Engaged Life

The Importance of Date Night.

Hi, friends! Happy Friday! I hope that your weekend is off to a great start!

I have a blog post where I talk about the importance of slowing down for ourselves, but this blog I wanted to dedicate to the idea of slowing down for our relationships. Be it friends, family, or romantic relationships, it is so important to take the time for those we love.

Bobby and I make an effort every week to have at least one date night. We generally do it on Friday, but if need be, Saturday. It’s such an important thing to do because it allows us time to focus on each other and not on things we need to do, for work or school, or even the wedding. And we make a very conscious decision to be present with each other and not be on our phones.

Life gets so busy and we don’t always give the people we love our undivided attention. And it’s so important for us to just slow down and enjoy each other’s company.

I think it’s especially important in a long-term relationship for you to continue to date your partner. It’s so easy to get in a routine and not even think about these things, but having a weekly date allows you to break free of this a little bit. You can’t focus on the dirty dishes in the sink, or the English paper you have to write, you just focus on the person you love. Not only that, but it’s something for you too look forward to all week!

Hope that this gave you some insight, but I gotta go! It’s date night! Hehe!

Thanks so much for reading!

Xoxo,

Mattie Mae

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Musings

Why We Need to Stop Romanticizing Being Perpetually Busy.

Hi, friends! I hope that y’all are doing well. Today’s blog post is a little different, I suppose. I don’t really know where I want to end up with it, but I’ll start here: I don’t think it’s healthy for anybody to be busy all the time. But it’s something that we seem to treat positively, as though it’s admirable or something to strive for. I think it’s admirable, but I don’t think it’s something to strive for. I applaud every hard-worker out there, and respect them endlessly, I just worry about society forcing busyness onto people.

I think that it’s so profoundly sad that we live in a world where we feel the need to always be busy. I know it’s something that I struggle with. I began to make it part of my identity. I would, in a very strange way, brag about always being busy, as if it made me worth more than I would if I was busy a healthy amount. I think we’re too focused on moving forward, moving forward, moving forward. We seldom let ourselves just be.

I feel as though there are going to be some people that disagree with me on this, and that’s okay. I just really feel like I needed to speak my opinion on the matter. We’re only human, we need time to recharge. I used to work and/or go to class every single day, week after week, month after month. I was miserable. I didn’t have any time to charge, but I would still brag about it, in the strangest sort of way. I don’t know why. Maybe I thought people would think I was a better person, somehow? That’s probably what it was. Which still makes no sense.

Sunday’s are supposed to be a day of relaxation and reflection, but how often do they turn into a day where you try to get your whole entire life together? For me, it’s more often than not. I make myself lists, long, long lists, that are absolutely impossible to finish in a day. I’ve been trying so hard not to do this anymore. Lately, I have been making a list of five things per day. Generally, it has one or two schoolwork things that HAVE to get done, a household chore, and then a couple self-care activities. An example would be:

To-Do List

1.Turn in annotated bibliography.

2. Do dishes.

3.Take meds.

4.Take shower.

5.Post blog.

I think it’s important to have some items on the list that are fairly simple, so that you can feel some accomplishment in your day. Before, I was putting so much difficult stuff on my lists that I would go days without being able to check anything off. And let me tell you, it’s not going to motivate you whatsoever.

Finding the balance is so dang hard, and I’m still trying to find a balance in my life. It’s very hard to do, but I suppose it’s something that we all just need to keep working on. We must continue (or start) listening to our bodies and our minds, so that we know what we’re capable of. And it’s extra important to be honest with yourself about this. Whether it be realizing that you need to do more work, or whether it be you realizing you need to do less work. Everyone is different and we need to accept this. The amount we can get done in a day is different. I’ve always been pretty slow and things take me so long to do. I move at a slow pace and therefore get things done at a slower pace. But hey, they’re still getting done, right?

We need to quit worrying so much about what we should be able to do, and instead, focus on what it is that we can do.

Thank you so much for reading, friends. I appreciate the fact that I can send my words out on the internet and they can reach so many people. Much more effective than a message in a bottle. Although not quite as cool, I must admit.

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

A Journey into Self-Love · OOTD

A Casual OOTD Paired with Thoughts on Self-Love.

Hello, friends! Happy Monday! I hope that your week is going well so far and that you had a great weekend! My Monday is off to a great start, I’ve had my morning coffee, I went to Qdoba for lunch with Bobby, and I am wearing a super cute outfit!

It’s only early afternoon, but I’ve been feeling so confident all day. It’s amazing what a cute outfit can do for you! So, I wanted to make an OOTD blog featuring it. And as usual, I had Bobby take the pictures. I stared at the photos while editing, not completely hating them, but not 100% loving them either. I stared at my legs. Bullying myself and asking myself, “Why have you been feeling confident? You look short and chubby in those pants.” But I’ve decided to post these pictures anyway. I like this outfit, I think it’s cute. I feel cute in it, too. Why should I let a couple of pictures change my confidence? Am I exactly where I’d like to be, weight-wise? No. I could definitely be doing more to live a healthy lifestyle. But I am where I am. There’s no reason that I shouldn’t still love myself. I’m worthy of my own love. So, without further ado, here is my OOTD post!

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Jean Jacket: TJ Maxx

T-shirt: TJ Maxx

Pants: TJ Maxx

Shoes: Kohl’s

Thank you so much for reading, friends! I hope that this post inspired you, be it fashion, or be it body-positivity. I also hope that your week is going great so far, and I want to remind  you that self-love is SO important, and that each and every person in the world deserves to love themselves. That includes YOU!

Thank you so much for reading!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

 

Musings

Dealing with Uncertainty.

Hi, friends! Hope your week is going well so far! My Monday is wonderful because I’m having my first snow day of my whole college career!  So, I’m spending the day with my friend Rosie, watching Fixer upper and doing face masks. I definitely cannot complain!

I felt compelled to write this post because (weather permitting) I have an advising appointment tomorrow to officially change my major. This will be my third major. Initially, I was an elementary education major, then I was a creative writing major, and now I’m planning on being a child development major with an English minor.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the insane pressure that’s put on young people to find their forever career. My brother is about to start college and is understandably quite nervous. I remember being a freshman in college and thinking that I was 100% positive about what I would do for the rest of my life. And how quickly I realized how clueless I was. It made me feel terrible about myself. I felt like I was never going to find something that I was good at or something that I liked. And sometimes, I still feel like that. College is a scary time in your life, and it’s normal to feel a little uncertain about things.

I told my brother that it’s alright to not know what he’s going to do after college, never mind his whole life. Heck, it’s okay to not know what he’s doing in the next year. Some people may be able to pick a major and stick with it the whole 4+ years, but most have a slightly more difficult time. Uncertainty is to be expected when in college, and it isn’t something that you should feel ashamed of.

That being said, uncertainty is something that extends far past college. Life is so unpredictable, and as much as we try to plan out our entire lives, we never know exactly what the future holds. Which only solidifies the idea that it’s okay to not know what direction your life is going. It’s important to have faith that you’ll end up where you need to be. You’ll figure it out one day. And until then, just do your best.

Thank you so much for reading!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Musings

It’s okay to Stay in.

Hello, friends! Happy Friday! Hope your week was great and that your weekend is going even better! For those of you that will be going out tonight, I hope you have a fun and safe time! And for those of you who will be staying in for the night… well, you’re in good company — me! 😉

I wanted to write a blog post about those of us who are in college and do not like going out. I want to preface this by saying that there is NOTHING wrong with enjoying going out. I think it’s wonderful how different we all are, and how we all enjoy so many different things. I think it’s silly that some people try to make it seem as though introverts are better than extroverts, or the other way around.

As I’ve said before, I was a very shy child.  I’ve always done better having a handful of friends instead of large groups of friends. I think this has definitely translated into my college life.

I think that for many, going out is supposed to help them de-stress and have fun. For me, going out always made me VERY stressed and I did not have fun. I’ve always prefered smaller group hang-outs.

I think that as people, we need to listen to ourselves. We can’t do things because we think we’re supposed to. I’ve had so many people try to convince me to go out to parties because “that’s what college is for!” and I’ve gone and I was thoroughly miserable. And for the longest time, I felt so bad about myself for not wanting to go to parties. Which, is really silly when you think about it. But I did. I thought that I must be so lame to not want to, and hey, maybe I am, but at this point, I can’t say that I care. I think that as college students, we have such little spare time, we need to make sure that we’re doing things that refuel us. I know that many people have such a fear of missing out that they feel the need to go out all the time.

Your time is so precious and you need to spend it doing things that make you happy. I hope that this weekend you’re able to recharge yourself, whether that includes going out or staying in.

Thank you so much for reading!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

 

Intentions for 2019

Intentions for 2019

Hi, y’all! Can you believe it? It’s 2019! I’ve decided that this year, I want to have an intention for the year as opposed to a long list of resolutions. In 2019 I want to live life the best as I can. With this intention comes the question: how the heck will I accomplish this?

  1. I want to compliment people more often. So often I have something I want to tell someone, say, a stranger I see with the most killer scarf on. Sometimes I muster up the courage to say, “Oh my gosh! I love your scarf!”, but oftentimes I get too nervous and say nothing instead.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become much more outgoing, but inside of me is still the very shy girl who was too scared to order ice-cream at Dairy Queen and would make my younger brother do it for me. I also have a terrible habit of isolating myself, especially in the classroom. I see people making friends in classes, something that I’ve never been able to do. That shy girl is still inside of me, worried that they won’t like me. I’m 21 years old and I still feel like a little girl when it comes to socializing. I want to put myself out there! I want to be less scared. With this, I am going to try to compliment at least one person a day, and/or initiating conversation with someone in my class, even if it makes me terribly nervous
  2. I want to get out of my apartment more often. Between work and class, I feel as though I’m never home. However, that is not the case. If I’m not at work or school, then I’m in my tiny apartment with the one lone window. And don’t get me wrong, I love my apartment. My friend Tenley recently helped me organize it, and it looks and feels SO much better. That being said, it is quite small and I do get quite a case of cabin fever sometimes. This can be alleviated by going for a walk or doing some yoga, but once I get in the cabin fever funk, it’s hard to snap out of it. But I work on that. These activities refresh me completely, but my brain gets convinced that they are impossible to accomplish, which is really not true. Get out of the house, Mattie! It’s so good for you!
  3. Stop getting so much happiness from material possessions.  I mean, I get it, stuff is great. And I like stuff. But I’ve been thinking lately about how much happiness we put into receiving things. And how short-lived that happiness is. It’s really quite sad, and also quite detrimental to our mental-health. When Tenley and I purged my apartment of bag after bag of clothes and knick-knacks, I could feel myself getting lighter. And sure, there are a few things I still want to acquire for my wardrobe and my apartment, but I am trying my hardest not to buy things that are not practical, or things that I don’t absolutely love. If you’re thinking of purchasing something, you need to remember that you will never love something more than when you’re in the store. So often I would buy clothes that I sort of liked because they were cheap, and after that, all they would do is sit in my closet, unworn. I’m trying to get rid of things that I don’t absolutely love or use anymore. I am a big fan of knick knacks, but the fact of the matter is, they get dusty and forgotten about in my apartment. Some I love and will never get rid of, and some, after the initial sting, I was able to get rid of them and feel totally fine about it. If you can get rid of something that easily, perhaps it’s best to get rid of it.
  4. Stay on top of grooming and self-care. I have the hardest time keeping up on all my self-care in the winter, it’s probably because all I want to do is cocoon in bed. Sometimes it makes mustering up the courage to shower a little difficult. But showering is, of course, very important. And once I do it, I feel so refreshed. Same goes for simple things like plucking my eyebrows or painting my fingernails. These are such little things that I can do to make myself feel more put together and as a result, i tend to feel a little bit better and more motivated.
  5. Allow myself to enjoy resting time. I am a person who is generally pretty busy. And I have such a difficult time relaxing. If I’m watching TV, I’m thinking of the million things that I still need to get done, and what I should be doing instead. I don’t think that’s a healthy way to be though. I think that we all need to take time to do nothing and allow that nothing to recharge us. We may be getting things done if we’re constantly in motion, but we’re seriously negeclting ourselves and our own well-being which is way more important.

Hope you guys are having a wonderful 2019 so far! What sort of resolutions/intentions do y’all have the year?

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Cleaning Chronicles

Cleaning Chronicles: Cleaning Out Your Closet

Hi, y’all! I have a confession that probably isn’t too surprising, especially if you know me — I love shopping and I love clothes. That being said, my apartment is very small and I have no room whatsoever for all of the clothes that I have. Also, I don’t wear hardly any of the clothes I own. Let’s just say that I’ve had a couple questionable fashion stages… I’ve decided that it is FINALLY time to do some decluttering.

I have a fairly large closet, but it’s certainly not big enough for all my clothes. I have a shelf in there, multiple baskets, tons of those big tubs that people use to store Christmas decorations, and then I have all my dirty clothes in hampers. Maybe my boyfriend was right when he said I had too many clothes…

The first thing that should be done is to wash all of your clothes. That makes it easier to know what all you have, so that you have a simpler time getting rid of things. Note to self: this is helpful so you don’t end up having fifteen of the same plain black t-shirts.  I am one of those people who isn’t the best at doing laundry when I need to, so this is usually half the struggle.

The next hurdle is to get rid of the clothes that are too small or too big for you. Don’t beat yourself up about not being able to fit into the clothes that you wore when you were fourteen. I’m only now starting to be a little better at this. It can be kind of rough getting rid of them, but I find that it’s even rougher to look at them in your closet every day. There’s no reason to keep clothes that only serve as a reminder of what your body used to be like. Nor should your closet represent how you want your body to look. I think both of those things are so detrimental to one’s self-image. As usual, it’s easier said than done, but it’s a good first step.

After you’ve gotten rid of the clothes that don’t fit, move on to clothes that you don’t find yourself wearing. This is where I have the most trouble. I never wear the t-shirts of bands I listened to in middle school, but I still have them all. There’s no situation other than homecoming that I would need uber-fancy dresses for, but it took me years and years to get rid of all my homecoming dresses. It’s important to get rid of clothes that you don’t wear because they’re adding clutter to your house and to your life. I find that when I have a messy house, I also have a messy mind.

Now the question remains: What to do with these clothes once you’ve decided to get rid of them?

  1. Donate them! There are so many people in the world that could benefit from your clothes! Especially schools. You can get in touch with a teacher that you know and ask if they could use any clothes to give to students. Odds are, they will say yes!
  2. Have a yard sale! A great way to get rid of clutter AND make money.
  3. Have a clothing swap with friends! This is probably one of my favorites. It’s a great way to add new pieces to your wardrobe without spending a dime. It’s especially great if you and your friends have different styles, because you can experiment with your look without spending any money. Your friends will love it too!
  4. Sell it on social media or a shopping app!Another cool thing that you can do is to sell your cloths on your Facebook or your Instagram. It’s great because it’s far less work than a garage sale, especially if the person who wants to buy it lives in the area and you can just drop it off at their home. I’m just now starting to sell clothes on Poshmark! I haven’t sold anything yet, but to be fair, I only have one item listed. My username is @midwestmattie if you want to check it out! This one seems pretty simple so far, all you really have to do is take pictures and add the descriptions of your items then you just need to wait!
  5. Last but not least, re-purpose your clothes!  You can take old dresses and turn them into shirts, rip old t-shirts into rags, turn jean jackets into jean vests… the possibilities are endless! It’s always fun to revamp your clothes so that they feel like new, or use them for a whole new purpose!

I’m hoping that writing this post will help me get my butt in gear and finish cleaning my closet! I need to be held accountable! I would post a picture of what my closet looked like before, but I don’t want to scare y’all.

Have a great day!!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Musings

5 Tips for Staying Happy in the Winter

Hi, friends! I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve written a post, although I don’t think that it’s actually been thaaaat long. I’m finally finished with exams! Yay! My first semester of my junior year of college is over with! I am SO happy about it. But y’all, if I’m being real with you, the fall semester is always really hard on me because once  winter hits I get sad like no other. I’ve slowly but surely  been finding ways to not let it get me so down.

  1. I know when it’s so dang cold out, all you want to do is cuddle up and hole up in your house for the day (or for days and days and days) but it’s SO important to get outside and get some exercise. Now listen, I’m not saying to go outside in the middle of the blizzard or when it’s -20 out. What I’m saying is that when you’re inside for so long, you may get cabin fever without even noticing it. I grumble and groan at myself when I decide to go for a walk in the winter, but once I’m out there I feel so invigorated and happy. Bonus if your town puts pretty Christmas decorations downtown that you can admire.
  2.  This is one that I’ve realized sort of recently. And boy, does it pain me. But here it is: comfort food only comforts you for so long. I’ve been eating like complete garbage lately, almost forgetting what fruits and vegetables are, and I really think it’s bringing my mood down. It’s making me feel all sorts of lethargic, which is already something that I’m dealing with come wintertime. I will keep you updated if I find any food that gives me some energy during these cold months.
  3. This may just be me, but the kind of lighting a room has changes my mood so much, be it positive, or be it negative. I remember living in the dorms and feeling so sad because the lights in my room reminded me of a doctor’s office. We can’t always change the kind of overhead lights we have, but my favorite thing to do is to put Christmas lights all over the house and use those instead. Or lamps! When I was a kid, my mom used to call our overhead lights our “mean” lights, and our little lamps our “nice” lights, which I still find to be true to this day.
  4. Now this one may be the hardest pill to swallow. It’s something that I never would have even thought of had my therapist told me it. It’s to not hang out in your bed unless you are actively trying to sleep. If you lie around in your bed all day your body gets used to it and it will make it harder for you to go to sleep.  Now who doesn’t love being snuggled up in their bed??? This one was super hard for me, but now I just make myself a little nest on the couch and it’s ALMOST just as good.
  5. Last but not least, be easy on yourself! In the winter it’s so easy to get depressed and to get down on ourselves for not being as productive as we could be. That’s why it’s important for us to celebrate the tasks we are able to do. My last day of exams I was so exhausted that my goal for the night was to take a shower and to work on the scarf I was knitting. It’s important to remember that we are only human, and we can’t be performing 100% all the time. It’s just not realistic.

 

Do y’all have any tips? I would love to hear them! Have a great Saturday!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Musings

21 Things I’ve Learned by 21

Hello, friends! I hope that you all had a great Thanksgiving weekend, surrounded by those that you’re thankful for. If not that, then I hope that you ate lots of yummy food. Over the Thanksgiving weekend I had my 21st birthday! Woo! And I wanted to share some wisdom. Enjoy! 🙂

  1. It’s okay to like things that other people don’t. I spent a lot of my childhood for liking movies, books, and music that nobody else did. On the other side of the coin, though…
  2. It’s okay to like things that other people like. For anyone that knows me, they know that I went through a horrendous hipster phase where I refused to like things that were popular, and loved to hate on things that other people liked. I have since gotten over that, and I simply like the things that I like.
  3. Learn the importance of a good night’s sleep. I, like many people, have always had a hard time getting to sleep at a decent hour/ staying asleep. I still struggle with it quite often, but I’ve gotten SO much better at going to sleep at a decent hour. Where I used to go to sleep at 3 AM, I now go to sleep closer to 10, at the latest, 11. It does wonders.
  4. When sleep fails… Coffee…Coffee…Coffee. Now, listen. I love coffee dearly, but I do understand that it’s not always the best for you. I definitely would recommend weaning yourself off of it if you find yourself drinking it too much, but gosh, is it good for a little extra awareness.
  5. Make your own coffee! Speaking of coffee…I love me a professionally made coffee like no other, but I try desperately to instead make my coffee at home. If you haven’t invested in some sort of coffee maker, I definitely would recommend it. You will save SO much money by doing so. And if you forget to make it some days, that’s okay too. It’s all about balance…
  6. Always carry food with you. I don’t know about y’all, but when I get hungry, things get bad. I am notorious amongst my family for getting all sort of hungry. (hungry + angry = hangry) This tip is especially applicable if you’re in college. I always find myself rushing to class, unable to get myself lunch. I usually try to keep granola bars in my backpack at all times to sustain me until I can make myself a proper meal.
  7. Pick a college major that makes YOU happy. I understand that the goal of obtaining a college degree is essentially to become more employable. But HEAR ME OUT. How successful can you be at something you have no interest in? Okay, yes, you can be successful, but at what cost? And to counteract the argument of, “Well, what are you going to do with that major?” a lot of places just want people with college degrees!
  8. Also, college isn’t for everyone. I know so many people that did not go to college, and they are doing just fine. Don’t go into debt just because college is something that you’re “supposed” to do. Listen to what you think is right.
  9. Weight does NOT determine your happiness. I’ve been smaller, I’ve been bigger, and equally happy and/or miserable at either stage. It’s important to be healthy, yes, but small doesn’t inherently equal healthy, and large doesn’t inherently equal unhealthy.
  10. Go for a walk!  While it’s true that going for a walk may not fix the problem(s) at hand, it really can change your perspective. There have been times that I was so depressed that even the idea of getting out of bed was painful, but once I got outside I did feel better. Not all the way better, but it was definitely worthwhile to get outside. It also gives you a feeling of accomplishment when you may feel like you haven’t accomplished anything.
  11. There is NOTHING, and I repeat, NOTHING wrong with therapy.  For practically my entire life, I was SO opposed to therapy. My mom wanted me to go and I would go for a session or two and then completely check out. I was embarrassed, I didn’t think it would work, and I wasn’t ready to look within. Eventually, I overcame that way of thinking, and allowed myself to participate and therapy, and I was able to greatly help my mental health in the process.
  12. There is nothing shameful about taking antidepressants. In addition to therapy, I was adamantly opposed to taking any sort of medication.  Just like therapy, I was able to overcome that way of thinking and eventually allowed myself to be on a medicine that helped me get out of bed every morning. The same applies for any sort of medication that you are prescribed. There is no shame in it.
  13. Keep a journal. I have kept a journal my entire life, and while it’s sometimes embarrassing to look back at what you thought or felt, it’s a wonderful way to track your progress. It’s also wonderful because it helps you relive memories that you may have forgotten. I have so many wonderful family memories written down that I would have otherwise forgotten. Not to mention, journaling is a great way to vent.
  14. Allow yourself to be bad at things. I think I’ve said this in another blog post, but I have such a difficult time sticking with things if I am not initially perfect at them. This is not a good thing. It is SO important to allow yourself to be bad at things so that you can grow and progress with it.
  15. Find a creative outlet. I think that something that we don’t make time for in our day to day life is creativity. We don’t allow that part of our brain to thrive, when we really should. Creativity is such a wonderful thing, and can be expressed through so many mediums: music, writing, drawing, painting, baking, photography, scrapbooking, woodwork, to name a few. I understand that it’s sometimes hard to make time, but I recommend making time for this.
  16. When in doubt, make a to-do list. I know that I’ve talked about my love for lists in at least one other blog post, but they are always my first step to getting my life in control.
  17. Technology is awesome, but make sure you’re spending some time without a screen.  I am definitely addicted to my phone, but I make an effort to spend time away from my phone, my laptop, and my tv. This is paired very well with #15.
  18. Let yourself be excited about things! There are some things that you will be excited for that others might not be. That’s okay! Let yourself be excited about them! Don’t let other people dull your excitement.
  19. Hydrate, moisturize, and exfoliate! This tip is mainly about hygiene, and can include other things, but those three are some of the most important. When I was in my most depressed state, I found these sort of things so difficult. Sometimes I still do. This kind of goes along with #10. Choose one thing for the day that you want to accomplish in terms of hygiene and do it! Something is better than nothing.
  20. PRAY! Sometimes life gets so overwhelming that you just sit there, unable to do anything about it. In these moments, I like to pray. I let my fears, my hopes, and my needs out. There’s something immediately freeing about doing this.
  21. BE SAFE ON YOUR TWENTY-FIRST BIRTHDAY!  I’m not much for going out, but if you are, make sure you are safe on your 21st birthday! Stay hydrated, stay with people that will keep you safe, and, of course, have fun!!

XOXO,

Mattie Mae

Musings

You Won’t be Good at Everything.

Hello, friends! I hope you are all doing well. Today I wanted to talk about comparing ourselves to others. I wish I could say that I don’t do it, but I do, all the time. And about the absolute silliest things.

For example, I’ve been going to yoga a lot lately. I absolutely love it and I always feel so refreshed afterwards. However, I find that I’m comparing myself to everyone else in the class. Is their downward facing dog better than mine? Who’s the most flexible person in class? Who looks the best in their yoga clothes? I try to talk to my brain like I would talk to a small child. I tell myself that none of this is a competition, none of it! That I’m missing the point of yoga and that I just need to focus on my breathing instead. It’s so easy to become fixated on these things and then to use them to feel bad about ourselves. I’ll obsessively start thinking things like, “Are they a better writer than me?”, “Is their makeup better than mine?”, and, “Wow, they’re so good at this, I should probably just quit.”

My mom always tells this story about me from when I was a child and I think it sums me up even as an adult. I must have been fairly small, maybe five or six. And one day, out of the blue, I just start bawling because “I’m not as smart as my mom is”. My mom had to explain to me that she was older than I was, that she had lived more life than I had, and that these things didn’t mean that I was dumb. I get so sad thinking about little Mattie feeling that and then I realize that big Mattie feels that too. Only now there are more people in my life that I can compare myself to. Which isn’t only unfair to me, but it’s also unfair to them. Sometimes, when we become unhappy with ourselves and we begin to focus on our perceptions of others, we can become resentful towards them, when really, they’ve done nothing wrong at all.

Okay, say someone is better than you at something. So what? There are so many different factors when it comes to these things. How long have they been doing said thing? Is it their passion in life? Is it your passion? How long have you been doing it? If these questions aren’t able to alleviate your stress, there are other thoughts that can help.

There are so many things that we will do in our lives. Some because we have to, some because we want to, and some because we think we’ll be good at them. Here’s the secret to it all — you won’t be good at everything you try. This may sound sort of pessimistic, but honestly, once you allow yourself to believe this, it’s really quite freeing.

When I was still in high school, I remember thinking that one bad grade was the end of the world. I’d bring my report card home, usually crying, and show my dad. He would then give me a hug and he would ask me if I had done my best. And honestly, sometimes the answer was yes, but sometimes the answer was no.

This may sound like such a simple thing, but I want to share a realization that I didn’t come upon until about a year ago. I realized that sometimes I didn’t try my hardest because I was scared that my hardest wasn’t going to be good enough. Instead, I found that sometimes I was doing a bad job on purpose. If I rushed myself to do a paper and then proceeded to get a bad grade, then that’s not an accurate reflection on my intelligence, right? As a child, I was quite smart and didn’t have to put very much effort into school. As you get to college, things definitely change. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, you have to put in effort. And sometimes, you will put in all your effort and you will get a grade you’re not proud of. And maybe somebody who put in half the effort that you did will get a much better grade than you will. That’s just how life is. It doesn’t say anything bad about you. Just ask yourself if you did your best, if you did, that’s great! That’s all you can do! If you know in your heart of hearts that it wasn’t your best work, that’s okay, too. There’s always a next time. And a time after that. And a time after that.

I guess, in my long-winded way, all I wanted to say is: don’t compare yourself to others! All you can do in life is your personal best. And sometimes, your personal best is different than it is at other times. Life is full of variables, never forget that.

Thank you so much for reading! If nobody has said this to you today: I am proud of you!

-Mattie Mae