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A New Chapter

Hi Everyone! Happy Friday!

It was so nice to take the last week off and recharge from all the chaos that has been happening recently.  I feel renewed, refreshed, and all those other great ‘re-’ words.

Today I have some exciting news to share!

This is going to be my last real post on Kenzie Life, but it’s not a sad thing, it’s a really good thing.

On Monday, I will post an invitation for you to join me on my new website, which I’ve been referring to as my ‘little oasis’ amongst my friends and family.

This idea has been in the works for some time now (really 2 years) and I’m so excited to finally be able to share it with you all!

What you need to know is that much of my content will remain the same (and many of my favorite and reader’s favorite posts have already been transferred to the new site) but I’m also adding new sections.  There will be a blog devoted to inspiring you to live the life you want and tools on how to do it, a blog devoted to fashion, fitness, beauty, and ridiculously simple but delicious recipes, as well as a travel section and more little musings and stories from my day-to-day life, of which I haven’t shared much on Kenzie Life.

Because this is my last full post here (remember: the invitation for the new site will be up on Monday!), I thought it only fair to share where the name ‘Kenzie Life’ came from.

A little over a year ago, I was in London visiting my best friend for a few days before heading to Ireland with my family.  We were roaming around Kensington Gardens, which is one of my favorite places in London and I go every time I visit.  I suddenly had this idea that I wanted to change my last name to Kensington to reflect the new stage I was at in my life.

I was happier than I had ever been (and single!) and I was learning to love and care for myself more and more each day.  I wanted to make a change to reflect that and I fully intended on doing so.

Another friend of mine, knowing how much I missed blogging, suggested my new blog reflect the name, and she had recently started calling me “Kenz.”  Thus the name ‘Kenzie Life’ was born.

I ended up not changing my name and I’m glad I didn’t.  I realized over time that it wasn’t a change in my name that mattered, it was a change in my attitude and thoughts that would really create the shifts in my life.

I am so grateful to everyone who has visited this site, whether it’s your first or fiftieth time.  Thank you to those of you who have signed up for emails and who have been kind enough to share a link to KL on your blog-roll.  If you feel called to do so and enjoy my new site, I would be so grateful if you’d like to follow that one!

The year I’ve spent writing here on Kenzie Life has been a great one.  I’ve seen a lot of growth in myself, made a lot of friends, and learned a lot from so many amazing people.  I hope that you will join me at my new little oasis and that you’ll enjoy all the goodies I have in store!

Thank you for making this a great year and here’s to a brand new chapter!

With love,


P.S. Remember to stop back by on Monday to learn the name of my new site and get the link! Have a wonderful weekend!


A Quick Break

Hello everyone! I hope you’re having a great week so far!

I just wanted to give you all a quick heads up that I’m taking a week off from posting after spending all summer working and studying for the GRE (which I took on Monday).  I’m going to be taking such much needed down-time (spent offline :) ) and I’ll be back late next week with some really exciting news!

Be well,



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A few weeks ago I received a really lovely offer to try a distance Reiki healing.

I’ve heard about Reiki over the years but I had never had a legitimate Reiki session until last week.  I also had no idea Reiki could be given with distance between the healer and the receiver!

Before, I get into my experience with it, I thought it’d be nice to provide you with some information about reiki from a practitioner herself. Lori  was kind enough to let me experience all that a distance Reiki healing has to offer and to answer some questions I had about it in a little Q&A.

Question: What is Reiki?

Reiki is an energy healing, it works by releasing your negative energy, or negative vibes if you will. When a person sends you a healing, they are working on your energy. It is a gentle and non-invasive form of hands on healing. A Healing Spirit Guide is present when we undertake a healing session. The Healing Guide helps to manipulate and correct your energy. The Healer channels healing energies while the Healing Guide provides support and guidance. What this basically means is that you can feel your hands being guided intuitively as to where they should go next when we give a person treatment. We can literally feel the energy leave your body and out through our hands. It feels like pins and needles, but without the discomfort. If that feeling has a sound, I would liken it to a “buzzing” sound. :)

Question: What is the difference between a distance reiki session versus a hands-on session? 

Hands on Reiki is when you receive your Reiki treatment in front of your healer. Typically we have our clients lie down on a massage table, if they are able to, and we work our way from the top of your head, to the bottom of your feet, both front and back. (yes, you will remain fully clothed during Reiki sessions. It’s a VERY respectful practice of one’s personal space).  With a Distance healing, you will get the same effects from a Hands On Session as Reiki energy can transcend time and space. The only difference is that your healer won’t be in front of you.

Question: What can someone expect from a distance healing?

You know what Alex, I have only had it once, and it was after an incredibly topsy turvy day, and I still don’t know who sent it to me, but oh my! It felt like I was just sinking into my bed!!!! It honestly could not have come at a better time.  I was climbing into bed, just absolutely wore out from all the crap and such that filled my day, and just as I closed my eyes, I could see purple and then this most marvelous feeling came over me and it was like I was melting into my bed, it was SO relaxing! Not sure who sent it but they were my heroine that night! :) As for when I send it to my clients, I ask that they make themselves as comfortable as possible, put on some soothing music, close your eyes, focus on your breath, (if you meditate, that’s awesome!), but the key is to relax your body/mind as much as possible) and then sit back and let the feelings you get just wash over you.

Question: What are the benefits of a Reiki healing? 

They are numerous!!! Reiki can:

  • balance your energy levels
  • clear energy blocks to allow the energy to flow more smoothly
  • release negative energy
  • provides relief from physical pain
  • relax you to the max
  • improve your energy levels and concentration
  • helps to speed up recovery from an illness or surgery (trust me on that one!)
  • helps you feel more positive
  • and it also provided comfort to those who are passing over or are in a state of transition

My Experience With Reiki
I was really looking forward to experiencing a distance reiki session, though I had some apprehension and skepticism.  Would it actually help decrease my anxiety?  Would I be able to feel anything?  Would it make a difference?

My session with Lori happened last Sunday evening, right before the chaos of the work-week and at the pinnacle of my anxiety over the GRE, which I’ll be taking as you read this.  Between work, studying for this exam, and the “Big Medicine Month” (as Leonie Dawson calls it) that was July, I was in desperate need of some healing energy.

I felt anxious, frazzled, and not at all grounded that night. With that being said, I was really looking forward to anything that could provide relief.

Lori, who was friendly and easy to talk to, began our session over Skype with me cutting a tarot card deck and choosing a card.  The card I chose was “The Waiting Game,” which was about not being held back by fear in making my decisions, heightened intuition, and achievement and success.  A fortuitous and comforting card that resonated with me at this time!

We then logged off and gave ourselves a 5 minute cushion to begin the session.  I tried to quickly fold some laundry that had just come out of the dryer when all of a sudden I felt this wave of calm rush over me.  Honestly, I was not expecting that at all but it felt really good.

I then hurried to my newly made altar (where I’ve been meditating for the past few weeks) and settled into a Kundalini meditation.  I didn’t stay in the meditation long (about ten minutes), but then I went into a deep journaling session where all these feelings I had been holding back just poured out of me.  I cried, I asked for help in forgiving myself for past mistakes and for holding onto these emotions, and then released it.

An hour later, my anxiety had decreased back to my baseline and I no longer felt frazzled, out of sorts, and un-grounded.  I felt like I was back in my body (not my head) and back to myself.  I was very pleasantly surprised at how relaxed and calm I felt, and though I thought I’d experience some relief with the Reiki, I wasn’t expecting such a recalibration of my energy.

Though Lori told me I would sleep really well that night, I didn’t expect to sleep as well as I did.  For the first time this entire summer, I woke up a half an hour before my alarm feeling totally refreshed and energized and that feeling stayed with me the whole day.  I felt alert, focused, and on-top of all my work.

Overall, my experience with Lori and the distance Reiki healing was nothing short of wonderful.  The Reiki session far surpassed my expectations and I discovered that it really is a wonderful form of self-care for anyone who wants and needs a little loving energy directed specifically at them.

You can learn more about Lori and her Reiki services at The Reiki Flow.  I think one of the coolest things about Reiki is that you can definitely feel a difference in your energy even through a distance!

A big thanks to Lori for giving me the chance to experience Reiki!

(Disclaimer: I was provided with a distance Reiki session gratis but all thoughts expressed are my own.)


Are you a worrier?  Do you ever make decisions and then have trouble sticking to them?  Do you find yourself replaying different scenarios long after you’ve made a decision or the situation has ended?

I get it.  I’ve been there.

My battle with worry is part anxiety disorder and part personality trait (read Type A, perfectionistic, etc.).  I also know I’m not the only one who has a hard time with this.

Everyone struggles with worry or anxiety, it’s just a matter of the extent to which it impacts your life. 

Making difficult decisions and sticking with them, without engaging in obsessive worry behavior used to be one of the hardest things for me.

I’d be in a situation where I needed to make a tough decision, and then I’d go back and forth, wondering if I did the right thing, said the right thing, left the person/situation at the right time or for the right reason.

It’s beyond exhausting reliving difficult situations or replaying them in your head with different endings, wondering if you did the right thing.

Most people can relate to this on some level, anxiety disorder or not.  It’s a side effect of being a human more than anything else.

In the past year, I’ve had to make a lot of decisions that impacted various aspects of my life, from my education to my career to my physical health and emotional well-being.  I’ve practiced a lot of techniques to help mitigate my anxiety and though I still have a lot to work on, I’ve made considerable strides and am able make tough decisions without wavering or regret.

Today I’m going to share some tips about how to make a tough decision and stick to it without regret or replaying alternate scenarios or endings in your mind.  Just like with anything, the more you practice, the better you get!

1. Learn to be ok when others are upset with you.   In this post I shared 7 tips on how to deal with the uncomfortable feeling of having others be upset with you.  I think this is a big issue that comes up for people when they are making a tough decision.  Many of us worry about disappointing others, what they’ll think, or how our choices will impact them.  If you want to make an omelette, you’ve got to break some eggs.  You can’t please everyone and sometimes something’s gotta give.

2. A soul twist on the Pro/Con List.  In addition to writing down the benefits and negatives of making a decision, write down what you think the emotional impact of making a decision will be.  Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map is a great resource if you need some help figuring out how you want to feel in your life and determining your core desired feelings!

3. Choose love over fear.  Don’t stay in a relationship because you’re worried you won’t find anyone else to love you (you will). Don’t stay in situations that corrode your soul because you’re afraid of not finding something better.  Whether it’s a job, a relationship, a project, etc., trust that if you take the next step, the universe will be there to hold you up.

4. If you don’t know what the right decision is, meditate on it.  I like Gabby Bernstein’s videos on how to trust your intuition and her interview with Marie Forleo on Manifesting Miracles.  Spend some quiet time in front of your altar (if you have one) or outside in nature and look inwards for some guidance.  Sometimes the most powerful guidance comes in the form of the softest whisper.

5. Stop looking for permission outside of yourself.  Trust that if you want to make a change that it’s the right thing for you.  You can always change your mind.  Another great Gabby video is her one on trusting your own opinion (<– this video is incredible! If you’re going to watch one video, make it that one.)  Trust your own intuition from the start and stop asking others to reinforce/validate what you know you already want.

6. Things turn out the way they are supposed to.  If you live with a deep knowing that the right people show up or leave at the right time, that things happen for a reason, that endings signal new beginnings, then you are freed from the need to replay situations or thinking any of that “shoulda, coulda, woulda” merry-go-round nonsense.

7. If you aren’t sure whether or not you should stay in a situation, do a feelings litmus test.  Think about staying in the situation for another week, month, or year.  Does the thought of staying fill you with dread? Or does it make you feel expansive and excited? If anticipating the continuation of this relationship/job/etc makes you want to cry and run away, pay attention to that because that may be your answer.

8. Notice how you talk about the situation now.  Do you complain a lot about this situation? Do you feel the need to debrief with your best friend after daily fights with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Do you come home every day bitching about your boss or job to your significant other? If you are so stressed out or unhappy in a situation that it’s all you can talk about, that’s a good sign that you just need to get out of the situation altogether or find someone (like a therapist) to help you process.

9. Gut decisions lead to a lack of regret.  In my experience, I’ve only experienced regret when I made a decision to please someone else instead of myself.  The decisions I’ve made regarding relationships, jobs, & educational opportunities that weren’t in line with my gut but that were made to please others (or my ego) were the ones that filled me with dread and regret.  If you have mixed feelings about a situation, act from your truth and watch the anxiety, worry, guilt, and regret dissipate.

10. To quote The Fray, “Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same.”

Wishing you ease & peace in your future decision-making processes!


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One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my twenties is that getting enough and good quality sleep will change your life.

I took this very seriously after reading Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive.  Getting more sleep will boost your productivity, give you more energy, improve your mood, and help your concentration.  It’s also the time the body repairs itself, which is especially important if you’re an athlete or active person and is important for memory consolidation.

Throughout my teen years and early twenties, I struggled with some pretty severe insomnia (I went through one week where I only got about 4 hours of sleep in 3 days).  It took me a long time to come up with tools and rituals that would help me get a good night’s sleep, but once I found combinations that worked, my “sleep life” changed for the better!

I think that one of the biggest factors in how well we sleep is what we do before we go to sleep (sleep hygiene) as well as our stress levels and emotional state.  That’s not earth shattering news to anyone but it is important. Neglecting this information can negatively impact your sleep and therefore the quality of your life.

Today I thought I’d share some of my own rituals and energy techniques that help me get the best quality sleep I can.  Try the things that resonate with you and leave any of your own rituals in the comments!

Meditate–use a guided meditation, a special technique, or just take a few minutes to yourself.

 “Leave it at the door”: If you’ve got a lot on your mind and tend to bring your stress into the bedroom with you, take a moment to stop at the door of your room.  Close your eyes and say the following, “I release my stress.  I release my fear.  I leave everything that does not serve me while I sleep at the door.”

I then say a prayer in Hebrew that a former spiritual mentor taught me, which is: Kodoish, Kodoish, Kodoish Adonai ‘Tsebayoth.It means “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of Hosts”.  It’s an incredibly powerful, high-frequency, negative energy-clearing prayer and I’ve used it dozens of times a day for nearly two years.  Step into your bedroom only after you’ve released what you needed to and drift into a more peaceful sleep.

 If I have trouble sleeping, I take a natural supplement called Calms Forté.  It doesn’t leave me feeling hungover in the morning and makes me sleepy enough to drift off to sleep. (As always, if you’re on prescription medications, check with a doctor before using natural supplements.)

Use a chilled, scented eye pillow on your eyes as you fall asleep.

Use a sound machine or a sound app.  I like white noise if I don’t have a fan next to me.

★ Sleep with crystals.  I know this sounds totally strange (or maybe it doesn’t for some of you and we’re meant to be friends :) ) but I’ve been doing this for over a year and I love it.  I have about 10 crystals by my bedside at all times and before I fall asleep, I choose a few to put next to my pillow or sometimes I even hold them in my hand as I go to sleep.  My favorites are hematite, clear quartz, rose quarts, and a shiva lingham stone.  

★ Stop checking your email/social media at least an hour before bed. 

 Avoid any type of screen (TV, laptop, iPad, cell phone) at least an hour before bed.

★ Take a warm bath.  Spruce it up with some epsom salt, pink himalayan salt crystals, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil. At the very least,

 Drink non-caffeinated tea or an herbal blend to help you unwind.

 Keep a journal next to your bed and jot down anything you want to get off your mind before you fall asleep.  Sometimes the process of it writing it down gets it out of our psyche long enough to relax and fall asleep.

★ Make a “sweet dreams” spray by mixing vanilla and ylang ylang essential oils with some water in a spray bottle. Shake it up and spray it around your bed before you go to sleep for a little aromatherapeutic experience.

 Look at the moon and stars before you go to sleep–something about celestial bodies is so comforting to me.

Wishing you more and better sleep! ♥ ♥ ♥


The Impact of Style On Body Image

When I go out to dinner with my family or friends, I’m usually the one who overdresses.  I have no problem throwing on a pair of sexy heels when others are in sandals or wearing a dress when everyone else is in jeans.

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The reason for this is simple: I feel better when I enjoy what I’m wearing.

This doesn’t mean that I’m always dressed better or sexier (both of which are objective anyway) than everyone else, it just means that I put on whatever outfit makes me feel my best.

In high school, I didn’t care at all about fashion. In college, I went through phases of styles ranging from sweatpants-to-class to matchy-matchy skirts and scarves.

It wasn’t until my post-college days that I realized that it’s not just what you put in your body that determines how you feel about it, it’s what you put on your body.

Lest you think I’m being shallow, hear me out.

I don’t believe in a “one-style-fits-all” approach.  It was not uncommon to see women at my college dressed up in Rocky Horror Picture attire, wearing capes, or dressing in their Sunday best on a Tuesday evening in the library.  I didn’t mind any of that. Sure, their style might not gel with mine, but as long as they felt good in it, who was I to judge?

I will say that I am probably more from the Stacey/Clinton school of thought when it comes to fashion (aka there are certain guidelines that help everyone look good), but I also think that style is highly individual and subjective.

Style isn’t just a form of expression, it’s a reflection of how you feel about yourself.

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I’m not here to tell you what looks good on you and what type of clothes you should buy, but what I am saying is that what you wear (whether you realize it or not) can affect how you feel about yourself for better or for worse.

When I wear clothes that are baggy or old or don’t fit, I feel lethargic, unfashionable, and kind of sad.

When I wear clothes that fit my body (this doesn’t necessarily mean tight fitting) and are concurrent with my style, I feel energized, confident, and I like my body more.

Though I feel firm in my recovery from my eating disorder, my body image remains a lingering issue, as it does for most who are in recovery.

There are some days when I feel the image I see in the mirror is what actually exists and there are other days when I know what I’m seeing a distorted version of the truth.

Even if you don’t have any type of body dysmorphia or aren’t recovering from an eating disorder, you’re likely to have bad body image days too.  It’s a symptom of living in a society that places a very high value on what women look like and furthermore, has a narrow idea of what is considered beautiful.

On the days when I’m struggling with my body image (and it’s not all the time), I be sure to wear something that is going to make me feel better.

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Maybe it’s a skater dress with high heels, or some tailored shorts and a loose shirt, or maybe it’s black skinny jeans and a bright blue tank top, or maybe leggings and a longer shirt.

If I’m having a tough day or I’m stressed out, I don’t try and fit into my smallest pair of pants or anything that’s already tight on me. It will do nothing to improve my mood, make me even more upset, and I’ll end up taking out my feelings of stress from work, school, life, etc. on my body.

An easy remedy: have a few go-to outfits for particular situations.

If I’m going to work and know it’s going to be a stressful day, I have a pair of black skinny jean leggings from Express that I love to pair with a cobalt blue breezy top from the Limited.  I complete the look with a gold cuff bracelet I got from Stitch Fix.

If I’m going out with friends or meeting new people and I’m kind of nervous, I put on a black and blue skater dress paired with some sexy high heels (for confidence and a bit of razzle dazzle).  If it’s more casual: a black lacy tank top and tailored khaki shorts.

If the weather is cooler, I’m rarely without my bitchin’ jacket (aka the orange jacket in the picture above).  The very first time I wore that jacket, I wore it to a Starbucks and the barista working that day looked up and said, “That’s a bitchin’ jacket.” From then on, his nickname for me was “bitchin’ jacket.”

Wearing clothes that you feel comfortable in and literally feel good on your skin will help improve your body image (even if by just a little bit) or at the very least, it won’t give you a reason to blame/dislike your body.

Other quick tips to help improve your body image through style:

  • Buy clothes that you love wearing.  If you don’t want to wear it out of the store when you try it on, do not buy it.
  • Try different types of fabrics and clothing styles.  I know that softer denim used in certain denim legging style jeans feel really good to me.  I also know that some days I don’t want tight fitting shirts so I like ones that are looser but not tent-ish.  Experiment, try new things, branch out.
  • Ask for opinions from friends, family, even sale’s people on the floor (both men and women) if you aren’t sure whether or not something fits your body shape/size.
  • The size on the tag doesn’t matter.  Seriously, it doesn’t.  I know I’m 3 different sizes at 3 different stores. Sometimes I’m a different size depending on the style of pants within the same store! Don’t let a tag with a number on it dictate your worth or mood for the day.
  • Similarly, get rid of the scale.  It’s not doing you any favors.  Focus on how you feel rather than a number that tells you what your organs, skin, bones, etc weigh.

If you’re looking to improve your body image, don’t think about dressing to impress other people.  Think about dressing to make yourself feel even better than you already do.  Know, with confidence, that you look amazing when you walk out the door in the morning and watch the tone of your day be set a little higher!


This is How Pure Barre Enthusiasts Feel

Wait! This is How Pure Barre Enthusiasts Feel has been moved to my new website, True Femme.  Please click here to see the post! Thank you!



Why I Gave Up Running

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At the beginning of December 2012, I set out on a run determined to become a runner.  I don’t know why, but I’ve always had this obsession with running.

It wasn’t so much the sport, it was the idea of being a runner.  It was wanting to be one of those Lulu-clad, in-the-zone, lithe runners I’d see as I drove by.

After spending years reading healthy living blogs, I felt like the only one who wasn’t a runner. It seemed like everybody and their mother were runners and admittedly, I felt less than for not being one of them.

But there was also a part of me that longed to be out on the pavement, with my legs carrying me for miles and Pitbull ringing in my ears.

And for a while I was.

What began as a quest to feel like a part of a larger community (even if my reasons were a little warped) became genuine enjoyment.  With each mile I ran I gained even more self-esteem, and I loved that, I craved it.

But in April/May of 2013, I started having trouble with my lungs.  Running became more difficult because I felt increasingly out of breath, even though I was becoming more fit between my regular Pure Barre classes and running schedule.

By the end of the summer, I was able to run 8-9 miles (a huge accomplishment for me), but I still had to take a few walking breaks and my breathing wasn’t getting better.

In late August, I went back to school and between 20 credit hours and nearly 3 hours a day commuting, running became less of a priority (though I stuck with Pure Barre a few times a week).  I ran about once a week throughout the fall, but I didn’t make running a priority because the times I did go out and run, it wasn’t enjoyable.  In fact, it was painful more often than not.

My legs felt fine, they were never the problem.  It was my lungs and feeling a sharp, stabbing pain in the middle of my chest.  My throat would close up and I’d be gasping for breath around mile 2.  It would take nearly an hour after a run for me to breathe normally again.

I didn’t know it at the time, but my one year anniversary run was the last run I’d complete.

I tried to go for a run a few times this year and didn’t make it past two miles.  I turned back because the pain in my lungs was excruciating and I was miserable.  In January I saw a lung doctor who ran a few tests, but we couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

A few weeks without running turned into a few months, and eventually I realized that running wasn’t a part of my life anymore.

There were times when I missed how athletic and alive it made me feel, but if I’m being completely honest, there were times I ran because I felt like I “should” not because I wanted to.

Having contradictory feelings about running was difficult for me.  I felt like a phony for both loving the emotional and physical results of running (minus the lung pain) and for not always going for a run out of pure love for the sport.  If I’m being really honest, it was also frustrating to not find many people talking about this.

Was I the only one who felt like she had to run? Was there no one else who felt pressured to do it?

I felt weird and conflicted about having this obsession with being a runner, and at the same time, I was kind of relieved to give it up.

Giving up running meant I could focus more on Pure Barre, which far surpasses the love I had for running.  Running was like a short-lived crush.  Pure Barre is a long-term relationship.  I can’t compare the two and I don’t want to.

I found my fitness love, and it’s not running.

I feel much more balanced and healthy (emotionally and physically) now than when I ran. This isn’t a crack at running at all. I know there are plenty of examples of emotionally-healthy and physically fit runners who run for the love of the sport and don’t share my feelings about it. That’s totally cool.

It’s also not like I was some world-class athlete or contender to begin with. I was just a girl who ran a few times a week and now I’m not.

I don’t need to run to feel athletic and alive.  I don’t need to run to fit in with a group of people who have blogs.  I don’t need to run because “everyone is doing it” (they’re not).  I don’t need to run to be happy or feel fulfilled, because there are a lot of other ways I do that now.

I’ve also stopped reading blogs that focus exclusively on fitness and running.  They just aren’t interesting, fun, or healthy for me to read, though I completely understand and respect that the same blogs could be motivating and exciting to others.

That’s what life is really about; finding what works for you at the time and is for your highest good.

Running doesn’t work for my body right now, though I leave open the possibility for it to be a part of my life in the future.

Right now, I’ll keep doing what works for me and not allow any self-created guilt to seep in.

In this moment, it’s the freedom of doing what I love instead of what I feel compelled to do that I love the most.

That feeling is priceless.


Screen shot 2014-07-06 at 11.15.35 AM Have you ever wanted somebody to like you so much that you started abandoning parts of yourself to get into their good graces?

Have you ever edited or totally neglected parts of your story because you were worried about what someone would think?

Have you ever made yourself smaller or changed parts of your personality to obtain someone else’s approval?

We’ve all done it at one point or another, myself included.  Maybe it was for a job interview.  Perhaps it was to attract or keep a significant other.  Maybe it was a friendship that you really wanted to develop or maintain.

The reasons are plenty, the opportunities to do it are ever-present, but I’ve come to realize that trading our authenticity for acceptance is a sacrifice we should think long and hard about before making.

I’ve recently taken inventory of the times in my life when I’ve done this.  Now, I know there are more instances of this than I count, so I just stuck with the ways I’m still doing this in the present.

There are times at work when I’ll apologize for something that I didn’t need to apologize for just to make sure my superiors weren’t upset with me.  There are times when I’ve tried to gain the approval of certain coworkers whom I don’t even respect, let alone like, just so things will run more smoothly.

Outside of work, there’s a situation where I’ve tried really hard to get this one individual to like me.  She’s got a hot and cold personality, which makes it challenging to connect with her, so I started acting less authentically to see if I could gain both her approval and friendship.  It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I stopped to ask myself whether I really and truly liked and respected her.

Though June brought Mercury Retrograde (and the requisite turbulence, and communication difficulties), it also brought a lot of early evenings of meditation outside on my little balcony with a view of the mountains and the wide-open Colorado sky.

It brought a lot of reflection and contemplation, even some closure, and it also brought me some unexpected clarity. Clarity in the form of mental and emotional exhaustion that I had been suppressing for the last 6 months.

Though I recently got some closure on a friendship that ended, the emotional turmoil and pain it brought me started around January and culminated at the end of March/beginning of April.  I didn’t really open up about how tough those months were for me, but between the pain in my personal life and the stress of school and work I spent a lot of days feeling utterly spent.

As June went on, I realized that in order to not feel the pain of the loss of that friendship, I tried to win over the approval of other people to “make up for” what I had lost.  I think deep down I was afraid that it was something about me that caused this friendship to die (when I know that some things just aren’t built to last), so I started trading out small but significant pieces of myself to get others to like me.

I forgot that real friendships and relationships don’t have to be won over.

I forgot that people will either like you or they won’t, they’ll respect you or they won’t, and you don’t really have a lot of control over either.

I forgot that the way we see relationships and other people are a reflection of the way we see ourselves.

If we feel good about ourselves, we’ll look for the good in others and we’ll be more secure with who we are and what we have to offer.  The less we love ourselves, the more prone we are to jealousy, comparisons, and judgments.

I’m not saying that if we feel good about ourselves then suddenly everybody else becomes likable or someone we want in our lives. I am saying that we stop “hustling” for approval, as Brené Brown says, when we’re comfortable and accepting of who we are.

If we feel good about ourselves, we’re more likely to see the situation for what it really is because our judgment isn’t obscured by insecurity and fear.

When you act from a place of authenticity, you attract the right/best people for you into your life.

When you act authentically, you know you did your best in any given circumstance.  You know you did your job well today, you know you were a good friend, you know you were the best parent or partner or mentor you could be. You don’t have regrets or feel guilty about not being true to yourself.

For people-pleasers and those with friendly personalities who want people to like them (I’m a card-carrying member of both), I invite you to take a step back and ask yourself if your actions are getting the results you want.

I know for me, they haven’t been.  I’m happy but there is still room for more happiness in my life, in both my career choices and personal life. In order to get to that place, I have to start owning up (even more) to who I am, who I want to be, and the type of life I want to live.

When we’re honest about who we are and what we want and start putting that out into the world (instead of what we think the world wants), that’s when we can attract back the type of job, friends, lovers, and situations we’ve been craving on a soul-level.

I say this with confidence because I’ve seen it work in my own life.  Sure, there are times I’ve forgotten it and there are a few areas of my life that could still use some work (there are for all of us), but I have many more instances of my life coming together in the most beautiful ways when I’ve “been the change” I’ve wanted to see.

Sometimes we just need to take a breath and come back to our center, back to our truth, instead of playing the games the world has set up for us.

Be grateful for what you have and who you are, and watch even more of it show up in your life.

Authenticity may be the hard choice in some situations, but it’s always the most rewarding one.

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