I especially love this time of year because I feel as if everyone’s well-being tends to be more joyful, full of charity, and very festive! November, we get to reflect on gratitude and have a heart of thanksgiving. December, we get to celebrate religiously (or in other ways) the beautiful time of year. By surrounding ourselves with family and loved ones we can spread Christmas love all around. And then January hits – and we get to start over and make new resolutions for the new year!! I am the first to admit I struggle being this enthusiastic the remaining 10 months of the year. As most of my family knows, I am a worrier. I worry about little everyday things, I worry about big decisions I have to make, I worry about the people surrounding me, and I worry about the future. When this worry gets out of hand I lose all control of my emotions. I think it all stems from this constant fear of failure. I have always felt encouragement and been driven to work hard but nobody has ever put this pressure or fear of failure on me other than myself. For so long I thought something was wrong with me and I never felt as if I was good enough.
The word “depression” always sounded like a disability to me. And I’m not talking about the typical teenager excuse “Ugh, Im so depressed” emo phase we all go through. But the real chemical imbalance never sounded like something I ever wanted to admit I struggled with. For most of my life I tried to push these feelings aside and pretend I was fine. I would hide behind bad decisions and fake facades but the more I did this the more I struggled with stress, anxiety, and depression. It took a few years to actually come to the realization that this was something I truly needed to address and come to terms with. It turns out that more people than not also struggle with some form of depression or anxiety throughout their life… believe me when I tell you that you would be shocked to know how many people go through similar situations. All cases are different and I wasn’t to the point where I needed to be medicated, but I was encouraged to do some self evaluating to see what was triggering some of these spurts of sadness and stress. Through this whole process I have learned to surround myself with people who better me, do things that make me truly happy, and value my own self-worth.
First, we definitely can become a product of our surroundings. I know I probably sound like a broken record by mentioning them all the time but I seriously have the most amazing family. They have been my support system and shoulder to cry on my whole life. They are the greatest examples for me to look up to and strive to be like. But we don’t just surround ourselves with family members. Our friends, coworkers, and significant others are a huge factor on our well-being. Choose to be with people who share similar goals and who motivate you to be your best self. Have friends who make you laugh and smile from ear to ear. One of my best friends is Lindsay Arnold Cusick. We have known each other since we were 5 years old. She has remained one of the most loyal friends I have ever had. One of my favorite things about Lindsay is her security and understanding of herself. She doesn’t worry about what other people think of her because she is so comfortable in her own skin. Because of this, she is also one of the most supportive friends because she genuinely wants to see me do well and isn’t worried about comparing herself. Find a friend like Lindsay and your days will be filled with sheer and utter happiness! Relationships can also make or break you. I have had some absolutely amazing relationships and I have also had some pretty toxic relationships. I have found that if you feel you need to become “someone else” in a relationship, RUN!! Be changed for the better by someone, not for the worse. If you feel even the slightest feelings of insecurity, self doubt, or under appreciation, you are way better off without that person. Don’t follow my example and remain in a one sided relationship that ends up destroying you. (I have sooooo much to say about this topic. In a few weeks we will dive deeper into relationships! I can’t wait.)
When I was in one of my darkest depression phases I met with a Chinese Medicine Doctor who I did acupuncture with and other stress relieving treatments. She told me the only way for me to be outwardly happy was to cleanse myself from the inside out. She told me to write down all of the activities/hobbies I was good at and that made me truly happy. After I created a list in my journal she told me to read them everyday when I would wake up and make sure I did a few, if not all of them, everyday. Sometimes we tend to focus on all of the things we aren’t good at and can’t do that we lose sight of what we actually CAN do. My list consisted of performing on stage, photography, writing in my journal, being an aunt, running in the morning, FaceTiming my sisters, traveling, baking cookies, doing service projects, etc. By focusing on these things we love to do we are able to eliminate the stress of inadequacy. I suggest you write a list for yourself and see how truly amazing you are!
Last but not least, don’t ever doubt your self worth! Be confident in who you are as a person and all that you have to offer. These past few months I have chosen to love myself more. I love to take care and fix other people but I always forget about loving and fixing myself. It feels a little selfish at first but I have never valued myself and my well-being more than now. I am so proud of who I am and where my journey has taken me. Through the good and the bad I have made it here and I love being Jenna. This is the first time in my life that I feel completely happy in my own skin and confident in all that I have to offer. Have a beautiful Christmas you guys! I love you all SO much!
You are Beautiful
You are Worthy
You are Important
You are Special
You are Unique
You are Wonderful
You are Talented
and You are Irreplaceable”