Growth & Change: Envy

Photographer: Nancy Valladolid | Model: Unapologetically Pam
I used to want other people's talents. I would see the way another person dressed and styled pieces in unexpected ways and think, "I want to be like that!" Or I'd hear someone else sing and think, "Man if only my voice could do that, I'd be golden." I saw a picture of Teyana Taylor and thought, "I want my body to look like that." These sound like harmless thoughts, but they were sparked from envy.

I disguised the envy behind the idea of self-improvement. 

I would copy others in order to reach a 'better' version of myself. My mind hid away the envy in my subconscious. At the forefront of my mind was, "I'm doing this to 'better' myself." So I'd work out incessantly and count calories to look like someone else. I'd practice vocal runs and impressions to sound like someone else. I'd spend hours in my wardrobe trying to figure out how to force myself to dress like an artist or hipster.

When we think about envy, we often think about BIG things: jealousy of the things someone has or owns: wealth, a huge house, a huge car, an esteemed job title, etc. These are all true examples of things we can envy, but we cannot neglect the more hidden ways we are envious: such as jealousy of personalities,  traits, features, or talents.

When I was hiding behind the disguise of 'self-improvement,' I convinced myself that I was just inspired by others and wanted to take it upon myself to be better. And, truthfully, you absolutely can be inspired when you see someone doing well. But when you see that post about another's blessings, before you make an effort to change, ask yourself,  "Am I inspired or am I jealous and wanting that for myself?"

There is a difference between being inspired by someone and obsessing about becoming like someone.

I could say all day that I was working out because I wanted Teyana Taylor abs. I could have said that I was practicing those vocal runs because I want to keep improving. I could say that I was using those creative artistic dress styles for motivation. But truthfully? I was doing these things because I thought they were BETTER than what I have to offer the world. I thought Teyana's body was BETTER. I thought other voices were better. I thought other styles were better. 

But they're NOT better. They are just different. Those people are working with their talents. And I need to work with mine.

What I've learned about envy is that it robs you of all the things that make you beautiful, smart, unique, creative, and gifted.

Jealousy is an act of violence against the self.

Undoing envy and this thought that others are 'better' has allowed me to embrace my strengths more. And the remarkable thing? I found that as I learned to love the things that make me unique and beautiful, I became more thankful and appreciative of others talents rather than being envious. You are YOU, and I am me. I love my body, my voice, my style, and my life.


Growth & Change: Get Lost ♥

Photo by: CreateHer Stock

When was the last time you relaxed? Like really, really relaxed? Turned off your phone and notifications, gone out to dinner without distraction, kicked your feet up and watched a movie, and allowed your mind to rest?

I feel like many of us struggle to fully disconnect. That's certainly true for me. During the week, I work really hard. I give of myself in my professional and personal relationships. I'm always coaching, budgeting, planning, organizing, writing, consulting, etc. Sometimes, I forget to eat lunch. There are nights when I lay down and I'm already thinking of to-do lists for the next day. And still, even when I can't sleep, I often feel as if I haven't done enough. 

Can anybody relate?

When I started to notice bags under my eyes, a persistent headache, and upper back pain, I really had to take inventory of my life. I want work that is fulfilling, challenging, and rewarding. And when it is time to close the laptop and leave the office, I want to be present at home. I desire to be present with myself. I crave balance. And I wish the same for all of you. My advice for all of you hard-working, selfless, hyper-achieving, motivated folks out there:

Don't work so much that you forget to live and enjoy the fruits of that labor.

A key component of that enjoyment is relaxation. To relax means to make or become less tense or anxious. How can we become less tense? Less anxious? I have tried many things. Only a few have really stuck with me. 

1. Meditation
I've spoken about this a bit during this series so I won't go too much into it. Meditation and prayer helps to de-clutter my mind. Once again, my favorite meditation app is Stop, Breathe, and Think. It is a free app and I really feel that you won't regret trying it.

2. Phones Off
I know, I know, it's hard. It's so tempting to get lost in the world of twitter, instagram, and facebook. If you struggle to disconnect, I encourage you to set a time frame where you will check those apps. Give yourself 10-15 minutes. Then turn it off! It will do wonders for your mental space.

3. Get Lost
What is something that you can really get lost in? Is it a warm bath? A long walk? Cooking? Movies? A good book and a glass of wine? Whatever that 'something' is for you, set aside time at the end of your week (or whenever you need!) to just get lost. This is a great expression of your love for you

I cannot stress enough the importance of self-care. It is tempting to neglect yourself while caring for your family, your job, your relationships, etc. But please remember:

The best way to be fully present with others is to be fully present with yourself. The best way to care for others is to care for yourself.

Relax. You're worth it.


Growth & Change: Actions

Photo by: CreateHer Stock

It took me a long time to accept the fact that I cannot control other people's actions. That sounds like a no-brainer, but really think about it. How often are you in a good mood and then an irrational driver cuts you off in traffic, and suddenly you become filled with road rage, you speed up, flip them off, and race away? We often will change our actions/responses according to how others behave.

For example, I once had a co-worker who had the worst attitude in the mornings. Most days, this co-worker would walk in the door and not speak to anyone. At first, I took it personal. When they would walk in the door, I would immediately feel tension. I eventually stopped speaking in the morning, to accommodate the culture this co-worker was creating. It got to the point where everyone in the office would be quiet for an hour or so in the morning. Over a few months, the mood became grumpy.

Finally one day, I thought - WAIT A MINUTE! This is just not who I am. Sure this co-worker may be in a bad mood every morning. I can't control their actions. But I can control my own. I decided from that day forward that not only would I cheerfully say, "Good morning!" every day, I would also play music to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere. I started arriving to work early to ensure that I had time to settle in before this colleague arrived so that we could set a different tone in the building.

And you know what? It worked! My colleagues became more joyful. We laughed more. By not allowing that one person's actions to determine my response, I became more of myself.

The example above is a little bit easier to digest. But what about when it's hard? What about when you and your significant other have gotten into a huge fight and you're both waiting to see who will be the first to apologize? What about when your family member says something racist and you have the opportunity to speak out, but you hesitate? What about when there is an injustice happening in your workplace, something that goes against your values - how do you respond?

This idea that you cannot control other people's actions is real. But you can control your actions. You can control how you respond. You can decide to speak up in that meeting when something sexist was said. You can call out that family member for their racism. And on the lighter side, you can still choose to say, "Thank you!" to the cashier who was rude to you while you were checking out at the corner store.

A huge step on the journey to becoming unapologetically yourself is to acknowledge that you matter. 

How you respond when the actions of others are less than ideal add to your character, for better or worse. Your actions and responses matter.

Your voice is important. Your perspective is valuable. Your presence has significance

You cannot control other people's actions, but you can control your response. And that gives you even more freedom to be you.

Copyright © 2017 Unapologetically Pam. All rights reserved. Powered by Blogger.