Will The Pain Ever End?

*Trigger Warning*
This post talks about suicidal ideation and mood disorders, and may be triggering for some readers.
If you are struggling, please reach out to someone. 800-273-8255

Hi there! I hope you’re safe & well. Have you been taking care of yourself? I hope you have. You’re worth it ❤

This month is Suicide Prevention Month, so I thought I’d write a short post in honor of it.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, the 2nd leading cause for people between 10-34 years old.

This doesn’t, can’t possibly, account for the number of people struggling with suicidal ideation. Because for every reported case, I can only imagine how many go unspoken.

How many people sit with their darkness instead of reaching out, because they’re afraid to burden others with their pain.

Afraid of the repercussions.

Afraid of the stigma.

Photo by Cameron Readius on Pexels.com

I think a lot of us can attest to how hard isolation has been on us as well.

It’s the responsible thing to do in light of the pandemic, but it can be so difficult for individuals who were already struggling with mental health.

A lot of people I’ve spoken with have said their mood has been lower than usual, and I can totally understand that!

Frankly, my mood has been pretty low as well.

That’s not so much because of isolation, as I’ve been struggling with my mood for many years now, but it certainly didn’t help to feel so alone, so separate from family and friends.

I’m not going to dive deep into my story and give you any ugly details. Partly because it’s private, but also because I want to show you the light, not how deep the darkness can go.

All I’ll say is that, over the course of my life, I have practiced self harm as a (very unhealthy) means of coping with emotions and situations that felt out of my control. I have had suicidal thoughts, as well as failed attempts.

I have made more calls and chats to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline than I can count.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: You’re not alone.

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These feelings you have, the darkness that seems to envelope you, the burden you carry…. I feel that too.

It’s not the same.

Your struggle is your own.

Your story is unique.

Your burdens may be heavier, or they may be lighter, or maybe our burden is the exact same, but that really doesn’t matter.

Because the reality is, however heavy it feels, however easier someone else’s burden may seem to you, it’s heavy for the bearer.

Too heavy.

And sometimes those thoughts start to creep in.

Maybe it would be easier if…
It would hurt so much less if…
I just want ______ to stop…
No one would really care if…

But people would care.

Lots of people.

The dark cloud looming over you makes you feel alone. Worthless. A burden. Like no one would mind if you just weren’t here anymore.

But that is NOT TRUE!

You have value.
You are worthwhile.
You are good.
You are worth the effort it takes to love you.

And more than that, you’re not done yet! You have stories to tell.

And you can’t tell them if you’re not here.

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Once upon a time, more than once truthfully, I dove headfirst into the Deep Dark.

I felt so alone.

I wanted it to be over.

I didn’t want to do it anymore.

It. This. Life. Pain. Fear. Sadness. The abyss that lies within my head.

So I asked myself what would happen. What would happen if I wasn’t here anymore?

The truth didn’t come to me immediately. It took time and self-care. Love from the people close to me and love from myself.

And therapy. Like… a lot of therapy.

The truth I have come to is this:

If I wasn’t on this Earth anymore…
My family would be devastated.
I would never travel the world like I want to.
I would never read another book.
I would never again dance in the rain.
I would never again sip coffee by the fire.
I would never again kiss my husband.
I would never again jump on the trampoline with my nephews.
I would never have children.
I would never publish any books.
I would never write another word.
I would never get to help anyone out of their darkness.

You have reasons too. Sometimes they just become clouded by the dark thoughts taking over your mind.

I dare you to make a list of reasons why you’re worthwhile. A list of reasons you want to live.

Yes, there is a lot of bad in this world. But there’s a whole lot of good too! Don’t miss out on all the wonderful things in store for you.

Don’t let the darkness win.

You are stronger than the weight you carry.

And you never know how many lives you could have touched, never know how many people could be pulled out of their darkness by hearing how you survived yours.

I know sometimes you feel so alone. Like no one in the world cares about you.

But that’s the Darkness talking. And it’s a lie.

There are people in this world who love you. Who would be devastated to know you are struggling all by yourself.

It took a lot for me to reach out. To ask for help.

But I’m so glad I did.

I got into therapy. I learned how to take care of myself, body and mind.

It took work, and I still have hard days, but what’s important is that I always come out on the other side of it. I have things to live for. Things I want to see and do and experience.

I learned how worthwhile I am.

I learned how to love myself.

And so can you.

There are people in this world who need to hear your story. Need to know that you made it, and so can they.

You have stories to tell.

And people want to hear them.

I want to hear them.

Sending love,

MK

This boi is so dang tired of the sad! He just wants everyone to be happy and eat treats and throw tennis balls for him.

5 Ways To Improve Your Mood

*Trigger Warning*
This post deals with mood disorders and may be triggering to some readers.

I may earn commission on any links in this post.
See Disclaimers for more details.

Hi there! Sorry I was MIA again last week. My mood has been super low and I’ve been having a lot of trouble snapping out of it. I hope you’re doing well and your mood is staying level. ❤

Since my mood has been so low, I wanted to chat about some of the things I do to level out, or to not dip too low.

Sometimes, not diving headfirst into the Deep Dark is all you can manage.

And that’s ok!

Whatever feelings you’re experiencing are real. You shouldn’t try to ignore them or shove them down.

I’m guilty of that.

I often push myself to just get better… but that’s not really how my brain works.

Sometimes I get stuck in this perpetual darkness and the only thing I can do is love myself through it.

Remind myself that it’s ok to be sad sometimes, as long as I don’t let it consume me.

There’s a difference between feeling your emotions and going into a negative spiral.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

So, if you’re like me this week, and you feel like you can’t do anything except watch that Darkness close in, I’ve compiled a list of things you can do to make yourself feel a little better.

1: Read a book

I do this one a lot!

I find that getting swept up in a story is the best way for me to get my brain out of a rut.

Sometimes I get so focused on the sadness and the negativity that it can become really toxic.

Reading about another life, another time, another world can really help me get out of my head for a while.

So pick up a good book, even if it’s one you’ve read before, and get lost in another world for a while!

2: Take a shower

I’m not sure if anyone else feels the same, but for me, there’s something really calming about a shower.

I like baths too, but they’re too quiet for me. Too much space for my thoughts to take over.

Something about the steam curling in the air, streams of water pounding on my back, the smell of my favorite shampoo. It makes me feel safe.

The chaos of water pelting down is all I need to think about.

Sometimes I sit in the bottom of my shower and just let the water wash over me.

The sound of the water drowns out the sounds of the outside world and I’m alone, in the best possible way.

I’m safe.

I can cry, I can talk to myself, I can just sit in silence.

Whatever I need to do.

3: Get outside

This one’s tough for me.

Whenever I’m feeling really down, the last thing I want to do is go out.

But every time I force myself to get outside, whether it’s just to sit in my backyard, go for a walk, or go somewhere like a bookstore, it always makes me feel better.

Something about the fresh air.

Or maybe just physically removing myself from a situation where I was unhappy.

Whatever magical power outside has, it always works on me.

That is, if I can force myself to get up.

Sometimes it takes a lot of will power on my part.

A lot of “Just get up. You’ll thank me later.”

But it’s always worth it.

4: Watch a movie

I usually watch a Disney movie when I’m really upset.

Something about the simple plots. The humor. The characters.

You can laugh or cry and not really think about it.

Not worry about anything.

Nothing makes me feel quite as comforted as putting on some fuzzy pajamas, wrapping up in a blanket like a burrito, and watching something silly.

5: Talk to someone

This one’s hard for me.

Mostly because I have a hard time trusting people with my innermost thoughts.

But if you find someone you can trust, this can really be the best thing you can do.

If you’re nervous about how they’ll react, you can simply say, “I need someone to talk to, would you mind just listening and being here?”

Simple as that.

Talking it out can work some serious magic.

In the process of thinking through your emotions, putting them into words, you can come to conclusions you might not have reached before.

You might realize how to fix what’s wrong, or maybe why you’re so upset, or maybe you’ll just feel comforted and supported.

Reaching out is always a good idea.

I hope this list helps you!

Sending love,

MK

Whenever I’m sad, this boi brings me a ball because fetch always makes him feel better, so it’ll probably do the same for me.

Having Needs Does Not Make You A Burden

*Trigger Warning*
This post deals with feelings of depression & feeling like a burden and may be triggering for some readers.

I may earn commission on any links in this post.
See Disclaimers for more details.

Hi there, I hope this post finds you safe & well! No post last week as I was very sick. Hopefully you’ve been taking care of yourself while I was MIA ❤

I ran across something recently that I wanted to share.

It’s something that I personally struggle with, especially as a neurodiverse individual. Something I think a lot of us can relate to, neurodiverse or not.

I was reading about assertiveness, trying to overcome my passivity.

I struggle with standing up for myself. Asking for what I need.

Being a “burden”.

So I’ve been doing some reading.

It said:

You have a right to be an inconvenience to others.

I was surprised, because over the course of my life, that has not been the message I have received.

Photo by Emma Bauso on Pexels.com

My past, and if I’m being completely honest, a whole lot of my present, has always said to me, “You need to be better.”

Do more.
Speak less.
Be more positive.
Be more helpful.
Do things.
Be everything to everyone all the time.

It’s exhausting.

It doesn’t help that I’m a perfectionist.

It doesn’t help that certain chemicals in my brain are out of balance. That there’s a little voice in my head that tells me I’m not good enough.

You see these messages everywhere saying that’s not possible.

You simply can’t be everything to everyone all the time.

You’re not responsible for the happiness of others.

But those messages are overwhelmed by the messages you receive from the people in your life.

The social media posts.

The professional criticism.

The pressure to be and do and think and exist for the happiness of others.

Photo by Asya Cusima on Pexels.com

So when I read this – You have a right to be an inconvenience to others – it felt foreign.

Wrong, at first.

I don’t want to be an inconvenience. A burden.

I pretend I don’t care, but I do.

I want to be the bubbly, happy, helpful person.

I want to be the reason you smile.

And sometimes that overwhelms me.

Sometimes I forget that I’m my priority.

My mental health is important.

Sometimes I focus so much on being what other people need, that I forget to be what I need.

So I wrote it down.

On a little notecard above my desk.

You have a right to be an inconvenience to others.

What does that even mean?

Well, it means that it’s ok to have needs.

It’s ok to let other people help me.

It’s ok to ask for things.

It’s ok not to be perfect.

It’s ok not to be ok.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

The thing is, asking for help can be the hardest thing to do.

Harder than the loneliness.

Harder than the pain.

Harder than the ache in your chest.

Harder than the darkness that settles over you like a wet blanket.

Harder than the weight dragging you down, the one that makes getting out of bed an accomplishment.

But it’s necessary.

You’re strong and brave and amazing, but you can’t do it all by yourself.

And you shouldn’t have to.

There are people in this world who want to help you.

Maybe it’s your parents.

Maybe it’s your friend.

Maybe it’s your partner.

Maybe it’s a therapist.

But there is someone out there who cares enough to put in the effort it takes to love you.

There is someone who thinks you’re worth the sacrifice.

Don’t be afraid to remind yourself of that.

Write in on a notecard and pin it to your wall.

Write it in lipstick on your mirror.

Draw it in your journal.

Tattoo it on your skin.

Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself that you are worth effort.

Your own, and that of others.

You are worthwhile.
You are lovable.
You are special.
You are good.

Be gentle with yourself.

Be careful what thoughts you allow to enter your mind.

Because you’re always listening.

Sending love,

MK

This is my boi Linux. He has yogurt on his chin and nothin’ but love in his heart.

4 Tricks To Get Out Of A Reading Slump

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Hi there! I hope you have had a great week. Have you done something just for you this week?

I got into a reading slump recently.

It was rough.

I couldn’t get into anything I was reading.

I blame The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab. It was heart-wrenching and I had a serious book hangover afterwards.

If you haven’t read it, I definitely recommend it. But make sure to give yourself a little time to recover afterwards.

I was just jumping from book to book, barely giving myself a chance to breathe between one cover and the next.

Then, when this book happened to me (and boy, did it hit me hard), everything else lost its luster.

Photo by Lina Kivaka on Pexels.com

So, how do you fix a reading slump?

Well, here are 4 easy steps…

1: STOP READING!

This may seem counterintuitive…

How do I get interested in reading again if I’m not reading?

Well, your brain is crying out for a break.

You’ve exhausted yourself. You’ve lost interest.

If you keep trying to consume more books, you’re just making it worse.

And, you might not be enjoying the books that you would otherwise love!

I stopped reading the Serpent & Dove series, and I think I might have enjoyed it if I hadn’t been in a slump.

So stop reading!

Just give your brain a break.

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2: Find something else that sparks creativity.

Paint. Go for a walk. Watch some movies. Take pictures.

Do something else in the creative world.

Yes, you can still get a great story from TV/movies.

Don’t be snooty.

Just do anything that gets your creative juices flowing.

I like watching movies, but there are so many options.

You just need to remember how it feels to be creative, but without reading books.

I paint sometimes. I’m not great at it, but that’s not really the point.

If your brain is tired of the same old thing, you’re stuck in a creative rut.

Have you tried cooking? Baking?

It can be really fun!

Just do something that makes you feel free and excited again.

Maybe you’ll get that spark back.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

3: Practice Self-Care.

Another reason you may not be into books recently might be because your mood has taken a dip and you didn’t realize it.

I’m guilty of this.

I get so hyperfocused on stories. I let them occupy my mind so wholly that I don’t realize I’m actually compensating for some deeper issues.

It’s nice when a book can help you cope.

Sometimes it pulls you out of this world and gives you a new one to think about for a while.

This can be good, but only for a while.

You have to confront your issues or they will eat away at you without you even realizing it.

This reading slump is your brain’s way of saying,

“Hey! Pay attention to me!”

Take a step back.

Ask yourself how you’re feeling, mentally and physically.

Are you covering up issues you’re struggling with by reading a bunch of books?

It’s ok to take a break and just feel your feelings.

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4: Read a different genre.

This really helped me get back into reading!

I decided to go for something light and easy.

I read Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.

I’m not going to lie to you. This book was not some masterpiece.

But it was a really fun and easy read!

It was something light that could get me interested in reading again.

It was exactly what I needed.

A change of pace.

Keep in mind that changing genres might not work if you haven’t already done the other steps.

Your brain is giving you a sign. You need to listen, not just hop into another distraction.

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I hope these four tricks will help you get out of your reading slump!

Let me know what tricks have worked for you in the past. I would love to hear from some fellow readers.

And, most importantly, take care of yourself.

You are your top priority.

Sending love,

MK

Linux would like to remind you that there is no greater story than your own. Don’t forget to live a little. And also pet a pooch.

What If I Want To Be Sad?

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*Trigger Warning*
This post deals with depression and negative self-talk, and may be triggering for some readers.

Hi there, I hope you’re doing well! Are you taking care of yourself? Maybe it’s time to do a check-in. How’s your body feeling? How’s your mind feeling? Don’t be afraid to give yourself some grace. ❤

My mental health took a dip recently.

It happens.

More often than I’d like.

Sometimes I feel kinda up and down. I’m doing fine, then something switches and the tide pulls me under.

I thought I’d share some feelings I was marinating on while trying to get out of my funk.

I was talking with my therapist recently (if you don’t have one and you are struggling with your mood, please find one, they can be really helpful). She was checking my negativity.

She’s very sneaky about it. She watches me spiral, lets me get it all out, then says “Was there anything good about it?” or something of that nature.

It kinda makes me stop and think.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Yes there were negatives.

We’re not going to ignore any feelings here.

But if we’re going to spend so much time thinking about the bad, let’s not forget the good.

So my recent mood swing… I’m going to be honest, sometimes I’m not sure why my mood dips.

But it did, and I found myself coming up with all the reasons my life sucks.

Hardship in my relationships with friends and family.
Work has been rough.
Writing is not going super great right now.
My mental health seems to keep getting kicked down, despite my best efforts to even out.

Then I really start spiraling.

I feel discouraged.
I feel alone.
I’m not good at anything.
I just suck.

It can be so easy to get trapped in the negativity spiral. It’s like the thoughts have a mind of their own.

One minute I’m recounting things that happened, that are in fact negative… Then next thing I know, I hate myself and my life is awful.

It can get out of control really quickly.

So how do you fix it?

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I think the hardest part is recognizing what you’re doing.

You have to take a good, long look at yourself and say, “Is all of this really that bad, or am I in a negative spiral?”

I’m not saying things in your life aren’t bad.

We all have stuff we have to deal with.

Stuff we wish we could just drop and leave behind us.

But that’s not how life works.

So what I’m asking you to do is use Radical Acceptance like I talked about in this post, then ask yourself: “Is everything truly awful, or am I letting the negativity take over?”

Say you have an arguement with your partner.

Arguments/disagreements/fights (whatever you call them) suck, but they happen in every healthy relationship.

You’re human. It’s not possible for two imperfect people to perfectly agree on everything all the time.

So you have this argument, and instead of leaving it where it is, you begin to spiral.

We had an argument.
My relationship is awful.
I’m not a good partner.
They don’t like me.
I’m a burden.
I don’t like me.

But instead of letting the spiral continue, you take a pause.

You use Radical Acceptance.

You say, “We had an argument. That sucks. I feel sad.”

Then you stop the spiral before it takes root.

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The ugly thing about thoughts is that if you say them enough in your head, you start to believe them.

So if you spiral and reach the self-doubt stage, those words you say to yourself are words that take root in your heart.

I’m a burden.
No one likes me.
I don’t like me.

At first they’re just words, but if you keep saying them enough, they will become your reality. You will honestly believe that you are a burden, no one likes you. And you will actually begin to not like yourself.

Don’t go there.

Because you are not a burden. You are worth the effort.

People do like you. You have friends. Family. That partner you just had an argument with. They stick around because they like you, not because you have somehow tricked them into it.

Not liking yourself can be a real feeling that is so hard to pull yourself out of. You run down that hill without a care in the world, but the trek back is quite the climb.

So don’t go there. And if you are there, go look in the mirror and say nice things to yourself. It sounds stupid, but like I said, the more you say something, the more you believe it.

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Before you go any further down the negative spiral, take a breath. Say to yourself, “You are spiraling. You need to stop before this goes any further.”

Am I asking you not to feel your feelings? No. Not at all.

Your feelings are real and valid. But these thoughts are cropping up because of your feelings, and they are not always true.

Negativity leads to more negativity, so you have to stop before you go too far.

If you continue down the negative spiral in the name of “Feeling your feelings” you’re fooling yourself. This is not helpful. You are punishing yourself by piling on more and more ugly thoughts.

So take a breath. Pause. Say “no” to the ugly thoughts. Do not allow any more to pass through your mind.

So now you’ve stopped the spiral. Yay You!

But there’s still a little ways to go.

Don’t worry, you’ve already finished the hard part.

But it can be easy to slip back into the negativity, so you have to run in the opposite direction.

Photo by Noelle Otto on Pexels.com

It’s called Opposite Action. You can learn about it in the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills Workbook. You should check it out if you’re needing help overcoming overwhelming emotions, or just looking for self-betterment.

You feel pulled toward these negative thoughts, so instead you should seek out positive thoughts.

Let’s start with some opposites to the ugly thoughts that cropped up before.

We did have an argument, but that’s normal in a healthy relationship, and we’re stronger than this fight.
My relationship has more good days than bad.
I am a good partner.
My partner cares about me.
I’m worth time and effort.
I love myself.

Then take it a little further.

What are some redeemable qualities about the relationship?
What is something good that happened recently?
What is something you love about yourself?
What is something you love about your life?
Name 2 things that bring you joy.
Name 3 things you have done that make you proud.

These are just examples, and I encourage you to find whatever works for you.

Just like negative attracts more negative, positive will attract more positive.

Feel your feelings, but don’t let yourself spiral.

You can still acknowledge that something sucked and you’re sad without going down that ugly road.

You’re worth the effort, so don’t let yourself go there.

I know the sadness can be intoxicating sometimes.

Like you’re so angry with yourself that you deserve to feel this pain. So you list all the reasons why.

But you don’t deserve it. There is a child inside you who lacked something growing up, but didn’t have the capacity to fill that void.

You’re grown up now, but you still have to raise that child inside you.

If a 6 year old was sitting next to you, saying all these ugly things, you would stop them. You would tell them how wonderful they are and that things will be brighter soon.

Maybe you should use some of that kindness for yourself too.

Sending love,

MK

When Linux is feeling down, he avoids the negativity spiral by thinking about fetch.
And treats. Lots of treats.

Kindness Is Not Free

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See Disclaimers for more details.

*Trigger Warning*
This post talks about mental health and may be triggering for some readers.

Please seek help if you need it.

Hi there, how are you doing? Have you checked in with yourself lately, taken stock of what you’re feeling physically and emotionally? You can bury a whole lot in the back of your mind. I hope you take some time today to do something that brings you joy ❤

Have you ever heard that saying “Kindness Is Free“?

It’s a nice idea. Kindness costs you nothing, so give it out every chance you get.

Lovely, right?

And I suppose in the capitalist culture we live in, that’s pretty accurate.

It costs no money.

You don’t trade anything of substance for it.

You don’t run it on credit or send someone an IOU.

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But for anyone who has had a bad day, had someone treat them like crap, had a stressful day at work, then chosen to take the high road and speak kindness anyway:

You know it costs something.

It may not cost money… it may be “free” in our society’s terms, but it can be really expensive in immaterial terms.

Let’s be honest, if kindness was free, it wouldn’t be so rare.

I’m not talking about the random, easy kindnesses.

I’m talking about choosing to say something that will protect someone’s heart, when all you want to do is get back at them for their rude comment.

I’m talking about going out of your way to make a new person feel welcome, even though it’s scary and you might be labeled an outsider along with them.

I’m talking about choosing to say kind words to your family, your friend, your partner, when they are making you so angry all you want to do is yell at them.

These acts of kindness are hard.

They take work.

Effort.

You have to swallow your pride and force down the words that are ready to leap off your tongue.

You have to choose something that, frankly, you don’t want to choose.

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I think this is what defines us.

What we choose to do when we’re under pressure.

It’s not being kind when it’s easy, when it’s free, that shows your character. But being kind when it’s hard.

When it costs you something.

Think about a time when you didn’t feel like being kind. Maybe it was an augment with a loved one. Maybe it was a rude coworker. Maybe you were having a bad mental health day and you weren’t sure you had it in you.

Now think about what you said. Were you kind? Or did you act on your impulse?

Did you shout at your loved one and storm away, or did you take their hand and tell them how much they mean to you and that you want to fix this?

Did you write a passive aggressive letter to your coworker outlining their bad behavior, or did you rise above and set a mutually respectful boundary?

Did you inflict the pain you were feeling on others, or did you seek to protect the hearts of others from your pain, and reach out to someone for help?

No judgement here.

Honestly, today my coworker was being rude to me and I snapped at them.

I did not choose kindness. I could have, but I didn’t.

There are a million excuses. It’s really hot out. I’m tired. This person has been rude to me a lot lately. I wasn’t really that rude…

But I’m not defined by situations or the behavior of others.

I’m defined by my choices.

In that moment, I wasn’t kind.

But I will choose kindness next time.

We’re human, we make mistakes. What’s important is that we keep trying.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Choosing kindness is so important, especially in light of the turmoil in our world right now.

People are hurting, but you can’t always tell just by looking at them.

If I am rude to someone, I have no way of knowing that person has been struggling with mental health and I just triggered them.

If I insult someone, I have no way of knowing they have struggled with self image for years and I just set them back.

If I ignore or dismiss someone, I have no way of knowing they have been struggling with feelings of loneliness and lack of self-worth.

I have no idea what is going on in someone else’s life.

I have no way of knowing how my unkindness might affect someone.

So it’s that much more important to choose kindness.

Every chance you get.

Even when it costs you something. Pride. Effort. Attention. Ease.

Sometimes I ask myself, who do I want to be?

Do I want to be the woman who hurts people, or lifts them up?

Do I want my words to make or break someone’s day?

Do I want people to feel the pain that I struggle with day in and day out, or do I want to bring light and life to the people around me?

It’s all a choice.

Every day, every hour, every moment, I can choose who I want to be, how I want to act.

Kindness may not be free, but it’s always worth it.

Sending love,

MK

This boi jumped on my sunburned legs last night and scratched the crap outta me, which was not kind. But then he gave me kisses and snuggles later because he’s been trying to exercise his kindness muscles. He’s proud of his progress.

What is Radical Acceptance?

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Hi there, I hope you did something just for you today ❤ Practicing self care is important, even if others like to call it selfishness. It’s not, you’re just taking care of you. So read a book. Watch a move. Eat ice cream. Do something that brings you joy. You deserve it!

Today I’d like to share about the technique called Radical Acceptance. I learned about it in the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills Workbook. I’ve mentioned this book a few times now, so if you’ve been following along, you can probably tell I like it. A lot.

In truth, I’ve been dealing with some big things. Mental health has always been a struggle for me, and as an adult I’m having to learn things children are usually taught. Emotion regulation. Coping mechanisms. The fact that it’s ok to feel my feelings. Being vulnerable. Self Care. The list goes on.

Woman teaching her child. Learning.
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One thing that has been really helpful in cultivating inner peace is the technique Radical Acceptance. I touched briefly on this technique in my post How to Stop Letting Others Control Your Mood, but I think it warrants its own post.

So what is Radical Acceptance? Basically, it’s when you accept a situation for what it is.

One thing that throws a wrench in this is judgement.

Judgement can have a negative connotation, but it’s actually just coming to a conclusion or making a decision about something.

That person is rude.
That sweater is pretty.
That man is ugly.
That woman is attractive.

The main piece of Radical Acceptance is letting go of these judgements. Letting go of labeling a situation as good or bad, and instead accepting that it just is.

Our examples from before could evolve in our mind to leave either a negative or positive imprint.

That person is rude, and that’s bad.
That sweater is pretty, and that’s good.
That man is ugly, and that’s bad.
That woman is attractive, and that’s good.

Radical Acceptance encourages you to let go of these judgements. To see situations for what they are, then let go of any feelings that crop up. To not seek out whether something is negative or positive, but to simply give it a nod, and move on with our day.

Sounds great, right? But you’ve been making judgements for as long as you could form coherent thought. So where the heck do you start?

Thought, exploration. Judgement. Where do I start?
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One way to start is to take note of how many judgements you make in a day. I actually wrote my judgements down for two days, then went back to see what I had written.

I realized I spent a lot of time labeling things as good or bad, positive or negative. That time, when I could have been living my life, was totally wasted to judgement!

And the worst part? Once I started down a path of judgement, I tended to keep on judging.

I don’t like this sweater.
I don’t like any of my clothes.
I’ve gained a lot of weight recently.
I’m not attractive.
I’m worthless.

See how it can spiral?

What if when I made the judgement “I don’t like this sweater” I simply gave it a nod and moved on?

Yep, I don’t like this sweater. That’s true.

Moving on…

How much more peaceful does that sound?

But sometimes it’s harder to stop that spiral than to simply smile and nod. Sometimes you need to employ a coping mechanism.

What does this look like?

You’re running late for an event. You are feeling stressed. You say to yourself “My partner always makes us late”.

By doing this, you are labeling your partner as a tardy person, possibly implying a lack of respect for the time of others. This stirs up feelings of anger, then old wounds start cropping up.

My partner made us late today.
My partner was also late to that dinner with my family.
My partner doesn’t care about other people’s time.
My partner is just a disrespectful person.
My partner doesn’t care how I feel.

Wow, that escalated quickly…

What can you do when the emotions are intense and you’ve already fallen down the rabbit hole of judgement?

Well, you can choose to crawl back out.

It’s honestly that simple.

My partner does care how I feel.
My partner is not a disrespectful person.
Yes, my partner was late to dinner with my family, but there’s not much you can do when work runs late. And they were pretty stressed that day.
My partner was not the only person running late today, I could have helped them get ready or reminded them of the time sooner.

See how we climbed back out? You’ve reversed the negativity and reminded yourself of reality.

Now, you can accept it.

You’re late. You’re never going to be not late because you were pissed about it. So why not show up late holding your partner’s hand, as opposed to slamming doors and glaring at them across the room?

Accept the situation for what it is, and move on.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Inner peace. Radical Acceptance. Meditation. Happiness.
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That brings us to another key piece of Radical Acceptence: accepting the role you played in the situation.

I know, I know. It’s not fun to think about. Trust me, it’s my least favorite part too. But bear with me, because it’s important.

Let’s circle back to the situation where you and your partner were running late to an event.

Heckin’ frustrating.

I hate being late. I get so stressed out. My anxiety goes through the roof and steam practically shoots out of my ears. It’s not fun – for me or the people around me.

So I employ my coping mechanisms. Some deep breathing, some balloons full of stress and frustration floating away on the breeze. Then I get to Radical Acceptance.

Yep, I’m late. That is a fact.

Now I need to accept that my partner is not the only one who is late today. Yeesh, I know. IT’S ALL THEIR FAULT THOUGH!

But is it?

We had to leave by noon to be on time. I started getting ready at 11 am, which would have been enough time for me. I noticed my partner was still scrolling through the black hole of YouTube, but I decided not to remind them of the time because I’m not their mother. They started getting ready with 10 minutes to spare, and I began to seethe.
They always do this, I say to myself.
We left 20 minutes later than we should have, and I felt angry and like my partner did not care about our plans.

Now, using Radical Acceptance, I will take a look at both of our behaviors.

My partner made an irresponsible decision with time management.
I failed to communicate with my partner that we were getting short on time.
I failed to communicate how I felt when they were late.

Now, let’s take a breath here. This is not to say that you are responsible for your partner’s behavior. You’re not. You are only responsible for your behavior. But, at the end of the day, there are things you could have done differently in order to avoid tardiness, or maybe to avoid bitter feelings between the two of you.

It takes two to have an argument. It also takes two to avoid one.

Radical Acceptance says not to dwell on the what-ifs, but lets just take a detour here…

What if you had told your partner they were running short on time?

Well, they may have thanked you for the reminder and started getting ready. You might have been on time…

Or they may have gotten annoyed at your “mothering” and you would have still been late.

Either way, you did your due diligence. You behaved the best you could.

Now let’s look at the other piece: you lack of communication about your feelings. It is your responsibility as a romantic partner to communicate your feelings. Whether you feel comfortable or not is another story, and one you should broach with your partner or with a trained counselor or therapist.

Your job as a partner is to communicate your feelings, because how else will your partner know when you’re upset?

They’re not psychic, no matter how much you wish them to be.

So, what if you had said, “Hey babe, when you are late, I tend to feel stressed, and sometimes I get angry with you because I feel like you don’t care about my feelings on timeliness.”

Maybe your partner would have heard you, and would have apologized about their tardiness, and for hurting your feelings. Maybe you would have been late, but walked into that event hand-in-hand.

Or maybe they would not have validated your feelings. Which would suck. But then you would use Radical Acceptance to think, yep they didn’t validate my feelings, and that makes me feel sad.

You can then use that knowledge to make informed decisions about the longevity of your relationship.

I suggest counseling if this is the norm. An outside perspective can really work wonders when you’re in the thick of it.

Love. Bonding. Getting along. Couple. Fighting. Coming together. Accepting responsibility. Letting go.
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So now that you’ve learned to accept your responsibility in a situation, as well as your partners, you can accept reality for what it is.

You’re late. Nothing’s going to change that now.

Radical Acceptance allows you to separate your feelings from fact.

Feelings are real, and you should not ignore them. But sometimes they paint a different picture than reality.

Think back to the sweater example. Feelings spiraled out of control and you ended up having some serious hate for your body, when it all started out as not liking a sweater.

So I encourage you to weigh your feelings against fact. Is what you’re feeling really an accurate depiction of reality?

And when you’re in a situation, good or bad, just give it a nod.

Enjoy the feelings of happiness and satisfaction that come along with some situations.

Understand the feelings of sadness or frustration that come along with other situations.

Acknowledge them, and move on with your life.

Seek contentment within yourself, like I mention in this article.

I’d like to mention that part of Radical Acceptance and learning to let go of judgement also means not judging yourself.

You are going to fail sometimes, especially when you first start trying this technique. Judging yourself for making a judgement is the opposite of helpful.

So be kind to yourself.

Acknowledge when you’ve made a judgement, and move on.

If you feel frustrated with your progress or disappointed when you make a judgement of someone, give that feeling a nod, and let it go.

Dwelling on judgements of yourself is no more healthy than dwelling on your judgements of others (or situations). Actually, it kinda defeats the purpose of the whole exercise.

Whatever you do, try not to let your emotions consume you. Feelings come and go like a tide. Make sure that when the tide passes, you have behaved in a way you can feel proud of.

Do your best. That’s all anyone can do.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and learn about situations where you practiced Radical Acceptance in the comments below. Even situations where you totally failed! This is a learning process and we’re here to support each other.

Sending love,

MK

This good boi thinks you’re awesome and is proud of how far you’ve come. He also acknowledges that is technically a judgement, and lets the feeling go so he can go sniff things and lick his butt with inner peace.

How to Stop Letting Others Control Your Mood

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Hi there, I hope you’re doing well. Taking care of myself has always been a struggle for me, but I’ve been making an effort, and I hope you are too ❤

Do you ever find your mood swinging up and down based on the behavior of others? Your friend makes a joke about you and you become sad, dejected. Depression kicks in again and you disconnect from people for fear of what they might say next. Or maybe you and your partner are getting along really well right now, and you feel like you’re floating on air. Your mood is elevated, there’s a true smile on your face, and you feel like you can conquer anything that comes your way.

The problem with hinging your mood on the behavior of others is that, inevitably, people will fail you. I don’t say this to be cynical, or cruel, but just to be real. Humans are selfish by nature. We fail by nature. We say or do the wrong thing, despite our best intentions. Your friend will say something you don’t like one day. I guarantee it. You and your partner will inevitably have a disagreement.

This is normal.

The scary thing is when your mood sways up and down with them.

Sometimes, I felt like I wasn’t in control of my own body. I was a little boat and my emotions were the sea. I never knew what kind of waters I would encounter next. A still, turquoise sea, sunshine reflecting off its surface… or rough waves that threatened to swallow me whole.

The storm of life. Boat on the ocean. Sunny sky. Storm. Overwhelming emotions. turbulent.
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

I knew I needed to take back control, but how?

Well, emotions aren’t really something you can control. You can’t tell yourself to stop feeling upset when you and your partner have a fight any more than you can tell yourself to stop being happy when they bring you flowers or kiss your cheek.

Emotions are real, and they matter. They can be overwhelming, but like the sea, if you learn how to navigate them, they are a lot less daunting.

But how?

The first thing I did when learning to navigate my own emotions was to develop coping mechanisms that could help when the waters started to get choppy.

Argument with a friend? Do some deep breathing.
My partner says something that hurts my feelings? Use positive coping thoughts like “this feeling will pass”.
Work is stressful and my boss is a jerk? Imagine my thoughts and feelings are a balloon floating away on the breeze.

There are lots of ways to cope with stressful situations, these are just a few examples that work for me. I suggest seeking out some positive coping mechanisms that work for you. I found these and many more in the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy Skills Workbook. Check it out if you’re needing some help in this area.

Once I had some coping mechanisms under my belt for in-the-moment feels, I brought the focus back to my whole self. I sought contentment within myself.

What makes me feel happy? Well, I like reading and writing. Also baking and watching Disney movies.

What are some things I can do to seek contentment when I feel down? I could read a book or watch a Disney movie. Sometimes I’ll even have a movie picked out for the next time my mood is down. I’ve found this really helpful because the times when I really need the mindless joy of a funny movie, I have no motivation or desire to pick one out. Up next is Tangled 😉

I also thought about some things that made me feel unhappy. Not just generals like “when me and my partner fight” or “when my friend says something mean” but specifics.

Examples:

I need to feel validated by my partner. When I don’t, I feel sad and unimportant. How do I combat this? Well… I told my partner. Simple, right?

Actually no… not for me. I spent a lot of my life being invalidated by others and being punished when I shared my feelings. Opening up has never been an easy thing for me. But I forced myself to. I shook, I held back tears, I was ready to run.

And do you know what happend?

My partner said he would try harder to validate my feelings and gave me a hug.

That’s it.

I felt a little silly for being so scared.

And I’m so glad I told him, because not only did I gain something that I needed, but we grew closer because of my willingness to be vulnerable.

What’s another thing that makes me unhappy? Well, when people make negative comments about things I can’t really change (my body, my personality, etc.) I feel unloved and worthless.

How do I combat this? Just like with my partner, I told my friend who was doing this to me how I felt.

How did that work out?

Not well… they told me that what they said was perfectly reasonable and that I shouldn’t be so sensitive.

Not great, right?

But the thing is, now I know where I stand. That is not a person I can be vulnerable with. And their apologies may not bring me comfort in the future.

And later, when they realized I had pulled away, they actually came back and apologized. A true apology.

It may not always work out the way you hope it will, but it will always work out how it should.

That brings me to the third thing I did, which involved a technique called Radical Acceptance. I learned about it in the DBT Skills book and it has helped me SO MUCH.

I will do another post on this, but to make a long story short, radical acceptance is all about accepting situations for what they are, instead of what you wish they were.

Real life example:

I’m driving to work and I get stuck in traffic. It sucks. I’m feeling frustrated and stressed. I’m concerned about making it to work on time. My feelings of failure are cropping up. I’m starting to use phrases like “I’m such an idiot” and “Why do I always do this?”

But I’m not going to let myself go there. Why? Because I’m practicing Radical Acceptance. I’m stuck in traffic, yes. I’m late. Yes, it sucks. I feel frustrated, and that’s real. But that’s just where I’m at right now, and worrying won’t solve it. I breathe in, I breathe out. I think back to my coping mechanisms, I stuff my feelings of stress and frustration into a balloon, I open my car window, and I watch it fly away.

Let it go, Elsa.

Letting go. Acceptance. Radical Acceptance. Meditation. Self help.
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It’s easier said than done, I know. But I can honestly say that I have used this technique time and time again. And you know what? It helps. I genuinely feel lighter when I watch those feelings float away.

So why do these techniques help me to control my own mood?

It helps me find peace. It’s that simple.

You can’t shake a tree whose roots are deep.

I find contentment inside myself. Other things can bring me happiness or sadness, but my soul finds contentment and peace of its own accord.

I set the temperature for my mood. I am in control.

Frankly, sometimes I still mess up. The threads slip, and I scramble to regain the control I had.

It happens.

This does not make you a failure, it makes you a student of your mind.

The important thing is that we keep trying. That we keep reminding ourselves who is in charge.

I set the temperature.
The wind and the rain may come, but I steer this boat.

So, keep trying. Keep reminding yourself you are in charge. YOU set the temperature. The wind and the rain may come, but you steer your boat.

I hope that you find some peace within yourself. A warm spot inside your soul that you can call home.

I would love to hear your story. Let me know in the comments below what coping mechanisms you use, and how you find peace within yourself.

We’re all on the same team here, and I would love to lift you up.

Sending love,

MK

This boi says he finds inner peace by skipping other players. Or making them draw 4.

Something New

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Hi there, I’m MK.

It’s always a little nerve-wracking starting something new, but here I am. And here you are! Yay us!

I thought I’d kick things off by sharing a bit about myself. I write (mostly fantasy), and I read (also mostly fantasy). I love to fill my days with artsy projects like writing, painting, drawing, baking… well, you get the idea.

That being said, I’m juggling full-time work, full-time wife-ing, and trying to stay true to my artistic self while not losing my marbles. I’m sure you’re reading this thinking, “Oh wow, MK. That sounds tough. Good thing I’m not busy at all *insert eye-roll here*.”

But don’t worry, that’s why I started this. Let’s do life together. Let’s be busy and stressed, but still seek the goodness in each new day. Let’s do arts and crafts and talk about that time your dog dropped a massive poo on your carpet and you found out by stepping in it. Let’s talk about how much you love your family, but how sometimes you also kinda want to rip your hair out or move to Fiji.

Let’s cut the “I’m perfect” b.s. that seems to be all over the internet.

Let’s embrace our crazy and be imperfect together.

I will share about life, love, art, books, writing, all sorts of things that swirl around in my mind. If that sounds good to you, stick around!

Sending love,

MK