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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Good Grief

Grief is hard and I’m only twenty-three so honestly I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of experiencing and understanding it.

But here is what I know so far; C.S. Lewis said “Love makes us vulnerable to grief”. When we experience grief it is because of a loss of love. A life or relationship ending.

Grief is hard. I cannot pretend that it is not extremely difficult. But my perspective on it is that if you want to avoid grief you need to avoid love. You can’t be vulnerable. You can’t fully experience joy. If you don’t want to risk getting hurt you don’t have to – but you limit the love you feel.

Brené Brown, my personal queen, has a TED Talk about the price we pay when we aren’t willing to be vulnerable. We miss out on a life fully lived. In the talk she says;

“If vulnerability is a sharp edge there may be nothing sharper than joy. To let yourself soften into loving someone, to caring about something passionately, thats vulnerable. … There is a guarantee that no one talks about that and that is if we don’t allow ourselves to experience joy and love we will definitely miss out on filling our reservoir with what we need in those hard things happen.”

I get this rush sometimes when I do things a little out of my comfort zone. I open myself up a bit and feel like “Yes! This is it. I’m doing the thing. I’m living life fearlessly”.

In hard times is easy to feel out of sorts and confused while looking for answers. Looking for an easy way out rather than being stuck sitting with this feeling. If you are sitting on the shore of grief, experiencing the waves, wondering when it will stop being hard – well truthfully I don’t know. But you don’t need to rush through feeling grief, I’m not sure we even can if we want to.

But, I do know it is okay to be sad and honour the significant joy, love and vulnerability that comes from a life fully lived. You followed your heart and said what you needed to say and left it all on the dance floor – or something like that.

The grief we go through is a reflection of a life well lived. A life vulnerable to love. It might be hard, but I consider that the good kind of grief.

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.

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!

We Don’t Throw Away Trees

I got home from Florida a week or so ago and I saw that some of my plants hadn’t survived Canadian winter super well. My little forest of succulents living on my window sill obviously missed regular warmth and sunlight – so they looked a little worse for wear.

Some of them had been promising and growing big and strong – but now they were in need of some extra care. I thought about starting over and getting new ones to replace the ones that didn’t survive so well, but I decided I want to give these guys a second chance. After all, it wasn’t their fault that winter is so cold and maybe May and June will bring much needed sunlight. And maybe, just maybe, these plants will turn around.

In Florida one of my favourite things were the palm trees, I pointed out every single one I saw for the first week. They often needed to get pruned and dead leaves would be removed – but in the right climate with the correct care they thrive. When palm leaves fall off gardeners don’t give up on the whole tree, they prune it and move on. Sure, my plants aren’t palm tress – but I’m not giving up on them just yet.

I think the same can be said for me and you. Sometimes we might feel like it is too late for us. Like we messed up too much, or there isn’t hope. Maybe it feel like it’s been too long since you called that friend, since you prayed, since you though about going back to school or pursuing that dream.

In my mind the hierarchy for things I have hope for goes like:

3 . My Succulents

2 . Palm Trees

1. You

You’re number one. It’s not too late for you to bloom and do the things you’ve always wanted to do. It’s not too late to grow into the person you want to be.

We often talk about personal growth and we can’t always see it, but plants are a visual representation of that constant growth and they can serve as a reminder of the growth we are always going through. It’s easier to look back on growth and say “yeah I grew through that” vs keeping the mindset of “I am currently growing” or “I’m trying to make progress”. But just like my succulents, palm tress, [insert your favourite tree/plant/ flower] we are always growing and developing and making progress, even when we don’t see it.

If this sounds naive coming from a 22 year old, okay fair. But I’ve had my share of friends who are my age already feeling like it might be too late for them. And I don’t know if you’ve heard but Oprah was fired from her first reporting job when she was 23. Julia Child didn’t released her first cookbook until she was 49, even the legendary Morgan Freeman didn’t land his first major movie role until he was 52. Some people start running marathons in their 70’s y’all, anything is possible.

No matter where you’re at, how old you are, or what you’ve been through – don’t give up on you. It isn’t too late to get a new hobby, explore your spirituality, start eating healthy, start running, to be vulnerable or ask for help. It’s never too late try something new. You might need to do some pruning, but baby we don’t throw away trees around here and you’re still growing.

Beach Reading: A Novel Idea

Last summer, after I graduated from university, I set out to read a massive booklist. I love learning and I didn’t want to stop just because I was no longer in classes. Plus I spend a lot of time at my cottage and my favourite beach sport is laying completely still and reading a good book.

I asked people to recommend anything and everything to me. Books to entertain, to teach me new things, to stir questions inside me, to inspire me. I asked for suggestions and ultimately I got a list of over 30 books. I didn’t quite make it through alllll 30, but I did learn a lot along the way. This week, I’m going to share a few favourites, maybe recommend some titles that we should all read, and say that if you’re going to spend money on something – books are always a worthwhile investment.

Themes in the books I have been reading over the course of the last year talk a lot about our hearts, relationships, faith. Feeling our feelings and getting comfortable with vulnerability. This might sound like the worst reading material to you – but it was so helpful in my own growth. My Top 10 favourites since I put out my call for worthwhile books include :

  • Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller (If you’ve every had questions about faith, finding meaning, spirituality or anything along those lines this book asks a lot of challenging but great questions)
  • Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown (Brené is a queen, this is her newest book I love everything about it)
  • If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski (This book reminded me again and again that it’s okay to ask for help, to be honest and to lean on people. I’m thankful for this book)
  • Love Does by Bob Goff (I have lost track of how many times I’ve read this book, I cried when I heard he was writing a second because I was so excited. Please please please read this)
  • Love Lives Here by Maria Goff (Have I cried in public while reading this book? Maybe)
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur (Rupi writes poetry that feels so relatable and hits the spot of describing emotions I didn’t know I was missing the words to)
  • Option B by Sheryl Sandberg (If you’re cynical about gratitude this book has all the stats and data to assure you that positivity is worth it)
  • Rising Strong by Brené Brown (If you’ve ever fallen down, felt hurt or disappointed, so everyone, this book is a game changer)
  • Scary Close by Donald Miller (If you’re in a relationship with any human other than yourself, romantic or not, you should pick this one up.)
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimmimanda Nigozi Adichi (This doesn’t really need an explanation, the title speaks for itself.)

If I could pick one book on this list to ask everyone to read it, well I’d have a hard time with it. I’ve gifted Love Does and If You Feel Too Much and Scary Close to many different people because I feel each of them has special things to offer. And apparently they give out We Should All Be Feminists to every 16 year old in Sweden, who knew?

The books I’ve listed get me excited and inspired. They move me to think differently about the world around me. Honestly, a lot of them have inspired posts I’ve already written on this blog. Posts like Let People Love You, Loving People Well, The Gratitude Project, and Let’s Talk About Em-pa-thy  wouldn’t be here if I didn’t pick up a lot of these books.

I started reading a new book yesterday, even though I have about 10 others left to finish. It’s by Bob Goff and it’s called Everybody Always (who happens to be on that list up there, yup that guy I cried over. It’s fine, I’m fine.) Within a few chapters I was feeling fired up and encouraged. I could ask you to pick any title on this list and read it, but my hope today is that you’ll go out and pick a book you’ll get excited about. Maybe it is one of the one’s I’ve talked about but maybe it isn’t. That’s okay, you do you, just find a book that does get you fired up.

I’m excited to start my new summer reading list, I picked up a few new books last week but if you have any recommendations of books you think I should read, either because they relate to ones on this list or they are personal favourites of yours, I always love suggestions.

Happy Wednesday!

Excellence > Perfection

Happy Wednesday friends! This week’s post is going to be short and sweet. I’m talking about perfection and  touching on a few different categories of wellness!

Why write perfectionism in a wellness blog?

I think that being mindful of perfectionism is in line with the “striving for congruent wellness” theme of this blog. Avoiding holding yourself to a standard to perfectionism can be difficult, especially for people who tend to be self-proclaimed perfectionists (me!) but it is an unattainable goal that we shouldn’t hold ourselves to. Perfectionism is unhealthy and eclipses successes you’re making in all areas of wellness.

Serving up Lattes & Words of Wisdom

I started working at a coffee shop this summer and one of my favourite parts are the interactions I have with customers. There are the lovely families with little kids, the regular who never fails to get a soy green tea latte, and the memorable moments. I’m what you might call “hyperbolically enthusiastic” and this is especially true when I’m talking to customers; “Great!” , “Awesome!” , “Perfect!”, are all responses you could hear from me in response to you successfully tapping your credit card on the card reader.

Last week I used the word perfect to describe something along those lines and the customer asked me if I knew what perfect meant. He went on to tell me that there was an important distinction between perfection and excellence, saying that excellence is a level you strive for without being perfect. I smiled and wrote down what he said after he left because it struck a cord with me – and that is that its okay not to aim for perfection. I think I often focus on letting myself off the hook for not being perfect, but what if perfect simply ceased to be the goal?

Well, Well, Wellness

In relational, spiritual, physical, emotional and mental wellness, we’re never going to achieve perfection. And we don’t have to either. When we give ourselves and the people we love the room to be imperfect, relationships flourish. When we stop striving for perfection in our lives we emotionally “give ourselves a break”, and when we realize the only way to have a “perfect” body is to stop eating fun food – it’s clear, for me, to see that chocolate cake is better than abs.

I have a small collection of quotes that jumped out at me when thinking about perfection and what it means and why it’s beautiful to explore alternatives to perfection. Rather than write long paragraphs about why I think it’s wonderful to embrace that we weren’t meant to live perfect lives, I’m going to let these words that inspire me speak for themselves:

  • “You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.” – Brené Brown
  • “The problem [with being a perfectionist] is this : those of us who are never satisfied with our accomplishments secretly believe nobody will love us unless we’re perfect. We don’t think of our flaws as the glue that binds to the people we love, but they are.” – Donald Miller
  • “I will hold myself to a standard of grace not perfection.” – Emily Ley
  • “We need to stop trying to attain perfection because we are good enough already” – Iskra Lawrence

If you need more convincing, take it from my girl Anne Hathaway :

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Here is to an imperfect, but excellent Wednesday!

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