Archive | May 2012

Committing to Happiness

Hello Again!

On my run this afternoon, I did a lot of thinking.  Runs are so great for self-reflection…I really think that running is one of the best types of therapy.  I used today’s run to think about all of the things that bring me happiness.  As I ran, I made a list that included working out, taking aimless walks, sitting in the sun, enjoying a hot cup of coffee, reading my Bible/daily devotional book, wandering around grocery stores, sitting in coffee shops, journaling, reading magazines, going to church…and it goes on.  My mind then moved to questioning why I don’t make a greater effort to incorporate all of those things into my daily life.  With the execption of working out, which I do 5 days a week,  I don’t do any of the other things on a daily basis.  It’s not that I don’t have time, it’s that I am stuck in my typical routine and live passively rather than actively changing my routine.  In the morning, for instance, I could wake up a little bit earlier and read my Bible or go to mass.  Instead of sitting on my computer in my apartment in the afternoon when I don’t have class, I could go to a coffee shop or sit outside.  At night, I always sit on my couch, do homework on my computer, or watch TV.  While it is fine to do all of those things for a few hours, why don’t I take a break and go for a leisurely walk or read a magazine or my daily devotional book?  I don’t have a good answer other than that I am being lazy about my happiness.  I have the ability to make myself happier and fill my days with the things that bring me joy and it’s time to use it.  Instead of continuing my lackluster routine, I’m going to step up and make the change.  Writing this post has allowed me to acknowledge my behavior and develop a plan for improvement.  I’m going to make a few smart goals for myself and report back on a weekly basis about how I’m doing.  It’s go time, my friends, and you can help keep me accountable!  🙂 Here’s to a summer of greater happiness!

Let’s Grow Together questions:

1. What brings happiness and fulfillment to your day?

2. When and where do you do your best thinking and self-reflection?

3. Is there anything that is part of your daily routine that you don’t really like or wish that you did differently?

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This entry was posted on May 8, 2012. 4 Comments

When Perfectionists Aren’t Perfect

The other day I received my final grades for the winter term of my MSW program.  When I saw that I got an “A-” in one of my classes, I was furious and devastated.  I was overwhelmed by negative thoughts about my intelligence and work ethic and my mind was reeling with what I could have done better throughout the semester that would have resulted in an “A” instead of an “A-.”  Soon enough, my bad thoughts had seeped into other areas of my life and before I knew it, I had convinced myself that I was a stupid, lazy, ugly, and flabby person. Are any of those things true?  No, of course not, but I am still feeling the effects of all of my negative self-talk.

As I internally beat myself up, I knew that what I was doing was wrong and that I needed to stop, but I couldn’t bring myself out of it.  The only thing that ended up working was the thing that always works…turning to God.  God is the only one who can ever respond perfectly when I am unhappy and negative.

When I remind myself that my true identity is that of a child of God and that He loves me for my imperfections, I am able to find a little bit of peace. 

When I remind myself that academics, athletics, and looks are superficial things and not the things that really matter in the end, I am a little bit better at accepting my perceived flaws. 

Once God calms me down, I inevitably start to feel pretty ridiculous for getting so worked up about such “trivial problems.” Don’t get me wrong, getting good grades is important and recovery  is VERY challenging…probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever gone through…but I get mad at myself for crying over these things when other people around the world are enslaved, hungry, homeless, having terminal illnesses, or dealing with something that I cannot even fathom.

This post may make me seem dramatic, but my feelings, whether I am proud of them or not,  are real.  Hopefully the process of writing out my feelings will help me improve my outlook, create positive change, and maybe even help someone else, too.

Here are some of the verses that bring me the most peace of mind:

“The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16: 7

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from you own experience how His ways will really satisfy you.”  Romans 12: 2

Let’s Grow Together questions:

1.  Do you struggle with perfectionism?

2.  How do you “snap out of it” when perfectionism is bringing you down?

3.  On a lighter note:  What was the highlight of your Wednesday?  I’m back in Ann Arbor and just started a great new internship!

This entry was posted on May 3, 2012. 2 Comments