self-acceptance & our ability to change

~ March 28th, 2022 ~

As I am swiftly approaching my college graduation next month and reflecting on change that has taken place the last several years, several things come to mind to reflect upon related to the process of change, especially change within one’s self.

Carl Rogers, possibly my favorite psychologist of all time and of great inspiration to me, wrote:

“We cannot change, we cannot move away from what we are, until we thoroughly accept what we are. Then change seems to come about almost unnoticed.”

What is so compelling about what Rogers is writing here is an idea that eludes the best of us even amid our best efforts: we cannot change for the better in any significant way until we began to grasp as we are, and accept ourselves in that present state. For if we try to make change in any meaningful way, we need to understand as we are first in order to make any progress.

The challenge then, in experiencing radical or lasting change, is that change seems to present itself paradoxically. In order to change, we need to first have acceptance with ourselves; but fear of confronting ourselves so directly, weaknesses and all, can derail our original motivation of pursuing change.

One way self-acceptance plays such a critical role in growth is that it moves beyond awareness of weaknesses and failures, and what needs to be worked through or rectified in ourselves. Self acceptance also propels change into motion in a very positive manner. We can acknowledge our needed areas of improvement while recognizing our full potential that will make the needed change possible.

This awareness of potential, then, can facilitate change – if we understand not just our weaknesses, but our strengths, we will then see ourselves realistically and more fully. Change can then be realized as we conceptualize a more concrete view of reality that allows for the dual possibility of our weakness and our strength.

This can be a difficult part of self understanding, as daring to see the the good and beautiful within us may feel like a foreign concept. Many of us readily tear ourselves down mentally, and are far more comfortable with exercabeting our mistakes or mishaps than acknowledging the good we also possess.

But honest reflection of what we truly are, and focusing on our positive potential, is key to achieving self-growth. Without reflecting on who we are and truly understanding ourselves, we may hold many false ideas about what change even needs to occur. For example, many individuals hold false beliefs about themselves due to personal insecurities. They assume that those insecurities are personal deficiencies on their part that need to be changed in order to be “enough” in some way. But self-growth is not about achieving a status of “good enough. ” When these insecurities are accepted as parts of ourselves rather than loathed, we will have the space to understand our aim is not to “fix” any part of ourselves, its to become a stronger, better version of who we hold the capacity to be.

Part of the potential that needs to be tapped into is the capacity for gentleness and patience with one’s self. If you are striving to become a better person, be patient and be gentle with yourself regarding shortcomings. Strength does not come from never failing, but from overcoming failures over time and learning from them.

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On a side note from today’s post, five years ago today I wrote my first post for this blog. Happy five years to this blog and being able to share my love for writing and ideas on it 🙂

Veronica Marie

on protecting one’s heart

      Happy Thursday!

Growing up, “guard your heart” was an adage I heard very frequently. Often presented whenever purity, sexual sin and the like were being discussed in Christian circles, “guarding your heart” was a well-worn phrase directed at youth to protect their hearts from romantic encounters that could damage them in the long run and lead to sin and spiritual harm. On the surface, this seems like a wise enough message to promulgate, derived from Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything else flows from it.”

What is interesting is that while ‘guard your heart,’ is cited as a warning against the dangers of sexual sin and harm, the actual context for the verse has little to say about guarding your heart in a romantic relationship. Many evangelical circles attributed a meaning to this verse that it never seemed to intend. Chapter Four of Proverbs discusses attaining wisdom and understanding, and guarding one’s heart is presented as a means of being receptive to what is good and wise for the soul and contemplative thought. Yet whenever this was discussed in Christian circles, it is interpreted to be a direct warning against opening one’s heart to impurity and spiritual danger.

I wrote the below passage in a journal several years ago, in the context of how “guarding your heart” was presented as a fear-based view of romantic intimacy:

           Perhaps if I had guarded my heart more, none of it [past experiences] would have hurt as they did. But I’ve never liked the expression “guard your heart” much anyway.

         I understand its good intentions, but guard your heart? The heart is what contains everything beautiful and radiant about a person. Do not guard it. Cherish it, and share it, let its love radiate. But don’t guard and “keep” it stagnant. Hearts are meant to be nurtured through love. They’ll wither away without it.

       If you are so intent on guarding your heart, just when will you be open to unlocking its doors?

Why I draw attention to this misinterpreted biblical verse in today’s post is the potential for harm this message holds. Instead of discussions of healthy boundaries in a relationship, I and many of my peers growing up learned that spiritual danger could come of “opening one’s heart” to love, particularly romantic love. The result was a struggle with understanding when one could open up to romantic love, if at all, and went hand-in-hand with many “purity” talks in which romantic attraction was framed as an occasion of sin and being in a relationship meant being on guard for falling into sin.

When we tell ourselves or others that romantic love should be governed by rigid parameters and a fear of wrongdoing, we are robbing ourselves of the experience of loving and trusting freely with a person who also loves and trusts us. Love (romantic or otherwise) is the single greatest, most beautiful privilege and gift human beings might have the potential for having and giving, which stems from the openness of our hearts. We should not be afraid of this capacity of the heart, or perpetually guard against the possibility of finding someone to express our love to.

When I first met my now boyfriend last year, I was not at all sure we would work well long-term due to our differences of background, religion, and personality, and how fearful I truly was in trusting someone again and opening myself up. But as our relationship continued, he has proven to be a partner who welcomes emotional vulnerability, values trust, forgives, and truly cares. He has helped me learn so much about love, the scope of which I never would have been able to realize if I had rigidly “guarded my heart” to the detriment of our growing relationship.

Protecting yourself in the sense of knowing and asserting your own boundaries and limitations are very important, especially when warning signs present themselves or your own sense of self is compromised for the sake of a relationship. But boundaries and an understanding of what is and is not acceptable in a relationship is a far cry from having a defense up against the possibility of finding love with another person.

I am writing to you today to remind you that you deserve no less than this, and I hope that any defenses or walls that have gone up due to past experiences do not need to remain forever, as you are deserving of finding love (in all its forms, romantic or not) rather than being afraid of its possibilities. You, my dear reader, deserve to open your heart up to love, life experiences, and whatever comes your way that can help your heart grow.

~Veronica Marie ~

on simplicity

hey lovelies!

It has been a relaxing, lovely morning – cozy in my favorite flannel with hot coffee and my journal, and a warm spring breeze wafting through my bedroom window, I have been embracing the quiet before work later today.

Since finishing my junior year of college in late April, I have been discovering how much I have been longing for simplicity – enjoying the sweet little things, like taking the time for an unpractically long shower, the sound of coffee brewing in the morning as I wake up, or spontaneous cuddles with our sweet, sleepy apartment cat. It is not just the inherent simplicity of these things that make them so enjoyable, so peaceful – it is with appreciating these things, I have been able to make the time to slow down to embrace the rhythm of living life a little less rigidly, with fewer hours of my day taken up by commitments, homework and deadlines.

I am so grateful to have the time and space in the coming months to enjoy some of these simpler things – reading, cooking, volunteering, getting my new apartment more put together, and making time spent with others a priority. Slowing down and stepping away from a fixed schedule and chronic “busyness” can be so calming and good for the soul. Even though I was able to accomplish goals, complete another year of schooling, and “be productive” the past eight months, time spent balancing my work and free time since school has ended has been an even greater joy.

I encourage you, in whatever area of your life you may need, to simplify, to slow down however it may benefit you or soothe your own spirit and state of mind. Whether this is natural for you to enjoy a little less structure and more carefreeness, or if you chronically overbook yourself in a chase after productivity and accomplishment, being intentional about making time for simpler pleasures and the little things that bring joy will soothe your soul and mind.

Work, school, and other responsibilities make demands on not only our time but also our energy and identity – and I would encourage you to look beyond them to examine in what ways you can cultivate who you are, rather than being limited by only what you do or accomplish.

“Nature is pleased with simplicity. And nature is no dummy.”

-Isaac Newton

Veronica Marie

be true to yourself – practice integrity

Happy Sunday!! Its a chilly day in October with snow outside (yesss, SNOW- the Midwest is crazy), so I am appreciating my cozy, warm apartment this afternoon. Hope you all enjoy hearing some rambling thoughts of mine on this topic today. ( :

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What comes to mind when you think of being true to yourself? What does being true to you look like?

Many of the messages I come across regarding being true to self revolve around external manifestations of ourselves. These external manifestations can include style or living preferences, clothing/appearance choices, and aspects of our individual personality. While these external things do contribute to a person, they are essentially expressions – or symbols – of our true identity. They can act in such a way that cue others in on who we are and mirror our inner selves.

With that considered, let’s re-frame what being true to who you are looks like. Being true to who you are can be getting that daring haircut you’ve been dying to try. But it can also be doing the right thing despite external influences attempting to sway you in what you know is right.

Its this latter dilemma all of us experience and so few talk about in this context that I want to emphasize. When we are taking action based on our own convictions and sense of right, we are making choices that align with the beliefs we hold deepest within us. There are few things I can think of that has the potential for a deep sense of self than doing that.

Integrity, similarly to being honest to others, is alternatively being truthful to yourself. This personal integrity encompasses your own opinions, convictions and intuition. You are being true to yourself through ensuring that your actions and behavior follow up on what you know to be right.

One incredible way I have seen this philosophy of living with integrity and consequently being true to myself has been in becoming vegetarian. I have wanted to become a vegetarian for some time now, and decided to make the transition to a vegetarian diet now that I am in an apartment with the freedom to buy my own food & prepare my own meals. The driving force behind my decision was the realization that if I feel called to something according to my personal convictions, it should not just be an ideal. I need to follow up on what I know to be right with living actions that align and level up.

If you are aiming to practice self-integrity and be true to yourself, your actions need to level up to your ideals. This can be a hard thing to put into practice; most people have good intentions based on strong convictions, but its a matter of forming habits & living that aligns with those beliefs. The beautiful thing about this view of self-identity is not only will we be strengthening our individuality, we will be making the world a better place by being better people. A by-product of strong individuals is stronger communities- because then, people are choosing truth in their lives and surroundings and it will affect those around them.

I encourage you to began seeing the personal decisions you make, the actions and habits in your daily life as expressions & manifestations of yourself. Not only will this lead to greater self-awareness, it will also direct your daily habits and decisions & give the simple daily things value.

Thank you for reading loves!! ❤ I would love to hear your own thoughts on this topic below,

Veronica

The Armour We Wear

Hello my lovelies!!

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We like to protect ourselves-our innate self-defense mechanisms accommodate this need for protection very handedly, allowing us to physically or emotionally seek shelter from a threat to our safety. These mechanisms originated to protect us on a biological level, but can become a hindering roadblock in connecting with other people, especially if our need to self-protect has been heightened by our past.

As a result, these self-defense mechanisms form ways in which we try to protect ourselves from harm. As warriors facing a battlefield, we don armour that will aid us in dodging the bullets we fear. The armour begins to form for us a safe place, a place to conceal who we are to avoid pain and stay safe. 

This internal armor weighs down on us, and can obstruct connection with other people. Connection-possible when something mutual is shared-can be lost when we shell ourselves in, making it impossible for us to share our story, what has shaped who we are and what we want to become. In order for relationships to thrive, the armour needs to fall away.

My armor has always been the protective shell I retreat into, a way for me to stay secure in keeping vulnerabilities nestled inside, so the world cannot have access to them. Not once has it been the sole enabler for me to trust another person, open up, or be vulnerable in any way.

What is the armour you protect yourself with? And why are you wearing it?

Your desire to protect yourself, to guard your own safety and well-being is necessary, but should never be what interferes with your discovering how much more life is than that. The armour is not the bad thing-the issue arises when you don’t know how to let the protective armor go to accomplish a lifelong dream, find love, or chase after something bigger than yourself.

It takes courage to acknowledge how our self-protective ways have helped us through difficult times, and its also an act of courage to recognize when those protective ways gone unchecked could self-sabotage.

You were not made just to protect yourself from the pain life can bring-you were created for trust, closeness, and belonging. More than anything, you have been made for much, much love, in whatever form that you find it.

Until next time,

Veronica

you are far more than pretty

Hey my loves!!

People, especially women, are held to some pretty impossible standards when it comes to appearance. These conventions and arbituary notions of what beautiful is has embedded itself deeply within societal attitudes, perpetuating the idea that there is one particular way we should all look.

“You are under no obligation to look pretty. Pretty is not the rent you pay to exist in the world as a person. Your humanity, kindness, and mercy is what you pay.”

-Rohan Mathews

This idea that beauty equals success, defines our femininity and lends you value as a woman or person, is simply untrue.

The freeing truth is that you are not obligated to be beautiful, and you are far more than merely pretty: you are capable of being much more than that.

Each of us as unique human beings with endless potential are beautiful, but I use that word in a sense rooted far beyond what the naked eye could ever perceive. While each and every person was created beautiful, that beauty reflects the love of a Creator who had no beauty standards or expectations in mind when He formed you.

While putting effort into presenting ourselves well, conveying respect through how we choose to look or expressing ourselves through our appearance is a positive thing, it can also be twisted into a need to “match up” or meet a standard that shouldn’t have existed in the first place. This notion of what a beautiful person should look like misses the mark, because it turns a blind eye to other forms of beauty, assuming what only can be seen is all that exists.

You do not need to be pretty in order to be successful, the best version of yourself, and confident in who you are. What will unlock your potential is not how society or others perceive you. Rather it is in recognizing how much potential you possess as a person on your own: the passion you radiate, the joy you experience, the kindness to impart, and the strength you exude-those are indeed beautiful things, on a interior, personal, and deep level. All your nuances, flawed notions, original thoughts, quirks, personal experiences and hopes-make you, you.

 

You are far more than pretty.

 

Lots of love,

Veronica Marie

some inspirational reminders for 2020

Happy New Year’s my loves!

I am desperately hoping to keep my new year’s goals to a minimum this year (the more resolutions I write down, predictably, the less I am apt to accomplish any of them). While we are all setting goals and making plans for this year of 2020, I think it is far too easy to get ahead of ourselves in sometimes arbituary resolution-making, so here are some reminders to inspire and motivate you to reach your goals.

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*Go easy on yourself when you fail. Its okay to fail. Its okay to fall, and not to reach the unattainable perfection we tell ourselves we should be able to reach. Don’t let failing drag you down. Focus on the fact that you rose back up.

*But continue trying to reach for what is most important to you. Whether that is pursuing a practical goal or pushing to become your healthiest physically or mentally…prioritize what will help you to be happy in the long run and do the most good in the world.

*Self-care isn’t always bubble baths, sleeping in, and nights in. Sometimes, instead, caring for yourself is getting up rather than hitting the snooze button, going out and spending time with friends, and challenging yourself to extend beyond where you are comfortable.

*Don’t fear taking chances-on others, yourself, or life. Instead, fear living with the regret of never knowing what would have happened had you braved the risks.

*Think of something you have been hoping to do for a long time but you “haven’t gotten to yet.” Go actually do it. 

*Be open to the new. Whether that is a new friendship, experience, unexpected opportunity, or an unforeseen relationship or job, work on becoming open to what is new coming your way.

*Don’t hesitate to express your love to those you care about.

It is always infinitely better to have cared too much rather than not at all.

*Treasure your past. All your past experiences, with their struggles, pain, memories and joys: those things formed you and made you who you are now. I’m of the mind that even the toughest things from your past helped you in becoming tougher than you ever would have been otherwise. Treasure those past experiences that helped make you, you.

*…While looking to the future with hope. Its a new year, new decade, and absolutely the right time to become a transformed, happier, better you. Seize the moment and look forward to where life is taking you.

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Have a beautiful rest of your day loves, and a very Happy New Year!!!<3

XOXO,

Veronica

 

‘A Quiet Place’ review

Hello everyone!!

Typically, I am someone who very stubbornly resists watching just about any horror film-but as I made an exception to watch A Quiet Place-and wanted to also write up a review for the film-hope you enjoy reading a few thoughts of mine on it!

In A Quiet Place, and at the head of the Abbott family forced to live in a post-apocalyptic world, are parents Lee & Evelyn (depicted by John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, married in real life). Their sacrificial love for their children is depicted through the simple life they lead as a result of their world being overtaken by mysterious monsters. While the family has stayed close and found ways to survive amid their post-apocalyptic surroundings, the dedicated love of Lee and Evelyn for their children is constantly overshadowed by the threat of the monster’s extremely keen hearing, making all but the slightest of sounds a threat to the family’s safety.

The film’s horror elements rarely resort to jump-scares and gory deaths more typical to the horror genre; instead, it builds suspense through extended periods of silence throughout. The film’s simple yet effective use of silence-only broken with crashing sounds or non-diegetic music-is accompanied by the fact that the family daughter, Regan, is deaf making American Sign Language the Abbott’s primary form of communication with each other.

It seems rather rare to find such a realistic, heart-wrenching depiction of family as exists in A Quiet Place: creating a world with characters determined, for the sole sake of their loved ones, to survive amid near-constant threats to safety.

Beyond its cinematography, masterful use of sound and silence, and strong acting-this film has loving relationships within a family at its heart. A Quiet Place‘s portrayal of family engages its audience with the story of one family’s struggle for survival, surely, but also quietly points to deeper truths about ourselves, and what we would do for the sake of our loved ones. Its a beautiful contemplation of love and family, powerfully presented on-screen.

XOXO, 

Veronica

what gives you joy?

hey my lovelies!!

It has been awhile since I’ve gotten to updating my blog and one thing is for sure, I definitely do not hope to take such a hiatus from blogging again. But that said, I’m seriously excited about today’s blog post. I think it’s topic is something that is so easy to overlook and not consider nearly enough, hence why I decided to write it. I hope it is able to encourages& uplift you in some way ❤

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How often is it that we find ourselves in painful, worrisome, difficult times in life, only to dwell and ruminate in them, rather than seeking solace or hope? I think its only natural for us all to want to focus on what is worrying and troubling us, perhaps so we could only find a solution, a way out. But there’s not always a way out, and if there is, sometimes the best way to seek it is do some outside looking in.

Despite how weighty our life’s worries and problems are, we need to hold onto what we know and are living for ultimately. Not only that, we need to make more of a point to pursue the joy and things that deep down matter most.

For me, what ultimately matters is my hope in God. I’m living firstly for the faith in a God who loves. The trust I have in God gives me such renewed peace and joy each day. There is truly nothing that satisfies my heart more than to know I have God to trust in no matter what else the future may hold.

Beyond my faith, my writing and similar things give me incredible joy. Even writing a simple blog post like this; sharing thoughts and ideas through words, makes my heart happy. Reading and cherishing my absolute favorite books, listening to favorite music tracks, spending time in nature, laughing, talking with, and bonding with other people-all these things give me immense and endless joy. You would think that these are things I pursue every day without fail, but they are often things I neglect to nurture and direct my time towards. It is ever so easy to distract ourselves with things both nonsensical and useless in the long run-as if we’re afraid to chase after what our heart truly loves.

Do you find yourself doing the same? I find that while writing is something I absolutely love to do, I hesitate often in making it something I consistently practice and work on. While its something that gives me joy and satisfaction in my abilities, as if I’m afraid to put my ideas out there and try to find the joy I am certain it will give.

Perhaps you need to do some soul-searching, to find those things that set yourself alight and give you joy. But I can promise you that once you are able to identify what those things are- those things that don’t just fill and occupy your time but brighten it-you will be all the more content and happy at heart. What gives joy, in a sense, seems to be the same for all human beings-we all long for a little heaven on earth. While in that sense joy is the same for all of us, it becomes unique to each person when we discover what form this heaven on earth takes for each of us.

So; what is it that gives you true and lasting joy?

Lots of love,

Veronica

how to sophisticate your style // starter guide to elegant fashion

Hey my lovelies!!

Recently I’ve been trying to update my wardrobe by wearing many new pieces and changing my style up a bit. Dressing in an elegant, classy way is very appealing to me so that’s what I’ll be writing about today.

Also, to clarify, dressing in a classy and elegant manner isn’t about covering up but rather choosing to present yourself in a way that conveys who you are while expressing respect for yourself.

Dress for the occasion

Perhaps the most important essential in dressing elegantly is to simply consider time and place before putting together an outfit. Is this a formal or casual occasion? How can I dress up or down this clothing piece I have in mind?

Consider what the appropriate sort of attire is for an event, and then dress accordingly.

Buy less of trendy pieces, and invest in more timeless ones

If a piece that is on-trend attracts your eye and sense of style, consider whether you can be wearing this several seasons or years from now or not. Make sure that a major portion of your wardrobe is made up of pieces that will outlast the test of a trend’s time.

Choose a fashion icon to inspire you.

Perhaps its your sister, Blake Lively or Audrey Hepburn-choose someone whose fashion to you is both appealing and timeless, and take note of how they wear and style the sort of fashion your eye is most drawn to.

Choose clothing that fits (instead of clings) to your figure

One of my favorite fashion quotes is “your dress should be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady.”

Aim to wear pieces that fit you rather then cling to your figure. This is not to say there are some more form-fitting (or loose fitting!) pieces that are a no-go. But, if clothing is skin tight and uncomfortable to wear, its going to ultimately be an unflattering look for you, so opt for something that fits you well instead.

Match your metals

Have metal detailing throughout your outfit? Pair those with other silver (or gold, etc) toned metals in other accesorries throughout. This will make for a cleaner, more cohesive look.

Thanks so much for reading this post!Do you have any go-to style tips?? ❤

XoXo,

Veronica