This is one of my favorite videos on how to overcome rejection…
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
We try to give our bodies value with numbers. We’re obsessed with the number on the scale and the circumference of our waist.
We also think our value lies in labels. Words like “obese,” “fat,” and “overweight” are triggers for many, and we abhor them like coffee breath, because we’ve been immersed in pocrescophobia (the fear of getting fat) from before we can remember.
But we are more than a category on a pie chart. We are more than our body shape. Magazines tell us we are shaped like a fruit, but we are shaped by the experiences that have made us the people we are today.
Our bodies may not be light, but inside we are shrouded with light. We may be soft where we’ve been told we ought to be hard and toned, but it’s in our softness that others feel comforted in the midst of their problems. We may not have a thigh gap, but there’s space between our arms for those we love to seek shelter.
We are more than just a body.
Our bodies are amazing. They can do so much, for ourselves and for others. We are each beautiful in our own right.
But that’s not all there is to us. We are the imprint we leave on the planet during our short life on Earth. We are the heart that beats within us for the things we are passionate about.
We are the smile that radiates out of our eyes when we experience a moment of pure joy, and the serenity that pervades us when we are content. We are the words we exchange, the words we write down, the words we guard in our minds at all costs. We are the feelings that pass through us, exhilarate us, drive us, guide us.
We are the thoughts and memories and unique set of DNA that set us apart from everyone else. We are special. We are needed. We are designed for a purpose.
We have value that surpasses everything society and the media wants us to obsess over. We have value apart from how we look. We have value apart from our relationship status.
We have value apart from our income. We have value apart from whether we own a house or not, or have kids or not. We. Have. Value. Unchanging, unequivocal, perfect value.
I regret that I wasted this whole weekend feeling depressed about how much I weigh now compared to how much I weighed in my early twenties (I’m approaching thirty). It seems so silly when you think about it, a stone here or there. But I found myself giving in to that black hole, falling-to-the-floor kind of despair.
I should weigh less. I should look slimmer. I should try harder.
I should be something that isn’t me at this moment in time.
It seems like everyone is dissatisfied with the way they look. We will pay money and give up all our free time to try and achieve the illusion of perfection. Snapchat filters, Instagram filters, even paying for apps that will help us to create the perfect selfie, because heaven forbid we look anything less than perfect online!
This, in turn, feeds into other people’s insecurities, spreading the toxic message that our “just as I am” is not enough.
The thing is, weight is just one small way to measure health. My weight suggests I’m quite overweight for my height. But when you look at my waist-to-hip and waist-to-height measurements, I’m in the “healthy” category for both of them, with little-to-no risk of developing heart disease or obesity.
Things just don’t add up. I’m left feeling like something is wrong with me. Am I in the red, or in the green?
Do I need to lose weight, or can I breathe a sigh or relief?
The thing is, it’s these categories and labels that have got it all wrong. Health can’t always be measured by numbers. It’s how you live your life.
Being obsessive isn’t healthy. Talking negatively (even in your mind) about yourself isn’t healthy. Striving for perfection isn’t healthy.
What is healthy? Loving yourself exactly the way you are. Making good choices for your physical and mental health.
Being balanced in everything.
Some days I feel like I’ve come so far, that I truly do love and accept myself as I am, wobbly bits and all. Other days I feel lost in a sea of self-pity and a strong dislike for what I see in the mirror. I compare myself to other girls.
Why can’t I be naturally skinny? Why has nature been so unkind? Then I remember that nature has been kind.
I’m uniquely myself with my own combination of curves and body fat. Why would I want to look like anyone else?
My thoughts go round and round like this. It can be so tiring.
My parents used to tell me I had a “feminine figure.” My partner loves the way I look and never ceases to remind me, even when I’m in one of my funks and in a loop of obsessing over my supposed flaws. If I could only see myself through the eyes of those who love me, my obsessing and self-loathing would all stop in an instant.
The thing is, we have to see ourselves through the eyes of love. We have to accept. We are craving our own love and acceptance.
We need our own kindness. We need to talk about ourselves like we would talk to our best friend. We need to look in the mirror and say, “You are beautiful, just the way you are.”
See your own value. Yes, your body has value. Yes, it is beautiful, exactly as it is.
Shout it out! Proclaim it to the rooftops!
But you are more than that.
You are so much more than a body.
Article by: Nicola Casey
“The emotional wounds and negative patterns of childhood often manifest as mental conflicts, emotional drama, and unexplained pains in adulthood.” ~Unknown
I am a firm believer in making the unconscious conscious. We cannot influence what we don’t know about. We cannot fix when we don’t know what’s wrong.
I made many choices in my life that I wouldn’t have made had I recognized the unconscious motivation behind them, based on my childhood conditioning.
In the past, I beat myself up over my decisions countless times. Now I feel that I needed to make these choices and have these experiences so that the consequences would help me become aware of what I wasn’t aware of. Maybe, after all, that was the exact way it had to be.
In any case, I am now hugely aware of how we, unbeknownst to us, negatively impact our own lives.
As children, we form unconscious beliefs that motivate our choices, and come up with strategies for keeping ourselves safe. They’re usually effective for us as children; as adults, however, applying our childhood strategies can cause drama, distress, and damage. They simply no longer work. Instead, they wreak havoc in our lives.
One of my particular childhood wounds was that I felt alone. I felt too scared to talk to anyone in my family about my fears or my feelings. It didn’t seem like that was something anyone else did, and so I stayed quiet. There were times I feared I could no longer bear the crushing loneliness and would just die without anyone noticing.
Sometimes the feeling of loneliness would strangle and threaten to suffocate me. I remember trying to hide my fear and panic. I remember screaming into my pillow late at night trying not to wake anyone. It was then that I decided that I never wanted anyone else to feel like me. This pain, I decided, was too much to bear, and I did not wish it on anyone.
As an adult, I sought out, whom I perceived as, people in need. When I saw someone being excluded, I’d be by their side even if it meant that I would miss out in some way. I’d sit with them, talk to them, be with them. I knew nothing about rescuing in those days. It just felt like the right thing to do: see someone alone and be with them so they wouldn’t feel lonely or excluded.
Looking back now, I was clearly trying to heal my childhood wound through other people. I tried to give them what I wish I’d had when I was younger: someone kind, encouraging, and supportive by my side. I tried to prevent them from feeling lonely. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing—it’s kind to recognize others in pain and try to be there for them.
The problem with my strategy was that I chose people who were alone for a reason: they behaved badly and no one wanted to be around them. I chose people healthy people would not choose to be with. People who treated others poorly and did not respect themselves, or anyone else for that matter. That included me.
And so I suffered. I suffered because I chose badly for myself. And I chose badly for myself because I followed unconscious motivations. I obediently followed my conditioning. I followed the rules I came up with as a child, but playing by those rules doesn’t work out very well in adulthood.
I never understood why I suffered. I couldn’t see that I had actively welcomed people into my life who simply were not good for me. It didn’t matter where I went or what I changed; for one reason or another, I’d always end up in the same kind of cycle, the same difficult situation.
At one point I realized that I was the common denominator. It then still took me years to figure out what was going on.
Eventually, my increasing self-awareness moved me from my passive victim position into a proactive role of empowered creator. Life has never been the same since. Thankfully. But it wasn’t easy.
I had to look deep within and see truths about myself that were, at first, difficult to bear. But once I was willing to face them and feel the harshness of the reality, the truth set me free. It no longer made sense to play by rules I had long outgrown. I didn’t realize that I had become the adult I had always craved as a child. But I was not responsible for rescuing other adults—that was their job.
I have since witnessed the same issue with everyone I meet and work with. One particular person, who had endured terrible abuse growing up, was constantly giving people the protection he had craved but never received as a child. He gave what he did not receive. And yet, in his adult life it caused nothing but heartache for him.
When he saw, what he perceived as, an injustice like someone being rude to someone else or a driver driving without consideration for others, he intervened. Unfortunately, he often got it wrong and most people didn’t want his input, which left him feeling rejected and led to him becoming verbally aggressive. Eventually, his ‘helping’—his anger and boundary crossing—landed him in prison.
He was not a bad person—far from it. He was simply run by his unconscious motivation to save his younger self. He projected and displaced this onto other people who did not need saving and never asked for his help. But his conditioning won every time and in the process wrecked his life.
What ends this cycle is awareness, understanding, and compassion.
We must learn to look at the consequences of our actions or inactions and then dig deep. We must ask ourselves: What patterns do I keep repeating? What must I believe about myself, others, and life in order to act this way? Why do I want what I want and why do I do what I do? And what would I do differently if I stopped acting on my childhood conditioning?
Beliefs fuel all of our choices. When we don’t like the consequences of our actions, we must turn inward to shine a light onto the unhelpful unconscious beliefs we formed as children. Only awareness can help us find and soothe them. Only understanding can help us make sense of them. And only compassion can help us forgive ourselves for the patterns we unknowingly perpetuated.
We didn’t know what we didn’t know. We couldn’t have made any different choices. But once we begin to see and understand how our minds work and how our conditioning drives everything we do, we grow more powerful than we ever thought possible.
It is then that we are able to make healthier, wiser, and more life-enhancing choices for ourselves. We can then break the cycles that previously kept us stuck in unfulfilling and often harmful situations and relationships.
There is always a different choice. We just have to begin to see it.
Article by: Marlena Tillhon-Haslam of Tiny Buddha
Affirmations are statements that you repeat over and over in attempt to change your unconscious beliefs. Pick a few that you like and look in the mirror and repeat several times each day! If you can find some of these positive body affirmations that resonate for you and really allow yourself to see them, hear them and feel them, you might find some shifts in the way you think about yourself and your body.
1. My body deserves love.
2. I am perfect, whole, and complete just the way I am.
3. I feed my body healthy nourishing food and give it healthy nourishing exercise because it deserves to be taken care of.
4. I love and respect myself.
5. It’s okay to love myself now as I continue to evolve.
6. My body is a temple. I want to treat it with love and respect.
7. My body is a gift.
8. Food doesn’t have to be the enemy, it can be nurturing and healing.
9. Life is too short and too precious to waste time obsessing about my body. I am going to take care of it to the best of my ability and get out of my head and into the world.
10. I will not give in to the voices of my eating disorder that tell me I’m not okay. I will listen to the healthy voices that I do have, even if they are very quiet so that I can understand that I am fine. I am fine.
11. Food doesn’t make me feel better, it just temporarily stops me from feeling what I’m feeling.
12. I have everything inside of me that I need to take care of myself without using food.
13. A goal weight is an arbitrary number, how I feel is what’s important.
14. I am worthy of love
15. As long as I am good, kind, and hold myself with integrity, it doesn’t matter what other people think of me.
16. Other people are too busy thinking about themselves to care what my weight is
17. When I compare myself to others, I destroy myself, I don’t want to destroy myself so I’ll just continue on my journey, not worrying about other people’s journeys.
18. I am blessed to be aging. The only alternative to aging is death.
19. It’s okay for me to like myself. It’s okay for me to love myself.
20. I have to be an advocate for me. I can’t rely on anyone else to do that for me.
21. A “perfect” body is one that works, no matter what that means for you personally.
22. It’s okay for me to trust the wisdom of my body.
23. Just because someone looks perfect on the outside, doesn’t mean they have a perfect life. No one has a perfect life, we all struggle. That’s just what being human is.
24. If I spend too much time trying to be and look like someone else, I cease to pay attention to myself, my virtues, my path, and my journey.
25. When I look to others to dictate who I should be or how I should look, I reject who I am.
26. The last thing I should be doing is rejecting myself. Accepting myself as I am right now is the first step in changing, growing and evolving. When I reject myself, I cannot grow.
27. Self respect is underrated.
28. I can only go forward, so although I can learn from it, I refuse to dwell on the past.
29. ALL images in magazines are airbrushed, photoshopped, and distorted.
30. If people actively judge or insult me, it’s because they feel badly about themselves. No one who feels good about themselves has the need to put someone down to elevate themselves- they have better things to do with their time.
31. I have no need to put someone down to elevate myself.
32. I can be a good person if I choose to be.
33. It’s my life, I can choose the way I want to live it.
34. When I smile, I actually make other people happy.
35. Balance is the most important.
36. If I binge today, I can still love and accept myself, I don’t have to beat, berate and starve myself right afterwards, and I still have the very next moment to jump right back into recovery.
37. Recovery is an ongoing process that is not linear in fashion. If I slip up, I’ll take the opportunity as a learning experience and get right back to my recovery goals/program.
38. Progress is not linear. It’s normal for me to go forward and then backward, and then forward again.
39. I enjoy feeling good. It’s okay for me to feel good.
40. Having an eating disorder is not my identity.
41. Being skinny or fat is not my identity. I am identified by who I am on the inside, a loving, wonderful person.
42. I choose health and healing over diets and punishing myself.
43. My opinion of myself is the only one I truly know and it’s the only one that counts. I can choose my opinion of myself.
44. When I am in my head too much, I can return to my breath, just breath and be okay. There is only this moment.
45. It’s okay to let others love me, why wouldn’t they?
46. I am good stuff.
47. I am compassionate and warm. My presence is delightful to people.
48. My very existence makes the world a better place.
49. It’s okay to pay someone to rub my feet every once in a while.
50. If I am hungry, I am supposed to let myself eat. Food is what keeps me alive.
51. Getting older makes me smarter.
52. It’s okay not to be the best all the time.
53. My well-being is the most important thing to me. I am responsible for taking care of me. We are each responsible for ourselves.
54. No one has the power to make me feel bad about myself without my permission.
55. My feet are cute. Even if they’re ugly.
56. I eat for energy and nourishment.
57. Chocolate is not the enemy. It’s not my friend either. It’s just chocolate, it has no power over me.
58. I can be conscious in my choices.
59. I am stronger than the urge to binge.
60. I am healthier than the urge to purge.
61. Restricting my food doesn’t make me a better person, being kind to myself and to others makes me a better person.
62. Being skinny doesn’t make me good. Being fat doesn’t make me bad.
63. I can be healthy at any size.
64. Life doesn’t start 10 pounds from now, it’s already started. I can make the choice to include myself in it.
65. Food, drugs, and alcohol are not the solution. But they might seem like it at times, but using these things can make more problems. I have what I need inside of me as the solution.
66. There is a guide inside of me who is wise and will always be there to help me on my journey.
67. Sometimes sitting around and doing nothing is just what the doctor ordered. It’s okay to let myself relax.
68. I am a human being, not a human doing. It’s okay to just be sometimes. I don’t always have to be doing.
69. My brain is my sexiest body part.
70. Looks last about five minutes– or until someone opens their mouth.
71. My life is what I make of it. I have all the power here.
72. My body is a vessel for my awesomeness.
73. My body can do awesome things.
74. If I am healthy, I am so very blessed.
75. I won’t let magazines or the media tell me what I should look like. I look exactly the way I’m supposed to. I know because this is the way god made me!
76. What is supposedly pleasing to the eye is not always what is pleasing to the touch. Cuddly is good!
77. I can trust my intuition. It’s here to guide me.
78. Just because I am taking care of myself and being an advocate for myself doesn’t mean I’m selfish.
79. Not everyone has to like me. I just have to like me.
80. It’s not about working on myself it’s about being okay with who I already am.
81. My needs are just as important as anyone else.
82. Body, if you can love me for who I am, I promise to love you for who you are– no one is responsible for changing anyone else.
83. I will make peace with my body, it doesn’t do anything but keep me alive and all I do is insult it and hurt it. I’m sorry body, you’ve tried to be good to me and care for me, it’s time for me to try to be good back.
84. Thighs, thank you for carrying me.
85. Belly, thank you for holding in all my organs and helping me digest.
86. Skin, thank you for shielding and protecting me.
87. Other people don’t dictate my choices for me, I know what’s best for myself.
88. I feed my body life affirming foods so that I can be healthy and vital.
89. Taking care of myself feels good.
90. I can eat a variety of foods for health and wellness without bingeing.
91. There is more to life that losing weight. I’m ready to experience it.
92. If I let go of my obsession with food and my body weight, there is a whole world waiting for me to explore.
93. The numbers on the scale are irrelevant to who I am as a human.
94. Food is not good or bad. It has no moral significance. I can choose to be good or bad and it has nothing to do with the amount of calories or carbohydrates I eat.
95. I am still beautiful when I’m having a bad hair day.
96. My nose gives me the ability to breathe. Breath gives me the ability to be an amazingly grounded, solid person.
97. Being grounded and whole is what makes me beautiful. If I don’t feel grounded and whole, I can get there just by being still, breathing, listening to my intuition, and doing what I can to be kind to myself and others.
98. I am not bad and I don’t deserve to be punished, not by myself and not by others.
99. I deserve to be treated with love and respect and so do you. I choose to do and say kind things for and about myself and for and about others.
100. Even if I don’t see how pretty I am, there is someone who does. I am loved and admired. REALLY!
101. Beauty?… To me it is a word without sense because I do not know where its meaning comes from nor where it leads to. ~Pablo Picasso
“Your body is precious. It is your vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” ~Buddha
When I went on my first diet in my teens (low-carb, it was back in the Atkins days), I wasn’t even overweight. I weighed less than 120 pounds, but my jeans had started to get a little tight, so I thought I needed to lose five pounds or so. At the time, I didn’t have a bad relationship with food; I just ate like a typical teenager—not the best choices.
About two hours in, I remember starting to obsess over the things I couldn’t eat and being desperate to be skinny ASAP so I could eat them again.
By mid day, I “failed.”
I caved and ate…. *gasp, shock, horror*… carbs.
And something weird happened. Instantly, I felt like I was bad.
It’s not just that I thought I had made a bad choice.
I thought, “You idiot, you can’t do anything right. Look at you, one meal in and you screwed up already. You may as well just eat whatever you want the rest of the day and start again tomorrow.”
I think I gained about five pounds from that attempt.
And I continued slowly gaining more and more weight every year after that—and feeling guiltier and guiltier every time I ate something “bad.”
Atkins low-carb miracle cure had failed me horribly and began a decades-long battle with food and my weight.
See, it wasn’t that I thought my choice was bad and then I just made a better choice next time; it was that I felt like I, as a person, was bad.
And what happens when we’re bad?
We get punished.
I didn’t realize until many years later, but those degrading thoughts and overeating the rest of the day were, in part, my way of punishing myself for being bad and eating the bad things.
The harder I tried to control what was going in, the worse it got and the more out of control I felt.
In my thirties I hit bottom, as they say, as a result of trying to follow a “clean eating meal plan.”
Four days into my first attempt to “eat clean” and strictly adhere to what someone else told me I should eat, I had my first-ever binge.
Prior to that, I had some minor food issues. I ate kind of crummy, had slowly been gaining weight, and felt guilty when I ate carbs (thanks, Atkins).
But a few days into “clean eating,” I was in the middle of a full-blown eating disorder.
The clean eating miracle craze may have made me look and feel amazing, but emotionally, it failed me horribly and began my years-long battle to recover from bulimia and binge eating.
But I thought it was just me. I was such a screw up, why couldn’t I just eat like a normal person?
I saw how much better I looked and felt when I was managing to “be good” and “eat clean,” but within a few days or weeks of “being good,” no matter how great I felt from eating that way, I always caved and ended up bingeing again.
And every time, I thought it was me. I told myself I was broken and weak and pathetic.
Even later, when I started training other people, my message was “If it’s not on your plan, it doesn’t go in your mouth” and “You can’t expect to get the body you want by eating the things that gave you the body you have.”
I wanted clients to feel amazing and get the best results possible, so I gave them what I knew would accomplish those two things.
But, at the time, I didn’t know that it was actually those messages and rules that had created all my own issues with food, and I most definitely didn’t know they would have that affect on anyone else.
I thought everyone else was “normal.” I was just broken and weak and stupid—that’s why I struggled so hard to just “be good” and “stop screwing up.” Normal people would see how much better they felt when they ate that way, and they’d automatically change and live happily ever after.
The more people I trained, the more I became acutely aware that food is the thing most people struggle with the most, and I started recognizing the exact same thoughts and behaviors I’d experienced, in the majority of my clients.
And almost every single one of them also had a looong history of failed diets.
Hmmm. Maybe it wasn’t just me.
Not everyone goes to the extreme of bulimia, but the more I spoke with other people about their struggles with food and shared my own with them, the more I realized how shockingly pervasive disordered eating and eating disorders have become.
Binge eating is an eating disorder—one that more people struggle with than I ever imagined. Though, most people are horrified to admit it, and many may not even be willing to admit to themselves that they do.
I get that because it’s associated with lack of self-control and gluttony, and there’s a great deal of shame related to both of those things. But it actually has little to do with either, and you can’t change anything until you admit you’re struggling.
And disordered eating in general is even more pervasive.
Feeling guilt after eating is not normal. That’s disordered eating.
Restricting entire food groups is not normal. That’s disordered eating.
Severely restricting food in general in not normal. That’s disordered eating.
Beating yourself up for eating something “bad” is not normal. That’s disordered eating.
Starting and stopping a new diet every few weeks or months is not normal. That’s disordered eating.
Diet culture has us so screwed up that we spend most of our lives doing these things without ever realizing they’re not normal. And they’re negatively affecting our whole lives.
As I was working on my own recovery, I dove into hundreds of hours of research into dieting, habits, motivation, and disordered eating—anything I could get my hands on to help not only myself but my clients better stick to their plans.
It’s so easy, I used to think; there must be some trick to make us just eat what we’re supposed to eat!
But I learned the exact opposite.
I learned that trying to “stick to the plan” was actually the problem.
The solution wasn’t in finding some magic trick to help people follow their meal plans; the solution lay in not telling people what to eat in the first place.
There are many reasons behind why we eat what we eat, when we eat, and even the quantities we choose to eat; it just doesn’t work to tell someone to stop everything they know and just eat this much of this at this time of day, because at some later date it’ll make them skinny and happy.
Our brains don’t work that way.
Our brains actually work exactly the opposite.
As soon as we place restrictions on what we’re allowed or not allowed to eat, our brains start creating compulsions and obsessive thoughts that drive us to “cave.”
Have you ever noticed that as soon as you “can’t” have something, you automatically want it even more?
That’s a survival instinct that’s literally been hard-wired into our brains since the beginning of time.
In November 1944, post-WW II, physiologist Ancel Keys, PhD and psychologist Josef Brozek PhD began a nearly yearlong experiment on the psychological and physiological effects of starvation on thirty-six mentally and physically healthy young men.
The men were expected to lose one-quarter of their body weight. They spent the first three months eating a normal diet of 3,200 calories a day followed by six months of semi-starvation. The semi-starvation period was followed by three months of rehabilitation calories (3,200) and finally an eight-week period of unrestricted rehabilitation, during which time there was no limitations on caloric intake.
Researchers closely monitored the physiological and psychological changes brought on by calorie restriction.
During the most restricted phase the changes were dramatic. Physically, the men became gaunt in appearance, and there were significant decreases in their strength, stamina, body temperature, heart rate, and even sex drive.
Psychologically, the effects were even more dramatic and mirror those almost anyone with any history of dieting can relate to.
They became obsessed with food. Any chance they had to get access to more food resulted in the men binge eating thousands of calories in a sitting.
Before the restriction period, the men were a lively bunch, discussing politics, current events, and more. During the restriction period, this quickly changed. They dreamt, read, fantasized, and talked about food all the time.
They became withdrawn, irritable, fatigued, and apathic. Depression, anxiety, and obsessive thinking (especially about food) were also observed.
For some men, the study proved too difficult—they were excluded as a result of breaking the diet or not meeting their weight loss goals.
We don’t struggle to follow diets and food rules because we lack willpower. It’s literally the way our brains are wired.
Why? Because from an evolutionary standpoint, we’re not designed to restrict food. Coded into our DNA is the overwhelming urge to survive, so when food (either over-all calories or food groups) is restricted, our brains begin to create urgency, compulsions, and strong desires that force us to fill its needs—and often, even more than its needs (binges).
We cave because our brains are hardwired to. Then the act of caving actually gets wired into our brains as a habit that we continue to repeat on autopilot every time we restrict food or food groups.
And it triggers the punish mode that I spoke of earlier, which only compounds the problem and slowly degrades our self-worth.
So every year millions of people are spending tens of billions of dollars on diets that are making the majority of us heavier, depressed, anxious, food-obsessed binge eaters, and destroying our self-worth.
Now I know all that sounds pretty bleak, but there is a way out. I know because I’ve found it.
It sounds like the opposite of what we should do, but it saved my life.
I gave myself permission to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and stopped trying to restrict. The scarier that sounds, the more you need to do it.
As soon as nothing is off limits, we can begin to slowly move away from the scarcity mindset and break the habits and obsessions created by dieting.
When we give ourselves unconditional permission to eat whatever we want, without guilt or judgment, we give ourselves the space to get mindful about our choices.
We give ourselves the opportunity to explore why we’re making the choices we’re making and the power to freely make different ones because we begin to value ourselves again.
When we remove the guilt and judgment, start to value ourselves again, and work on being mindful, we can begin to notice how the foods we’re eating make us feel and make choices from a place of love and kindness rather than fear, guilt, and punishment.
It sounds too simple to work, but it saved my life.
Rather than telling people what they should and shouldn’t eat, or trying to listen to someone who’s telling us what we should or shouldn’t eat, we have to build a connection with our bodies.
We have to learn to listen to them, to learn to distinguish the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger. To stop eating when we’re not physically hungry, and to start feeling emotions instead of feeding them.
We have to break the habits that drive autopilot eating. We have to be mindful, trust the wisdom of our own bodies, and make choices based on how they make our bodies feel rather than what some diet tells us is the answer to happiness and being skinny.
Article by: Roni Davis of Tiny Buddha
This post was republished with permission from tinybuddha.com. You can find the original post at https://tinybuddha.com.
“The beautiful thing about fear is that when you run to it, it runs away.” ~Robin Sharma
During my first-grade choir concert, my classmate, Meg, fainted from the top row of the bleachers, and in a subconscious gesture of empathy, I went down right after her, breaking my glasses and flailing on the gymnasium floor.
It’s possible that this triggered some kind of coping mechanism in my brain, because I started fainting again and again.
One time I fainted at the dentist’s office—immediately after the dentist injected me with my first round of Novocain—then months later in a hospital parking lot after a small medical procedure.
I also fainted a few days after getting my ears pierced. I was showing my grandmother my new gold studs, and I happened to look toward the TV just as Nellie Olsen fainted during a Little House on the Prairie rerun, and that was enough, over I went.
What affected me the most during those early years of growing up was not the tangible act of fainting, but my anxiety anticipating when and where I would faint next. Whenever I wasn’t moving, whenever I tried to be still, my thoughts traveled to the fear of fainting. And because of that, I tried to keep my mind constantly active.
I had several tests, and the doctors found nothing medically wrong with me. I literally scared myself to the point of fainting. Though I never let fear prevent me from doing things, inner struggles and cautious dread were always present. It made living in the moment very difficult.
Going to church became a major source of stress for me. I had time to think, worry, and become anxious. These were ideal fainting conditions for me.
I’d have panic attacks during Sunday mass without anyone knowing. Moments of pulling my hair, pinching my skin, feeling my heart pounding out of my chest were common, all while trying to will myself from fainting.
This continued for years.
I seemed to outgrow my anxiety attacks after high school, and I continued through college and beyond, without thinking much about my prior angst. I got married and had three children. Then, during my late thirties, my anxiety returned with a vengeance, escalating to a fear of driving on the highway.
Things got worse in my early forties when I developed major health concerns. Again, there was nothing physically wrong with me; I was purely manifesting physical symptoms from worrying about a certain disease or medical condition. It was quite a skill—one that I was not proud of, but one that certainly awakened me to the power of my mind.
My fear ran deep and was so powerful that it physically controlled me.
The more I tried to ignore my anxiety, the more it escalated until it gradually controlled the person I was becoming. I didn’t like “me” anymore.
I was afraid of everything. I talked to my doctor, read every Louise Hay book, went to biofeedback, performed EFT, and saw a few therapists. I would do anything to remember who I was before the fear of living got in my way.
The funny thing was, no one else noticed because this overwhelming anxiety never stopped me from doing anything. It just sucked the spirit out of me. No one knew that, to me, life felt really scary.
I wanted to crawl up in a ball with my kids. I wanted to control every waking move I made and make sure we were all safe.
I remember a profound moment one fall day after finishing a run. Out of breath and standing there with my hands on my knees, I looked up at the trees and saw a leaf floating from a tree. I stood and prayed that I’d learn how to let go and release my inner struggles and be as light and free as that leaf.
That was when I decided I would not consume my every waking moment with this fear. I would be the person who chose to live life fully.
So this is what I know now.
To let go of something, you need to lean in.
This is counterintuitive. We all have a built-in “fight, flight or freeze” response to stress, which is a physiological reaction that occurs in the presence of fear and is exhibited by the urge to flee, run, or freeze and do nothing.
In many ways, anxiety can protect us from harmful situations. In other ways, when the threat is not harmful, it can prevent us from functioning at our fullest capacity and experiencing all that life has to offer.
I spent many years of my life trying to push fear away and running as fast as I could from it. But what I needed to do was to allow myself to lean into fear, to work through it, to face it head on. I needed to show my anxiety and fear that I wasn’t afraid anymore.
This was a frightening act. But the alternative was to continue to run—and this was even more terrifying.
So I began to allow, to surrender, to trust. I stopped fighting and made a conscious choice to choose love over fear—again and again. Battling and rejecting a part of myself had only caused feelings of isolation and anguish.
I searched to understand the power of my subconscious and began to process fainting as my defense mechanism. I realized that if I was going to move through this fear, I’d have to love and accept myself, including the anxiety within me.
I stood firmly anchored in the ground of acceptance. Of all of me. And the result was a newer, more powerful version of myself—one that no longer was afraid to live.
If you’re struggling with anxiety and/or fear, here are eight ways to move forward. In more severe instances, you may need the help of a medical professional.
Acknowledge your fear.
This is a major first step. We often ignore our fears and anxiety for so long that they progress into a part of us.
Compartmentalize your fear, separating it from yourself. Then peel back the layers and find out what it is that you fear. Is it disappointing others? Rejection? Failing? Something else? Recognize that it’s holding you back from becoming your true self.
Fear is sneaky. It can be quite obvious, presenting as physiological symptoms, or it can be much more obscure. Procrastination, perfectionism, and overwhelm can all be forms of fear.
Explore if any of these are showing up for you and consider how they may be contributing to your lack of progress. When you pinpoint the underlying fear and how it is presenting itself, you diminish the power it has over you.
Initially, I believed I was afraid of fainting. After much reflection with my coach and therapist, and as my thoughts evolved, I was able to identify my underlying fear—the fear of dying. Every time I fainted, my blood pressure would drop and I’d lose consciousness, essentially looking death in the eyes over and over again.
Once I recognized this, even though it was still scary, the awareness allowed me to use coping skills to move forward.
Lean into your fear.
When you feel like running or fleeing, it’s time to face your fear with courage. Although our automatic response is often to run away, numb our feelings, or somehow distract ourselves, escaping only temporarily relieves anxiety. Fear will return, possibly in a different form, until you choose to confront it with kindness.
Bring yourself into the present moment by noticing the sensations in your body. Where Is fear showing up as discomfort for you? In your chest? Your stomach? Your throat? Fully experience it.
Befriend your fear.
Let fear know that you’re not afraid of it. Ask it: What are you trying to tell me? What do you want me to know?
What I learned from asking these questions was that fear was trying to keep me safe from harm. A part of my past needed to be acknowledged and fear was whispering, “You can’t move on and become your most powerful self until you work through this, my friend.”
Then thank it for trying to protect you in the only way it knew how.
For me, running has always been a huge stress reliever. Whether it’s running or yoga or something in between, movement calms you down by releasing chemicals called endorphins.
Make healthy choices.
When I feel stressed, I limit my sugar and caffeine intake, since sugar crashes can cause irritability and tension, and stimulants like caffeine can worsen anxiety and even trigger panic attacks. A well-balanced diet full of healthy, whole foods will help also alleviate anxiety. Be sure to eat breakfast to keep your blood sugar steady, and stay hydrated to help your mind and body perform at their best.
Since I have made yoga and meditation a part of my daily routine, I’ve noticed a difference in how I react to stressful situations. Slotting this time into my morning ensures I get it done before the day gets busy. When you’re in the middle of a panic attack, it’s harder to move into meditation and deep breathing, so it’s helpful to make this an everyday practice.
Fear and anxiety can stem from self-doubt and insecurities. If you regularly work on accessing your inner wisdom, and acting on what you learn, you’ll develop more trust in your ability to do what’s best for you and handle whatever comes at you. You can begin to strengthen your relationship to your inner wisdom by journaling, meditating, and sitting in silence. This is an ongoing process that requires exploration.
One of the most effective ways to build self-trust is to take small steps forward. Know that it can (and most likely will) be scary, but once you step out of your comfort zone, you’ll see that much of what you were afraid of was in your imagination. To make this easier, I often recall a time when I trusted myself, despite my self-doubt, and things turned out positively.
When you have done all you can, let go. Discern what is outside of your control and find the courage to release all expectations of it. You may just find a sense of relief in allowing life to unfold naturally.
I still have moments when I get anxious and overly worried. In these moments, I think about the influence my mind has over my body. Perhaps it’s not about resisting my mind’s ability to control me, but rather redirecting its incredible power to work in my favor.
And with that, I can move mountains.
Article By: Carly Hamilton-Jones of Tiny Buddha
This post was republished with permission from tinybuddha.com. You can find the original post at https://tinybuddha.com.
“Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” ~Rumi
“Isn’t this a miracle?” I asked myself in the milk aisle at Whole Foods.
It was a Wednesday night after work, and I was buying a few staples to get us through the week. It was a completely ordinary moment in a completely ordinary day, and it was miraculous.
Rewind a few years, same Whole Foods, same shopping list, and you’d find me absentmindedly wandering the aisles, lost in a head full of worries. I couldn’t tell you now what I was worried about then—the house, the kids, money, probably.
My body would be tense, with a hint of tears right behind my eyes.
“Isn’t this supposed to be a miracle?” I might have asked if I had the words to describe that feeling.
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be one of those interesting people who did interesting things like paint murals or write books. I wanted to see every continent and learn as many languages as my brain could hold. I wanted to feel excited by my life.
As a child, I had no doubt that this is what growing up would be like.
But, for just as long as I can remember, I also lived under the assumption that I had something to prove. My intelligence, my worth, my place in this world.
Somehow, these two ideas became intertwined.
That part of me that felt so certain that her life would be extraordinary started to have doubts.
Could I really pull it off?
Had I really earned it?
Was I being completely delusional?
Over time, that vision of an extraordinary life felt like a silly childhood dream, and I stopped myself from following it. I worked hard and earned a good reputation, but that excitement, that fulfillmentwas always just out of my reach.
I would let it go saying, it’ll come later, but as I checked off the boxes of life’s to-do list—degree, job, marriage, kids—I wasn’t feeling anything like I thought I would.
The feeling that something was off fueled a restlessness that I mistook for motivation. I poured myself into school and then work, but not necessarily out of excitement. I think a part of me still believed that if you weren’t happy, you just weren’t working hard enough at it.
What confused me about it all was that my life was good. I had a beautiful, growing family, a stable job, and a safe, comfortable house. I mean, I was buying organic milk to pour on my cereal. That’s a privilege.
So, if nothing was “wrong,” why didn’t it feel right?
I’d scold myself for not being more grateful, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I didn’t feel the way I wanted.
Then, one ordinary day, while squeezing in another email during my lunch hour, a little thought snapped me out of it.
“You’re missing the point, Leslie.”
Time stopped just long enough for me to notice my racing heart.
Maybe you’ve had these epiphanies, where you’re amazed by your own wisdom and you feel so incredibly clear and awake. Maybe it was during a life-changing event, or maybe, like me, it was during an everyday moment, like buying toothpaste or feeding the cats.
The immediate effect wasn’t anything extreme. There was no out of body experience, no inexplicable knowledge of the universe. Just an ordinary little thought that led to another ordinary little thought.
What if living an extraordinary life isn’t about the details?
Every now and then, I’d pull out a list I made that day and add a thought or two to it.
The point is…
Seeing more magic.
Doing what you love.
Feeling bright, brave, and brilliant.
Waking up and appreciating the mountains.
My children knowing how much they are loved.
Gratefully receiving everything I have.
Letting myself unfold.
Alignment, not approval.
Trusting the wisdom of my own heart.
A hundred percent up to me.
And in a gradual, ordinary kind of way, I figured it out. That feeling I wanted wasn’t an outcome. It wasn’t something that would happen “when.” It wasn’t in the details at all. It’s your feelings, moment to moment, that make your life extraordinary.
There is no committee keeping score and waiting to grant permission to begin. There’s just us, the people we care about, our corner of the world, and those little moments. And we have a choice in what we do with them.
That feeling that something was wrong wasn’t about my reputation or my checklist. It was about my awareness of the miracles right in front of me and my willingness to take conscious, meaningful steps that felt extraordinary to take.
Since that day, my life has changed dramatically.
We live in the same house, we shop at the same store, I have the same job, but now, I’m also one of those people who is curious about everything. Who loses themselves in creative projects just because. Who creates art, writes poetry, and self-publishes books. I’ve become one of those people who sees even the most ordinary moment at Whole Foods on a Wednesday afternoon as extraordinary.
How did I do it? I simply let myself begin right where I was.
You may have a completely different version of extraordinary, and that’s what’s so perfect. How to live an extraordinary life entirely up to you—it’s your life, after all. The action itself isn’t as important as the intent behind it.
As long as your intent is to make something in your world just a little better, to learn something just a little deeper, to try something you’re just a little curious about, it’s foolproof. You could institute pizza Saturdays or travel the world, saving endangered species. Both are extraordinary.
If you’re not sure where to begin, here are a few things to try. They changed the world for me.
1. Be tenacious in your appreciation and optimism.
First, slow down and look around. Then, appreciate anything and everything you possibly can. Thank the sun, thank the water, thank the air you breathe. Look out for the funny thing that happened on your way to work, beautiful sunsets, and acts of human kindness. Even when everyone around you wants to complain about the boss, be the one who notices that it’s such a nice day.
When I talked about my day, I used to begin with something that went wrong. Then, I gave myself one tiny challenge: lead with gratitude. I made a point of starting conversations with something positive as often as I could, which meant I had to start looking for those positive things and remembering to bring them up. I discovered so much beauty around me with this one simple switch.
2. Define your extraordinary.
What do you want to see in this lifetime? What do you want to learn? How do you want to feel while you’re living your life?
I’d thought about these things before, of course, but they would quickly get taken over by something more serious. I didn’t want to waste time. My attitude changed when I decided that feeling curious, engaged, and alive was more important than being productive.
I began setting intentions for the week. I’d write down an idea that excited me, a feeling I wanted to nurture, and something I wanted to learn or create. Then, I gave myself small, meaningful challenges that fit with those intentions. Carrying a composition book with me quickly led to filling that composition book, and then another and another.
3. Make friends with your body.
Your body was made for living, so live in it. Use it in a life-affirming way. Don’t just feed it, nourish it. Let it move, let it sweat, let it pump its blood, laugh, cry, and feel. Stretch into it and savor its senses. Rest it when it’s tired, heal it when it’s hurting, love it even when you want to change it, and thank it. And when it has something to tell you, lean in and really listen.
I used to treat my body like it had no purpose. I didn’t nourish it, I overworked its muscles, and I constantly tried to remodel it.
It wasn’t until I started paying attention to how I feel now that I asked myself, is this how you would treat a child or an animal in your care?
My answer was an emphatic, NO.
4. Lose yourself in curiosity and creativity.
Follow the fun and let yourself overflow. Take on a ridiculous project just because it lights you up, even if it’s silly, you’re “too old,” or it’s “wasting time.” Let it be messy. Let it change directions. And let it fail spectacularly. The outcome isn’t as important as the process of it.
I practice this by painting with my children. They are experts at following curiosity and creativity. While I’m painstakingly sketching a dog or a flower, they’re creating imaginary animals in underwater kingdoms and then covering the entire thing in handprints when the inspiration strikes.
Every time, I shake my head with a smile—this is supposed to be fun, remember?
5. Be of service in a way that’s meaningful to you.
Share something. Create something. Teach something. Go where you are masterful and add value to the world in any way that’s accessible to you. Feed the hummingbirds, pick up litter, volunteer in your community. Big or small, it doesn’t matter; it’s the meaning behind it that makes all the difference.
I started by cultivating the kind of presence I wanted to have in my own life. I wanted to feel presentat home, for one, so I reduced the expectations I put on myself. The house may be messier, but our weekend adventures at the park are nothing short of extraordinary.
If you’ve ever wanted to feel differently in your life, take one little, ordinary step. And then another. Let your feelings guide you. Your extraordinary life is waiting for you on the other side.
Article by: Leslie Ralph of Tiny Buddha
This post was republished with permission from tinybuddha.com. You can find the original post at https://tinybuddha.com.
Can’t stop binge eating? I’ve been there. Once, I ate an entire 1/2 gallon of cookies and cream ice cream in one sitting. For real.
There was a time in my life when episodes like this (though maybe not quite so bad) were not uncommon. And by “not uncommon” I mean weekly – sometimes twice a week.
It’s not something I ever talked about much. After all, what girl in her right mind would brag about downing almost 2,000 calories of ice cream all by herself… all in one sitting?
There’s a ton of shame surrounding binge eating. It’s shameful because deep down we all feel like we should be able to willpower our way through it. And shameful because society says being a “good” woman means eating light salads and being happy about it.
And boy was I ashamed. I’ll be the first to admit, it’s much easier to talk about this because I was able to stop binge eating. It’s much harder when you’re right in the thick of it. At the time, there was nothing more I wanted to learn than how to stop binge eating. But I was too ashamed to talk about it.
But I’m here to say, if you’re still stuck between restriction and binging – you’re not alone. You’re just human, and it’s okay. The shame we feel about binge eating actually just keeps us trapped in the vicious cycle, so one of the most important things you can do is give yourself a little slack.
Not because binging is a healthy behavior – it honestly isn’t – but because shaming yourself isn’t healthy either. And two wrongs don’t make a right.
So, yes, for a long time I hid my binge eating from the outside world. For all the general public knew, I was a salad-loving, tofu-eating health nut.
I wouldn’t dare let on that every day I non-stop thought about all the food I shouldn’t be eating. It was a constant obsession. And at the end of the week, I would helplessly succumb to four slices of bacon pizza with extra cheese, followed by a generous slice (…or two) of cheesecake with raspberry sauce.
For a long time, I thought something was seriously wrong with me. After all, normal people didn’t do this.
Funny enough, it’s when I stopped obsessing about my eating habits that I stumbled across a real (though perhaps boring) solution for how to stop binge eating.
HOW I STOPPED BINGE EATING FOREVER
As far as I was concerned, I had no power to prevent binge eating. In those moments when my stomach felt like a bottomless pit (even when I technically felt full), willpower wasn’t even a word in my vocabulary. And I didn’t learn to stop binge eating by getting more willpower, believe me.
I also didn’t do it by distracting myself (Hungry? Go paint your fingernails! Then you can’t eat the cookies because your nails will be wet. Yeah, well, tell that to the cookie crumbs lacquered into my hot pink nails…).
Nor did I learn to stop binge eating by instead eating a piece of fruit or cheese or a raw carrot or whatever. If I wanted to binge on brownies, a carrot wasn’t going to stop me. Best case scenario? I end up eating the carrot and then the brownies. There was never once an occurrence when I ate the carrot instead of the brownies.
To be truthful, binge eating was the least of my problems a few years ago. I had acne worse than I did as a teenager. I had crazy (i.e. scary) mood swings, I couldn’t handle stress worth a hoot, and I had insomnia that left me crippled with zombie-like fatigue during the day.
There came a point when I decided enough was enough. I needed some serious health intervention and I needed it yesterday.
That’s when I changed my approach to getting healthy. I bucked against mainstream advice (because all that salad and tofu didn’t seem to be helping much). And in exploring alternative ideas to what constitutes “healthy” I also flushed out the source of my binges.
HOW TO STOP BINGE EATING… THE BORING WAY
So if you can’t stop binge eating, what is my crazy solution? Eat!
Yes, eat. Mostly real food and enough to sustain your body and your activities. And don’t exercise more than you can support with good food and good sleep.
That’s just way too simple, right?
Since back in my binge eating days, I’ve learned that the biggest key to health is… balance. I know, it’s not as exciting as an ancient berry from South America, but it’s the real thing.
I also learned that when I jumped to extremes, my health (mental and physical) suffered for it. And I learned to listen to my body, because not everything they say is “healthy” was the right choice for me.
Did you know… girls who diet are 12x more likely to binge eat? This is not a coincidence!
So I quit dieting and overexercising. I quit restricting food groups and going on restrictive diets. I quit labeling food (and by extension myself) as good or bad. And I quit working out to “work off” last night’s fettuccine alfredo.
All this did not happen overnight. It was a slow (sometimes painful) dance of two steps forward and one step back. But eventually, I was able to strike a pretty comfortable balance of eating well, enjoying a wide variety of foods in moderation, and being active in a way I really enjoy (and not overdoing it).
I knew I was on the right track because I experienced a lot of health benefits in the process.
And something else happened during this time. Without even trying – without even thinking about it – I stopped binge eating.
It didn’t happen all at once. At first, my binge eating episodes just occurred less frequently (like maybe 3-4 times per month instead of twice a week). Then a few weeks would go by without a real binge. Then a couple of months. Pretty soon my all-out binges were few and far between.
Now? I can’t even remember the last time I really binged on something. It’s been that long.
Why? Because I was finally listening to my body and giving it what it needed: plenty of quality food, good rest, and the right amount of exercise. I found my balance.
I really like the motto of Amber Rogers from Go Kaleo: “Eat the food.” I find it funny that the more I tried to control and restrict my eating, the more often I would end up binge eating and feeling out of control.
And the more I paid attention and ate what my body needed to thrive (when it comes to both nutrients and energy), the more binge eating became a thing of the past for me.
BINGE VS. SPLURGE
When someone says to me, “I can’t stop binge eating!” I always want to clarify what a binge really is. Eating a bowl of ice cream (even a big one) is not a binge. Neither is eating a couple pieces of pizza. These are splurges, not binges.
Splurges are totally normal and can be part of eating healthy. I still splurge on a hefty slice of cake or a couple slices of bacon pizza sometimes. (I just don’t eat the whole pizza or cake anymore.)
So remember not to sweat the small stuff and just enjoy your food!
Article By: Elizabeth Walling
“You must learn to love yourself before you can love someone else.” ~Sonja Mylin
It’s tough being out there.
I remember myself some years ago embracing the world of online dating. Everyone kept telling me “be yourself” (and I kept telling myself that), but when I was actually on a date, “myself” would fly out the window.
I’d go hard on the impressing, second-guess myself, drink too much, look for every little thing we had in common (even if the person did not feel right), feel devastated if I was rejected, and utterly lose sight of what I was on the date for in the first place. Perhaps I didn’t really know who I was or how to be her in what I saw as a confronting environment.
Dating brings out all our fears and vulnerabilities. You’re basically putting yourself on a platter, asking folks to judge you: “Pick me! Pick me!” like someone on a reality TV competition. You forget that it’s a two-way street. That you are looking for a suitable love (or a lover) to be with you, and that is all.
We get the little brain buzz from being swiped right, from the initial contact message, from a nod of approval when we arrive. All of these microsigns can feel so great that they interrupt our reasonable thinking around who we’re looking for.
Or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, we’re bombarded with messages from people we’re just not into (and straight up jerks), we go on dates that end up in an awful mess, we get rejected or we reject, which crushes someone, and it all feels terrible.
It’s easy to lose heart.
Dating doesn’t have to be like that. There are ways to bring it all back to what you are actually dating for in the first place. I know for myself that love came my way when I dug down a little deeper, stopped adjusting what I wanted from a relationship, gave it some time, had fun, and was really myself—warts, opinions, and all.
Here are five ways to be out there from a place of self-love and have a much better chance of finding the real love you’re looking for.
1. You are dating to find someone for you, not just to impress.
This isn’t a job interview: dating is an opportunity for two people to find out if they like each other enough to keep finding out. No one is in a position of power over the other.
Try not to spend the whole date putting all your energy into impressing the other person. Remember that you are checking them out as much as they are checking you out, and that you are making a decision too.
2. Identify your values and then look for a match based on those instead of just shared interests.
Sure, you want to be able to enjoy spending time with your partner, but contrary to popular opinion, your partner doesn’t need to be your best friend. You don’t need to do every single thing together. It’s far more important that you have similar core values. Interests can change, but values at their very core generally hold.
What traits and ways of behaving are most important to you? What do you believe in? What world issues really pull your heartstrings? What would you fight for? How will you be able to tell if someone shares your values?
Spend some time with yourself to drill down into the deeper stuff and then look for matching connections. Shared values will make for rich conversation and bring you back together when times are tough, not the fact that you both like white water rafting or watching RuPaul’s Drag Race.
3. Stop performing a version of you.
Many of us filter out the stuff we think might be seen as weird or boring or stupid when we’re dating. Or, it becomes normal to present a curated, cooler version of you. Of course you want to put your best foot forward, but sometimes it’s stripped back so much that who you are becomes completely invisible.
Dating is not a numbers game. You don’t need loads of matches to find someone. You need matches with fewer folks who are really going to get you. Who will think you’re cute and funny and smart and interesting (even when you’re driving them mad).
If you love binging Pretty Little Liars and cheap chocolate, painting old furniture, sleeping in until 4pm on Saturday afternoon, devouring true crime podcasts, attending the odd rally, and you wish you were an earth mother but are really more of a city gal who likes to shop, then that’s you.
And my bet is that you are pretty unique and special with all your faults and quirks. We fall in love with real people, not pretend ones. If someone doesn’t love the real you, why are you with them in the first place? Wouldn’t it be far more wonderful to be cherished even when you are not the curated version of yourself?
4. Don’t interpret “fun” as just the other person having fun.
Hands up: Who is fantastic at helping other people relax—so much so that you forget to actually notice if you are having fun too?
We all have roles we tend to play in life, and if yours is along these lines, then I’d encourage you to swallow that role somewhat and see what happens when you don’t leap into “Make them feel good” mode.
Live with an awkward silence. Notice if you’re being asked questions, listened to, or engaged in conversation on a similar level to what you’re putting in. Spout an opinion or two. Not going well? Then it maybe this one isn’t for you. And phew! You found out early on.
FYI: “Fun,” for those who have forgotten (because you’ve been out there way too long) is having a bit of a laugh and feeling relatively at ease.
5. Yep, it should be pretty easy.
Myth-busting time: Relationships don’t need to be hard and shouldn’t need to be “worked on” all the time. Are your friendships like that? My guess is that the good ones are not. Sure, they have ups and downs. There are misunderstandings and times of trouble. But ultimately, you really like each other’s company. You can rely on each other.
The best relationships are fairly easy. They need to be able to stand the test of time. If it’s hard when nothing hard is happening, how is it going to be when something really hard is happening?
Sure, there are situations that are supposed to be fun but instead can be fraught with issues (like moving in together). When we’re invested in someone and then mesh our lives together, that has some serious weight and it makes sense there will be teething.
But if you’re on date four and it’s uncomfortable, combative, awkward, and pressure-filled, and you feel bad about yourself, or the other person is trying to control you? This one is most likely not for you.
Ultimately, dating from a place of self-love is about believing that you are worthy just as you are, and that there is someone out there (maybe several someone’s) who you can and will connect with.
It’s not just about being loved—it’s about you loving someone else. And if you’re coming from a place of self-love, then you will ultimately run the dating gauntlet with kindness, self-respect, and vulnerability without heaping a load of meaning onto rejection. Rejection means this one wasn’t right for you, nothing more, and thank god they did you a favor! Because you are deserving of the real, luscious thing with someone truly amazing.
Article by: Nicole Hind
“Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” ~Lao Tzu
We all have recorded messages playing in our heads, from long ago.
Listen to parents talking to young children. Often the message is less than approving.
“Don’t put that in your mouth!”
“Go wash your face right now.”
“If you keep acting like that nobody will like you.”
“Look at Cindy, how well she’s doing. If you worked harder you could do as well as her.”
Those examples are kind compared to what many people will have heard growing up.
Many of these messages enter our brains before our conscious memories are fully formed. They may be buried somewhere in our minds, but they are real.
Of course, parents have to train young children. That’s part of their job. But not all parents balance their criticism with approval.
So, we often grow up anxious for approval, uncertain of our own worth, always feeling that there’s something fundamentally wrong with us, perhaps feeling more or less unlovable.
This self-critical stance interferes with the warm, loving, mutually accepting, and deeply satisfying relationships we crave all through life.
Are relationships really that important? The Harvard Study of Adult Development followed people for as long as seventy years. Some thrived, some sank.
What was the common factor among those who flourished for decades, in every way? Warm, supportive relationships.
I sucked at relationships as a child. I don’t mean romantic relationships, just friendships. I was the awkward kid who got left out of playground games.
Yet, there was a part of my life that was quite different. It was full of love and joy.
Let me tell you about Jolly.
Jolly was about two feet tall, hairy, with patches of brown, black, and white. For me, it was love at first sight. He was bouncing around frantically, his tail wagging so furiously that it might have fallen off.
I pestered my parents until they agreed to get him for me.
In no time at all, I was experiencing why dogs are called our best friends. Jolly was completely in love with me, judging by his behavior.
If the day had been particularly frustrating for me, Jolly didn’t care. He’d jump on me as soon as I came in the door, tail wagging at dangerous speeds, squealing with delight, trying to lick my face, running up and down the room before repeating the performance, barking with joy, inviting me to play with him.
Sometimes a teacher would tell me off in school.
Jolly didn’t care. To him, I was still the most wonderful person in the world. He would still burst with joy when I got home, bury me in licks, desperate for me to play with him.
Sometimes I would return feeling really low because other kids had been particularly nasty to me.
Jolly would still jump on me when I opened the door. He would still wag that tail dangerously fast. If he could talk, I believe he would be spewing out love poetry to rival Shakespeare.
I didn’t even have to go out of the house for him to find me fascinating and totally lovable. It was enough if I went to the next room and came back. He would still be almost bursting out of his skin with joy at seeing me again.
It was as if he could see something in me that I could not see for myself.
However, it took me decades to digest and fully accept the lesson that Jolly was teaching me.
Medical school taught me the neurological pathways and brain areas that are active during criticism, but I didn’t fully embrace Jolly’s message until some decades later.
For many parents, and for the world, success in life is something that happens in the future of a child. The child grinds out one day after another, chasing that distant glimmer of success.
The child becomes a young adult, and still they’re chasing that distant success. Work hours are long, relationships suffer, tempers are short, nerves are frayed, emotions run high. Still, success remains like a finishing line that’s continually moving away.
The young adult grows toward middle age, perhaps with children by now, and still they’re chasing success. For themselves and now for their children too.
No matter how much they’ve accumulated, there’s always the possibility of accumulating more. Keeping up with the Joneses is an endless game. At the root of it all is the little child’s longing for approval.
“They’ll discover I’m a fraud.”
“If they really knew me they wouldn’t like me.”
“If only I could get that next promotion or close that big sale, people would start respecting me more.”
“If only I did better, I would become truly lovable.”
Scratch under the surface, and there might well be a self-critical little child longing for acceptance.
We experience the stresses and strains of life as burdens that drag us down.
We get annoyed at ourselves for not doing better.
We beat ourselves up for experiencing difficult or unpleasant emotions.
We’re hooked on self-help books and programs because we’re anxious about our flaws.
We long to be rid of our flaws and imperfections, because we believe that will make us more lovable.
What would Jolly say?
“I don’t care. Yes, you need to lose thirty pounds, but right now I love you and want you to know that you are completely worthy of my love.”
“Yes, you could do with twice as much money and a much bigger house, but right now you are already totally lovable.”
“Yes, you could do with fewer of those low moods, less anxiety and less anger, but right now you are already worthy of honor and respect.”
“Yes, you’ve had some messy relationships and screwed up in many ways but right now you are totally worthy of love.”
The more I learned to accept myself with all my flaws and imperfections, the more relaxed I became about difficult emotions and setbacks in life.
The more accepting I became of my own imperfections, the more accepting and loving I became toward others.
The more accepting and loving I became toward others, the more they responded with warmth.
The child that was left out on the playground is now a much more self-accepting person despite his flaws, often a source of love, comfort, laughter, and joy to others. That is fertile soil for warm, supportive relationships.
Supportive relationships, as research has found, are the key to wellbeing now and for decades to come. They help keep your body and brain working well for longer.
At our core, we’re a mess and we’re always falling short of our aspirations. That’s part of being human. It’s okay.
Jolly would want you to know that you are totally lovable, regardless.
Article by: Joe Almeida of Tiny Buddha
1661 N. Water Street, #507
Milwaukee, WI 53201
Lisa Hillary, MSW, LCSW
Separation and Divorce
Children, Adolescents, Adults