GIVING & RECEIVING

GIVING & RECEIVING

 

Every time I sit down to write a post I try and think of a personal experience so that I can share something that is truly relevant and that sends out an important message to all of you.  With Christmas Eve only a month away and with it being the time of “giving and receiving”, I thought I’d take the time to share with you a specific memory and message that coordinates with this special time.

It was November the 24th (this day) of last year, when I headed in to Toronto with my boyfriend to do some Christmas shopping at the Eaton Center.  We walked around the mall for hours thinking of all the ways we each had to spend our money.  Who was left on the checklist for Christmas gifts? Would this be enough of a present for someone? Would they like it? Should I get something for myself? …. A million questions ran through my mind but I think in those moments I forgot about what was truly important.  I forgot about the people that really needed help, not just on the day to day basis but also when the holiday season comes around.  After leaving the mall that day we had walked around the little neighborhoods and had taken a corner, when I looked ahead and saw a couple in their mid 30’s laying on the cold ground next to one another with only a few blankets to keep them warm.  It was heartbreaking.  I didn’t even hesitate to pull the twenty dollar bill out of my wallet and hand it to them.  They were some of the most grateful people I have probably ever seen, I can’t even count the number of times they had said thank you and as we were leaving they said, “God bless you, have a Merry Christmas”.  That moment had made my entire day and I realized how important it is to give kindness not only during the holiday season, but as often as you can, as I have never once lost anything by giving to someone else. I have only received more.

When it comes to the homeless in particular, too many people think that the money you give them goes to drugs/ alcohol or that they are just regular people trying to scam you. People may call me naive for believing otherwise but I like to always think the best of people.  The twenty dollars I gave them could’ve in fact gone to something negative but it also could have gone to a warm meal, a new blanket, or hats/scarfs. I think in today’s society its so important to remember that as human beings we have the ability to spread kindness and good and that it is always what people want and need.  Even just a simple hello, goodbye, or smile, could make someones day as they just simply would love to be recognized and feel as though they aren’t alone.  I also know that if I were to ever end up  in that position I would hope someone would do the same for me.  When you spread kindness it may seem as though you are giving without receiving, but that is entirely untrue.  When you commit a kind act it gives even more reason for that person to be appreciative and give that kindness on to another.  Its a domino effect with more people being reached because of your one small deed than you could ever imagine.  Whether its paying it forward, so that the little girl with her father sitting in the car behind you can witness kindness first hand and learn to do the same kinds of good deeds as she grows, to buying someone a coffee or lunch, to giving away an old jacket you never wear, to saying hello and giving a smile to that person in the grocery store.  There are so many ways no matter how big or small that by giving even a drop of kindness can make a whole world of difference.  It truly is love in disguise and with never knowing the struggles people face, why not give a little today, tomorrow, and always…  If everyone where to give more kindness I think the world would be a far better place, with the ending of my post I hope each and everyone of you can take something away from this message and try and commit an act of kindness, no matter how big or small, yourself.  With that end note, I’d like to leave you with a quote.

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being SHARED.” ~Buddha

 

Thank you and as always if you ever need someone, I’m here.

~Sierra xo

 

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What am I going to do with my life?

What am I going to do with my life?

I’m 18 years old sitting on the chair in my kitchen table taking the time to write to all of you, my readers, about my plans and goals in life.  I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve been asked about what my plans for school are, what I want to be when I grow up, and where I want to go to accomplish that.  They are intimidating questions in which I feel I can never speak the truth, for the feeling of judgement of others constantly creeps down my spine.  In our society, too often we feel the need to follow the “norms” and live the lifestyle of another in order to compete and seem accomplished/ successful to the people around us, when this shouldn’t be the case.  We each live our own lives and go through certain milestones at different points as we all do things in our own time.  No two people are the same.  In a world where we only get one shot at life I think it is such a waste to throw away your passions and do something you aren’t happy doing, just to make money or seem worthy in the eyes of another.  If I could send a message out to anyone, it would be to go experience the world and follow your passions because your talent is something unique to you that no one else has and can get you so far.  It would be a waste to do nothing with it.  I know for me personally, I’ve always loved helping others because it fills up a certain spot inside of me and just has always made me feel so good. Nothing has ever really been able to replace it. That’s why I decided this past summer to take a solo journey to volunteer in Costa Rica with people I didn’t even know.  Helping so many people on a variety of projects from organic farms, to working with kids in schools, to a sea turtle conservation, and beach cleanups, it really opened my eyes to what makes me happy.  It further deepened my belief that in life my purpose is to help others.  I now have the idea that I want to go to school to become a social worker and I’d still get out and see the world and volunteer in my free time.  I know for a fact it is something I will continue to do.  Even with this blog, it is a passion of mine to share my experiences and life journeys in the hopes that it can touch one person and make their life better in some way.  That’s always been the ultimate goal of mine. Without going on the trip I don’t know that I would’ve realized that and that’s why I think going out and experiencing the world is so important.  So many people today rush in to post secondary school not knowing what they want to do and end up not liking it before, or when they finish, or years down the road.  That’s why I cant stress enough that it is really never too late to start doing what you love.  Yes, money is important but at the end of your life sitting back knowing you followed your goals and passions is a far greater takeaway.  Anything that you try hard enough for you can achieve as long as you stay positive, believe in yourself, and have supportive people around you.  So speaking now directly to the people who ask these “intimidating” questions, I encourage you to instead ask young adults what they’re passionate about and I believe you will get a far greater response.  Realize how lucky you are to wake up every morning and start to think about accomplishing things that make you happy.  Don’t be afraid to take risks because when you do so, I think you will find out how much you are truly capable of.  All you really need is faith in yourself and your beliefs, for they can take you to extraordinary places.

 

Thank you and as always, if you need to talk I’m here.

*Reach for the stars!*

-Sierra xoxo

 

IN THE SHOES OF ANOTHER…

I always write these posts with one specific person in my mind in the hopes that the message can bring some sort of enlightenment and help them in anyway possible.  Today, my message goes out to multiple people as I know this is a widespread topic that many people are currently facing and can relate to.

I’d like to take the time to speak about what its like living with someone who is facing a mental health disorder.

I know what it’s like to try and place yourself in the shoes of another… its not always so easy.  Trying to understand what someone is going through when your not going through it yourself can be at times incredibly frustrating.  Trying to listen as best you can and help in anyway possible can lead to the complete opposite result you were once expecting, instead being told to go away or that you “don’t get it”.  I know when I was going through my difficult times with anxiety and depression my parents did the best they could, however, through those times in the beginning I felt as though they didn’t understand how I was feeling.  As a parent you always want the best for your child, you know how much they are capable of and how much they can achieve so when they aren’t doing so its incredibly easy to get disappointed or snappy with them.  When they tell you they are uncomfortable talking in front of lots of people, that they are struggling to get up in the morning, that they are afraid to be judged or called out, afraid to be compared to someone else, to talk about certain things, to go somewhere, or are just plain unhappy, its so easy to get upset and raise your tone and push them to do it because you know they can.  However, I’m telling you from first hand experience that its not always the best way to react.  The most important thing that you can do as a parent, sibling, aunt/uncle, grandparent, or friend, is to simply be there for them, love them and to just listen.  Even to the things that they don’t have to say.  It really is a solo journey for that person where you have to take baby steps alone and figure things out, so having that understanding support system that is there not to push you but embrace you and aid you is what makes the difference.  Each person facing a mental health disorder goes through it at their own pace, in their own way, and in their own time.  Having that patience to let them go through it and not making those simple things more difficult for them is incredibly important.  Always celebrating the baby steps without automatically pushing to larger goals and realizing that what your child is going through is completely out of your control, is strong advice I can give to you.  Speaking specifically to those around me, I know that for them not taking what other people had to say to heart and having faith in yourself and what you’re doing as a parent is what is needed.  Never blame yourself for what you could’ve or felt you should’ve done because at the end of the day you are doing your best and all you can.  Don’t feel helpless because by giving your love you are making a world of difference.  I’m telling you now that it could be a long journey with tears and disagreements but that you must know that good things will come at the end.  Unfortunately, we can’t just snap our fingers and take a loved one/friends troubles or pain away like we wish we could.  By just being there with them, listening, having patience and giving them support and unconditional love we are doing our best.  Knowing also, that it is completely fine to get help with a therapist or counselor if needed, sometimes having someone you don’t know that you can talk to can also make a world of difference.  Mental health should not be treated as a taboo thing anymore, so many people face this and it must start to be treated as a disease like it is.  There is no need to feel embarrassment or shame for the things you go through and it’s so important to realize that your opinion is the only one that matters.  I hope that this message brought some insight to you and someone you know going through a mental health disorder.  I hope you were able to take something away from it. As you know, if you ever need someone to talk to I’m here<3

I’d like to leave you with a quote:

“At the roof of this dilemma is the way we view mental health in this country.  Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there should be no distinction.” – Michelle Obama

 

-Sierra xoxo