Embracing Who You Really Are

https://i0.wp.com/goldenwordsofself.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/embrace-yourself.jpg “Embrace who you are and don’t make any apologies for being yourself.”

Have you ever felt ashamed of who you are? Do you shy away from showing your real self? Are you afraid of what others will think of you, flaws and all? The ultimate battle between who we are and who we think we should be can be a loud voice inside our heads, stopping us from “coming out” with our truth.

However, letting outside beliefs, conditions or people dictate how we live isn’t okay. Neither is living in an emotional prison that may have been built by yourself and others. We create the lives we live. There isn’t anyone else who really has control over our personality, lifestyle or beliefs unless we give them that power.

For years, I felt ashamed of the person I am. I felt like I needed to hide my past from people, to hide the dark truths of my life and also just hide myself. I felt the desire to please people first instead of making myself happy because that is what I believed real friendship and love depended on. If I was everything they wanted me to be then I would have a friend, partner or mentor to be there for me like I was for them.

However, I was rudely awakened. Making everyone else happy and putting my needs last was the worst thing I could have done for myself. Not only did I lose those people in the end but I also lost me. I was so afraid to talk, speak up or share what I was thinking and feeling. I didn’t want to be judged or seen as weak or naive.  I always felt the need to apologize for myself.

What I was actually doing was abusing myself and letting others abuse and take advantage of me. This is not love nor friendship.

You are the one who has the keys to your happiness. You can choose to express yourself in whichever way you want. Don’t live your life dependent on anyone’s beliefs, opinions or thoughts of you. I know it is much easier said than done but once you start embracing who you are, you begin to embrace your real happiness.

You are giving yourself the gift of true respect, authenticity and love. People who love you for you will be there and those that don’t, well that relationship wasn’t right for you anyway.

Way to start embracing who you really are right now:

  1. Live from your heart- Begin to check in with yourself and see how you are feeling throughout the day. Live from your heart and make decisions that won’t compromise your happiness later.
  2. Learn to say “no”- It is okay to say no. You can turn down an invite, or not always be the therapist for your friend to talk to. Put your needs first and if you aren’t fully comfortable there is nothing wrong with just plain saying,  “No” or “Not right now”. People are willing to wait and be patient.
  3. Set boundaries- Yes, we must all set boundaries but for us people-pleasers this can be the most difficult. If someone isn’t respecting your boundaries voice it in the most kind yet assertive way possible. You want to make your point and be clear.

Turn a new leaf today and start living, breathing and being

you.

When Your Family Hurts You & It’s Time to Let Go

“At some point, you have to realize that some people can stay in your heart but not in your life.”

Blood is thicker than water or so they say.  All my life I’ve been taught that no matter what happens you will always have your family and to never turn your back on your own blood.

However, what if the people we call “family” end up hurting us more than loving us? Do we hold on and forget our feelings? Or do we let go and realize that sometimes we have to love even our family at a distance?

Recently, my brother who I haven’t spoken to in two years (of his own doing) sent me a series of hateful text messages. Mind you, the last memory I have with him is hugging and wishing him a safe deployment.

Upon his arrival home from Iraq, he dropped off the grid with his wife and isolated himself from me and all of our close cousins. We tried numerous times to contact and connect with him but he was adamant on cutting ties with all of us.  We had no idea why and couldn’t understand what could have possibly happened. So you can imagine when I woke up to hateful text messages two days before my birthday, I was in shock, appalled and hurt.

These messages were filled with hate, anger and curse words calling me every name under the sun and disowning me as a sister. I couldn’t believe he was okay with talking not just to his sister but a woman in such an abusive way. It was a wake up call about the relationship I have and tolerate from my parents and brother.

Through some sleepless nights of crying and feeling sorry for myself, I realized I had to let go and really say goodbye. It’s never an easy decision to close the door between you and your own blood. In the end, I realized the only person who I could change is me and that my family had been only bringing me unhappiness and toxicity.

I couldn’t allow them to drag me into their own dysfunction and abuse again. I had to reclaim my power as a person with feelings and boundaries.

Often times in situations with family, we tend to feel guilty or shame if we decide to cut ties or lessen communication. However, if the relationship is becoming extremely unhealthy, abusive or toxic it is necessary to place some space between you and them for your own well-being. Someone once told me that sometimes you have to teach people how you want to be treated.

If you are in a similar predicament with family or close loved one, here are some tips to help you cope with the loss of saying goodbye:

1. Set boundaries- I have always had trouble expressing my boundaries with my family. I always feel like they never understand my perspective. However through the years I have learned boundaries aren’t for them, they are for me. Whether they choose to listen or respect my concerns is on them, I know I have voiced it. I can then decide how to move forward with the relationship and evaluate whether it is healthy to be in communication or not.

Don’t be afraid to set boundaries with your family and express them many times if need be. If they aren’t listening or understanding your concerns then you may have to reassess what type of family dynamic is healthy for you.

2. The Funeral- This is an intense and powerful exercise if you are faced with the decision of possibly saying goodbye to your family or cutting all ties.

Write down letters to the family members who have hurt you. Make sure you to do this in a quiet and undisturbed space where you are most clear and at ease. Write from the heart and don’t be afraid to share how you feel. These letters won’t actually be read by those family members.

Imagine that they have passed and you are attending their funeral. What would you want to say to them? After you finish writing your letters, burn them and find a place to hold a memorial or ceremony with their “ashes”.

3. Release Guilt & Blame- If you are feeling guilty about putting space between you and your family, don’t. You are a person with feelings and don’t deserve to be treated less than. Don’t blame yourself or start thinking if you were a certain way or behaved differently perhaps they wouldn’t be the way they are. You are not in the wrong. Whenever anyone treats with you disrespect or abuse, you are never in the wrong. Let go of your guilt and don’t blame yourself for their actions or dysfunction.

Lastly, love yourself and start the journey to heal from the wounds of the past. You deserve it. You are stronger and braver than you know and no one can take away your power unless you give it to them. Trust in your decision to take your space and love your family from a distance. You are giving yourself the best gift of all, true self-love.

3 Lessons You Can Learn from Feeling Lost

“People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.” –Thomas Szasz

Have you ever felt lost? Do you feel lost right now with no direction? We have all been there and it’s not a pleasant feeling.

Feeling lost can be terrifying, nerve-wracking and yet eye-opening all at the same time.

Recently I went on a hike, the first of the summer. It started out great and then we took a wrong turn. Before we knew it, we were lost deep in the woods. It had already been 45 minutes and I was starting to lose my patience.

If things couldn’t get any worse I encountered a snake (my first time seeing one) which set me over the edge. I panicked and freaked out. I was extremely emotional and had a serious anxiety attack. I felt so out of control and lost. I wondered if we would ever get out of the woods and thoughts of being stuck or worse, death crossed my mind.

Eventually we found our way out of the woods by an entrance nowhere close to where we initially started. It was quite an experience and I learned some profound truths about being lost that day.

1. Control- The first thing about being lost is loss of control. You feel as if you have no control over anything and everything you have tried has failed. It is out of your hands.

So what DO you have control over? Yourself. It is easy to panic or listen to our irrational fears and thoughts. But it does nothing. It only makes the situation and circumstance feel worse.

Having control over your own thoughts and approach will lighten the load. You may not have the answer immediately to which direction to take but you can use your wise mind to make more rational and intuitive decisions.

Never make an impulsive decision when feeling lost. Making impulse decisions only add to the fears and lack of control you are experiencing. It is best to wait and go through the experience with a wiser awareness and approach before making a decision.

2. Direction-  One of the worst feelings about being lost is not knowing what path to take, feeling directionless or afraid that you will take the wrong path and miss out on something.

Being lost in the woods taught me that while we didn’t end up finishing where we started I was still on a path to somewhere. The unknown can be scary, extremely scary. Knowing what to expect creates a sense of safety. Safety is important but sometimes it prevents us from growing and going outside of our comfort zones.

The path you take may not be the one you hoped or anticipated but nevertheless it will teach you great things. It will lead you to places within that you may need to face or deal with. There is no right or wrong path. There may be detours or setbacks but these are also a part of the journey.

If everything we experienced came easily we may not understand certain human truths including empathy, compassion or trust.

3. Facing Inner Truths-  Sometimes it takes being lost to really find yourself and realize who you really are. You discover what makes you stronger and your own inner critic gets silenced. You experience an awakening and a deeper wisdom that perhaps wasn’t there before. It is okay to be lost. It is okay to feel alone in the experience. Just know it’s not a permanent experience or feeling.

“Nothing in life is permanent, not even our troubles.”

Listen to your inner voice and allow the unknown to guide you to your next destination.

Breaking out of our Comfort Zone & Fears

freedom  Regardless of where we are at in life, there is always an aspect that we are extremely comfortable in whether it’s a relationship, career, location, dietary habits, etc. The reasons behind this may be because we are truly happy with being comfortable, safety, stability or whatever else drives us to be there in that place of comfort.

Is comfort necessarily a bad thing? No. However it is when you are no longer growing, when you remain stagnant in this place, your “comfort zone”.  Some of us grow accustomed to the predictable, the known and unwavering energy that this has provided. So then what happens? What if we are miserable yet comfortable in the misery? This can relate to many things, i.e. career choice/fear of relationships/fear of leaving a relationship, location, health habits, exercise, spiritual choices.

Are we really creatures of habit? Perhaps. I’d like to think we are capable of so much more though. All my life I have been trying to break past that mold of comfort. Lately I have hit a wall in some areas and know that in order for me to step into my true power I must let go of some things, including those I surround myself with. It’s hard to leave that place that served to be a source of something stable or comfort for so long.

I recently read somewhere that behind all of our fears is love. Love is limitless. Now this has nothing to do with romantic love, this is just love for life, love for yourself, for what makes you happy and for those you care about. So if we could somehow channel this love into our lives more I think we could break past the molds we create, the prisons we live in and the burdens we carry all out of comfort.

So what’s it going to be? How has this first month of 2014 treated you? Have you shown up for yourself and your success? What steps are you taking to break out of that comfort zone? We truly are capable of so much more than where we are standing. I’ve manage to channel a lifetime of abuse into a successful career and used it as my motivation to help others.

Perhaps you can also channel your experiences, your place of comfort or discomfort and excel beyond your own expectations. I’m not saying we all need to be like me. I’m only encouraging you to consider your options. Looking at your life right now, what are you comfortable yet uncomfortable with in your life? What can you do today, at this very moment to make changes to break out of that mold?

Every tiny step counts. Whatever we can do to start activating the energy to move is when we begin to grow and to move outside of our comfort zone into the new path for our life. Yes, it can be scary but I swear it’s worth it and never  ever once think it’s too late.

 

 

The Power of Taking a Risk.

  “Leap and the net will appear.”

It’s easy to stay in our comfort zones. The familiar too often traps us from personal growth, breaking patterns and taking risks. The unknown can seem terrifying and impossible to achieve.

But what if taking that leap actually led us closer to our true life purpose? Or helped us in having a major breakthrough or epiphany?

Recently, I decided to take a huge risk by jumping out of a plane at 10,000 feet on my 26th birthday. I know it sounds pretty crazy but for some reason I felt really compelled to do it. I’m normally not a thrill-seeker but skydiving seemed like the right way to start off my birthday.

The thought of skydiving didn’t seem to scare me but when the day actually came I was terrified. I remember being in the plane and thinking this could truly be my last day on earth. And then before I knew it, I was looking down at the ground and just jumping.

Eyes wide open and gravity pulling me down at 120 mph I realized just how truly amazing this experience was. I trusted that I was going to land safely and just allowed myself to let go. All of my fears and worries were no longer with me. There was not a care in the world, just me and the sky.

Why do I share this story with you? Well, it’s definitely not to encourage you to skydive, to each his own. I wanted to share this story with you because even though skydiving is a dangerous thing to do, it taught me something about fear and courage.

It taught me to trust that everything is going to be okay regardless of the risks involved. I learned that this experience gave me the confidence to take more risks and make quick decisions regardless if they are going to be right or wrong. Before I always felt scared to make a decision because I wanted to make sure it was the perfect one.

Sometimes we are going to be at a crossroads in our lives where we are going to faced with a major decision which may involve some risk-taking. People are always saying live with no regrets. This opportunity to live your life a little differently from before may be the best risk you ever took. Take the leap and see where it takes you.