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Love yourself first

Love yourself first.
Above all, love yourself.
Even through insecurities, love yourself first.

I’ve struggled with acne for as long as I can remember. Besides the painful bumps that erupt on your face, the mental battle that acne brings is agonizing. Acne is a physical condition, but creates an emotional toll beyond words. It questions your worth, your ability to be loved. It makes you wonder why you’re on earth, if only to look so hideous behind something so beautiful.

I’ve grown to accept that some people battle acne, while others battle their weight, and others battle their relationship with food. All of us are fighting our own self worth battles. Just trying to make it to the other side unscathed from our own worst enemy, ourselves.

Learning to love yourself is the only way out of the vicious cycle of self hate. Love drives out hate. You have to learn to fill your mind with love instead of the destructive thoughts that come with insecurities. You have to drown yourself with love to empty out the hate. And believe me, it’s not going to be easy, loving yourself first never is.

When I am really struggling with my acne or mental health, my therapist always tells me to start simple. Don’t go all in to the personal development podcasts, books, videos. Why not just try to drink one glass of water? That is more beneficial to your body that overwhelming yourself with words your brain can’t take in that moment.

So lets love ourselves in the simple ways. Lets do the little things that add up to loving ourselves well.

Lets…
Drink some water.
SLEEP, maybe even take a nap.
Remember to eat throughout the day.
Take a shower, sometimes if you don’t have the energy to wash- just rinse. Just lay under the water and let it fall onto your silky skin.
Brush those teeth. You deserve a clean, beautiful smile.
Write three things your grateful for, no more, no less. Just three.

By loving yourself first you’ll be able to love your people better. Your cup has to be full before you can attempt to fill someone else’s. I’ve learned this the hard way over and over again.

Love yourself first, then love and be loved.

The sun will rise again.

Love your Internet bestie,

Kass

Naples Illustrated Magazine

Gracious & Grateful is honored to have been apart of the September 2020 Issue of Naples Illustrated Magazine. “Meet our 5 under 35 who are making a difference with hard work and Naples love.”

As a Naples local this is a great honor! I am so grateful to have been chosen for this issue of Naples Illustrated. I want nothing more than to be a light for everyone around me. My world has been dark, but there were always people lighting the way for me. People through my brother’s cancer diagnosis and people through the Vegas shooting. I would have never made it this far without my lights, I am grateful for each and every one of you. You are why I am who I am today. Grateful is an understatement.

Gracious & Grateful is meant to be a space of light, that’s why our logo is the sun. When you read the words I write I want you to feel love, hope, and feel inspired to give light throughout your day. To be the sun in a dark world. To remember your light never dims. I am honored God gave me this mission and not a day goes by that I don’t thank him for Gracious & Grateful.

I would like to take a second to recognize the brilliant minds behind the Naples Illustrated September 2020 Issue. Christina Cush, Editor in Chief of Naples Illustrated Magazine. Thank you for believing in my mission and writing the most beautiful, poised article about my life and personal work.
To Michael Caronchi of Caronchi Photography, the photographer behind the September 2020 Issue of Naples Illustrated, thank you for making me feel beautiful while hyping me up behind the camera. Your talent is endless and I hope to work with you again in the future, thank you for your time and energy. A big thank you to all who worked behind the scenes of the 2020 September Issue of Naples Illustrated Magazine, I am eternally grateful for your hard work!

The last thank you goes out to all of you, my Gracious & Grateful readers and subscribers. You have made this blog what it is and for that I am GRATEFUL. You’re support means the world and keeps me going. I will never be able to thank you enough for loving on me and my blog.

Remember, the sun will rise again.

Love your Internet bestie,

Kass

It’s not personal

Do you ever catch yourself reacting to something in a not so lovely way? Specifically something someone has said to you? Suddenly your chest is tight, you feel inferior, and the world is ending. All over something you’re probably taking to personally.

Yep, I went there.
99% of the time we are taking things too personal and in return reacting negatively.

Lately when I start to notice myself reacting negatively to something someone has said to me or texted me, I do my best to stop myself and ask one question. Am I taking this personally? The answer is almost always yes, and from there I evaluate if it is actually personal.
Is what they said really about me? Or am I making it about me?

Humans are selfish beings. We are constantly focused on keeping ourselves alive, and it’s necessary, without putting our oxygen mask on first we would never get the opportunity to save the person next to us. But because we are selfish we tend to forget that not everything is about us. Other people’s intentions are not always to go against us and make us feel bad. Most of the time we are just reading the message wrong, or taking it the way we hear the message– not the way the person meant it to be.

It’s not personal.
Whatever the text said that you are looming over like its the last day on earth- it’s not personal.
Whatever your boss told you that disrupted your day- it’s not personal.
Whatever you thought your best friend meant by saying your butt looked fat in those jeans- eh, that might be personal but bottom line she may be just as insecure about her butt in her own jeans!
It’s not personal.
Stop taking everything so personal.

And while I’m on my soap box- stop assuming everyone is against you!
Friends, don’t you believe in humanity? That maybe a small percentage of people on this earth are actually FOR you and not against you?
From now on, I’m going to assume every single person I interact with is on my side. They like me, they think I am the most awesome person on the planet. And until they tell me otherwise- they love me.

How would it change the current state of our world if we believed other people liked us? How often, especially as women, do we immediately assume someone hates us? Be it a fellow girl or the guy at work we have a crush on but continue to say something like, “He’ll probably never like me.” GIRLFRIEND, what if he already does? You’re not even giving him the benefit of the doubt because you’re so consumed with the fact you think people don’t like you.
Get off your high horse.
People like you but you don’t give them the chance to.

Friends, it’s not personal and not everyone is against you.
Start to ask yourself when you react, am I taking this personally?
If you are taking something personally, take a step back and evaluate why- because that’s on you and not the other person. Take some ownership before starting down a road neither of you wants to head down.
And give people the benefit of the doubt, I know it may seem like the world is against itself right now, but you’d be surprised what people do when you decide to give them a chance.

In the words of the very millennial (but not better than) version of Grease, We’re all in this together (High School Musical).
Remember, tomorrow is just another version of today but brighter.

The sun will rise again.

Love your internet bestie,

Kass

I peed my pants

When I was little (and by little I mean a freshman in high school), I was TERRIFIED of moths. At one point there was a moth upstairs and there are only two bedrooms upstairs, mine and my sister Julia’s. So as I got Julia to attempt to kill the moth, it some how flew near me and I peed my pants.
No, I am not lying, I peed my pants because of a moth.

I was so petrified over that little guy that I urinated all over myself and the ground. Why in the world am I telling you this?
Because when I think back on that moment the truth is that fear brought me to peeing my pants. I was SO scared I could no longer control my bodily fluids… WOW.

Now I am at a spot in my life where if the thing I am chasing is not making me want to pee my pants, I am not chasing big enough dreams.
My whole life I was scared of moths, I let them torture me.
My whole life I was also scared of chasing my dreams, they tortured me in different ways. I would sit on the edge of what I thought would be a great idea and then I would talk myself out of it.

Do you ever feel like you’re dangling on the edge of something great?
But of course you’re not sure if it’s going to be great… or suck.

GRACIOUS & GRATEFUL THE SHOP

2020 is around the corner and I’ve got some big goals I’m THINKING of adding to my list. But if I’m honest, I’m scared- super scared. What if I don’t achieve the goals? What if they are TOO big?

Then I stop myself and try to remember, at the beginning of 2018 I wrote down I would figure out how to move across the county… and CHECK!
2019, I wrote down I would run a 10K after never running a mile in my life… and CHECK!
I’ve checked off every scary, pee my pants type of fear, I’ve ever wrote down on my New Years list… so if I’m going to the next level, what’s the difference? If I can do ALL those other things, why can’t I do the next thing that’s on my heart?

The only thing stopping me is me.
The only thing that is creating fear in me, is ME choosing doubt.

I have some LARGE, scary dreams I am going to accomplish in 2020.
But the first dream is choosing to believe in myself– choosing to set aside fear, be brave, and BELIVE that I can accomplish anything.

Because at the end of the day,
I am already a boss.
I am already a business OWNER.
I am already a runner.
I am already a great writer.
So I am already going to be great at whatever I accomplish next.

I’m not sure where I learned this concept but it’s stuck with me, “The only person who will believe in your dreams as much as you do, is YOU.”
No one, not your person, not your boyfriend, not even your parents- understand the thing that lights YOUR soul on fire. Only YOU will be able to remind yourself WHY you’re doing the thing your doing every day. Only you will be able to commit to chasing that dream every single day.

I’m dangling on the edge of something great, are you?
I’m going to accomplish that something great whether it’s today or next week or next year, are you?
Are you choosing to chase a dream that makes you wanna pee a little?

See it’s funny, the moth use to chase me and then I would pee my pants.
But now, I chase the moth HOPING I pee my pants a little.
Because peeing my pants only means I did the thing that scared me.
I conquered fear.
I crushed Goliath with a pebble.
I caught the moth.