Speaking Truth

I’ve been thinking about the significance our words can have in our relationships. Especially words of encouragement. I think “speaking truth” looks like sharing truth the someone is loved, and valuable and guides you toward being your best self.

Speaking truth into someone’s life is not the same as giving advice. It’s not telling someone what they should do or who they should be or how they should act, it’s naming the positive things you already see in them. They ways you believe in them, see good and have faith in them.

A few months ago I heard a sermon that focused on our understanding of our own identity; how we see ourselves, and the ways which we long for others to see us and validate our existence. But then the speaker talked about the power we have to affirm knowledge that we are beloved in ourselves and – here is my favourite part – in others.

When I first drafted this post I focused on the importance of finding people who speak truth into your life. The longer I thought about it, it occured to me that rather than focusing on finding those people, *imagine running around with a butterfly net catching those people*, maybe we should just try being those people.

It is so important to surround yourself with people who encourage you and challenge you to be your best self – but it is more in our control to be like that. The intentionality of speaking well of others and reminding them of their belovedness is something we should be trying to do everyday.

Maria Goff once wrote “God doesn’t just give us Himself. Sometimes he gives us a few other people in our lives who’s voices we can trust”.

Encouragement can stir up our weary hearts and stop dust from settling on us when we are feeling tired. Positive affirmations can keep us moving, or even help us get going again if we’ve fallen off track. We have the ability to speak truth into people’s days to remind them of their value and goodness.

It is up to us to learn to be slower to criticize and critique. Be quick to shower others with love.

If this is too vague and feelingsy – here are some simple and direct tips to speak truth:

  • First thing’s first : listening to what someone is going through and assessing if they are inviting you into a space to speak into their life (if you aren’t listening to them they probably won’t listen to you)
  • Reminding people of their worth, who they are and what they deserve
  • Affirmations, encouragement and naming strengths when you see others thriving
  • Lovingly redirecting and calling friends out when they aren’t acting as their best self or engaging in unhealthy behaviour
  • Speaking well of others – to their face and behind their back

Sometimes we don’t always realized how much our words can resonate but even just positive off-hand comments, kindness and empathy can speak to people deeply. A few months ago I was FaceTiming my friend Hannah and out of the blue she said to me “by the way I have always respected that you know how you deserve to be treated and you expect others to treat you that way”.

It wasn’t a grand speech, it wasn’t something I think she planned out, but I remember it changed the whole mood of my day. Our words have a great deal of power so take the opportunities to give reckless encouragement and affection.

Establish culture of encouragement, affection and affirmation in our communities to battle self doubt. Affirm the truth that each of us are worthy of love and belonging.

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Growing Up Doesn’t Totally Suck

We hear so many things about how getting older sucks. About how things are easier when we are young and jokes that it’s a trap that we have to grow up and face responsibility. Yes, ‘adulting’ is hard. All the levels of paying rent and your phone and having to remember to do the dishes and take out the trash.

But it’s not all bad. There are things about growing up that are actually pretty good. For instance, you never have to live through high school again. You’ll never have acne and braces and painfully frizzy hair you haven’t learned to tame yet again.

Can I get an amen?

It can definitely be cathartic to lament over the struggles of adulthood and responsibility. Meal prepping?? Having to go to bed at a reasonable hour to function because you’re not 18 anymore and you have a nine to five job and 4am isn’t an acceptable time to let your head hit the pillow on weeknights?? The painful truth that your metabolism isn’t what it once was?? Don’t get me started on aches and pains. 

I put out a survey on my instagram story the other day to hear what people think the worst part of getting older are, and some of the responses included;

  • “Student loans. Loss of child-like wonder. Becoming jaded.”
  • “Regretting not trying something”
  • “Never ending to do list”
  • “Bills/ money stress, body changes the come with age, not understanding current slang”
  • “Having to ask off of work/ not being able to just drop everything for a spontaneous holiday”  
  • “Paying for things myself”
  • “Constantly comparing yourself to what other people your age are doing as a way to measure success. Our twenties/ early thirties are so different for everyone, and it’s easy to feel like you’re a failure if you’re not at the same place in life as the people around you”
  • “Feeling like you’re not doing the right thing and that you’re in the wrong place”

Reckoning with aging, feeling lost or like you don’t measure up, the responsibility of finances, it’s a lot. Wisdom comes with getting older, but the experiences and trials we learn from can be down right brutal. It can be overwhelming at times, for each of us.

How could this not be awful? Because life isn’t just the hard parts.

Even on the hard days when our struggles seem to outweigh the joys of getting older, I assure you they don’t. Getting older means being blessed with more time on this earth to live life. And life is too short not to take time to celebrate the good things, so today I want to take a moment to celebrate some good things about growing up.

Each day we get to become ourselves more and more. Confidence in yourself as a person grows, in your style choices and trusting your gut. I know I’ve been trying to nurture each of these more and more in my twenties and I look forward to growing my self love and self confidence the older that I get.

This confidence in ourselves and our abilities comes from surviving things that show us we are capable people. Think of the most embarrassing, vulnerable, gut wrenching thing you’ve ever done? You did that and survived. That kind of knowledge makes me so confident in my self to show up and know I can handle situations and put myself in the world and even if I stumble I’ll get right back up and be okay.

I got my heart broken a while back – and I remember having this weird thought “hey this sucks but at least now I understand what John Mayer meant when he wrote my favourite sad songs”. It’s a weird consolation prize, but some of the more difficult experiences that accompany getting older allows us to empathize better and that is a huge silver lining to heartache.

We get to understand human experiences to new levels of depth. We get to do that. That is part of the privilege of growing up and getting older.

Along with that survey about the worst parts of getting older are, I asked about what some of the best parts are;

  • “Freedom in the moment to moment to pursue our passions, our loved, our light”
  • “More opportunities to travel the world and do rad things with your life”
  • “Becoming more self-confident”
  • “Independence; to a certain extent, i can do what I want when I want”
  • “Making money for traveling”
  • ‘You can eat straight out of the Betty Crocker icing tub with nobody to tell you off for it”
  • “You have experiences to be grateful for. More stories, more gratitude”
  • “Enjoying slow mornings, moments of peace”
  • “Ordering pizza whenever I want”
  • “Being able to eat cheese and wine and chocolate for dinner”
  • “Wisdom and peace of mind”

From my perspective, it simply can’t be repeated enough that you don’t ever have to go back to high school again.

The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, or like you wish you could go back to younger carefree days, remember that the trials build confidence in ourselves, the hard days help allow us to empathize, and when all else fails you’re old enough to go to the grocery store and buy yourself a chocolate cake – no questions asked.

Love Don’t Cost a Thing & Your Self-Care Shouldn’t Either

Welcome back to week two of the September Self-Care Series!

Self-care is often talked about hand-in-hand with the concept of treating yourself. This week I’m talking a little about why it’s problematic to commodify self-care the way that we do. Self-care is a practice meant to build up resilience in yourself. When it goes from being the rituals you to do practice self-love and keep yourself feeling balanced to something that costs money it means that it is no longer accessible to everyone.

Self-care isn’t a commodity that only some people should be able to access. Self-care is a mindset, it’s habits and routines and actions you can do to take care of yourself. Practical self-care, such as setting budgets for money, taking care of your physical health, or going to sleep early might not be Instagram worthy, but it’s just as important than the glamorous self-care we think of.


Last week I wrote about how the first step of self-care is listening to what you need, being willing to take breaks, and then being intentional about responding to those needs. This week lets dive a little deeper to what that can look like.

Treating yourself from time to time is great. Buying yourself something you’ve admired can be a nice way to reward yourself. However, a quiet night in with facemasks and 7 layer chocolate cake in a lavender bubble bath with a new book that you treated yo’ self to… it sounds dreamy but could run you about $50. That isn’t practical or accessible.

When I brainstorm mainstream self-care many of the things that come to mind aren’t accessible to everyone, and self-care should be because everyone deserves to have the resources to take care of themselves. In the conversation about self-care I think it’s important to think more about the little daily things rather than the big treat yo’ self moments.

Championing self-care means being mindful of inclusive practices and having an intersectional approach (Kaitlyn’s inner feminist is coming out y’all). I’m not going to sit and write about facemasks or splurging on expensive lattes and leggings. As self-care becomes a bigger topic in our culture we should be mindful of how we are really being gentle with ourselves vs. spending money on ourselves and calling it “self-care”.


A few months ago I was buying groceries and saw these pretty flowers on my way to the cashier. I thought “those are so pretty, I’m going to get those for me because I deserve it” – but as soon as I got home I felt like it was a frivolous purchase and I felt silly because I was more stressed about wasting money on the flowers than I would have been if I just left with what I had set out to buy.

We hear the message ‘treat yo’ self’ all the time, but if the message we actually need more often is ‘stick to your budget and don’t buy things you don’t need’ then this is me putting that into the world for you. If you take one thing away from my blog this week, let it be this, when self-care goes from being tangible actions we do to fill ourselves up so we can love others better, to expensive or extravagant things it is becoming exclusive and not available to everyone who needs it.

The other day my friend asked the question on instragram “what are your favourite ways to practice self-care?” and these were some of the responses she got:

  • Going to bed early
  • Working out
  • Drawing
  • Going to an unexplored coffeeshop
  • Turning off my phone
  • Writing down feelings
  • Getting off social media
  • Running
  • Cooking and eating wholesome food
  • Writing in a notebook, giving voice to feelings
  • Spin classes

Sure, they aren’t all completely free – but in terms of practical self-care these are a lot more accessible than going on a shopping spree or an expensive spa every one in a while.

I heard someone comment that how self-care is becoming another one of those thinly veiled performances of affluence – and that really stopped me in my tracks. If we are intentional about listening to our bodies and our needs, I think we should also be intentional with the way that we care for ourselves. Maybe that is setting a budget, maybe that is eating a salad instead of a burger, maybe that is choosing not to treat yourself to something you can’t afford, maybe it’s sitting with uncomfortable feelings you’d rather avoid, whatever it is be mindful of what you actually need to do for you.

I found this interactive guide to self-care online and I had to include it this week – it asks you questions to help you figure out what practical things you can do to meet your needs and it’s great: http://philome.la/jace_harr/you-feel-like-shit-an-interactive-self-care-guide/play. If you made it to the end of this post about practical & financial self care and inclusive feminism – thank you. Next week I have a special guest post for the September series I’m excited to share with y’all!

Eight Bridges Away

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there” 

I’m the type of person who is prone to worry, to wonder how I’ll deal with an issue I’m not even dealing with yet. It might come up in the future, IF x, y, and z happen, I might have to cross that bridge. But lately I’ve decided I’m not going to try to cross bridges that are eight bridges away from where I am.

Taking things one step at a time isn’t easy. But living in the present and focusing only on what is in front of you can cut down on a lot of unnecessary stress.

When I used to tell one of my friends about all the things I would worry and stress about she would categorize them into things I could actively do something about and “future Kaitlyn’s problems”. There are things we simply cannot deal with yet. Answering questions about where you are going to be in a few months might be an easy question or very difficult.

Sometimes you just have to trust that in the future you’ll be able to deal with the issues you face as they come up. If you deal with the little things now, the things that seem huge now might actually be little to you when you’re finally there.

Time is a funny thing. It can be a stressful concept, we feel that we either don’t have enough of it or we’re overwhelmed when we have so much we don’t know what to do with it because there is pressure that we always need to be productive. We need a plan of what to do with our time so we don’t waste it. It can feel like time is running out for us- but we have to remember that isn’t true.

 

I don’t know about you, but I was stressed out about 22

I am currently 22, and I’ve been thinking about time a lot. I am in a period of my life where I have a lot of time – and I have a lot of control over the way I use my time – forever. If I want to travel or go back to school it’s in my hands to make that happen.

Sometime last year I started crying because I was stressed about turning 23. For perspective – I was 21 , so it wasn’t even my next birthday. It was my next, next birthday. But 23 sounded so much more grown up, so daunting, and I didn’t know where I would be. It’s funny to think about now, because I caught myself being excited about 23 recently. It doesn’t seem so scary being only 6 months away. Maybe because I’ve had time to live and grow and overcome some of the smaller bridges to get me there .

As we move through life, we have a better sense of where we are going and we have more time to figure out how to get there. Often, we even discover that there are many different paths to get to the destination of our choosing. Thinking about being 23 a year or two ago was scary because I had no idea what this current year would hold. I didn’t know what life would look like for me, and now the picture is a little clearer.

Even a few months ago if you told me I would be visiting the Brooklyn Bridge with two new and really close friends I would have been like what? Really? But how will that unfold? Who are these people?

What I have learned is, we don’t need to understand how everything is going to unfold. We don’t need a road map, we don’t need to know every bridge we’re going to have to cross and how we will manage crossing them. We just need to focus on this moment and crossing the bridge in front of us. We need to know our goals and where we hope to be. The general destination we’re working towards, yes. But the exact directions? Not necessary. We will get there. We will keep moving and navigating, but step by step directions aren’t guaranteed.

New friendships and spontaneous travel plans? Working things out and discovering passions and the “ah ha” moments when it clicks and you know where you want to go? The uncomfortable moments of limbo and indecision that challenge you to grow? You don’t want to miss those moments by knowing every step ahead of you. And you don’t want to waste your time worrying and trying to predict every surprise.

 

Listen to your Mentors 

As I said, I am 22, and in the last few months I’ve gotten advice from a few mentors I really look up to and respect. I think it is wise to get advice from friends, but especially wise to have mentors who have life experiences beyond our own. If they are in their 30’s or 50’s, it’s been helpful to hear about where they were at when they were my age. And the ironic thing was that many of them said they didn’t know what they were doing or what their plan was at my age. They joked with me that life changes so much from your twenties to even your thirties, that there will be people and experiences that shape the course of your life, and whatever you plan now will change anyway.

We are young. We have time. We are going to be okay even without a step by step plan. And part of the fun is not knowing how things will unfold.

Turning 23 is still a few months away for me, but is it’s not really about the number. It’s about getting older and feeling like I need a plan. The truth is, we need a destination, a goal, idea or a passion, and we need to start moving. But we only need to focus on the bridge ahead of you.

I picked up the book The Opposite of Loneliness recently, by the late Marina Keegan and this passage has resonated with me and I think of it often when I am trying to stay present and feel hopeful for the future rather than daunted by it:

We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There’s this sentiment I sometimes sense… that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving… What we have to remember is that we can still do anything.

The most comforting thing is having mentors, strong women who I admire and have lived more life than me, telling me that it’s okay not to have a plan. It takes time, being thoughtful and intentional about the moments you’re in and focusing on what is in front of you rather than playing a game of “what if’s”. You’ll find your path. You will cross that bridge when you get there.

 

 

A Heart Of Glass Turns One

This time last year I got the courage up to share some writing on this platform. If you’ve been reading along, thank you!

This blog was named A Heart Of Glass, after a John Mayer lyric. I explained in my first post ever that I named it after a line in the song War of My Life, that goes, “I’ve got a hammer/  And a heart of glass/ I got to know right now/ Which walls to smash”. I’m the type of person who likes the idea of embracing vulnerability and opening my heart up to people. And this year I tried to do that here, exploring ideas about how to navigate life and balance a healthy heart, mind, sprit and relationships. I found myself asking the question “what does it mean to be healthy?” quite a bit.

I’ve had the chance to embrace failures by redefining success for myself, think about the ways to let people know our authentic selves in relationships and how to fight for meaningful friendships when things get tough. I’ve talked about my own spirituality and invited others to write and share their perspectives on life as well.

 


As I find my footing in this next chapter of my life I find myself asking new questions. Less about the general “what does it mean to be healthy?” and more specifically “what does it look like for me to be healthy and how do I get myself there?”.

There is a very wide range of what health looks like for everyone; there isn’t any one right way to do things. Healthy people don’t eat the same diet or work out the same ways, we don’t express our emotions or creativity the same either, and our best, happiest and healthiest selves is something we decide on our own.

There are a lot of opinions out in the world, I know I’ve handed out a few here or there over the last year, but what I’m working on these days is figuring out what feels right for me. I trust facts about healthy eating and what healthy relationships look like, and I trust my counsellor who gives me strategies to handle my emotional health – but ultimately I need to feel out the healthiest balance in my life.

I believe this is something we really all must to do. We can be given 101 opinions – but the best thing to do is feel things out for yourself and figure out the right fit for you.

The older I get the more I’m aware of myself. I can tell when I’m anxious or projecting stress. I can identify conflicts when they are small, and still easily manageable. I know I shouldn’t eat all junk food if I want to feel okay the next day (and generally live according to that). I think the longer we live and the better we get to know ourselves the better we can feel out what is best for us.

 


A key to finding a healthy balance in our lives is identifying when things feel wrong. If you’re running and your legs are a little sore you’re probably fine – but if there is a sharp pain you need to stop. The same goes for spicy food and heart burn – know your limits, friend. Sometimes on the path to figuring out what’s right you have to figure out what feels wrong.

If there is an area of wellness you’re not familiar with, doing research and getting facts before making assumptions is important, but keep in mind that there are a lot of possibilities of what a healthy you can look like, so it is up to you to find your best fit.

When relationships feel honest and supportive, when you find a type of exercise you really enjoy doing, when you learn to talk about feelings in a productive way, when you know what these things look and feel like of you – then you can find your own unique answer to the questions “what does it look like for me to be healthy and how do I get myself there?”.

As I’ve been working on this blog I’ve been keeping in mind that all the areas I’ve written about are connected. Our physical health impacts our mental health (and vice versa), the health of our relationships is impacted by our emotional health which is impacted by our spiritual health (and vice versa etc, you get the picture). It’s all connected.

If one area is feeling off, it can shake your whole life up quite a bit. Don’t underestimate how taking care of little issues in your life can make a big positive impact in many areas.

Finally, don’t shy away from trusting yourself to know what is right for you. I’ve learned a lot in the past year, but maybe nothing more empowering than learning to trust my own choices and feelings.

 


 

The blog and I are going to take a bit of a hiatus for this next month- but keep your eyes open for new posts coming your way in July!

There’s Power In Love

I sped read through the new Bob Goff book while I was up at my cottage this weekend. It was that perfect type of cottage weather where you could manage a walk on the beach, but then it would be so chilly and you had the perfect excuse to curl up by the fire, drink multiple mugs of hot chocolate and eat a few Timbits (I’ve been indulging in a lot of Timbits since I got home from Florida) for the rest of the day.

Something that stuck out to me while I was reading Everybody Always was this anecdote about “filling up your bucket” he talked about. It actually comes from a children’s book that teaches the lesson of being kind to others, but what he wrote was “we will become in our lives what we put in our buckets”. He realized he needed to stop filling his Das with pride of impatience and really embody the values he wanted to become.

It got me thinking a lot about the areas in my own life where I know I need to step things up. I want to become more loving, more patient and understanding, more empathetic, more generous – and if I want to become that person I need to embody those things even when it feels difficult.


Something I learned from the experience of falling in love is that when you love someone is the feeling of our capacity to love just gets bigger because we didn’t know we could care about someone so much. I’ve heard parents talk about a similar feeling where you think you couldn’t love anything more than you love your partner and when you have a kid a whole new amount of love wells up in you.

It’s like love surprises us – when we thought we couldn’t love people anymore than we do we find out that we can. When you care about someone like that it’s easier to see the best in them. To be a little softer, or gentle, and forgiving. After all, love is patient and forgiving and kind – isn’t it?

When we realize more and more that we have a greater capacity to love than we ever imagined we can try to use it to not only love our significant others or our friends and families – but all the people in our lives that way.

That instinct to see the best in a person? What if we extended that kind of care to everyone? That deliriously in love feeling that makes you wanna dance to work? Can we find that through loving our neighbours and coworkers and friends as generously as we love our significant others? I think we can. I believe when we learn what kind of love we are capable of we can try to extended that in all areas of our lives.


Another perfect thing to do on chilly cottage weekends? Wake up early to watch the Royal Wedding. I rolled out of bed at 6:55 just in time to catch the start of the ceremony (and as soon as it ended I took a 2 1/2 hour nap with my dog – an ideal Saturday morning if you ask me). The ceremony was beautiful but what has really stayed with me was the sermon made by Bishop Michael Curry. He spoke about love, about how the world could look when we act as if love is the way.

Curry said “There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it. Don’t even over-sentimentalize it.” He spoke about how when we are loved it feels like something is right “when you are loved and you know it, when someone cares for you and you know it, when you love and you show it, it actually feels right.” 

Curry went on to say the reason it feels right when we are loved is because “We were made by a power of love. And our lives were meant and are meant to be lived in that love. That’s why we are here.” One of the first times I heard a Brené Brown TED Talk I remember her saying that the reason we are here is connection. I fully believe both of these things. We are here to connect with others and we are here to share love and be loved through those connections. 

The Bishop went on to encourage the congregation and views to imagine what our communities, countries, families, neighbourhoods and governments would be like when love was the way. He said that when love is the way “we actually treat each other, well, like we are actually family”. Sometimes I think it’s easy to get frustrated with people when they aren’t someone we know or we don’t know their story – but easy isn’t what we are here for and when you try to connect with people and be softer with them we can find ways to extend deep love into all areas of our lives.


I don’t usually give homework assignments, really you just reading to the end of one of my posts is great. But this week I will ask you one thing: think about the values you want to be remembered for – and then ask if you are filling your bucket with that thing. I’m going to work on being understanding and gracious and assuming the best about people, and that’s just the tip of my iceberg.

Think about how loving your friend, neighbour or showing kindness to a stranger really can change the world – There’s power in love. Don’t underestimate it.

Seasons

Growing up I learned to understand seasons as times of the year when the weather would change. Snow would melt and spring would come, then hot summer days would fade to autumn as the leaves would fall from the trees. Sometimes seasons would be measured by school calendars. The end of a school year was the summer and the fall signalled a new year and a new grade.

We define our lives around the seasons. New Year’s rings in new chances, fresh starts, and hope for what the future holds.

Lately I’ve been thinking a bit different about what seasons mean to me. How seasons of life aren’t necessarily defined by the changing weather. Maybe it is because life after graduating has given a new perspective and my days aren’t defined by “fall term”, “winter term” and “summer”. In short, my life is no longer scheduled into trimesters and seasons feel like they are less about the time of year and more about what we are going through or dealing with.

Seasons of our lives sometimes have different timelines. We learn, we grow, we’re challenged. Sometimes we find ourselves in seasons that aren’t so pretty. Or we see people we know in seasons of joy and wonder why our’s feels so mundane.

I’m a firm believer that seasons of our lives happen for a reason. As the unofficial queen of FOMO (fear of missing out) I know sometimes it is hard to see other people in “better”, “easier” or more fruitful seasons and wonder why you can’t always live in those seasons too.

Why does life have to be so hard? Why do we face seasons of failure, of loss, of heartache, of distance in relationships or struggles of identity? I don’t have answers to all those big questions but I believe that the challenging seasons we walk through teach us important lessons.

As someone who has been lucky to have experienced a very wonderful season of life this winter I can tell you that FOMO – no matter how good things are – is still real. But I’ve learned that comparing ourselves to others, no matter how happy we are is always a losing cause.

Our lives are our stories, and we should be focused on writing our own to the best of our abilities. Don’t worry about who is ahead of you, who is traveling to cooler places than you (yes even while living abroad you can have travel FOMO, wild I know). Most importantly, making sure we are being happy for people in their own seasons of success even if ours is more challenging. If we compare ourselves to others, get insecure about not measuring up we get lost and create conflict that doesn’t need to be there.

You don’t need to measure up and neither of the people in your life. If we can learn to embrace our good seasons and difficult ones and simultaneously cheer on our friends we can build each other up – and then we all win.

Trust me, after a winter in Florida I’m already afraid of my next Canadian winter. But I think it is important to embrace the seasons of life we find ourselves in – learn to navigate and appreciate them for what they are without being fearful of what is coming next or wishing them away.

My most recent season of life has been one of a lot of growth. Pushing myself in new ways. It was a season of emotional powerlifting. A season where I didn’t paint so much. A season I leaned to me more flexible and have faith things will work out. It was a season of overwhelming joy.

Coming home marks a transition into a new season – I’m not quite sure what it holds yet but I know that I will make the best of it by honouring that it is my season and it doesn’t need to be held up next or compared to anyone else’s. No FOMO needs to happen because the only way we miss out on the seasons we are in is if we focus more on what other people are doing than on us.

If you’re in a hard season know that you are growing tremendously and everything will be okay, if you are in a season of joy appreciate each moment and don’t worry about when a colder might hit. If you’re like me, and you’re transitioning between seasons into something a bit unknown stay hopeful for what is coming next and have faith that you are where you are meant to be.