For most of us, checking our social media accounts is as much a part of our daily routine as bathing and brushing our teeth. A touch on a screen instantly connects us to people we may not have spoken to in years.
It’s easy to get caught up in the social world. Popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, plus a host of many others, provide the opportunity for us to witness family vacations, a friend’s momentous occasion, and even traumatic situations such as divorce, sickness and death.
While viewing photos of a friend’s precious new baby, a relative’s recent exotic trip, or a co-worker’s romantic wedding, may not appear to be an activity that can bring a person down, research suggests otherwise.
Recent studies have shown that social networking is linked to depression and social isolation, and it has been shown to create feelings of envy, insecurity, and poor self-esteem. One study reported that one in three Facebook users feel more dissatisfied with their own lives after browsing the social-media networking site than they did before logging in.
The holiday season is upon us. It’s a time when people gather to celebrate with those we love. As the song states, it can be the most wonderful time of the year, but, it also can be the loneliest. If you have lost a loved one or suffered a breakup with a spouse/significant other or friend, the holiday season is a constant reminder of the pain.
I know that pain all too well. It wasn’t that long ago that I spent most of my time grieving the loss of my mother, sister and marriage (all within a period of six months). During the holidays (and to be honest most any other day), I would scroll through social media posts, watch TV shows and commercials, and long for the fun and love shared by friends and family. Everyone appeared to be living Hallmark moments, except me.
Grief at any time of the year is painful, but it feels especially traumatic during the holidays.
I recently had a conversation with grief expert, David Kessler, in which we spoke about the stages of grief and how the feelings that accompany a loss can be heightened during the holiday season. While it’s natural to try to suppress the painful memories, according to David, “Healing doesn’t mean forgetting, it means remembering with more love than pain.” And, he says, that happens with time.
To better understand what you may be feeling, David explained the stages of grief, which were created and adapted by he and Elizabeth Kubler Ross. David cautioned that these stages do not necessarily occur in order and they may repeat.
Eight years ago this month, I published the first issue of 24 Seven magazine. I had never untaken anything on my own of such magnitude.
What was once a seemingly crazy idea, has blossomed into more than I could ever have imagined. The magazine’s pages have been graced with the wisdom of so many inspiring and influential thought-leaders; people who are making a real difference in the world. And, each has entrusted me with his or her words.
I spend most days on autopilot, never really grasping the scope of where my brand is going. On some level I understand it, but on another, I am totally amazed.
This morning when I visited our digital hosting site, I learned that the October issue, from this site alone, was viewed more than 739,000 times. Nearly one million people opened my publication. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I am humbled to know that this “little” digital magazine is touching so many lives!
I recently learned that my ex husband got engaged. After living for more than three decades with this man in my life, I must admit, hearing this news was a punch in the gut. I spent the next two days with a horrible feeling surrounding me, you know that uneasiness you get in your stomach after someone close passes away? My body was on edge, I shook inside, and could not shed the anxiousness of impending doom. Even with all of the horrific things that transpired between us, I had an emotional reaction to his engagement.
I’m not really sure why I felt the way I did. I knew he was dating someone exclusively and we haven’t been part of each other’s lives for six years (as he severed all ties when he met her), and yet, I felt a tremendous sense of loss. Loss of the life we were supposed to live, loss of the family I so desperately wanted, loss of many dreams.
I thought I had grieved the divorce and moved on, my life is on a wonderful trajectory and I’m happy, but, there I was again, right in the middle of the pain. Divorce truly is the gift that just keeps giving!
How we feel about ourselves dictates the way we live life. It impacts the way we approach just about everything we do. Yet, sadly, many people struggle to believe in their worth and abilities.
Throughout my life, my levels of self-confidence have ebbed and flowed. Growing up I was an overweight adolescent, which had a significant effect on how I viewed myself. When you’re young, external validation is so important and when that is compromised, it can stay with you forever. When I became a teenager, I lost weight, but, to be honest, my self-image didn’t change. The programming was written, and, as I later learned, only I could modify it.
For the past few weeks, friends and family has had to listen to me ramble on about the pool I just added to my backyard. Hearing me one would think I had the most beautifully designed masterpiece installed. In reality, it’s an average oval-shaped, above ground pool. Nothing spectacular or particularly enchanting, and yet, the excitement is pouring out of every inch of me.
If you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all. Ah… a mother’s wisdom. I’m sure most of us have been told this many, many times. But, how many of us actually follow this sage advice?
Communication is a powerful force and the effects of negative words cannot be underestimated. Words are remembered long after they are written or spoken. They have the power to destroy one’s self-esteem and self-confidence, making someone feel less than adequate and fearful. Words leave invisible bruises that can last a lifetime.
Are you someone that dwells on what is missing or went wrong in your life? Do you whine and complain about your problems? Do you believe that you’ve been dealt a bad hand? Or, are you someone who sees the beauty in every situation, counts your blessings, and has decided that you will live your life in gratitude?
Gratitude is defined as a feeling of thankfulness and appreciation. To be grateful is a mindset, a conscious decision that we make.
Recently, I had the privilege of speaking with an extraordinary woman, Colleen Alexander, who exemplifies the power of the human spirit and the ability to find the good in any circumstance.
In 2011 while bicycling home from work, Colleen was run over and dragged by a freight truck. The accident left her body ripped apart and shattered into pieces as she clung to life. Her survival would be a miracle; she flat lined multiple times as EMTs, doctors, surgeons, and nurses worked ferociously to save her.
As another new year begins, I have spent hours pondering what I want my first message to be, as it sets the tone for the year ahead. As I reflected on 2017, and all the wonderful things that have happened to me, I realized that the message is simple: Even in the darkest moments of your life, there is strength within you (that you don’t even know exists) and, if you don’t give up and succumb to the negative feelings, you will realize that there is hope and that better times lie ahead.
For someone who is going through an extremely traumatic period in life, you may not believe what I am preaching because you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or because you believe that your life is over.
While the life that you knew may be over, or to be more correct, changed, there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. Trust me … I know.
Are you a giver? I am. I’ll do anything possible for anyone, any time. I have spent most of my life taking care of others, putting myself second, and sometimes, third, fourth or fifth. After many years, I found myself feeling hurt, rejected, used, and resentful. I created an unhealthy pattern for my life, for which I have paid the price.
While it is important to take care of others, it is equally important to understand your motivation. I thought it was my way of expressing love and affection. What I have come to learn is that, while part of it was from love, another part was my need to be accepted and loved. I was trying to make others care for me, so I gave to them and worked hard to please them.
The problem with my M.O. is that I was coming from a place of insecurity and low self worth. I was trying, in essence, to buy affection.
With the right people, the approach may work out as they are giving as much as you. But, with the wrong people, you will be left feeling alone, depleted, and even more insecure.