Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Hey! Come Visit!

So... I've had a little project lately that you may have heard of. It's called The Hustle Queen. And while it may forever always be a work in progress, this work in progress happens to have an actual, official website. That I update, well, semi-semi-regularly. Weird, right? Feel free to stop by. Oh, and thanks for passing through. :)

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Play the Game to Change the Game

Ever notice that it's almost too easy to talk about things we dislike, things we want to change, whether in our own lives or in the world around us? I've been prone to letting complaints slip out of force of habit without even thinking about them, and this is just recently - when I was younger, if you would have asked, I would have told you the center of the Earth was just a big black hole waiting to consume us all. My teen angst turned to full on adult rage, about anything and everything. Life is unfair, all of this is pointless.

Since adopting practices into my life to help me work through and many times even conquer this mindset, I couldn't help but look back and notice what this black pit of a mindset took from me and from the ones I loved. I know I'm not the only one who's gone through this, and realizing that fact just brought it all the way home for me. Once I looked back, to see that it was so easy for me and so many others to fall into this mindset, I had to ask myself: why? 

To be honest, it didn't take me long to figure it out, and once I did it was a *lightbulb* moment that turned my life around. Doing some research, I came across a little psychology term coined the negativity bias, and even went on to explain all I'd learned about it and what I've been practicing (so far) to overcome it since in a previous vlog of mine. In essence, it's this:


Basically? You hold on to the bad things that happen to you far more than you hold to the good.

Now that I know that this is something that actually exists, I can see it all of the time in the news, media, and sources on my social networking feeds over and over again. Bad energy and negativity are constantly reinforced in the content we are ingesting and if you're not realizing it, it can really make you think that the world around you has basically gone to the dumps. I mean, honestly, it's not exactly untrue: it seems there are countries constantly at war, people continue to die from diseases we can't yet cure, and there are millions of children who go to bed hungry every single night. With all of that information thrown at you daily, no wonder it's so easy to think, who could possibly be happy at a time like this?


You know that famous phrase every motivator and entrepreneur you've ever met has said: "Be the change you wish to see in the world?" I have my own version of that. Allow me:


How do you think the biggest changes in history were made? How do you think legends become household names? How do you think the most necessary changes in civil movements around the world happened? Do you think remedies for deadly diseases we continue to cure happen by themselves? Do you think it was continuing to feed into their negativity bias, by reading the newspaper daily, never imagining anything better for themselves or the world around them?

To change the game you have to be a part of the game. The "negativity bias" is not a lifelong sentence, it's an opportunity to learn and to change. You have to be the cog in the machine that refuses to follow the course it originally thought it was designed for. There is so much power not only in the human spirit, but in the spirits that embrace and harness the power of positivity. You have something so genuine to give to the world, something that could change if not one, many, many parts of the world that cause some of us to wonder if there's a reason to continue in a universe that seems so bleak. You can be that change. You can.

Life and everything in it can be seen as a game, and if that game is playing you by focusing on the negative, by not holding on to the positive... Well, maybe it's time to play the game.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to Bounce Back From a Bad Review


[Pssst! Before we get started, you can watch this as a vlog OR listen as a podcast, depending on your preference]

I want to wish you all a very, very happy New Year, I hope your holidays were full of love and light and the fruits of your labors! I am here today to talk to you guys because if you are anything like me, you are worn out. It’s been about 4 months since you guys heard from me and I am so sorry about that, but I am so happy to be back here after the rush of the holidays and to talk with all of my fellow sellers and entrepreneurs about what’s happened since we spent so much time apart. Thanksgiving happened, Black Friday came and went and then of course Cyber Monday, and then after that hands down the busiest time for any merchant out there, big or small: the full holiday season throughout the month of December. As The Hustle Queen I’m not sure how much I should divulge in regards to how physically and emotionally spent as an Etsy seller I’ve been this last little while, but as Conner I can say…


All kidding aside, I hope that everyone was up to their knees in the work that they love to do, and still continues to be, and I’ve never been so humbled by what I get to do and create as an Etsy seller and an entrepreneur and the holidays were really a prime time for me to come to that realization. First of all, I really want everyone to congratulate themselves on a job well done. Being an Etsian, there’s a sense of satisfaction that comes just from knowing you put your heart and soul into the handmade gifts that people bought from you to share with someone else they love or to even keep for themselves, and that is the most gratifying to me. Now we’re starting on the decline of traffic and sales, which gives us more time to revamp our products, our listings, and our businesses in general.

This was not what I consider my first real attempt at mastering the holiday rush as a small business; it was not my first rodeo because it was actually the holidays in 2014 that taught me a lot of what I needed to know for this time around for my business. As I think back to my first holiday season as a seller and this past holiday, I realize that it’s very possible that as much as I may try, as much as I would love to claim it, I do not know that I will ever be fully prepared for it. They catch me off guard every single time, and I really wanted to share my experience with this because I feel it is so important how you bounce back from the holidays because with this unusually large amount of traffic comes more feedback than we are typically used to, and this creates a lot of anxiety for those who depend on the outcome of that feedback, including myself. As the hustle would have it, that’s actually why I’m here today!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been burned by feedback from an order or even multiple orders before. As much as I would like to live in a dream world where everyone agrees fully with me about everything I do and create, unfortunately that is not the case. Feedback from our buyers is one of the most effective ways to boost your own morale and even gain attention from future buyers, because what’s better than seeing those 5 golden stars from a happy customer to remind you of just why you do what you do? But not everything can be perfect all of the time, and regardless of circumstances, sometimes you end up with some less than glowing reviews about a transaction. This may seem like the end of the world and your passions as you know it, but I’m here to reassure you that this is not the case.



I’ve come up with a few coping skills I believe can help others bounce back from a negative review based on my experience with this exact same situation. When I first started out, it shouldn’t be hard to believe that I knew close to nothing about what I was doing, and with that came a lot of trial and error. While looking back on it I am so appreciative of these experiences, during this time I felt like a fool, I felt like I just continued to let people down, and above all, honestly, I felt like quitting. I DON’T want this to happen to you. If you’ve gotten what you feel is a terrible review, for whatever reason, you CAN take steps to fix it, to make it right with not only your customer but yourself, and to also use it as a weapon to become stronger in your endeavors. But above all, the first step is…

You have to breathe. If you are like me, this is one of the hardest steps to take when you are staring that review right in the face. Sometimes a negative review will be expected before it arrives, but many times they can come as a surprise, which just adds insult to injury. We are nothing if not human above all, and many times our initial reaction is to go into what I akin to an absolute rage, to defend our work and our shop and its merits. While it’s okay to feel a wide range of emotions about this occurrence, instead I want you to take a step back away from your phone, your computer, whatever, and just breathe. I’m not asking you to go into full-on meditative state, but the goal here is to calm your nerves as much as possible without making any concrete decisions yet. I have never, not once, seen anything good come from a knee-jerk reaction to a bad review, so please be careful with how you feel you may act after your reaction.  

For me, when this has happened to me and still even does, the first thing I do is show my partner, who’s also a fellow entrepreneur, what’s happened. I show him and the floodgates open for me, I relay all of the details about the order and the situation because being such a small shop I have the luxury of remembering the large majority of orders that I work on, and I rant about everything that’s happened. Just taking this route and getting it all off of my chest to explain to someone else how I’m feeling can help so much, and I really recommend this for you to try for the next time you’re caught in this. Rant to a trusted friend, scribble it in your journal, write a draft of a Facebook or blog post to get it all out, do whatever you think will help you get it off of your chest. I do not, as a business owner, recommend posting anything that’s visible to the public eye, so definitely keep what you’re feeling private, but please don’t be afraid to really get your emotions out there. 


Now, I’m super sensitive to this kind of stuff, so depending on the situation it can take me anywhere up to a day to work through all of this in my head to be able to look at it objectively to remedy it. What you do next is completely up to you because it just depends on your style and how you run your business, but the second step I usually take is to act. There are two parts to this step, with the first being that you have to act towards your customer. It’s like a band-aid: the longer you leave the situation unaddressed the worst it will get and it is generally a better idea to get it taken care of as soon as possible. The only tips I can provide for this first step would be to do your best to be the voice of reason both to yourself, the customer, and this situation. Every bump in the road is so genuine and different for everyone, and since I’m here to give morale advice more so than business advice, this can mean anything from taking the “Customer’s always right” approach, providing a full refund, offering a replacement, etc. etc. The main point here is to remain above all empathetic and understanding - I have found that letting my guard down and throwing my ego out of the door for my customers works every single time, period, no matter the instance. 

The second part of this step is to act towards your business. What I mean by that is that I truly believe every bit of feedback we receive is a learning experience. When we put our egos aside, there is truly so much to be learned from to how we can improve our businesses and the way we serve customers. This can be anything from updating the wording on a product listing of yours that has caused some confusion with customers, or even just adjusting your policies a bit to cover some grey areas. How would you know to improve if everything you tried ended up worked perfectly, all of the time? One of the main facets of being a hustler is to put your all into every endeavor you pursue, but another large part of that is to constantly strive to become better, and acting towards changing anything even in the smallest ways is accomplishing that. 


Once the situation is remedied as efficiently as possible, you slowly start to realize that you just don’t feel the same way about feedback again. I become a little scaredy cat every time I see the notification pop up on my phone or on my website, because even though I am comfortable and confident with my work and the services I provide, you start to understand that now anything could happen. It didn’t take me long to come up with a sort of system to fall back on when I find myself in this position, and the first method I fall back on that I recommend to *everyone* is to keep your own stash of positive affirmations and most of all support you’ve received for your business. This sounds kind of sad when you think about it, like you’re almost building a shrine towards the collection of good things people have ever said about you to ruminate over, but as strange as it seems, it’s actually a method towards cultivating a positive attitude and working towards a positive life.  I’ve talked pretty extensively on the power of positivity, and this step helps bring perspective to a bad situation to help make it a little brighter and give you the strength to reassure yourself that what you’re doing is worthwhile. This reminder can be anything like a stellar review that really touched you, but my favorite is the folder I keep on my desktop FULL of positivity and kind words I’ve received from friends, buyers, and even other sellers that have inspired me to keep going despite the large feeling of adversity a negative review can bring. It’s been so helpful for me, and whenever I feel like giving up or get to thinking that what I’m doing isn’t worth it, a quick glance at all of the kindness I’ve been shown over the months and years from people who like what I do makes me forget all of my doubts and pushes me further to dedicate my energy into becoming better and improving to be the best I can possibly be.


We’ve taken a negative review with a clear head, done what we could to resolve the issue with our customer and to help improve our shop, and even created a positive space to help inspire us in dark times… So what are we missing?

What drives us to continue what we do, even in the face of something that cuts us so deeply like a negative review? What pushes us to do what we love when it feels like no one else loves it quite as much as we do? What allows us to be masochists as we work tirelessly to improve our craft? PASSION. Without passion for I do, for what I create, and the services I provide others, I don’t think I’d still be here chugging along, continuing to do it - I just wouldn’t. Sometimes this spark inside of us gets dim when we’re caused to doubt the quality of what we offer, and it can feel like it will take so much to get it back. I’ve recommended this final step in my previous vlogs, but it is just as relevant now as it was then - you MUST take some time to focus on your craft. Strike away sales, views, the business side of things, let the expectations of others and the expectations you hold for yourself fall away, and get back to your basics. Whether that’s painting for leisure or crafting something for fun, I don’t really think we realize just how much of what we do can be so driven by external forces. While this is great, and many times the point of doing business, we should never lose sight of the internal forces that are compelling us, and every time I forget that I walk into my studio and create a jewelry piece for fun, sometimes to even keep for myself.

Never losing sight of what you love and why you continue to do it can help you get through anything, including a bad review. Remember what you feel is your purpose and let the rest become white noise, because in the end that’s truly all it is.

Thank you guys so much for sticking around with me! I promise it won’t be another 4 months until you hear from me again, so if you have anything you’re wanting to be addressed or a part of business that just doesn’t vibe with you, let me know, and we’ll see what we can do for next time.

Keep thriving and hustling. 

Until next time.



Monday, January 18, 2016

Writing: The Ultimate Dysfunctional Relationship




Writing and I have quite a tumultuous relationship in that it's sort of like a game of "cat and mouse" that never ends because it's quite possible that the game has become a force of habit than anything that brings either parties any semblance entertainment or joy. Not unlike most of the romantic relationships I've been a part of previously in my life, it's a daunting, intimidating, and heartbreaking affair and by God, I am determined to make it work.

So here we are: it's been 4 months and I haven't written anything of worth, or truthfully anything at all. At first it starts with a reassurance to yourself, You deserve this break, you deserve to get your head back in check for a while. This is a great mindset as I feel it's beneficial to many like me who get overwhelmed easily and have a hard time keeping up with the pressure of a steady commitment.

But today I realized not writing was so much more than me looking out for myself, it was more than me needing a break. It was an excuse.

I read a fantastic article today by Mark Manson simply titled, Screw Finding Your Passion (although the language may not be suitable for all, please, please read it) and all of a sudden everything just kind of happened in my brain. There are some things that come into your life that can't be anything other than a swift, firm kick in the ass to serve as a sort of "just what in the Hell do you think you're doing?" from the universe, and I'm so glad I found mine.

"As a kid, I would write short stories in my room for fun. As a teenager, I would write music reviews and essays about bands I loved and then show them to nobody. Once the internet came around, I spent hours upon hours on forums writing multi-page posts about inane topics – everything from guitar pickups to the causes of the Iraq War.
I never considered writing as a potential career. I never even considered it a hobby or passion. To me, the things I wrote about were my passion: music, politics, philosophy. Writing was just something I did because I felt like it."

It wasn't until I read this article that I realized that all I'd been doing was making excuses to and for myself. Not only that, I was trying to make my writing, what I absolutely love more than life itself, the thing I want to continue to do for the rest of my life, something I had to do. You know those things you have to do during the course of the day that eventually seem like chores because you don't actually want to do them? I had put this burden on my writing simply because I held myself to a standard no one else has ever actually held me to, some bullshit story I was telling myself on replay about how everyone knew I couldn't and absolutely wouldn't be a writer because, well, just because.

Really?

Really?

When I was growing up writing song lyrics in my journal and penning a full-on novel taking up 3 composition notebooks, I never once stopped to consider what anyone else thought about it, I did it because it was in my heart to. I did it because I loved it. I did it because it was so fulfilling, I did it because I could see myself doing it for as long as I wanted to, forever. And as I sit here typing my sins I have to wonder how I let it get this bad, to truly almost let go of something that brings me such peace, but the truth is it doesn't matter, because this is the part where I (for once) get to taking some of my own advice.



The truth is that the universe doesn't really care when you start doing what you love - the time that you have spent doubting how good you are at what you adore is your wasted time, whether that's 4 months or 40 years, and the world will be waiting for however long it needs to for you to understand what it's known all along. The only thing the universe cares about is that you do start. I tell other people this, I know this myself, and now there is no excuse, I know I have to live it. 

So here's the start. It will not be perfect, it will not be complete, it may not look like what anyone (including myself) expects it to. It is not a road paved with common sense and sparkles, it is a stupidly large f**king mountain that never seems to end; but it is love, and most importantly it is progress. That's all I could ever hope to ask for, and what's the bother of asking for something if you won't even attempt to try to achieve it?

So... Let's do this. Because why not, right?


Tell me: have you mastered a negative thought lately? I'm listening. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Treat Yo(inner)Self: Content to Help Your Journey to Wellness



Confession time: I've been kind of a downer lately.

I've made my struggles with depression no secret and as of the last few weeks the mistress herself decided to pay me a visit once again. All details of this darker phase of my life (including multiple cocktails and way too much binging on Sex and the City) aside, I haven't had "the gloom" hit me in quite a while, which made it (and is continuing to make it) pretty difficult to bounce back, get into my habits, and feel like myself again. Ironically enough, it's fairly easy for me to forget that I have provided multiple resources through my writing and vlogs in the past to help tackle this exact sort of situation. Fortunately, I'm regaining some sense and have decided to revisit it all and take steps towards my wellness again. One of the most important of these steps is thankfully one of the simplest: surround yourself with positivity and wellness.

In the spirit of self-love and the improvement that never fails to follow along with it, I've decided to compile some content and resources dedicated to the mantras and ideas I need to hear that I hope others can find handy, too.

here, read this:

I stumbled upon this blog post just today and it sparked a sort of lightness in me that I hadn't realized had been gone for so long. It provides some great tips on protecting the energy and the life you have inside of you and effective ways of preserving it to use it to serve you and the people around you positively - both mentally and physically.


This infographic has been saved on my computer's desktop for quite a while now and has become a quick resource for me on days when I know there's just something that's missing from my daily routine. A great handful of ideas and "hacks" for a simpler, healthier mind. 

"Never forget to be grateful, it really gives you perspective of what really matters and I personally believe you live a happier life when you're grateful."


Mindfulness is a word that gets thrown around a lot by those on the never-ending search for contentment and inner peace and if you're like me, upon first hearing it your "yuppie" senses go nuts and you immediately chalk up the rest as cliche, hippie stuff. But mindfulness and trying to achieve it can be a valuable tool in filtering your thoughts and weeding out the stuff that could be holding you back, especially in this world of constant distractions and blaring cell phone screens.



quick! write this down:

"I remember asking myself one night, while I was curled up in the same old corner of my sale old couch in tears yet again over the same old repetition of sorrowful thoughts, 'Is there ANYTHING about this scene you can change, Liz?' And all I could think to do was stand up, while still sobbing, and try to balance on one foot in the middle of the living room. Just to prove that - while I couldn't stop the tears or change my dismal interior dialogue - I was not yet totally out of control: at least I could cry hysterically while balanced on one foot." - Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

This quote serves, to me, as a fantastic reminder that it's true - there are some things out of our control: our harmful thoughts, the gloominess that presides over us and within us, seemingly out of nowhere. But no matter what, there are always things about our situation we can control. Sometimes they're small and simple, sometimes they're bigger than we could have ever imagined. Remembering that you haven't lost control can be such a great tool in helping you find the motivation to get life, slowly but surely, back on track again.

  "You've got to look out more than you look in." - Diane Keaton

We are our own biggest critics. One of my biggest habits when I'm depressed or feeling down is constantly thinking about all of my downfalls, all of the times I've embarrassed myself, made a mistake. It's natural to want to do this when feeling this way, but it's so important to recognize it, take it, and spin it. Taking a second (or even whole minutes at a time, if you can) to look outwards instead of constantly inwards to break the harmful streak of mentally breaking ourselves can provide us something to anchor ourselves onto. Look outwards: what do you see? If you can find the things you're grateful for, the people you love, and cling on to them, it can help you guide your way out of gloom and on the way to wellness.

"Happiness is closer to the experience of acceptance and contentment than it is to pleasure. True happiness exists as the spacious and compassionate heart's willingness to feel whatever is present." - Noah Levine, Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries

I truly believe there's a constant in the negativity that can often wash over many of us: guilt. See, humans are (or at least try to be) rational animals - everything always needs a reason. I mean, it has to! When we're experiencing things such as depression, this mental state can be brought on by a number of things such as severe trauma or a significant event. But, if you're like me, depression can come on for no reason at all, and when it does, I feel overwhelmingly guilty. "I have no reason to feel like this, and now I'm making everyone else around me upset, I'm ruining everything." On top of the lows we're already experiencing, we feel this overwhelming sense of burden. But wellness doesn't come from putting the burden on something we can't control entirely on our shoulders - it comes from accepting what is. Realize that this is happening to you, that maybe there is no reason for it, and then treat yourself how you would treat a friend who was going through this. Reassure yourself that it's okay to feel this way. 

save these:

Daily affirmations can help manage stress and keep you on the right track to searching for wellness. Print, doodle, or make these your phone's screensaver for little boosts of confidence and positivity everywhere you go.




x 

It gets better, y'all. Promise.

What gets you through the tough times? Give me some tips below. 

xoxo

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Zen

The Hustle Queen

The older I get, the more spiritual I become. I've always been interested in learning about other religions objectively while never truly becoming a fixture within them - growing up fluent in Mormon culture, scaring my family members with reading The Satanic Bible, feeling a sense of calm in understanding some Buddhist beliefs, and fighting in vain to attempt to grasp the teachings on the Tao. Along with the different facets of a wide array of religions I try to learn about (and there are still so many more out there!) comes a realization that they, in their own respects, teach me things that continue to stay with me and shape me in small ways every single day. One of these aspects has been adopting a sort of ritual into my life that seems to be pretty common: making Sunday a sacred day.

The more I practice the challenging art of liking myself the more I come to understand that it's never occurred to me before to set aside time for myself in my own life. I'm currently in the middle of reading Eat, Pray, Love by the aforementioned Elizabeth Gilbert (solidifying my joining the ranks of the other white girl Buddha wannabes, of course), and in it she writes about her physical journeys to 3 different countries and shares multiple stories of her mental journey within this time, as well. At a certain point she asks herself, "What do you want to do today, Liz?"

I was taken aback by and had to contemplate this ideal - when was the last time I consulted myself about what I actually wanted to do?  The answer was admittedly pretty dismal, and you can already probably guess what it was. I haven't. Not really. This realization shook me and I knew right away that I had to fix it. So... I did.


Sunday, today, was a sacred day. I didn't set any deadlines, I didn't wake up with preconceived notions of what would happen, what would need to get done. After everything that happened, from getting out of bed to treating myself to coffee, I internally asked myself, "What now? What do you want to do?" So I spent the day with the person I love, driving through canyons and getting inexplicably and wonderfully lost, stopping wherever we wanted. I made food I'd been craving, cleaned up at my leisure, and participated in my hobbies just for the sake of doing what I loved.

Find a sacred something: a day, a place, a time, and make it yours. Ask yourself, "What do you you want to do?" If the world, the universe, your higher power, can help you accomplish what you want that's out of your hands, ask. Put in a prayer, a favor, a wish, a whatever you'd like to call it, and don't be afraid to ask for what you want, what you deserve. And then (here's the kicker) do it. You deserve it, and I promise you'll be mentally (and even physically) better for it.

Happy Sunday, hustlers.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

What Happens When You Start Liking Yourself?

So… What really happens when you start liking yourself?

Well, very, very strange things start to happen when you start making the effort to like yourself.

You work harder, because you’re no longer a slave driver.

You appreciate things more, because you have fought hard for the luxury to be able to do so.

You love more passionately, because you know now that you’d be nowhere without it.

When you start liking yourself, you know it’s time to make an effort to befriend even the harshest, darkest, and cruelest faces of your inner workings; the ones you have grown to hate after all of this time. Why? Because you know you will never succeed from your work, never grow from your appreciation, never reap the love you need or the provide the love others deserve to receive from you if you live with an enemy.

You know you won’t make it out alive if you don’t gain the friendship, trust, and appreciation of the most important person in your life: yourself.

You might come to this realization at your lowest point. Sobbing in a corner of your bathroom, a kind of sanctuary for you now, kneeled on the ground with your forehead pressing against the cold tile, hugging yourself tightly around the sides because this is not really what you need, but it’s the only thing that makes sense for you to do. Because in that moment you are the only person who knows well enough to hold you.

This epiphany may come to you in a completely different way. You may realize you deserve love from yourself in the happiest moments of your life - when you can’t stop the smile on your face or the content you feel deep in your gut driving alone down the freeway, reading a book that speaks to you, conquering a goal you were taunted by even when you knew, really, it was no match for you.

Maybe, if you’re like me, the realization comes from a bit of both. Because honestly sometimes the “why” doesn’t matter. The hardest yet most crucial parts that come from the “why” are the “whens”, and the “hows”. The “how could I even possibly”s.

If you want the truth, I can’t tell you the “why”. That’s really up to you. I can’t tell you the “whens”, or the “hows”, I don’t know. We are all a unique combination of suffering, of strength, crashing and burning, endurance, passion, and an endless cycle of so much more. So while I’d like to know your story, I just don’t.

But I can tell you that I know what you deserve. I know you deserve to like yourself. I know we all deserve to love ourselves. And while it’s a lifetime commitment, which are truthfully the most terrifying kind, they are the most worthwhile of them all. And I know that it starts with a goal. I know it starts with a decision. You have to decide it’s worthwhile for you, you have to decide you deserve it. Because I know what happens when you start liking yourself, and I know there will never, ever be a better decision in your life to make.

So love yourself.

Love yourself enough to work as hard as you possibly can. Love yourself yourself enough to know when to breathe, to say, “Not today.” You’re no longer the slave driver pushing far too hard, nor are you the recipient of needless abuse. Love yourself enough to appreciate what you are, what you have, what you are surrounded by. Love yourself enough to know there may be times you can’t bring yourself to appreciate anything. You’re no longer obligated to report to yourself, to feel guilty for your low points. They come and they go, and the appreciation will return if you search for it and if you accept it with open arms when it arrives again. Love yourself enough to love. Love those who deserve your love, those who may not deserve your love, and above all, those who do not expect it.

After all, something very, very strange might happen.