Lifestyle

The biggest lesson for me in recent months has been that many things come into our lives to teach but not necessarily to stay. Knowing the difference between the experiences is generally the hardest part to figure out. Some lessons may drag on a while and others may be very brief. Some experiences are so instant and exciting they are serendipitous, and others are so obviously fleeting that you know just to enjoy it while it lasts. What has helped me to differentiate between what is meant to teach and what is meant to stay, are the things that are meant to stay generally bring us a feeling of total peace.

Life Lesson #7 – If you don’t have that feeling of peace, or if you find yourself consistently questioning your decision, chances are it’s most likely in your life to teach. No matter how intriguing the package may be. 

They say chance favors the prepared mind and that’s exactly what life is about. Lessons and opportunities to grow that prepare us for the next phase in our lives. There have been numerous times things have left my life for reasons I didn’t understand at the time but in hindsight everything made total sense. There was always a lesson I needed to master or on many occasions something I was protected from. When you truly learn to trust your gut it will never lead you astray, it will always let you know when something just feels – off.

Sometimes we are quick with our intuition and other times we are so excited about the opportunity in front of us that we often ignore the giant red flags staring us straight in the face. As I have mentioned before though, life will continue to give you the same lessons disguised as new experiences until you can finally learn and move forward. Humans are complicated though, and sometimes because of old wounds or past experiences, we run back to the exact same things that keep us from moving forward because it’s all we know. Or even worse, stay in a situation we know we have outgrown but choose not to because let’s face it, completely starting over sucks most of the time.

I’ve been there and I’ve settled for less than I deserve. Settled in relationships because I didn’t want to start all over again. Settled in my career because I was comfortable. All the while ignoring that feeling in my gut telling me to move forward. It’s really hard leaving a situation that no longer serves us but what’s worse is holding on to situations that are just meant to be lessons and never being able to move forward. Be thankful for the lesson and let it pass.

It may take a while to get to get what you want in life but the lessons will come and go, and what’s meant to be will always find a way to stay.

Question: What are some experiences in your life that have come to teach but not to stay? 

XOXO

ET

 

 

In our day and age, social media is like using the term Keeping Up With The Joneses on crack. Every day we open our app and are fed images of gym selfies, exotic vacations and people living their best lives but rarely get a glimpse of what is really happening behind the scenes. Living in Southern California also comes with its challenges to find true genuine experiences. It seems that almost everyone is willing to trade their authenticity for approval at some point, myself included. When you are constantly surrounded by multi million-dollar homes, $200,000 cars, the best/worst plastic surgery that money can buy, and anything else that helps you to keep up appearances, it can be hard to relate and feel like there is any realness left. We have created a culture for ourselves that status and likes are what sets you apart but in reality, social media is nothing but a doctored highlight reel of someones life. 

What we fail to remember are the not so glamorous things that happen in life which no one is excluded from. How our bank accounts don’t reflect the life we are portraying, how our seemingly perfect relationship is secretly failing, or how we have family struggles and insecurities just like everyone else. We are constantly fed images which help perpetuate the feeling that someone is always living a better life than we are and somehow that makes us inadequate. Someone makes more money than I do, someone has a better body than I do, someone drives a nicer car than I do, someone goes on more vacations than I do… you will always find ways to “perceive” that someone has it better. 

Life Lesson #6 – Continuously aiming for materialistic goals or trying to do whatever you can to stay relevant becomes a vicious cycle that only leads to more disappointment.  

I once sat next to an Emmy winning composer on a flight to Hawaii who had 2 mansions and George Lucas on speed dial, and what he told me will be ingrained in my memory forever. He told me the happiest he’s ever been was when he first married his wife and they moved into a tiny apartment in LA and had $200 left to their name. “We were in love and just trying to make it, that was the best time of my life he said with a reminiscing smirk. To hear a man say that with a list of credits including Star Wars blew my mind. It just goes to show that at the end of the day we get so wrapped up building a list of material wants for our lives but fail to appreciate the now. Think about how many times you have worked towards something you’ve wanted and said “Now that I have achieved this in my life, I only need these other things to truly be happy.” What we don’t often realize is the quest for more material things and status becomes another quest for more material things and status. We don’t take into account the years of struggling to make it, or the stress that it takes to stay at a certain status level, or the insecurity that comes with portraying the perfect life, or the ultimate fear that one day it may be taken away. We just see things in others that we want for ourselves and fail to remember that no ones life is perfect and everyone is struggling with something.

The lesson i’ve learned through trying to live a more authentic life is that climbing your way to the top is hard work, but staying there is even harder. At some point continuously aiming for superficial goals and keeping up appearances becomes a chore as well. 

Don’t sacrifice your happiness on the quest of being happy.

We have to enjoy the little luxuries in life. The things that are free. Our relationships, our passions, the feeling of being in love, laughing so hard that you cry, being in nature, our families, the vegetables in our garden, and the list goes on. That is the real meat of life, everything else is just icing on the cake.

 

Q: What is something you can do today to make your life feel more authentic? 

XOXO

ET

It was the summer of 1993, there I was a little 6 year old girl wired from rides, games and food galore, after spending the day at the Del Mar Fair. As I sat on the couch playing with my newly won prizes, I remember my dad coming to me with tears welling in his eyes and said that I wouldn’t be seeing him for a while and that he had to go. At 6 years old I couldn’t fully understand why my dad was leaving me but we both sat on the couch together crying and the next day when I woke up he was gone. My mom had tried for so many years to help my dad with his sobriety. We went to therapy sessions as a family and I even remember visiting him in the hospital as he underwent a detox program, but despite my moms best efforts he would always go back to drinking. I remember playing out in the front yard in the months after my dad left and watching the neighbors truck drive by which was the same make, model and color as my dad’s. Every time that truck drove down the street I would hope and pray it was my dad coming back for me, but the truck would always keep driving past the house and continue down the street.

 

When my dad finally got settled into his new life in Illinois, I was able to go back every summer break to spend a few months with him. My summer breaks living with my dad could not have been more opposite than the rest of the year living with my mom. My dad was a bartender and would spend the majority of the day sleeping so the only quality time I would get was when I would go to the bar with him for the night shift. I remember at 8 years old being put to work washing the beer glasses, waxing the shuffleboard table, and helping the kitchen run fried walleye and fries out to customers. In return, I would have all of the slim jims and sodas I could consume, and steal all the money from my dads tip jar to take my friends to Pease’s Candy Store. After spending my summer hanging in a bar with little to no rules, I would then go back to my life in California which consisted of private school and church every Sunday. I always knew coming home meant that I wouldn’t see or talk to my dad for a long time because he would revert back to his old ways and never made the time or effort to come see me. There were some birthdays with no calls, months with no contact and a million promises that were never kept.

 

My relationship with my dad was always riddled with disappointments but no matter how many times I was let down I always continued to seek out my dads attention. My mom was a saint who never spoke an ill word of my dad because she knew how much I adored him. Even after every disappointment she never kept me from seeing him because she knew how much I wanted him to be in my life. I think we both always held out hope that maybe one day he would change. The last time I would ever give my dad the power to disappoint me was at my high school graduation. He had promised me over and over again he would come but the week leading up to it I still hadn’t heard from him. As I stood up on stage, I literally scanned every single face in the audience that night hoping to see my dads. I went out into the audience to meet all of my family and friends I can remember my mom looking at me with sadness in her eyes because she knew how much it would have meant to me for him to be there. At that moment my life changed and I made the decision that I was not going to give him the power to disappoint me anymore. 

 

Life Lesson # 5 – You simply cannot change people who don’t want to change themselves.

 

It was in that moment where I realized that no matter how much love there is or how much you try, you cannot change people. It may be a relationship, a friend, a family member, whomever, people are ultimately going to be who they are until they want to change. My dad literally lost everything because of his drinking. He lost his wife, he lost his daughter, he lost his home, but to him drinking was always going to be, and still is, the most important thing in his life. It doesn’t matter how many times you try to get through to someone or how many times they disappoint you, if someone doesn’t want to change their demons will always triumph. I finally made the choice to take the power he had to disappoint me away from him. It was my choice if I wanted to call him, it was my choice if I wanted to see him, not because I expected anything in return but because I had accepted a long time ago that my dad was never going to be who I hoped he would be, and the relationship was important enough for me to keep. Of course there will always be those moments in life where you are hoping that miraculously one day someone will change but the moment you let go of who you wish someone was, the sooner you can accept who they truly are.

 

What I’ve learned is no matter how much love, potential or capability there is for someone, you cannot change them. Whether it’s a romantic relationship or a relationship with a parent, you cannot turn someone into who you want them to be. For some self awareness comes easy, while others will do whatever they can to avoid looking in the mirror. Sometimes the only thing you can do is accept that person for who they are and what they bring into your life or decide what they bring into your life isn’t worth it and let that relationship go. When you have complete awareness of who you are and what you deserve then you won’t feel the need to gain acceptance from or persuade people who refuse to change.

 

Do you have a relationship in your life where you are struggling to get someone to change?

Can you somehow take that power back and accept the relationship for what it brings into your life instead of what you wish it could bring?  

XOXO

ET

Deja Vu

 

I will say that 5 years from now after hopefully being married and forgetting what a first date feels like, I will look back on my single years with glittering fondness because of the kaleidoscope of experiences it’s brought me. It truly has been a period to experience “life”As for now though, I’m in the same boat as millions of other single 30 somethings, where you are more than ready to leave the party. At this point the dating pool feels like being forced to drink really warm champagne, only it’s not champagne, it’s Andre sparkling wine. I think the challenge in life is always that gap in between knowing you are completely ready to move forward and finally finding yourself in that next chapter of your life. Sometimes it could be as simple as timing and other times it could be that a new door has opened but you haven’t sat still for long enough to notice. Either way the journey can be daunting and downright depressing for both guys and girls alike.  

 

Living in Southern California it is really easy to adopt the Work Hard, Play Hard, mentality and forgo or neglect commitment for as long as you can, if not altogether. The dating app world makes non committal tendencies even easier because we basically have created a virtual reality where meeting people in person isn’t even important anymore. At any given time you can open your dating app, talk to 15 single people you are attracted to, get your loneliness fix, and then go about your day. We as a culture have made the act of dating so diluted that no one wants to put in the effort to truly get to know someone anymore.

 

But it can’t all be the dating apps fault, right?

 

Over the past few months I have had a few aha moments in my dating life. After a few instances, I really had to sit back and think about what all of these men had in common? They all looked different and had different backgrounds, but the guys I dated always seemed to have what I would refer to as A Great First Act. They were all successful, outgoing and engaging, but just below the surface all of them had something much deeper in common. In my case they were either emotionally unavailable or physically unavailable, which always prevented our relationship from moving past The First Act. How is it that we can be with someone that does and says everything right and then one day realize we have found ourselves right back in the same situation, yet again? Subconsciously, there are things in all of us that can attract exactly what we don’t want. Past experiences, fears, imagined worries… All of these things are usually completely concealed in our subconscious until they are brought to our attention by repetitive lessons disguised as new experiences.

 

Life lesson #4 – Repetitive lessons will usually show up in our lives disguised as new experiences. It is then up to us to fully recognize the patterns and read between the lines.

 

For me, growing up with a father who was emotionally unavailable and lived 3,000 miles away, it would make sense that I would subconsciously attract that back into my life. It’s almost like our mind goes back to a past experience and replays it in our everyday lives to try and make sense of things. The funny thing is, I actually spent a lot of my 20’s being emotionally unavailable and would always be the one to end things before it got to a certain point. After working hard at correcting my own behavior it’s seems that I subconsciously attracted that same energy back, only this time on the receiving end. After a few back-to-back examples of dating guys with the same patterns, I am now able to really see below the surface of a conversation and trust my gut when something feels off. It’s easy for people to tell you exactly what you want to hear but when you truly pay attention and read between the lines, the truth will always seep through.

 

What are some areas in your life where you keep finding yourself in the same situation?

What are some things your subconscious could actually be holding you back from?

XOXO

ET

 

Being A Yes Person

 

I think there are so many times in life that we find ourselves saying yes to things we don’t really want. We say yes to what society thinks we should look like, pick careers based on what our family thinks we should do, date people our friends think we should date, and take on responsibilities that we don’t necessarily want to take. Don’t get me wrong, there are many times when saying yes to something could lead to a pleasant surprise, but if we constantly say yes to things out of fear of disappointing people, then we will always be working our way out of situations that we didn’t want from the start.

 

It’s taken me a really long time to realize that sometimes it’s ok to say no to the beliefs that others place on me. For so long I have said yes to everything in fear of missing out on an opportunity or thinking that someone might know me more than I know myself. Even when my gut would tell me otherwise, I would still do it. I would completely overcommit myself, take on roles that I didn’t want to take, and allow others to tell me what they “could see” for my life because I was scared to say no. Sometimes it’s the things we are saying yes to that are actually keeping us from moving forward. For example, a relationship you know isn’t right but keep circling back to, a job that makes you miserable every day but don’t have the confidence to make a change, or a persona that you have built up for so long that you feel like you have no other choice but to maintain it. Whether you realize it or not, you are choosing to say yes to those things by not making a conscious change.

Did saying yes help me realize what I truly want?

Of Course.

Did continuing to say yes hold me back in situations much longer than I wanted?

Absolutely.

Self confidence is about knowing who you are, what you want with your life, and ultimately what you deserve. This isn’t about being selfish or doing things for selfish reasons, this is about what truly sets you apart – your individuality. It’s about fulfilling the promise to yourself of who you were born to be. When you are a good person, with good intentions, that will ultimately be the part that shines through. If you continue to live your life saying yes to who others think you should be or keeping up appearances because you are afraid to rock the boat, you will always be unhappy.

 

Life Lesson #3 – The longer we stay distracted by things we don’t want in life, the longer we keep ourselves from finding the things we actually do. It’s okay to have the courage to say this isn’t who I am or this isn’t what I want for my life. Inevitably there will always be the chance that someone won’t agree but the alternative is leading a life where you are unhappy because you’re scared to disrupt someone else’s idea of you. Be brave and create the life that you deserve not because you feel obligated, not because you feel comfortable, but because it is your life and you deserve to tell people who YOU are and not the other way around.  

Q: What things are you saying yes to in life that are holding you back because you are afraid to say no?

XOXO

ET