So I recently finished this really awesome self-help book called You are a Badass by Jen Sincero.
This book has left me with nothing more than inspiration to write because it impacted me in such a positive way, and I wanted to share the love and the words of wisdom from the novel in my own way.
Are you ready to be a badass?
Step 1: Honor your Bad days, Celebrate your Good ones
Life isn’t black and white – it’s very grey, and sometimes plain shit colored. Meaning, it’s very easy to let the good and bad blend together in a way that makes everything feel painfully neutral (or more commonly, bad, because bad always overtakes good.) I’ve spent so much of my life trying to avoid bad. I’m the kind of person known for doing everything I can to keep my shit together when things go sour, and what I’ve come to realize, is that bad days are necessary. And they, just like good days, are just as important to recognize. We try so hard to ignore bad days that we invalidate our feelings in the moment. When we do that, we allow those negative feelings to manifest overtime, which eventually comes out even on our best days. So when you have a bad day, honor it.
Do your best to get through your day of course, but give yourself time to stop and recognize how you’re feeling, and why the day is tough. While doing so, remind yourself that you’ve made it this far, and that there are good days to come, and that bad isn’t just “bad”, it’s another opportunity to grow through hardship. Remember: It’s okay to have bad days, it’s normal to have bad days, but it all depends on how much negative power you give them.
And when the good days do come, as they always do, celebrate! Let your successes and your happiness burst from your chest. Smile, dance around, make someone laugh, donate to a good cause, and remind yourself that you work through your tough days to get to your good ones. And, that the tough days you conquer only make you stronger – but it’s important to not let the bad “bleed” into your good – when you feel good, let yourself feel good – don’t let the bad from a past day ruin it, because in the end, all days are valuable and add to your life – you can’t have good without bad, and bad without good.
Step 2: Believe in Yourself, Against all Odds
I’ve dealt with anxiety for most of my life, and it’s crippled me in ways that have made me feel like a joke. I’ve had some days where I’m so down on myself, that I feel straight up worthless. But in reality, I’ve done some great things with my life and recognizing that is important.
That’s why believing in yourself is so valuable. Even when you fail, even on the bad days, even when everything seems to be falling apart, you have to believe in your own ability to be successful and outstanding. You made it this far. You’ve very well done some awesome things in your life as is, and the more you worry about how “shitty” you are, the more energy you take away from your own confidence and potential.
We spend so much time trying to be “better” versions of ourselves, but instead of encouraging ourselves to be better, we drag ourselves down when we aren’t good enough. What if, even for a moment, you devoted the energy you spend bringing yourself down to loving yourself even when you’re at your lowest?
Let’s say you find yourself with a paper or project in front of you given by your professor or manager. In this scenario, you got a D on your paper, and your manager says you really need to shape up your work ethic for your next project.
Of course, you’ll have an initial negative feeling about both those scenarios, but instead of allowing yourself to spiral into how terrible you are, what if you took that energy, and thought to yourself “Wow, I didn’t do so well, but hey, I can see where I slipped up, and next time, I’m going to be so much better, and it’s going to be great.”
Your perspective and your mind has the most power out of anything in your life – if you allow yourself to spend your energy on good, positive perspectives, it can make even the heaviest and darkest things feel lighter and more manageable, and can alleviate so much anxiety. If you believe, regardless of your recent failure, that you’ll do better next time, you honestly will.
But you have to believe it; you have to send it out to the universe and truly make an effort to do better – to use your failures and mistakes as tools to fuel your determination to be more successful next time. Honor the bad, own up to mistakes and celebrate the good, because I promise that success is waiting for you in the future if you believe in yourself.
Step 3: Work to Form Positive Habits and Elevate your Frequency
Sure, you brush your teeth and wash your face in the morning, but have you ever thought of making a habit of positive thinking? Positive thinking can be really tough, but it can raise your energy levels and your “frequency”.
The novel You are a Badass referenced this really awesome concept of “frequencies” often, which has to do with the kind of energy you’re putting out into the world. Whether you believe in God, Buddha, the universe, or nothing at all, there’s something to be said for thinking positively and applying it to your words, actions, language, and body.
If you get up every morning, and mumble “Man, another day to get over,” then you’re sending out that “frequency” to the world that this day is gonna be another shit day for you to just get over with. And that’s what you’re going to get – but if you get up and say “Alright, next day to conquer, let’s do this,” you’re sending out a much higher leveled frequency that will radiate from you and be brought back to you.
Positive energy is infectious – if you walk into work with a beaming smile, you’re guaranteed to get some smiles back, thus cycling that energy throughout the entire office. Even if you feel like total garbage one day, if you get in the habit of waking up and letting that positive thought-pattern stream across your mind, it’ll make a difference, even if you don’t believe it in the moment.
I get that habits are hard to form and a negatively-trained mind will probably come kicking and screaming at first – or, it’ll think you’re just plain psycho for trying to think “things are great!” when you have crippling debt and depression, but hey, those things are only as cripplingly as you allow them to be. Perspective is key.
Step 4: Time Seems Scarce, but You Can make Time to do what you Love (if you work at it)!
I’ve spent a good chunk of my new adult life thinking I have no time for anything. I’m always “busy” with “adult” things. Work, getting groceries, cleaning, all the typical bullshit adults are used to dealing with. But what I’ve come to realize is that being “busy” is one of the best excuses to stay stagnant in your own routine. I get it – we’re all tired, and yes, we are all busy, but are we truly busy enough to do what we love, or what we need to become a better person?
I still feel too busy most of the time and that busy-thought pattern leads to a negative thought cycle that prevents me from making time for what I love to do. “Oh, I can’t work on this story, I’m just too busy with work…oh I can’t go out, I’m just too busy wasting time scrolling through Facebook.”
Time is precious, but we easily waste it by saying we have no time, thus, sending out that energy to the world that we have no time. We receive what we think – if we think we have more time and believe that we’ll go to the gym to run a mile after an 8 hour work day, then we’re going to make time for it and do it. As I mentioned in step 3, if you can create a positive habit with something, it’ll only become easier and easier as you keep doing it. It sucks at first, of course, but hey, gotta win yourself and your time back somehow, right?
I realize that many of us do have genuinely busy lives, and with that, I’ve come to the conclusion that working through exhaustion to make time for what you love is necessary in many ways. For example, I’m sitting here at my desk with a blanket over my head, a cup of tea, some tired bloodshot eyes and massive back pain from sitting all day at my desk job, but alas, here I am.
The more you work through your exhaustion to make time for what you love, the more capable you are to do it. Of course, I’m not suggesting to totally put off your time you need to rest and recharge, but try not to let every day of your week amount to just work and sleep if you can help it! Even doing something small, like writing the first sentence in a poem, counts as something, and deserves to be recognized.
Step 5: Lift Others Up, But Don’t let Others Drag you Down
I work in a pretty stressful environment – myself and my coworkers spend all day solving a variety of issues that wear on us mentally and physically. It’s easy to doubt yourself when you don’t have all the answers, especially when you’re doing your very best. And from what I’ve learned when being stressed at work (or in general), is to get up from your damn desk, and crab walk to someone else’s cubicle and start shit talking them till they laugh their ass off. It works – I swear.
I’ve always loved to make people laugh – laughter naturally exudes positive energy and should be integrated into your day as much as possible! (Unless you work at a funeral home, then that’d be weird, but to each their own). I try my very best to help the people around me. Whether it’s coworkers or friends, making someone feel cared for, or appreciated makes a world of difference. Even if you have to act like a total goofball to brighten someone’s day, I promise it’ll automatically brighten yours too.
On the flip-end of this, say you crab walk to your co-workers desk, and nothing you do makes them laugh – they start to spout a bunch of negative things and you start to actually believe them yourself. Red alert: Walk AWAY! If you surround yourself with people who are constantly negative or have self-loathing habits, it’s only going to suck you into their spiral.
This can be hard too, because sometimes the people you the love most have these habits – of course you’ll put more effort into lifting these people up because you love them, but you can only do so much till it begins to weigh on you, and take away your good energy. This one is particularly difficult for me since I’m such an empathetic person.
I’ll spend hours trying to fish someone out of a lake when they have cinder blocks around their ankles, clutching the key to freedom in their own hands (the key they refuse to use). You can only lift someone out of the water so much – in the end, they’re the ones with the key, and you shouldn’t have to drown too if they are unwilling to free themselves.
Spreading positive frequencies is important, but knowing when to tackle or avoid negative ones is important too.
Step 6: Get your Shit Together
Life isn’t easy, it isn’t cheap and it definitely isn’t fair. This is where the “badass” part comes in. If you think you’ve got it in you, you’ve got it, sister. But if you think you don’t, you most certainly don’t and won’t until you change your way of thinking.
If being better were easy, everyone would do it. If being happy were easy, everyone would be happy – there would be no war, no suicide, no chaos, no (insert random sad/crappy thing in the world here).
So get ready to kick your own ass, because if you want to make a difference in your life, you have to believe it. Make more time, tell someone your true feelings about them, get your career, conquer that paper/project, go explore new things and have adventures.
Don’t allow yourself to be stuck. Being stuck is the kryptonyte to badassery. I can’t get a new job because of money. I can’t workout because I’m tired. I can’t work on my passions because I’m too busy.
If you think all these things constantly, you’re going to be stuck forever – expand your horizons – try something new and get excited about it! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in society’s expectations of reality, but you know what? You make your reality. I’ve written a thousand times about being trapped by reality, and here I am, still fighting my best to shift my perception and to form more positive thoughts in relation to it. I’m no master at it, but all I’m trying and that counts.
Because if I genuinely think my world is great, then it’ll be great for me, regardless of how crazy people may say I am.
And if someone thinks you’re crazy for:
A. Being happy
B. Doing what you love
C. Being too optimistic
D. Going above and beyond the norm
…screw ’em. You don’t need someone telling you your positive energy is shit simply because they’re too blind to recognize how it can change their own life if they just took off their blindfold.
If you’re 36 years old and jumping in fields of flowers while holding a bubble-maker makes you the most happy, then by God, don’t let anyone stop you.
Of course, if stabbing people in the gut and harvesting their organs brings you the most joy, you may have to reconsider my advice on this step (and seek a doctor, because yikes!) Sorry (cough, not sorry). My morbid self had to come out somewhere.
Step 7: Love Yourself, Wholeheartedly
Reading this last step may have made you laugh, or left a bad taste in your mouth. Honey, how can you love a piece of garbage? Please. Stop that negative talk and listen.
This last step is so important and one that the author You are a Badass would put at the end of everyone of her chapters. Loving yourself isn’t about being some narcissistic or self-righteous. It’s not about being conceited or unrealistic. Nor is it about showering yourself with flowers and self-made glory because of how disgustingly amazing you are.
Loving yourself is being kinder to yourself, being easier on yourself. It’s lifting yourself up rather than dragging yourself down. It’s telling yourself that having a bad day is okay and you can still do better the next day. It’s being the one person that truly understands your feelings to the very core and accepts them and respects them. Loving yourself is realizing you’re capable to bounce back from the darkest corners of your mind because you know you’re strong enough to do it. Because you trust yourself. You believe in yourself. And that my friends, is self-love.
It’s not easy. I’m no master at any of these steps. Knowing me I’ll spiral down in the future and maybe even write a depressing poem tomorrow. I’ll be tired and angry about life. And I’ll be sad too. But the thing is, when you shift your perspective in a way where you let your own feelings be okay and justified because you actually respect them, feeling bad doesn’t actually feel so bad, nor does it stick around as long. Keep that little encouraging thought in your mind of “Hey, I know we’re feeling bad now, I get it, but it’s okay to feel bad, because I know you’re great still, and you’ll get through this.”
Instead of freaking out about feeling bad because you should be feeling “good or productive”, love yourself so deeply that evening feeling bad can be okay.
A very strong piece of my personality is being melancholy – which means I’m perpetually and pensively sad. As I’ve grown older, I’ve realized that my sadness is not a bad thing. It may feel bad sometimes, but it really stems from my analytical perspective of the world. It’s a powerful thing. It’s something that’s a part of me and I’ve slowly started to respect it.
Respect the different pieces of yourself, the good and “bad” – learn to understand them, learn to love them, and realize that all those pieces are what make you a unique and badass individual.
So let’s recap the steps to badassery: do your best to honor your bad days and celebrate your good ones, believe in yourself, work to form positive habits and elevate your frequency, make time for the things you love, lift others up but don’t let them bring you down, get your shit together and most importantly love yourself!
Good luck out there – you got this.
What steps were your favorite or most helpful? Is there anything you’d add to your quest to badassery? Leave a comment below!
With everlasting encouragement,