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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!

{ 2 comments }

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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! ♥ ♥ ♥

{ 6 comments }

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!

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This is How Pure Barre Enthusiasts Feel

If you’ve been here before, you probably know how in love with Pure Barre I am.  (If not, see this post, this post, this post, and this post).

Well, a few months ago, I discovered the blog Semiproper (then Neon Fresh) and was smitten.  Roo’s writing ranges from heartfelt and honest to downright hilarious.  Her “This is How I Feel” series has become one of the things I most look forward to every Friday (besides the 12:00 PB class I take with one of my favorite teachers).

With credit to Roo for the concept, I introduce a mashup of thoughts Pure Barre enthusiasts may have (or have had) along with some ridiculous GIFs to celebrate my one year Pure Barre anniversary (which happened a few weeks ago).  I hope you enjoy them!

This is how Pure Enthusiasts feel when…

You see for the first time what exactly you’re supposed to do with the tube during thigh work…

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When someone sets their equipment down a little too close to yours…

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You make it through the warmup without dropping your arms…

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Your teacher tries to get you to challenge yourself even more in a pose when you feel like you’re already doing everything you can to hold it…

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When you start using heavier weights…

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When you make it through thighs and seat work without dropping a pose once…

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When you’re able to hold a pose that used to be your most challenging all the way through…

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You see 100 club socks for the first time…

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When you try to convince your sister to give Pure Barre a second try…

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When someone asks what exactly Pure Barre is…

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Your reaction when people say “Small, isometric movements? That can’t be that hard!”…

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When you walk into an intensive workshop and are unnaturally excited…

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What you tell yourself when your studio gets new Pure Barre swag…

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When you’re driving home from a class that made you feel particularly awesome…

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When you get home from class…

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What you want to tell first-timers…

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A special thanks to all my PB teachers! I love you all! <3

This post is not sponsored and I’m not affiliated with Pure Barre in any way.  I’m just a Pure Barre enthusiast :) 

{ 9 comments }

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.

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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.

{ 6 comments }

On “Failed” Relationships & Closure

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You’ve probably all heard this Gotye song, and I’m sure that for many of you it also reminds you of somebody that you used to love or care for who is now a part of your past.

For me, this song doesn’t remind me of one of my previous romantic relationships, but it represents a really special platonic friendship of mine that ended a few months ago.

In fact, it ended right at the most stressful point in my semester, during my third round of midterms just before finals.  He was my best guy friend and the obliteration of our friendship crushed me.

In order to get through exams, I put the thought of our broken friendship in a little mental box and tucked it away in the corner of my mind, compartmentalizing at its finest.

I put the thoughts of this friendship away and refused to revisit it for the next few months. Doing so only made me angry and I was only angry because I was devastated.

It hurt to lose that friendship.  It hurt because not only had we grown really close, but I became very close to his entire family and even spent a few holidays with them. It hurt because I loved him, even if it was “just as a friend.”

Anytime you lose a relationship that means a lot to you, for whatever reason, pain seeps into those broken cracks in your heart and it can be hard to breathe.

I felt betrayed and heartbroken, and despite repeated attempts to fix it, our friendship couldn’t be saved.

A Course in Miracles teaches that relationships are assignments and I think that concept helps lessen the blow when one ends. Finished relationships, platonic or romantic are not failed relationships if you’ve learned the lesson you’ve needed to learn.

In this particular instance, I learned to open my heart up and trust men again.

He was the first guy I really let in after a very destructive relationship of mine that ended two years ago this summer.  He was a great teacher for me and I think I was a great teacher for him.  I truly believe that we both learned what we needed to in order to go on and have the deeper, more permanent relationships we were meant to have.

However, despite the pain of this friendship ending, I’ve had an amazing last few months, ones filled with some immense spiritual and personal growth.

I’ve taken my own version of happiness to the next level and I’m feeling really stoked about the changes coming up in my personal and professional lives in the next few months.

But last week was bizarre. I was feeling really happy and spiritually connected after a Kundalini yoga meditation, but I also felt really…off.

Something didn’t feel right and I couldn’t put my finger on it, until I just said a little prayer to the Universe asking for some guidance about what I needed to fix to get completely back on track.

Almost without thinking, I reached for my phone to look up the number of my former friend.  I realized that I didn’t like the way things had ended.  Hell, I didn’t like that things had ended but I knew that a resurrection of our relationship wasn’t possible, at least not now.

I needed some closure and in this situation, closure for me meant apologizing for any role I may have played in the fizzling, thanking him for what he brought to my life and heart, and genuinely wishing him well.

Fortunately, he was responsive to my outreach and we closed things simply and peacefully.

When I climbed into bed that night, I knew it would probably be the last time I spoke to him and that our friendship was officially over.  Warm salty tears filled my eyes and fell onto my pillow, but they weren’t just tears of sadness, they were also tears of joy. For when one thing ends another can begin.

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Breaking the Barriers to Female Bonding

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This is a story about a girl named Lucky.

Just kidding.

It’s a story about a girl named Alex who ran out of curly hair goddess creme from Aveda and went into a hair salon to buy more.

The girl running the front desk was really beautiful.  She had long dark hair, perfect skin, and she was just gorgeous.

Younger, more immature Alex would have immediately either a) felt bad about herself for not matching up to this girl’s beauty or b) internally found reasons to take this girl down a notch.

I’m not that Alex anymore, so I did neither of those things.

Instead, as I was paying for my merch, I looked at her and said, “I think you’re really gorgeous.”

A smile immediately spread across her face and she said, “I actually think the same thing about you.”

It was a really, beautiful little moment of female bonding.

But then I realized that part of what made it so lovely was that this type of moment is pretty rare.

I think that as women, we sometimes experience an unspoken barrier that prohibits us from this feminine bonding that is our birthright.

It’s as if we’re all in competition with one another, trying to be hotter, smarter, thinner, sexier, or more athletic, educated, and accomplished than the next.  As if there is no room for all of us to shine and we have to beat others down to fight our way to the top.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no saint.  There are times when I do feel inferior, but I’m self-aware enough now to recognize that these insecurities are opportunities for healing, not fodder for a self-hate project.

In general, I believe that a lot of the competition between women is some kind of bullsh*t.

Isn’t it sad that we will forego giving a compliment that could totally turn someone’s day around because we’re too jealous of them to get over ourselves?

Isn’t it even more sad that we will put ourselves down because of someone else’s gifts or talents?

Isn’t it a shame that we see women as threats, not friends, supports, or mentors?

It makes me sad to think of how often I have experienced envy where I could have experienced admiration, hope, or inspiration.  In place of awe I settled for self-loathing.

How much have I missed out on because of my own insecurities?

From the women I was jealous of, maybe I could have learned something about myself that could have helped me heal those insecurities.  Maybe I could have made a new friend.  Maybe I could have taken my ego down a few notches to compliment someone else, to be of service, to make their day just a little easier or brighter.

I think it takes a secure and empowered woman to admit another woman’s strengths, while still recognizing and valuing her own.

That is the type of woman I hope to be; an ally, a support, a friend, and a woman who can make another woman smile.

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How to Handle Blatant Insults

You have to know that I’m chuckling on the inside as I write this.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about today, until I encountered an incredibly rude, blatant insult at work.  It was one of those comments that was so rude I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

colbert-jaw-drop

My jaw actually, physically dropped, which is often the international symbol for, “Did you really just say that, because I can’t believe what I’m hearing.”

really

Instead, this individual interpreted my jaw-drop as my misunderstanding of his insult, which he then repeated to me 3 (!!) more times!

At  some point I think he understood that my facial expression actually meant,

ease-up

The funny part about this was that he was dropping off an application to work for our office! #lmao #yeahright

Anyway, had this insult come my way a year or two ago, I would’ve been pretty upset over it.  I was born with the world’s thinnest skin and any slight was enough to make me crumple up with shame and insecurity.

However, I have been actively working on building up emotional skin so that hurtful comments and insults don’t leave big wounds.  Today, I’m happy to say that while this insult (which I don’t really want to repeat) stung, I also knew it was bullshit. This was a situation that really had nothing to do with me and was about someone else’s issues.

What I’ve come to realize is that whenever someone says something hurtful, we still have a really wonderful opportunity for growth.

Step 1: Whenever I encounter a situation like this, the first thing I ask myself is if there’s a lesson that I need to learn.  If something bothers you, it means it’s pushing one of your buttons.  If you work to eliminate your buttons by learning whatever lessons you need to, then people can’t trigger what isn’t there.

Gabrielle Bernstein has an awesome video about handling negative comments that has helped me several times.

If you realize that there’s a part of you that wants approval from others, a negative comment or insult might be the perfect time to heal that button.  To do this, I ask myself if this person’s opinion is one I really value.  If it’s not, I start to let it go.  If I do value their opinion, I have some techniques I use to still be ok even when somebody is upset with me. 

In this situation, I knew that my button was still letting little things get to me.  Knowing that it’s a button that I’m actively healing, I saw this as an opportunity to grow.  I didn’t want to spend time being upset about this.

Step 2: My next step is asking myself if I am proud of how I acted in the situation, or if there’s something I’d like to change next time.  I know I have something to work on if I have the “bad butterfly” tingly sensation in my stomach.  In this particular situation, I was proud of how I acted.  I remained professional and fought the urge to be rude back.

Step 3: Another Gabby-ism that I love is “Forgive and delete.”  The ‘delete’ part is referring more to actually deleting a rude comment online, but I like the metaphysical aspect as well.  Forgive the person who was being an idiot unloving and delete it.  Don’t let the comment or memory take up precious space on your mental hard-drive.  It’s a waste of space and time if you dwell on it.

I know that can be difficult, but just keep reminding yourself that not every issue that comes your way is one you need to absorb.  Let people take their own trash out and you deal with your stuff.

Step 4: Next, use some humor.  Humor can help us take the sting out of uncomfortable or hurtful situations.  Joking about situations that bring up shame can actually help decrease the shame.  Shame can’t exist when it’s shared with others and I like to think that laughter makes it shrink.

Step 5: Finally, be like teflon and let it slide.

When all is said and done, I don’t want to waste my time being upset over something like this.  I choose to respond to this situation differently than I would have in the past. I didn’t attack back, I looked within to see if there were places I could grow (and there always is) and then I let it go.  By tomorrow, this won’t even be an issue. I’ll just go to Pure Barre and literally shake it off ;)

How do you deal with rude comments or insults? Please share! 

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16 Quick Tips to Improve Your Body Image

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1. Throw away your scale.  Better yet, smash it with a hammer then throw it away.

2. Focus on feeling good in your body by eating foods that make you feel good physically and mentally (pizza and kale both count).

3. Find a type of fitness that is fun and exciting for you.  It doesn’t have to be running or CrossFit or whatever everyone else is doing.  Just find something that you love!

4. Buy clothes that make you feel like a total rockstar (it doesn’t matter what the style is).  If you don’t want to wear it out of the store, do not buy it.

5. Invest in a massage.  Body work is incredibly healing and can really help you connect to your body in a safe and gentle way and improve your body image in the process. (One of the treatment centers I was at used massage therapy as part of our treatment and it was amazing).

6. Don’t like massages? Get a facial, pedicure, or acupuncture.  Any self-care/body-care activity like this is a really easy and gentle way to love your body a little more, which in turn helps improve your body image.  (Insider Tip: many spas have cheaper prices during the weekdays or for last-minute bookings the day of.) 

7. Take more baths.  Something about an epsom salt bath with a few sprinkles of lemon and lavender essential oils feels so luxurious to me, which in turn makes me feel good in my body.

8. Dry brush.  It makes your skin softer and smoother, and helps prevent ingrown hairs.  It’s an easy way to get in touch with your body and take care of it.

9. Get some swanky bath products or fluffy towels for your bathroom.  I always feel better about my body when it’s slathered with some agave nectar body oil.

10. If you’re struggling with body dysmorphia or a distorted body image, find a big sheet of paper and draw what you think your body looks like (a life-size outline of it).  Then lay down and have a friend/family member/therapist draw your actual body shape.  This can be really eye-opening but please be sure you have professional support in place if you need help around your body image <3

11. Take a picture of yourself from the neck down.  A friend suggested this to me after she did it in a treatment center for her eating disorder. Apparently seeing your body without your face can help you get some distance from any distortion you might be experiencing.

12. Stop buying magazines that photoshop or offer endless diet and exercise tips (you know which ones I’m talking about).  They don’t promote healthy messages and the celebrities on their covers don’t even look like that in real life!

13. Spend more time naked (preferably in your own home with your blinds closed).

14. Don’t look in the mirror after you eat.  This probably sounds strange, but if you’re recovering from an eating disorder, it is especially helpful.  Years ago in treatment I realized that if I looked at my body in the mirror after I ate, I really didn’t feel great about myself.  At this point in my recovery it doesn’t bother me, but if you’re early in recovery it might be really beneficial!

15. Start Tapping! You may have heard of Tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).  I was introduced to EFT a little over a year ago but I’m just now starting to use it for body image and it is more powerful than I thought! It’s not rocket science and though it seems a little woo-woo at first, the results I’ve experienced from tapping for anxiety are amazing. 15 minutes of tapping can take my anxiety from a 9 to a 3 on a scale from 1 to 10. Try it! You’ve got nothing to lose.

16. Actively combat negative self-talk about your body.  I know that this is a really difficult thing to do and it might take a while to see some results but keep going.  Here’s what I do: every time I have a negative thought about my body (I’m fat, I hate X, She’s thinner/prettier than me) I combat it with a positive thought that I want to believe (NO! I’m rocking these jeans, I have great X, Y, or Z) then I disengage from the conversation in my head by thinking of something else, calling a friend or family member, or buying makeup at Sephora ;)

Have a lovely weekend everyone! <3

Please share your favorite body image tip in the comments below!

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