The Inner Critic, and The Inner Best Friend

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I’ve been listening to many, many podcasts as of late, and one of them recently hit very close to home. Rachel Brathen (From the Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl) finished a Yoga Teacher Training last month by interviewing all 52 of her trainees about what their Inner Critics and Inner Best Friends tell them. The interview is so long she actually split it into two episodes, and I cannot decide which half I adored more. It got me thinking, “What do my Inner Critic and Inner Best Friend tell me?”

 

My Inner Critic says – 

I am not prepared. I will never be prepared to make any kind of leap into the unknown, and if I leap, I will fail. It says that I will never work in freelancing, that I will never break into publishing.

I am not creative enough. I will never finish writing any of my books because I am not a good enough writer, that I don’t have a big enough imagination.

I will die alone. I will never find the love of my life or build the family I desire.

Others are more qualified. I will never get the job/internship of my dreams because I am not worthy of it. Others will always be chosen over me.

I am too intimidating, or not beautiful enough. I will never end up with that guy I’m crushing on because he will always choose someone else.

 

My Inner Best Friend says – 

I am more prepared than I know. I can see the truth of this every day when I talk to customers at work, or classmates in grad school and drop knowledge bombs that amaze and astound (My Inner Best Friend is pretty full of herself, for good reason. She has a lot to stand up to.)

I am so creative it’s painful sometimes. It’s no wonder I am always daydreaming and cannot stay focused on one story. I keep coming up with more! I dream vividly. After a lot of practice, I can even control what I do in my dreams, and sometimes if I’m woken up, I can return to the dream I left off in. I am creatively powerful, and I will succeed through pure force of will if nothing else.

I am never alone. I have my huge family (just going back two generations I already have over 40 close family members: Siblings, Parents, Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Second Cousins, Grandparents, Great Aunts, Great Uncles.), and I have quite a few close friends whom I can call up at the drop of a hat whenever I need them, not to mention my internet friends, who I speak to nearly as much as everyone else and love just a dearly. I just need to have a bit more patience and faith, and God will lead me to my forever partner, my future husband.

I am just as qualified as others. And I have a lot of skills that I don’t know how to put on a resume, which probably means I’m actually overqualified for everything I’m applying to. The right position will present itself, and I’ll know it when I see it because it will be the one I don’t give up on so easily.

While I never doubt that I am beautiful, everyone has their own personal views on beauty. It’s completely possible that the guy I’m crushing on at any given moment doesn’t find me beautiful because his standard of beauty is completely different from mine. I always hear my Inner Best Friend start screaming at me when I think I am too intimidating, because **** that. If a guy can’t handle me on daily basis – my beautiful, smart, strong self – than he doesn’t deserve my best or worst. He’s not the guy for me, and I just dodged a bullet. I need a strong man who is not afraid of being matched in wits, and is also looking for an equal to share a life with.

 

 

Other Things My Inner Critic and Inner Best Friend have fought about:

In Elementary School, my Inner Critic told me I would never make real friends. This was in part because I moved when I was eight, and had a lot of trouble meeting new people with similar interests. My Inner Best Friend reminded me that I had built in best friends in my siblings and cousins, and we are all the closer for it, even now that I have close friendships with people who are not related to me by blood.

In Middle School, my Inner Critic told me I was terrible at sports. And it almost won. But Freshman year of high school I had one of the track coaches as my gym teacher, and he helped me find my athletically inclined side.

In High School, my Inner Critic continued to tell me I wasn’t good enough to succeed at athletics, as well as in theatre and in classes. My Inner Best Friend gave me the fortitude to keep running, making my success about beating my own records, not the records of others. I found the courage to go out for the play every year and even had a few line-solos senior year. I studied hard and took each setback as a challenge. I was nearly a straight-A student, even though I wasn’t in all AP classes like most of my friends.

During Undergraduate Studies, my Inner Critic told me I was stupid. That I had taken on too much. That the friends I made in high school weren’t going to be there for me always. That I was in way over my head, and that there was no way out. My Inner Best Friend fought back tooth and nail and finally convinced me to transfer schools and start over. My Inner Critic told me I would be letting everyone down. My Inner Best Friend said this had nothing to do with anyone but myself.

Just after graduation, my Inner Critic told me that I would never get a job I even remotely enjoyed, that I would be unemployed forever, that all of my friendships were terrible and falling apart, that I would disappear from existence, and that I would never amount to much. My Inner Best Friend immediately went into overdrive, found me a job, and made the most of it.

A year after graduation, my Inner Critic told me that I could never move out of New Jersey (where I loved living but didn’t have many job opportunities), and would work soul-sucking jobs while never reaching my dreams. My Inner Best Friend said, “Let’s move to Boston?”

18 months ago, my Inner Critic told me I would never get into graduate school or get the chance to pursue my dream career. My Inner Best Friend said “Hold My Beer.” and did it anyway.

Right now, my Inner Critic is still trying to hold me back, tell me I am afraid, and that I will never get any cool jobs I apply to, so why bother applying? My Inner Best Friend is already in full armor on her white horse, ready to beat my Inner Critic into submission.

Because what my Inner Critic will never be able to understand is that courage is impossible without first being afraid. I am not fearless, running blindly into things without a thought to their outcome. I live with fear every day. And every day I have to choose to put on my armor one piece at a time, saddle up my horse, and ride into battle. The prize? Everything I’ve ever wanted.

Maybe I’ve watched too many John Wayne movies, or maybe it was the steady diet of fantasy novels I read as a child, but I believe that with courage, goodness will always prevail.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (KJV)
“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.” ~John Wayne

 

What do your Inner Critic and Inner Best Friend tell you?

 

Until next time,

~Amanda

24 Things I’ve Learned at 24

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Today is the two-year mark since The Curio Street Blog‘s conception. It’s also my 24th birthday! So to celebrate here are 24 things that I’ve learned in the last 24 years:

1 – Failure happens. The most important thing you can do is to try again.

2- Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay. You won’t like everyone either.

3- Be kind always. You can never fully know another’s situation.

4- Don’t answer a question if you’re not sure what is being asked.

5- Always call your family.

6- Visit whenever possible.

7- Jump at  the opportunity to travel.

8- Always carry a good book.

9- If you hate it, leave it.

10- If you love it, keep it.

11- Always sort your laundry.

12- Always pack a first aid kit.

13- Pursue your goals relentlessly.

14- Keep track of you money.

15- Fresh air and sunshine can cure almost everything.

16- What they cannot, a good night’s sleep can.

17- Be open to trying new things/meeting new people.

18- Stick to your morals/values.

19- To have a friend, you must be a friend.

20 – Your parents are probably right.

21- Your siblings and cousins are your built-in best friends. Never miss an opportunity to hang out with them.

22- DREAM BIG.

23- Never stop learning.

24- Always believe in miracles.

 

Until next time,

Amanda

My Introvert Story and Tips on Living as an Introvert and Still Being Social

I am an introvert. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m shy, or that I hate people, or any of the other million things I know you’re thinking right now. If you don’t know the difference between introverts and extroverts, take a moment and click on over to Buzzfeed and check out their articles (full of pie charts and happy things!) about understanding your friends, whichever they may be. Click here: Introverts or here: Extroverts.

This is my story; a glimpse if you will into the life of an introvert.

I get really cranky and exhausted when I’m around people for too long without a legitimate break. In my case, I live with my family, and my mom works from home, so typically I’m never ‘alone’. Sure, she’s working in her office, but I can just sort of feel her there, ready to walk in on me any second, and more than likely ready to give me things to do if I’m not in the middle of something that’s life or death. I’m always in the middle of something, even if it’s just web surfing (it’s called RESEARCH). Nevertheless, I feel like I have to be at attention at all times so I don’t look like I’m a lazy college graduate who still needs to get a job (which is only half true. The needs a job part is true. Not the lazy part). It’s exhausting to say the least.

When you factor in that I’m running full-steam ahead often for weeks at a time, it easy to see how I could burn out. Hard. When I say I need alone time, I don’t mean I lock myself in my room and ignore everyone else in the house. I’m saying that I need to be the only human (or at least the only human I’m acquainted with) in about a 3 mile radius. I put my phone on airplane mode and just breathe. That’s the only way I can recharge. So when everyone else finishes their work for the day and wanders home (or out of her office in my mom’s case), they are totally ready to relax, while I just want to get away from everyone. “You’ve been alone all day!” they say, but really, I haven’t. I’ve been working on things all day, sitting at attention in case someone walks in to see if I am, indeed working on something. It’s agonizing.

Every once in a while, my mom actually has to go into the office building that houses the company she works for. This requires a day-long trip, which means I get the house to myself. As much as I love my family (and I really, REALLY love my family) those days when I have my space, when I’m really ACTUALLY alone (except for various pets, and the nice old neighbors who never bother me), are my favorite. I get crazy amounts of things done. I usually clean the entire house, do some yoga, think of a million recipes I want to try, and work through whatever writer’s block I’ve developed. It’s insanely cathartic. I don’t usually need more than a day of alone time every couple weeks or so, but when I need it, I need it.

I don’t think I realized quite how introverted I was until college. Before that I would just hide in my room and read a book. Once college rolled around though, it got harder. I needed my own space, which everyone knows doesn’t exist in a college dorm room. It was made worse by having a new roommate every year, so I was constantly in a shared space with someone I didn’t really know and who didn’t understand that I needed them to go away so I could recharge. I quickly learned the layout of the entire town because I wandered it so much trying to get space. I frequented the tops of parking garages, cafes, bookstores, and went to movies by myself. All of these worked to some extent, but about once a month I would take the bus (or drive once I got my car) to the nature center or the student religious center and find somewhere to sit and breathe. The nature center was always iffy because there were other people walking the paths, and everyone thinks you’re suspicious if you’re by yourself, but the religious center was actually pretty perfect because people would assume I was praying or something and not bother me. Once I moved back home, I would drive to the mall and wander, or go hiking. When you’re an introvert, you take what you can get, and in the absence of actual alone time, I’ll take ‘alone in a sea of people I don’t know’ anytime.

So, that being said, here are my tips for living as a introvert and still being social.

1 – If you don’t live alone, find other places you can go to be alone.

2 – Set aside time to go to those places. If your friends want to make plans during those times, tell them you’re busy. (But try not the schedule your alone time at the same time as your daily 2pm meeting. That’s just rude and unprofessional.)

3 – Do something that you want to do that no one else wants to do with you. This is the time to go see that movie you’re excited about that everyone else thinks is stupid. You can go to the movies in the middle of the day and laugh really loudly because there’ll be no one else there to care.

4 – Educate those around you about what it means to be an introvert. Send them the handy Buzzfeed link at the top of this article and make them read it, then answer any questions they still have nicely.

5 – Make sure they understand that you might need to put your phone on mute or do not disturb or something during your alone time, so they don’t freak out and think that you’ve fallen off the planet.

6 – Take as much time as you need. Some of us only need 20 minutes once a week, while others need an entire weekend once a month, and others still need every evening after work or they will go completely insane. There is no average amount of time that introverts need to be alone (and someone asking every five minutes if you’ve had enough alone time completely negates any alone time you may have actually just had).

Once you’ve had your alone time, you’ll be ready to face the world head on and conquer whatever challenges await you. Good luck!

Until next time,

Amanda

5 Tips to Enjoying Yourself and Doing Well in College

     It’s that time of year again, and just about everyone in the country between the ages of 5 and 23 is headed back to school. I’m starting my last year of college, and as a fifth year senior I think I finally have a few things to impart to all the new students starting college themselves in the next couple weeks. These are my top five tips for Enjoying Yourself and Doing Well in College.

#1 Major in something you like. You will very likely be in an industry related to your major for the rest of your life, so please major in something you will at least enjoy learning about forever.

#2 Sit near the front of the class. Anywhere in the first three rows will do. This shows the professor you’re interested, but doesn’t make you look like a total brown-noser.

#3 You have a syllabus, therefor you know when everything will be happening throughout the semester. You can look up what you’re covering in any given week. READ AHEAD.

#4 While you’re reading ahead, write down any questions you have so you can ask your professor in class or office hours. Not only will this make the professor think you’re interested in the topic, but even if you’re NOT interested in the topic and you still have to take the class, asking questions will increase your understanding of the material infinitely and therefor increase your grades.

#5 Get involved in a couple campus activities or participate in co-ops and internships. Joining clubs or organizations that have to do with your major or hobbies can become HUGE networking tools when you need to look for a job, and provide communities of friends you can hang out and study with. (Hint: This is how you make friends in college) Internships and co-ops are great ways to get your feet wet in any field you’re interested in. If you’re not getting paid, you can usually get a few credits out of it to make it worth your time. Internships and co-ops also introduce you to professionals in your field who can point you in the direction of good jobs for the future.

     So those are my top 5 tips for enjoying yourself and doing well in college. Do you have any need-to-know tips I might have missed? Tweet me @Ladywoods13
Until next time,
Amanda