A Key To A Happier You: Forgiveness

A Key To A Happier You: Forgiveness

This past week I was in Chicago for the holidays and somehow, Chicago has a way of inspiring me to produce my best work. So here are some of my recent thoughts on forgiveness and self-love.

The city evokes my curiosity, the wonderment of the unknown, uncertainty, and largeness of the masses. As I grow older and have new experiences under my belt, I begin to wonder, could I find sanctuary in the chaos? I don’t say home because home, for me, is more of feeling and less of a residency— home never quite felt like home and love from just family never felt quite whole, so I searched for a substitute for what I lacked my whole life.

I came up empty, filled with resentment, anger, and even jealousy to those who had what I did not.

Now, my heart understands and my mind is on the same page— disappointment runs in my veins because I create these expectations in my head about how people should be, act, and care for me when the reality is, most things don’t revolve around me and their inconsiderate manner is just part of their universe.

I can’t change them, especially when my resentment covers me like a silent plaque, until I am no longer accepting their existence. I go ghost into my own world, uninviting and shrill to their ideology, because no matter how they cling to me, I act as though it’s never enough, and that is entirely on me. My skin screams to be touched, to be hugged, and to be loved, but their presence only lingers in the back of the room, refusing to put forth effort I desperately crave.

For a long time, this one undeniable thought laid prominent in the center of my mind through all my acts, “I’ll never be enough for you.”

But through the years, it’s not that I am not enough for them, but actually the opposite begins to ring true. That I know, and how is that fair for me to be so judgmental and act as though I am superior? When I am not, nobody in this world is.

So I chase it back to the source—

I take a look at who I am and what my needs are, and focus on some of my truths.

I would never be happy in a small town with small minds and small endeavors with the social norm being to marry young and have babies to carry on the name to raise up to be football jocks and record breaking stars. I would never be happy to work for someone day in and day out with little growth, no new knowledge, no experience that leaves me feeling fulfilled and enlightened. I would never be happy, if I chose to stay instead of leaving for my next adventure, but with choices comes opportunity costs and trade offs.

In order to take on a new adventure, I had to say goodbye to the only house I ever knew, goodbye to the closeness of my father, goodbye to my best friends who have been by my side almost every hour of every day.

I had to embrace the loneliness of the newness in hopes of finding what my soul needed most; Fear lingered, but I never allowed it to make me back down. See, I have no problem engulfing myself in new passions and desires, but when I try to free my heart of the restraints of sadness I’ve endured, I refuse.

I refuse to start new with the ones I love most— I refuse to truly forgive and let down my walls I’ve built up to keep them out, but that’s the start of my journey to self-love.

In order to love myself, I must be free from my burdens, relinquish any hate festering in my soul, any and all unsettlements to my soul and I’m starting with taking responsibility for my soul actions and acknowledging my imperfections, bruises, and lackings in a vulnerable way to heal and repair what I view as broken.

Who I am— is what my soul exudes. I have the choice to be a better, more loving version of myself, who honors effort and has faith in mankind, who understands most people are just doing the best they can. People love differently, handle stress differently, communicate differently— not wrong, just because it’s different than what I choose to do. I’m aware that love needs to be at the center of all interactions, and people deserve second, even third and fourth chances, without having burdens held over their head.

Forgiveness for yourself, forgiveness for others will be the one thing that will restore your faith in unconditional love.

I’ve linked one of my favorite articles below, so check that out!

Forgive… And Feel Happier

You’ve got this,

Ash

 

 

 

Maddie Ruth’s “If It Seems Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is”

Maddie Ruth’s “If It Seems Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is”

This is the start of something really special; Maddie’s story is the first one I get to share on my blog for Empowering Women and I can’t thank her enough for being real, vulnerable, and open with you all to share her experience, insight, and advice. To read more posts from Maddie, her blog is https://withlovexom.blogspot.com!!!

It has been eight months since I made the best decision of my life.

I wanted to be in love with myself. With who I had in my life at the time, there was no way that would ever happen. I had to delete the negative to be able to receive that positive I was searching for.

So there I was, I was in love.

Love is great.
Love is strange.
Love is also blinding and my first love blinded me.

He turned me into someone that I never want to know again. I am going to share with you my story about how the man of my dreams made me realize that just because it is a ‘dream come true’ does not mean it suppose to be a forever type of love.

Why am I sharing this?

I never want someone to feel the type of pain I felt.

You know when you like someone and you want them in your life, you start to look past all the red flags. You just shrug them off and think ‘he really loves me so it’s okay.’ and begin to justify their actions.Well, it is actually not okay.

When I was a small child, my cousin sexually abused me. He was much older than me; the memories of this caused me so much pain, anxiety, depression and fear in my life. The problem about being a fighter (I use this word instead of victim because I am not weak) after sexual abuse is that you carry that weight on your shoulders for the rest of your life. Of course, you find ways to cope, but those memories never go away. You just learn how to make them hurt less with time. Which is a bunch of shit, if you ask me.

Now fast forward to where I was about a year and a half ago.

After finally coming out about my childhood nightmare, all I ever wanted was to feel loved. I’m not talking about the kind of love you have with your family because I had that— I love my parents more than anything. I wanted the love where you feel craved and desired. I wanted a love that would make me feel good about myself.

Then, there he was— blonde hair and blue eyed, standing there looking so good I wanted to eat him. It didn’t take long because a week later, we were dating.

That should have been the first red flag.

Who dates after only knowing each other for a week? I am sure people do, but I knew nothing about him. He came off timid and sweet and I was head over heels. I will tell you I had the best first eight months of my life with this kid. He was a dream.

A dream. That is all he ever was. We were long distance so I only saw the part of him that he wanted me to see. I will never forget the day he said to me “What if I change and you no longer like who I am.” Months later he did change, and not in a good way; I guess he was trying to warn me.

This relationship wasn’t all that bad. I learned a lot, I learned enough that I am going to share with you what I learned to help you. (You can thank me later).

He puts down his mother?

It doesn’t matter the circumstance…RUN. If he doesn’t respect the woman who gave him life then he will never respect you.

“All women just want the money”

If he says that and he breaks your heart just remember I warned you.

He tells you, “You’re so stupid”

First of all, throw the heaviest object at him that you can find at the moment and then end things immediately.

“You’re so clingy”

If you just want to cuddle tell him goodbye, if you want his location, boss’s phone number, social security number, and a phone call every hour you for sure need to chill.

“We can only talk on this day, and at this time”

LOL…True story I was blinded enough to deal with this. If this happens to you I want to remind you that no matter what he looks like undressed this type of personality should immediate turn you off.

He tries to change you

I have never understood that when people try to change the person that they are dating. I mean your personality from the start is what drew them to you, why suddenly is that no longer doable for them? If your S/O tries this, laugh and tell him to screw off.

Complains about money

I’m sorry?

Compares you to an ex

HA HA HA HA HA HA girl you can do better than him anyways

Doesn’t support you

This was my major problem in my last relationship. Support is everything if you are killing it and he is unable to recognize that I am making this clear to you that you can find better. There is someone out there looking to give you the recognition and support you deserve for all of the bomb s*** you do.

Remember your happiness comes first
I was always so afraid to upset my ex. I would get so worked up over nothing and that was not fair. Your health and happiness should always come first because happiness comes from with in. You can’t rely on someone else for your happiness.

He may try to hit you with the ‘let’s be friends’ line and honestly if you two couldn’t connect in an intimate relationship, a friendship might be hard to create after a break up.

Overall, what I want you to get out of reading this is that you have the power to be a self-motivated, independent, happy woman. I can’t tell you what to be, where to be or who to be, but I can tell you that if your man does most of these 10 things you can do better. I don’t believe men do it unintentionally sometimes it just happens out of anyone’s control. How you can control it is stick up for yourself.

If you see something you don’t like say something don’t be passive.
GIRLS ARE SO PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE.
I know I am and I am working to be more honest, straightforward and confident. Never let a man dull your shine girl, we all have had that one major heart break and I am telling you that you will survive.

Be you, know your worth and the right person will come along. You don’t need to put up with a guy just because you feel as though you can’t live without him.

With lots of love,
M

Being a GirlBoss with HBO

Being a GirlBoss with HBO

This is a sponsored partnership with HBO and Her Campus. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Thoughtful Blonde possible!

Whenever my mom calls me, she doesn’t even try to guess where I am anymore because I am everywhere and anywhere, between meetings, clubs, school, events, volunteering, and working.

Lately, life has been extremely crazy and filled from sun up to sun down, but I’m sure you can relate. I just finished curating my spring schedule for school, creating a budget for my organization, pitching an idea with a program I’m involved in, interviewing for summer internships, attending classes, taking exams, and the list could go on all day.

While I have a mini-rant about all the things I have to achieve that are diligently written down in my overflowing planner, I remind myself– I need to make time for things I enjoy and escape from the craziness so I don’t get buried down in all business, and no play. Sometimes, my brain is moving so fast and I’m suppose to be in more than one place at a time, as if that were actually possible. Wouldn’t that be nice?

However, no matter how busy I get, I have a constant escape— HBO Go and HBO NOW

Of course I have certain shows I refuse to miss like Game of Thrones and Ballers when they air, but sometimes, life gets in the way and I’m forced to avoid social media until I get on the HBO Go App or go to https://play.hbogo.com and watch the episodes I missed. Every season, every episode is patiently waiting for me to watch on my own time, which is perfect, when I don’t have a consistent schedule. Who says you can’t balance it all? Let’s just leave out the social life aspect though because I value curling up in my bed, in sweatpants to catch up on my shows more than going out and being social, more often than not.

 

So, I downloaded the HBO Go App on my phone and that has made life so much more enjoyable during the little bit of extra time I do have. Whether it’s downtime between classes or meetings or waiting on my friend who is always 30 minutes late, I just catch up on some of my favorite series or explore some of the new HBO movie options. So the downtime is fine because it’s easily filled with exciting new love connections and plot twists from HBO Go and HBO Now.

IMG_1087

IMG_1081

 

ALSO, a really great charity event and giveaway HBO does is “Night of Too Many.”  HBO will be giving away 2 tickets to A Night of Too Many Stars in NYC (with hotel and airfare covered). On Nov.18th at 8pm (ET), HBO will be airing NIGHT OF TOO MANY STARS: UNITES FOR AUTISM PROGRAMS. With an estimated 1 in 68 children currently affected by autism, this was created to support autism schools, programs, and services and they’ve raised over 24$ million to date. So in order to be entered into this giveaway, post a picture of something you have “Too Many of” with the hashtags #NightsofTooManyStars & #Contest because you already know you have too many shoes, too many makeup pallettes, and one too many homework assignments.

For giveaway rules: http://notmscontestrules.dja.com/

For more info: INFO or http://itsh.bo/NOTMSTickets

To view the trailer for this awesome event: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bl3JqKXO_OU

No purchase necessary. Ends 11/8. Open to residents if the 48 contiguous US and D.C., 18+

So check out my entry for this #contest #TooManyOf #NightsofTooMany

IMG_1556

I totally have too many books– maybe you can call me a hoarder or an excellent collector, but books are the one thing I have #TooManyOf so show HBO what you have #TooManyOf and good luck! You’ll see this on my IG: Thoughtful Blonde

 

 

Ladies, This Is Not A Competition

Ladies, This Is Not A Competition

Better than I was yesterday. That’s who I want to be.

Going through life changes and actually evaluating yourself is at often times challenging, but we make it more difficult than it needs to be. When we look in the mirror and analyze who we are, we are gazing over the exterior first and then sinking deep into our soul; we constantly highlight our flaws and what we’d change, both physically and in our personality, and as we do that, we are subconsciously comparing ourselves to the girl who seemingly has it all together. “Comparison is the thief of joy” but it’s all we do. 

Social media will be the death of us. We see the girl who is Instagram famous with a million guys pining over her and two million girls dying to be her. We see her highlight reals and perfect selfies. We see her excelling, and having the perfect hair, body, friends, family, house, etc. We see perfection when we analyze her, but when we look into ourselves, we see flaws and imperfections. We see everything that is wrong. But why? Why are we so quick to adore others, but forget to see our worth? Ladies, we are not in competition with one another; we all have different strengths and weaknesses and far different hearts. 

Having a pretty, symmetrical face doesn’t make you more beautiful than the girl who has a soul that radiates.

We have this mixed up perception that others don’t struggle with the things we do, but I promise they do. We work tirelessly to keep our flaws hidden, like we are the only one who struggle with anxiety or depression or have shaming circumstances. We assume the girl that is smiling with her perfect friend group is what we should be aiming for, but we have no idea what goes on behind closed doors. We don’t know who she is without her mask; being real, especially on social media, is seldom the case, but yet we compare like it’s our day job. We are all guilty of it, like highlighting or acknowledging our flaws to the world is lethal, but it’s needed.

Self-love is a crazy concept because that means accepting and loving yourself with all your craziness included.

You can love yourself while wanting to better yourself, but do it from a place in your soul that craves to be a better you for you. It’s all about intentions so only compare yourself to the person you were yesterday and keep improving to be the best version of yourself. You will be so loved and beautiful.

 

xo,

Ash

Time For Change: Goodbye To The “Dumb Blonde” Stereotype

Time For Change: Goodbye To The “Dumb Blonde” Stereotype

Defying stereotypes one day at a time.

The other day someone said to me, “No offense, but before I got to know you, I never expected you to be so intelligent and thoughtful.” She said, “I thought you were going to just be another cute girl with nothing going on up there.”

That’s when I realized that’s the message I want to bring to the table and my passion brings me to this point; we are not our stereotypes, we are not people’s prejudices, perceptions, or judgements. In this world, it’s simple and easy to fall into a category that you don’t belong in, but at the end of the day, you need to be your real authentic self and the rest will follow.

We can’t control how other’s view us or their judgements or biases towards us, but we can control how we present ourselves and react. I know who I am; I am Ashley— a loving, intelligent, courageous, thoughtful leader, who isn’t belittled by someone’s idea of me as a “dumb blonde” or incapable of hanging with the big dogs.

Ask yourself— who are you? Be confident in your answer, feel it in your heart, and forget what other’s may think. Your confidence will drive you, and allow you to create success and your brand.

Another thing, being an Economics major, a large percentage of my class is made up of men, but that’s just a reminder to me that I am worthy and capable of making a difference and bringing insight to the table. I belong there, and so do you.

I want to represent, well-rounded women in all aspects of my life while defying stereotypes that women can’t be both pleasing to the eye and intuitive, profound, and inspiring.

I see women doing it everyday, making strides and being successful, and we won’t stop until we can live in a world where we are viewed as worthy, capable, and beautiful. Let’s empower one another to make that happen. 

 

 

Xo, 

Ash

It’s Okay To Have A Mr. Right Now

It’s Okay To Have A Mr. Right Now

Previously featured on: HARNESS MAGAZINE

One day, you’re going to wake up, so in love with the person laying next to you. You’re going to be over the moon, head over heels for the person you’re going to spend forever making memories with. The pieces of your heart will be mended back together and those guys who broke your heart throughout the years won’t matter in the slightest bit, and you’re going to thank God for not answering your pleading prayers about so and so after many sleepless nights. You won’t have to question if you’re good enough, you’ll know you are. You will feel complete and loved and oh so important.

One day, all of this nonsense will have a purpose and all the heartaches or little love affairs will only be simple memories. However, today is not that day because we woke up in our empty bed, checking to see if the boy we like finally texted us back, only to be let down and disappointed.

We woke up, wanting more love in our lives and impatiently waiting for that day to come. So in the meantime between today and someday, here’s a few thoughts and reminders: you can’t make someone fall in love with you and your soulmate is probably not the guy you’ve been stalking on Instagram for the last two months. Also, everything works exactly the way it’s meant to with who it’s suppose to work with. Love has a funny way of working it’s way into our lives and before we know it, it’s all consuming and right, but sometimes, love can stay dormant, just long enough to make us question if Mr. Right will ever come around.

For me, I started out my adult life, in a committed relationship and that carried on until almost the start of sophomore year in college and while I was in the relationship, I learned an overabundance about myself, my worth, and what I need when it’s time for my next relationship.

Even Mr. Right might not be your Mr. Right. He may be a great guy— charming, lovable, and impressive— but you and I both deserve a guy who looks at us like we put the stars in the sky and loves us for the way our inner light shines.

I’ve learned I’m a believer that true love should be kind, all-consuming, and beautiful, but I also learned true love requires patience, openness, and God’s blessing.

When I got out of my lengthy relationship, I was convinced love had failed and with a valiant effort, it could not be saved. BUT, love never fails. True love never fails. It’s okay to have fun with Mr. Right Now because when it’s time for Mr. Right, he will be there, ready to love you with everything in his being and vise versa.

The best things happen when we aren’t searching for it— our own serendipity. If you are anything like me, continue loving deeply and exploring different avenues as new people enter your life, but you don’t have to be consumed with finding the one. When it’s meant to be, it will be and all will be right in the world. So it’s okay to kiss Mr. Right Now, but don’t expect him to be the one you bring home to meet your mom and love you forever.

 

The Process of Valuing Yourself

The Process of Valuing Yourself

Self-love doesn’t happen overnight, and more often than not, it’s something you have to consciously learn how to do, like I did. I remember growing up and everyone wanted to be the same, have the same interest, experience the same things, and when someone broke out of the societal norm, they were considered weird, rebellious, or even labelled the outcast.

When you are constantly being criticized while you have an impressionable mind in tough years of creating the blueprints of who you are, self-love may sound like a foreign concept to you.

I’m here, to promote it, and advise you to indulge in it. 

Loving yourself does not make you conceited or selfish— it’s embracing who you are, accepting your faults and characteristics, and finding peace within yourself. It’s a vital aspect to growing into a well-rounded, purposeful, fulfilled, enlightened human, who is able to indulge in a deeper level of consciousness and show authentic compassion and love toward others.

Self-love is simplistic, but carries so much weight in our lives. There are days I feel less than pristine, and instead of trying to find validation from an outer source, I find it from within by reminding myself that I am capable, worthy, and beautiful. I choose to look at all I have to offer the world, instead of expecting the world to owe me anything for just existing.

This is your life, filled with all kinds of circumstances, but you can’t let the burdens dictate your mindset and vision. When things crumble, rebuild stronger. When relationships fail, carry your lessons into future experiences so you don’t let history repeat itself. When times get hard, become someone you are proud of. While you grow and learn how to love yourself, take some time to highlight your successes and be real with others about your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

This life is far too short to be anything, but genuine and if anyone criticizes you or rejects you for being real and authentic, they are not the people you need in your corner.

In case nobody has told you before, you are worthy and you are deserving of all life has to offer. You have the ability to be your biggest advocate and fan, if you choose to be. It can start off small, indulging in your own interests without worries of judgement, trying new things you’ve wanted to do, choosing you and your happiness.

It’s easy to become a doormat, who gets walked all over in friendships or in relationships, but asked yourself, “If I really loved myself, what I allow this? If I really valued my happiness, would I do this?” Love yourself by doing things that don’t hurt your soul or belittle your feelings— stand up for yourself because you do matter.

There are going to areas that we lack in our lives— maybe it’s in relationships or within your family unit— but just because you don’t always feel loved by others, doesn’t mean you aren’t lovable and deserving. You matter a whole, and you should consciously choose yourself everyday, even if you feel as though no one else does.

It’s a process, a journey that can take a lifetime, but if we consistently try to better ourselves and love every piece of our being, we will find happiness and peace from within.