Tag Archives: post traumatic stress disorder

Surround Yourself

Who and what do you surround yourself with?

In a world inundated with negativity, it is crucial to surround yourself with the opposite, positivity. I’m not saying we should walk on a delusional path, ignorant to the realities of the world. I am simply saying that it is important we do not transform to them.

Even the Bible warns about it:

“Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.”- 1 Corinthians 15:33

“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” – Proverbs 13:20

and one of my favorites:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:2

But it’s not just about people, it’s about everything. What is your mind seeing every day? Whatever it is, it is setting up a platform on which you will focus.

Living most of my life with incredible anxiety, I know this all too well. The vicious cycle that captures our minds like prey. This was most recently experienced after my daughter was born. While I couldn’t admit it at the time, I suffered from postpartum anxiety which teamed up with the post traumatic stress disorder that still lingered from my son’s anaphylactic reaction years before.

During this time, the last thing I needed was more negativity, but it was everywhere. Every other post on Facebook had it. The news that was on television. The news that people told me. What I was google searching… what I was searching for… what I was reading… turned into what I was thinking… It. Was. Everywhere.

Until I had a huge wake up call, I was choosing what to surround myself with. Sure, it was all out there, the negativity our society sometimes seems to sickly crave, the accidents we can’t turn our eyes from. However, it was my own choice if I looked or turned away to something else.

So I decided then during a session of breastfeeding my daughter I would gradually take control back from this vicious cycle once and for all.

That was when I started to google search positive quotes and song lyrics, leaving them on my phone to see when I went to text. Or when I would try to search up something fearful, I would see Bible scriptures of hope in the search engine and screen, then reminding myself to put the phone down. I started to plant seeds of positivity everywhere… my phone, my phone cover, my keychains, my computer screens, my ID holder, my classroom, etc.

Unlike the keys we must carry to get where we need to go each day, we do not need to carry the weight of the world’s negativity with us. Instead, learn to surround yourself with positive people who empower you and your life with reminders of all that is good in this world. Because the truth is… there really is sooo much good, just waiting to be seen.

There is so much beauty in the world if you train your eyes to see it. And if for some reason, you don’t see it… create it, become it, be it! That is why I embrace the mess because it is surrounded by goodness.

2019’s New Vision

Although I will not be jumping from any planes at this point of my life, I’m up for this challenge.

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In life, it’s important to discover and/or admit to any chains that bind and hold you back. To identify them is the first step. Then, it is necessary to take steps, little or large, in defeating them.
Every single step is a step closer to where you want to be. 
After my experience with postpartum anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder, I learned a lot about what was holding me back from my full potential or even from living in the moment. That is when I began to make it a goal to break as many of these unnecessary chains as possible…
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…including my fear of public speaking.
In less than a year, I’ve come so far already! I was recently able to speak in front of a crowd of 250 students and adults without my involuntary shake, rosy cheeks, or profuse sweat coming to stop by. In fact, I even went off my script (What!?!! Unheard with over analyzing, over-worrying, over-planning Jen). I held it in my hand as only a guide and not verbatim. However, I still have more steps to take with this and some other chains to tackle.
But these are steps that without challenging fear I could never have taken…
Back in May 2018, I started to push myself to read at poetry events and readings, and while at the time there were very difficult, I did not realize until recently how much they helped with current projects and situations at work and life. The seeds that those readings planted.
Those steps back then, seemed like nothing… I was still drenched in sweat and shaking like a leaf as I walked away from those reading, doubting the purpose… but maybe we don’t always need to know the purpose… maybe it adds a value to our lives that will unfold … that will break free … that will make us more alive…
Sometimes it takes just one step …
… sometimes two …
… sometimes ten…
… sometimes just one more …
So how can we give up taking those steps each day when we don’t know what that next may bring. There may be just one more step needed to reach that dream or goal… so we must keep challenging ourselves … we must keep moving forward even after a stumble or two back… we must keep stepping.
Do you have a quote guiding you this year? If so, what is it? If not, join me in making a goal like this for yourself this year. It doesn’t mean you are sky diving or doing anything that puts your life at risk. It certainly does not mean you are looking up every possible cause of cancer on Google, and scaring yourself into isolation. (Been there, done that. Not fun… I do not recommend.)
Instead, it means to take those uncomfortable steps each day whatever they may be. And to be open to where it may take you for it may surprise you.
I plan to use it to press deeper into my goals … deeper into my faith …deeper in life. It’s kind of a paradox: as I plan to push myself past my comfort zone because I know it’ll bring me more peace …
and maybe in the meantime I’ll learn to dance over the mess.