Self Love

Different vibes…. Still me

To love yourself…. you have to accept yourself.

This is a lesson I thought I mastered many years ago but, lately I’ve realized that this is a life long journey.

As we grow, things in our lives change. Some of these changes are for the better…. Some not so much.

The idea is to accept yourself as you are and love that version of yourself.

Once the love is there, you can begin making adjustments.

I think a lot of the time, we are so busy trying to become the “best version” of ourselves that we forget to be kind to ourselves.

If you’re always chasing some “other” version of yourself and you never take the time to accept and love who you are in this moment….. How will you know if the version of yourself you are pursuing is even compatible with who you came here to be?

The pictures at the top of this post show how this lesson is being lived out in my life.

For years, I was chasing the “serious professional” image. In pursuit of that, I was neglecting those parts of me that love being outdoors, working with my hands, & interacting with farm animals.

I shoved that part of me to the side for over a decade. Why? I was worried about how people would perceive me. I didn’t want people to think I was country or without ambition.

The reality is, I was robbing myself of something I love…… Something that, thanks to my parents, is something I am good at and have the instincts for.

The lesson: Farmer Bash, Bash the Intellectual, and Smooth/Laid Back Bash are all VALID manifestations of different aspects of ME.

In heavily focusing on what I thought was expected of me & worrying about the opinions of others. I spent many years living in misery and searching for what was in plain sight.

I invite you to learn from my mistakes.

Start spending some time with YOU. Even if there are things about yourself that you don’t like, make the effort to accept yourself and love yourself as you are.

From there, you can begin working toward a better version of yourself. Not from a place of wanting to please others or keep up appearances…. But from a place of love.

You deserve it. 😎

Decide

Sometimes we are what’s holding us back.

Sometimes we are the problem.

I’m learning that it’s better to control what you can than it is to worry about what’s out of your control.

We cannot control what life throws at us. We can control how we respond to it.

This takes practice. A LOT of practice.

The next time your boss makes a last minute change or someone pushes a sense of urgency on you that would normally induce stress, take a few seconds to breathe and say to yourself, “I will not stress. I will not stress. I will not stress.”

It may seem like a small thing but this act will help you to be mindful of how your body and mind react to stressful situations.

I had a situation last week that prompted me to start doing this more frequently. My manager said, “This is going to be a stressful month.” That didn’t sit well with my spirit.

I am not okay with someone else deciding that I am going to be stressed. That’s a boundary that I don’t want anyone being able to cross. In that moment, my mind said, “No. This isn’t going to be a stressful month for me.”

To keep myself accountable to that decision, I remind myself each and every time I feel myself getting stressed out that “I will not stress.”

It’s working so far.

I hope it continues.

Thank you for reading.

Sending you good vibes.

-Bash

In My Feelings…

I’ve heard it said over the years that it’s okay not to be okay.

I have often wondered if that was true.

Like, is it really okay to not be okay? Is all the mess that comes with not being okay allowed? If we’re honest, in the larger society, it is NOT. We live in a world where there is so much pressure to have these picture perfect lives. Lives that, while they may be a little messy, should not be too messy for a good selfie, filter, and obligatory social media post.

This bleeds into our personal lives as well. Statements concerning legitimate concerns are often met with, well intentioned, toxic positivity. You know the type where our friends and neighbors tell us to smile through it or that “the Lord” won’t put more on us than we can bear. Honey…… Let’s just be real. Being not okay will often get you written off as negative, lacking faith, or weak. The kicker is, the negative messaging about these totally valid feelings/states of being are so ingrained in our minds that when it really gets rough, the criticizing comes from within.

What are we to do about this? How can we take a breath and actually acknowledge that we are not okay?

It’s tough but over the past month I have learned how to do just that. It came at a moment in which I was overwhelmed by what seemed to be stressors coming at me from every angle. Typically, I paste a smile on my face and keep it moving but this time……. this time I couldn’t. This time, I could not even find the will to get out of bed in the mornings, let alone do anything productive. I had pushed myself and pushed myself until I had nothing left.

Finding myself in this state sparked a lot of negative feelings toward me from myself. I felt worthless. I felt like a failure. I started to remember every negative thing that anyone had said to me in the past few years and play it over and over in my mind. The more I had these thoughts, the deeper into the darkness and self-condemnation I went until I had a moment of clarity as a result of speaking with my wife. The words she said to me were simple. “It’s okay.” I paused…. cried a little….. and thought about that statement. Now, I’d be lying if I said that I instantly felt better about being a mess in that moment because…. I didn’t. I did, however, change my internal narrative and gave myself permission to not be okay. I gave myself permission to feel every bit of what I was feeling and to process it.

It was hard ya’ll. There were days when all I did was sit on the couch and cry. There were days when I had to wrestle with myself and with God over some things. I had to get to the root of what was sending me into this seemingly endless cycle of not being okay. I had to face some ugly truths about my past, about some of the relationships in my life, and about aspects of my personality that I developed as a result of years of trauma. It was, and continues to be a humbling experience. It is one that is necessary if I am to become the kind of man I need to be.

You see, in giving myself permission to not be okay, I made space for ME. I made space for myself to show up exactly as I was in that moment with no apology and just be present with myself. Though healing has come from this, healing was not the original goal. The goal was just to take a moment to acknowledge that I was not okay and just sit with myself in that state without judging myself for being in that state. Make sense?

Now, I’ll get into the healing journey in future posts but, for now, I just want to encourage anyone who may feel that the weight of the world is on your shoulders and you’re tired of pretending to have it all together. Take a moment to make space for that. Take a moment to be gentle with yourself for a few moments and acknowledge where you are. Love on yourself in that moment and reassure yourself that struggle is a part of being human.

In case you didn’t know before reading this. It really is okay not to be okay. Learning to be gentle with yourself when the world is beating up on you with pressure from all sides can be the beginning of a renewed relationship with YOU.

Until next time.

I love you.

~ Bash

Day 21: Silence

Silence is amazing. It gives me space to sift through my thoughts. It grounds me.

I find that by intentionally seeking out quiet moments, I am able to lead a more thoughtful life. I am able to not have knee-jerk reactions to life as it comes at me.

Take 5 minutes each day to sit in silence. Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply. It may change your life.

I love you.

~Bash

Day 18: Knowing Your Value

For this coming week, I’m going to reassess my worth. Presently, even while working a job that’s paying me the most money I’ve made in my adult life I’m still making far less annually than I should for a person with my education and experience. This is something I’ve accepted for far too long.

I owe it to myself to not accept less than what I should be making. I owe it to myself to stop letting “bonus potential” convince me to take jobs making far less than I should be. I should be able to afford to live in a great neighborhood. I should be able to pay all of my household bills on my income alone. Moving forward, I’m holding myself to that standard. I’ll be dedicating the next 5 calendar days to solidifying what that should look like and my plan for getting there.

I’ve had enough. I deserve better from myself. My wife deserves better from me. I will realize my potential.

Day 8: No More Excuses

Today’s thought is simple. STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR NOT LIVING THE LIFE YOU DESIRE.

It’s a hard truth but sometimes we come up with an abundance of excuses for remaining in a rut. Having excuses gets us off the hook for any responsibility we have for changing our lives. We sell ourselves short when we do this. Let’s stop it TODAY.

I love you.

~Bash