Rock What You Got!

Rock What You Got - Blog Branding

My girlfriends and I took a road trip to Kansas City over the Labor Day Weekend for some R&R and to spend time with my family.  Late Saturday night, we were sprawled out on the bed and floor, talking, reading, and looking up new recipes.  I had found a box of papers from my childhood and was curiously reconnecting with my younger self.  I discovered various journal entries that expressed my love for pizza, sheet music and lyrics that warned of acid rain and global warming, and a remixed poem of people at a mall working together to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.  My favorite was a letter than we were asked to write in the 4th grade (I think) to our parents regarding what they could expect when they attended parent-teacher conferences the next day.

So, what was my take away from all of this?

Sometimes, life feels very big to me.  I can get overloaded with information and overwhelmed with decisions about who I am supposed to be or what I am supposed to do at any given moment.  These readings reminded me that I have cared about certain things and operated in certain ways for my entire life.  These are the characteristics that make me…me.  Of course, I want to stay open-minded to how other people experience this life.  However, I have the tendency to lose myself in the land of infinite possibilities (podcasts, Pinterest, social media, recommended readings, etc.)  At the end of the day, I have to connect with and contend with the passions, quirks, ideas, expressions, obstacles, family systems, geographical settings, and culture that I embody.  My experiences are no more important nor insignificant when compared to my fellow human.

As my friend Aja Owens proclaims so wholeheartedly, it is our right and responsibility on this earth to, “Rock What You Got!”

Take time this week to think about the characteristics that make you – you! u.

Write down 30 facts about yourself and see what surfaces. 

Ask friends to describe you in one word. I wonder what sticks out to others that you are not giving yourself credit for.  It is easy to dismiss the attributes that come most naturally because we don’t have to work for them.  We have trouble recognizing our strengths because they come easy to us and we just assume they come easy to others as well…and therefore are not deserving of a pat on the back.

Wouldn’t it be wild if we took a month off of self-improvement and spent that time just noticing how freaking unbelievable we already are?!?

Ya’ll are amazing and are positive forces for good in this world.  Even on your worst day, we all benefit from your presence.

 

Bio picAlicja Carter, MHR, LADC, BHWC, has been working in the behavioral health and addiction treatment field for over ten years.  She is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Wellness Coordinator/Coach for Gateway to Prevention and Recovery in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  Alicja is passionate about pursuing a well life and collaborating with others for the purpose of stimulating positive change in her community.

 

Top of the List

I don’t know about you but many of the expectations I have placed on myself are unrealistic.  They did not take into account an injured knee, an emotional job, or the fact that cleaning ANY dishes will be the straw that breaks this camel’s back.  Also, my judgments have lacked perspective.  I’ve come to conclusions about myself without seeing the big picture.

Specifically, I have always had an eye for what was “wrong” and seemed to skim over the multitude of good deeds and characteristics that I shared with the world every day.  These unrealistic expectations and harsh judgments lead me to feel helpless and “not good enough.”  I might as well have been dodging hammer fist punches while walking a tight rope!

My solution?  Grind a little harder.  Make a better plan.  Be more organized.  Say it in a new way.  Really commit.  Sound familiar?  Now, this extreme way of living required relief.  Yet, a nice cup of tea and yoga session did not do the trick.  No, only a Netflix binge, bottle of wine and package of Oreos relieved the worrisome pressure in my chest.  Yikes, I could see a light at the end of the tunnel, but unfortunately it was a train.

After numerous consequences to my mind, body, spirit, relationships, and career, I reluctantly surrendered to the fact that my way was just not working.  To me, this was the toughest blow of all…especially for a person whose main goals had always been to “do well” and “fix it.”  I felt deflated, yet strangely grounded…humbled.  I woke up each day and took a good, honest look at myself.  I wrote in my journal and read my own words.  I cried…a lot…and considered what I actually wanted out of life.   How did I want to exist in this world?  Why did I even want to exist?

Hmmm, I had never asked myself these questions.  How interesting that my whole life I had frantically and ferociously tried to meet and live up to expectations and judgments that weren’t even mine.  If you are nodding along to my words, then we can take comfort in the fact that we are not alone.

Okay, let’s take a collective breath.  We have proved time and time again that we possess creativity, compassion, problem solving skills, and a killer work ethic.  We are not lacking in any way.  Our efforts have simply been divided, interrupted, and unfocused.  We need to take time to consider our values…what is most important to us above anything else…Maybe we step out and put our own well-being at the top of that list.

 

Bio picAlicja Carter, MHR, LADC, BHWC, has been working in the behavioral health and addiction treatment field for over ten years.  She is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Wellness Coordinator/Coach for Gateway to Prevention and Recovery in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  Alicja is passionate about pursuing a well life and collaborating with others for the purpose of stimulating positive change in her community.