You Can't Steal Happiness

You Can't Steal Happiness - Josie Feather Blog

A month or two ago I came across this article written by one of my favorite podcasters, Mallory O'Meara. She’s mostly talking about social media and how easy it is to get swept up in comparison and turn into an evil nasty little online troll without meaning to, but she made so many good points that relate to all of life that have been rolling around in my head gathering friends ever since.

We’ve all heard the phrases “you can’t buy happiness” and “comparison is the their of joy” so much that any meaning they’ve had is hard to pull out of them at this point. Yeah, I get it, comparing myself to other people won’t actually make me happy, but that hasn’t stopped me from doing it time and time again in my head. Then Mallory struck my over the head with the point that “you can’t steal happiness”. You can be mean in your head, online, or in real life to someone who has something you want, but no matter what you do, even if you bring them down, you can’t actually take any happiness they have.

Most people don’t know this about me, but I actually have body dysmorphia. It’s more complicated than this, but basically, I tend to be more than a little obsessive about my perceived flaws. I lock in and it’s hard to let go. I’m quite sure that I’m the most unattractive person alive and anyone telling my otherwise is just trying to be nice and make me feel better. It’s easy to get caught up in if I’m not careful, and even more easy to catch myself constantly comparing my own looks to other girls. I know it’s certainly not something exclusive to having body dysmorphia, but especially when I’m having an extra rough day, my brain jumps on that comparison train faster then I can catch it. It’s terrible, and absolutely something I don’t want to do, but often my mind runs straight for it, trying to find some way to tear them down to comfort myself.

Here’s the thing though, tearing other people down (even if I’m only doing it in my head) does not allow me to steal their looks, success, or happiness. I don’t get to have those things no matter how mean or nasty I am. In fact, I only end up feeling worse by letting my brain run wild with comparing, and by letting myself judge others I’m just keeping the door wide open for me to judge myself too.

You can’t buy, steal, or borrow happiness. You can’t beat it into submission. You can’t shame it into coming to you or judge it until it backs down and gives up. These last few months I’ve really come to accept that there’s only one way to get it, you have to create it. It’s something that no one can do for you, you have to get out there and get your hands dirty. It’s such a simple, and really incredibly obvious idea, but I’ve found that when my mind jumps on that comparison train and I tell it “hey, you won’t actually get that persons looks or happiness going that way” my brain is a little more willing to jump off.

BBG Check in & Review (so far)

BBG Review & Halfway Check-in

I made it! This week I hit the halfway point of Kayla Itsine’s BBG program. After years of hearing about it from friends and online I decided I should give it a try. I was in a little bit of a fitness rut and just needed something to kick me in my pants and get me refocused.

Woah, boy. Let me tell ya, I was not expecting it to be as tough as it is. It was less of a kick in the pants, and more of a full on Chuck Norris roundhouse kick in my rear end. Since I really had no idea what I was getting into when I got started I thought it’d be good to share my thoughts on it so far for anyone else who might be considering it!

Let’s start with the good.

The good is that is it so hard. I think I think it’s easy to not push yourself enough when you’re not following a plan, I know I definitely don’t, so it’s definitely been really good for me. It also has me doing things I would typically resist at all costs, like push ups and burpees. They’re part of the program, so I’ve just got to do them now no matter how much I really really really really don’t want to (did I mention I really don’t want to?).

There’s also plenty of cardio which is my jam. You can adapt the cardio days to be more walking then running if you want, which is good depending on how you’re feeling and your level of fitness, but I love still having time to run during the week!

Last but not least, I do feel like I’m seeing changes in my body that I appreciate. If you’ve read my blog before you know that the main reason I work out daily is not to loose weight, but seeing my body evolve has definitely been really exciting! You don’t have to have your appearance be your main goal in order to still appreciate the changes, but not making them the focus makes it WAY easier to stay on track even on days when you don’t feel those changes as much.

Okay, so let’s talk bad.

It’s not for beginners. I am actually doing an older version of the program, and I don’t have the app, so Kayla may very well have fixed these problems in updates, but the PDF version I have is not beginner friendly at all. There are no modifications if you aren’t able to do a move, and she jumps right into some things that are super tough from the get go. Like I said before, it’s good that it is so challenging, but thinking back to my fitness level (or lack thereof) a year ago I know I would have given up pretty quickly if I hadn’t done some other programs first.

Even though I’ve been doing strength training the past year there are still certain moves that I simply can’t get through and have had to either adapt (I’m still over here doing modified push-ups yo!) or on rare occasions completely swap out because I physically can not do them. On the same note, she repeats move types a lot within a work out, so if it’s something you’re struggling with it can be really easy to over-do it and hurt yourself (I tweaked my shoulder from all of the push ups one day!). I am definitely getting better at these things, which is great, but it can sometimes feel a little disappointing to know I need to modify.

If you’re a newbie to work out programs I would definitely recommend starting with a program that has modifications so you can work your way up and avoid injury. There are tons of great programs like that out there, so find one that works best for you! I love all of the Love Sweat Fitness programs (her Spring Slim down last year was my very first one I ever made it through!). That said, I would still recommend BBG once you’ve built up some strength and have learned how to adapt and modify workouts for yourself. It’s good, but it’s easy to get frustrated or hurt yourself if you don’t have some familiarity with fitness programs.

Final Thoughts

So would I recommend it? Yes! If you how to modify moves, and also know when how to tell when you’ve hit your limits, then it’s a great program that will definitely help you push you to a new level. I would not recommend it as a starting point in your fitness journey. Get a little experience under your belt before you jump into this one, because you’ll definitely need to know the basics and having at least a little strength is super helpful.

Has anyone else made it through the program? Let me know your thoughts! Also feel free to drop any questions you might have in the comments. I am by no means an expert, but I am happy to share my experience!

5 Mindful Practices for Pulling Yourself Out of a Rut

5 Mindful Practices for Pulling Yourself Out of a Rut at Josie Feather Blog

Ruts are something I am painfully familiar with. Whether it’s a creative rut, fitness rut, mood rut, you name it I’ve probably struggled to find balance with it time and time again. This past year I’ve been really digging in and trying to find things that work for me to help pull me out of a rut, and I thought it would be fun to talk about those with ya’ll.

Let’s just start with a quick reminder here that I am not an expert at pretty much anything. Heck, even my job was something I jumped into and have just learned from experience. That’s who I am - jack of all trades, master of none. So when I give out any advice like this, know that it’s coming from my experience and may or may not be the right answer for you. We’re all incredibly individual and, while I share these in the hopes that they can help you as much as they’ve helped me, you need to find your own path.

Listen to how you talk to yourself

Being more conscious of how I talk to myself has been a big effort for me this year. After reading Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly” I’ve made an effort to correct myself when I think “I’m a bad person” (which I so often do) and instead changing that to “I did something bad, but I’m not a bad person” and just that little switch has helped my mindset significantly. Living for years I’ve told myself that I’m a terrible person, and guess what, it only made me feel way worse, and drug me right down into the pit (“the pit of despair!” ten points to anyone who gets that reference) .

Take a good look at how you’re talking to yourself and make a conscious effort to stop and correct yourself when you feel you’re going down a negative self talk track. Telling yourself your terrible ten times a day won’t fix your problems or make you feel any better, I promise.

Pay attention to what you’re ingesting

No, I’m not just talking about what you eat (although it’s definitely good to be mindful of that as well, especially when you’re not feeling yourself!), I’m talking about what movies and tv you watch, music you listen to, books you read, everything you’re putting in your brain. I’ve found being mindful of what I’m taking in during times I’m feeling in a funk can make such an impact on how long I feel stuck. Set aside that sad story or movie and find something motivational or inspirational to remind you that things will turn around. It sounds cheesy, but just like “you are what you eat” you tend to adapt thought patterns and habits of what you’re mentally digesting too.

Don’t be afraid to seek help

This is still something I’m learning to do, but I think is incredibly important. Recognizing when you need to reach out to someone you’re close with, or even if it’s time to grab the phone and make an appointment with a therapist or other professional, is key. Keep yourself open to identifying when you need help and try not to wait until you’re deep in the mud to reach out.

Be grateful

I used to hear about greatfulness practices and ROLL MY EYES. No joke. It seemed cheesy and felt super uncomfortable, like one of those awkward times when a friends parents made you go around the dinner table and talk about what you’re thankful for (can’t we just skip to the food part?). But guess what, it really really really is important and can make such a difference. Taking time to think about focus in on the good things instead of wallowing permanently on the bad can really help pull you out of a bad spot.

If you don’t have a gratefulness practice then it’s going to feel super weird the first few times. In fact, you might have literally no idea what to write down, but push through! Even if they may seem silly starting with simple things like “having a place to live” or even something as basic as “having access to fresh water”. Those are all great things to take a second to appreciate. Whether it’s committing to make a list in your head first thing when you wake up, or taking the time to sit down and right them out during the day, taking inventory of the good can really help you feel more balanced when things feel like they aren’t going your way.

That’s it! They are so simple, but have made a big difference for me this past last year and would recommend them to anyone who’s been struggling with ruts or just funky moods you may pass through. Let me know if you guys have anything you do that have helped you in those times!