reader request: how to protect your heart

Protect-Your-Heart

 

Happy 2016, Positively Present readers! I'm so excited to kick off this new year with you. There are so many exciting projects in the works for the coming months -- new books, new products, new projects, and more -- and I can't wait to share them with you! To begin the new year, I'm starting off with a new type of post: Reader Request. I often receive emails, Instagram comments, blog post comments, etc. from readers asking if I'd write about a specific topic. I love when I receive requests because it tells me what you want to read and it inspires me to explore topics I might not have considered. If you have a request, contact me and I may just write about it for you! 

 

The first Reader's Request is a great one because it's a topic I've struggled with it a lot over the past year or so, but one I've avoided writing about (for a number of reasons): protecting your heart. ('Bet you guessed it from the title, didn't you?) A few weeks ago, I posted an image on Instagram featuring the words "Protect Your [Heart]," and one of my followers asked me if I'd write an article about how to actually do that. As soon as I read her comment, I knew it would be a great topic to write about -- especially because it's something I've struggled with personally. 

I'll be honest: I'm not the best at protecting my heart. I love love so much that sometimes I don't always make the best heart-related choices. For example, I cling to romantic notions of what I think something could be and ignore what it is. I'm often so hopeful things will work out someday that I often avoid dealing with what's happening now. (Healthy, I know...) When it comes to love, hopefulness isn't always a bad thing, but sometimes I'm so frantically hopeful that I swing the door to my heart wide open when it might be better slammed shut. 

Because, you see, a wide open door can lead to some negative consequences. A door left constantly ajar allows others to come and go as they please. When you don't push the door closed, others can (and will) call the shots. When you don't remember to lock the door, sometimes the wrong kinds of people can walk right on in. A lot of us have a hard time turning the lock because we fear missing out on a possibility of love (even if we know, deep down, that it's not right); or we think if we wait a little longer or try a little harder, something will change; or we believe if we close the door on someone, no one else will ever come along; or we assume if we let a lot of people through the door, one is bound to end in happily-ever-after. 

Whatever the reason (and all of us open-heart-door types have them!), keeping the door to your heart wide open at all times can result in a lot of unnecessary pain and heartache. On the flip side, so can closing off your heart completely, but for the sake of this article, we're going to focus on how to protect your heart. (If you struggle with letting love in, check out Let Go & Let It In: How to Stop Being Afraid of Love.) Even though, admittedly, I'm not the best at protecting my own heart, here are some of the ways I've learned to keep watch over my heart...

 

KNOW WHEN TO OPEN THE DOOR

Knowing when to open the door to your heart is the absolute best way to protect it. It's much easier to stop someone from coming in in the first place than it is to ask them to leave later. It's not always easy to know when you should or shouldn't open the door, but usually you have a gut instinct about someone -- and you should listen to it. Whether you want to admit it or not, you know, deep down, whether or not someone deserves to be invited into your world. Pay attention to what your initial reaction to someone tells you. 

 

PAY ATTENTION TO HOW YOU FEEL

After you've let someone have access to your heart, pay attention to how you feel when you're with that person. Really take note of how you feel when you think about him or her. And, in particular, pay attention to how you feel after you spend time with that person. Sometimes, when you're caught up in a romance, you'll feel great with the person, but when you're not with him/her, you feel anxious or uncertain or even unhappy. Paying close attention to your feelings will give you instant access to insights that will tell you whether or not someone is worthy of your time and effort. 

 

COMMUNICATE YOUR FEELINGS

Communication, in any kind of relationship, is so important. If you don't talk about how you feel with someone else, you're bound to have all sorts of problems and misunderstandings. (Full disclosure: I am literally terrible at this. I have gone years without talking about how I feel, which, I know, is absurd, and, as you might imagine, hasn't work out too well for me. Because I'm so bad at it, I know just how important it is.) The more open, honest, and communicative you are with someone else, the more you'll learn about him/her, and the more you know, the better you'll be at making decisions regarding your heart. 

 

LET GO OF ATTACHMENT

This is probably one of the best heart-protection tips -- and tips for generally living a positive life. The only reason we have pain in our lives is because we're too attached to people, things, situations, or ideas. Detaching from people, in particular, is really hard. I recently read this article "Letting Go of Attachment: From A to Zen" and I found it super eye-opening and helpful. When you're not clinging to someone (or the idea of someone), you're able to have a clearer vision of who someone really is. The more clarity you have, the more you'll know whether or not someone is really good for you or not. 

 

WATCH WHAT PEOPLE DO (NOT SAY)

You've probably heard this type of advice before, but it's vital when it comes to protecting your heart. People can say absolutely anything they want at any time, and it's easy to believe that words are enough. But they're not. What matters, when it comes to matters of the heart, is action. To protect your heart, pay attention not to what people say, but to what they do. For example, saying "I love you" means nothing if they don't treat you in a loving way. It's easy to get swept away with what's being said, but actions are the only thing that matters when it comes to protecting your heart. 

 

DON'T FEAR BEING ALONE

A lot of us fail to protect our hearts because we're afraid of being alone, and we'd rather tolerate being treated badly than be faced with solitude. This is very bad for the protection of the heart because it can cause you to stay in situations that make you feel unhappy for much longer than you need to. One of the very best ways to protect your heart is to be okay with being alone. If you're comfortable with solitude, you won't stay in bad situations longer than necessary, and you won't settle for less than you deserve simply because you're lonely. 

 

Protecting your heart is hard work, and I definitely struggle with it myself, but I hope these tips help you if you're struggling to find what's best for you. Most of us value our relationships so highly, but we don't always pay attention to how we really, truly feel when we're in (or out of) them. Protecting your heart doesn't mean closing the door to possibilities or love; it means making sure that the people and experiences you let in are worthy of your love.  

 

 

Loving-Your-Self

Protecting your heart goes hand-in-hand with self-love. Want to empower yourself with some serious self-love and acceptance? Start loving yourself (or increase the love you already have for yourself!) with the inspiration and motivation found in Loving Your Self: An Empowering Workbook for Increasing Self-LoveFilled with uplifting encouragement, thought-provoking questions, and engaging exercises, Loving Your Self is an essential tool for mastering the art of self-love. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your own copy here.


the 5 best ways to show gratitude

Grateful
 

Happy November! With Thanksgiving fast approaching, the month of November is always a very popular time for talking about gratitude. (And, of course, it's the month for the 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge!) Like many topics in the self-help space, the concept of gratitude can be a bit vague at times. You're probably well-aware of what the word means from a dictionary-definition standpoint ("the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness"), but actually putting gratitude into practice — and keeping focused on that practice for more than just the month of November — can be a more complex endeavor. 

Being grateful is one of the best ways to embrace a positive, present life. When you're grateful, it's impossible to be negative. It's also an excellent tool for staying in the moment. If you're struggling to stay present, focusing on what you have to be grateful for can bring you back into the moment. But gratitude is more than just thinking "I'm thankful for..." Gratitude means taking action and putting the thankful thoughts into practice. I've given the concept of practicing gratitude a lot of thought, and here are the five best ways I've found to be grateful.

 

SHOW GRATITUDE BY GIVING. 

One of the best ways you can show gratitude is by giving — both to yourself and to others. When it comes to being thankful for yourself and cultivating self-love, you can give to yourself by being patient with yourself when you're going through a difficult time, by caring for your body and your mind, by making choices that will make you happier and more fulfilled. When it comes to being thankful for others, giving back to them is one of the best ways to show your gratitude. You can give them time, patience, love, kindness. You can also give them physical things too if you're able — like donating the goods you no longer have use for to those in need or donating money to a friend's Kickstarter project. (Two I'm loving right now? aquabook and The Spark Planner). We all have something to give and it's such a wonderful way to express thankfulness. When it comes to giving, also consider the gifts you have to give the world. If you're really talented at something, pursuing that passion and sharing your talents is a gift you give not only yourself but those who get to experience your work. This, in its own way, it an expression of gratitude for what you've been given. 

 

SHOW GRATITUDE BY LISTENING.

The act of listening is a small act, but a very important one. We're all bombarded on a daily basis with so much noise and information that it's sadly becoming rare to give someone your full, undivided attention. Just think of how many conversations you've had when you're looking at your phone! One way you can show gratitude for others is by giving them 100% of your attention when they're speaking to you. Put your phone down. Try not to let your thoughts drift to what you want to say (or what you're going to be doing right after the conversation ends). This can be challenging, I know, but the effort and energy you put into listening to others with your full attention is such an amazing way to express gratitude. It might not be the first thing you think of when you hear "gratitude," but fully engaging with someone else and letting him/her have a chance to speak openly and without interruption (or distraction) is basically the equivalent of throwing your arms around someone in a big bear hug and saying, "Thank you for being you! I value who you are and what you have to say!" (Also, it's nice to take note of when others are fully listening to you and thank them for their time and attention.)

 

SHOW GRATITUDE BY APPRECIATING.

Appreciation is a key component of gratitude. The word "appreciation" has two meanings, both of which are essential when it comes to practicing gratitude. First, appreciation means, "the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something." One of the best ways to cultivate gratitude is to embrace this first definition wholeheartedly. Look around you right now and take note of what good qualities can be spotted all around you (and within you too — self-love!). All too often we're so busy and/or stressed that we fail to see how much beauty and goodness is all around us. From the smile on a loved one's face to the sun streaming in through the window, there are countless moments of goodness around us at any given moment. Even when things are bad, there's something good. Gratitude is finding these moments and sitting with them for a second, letting ourselves bask in their glow and fully knowing that we are lucky to experience them. Secondly, appreciation means, "a full understanding of a situation." This definition leads to my next point...

 

SHOW GRATITUDE BY ACCEPTING. 

... which is, show gratitude by trying your best to fully understand and accept whatever situation you're in. We all face amazing, wonderful, and is-this-my-life? situations as well as unpleasant, horrible, and how-can-this-be-happening? situations. Life has it's ups and downs and the rollercoaster-ness of it all can sometimes cast a shadow on the ability to be grateful. But the struggling to be grateful in good and bad times can be overcome if you choose acceptance over resistance. Rather than wanting a situation to be other than what it is, try accepting it fully and without (too much) judgment. This act of acceptance is its own kind of gratitude, a way of saying, "Okay, Universe/God/Preferred Deity, I see that this situation is happening and I might not love it, but I'm here for it and I'm thankful for that." Or, in really great situations, it's important to accept them with an open, thankful heart, rather than thinking (as some of us negative-prone thinkers do) that the good time will be short-lived and we should't get too used to the happy moments. Accepting the good and the bad, the light and the dark, is a remarkable way to be grateful for every experience. 

 

SHOW GRATITUDE BY EXPRESSING.

Gratitude in and of itself is a wonderful thing, but expressing it is even more amazing. Whenever you feel grateful for someone or something, express it in a physical way. Tell someone at work you're so thankful for her help. Write your father an email after he goes out of his way to help you. Give your mother a big hug after she says something that made you feel empowered. Send a handwritten note to a friend that helped you through a tough time. Say "thank you" to your surgeon after he helped you to heal. Tell your kids you're so grateful to have them in your life. Participate in the 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge and share your thank-worthy moments. Whatever you need to do to express your gratitude, do it. If saying "thanks" isn't part of your daily routine, now is the time to incorporate it into your life. No matter how big or small the act, it's important to express your gratitude for it to others. Not only does it let them know that you're thankful, but it also feels really good to put kind words and actions out into the world. If you need some ideas of how express your gratitude, check out this article I came across: Tiny Buddha's 50 Ways to Show Gratitude. So many awesome ways to express your thankfulness! 

 

As I mentioned earlier, gratitude is an vital but sometimes vague concept. It includes saying "thank you" (which is so important to do!), but it's so much more than that. Gratitude is about giving, listening, appreciating, accepting, and expressing. It's about finding the good in your life, recognizing how fortune you are to have it, and sharing that goodness with those around you. It's about realizing that everything — the good and the bad — is worthwhile, and being open to the idea of appreciating what's happening to you, who you're sharing experiences with, and how these experiences make you feel. You'll probably being seeing a lot of gratitude-related things this month, and, even though it's mostly due to the upcoming holiday, I hope you'll take them to heart and use them as reminders to keep cultivating gratitude every single day. Take it from me — you'll be glad you did. The more grateful you are, the more positive and present you are. And the more positive and present you are, the happier and more fulfilled you'll feel! 

 

 

There's so much to be grateful for in this life, and one thing I'm particularly grateful for today is sponsors that help bring Positively Present posts to you.


Today's sponsor is aquabook! I'm so excited about this product (an awesomely reimagined take on the water bottle), and I can't wait to see it come to life.  The aquabook is a reinvented water bottle designed to match your lifestyle. The book-shaped, slim design fits easily in any kind of bag or purse. It’s convenient, customizable, and reusable — making it good for you
 and for the environment. You can choose your color and even print your favorite picture or statement on the aquabook. The aquabook is currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter (http://kck.st/1G93hFp). Support this project and help bring the aquabook to life! Be sure to check out #myaquabook on Instagram and follow along on and Twitter @theaquabook. 


loving your self : a brand new self-love workbook

Loving-Yourself-Workbook

  

There’s only one relationship you’ll have every single day of your life for the rest of your life — the relationship you have with yourself. It’s one of the most important relationships you possess, but many of us don’t take the time and effort to make it a loving, empowering experience. Most of us fail to prioritize self-love because we don't know we should or we struggle so much with it that it feels easier to avoid the hard work. But loving yourself is essential for living a positive, present life, a life in which you can experience true happiness, acceptance, and peace.

Loving yourself means accepting mind, body, and heart. As important as the concept of self-love is, it’s not always something we strive for because, unfortunately, many things stand in the way of self-love. One major roadblock that blocks the path to loving ourselves is how we think about self-love. Many of us don’t love ourselves fully because we’ve been led to believe that self-love is selfish, greedy, or indulgent. Or we’ve been raised in an environment (or a society) that doesn’t promote self-love and, instead, encourages judgment, comparisons, and self-criticism. Or, in some cases, we’re afraid to love ourselves because achieving a deep sense of love for the self would lead to a greater sense of peace and happiness — two things that sound wonderful in theory, but that could potentially change the way we view ourselves and the world. Even the most positive of mindset shifts can be intimidating. 

But if you want to make the most of your life — if you want to have a deep and unconditional understanding and respect for who you are, who you've been, and who you will be in the future — you have to learn to love who you are, inside and out. Having struggled with self-love myself, I know how difficult it can be to achieve it. It's an on-going process and it requires dedication and determination, but, wow, is it worth it. 

Once you cultivate a strong love for yourself, anything is possible. I know how much learning to love myself has changed my life, and I wanted to share all of this self-love goodness with others so I created this absolutely comprehensive guide to loving yourself. The Loving Your Self workbook will take you on a journey of self-love filled with encouragement, inspiration, and exercises to spark true and lasting love for yourself. If you’re hesitant at all about embarking on this journey, keep in mind some of the most important reasons to love yourself:

  • Loving yourself improves your relationship with others
  • Loving yourself creates an overall more positive outlook
  • Loving yourself increases your self-respect (and respect for others)
  • Loving yourself opens you up to pursuing passions and meaningful work
  • Loving yourself makes it easier to find the goodness in others 

As you can see, there are many reasons self-love is essential for creating a more positive, more present life. In the workbook, you'll be challenged to uncover truths about yourself and about your life. You will be asked to look deeply at what matters most to you (and you can do more of that with the Finding Your Self workbook). If you take the time for self-love, you open yourself up to improving every single aspect of your life. 

Loving-Yourself-Now

ABOUT THE WORKBOOK

Loving Your Self is a empowering workbook designed to teach, inspire, and increase self-love. The instant-downloadable PDF is a go-to resource for learning about self-love, engaging in exercises that increase self-love, and discovering more about the various ways you can (and should!) love who you are. The workbook features innovative, inspiring, and empowering activities to help you uncover a deep, lasting love of yourself. The workbook is broken down into four sections: 

  • Loving Your Mind: insights on how to break negative thought patterns, how to master the art of positive self-talk, and how to understand the power of "I am";
  • Loving Your Body: insights on how to love your body, how to embrace your flaws, and how to put an end to comparisons;
  • Loving Your Heart: insights on how to reclaim your muchness, how to let go of the past, and how to forgive yourself and others; 
  • Loving Your Life: insights on how to focus on the positive aspects of your life, how to cut out complaining, and how to establish boundaries with others. 

In addition to these four sections — each of which is loaded with information, activities, and worksheets — the Conclusion features:

  • A set of self-love reminders to print + post up wherever you need self-love boost
  • self-love cheat sheet to fill out with your top self-love reminders
  • A list of self-love resources featuring my favorite self-love websites + books 

If you've been struggling with self-love (or just want to reinforce your current self-love practices), this workbook is exactly what you need. As I was creating the workbook, I went through some difficult situations. I found myself answering the questions and doing the exercises as I was creating them, and it was amazing what it did for my self-esteem, self-respect, and self-love. The very act of creating (and working through) this workbook had such a positive impact on my life, and I'm so excited to share that experience with you. 

Loving-Yourself-Sample

I've created a lot of things since I started Positively Present — Stay Positive: Daily Reminders from Positively PresentThe Positively Present Guide to LifeFinding Your Self, The ABC's of Self-Love, and many other e-books — and this has been one of my favorite projects to work on. Self-love is so, so important. It provides the foundation for your relationships, your work, and your life. It's something every single person should be able to do and I hope this workbook will help anyone who is struggling to love him or herself. If you're looking for more love, peace, acceptance, and meaning in your life, this workbook is for you. Click the box below to grab your copy and begin the amazing experience of loving who you are!
 

Buy-Now

 


10 ways to handle your heartbreak

Love-Miss
 

 

A couple weeks ago, I received an email from Catherine,* a young woman suffering from the heart-wrenching pain of losing her first love. In the email, she told me how her boyfriend had recently broken up with her. Even though the relationship was not a positive one (he broke her trust, flirted with others, gave less than he took, etc.), she was crushed by the relationship's end. She knew she was better off without the him, but that knowledge didn't make the loss easier to bear. She wrote,* "Being with him was like a high. It wasn't a healthy situation and ultimately he didn't make me happier, but I am still sick after losing him." 

Immediately upon reading her email, I was transported back to a time in my life when I was young and desperately in love for the first time. That first love is a wild thing, so consuming and intoxicating, and the end of it was like the worst kind of withdraw — a physical and emotional ache that felt endless. Heartbreak is always hard, but the first time is the worst because you haven't yet survived it, and it feels like you'll never get past the pain. 

Reading Catherine's email, I could remember just how it felt to be in her shoes. Even though I'd been the one to end the relationship back then, the pain had been raw and real and it had felt as if nothing would ever ease the ache. Straightaway I wrote her back, hoping I could used what I learned from my first heartbreak (and many subsequent heartbreaks!) to help her cope with the loss. The most important thing to remember, I wrote to her, is this: one day you will feel better. It might take a long time (it's different for every situation), but it will happen. You will also find love again. It might not feel like it's possible in the midst of losing that first love, but it will happen.

Of course, most of us have heard these things before. I know how meaningless these words can sound when your heart is breaking, so I offered up some practical advice to help her manage the heartache: 

 

  1. TAKE A SOCIAL MEDIA TIME-OUT. 

    First and foremost, social media is a gateway to checking up on your ex — something that's never healthy or productive. If at all possible, delete him or her from your accounts so you aren't tempted to look at (or accidentally come across) updates. It might sound extreme or petty, but if it helps you get through it, who cares what your ex thinks? Also, avoiding social media in general for a little while can be helpful; it's really hard not to compare where you are to where others are. Seeing pictures of happy, smiling couples will only reinforce any loneliness you're feeling. 

  2. FIND A NEW SOCIAL OUTLET. 

    When you're newly single, you have a lot of extra time on your hands. All the time you used to spend with or talking to your ex is now free time. This can trigger loneliness and sadness, which is why it's important to find new ways to spend all of that down time. Some ideas: make more plans with friends; join a local group or club; check out meet-ups in your area; join a recreational sport team; sign up for classes at your local college; take creative classes (art, dance, etc.). Whatever you do, it's important to find positive ways to spend your time. This can be tough if you're more introverted, but at least give one or two things a try. 

  3. SPEND TIME WITH HAPPY PEOPLE. 

    It might sound counterintuitive to surround yourself with joy when you're feeling sad, but the more time you spend with happy, positive people, the more their happiness will rub off on you. It's been proven that happiness is contagious and, from personal experience, I know this to be true. When you're hurting, it's very tempting to spend time alone or maybe even with other people who are in a negative state of mind (it might feel like they "get" you), but you'll benefit the most from surrounding yourself with uplifting people. 

  4. DON'T FORCE FRIENDSHIP (RIGHT AWAY). 

    One of the questions Catherine posed in her email was whether or not she would be able to be friends with her ex. When you're losing someone who has become a big part of your life, it's hard to envision not having them (even in some form) as part of your social circle. However, unless the break-up is 100% mutual, it's not the best idea to focus on creating a friendship right away. In the future, a friendship might come to be, but post-break-up, this shouldn't be something you worry about. This is the time to focus on you, not your ex. 

  5. AVOID "NEVER AGAIN" THOUGHTS. 

    After a break-up, it's hard not to have thoughts like "I'll never see him again" or "I'll never kiss him again," but these are not help for two reasons: (1) you never know what will happen — I've reconnected with many an ex, which is generally not a good idea, but it does happen — and (2) those kind of thoughts only stir up more despair. These thoughts make up "all-or-nothing" thinking, and they make you feel as if there is no other option other than "never again." Try to avoid these thoughts at all costs; they will only bring you down. 

  6. WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU WANT.

    After a particularly tough break-up, I once wrote down everything I wanted in the next guy I was going to date. And guess what? The next guy I met had almost every single trait! It sounds a bit unbelievable, but it worked for me and I know it's worked for others too. Instead of focusing on what you've lost, you're redirecting your attention to what you want — which makes it much more likely you'll get it. Plus, if you're struggling with staying present (as one does during heartbreak), focusing on the (positive!) future is much better than dwelling on the past. 

  7. DO NOT CONTACT HIM / HER.

    This can be incredibly difficult (especially if you were in a relationship in which you were in constant contact with one another), but don't do it. Delete the number; remove the email from your contacts; block social media accounts if necessary. Have a break-up buddy — a friend you can call/text when you want to reach out to your ex and use that buddy often. Also, don't give in to any excuses. You don't need to tell your ex about a funny article you saw or a video of his favorite celebrity. You don't need to ask her, "Hey, what was the name of that place where we...?" or wish him a happy random-holiday-that-no-one-cares about. No contact. No excuses. 

  8. START DATING AGAIN.

    Even if you don't feel ready, it feels nice meet new people and go on dates and it gives you something to do other than sit around at home and wallow in your new single status. Dating isn't always fun and it's a lot of work sometimes, but getting out there will be good for you — and you never know, you might just meet the love of your life! Important reminder: when on dates, do not talk about your ex. First of all, this is just rude. And, secondly, this new guy or girl doesn't (yet) care about your pain. Save your sob story for your friends and try your best to have a positive attitude with new people. 

  9. COMBAT YOUR ANXIETY.

    You might be feeling more anxious than usual, post break-up. Your life has been turned upside down in some ways and this can be hard to cope with. When you're feeling anxious, try focusing on your five senses. When your anxiety is bad and you feel panicky, it helps to pay attention to things happening right this moment (what you can see, smell, taste, feel, and hear). It won't completely take away the pain, but it'll bring you out of that endless cycle of panic that can come with the heartache. Try your hardest not to focus on the past (it's over) or the future (it hasn't happened yet), and you'll feel a lot less anxious. 

  10. HAVE A HOPEFUL HEART.

    Remind yourself (over and over again) that it will get better and you will find love again. It's hard to believe this in the midst of heartache and pain, but it's true and telling yourself this (even if you don't 100% believe it) will help you have hope. And when you have a hopeful heart, any pain is a lot easier to deal with. Hope can also help you take it one day at a time. Use a hopeful attitude to remind yourself, "I can get through today," or, when it really sucks, "I can get through the next hour. Or ten minutes. Or one second." Hope is really powerful!
 
If you're coping with a broken heart (or a loss of any kind), I hope these tips will help you. It can be hard to follow through on all of them (believe me, I know — I struggle to take my own advice a lot!), but don't give up. Keep trying to get through it and one day you will be on the other side of the pain, looking back on it and probably feeling thankful that you didn't end up with that person.
 
Also, never forget: you are enough. It might feel like you couldn't make a relationship work or the other person didn't want you, but know that some people aren't meant to be together (no matter how much you might want it) and the end of one thing can be the beginning of something else. It'll be scary to love again and risk being hurt, but don't let a broken heart deter you from loving again in the future because loving people is the very best thing you can do.  
 
For more inspiration on surviving loss and a broken heart, check out: 
 
 
30 Lessons I Learned from Love (for hope that you will find love again!)
 
 
 
 
*The name and details of the email have been changed or paraphrased to protect her privacy. Should you ever want to email me with a situation in which you're struggling to stay positive, you're more than welcome to reach out to me. However, it's important to keep in mind that I'm not a mental health professional or a therapist so any advice I give is based purely on my own experiences or research. 
 
  

 

Finding-Self-Cover

A break-up can be a fresh start and a great opportunity to reconnect with yourself. Start some soul-searching with the Finding Yourself workbook. Discover more about yourself, and uncover what you want most by downloading a copy of the e-book Finding Yourself: A Soul-Searching Workbook for Surprising Self Discovery. Filled with inspiration, questions, and activities to get you thinking about what it means to be you, Finding Yourself is a must for learning more about who you are and about what matters most to you. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your own soul-searching copy here.


put your heart to paper: celebrating moms!

Put-Your-Heart-To-Paperflower illustration via freepik
 

In our digital-dominated world, the art of putting words on paper isn't as common as it once was, but I think it needs to have a comeback. The act of writing something down — sending a letter or mailing a handwritten card — is so meaningful. It's not only an incredibly positive act (and something the card-receiver greatly appreciates), but it's also a wonderful way to stay present. When you sit down to write something by hand, you bring yourself into the moment, putting your full attention on the words coming from your heart. 

With Mother's Day just around the corner (May 10, in case you need a reminder!), it's a perfect time to think about putting pen to paper and jotting down something meaningful for the mom (or mom-like figure) in your life. I've teamed up with Hallmark and the Put Your Heart To Paper campaign to explore some of the beautiful ways you can put your heart on paper this Mother's Day using some of the beautiful cards designed for Hallmark. 

 

Pretty-Cards

 

I've been fortunate to have strong, inspiring, and empowering women in my life, and Mother's Day is a wonderful day to take time to celebrate these women and to reflect on how they've made my life better. In particular, I'm going to share the positive influences of four women who have, whether they realize it or not, inspired me with their maternal guidance and wisdom. Only one of these is my biological mother (the best mother in the world, I might add!). The others are women who have shared love and wisdom just like a mother would. I'm so incredibly lucky to have had them in my life, improving me and my view of the world. Below are the cards I'm going to give them (or wish I could give them, in some cases...): 

 

  Four-Cards

 

THE BEST-EVER BIOLOGICAL MOM

First and foremost is my best-ever biological mom. I can't even tell you how lucky I am to have her for a mom. She's the kind of mom that all the other kids wished was their mom, the kind of mom that grown adults say, "I wish were your daughter." She's awesome. And this first card (one of my favorites of all the cards this year!) is perfect for her. On the outside, it reads, "Good moms let their kids lick the beaters" (my mom always did) and inside it says, "Great moms turn the mixer off first." That little bit of sass is perfect for my mom who definitely has a little wildness in her. ;) In the card, I plan to tell her just how thankful I am for her — for both all of the fun times and all the times she did her best to protect me from harm. She's such a wonderful mom that it's not hard to think of wonderful things to say about her, but I always try to make an effort to put it in writing (especially on Mother's Day!). 

 

THE NEW-MOM BEST FRIEND

The next card goes out to my best friend / cousin who is celebrating her first Mother's Day this May. Being a new mom is tough and she's had some extra challenges to cope with, but she's been such a strong and inspiring mother through it all. Not only that, but she's been a bit like an older sister to me all my life, sharing her wisdom with me and teaching me the ways of the world. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a family member they consider a best friend and I'm so thankful for her. That's why this card, with the beautiful words "You are so very loved and admired" is perfect for her. Not only do I love her like crazy, but I also really admire her, particularly for how strong she's been over the past year. She's truly and inspiring woman and I'm so lucky that I have her in my life. 

 

THE LIKE-A-SECOND-MOM MOTHER

Though she's no longer a part of my life in a tangible way (she passed away after a long battle with cancer), this next card would certainly be perfect to send to the mother-like figure I spent so much time with as a child. The mother of my best friend, I was always over at her house and so she became sort of like a second mom to me growing up. What was so great about this was that she was so different from my mom in so many ways, which gave me the experience of having insight from a completely different perspective. This card reads: "A mom's heart is always there — ready to comfort, ready to give, ready to love." From this woman, I learned so much, especially about how a mother's love isn't biological and, instead, comes from something deeper than that. I was so lucky to have her in my life as a child and though she's no longer here, she'll always be a part of me. 

 

THE ONLINE MATERNAL INSPIRATION 

An online mom sounds a bit silly, but what I mean by this is a woman I don't know in real life, but who inspires and motivates me constantly with her words and her wisdom. For me, this is Danielle LaPorte, a woman whose wisdom I return to again and again online, in her books, and via the Truthbomb deck sitting on my desk. This superwoman card is perfect for her because she helps so many women around the world. Inside, the card reads: "Thanks for always using your powers for good," and that's just what Danielle does. She has a lot of online influence, but she uses it to raise people up, not bring them down. She's focused on positive inspiration and, in many ways, her words have positively impacted my life. She might not be someone I know in the real world, but her maternal guidance has far-reaching powers. 

 

Who do you plan to give cards to this Mother's Day?  Regardless of your relationship with your own mother (I know some aren't as lucky as I've been in the mom lottery of life!), Mother's Day is a wonderful time to reflect on the women in your life who have contributed to making your world a better place. And, more importantly, it's a wonderful time to share those reflections with them. I know sometimes it can feel awkward and cheesy to tell someone how you feel, but you never know just what it might mean to someone to read your words on paper. This Mother's Day, pick up a card, write your own personal message, and send it to a woman who's transformed your life in some way. Putting your heart to paper is a simple act, but it can mean so much. 

 


HallmarkThis post was sponsored by Hallmark. All content and opinions are entirely my own. To learn more about Hallmark's Put Your Heart To Paper campaign, visit PutYourHeartToPaper.com. Keep on top of all the Hallmark goodness by checking out Hallmark's Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts. And this Mother's Day, stop by your local Hallmark store, pick up a card for someone you love, and put your heart to paper.