Tag Archives: believing in yourself

Self Sabotage: Why we do it and what we can do about it

Not again! How many times have you self-sabotaged your way out of something you thought you wanted? Here’s why you do that and how to get out of it.

If you’re human, you’ve probably, at times, sabotaged your own success in an area of your life. Some of us do this once in awhile and learn to stop doing it, and then there are some of us who do it over and over, preventing ourselves from ever achieving what we think we want.

Learning to manage our self-sabotaging ways is crucial to creating a life that we love.

Not sure if you’re prone to self-sabotage? Do any of these scenarios sound or feel familiar?

  • You’ve blown up a perfectly good relationship for no good reason
  • You’ve bombed a job interview by purposely avoiding preparing for it
  • You decide to “get healthy” finally this year and after a few good weeks of consistent exercise, you skip a few days and now you can’t seem to get going again
  • You find yourself eating when you’re not hungry and even though you know the reasons you’re doing that, you consciously choose to reach for food instead of the tools that you know would help
  • You say no to opportunities that you want (out of fear)
  • You tell yourself that you need more time to analyze the situation before making a decision and end up forced into the only choice left because time ran out. Not deciding becomes your decision.
  • You regularly do things that you say you don’t want to do but you do them anyway

I believe self sabotage is a form of rebellion. We do it to make ourselves feel free. On some level we don’t feel we have the right to have, the ability to get or access to something. We have told ourselves the thing we want is “not for us”. Or someone else told us that we couldn’t do something or have something and we believed them.

We limit ourselves and feel trapped by those limitations.

If there are places in our life where we’ve been held back (by ourselves or by someone else), restricted, stifled, or overburdened we’ll act out with self-sabotage. It might be with food, or maybe it’s by making decisions that feel irresponsible or dangerous. The reason we do it with things we seemingly don’t want is because it’s the only way we give that freedom back to ourselves.

We overeat, eat foods that make us feel rotten, and stop moving our bodies. We hurt the feelings of people we care about. We destroy progress at work, at home and in our relationships.

It feels like a release of sorts to “act out” like this. The thinking is “if I can’t have what I want, then I can at least do this thing that feels like a choice of my own doing.”

It doesn’t even matter that we are blowing up things that we actually want. If we’re someone who doesn’t believe we have a lot of potential or choices in life, we’re after that delicious moment of freedom, even if it causes us pain and regret afterwards.

Where in your life do you not feel free?

Where in your life have you been held back, restricted or stifled?

Maybe you had a strict upbringing or were told to be a certain way all your life, so you stuffed down a part of yourself that is only being expressed now through your self-sabotaging actions.

One of the ways we stop self sabotage is to figure out where we don’t feel free and begin taking actions that do make us feel free.  Is there a dream that you’ve always want that you won’t let yourself have? Have you gone after what you wanted? Have you taken risks towards something you desire in your life?

What dreams did you once have that you didn’t allow yourself to chase? Or were told you couldn’t have?

Give yourself total permission to go after what you want. The actual getting probably isn’t as important as your belief that you deserve to try to go for it. Allow yourself to feel free to choose in your life. When it comes to taking action towards this thing that you want, start small if you have to. The most important thing it to give yourself permission to have it and to believe it. Believe that you have the ability, right and can access whatever it is that you want.

You can do anything. You can be anything. You can have anything. This is all true.

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Shush . .I’m fabulous and so are you!

I really do think I'm fabulous when I'm not busy beating myself up.

I really do think I’m fabulous when I’m not busy beating myself up. (apologies for the grainy camera phone quality).

I hope you’ll forgive me for the formatting and flow for this one – I was in a ferocious typing mood and didn’t feel like editing. Let me know your thoughts!


We spend so much time talking and thinking about what is wrong with our bodies or ourselves.

I wonder how much amazing stuff in this world doesn’t get done because some woman woke up and decided her jeans felt too tight, she was fat and now the day was ruined.

The internal dialogue might go something like this:

My stomach is so flabby.

My skin is too red and I have such huge pores.

I’m such an idiot!

I have so much back fat it looks like I’m smuggling two hams under my armpits.

When did my ass get so saggy?

Why am I so boring? I never have anything good to say.

The thoughts may come all at once in succession (maybe after trying on a bathing suit) or they may come one by one throughout a day (each time you catch yourself in the mirror).

It doesn’t matter if they’re assaulting you in a barrage all at once or if they’re dripping in slowly like a leak in an old roof.

They’re destructive either way.

We think it’s no big deal since they’re just passing thoughts most of the time.

But like a roof that leaks – you have to address it at some point or you’re going to have a big mess on your hands.

Repetitive negative thoughts become part of our regular thinking and with time they become beliefs. Beliefs are really hard to change.

Thinking negatively about yourself – physical or otherwise, contributes to your mood, it contributes to how you interact with others, it affects the actions you’ll take everywhere in your life.

How you think about yourself influences hugely the life you will ultimately have.

Why do we think that it’s a badge of honor or a sign of humility to put ourselves down?

Why is it often seen as being conceited or boastful to take pride in or even just acknowledge that you’re good at something or that there is something about your body that you like?

Why do we think the only way to be in this world is to be disgusted in some way by our own bodies? Somewhere along our journey we learn that a woman who dares to love her body is actually betraying the rest of us. She’s an alien from another planet. There has to be something wrong with her for daring to think so highly of herself.

There is so much contradictory bullshit in this. It’s divisive and creates pain for all involved. One feeling inadequate for not having what the other has and the other feeling ashamed for not having ingested the shitty memo the rest of us ate up.

I’m sure there’s at least a few of you reading this whose first thought was something critical about the photo I used at the beginning of this post. Who am I to post a photo of myself on a blog about being fabulous? I’ll admit I hesitated to use a photo of myself here because I had those exact thoughts myself. But then I said, fuck it, that’s the whole point of this post.

And when we all feel crappy about ourselves, we do less of the important stuff. We don’t put ourselves out there. And we’re not a good example for the young women and little girls in our lives.

What if we all did something different and spent time noticing what is right about our bodies?What if we declared out loud the qualities we have that we are proud of?
What if we boosted ourselves up and other women too, instead of tearing both of us down?

There’s no need to compare and knock someone down. Comparing and determining that one is less and one is more, gives one the idea that there is only a certain amount of good stuff out there and that if someone else has what you want (be it a shapely booty, a ferocious drive, thick hair, money or major charisma), that there isn’t enough of that thing out there for you. That’s not true.

Her having something doesn’t make it less likely that you can have it too.

Her having it actually means that it is possible you can have it.

If you’re going to compare, use it as proof of what you could have, what is available to ALL of us in this life we have.

When we can sincerely appreciate and love ourselves, without feeling like we’re wrong for doing that, we have more capacity for kindness, generosity and productivity. When we can sincerely look at other women and not want to tear them down to lift ourselves up, we will have more love for ourselves and love to give everything we do.

Can you start changing your own dialogue today? Next time you find yourself wanting to pick yourself or another lady apart, can you turn it around and find something you LOVE instead?

If you can’t, ask yourself, why. Why do you want to cause yourself more pain? Why would you choose to think negative thoughts about yourself? Or others? You can choose love.

It takes practice to be comfortable saying positive things about yourself. When you’re not used to doing it, at first it’s pretty hard. It might be painful and make you want to cringe. But after awhile, you’ll find it’s pretty easy and with that comes the ability to see the good stuff in other people too.

Here is some of the stuff I’ve been loving on me lately:

I love my eyes. I’m not really sure if they’re blue, grey or green but I love them.

I love my arms. They’re strong and they look strong too.

I love my curves. I’ve been big and small and those curves are always still there keeping me company.

I love that I have thick muscular thighs that can cycle 30 miles like it’s no big thing and they also look fab in a short skirt, at least I think so.

I love my skin – it’s soft and smooth and it’s usually a reflection of how well I am caring for myself.

I love my smile and the dimples that form in my cheeks when I’m really happy.

I love my laugh. I love my ability to empathize with other people. I love the little intricacies that make me, me, even if other people might think that they’re bizarre.

I love my brain. It doesn’t always go the conventional route, but it gets me there. The shit it remembers and the details it can conjure up are almost sick.

I love how dependable I am. If you ask me to do something or be somewhere and I say yes, you know I will do it, I will show up (albeit late!) and if I can’t, I will own up and let you know. No slinking away in a corner here.

I like me.

That’s probably enough for now.

Don’t think that just because I was able to rattle those off that there isn’t a part of me that was like “ah, don’t write that!” or “you’re writing too many!” or “you should mention that you love your smile despite your messed up jaw!”. I’m human and a work in progress. There are things I’ve gotten better at, but it doesn’t mean that I never have my “stuff” come up again. I’ve gotten so much better at being WITH myself instead of AGAINST myself. No need to aim for perfect but there’s always room for doing better.

If you’re reading this and you’re the one thinking “she wrote too many!” or “wow, she’s full of herself!” then sister, I ask YOU to please spend a little time coming up with a list of things you love about YOU. When we knock others, it’s a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. And you should feel no other way than fabulous about yourself, because lady you ARE fantastic and I hope you can say that about yourself some day. And if you love this and want to stay in touch, you can do so here.


Guess what time it is? Time for the 12 Day Detox! We start September 14! Join us! You’ll love how you feel as we move into fall!

Did you hear? The 12 Day Detox Program is returning September 14, 2015. Join us!

Did you hear? The 12 Day Detox Program is returning September 14, 2015. Join us!

How to Put the Brakes on an Emotional Eating Spiral

Do social events that happen around food stress you out?

Do social events that happen around food stress you out?

Today I’d like to talk about something that I think doesn’t get talked about enough:  emotional eating.  I don’t know if it doesn’t get talked about much because people are unaware of how common it is or if it’s because there’s just so much shame around our eating habits on the whole. Maybe you are someone who has never turned to food for an emotional reason, if that’s the case, good for you! But there’s a whole lot of people who struggle with it regularly.

I think a huge part of the obesity epidemic our nation is facing is caused in part by how poorly we deal with our emotions. Instead of turning to a friend to talk to or going for a walk, we stuff those uncomfortable feelings down with food (ice cream? chips? what’s your poison?).  But like a suitcase that’s been overstuffed on each successive trip, eventually the seams are going to give and your dirty laundry is going to be all over the conveyor belt.  Good luck getting your belongings back in a suitcase that has fallen apart.  In other words, you can only ignore feelings for so long before they will demand that they be dealt with.  Shit doesn’t fix itself as much as we hope and pray it will.  It’s much wiser to deal with things before they get out of control.

If this is you, let me start off by telling you that you are not alone.  Look around at the women in your life – I guarantee you that at least one of the women you love also struggles with their relationship with food.  It might be someone who is overweight or it might be someone who is not. It might be someone you don’t even suspect. For years, I convinced myself (and others) that I was overweight because “of my stocky Irish genes” or because “I just eat too much healthy food”.  I don’t doubt that family history has something to do with my size but pretty early on I learned to reach for food when something didn’t feel right to the point where I remember laying in bed as a kid and saying my nightly prayers and praying to the virgin Mary (I figured as a woman she’d understand my plight more than God or Jesus) to help me lose weight. I specifically remember praying that for every calorie I ate, I would lose two.  So grateful she didn’t answer that prayer, I didn’t think that one through mathematically!  But how sad that a little kid, who, looking back wasn’t even that overweight (yet) already knew about calories and that being heavy was a bad thing.

Food was always the fastest way for me to feel joy.

Food was always the fastest way for me to feel joy. Strangely enough, I look back at these pictures of me as a kid and don’t even see myself as overweight or fat.

Praying for weight loss was just the start of it. Bad day at school? Hand in the cookie jar, repeatedly. Lonely night at home? Let’s eat a whole sleeve of crackers and a block of cheddar cheese. I developed a self-deprecating sense of humor where I knocked myself for my size before anyone else could.  I had to make sure everyone around me knew that I knew I was fat, lest they think I was in the dark about it. It hurt less to make fun of myself than it would for others to make fun of me. My issues with food and uncomfortableness with my size got so bad at times that I remember joking about how I wished I was bulimic when I was in college.  Sure, I had the bingeing thing down pat, I just didn’t purge, at least not successfully.  I know there were a few occasions when I tried. Thankfully I failed and it didn’t continue.  No matter what phase my eating issues were in (and there have been many many over the years), two things were consistent: I loved to give the idea that I didn’t eat that much, by ordering a salad when going out to eat with other people or claiming that I ate already so that other people didn’t see how much I really ate.  And the other thing was that I constantly was distraught about my size and my confidence was shot. I may have acted confident on the outside (I was often the life of the party!) but inside I was screaming.  I hated myself for being fat.  I felt like that was all I was and that was all anyone could see of me and so to deal with the shame I felt around it, for many years I just ate more.  At the time, that seemed the only option.

I got tired of falling back into the same self-destructive patterns every time life wasn’t working out the way I wanted it to so I’ve worked really hard at incorporating the strategies below into my life. I’m in a much better place these days (the stories above are decades old) and I’ve tried every possible route for having a healthy relationship with food.  I finally feel like I’m in a place where I can enjoy food without it taking over my life. Sure, occasionally I still struggle with periods of using food to deal with an emotion (because I’m human and have faults) but it’s infrequent and when it does happen, it’s on a minor scale.  I’ll take a minor trip up over what I was doing before, any day!

Below are some seriously powerful tips for halting an emotional eating spiral.  Many of these won’t be a surprise – I’m sure you’ve heard some of them before but these are the things that have helped me break my decades old habits that were impacting my health, my mood and my life and they’ve become invaluable to me. I hope a few of them can help you do the same.

How to Put the Brakes on Emotional Eating:

1. Figure out what your trigger foods are and stop eating them (at least for a little while).  Don’t buy them for yourself and don’t buy them for someone else in your household.

This is not a popular thing to suggest. One one hand, emotional eaters and chronic dieters need less rules about eating – not more – but if you really lose all control when you eat certain foods . . .and can’t enjoy the food without feeling both physically and emotionally awful, why do we want to tell people they can keep it in their lives? I recommend at least taking trigger foods out of your diet for a little while (you may be able to return to them in some form down the road!). Sometimes we are surprised by how much we enjoy not eating these foods once we’re not clouded by them anymore.

I know this is probably the hardest thing to do (and that is why I’m starting with it). If you are willing to walk away from your triggers, you will be well supported by the other tips below. If you’re not, well, you might not be ready to change your ways.  If you have fears around not eating your trigger foods, how do you think they are serving you?  What are you getting from that particular food that you can’t get elsewhere?

We think that we can keep the food in the house but just not eat it.  It doesn’t work that way for most of us.  If it’s truly a trigger food for you, you will eventually eat it and start the cycle over again.  If your trigger is soda or ice cream and you feel like you can’t not have it in the house because it’s not fair to your kids – that’s total BS.  Your kids don’t need ice cream and they don’t need soda. There are plenty of other foods to enjoy that don’t need to set you up for self-sabotage.  I don’t care what the food is – there is another option.  If it’s milk and you’re worried about calcium? Load up on beans and greens.  You’ll be fine.  They’ll be fine.

My triggers are primarily cheese and wheat! Whenever I binged in the past, it was usually on something like cheese and crackers, doritos, or white cheddar cheez-its.  But over time, I also realized that anytime I had a lot of bread, cheese or pasta, I usually found myself over eating the next day (or sometimes for several days) so now I’m about 90% dairy free and completely wheat free except for the odd occasion.  The times I give in and have a piece of bread or some cheese? I notice it in my mood and my cravings the next few days and have to work really hard to keep myself from sabotaging all the hard work I’ve done.  It’s a lot less work for me to just not eat them in the first place and I know it’s hard to believe but I sincerely don’t miss them and I don’t feel deprived.  At all! I’ll tell you how and why in another post but it has a lot to do with #4 on this list. (I should also mention that I’ve since noticed certain health issues have been reduced since removing these foods from my life – my asthma, rosacea and constipation have been lessened!)

Some people can take a break from their triggering foods and return to them at a later date -these foods will have less of a hold on them over time. Others can’t and will need to not eat them going forward. Only you know if that is right for you!

2. Take a few deep breaths before eating to center yourself.  Take a minute to relax and slow down your mind and body before eating.

Be present when you eat. I know we’re all so busy and life is rushed today but if we eat at the same pace that we live our lives, we don’t get to “enjoy” our food and food is meant to be enjoyed! If you take a moment to check in with your body and your mind before you eat, you are more likely to enjoy the meal. And when you truly enjoy your food, you won’t feel deprived and that makes a massive difference in whether or not you’ll find yourself going overboard later.

3. Make eating the sole activity you do whenever you do it.  Do not read while eating.  Don’t watch TV.  Don’t go on your phone or laptop.  Don’t write your to do list. Don’t talk on the phone or drive. Focus on the meal in front of you.

Take it in with all of your senses. Does it look appetizing? How does it smell? Notice the textures in your mouth. Is the food crunchy or soft? Pretend you are studying it for an exam you will have later.  Notice the details.

Eating this way helps your brain receive signals that let it know when you’ve had enough to eat.  It also helps you produce adequate saliva which is an important part of digestion. If you are consumed by other activities while eating your body and brain don’t communicate as well leading your body to forget that it’s eaten and it will be begging for food all day (like my cat). I’m not kidding!

Have you ever been driving only to reach your destination and have no recollection of part of your drive because you were thinking deeply about something?  It’s very similar.  Your brain won’t have a memory of the meal if you distract it with other tasks.

This is also a tough rule to implement and follow.  You will have a lot of urges to just give in and go back to whatever old habits you had while eating.  I realize that sometimes we can’t help but eat on the go, but those times should be a last resort. You can make an effort the rest of the time.  You may find you have a lot of resistance towards changing these habits.  I totally get it! I used to zone out on my laptop while plowing my way through a box of white cheddar cheez-its.  Why?  Because I didn’t want to feel whatever I was feeling and being on the computer distracted me.  It also distracted me from tasting or noticing the food I was eating, which meant that despite feeling incredibly full and gross, my urges to eat would continue.  I never got full enjoyment of the food I was eating.  If you feel a lot of resistance to making meal time only about eating, then ask yourself why?  Why do you feel you need to do something else while eating?  Why is eating not enough?

4. Eat. Stop starving yourself.  Stop restricting.  Stop “dieting”.

I know it sounds counterintuitive if you are struggling with a bingeing or emotional eating issue to just allow yourself to eat but many people who find themselves bingeing out of control are restricting calories or strictly controlling how much they eat each day.  Our bodies like balance and they’re keeping track.  Geneen Roth has said “For every diet there is an equal or greater binge” and I’ve found that she’s completely right.  If you’re terrified of eating too much fat and spend your days eating fat free or low fat foods, when you do go over the rails, you can bet it will be on a substance that contains fat.  If you restrict the amount of calories you eat for a long time, the urge to eat everything in sight will eventually take over you and willpower will only take you so far.  You’ll end up eating far more than you would have if you just allowed yourself to eat food to begin with.

People who are naturally slender eat when they are hungry and they stop when they’ve had enough.  Some days they may eat a lot and other days not so much.  It all balances out. The fear of losing control and gaining weight goes away as you realize that your body is not out to betray you.  It’s on your side.  If you feed it appropriately and without judgement, it will reward you with energy, a stable mood and a waistband that doesn’t fluctuate massively.

All this being said, I think it’s important to focus on whole foods when trying to stop destructive eating patterns like this.  It would be irresponsible to just suggest that bingers eat more to reduce binges – there’s more to that. What you eat matters.  If you’re eating a lot of processed food, it’s time to try to reduce your dependence on them. Support your body by giving it high quality sources of fat, protein and carbohydrates so that you will feel satisfied, energized and sated.  Avoid foods that spike blood sugar (sugar, refined flour, most baked goods etc) and if you do eat them, pair with protein to reduce the effect.  I love pairing nourishing whole foods together, like sweet potatoes with coconut oil and hemp seeds, homemade chicken salad lettuce wraps or an avocado stuffed with black japonica rice, tomatoes and pumpkin seeds etc.

When you feed yourself fully, you feed your body and soul and you will feel and see the difference.

5. Figure out what you are feeling. What don’t you want to feel? What is too uncomfortable to acknowledge? What do you believe to be true about yourself?

Most emotional eating episodes are tied to the avoidance or suppression of a feeling or a form of punishment (due to a feeling). When you get the urge to go crazy on whatever food has your attention right now, ask yourself:  What am I feeling in this moment?  Are you sad, angry, frustrated, bored, lonely, ashamed?  Just ask, label it (I’m not a fan of labels generally but here it’s helpful) and sit with the feeling for 10 minutes, taking deep breaths. You don’t need to do anything with the feeling yet but just let it be.  After 10 minutes, is the urge to eat still there? It might be, but it also may be reduced.

This takes practice.  Often bingers say they don’t feel anything when they want to eat or are eating but that is usually because they’ve used the activity to teach themselves to feel numb. You can’t push feelings away for months or years and then expect they’ll make themselves known to you the first time you try to pay attention to them. Keep asking questions of yourself. It will take work, many conversations with yourself, maybe some journaling and talking with others. The more you acknowledge and encourage those feelings to be felt, the more you will be able to feel them and ultimately the less you’ll need to eat what you don’t want to feel.  Those feelings are coming from somewhere and they deserve to be felt, to be acknowledged.

Once you know what you are feeling and can let it join you for a bit, you take some of its power away because now you have an opportunity to deal with it. Is what you are feeling that is the issue? Or is it that you don’t know how to fix something, want to avoid something etc? Is there something you are avoiding (unhappiness in a job, a large project, a difficult conversation?) that is causing you stress? Is there a story you’ve been telling yourself about who you are that is holding you down? What can you do about it?  Can you call a friend who will listen to you? Put it all down on paper in a journal?  Go for a walk and think it over? Create a strategy to change the things that are stifling you from living the life you deserve? You know the answers already, you just need to ask the questions.

6. Forgive your slip ups, love yourself & let go of the need to be perfect. No one is perfect and you shouldn’t feel like you need to be either! 

Many women I talk to who have an issue with emotional eating, talk about how much worse they feel after a binge or emotional eating episode.  They beat themselves up.  They do and say hurtful things about themselves.  They believe they are bad people for not being able to control their eating. They feel disgusted with themselves.  They feel like everyone else around them must have it easier because they aren’t consumed with thinking about food.  They also talk about how feeling so badly about themselves makes it easier for a bad eating episode to happen.  If you are disgusted with yourself, eating a bunch of stuff that makes you feel even worse doesn’t seem like that big of a deal because the feelings (disgust, shame, anger) that come with it are familiar.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve convinced ourselves that eating and loving ourselves & our bodies is hard and has to be a constant struggle.  We think we need to be perfect or we’re a failure. It doesn’t have to be like that.  When you eat to nourish yourself instead of punish, reward or control, you will eat enough but not too much and feel satisfied.  When we set up these parameters for ourselves – only this many calories, only low-fat, eat less than those around us etc, we’re planning out a trip that takes us straight to emotional eating.

When these negative thoughts pop up, think “cancel that”.  Practice saying and thinking good things about yourself.  What did you do well today? What are you grateful for? Acknowledging the good things about yourself and about your day/life are far more important to your overall well-being than knocking yourself down.  No one ever got where they wanted to be by being brutal to themselves and even people who have succeeded at the greatest things in life had setbacks along the way.  We’re no different!

There’s a huge amount of growth in just letting yourself be human, accepting occasional overindulgence as just that and still feeling love for yourself despite choices you don’t feel great about.  You have to believe that you deserve to feel satisfied when you eat, you deserve to not feel hunger constantly and you deserve to enjoy food.

I have so much more to say on this issue (it’s one of my favorite to work with clients on) but I feel like there’s a lot of info here and I don’t want to overwhelm anyone dealing with this issue.  If you struggle with emotional eating I hope you find some of the tips here helpful!  Ultimately, know that you are not alone. What you are going through is not uncommon and it is possible to have a more relaxed relationship with food with a little work (and in some cases, professional counseling).  The first step in having a healthier relationship with food is by working on the relationship you have with yourself.

 

Be Your Biggest Cheerleader (even if you don’t feel like it)!

These pictures are actual snapshots from these old journals - that is my horrendous handwriting (good luck reading that!).  I'm feeling a bit shy of exposing this part of myself (long long time ago but still).  No one gets to read my journals.  They need to be burned when I die! haha!

These pictures are actual snapshots from these old journals – that is my horrendous handwriting (good luck reading that!). I’m feeling a bit shy of exposing this part of myself (long long time ago but still). No one gets to read my journals. They need to be burned when I die! haha!

Fake it till you make it. Have you heard that saying? Sometimes you have to pretend to believe something about yourself to make it a reality.

 

 

 

I recently started writing in a journal again. I’ve been keeping journals since I was in 6th or 7th grade (back then it was a diary with a little lock on it) and relatively shortly after I met my husband, my journal writing became less and less frequent until I realized that I had not written a single journal entry since 2008. I always loved how writing my thoughts down on paper helped me to see more clearly and feel like less of a crazy person. It had a very grounding influence on me and it also helped to give me a really strong memory of those times in my life. Not writing the last few years I feel like my memory for details is not quite as strong so I’ve decided to get back in to it!

It’s hard, I don’t have as much that I feel like I need to write about – honestly, back then it was mostly about boys, boys, boys and I don’t really have that kind of drama to write about now! Ha ha! But I’m determined to make it a regular thing again. I miss it!

To get inspired to write again, I decided to start reading some of my old journals and of course, half of them make me cringe inside (omg, did I really do that? say that? care about that?) and the other half of them make me laugh hilariously. I can see exactly how and why I’ve become the person I am today. I’m grateful for all my awkward, messy phases of life because it’s helped shape me into someone I like being. Do I wish I did some things differently? Of course. But I like who I am. I like how I’ve turned out. Is that weird to say?

 

 

 

So many of us have a hard time sincerely saying that we like who we are. We’re not exactly encouraged to accept and embrace ourselves with all of our faults, flaws and quirks. It’s far more acceptable to be self-deprecating.  In reading my old journals, I forgot that during a really tough period in my life (around the time my mother died and the years after) I would prep each new journal before I began writing in it with positive sayings written on the bottom of each page, affirmations, pictures and other little goodies to give me a confidence or mood boost when I was writing.  I was in a really bad place and my confidence was at an all time low.  Writing little sayings seemed like the easiest thing I could do (with the least amount of effort) but over time it really paid off.

Looking at them out of context, I would think that the person whose journals these were (me!), was the biggest conceited egomaniac on the planet.  But that wasn’t the case.  I wrote these things down during a time when I didn’t believe a single word of it.  Now, more than a decade later, not only do I believe most of these things but they’ve become the foundation of my beliefs about myself and others.  I faked it till I made it.  I was my greatest cheerleader during a time when I least felt like it.  I still have moments of self doubt or feeling self conscious at times but trusting in myself makes those thoughts far less devastating than they used to be.

If you are struggling with self doubt, negative thoughts about your abilities, your looks or your inherent self-worth, know that you will stay in those places until you make a conscious decision to no longer welcome those thoughts into your life.  As I’ve said many times, nothing changes overnight, but slow progress is better than no progress.  You ARE amazing.  You ARE smart.  You ARE beautiful.  You ARE worthy.  You deserve to treat yourself with love and kindness and in doing that, you will be more able to treat others that way too (which will come back to you).

What thoughts of yours are getting in the way of you feeling and doing your best? What negative thoughts pass through your head too often? How do you think that is affecting your life?

Perhaps writing in a journal with positive reminders on each page is too much for you but what could you do instead?  Maybe a few post it notes placed in your most frequented places (computer monitor, refrigerator, car etc), self love affirmations said in front of a mirror or even just setting limits for how many negative things you can think/say about yourself a day (the goal is zero but let’s just start somewhere!).

Have you turned around damaging negative thoughts about yourself?  I’d love to hear what worked for you.  Shoot me an email.  I’m a real person and I will reply!

This is something I work with my clients on. Holistic coaching means we look at more than diet to help someone live and feel their healthiest (relationships, career, spirituality, physical activity and a few other areas all get attention).  I love watching people heal themselves with little more than being kind to themselves. I’d be happy to talk to you to give you an idea of what that would look like.  I don’t bite, I promise (well anymore.  I have a friend from childhood who would disagree. Sorry Renee!).

This post was originally published as an email. You can join this list by signing up in the green box below!

What’s Getting in The Way of Your Dreams?

photo credit: MartaZ* via photopin cc

photo credit: MartaZ* via photopin cc

Dreams.  We all have them.  Some of us go after them like a last minute shopper on Christmas Eve (determined and willing to pay any price to get what they want), while others put those dreams away in a tightly sealed box and hide them in the attic, thinking they’re not for us.  It’s not the right time or we don’t deserve them. This past weekend marked the one year anniversary of my last day at my corporate job, the day I ripped the tape off those dusty dreams.  I can’t believe it’s been a whole year but it made me think about the relationships we have with our deepest desires, our dreams.

Are you embarrassed by your dreams? Or do you boldly embrace them? Have you ever thought about why?

One year ago I took a major risk, gave my notice and walked out the door to start my own business in a field I had dreamed about for years.  I was excited but also terrified to actually take steps in a direction where I was in charge.

My husband was more than willing to support me in doing this and we’re very fortunate that financially we could pull this off. He was well aware of how poor a fit my desk job had become for me (to the point where it was affecting my health) and was happy to see me ready to do something that was more “me”.

When I say I was terrified, I’m not kidding.  Believing in myself, especially when it came to career was always a major issue for me.  In high school and college, I had periods where I really wanted to become a psychologist, a teacher, a family counselor and later, a business owner (my own coffee shop/cafe), a nutritionist and even a personal trainer.  Every time I started to investigate what it would take to make those things a reality, I got cold feet.  I was smart, I got good grades and was a hard worker but somewhere deep inside me I believed that I didn’t have what it would take to make those things happen for the long haul.  Sure, I went so far as to take a year of Elementary Ed classes in college, and even did a student teaching gig in a kindergarten class but when it came time to start the entry steps for the next part of the program, I froze and decided that the English degree I was passively working on in the background was going to have to be good enough.

I started to believe that I was “lazy” because I couldn’t follow through with any of the careers I wanted for myself.  I took jobs that I knew would never be a career because I in my heart I thought that a “career” just wasn’t meant to be for me.  I sealed up my dreams in a box and shipped them off! It was so much easier to work jobs that made me miserable than it was to risk failing at something that made me happy.  For almost a decade and a half I let this fear keep me stagnant and hold me back.  That makes me sad.

Instead of realizing that I had some fear around my abilities and a fear of failure, I punished myself for being lazy and not having ambition.  It wasn’t until relatively recently that I finally realized that I have plenty of ambition and I’m not the least bit lazy but I need to be in charge.  I can’t answer to someone else and thrive.  I had all these dreams, but I was afraid to take the risks to make them happen.  Eventually the risk of staying where I was became greater than the risk of making a big change.

Most things I’ve been doing in this past year to build and grow a business have also been terrifying.  My first sessions with each new client, every blog post, newsletter or program – all of it has put me out of my comfort zone at first.  I’m constantly putting myself on the line, being vulnerable, risking rejection and failure.  But while I take each step, sometimes holding my breath, I’m growing, gaining confidence and learning new skills.  I’m feeling more like me than I have in years and I feel like all the creativity I had in me as a child is coming to life again. For the first time since college, I am excited about what lies ahead for me as a career.  And could I still fail?  Sure.  But that’s less scary now that I see what going after my dreams has given to me.

The risk of not going after your dreams is that you will stifle your potential and create stories about who you are that aren’t true.

What dreams have you sealed up in a mental “box”?

What do you believe to be true about yourself that puts limits on your dreams?

What’s getting in the way of your dreams?

Is there a recurring theme in your life? Your jobs? Your relationships?

Do you keep coming up with excuses as to why you can’t or shouldn’t have the dreams you have?

Why do you think that is? What would it take for you to snip the tape off that box and let that dream breathe?

Long term, it’s way scarier to not go after what you want. My wish for you is that you’ll at least investigate your reasons for not going after what you want.  You deserve to be happy.  Don’t let a decade or more pass by before you take steps to make that happen.  When you find resistance coming up in regards to your dreams, ask yourself if those things are true?  You may find that they’re not!