Jude

I am your Empathetic Oracle, what makes me qualified for such a title? Allow me to explain. Wasn’t until a few years ago that I decide to use all of my personal experiences to help others. I have always been a very empathetic person and that is partially because of everything that I have been through in life. I have fought through depression, suicidal tendencies and thoughts. High stress situations, and what has felt like unimaginable heartbreak. I have a very colorful background and instead of dwelling on my past and letting it control me, I have learned from it and want to share what I have learned with others who may be feeling the same way, or going through these similar situations and just want help. A big part of what I offer is privacy. I know how hard it can be to open up to a stranger so think of me as your diary that writes back. Simple put I am here to listen, and offer my guidance, opinion, or suggestion. There is absolutely no judgement on anything you have done, or are thinking. We are human beings and subject to constant mistakes and that is okay.
I am your Empathetic Oracle, what makes me qualified for such a title? Allow me to explain. Wasn’t until a few years ago that I decide to use all of my personal experiences to help others. I have always been a very empathetic person and that is partially because of everything that I have been through in life. I have fought through depression, suicidal tendencies and thoughts. High stress situations, and what has felt like unimaginable heartbreak. I have a very colorful background and instead of dwelling on my past and letting it control me, I have learned from it and want to share what I have learned with others who may be feeling the same way, or going through these similar situations and just want help. A big part of what I offer is privacy. I know how hard it can be to open up to a stranger so think of me as your diary that writes back. Simple put I am here to listen, and offer my guidance, opinion, or suggestion. There is absolutely no judgement on anything you have done, or are thinking. We are human beings and subject to constant mistakes and that is okay.
Jude: Love Knows No Bounds – Pride Month

Jude: Love Knows No Bounds – Pride Month

With June being pride month I wanted to talk a little about love and how it really doesn’t matter what your sex is. By now in our lives we’ve all said the word, most of us have experienced the different types. Hell, we’ve even asked why. We’ve been hurt because of it, and we’ve been the happiest in our lives because of it. The word affects us all so much in so many different ways.

-LOVE-

Sure, you can be one of those people who use science to determine the reason behind the feelings of love. However, for so many of us it is so much more than just science. We love with our minds, sure, but with our hearts and souls as well. I  am one who believes that once we love someone we will always love them; it may fade with time, but it will never truly go away. To love someone is to give a part of yourself to that person. I believe that’s why it hurts us so much when we can’t be with them. We are losing a piece of ourselves and that’s always a painful experience. We take the time and mend and move on but you can only heal so much.  The “falling” stages of love is when we really begin to think about the specifics. What is that makes us fall in love with someone? Many of us tend to look for the same qualities in a person and those qualities often lead to love. There will always be one that means more than the others, but they all play a special role. See, the qualities vary from, “they are so kind,” “to they have this way with others,” to “I like how I feel when I’m with them.” Maybe you love them for being inspirational to you. Maybe, just maybe, you don’t actually have any one reason why you love them, and that is okay too. The phrase I love the most about love is “you can’t help who you love, you’re not supposed to.” Sure that may be more relying on fate, but even if you don’t believe in that you still can’t deny that frequently, when asked why you love someone, your reply is “I don’t know, or I just do.”

The overall truth  is that the reasons you love a certain person is for the type of person they are. It has nothing to do with if they have brown or blonde hair, brown or blue eyes, or even if they are male or female. Something that I have always believed is that true love exists when we love the person for their soul and mind, not for their physical appearance. If you are lucky enough to find someone in this crazy chaotic world of ours and you happen to fall in love, why should it matter or be considered “wrong” if they happen to be of the same sex? I believe the answer is that it shouldn’t.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that appears to always be looking for a reason to hate. People believe their ways to be absolutely right and they tend to be the ones who hate the most. And it’s all towards other individuals who are only trying to love and be loved. Who are they to decide who gets to experience such a gift as that? We have a divide in so many aspects of our lives and world, why are we adding more fuel to the fire?  It is usually not until it affects them personally that they will change their mind, or even become open to the idea. I was very lucky to be raised by an open hearted, and understanding mother. She taught me that all people are just that, people. All life is to be valued and no one person is better than the other. I have seen the struggle that some people go through to come out to their parents, friends, or other family members. It has always baffled and infuriated me. We live in a world that shows so much fear and prejudice toward people because of who they love. How is that okay?

If you are someone who is afraid of coming out, I say don’t be.

Embrace who you are, and maybe just start by telling one person. Or practice in front of a mirror, telling yourself who you are and, most importantly, that you’re PROUD to be that person. Don’t be afraid! I do caution to be tactful; the society we live in today is not always welcoming. People will always try to tell you that you are right or wrong. Sometimes I think we just get bored and are trying to think of new ways to entertain ourselves, and oftentimes that entertainment is has negative consequences.

Now, I know that some people just simply won’t agree and refuse to change their opinions, and that’s okay. I personally wish they would change, but it is not my place to try and force someone to change. My only suggestion to those people is if you happen to not appreciate the love that two people are sharing, then just ignore it. It’s not your life and it is not affecting you, so why let your anger get in the way? There are billions of people on this Earth and it is so easy to distract yourself and let people love who they want. We all want less hate in the world, so why are we trying to stop the love from spreading?

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Hey Jude: Stop Having Missed Opportunities

Hey Jude: Stop Having Missed Opportunities

At what point in our lives do we start to take control of what we want? When do we stop having missed opportunities? The answer to both those questions is simple: It’s whenever you decide.

Think about it. What are the most common regrets people have? Usually the missed opportunities they had in life. Personally, I have had more than a handful of missed opportunities, some more major than others, even missed relationships. Now, I am one of those people who believes everything happens, or doesn’t happen, for a reason. I know you are probably thinking how annoying those people are. I don’t disagree, but just because I do believe that statement does not mean that I am not still saddened or bothered by my missed opportunities. For some of the things I missed, the only person to blame for that is myself, because I did not take charge and speak up about what was ahead of me or what I wanted and now I have to live with that regret.

The good news is that I can choose not to live with it forever. Sure, the regrets I have are both big ones and small ones, but it is fun to add the experiences I missed out on to my list of future plans. Now that I’m older I will have to adjust these plans a little bit, but I am happy they have appeared back on my map.

A lot of what holds us back, and causes us to have so many regrets is a not-so-fun, four-letter F word: FEAR. We are so afraid of the outcome of doing something that we only ever see the negative side, and do not allow ourselves to see the possible positive outcomes. This can apply to relationships or just something as simple as applying to college, or following a dream you once had.

I recently got see the positive side of what happens when you don’t let the fear control you and put something off just because you fear failure. A special person close to me just achieved a dream that he’s had for as long as I have known him. I got to see how it was stressful, and seemed it would never come to light, but that first day of his dream becoming a reality was simply magical. Being able to be a part, and see how hard work, and perseverance, and most importantly strength in yourself, pays off was really an eye opener for other aspects of my life.  

I could really relate to doing something scary; for me it was starting Hey Jude, and writing to help others. Sharing my stories, my experiences, and my pain with others, is a terrifying experience every month for me. At the same time, if my advice can help just one person, then I am beyond thankful and believe it is worth fighting the fear of sharing. I started writing as a lone person, but soon I was asked to be a part of the Protagonist team, and I will never forget that day. It meant the world to me that something I never really thought would grow, could!

In high school I had an amazing choir teacher who always told us that we should audition for everything. You can get 99 no’s, but all it takes is that one yes to make all the difference. Now it’s time to put your fear on the back burner and dive in! You might really surprise yourself. As for the relationship side of things, the hopeless romantic in me always encourages the same. If you care about someone you should tell them. Even if they do not reciprocate your feelings, it will make you feel better. Knowing is always going to be better than all the “what if” questions. And on the flip side, everyone in the world deserves to be told someone cares about them. It is always a nice feeling! Besides, you never know when they may need that someday and hearing it can make all the difference.

At the end of the day we all have our little regrets, and the only person we can blame is ourselves. Our fear of the negative outcome, or failing, is the lock on our cages. Set yourselves free, and think to yourself: Even if I fail, even if it doesn’t turn out how I wanted, at least I did it, and I can try again!

Posted by Jude in Hey Jude, Reflections, 0 comments
Jude: The Key to Your Relationships Is Your Communication

Jude: The Key to Your Relationships Is Your Communication

We’ve all heard that communication in relationships is the key to a happy, successful relationship. How many of us have actually put that to the test? I am not just talking about romantic relationships, but also relationships with parents, friends, or even co-workers. Take it from someone who never liked to talk to anyone about anything: it actually really does help.  

Why don’t you really ask yourself these questions: How do you expect to solve a problem or express your feelings if you don’t talk about what’s bothering you? Or, what your problem is. Now I know communication may be sort of terrifying. If you find it overwhelming, I suggest doing something really subtle to start. For example, I would always write notes to my parents when I was little. I wanted to tell the people close to me how I felt about something but was always to ashamed or afraid of how they would react. This may have been a little life foreshadowing for how my future would play out. When I have an issue with someone I care about and I need to talk about it with them, I am so afraid of hurting them and seeing that hurt in their eyes that I chicken out. Then I am left with more pent-up feelings of all sorts—anger, guilt, resentment—towards the person I am trying to communicate with, and toward myself. I guess sometimes we don’t really realize how not communicating can cause so many problems.

Let’s take personal aspect of the relationship out of it for a moment. Think of a scenario at work. You have a team that needs to work on a big project with each other, but no one communicates. Instead of talking and brainstorming together, you are all left with half-finished projects and one or all of you could be affected by the consequences. Or you simply cannot do your best work because you need someone in another department to finish a task. Instead of asking them for their assistance, maybe you decide to take matters into your own hands. But that could only just cause more problems. Suppose the other person had not finished their task because there was an underlying issue they needed to resolve first. Now you have just created more work, and caused some tension between you and your co-worker all because you didn’t want to try and communicate with them.  Why would you want to risk that over something as small as a fear of communicating? 

There are some easy things you can keep in mind when you are trying to communicate better at work. You want to be sure that you are very clear in what you are trying to get across. Always re-read an email at the least twice before sending it. If it is a longer one, maybe have someone else look it over for you. Being concrete is important, because you want to make sure there is a clear picture of what you are saying. Confusion often leads to frustration and more problems. Also, make sure you are being courteous; I myself will often re-read my emails and find a line that may sound as if I have an inappropriate attitude towards the person I am writing to. It’s important to remember there is no contextual tone in an email as there is when you are talking over the phone or in person. Keep these things in mind and you may be surprised to see how much better your work week can be.

Let’s go back to communicating with a significant other. Here’s an example from my personal experience: I had a few months when things with my now-fiancé and I were not golden. It was very obvious that we had issues and they were not being worked on. Months went by and nothing was getting better; things between us were only getting worse. The main issue? We were not communicating about what was going on with us personally, as well with us as a couple. I really didn’t want to give up on so many years together, or on all that we had been through. I felt deep down we could get through this. So we slowly began to talk, and I realized I had a lot more that needed to be said if our relationship was going to work. Still terrified that I might hurt him, I decided to start small, and would either send a text to express my immediate emotions for something, or hand write a letter to him. I know that as an adult in a serious relationship, that can seem childish, but as I said earlier I can’t stand to see the hurt in someone’s eyes, even if it’s for a greater good. The writing became less and less necessary as verbal communication became more frequent. Turns out, a big root issue was that we weren’t talking. We left each other to our wildest imaginations on what the other was thinking and feeling. More often than not, we were both VERY wrong.

You cannot let your fears of hurting someone stop you from expressing your feelings. Try all you can to start small and get your point across. Remind yourself to keep calm, but get your point out. Give time for the other person to also respond. Do your very best to not let emotions get the better of you, because no one needs to get hurt. Starting an argument is not the result you want here. Remember, the point of communication is to resolve an issue, or express how something may have made you feel. Anger may lead you to say something you don’t really mean, or which won’t help your situation get any better. If you’re like me and still find talking face to face uncomfortable, try to find something to do while you talk. Maybe go for a walk, or clean the house. I find if I am able to keep myself moving or a little busy it is easier for me to communicate calmly and not get angry as easily.

Trying something new is always a little scary and nerve racking. Let my experience and advice help you to start your own understanding to becoming a better communicator.

 

Posted by Jude in Hey Jude, Reflections, 0 comments
How to Pull Yourself Out of the Darkness

How to Pull Yourself Out of the Darkness

How often do we really pay attention to what our bodies are telling us? I have always been one to overexert and push myself way beyond my limits, and unfortunately it hasn’t been until lately that I’ve really started to listen to my body. No matter how much it may make me feel like I can’t do this or that, I know that I am not shirking my responsibilities, but I am doing it for my better self. Also, it’s important not only for my physical health but also my mental health. As someone who has dealt with/is dealing with the darkness of depression, I often forget just how fragile my mind can be. Did you know, for example, that stress alone can be harmful to your physical body? It actually weakens your heart, causing many problems, the most common being a heart attack. But that barely scratches the surface—hair loss, loss of appetite, weight gain, and fatigue are all symptoms of stress.

As of late, I have been experiencing all of this. On top of all that, I have also been very tempted to go back to my deepest, darkest days, to go back down that rabbit hole and revert back to my old habits that I thought were helping me but I know were only making things worse. I find myself going through the same thoughts, which I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking: What do I do? How do I make it stop? And wanting it all to just go away. For all the times I have said these things to myself, one thing I always reminded myself is that I’ve come this far. I made it through so much worse. Yes, I still feel pain and sadness, but I see the light; no matter how faded, I see it. I  remind myself to think of all I have fought for—personally, and emotionally.

All that being said I wanted to share how I climb out of my darkness, my hole.  It’s a rough fight, I won’t lie. I often start very small and go through the things I feel thankful for. For me it helps to not actually think of myself, but to think of all the other people in the world and all the things they might be going through. I recently had a conversation with a homeless person that left me almost angry with myself for having these feelings. Here was this wonderful man before me with not a touch of sadness in his eyes. He was living a better life than I was at that moment and I was ashamed to be thinking less of myself.

I often also think of all the other horrible things that are going on in the world that haven’t actually touched me personally. I guess you could say I try to make myself feel small in this large, large world, and that gives me a sense of space to allow myself to breathe again. After I don’t feel so surrounded and suffocated, I think of the personal things I have fought through in life, even if little. I get up every morning and realize I have two legs to stand on and am thankful for that. Despite the mental health and stress issues I face, overall I am healthy. Again, those are just the little things I think to myself that I know will mean something to me; everyone is different, and you may have a different perspective to take. When being thankful doesn’t seem to work, I turn to meditation. There are so many different kinds of meditation out there that you are bound to find one to help you. I have done multiple different ones and now seems I have a different variation for every mood.

Finally, something else I truly find that helps is an escape. If you can, try and get away for either an hour or maybe even a weekend. Thanks to my wonderful sister, I am often allowed to escape to her house across the country. Being with her and back home gives me time to myself and time to reflect on all the things that have been piling on over the months. I also love being in nature to reflect, calm, center, and strengthen myself. I highly encourage going out in nature to those who are struggling to find a way to feel like themselves. Go for a walk, go camping even. If you aren’t really an outdoors type, maybe just sitting on your porch for a little while can help.  “Me time” is always beneficial, and even though being alone with your thoughts can be scary, it may surprise you to learn what you can overcome on your own.

Lastly, I want to express how important is to talk to someone, be it a friend, a parent, professional or even me. The true path to healing has to start somewhere, and it doesn’t have to be a path you walk alone.

Posted by Jude in Hey Jude, Reflections, 0 comments
Jude: Thankfulness in the Month of Love

Jude: Thankfulness in the Month of Love

The last few weeks have really tested me, and I thought I would share on my struggles and how I overcame them. Despite all the positives in my life, I do have those days where I feel so defeated. I feel I have not only let myself down, but I have let down everyone around me in some way or another. On these days I sometimes forget how allowing even that one negative thought in can really impact the rest of my day. This negativity stayed with me for a few days, and I really struggled to stay happy and find a way to remain positive.

This past weekend I had a sort of epiphany. I realized how much taking a deep breath and stepping back helps. Gathering some perspective helps to calm me, and I also realized how much a good support system is worth having. With that in mind, let me take this time to call out a special thanks to a few of you who have helped me without you even knowing you do.

To my cousins: Now that we live close to each other, being able to spend time with you and see how you have grown in life gives me hope for my own future. You have had your own struggles, both personally and as couples, and I feel humbled and awed at the strength you have shown through the years (and continue to show). I am always happy to be around all your positive energy, and I find it is always needed even when I least expected it. You all mean more than you know to me and have taught me so much. I thank you for the strength, courage, and humility you have taught me.

To my fellow Protagonists: We have grown closer as we continue to conquer this quest we’ve begun. You not only allow me to share and grow with you, but you help to inspire my thoughts, emotions, and make me a better oracle. Your warm words of wisdom and constructive criticism are always a happy welcome. You push me to be better each month and I take the challenge with great determination to not let you down. You not only encourage me to share but make feel more comfortable to share my experiences and not be ashamed of my past.

To my dearest friend: You have shown me such courage. You did something I could not do years ago—you took control when it seemed things were lost. You have grown up so much in last few months, and I am so honored to have been a part of your changes. I love seeing how much happier you are and how you enjoy living life after so many trapped years. To me, you are the definition of living life to the fullest. My beautiful butterfly, you are.

To my future husband: You do so much for me that there are not enough words, so I’ll try and sum up. You know how to push me to be better without pushing me away or pushing too hard. You push me to be myself, do things for me, and do them on my own. You know, even when you just want to hold me, that to be strong again I need to find my own feet and do it alone. You also know when I need help the most and am too weak to ask for it. You allow me to do things I believe are better for me, and when I am wrong you never dwell on my mistakes, but understand and move on with me. I love you because you helped me to love myself again. Every argument we have, every crying-laughing moment, is equally as beneficial for our future. I know we will be happy because we allow each other to grow as individuals and we can grow as a couple. You make me not afraid to share my past, as you have taught me to learn from the past and move on.

The best thing I have learned from all of these people, and so many more, is that you really aren’t alone in life. I want to challenge you to take a step back. Try and observe an individual, try and really see and imagine what that person is like. Not only will it help to distract you for a little while, but it may also help remind you that we aren’t alone. There are so many people in the world, and it’s so easy to forget that. With the way things are these days, we don’t have much of a connection with people in our neighborhood or community. We sometimes get so self-involved and closed off.

So, not only do I challenge all of you to try and imagine a different lifestyle, I also want you to do one kind thing to a stranger every day. Hold a door open, let someone in front of you in traffic. Say hello to your neighbor, buy the person behind you a cup of coffee. Anything, large or small. Since this is the month of love, why not spread some? Doing a kind act for a stranger can be something you look back on when you are having a bad day, and can help you find that strength you are missing.

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Why Your Grief Should Be Given Its Due

Why Your Grief Should Be Given Its Due

We have all had lots of different types of relationships in our lives: parents, cousins, coworkers, and friends. From the time we are children until the end of our lives, we will form hundreds of different relationships with people. Many relationships will last throughout our lifetime; however, there will be the select few that don’t always last. Most of the time those that don’t last tend to be simple friendships. By moving away or simply growing up, people develop and change and drift apart. Nothing wrong there; that is just basic evolution. Sometimes you may have a relationship that, no matter how it developed or how it ended, still ended and that ending was not easy. You are left feeling as though you lost that person forever.

I learned recently about a type of grief called ambiguous grief, which mostly describes when a loved one is ill and you are about to lose them, but I also feel that this type of grief applies to the ending of a relationship. Whether it be a friendship or a romance, I believe you still go through this grief. You go from talking and spending all the time you can together to—nothing. You are left to deal with a hole in what was your normal life. You essentially have to go through the grieving process.

I don’t know how many of you have actually experienced this yourself; if you have, you most likely have felt this kind of grief about a family member before their passing. Personally, this is something I have gone through, and feel I am still currently going through. I often cry and get angry. I want nothing more than to “fix” the problem. Part of me, however, knows this will probably never be fixed. I have to come to the acceptance stage of my grief, and it’s hard.

As with regular grieving, we all need to find positivity so we can reach the acceptance to move on with our lives. The only thing different between normal grief and ambiguous grief is that the person you are grieving is still here. I constantly remind myself that as long as they are happy, then we don’t need each other in our lives. I believe that everyone comes into our lives for a reason, no matter how brief the impact, or how long they stay, and it is up to us to find the lesson from that relationship. But no matter how strong my beliefs, it still does not make not having them in my life any easier. It’s easier to change a habit when it’s only been a few days, weeks, or even months. When it has been years, things tend to get more complicated.

You see, I lost one of my best friends this way. I could tell this person everything and always felt safe around them. We shared something special in the ways we were similar and even the ways we were different. After years of friendship something changed, and I felt shut out. I have my theories as to what may have led to this, but without a proper conversation I’m left to my thoughts, and to deal with my grief in my own ways. I try not dwell on the past we had, and to focus on my future and the possibilities that lie ahead of me. Losing anyone is always hard, especially when you had such a strong relationship. I still find myself wanting to call or text when something funny happens that reminds me of them. Like with anything that was once a constant in your life, it’s going to take nothing but time to help you break out of that habit.

The best advice I can give to you is to not think that your life is any less because they are no longer there. Think instead how you have changed and how you’re better for having known that person. We can’t make everyone happy, and we can’t keep things the same forever. Change is inevitable, and moving on is part of that process.

Another thing that I find helpful is to write. I have written letters to the person I am grieving and haven’t sent them, but just getting the emotions out helps to move on. I remind myself that people will always come and go in our lives and will always leave an impact on us.

We are creatures who make connections, and we grieve the connection as much as the person. The way someone makes you feel and how you see yourself because of them is a powerful thing. When we lose that connection and/or that person, it is a shock to the system, more so on the emotional side. I guess we can’t really see or understand the impact a person can have on us until they are gone.

How we deal with the loss of the person will be different for everyone. I know that I need time, I need to work through everything, and most importantly I need to remind myself that I didn’t do anything wrong. Blaming yourself creates such an emotional strain that you may find yourself slipping into a depressive state, and no one deserves to be the cause of their own unhappiness.

Anyone who feels that they are grieving a friend, or an ex, or even a family member—please know you aren’t alone in these feelings. I know the heavy heart you carry, as I too carry it. I would be more than happy to talk through it with you if you wish to share your story with me.

Posted by Jude in Hey Jude
Jude: To Love Others, We Must First Love Ourselves

Jude: To Love Others, We Must First Love Ourselves

Hey, everyone!

It’s that season again; you may have already seen the ads on TV and radio. It’s engagement season! This might come as a shocker, but I loathe those ads. Yes, I am happily engaged at the moment, but that is not why I dislike these ads. To me, they put the focus on the wrong kind of love.

Back in the day, I was not always the happiest of people. I had just been dumped by my boyfriend, with whom I’d had a very serious relationship, and the only other person I cared about lived across the country. I wanted more than anything to be with the guy across the country; he was my best friend, and we talked all day, every day. He meant the world to me. But after a while, the distance became too much and he shut me out.

Around the same time, my parents began to put more and more pressure on me about what I should do with my future. With no plans to attend college and no summer plans, I began to doubt myself. I often felt that I could never live up to my parents’ standards. I also was trying to forget about the boy back home by trying to date. To little surprise to me, it just didn’t work. I constantly felt like the backup plan or the one who came in second.

Between not meeting my parents’ expectations and the constant rejections I received, my self-worth became basically non-existent. I truly believed I would never be good enough for anyone, not even on a miniscule level. These emotions and poisoning thoughts led to a much deeper part of my depression.  Granted, I feel it is important to say that I obviously worked through all of these issues and am much better now. However, I won’t lie—it took me until about two years ago to truly accept myself and to love myself.

I want to express the importance of really loving yourself, and to help you understand and feel that you’re not alone in feeling like it may take you a while. The best, most honest way I can advise on how to reach that level is by starting small. Keep a journal and remind yourself of one thing you do love about yourself, or even just like. Today we live in such a crazy world where everyone is constantly judged and being judged, and it is hard to find and reflect on the positive. Every time I found myself thinking or saying anything negative about myself I would try and be like; “But I guess I do like this.” It began there.

After years of doing this, I finally was able to start sticking up for myself and accepting that I am not perfect, but I am imperfectly perfect in my own way, as we all are. I often draw on the fact that I have survived the darkest of my days and sure, a day might seem bad and get me down, but not only have I been through worse, but tomorrow is another day. Every morning is a re-do for a bad day.

I finally arrived at my peak love for myself a few years ago while doing some personal reflection in the desert. I realized that if I’m not happy with a situation, I have the power to change it. Not only do I have that power—I deserve the change! It was a moment of epiphany for me. I was filled with such a wave of relief. I could suddenly see my future for the first time, and I was happy with whatever was in store. I truly knew that I deserved to be happy, and I actually felt that I loved myself.

Because of these new feelings, I was able to change so much in my life. Because I am able to encourage myself, I have more confidence. When I finally got through to this stage in my life, I felt like everything changed for the better. Loving yourself is often hard; we are our own worst critics. However, once you accept and learn to love yourself, your entire perspective on things changes for the better.  

I like to tell people to take a day and just do some reflection on yourself and your life—really take the time to think and process. Sometimes I feel like we don’t allow ourselves to do that, and that is a roadblock on the path to loving ourselves. As cliché as it may sound, it really is true that to love others, we must first love ourselves; personally, I used to hate that expression, but I can now see the truth in it. No one wants to be around someone who constantly turns down compliments, even the little ones, and who always has a negative outlook. They carry a sort of dark cloud around them and no one wants to be engulfed in that darkness. You may not notice your cloud because you’re so accustomed to it, but it affects the other person any relationship, and at times can make them doubt themselves. You can apologize and tell them, “It’s not you, it’s me,” but that still doesn’t eliminate the problem. Eventually the two people lose interest in pursuing the relationship. Or the one trying gives up because they simply grow tired of putting all the energy towards what they might call a lost cause. It’s a heartbreaking experience for each party involved and doesn’t help either person’s well-being.

All this is to say that no matter what the engagement ads tell us, loving yourself is the most important thing you can do. Take the time to practice self-love. The chain reaction that follows is a blessing we all deserve to experience!

Posted by Jude in Hey Jude, Reflections, 0 comments
Jude: Thankfulness & Healing in a Busy World

Jude: Thankfulness & Healing in a Busy World

Hey, everyone! 

I want to start off this month’s post with some of my favorites from last month’s Thankfulness Challenge:

Day 9: I am thankful for my friends, family, and those who love me. Knowing that I have them in my life is a true blessing, which I will always be thankful for.

Day 13: I am thankful for the beauty of the state I live in! I am so happy with the decision to move here—it makes every morning worth it!

Day 21: I am thankful for my fiancé. He has done so much for me, and helped to shape me into the person I am today. I honestly would not have the confidence to open up as much as I have without him always there to support and love me. I am beyond thankful for him, and know the rest of my life will be enriched for having him in it.

Over these last few weeks, taking the time to think on what I am thankful for has been wonderful. It has especially been nice to look back on days when I felt like it was a pointless day. By re-reading what I was thankful for the day before, or even the week before, I could find a new outlook on what had started as a bad day. It was a real boost in perspective and confidence to turn a bad day good again.  

This month, I have also given some thought to a subject I haven’t ever touched on before, and I want to do that now. I recently found an article that I can relate to, and that discusses the healing that hiking and experiencing nature can provide during grief. Grief affects us all at some point in our lives. Sometimes we expect these losses, and sometimes we don’t. I have always tried to run away from any sort of painful emotion, believing that I didn’t have enough strength to deal with it. In years past, I acted self-destructively instead of dealing with my pain in a healthy manner.

As I began my long journey of healing, I found the best places for me to heal were in nature. I began with short hikes up the bluff, then started taking weekend camping trips in the desert. Being in nature reminds me not only how different the world is, but also that it constantly changes, evolves, and grows—much the same as human beings do. It is important to learn and grow from our emotions. We all grieve in different ways, which is perfectly acceptable. As long as you are doing it in a healthy manner and not harming yourself or others, I support finding your own method. We are all different, and we all grieve over different things: the loss of a loved one or pet, or even something as small as a friend moving away. Understanding what causes your grief is a wonderful first step to healing.

If you currently find yourself grieving, try being in nature for a little bit. Take a walk alone, let the fresh air help clear your mind of the chaos, and most importantly, begin your healing journey.

Posted by Jude in Hey Jude, 0 comments
Jude on Emotions and Thankfulness

Jude on Emotions and Thankfulness

Hey all!

I think we can agree on one thing, here: this past month has been incredibly emotional for all of us. I want to talk about two things before I dive into this month’s challenge.

After the recent attack in Las Vegas, I found myself feeling very emotional. This incident was beyond horrible and has affected the nation in a way that I would never have thought possible. After what happened, we must remember that love will win. Hate and darkness will always exist in this world, so it is up to us and our light, our love, to shine bright through it. What happened is just another reminder to always tell someone how you feel; call your grandparents, parents, siblings, and friends more often, even if just to say hi. With all the technology available today, there is no reason not to remind our families that we are thinking of them daily. You can spread love by simply smiling at a stranger or holding a door open for someone. Even the smallest of acts will grow. Take those opportunities that are offered. Live the life you want, because we never know when it might be cut short. If you would like to help the victims from the Vegas shooting, I’ve put a link at the bottom of this post to an article that can show you where to start.

Another thing I wanted to touch on is the #metoo movement, a very brave and long-overdue movement to help the women in the world stand together and fight back. No matter your profession, age, or race, sexual assault does not discriminate.  I know that some of us may not be comfortable with announcing some of the experiences we have had, and I wanted to remind you that you are more than welcome to send me a message and tell me your story. Talking to someone always helps, and that is exactly why I am here. I am your journal that talks back. Let me listen, and I’ll offer some insight if I can. You are not alone, and it is always important to remember that. If you still feel uncomfortable, or if all the attention on sexual assault has dredged up some painful emotions and memories for you, below is another link to an article that may help you.  

Now, for this next month, I wanted to challenge you to what I call the Thankful Challenge. It seems fitting, since it’s just in time for Thanksgiving. I want you to write down one thing you are thankful for every day, big or small. I feel it is very important to remind ourselves how lucky we are and how important even the little things in life are. You may be surprised by what you actually find yourself thankful for. You can do what I do and physically write these things down, or find one of the hundreds of goal tracking apps available. I personally enjoy writing them down so that I can go back and read them out loud later. Come back next month, and I will post some of my favorites that I have written down. Sometimes you need to be the one to remind yourself of just how lucky you are. Remember: to love others we must love ourselves. Don’t let the hate in—humanity can be beautiful, so let’s show it!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/03/us/iyw-help-las-vegas-shooting-victims/

http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/healthtrending/how-to-cope-if-youre-feeling-triggered-by-the-supernumbermetoo-movement/ar-AAtGQ7x?li=AA5LBhu&ocid=ientp

 

Posted by Jude in Reflections, 0 comments