Love Yourself Anyway

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here. Too long, I think, although God might tell you otherwise.

I needed time to figure myself out which is something that I absolutely hate admitting. I tend to pride myself on being self-aware. Therefore, each time I learn a new thing about myself, I think, “That’s it! This is the ticket! Surely there’s nothing else for me to learn about myself! I can’t imagine being any more self-aware than I am right now!”

These are precisely the moments that God likes to take me down off the pedestals I’ve precariously crafted and sat myself upon.

Now, let me clarify: I’m a soul-searcher. I will soul-search until the day’s end and then keep searching. I guess that’s because half of me is introverted. Sometimes, though, this really leads to some problems.

I get too tangled in my thoughts, and maybe that’s anxiety—but maybe it’s just a part of who I am. Still, I’ve had to learn to accept this part of me for what it is. I overthink everything, I rationalize bad behaviors, I dwell on the negative parts of myself because I am constantly looking for something to fix.

Admitting this is one thing, but accepting it is another. It was a process, and oh boy, did I fail a lot—but I learned to accept myself for who I am, just as I am, in whatever stage I’m in. Now, yes, there are still things that I recognize as something that needs to be changed. For instance, perhaps it’s not the most healthy to “dwell on the negative” parts of yourself. In fact, I promise you: it’s not. But once you accept that (insert action here) is something that you do, something that may even be large enough to define you, you can acknowledge it, love yourself anyway, and change it in a way that’s positive rather than looking at yourself as a broken toy that needs to be fixed.

The more you see yourself as broken, the more broken you will allow yourself to become. And my beautiful, wonderful, lovely friends, that’s just not okay.

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More Than Caffeine.

Coffee shops are mental safe houses for some of us with overactive brains. Something about it soothes, and it seems to be where I am the most productively thoughtful.

The hissing of the espresso machine, the whirring of the blender, the white noise of deep and meaningless chatter, the soft hum of semi-alternative folk music, the barista who calls out random names and fancy drinks, and best of all the buzz of caffeine in my veins.

It’s quiet, and the sounds that should be loud never are. Perhaps the cacophony of obscure sounds mix together in a way that touches the soul and pacifies the mind, or maybe the low-lighting and euphoric atmosphere just really hones our senses.

I don’t know, and I don’t care.

I refuse to see the science behind it because then the magic of an unflawed coffee-space is lost.

When in need of a day to yourself, I urge you to go. Sit in a shop with a book, a sketchpad, something that you can use in a productive manner and see what happens.

If you’re anything like me, you’re in store for a lovely, restoring and peaceful day.

Whether it’s Starbucks or a local hole-in-the-wall, there is a special sort of charm that is only found in a coffee shop.

Repeat After Me

Repeat after me:

“I am strong. I am enough. I am worthy.”

Or perhaps you’d rather something more like this:

“Today, you are perfect. You are fearless.”

Or maybe fitness mantras are more your style:

“One more. Stay focused. Make like Forrest.”

It’s called psycho-cybernetics, training yourself to repeat certain affirmations regularly. Just as people who practice making free throws in their mind do just as well as those who physically make free throws till the day’s end, people can train themselves to believe something just by constant repetition.

Think back to your days in grade school. Memorization and repetition was a key to success. You may have rolled your eyes at the idea of flashcards right on into college, but there is something to it. Otherwise you wouldn’t still remember the words in PEMDAS, the names of the bones in your arm, or the words to that one song that you learned in first grade that lists the months of the year.

Human beings have understood the weight of repetition on the mind for years which is why psycho-cybernetics is so commonly (if not knowingly) practiced. The idea is that you don’t even need to believe whatever it is that you’re telling yourself, but through the sheer art of repetition, one is conditioned to conform their behaviors to their affirmation. Therefore, a person can learn to love themselves by repeating the phrase “I love myself unconditionally” regularly.

This goes to show that we, as a civilization, acknowledge the power of repetition.

Which only brings me to wonder… Why, then, do people even bother with watching the news?

Now, I do think that we should be informed citizens, but I don’t think that in today’s world the news is the only way.

The issue behind television programming is that humans love drama. So, we instinctively want to see said drama on TV. If everything was going well, we wouldn’t want to watch the news. No one wants to see clean rivers, happy school children, or a functioning government on television because it isn’t entertaining.

As a result, we get murders and dysfunction and crime. Over, and over, and over again. Through this repetition alone, we are training our minds in destructive thought patterns—because that’s what we see and therefore think—but it’s sort of the exact opposite of what our silly, hokey mantras are trying to change.

My argument is not that we should all just turn off the flow of current events into our homes—it’s important to be at least a little informed. I just urge us to consider the way we receive our information and the way that it is affecting our inner minds, the ones we work so hard to convert to positivity.

“I will read. I will listen. I will watch.”

It must have been a simpler time when television didn’t exist.

Do you think that the radio was less dramatic? Or maybe the telegram?

Dear Future Husband

Dear Future Husband,

I hope that you’re happy, that you’re enjoying your youth, and that you’re as excited to be put into my life as I am to be a part of yours.

Please be patient with me. It’ll take some time for me to completely open up, but I promise I’ll get there if you give me a little while. Hearts are fragile and rejection hurts—so I tend to keep mine to myself a bit more than I should. I know that we’re supposed to love like broken hearts don’t exist, and I will, but maybe not right away.

There are so many things that I’m excited to share with you, but some I’m afraid to as well. The past is a hard thing to dig through, so sometimes it seems easier for me to hide my shovel. But I promise to help you hold yours if you help me with mine.

Know that I’m not nearly as smart as I think I am. Don’t be afraid to challenge me. Someone who can stretch me beyond my limits is dire. I hope that we, together, will help each other grow—mentally, physically, and spiritually. I hope that we make each other want to be better people and that we will bring out the best parts of who we are when we’re together.

I hope that God is letting you know that I’ve been praying for you, and I can’t wait to know you. I pray that you and I can build a foundation of God so that we can flourish with and through Him so that, together, we can laugh at the days to come.

Know that I wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s just that, sometimes, I like to really layer up with cardigans and jackets, and it may take a bit of work to actually find the sleeve that I’ve put my heart on.

I want to thank you in advance for understanding my humor, likely mocking my verbose and obnoxious use of language, putting up with my big, crazy family, and for proving to me that earthly, romantic love in its purest form can really exist.

I plan to love you, and I need you to know that once God puts you, the right guy, into my life, only He will have ever loved you more.

With love,

Your Future Wife

A Quick Little Vegan Q&A

**DISCLAIMER** This blogpost is a little academic in quality, and a bit longer than my normal ones. However, it’s got a lot of good information!!! Give it a quick read if you’re curious!

I went vegan four years ago. It was one of the greatest decisions I’ve ever made in my entire life. Every time someone new hears about my lifestyle choice, I get a lot of questions. I thought maybe I’d take the time to answer a few.

Why did you go vegan?

I (originally) went vegan for the health benefits. How can you argue with research? According to the World Health Organization, as stated in their report “Human Vitamin and Mineral Requirements,” ”households should select predominantly plant-based diets rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits… with [minimal] amounts of added flesh foods.” In this report, they prove that a largely plant-based diet is the healthiest lifestyle.

Bonus points if you look up what IGF-1 is. (Hint: It’s in animal products, and it’s not good for you.)

There have been people who, when diagnosed with cancer, switched to a completely raw food diet (consisting of only fruits and vegetables). According to Dr. Greger, author of the NY Times best seller How Not to Die, nearly all of them, except those who were diagnosed too late, went into permanent remission. To me, that sounds a lot like a cure.

My family has a long history of chronic health problems (like heart disease and cancer!), so I figured that it would be best to take preventative measures. ALSO—I had a lot of goals that I wanted to reach in terms of fat loss and fitness. Veganism helped me get there.

Okay, but like… what do you even eat?

And to that, my friend, I would ask the snarky question: “Have you ever eaten an apple?”

In all seriousness, I’ve never felt deprived because of my decision to go vegan. I don’t eat meat, fish, eggs, or dairy (yes, that means no cheese), or anything else that may come from an animal—period. That leaves SO MANY FOOD GROUPS. Anything that doesn’t scream, squeal, or bleed is game.

My food is good. If you take the time to learn how to cook for yourself (if you’re someone who’s not already used to doing so), you can learn so many tips and tricks that make your food delicious.

BUT DUDE, what about your BROTEIN intake???

Have you ever heard of a person, a vegan, dying from a protein deficiency? As long as you’re eating enough, you’ll be just fine. And, if you weight lift, or you feel that you need a bit more for any reason, there are lots of protein powders, bars, cookies, etc.

Still, I stand by the fact that you can get all the protein you need by eating your normal plant foods as long as you’re getting an ample amount of food. Plus, you can always make sure that you’re getting plenty of beans, nuts, legumes, and other protein rich plant foods.

What do you mean veganism is good for the environment?

Along the way, I started to learn more and ethics became a huge part of my choice. The animal agriculture industry is the actual worst, and not even just in terms the abuse inflicted on the animals (which is horrible), but it’s responsible for a large portion of deforestation, pollution, and is taking up SO MUCH WATER.

Fun facts:

  • The United States ALONE grows enough food to feed 10 billion people (take a moment to acknowledge that there are less than 8 million people on earth and a large portion of them are starving) and 70-80% of that goes to feed animals—not people.
  • Livestock covers over 45% of the Earth’s land.
  • Transportation only accounts for 13% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock and their byproducts account for 51%.
  • If we don’t reverse the damage being done by the animal agriculture industry, we’ll see lifeless oceans by 2048.
  • Livestock require a lot of water.
    • 2,500 gallons of water are required to produce one pound of beef.
    • 477 gallons are required to produce 1 pound of eggs.
    • 900 gallons are needed for 1 pound of cheese.
    • 1,000 gallons are required to produce 1 GALLON of milk—if that’s not a visual, I don’t know what is.

Do you care about ethics?

I do, very much so. But unfortunately, most people don’t, so it tends to be what I talk about the least. If you really want to see the abuse that goes on in the industry, do a quick google. You can see that male chicks are ground up alive just moments after hatching as they have no value—they won’t produce eggs. You can see that cows develop attachments to their young, just like we do, but their calves are ripped from them at birth to maximize profit, and the males are immediately killed for veal because they can’t produce milk. And this is just scratching the surface.

I recommend “If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls,” a video made by Paul McCartney. You can find it on YouTube.