Hey guys! Caitlin here, and happy to be introducing Anne of Anne the Adventurer as our Design Your Life Interviewee this week. Anne is an inspiring writer with an obvious zest and love for life. I have loved getting to know her through her blog and see how she relishes life’s adventures, no matter how big or small. I’ll let her tell you the rest.
DESIGN YOUR LIFE: anne of anne the adventurer
Vulnerability is one of the most difficult gifts we can give ourselves. In this day and age, it is easy to get swept up in our fast-paced, ‘pull yourself up by your own bootstraps’ culture. The truth is, acting like the marlboro man or the lone ranger, someone who achieves success on their own and despite the odds, isn’t the reality. I have had more success when I am surrounded by a supportive community than when I am on my own. When I have taken risks and shared my emotional self with others, I’ve formed deeper relationships and have found a strong sense of validation for who I am. Sometimes, it doesn’t always go as I’ve planned or would have hoped, but to be vulnerable poses a greater return in the quality of my relationships than hiding in the corner (and pretending my problems don’t exist) does.
Let’s do some myth busting! I can sometimes become overwhelmed by my fears or concerns about my life. Here are some examples of fears: “I don’t want to go to a party because someone from work who said something nasty to me might be there”; “I am afraid to fly because that plane landed in the Hudson River”; “I don’t like to put up style posts on my blog because people might think that I am not enough of a model-type to pull it off.” These are all real fears of mine (see, vulnerability!), and the quality of my life is greatly decreased because of the power they have over me. By doing a bit of myth busting, I can work to overcome them. Busting myths requires taking risks and challenging those fears head on, and then creating a track record of my positive qualities or outcomes. For instance, if I focus on the fact that my rude coworker’s treatment of me is more a reflection of who they are rather than me, I can bust the myth that I am not worthy of friendships, and go and enjoy that party! I’ll add the success of the party and having fun with people to my track record. Then, when I have some doubt or fears, I can look to my past successes and say, “If I was fine before, I will be fine again.”
A large part of being vulnerable and busting myths is being willing to love yourself, and to practice self-love daily. I am definitely my worst critic, but have found that self-love has helped turn this bad habit around. I’ve started writing down some of my strongest negative thoughts on one side of a note card, and then writing a piece of positive self-talk that combats it on the other side. I have these all over my house, wherever I will see them most, as a reminder to myself that I am of value. One card I have taped to my computer to remind me that I am a writer of value says, “I am a talented writer who can affect positive change through authenticity and sharing my honest stories and opinions.” Seeing this card everyday keeps me motivated to continue to do what I do everyday. It really does make me feel loved.
Mindfulness is very tricky, considering I am a go, go, go type of person. Always on the run, I rarely stop to think and reflect about what I am doing. However, not being aware of my actions or intentions can often cause me to go off track or slip into a bad habit of negative self talk or letting fear run my life. Being mindful and taking time out of my day to sit, reflect, and meditate on my intentions and actions has helped me to live a more focused life. Mindfulness can also be called prayer and/or meditation. When I am practicing being mindful, I usually stop and close my eyes for a few minutes and focus on my breath. Then, I journal about my emotions and thoughts during the day so that I am in better touch with myself and my purpose in life. I can’t even being to explain to you how much of a difference this has made for me, especially in my work! I am happier, more fulfilled, and more productive because of it.
As you can see, all of these intentions are intertwined. Every one requires the other, but taking risks is one of the glues. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to bust myths or be vulnerable. When fear or doubt has controlled my life, taking risks often gets put on the back burner. When I am in a place of self-doubt and negative self-talk, I fall into my tried and true coping skills, the ones that make me feel the most in control. But usually, these coping mechanisms leave out mindfulness, self-love, and vulnerability, and I am often more closed off and afraid than when I started. Taking risks and challenging myself is the way out. I may be afraid of flying, but I am not going to let that stop me from traveling to Italy, a dream I’ve held since I was a little girl. So, I’ll take a risk and get on that plane (not without a little myth busting, self love, mindfulness and vulnerability, of course!). Taking risks helps to open up our souls to more possibilities, and grows our sense of self. We come to know ourselves better, and in the end, can love ourselves better.
Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.