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.

On Change, Loss, and Growing Apart

things-will-change

We lose people frequently as the years go by. Our group of friends begins to change like the seasons. There’s the true few who will always be there, but for the most part, many people end up drifting out of our lives. The same is true of relationships… at least until you find the one.

These losses happen all the time, and for many different reasons. One big one (at least in my experience) is when people move away. True friendship and love can withstand distance, but it’s tough to keep the spirit alive after long periods of time apart.

In other situations, people fight and never find the courage to initiate forgiveness. The rift between them grows so large that it becomes too much work to repair it. They let the friendship disintegrate, until they no longer know who that person is anymore.

As I continue to grow and learn, I’m experiencing a new kind of loss more frequently. People are starting to slowly evaporate from my life because we are no longer one in the same.

I start to feel this growing sense of distance. We were originally brought together because we had the same views, interests, and hobbies. Then, this strange thing happens, and it happens often.

People change, and then you grow apart.

These changes can be both painful and liberating. It’s painful because you can feel yourself losing someone you cared about. The person we once thought we could count on begins to dissolve into someone untrustworthy. It could be you that changed, or the other person who started behaving differently. Either way, the changes are enough to cause you to drift apart.

Lately, I’ve stopped focusing on the painful aspects of this, like losing someone who once knew you so well. Instead, I’ve figured out what’s liberating about growing apart from people.

When you let one person go, it makes room for others to enter your life. By growing apart, you allow yourself the opportunity to be surrounded by likeminded people.

Being around people with the same views is more inspiring than you can imagine. It opens up new avenues to follow your dreams. It allows you to grow as an individual. You’re free to evolve with new people, instead of being stuck in the same ruts. Instead of sticking to comfort and familiarity, you allow yourself to expand into new horizons.

I’m not saying that I think you should disown your friends or your partner. If you have someone that you can relate to on all levels, enjoy them to the fullest.  I also don’t think you should ever forget the memories you had with those special people in the past.

What I’m saying is that if you start to  feel   the    distance     growing, don’t be afraid to let it go. The loss is only occurring to make room in your life, room for the people out there who have evolved just like you have. You never know when the next door could open, and that new friend or partner could completely change your life. For the better, of course.

Leave a comment here with your thoughts.

Don’t be Afraid to be Selfish

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Being selfish is typically a negative act. It’s defined as “lacking consideration for others; being concerned chiefly with ones own personal profit or pleasure.” This negative connotation has caused selfish behavior to be frowned upon. You might think to yourself, why would someone want to be a selfish person? Selfish people don’t care about anyone but themselves.

I want to put a spin on things. I want to tell you why being selfish is the only way you should be.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you should ever be harmful or hurtful to others. I don’t believe in stepping on other people’s toes to fulfill your own needs, either. What I do believe is that we should always be compassionate to others, even the least deserving.

But in your compassion, never forget that you come first.

 
Here’s why:

1. The only life that you have control over is your own.
When it comes to your life, you are in the driver’s seat. You control which way to turn the wheel. You decide when it’s time to hit the gas, and also when it’s time to slam on the brakes. There will be times when the driver’s around you are driving recklessly. Not everyone realizes that they are the ones in charge of the wheel, but  sadly, you have no control over them.

We can do everything in our power to create a better life for others, but what they do with those resources is ultimately their choice. They decide how to behave and react. It’s not our opinion that matters, it’s their own. There comes a time when we should be selfish and act for ourselves. In the end, that’s all we have the power to do.

2. If you don’t care passionately about your own life, who will?
The above definition of selfish states “being concerned chiefly with ones own personal profit or pleasure.” If this is the way you behave, you should be proud of it. No one else is going to create profit or pleasure for you. No one else even concerns themselves with your profit or pleasure, aside from very valuable loved ones.

Being selfish, in my view, just means that you only concern yourself with your own life. This doesn’t mean that other people’s profit or pleasure should make you unhappy. It should make you thrilled that they had the strength to pursue their own desires. But we shouldn’t concern ourselves with their lives, only with our own.

So, I challenge you. Don’t be afraid to be selfish. Don’t let the negative connotation drive you away from caring passionately about yourself.

 

Do you agree with me? Do you disagree completely? Leave a comment, and let me hear your thoughts.

 

 

The Things We All Have In Common

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It’s easy to point out differences amongst us. Some people are physically different from one another, in terms of height, weight, and skin color. Many others have different core values and believe in a variety of religions. The human race is a vast combination of contrasts.

There’s one set of differences that I’ve been having a hard time with lately – the distinctions between my boyfriend and I. I’m not one to put my personal life out there for all to read, but I think this story has a good lesson behind it.

Let it be known. 

Opposites attract, as we’ve all heard before. In my relationship, there are many opposites that end up working out great for us. We also have an endless number of similarities that remind me of how much I love him dearly. One core value is very different between us, however, and it’s a big one. I’m a workaholic, constantly putting in 110% effort and occupying myself with work. He, on the other hand, is more of a “do what he needs to do to get by” kind of guy. He likes to put in the bare minimum amount of effort.

This drives me crazy. I can be hyper ambitious, always pushing people to work their hardest. Obviously, you all know this because you read my blog about how to follow your dreams. But for my love, at least for right now, it’s having no effect on him. He won’t be swayed by my hard work ethic.

There are times when I feel like this core difference between us could break us apart completely. I was having one of those negative days the other day, and stumbled upon this quote by Mahatma Gandhi.

We forget that despite the superficial differences between us, people are equal in their basic wish for peace and happiness.

A little bell went off in my head, in terms of my relationship and the rest of my life. It doesn’t matter what kind of differences there are between us. We are all humans. We all dream of being happy and loved by others. He may have a different way of going about his daily life, but that’s what makes him happy.

Think about this the next time you encounter someone whose differences seem worlds apart from yours. They’re also looking for peace and happiness. They have the same desire burning in them to be content and satisfied with their lives.

Like Gandhi said, many of these differences are superficial. In the larger scheme of life, in the part of the universe that’s beyond our comprehension, there are no differences between us. Once we learn how to treat all human beings with the same amount of compassion, true happiness will be known.

As always, feel free to delight me with your thoughts. Leave a comment. 

Be Okay With Where You Are

There are many times when I find myself worrying about the future. I want to be somewhere else, later on in life, when I’ll finally be happier. There are always things I could be doing better – exercising more, waking up earlier, working harder.

In short, I want to change. I yearn to evolve into a stronger person.

There are many aspects of life that we have no control over, like the behavior of other people and the specific opportunities that come our way. Wishing to change these things is pointless. We can always pray, letting our wishes be known to the universe, but results are never guaranteed.

In contrast, there other parts of life that we have complete control over. Only we can change how we look, what steps we take toward the future, and how we live our lives. We are the only ones who can determine what exactly we want to change about ourselves.

I think it’s great to hope for change. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be healthier or dreaming of working harder, but there’s a point that is crossed. There’s a point when people, like myself, become obsessed with change. We reach the point where we are so eager to change that we fail to realize the beauty of where we are right now.

I saw this quote on Pinterest, giving me a quick reminder of this.

be okay with it

In truth, the only thing we can be sure of is this very moment. Our lives can be taken away in an instant. Our hopes for change could vanish completely. What’s the point in always hoping to change, when tomorrow is never guaranteed?

All we can do is maintain balance between the two mind states – loving the present, and wanting to change.

What do you wish to change about your future, and what do you love about where you are right now? Keep the positive movement going. Leave a comment.

The Power of Serendipity

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So much of life depends on chance meetings, twists of fate, or pathways that suddenly branch out in a new direction. -Deepak Chopra

The quote above is one of my favorites. It embodies all that is true about serendipity, or finding great things by chance. These words have been represented in countless ways, from “Stop searching and it will come to you” to “Go with the flow.” In other words, we will get what we deserve when we least expect it, and life’s twists and turns are an important part of the path we’re meant to go down.

I want to share part of my life story with you – the story of how all of my dreams came to me by chance…

When I was a junior in high school, a friend suggested that I write for the school newspaper with her. I’d always enjoyed English more than any other subject, so I thought, why not? It was a path I’d never expected to go down, but I loved every minute of it. Interviewing people was a way for me to come out of my shell. Writing articles gave me a newfound sense of confidence.

As my senior year came to an end, our newspaper teacher suggested that I study journalism in college. He said that my writing was strong and it would take me places in life. I decided to take his advice and run with it.

One year later, I was a freshman in college, studying Magazine Journalism. I took two classes, News Reporting and Editing I, with Professor Brunson. I put my all into these classes, feeling (for the first time in my life) honest interest in the subject matter. After earning the highest score on both midterms, Professor Brunson sent me a private email. It was a message I’d never expected to receive. It was a twist of fate that branched out into the rest of my dreams in life.

He said that he was impressed by the work I’d done over the past year. He saw great potential in me and wanted to help me accomplish my goals in life. We had a meeting, discussing my dreams for the  future. He admitted me into the UCF Society of Professional Journalists and gave me the link to their Facebook page, where regular internship and job opportunities are posted.

That Facebook page is where I stumbled upon the internship opportunity at Parenting magazine. It was a life-changing opportunity. I learned the in’s and out’s of magazine publishing, writing for a magazine with millions of subscribers. It solidified my dreams, showing me that magazine writing has the power give me genuine happiness.

Last week, I stumbled upon another fantastic opportunity on the very same website. It was an internship position at Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine, located in the same building as Parenting. I slipped away from the Parenting office and went for an interview, and you won’t believe the result.

As I was writing this very blog post, about the luck of finding things by chance, I received a call from the editor of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons. It happened 10 minutes ago, as I was typing. They’d love it if I would be their intern for next semester, my final semester of college.

I tell you this story for a reason.

Sometimes, things that come to us by chance have the power to change our lives completely. Don’t be afraid to stray off of the path you’re on right now. One little risk I took, to write for my high school newspaper, ended up showing me all I want to achieve in life. That one experience led to my dream of being the Editor in Chief of a magazine one day.

It was serendipity, coming across a great thing by chance, that created these opportunities. One small twist of fate led to another. The same thing can, and will, happen to you. All you have to do is be open to it. Be ready to take those risks and accept the twists of fate when they come storming your way. You never know when a fork in the road will lead you to the treasure you’ve been waiting for.

Do you have a powerful story of serendipity? Share it with me. Leave a comment.

My Issues With Social Media

I use social networks often. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all easily accessible on my iPhone. I’ve gotten into the habit of scrolling through my news feed for quick source of entertainment. I know I’m not alone. I watch as other people go out to dinner and spend the entire meal checking their social networks instead of conversing. For some, it’s even become a nervous habit.

Checking social networks all the time may seem harmless, but it isn’t. In fact, I think it does more harm than good. There’s something wrong when someone checks a social network before getting out of bed in the morning, which I’m guilty of doing. This may not apply to everyone, but I know it applies to a large majority of social media users.

Here are my main issues with our newfound online social habits:

1. We’re constantly comparing our lives to the lives of others.

2. The lives people portray online are nothing like reality. People only put their best faces forward. 

We end up comparing our lives to other people’s highlight reels, making our lives seem inferior. Some of you may already know this, but it occurs mostly on a subconscious level, so it could be oblivious to many others. Checking social networks seems like curiosity, but it’s actually an infatuation with the way other people live. We want to know how we rank in comparison to everyone else out there. We post things because we seek other people’s approval.

It’s important to know that people’s lives are not as great as they appear on social networks. Everyone has their down times, negative thoughts, and troubles with life. I don’t want people to think that my life is always positive, just because I write a blog about positive thinking. I struggle with thinking positive daily. I write this as a reminder to myself and to all of my readers.

My wish for you – embrace your life as it is. Don’t ever catch yourself thinking that someone else’s life might be better than yours because it seems that way on Facebook. Who you are right now is beautiful and one of a kind. Also, stop using social networks to seek approval from other people. Their approval isn’t needed.

In an effort to see only the beauty in my own life, I’m not going to check any social networks today. One day may seem like nothing, but it’s a big deal for someone who checks them periodically throughout the day. Break the habit with me. If you think you can handle it, give it a shot.

Unexpected Dreams & Success

Sometimes, it’s the dreams we never even knew we had that prove to be the most fulfilling.

I wanted to write a quick post about a small dream that came true for me, a dream I didn’t even know I had. As I said in my last post, I’m doing an internship at Parenting magazine right now. I’ve been dabbling around in all areas of work, trying to find my niche.

I recently started writing posts for the Parenting – Show and Tell blog. My first post received 27 Facebook likes, 6 tweets, and zero comments. It wasn’t much, but to simply see my name on there made me feel proud. I decided to write to the online editors the next day and ask if I could do another post. They suggested I write about a boy who wrote a letter to the NFL, asking if they would use pink penalty flags for breast cancer awareness.

My mom called me today telling me that my post was the first headline on the AOL homepage. In three hours, the blog post went from having 20-something likes to over a thousand! It went from zero comments to 128, which is more comments than any of the Parenting posts have received this month.

It’s such a gratifying feeling to know that such a large number of people care about something I wrote. This is the dream I didn’t even know I had. When I wrote the blog post, I remember thinking to myself “People are going to like this…” and look at the result. I wrote it for fun and entertainment, and it turned out to be something thousands of people liked.

This is why I push you to follow your dreams in any direction. Things won’t always go down the path you have planned, but sometimes, the new path is the one you were meant to go down. I hope and pray that one day this blog, Powerful Belief, can reach the same kind of appreciation. I hope that I’ll unexpectedly write about something on here that inspires thousands of people.

From now on, I’ll be doing my best to write posts for Powerful Belief on Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s. Please leave a comment here and let me know your thoughts, your dreams, and if anyone is out there reading this!

The Law of Attraction

 

Ask, believe, receive. 

I’m a firm believer in the law of attraction. The basic concept of the law of attraction is that your thoughts control your destiny. This law is my starting point because it’s the basis of any success or failure I’ve had in life. Nearly every positive occurrence has happened to me because I’ve had a hopeful attitude and willed it to be. The same is true of every negative occurrence.

Despite my positive attitude on here, I too am a person full of doubts. There are many times when I forget about the law of attraction and allow negative thoughts to breed negative results. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

We must stay positive if we’re going to achieve any of our dreams in life. If we can manage to stay positive, to never allow negative possibilities to slip into our minds, we can achieve anything. Seriously, anything. You can never give up because you were criticized or rejected. It has to make you stronger. Every single time. This may sound broad, but it applies to even the smallest of thoughts.

I recently put the law of attraction to the test when I applied for an internship at Parenting magazine. Certain events in my past allowed me to discover the opportunity, and I knew it was meant to be. I had to wait for a week to hear back after sending my resume. Here are a few of the things I would tell myself daily that week: I deserve this internship. There is no possibility that the position won’t be mine. It’s an opportunity that was destined for me, and I can’t wait until it’s mine.

If I ever found myself questioning whether or not I would get the position, I immediately corrected my way of thinking. In order for the law of attraction to work, failure can never be a possibility. I did get the internship. I’m sure now that the opportunity was in fact destined to be mine, and will be a huge stepping stone for my future.

You can do it too. Trust me on this. All it takes to engage the law of attraction is awareness. Become aware of your state of mind. Catch yourself when you start having doubts. Turn those doubts around and watch the results happen.  I dare you.

Have you ever tested out the law of attraction? Will you at least give it a shot after reading? I want to know. Click here to leave a comment.