What is Happiness?

Kinda feels like I asked you about String Theory, right? It’s a vague question with no real answer because the truth to this question is different for each person reading this sentence. So how do you even begin to answer it?

Typically I’d blow past this question without giving it much thought because this feels like heavy emotion and homie don’t waste time thinking about emotional crap. Except now my bookshelf is filled with true stories of triumph and self-help, growth and empowerment books, so…here we go. What is happiness to you?

“Happiness is many things to many people. It can be lots of small pleasures, a general feeling of contentment or that moment when your heart soars.” The Little Book of Happiness pg.5

Happiness for me feels complicated because even when I go to answer the question, I don’t trust my answer. So I asked my husband, to stall, of course. What is happiness to you? You feel happy when… “I feel happy when…I’m watching a sunset at the beach,” he said.

My natural response to this question is, “I’m happy to have money in the bank to pay the bills and be in a place where I’m not as poor as I once was three, five, ten, and fifteen years ago.” But does making money make me happy? Not really, I could live with way less because I have. Money doesn’t make me happy, it makes me feel secure, which is comforting, but happy? I don’t know.

When I go to fill in my own, “I feel happy when…” the images that pop up in my head do hold emotion and that shit is uncomfortable. For example, I feel happy when…:

  • Reading a good book in a quiet room, snuggled between a puffy white comforter or blanket
  • Playing Rummy with my Hubs on our couch’s ottoman
  • Getting caught in the rain while running with my pups
  • Cooking a good meal for those who appreciate it
  • Any one-on-one time with my Hubs, actually
  • I love new: traveling to a new place, hiking a new trail, or learning something new always makes me happy

Hmm, maybe I’m the ‘lots of small pleasures’ person listed above. And actually, that makes sense, I’m a moment to moment person which is cool to know and acknowledge. This wasn’t too painful of an exercise except for the trying to feel what my happiness is…LOL.

***For the record, please insert 10-15 minutes of quiet time in between each of these paragraphs if you’d like to get the FULL experience of what it was like to write this thing.

Now, take the time to answer the question for yourself. What is happiness to you? You feel happy when____ .

Everything you have ever wanted, is sitting on the other side of fear.

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Girl, Routine Can Make Me Neurotic If I’m Not Careful

I’m not kidding girl, routine can make me neurotic if I’m not careful and I’ll tell you why in a minute. But first, can I get a high five for realizing this about myself? It’s like a huge exhale. Who knew it was so important to be curious, especially when it comes to yourself.

Over the last few weeks, I have been participating in Rachel Hollis’ #Last90Days challenge which is all about taking ownership in your own life and because the last 90 days of the year can be the most challenging, with holidays and extra family functions, it’s a great reminder that you get to choose what happens inside your own life.

The success in owning your last 90 days is completing Hollis’ 5 To Thrive each day.

  1. Get up an hour earlier than you normally do and use the time for yourself.
  2. Workout for at least thirty minutes.
  3. Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day.
  4. Give up one food category you know you shouldn’t be eating.
  5. Write down ten things you’re grateful for every single day.

Simple or overwhelming, depends on the person. Know what I’m saying? This is where I begin to explain the title of this blog and first, I must note Hollis makes a point to stress these five are to motivate you not strangle you i.e. you’re not going to be on your A-game every day, so when you do slip up, don’t waste anytime crying over spilt milk.

A few months ago I wouldn’t have been able to HEAR the reminder because I don’t accept anything less than perfection when attacking a challenge or professional goal.

Case and point. For two years I had a strict exercise routine which included a morning mile and a half run every morning, legs every Tuesday, ClassPass once a week, swimming (during the summer) in the afternoons (my ‘fun’ exercise for the summer but not a replacement for cardio), arms and abs every other day and sometimes I’d double up.

I didn’t believe in rest days or legs that didn’t hurt for three days after Tuesday. If I skipped a run or just didn’t feel like doing the sit-ups, I’d feel like a failure and spin into an awful negative self-talk about how awful I was for not being able to complete one simple task, how could I be so lazy?

The over-exercising led to other issues. I ate whatever I wanted because I was exercising so much it didn’t matter. So when the wheels to my train eventually flew off, it took an additional year to figure out where I went so wrong.

BALANCE. I lacked balance. I’m an intense person, mediocre isn’t in my vocabulary. So I go balls to the wall with everything and have a hard time accepting I’m human, who can’t do all. the. things.

Let me say it again for those who might be sitting in the back row. If I’m human, you sure as shit are, too. BALANCE. BALANCE. BALANCE. BALANCE! There’s no reason to choke yourself, writing this because I need the reminder for myself!

And that is what I’ve brought to my Last 90 Days challenge. My Five To Thrive is tailored to what I need, not what I should be doing.

For example, I don’t get up an hour earlier than normal because my normal is already an hour early so I can run my pups. Instead of giving up a food group I’ve given up my fourth meal because it’s a bad habit I’ve been ready to give up. My thirty-minute exercise doesn’t have to be balls to the wall (like, can’t walk for three days) in order to ‘count.’ If I take the dogs for a walk for thirty minutes–that’s good, it’s about getting out and moving.

The best gift I’ve given myself these last 90 days is grace. I’ve missed a few gratitude journals and I give myself rest days from exercise. The world is still turning, and I’m not beating myself up about it.

“We tend to forget that baby steps still move us forward.”


play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. I also just launched a podcast centered around understanding the homeless youth epidemic, subscribe and join me on this brand new journey! 

 

 

 

Give Yourself A Break – Strive For Imperfection, Instead

This morning on my drive to work I was catching up on one of my favorite podcasts, Jen Gotch Is Okay…Sometimes. It’s described as a podcast that “is weird and original and funny and honest—just like me.  Each week I’m going to get in your ear, tell you about my fears, my pain, my triumphs and hopefully in the process help you become more self-aware, build your own emotional intelligence, and more than anything else, FEEL LESS ALONE.”

It drops every Tuesday and has become one of my favorite listens on the drive to work. I missed this Tuesday’s episode so I caught up this morning and wow, did it hit home and put into perspective what I was blogging about yesterday that I didn’t know at the time I was blogging about. Does that make sense? 

If you missed it, yesterday’s blog Cutting Loose Ends talked about how I’ve been struggling with carrying the thoughts and opinions of others while trying to fight the urge to self-isolate and block out. Let’s not get it twisted, it’s still annoying how much people dump on unsuspecting souls. The trick is to not let it stick and define you.

Yesterday I think was I was blogging about (but didn’t know it at the time) struggling with perfectionism and after this morning’s episode about striving for IMPERFECTION, it gave me some perspective on what I wrote about yesterday, weird right?

Here’s why letting go of perfectionism will help me let go of other people’s actions:

Trying to ‘live up’ to other people’s expectations is a waste of damn time. I want to be successful both personally and professionally. This need to excel at excellence means trying to do everything to the best of my ability, a.k.a. as close to perfect and efficient as possible and I don’t want to let anyone down so I put a lot of value in what others think and say about me (which pains me to write because ew, I wish this wasn’t true) and forget I do this, hence yesterday’s frustration.

This does nothing but distracts me from my own inner voice. I know me, so I should listen to her more often because when I’m constantly filling my head with what others have put on me, it stifles my inner thoughts and feelings. So fuck that shit, I need to be more self-aware so I can internally combat this.

She continues on to say:

“What if we just decided to be imperfect?”

Being comfortable with being imperfect actually helps us achieve more since we’re not overwhelming ourselves with undue pressure. “Let’s not worry so much,” Jen says. “Let’s not try and strive for something that actually isn’t achievable because you just end up feeling awful all the time.”

“We still need to have aspirations, but what if what we aspired to was to be better than great and less than perfect? I think we could manage that.”

She lists three sweet spots to focus on while striving for imperfection, here they are:

  1. Say no to the ‘having it all’ culture – this doesn’t help you focus on the now. When you focus on the ‘having it now’ aspect of life, it forces you to dismiss the achievements of today and yesterday and leaves you feeling never enough or satisfied. Let’s collectively agree to knock this behavior off!
  2. It’s okay to fail – all I have to say about this one is if you never fail how are you supposed to learn? Growth comes from standing up after falling and learning from your mistakes. Let’s all agree to fail a little harder!
  3. Done is better than perfect mentality – I suck at this one, it was even hard to write, but I can acknowledge what it’s trying to convey. If you get tied up in all the little details nothing will ever move forward. This isn’t promoting laziness, it’s promoting to take a breath in the middle of that big project and acknowledge the fact it’s not going to be perfect no matter how hard you strive for it (project, relationship, the dream) to be. Focus on completing it, not all the little tiny ways it’s going to be a shitshow.

Hopefully, this helps you in the same way it helped me peel back the foggy layer that was suffocating my brain yesterday. Gotch ended the episode by asking her listeners to ditch perfectionism and do ‘all of the things you’re waiting to be perfect, to do.” Challenge accepted, and I hope you join me.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude about seeing my brother-in-law tonight and having a cookout! What are you feeling gratitude towards? Let me know in the comment section, below. 

Cultivate it.

play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

 

What Are Ten Wonderful Things About You? Gratitude Wants To Know.

Happy Monday fraands, hope everyone’s weekend was good, decent, and uneventful in the best way. This moring’s blog is going to be quick because I forgot to write it last night and I’ve got twenty minutes before I really need to get ready for work. This might be my best blog yet because I won’t (can’t) allow myself to overthink each sentence and thought.

It isn’t always easy to remember our strengths or the good things about ourselves. Personally, I find it a helluva lot easier to call out my negatives than praise myself when this question is asked: What do you love about yourself?

When asked my hands usually go dry, heart palpitations increase and my brain literally freezes. The world goes in slow motion and I begin to stutter. My mind repeating one phrase, “what do I like about myself? What do I like about myself? What do I like about myself?”

Nothing ever comes to mind.

But this morning my gratitude journal asked me to name 10 wonderful things about myself and something about using the word wonderful helped me consider what I do think is wonderful about myself.

The word love is confusing for me so it throws off my way of understanding the question. So for the first time ever, I tried to consider 10 whole things I thought was wonderful about myself.

We each have personality traits that are really awesome, so I challenge you to answer the same question. I’ll share mine but I double-dog dare you to share your own answers in the comments.

Let’s do this together!

Ten wonderful things about me:

  1. My laugh is loudly sincere and wholeheartedly expressive of the joy I’m feeling in the moment.
  2. I’m a seeker of knowledge. I want to truly understand the why, meaning and perspective of any and all given situations, a.k.a staying curious.
  3. My want to be the change I wish to see in the world, nothing excites me more than giving back and helping make this world a better place.
  4. I love to cook and trying new recipes. A gift passed down to me from my Pops.
  5. Despite being armored up on the outside, any kind of unnecessary suffering truly bothers me.
  6. I am brave.
  7. I’m creative.
  8. Book smart and street smart.
  9. Incredibly strong, especially in the face of adversity.
  10. Fearlessly authentic.

This did me more good than I thought it would. It felt ridiculous and absurd when I spent (what I felt) too much time contemplating my wonderful parts, and then physically having to write them down.

There’s something solidifying to writing them down. I actually believe what I wrote, so I encourage you to write yours down and share them with me in the comments. This might be the best way to start off your Monday.

Don’t worry, it’ll feel silly at first, but I promise you it’s more rewarding than not.

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling gratitude for my spin class tonight. It’s going to kick my ass back into taking care of myself. 

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my quest for true belonging. 

What Do You Want & What Do You Need

Have you ever asked yourself what do you want people to know about you and what do you need from them? I’ve never asked myself outright but my friend Brené Brown asked me in Chapter Six: Disruptive Engagement. So here we go, friends…

Q: What do you want people to know about you? 

A1: I want people to know that respect is extremely important to me and that I firmly believe its something earned and not given. And because it’s so important to me, I strive to show the same respect I’m given. Respect is a two-way street, like I said, it’s earned not given.

To answer Aretha Franklin’s burning “R-E-S-P-E-C-T find out what it means to me” question, to me respect means you care enough about me that you’re not going to disrespect my boundaries after I took the time to voice them to you.

Respect means a lot to me personally and professionally. If I don’t respect you it’s incredibly difficult to deal with or connecting with you.

It’s also why I give Momma’s out there a shit ton of credit because I don’t know how you all do it with as much ‘free advice’ that’s given or blatant disregard for your wishes when it comes to your kid(s). My least favorite statement from folks is, “ya know what you should be doing” or “what you ‘outta do is..”

It’s not that I think I know everything or that I can’t learn from my elders, but ninety percent of the time it’s coming from someone who is speaking to me as if I’m the child and they’re the parents, which leads me to my next point…

A2: Do not speak to me like I am less than or as if I’m a child. My second least favorite activity is when people try to speak to me like a child because let me tell you, I haven’t been a child for a long time and I could probably argue I never got to be a child.

The person who has been taking care of me the longest is myself. I’ve had a lot of life for the short amount of time I’ve been around, so show me some respect and speak to me as an equal, not a youngin’ who doesn’t know her ass from her anus.

I’m smart, strong, and enough.

Q: What do you need from people?

A1: I need to be heard. There is nothing more frustrating to me than not being heard, and I mean actually heard. Not what you think I meant, what you were saying to yourself while I was talking, or what you think is better for me.

When I take the time out to communicate, I need you to actually listen and understand my perspective.

“When people talk, completley listen.” — Ernest Hemingway

Here’s a handy-dandy listening flowchart if you’re confused what I mean by listening wholeheartedly. Thanks, Hubspot! 

good-listener-infographic.png

So how’d ya do on the flowchart?

If I am heard, then I feel respected.

Now, ask yourself (and possibly leave it in the comment section below. Sharing is caring!), what do you want people to know about you and what do you need from those people?

Now to keep up with my promise to practice gratitude to fight my tendency to forbode joy: Currently feeling grateful for the time I had with my Husband this weekend. We saw A Quiet Place on Friday, Saturday he took me out for Date Night and Sunday we did a few air museum tours and cuddled on the couch. What are you grateful for today?

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, come be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my personal journey about understanding myself more with the hopes it’ll help someone else in the twenty-something/pushing thirty struggles.

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

There’s a little something-something I want to get off my chest, something I want to say, not need to say.

I have been pretty open to those who’ve asked and in my writing with you all, about taking the time to understand myself, love myself and care for myself. This process has involved a few self-help books (Heyyyyy Brene Brown, I LOVEEEE you) and a couple therapy sessions and an acceptance I can’t do this thing overnight.

It has to take time and patience to dive into the pain, mourn, and then accept what is. What I’m saying is, this is going to be a forever process and I’m in it for the long haul.

Some of my sharing shines a light on some insecurities I have regarding me as a person and my family upbringing. So I want to say this: don’t get it twisted, no matter how confusing or frustrating I am with past circumstances, it will never change the way I feel about my family.

I love them. Nobody can replace my Mom or Dad, ever. And I would still kill for my brother and sister, even though we’ve hardly seen each other over the last five/six years. Yes, some shit got fucked up. But I’m not going to carry it with me for the rest of my life.

Everyone has baggage they’re trying to unload. Sometimes the washer is full and it has to wait, sometimes the luggage is locked and you can’t find the key, and other times you can acknowledge it needs to be unpacked, but that it’s just not going to happen for some time.

We all have problems. Mine are mine. Yours are yours. No problem is greater than another. My Mom did the best she could, so did my Dad, so is my brother and sister, and so am I. The most rewarding part of this entire process for me has been accepting who I am and embracing me.

Denying myself made me an angry person. Wishing relationships were a certain type of way does nothing but set me up for heartache. It’s crazy you operate a certain way for 25-plus years and then one year happens and fucks it all up.

And that’s where I’m at in this very moment with all of you. This year threw everything I thought I knew out the window, and this blogging practice is me trying to figure out what the hell it all means.

Life is crazy man, and we’re all trying to figure out how to keep our arms and legs inside the rollercoaster so they don’t get chopped off. Don’t judge my story (or the people in my story) based on the chapter you walked in on.

There’s my peace. I won’t repeat it again. I love my family, nobody is going to replace them and it doesn’t matter how far away I am, they’re mine until the end of time.

Happy Friday!

(I forgot about this the past two times -_- I’m awful) Currently grateful for the maple glazed donut One protein bar giving me life this Friday morning. What are you grateful for? Tell me in the comments.

Cultivate it.

 

Momma Always Said You Gotta Worry About Yourself

I’ve had a couple days to re-read and chew on my post on Monday and I think the post might have been a bit confusing unless you were inside my head reading through my own eyeballs.

My Self-Doubt Death Eater Unveiled” didn’t clearly connect the dots between what I was feeling to the conclusion/lesson I wanted to convey, which for the record sounds like a great euphemism for life; sometimes the dots don’t connect and life ends up looking like a big blob of mush no matter how hard you concentrate.

What I am certain about is it needed to be written out so I could begin to understand all parts of what drove me nuts about this interaction that left a nasty taste in my mouth. Monday’s confusing blog helped me realize I tie my self-worth up in what others say project on me.

But duh, I am enough. I know my worth. I know who I am and I’m not going to let others sway the eternal strength I know I possess because throughout the past two decades I’ve proved it to myself. Basically, trust yourself. I encourage you to practice the same self-love and reassurance.

Monday’s blog didn’t connect the dots because I couldn’t see the other part of the equation. Writing My Self-Doubt Death Eater Unveiled helped me realize the phrase, “I’m rubber and you are glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” To understand the other half of the equation I had to backtrack to the moment before I engaged in the conversation that started this all.

When I confronted I expected comfort because it had been offered up once before, but deep down I knew it wasn’t going to end well, had I practiced the art of ‘pausing’ before engaging, this may have never happened.

So what’s the problem?

I expected a certain reaction and when it didn’t go the way I had hoped, it bummed me out. If I would’ve taken a second to fully gage my emotions, manage my expectations, and fully understand the situation before diving in head first, I could’ve saved myself some hurt and pain.

This was the other part of the equation I couldn’t solve and lead me to this realization about myself.  My expectations and standards are high when it comes to relationships (all types), and because of this, It affects my ability to connect as well as accept people for who they are and/or what they bring to the table.

Don’t get me wrong, having high standards isn’t a terrible trait to possess, it’s great to have when striving for personal and professional goals because it usually means you’ll do greater than the bar you set for yourself.

Having high standards/expectations does make it extremely hard to reach the bar you’ve set for yourself because you keep moving it so that it’s never quite reachable. You’re constantly striving for a better you, which makes me (possibly you) never feel enough. 

This means I also expect others to hold themselves to the same bar because it’s fair, but  it’s not plausible to hold everyone to my bar (even though it makes it safer and less likely to let anyone in which is comfortable for me) because everyone has their own set of rules they live by according to what makes sense to them.

So why not be aware of that person’s ability and accept only what they can offer instead of what they aren’t offering.

Make sense? Or is this post as confusing as my last one?

I get stuck on fairness. I grew up with the strong notion of Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. So if I treat you the way I want to be treated, please follow suit. It may sound or feel harsh but it’s safe.

Apparently, the other phrase my Mom would preach, “worry about yourself,” still rings true, especially in this situation. I can’t expect people to act the way I would act in any or all situations, nor can I hold them to my expectation in regards to our relationship.

The best I can do is reaffirm boundaries in my relationships, remind myself I am enough, and continue down this path of wellness and understanding. No matter how hippy-dippy it sounds, I don’t care. The only person outside of me who’s opinion matters to me is my husband.

Oh yeah, and take a pause before reacting or initiating potential conflict. Ask myself what do I expect out of this conversation, is it realistic given the person I’m speaking with, am I open to what they might say or am I expecting them to give me what I need.

Three cheers to practicing the art of pause. 

Cultivate it.

I play better on Instagram than Facebook but regardless, come be my friend online. RamblinRandol is my personal journey about understanding myself more with the hopes it’ll help someone else in the twenty-something/pushing thirty struggles.

I’ve Got Stamina

I’m late, I know. This should’ve been posted by 9 a.m. but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to blog about today and was waiting for something to present itself.

Well, nearly two hours later it has hit me.

I’m sitting in my office listening to Sia’s The Greatest, typing up my first script for Someone Like You podcast and I’m tearing up.

If you can’t recall the lyrics by heart, here’s a snip:

Uh-oh, running out of breath, but I
Oh, I, I got stamina
Uh-oh, running now, I close my eyes
Well, oh, I got stamina
And uh-oh, I see another mountain to climb
But I, I, I got stamina
Uh-oh, I need another lover, be mine
Cause I, I, I got stamina

Don’t give up, I won’t give up
Don’t give up, no no no
Don’t give up, I won’t give up
Don’t give up, no no no

I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive
I’m free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest
The greatest, the greatest alive
The greatest, the greatest alive

 

For the first time in my life, I feel genuinely happy and not because a vacation is around the corner, my Hubs surprised me with a gift or I achieved a goal I was working towards.

My insides are happy just because…

Like, so happy I want to cry about it, haha.

I’m working on a podcast that focuses on solving (or creating a conversation that leads to solving — I’m good with either notion) the homeless youth problem we have in America.

It has lit a fire in me I’ve been waiting for and it feels so. damn. good.

What’s even more insane is that I’ve shared it with the people I care about. The fact I’ve given this goal a voice (instead of silently working it over in my head over and over) and it’s felt so good to talk about it, before (and kinda still now) I thought giving it a voice would jinx it.

Something inside me has been freed.

I don’t spend weeks editing a blog post before hitting publish. The words to describe my feelings, ideas, wishes or recent enlightenment, come a lot easier than in recent years.

And after almost 30 years of not liking myself as a person, I think I’m finally starting to truly love myself for the first time, ever.

Blogs are meant to serve the audience, and while I’m not sure this one does anything for you (the reader) I hope it (at least) encourages you to keep trying to find the ‘thing’ that lights you on fire, because everyone deserves to feel the warmth inside I’m now feeling for the first time and I want it for you, too.

Or maybe it helps you acknowledge you don’t love yourself and makes you want to find out how…

There’s no one solution to finding your fire or loving yourself, but I can tell you that surrounding yourself with people who are really for you and are safe is a start, because even when you don’t believe in yourself, that tribe of supporters will help you see the light, eventually (depending on how stubborn you can be or how resistant to a tribe you are, full disclosure: I was both).

You have to want to grow, acknowledge why you are the way you are and grieve the losses (slights from your parents, wishes that were never granted, privileges others got that you weren’t graced with, etc.) that have occurred throughout your life.

Everybody has problems. You’re not any different. Begin to figure out how to let them go and grow.

My tribe is filled with people I didn’t want on the inside three years ago, including co-workers. I did a few process groups (aka, group therapy) and read a few self-help books (Safe People by Henery Cloud, The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks), and then did the work needed internally.

I’m not done, but I’ve got stamina.

Cultivate it.


RamblinRandol is about finding yourself and learning to love yourself again. Life is real and raw, there’s no room for perfection here. If you’d like to join the Hot Mess Express tribe where we discuss the daily struggle and bring real life to light, come hang out in my new Facebook group, here

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