Thursday, October 17, 2019

I Can't Help Loving Myself

Love yourself. It's a simple message that lots of people give you. Even though we hear it, do we actually do it? A recent online poll of 2,345 U.S. adults, conducted last month, used a series of questions to determine Americans' levels of contentment and life satisfaction. Overall, just 33 percent of Americans said that they were very happy, remaining consistent with happiness levels in 2011 but dropping from the 35 percent who reported being very happy in 2008 and 2009. Why aren't we happy? I think it's because we don't love ourselves like we should.
How often do you look in the mirror, and think, "Gosh, I wish I had this, more this, less of this, looked more like her, had his clothes, etc.?" I know I used to do that. I'm sure we've all had a moment, a day, or a year where things just weren't sitting right. If you haven't, you know someone who has. I've compiled a list of 5 things that helped me be more satisfied with myself, and could help you too.

1. Get rid of negative influences in your life. It could be that the source of negativity isn't you. You are the average of the 5 closest people to you. Some of these may not be controllable, it could be your parents, your teachers, grandparents, or a pastor. However, some can be controlled. Your friends play a big role that you may not even realize. If you surround yourself with people you want to be with, you can become more of yourself.

2. Do what you want to do. Have you ever gone out with your friends and tried to decide where to eat? You say McDonalds, but your friends say B-Dubs, Perkins, Taco John's, and Culvers. You try your best to advocate for McDonald's, but the group decides on Taco John's (as they should.) Maybe you decide Taco John's isn't for today and you go to McDonald's because that's what you want to do. 

3. Do something out of your comfort zone. During the summer, Lafe and Maddie went out of their comfort zone and tried skydiving. Neither of them had done it before but they both enjoyed it. Maybe jumping out of a plane isn't your thing; you could try something less risky: Ice-skating, playing a new sport, listen to a new genre of music, play an instrument, start a journal, cook a new dish, or plan a trip out of your town. Maybe you won't like this new change, which is okay, it can just solidify that you like where you're at now. Or, you could have found a new hobby.

4. Compliment yourself. We mentioned the mirror example earlier, instead of saying negative things say positive things! Of course, it's not easy at first to make that quick of a change. Something I tried was writing post-it notes when I was in a good mood, and leave them on my mirror for when I'm in a bad mood.

5. Have a purpose. You may not know it yet, but everyone has a purpose in life. Some want to be a millionaire, some want to have 20 kids, and some want to be a world leader. Don't be afraid if you haven't found your purpose, I haven't quite found it either. Once you've found it, make sure that everything you do follows your purpose, and you will be much more satisfied with yourself.

"I love me, Gonna love myself, no, I don't need anybody else" - Love Myself Hailee Steinfeld

Stationed by the plow
Nic Potthoff

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Road Race in Progress

Road Race in Progress

“Are you going to let a piece of plastic on your wrist determine your self-value?” questioned my track and cross-country coach. He was referring to my watch. Throughout my junior and senior year, I based my identity in my running sports by the time on my watch. It took until this summer for me to truly understand how wrong I was, and that the time on a watch does not define one as a runner.

“The only person you should compare yourself to is the person that you were yesterday.” -Amy Morin

I have not seriously trained for a race or ran over five miles in about three years…so when my brother told me that he and I were going to train for a half marathon this fall, my mouth dropped open. “You want me to train with you?” I asked. “Of course, we will do it together!” he exclaimed. A million negative thoughts flooded into my mind. “The last time I even thought about running that much was in high school. The last time I was in running shape was in high school. The last time I believed in my running capabilities was in high school”….and so on. It was then that I had a decision to make. I could either continue to compare myself to my high school self or embrace who I am today and how far I can still grow in the future.

It was this summer I learned that a runner’s identity should not be determined by time but by the determination to persevere on mile 9 out of 10, by the ambition and drive to live a healthy lifestyle, by the character developed to get back up when feeling discouraged and so on. I admit I have not been able to train how I originally planned. I have had to start over in increasing my miles. I have had several “slow” days. However, I have never loved running as much as I do now. I run not because I have to but because I want to…and that is where growth begins. I am beginning to stop comparing myself to who I used to be, because I know I have grown and have become a better version of myself since then.

Friends and family have been a supportive foundation of unyielding strength along my life’s journey. My younger brother is a significant role model in my life, and he encourages me to accept challenges and persevere. He shows me through his actions by extending kindness and wisdom to younger less experienced “runners.”  In the same way we need to extend our hand to those that are around us, to reach our hand behind us and pull someone up who is struggling in their “race,” while also extending our hand forward to reach for mentors who have the desire to invest in us and better our lives. Life is hard; we are not meant to do it alone.

Last Saturday I ran a competitive 5K for the first time in over a year. One of the directional signs said: “Road race in progress.” Our “Road race” is in progress. As long as we do not stop, we are growing. If we only have time to run one mile, complete one task, organize one drawer, then at least we are one mile, one task, and one drawer closer to our goals. In the same way, life is not meant to be a timed race. It is not about how fast you get there but the lessons learned along the way. In a little over a week, I will be running a half marathon. Instead of comparing myself to the “old” me and judging myself based off of a piece of plastic on my wrist, I will be running for the “new” me. So if you are ready, tie your shoes, grab a friend, and let’s GROW.
Stationed by the door,
Savannah Aanerud

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Make Prideful Mistakes. Perfection is Boring.

In my last blog, I talked about “living in the growth zone” and mentioned my three major fears in life. 

  1. Getting my driver's license
  2. Going to college

  3. Kissing my future husband in front of everyone at my wedding

I accomplished the first one a few years ago and can now officially say I accomplished the second one. I was so fearful of the change, but I am loving this new experience. 

I am enrolled in an art class this semester and as much as I love being creative, I am terribly awful at painting, which is the focus of the class. However, I love going to class just to hear the wise words from my instructor. 

A few weeks ago I walked in, sat down, and started working on my project. I started getting frustrated about how it was not what I wanted it to be. The colors would not match, paint was everywhere, it was taking 6-8 layers just to cover up my pencil marks, and I could not stay in the lines to save my life. It was at that moment my instructor stopped the class and asked for our attention. He said, “Class, I want you to know one thing and you might hate me for saying this: Perfection is boring.” At that moment I started questioning everything. My strength yet weakness is that I am a perfectionist. He went on to tell the class a story about this little girl.

He said “At church one day this little girl was going to sing. I had a friend go up to her and tell her that if she sang super loud he would give her a dollar. So she ended up screaming all the songs that day in church.” At this point, I was wondering how this story had anything to do with perfection being boring but my instructor went on. He said, “Do you see where I am going with this? People remembered the performance that day not because it was perfect but because it had its imperfections.” 

He then asked me what I did not like about my painting. I replied, “the colors do not match as well as I want them to, I keep going outside of the lines, and the pencil marks are still noticeable!” He then went on to grab my painting and held it far away from me. He asked me, “What does it look like now,” and I was in awe. It looked perfect to me. 

So perfection is boring. Make mistakes and embrace them with the hope that
something beautiful will come out of it. You will have mishaps in life, but that's when
the most beautiful things are created that you become remembered for.
Take a step back and breathe when times get hard and open your eyes again to realize
the bigger picture. It will work out and perfection is in fact boring.

Stationed by the Flag,
Britton Fuglseth