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Let’s Start Talking About It

Sometimes everything is just not ok. You’re going through something tough, have been recently hurt or disappointed, or just feel angry or alone. However, you don’t want to seem ungrateful for the good things in your life, it’s not all doom and gloom. Maybe you’ve got a stellar best friend, a steady paycheck or a pint of your favorite ice cream in the freezer.  Maybe you had enough cash for a new shirt and you were complimented by a stranger. You may have so many things, big and small, to be utterly grateful for that you can’t count them all on your fingers and toes, but still have just as many reasons to feel down. To worry. To be upset. To find yourself depressed.

Up’s and down’s. That’s life, right? Or, is it? The life that I often see around me tends to be wildly exaggerated one way or the other. Folks are either spewing sunshine like they’ve never seen a grey cloud or crying out for help to heal the pain. Everything in the middle seems to get lost or kept quiet. It’s hard to be subtle with our feelings, so when you’re in between the good and the bad, maybe you just don’t know what to say or who to say it to. You might not want to worry your family, trouble your friends or spend that extra hour with your therapist. Maybe you’re just like me.

So, here’s what I’m doing about it.

I’m telling you, yes you, right now: I am not always ok. I’m not abundantly happy right at this exact moment. My list of things to be grateful for is growing by the minute – and you’d never guess anything was wrong by my Facebook and Twitter feeds. But at the same time, I’ve got my reasons to be sad. No reason is too big or too small here. I’m telling you like this because this is the iamnotyourguru blog, where imperfection is celebrated and honesty is everything.

I am now inviting you to tell me. You can be anonymous, or not, and say anything you want about what is bringing you down or what you’d like to change. It can be anything, and I’ll respond. Why? Because you’re going to be helping me too. You’ll be showing me that I am not alone, and that it’s courageous, not crazy, to set up a blog dedicated to complaining and airing your worries. A blog entry where it’s ok to vent, to not be strong, to not share your light. A blog that is not about how wonderful life can be if we allow love in or find gratitude. I, for one, am full of love and gratitude enough already, but I still cry sometimes.

There it is. I hope you’re with me. 

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Don’t Be a Raging Bitch & Other Advice I Give Myself

Since I am not a Guru, I don’t have all the answers. I live mostly by trial-and-error and benefit from a city full of examples of how I do, and don’t, want to live. Here is some of the advice I’ve given myself along the way. Let me know if it helps you too.

“Don’t be a raging bitch” is advice I sometimes have to give myself. PMS is the real cause at times (not a great excuse, but it’s a reality nonetheless) but at other times I am just cranky, hungry, tired, stressed out or nervous and need to remind myself not to scream and whine at my husband just because he said hello in the morning before I’ve stumbled out of bed. True story. I’m not proud. The thing is, I do tell myself these things, and I listen. I make a real effort to be a sane and useful human every single day. Some people don’t even do that. If you’re one of those people, stop being a raging bitch. Just stop. You don’t have “haters.” It’s not “you against the world.” The world is busy. Get busy too or go be a raging bitch in private. Note: If you do have “haters” than consider how this advice could remedy that. Also, stop saying “haters.”

“Don’t mask dislike or jealousy with “LOL.” Oooooh…social networking. You think you’re so clever with your “pages” and your “likes” and your massive amounts of “friends.” Well, you are. The problem with you being so popular is how we sometimes communicate on sites like Facebook & Twitter. The thing I’ve caught myself doing recently is kind of embarrassing if I were the sort of person to feel embarrassed. I’ve done it, and maybe you’ve done it too. Ever read (or write) something like this in response to a status message?

“OMG, you’re on vacation AGAIN! Morocco this time? That must be really nice for you! Isn’t it just so great that you’re rich and can afford all that time off? Guess your boss isn’t pissed you’ll be gone for 3 weeks this time either. LOL!”

Does the “LOL” at the end really mask the obvious jealousy and disdain in that comment? Does it make it OK just because the “LOL” implies it was all said in jest? Maybe Lucy Travelpants works hard for her money, saved 6 months for this trip, regularly volunteers and has an evil boss she deserves a major break from. Or maybe she doesn’t. Either way, it’s not fair to assume anything based on a status message. We never know what’s really going on in anyone’s life unless they post every little thing at all times. (That’s a whole other issue.) If you’re not truly happy for someone you otherwise care about, just don’t type anything. I’ve slapped my own hands quite a few times on this issue. Don’t tell me I’m alone on this one!

“Stop reading and start doing.” This advice is not at all for everyone. In fact, I’m not sure how many of you will be able to relate to me on this one. (I’m excited to find out!) I don’t read self-help books. The reason why is not because I don’t think they are absolutely incredible. There are millions many enlightening, intelligent and inspirational books out there with oodles of information and techniques inside that we could all use to change our lives for the better. I’ve bought some of them. The reason I don’t read them is this: when I read a self-help book I feel accomplished. My thoughts go something like this: 

“I have a problem/quirk/decision and I’ve taken the necessary step to seek help from this awesome book. I’m so proud of myself! This book was a stroke of genius! I don’t feel alone about this anymore either! Go ME!”

The problem is, I am so damn proud of myself for being self-aware and seeking out help that I usually don’t ever fix my real problem. I just bask in the glory of having acknowledged it. The words don’t really sink in until I actually take some sort of action beyond soaking up the knowledge the book has given me. (Side note: I am the same way with inspirational quotes. I read one and think, “Wow, that is so perfect and smart and speaking directly to me right this moment!” and then I just move on. I’ve never read “Carpe Diem” and found myself jumping off the couch to seize the day, if ya know what I mean.) This is not to say I won’t ever read a self-help book, it’s just that for a long while now my approach has been to make an intelligent guess and just try something and fail if it doesn’t work…then try again. I trust my intuition whenever possible. I also surround myself with smart and caring friends & family who make good suggestions. I have to have quite a bit of courage for this to work, and that part is not often easy. I can’t lie to myself either, and pretend I’m getting better/learning/growing when I’m not. Again, not easy. This may not be a good idea if you’re looking to do something dangerous that you haven’t spent any time researching or your problem needs medical attention. For me, however, this approach is actually working out so far. When it stops working I’ll be looking for the kind of book that says, “Now put the book down and go do  __________ before you self destruct” at the end of each chapter. If that doesn’t exist you’re going to have to help me write it.

Thoughts? What advice do you give yourself?

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