I am in counseling and I am Okay. I am Okay and I am in counseling. There’s no right or wrong in that.

Okay. To jump RIGHT IN…

I have been going to counseling for quite a while now. I had an 8 month break (mostly due to Eric touring) and have recently gone back again. I won’t sugar coat it – it’s hard but it’s so incredibly rewarding, refreshing & it’s a game changer. I’m going to write a future blog post about why I’m going but today? I just wanted to touch on my session… So here goes…

Yesterday I paid someone to make me cry and here is what i learned:

(1) I am okay. Just me. The way I am.

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Please note: this is not me saying you are HEALTHY just the way you are. But YOU…just you (your personality, your quirks… what makes you “you”)

…You are OKAY! You are not a bad, terrible person.

It is important for us to strive to be the healthiest version of “you” that you can be

(I think if I type “you” one more time, my computer might blow up.)

I would not recommend thinking along the lines of “well, i’m okay. Just me the way I am, like you said” and leave it at that. Like I said, You ARE okay but its not good for anyone to stay where they’re at, especially if you’re not emotionally healthy. With that, however, you don’t want to obsess about constantly being a “better version” of yourself because that can lead to thinking the current you isn’t enough. *sigh* It can get out of hand very quickly. Did that even make sense? Well anyways…

(2) I am my own person. I am not a replica of anyone.

To look this good.

Those of us that are easily swayed, we can turn into other people without ever realizing it. Losing our true self and being none-the-wiser. You are your own person. You have your own personality. You can be like others, parts of your parents and your siblings and relatives…similar to friends… but you are YOU.

If you are a “mini-me” of someone else, that is absolutely fine! Embrace that! But don’t forget that you are not them. You are still you and nothing someone has done or will do can determine who you really are. They certainly cannot determine what you can or cannot do, either.

What am I saying here? If you are just like someone else… this could be a friend or relative… and you see traits in them that you see in yourself that you don’t like.. then remember that you are not a mold. You are not confined to the way that person behaves. You…are….you. Make something of that. Be different. Be healthier. 

(3) I have to stand up for the way I feel.

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Basically, don’t be a people-pleaser (no matter who you’re trying to please).

Feel your feelings and express them.

Caution:

 

You still have to think everything through. This is definitely me not “giving permission” to react and say “well she told me to express my feelings as I felt them.” Well yes, sure… but try not to react on impulse. 🙂 Trust me.. this is the pot calling the kettle black – believe you me!!!

It’s hard, but try not to lash out emotionally and then say “well you said to feel and express as they are. To not judge them and accept what you feel.” You are correct. Accept your feelings as they are… that you feel “that way” and its okay that you do. However, mull it over before reacting. Think of all the various sides. Think of other perspectives and be sure that what you feel is something that you want to share. And then if and when you’re ready to share? Be confident. THIS is you, the healthy side of you. This is how you feel and no one should judge you for that. No one should make you feel small or like you’re a bother to them because you feel that way. Speak up for yourself but with love and grace to others.

(4) I am allowed to be proud of myself.

Untitled Design 7.pngI am someone who naturally likes who I am and is proud of what I have accomplished in all aspects of life. However I am also very practical. I think in black and white with intense logical conclusions. Sometimes if I learn something and apply it, I think “well, thats just the way it is. You learn something and then you apply it.” But sometimes what I don’t see is how fast I apply it or that maybe its a very hard challenge that most people aren’t successful with. So I should be PROUD. So I am learning to affirm that in myself.

My husband – Eric Barfield – gave me a great example. It’s like how baseball players practice all their life, constantly training. So when they hit a homerun, it’s no surprise that they shrug it off like it’s no big deal, meanwhile we’re in the stands acting like we’re about to go to war, charging into battle like an amazon warrior.

So with that said, I want to say to myself…

Sarah, I am proud that you were able to overcome this life-altering….game changing challenge

(*insert evil grinning emoji* – are you dying to know what that is?!?! I’ll go into it more in another blog… stay tuned!)

(5) I am not a bad person

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Sometimes the way we think of ourselves, the way others make us feel or the doubts we have in our abilities make us feel like we are not good people. Like we’re flawed (and we are) but that it’s all our fault and because we can’t be perfect 24/7… we are bad.

If you’re like me (an 8 on the Enneagram… again, something I’ll go into later) you feel like you can control ANYTHING (Hitler was an 8 lol). When you can’t “buck up” and fix yourself, its very, very hard. You feel like a failure and a bad person.

But. You. Are. Not….

 

So let me just say this: counseling is hard. You face some extremely tough emotions. But it’s far harder to live in a world where you don’t know yourself. You don’t know why you feel the way you do, you don’t know why you can’t change and you don’t know why you’re hurting. Sometimes? You don’t even KNOW you’re hurting. That is just not the way to live this life. If you can afford it, I cannot recommend counseling enough.

You are not weak if you go. You are not pathetic. You are not stupid. You are not worthless…

PS: if you try it and you don’t like it, consider trying another counselor before you give up. Not every counselor fits you! You have to try and find someone who works with you and your personality – someone who GETS you. Don’t quit…

Last & Final (very important) note:

I do not judge you if you do or do not go to counseling.
Do I think it’s wonderful? YES.
Do I think it can make you a healthier version of yourself? YES.
But I know that it can get very expensive (most will help you out and let you pay based on your income). I know that it’s very hard to get to a place where you’re willing to face your demons.

You are loved. You are cared about. With me, you are SAFE.

Have a good day, lovelies.

Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open? – Rumi

8 Points a Blogger Might Keep in Mind

An article that really rallied me and got me going was “19 (More) Strategies for Finding Readers” at ProBlogger.com. I feel it is extremely important to read this whole article top to bottom. There are a ton of links to other pages that you really should check out. I, personally, have not made it to all of them yet – there is THAT much good content. However, I’m also impatient so I read a lot of it and jumped on the blogging train. That is fine to do of course, but you have to make it a priority to go back and really work hard. Read the whole thing, go step by step and do what is necessary. 

Here’s what I’m going to talk about today (and most of them come from the article):

– Time

– Canva (don’t miss this one!)

– Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

– E-mail signatures

– Content + being unique and useful

– Linking to others + Blogger Projects

– Participation (don’t be a hermit blogger)

 


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The first point this article makes is about time. It takes time. What an understatement.

A lot of people want to rush in and write day after day and are shocked when 2 months later, they still have 20 or less followers /subscribers. It takes time

But something that goes untouched is talk about ENJOYING the time building your blog. Learning and growing. Climbing the ladder is so important, so vital. It will provide the means to make you the blogger you want to be in the end. So please… 

Do not rush this process. Enjoy it. Find ways to enjoy it. 


Artistic Expression

 

The Nashville Wife Artistic Expression

One thing I did in order to enjoy it was to allow my artistic expression to come out not only through writing but in every detail of each post. The fonts, the formatting, and best of all, the pictures. I have so much fun finding just the right pictures that portray what my words cannot. With this, I have started using an app called Canva.

 

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I have recently been creating my own blog graphics with this and have also used it to create promotions for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. A free tool that will be your best friend – but also your achilles if you’re not careful. You can spend a very long time tweaking and editing your graphics so be careful. Do this part of your blog post LAST. Write your content, paint your canvas and then create your graphic(s). You’ll feel accomplished in the end, guaranteed. 

TIP: always label your graphics with your title (i.e @tnashvillewife or The Nashville Wife… however you like)

Speaking of Twitter, Insta and FB…

The Nashville Wife

I want to briefly touch on a few things that I did because of the article I shared with you. He never actually comes out and says to promote specifically on these 3 sites but it goes without saying. With Instagram, I have my own account for The Nashville Wife and it’s an all-in-one deal. I can post to my Twitter account and to my Facebook account as well as my pictures showing up on my actual blog, too. Great promotions!

(PS: you can do this on Pinterest, though I haven’t tackled that too much yet).

With Twitter, search for bloggers. Something I found was a HUGE community of bloggers but not just that. Twitter accounts where their whole purpose is reading blogs and retweeting them to help build a huge community. My absolute favorite RT blogger is @bloglove2018 and their blog is Family By Choice. This person is the sweetest, one of those people you’d love to meet someday. Please check out their account and let them feel some blogger love!

E-Mail Signatures

The Nashville Wife

I’ll keep this one plenty short of words. Just create and save an e-mail signature. Every e-mail from every account you send out (that you’re allowed to edit) should have your link on it. Easy.

(…this was another article tip.)

Content + Being Unique and Useful

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2. Content Content Content – start by thinking about it in terms of usefulness and uniqueness and I think you’ll be on the right track.”

You’re likely to think “Well this is my own blog so of course it will be unique.” That is not necessarily true. Depending on the type of blog, it could be mildly unique (as maybe something seen from your perspective or something of your own taste) but overall, it is the same content as another blog. I love what he said above ^^^ “usefulness”. That is exactly why I started my blog. I mean sure, it’s a great outlet (haha – making a joke here! If you’ve read When Hearts Bloom you’ll understand..)

… but I want to help people. 

I want my blog to be USEFUL. 

(if you want examples as to what I mean by “useful” or “unique”, please shoot me a message because I have MANY and I don’t want to make this a 2000 word blog! lol)

Link to Others + Blogger Projects

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“Participate in the linking to other blogs and you’ll find that many benefits come. For a start you’ll be participating in the conversation, you’ll be getting the attention of others and your readers will appreciate that you’re interested in helping them find the best content out there.” (ProBlogger)

(#12 is also similar to this) I recently collaborated in a very fun poem-writing adventure with the bloggers The Floating Thoughts. You can find the blog HERE. It was totally different from what I normally do but extremely fun writing alongside of a huge group of people and seeing someone make something beautiful out of it. I highly encourage you to not only check it out, but also participate! Say hi to Roy & Dee Kay for me! These are some wonderful people.

 

“#5 Participate in other people’s conversations”

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What he says is exactly how I feel, too. It has to be genuine. I’d rather have no likes on a blog than likes “just because” or to get my attention. I won’t do the same to others. If someone comments on my blog, I will always respond but I’ll also make it a point to check out their blog and find a post that I find interesting to me. I will then also comment on it – but seriously, only if it interests me. I’m not a jerk – I just want to be genuine. I won’t leave their blog page till I find an article that I can honestly like and comment on.

Side Note

My own musings on this one…

I think you’ll be surprised and even offended (or maybe you won’t) at what gets hits and what does not, especially if the content is close to the heart. But you can’t go there – especially when you have a low count in followers. You’ll get there but it’s hard. Give it time. Your followers aren’t cold and they’re not uninterested. There could be many reasons why you aren’t getting likes or comments so don’t let it unnerve you. Keep going! Keep bearing your soul!

I would consider evaluating your tags. As you get going, about a month or two in, start reviewing what blogs get more hits.

– Is there a pattern?

– Are there more hits when a certain tag is inserted?

– Did you see more hits when you started using more pictures?

– Oh! And bullet points (haha) are much more enticing for a reader than gobs of paragraphs. Break up your content! [did it help here?]

Anyways, again… Please read the article (Strategies) + all the articles within. As always, comment or send me a message if you want to talk, brainstorm or just tell me I have no clue what I’m talking about. [Please don’t. I already know this. Ha.]

Thanks, lovelies and PLEASE let me know if there’s any tips you can add!!!