What Being a Positive Person Really Means

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Old Port, Maine

If you know me at all, you’ve heard me stress the importance of living life with a positive mindset. I’d happily accept the title of ‘broken record’, referring to how often I repeat those words, but I would never label myself as a hypocrite.

One of my friends called me this in a conversation we had while I was still at college. It was a talk filled with lots of emotions and no filters when it came to speaking our minds. Yikes, I know. “You are a positive person and you always talk about that but you’re not constantly happy and that’s hypocritical. And you even complain about things in your life, too.” Correct. These are all accurate observations but definitely not aspects of myself that I should be ashamed of or criticized for.

After reflecting on the words that left me feeling bitter, they became easier to swallow than I would have expected. It all comes down to what positivity means to an individual person, as most things in life do. In my eyes, and compared to my old self, I am proudly living as the happiest version of myself despite what that may look like to others.

Living a positive life doesn’t mean walking around with a smile plastered across your face every single second. It doesn’t mean being upbeat 24/7 and only having good things happen to you. And it definitely doesn’t mean you have to love everyone and everything that comes into your life. This constant bubbliness would actually lead me to insanity, it’s simply not natural to be “on” all the time.

Becoming a positive person means deepening your understanding of yourself and what makes you happy. It’s the realization that happiness comes from within. It’s prioritizing your needs but also recognizing the joy that comes from helping others. And it’s being able to love yourself, flaws and all.

A positive mindset is a safe place you create for yourself. It’s where you can breathe easy when things aren’t going your way or you’re simply having an off day. Smiling like a fool doesn’t make you a positive person, but choosing to not dwell on the hard times or carry anger with you, does.

Everyone experiences hardships. These difficult times are what allow you to have empathy for others and gain appreciation for the little things in life. You will surely feel a range of emotions when tough times find you. You are entitled to express these emotions and feel them wholly, as this is how you heal. But the next step is where you define yourself. Do you want to stay at this low in your life or choose to live in brighter days?

I choose to follow the sun.

Even when I complain, stress out, or feel upset I choose to not make that my permanent mindset. I feel my emotions as they come, and seek out comfort from loved ones as needed, but then I find ways to move past them. There are some people who sadly can’t see the positive sides of situations but instead bring others down with their negativity. That’s not enjoyable or healthy for anyone but sometimes it’s inevitable. After many years of searching in all the wrong places, I finally know what it means to be happy and I come back to this state of mind daily through gratitude and love. It takes time and experience to learn and trust in the beauty of your life, but choosing happiness is easier than you may expect.

Cheers loves, bring on the sunshine!

XO – Autumn

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Thank You, 2016

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Biddeford Pool Beach, Maine

 

It’s difficult to avoid the overwhelming amount of people who keep labeling 2016 as a total shit show. From a worldly perspective, I totally understand this outlook, cause yikes was this year unsettling. But on a more personal level, I feel the need to show 2016 some serious love.

At the beginning of this year, I made a resolution in the form of a phrase. It was sort of like my own personal mantra. “Living vicariously through myself” became my everyday reminder to do what makes me happy. The result of this mindset snowballed in the best, most unexpected ways possible. I first learned to be brutally honest with myself, then learned to express my feelings more openly, and as a result ended up living authentically and apparently inspiring others to do the same through my writing.

Who knew unleashing my true self would label me as an “inspiration.” This is a compliment I have received many times throughout the year, from strangers and loved ones alike. I am forever humbled by their kind words. Inspiring others was never an initial intention of mine. Hell, I am still trying to figure myself out. But the idea that sharing my own struggles and passions could light a spark in someone else was truly magical.

I have loved the journey 2016 has put me through, challenges included. My path has taken a wild turn and I have learned entirely new things about who I am, but more importantly, who I want to be.

In 2017 I want to continue to step out of my comfort zone. I want to open my heart to new people and push heartache aside. I want to manifest positivity into my daily adventures. I want to inspire. I want to be the best possible friend I can be. I want to find new things to love about myself. I want to stop biting my nails (ha). I want to write. I want to explore. And finally, I want to keep surprising myself.

I’ve been attempting to narrow down a new phrase to carry me through 2017 – remember, this can change over the course of your year if needed. “Don’t become complacent” will be my new daily reminder. I have been grateful for every opportunity I have been given but I definitely can’t become satisfied just yet. I want to use those words as my motivation to accomplish more and pursue my goals fearlessly. I hope to continue to grow as an individual and I believe this outlook will help me do so. You should always be proud of your accomplishments but continuously to strive for more.

I am extremely hopeful for this new year and I know it will bring even more blessings. After all, your life is whatever you make of it.

Cheers,

XO – Autumn

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” –  Elite Daily

“I’m busy.”

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Rose Garden, Boston

Busy. Everyone wants to be seen as busy. Our culture promotes the idea that a busy lifestyle means you’re worth something. It means you’re actually doing something, contributing to society in some way. Whether it’s taking crazy course loads or working overtime at your job, being busy means you’re being productive. In other words, you’re not just sitting around.

It makes us feel good to utter the words, “I’m so busy,” does it not? We tend to compare our lives to others, seeing who’s schedule is more demanding, and subtly declaring a “winner” based upon that alone.

I have always supported this hectic lifestyle. Getting involved in as many things as possible, pushing my limits each day, and challenging myself to still be better than everyone else who are doing similar things. Yes, I’m a bit of a competitor. I love the rush that comes with being busy and feeling as though I’m in demand. But at what cost?

I’m a senior this year (yayy!). I’m involved in just as many things as I have been these past years but for some reason I don’t feel as stressed. I actually have some solid free time! I know, crazy right? Funny thing is, I’m not sure what to do with myself. Is it okay to simply kick back and relax? Shouldn’t I be looking for something to do or getting ahead on homework? I was creating stress from my thoughts of what I could be doing, not even what I had to do.

I’ve made the decision to cave. To appreciate my free time and be okay with doing nothing. Eat Pray Love, one of my favorite books, holds a memorable and applicable quote, “The sweetness of doing nothing,” as they say in Italy.

It’s a refreshing thought. How doing nothing can be absolutely beautiful. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t make something of yourself, probably because I disagree with a lazy lifestyle. But why does relaxing have to be seen as a bad thing? Why can’t we enjoy the moments we get to take a breather, and better yet enjoy them with people we love.

I know I’m excited to embrace this new mindset as I take on my last year of college. It doesn’t feel natural, at least not yet, but I want it to. So here’s to coffee dates, pointless walks in the city, and afternoons reading books for pleasure.

If you really think about it, we’d all be a bit happier if we took this time for ourselves. We may feel obligated to constantly stay busy but maybe it doesn’t always have to be that way.

XOXO – Autumn

 

Vulnerable

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Reflecting Pool, Boston

Being vulnerable is scary. It is. It can make you extremely self-aware and show you sides of yourself you may not be comfortable embracing yet. So why succumb yourself to this feeling?

Society teaches us to be strong. To be fearless and seek power through success. This mindset instills in us the thoughts that pain and emotions are unnecessary, as if they are only standing in our way. This made sense to me at first. I mean, who wants to willingly feel anger or sadness? Well, according to a Ted Talk I watched today, whole-hearted people do.

The Ted Talk explained, after extensive research, that we tend to numb our emotions. Whether this is by blocking unsettling feelings from our minds or turning to vices, many of us tend to suppress what we are feeling rather than actually dealing with it. You would think that numbing the bad would allow you to only focus on the good, right? Wrong. This is what we as humans need to recognize and change as we grow.

You cannot choose when you feel pain. Sure, you can strive for a positive outlook and handle uncertainty with grace but ultimately life will throw you some curve-balls and it’s okay to be upset when this happens. When you numb your pain (from heartbreak to shameful moments) you also numb your chance at joy and happiness. Which in turn leads to searching for meaning in your life, being dissatisfied, reliving your negative emotions and as a result continuing this cycle.

Break the cycle. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. This not only gives you the chance to connect with others in a more genuine way but it will help you find what true happiness means to you. Vulnerability comes with being honest with who you truly are which overtime leads to accepting who you are. The study showed that those who were accepting of themselves, and have a strong sense of love and belonging, are the same ones who believe they are worthy of love and belonging.

This took me a second to grasp, the concept of the beauty behind vulnerability, until I realized I have caught myself living my life like this more and more over the years. As I become more comfortable with who I am it has become easier for me to reveal myself to others, whether this is through words or actions. I have definitely texted my crush asking them to grab a coffee (and even been turned down too), wrote essays about very personal topics that I later had to share with classmates, and continued to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It may not always be ideal but knowing what I deserve has given me more courage to go after what I want.

Vulnerability, in the sense of expressing who you are and what you deserve, is worth adapting into your lifestyle. Be strong and powerful but brave enough to love yourself. Like anything, it takes time, but it’s worth the effort of learning to be aware.

Life is better when filled with deep connections & self-love.

XOXO – Autumn

The Secret

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Camp Ellis Beach, Maine

About 8 years ago my parents showed my brother and I a movie called The Secret – which is based off a book. The message throughout shares the benefits of tapping into your own internal power, whether you realize you’re capable of greatness or not.

Stories of attaining wealth, overcoming obstacles, and achieving goals that may seem unrealistic are told by a range of people who have experienced this first hand. It all has to do with one’s mentality and the belief in the powers of the universe.

I have held this message close to me throughout the years. I whole heartedly believe even my subconscious embodies this way of being. I have been deemed a “lucky person” many times and I know my blessings come directly from the universe and my own outlook on life.

Your thoughts control your life. This is why many people preach the idea of “good vibes” but not everyone truly knows the importance of actually practicing this mindset. The Secret describes how you can have any life you want. The first step to attaining what you want is to believe you deserve it and continue to visualize it each day. Truly picture yourself attaining your goals and desires, feel the emotions that will come with it, and trust in the universe to make it happen.

One of the more difficult things for me is to trust the universe to create a way for me to attain the lifestyle I want. I am capable of envisioning desires and believing I deserve them, but I have always been taught to find my own way to success and happiness.

The universe will create a path for you. You don’t need to stress over the how aspect, you simply need to look for signs and act without hesitation. The universe will speak to you if you let it. This doesn’t mean sit back and relax, but rather have faith while pursuing your goals and know you will get what you want in the end.

This message is too important not to share and it is one I can personally  attest for. Maybe this is the reason my life goals are so big or my days are so bright, because I know they can be. One of my favorite lines from the movie describes the universe like a catalog. All you have to do is pick what you want out of life and the universe will hear your thoughts and find a way to bring your desires to you. It’s as simple as that. The people who are able to believe this, as crazy as it may seem, are the ones who will reap the rewards.

You can now watch The Secret on Netflix – it’s worth your time, trust me.

May your thoughts be as bright as your future.

XO -Autumn

 

Looking Forward

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Biddeford Pool, Maine

I’m the type of person who enjoys a busy lifestyle. Hell, I thrive on it. Whether it’s during finals week of college or the sunniest day in the dead of summer, I’m happiest when I’m doing things and going places. I love the rush that comes with this style of living. Always down to experience new things but prioritizing what’s important; it’s the type of journey I have grown to embrace every day.

Of course real life cannot be ignored. Working a job, maintaining relationships, and continuing to strive towards your goals are all part of the craziness that comes with building a life.

Not all days can be thrilling and eye opening but they never have to be entirely dull. I like to ask myself “what would make you happy?” when planning out my days. It’s a simple question but it can have a great impact. You may not want to go to work, but you know you have no choice (sadly, money will always be a reigning factor in our decisions). Within this mindset of having to go to work, it’s important to find a positive. You already know what to expect, so why not find a way to make your day more enjoyable? Switch up your routine by making time to do something you know will put a guaranteed smile on your face.

Prioritize your happiness within the life you’re living while working towards the life you desire.

Part of living a busy lifestyle is taking the time to appreciate it. I do this by giving myself things to look forward to. Whether it’s knowing my favorite meal is waiting for me in the fridge at home (hello BBQ ribs) or buying tickets to a concert that is months away, I always give myself a reason to smile. Knowing my future is as bright as my present moments is what continuously gives me the push to keep going every day.

Plan ahead. You know yourself better than anyone, what makes you happy? Now go do it.

XO – Autumn

 

Scribbles Will Do

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French Caribbean Sea, Guadeloupe

With each new day comes fresh thoughts, emotions, and interactions. The combination of the predictable and the unexpected is what keeps our days interesting. It’s also what makes some days better than others. Whether you’re out exploring with your friends or getting lost in a novel, surely enough you’ll be having new thoughts or being reminded of old ones.

Certain memories may be ones we try to ignore while others are ones we can’t wait to relive. We rarely get to choose our emotional reactions that accompany these but we can control how we handle them. Writing has become my go to outlet over the years. I write in a journal from time to time, keep notes on my phone, scribble random thoughts for new articles on colorful sticky notes, and of course write on this blog when I feel inspired.

Between the craziness of work, my social life, career opportunities, and back & forth relationships, writing is my quick escape.

I’m the type to overthink but rarely become overwhelmed. Getting my thoughts down on a piece of paper, no matter how scattered and raw they may be, allows me to get out of my own head for awhile. I can see my thoughts from a different perspective before I have time to dwell on them for too long – the negatives ones at least.

Scribbling down my stories, emotions, and ideas is my way of reflecting on my life and myself. During the not so great times it gives me a chance to see the bigger picture while writing down my happier moments lets me replay them again in my mind.

English may not be everyone’s favorite subject, but I believe writing is beneficial for all. No, this doesn’t mean you should write a book or start a blog, passion needs to accompany those paths. Writing is simply a way to reflect on your thoughts and express yourself whenever you need to without expectations.

Maybe I’m slightly bias, but when I give a journal as a gift to my friends they always end up using it – even if they were hesitant at first. Better yet, they end up loving it.

“Happiness is a string of happy moments,” so why not give yourself a way to cherish those moments even longer while also giving yourself a way to calm your thoughts when life gets the best of you?

Try it. It can’t hurt ~ happy writing!

XOXO

Autumn

 

 

Having It All

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French Caribbean Sea, Guadeloupe

In one of my classes we recently discussed if women can truly “have it all”. The focus being on women since men’s ability to attain what they desire is rarely questioned. I’ll save my opinions on that frustrating reality for another time.

One of my biggest takeaways from this discussion is the lingering question of what it means to have it all. Does this generally mean the same thing to everyone or does it differ from person to person? I’d like to believe it holds a unique meaning for every individual but I think most could agree success is measured in career, love, family, and a social life. Let’s not forget about health either, a highlighted favorite these days.

I would have to agree – Having it all can be defined by finding success in these areas of your life. This is not to say other areas aren’t important but these seem to be where society puts an emphasis, and why not? Career can bring stability in money, love is unlike anything else, a good family dynamic makes each day better, and your friends are always there to show you a good time. Thriving in all of these ways while being healthy is ideal, but is it attainable?

Having everything consistently go your way is rare. I’ve found the best way to hold onto happiness is through balance. Invest yourself in each of these areas but never spread yourself too thin. Not only does this help you look at the bright side of any situation but it gives you a safety net when one aspect of your life isn’t going as planned. Relationship problems? Turn to your best friends and they’ll remind you of the many reasons you still have to be happy. Overwhelmed with school or work? A quick phone call home is enough to calm your thoughts and bring you back to center.

Inevitably, times will occur when you’re more invested in one area of your life than the others. A new significant other or career opportunity? Hell yeah, you deserve to be excited! It’s healthy to linger in your happiness but it’s important to remember to maintain all aspects of your life that are important to you. This way, you’ll have multiple reasons to smile despite what upsets may occur.

Finding balance doesn’t have to be difficult, it’s more of a personal awareness if anything. Hug your loved ones, open your heart & mind, and always work hard – success will surely follow.

You can have it all, whatever this may mean to you. Cheers.

XO – Autumn