Getting a L.E.G. Up (+ Limited Edition Prints!)

 

2019 Mothers Day Prints - Positively Present

 

On Friday, my mom celebrated her birthday, and it never feels like I'm able to express how grateful I am for her presence in my life in the form of tangible gifts. You see, my mom is the absolute best mom. I know lots of people think their mom is the best, but I truly did get the best one. And this time of year, with her birthday and Mother's Day, always reminds me of how fortunate I am to call her mine.  

As someone who is incredibly fortunate to have an amazing mom, I sometimes feel guilty talking about the topic of how great my mother is. I know, for a lot of people, mothers — and motherhood — is complex. Whether you are a mother, want to be a mother, don't want to be mother, don't have a relationship with your mother, or have a difficult relationship with your mother, there are many reasons why this time of the year might be challenging. The whole country seems to shout "MOM!" in honor of Mother's Day, and if you're not a in a positive place with that word, it must be incredibly difficult. Knowing this, when I came up with the notion to create these exclusive Mother's Day prints (details below!), I hesitated. I didn't want to make things more difficult for those who are motherless (or mother-troubled). But I also knew that many of you have wonderful, loving, and inspiring mothers that, like mine, have likely influenced your life in a way that's almost impossible to put into words. 

So, I thought a great deal about these prints, and I did my best to create illustrations and words that could apply not only to those who have wonderful mothers, but also to those mother-like figures that many have in their lives. Whether it's a mentor, a family member, a friend, or a teacher, there are so many amazing women that give those in their lives a L.E.G. up with Love, Encouragement, and Guidance. And this time of year is as good as any to celebrate them and the valuable support they've given us. Read on to see my thoughts about the L.E.G. up I've been given by my incredible mom (and check out the prints, too!). 

 

Mothers Day - Sky and Back
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LOVE

One of the most amazing things about mothers (or mother-like figures — I'll just be using the word "mothers" from here on out to make it easier, but know that these words apply not only to biological mothers, but to all kinds of wise and influential women who make the lives around them better) is their unconditional love. Over the years, I've done a lot of stupid things. I've said a lot of things that probably should have been kept to myself. I've been a brat and I've been a bitch. I've been cranky and I've been quarrelsome. (I've also done some cool and kind things, too, but those are so much easier to love!) Through it all — my highs and lows, my good times and my bad — I've never once questioned my mother's love for me. That's the great thing about great moms: they love you unconditionally, without hesitation, and regardless of the nonsensical choices you make in life. They're there for you in good times and in bad, and that's a pretty amazing thing when you think about it!

Mothers Day - Bloom
Grab this print in the shop here!

 

ENCOURAGEMENT

Not only is a mother's love unconditional, but it comes with a big heaping side of encouragement. No matter what I've been doing in my life, I felt my mom encouraging me to go for it, to take a leap, to try what I wanted to try. Even when things weren't working out as planned, I've always knew that my mom had my back and believed in me. It sounds silly — of course my mom believed in me; that's what moms do! — but it's not something that should be taken for granted. Not everyone is lucky to have a mother and, of those that do, not everyone is lucky to have one that is so encouraging and supportive. It can be easy to laugh off a mom's encouragement if it's something you've had all of your life, but it's a wondrous and magical thing. Without the support of my mom, her warm glow of belief-in-me, I might have not have tried all of the things I was brave enough to try. I might not be anything like the person I am today. 

 

Mothers Day - Showing the Way
Grab this print in the shop here!

GUIDANCE

One of the benefits of having the best mom in the world is that she's offered me just the right amount of guidance over the years. She's given me advice and is always happy to listen (without judgment, I might add!) to whatever quandary I'm facing. Through her words and her actions, she's taught me how to be a good friend, how to negotiate without fear, how to use attitude to improve circumstances (the very foundation of this site, in fact!). While I'll never be as wonderful as she is, I like to think I've learned a thing or two from her about what it means to be a good human being. She's given me advice and inspiration, but she's never pushed me to do what she wants. She shows me the way without forcing me down a path, which I know isn't the case for all mothers. I'm incredibly lucky to have been given support and guidance without any pressure or expectations, and I'm forever grateful for that perfect balance. 

 

I hope you, too, are lucky to have a wonderful mom (or mother-like figure) in your life to give you a L.E.G up in life! If you want to show her (or anyone else in your life) a little love with a special, limited-edition print, check out the shop here. These prints are available only until Sunday, April 28, 2019. Once they're gone, they're gone, so grab them while you can! (And use code "mom" for 20% off!)


6 Things You Should Stop Settling For

Positively Present - Stop Settling

 

As the leaves start to sprout on the trees and the flowers begin to poke their heads up through the dirt, I'm reminded, once again, of how spring is the ultimate symbolic season of change and growth and blooming once again. After months of drab, colorless treetops, things are blooming as they always do, and it's showing me that we, too, can bloom again, even when things have been dormant for some time. One of the best ways to channel the springtime vibe of transformation is to investigate what we've been settling for.

When we can identify the areas in which we're not getting what we truly want in life, we're able to consider how we might reshape those aspects of our lives. Of course, such transformation won't happen overnight, but recognizing the places in which we might be settling is the first step towards change. Here are six areas in which settling should be avoided. But don't beat yourself up if you've been settling in these areas. Just consider how you might want to change them going forward. Like the seeds tucked underground all winter long, you, too, can recognize that there's more to life than dirt and darkness. You, too, can push out of your confines and stretch toward the sunlight you deserve. 

 

LUKEWARM LOVE AFFAIRS

Real love (not that easy falling-in-love stuff) is tough. There are highs and lows, good times and bad. But if you're not in it together — usually on the same team, mostly putting in the same amount of effort, having similar feelings for one another — it might not be a full-hearted kind of love. If you only see someone when it's convenient for them, if you put in all of the effort and get little in return, if you worry constantly if the other person feels the same, it's time to stop settling and seek out the kind of love you (we all!) deserve. 

 

JOY-STEALING WORK

Work — even the very best kind — is no piece of cake. It's tough, even when you love your job. But if it feels like it's sucking the life out of you, if it feels like it takes everything you've got and gives nothing back, it's time for a change. You might not be able to drastically change your work situation, but you can seek out a similar job in a new place, find a way to transform the work you're doing, or even take a pay cut to work in a more fulfilling environment. Most of us spend a huge chunk of our lives at work so it's definitely not an area of life where settling should be acceptable. 

 

FICKLE FRIENDSHIPS

Every relationship — even the best of friendships — has its ups and downs, but if you're putting in all the work, it's time to consider if it's worth it. Consider whether your friend is asking about your wellbeing, interested in your life, or doing kind things to show their appreciation for you. (And, on the flip side, consider if you're doing these things as a friend!) Relationships of all kinds should include give and take and if you're the only one giving, you're settling for less and should seek companionship elsewhere. 

 

SECOND-RATE STORIES

Life is short, so why settle for second-rate things? This is particularly true when faced with items that have tons of options (like books!). There is an incredible amount of text to be read in this world, so if the book is bad, put it down. Don't waste time on second-rate stories when you could pick up a magical, potentially life-changing work. Same goes for food (if it's bad, send it back), clothing (if it doesn't work, return it), etc. Yes, it can be easier to stick with what's already in your hand, but do you really want to look back a mourn all the time you wasted on second-rate nonsense?

 

DEADEND DREAMS

Consider, for a moment, what a dream life looks like to you. Is that your idea of an ideal scenario or someone else's? It is something that gets you up in the morning, pumped to started your day and move toward that dream? If not, you might be suffering from a case of uninspired dreaming. Reflect on what you really want — and make sure that you're not aiming towards goals that others have set for you or goals that you set for yourself a long time ago that no longer speak to what you want your future to look like. We change, and often our dreams do too. 

 

LACKLUSTER LEISURE

How are you spending your free time? Are you truly enjoying the activities you've deemed as "leisure"? If you are, awesome! Keep at it! But if you're doing something just because it's easy, you've always done it, or it's someone else's idea of a good time, consider exploring new leisure-time activities. In fact, maybe just try doing something different to see if you like it. If you're always watching TV, try going for a walk. If your weekends are spent on a hiking trail, consider a Netflix binge. Try new things to make sure you're not settling for how you spend your friend time! 

 

Life is short is such a cliche, but it's true. Too many of us (myself included!) are settling for things (and people...) because it feels easier than change. You're not alone if, like me, change intimidates you. But do what you can to find the courage to stop settling for less than you deserve. It's rarely easy to let go of what's comforting (even when it's unhealthy), but the sooner you do it, the sooner you'll have the freedom to pursue the things in life that add real value, that make you excited and empowered! 

 

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8 Ways to Play Kind Games, Not Mind Games


Positively Present - Kind Games
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If you follow me on Instagram, you might've seen this recent post, where autocorrect changed my caption from "mind games" to "kind games." Not surprisingly, this led me to think about what "kind games" might consist of since, even if you're not intentionally playing mind games with those around you, most of us do some game-playing. Anytime you're not clearly and effectively communicating with others — intentionally or unintentionally — it's a kind of game (at the very least, a guessing game!).

No matter how much you might aim for healthy, communicative relationships, it's hard to always get it right. No matter how well you know someone, it's challenging to convey yourself accurately (particularly if you don't even fully understand how you feel which, let's face it, happens sometimes!), and it can be a daunting task to comprehend others, even when they do their best to share how they feel. 

Communication is a kind of kindness. The better you are at expressing yourself (and understanding other others express themselves), the better your relationships will be. But if you're anything like me, knowing that isn't the same as doing it. I know how valuable good communication is — in work, in socialization, in romantic relationships — and still I struggle greatly with it because it requires bravery, vulnerability, and a self-awareness that sometimes I just don't possess.

Effective communication has been an issue for me in almost every relationship I've been in, and, much as I hate to admit it, I've been guilty of playing a mind game or two. Often it's not calculated or mean-spirited, but, regardless of the intention, mind games are unkind (and very unproductive!). Here are some of the ideas that came to mind when I started thinking about how I could turn mind games into kind games...

 

COMMUNICATE HOW YOU FEEL

Telling someone else how you feel is one of the kindest acts. It's also one of the hardest sometimes. But if you want to be kind, you've gotta be brave and just do it. (Bonus: it's also one of the best ways to be kind to yourself as well, helping you cut down on a lot of unnecessary drama!)

 

ASK ABOUT HOW OTHERS FEEL

If you don't know how someone else feels (if you're not 100%, absolutely sure!), ask. I know it can be awkward sometimes, but just think of how many conflicts you could have already avoided if you'd just asked instead of assuming. Assumptions seem like they save time, but they often make things way more complicated, which isn't kind for anyone. 

 

APOLOGIZE WHEN YOU'RE WRONG

If you mess up, say you're sorry. Actually say it. Don't offer an explanation and leave it at that, assuming the other person knows you're sorry. Apologize out loud (or in writing if that's not an option) and mean it. (Advanced version of this game: apologize to, and forgive, yourself, too.)

 

EXPRESS WHEN YOU'RE HURT

When someone's hurt you, let them know. You can be honest without being dramatic or hurtful. (It's not easy, but practice helps!) You can set your ego aside and express how you feel without shame or fury. It's a tough game to play sometimes, I know, but remember: communication is a kind of kindness. 

 

SAY YES / NO WHEN YOU WANT TO

If you want to say yes, say yes. If you want to say no, say no. You don't need an excuse. You don't need a reason. The more often you practice saying yes/no to what you do/don't want, the better your life gets. (And the more everyone else will get you, which is a winning strategy for making the most of all your relationships!)

 

RECOGNIZE SIGNS OF CONTROL

Pay attention to how you feel, and if you feel like you're trying to gain control of someone or something, take some time to figure out why you're seeking control (hint: usually it's about you and not them), and knock it off. Most of us don't want to control or manipulate others, but do so without realizing it. Recognize it, then stop. 

 

DON'T JUDGE SO HARSHLY

Don't judge yourself or others so harshly. Everything — everything — is so much more complex, so much more entangled, than we realize. One thread tugged and everything is shifting ever so slightly. It's happening all the time in a million different ways so don't be so hard on yourself or anyone else. We're all doing what we can with what we're given. 

 

TAKE A TIME OUT WHEN UPSET

How many negative interactions might you have avoided just by pausing before reacting? It only takes a little bit of time but if you wait before reacting to someone else when you're upset, you'll be doing both of you a great kindness. A deep breath, a walk around the block, a day alone. Take time to chill out. 

 

There are so many ways to practice kindness, of course, but one of the most important (albeit most difficult) is communicating in a loving, open-minded, and thoughtful way. What else would you add to this list? What kind of kind games would you like to play? What kind are you already playing? 

 

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