Expectations

Today I want to talk about managing expectations.

Everyone says it, expectations are dream killers. And they’re not wrong. How often do you make plans in your mind about something and nothing goes the way you thought it would. Probably more often than not. 

A lot of people say, “Don’t have expectations for anything,” but I think that’s really unrealistic. It is important to live in the present and enjoy every moment for what it is, yes, but that would mean that we never had goals or thoughts about the future. 

When we make expectations in our minds about how something is going to turn out, ultimately that’s just a result of planning. We’re taking an active role in being the architect of our lives and we’re creating goals for ourselves. When we put energy into a goal, it’s because we want a certain outcome. So expectations can feel unavoidable if you’re making a plan for the future. 

Instead of avoiding expectations and trying not to have them, how do you minimize the pain that comes from unmet expectations? Well, it’s not easy but the answer lies in perspective. 

When I think about a big disappointment in my life, I think about my Challenge career. I’ve never actually been crowned a challenge champion. For someone as competitive, driven, and hardworking as me, it’s a very hard pill to swallow. It’s similar to someone who’s been trying and training for years to win an olympic gold medal. You have to train your butt off in the off season and pray that you get the opportunity to compete for a win. In the Challenge that’s only twice a year. You only get two chances to be a Challenge champion a year and that’s if they call you back to be on the cast.

I’ve been going on Challenges for three years now, and considering I haven’t won one, it’s very easy to feel disappointed. Especially, when I think about how many times I was SO CLOSE to achieving my goal.

In order to not be completely destroyed by those “failures,” I need to look for the silver lining in the situation.

For someone who’s not actually a champion, I’m still a really successful challenger. I still get asked back on the show. I still perform with all my heart. And I’ve still done some incredible things in my Challenge career.

For someone who’s not a winner, I’m sure as hell still building an amazing personal brand. I’m using all of the resources that I’ve been given from the Challenge to build an online platform that is consistently growing. In that area, I’m incredibly successful. Sitting in my room and being upset that I’m not a Challenge champ isn’t paying any respect to all of the amazing things that I am. It’s robbing me of my happiness.

Look at yourself as a pillar of experiences that have made you grow taller and more powerful with every lesson.

That’s the mindset that I encourage you to adopt. Instead of looking at yourself as a flop, look at yourself as a pillar of experiences that have made you grow taller and more powerful with every lesson. The key is your perspective. 

Another important thing to recognize is that your plans have a 99.999999 percent chance of going a different way than what you expected. So instead of expecting a perfectly scheduled out life, expect the unexpected. 

Just think about your average day. I am always totally baffled by how a simple and mundane day can be so different than the one before it and after it. Some days you wake up and you feel on top of the world, then by 12 o‘clock you realize that your cat ran out of food and now you have to move your 1 o’clock appointment because something small changed up your plans. So, now for the rest of the day you’re experiencing negative self-talk because you’re so down on yourself for overlooking something as simple as the cat food.

Or on the other hand, you can have a day that starts off terrible. You can sleep past your alarm, wake up to five missed phone calls, and feel completely rushed. But then that same day you can also get a stimulus check in the mail and now you have an extra couple hundred bucks in your pocket. Just like your day can change for the worse, it can also change for the better. 

Our life is like one big story, and each individual day is a page. Sometimes the page is going to start out rough, and other times it’s going to start out amazing.

Our life is like one big story, and each individual day is a page. Sometimes the page is going to start out rough, and other times it’s going to start out amazing. If our expectations change from being concrete plans, to a more fluid and receptive mindset, then we’re setting ourselves up for happiness. 

Expectations are important, they push us to greatness, so learning how to recover from disappointments is what matter. 

So how do we deal with disappointments:

  1. Let them go. Accept them, acknowledge them and feel them, but then let them go. Imagine you were running for homecoming queen for high school and you lost, and you still carried that pain with you today? When you carry the burden of unmet expectations in your life, you don’t leave room to carry the potential for new opportunities. 
  2. Don’t beat yourself up. Guess what kid, you tried. You gave something your all, and you should be fucking proud of that. Do you know how many people live in fear of failing so they never try. Imagine living under a rock of fear your entire life. To step out from that rock, climb up a hill, and jump off with a goal to fly is brave. Because you risk the chance of falling, but you know what you also give yourself the opportunity to fly. You should never shame yourself for trying. We should encourage it and keep pushing forward. Losing at something doesn’t mean you’re a loser, It means you gave it a shot. SO KEEP TRYING.
  3. Remember that everyone experiences them. There is not one person on this planet who has created an expectation for themselves and hasn’t failed at least once. You’re not alone. If there was a human who achieved every goal they had ever thought of, guess what, their life would be boring. When you work for something and fail, and work harder, and finally get it, it’s rewarding. So remember that you’re not alone. We’re all constantly trying and failing and winning at different time.

For anyone out there that feels like they’ve had years of unmet expectations and feels like their whole life is a disappointment then I hope you hear me when I say,

It’s never too late to do something amazing with your life.

My mom went her whole life feeling like she wasn’t smart enough and when she was 40 years old she decided to apply for med school. And guess what, now she’s a PA. She was a secretary in a medical facility and realized at 40 years old she could do more. She didn’t throw in the towel and call it quits, she tried again. And guess what, you can too. No matter what age you are, what circumstance you’re in, what’s holding you back, you can imagine a life for yourself that makes you truly happy. You can think of it. And if you can think of it, then you can build it. 

Today, I’m going to leave you with a question. If you didn’t live in fear of failed expectations, what would your life look like? Would you have a different career? Would you live in a different place? What would it look like.

Imagine the life you could have if you weren’t afraid.

Cannabis

Over the past year and a half I have been very vocal about not smoking weed and have gotten a lot of questions like “Tori why did you stop” or “How did you stop” and I want to take you on a journey through my personal experience with the flower. Also, It’s been brought to my attention that using the term “Marajuana” to describe cannabis is actually racist. In the past it was used to discriminate against POC so I’ve done some research and I’m going to share my findings with you later in this post.

The first time I ever smoked weed…

But first, I want to start by telling you about the first time that I ever smoked weed. I won’t divulge my exact age because I know my mom listens to my podcast and I don’t want her to be pissed, so let’s just say I was in school. I remember being over at one of  my friends’ houses one weekend after a long, stressful, school week. This friend was throwing a party at her house and I think there might have been a bottle of hypnotic there. Those types of drinks were the only things we could get our hands on at the time. So I’m at the party and there’s like eight of us all sharing one bottle of 15% liquor and one of our friends pulls out a little bag. It was a tiny little dime sized, crusty, dried-out bud of weed in a button bag. Me, being the fearless challenger I am, was like, “Hell yeah I’m gonna take a hit! I love Bob Marley!” So I did.

About 10 minutes go by and I’m like asking myself “Do I feel anything” and sure enough the moment you say that to yourself, you start feeling it. I could not stop laughing. Everything was hysterical! Our friends were busting out laughing. I swore the dog was laughing. The trees were happy. It was lovely.

All of the sudden I got this terrible “cotton mouth” and if you havent smoked weed before it just basically feels like your mouth turns from a rainforest into a desert. So, I decided to get up and walk to the kitchen and grab a drink. As I’m walking over to the refrigerator I’m laughing at everything, the toaster is funny, the trash is hysterical, I mean I felt like I was on a safari walking through the kitchen. I put my hand on the refrigerator and am about to fill up my cup, when I realize I don’t have one. Sure enough I laugh, and just as I’m about to walk over to the glass cabinet I realize something is terribly wrong. I can’t figure out how to walk. I don’t know what actually happened but something in that moment made me overthink walking so much that I thought my foot stopped working.

Immediately I felt a rush of anxiety. I was like, “Holy shit, I smoked weed, just a tiny little hit, and now I can’t walk.” And now all of the irrational thoughts start to bubble to the surface “What if I smoked a horse tranquilizer? What if I’m paralyzed for life?” I mean the list went on.

Not knowing what to do I gripped the refrigerator for dear life to alleviate some of the pressure off my foot. I probably look like the rock climber from free solo. I mean I was hanging on to the fridge for dear life. I don’t actually know how long I was holding on for but I can tell you it felt like ages. I just hung there, from the fridge, trying to keep weight off my feet, while still needing a drink really bad. I wish I could have had the vantage point of my friend who walked in for a water after me, because all of the sudden I just heard someone burst out laughing. Sure enough they helped me realize that my foot worked and that I was just hanging on to the refrigerator for absolutely no reason. I tried to laugh it off too but it’s safe to say that I didn’t smoke weed for a little while after that. I truly was afraid. 

When I moved to LA…

All through college, and even after, I smoked weed and when I moved to LA I really smoked. I smoked in the morning, while I was creating, and before bed. I mean I was high all the time. It was mostly because I was around Jordan and not to throw him under the bus but he totally mellows out when he smokes a little bit, so every time he has a joint I just take a little hit.

I’m already a really mellow person, so smoking weed that much actually had the opposite effect on me. It just triggered terribly anxiety in me. It was like I was in a vicious cycle of waking up, being clear minded with a list of things that I wanted to do, and then I would smoke weed, and just stress my entire to do list. I know some people feel so productive when they smoke, but for me the only thing I produced when I got high was anxiety.

Breaking up with cannabis…

There is definitely a stigma around weed that it cures anxiety, and that it helps to relax you, but I am living proof that it doesn’t work for everyone that way.

I realized that it had the opposite effect on me. It made me overthink everything. And yet, I still smoked it. I couldn’t break the cycle. Until one morning I woke up and realized that I liked being fully aware. I didn’t want to fog my mind up. I didn’t want to try to float through life. I wanted to be in it. I wanted to think clearly and get a lot of work done. I wanted to be productive outside of just creating! It all just clicked and that was the day that I stopped smoking weed. I wasn’t sure how long I was going to stop for at the time but I ended going about a year and half with no weed. 

I was afraid of it. I was afraid that if I took a hit I would have an anxiety attack and I would feel out of control. It was like all of the sudden, my brave “I’m done smoking weed” attitude turned into me avoiding it like the plague. If I even smelled weed it would trigger an anxiety attack. My relationship with it was very unhealthy. 

Overcoming my fear

So I decided to dive in and do some research. Maybe if I looked up the true benefits of cannabis I’d be able to conquer my fear of it. 

After reading through WebMb I felt really reassured. There are plenty of people who smoke weed and have more anxiety. Weed may alleviate chronic pain and help some people relax, but for others the effects are truthfully different. 

So, what was I going to do about my fear? Well I wanted to face. About two weeks ago I decided it was time to smoke weed again. I consciously made sure I had everything on my to do list done. I told myself that I had Sunday afternoon all to me. I put a blanket down in my backyard and laid in the sun. I got the tiniest little bowl, and took the smallest hit of weed ever and was ready to see how I felt. 

Well I cried. I looked around my backyard and the walls around me turned into the walls of my bedroom from when I was a young girl. For some reason that hit brought me back to a place of loneliness and sadness. I remembered the pain of my parents’ divorce, I remembered the sadness that felt growing up, I sat with myself. I sat with little Tori and I cried for her. And after we were done crying we put on music and we danced around the yard. And cried some more and danced, and got thirsty and laughed on the way to the fridge thinking about the first time I ever got high. 

Beginning to heal…

I can’t tell you how long I was burying some of those sad feelings inside of me, but I can tell you they were buried very deep. I realized that day that I was walking around with anxiety from my past and carrying it with me into my future. I needed to release the pain. I needed to cry with little Tori. I needed to be by myself. 

After that experience I see weed completely differently. I didn’t abuse it, I used it in a way in which I brought healing. I wasn’t using it to cloud my mind or run from my reality. I used it to face it. It was therapy. 

Now, I still don’t smoke weed that often but when I do I make sure that I’m in a setting in which I feel totally safe at first. Do I trust the people I’m around? If I have a panic attack, is there somewhere safe for me to relax? Do I have everything done on my do list? I use it responsibly or I don’t use it at all.

Changing my perspective…

It’s so interesting growing up and hearing about how weed is a terrible drug but then watch it transform into medicine over time. 

As a kid I was always taught it was terrible but would hear it glorified in pop culture. As a country our relationship with cannabis is actually more messed up than my personal relationship was. 

Think about the fact that some states have made it legal for the recreational use of weed and how some people are still in federal jail for either buying or selling it! It’s so hypocritical! 

In our society today we’re dealing with all of the negative ways weed was portrayed by the government and the media in the past. 

As I’ve said earlier the term “marijuana” is actually rooted in racism and I got all of my information from the media company “Now this”.

In the late 1800 the elite American class would smoke weed for pleasure. It was a delicacy that only the rich had access to. The upper class even sold it over-the-counter to treat insomnia and migraines. But once millions of Mexicans started to migrate to the US in the 1900’s the term was used by American prohibitionists to exploit racism and xenophobia. So basically, weed was being smoked in Mexico just like it was being smoked in America, but god forbid someone come into America and bring it with them it turns into a big deal. In the 1930’s Harry Anslinger, the director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, believed that marijuana influenced only black and brown people into being violent and committing murders. We all know that that’s absurd because all I want to do when I smoke is either eat a box of poptarts or cry. But, Anslinger launched a vicious propaganda campaign and associated it with the minority. Anslinger then did a whole tour around the country to convince people that this drug invaded the US and scare people. He finally convinced congress to pass the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 which made marijuana illegal on a federal level.

Today cannabis has definitely been more normalized but there are still people out there today trying to demonize the plant, such as Jeff Sessions and Steve Alford. So, if you don’t smoke weed no big deal, but if you’re referring to the plant, let’s call it by a name that wasn’t used in a racially charged propaganda campaign. 

The biggest lesson I can share about using any mind or body altering substance is to use it responsibly.

Yes, I smoke weed now if I want to but i definitely don’t abuse it. Also, it’s so interesting because as I’ve reintroduced weed into my life I’ve simultaneously kicked alcohol out. I’m currently on a sober summer mission and I’m not drinking at all. But, that’s a whole different story and could basically be an entirely different post. To sum it up, if you feel like the substance is controlling you as opposed to you controlling it you should probably take a break. 

Vulnerability

This post is from the 37th episode of my podcast and if you’re die hard then you know that 37 is my favorite number. When people ask me why it’s my favorite, my response is always “It’s the universe’s way of communicating with me.” I’ve made a personal sign with the universe and it uses that number to talk to me at the most random times. 37 simply represents my connection with a higher power.

So I thought it was going to be really difficult picking a topic for the 37th episode because that number means so much to me. But, since it’s falling on the week of my elimination it made it very easy for me to decide that this week I’ll be talking about vulnerability.

To me vulnerability means that you’re an open book. You walk around life, living it, loving it, being in it without fear of others’ judgments. There’s probably not a single person in the world who is 100% vulnerable. If that person did exist, I guarantee they would be the most influential person known. 

There is something so inspiring about someone who walks fearlessly in life.

There are people out there who are just themselves through and through and embrace every inch of their uniqueness. Those people inspire me. Because let’s be real, it’s so hard to put yourself out there, because if you do, and someone doesn’t like you, that’s when you experience rejection and judgment.  

Rejection is painful. No matter how big or small the rejection is, it still takes so much courage to accept that there are people out in the world that won’t like you. I’ve been on reality tv for four years and I’m just now getting used to that feeling. Four years of interviews, clips, relationships, competitions, little wins, and big losses. My entire life is practically a reality show. People know about my relationships, my break ups, my scandals, my cat, my headboard, and other specific details about my life. After four years, you’d think I’d be a pro at handling public opinions, but I promise you I’m far from that. Criticism is painful, especially when it’s regarding you as a person and your character. 

Sometimes I wake up and I literally think, “Fuck this, judge me world. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!” And other times, I become extremely reclusive. I hibernate in my room and binge Netflix and won’t even answer my phone for my sister. Vulnerability is so hard. 

But if you find the strength to achieve it it has so many benefits. When you allow yourself to open up and expose your decisions and emotions to people, you show people that you’re willing to look soft.

Being soft or feeling lesser than or imperfect is so difficult in the world that we live in today. EVERYTHING HAS TO OPERATE SMOOTHLY. If the train is late we blame the system, if a singer’s voice isn’t auto-tuned to the perfect note we are unsatisfied, and God forbid our bodies aren’t chiseled like a statue then what right do we have in being comfortable in it?

But, when someone is vulnerable and they show us that happiness can exist in a world of imperfection, we are in complete awe. How fucking inspiring. One woman alone who stands out to me is Sarah Nicole aka the Birds Papaya on Instagram. She owns every ounce of her being and puts it all out there for the world to see. She fearlessly takes on the criticism of others, embraces herself, acknowledges her truth, and consistently shows up. 

I want to be like her. Sometimes I have moments where I feel like here. I’ll post a picture of myself just as is, no filter, no edits, just me. And when I do that I feel strong, because I’ll get feedback from people who uplift that within me, and hold onto those comments with everything in me. 

In order to be vulnerable, we have to be willing to take the risk that others are going to accept us the way that we are.

I can tell you from personal experience, I have become so much more comfortable and confident in my vulnerability because of you guys. I’m sure if you’re reading this then you’re probably not a troll, this blog is too uplifting for those kinds of people. So if you’re reading, you’re probably a supporter. Someone who is interested in my way of life and encourages me to just be. You are the reason I am able to put myself out there when I do. 

I get messages from people constantly saying that they relate to either a podcast or a post, or my break up, and in that moment I realized that I’ve formed a connection. We’ve formed a connection. You let me be vulnerable. 

Vulnerability is one of the best ways to become closer to one another on this loop around the sun. 

It’s honestly crazy how little grace we show to  one another in our society. We all have completely different stories. We were born in different places, by different people, with different cultures and yet we expect one another to be completely perfect. 

We’re setting ourselves up for failure with that mentality. We’re inhibiting growth when we think with that mindset. We love throwing tomatoes from the crowd but have a difficult time showing compassion to one another when we make mistakes and rarely let people grow. Vulnerable people are so inspiring because of how hard it is to live a life without fear of what people think. 

One of the main benefits of being vulnerable is that it will increase your self worth. When someone has the ability to admit they’ve made a mistake and they own it, they are able to see themselves as they truly are and that’s when real growth happens. You were not born in this world a perfectly functioning adult, you make mistakes over the years and you learn priceless lessons from every single one! If someone were to make a mistake, and not admit to it, and act proud, then they would never grow. And in my opinion, growth is the only real purpose for us being here.

Also, when one person lowers their guard and shows their vulnerable side, they prove to others that it’s okay to make mistakes too. When we are fully ourselves, we show others to be themselves too.

Authenticity inspires authenticity.

So, if you want to be around people who are truly themselves then you have to be truly yourself. 

Vulnerability is also a huge component in inspiring compassion. When someone shows us their vulnerable side and they open up, it pulls on our heart strings. We develop compassion for that person by feeling their pain and putting ourselves in their shoes! Like i said early, we all have completely different stories, therefore we all have completely different reasons why we do things. When we listen to someone’s story, and their confessions as to why they feel a certain way or did something, we feel for them. Compassion is one of the most amazing traits a person can have. 

And last, people can sense when someone is being honest or not. Have you ever heard someone be called “Fake”. People know when other people aren’t being honest for the most part. So instead of just being accountable and owning your shit, you then become a person who comes off as dishonest. Would you rather be disliked for being the real you, or for being fake?

I think for me, that’s the most important thing that I’ve learned when it comes to vulnerability. Once you accept that there are people out there that are going to dislike you either way then it makes it easier to just want to be yourself.  

Also, when you’re yourself and people actually do like you, then it’s so rewarding! Because when you know for sure that the people who are in your life see you and hear you and believe in you as a person. That builds confidence.

Becoming more vulnerable and finding out who you truly are is the experience of a lifetime. We should all be focusing on self discovery in this lifetime. I’ve recently watched the movie SOUL on Disney+ and it really made me reflect on how much fun it is to find our spark in life! What we’re interested in as individuals is what makes us special.

So let’s proclaim ourselves! I’ll start and you can comment yours below:

I’m Tori! I’m 27 years old, I love learning about outer space, cats are my favorite animals, I love to travel, I love competing and making my body stronger, and I’m so grateful so be alive I’ve made countless mistakes, I’m going to make plenty more, but I promise to always reflect, grow, and be myself. I am committed to being the real me.  

Proclaim yourself. Who are you! If you feel so inspired and want to type up your proclamation and comment it below, I WOULD LOVE TO READ IT! 

Let’s praise each other for being our authentic selves! Let’s put vulnerability on a pedestal and show more grace to people who speak their truth. 

People Pleasing

Raise your hand if you’re a people pleaser. I imagine if we were all in the same room together there would be so many more hands up than you realized. It became clear to me that many people also struggle with “People Pleasing” as I do when I post about it on Instagram a few months back. When you’re a “People Pleaser’ you have the tendency of putting others emotions first, having weak boundaries in your life, and desire approval. 

I can check off every box on that list. 

I didn’t realize how much of a people pleaser I was until I started seeing my life coach in early 2020. She noticed how I valued being “Liked” over speaking my truth. She flagged me when she noticed that I had a hard time saying no to people. She heard me cry and vent when I talked about situations that I was in that made me feel really small.

So together, we revisited memories from my past and tried to pin point where that part of me came from. As I’ve mentioned in earlier episodes my parents had gotten divorced when I was a kid, and I never expressed my sadness around the divorce. Instead, I would just deflect and use my energy to make people laugh and forget about the chaos. I remember my mom saying “Tori is so easy-going” and I felt accepted when she said that. I felt like “I was a good girl” if I didn’t add to the chaos and make things worse. My mom obviously never meant for the compliment to have a negative effect on me, but that’s how I received a lot of validation as a kid. So growing up, I copied and pasted that attitude into many areas of my life. In my job I would work more days than I could handle, with guys I wouldn’t stick up for myself and I would let them walk all over me, and with friends I would constantly find myself in a position of doing work just to make someone else happy. The seed of “people pleasing” that was planted as a kid grew into a full grown tree by the time I was in college. And it wasn’t until 2020 where I put my foot down. 

Creating boundaries doesn’t mean people won’t like you, it means they have to respect you.

Through therapy I developed the courage to speak the word “no” without feeling guilty. Creating boundaries doesn’t mean people won’t like you, it means they have to respect you. The thing is, if you don’t draw a line somewhere people won’t know they’re crossing it. You’re not a bad person for saying no to anything! You have a right to decide if something serves you or not. 

There are five major areas where it’s important to set boundaries. I’ve posted these slides on my Instagram before but I think a little refresher will go a long way. So, the areas in which boundaries can be set are

  1. mental
  2. energetic
  3. physical
  4. material
  5. emotional

Mental Boundaries
Setting a mental boundary is giving yourself the space to believe your own thoughts. This is an area that, believe it or not, I struggle with. It takes a lot of facts for me to just believe something, so on a lot of issues, especially political ones, I’m typically on  the fence. But some people, are very sure of what they think, and when they express their thoughts to me, it’s easy for me to be overwhelmed by someones opinion. So, in order for me to be able to process all of the thoughts correctly I need to set a boundary. Instead of just agreeing with someone’s arguments I had to learn to say “I see your point-of-view, but I need more time to think about it,” or if I’m sure that I don’t agree with them then I say “I hear you, but those beliefs don’t align with my values.” I have to stand firm in that place. I may not know what to believe, but I know for sure that I deserve the mental space to comprehend the matter on my own time. 

Energetic Boundaries
Setting energetic boundaries are also incredibly important. This means not doing free labor or giving your spare time to someone else. In terms of free labor, you deserve to value your craft and not be taken advantage of. So stick up for your skills, the skills that you’ve put in your own energy to learn, and don’t work for free if you feel it’s not right. And with your spare time, just think about it like this. Do you really work your ass off just to have to cater to someone else’s emotions or needs? No, you don’t. So if you don’t want to help your friend move on your day off then don’t, that’s what movers are for.

Physical Boundaries
Physical boundaries are something I used to struggle with. Just because you’re in a relationship you don’t owe your partner sex every night. I’ve been in relationships where I’ve felt like I needed to get my partner’s approval through sex and let me just tell you, it was extremely unhealthy. Learning to respect my body was amazing. I don’t do anything unless I want to. That’s exactly how it should be. And that means if my partner doesn’t want to do anything, then I have to respect that too. Our bodies are not objects for sexual pleasure. They can be that, but they are so much more than that. My body is an amazing system that maintains a state of homeostasis and keeps me alive. It digests my food, it runs, it walks, it wakes up in the morning. So I have to respect it for all that it is and set boundaries to keep it safe. 

Material Boundaries
Just like you need to respect your body, you need to respect your possession. Having boundaries around your materials matter. You don’t owe it to your friends to let them borrow your cash, you don’t have to let your friend drive your car on the weekends if you don’t want to. You’re allowed to respect your possessions. A simple sentence like “I don’t feel comfortable lending that out, but I hope it works out for you,” will go a long way. 

Emotional Boundaries
The last place to set boundaries is around your emotions. Have you ever had that one friend that only calls you when they need you? They spill their emotions on you for hours and don’t listen to an ounce of your advice. That’s called emotional dumping and guess what? You’re not a dumpster. It feels terrible to walk away from a phone call and feel like you’re drained. So set a boundary for yourself. You’re not your friend’s therapist. Simply tell them “Hey, I’m so sorry you’re hurting, I’m not qualified to give the advice you’re looking for. I suggest talking to a professional.” And if they respond with “Well, I just need someone to vent to.” Then you say, “Well I just don’t have the capacity to deal with this right now. Please respect my space.” God I bet a weight will be lifted off your shoulders!

After going through all those areas in which boundaries can be set ask yourself, “which area’s resonated with me the most?” Do you feel like you’re being taken advantage of energetically or financially? The thing is, you don’t need to have everyone else’s approval. Take it from me, as long as you’re not hurting someone or doing something terrible than you deserve to live in the peace of your beliefs. Sure, that may mean that certain people aren’t in your life as much, but if setting a boundary means people leaving your life then guess what, they weren’t there for the right reasons. 

Being a people pleaser is something that you need to recover from.

If you tried to please everyone in the world there would still be someone who didn’t approve of you. You need to like you. Live without fear of being liked and accepted by others.

Set those boundaries and show yourself the respect that you deserve.

Money

My personal relationship with money began where most people’s relationship with it starts, as a child. Growing up my family was able to put a roof over my head, food on the table, and clothes on my body but money never came in excess. I’m completely grateful for all of the hard work both of my parents put into making my childhood comfortable, so I would never complain about that. But, I do understand how it can be extremely stressful trying to get by while living in a world where we idolize the wealthy. We are obsessed with money. We want nice cars, nice watches, vacations, and basically to have the same resources that the Kardashians have. But the truth is, a lot of us are living a completely different lifestyle. 

I have one memory from my childhood that really sticks out to me when it comes to money. I remember one saturday afternoon my dad bought my sister, my brother, and myself a pack of pokemon cards from the toy store. My dad told me that he only got us one pack and that we’d have to turn the cards over and randomly split the deck between all of us. We were so excited to get those cards that we didn’t even care that we had to share. We waited for him to shuffle them and pass them out face down before we turned them over and saw what cards we got. Once we flipped them over I realized that I got the lucky hand. I had the holographic 9 tails, which was a really powerful card. I remember being so excited, until I looked over to my sister and saw that she really wanted it. We were probably only 9 and 7 at the time, so those cards clearly meant the world to us. My sister really wanted the card and I idolized my big sister so much and wanted her to be happy so I gave it to her. Realizing how good it felt to be able to share something I had with someone I loved showed me early on that possessions and money really bring happiness when you can share them with others. Growing up with siblings and learning to share what we had truly taught me money’s purpose. 

Possessions and money really bring happiness when you can share them with others.

If you won the lottery today and had millions of dollars what would you do with the money? A lot of people’s first thoughts are, share it with my family, and then probably by a lambo. But in real life, without the lottery, you can’t share what you don’t have. So, learning how to manage your money so that you can survive and then still have some to share is ultimately the goal. Or at least it’s mine. 

Because I grew up in a house where money wasn’t growing on the trees i always made sure that I saved as much as possible. I heard Jay-z say something years ago and it really stuck with me, “If you can’t buy it three times, you can’t afford it.” So I took that very literally. All through high school, college, and up until now, I value putting that money in the bank. I had a pretty decent job in college working in nightlife and by the time I graduated I could have bought myself a nice purse, or new car, or pretty much whatever I wanted. But because I grew up seeing the value of sharing money and experiences I was actually never that tempted to do that. I drove a Honda civic that was passed down to me from my mom and my step dad until I practically drove it into the ground. Being materialistic and needing flashy things was never important to me. Honestly, when I see people who put themselves into debt for nice objects I honestly feel really bad. I want to just give them a hug and let them know that they don’t have to prove anything to anyone with a fancy car! The point I’m trying to make here is that understanding WHY you want money is so important! At the end of the day, What’s the driving force for why you need cash? Think about that!

Even though I don’t have a problem saving money, that doesn’t mean my relationship with money is perfect. After analyzing my past and present with my life coach it’s very clear that I have the tendency to OVER SAVE money because I deeply depend on it for security. Because I grew up in a household with little extra spending money, as a young adult and adult, I feel like I need to have a lot saved up. When my life coach asked me “Why do you need so much saved” I responded with, in case the world ends…. Ironically it was convenient to have a lot saved up during the pandemic and we laugh  about that in our sessions, but truthfully the fear I have of being broke or unable to provide for myself keeps me saving. And listen this might sound good, because of course people want a savings account, but that type of scared attitude could inhibit me from getting more!

There is an energy attached to money. One of my favorite books recommended to me from my best friend Vira is called “The Soul of Money” by Lynn Twist. Lynn Twist in an incredible human and this is the bio from her website “For more than 40 years, Lynne Twist has been a recognized global visionary committed to alleviating poverty, ending world hunger and supporting social justice and environmental sustainability. She’s worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta to the refugee camps in Ethiopia and the threatened rainforests of the Amazon, as well as guiding the philanthropy of some of the world’s wealthiest families, Lynne’s on-the-ground work has brought her a deep understanding of people’s relationship with money.”

As you read her book, or audiobook it like I have, your mind will drastically shift. Through her I learned that there is a flow of energy attached to currency. She compares money to water. Sometimes it’s going to pour into your life, and other times it’s meant to drip. It’s your responsibility to make sure you have enough to pay your bills, but not stress saving so much to the point that you drown in it.

Let the money flow in and out of your life freely.

I want to read you a passage from her book that truly moved me. “For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is ‘I didn’t get enough sleep.’ The next one is ‘I don’t have enough time.’ Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of… Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something. And by the time we go to bed at night, our minds are racing with a litany of what we didn’t get, or didn’t get done, that day. We go to sleep burdened by those thoughts and wake up to that reverie of lack… This internal condition of scarcity, this mind-set of scarcity, lives at the very heart of our jealousies, our greed, our prejudice, and our arguments with life.”

Sometimes I reread that passage to myself over and over again when i’m in the process of calming my mind. Why are we so obsessed with money? Whether it’s saving it, spending it, or sharing it, we still have this need for MORE. 

“Rarely in our life is money a place of genuine freedom, joy, or clarity, yet we routinely allow it to dictate the terms of our lives and often to be the single most important factor in the decisions we make about work, love, family, and friendship.” 

Lynne Twist

Today, let’s challenge ourselves to be truly grateful for what we have. Let’s take a moment and honor the money that has come into our lives. Let’s treat today as if we were fully satisfied with life. If you’re listening to this podcast, then that means you have a phone, computer or some type of electronic device to listen on. Be grateful for that object. 

Taking Your Power Back

As many of you may have noticed, a lot of the content that I post on social media these days highlight my workouts. I don’t know how exactly to explain this, but something clicked inside of me for months ago that just made me lock in. It was like someone pulled a trigger from a grenade and all of this energy just exploded out of me. I grew this insatiable desire to become stronger. Yes, I’ve always been motivated when it came to exercise, but I think a lot of that actually stemmed from fear. I was afraid that if I didn’t workout I would gain weight and size.

The world that we live in idolizes being skinny. So I was blindly following in the footsteps of what I thought would make me more accepted by society. But it’s an unhealthy attitude to have. 

After my elimination from the challenge this season, and the feelings that came from my breakup, I was just tired of losing. I was tired of feeling weak. I was tired of being tired. So I dug really deep. Like so deep into my soul and really thought about what I needed to do to get myself back. I thought back to when i was a kid. I’m so lucky that my parents put me in sports as early as they did, because as a young girl I experienced strength in soccer. I loved being on that field, tracking fast players down for the ball and using all my strength to get it back. I used the field as a place to release my feelings about life. When I played a soccer game I didn’t think about anything else but the game. Eventually, after years of playing I got accepted to a college and I played on the women’s soccer team. But that was a really interesting experience for me. This was the first time that soccer really stopped becoming an escape. 

I’m about to tell you a story that could potentially be triggering so if you’re a victim of sexual harrassment or any other sex based crime be aware.

My freshman year was fun and I really enjoyed all the girls on the team, but my sophomore year really became much more complicated. The summer of 2012 ended and I was about to start my fall semester. I was going by myself to pick up my jersey from the athletic complex. The athletic director took me into one of the storage rooms to give me my jersey. He handed it over to me and said “make sure it fits” and I said “okay” thinking nothing of it.  He was standing in front of the door and blocking my way out and he said, “try it on right here.” 

I just remember not really getting it. I knew something felt wrong but As an authority figure I felt like I had to listen to him. So I uncomfortably walked behind a shelf and changed, and he just stood there staring at me. I put the jersey on quickly, said it fit, and got my clothes back on and walked out of that room almost in shock. I was just trying to comprehend what just happened. 

The rest of that season I wasn’t really myself. Anytime we had a home game our uniforms were white and he would always comment on the color of my underwear that he could see through the shorts. Anytime I was around him or he watched me I just knew what he was thinking and I felt violated.

I understand why women wait a long time to speak up before they call someone out for sexual harassment because I questioned myself for a long time about it. I was afraid to make a scene, I wondered if what he was saying was really bad or did I just think it was.

Back then all i knew was, well he didn’t touch me, so is what i’m feeling valid. It all came to a head during the last few games of the season. I was the last one in the locker room and I had just gotten out of the shower and I heard the door open and shut. I turned around and he was there. I froze. From across the locker room, I stood there in my towel about 10 feet away from him and once again he was blocking the door. He said “I put some pink glitter in your locker, to match your underwear.”  In disbelief I opened the top part of my locker and sure enough there was a little vile of pink glitter. 

My mind was going a 100 miles an hour and all I could think to say was. You cant be in here, you’re going to get in trouble there are cameras. He then proceeded to remind me that hes the AD and that there are no camera’s in the locker room. I quickly reminded him that there were cameras right outside though. And theres footage of him walking in. In his eyes you could see that he was processing what I said. Thankfully that was enough to scare him and he walked out. 

I sat there in the locker room and cried, put my clothes on as fast as i could, and got the fuck out of there. I called my roommate on my walk back to my car and told her what had happened. She supported me and told me I had to say something.

At this point I felt strong enough to speak up so I went to one of my coaches. I told him the whole story and from the very first time i changed in front of him, to the underwear comments, to the glitter, to the locker room. He sat there and listened to me get it all off my chest. And when I was finally done, he responded with, “Listen, this guy has a wife and kid at home, if you talk about this to anyone you’re going to mess up family life.”

I was appalled. My fucking coach just disregarded my entire experience because he was afraid that i was going to break up his family. I was humiliated.

I cried to my roommate and she told me to keep talking about it. She went with me to our trainer in the PT office. He took me right to the board and got me a meeting with people who were high up in the college. They told me that they were going to fire him, but asked me to not make a scene about it. So I agreed. 

The last game of that season was rough. We were in semi-finals or something like that and the time that we were going up against was dominating us. Not, to mention, the girls were physical as fuck and me and this one girl were practiclly fighting on the field. She punched me in the stomach during a play and the ref never caught it but there were already like 3 goals ahead so I was so angry. After the game when we were all supposed to shake hands like good sports I flipped the girl off. The ref blew his whistle, carded me, and my coach started to freak out. He screamed at me. He said I was an embarrassment for having bad sportsmanship and went on and on about how I needed to have a better attitude. 

And I did something that was so out of character for me, I yelled at him right back. Anger poured from my body. I was so mad at this man for blaming me…again. So I screamed at him in front of the entire team and quit. That was the last time I played soccer.

I’m not telling you this story because I want you to feel bad. On the contrary I want you to realize that

Some of the most painful moments in my life have been the reason why I decided it was time to take back what was mine. My power. My energy. My voice. My strength. 

I felt obligated to the team to stay and play even when i was emotionally drained form the experience. But I finally put my foot down and quit and I felt free.

When I look back in time from where I was to where I stand today, I see waves of feeling powerful and powerless. But, there is always a pattern, every time I feel completely at rock bottom, there is a little switch that goes off in my body and it triggers my resilience. I might fall down but I refuse to let myself stay down, and that last little bit of power I have gets me back up and keeps me moving forward. 

Post recent break up and elimination loss, I’ve gained 5 pounds. And I say that with pride. Its 5 solid pounds of muscle. I’m finding my strength again and it’s on the field. It’s not on a soccer field anymore, but it’s whenever I move my body and exert force.

I feel powerful. I’m standing so firmly in myself at this point that I’m not afraid of breaking down, because I know even if I do I’m going to get up. 

As a person, especially as a woman, to grow muscle, to move your body, and to feel connected with yourself is so important. At least for me it is. You have to be strong in this world. Sure, you can also be soft and have empathy and emotions, but you need to be strong. You need to dig deep in yourself and remember all of the times that knocked you down and then re-live getting back up.

We are not victims, we are victors.

If you’ve been struggling with motivation with fitness I just want you to dig deep and find your reason. Find your fight, and when you start the fight, you’ll find your power. 

Feminine Energy

If you’re like me, then you’ve been feeling really stressed out by the world lately. There are so many horrific news stories and overwhelming topics that make it very clear that our world has a lot of healing to do. I wanted to take this post and focus on the power of feminine energy.

The misconception about feminine energy and feminine power that it’s only for females or feminists. This is far from the truth. Feminine power is derived from feminine energy and both men and women have the ability to tap into this nurturing energy. It’s universal. 

And actually, You’re probably more familiar with feminine and masculine energy than you know. If you’ve ever heard of the yin-yang symbol then you’ve already heard of these dueling forces. Feminine energy is known as the Yin and masculine energy is known as the Yang. Masculine energy is about  assertion, taking on challenges, being goal oriented, being strong and structured. This is the type of energy that actually structures our world today. We have governments, we live in a world of order, and we are in constant competition with other nations, companies, and each other. Masculine energy is absolutely necessary, but today I want to talk about the unsung hero of the energies, the feminine energy.

Feminine energy can be tapped into by anybody. It’s fluid, it’s receptive, and it’s allowing the universe to run its course. It’s nurturing and it’s necessary. This world would be absolutely hostile without the power of feminine energy. If you’re like me, you can easily relate to experiencing both masculine and feminine traits. When I think about myself on the challenge I am absolutely embodying my masculine energy. I’m way more aggressive when I’m competing. SO while i’m filming i usually feel incredibly unbalanced. I’m sure you can relate to this in your life as well. If you’re at your job and trying to finish tasks on time, or even if you’re at home and still trying to accomplish everything on your to do list. If you harness your masculine energy for too long you will easily feel overdrawn and exhausted. Because let’s be real, who wants to be completing tasks and giving all the time. 

A simple way to monitor whether you are using masculine or fleminine energy is by asking yourself am i giving or receiving right now?  Deganit Nuur simply describes it as “Giving is an action of our divine masculine, and receiving is an action of our divine feminine”

When i first read this in the “Goop Lab” article titled “Balancing your Femine and Masculine Energy” It made me wonder if masculine are the givers, because sexually, they actually “give the d” to the woman who then receives it? 

I could be wrong but, to me it makes sense. So when you start to feel like you’re giving too much of yourself  to something or someone, that means it’s time to return to your feminine energy.

How many of you can relate to overextending yourself. How many times have you been on a phone call with a friend were you helped them with their problems instead of spending time on your own? It’s so easy to over give. One of my favorite quotes is “givers need to set boundaries because takers rarely do.” And maybe you don’t mind helping your friend every once in a while but you need to put yourself first sometimes. 

When harnessing your feminine energy you cannot expect anyone else to give you the attention that you’re yearning for. You need to be the person who gives to you. Don’t expect your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or anyone else to bring you the comfort that you need. If you’re unfamiliar with cutting out time for yourself in the day then it’s time you get started because there are consequences if you don’t.

Femine energy comes with dark traits alongside the beautiful ones. When you don’t make space for yourself to harness the divine feminine you can become insecure, passive aggressive, and manipulative. Believe it or not I’ve battled with insecurities my entire life. I might come off extremely confident now, but it really took years of internal work to get here. I used to be the girl that would go through my boyfriend’s phone or see what girls he was following on social media. I used to embody all of those toxic traits until I realized it wasn’t helping me heal. When you start to feel yourself experiencing these emotions it’s time to breathe and return to your power. You need to connect with yourself.

Here are a few ways:

  1. Slow down. You cannot receive from the universe if you are constantly moving in it. Take time to do absolutely nothing. Believe me, I know how hard this can be! I’m a go getter at heart. I love to finish tasks and feel accomplished. It makes me feel successful. But at some point you need to accept that there is only so much that you can do. I realized this the most when I was filming the Challenge. The process of filming the show is so much slower than it seems to the viewer. There is so much down time and all you can really do is overthink the game. Questions like   “What will the next challenge be?” or “Will it be a girls elimination or a guys?” Eventually you’ve thought of every question there is to ask and you just start repeating them. It’s emotionally draining. Stop, pause, and meditate. 
  2. Meditation can seem weird and uncomfortable for anyone who hasn’t tried it before but after practicing it for years it has truly become my safe place. If you’re not comfortable sitting in silence for a period of time throw on a guided meditation! It’s always helpful to listen and receive someone else’s words. Receiving is embodying your feminine energy. 
  3. Another way to hone in on your feminine energy is to stop rationalizing everything. Sometimes shitty things happen for no reason and our lives are fluid just like everything else in the world. Everything that is born eventually dies and we have to accept the cycle of life that is around us.  We have to embrace that there are beginnings that lead to ends and ends that lead beginnings. Release your control and let the world move. You’re not going to be left behind, you are moving with it. There is nothing to be scared of by relinquishing control.
  4. Yoga is all about fluidity and receptiveness. The practice is literally an incubator for harnessing the divine feminine energy. I’ve been practicing yoga for years now and I can’t even begin to express the benefits i’ve received from it. Usually in the beginning of a practice I’ll feel a little irritated because everything is moving so slow. But that’s because I usually do yoga after a long day of work and my mind and body are running on a level 10. By the time the practice is over I feel so calm and open. Listening to an instructor take you on a journey through mind and body is the ultimate form of receiving. You don’t have to overthink, over try, or out perform anyone. It’s just you and your matt. Going to a yoga studio has honestly been one of the things i’ve missed the most since the pandemic has struck. Although, i have learned that it’s just as easy to find a great class on youtube. My favorite time to do yoga is at the end of the day, on my floor in my bedroom, with candles lit and crystals surrounding me. It feels like home. 

When you set aside time for yourself to hone in on your feminine energy then you are in control of it. Like i said before, there is a dark side to feminine energy, and it comes out when you try to suppress your needs. You are allowed to be needy, but you have to give yourself the space to receive.

After you’ve spent some time with yourself it becomes easier to handle and manage the stresses of the world around you. We really do live in a society that calls us to push ourselves to achieve new levels of greatness. Masculine energy is everywhere in our external world. 

Just last week Jordan was eliminated from the Challenge. Before the elimination we saw the competitive, aggressive and goal oriented side of Jordan. He was embracing his masculine energy, as he should have been in that moment. But after his elimination Jordan let us in to the softer side of his feelings. He cried and talked about his pain of overcoming all of the challenges that life has thrown at him because he was born with a disability. In that moment Jordan was in touch with his feminine energy and it was one of his most powerful moments  he’s ever had on tv. He moved the hearts of so many people. No one made fun of him for losing, instead they praised him for his vulnerability. Femine energy is not weak, it’s in tune. It’s a softness that holds a tremendous amount of power. It’s open and it’s understanding. When Jordan opened up he won the hearts of so many people. People were able to see him and connect with him in a way in which they hadn’t before. That’s powerful. 

Masculine energy may win you competitions, titles, or money, but Feminine energy will win in areas that cannot be quantified. Feminine energy will win relationships, connections, and the hearts of so many people. We are not on this planet to race and compete against one another to see who can be the richest human or the person with more followers. We are here to connect, learn, receive, and grow. 

Your only role as a person is to be open and receptive to both energies. We have no control over what other people do with their own lives. But we can lead by example and educate one another. Embrace your masculine side and harness your feminine side. When you find the balance of both you find success.

Dealing With Anxiety


Dealing with Anxiety 

Hey Friends! Thanks for tuning into “Dealing with Tori” my wittle baby podcast (or in this case blog)! Each episode (post) will be short, sweet and the perfect thing to enjoy in the morning; just like your coffee.  Hopefully, this will help you ease into the day you have ahead while giving you some insight on how to deal with the specific topic on hand.

This week we’ll be dealing with anxiety.

I’m not a health professional nor a therapist, but I know what it’s like to deal with anxiety. I’ve felt the tightening of my chest, the loss of speech, the sweaty hands, and the shortness of breath. Anxiety is scary, powerful, and real. So, from my personal experience, here’s how I’ve dealt with it.

Being on a TV Show like The Challenge can be very triggering for anxiety. As a competitor you don’t know when you’re going to go into an elimination, what the elimination  will be, or who you’ll be going against. All of those factors concoct the perfect recipe for fear of the future, and that’s exactly what anxiety is.

So, after being on 9 different competition shows including Are you The One, Fear Factor, and The Challenge, I have finally learned some skills on how to deal with anxiety as well as how to apply those skills into my everyday life. Here are the 6 ways I deal with anxiety:

1.    Acknowledgment– Your body isn’t going to verbally tell you “Hey, I’m experiencing anxiety right now.” That’s just not how it works. But, your body does communicate with you! When you start to feel the symptoms of anxiety it’s important to process and acknowledge that you’re experiencing it! Like when you feel like you can’t breathe, or your brain is just so overloaded with thought that you can’t even concentrate. In those moments, if you can catch yourself in the early stages of an anxiety attack it Is important to do so. There are so many ways our bodies respond to anxiety, I’ll read a few off and I think you’ll be surprised by how many you can relate too. Anxiety can cause sweating, panic attacks, headaches, procrastination, lack of patience, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, memory issues, avoidance, stomach issues and the list goes on. Whether you or someone else is having anxiety it’s important to know what the symptoms are so you can recognize it. After you do that, you can then follow the necessary steps to relieve yourself of the stress. 

2.     Breathe- Focusing on your breathing sounds simple, but it’s the best tool you have to help reconnect your mind to the present moment. Anxiety can come from fear of the future or over-thinking your current situation. But, when you connect to your breath, and take deep inhales, and long exhales, you allow your body to calm down. You know that sound you hear on your Macbook or laptop when you’ve been working on it for hours? The one that sounds like a fan? Well, it is a fan. Your computer is being pushed to the brink and is forced to breathe and ventilate. Your mind is a computer. Your brain is firing up thoughts and ideas constantly and sometimes it needs a little fan! So breathe, think about each inhale and exhale and nothing more. Regain composure and move to step 3.

3.    Gather your thoughts– for those of you who can’t relate, I’ll try to explain this in a way in which it makes sense. Imagine you’re doing an Easter egg hunt with a serial killer, and if you don’t find all the eggs fast enough you’ll meet your doom. That is how intense an anxiety attack can feel. In your mind, your thoughts are scattered all over the place just like the eggs. So after you breathe, and realize that you’re not being chased, it’s important to collect all of your thoughts and answer these questions: What is triggering your anxiety? What thoughts are you nervous to think? Why are you feeling anxious? After you can pinpoint the reasons you need to write them down. If you don’t have a notebook and pen then make a note in your phone! List out everything that’s bothering you! Sometimes, just seeing the thoughts organized can alleviate some of your tensions!

4.    Move Around– Anxiety is a full body experience. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone and it’s terrible for your body when you’re producing too much of it. On the other hand, endorphins are known as the “happy hormone” and your body produces that when it gets exercise. So it’s really that simple, walk it out. Sometimes when I’m really stressed I’ll do a 7 mile run and feel amazing after. Other times, when my energy levels aren’t that high I’ll do something as little as a 7-minute stretch. Both of them are incredibly beneficial and can help you regain a feeling of control. 

5.    Put down the coffee! – From personal experience I can tell you how much worse caffeine makes my anxiety before a competition. A lot of people ask me if I take a pre-work out or do anything to pump me up before game time and my answer is NO. I am a morning coffee drinker, it really does help me wake up in the morning, but it’s not something I can drink through-out the day or before a big event. Caffeine is a stimulant and is known for triggering anxiety. Not only are there jittery side effects but caffeine stimulates your body’s “fight or flight” response system and immediately puts your brain into overdrive. So when you are preparing for a big event or even a small event that you’re nervous about avoiding caffeine. Trust your body, you already have everything you need inside you to be successful!

6.    Talk it out!– One of my favorite quotes is “A problem shared is a problem halved.” This means that if you speak to someone you trust and vent out your worries you are no longer carrying the burden all by yourself. It is human nature to be interdependent and connected, we’re supposed to lean on each other and talk it out. Here’s an example: I was on twitter and I saw a really nasty tweet about my fiancé Jordan. When I read it I was immediately sick to my stomach. The tweet was making fun of his left hand which never fully formed as a baby, to me that’s just something you never make fun of. I held in my frustrations for hours but as the day passed I grew more and more anxious. I was nervous Jordan was going to log on and see it, I could only imagine what it would feel like to read that, I wanted to protect him from it, but at the same time I didn’t want to bring it up and make it a big deal. I grappled with my thoughts all day, but my anxiety grew heavier and heavier. Finally, I realized I just had to talk to him about it so I let it out. With tears in my eyes I told him how sorry I was that the world was so cruel and wanted him to know that he should block that person on twitter so he doesn’t have to deal with that type of negativity. His response blew me away. He said “Tori, I don’t care what people say about my hand. I spent my entire childhood being bullied for it and learning how to deal with it. Nothing bothers me anymore and I know if a person says those things about me then they’re just miserable and full of hate. I’m more than confident in myself their words don’t affect me at all” I was so relieved to hear his response. All day I had been worried that Jordan would be just as bothered as I was and I was so very wrong. He’s strong and inspiring, and had I not shared with him my worries and anxieties I would have never learned such a beautiful lesson from him. He helped me resolve all of my anxieties and stress around the situation just by letting me know his feelings. A problem shared is a problem halved. 

Dealing with anxiety can be tricky and it’s not something that you will perfect overnight.  Even though I’ve been aware of the causes and effects of my anxiety, I still get it more often than I’d like.  My advice for you today is to be easy on yourself. Don’t judge yourself for experiencing fear, worry, or negative thoughts. You are human and what you are feeling is natural. When you feel your body sending you signals remember to breathe, slow down, make a list, and connect with loved ones. You are strong enough to get through any situation, you are more powerful than what is making you anxious.