Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Why do we as humans place ourselves in undesirable positions just to fill our humanly sense of belonging? Why do we feel the need to continue those undesirable positions instead of choosing our own method of fulfilling our sense of belonging? Why do we hold onto past and present unsatisfying circumstances instead of opening ourselves to a better potential for the future?

As a student of psychology, these are some of the questions I find interesting. Could the reasoning be due to a practice of conformity in some manner? We as humans understand the innate desire and need of belonging; however, the lengths that people will go in order to fulfill that desire can be complex. Research does suggest we have a tendency to fear the unknown to an extent. Maybe that could be the cause of such behavior.

Sometimes we tend to hold on to the past and present in fear of what the future holds. This makes sense as to why people will continue placing themselves in undesirable circumstances in order to fulfill their need, knowing the future is an unknown territory. The main question of concern targets the idea of to what extent will people hold onto unhappy positions instead of opening the door to more desirable circumstances in the future.

As a personal example, I was a part of an organization for three years of my life. Throughout those three years, I had to convince myself how this organization was for me even if I was gaining more negative perceptions than positive ones. I refused to release myself from the undesirable circumstance because that became the only thing I knew. That organization became normal — it became by comfort zone. The undesirable feelings became normal. I couldn’t imagine not being in the organization.

After much debate and conversations with friends and family, I chose to make the hardest decision and begin opening myself up to other desirable opportunities. Sure, what I came to know was gone. Those three years just felt different once I was forced to reform my perceptions of knowing. In giving up the past three years of my life, I have found a desirable position in my life, filled with like-minded people. I do still wonder about my past opportunities; however, I have felt as if a burden has been lifted off of my shoulders.

Are you finding yourself stuck in an undesirable position and feeling as if that is the only thing for you? One thing I have learned is you are never stuck and decisions to leave are difficult. You may believe there is nothing else, or you’re just going to “stick it out.” Why we continue to place ourselves in these types of decisions is interesting to say the least. Sure, it may be what we are used to and comfortable with; however, I am a firm believer that when one door closes, another one will open. Don’t force yourself into an unhappy position. Step out of your comfort zone and find your desirable position, without fear of what the future may bring. You would be surprised at what may happen if you do. Life is short and we all deserve to be the happiest version of ourselves.

Thank you all for reading and I will see you soon,

Jennifer

 

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Have a lovely weekend!

Embracing Your Entire Self

This morning when I woke up, I did not have any energy or motivation to begin getting myself out of bed. Usually in the morning-time, I enjoy getting a workout in to start my day off on the right foot. After all, exercise is a great way to boost your mood given the release of endorphins! This past month I have embarked on a pilates workout program, making sure to complete each day’s challenge. Today’s workout challenge was of no difference; however, I felt as if my only potential in completing today’s challenge would result in me not giving my all. I did at least attempt at completing today’s challenge, given this week marks the last week of the monthly program.

Even merely attempting to drag myself out of bed to get in a sweat session was not enough to boost my mood. Instead, I completed a relaxing yoga session. Given that I tried getting a relaxing workout in this morning, I still was feeling down for no known reason at all. I had the opportunity to meet up with some friends and was continuing to feel down. Maybe the dreary weather was contributing to my mysterious mood.

After my one class today, I decided to treat myself to what we call “bubble tea.” I tried a new flavor of bubble tea and found it to be absolutely delicious. In waiting for my order to be made, I did not even realize the amazement occurring outside. When I went inside the restaurant, the clouds had formed a thick layering over the sun. When I stepped outside, the clouds had dispersed and the sun was shining brightly.

Sometimes we wake in the morning, feeling down and are not sure why we feel the way we do. Throughout the day, we are presented with numerous, small occurrences as a sign of hope that the sad times will not last forever. For me, the thick clouds can make you feel down for no reason at all. When the sunshine peaks through the thick clouds, a glimmer of hope and cheerfulness can be spread.

If you are feeling down at the moment or have been feeling sad, keep reminding yourself that the sad feeling will not last forever. Find those small things in your life that make you happy – whether that be sunshine and treating yourself to bubble tea. Keep your chin up! Always be sure to remind yourself that feeling down for no apparent reason is perfectly ok. You are allowed to take extra time in the mornings, when you are struggling to get yourself out of bed. You are allowed to treat yourself when you are feeling sad. You are more than allowed to take the time you need in order to take care of yourself. Sometimes we go throughout our lives with a constant concern for others while failing to care for the person looking back at us in the mirror. Make time for your own wellbeing and take much care of yourself.

Cat provides an excellent, personal story of how she was only taking care of her physical self. She found peace through her yoga practice, along with other daily changes. Check out her story here: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/what-it-means-to-really-take-care-of-yourself/

I also found this article online, listing 101 ways to take care of yourself when you are feeling down or overwhelmed. You can find the source here: http://www.upworthy.com/101-self-care-suggestions-for-when-it-all-feels-like-too-much

Notice how both articles stress the importance of remembering how feeling down or overwhelmed is perfectly normal, and the sad feeling does not linger forever!

Do you have any favorite practices that you do when you are feeling down or overwhelmed?

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I did find this beautiful rose, blooming ever so effortlessly. I recently posted this photo on my twitter account: @smalltown_blog

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I did not capture a photo of my bubble tea, as I drank it all before I could! Instead, I found this gorgeous photo on The Bubble Tea Company’s site.

Thank you for reading and I will see you guys soon,
Jennifer

Spring Break

Happy Spring to you all! This past week my university celebrated Spring Break, an amazing week of no classes as a break before the second half of the semester comes in full force. In recent years, my goal of Spring Break was to always keep myself as busy as I possibly could. I have never gotten the opportunity to travel as much as I would enjoy. Spring Break, every year, became my one dominate opportunity that I would attempt to cram extravagant plans into one week, all while continuing the unending list of schoolwork requirements. By the time my week-long break would come to a halt, the week was not at all relaxing like it should have been.

I continue hearing the same quote over and over, “Quality, not quantity.” This very quote is what I incorporated into my Spring Break this year. Instead of attempting to visit multiple states in a limited number of days, I focused on fully appreciating my day’s adventures even if they were sparse this time around.

The week was actually relaxing, getting to spend quality time with friends and family. The latter part of the week, I took a trip to Oklahoma and was able to relish in all of the farmlands we drove through. The trip itself was not elaborate. The day of the trip fell on St. Paddy’s Day, while most businesses were offering some sort of festivities-themed activities. Instead of planning every small detail about the day’s travel agenda, the traveling activities occurred effortlessly. The people we met along the way were all compassionate and friendly – even making time for some March Madness basketball games!

After exploring the towns we drove through and stopped to talk with friendly locals, we happened to discover a cabin-themed steakhouse that we stopped for dinner. This cabin restaurant was breathtakingly exquisite. The food tasted homemade, while they happily served St. Paddy’s Day-themed alcoholic beverages.

Once returning back to my hometown, the residents of where I live gathered together for some live music to celebrate the festivities of St. Paddy’s Day. There is nothing like live music to end a great day with your hometown!

I have always became engrossed in what other people had planned for Spring Break, feeling the need to conjure multiple plans for the break. The older I have gotten, I have realized that it does not relate to the amount of plans you make; it actually relates to how well you take in the plans you make. The same idea can be seen through multiple scenarios.

Instead of focusing on the quantity of anything, try focusing on the quality of that same thing. I promise you will walk away with more from that, as opposed to walking away exhausted with nothing memorable to show for it.

Another Spring Break has come and gone, and the second half of the semester is already beginning to bear down on me. Who knows how I will be spending Spring Break next year, as I will have already graduated college by then! I did thoroughly enjoy the quality time I received this past week, and I want to encourage you to find the same quality time in your lives! Thank you for reading and I will see you soon!

St Paddys Day

First time trying a St. Paddy’s Day themed drink!

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Taking photos by the state sign is a necessity.

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In order to commemorate the first day of spring time, here are some gorgeous tulips I stumbled upon!

Have a wonderful weekend,

Jennifer

“I’m Possible”

A question I found interesting within my daily devotional is found in the book of Genesis, chapter eighteen and verse fourteen. The verse of my interest is, “Is anything impossible for the Lord?” The story behind the notable verse relates to the lives of Abraham and Sarah. Abraham and Sarah were unable to have children throughout their childbearing years. Both of them began losing hope that they would ever be able to have children together. Just as they began to close that chapter of their lives, the Lord claimed He would bless them with the ability to bear children. Abraham initially seemed confused if the Lord could actually bless them with such a thing. Sarah, on the other hand, laughed at the Lord’s claims. They were both hesitant on whether or not that was even possible.

Even though Abraham and Sarah were well in their years of age, the Lord blessed them with a son. Something that neither of them believed could happen, given their age and previous failed attempts of bearing children. Through this very story, the Lord showed how nothing is too small or big for Him to handle. Nothing is proven to be impossible for the Lord, as he is capable of anything.

While not everyone is religious, the concept can still be relatable to a wide variety of circumstances. First and foremost, sometimes we create our own mental roadblock, forming only one-way streets and round-a-bouts. We create obstacles and “do not enter” signs within our mind when it comes to various circumstances. We hold on to the idea of being inadequate to something we are passionate about, usually giving up on our passion or not trying at all. We tend to hold ourselves back within our comfort zones because we are afraid of failure.

The more you ponder, the more you realize just how many opportunities are continuously surrounding us on a daily basis. We allow those opportunities to fade in our presence, due to the idea that achieving that goal is impossible, or the reasoning that someone else deserves it more. While being selfless is an exquisite characteristic, each and every person deserves the right to find happiness and reach their goals.

I do not know what conflicting thoughts you may be experiencing, but I hope you use this message as a form of encouragement to go after the things that are much bigger than yourself. Find something you are comfortable with, and then go one step further. Do not let fears rule you. Discover something that you are passionate about and aim for achieving that purpose. Your goals might be down the lines of stepping up to an officer position in a club or organization, or even relate to applying for your dream job. Do not let those amazing opportunities pass you by. You would be surprised at the simple fact of nothing is impossible. I am reminding myself of this verse or mantra as I continue the search for my dream job with my psychology degree. I wish you all the best in your current and future endeavors. Thank you for reading!

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I found this quote on the internet and thought it was an interesting way of perceiving this concept.

I would love to hear your feedback.

See you soon,

Jennifer

Twenty-One Gun Salute

Over the past few weeks, my family and I have celebrated the life of my last great uncle who left this world on the day before my birthday. This past weekend marked the day of his memorial when family from all over the United States gathered together in order to honor his life’s accomplishments, while embarking down memory lane in the process. Most of my family who do not live near myself, have not had the chance to watch me grow throughout the years. In uniting together for my great uncle, the service brought our family together for the first time in a number of years.

My family and I celebrated the life of my great uncle by giving him a full military service, an event no one would be able to forget. I have only attended two military services, and I have vivid memories from both services. People always describe military services in relation to, “There will be no dry-eye in the crowd.” Experiencing a military service will give you goosebumps, nonetheless.

My family and I gathered together while the military men performed the twenty-one gun salute, before listening to the silence-inducing Taps played by a bugler. After the twenty-one gun salute was performed, the men gathered together in order to secure some of the blank shells in the folding of the American flag. The folded flag was then presented to our family, honoring the service of my great uncle.

The service of my great uncle was a memorable memorial. The twenty-one gun salute has always been of interest to me, dating back to the period of the early warriors. Speculation mentions that the number seven was chosen due to the Biblical significance. On the contrary, the three gun shots are suggested to be chosen due to the significance of the number within ancient civilizations. At the two military funerals of family members that I have attended, seven men gave the salute by firing their guns three times each. The salutes are always in odd numbers.

The twenty-one gun salute is considered to be one of the highest honors a nation could render. Experiencing a salute in person is absolutely breathtaking. My great uncle was given one of the highest honoring salutes, while his family gathered together to celebrate his adventurous life. After the service, our family came together that afternoon to merely “catch up.”

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The twenty-one gun salute

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A blank shell I was able to keep from the memorial

Thank you for reading this memoir of my great uncle!

See you soon,

Jennifer

Wednesday’s Traditions

Tradition – the transmission of customs or beliefs being passed along from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in a particular manner. The concept of tradition is my focus in this writing agenda. To me, creating some form of tradition is an exciting adventure with the anticipation of continuing those same actions or events. Throughout my years in college, I have not made any noticeable traditions that I knew of. Sure, I found myself over-involved in many clubs and organizations that would have scheduled meeting times and whatnot, but I would not consider those to be traditions. Rather, I would consider those to be a crucial aspect of joining the club or organization. I may have not created my ideal traditional adventures until my senior year of college, I would not give these present moments away for anything.

My best friend and one of her guy friends originally started the tradition of meeting up for lunch on Wednesdays in between classes. Their Wednesday lunch shenanigans quickly turned into an ever-growing lunch escapade, consisting of a growing number of people each week. Once I became aware of their lunch sessions, I definitely wanted to join in! Week after week, the three of us have continued our lunch adventures between college classes. Each week, we decide to eat lunch at a different restaurant, sometimes taking turns on bringing a guest to increase our lunch socials.

The first time I joined my best friend and her friend for lunch, I instantly knew this was something I yearned for each week – to have lunch with an increasing group of friends. Our weekly lunches have given me too many great memories to choose only one memorable moment to discuss. In totality, our lunch events have become an opportunity to speak of things that may be bothering us, or offer support and condolences when something might not be right. Our lunch sessions have become a place where your stomach hurts when you leave – not because you ate too much, but because of the great laughter that accompanies it.

This week’s lunch thrill was somewhat different, as classes and schedules unexpectedly got mixed up. Even though my group of friends and I were not able to render our weekly lunch plans, my best friend and I did not let that stop us from continuing our tradition. Our lunch plans on Wednesday might not have been exactly what we planned for, we still took the time to appreciate every moment we were able to create despite our busy schedules. On Wednesday, we chose to gather outside by the beautiful lake on our campus, in an attempt to complete some assignments; however, we chose to turn our attention to the nature around us while we had the opportunity of discussing how our week’s have been going thus far. Gorgeous sunshine and amazing friendship are two things that can turn your entire day around.

Wednesday’s have quickly become one of my favorite days of the week due to having the opportunity of having lunch with some great friends. Research does say laughter is a phenomenal influence on boosting one’s mood! Week after week, I look forward to catching up with everyone and experiencing what memorable events will occur that day. I have learned to appreciate every small moment. Life can be hectic, especially when attempting to schedule around the lives of numerous people in order to find a time that works best for everyone to meet up. Our Wednesday lunch festivities have become a tradition that I will appreciate up until we all graduate and go our separate ways. I cannot wait to see what our tradition has in store for us next week! Thank you for reading!

I would love to hear about your traditions!

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The gorgeous lake on our campus!

See you soon lovelies,

Jennifer

Birthday Week – Mardi Gras Style

This past week I was able to celebrate my 21st birthday with some unforgettable memories! I was able to start off the week by getting matching, mother-daughter tattoos with my mom. We found an amazing, yet simple tattoo design that we both instantly fell in love with. The tattoo we decided on is considered a part of the Swahili culture, emphasizing the special bond a mother and daughter share together for eternity. On my actual birthday, my best friend took it upon herself to go out of her way in order to throw me a mini surprise party, given that we still had college classes come birthdays or not. As I walked into our classroom, I had seen she had surprised me with balloons and cupcakes. My actual birthday was spent with amazing friends and dinner with family. Given that my birthday did fall in the middle of the week, the weekend became my birthday celebration.

Over the weekend, I was able to travel to Louisiana in celebration for my first Mardi Gras celebration – an exciting event I will definitely want to attend next time! The day started off by eating lunch at my favorite restaurant in town. After a lunch, a fun trip to the casino seemed appropriate; however, we did not exactly get our money back. We have a way of calling it “feeding the machines,” as opposed to losing our money! The rest of the day was spent at the Mardi Gras float preview, an event I will never forget. The amount of floats and the elaborate designs of each float was amazing. The most amazing part of the event was the welcoming crowd of people to all the out-of-town people. Loud music, beads, awesome costumes, crowds of people, and food were all a part of that night. I can say that I got my first ever Mardi Gras beads! After attending such an event, I was somewhat curious as to the origins of Mardi Gras. I am familiar that it tends to fall around the same time as the Catholic’s Fat Tuesday event. In researching a little about Mardi Gras, the event actually originated back in medieval Europe, passing through Rome and Venice around the 17th and 18th centuries. The event has been around for quite some time. If you have never been to a Mardi Gras festival, you should definitely check one out!

Overall, I have had an amazing birthday. This may have been one of my favorite birthdays given that I was able to spend it with all my friends and family all while traveling and exploring new things. Here’s to another year of adulthood! Have a wonderful day, everyone!

What was your most memorable birthday?

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Our newly done tattoos!

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Here is one of the amazing float designs!

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Needless to say, this float featured steam coming out of the bull’s nose!

Too bad I couldn’t have gotten pictures of all of the floats. Thank you for reading!

See you soon,

Jennifer

First blog post

I saw the most inspirational post on social media today. The post was about how we should all take a moment to step back from our busy lives in order to fully appreciate all of the small things right in front of us, sometimes those things that we simply fail to notice for being in such a rush. This particular post resonated with me on a deep level, for I have always been one of those people who never stepped back to take in all of the breathtaking things around me. Instead, I have always relied on a calendar book to feed me information about my day’s agenda without holding my head up long enough in order to notice the small things occurring all around me. Like I mentioned, the motivational aspect to that very post has become my personal mantra over the past year when I first started training for half-marathons. I have always been the type of person to enjoy nature; however, I was not fully appreciating nature in its wholeness. Training for half-marathons forced me to wake incredibly early, sometimes before the sun rose. Those early morning runs, in what people would say as the blistering cold, was rejuvenating. Not only was the physical exertion from my run exhilarating, I was able to rise before most people in town only to see what some people are missing out on – the sunrise. I didn’t only go on morning, training runs. Some days I would run at night, just in time to awe at the beautiful sunset before the day would turn into night. Training for my races taught me a lot in regards to being more appreciative of the beautiful things we have in our lives around us.

I am by no means trying to encourage any of you to start running half-marathons (even if they are fun and rewarding). I want to encourage you to give yourself fully in the moment when you are going for a walk outside or having lunch with a friend. I actually have a related story to watching the sunset this week. I am a full-time college student and have many other things on my plate, all at once sometimes, and it can be quite overwhelming at times. This week I had about the same amount of work I am normally faced with; however, this week I experienced an overwhelming sense of emotions to the point that I was completely unsure as to where I should even begin. Even if you are unsure where to begin, you still have to start somewhere. I am from the south and winter is fairly nonexistent around here. One day this week, the weather was absolutely perfect with such gorgeous sunshine. Instead of completing work indoors, I chose to complete my criminal law work outdoors. In doing so, I got to watch yet again, another breathtaking sunset. In my opinion, watching the sunrise or sunset just has some way of captivating you.

As the title of my blog implies, I am from a small town. Growing up, I have always believed in order to fully take in everything around you or even find the most inspiration, you have to travel to big cities; however, I am now aware that is not the case. I am more than able of finding beautiful inspiration outside of my doorway, as I could find in a bigger city. With my blog, I want to encourage you all to find your inspiration, to appreciate everything around you, to take the time out of your day to fully be present in the moment, and to finally know you are capable of doing these things whether you live in a small town like myself or a bigger city like New York. I hope you all have a lovely day, and thank you for reading!

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I had the opportunity of capturing this beautiful sunset over the summer, resembling that of an angel.

See you soon,

Jennifer