to have high levels of self-esteem. While the idea of feeling good about ourselves is absolutely essential, we’ve learned that our “feeling good” is based on:  how many trophies we have on our mantle, how many A’s we earn in school, and how many points we scored in the last game. What happens when we don’t score that last point or we end up with a B+ instead of an A? For some of us, our sense of self can crumble and our self-critic can begin screaming at us telling us that we’re not good enough, smart enough, or strong enough. It doesn’t have to have such a strong voice, though. Self-compassion provides us that cushion and soft blanket to catch and cradle us when we do fall short of our goals and expectations.

The concept of self-compassion is broken into three categories:  self-kindness, mindfulness, and common humanity. Through the interweaving of these three ideas, we’re able to shift our focus from the potentially superficial feelings of goodness that self-esteem can bring, and replace them with a  solid embracing of who we are through self-compassion. Let me break down the three components of self-esteem:

  • Self-kindness – Think for a second what you would say to a close friend who has come to you expressing feelings of sadness and low self-worth.  Perhaps they just failed an exam and said to you, “I just knew I’d fail that test! I’m so stupid!!” Would you agree with them and tell them that they are indeed stupid?  Well, no, of course you wouldn’t. You would amp up your compassion meter and do everything in your power to help them feel better and dispute their negative self-talk. Now let me blow your mind for a minute; what would it be like if you were to display that same level of compassion and kindness to yourself?  What if you were to change your harsh thoughts of, “This is so stupid...I’m never going to get this...I’m a complete failure!” to “I didn’t do so well on that last test and I’m going through a lot right now.  I need to cut myself some slack”? Feels weird yet oddly comforting, huh?  That’s self-kindness. Giving yourself the same kindness and compassion that you give to a good friend.

  • Mindfulness – I know that I’ve talked about mindfulness a lot in previous blogs.  Take all of that and add to it the idea of recognizing and embracing your feelings for what they are.  Feelings and emotions are just a piece of information for you to acknowledge without placing any judgment on them.  Being quick to judge our feelings and emotions can quickly lead to desires of suppressing those feelings or over-identifying with them.  Being truly mindful allows us to shift our focus from the “shoulda, coulda woulda’s” to the present, because the present is the only state of being where we possess control.

  • Common humanity – When we trip on that crack in the sidewalk or drop our cup of coffee in front of our friends, it can easily feel as though we are the only one’s in the world that have done this.  Likewise, when we feel down, sad, angry, and hurt, it can also seem as though no one else has ever felt as bad as we do. In embracing the concept of self-compassion, we’re able to see that we’re all in this boat together.  We all trip, fall, cry, yell, struggle, and suffer. Why? Because we’re human and we all have feelings and emotions.

For more information on the concept of self-compassion and to obtain deeper tools on how to begin practicing your own journey toward self-compassion, I encourage you to check out Dr. Kristin Neff’s work at www.self-compassion.org.  In wrapping these three components into your daily life, you will be able to enhance that love that you feel for yourself and, in turn, the love that you feel for the world around you.



Approaching Life with a Beginner's Mind

Photo by  Max Andrey  on  Unsplash

Photo by Max Andrey on Unsplash

Do you ever find yourself making assumptions about the way your next history exam will go, how a conversation with a parent will transpire, or how you will perform in your next soccer tournament? Often times we cultivate expectations of ourselves, others, or situations in general based on past experiences. While this is a natural and adaptive aspect of human nature, it can also inhibit us from being open to the potential of experiencing something new and different. Furthermore, assumptions based on our experiences sometimes take us away from the present moment and transport us backward into the past or forward into the future. Again, while not entirely unhelpful to reflect on past experiences or consider our futures, living in the past or the future can bring up unhelpful emotions. It can also inhibit our ability to experience the here and now and furthermore to be effective in the here and now. Today I offer you the concept of “Beginner’s Mind” as a means of cultivating the opportunity for new experiences and practicing mindfulness of the present moment.

What is a beginner’s mind? It is what it sounds like! Remember the first time you made a new friend, got an A on your exam, went on a rollercoaster? During any of these “firsts” you approach the experience with an unknowing and open mind because you have not yet had that experience. Beginner’s mind is a way of approaching an experience that, while it be familiar in many aspects, has the potential for a new and different outcome. Perhaps you have had several conversations with a parent on earning privileges back that have not gone in your favor. These experiences build on each other and cultivate an assumption that this type of conversation will always transpire in the same fashion and have the same end result. This assumptive mindset, while seemingly accurate, inhibits us from being creative and experimenting with a different approach and outcome. It can feel hopeless, defeating, and other unhelpful emotions when we get into our assumptive mindsets. If we are to shift our perspective to utilizing a “Beginner’s Mind”, we might consider approaching this conversation in a different manner with an open mind about the result looking different. In doing so, we allow for the possibility of change and new experiences. Cultivating the opportunity for a new experience may foster emotions such as hope and optimism.

Now what we know what Beginner’s Mind is, how do we achieve beginner’s mind? First, we must acknowledge that there is a part of our past experience that informs our current experience. For example, that last conversation with my mom did not go well. We might draw attention to the areas in which we felt this conversation was ineffective and tweak those areas to open the opportunity for a new outcome. We must then let go of that past experience with our tweaks in mind. Rehashing the past in unhelpful to our current situation. Similarly, we might envision what could happen in the future; however, we must acknowledge that we are not fortune tellers and therefor we cannot predict the exact outcome. In this scenario, make peace with the fact that we cannot with certainty predict the result of our conversation. Once we have made peace with our past experiences and our assumptions about the future we allow ourselves to come back to the present moment and furthermore be effective in this current experience.

Beginner’s mind can be challenging, especially if you notice your mind often wanders to a different time and place. I offer you the following tips in practicing Beginner’s Mind and cultivating more experiences in the here and now:

  • Practice self-kindness, do not judge yourself on your ability to stay in the present. Rather, gently remind yourself to come back to the here and now when you notice you have wandered

  • Make peace with what you cannot change about the past and what you do not know for certain in the future

  • Practice Self-Care and grounding strategies to help you move through difficult emotions

  • Remember that Beginner’s Mind is challenging and requires practice! Resist the temptation to give up on your efforts!

Fighting the End-Of-School-Year Burnout

Photo by  Tim Gouw  on  Unsplash

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

It’s often the same old story for students. You are counting down the days until the school year ends, and then freedom can begin! You have spent all year working hard and juggling so many moving parts in your life. Yet, finals are coming up and summer feels far away. Maybe you’ve already noticed your motivation dropping and your feet dragging when it comes to keep up with everything going on. The struggle can feel very real!

This feeling of “burnout” often pops up when we try to power through, without also taking care of ourselves. You may have received messages that you have to keep pushing on, even if you start to reach your breaking point. However, this is not realistic! Resilience, or the ability to keep going despite our circumstances, requires us to rest when we need to.

For some, burnout means feeling cranky, checked out, tearful or even shutting down. Things that used to be fun, can seem uninteresting or even overwhelming. Your body is actually screaming, “take care of me! Slow down!”

What can you do?? You have a couple months left a you still need to survive. Here are some simple tools you can use to help yourself recharge and actually get through this last hump until summer break. I challenge you to try some of these on, and see what works for you:

1.    Check in with yourself. What are you are feeling right now? Maybe: sad, irritated, nervous, numb… find the word that feels true. And then name one helpful thing you can do for yourself in this moment. And most importantly, DO it!

2.    Get your basic needs met. Are you hungry, thirsty, or tired? If these things aren’t being taken care of not much else will be able to help. It’s amazing the impact a glass of water or a 20-minute power nap can have.

3.    Find one moment each day that you are grateful for. Gratitude actually helps us see our life in a more positive light.

4.    Make a list of small things that energize you. And then write those into your weekly planner. Literally. Carve out time in your schedule to do at least 2-3 of those, along with your other responsibilities. It’s ok to be busy, and still take moments for you!

5.    Mix it up! If you are starting to feel like each week is dragging on, then find ways to do things a bit differently. Maybe change up your study spots, try out some new breakfast recipes, change up your route to school or find some new albums to listen to. Variety will help your brain stay present in the moment and less “checked out”.

6.    Name the hard days. Having a tough day? Call it out. You can start by admitting this to yourself or talk to people in your life that you trust.  It can help you accept that you are being challenged and realize that others are in the same boat. This doesn’t mean you’re weak, only human. Plus, you’ve already survived ALL of your hard days up to this point. You’ve got a pretty great track record!


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