What The Mirror Doesn’t Show You

reflection-warning

All around me,  I see people concerned about their appearance.

I see celebrities who get surgery after surgery, spending thousands of dollars to avoid signs of aging or imperfection.

I see people who constantly take pictures of their own faces. They post “selfies” on every social network, yearning for one more like, one more click of approval.

I even see myself, looking into the mirror. I’ll try on three different outfits and not  find one that I think is good enough to wear outside. I’ll spend $80 on a new hair style, anything to give my appearance a change for once.

What exactly is it about our appearance that has us so obsessed?

We’ve all heard the theories about pressure put on us by advertising. We’re expected to fit their definition of perfect – slim waist, tan complexion, fit body. These standards are fed to us on commercials, magazine covers, billboards… you name it. They’re shoved in our faces, and few people ever dare to say, “You’re wrong. We don’t have to look like them.”

But we don’t. We don’t have to look how people expect us to. We can dress however we want, eat whatever we want, and do whatever we want to do. It doesn’t matter what people think of our appearance, because of this simple fact:

Our physical appearance is only a very small part of who we are.

We’re also people with dreams, unique personalities, and desires. We aren’t just “that person with wrinkles or a beer gut.” Some of us are mothers, fathers, siblings, or best friends. Each of us thinks with our mind and feels with our heart.

Yes, we have waist sizes, but we also have souls. And that’s what we should be worrying about, what’s on the inside… the things a mirror won’t show us. We’ll never achieve our dreams if we keep letting something as petty as looks get us down.

Focus on who you are deep inside today, and that’s where you’ll find the true beauty.

As always, feel free to comment with your thoughts.

For Anyone Unsure About Their Future

This blog is about how to follow your dreams. I’ve realized that this might not be a relatable topic for everyone. Following your dreams is rather vague, and it’s tough to do. It asks you to solidify what you’re looking for and go for it.

But I want to make something clear. It’s perfectly okay to not know where your future lies.

Not everyone knows what they’re looking for in life. I want to assure you that with time, you will figure it out. This post is for any reader who is unsure, who hasn’t quite figured their dreams out yet. I have a few positive words for you:

1. You aren’t alone.

I know so many people who haven’t been able to figure out their ultimate goal. They wonder why they’re even putting in all of the hard work, whether it be in school or at a job that leads nowhere. They worry that they might never figure out what they want to do, or who they want to be.

In college, we’re pressured to pick one major that we’re interested in, leaving us with a limited number of career options. Do you think everyone suddenly figured out what they wanted to be and went for it? It’s extremely rare. Most people pick what sounds interesting and pray it’s the right choice later on. For some people, it ends up being the right choice, but for many others, it isn’t. This happens because they forgot to do one thing.

2. Start with what you’re passionate about.

This might not come to you right away. Many people struggle with figuring out what they love to do, but it isn’t as difficult as it seems. What is it that gives you satisfaction? Is it helping other people, or solving a difficult problem? Do you love watching sports or eating food? There’s a distinct path for everyone. If you haven’t found that path yet, build it yourself.

Doing what you love doesn’t mean that your future will suddenly be simple and figured out. But it will give you a reason to keep on striving. You can always remind yourself that you’re going after what you love, not what anyone else has decided for you.

It doesn’t matter if it takes you 30 years and five failed careers. It’s never too late to start over once you know what satisfies you. We live one life. There’s only one way to be both happy and successful – do what you love to do.

Writing is what I’m passionate about. I love putting words together that will inspire other people. What is it for you? What gives you satisfaction? Leave a comment.

Seeing Life Through The Eyes of a Dog

Several months ago, I read the novel The Art of Racing in The Rain by Garth Stein.  The book is written entirely from the perspective of a witty dog named Enzo, and starts out on the day he knows he will be put down. Enzo takes the opportunity to look at life in retrospect and reflect on the things he’s learned along the way. He shares funny, heart-wrenching, and delightful moments from the eyes of a dog.

It’s full of lessons and viewpoints that, without reading, would have never even crossed my mind. I want to share my interpretation of these lessons with you today. I want to show you two simple things we could learn by seeing life through the eyes of a dog.

1. Be selfless. 

Dogs are the only companions who love you more than they love themselves. Their entire lives revolve around you coming home, feeding them, and scratching their bellies. They sit at the window, peering out, waiting for your arrival. As soon as we arrive, they jump up and down with pure delight. This selfless behavior makes us feel so good inside. It shows us that we’re loved.

Meanwhile, we often walk around in a bubble thinking the world revolves around our lives. In reality, everyone else is walking around thinking about themselves too. Imagine how much more fulfilling our lives could be if we treated other people with the selflessness of a dog. Instead of worrying about ourselves, we could put their love and attention first. Take a minute to think about how you can make someone else feel great about themselves.

2. Be content with where you are.

The picture I used above is a great example of this. Ace is my boyfriend Rob’s dog, but I’ve quickly become his second favorite person in the world. And Ace loves it when I do the laundry. He sits on the bed (not always directly on top of the clothes) and watches as I do my human thing, putting all of our clothes away. He never complains, whines, or wants to be somewhere else. He’s pleased with the present moment, delighted to simply sit and be with someone he loves.

Take one moment today to sit and be delighted with where you are right now. Don’t worry about what you have to do tonight, how you’re going to pay bills next week, or where your life will be 10 years from now. Think like a dog and appreciate the beauty of the present moment, because this is the moment that truly counts.