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positively present
positivity. awareness. self-love.
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ANNIVERSARY EXCLUSIVE! From now until the end of the month, EVERYONE who signs up for Patreon will get a copy of Through the Year: 52 Pages of Inspiration from Positively Present, an exclusive e-book containing 52 Positively Present illustrations. For just $1 (or more, if you're feeling generous!), you can get this unique collection of illustrations all while supporting Positively Present! In March, the book will only be available for higher tiers. If you like what I've been doing over the past ten years, please consider supporting my work on Patreon. (And if Patreon isn't for you, don't worry: I've... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2019 at positively present
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Get this print in the shop here! If you follow me on Instagram, you might've seen this recent post, where autocorrect changed my caption from "mind games" to "kind games." Not surprisingly, this led me to think about what "kind games" might consist of since, even if you're not intentionally playing mind games with those around you, most of us do some game-playing. Anytime you're not clearly and effectively communicating with others — intentionally or unintentionally — it's a kind of game (at the very least, a guessing game!). No matter how much you might aim for healthy, communicative relationships,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2019 at positively present
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While reading Karen Thompson Walker's The Dreamers, I came across the quote, "Worry is a kind of creativity," and it really made me think about worry in a different way. Sure, worrying can be a soul-crushing nightmare at times, but it is kind of cool that I can imagine so many things in my mind that have never (and likely will never) happen. I've always been a worrier (that's what we used to refer to it as back in the day before "anxiety" became a buzzword), and I've always considered it to be a mostly negative trait. Yes, worry has... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2019 at positively present
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It's normal for us to want to categorizing things, to label them so we might make sense of them, but as soon as we start identifying something — as good, bad, or any other descriptor — we're limiting our understanding of the thing. (Yes, there are quite a few things that are easily and unequivocally defined, but the list of such things is likely shorter than you'd think.) Attempts to label or categorize are attempts to understand, to provide clarity for ourselves in a world that often doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But, unfortunately, these sense-striving attempts often... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2019 at positively present
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When something really great happens — you get accepted to the school of your choice, you publish a book, you land the great job, you find love, you make the team, you get the A, you choose a new career path, you give birth to a human person — celebrating is easy. People around you get excited for you and, even if you're filled with uncertainty ('cause change, however positive, can be scary!), you likely feel some sort of positive feelings about having worked hard to accomplish something. But, unless you're some kind of amazing superstar, these big "wins" are... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2019 at positively present
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Shop this illustration in the print shop! On the last day of the year, I've found myself reflecting on the past twelve months and, in particular, the ebb and flow my relationships. While reflecting, I realized I was trying to fit my relationships (and people!) into neat little boxes, labeled "GOOD" or "BAD," and it just wasn't working out. Because, as I'm sure you know, relationships are complex. They don't always fit clearly into boxes. They can't always be labeled clearly. My feelings about most people, even those I love dearly, are mixed. For someone like me, who really likes... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2018 at positively present
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In last week's post, I wrote about 5 ways to prepare for 2019, and this week I wanted to dive a bit deeper into the "clear out your clutter" point because, while you certainly don't need the start of a new year to declutter and simplify your life, sometimes the change of a date on the calendar can be all the inspiration you need to make positive changes. Plus, there's something immensely satisfying about kicking off a new year with a (somewhat) clean slate! There are obviously tons of decluttering posts online, but here are some of the things I... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2018 at positively present
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The end of the year is upon us, which means it's just about time for all of the articles about New Year's resolutions and "how to make the most of 2019" to come out! Personally I'm not a fan of resolutions, as they're often too broad and rarely stuck to, but I am all about prepping for the year to come. There's only so much you can really do to prepare since you never know what the year-to-come will have in store, but here are five of the ways I like to try to get it together in December so... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2018 at positively present
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As someone who spends a lot of time writing (and thinking about) words, it's not unusual for me to stumble upon new revelations about them, but recently I had a realization about two words that make a really big impact: right now. I frequently find myself making sweeping statements -- things like "I'm so stressed!" or "I'm obsessed with [insert current obsession]!" or "I can't live without [thing I didn't even know about a year ago]!" or "I'm so upset with [irritant-of-the-moment] -- and, while those are partially due to my flair for making dramatic proclamations, I don't think I'm... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2018 at positively present
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As the year winds down and the stress picks up (so much to do before the end of the year!), it's the perfect time to turn our attention to self-love. There's been tons of buzz this year about self-care, which is great, but taking a hot bath or scheduling a manicure isn't going to magically help you love yourself. Sure, embracing self-care can add to or enhance self-love, but it's like trying to build a house when there's no foundation -- it might hold up temporarily but it's not going to sustain you in the long run. I've written tons... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2018 at positively present
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With the Thanksgiving holiday this week and the potential for gathering around tables with those who might not share the same political, religious, or cultural points of view, I thought it would be a good time to revisit the topic of talking with those who share different views. Conquering controversial topics — particularly with family — is not for the faint of heart, but I truly believe there's a way to stay positive, voice your opinion, and still keep the peace. Of course, if you’re dealing with someone who is violent, judgmental, or narrow-minded, you’re going to have a hard... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2018 at positively present
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Love it or hate it, the holiday season is upon us, which means, for many, it's time to stress about that gift-giving list of friends, family, teachers, helpers, etc. I stressed so hard this year that I'm nearly done with my list! I absolutely hate leaving things to the last moment, especially when it comes to gift-giving. For one, I want to get those I love something they'll love and, for another, I don't have the money to waste on last-minute, frantic shopping expeditions! If you're like me and want to get your shopping done now so that you can... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2018 at positively present
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If you want to know the truth, I'm not often happy. I was born with a disposition that lends itself to melancholy and anxiety. I've always been a worrier and I'm prone to bouts of deep, dramatic sadness. But I'm not complaining. You know why? Because happiness isn't my life's goal. And, if you're looking for honesty here, it shouldn't be your life's goal either. One of the greatest struggles I've had over the past (almost!) 10 years of working on Positively Present is misconception that happiness = positivity. In fact, that was one of the greatest struggles of my... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2018 at positively present
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Feeling stressed? Yeah, you're not alone. Most of us experience stress, particularly at this time of year when we're reflecting on the months that have passed and looking forward to the typically-busy months to come. If you're stressed, you're probably thinking of in-the-moment things you can do to quell the chaotic feelings (deep breathing, taking breaks, spa-like activities, etc.), but one of the best ways to combat stress is to develop regular habits that keep you calm. Planting positive seeds in the form of stress-reducing habits can greatly reduce your stress level, in part because you don't have to think... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2018 at positively present
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It's hard to believe, but 2018 is the EIGHTH year of this Gratitude Challenge! I'm sharing the prompts a bit early this year so everyone who wants to participate can have a chance to prepare (and get a head start on thinking about gratitude!). I personally like tracking gratitude daily in my Every Day Matters diary, but even though I do it daily, focusing on a single word each day throughout November has served as a wonderful way to move toward the end of the year on a thankful note. Like last year, I'll be sharing my illustrations on Instagram... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2018 at positively present
Becky - I just used one word to start (and sometimes just one letter) and let the phone do its thing! But you could do whatever you want -- it's all just fun so play around with it and see what gives you the most insight!
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"You are amidst all this drama and you can decide to be friends with your life." That sentence was written using predictive text on my phone. You may have seen the trend that was popular awhile back where people would use predictive text to write their life stories or finish the sentence "I was born...", etc. It was silly and fun and I loved it. Last night I was playing around on my phone and the sentence above came together with predictive text, inspiring me to wonder, What kinds of advice might my phone have for me? Obviously the advice... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2018 at positively present
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Get this print in the shop! Another October, another reminder that I'm forever in love with fall. Even though the season hasn't quite arrived yet (these 90° days are killing me!), I can't help feeling my annual autumn obsession arise once again. To celebrate the season, I thought I'd share some of my favorite posts and inspiration about this time of year... October: A Reminder to Live Slowly October is, hands down, the best month of the year. Not only does the weather turn cooler (byeeee, humidity!), but the trees are ablaze with color (and, as you probably know, I'm... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2018 at positively present
Barb - It really doesn't ever go away completely, does it? It was challenging to speak up about this, but I'm glad I did. Thank you for commenting and making me feel less alone.
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If you've been following the news at all lately, you've probably heard about a high-profile sexual assault accusation. You've probably also heard about how, as a result of this high-profile case, many women are faced with the unsettling experience of having to revisit their own sexual assault experiences. I am one of those women. I don't want to detail my personal experience here, but, having gone to school in the exact environment as the one discussed in the high-profile case (and having been assaulted by someone who went to the same high school), I'd say that this particular situation has... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2018 at positively present
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HOORAY! It's officially the best time of year -- AUTUMN! Per usual, I'm pretty pumped at the arrival of my favorite season. Typically the season brings to mind one of two things: (1) the concept of letting go (à la, the leaves) or (2) the notion of fresh starts (that new-school-year vibe). This week I'm going to focus on the latter, specifically on the hope that comes with a new (school or calendar) year. With a fresh start of any kind (a new season, job, location, etc.), we're often motivated to think about what we'd like the newness to bring.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 24, 2018 at positively present
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Okay, so I'll say right up front that the "starting over" I had to cope with last past week is related to the loss of an app, not a person or a situation. It might sound dramatic, but it was just a tad traumatic for me to lose access to the place where I spend a ton of time these days: my Procreate drawing app. When it started crashing repeatedly and the Procreate team (despite their best efforts!) wasn't able to fix it, I knew it was inevitable: I would have to delete and reinstall. Now, I know this sounds... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2018 at positively present
Beth - I love hearing about ambiverts! It seems like the best of both worlds: you're not always overwhelmed by people and you aren't afraid to be alone and recharge!
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Lexi - Great point about not all introverts being the same! Also: it's important for extroverts to realize that a lot of introverts are okay (even thrilled) with being alone. Solitude and loneliness aren't the same thing, and a lot of people have difficulty understanding that.
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Rachael - Thanks for sharing your experience of being an extrovert living with an introvert! Trying to understand one another can be very challenging so I'm glad this post provided some helpful insights.
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