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Posted on May 12, 2011

And now, for something entirely different…

Today was one of those days where I needed to be reminded of what’s important.

I was in a funk – one of those moods where you just.feel.blah.  A little voice inside my head was feeding me little lies, saying I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t doing enough. In short, I was letting negative self-talk get the better of me.

When I was a graduate student, that little negative voice was a steady companion. I constantly doubted whether I belonged with my fellow students. They all seemed to be so much smarter and to have everything under control. What others made look so easy seemed impossible to me. My research project was a bumpy ride with what seemed like endless setbacks while other projects appeared to progress smoothly without any obstacles.

But what I came to realize is that looks are deceiving – the people who I thought had it all together shared some of the same feelings of doubt and anxiety.  The truth was that graduate school was hard – heck, it was supposed to be hard.  Any learning experience is built around a challenge.  Ultimately, the more complex the challenge, the more opportunity to grow and learn.

I thought I was supposed to already have all the answers and when I of course didn’t, I felt like a failure.  Once I accepted that it was okay to simply say ‘I don’t know,’ a great weight was lifted and that negative voice was hushed.  When I defended my thesis and graduated, that negative voice was just plain told off and slunk away in sulky defeat.

In the past few months, I’ve actively worked to shut that voice out completely.  Of course, it still pops up here and there (ironically, about every 28 days).  When it does, I have to take a moment and remember what my life truly is. It is a gift – a beautiful gift that I get to shape into whatever I choose.  I share that gift with a family that is never short on love, friends that are never short on laughs (or good wine 🙂 and a husband whose love reminds me of all this when I can’t remember it on my own.

Today, that voice paid a visit, and to be honest, it caught me off guard and I let it take over.

But then I came home….to my dogs who think I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread (well, actually they prefer waffles)…..and more importantly, to my best friend, who reminded me of what is true. Sometimes, it’s easy to be positive and sometimes it’s a choice.

So, readers, here’s a reminder: all the cliche elementary school posters with kittens on them are right – attitude is everything. Don’t waste time telling yourself you can’t. Instead remember the times that you could and did.

And if all else fails, eat some cupcakes 🙂


    1. Sometimes I find, also, that a good hug can do wonders. Wish I was nearby to give you one. I appreciate your words and the reminder that we need to always be “on guard” with our minds, not letting those negative thoughts take hold. Remember that in our daily lives we should always keep Christ in our heart and thoughts, and if we do that, those “negative” things won’t have room to take up residence. I love you sweetie.

      • I love you, too, Mom. Thanks 🙂

    2. You have been someone I have admired for many years! You have an abundance of talents and are beautiful inside and out!! Plus you have adorable dogs!!

    3. Aww…your description of graduate school sounds so similar to my own experience. I’m glad you were able to shut out “the voice”, I know it well. Enjoy the puppy cuddles!

    4. This is a terrific post … you can, you DO! Every day! To the best of your ability, to keep body and soul together, to pull someone special along beside you, to be ready to lay a hand on the heads of those special dogs, to make plans for tomorrow. And then, you do it all over again! And sometimes, you embellish things really well and make killer cupcakes! Because that’s life … in a nutshell. Period. Peace.

    5. This was very uplifting and inspirational. Thanks for this. 🙂 It’s nice to know that nobody is really “alone” in the negative thoughts or feelings about ourselves, and that we all have our down moments. Usually when we talk to others about our own problems, they may seem surprised and say they would have never guessed or never noticed, but at the end of the day we all have our worries. I loved how you said those kitten posters in elementary school are right and that attitude is everything. I never gave any thought to that when I grew up, actually never gave any thought to cliche kitten posters or calenders ever– but now I’ll remember you said that whenever I see one. 🙂

      Your dog is adorable, btw. Whenever I’m feeling awful, my dog reminds me of how simple things can be. Dogs don’t over-complicate things. They live in the moment and they want the simple pleasures in life. Food, play, love, sleep. They accept us entirely and love us unconditionally–it’s no wonder we’re crazy for them.

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