Find peace.Find happiness.Find yourself

Author: MelKai23 (Page 1 of 29)

I want to share my stories as a social worker, tips I learn along the way, and encouraging thoughts to help motivate others.

Happy Things Thursday

  1. Eating the bottom of an ice cream cone
  2. Sleeping with the windows open
  3. Pulling a part a piece of string cheese
  4. Picking up the last friend for a road trip
  5. TVs on airplanes
  6. Peeling plastic off of a new electronic
  7. Changing into warm clothes from the dryer
  8. Seeing reverse lights on a nearby car when you are looking for a parking spot
  9. Petting a stranger’s dog
  10. Licking the spoon once all of the baking ingredients are mixed together


“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves, starting in grade school. In fact, I would argue that words are the most powerful weapon we have access to, and we carry it with us at all times.
Words can be the fixer of all things and can also be the reason someone can’t seem to make it through life. Our words matter, they have meaning, they are impactful, and it is our responsibility to use them wisely.

I recently heard a speech given by Mohammed Qahtani where he stated, “Words have power. Words are power. Words could be your power. You can change a life, inspire a nation, make this world a beautiful place. Isn’t that what we all wanted? Your mouth can spit venom, or it can mend a broken soul.”

I rewatched that speech numerous times, reflecting on moments in my life where words truly changed my trajectory…Times when words broke me down, but also the times when words impacted me so greatly that they are a major reason for my happiness.

There is one memory that I immediately thought of when listening to Mohammed’s speech that changed my perspective on words, kindness, and how the two together can literally change someone’s life.
Several years ago, I would guess about 2018, I met with someone interested in the anti-human trafficking movement who requested a meeting with me. Let’s call her, Jane Doe (I know, I lose points in creativity here, but just stick with me!). When Jane and I met, I immediately recognized her from about 20 years earlier in middle school. When we introduced ourselves and sat down, I said to her, “hey, aren’t you Jane Doe?!” She looked at me, shocked and a little embarrassed/uncomfortable and responded with, “yeah, but how do you know me and know my last name? I haven’t used that last name in a very long time.” I explained to her that I knew her from middle school prior to her moving. She told me she was surprised I remembered her, and she went on to explain she felt unlikeable and that no one really saw her. She then talked about a basketball game she saw me at after she had moved…”Hey, are you the Melissa who looked at me, smiled and waved, and said Hi Jane at that basketball game?”…
After we reminisced on that moment from 20 years prior, we went on to talk about why she moved away and changed her last name, and some of the trauma in her life at that time.

The point of this short story is not to give myself a pat-on-the-back or any kudos. It’s to show the power of words, literally one word…hi. HI. Just simply acknowledging someone with one word made them feel seen, likeable, and a moment worth remembering. We talked about how that moment impacted her, which shocked me, because it did not feel like I did much.
She remembered that moment. We both remembered that moment. It was 20 years ago, and she remembered me, a middle schooler, just smiling and using the word hi. During that time in her life, she felt invisible, unimportant, and abused. She did not have friends or a healthy support system, and simply having someone display kindness towards her with a simple “hi” made such an impact on her life that 20 years later she still randomly remembered some girl named Melissa showing her kindness at a basketball game.

Our meeting, which was supposed to be about anti-trafficking work, impacted the both of us in ways we did not expect, and we were purposefully brought together again. It will always stick with me. We do not always get to know what impact our words have on people and I was grateful for the opportunity to see her again.

Long story short, do not underestimate the power of words. Not only do they convey meaning and purpose, but they are how we express ourselves to others and how we find connection. Each one of us can reflect on many times in which words hurt us, changed our lives, or made us the happiest we could have ever been. It’s important to remember those experiences and understand that it is each of our responsibilities to choose words wisely. Simply saying to someone you love them, are proud of them, care about them, believe in them, or see their potential can change their lives. And apparently, so can simply just smiling and saying hi.

Don’t ever diminish the power of words. Words move hearts, and hearts move limbs. ~

-keep shining

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Ten Thoughts for Self-Reflection

  1. The grass is not always greener on the other side, it is greener where you water it.
  2. The quality of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.
  3. “No” is a full sentence.
  4. Overthinking makes you a prisoner, being present sets you free.
  5. We don’t learn by doing, we learn by reflecting upon what we’ve done.
  6. Life is only a reflection of what we allow ourselves to see.
  7. You are the only person you need to be good enough for.
  8. Attract what you expect. Reflect what you desire. Become what you respect. Mirror what you admire.
  9. Once you have learned and accepted all of your flaws, no one can use them against you.
  10. Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

-keep shining

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What moving has taught me…

I had one of my dearest friends come visit me this past weekend, and several others within the last few months. And although it’s been a busy winter of guests and hosting, being able to spend time with some of the most important people in my life has completely rejuvenated me.

As friends and family all came from the snowy, cold north, we naturally spent a lot of time outdoors. I noticed that while we spent time on the beaches and by the water in my new home (which I like to call Paradise), I reflected so much on the last year and four months of my life since relocating.

This is all I want to leave with you today:

Fear isn’t negative. Sometimes it’s okay to jump in with two feet and not have a perfect plan for landing. It feels good to move past our fears and live through them. It gives us new perspective, it helps us trust ourselves, and we gain a new sense of confidence we may not have had before.

YOLO is a great life motto. Not only because it’s fun, but because it’s simply just true. Life is short…To live our entire lives always wondering and wishing is a complete waste. We are here to enjoy life and to be happy. Sometimes that comes with risk, because YOLO.

Take time to appreciate where you live. Spend a day or weekend pretending you are visiting. This can motivate you to try new things and explore in ways you haven’t done before. Mindfulness is so important! Pay attention to all the small things you appreciate about where you live, and learn new things to keep it fun and fresh.

Meaningful friendships aren’t always the most prevalent. Some of my favorite moments are reconnecting with friends over a quick chat or an hour-long phone call talking about WHAT IS LIFE. If you can pick up right where you left off with people and the conversations make you feel good, don’t let those friendships fizzle even if they aren’t there every day.

Push yourself out of your comfort zone and do scary things, and do so in a way that makes you feel challenged. Scary things can be exciting and rejuvenating. Sometimes we need to feel scared to appreciate the consistent and comfortable parts of our lives. We overlook comfort and get complacent, but to feel scared reminds us of what keeps us grounded. We feel grounded when we are comfortable, and we don’t want to take this for granted.

Love yourself enough to put yourself first. We live for other people all the time which can be stressful, confusing, and sad. What do YOU want when you take everyone else out of the equation? It’s important to think about that sometimes.

Missing people and places is okay. It feels good to cherish those people and places that live in your heart, and sometimes you appreciate them more when you miss them. It feels good to reminisce and smile about it. The fear of missing people and places should not stop you from making decisions for yourself. The people will always be there (thank you FaceTime and airplanes), and the places aren’t going anywhere.

You can always change your mind; you can always go back to the way things were if you don’t end up enjoying the risk you take. But at the end of the day, you can at least say you did it and now you know the outcome. Closure and understanding are beautiful things, even if they come with a little chaos.

Don’t regret the decisions you make. For starters, regret is a pointless and torturous feeling. And at the time the decisions were made, they were what was best for you in that moment with what you had and with what you knew. Nothing is permanent.

Faith is the real MVP. Trust yourself, trust your gut, and let life happen without having to control it all. Watch it all unfold for you and see how beautiful timing is when you allow yourself to follow your faith.

If you never try, you’ll never know~

-keep shining

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Radical Acceptance

With the start of another new year, I have been reminiscing on 2022 as well as pondering any changes I want to make for the next 365 days. What I typically land on each year is aiming to be more mindful; being present and letting go of control, not worrying so much, and slowing down in general. This seems to be an ongoing battle for me.
While thinking about my aims for 2023, part of what I came to realize is that sometimes the reason I struggle with these things is because I pull so much emotion into every aspect of my life that letting go and being present can feel challenging when I want to feel everything so deeply. Certainly, expressing emotions is an excellent tool we need and crave as humans, but sometimes the level in which we emote or feel can add so much stress to our lives and can cause a lot of unnecessary fear, worry and stress, drama, anger, distractions, and rumination.
All of this reminded me of the concept of radical acceptance.

Imagine yourself holding onto a microphone and someone asks you how you would let go of it. Most people would say they would simply drop it or give the mic to someone else. No one can really give you several steps or directions on how to let go of the mic. Plus, you already know intuitively what to do.
Now, if the microphone was a snake, would you ask or contemplate how to let it go? I bet in that situation you would not ask; you would drop the snake immediately because you have all the information you need at that moment.
When we can let go of things without too much contemplation or emotion, we allow ourselves more room to enjoy life and be present; as soon as you see what it is you want to let go of, you can simply stop clinging to it.
I heard the above scenario while perusing TikTok (The Minimalists episode 372), and I compared it to the idea of radical acceptance. In a nutshell, radical acceptance is the idea that we can accept situations that are outside of our control without judgement, which decreases the stress, worry, fear, anger that is caused by the situation itself. The suffering we put ourselves through is caused by the attachment we have to the pain rather than to the situation itself. We need to detach to overcome. This does not imply that we avoid our emotions, we just simply do not need to let the pain cause additional worry, fear, stress, anger, etc. It’s about being mindful of our emotions so we do not go down the rabbit hole of feeling worse than we need to. We accept the situation, objectively, for what it is even if we do not agree with it.

Radical acceptance comes in handy during times where we cannot fix or change situations. Sure, it may feel yucky, unbearable, unfair, or unkind, but we prolong our suffering if we cannot accept something for what it is and try to add more emotionally driven responses to it than necessary. Yes, we will feel remorse, disappointment, grief and sorrow, or anger as they are normal reactions when something happens to us that we did not anticipate or did not like. However, it’s choosing not to let the emotions take over and learning to accept things for what they are. It is when we practice radical acceptance that we can be more mindful and enjoy all the great things that are yet to come. Adding emotions is where we begin to torture ourselves because we ruminate on situations outside of our control. We get distracted, we dwell, we gossip, we avoid, and we get resentful. Think of radical acceptance as a way to be nicer to ourselves. It is not about forgiveness towards the person who caused the pain in the first place because the focus is on you and loving yourself enough to ease up.

It is not easy to do, but ultimately to practice radical acceptance we have to focus more on our Logical Mind as that is where we are able to remain calm and objective. When we remind ourselves of what we can control, we can better detach from the feelings associated with the situation. To focus specifically on the reality is to be in what is called Wise Mind which is a balance between our emotions and our logic. This helps us to focus on moving past the situation and pushing onward. The goal is not to avoid our emotions, but to move through the emotion and have an “it-is-what-it-is” mindset. It is then that we can calmy and objectively accept things as they are.

This new way of thinking is easier when we are aware of situations that easily trigger us so we can prepare when unforeseen situations arise; this step is very important. I personally have to constantly remind myself that I can’t change it, that it is my reality, and that it’s out of my control. I try to focus on being mindful of what I can control, consider why this is affecting me so much by allowing myself to feel the emotions that come up, but then shift my focus on the gratitude I have for life even amongst the pain I am feeling. I remind myself that this too shall pass and someday it will not be as tough. The goal is committing to pushing past the pain and objectively understanding the need to let go. It is extra helpful to think of being on the other side of the hurdle and how much easier life gets when we allow ourselves to move forward versus sit in the yuckiness the situation and our emotional responses cause. We do not think about the what if’s, as those do not apply. Remind yourself of your resilience and that you can get through this, because you can, and you will, and you have before. You can have your emotions and also still choose happiness.

Lastly, it’s important to differentiate between appropriately using the approach of radical acceptance versus using it as a reason to stay in an unhealthy situation. It works for situations where unexpected change occurs; you go through something traumatic, you come to a dead-end where nothing seems to be working, you are transitioning out of a job or relationship, or maybe you lose someone close to you. Those can all happen to us where we cannot control the situation or outcome. Radical acceptance doesn’t work when we choose to stay in an unhealthy situation (work, relationship, friendship, family dynamic), allow ourselves to be treated badly, lack motivation and drive, or when we live in fear and avoidance. These situations can be changed and improved, so it’s important that we acknowledge the difference.

The goal is for life to feel better, lighter, simpler, and be filled with joy. It takes time to make radical acceptance a natural habit, but the benefits of moving forward and letting go are worth it.

On this sacred path of Radical Acceptance, rather than striving for perfection, we discover how to love ourselves into wholeness.

-keep shining

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