There’s Always Something

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Some people approach life with a “glass half empty” mentality, believing that there is always something to be upset about. And guess what? There is. From trivial issues- like an unpaid bill or a fight with a friend- to bigger problems- like foreclosure, poverty, or illness- there is always something in life to get down about, fret about, and worry about.

But do you want to live your life constantly focusing on things that could go wrong?

On the flip side, there’s always something to be happy about. Maybe you refer to it as finding the silver lining. Or Pollyannaism {based on the movie character Pollyanna, who played The Glad Game where she found something to be glad about in every circumstance}.

I’m not saying you should sweep your own problems under the rug; trivialize other people’s concerns; or adopt a “who cares” attitude about world issues.

What I am encouraging is acknowledging that you can always see life from two perspectives: generally positive or generally negative. In my experience, approaching is from a negative mindset doesn’t accomplish much except worry, anxiety, and stress.

So how are you going to approach life today?

P.S. A little “glass half full” humor:

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Weekly Check-In: The Rooms of Your Life

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Ever heard of The Nine Rooms of Happiness: Loving Yourself, Finding Your Purpose, and Getting Over Life’s Little Imperfections? The premise of the book is that each room in the house correlates to a different area of your life:

The bedroom for love and intimacy, the family room for grown siblings and parents, the bathroom for body image, health, and vanity, the living room for friends, the office for bills, career and so on.”

I always think of this analogy when I assess my life because it helps ensure that you don’t leave out one critical area!

Whenever I feel overwhelmed {or to prevent feeling overwhelmed} I do a check-in of each “room” of my life.

Financials: Are all my bills paid? Did I stick to my budget this week? Could I cut out any expenses next week?

Health: Do I feel like I exercised enough? Did I infuse exercise into my daily actions? Did I eat healthy, fresh foods? What do I regret eating {usually gluten!} that I can work on next week? Did I get enough sleep?

Relationships: Have I maintained a good balance of my relationships? Have I made an effort to keep in touch with friends and family in other cities? Have I done so even if things are going well for me {I find it’s easier to remember to contact friends when you need support!}? Do I have any interpersonal issues I need to address? Did I apologized when I needed to? Did I make an effort to make new friends or strengthen current friendships? Did I do kind things for friends and family?

Career: Did I put in the necessary hours this week? What did I excel at? What could I have done better? What advice, tips, and feedback can I take in to improve my performance? Did I ask for or take feedback?

Mental health: How do I feel emotionally? How can I maintain or improve my mood? Are things at home organized and clean? Have I pampered myself {painted nails, hair cut, etc}?

Intellectual health: Did I challenge myself intellectually through absorbing new information? Did I stay up-to-date on current events? Did I pursue interests outside of work?

Community: Was I proud of who I was this week? Did I make an effort to brighten the days of people around me with small gestures? Did I make the community better {by volunteering or otherwise?}? Did I take advantage of the city?

P.S. My blog posts have been a bit heavy lately. I’m doing great and having plenty of fun, but thinking a lot about self-improvement and personal growth. I’m not sure the exact catalyst for this, but hopefully these posts help you if you’re experiencing similar sentiments!

Weekend Reading

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For the recruiting readers: Top 15 Common Talent Sourcing Mistakes and Snag Influence with “Sticky” Recruitment Marketing.

And for employees: Don’t Wait for Layoffs or a Job Search to Update Your Resume. The idea is that during those periods, you’re feeling negative and may forget key accomplishments and skills. Updating your resume periodically ensures that you remember your accomplishments and can highlight them in a beneficial way.

I am definitely guilty of The Busy Trap; how about you? I think it’s partly a by-product of being a Human Services major in college– the program attracted all the students who wanted to save the world!

Here are some inspirational words for your week {or weekend, as the case may be}.

I have become convinced that the writers over at Tiny Buddha send thought waves or probes into my brain every week and then base their blog posts on my thoughts. Here’s what they wrote for me this week {joke!}: When Friends Fear We May Judge Them and Treat People How They Want to be Treated {the new golden rule}.

On Feeling Afraid and Not Doing It

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I recently read a post on Yes and Yes entitled On Feeling Afraid And Doing It Anyway. The title is a pretty accurate summary of the blog post, but another quote jumped out at me “I do not let the fears determine my behavior.”

I get that. I really do. There are times when I’ve been afraid or nervous or fearful of something, but I did it anyway. It was empowering, uplifting, and reassuring. I’ve confronted people I needed to stand up to; I started a business; and I joined a kickball team. Respectively, that got me the opportunity to build stronger relationships and to end unhealthy ones; a chance to build a community hub in Raleigh; and several new friends and an athletic outlet. The payoffs of my actions have far outweighed the fear or nervousness I harbored.

But there are other times when I wonder if it’s okay to be afraid and not do it. The idea of skydiving makes me nauseous; the idea of holding a snake scares the living daylights out of me; and I really have no desire to ride an upside-down roller coaster.

Am I hiding behind fear? You could argue that. But I think I’ve just weighed the benefits against the stress and anxiety and decided it’s not worth it.* The feeling of skydiving might be unparalleled; holding a snake may make me fine seeing them on hikes; and riding a roller coaster might be liberating. But I’m willing to take the risk of not finding out because it just doesn’t feel worth it.

So before you feel peer pressured into doing something you’re scared of, ask yourself: What’s the payoff? Do the benefits outweigh the negatives? Does this action have long-term benefits in your life or is it a one-time experience?

And learn to say “No thanks, I’m good.”

What do you think? Do you think it’s okay to be scared and chose to not act? Any examples? 

*Don’t hold me to this. I may do any of the above one day 🙂

Monday Morning Inspiration

When I posted some Monday morning inspiration awhile back, I didn’t realize it would become one of my most popular blog posts {not just on that day, but every day!}. Apparently people really need to be inspired after the weekend!

Hope this helps 🙂

Source: via Cristina on Pinterest

10 Thoughts for Friday

1) Any recruiters out there with experience using Entelo or TalentBin? What are the pros and cons of both of them? Which do you like better? I asked the same question on Quora.

2. Live in DC? Check out Cause, a new philanthropub opening soon. According to Glittarazzi, “Customers will visit Cause to drink and be merry. The money that the bar makes will pay the rent, staff and charity. Different causes will be selected every quarter and customers will get to pick which one they want their money to go towards.”

3. Lifehacker recommends that you look at two lists every morning: a to do list and an avoid list. I’ve recently started doing the same thing to remind myself to not mindlessly look at Twitter, Google Reader, my blog stats, etc throughout the day {only in the morning!}.

4. Here is what I had planned to meet during my “cleaning out the freezer & pantry week.” Here’s what I actually ate: corn taco tostadas; Mexican casserole from the freezer; a hot dog with Indian-spiced onion relish {found it on Edible Mosaic- yum!}, sushi, and other miscellaneous stuff! But I did make a dent in the freezer mess.

5. I think I finally got down my phrasing for when someone I don’t know connects with me on LinkedIn: “Hi x, Thank you for the invitation to connect on LinkedIn! I wanted to check in and see what you were interested in connecting about since I don’t believe we’ve met in person.  Thank you and take care, Cristina.” What do you think?

6. Want to find fun Raleigh events? First, follow the Scintillating Simplicity calendar! But you can also subscribe to the Visit Raleigh Events RSS Feed in your feed reader {I obviously love Google Reader!}.

7. I love the website 1000 Awesome Things and the latest two posts made me laugh: #996 Opening and sniffing a pack of tennis balls and #997: Locking people out of the car and pretending to drive away {my sister and I do this more than I think is normal for 20-somethings}.

8. I absolutely love The Girl Effect, an amazing YouTube video! In related news, apparently this month’s Fast Company is all about female social entrepreneurs! Need to pick up a copy…

9. You’ve no doubt seen the article in the Atlantic, “Why Women Can’t Have It All.” Since the piece came out, there’s been a ton of responses, like “Does Anyone Really Need to Have It All?” and “Why Women Shouldn’t Want to Have It All” and “How Women (and Men) Can Have It All” and lastly, “Men Can’t Have It All Either.” Whew! That’s a lot of conflicting opinions. What do you think? I feel a blog post coming on…

10. And finally, I’m considering making a 23 New Things List to start on my upcoming 23rd birthday, a la Sarah of Yes and Yes. Any suggestions for what I should put on it?

Photo credit: Uploaded by user via Jeanette on Pinterest

A Look into Codependency

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“Codependency, by definition, means making the relationship more important to you than you are to yourself” – Source

“When we focus so much outside ourselves, we lose touch with what is inside of us: our beliefs, thoughts, feelings, decisions, choices, experiences” – Source

As a very independent person, I have a {probably unwarranted} fear of codependency. For many people, codependency is a very serious issue that often goes hand-in-hand with mental health issues or substance abuse. For me and in this blog post, I just mean a much less serious but still important tendency to over-rely on those around you, like a family member or significant other.

Like feeling the need to ask permission from someone before making a decision. Consulting the other person before making solid plans. Seeking approval and affirmation from the person. Sensitivity to criticism from said person. Maybe feeling like this person should reciprocate the above feelings.

Here’s some tips on how to overcome it codependency if you feel yourself slipping into it:

  • Work on maintaining or establishing your own life: make and keep plans with your own friends; pick up your own hobby; join a team {like kickball!}.
  • Make time for yourself: just because you can hang out with someone doesn’t mean you always should. Making time for yourself is just as important as maintaining your other relationships.
  • Take ownership of your schedule: unless there’s an absolute need to consult the other person, set your own agenda. Don’t leave your schedule open solely in hopes that the other person will want to hang out.
  • Find inner peace or even approval from others: it’s not always enough to know you’re awesome, sometimes you need to hear it. Keep an Evernote of positive things people say to you. If you’re not getting great feedback from the person you feel codependent on, turn to your note as a reminder that other people think highly of you.

Have you ever felt codependent? How did you overcome or mitigate this tendency?

creative {romantic & friend} date ideas, part ii

for part i of creative {romantic & friend} date ideas, click here!

rent sunfish sailboats at lake crabtree

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bring wine and cheese and watch planes from the observation deck at the rdu airport

listen to live music:

jazz at koka booth amphitheater on wednesday evenings

sunday evenings at fred fletcher

music on the porch at carolina theater on friday evenings

seaboard station on friday evenings

*visit the morehead planetarium and science center in chapel hill

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*take a trip to the new wing of the museum of natural sciences

go to an amusement park [carowinds or king’s dominion are manageable from raleigh]

hike at umstead or pilot mountain

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*go rollerskating at jellybeans

ice skate at the raleigh winterfest ice rink

tour the the jc raulston arboretum

do a wine tasting at a vineyard [try hinnant family vineyards]

take a daytrip to the beach

visit tucker lake

feed the ducks at shelley lake

watch an outdoor movie [go to the north carolina museum of art, the summer movie series on hillsborough st, or movies by moonlight at koka booth amphitheatre]

*peruse awesome clothes at thrift stores or vintage stores [check out father and sons]

*spend a rainy afternoon reading at barnes & noble or starbucks

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* = good rainy day activity!

What’s the best date you ever had? What other ideas do you have for a great date? What is your favorite way to spend a day with friends? 

P.S. My birthday is a month from today! See it on my calendar 🙂

creative {romantic & friend} date ideas

I’m always looking for fun, new things to do- both on dates and with friends, so I assume my friends and readers are too! It’s easy to get stuck in a rut [dinner and a movie anyone?], but I always find it enjoyable to branch out, discover new things in my city, and have funny stories to share!

Thank you to Sara Rose for helping me compile this list! 

visit the asheboro zoo

do go-karts, putt putt, laser tag, and/or bumper boats at frankie’s fun park

*visit the museum of life and science

take a segway tour [check out triangle glides]

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try stand-up paddleboarding [check out triangle glides at lake johnson or lake wheeler or ride stride at falls lake]

take a ghost tour [check out tobacco road ghost tours]

go berry picking or apple picking [depending on the season]

visit a corn maze and go on a hayride

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*watch a movie in imax 3d or at blue ridge 14, the $2 movie theatre

rent paddle boats at pullen park [bonus- they have a few gluten-free options at the pullen place cafe!]

attend a hurricanes hockey games or a durham bulls baseball game

go for bike ride and picnic on the capital area greenway trail system or at the raleigh rose garden

*go bowling [try sparians bowling boutique and bistro for a classy date or amf for a more casual experience]

play tennis

fly a kite

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*attend a comedy show [go to goodnights on wednesdays to get a free ticket with the purchase of dinner. or try improv at comedy worx]

take a trip to the farmers’ market [look here for a calendar of events]

attend an event at lafayette village, a cute european style village in raleigh

canoe or kayak at lake johnson

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take coffee and bagels (gluten-free of course) and eat them on the rocking chairs at lake johnson

sit on the deck at boylan bridge brewpub to watch the sunset

* = good rainy day activity!

What’s the best date you ever had? What other ideas do you have for a great date? What is your favorite way to spend a day with friends? 

jealousy: can the green-eyed monster be healthy?

I was browsing a women’s magazine as I worked out on the elliptical the other day and there was one section about jealousy that really hit home for me.

In general, I think we’re so easy to dismiss envy as a wholly negative emotion- a quick Google search shows pages of results on how to overcome jealousy.

First of all, we have to recognize that our culture encourages jealousy. The omnipresence of Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook make it nearly impossible to avoid posts from friends and strangers that may provoke envy.

But the article pointed out that instead of seeing jealousy as a negative thing, we should use it as a means to realize our own goals. Why are we feeling jealous?

As Robin says, it’s important to figure out what your “hot button” issues are. What makes you envious and why? Maybe it’s supposedly perfect bodies. Or people who seem to love working out and never have an off day. Or someone who just had a perfect wedding.

For me, I’m usually jealous of people with thriving social lives, who always seem to be busy with fun, interesting, and unique activities and events. People who maintain a healthy balance of eating well and exercising, but also loving life. People who find the humor and intellect in everyday life. But you know what? I don’t think letting any of these things inspire me is a negative thing!

But occasionally, I get jealous of the wrong things. People who don’t seem to have a care in the world and spend all their time having fun. People who have crazy amounts of disposable income. People with perfect bodies who spend hours every day working out. But is that actually how I want to be? Are these actually things I care about? Not really. So admittedly, if what we envy is unattainable or won’t actually satisfy us, we might want brush them off.

Otherwise, let that jealousy inspire you to figure out what you really want out of life. I want to live a fun, balanced life and be surrounded by friends. I want a healthy but non-obsessive life. I want to be constantly inspired, fun-loving, and enthusiastic. So thanks, social media, for reminding me of all that 🙂

Here’s a relevant Carrots n Cake post: Jealousy vs Inspiration! Also check out 6 Ways to Let Jealousy Guide You.

What are your hot button issues? Where is the line between jealousy and inspiration for you?