My Growth · personal

People Who Believe in Me Even When I Don’t Believe in Myself.

I’ll forever be grateful for my first job – the one I’m currently working at. Working at Safeway is much more than just being a cashier, or a stock person, or florist. You develop relationships with your regular customers, hear about their good days and bad ones, as well as share bits and pieces of your own life as well.

I’m humbled and honoured when individuals share their lives with me. I’ve met countless interesting, hardworking, and intelligent people at Safeway. There are customers who have been close to me since I started working there, and customers who I see briefly  from time to time.

There’s one customer in particular who prompted this post. Since I started working at Safeway in March 2015, we’ve regularly chit-chatted. When we first met, he told me that I was ‘too smart’ for Safeway, and that I had bright, intelligent eyes. He’s around 60 with a thick German accent – half of the time I can barely understand him, but it’s never stopped him from sharing his wisdom and insights of the world with me.

Yesterday, I told him about my ultimate dream. One that he’s always believed that I could achieve since the day he met me. He asked me about what was holding me back, and I told him that I doubted my abilities. My intelligence. My work ethic. He dispelled all of my self-limiting beliefs, like he always does, and said at the very least, I should try. I later journaled about what he told me. Even customers at Safeway have more faith in me than  I have in myself. Even they think that I deserve more than I’m giving myself.

I believe that regular, normal, every day people, can do extraordinary things. I’ve always yearned with my whole being to do what I set out to do when I was young. Along the way, I lost some passion and calling, and faced some tough roadblocks. I’ve been prompted to search for what I’ve lost, because of my dear customer. At the very least, I have to try.

Here’s to a new perspective and hope for the future!

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Musings · My Growth

Why 30 is not the new 20.

(My friend, D, recommended this TedTalk!)

I watched it over breakfast this morning and really enjoyed it! As I approach my 20s (I’m turning 20 in October!), it’s easy to get sucked into the hive mind mentality of ‘putting things off until you’re 30’. It’s easy to disregard a whole decade of your life, thinking that you have time, when in-fact, you don’t! Regardless of where you are in life and how old you are, I think it’s important to always strive for growth. Of course, a downside that can also result is that you’ll end up never being satisfied. That can be deterred by reflecting upon your growth, documenting your gratitudes, and just being grateful in general!

Jay mentions 3 things that every 20something should hear.

  1. Gain identity capital – do something that adds value to who you are, and invest in who you might want to be. Mindless exploration that does not count is procrastination. Identify capital begets identity capital.
  2. The urban tribe is overrated – spending time with like-minded peers limits who you know, what you know, how you think, how you speak, and where you work. Maximize on weak ties – friends of friends of friends. New friends, bosses, relationships, often arise from weak ties.
  3. The time to start picking your family is now – be intentional with love. Consciously choose who you want, and what you want. Who you pick now, is who will be in your family later. Don’t settle down at 30 with whoever you’re currently living with or sleeping with.

Anyways, I just thought it was really nice to ponder on the things she said! Of course, because I’m 19, I took in all the advice she gave. For those that are 30 and over may have a different view! I’d love to know your thoughts. 🙂

 

 

Musings · My Growth · personal

Competing in Powerlifting?!

I’ve been exploring the 3 main lifts (squat, deadlift, bench press) of powerlifting for the past 5 months. It’s been a life-saving experience and now I’ve decided to become more serious about it!

There are a few barriers that I’ll need to overcome before competing:

  1. Training more consistently/stricter
  2. Incorporating accessory lifts/exercises
  3. Diet/nutrition
  4. Proper club
  5. Gear
  6. Coach?

Last week, I messaged a powerlifer I really respect. She gave me some pretty helpful tips that I’ll ponder on below!

Overcoming barriers:

  1. Currently, during a good week, I go to the gym 4 times a week. I’m definitely not giving my 100% every time though, nor am I going in with a solid idea of what I want to work on. I’ll need to either follow a specific strength-building program, or start experimenting and building my own around what works for me. I’ll also be switching gyms and training at one that is far less busy/has cooler equipment, but is also more expensive and farther away. After weighing the pros and cons, I realized that my success/progress matters more!
  2. For individuals who only train their 3 main lifts, they hover around (and plateau at) 300-350 wilks. I’ll be incorporating more front squats (and accessory compound movements in general), machines, free weights, and etc.
  3. So far, I’ve been eating whatever I want (within reason). I don’t follow a strict diet of any sort, except minimizing the amount of processed food I consume. I’ll likely need to start counting macros to make sure that I’m consuming enough fats/proteins/carbs. This’ll help with my energy, muscle growth and recovery! I think N will be able to help me out with this though!
  4. At UBC, there’s a proper powerlifting club. I’m not sure how it works, but I think they go to the Bird Coop a few times a week to train and work on technique. They also host a sponsored meet in January every year! I’ll be joining in September and hopefully meet some people who’ll take me under their wing/mentor me!
  5. I’ll hopefully receive some gear recommendations from the people I meet through the club. I’ll be needing some proper powerlifting shoes for squats (my ankle mobility isn’t 100%…), as well as a belt/knee wraps if I start going pretty heavy, which I hope to do!
  6. The woman I messaged for advice said that getting a coach was the #1 thing she’d recommend. Currently, I’m hoping to become more comfortable with all my lifts and have my numbers be at least in the 200s before I look for a coach. This’ll be an extra expense (and although it’ll be worth it), I’ll need to be smart about it!

Powerlifting is one of the most empowering things I’ve ever taken on in my life. The fact that it’s fun, healthy, and lets me meet new people are just wonderful bonuses.

Being able to compete in anything requires a lot of discipline, structure and hard-work. I’m hoping that as I work on the details to overcome the 6 barriers I’ve listed above, the rest of my life (work, school, relationships, etc.) will also benefit.

Anyways, just a brain dump of what I’ve been thinking about for the past few weeks!

But of course, a quote!

“Powerlifters spend time looking in the mirror. Not in the sense that body-builders do, but more to observe the total structure. More to observe the tremendous power that resides within.” – Unknown.

P.S. If anyone has any helpful tips, I’d really love to know! And I’d really appreciate it! Currently going into everything blind and just following my passion.

My Growth · personal

Refocusing When Things Are Going Wrong.

Holy moly! It’s been awhile since I’ve struggled so horribly with my physical health. I’m 99% sure that my iron is incredibly low, which has been affecting my energy, focus and concentration greatly. I’ve had to reschedule meetings, miss classes and miss multiple gym sessions because of it, which makes me pretty unhappy. I’ve also been taking 3 hour naps every day and waking up exhausted.

For females, it’s difficult to have sufficient iron stores because of our menstrual cycles. Also, because I don’t eat red meat very often, it’s even harder. I’ll need to research into fruits and vegetables that are high in iron and go from there, as well as start taking my supplements again. (For vegetables, the body needs to be acidic enough to properly absorb the iron! Which takes a little while… sigh) I hope to get this fully under control before the school year starts in September.

I’ve decided to spend tonight on me, as N is at his parents’ place for today/tomorrow.

Things I’ll be doing:

  1. Making protein balls!
  2. Design a manageable morning/evening routine
  3. Some sort of dinner
  4. Shower
  5. Study a bit
  6. Read

Tomorrow morning:

  1. Blood test!!!!!
  2. Breakfast
  3. Work training

And of course, a quote.

“No one will improve his health significantly without accurately perceiving priorities, knowing clearly what is at stake if those are not attended to and what is to be gained if acted on correctly. That’s the basic homework before any change can come about. Then that knowledge has to be transformed into a sustainable motivation.”
― Darrell Calkins

Musings · My Growth · personal

Self-Limiting Beliefs.

I start training for my new job tomorrow and I spent part of my counselling session today exploring my self-limiting beliefs.

At times, I forget that I’m very young. Although I don’t live with my parents, nor do many things that “normal” 19 year olds do, I still feel very 19 at times. I have my insecurities, immature worries, as well as naive, bold dreams. At my new job, I’ll be working with a large age range, and the youngest of that range will be 30. Why would a 30 year old want to listen to me? Why would a 30 year old take lessons and want to be mentored by me?

This reminds me of when I first received my acceptance to UBC. Although I received a Major Entrance Scholarship, awarded to less than 1% of incoming freshman, I still didn’t feel ‘worthy’ of attending UBC. I still don’t feel worthy. The imposter-syndrome is very real.

My psychiatrist says that I’m a very internal person. Someone who owns situations, but also tends to put too much personal blame and responsibility on myself too. I say ‘should’ve’ a lot during our sessions. That I ‘should’ve’ done this, and ‘should’ve’ done that. When in reality, there’s no way I could have known that in the moment that was the proper thing to do. I’m not sure how I define my self-worth, but I do know that it’s based off of internal qualities, and that I’m working on building it.

I suppose my self-limiting beliefs do protect me at times. If I do poorly on an exam, I can believe that it was because of my lack of studying, rather than the fact that it may have been a hard exam. But most of the time, it’s a self-sabotaging belief. A belief that twists my thoughts and makes me feel like I am less worthy of opportunities and/or successes than others.

I hope that as I grow older and explore more things that have meaning to me (like my future career(s), relationship(s), etc.), I’ll also explore my dimensions of self-worth and learn to define it for myself.

And of course, a quote.

“Sometimes the hardest part of the journey is believing you’re worthy of the trip.” ― Glenn Beck, The Christmas Sweater

My Growth · personal

How I Manage My Anxiety.

Throughout my teenage years, I experienced random spurts of anxiety. They usually correlated with exam seasons, or due dates for assignments. During my first year of university, I developed severe anxiety. I would wake up every morning nauseous, nervous, and dreading school.

At university, I experienced what it meant to fail and it terrified me. I experienced what it meant to study, study and study, but still not do well. The thought of constantly being a failure and be unable to recover from it,  prompted my anxiety. Anxiety also lead to depressive thoughts, which lead to suicidal ideation, which lead to my hospitalizations.

During the second term of second year, I finally started putting into practice proper coping strategies. Rather than curling up into a ball on my bed full of desperation, I was actively battling my anxiety, and most of the time, learning to work with it! My anxiety usually correlates with stress, so my stress fighting tips are very similar to my anxiety fighting tips.

Here are my quick tips: 

  1. Exercise! – when I’m full of stress, pumping my body full of endorphins is the best way to manage it. I would recommend lifting weights rather than cardio because lifting weights has more long-term benefits than just cardio. But no matter what you do, just sweat and get your heart-rate up!
  2. Make to-do lists! – big tasks can seem so scary if you don’t have your action steps planned out. Even if you don’t execute your project/assignment/task based exactly on your planning, just knowing that you’ve planned, can make you feel calmer.
  3. Cold showers! – it’s difficult to think about anything when you’re being blasted by ice-cold water. You’ll get out of your shower feeling like a superhero, and ready to conquer your day!
  4. CBD! – CBD is a compound in cannabis that does not make you high. In fact, it counteracts THC (the compound that makes you high)! Although this isn’t for everyone, it’s proven to lower anxiety and control your body’s stress response. (There are many ways to go about CBD use – vapes, capsules, oils, edibles, etc.) Please be safe!
  5. Meditate! – focus on the present. Realize that you cannot control your past, nor your future. All you can do is do your best now, and guide your path.
  6. Breathe! – take deep breathes. Increasing the oxygen to your brain will make you feel calm and relaxed.
  7. Journal! – get your thoughts out. Why are you feeling this way? What would you tell a friend who is feeling this way? You are your own best friend!
  8. Talk to someone! – share. Don’t keep your thoughts, emotions, and feelings bottled up. Sometimes, sharing them is the best way to let them go.
  9. Relax! – allow yourself to take a time-out. Recharge, and face your challenges refreshed! Yoga, a hot bath, whatever you need!
  10. Frontload your pain – avoiding is the worst thing you can do. Oftentimes, avoiding your problems makes them grow even bigger. Tackle them while they’re smaller and more manageable!
  11. Get enough sleep! – self-explanatory.
  12. Eat good food! – foods can either help your anxiety, or make it so much worse! Being addicted to processed foods and sugar lowers your energy level, and makes cutting them out of your diet so much harder.
  13. Calming Affirmations! – repeat mantras in your mind to help realize that this moment of stress/anxiety will pass.
  14. Imagine a safe place! – visualize a safe place in your mind that you can go to recharge, if physically recharging is not possible at that exact moment.

These are just a few tips of things I do in my daily life. I really hope they were helpful!

A little while ago, I watched a TedTalk called “How to Make Stress Your Friend”. The number one thing I took from it is that our stress response is really just our body preparing ourselves for battle! When I thought about it that way, I became much more comfortable with the feeling.

 

And of course, a quote.

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”  ― Corrie ten Boom

My Growth · personal

I Got a New Job!

Lil’ while no blog! Life’s been a little busy, but it’s been really nice and satisfying!

The biggest news is that I got a new job! I’m going to be a peer support worker though Vancouver Coastal Health. I’m ecstatic and honoured to have the opportunity to work on the front lines, one-on-one, with clients who struggle with their mental health and substance abuse.

I was sent the job posting from the current non-profit that I’m currently doing some research with. Connections are everything! Wow!

The older I become, the more and more sure I am that mental health work is something that I want to do for a very long time. As someone who has been touched so personally by struggles with mental health, but who is also healing and in recovery from my struggles, it’s a dream to be a part of that for someone else.

Training starts next week (for a month)! Then I start working right after. Also, the position is super flexible, which means that I’ll be able to juggle it with my other job, as well as full-time school come Fall!

This especially means a lot to me, because I’ve turned down 3 jobs in the past month or so, because I didn’t feel like they were a good fit. Plus, they were all minimum wage as well. Which this job isn’t! It’s comforting to know that missing out on a month’s pay was absolutely worth it, for a job that I’ll feel satisfied and proud of doing.

It was difficult being patient while receiving offers (and rejections!), but I’m happy that waited for a position that fit.

I’m so excited.

And of course, a quote.

“Patience Is Not the Ability to Wait:
Patience is not the ability to wait. Patience is to be calm no matter what happens, constantly take action to turn it to positive growth opportunities, and have faith to believe that it will all work out in the end while you are waiting.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Also, I have been playing Tokyo Myers on repeat! He’s an incredible pianist who combines modern/pop songs, with the classics, as well as incorporating beats. It’s amazing. I highly recommend checking him out!

Here’s his audition from Britain’s Got Talent, this year! His story is also very humbling.

Musings · My Growth

Living Softer, Kinder, and More Gentle with Myself.

Not too long ago, I’d wake up every morning filled with dread, despair, and anxiety. Today, I am so blessed, grateful, and just plain darn lucky to wake up every morning with a heart full of calm, peace, and love.

A shift occurred after my second hospitalization. Both of my month-long hospitalizations were for suicidal ideation and tendencies. Despite the fact that they’ve thouroughly disrupted my academic goals, I’ve come to peace with both of them. Why was I hospitalized? I wanted to die. Why did I want to die? I felt hopeless. Why was I hopeless? I felt alone in my goals and wasn’t able to achieve them because I was so sick. My depressed brain told me that the only logical thing to do was to kill myself.

Thinking back, the feeling of despair is more familiar than I’d like it to be, but I’m learning to become more comfortable with it.

Before, when I was sick, I had a very career and goal driven mindset. If I didn’t achieve what I set out to do, I was a failure. If I wasn’t able to juggle a part-time job, full time course work, and 10 hrs of extracurriculars per week, I was a failure. Now, my attitude towards my life and journey is much more well-rounded.

I only have (generously) 100 years on this planet. I am but a visitor. I am one in 7 billion, but only 1 of the many, many people who have lived before me. In the grand scheme of things, what I do doesn’t really matter. I can make the worst of it, or the best of it. I hope to make the best of it. To use my time on this planet to experience the most I can of love, fear, and light. To love overwhelmingly, boldly, unapologetically, and vulnerably. To leave a positive impact on the planet and my loved ones, in whatever way that manifests.

Experiencing every day with the mindset I’ve shared above, has allowed me to be much more compassionate with myself and the world that surrounds me. As long as I go to sleep every night knowing that I left an impact and experienced love, I am content.

Of course, the “grind” is still very important, and I should take advantage of my “golden years” to educate myself and pursue my seemingly impossible dreams. But beyond that, I am just a visitor on Earth, experiencing the greatest vacation of all time.

 

My Growth

Why I Uninstalled Instagram, Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Snapchat.

(Shoutout to J for commenting on my last post. I really, really, really appreciated it.)

Living authentically is something that I’ve always struggled with. No amount of meditation books, mindfulness worksheets, or spiritual practices have been able to properly teach me how to live consciously in my present.

Fortunately, I’ve never been required to have a social media presence, or been forced to be immersed in it for school, work, etc. But as a 19 year old with a smartphone, I’ve spent my fair share of time posting, viewing others’ posts and staying “connected” with acquaintances. It baffles me that people view my Instagram stories and like my posts, even though we haven’t spoken in years and will probably not speak in the future either, or simply have never spoken. Or even weirder, when complete strangers do. And that, is precisely the reason why I uninstalled all social media off my phone.

I spent my shift at work yesterday thinking about why I do things. Why do I work? Why do I go to school? Why do I read self-development books? Why do I attend a bookclub? Why do I power-lift? Why do I do research? Even more trivial questions, such as, why do I go on dates with my boyfriend? And the questions could go on. All of my answers were in some way related to bettering myself, hopefully leaving an impact on the world around me, and spending quality time with my team (aka my loved ones). None of my answers mentioned my Instagram followers, Facebook friends, or anything of the sort. But why is it, that when I do something (anything, really!) or accomplish something, my first thought is to share it with the public, on social media?

Collectively, as a society, since social media and technology became an ingrained part of our lives, have unconsciously (or consciously) yearned for the validation of others. Instead of celebrating our accomplishments, successes, even failures with ourselves and our loved ones, they seemingly have no worth unless someone else tells us they do. Even worse, we tend to compare our growth to others, invalidating our own progress.

Social media alludes at and allows individuals to wrongfully believe that someone’s highlight reel, is what their life is like on the daily. Even simple posts intended to share one’s successes, can make another feel inadequate and lonely in their own journey. How different so many of us would act if we didn’t have a platform to share everything we did?

I’m doing a social media cleansing, targeted at my mind and intentions, to dig deeper and discover my motivations for doing what I do. I’d love for you to join me!

Two quotes that I mused on:

“An open Facebook page is simply a psychiatric dry erase board that screams, “Look at me. I am insecure. I need your reaction to what I am doing, but you’re not cool enough to be my friend. Therefore, I will just pray you see this because the approval of God is not all I need.” – Shannon L. Alder

“Because it’s so easy to medicate our need for self-worth by pandering to win followers, ‘likes’ and view counts, social media have become the metier of choice for many people who might otherwise channel that energy into books, music, or art – or even into their own Web ventures.” – Neil Strauss

P.S. Social media is a wonderful platform to share, build and create. It has without a doubt changed my life, and shaped my views of myself and the world. But recently, I’ve been using it for more bad than good, which prompted this post!

 

My Growth

Where it all began.

I wish I could say that my life always consisted of waking up at 6am (even on my days off), being excited about Monday’s, and falling deeper and deeper in-love with life everyday, but the truth is that I was exactly the opposite just 5-6 months ago.

For a very large part of my life (around 10 years), I had a profound depression. (Note: My “official” diagnosis is not depression.) Life was miserable, everything felt difficult, and I felt unbearably lonely. Feeling these strong emotions during my teens, a time when I was forming views about my future and the world around me, left me feeling paralyzed with despair. How was I supposed to grow and develop into a functional, happy adult, when I couldn’t stop thinking about acting on my suicide thoughts every, darn, day? My suicidal intent and lack of proper coping skills resulted in me barely making it through high-school, and two month-long hospitalizations within a year of eachother in 2015/2016.

Reflecting, while currently basking in the sun in my apartment Downtown, brings back a familiar ache in my chest. It’s humbling to remind myself of where I started and just how sick I really was.

The four main things I took action on after my second hospitalization were:

  1. Moving out – I moved Downtown with my boyfriend.
  2. Sufficient exercise – Before these past few months, I had never step foot in a gym before. I progressed from not being able to squat the bar, to squatting more than my bodyweight in exactly 3 months.
  3. Proper nutrition – I went from a deathly ill iron/B12 deficiency and sugar addiction, to eating in a way that fuels my body healthily and for the long-term.
  4. Adequate sleep – My sleep is now restorative and restful.

(I will make more thorough posts of the things I listed above!)

Regardless of why you’re here, if you’re dissatisfied with your life, please, please, please remember that you absolutely have the power to change it. If they are things that you cannot improve, at the very least, you can shift the way you react to your situation(s). If I can do it, literally anyone can.

Identify what you’re unhappy with, set your goals, take small actionable steps, and remember that “persistence will always trump circumstance”. – My Love.