Hello My Beauties,
I’m sooo excited to share this with you! I was invited to write a guest post for my new friend, Lauren Cook, THE Sunny Girl. Lauren spoke here, in Santa Ynez for the National Charity League, and we hit it off immediately! There is a reason she calls herself THE Sunny Girl, Lauren exudes happiness and warmth and a kind of compassion that comes from listening and talking with hundreds of middle school, high school, and college students nation wide about gratitude and finding the sunny side to life. Lauren writes:
“Happiness is about loving an imperfect life for all of its little splendors and failures. My goal is to help you get there—so that you can find gratitude in the good and bad days and find the blessings in between.”
Now you know why we connected so perfectly ~ we share the same message, helping girls and women, and boys and men too, cultivate more joy in the everyday. You can find my guest post below or read it at Lauren’s website, THE Sunny Girl. Lauren made it so pretty too!
How Does Your Garden Grow?
I am happier now than I’ve ever been, but I can remember as a teenager crying in the shower because I was so sad. And the saddest part? I didn’t even know why the gut wrenching tears had me curled in on myself on the shower floor.
I now know ‘why’. It was because I was missing me. The me that was my potential, the joyous, loving, kind person I could be. The smart me, the me that actually followed through, the me that didn’t hold back because I was so afraid. Afraid, of what exactly, I didn’t know.
Have you ever felt that way? Afraid and sad and angry, sometimes all at the same time, and not really knowing why?
Many of my girlfriends felt the same way I did, but back then, we didn’t know how to talk about it, let alone how to deal with such a quagmire of ick. If I knew then, what I know now, maybe I wouldn’t have lived so long with despair and the idea that I wasn’t smart enough, or good enough.
In case no one has told you lately, my dear Sunny Girl, YOU are good enough just the way you are. You are a miracle. After all, you are the only YOU there is. You are a precious being with untold gifts waiting to be unwrapped by you, for you.
But how do you move from feeling so sad and confused and angry to finding joy in the everyday? You become a gardener, the kind that tends to your heart and mind and body and soul.
Try these 4 steps to become the cultivator of good enough-ness and joy in your life.
- Step 1: Make a Decision
- Step 2: Create Some Space to Grow
- Step 3: Plant the seeds of Gratitude and Joy
- Step 4: Tend with Great Care
Step 1: Make a Decision
Every day, people are telling you what to do. Your parents, your teachers, even your friends have an opinion on who you should be, how you should act, feel, dress…. But what if YOU decided you want things to be different? That YOU are tired of being sad, or angry, or quiet. The first step is acknowledging you want things to be different and then making room in your mind and heart and body and soul for things to be different.
Step 2: Create Some Space to Grow
To plant a garden, you need a sacred space. That sacred space is YOU, my dear Sunny Girl. But if you are full of anger, and sorrow, and shame, or blame, or the dis-ease of not good enough-ness, some serious weeding is in order. It’s hard to bloom, when you’re suffocating from weeds of negativity.
The best way I know to weed out negativity is to write it out. Grab some paper and a pen, and write for 3 whole pages without stopping. This is not a grammar or spelling test. There is no censor here. Think of this as yanking free the weeds of ick and letting them land on the page. Write whatever comes up and spills out. By putting your feelings on the page, you’re preparing the soil for a new crop of seeds ~ of ideas and feelings ~ to prosper and grow.
Step 3: Plant seeds of Gratitude and Joy
What are the seeds you want to plant in your newly tilled soil? This is your garden. Perhaps you want to nurture more forgiveness in your life, or the willingness to try new things. Maybe laughter is what you want to see bloom, or the knowledge that you are good enough, smart enough, strong enough…. There is no limit to what you can grow in the garden of your mind and heart and body and soul.
Planting seeds of gratitude and joy are game changers. Nothing has shifted my attitude from feeling not good enough to loving who I am faster or with more grace. Start by keeping a Gratitude Journal. A simple list at the end of the day about what you are thankful for shifts your focus from lack to abundance. And suddenly your whole world is about what is working, instead of what isn’t. Know that some days will be full of sunshine and your gratitude list will pour out of you. Other days will be stormy and grey, and all you might be able to come up with is being grateful the day is finally over.
A Joy Journal is like a Gratitude Journal, only its focus is on what makes you feel good. Before I go to bed, I write down a list of the things from the day that made me smile, made me laugh, made me feel better. Anything that brings me joy, from a humming bird whizzing by my ear, to the comfort of my own bed, gets written down.
I am a true believer in what you focus on blossoms in your life. I don’t know about you, but I got tired of my angst growing stronger and stronger every day. Of feeling like I did everything wrong. Of not trusting myself and thus, not being able to say ‘no’ to what I no longer wanted in my life, or even ‘yes’ to those things I did. Whether you decide to keep a Gratitude Journal or a Joy Journal each will help put in perspective that your garden needs both the rain and the sun to flourish.
Step 4: Tend with Great Care
Remember, a gardener must not only prepare the soil, plant the seed, water it, but pull the weeds that persistently keep popping up for the days and weeks and months it takes while waiting for the crop to come to fruition. This is a gardener’s tender loving care.
My Sunny Girl, remember YOU are the gardener AND the garden. Tend to yourself with great care while you are growing. Drink plenty of water, eat good food, sleep more, be creative, exercise, laugh often and laugh hard. Surround yourself with people who tend to YOU with great care. It’s hard to nurture the precious seedlings of I am good enough, I am thankful, I am full of joy, when those around you keep stomping all over your precious seedlings.
Gardening is not an easy undertaking. Neither is shifting your head and heart and body and soul from the darkness into the light. Be gentle. Be kind. Ask for help when you need it. Wake up each morning ready to pull the weeds of negativity and dump them on the page so you don’t carry them around with you. Read your Gratitude Journal or your Joy Journal as a reminder of why you are tending to YOU. Listen to that still small voice within that whispers, “YES, you CAN.”
It is my greatest wish for you that your garden, your LIFE, be bursting forth with the flowers of good enough-ness, and joy and gratitude, and anything else YOU choose to plant in your body and mind and heart and soul. And may the occasional weed help you pause and take the time to re-evaluate where you are, what you are doing, and why you are doing it. After all, a weed is a kind of flower. And YOU get to decide if it stays or if it goes.
THE Sunny Girl with Lauren Cook