Personal Growth Journey

In recent years, “self-care” has been a buzzword or phrase that is plastered just about everywhere! Literally, every other Facebook article, blog post, and self-help video is about the importance of self-care. These articles tell us the hows, whys, and whats of self-care that are supposed to help us to lead happier, less stressful lives. I totally get it; do a couple face masks, get a massage, take a weekend getaway, polish your nails, curl up with a glass of wine and a good book whilst taking a night off from your usual work.

Administrators always love to remind stressed, overworked, overwhelmed, teachers to “do something you enjoy” or “spend time with family” during the tough times throughout the school year. I mean after all, bosses have to say encouraging things to keep their employees and acknowledge their pain, right? However, what I’m not quite buying is the whole “self-care yourself through the toxic situation” mindset especially when the to-do list feels absolutely never-ending.

I don’t have a problem with the actual act of being kind to yourself. We should be gentle with ourselves, love ourselves, and most importantly treat ourselves well. We only get one mind and one vessel. It is soooo important to heal ourselves from our every day emotional labor and physical work. There is space for this kind of self-care. Self-care is important and that means something different to everyone. I can’t deny any of that. In fact, I believe all of that.

Here is where the issue lies. The issue lies in settling for a life you don’t want and coping with your choices by practicing “self-care”. If you continue to stay in toxic situations and forcing yourself to be content by going to a weekly yoga class or treating yourself to a massage, you are making a huge mistake. I don’t hate self-care by itself. But, it is absolutely gut-wrenching that people use self care to cope with their lives.

Self-care is not a band-aid for your toxic flesh wound of a relationship, job, or family issue. Self-care is not a remedy for having the life sucked out of you at a job you hate, being unhappy with someone who you have settled for, or continuing to have a relationship with a family member who turns your life upside down every time you speak. Self-care is not any of those things and self-care doesn’t

1. solve issues that exist in your life or

2. breathe life into dead situations that make your life less enjoyable.

Sometimes, self-care isn’t a facial, manicure, or binge watching a show on Netflix. Sometimes self-care actually presents an inconvenience to others and sometimes it makes others uncomfortable. Sometimes, it makes you unavailable for a while. Sometimes self-care is ceasing to feed dead situations. Sometimes self-care is travel.

Sometimes, self-care is walking away.

“I Don’t Care What People Think”: Making Your Own Rules About People’s Opinions

Personal Growth Journey

People always make it known that they don’t care about the opinions of others. It’s like rule number 1 in the whole self-acceptance, self-love stratosphere. Everyone’s favorite stance is the whole “I don’t care what other people think” stance which is one I completely agree with having. However, I didn’t always think that way and I’m mindful that there are so many people who are still navigating through what it means to make their own rules as far as people’s opinions go. It isn’t about not caring what people think. Making your own rules and leading a peaceful life is about ceasing to internalize the opinions of others to the point of losing yourself.

If we are being honest, that is a place that I am not too far removed from. It is only in the last 4 to 6 months that I have really stopped internalizing people’s opinions about my decisions and my life in general. That means I lived almost 25 whole years living my life to some extent based on what other people had to say in place of how I felt. These are some of the ways that I stopped making decisions and basing my existence on how others felt and started making my own rules about how I could effectively use feedback in my life.

     Have confidence in your decisions and in the way you live your life… I mean you are making your own rules, right? If you are making decisions in an effective way that produces the best outcomes for YOU, then you have no reason to lack confidence in those decisions. The only way that people’s negative opinions about your decisions and your life affect you is if you aren’t confident in your decisions and your life to start with. There have been so many times when people had negative things to say about the way I live my life (i.e. “why did she quit teaching? why would she want to be a flight attendant? why are you doing it this way? That’s crazy!”). There were also many times in the beginning that I didn’t feel confident that the decisions I was making were the best ones. Those were the times that the negativity affected me most. Don’t let that happen to you. When you are confident, no comments or opinions can ruin what you have going on.

Don’t reveal every move to every person… There are so many people who are super important to me. I value those individuals, I seek their advice (not their approval), and I care to hear opinions, of course. However, everyone in your life is not one of those individuals. I say that to emphasize the importance of letting decisions and your life in general play out. Social media is such a HUGE part of how we interact with other people and how some people seek approval, but we have to remember that everyone doesn’t need to know every detail of our lives. There are certain things that I choose to keep private and I RARELY make announcements about my life on social media. That has been in major part, due to the fact that it can be so hard to find approval within yourself, let alone approval from others. Don’t tell everyone every move because everyone does not deserve a place at the table where your life’s rules are written. You decide who gets a place and who doesn’t, bottom line.

Decide who your people are and why. I mean really, decide who gets a seat at that table we talked about and why you are granting them that position. Also, be sure that you are giving those valuable voices a place to give you advice, to help talk you through the difficult things, but not a place to grant or deny their approval for your decisions. My mom’s opinion is always important to me because she’s so smart and she is often affected by my decisions. However, her opinion is not often a deciding factor on anything for me. I love my people and I have my reasons for the trust that I have in their voices, but my voice is always the loudest. The reason for that is that at the end of the day, when you are in the solitude of your mind, you have to face yourself. You have to live with the rules that you have written for yourself, the plans that you’ve made, the life you have built. So decide.

Are you seeking advice or approval? How do you incorporate feedback without internalizing opinions? To whom are you revealing your moves and why? Who are your people and why? What will you do today to make your own rules about people’s opinions?

Thanks for reading!

Lacey Alanna

 

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I Took the Road Less Traveled Part 2 – What’s Next??!

Personal Growth Journey

Yesterday for the first time in the two months since I quit my job as a teacher, I broke down and asked myself “What the h*ll are you doing?”. “Why would you quit your salaried job for the unknown?”, “Why would you give up everything (money, being able to pay all your bills, being able to shop often) to travel?”, “Whats the next big move and how will you top all your previous accomplishments?”.

When you decide to make some major changes and regain control of your life, these are questions you ask yourself. If you have anxiety, its extremely hard not to let the worry take over and literally convince you that you may be making bad decisions or that you are ruining your life. I’ve gone through so many phases on this journey that have included literally anticipating the absolute worst about pursuing a career doing something I’ve literally always loved doing.  Anyways with all that being said, I am so excited because there are like a million things I want to do and I wanted to write this post to share those things with people and maybe motivate someone who is thinking of taking a major leap of faith.

So here are the reasons I decided to leave my career as an educator and explore other avenues of work.

  • I wanted more time to explore my interests, passions, ideas. Teaching sucked up so much of my time because it is work that you constantly take home.
  • I wanted a job that would allow me to travel more regularly. (As a teacher breaks were great, but burnout and exhaustion that needed to be handled over the breaks were not.)
  • I wanted to put more time into some business ideas that I had and a blog which I have been able to start.
  • I literally wanted more freedom and control over my time and head space.
  • I need to eventually be working for myself, therefore I need a job that allows me free time to develop my business ideas and work toward self-employment.

For me, leaving my job was a great decision and was right for me. Don’t all go quitting your jobs at once!  Just evaluate the things in your life that you want to change and simply change them. I can’t stress this enough. My biggest takeaway from all of this is that I am in control and so are you. If you don’t like something, change it. If you hate your job, change it. If you dislike your partner, change it. If you are unhappy for any reason, do your best to change it and don’t be afraid to make some sacrifices in the process.

So, a lot of people want to know what’s next for me. I love to travel, I love to write, and so of course after lots of interviewing, thinking, making sacrifices, my next stop on this journey is…….

 

FLIGHT ATTENDANT TRAINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

See you in the friendly skies!

I Took the Road Less Traveled Part 1

Personal Growth Journey

This post is the first part of my journey to becoming a flight attendant…how and why I quit teaching . If interested, please read on……

     If you know me, you know that I accidentally fell into teaching early grades after college.  I did not study education in college and I had no interest in being a teacher but it happened and it was good. I found myself developing the determination to get better at teaching, to be the best I could be, to be recognized, and to change outcomes for kids in low-income neighborhoods. So, I set out to do that and somehow found myself working in my classroom 6 – 7 days a week, sometimes 12, 14, 16 hours a day.  My perfectionism,  passion, determination turned into obsession and complete insanity. I found myself never feeling “done” at school. I found myself always striving for better student outcomes on weekly assessments, better /more efficient workstations for students to use each day, better systems and procedures for students. There is nothing wrong with being a great educator and there’s nothing wrong with caring and investing yourself. However, my personal investment became all of my waking hours, anxiety, and mental energy.

 

Graduation

Meanwhile, I had moved across the country from Washington, DC to Houston, TX to work for a charter school organization that I had admired for years and grew to believe could launch my career in a new direction.  As my only school year working at this organization continued, I completely lost myself, everything I loved, everything I believed in, I had completely sacrificed. I had pressure from admin to have great scores, pressure from parents to be the perfect caregiver, and pressure from myself to be the perfect everything.

Spring came and I got to the point where I would daydream during school days about being free and being just about anywhere else. I would dream about all the things I would rather be doing and missed having time for. So many things happened that I can’t share here but a day came when I had my first panic attack and that was the moment that changed things for me. The stakes became higher because I was now sacrificing my mental health, stability, and peace for an  organization of which I had no real ownership.

Late spring came and I had begun seeing a therapist for anxiety that was completely out of control. I was also completely mentally checked out of teaching and although all of my students had made their learning goals for the year and 90 percent of my parents were satisfied at the end of the year, I thought that it wasn’t fair to families that I wasn’t at my best anymore. Summer vacation was approaching and as promising as that seemed, I knew that 2 months wouldn’t fix me. Two months wouldn’t prepare me for another year of this, another year of my life investing everything I have into something that requires sacrificing everything I love. I loved my kids to death and I was a good teacher but if there is one thing I have learned, it is that we should never continue to do things we are good at if we are so moved to do something else. I took the road less traveled and I resigned from my teaching position. No, I don’t regret it and yes I feel freaking amazing. This is where my journey has begun but certainly not where it ends…

 

 

 

Classroom

I still love all my kiddos =)