A Free Pat On Your Back

Recently someone said to me, “Stop being so hard on yourself, you just don’t give yourself enough credit”. That made me stop in my tracks and really think about those words. We have so many conversations online and in-person but when you hear those words come from anyone, your best bet is to take that in and listen. I really had to take some inventory of how true those statements were for me. Why was I being so hard on myself? Well, the honest truth is that we are our worst and toughest critic.

How often do we go through so many events in our lives that really push our limits to be stronger? How many times do we overcome losses, disappointments, rejection and still we dust ourselves off and move forward? Sometimes we don’t even realize that as time goes by, we have grown and learned so many lessons thanks to our strong spirit. We may have had failures but we also have made the conscious effort to keep pushing ahead for a better tomorrow. And even if tomorrow came and we stumbled again, we should just try again and just think, “Ok, this didn’t quite go the way I thought but what was my lesson here?” Your perseverance no matter how big or small should be acknowledged and celebrated. Now, sure you’re not going to throw yourself a party every time you overcome a problem (or would you? invites being accepted), but taking notice that you are trying is a HUGE step. Let’s agree to not be so hard on ourselves because if we were to look back, I’m sure we could find we have made bigger strides than we give ourselves credit for. Of course, it’s always nice to hear “great job” from your bosses, peers, friends but just remember not to let that command your thoughts or let that be your drive. An idea is to perhaps begin making a list of difficult circumstances you have experienced and how you saw yourself through it. Write down your strengths or actions that you may have taken to turn your situation around. Thinking about it just fine but there is something special about putting it on paper and seeing it in front of you. You don’t have to show this list to anyone. This is for yourself and a moment of face to face transparency and sincerity for you.  Just like any muscle that needs exercise, so is the act of validating your successes and your inner strength. Once you put some thought behind this you are off to empowering yourself to another level. Today, I am here to remind you that you should pat yourself on your back. Why? Because you deserve to give yourself much credit for working hard, being a great parent, sibling, friend, colleague and heck just for making it from one day to the next with all the obstacles out in the world.

“Always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go.” ~Unknown

Photo by: Nghia Le

The Courage To Be Authentic

Have you ever battled with staying true to your values, ideals and inner self? One of the hardest things anyone can experience is trying to stay as authentic to who they really are. These days, everyone wants to look like someone else, dress like celebrities, talk and walk like anyone but themselves. We all know someone who is making big life decisions based on what their friends and family dictate or expect. What about those that invest in a career or job because they feel that it would look good on paper, but the prospect of being in that company or job only causes more anxiety and stress. The truth is most people yearn to be accepted by society all the while they are sacrificing their authentic values and even their life purpose and passions. From a very young age, we are taught to live up to the expectations of our parents, teachers…everyone but our own. So, to those that are living beyond their means to impress others, to those that are working in careers that they hate, those afraid of getting out of a bad relationship, to those that are afraid to be open in any area of their lives I say, please for goodness sake listen to your inner voice. You see dear one, life is too short and we have to nurture our own life journey. There will always be naysayers that judge, have opinions or disagree with your way of doing everything and guess what, that’s okay. You can’t go through life worrying about the opinions of others. We can’t depend on others to fulfill our happiness because it does begin from within. I know from a personal perspective, it took a lot of courage to move my blog topics from all fashion to self-development and creative inspirational themes. I intend to continue tackling other alternative themes because that is where I am in my life and I’m sure there are others who could benefit from these discussions as well.

No matter at what stage you are in your life, you have the divine responsibility to ensure that you have a say in your life choices. You can begin by taking inventory of where you are in your life and decide how you want to make changes. You don’t have to make major changes all you need it to take one step in the direction of what you desire. It’s never too late to have the courage to start over and live a life that is truly and genuinely on your terms.

Photo: Josh Boot

Josh Boot

In Honor of the Memory of Marielle

It has been quite some time since I’ve published a blog post. I have certainly missed it but sometimes you have to step away from certain projects and explore other areas of interest. Yet, the reason I’m writing this post today is not to call this a comeback or to do a write up about fashion, self-care or other topics. Today this post is dedicated to a special friend and fashion comrade who unfortunately I found out this week is no longer with us.

The news was devastating, terribly sad and still so hard to comprehend. But I want to take this opportunity to remember what a great woman Marielle Larkin was. We met on Twitter several years ago (you may know her as @Gucci80). Our passion for the runway and all things fashion made us click instantly. She was a fashion freelance writer and had such a strong opinion and a wealth of knowledge when it came to fashion and the business behind it. During past fashion weeks, it almost became a game of how many times we were at the tents around the same time but never had the chance to meet up. She even spotted me on her computer on a couple of live streamed shows at NYFW. We compared notes on some of the most noteworthy shows every season. She was so joyful, funny, high-spirited, a real pistol from New Jersey and she was so proud of it! She loved to read, cook (thanks for the recipes), travel and was an avid photographer with a great eye. I always told her she was a jack of so many creative trades. She was also an animal lover and a fur mommy. She lovingly introduced all of her social media friends to her beloved dog Fitzy, who through so many fun photographs we grew to cherish. As time progressed Marielle had made so many fashion friends and we had many groups which we live-tweeted with for any given fashion show, Met Gala or red carpet award season event. Before we knew it we had joined Instagram and just became like family. We knew who our key players were in our private lives and got to know each other even more as time went by. Her kindness had no boundaries and she truly cherished her online group of friends. She checked in on all of us regularly (especially when inclement weather hit our towns) and always kept the conversation going in some way. She was also a hardcore Yankee fan! Every summer she brought her Yankee fan energy and challenged our mutual friend Roseann Gambale and myself since we are Mets fans. Oh, the fun back and forth during so many subway series games, all in great fun. Marielle also was always so supportive of this blog which is why I chose to use this online platform to honor her. She always had great feedback towards my writing ventures. I felt privileged to have her backing because I knew it came from a genuine place.

This week was hard for myself and for all of us who had daily exchanges with her for months or years. How is it possible that someone can touch your life without you even meeting them in person? That is the power of friendship and the truest power of love. It surpasses all physical boundaries. Sometimes all you need are a few kind words or someone to make you laugh to change your days. I will always be grateful for having the honor of calling Marielle my friend. Her time among us was too short and it will take a long time to get used to the idea that she is not here to be a part of so many conversations and topics that we enjoyed sharing. She was one of a kind. I’m sorry we never got the chance to say goodbye, but your memory will live on. Wishing you a smooth flight to the highest of skies. You are now reunited with your dad and I’m sure he had the biggest hug for his little girl. You will now have a front row seat to every fashion show and you will get to travel anywhere at any time to all your favorite places and some new ones my sweet friend.

In her last tweet, she told me she had had a dream the night before with me and my husband and that we were in London celebrating and she had come along with us. Well, I know the day I do go to London you will be right there dear friend. My sincerest condolonces to Marielle’s mom, family and friends.

 

Mare, my favorite Jersey girl, I miss you and I will keep you in my heart forever.

 

The Magic of Solitude

We live in such a noisy, busy and chaotic world these days. We also live in a world where being connected online is a daily marathon. Everyone is mindful of likes, sharing photos, personal status updates and hunting for followers. Sure, it’s important to keep up with your circle of friends and family in some way. But the question today is do you ever find alone time? It seems too often people will go out of their way to ensure that they are never alone. More often than not those who do enjoy time on their own are criticized for being anti-social, loners, shy, boring or labeled wallflowers. The fact of the matter is that enjoying time by yourself is actually healthy and valuable to your mental and emotional space. It’s so important to be comfortable enough to do things alone and appreciate your own company. Going for a walk, treating yourself to a movie (yes alone), going for a drive, taking a short or long trip on your own. These are just some ways that you can reconnect with yourself. How often do you get lost throughout the day by going to work, then you go home and it’s time to be a parent, a spouse, sibling, roommate, etc? Being of service and available to those you care about is kind and commendable, but when do you make time to be your own best friend. How about finding a quiet space and just listening to your thoughts and connecting with your inner self? Yes – it’s true that depending on what you have going on in your life you may not want to be in your head too much. Yet, connecting with yourself on a deeper level can be quite transformative and can even be a form of healing. It’s in this moment of solitude where you may likely find answers. It’s when the magic is awakened. The magic is that moment when you can just be free to be your unique self. It’s the moment when you don’t have to be anything you are not, just your authentic YOU and that is pure freedom. Silence is not something you should take for granted. Try it some time. You can start with just a few minutes during the day by taking a few deep breaths. If you feel you have to schedule the time to do so, that’s okay too.  The point is to seek this time and treat it as a gift to yourself and to your soul. The more you do find these small moments to nurture your spirit, the more you will grow and the more peace you will find and within that, there is unlimited power.

So dear readers, do you enjoy alone time or is this something you find challenging? Have you tried taking up the practice of meditation?

 

Photo by Josh Adamski

 

When Change Knocks At Your Door

It’s hard to believe we only have a few months left of the year 2017. This year, it seems so many people are experiencing changes and shifts in some area of their lives that is quite significant. When change knocks at your door, how do you answer? Do you open the door without hesitation or are you extra cautious? It’s safe to say many of us can experience doubt and fear when uncertainty enters our lives. They say progress is impossible without change and no matter how uncomfortable it might be, it could be the gateway to something really incredible. It could be the universe’s way of shaking things up and taking you out of the old comfort zone which is where stagnant energy lives. We are here to grow, evolve and learn and sometimes a major change is necessary. Are you in a soul-sucking job? Are you in an unhappy and unfulfilling relationship? Are your relationships unbalanced? Have you outgrown the home where you live or the area where you live? Are you feeling unhealthy and have been considering a lifestyle change? The safe zone is where many of us stay but there does come a time when our inner voice tries so hard to tell us to move on! Do we listen and act, or do we listen and suppress those thoughts? If you have been contemplating a change in your life and you’re reading this now, consider this as your SIGN. The time is now. So what’s the worst that can happen if you leave the old behind? Maybe it’s time to explore that new career, invest in yourself and remove those people or things that no longer resonate with you or bring positivity to your life.

Change may not come easy and yes there may be a bit of struggle but that is where you develop your strength. Think back on a time in your life when you actually made the conscious decision to go in a different direction from where you were. Maybe that decision brought you new relationships or new opportunities. As you can see, the calendar days wait for no one and times moves quickly. We are only here for a limited time so why not take action and do those things that you enjoy. Why not surround yourself with kind and supportive people. The battle of fear of the uncertainty and acceptance can be challenging but very much attainable. The question is how badly do you want to move forward. If you think you’re not ready that means you are! Wait, what? Yes, waiting for the right time or circumstance is just another form of procrastination and comes from a place of fear. Taking that leap of faith is not about timing, it’s about that deep desire to want to be happy. Always trust your inner voice and take that chance. So, now I ask you again –  when change comes knocking at your door, how will you answer? Will you open the door gracefully allowing the ebb and flow of growth to enter or will you push back and struggle through the process? The choice is yours but remember great things comes outside of your comfort zone. So One Style at Time readers, have you experienced any changes in your life? How did you handle these events no matter how big or small?