Find the Love Within

There are many things that come to mind when I think of self-love. There is self-confidence, self-esteem, having standards, a healthy diet, and care for your body. That seems like a lot, but everything listed is important in your journey to self-love. When children are born, they know love. They freely give and receive love. They cry when they have a need that isn’t met and laugh to express their happiness. They are not concerned with how they look or what other people think of them. The thoughts and opinions of others don’t matter. All that matters is that they find whatever it is in the world that makes them happy. Somewhere along the way, that changes. It usually starts as early as pre-school. By the time children are three to four years old, they have already been taught to judge, criticize, and express their dislike for others. I don’t remember those years, but I do remember an early age where I became aware of myself in a way that I never had before. I had looked at myself in the mirror for years, so, of course, I knew what I looked like, but someone said something that caused me to see myself in a different way. After hearing how some other insignificant person viewed me, my view of myself became warped. I looked in the mirror, and my skin was too dark, my nose was shaped funny, and I had a big forehead. These were not my thoughts about myself. They were other people’s thoughts about me. Yet, I rehearsed them. Over and over again, I rehearsed them, until they became my thoughts about myself as well. I remember wishing to alter my features. I laugh at it now, but I somehow thought that one day I would wake up…

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Learning to Let Go

Letting go of things I want is the hardest thing for me to do. I’ve been that way as long as I can remember. It’s so hard, that I’d be willing to try almost anything in order to get what I want. This isn’t because I’m not a quitter, it’s mostly because I truly think the thing I’ve set my sights on will make me happy. Despite my level of determination, there are times when things don’t work out no matter how hard I try. In those times, the perceived loss of what “could” lead to great happiness is devastating. Over the years I have learned that this type of experience is a lesson in letting go. There are many variables that bring us to the conclusion that something will make us happy, but there are also variables we don’t see. We may not see the stress that comes with the new job, or the layoff six months down the road. We may see everyone around us smiling and “happy” in relationships, but we don’t see their life behind the scenes. So while there may be valid reasons for you to want what you want, there may also be more Divine reason for you not to receive it. You may really want it and it may seem wonderful, but it may not be wonderful for you. Don’t you ultimately want the career, the car, the spouse, the home, the whatever, that’s best for you? Trust Life, and trust your own intuition. Let go, and go with the flow of life. It may just lead you to the life you’ve always wanted! Having trouble going with the flow? Take a few minutes a day to meditate and internally ask, “what is best for me? What should I do?” and then go…

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Here and Now

Most people want to change some aspect of their lives, but don’t know where to start. They think about the past and feel regret, or think about the future and feel anxious. Anxiousness and regret are both feelings that can hinder you from manifesting your destiny. If you want to begin to change your life, the present moment is all you have. The past and the future exist only in our minds, but the present moment is here for the taking. It is here, in this moment, that you can develop intentional habits that will create the life you want. It is easy to say you will do it later, but in many cases, later never comes. This is because theoretically there is no later. There is only now. Everyday that you wake up is now. You will never experience a day that you know as the future, so stop waiting for a day that will never come, and realize that all of your power will always be right here, right now. You only need to know what it is that you want to accomplish and then be intentional with reaching your goal. There is no reason to delay, because there will be no better time to accomplish it. Accomplishing anything, big or small, really is as simple as making up your mind to do it, and then following through—now. How and when you respond to the things you say you want will also reveal the truth about your desires. It is one thing to say you want something or to say you want to create a better..whatever. The truth is revealed in the level of effort and attention you give and the time in which you give it. No one delays things they really want because it isn’t worth the risk…

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If I Knew Then….

Hey, I’m going to share a secret that I wish someone had shared with me years ago. This simple, yet powerful truth could have saved me years of frustration, heartache, and disappointment. Although no one thought this truth important enough to share with me, I will gladly and freely share this truth with you. The one thing you need to know in the midst of life’s struggles, is: Get. The. Lesson. That’s it, just get the lesson! What lesson you ask? It’s simple, get whatever lesson life is trying to teach you at the moment. I believe that life is constantly allowing situations to manifest in an effort to help us grow. We need to be intuitive enough to pick up on the cues that are trying to guide our expansion. I remember a time when I hated social interaction and public speaking, and would avoid it at all costs. As luck would have it, I continued to be offered positions in which I would be required to interact with diverse groups of people in public settings.   I tried to resist it, but life was attempting to help me grow by moving me beyond my level of comfort. Eventually, I took the time to evaluate my goals and determine how important social interaction and public speaking were to my success. My desire to work in management, and eventually own my own business, were the catalysts that pushed me to “get the lesson.” During that time in my life, the lesson was that I needed to learn to be more personable and confident in order to be successful. So, I made a conscious decision to be more friendly, personable and engaging. I even forced myself to accept public speaking engagements in order to overcome my fear. I have since started my…

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You are Not Alone

There have been days when I have struggled to find anything to be happy about. I’m sure this qualifies as depression, and I think at some point everyone experiences it to varying degrees. During these low points, it was hard to find anyone who understood me. Family and friends would remind me that I had so much to be thankful for, and they were right–I did. Unfortunately, “things to be thankful for” are not at the top of the mind of a person who feels hopeless and alone. So, eventually I stopped sharing what I was feeling and began to suffer in silence. Even now, there are people in your circle, who are suffering in silence. These are the people who smile through the pain, holding others up with their own strength. You call, and they listen intently and celebrate enthusiastically. They are loyal, they are kind, they are supportive, and they are sad. They may not tell you they are grieving, but they will sometimes give subtle hints in hopes that for once, someone will notice that they are not okay. It took me years in and out of counseling to work through my feelings of sadness and despair, and still there are days when I’m overwhelmed with sadness. Thankfully, I have learned coping strategies that have helped me to shift my thoughts from despair to gratitude and contentment. It is not easy overcoming feelings of hopelessness, but there is hope for you. If I, who literally spent years depressed, can overcome it and gain a positive outlook on life, you can do it to. In your darkest moments, remember you are not alone. There is someone, somewhere also in the throws of despair, and there is also someone, somewhere sending you light and love. You are not alone.…

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Chasing Shadows

For the last few weeks or so, I have found myself in a bit of a funk. There’s no one thing I can put my finger on to identify as the cause. I just feel stuck. Nothing is going particularly wrong in my life, but nothing is spectacularly right, either. So what’s the problem, you ask? The problem is that we live in a society that teaches us to constantly pursue a goal, each one more loftier than the last. So we go through life pursuing one goal after another, always looking to the future. We think that once we achieve this extensive list of goals, happiness will surely follow. Before we know it, we have spent a lifetime looking ahead and chasing shadows. What happens during the time between one goal and the next? If you’re like me, you spend your time feeling anxious and stuck, like you need a “fix.” You get frustrated, because all you’ve ever known how to do was pursue your goals in hopes of finding your happily-ever-after. You create something new and feel the elation of the high, and once the high wears off, the cycle of anxiousness starts all over again. The problem is that the whole world tells us that pursuing “greatness” is important, but they don’t tell us that greatness is not all there is. There will be times when you are not the best. You may not get the dream job, or the best grades, or the opportunity to start your own business. You may desire to have a family, but it’s possible you won’t meet Mrs. Right. So what happens when a life spent pursuing, still doesn’t bring happiness? Can you become content with what you have, or will you keep chasing shadows? I honestly don’t know what I’ll do now. I just know…

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On the Other Side of Failure

Yes, my theme is “stop failing at life,” and yes I am about to tell you how failure is actually an important part of your growth process. Contradictory, I know, but I’m going somewhere with this. The one thing the great entrepreneurs/creators/inventors of the world shared, is that they all failed at something. They were called stupid, told they lacked imagination or created a product that failed a thousand times, and yet they became household names. That is because in the right context, failure is a gift! Most people fail and then get discouraged and either give up or try something else. The latter is what you should always move toward, because the only time you fail, is when you fail to try. I don’t care how many times an idea doesn’t work, don’t give up. Look for solutions to the problem, try different strategies to see what works. If none of it works, then that may not be the right project for you. Challenge yourself to embrace failure for what it really is– a push in the right direction. Instead of sulking when things don’t go your way, embrace it and have a “can-do” attitude. Trust that every failure is somehow pushing you closer and closer to your true destiny. Let it be your guide. One day you’ll look back and be so grateful for the things that didn’t work out, once you realize that you’re much better off with the things that did. I have had my fair share of failures, and I can admit that I am grateful for those things. I developed resilience and a level of confidence that I needed in order to be successful in the future. So, I say to you, embrace failure. It, (whatever it is) didn’t work out. It failed. That’s okay. What’s…

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Negative Nancy, Not-So-Nice, Norman

At some point we have all either encountered or been a Negative Nancy or Not-So-Nice Norman. It’s the person who is always up-in-arms about something, can never understand why bad things always happen to them, and who seem to be a professional victim.It is an exhausting way to live, but a hard habit to break. I say habit because I really do believe it is a habit. These people don’t want to be negative, and most of the time they don’t even realize they are being negative. It is learned behavior, but that does not make it okay. It is not okay to only call your “friends” when you’re in a crisis, nor is it okay to mistreat the people who love you because, “that’s just the way I am.” If that’s just the way you are, then you need to work on becoming a better person. Your friends and family stick around because they love you, but no one really wants to be around a grouchy, unhappy person all the time. So, if the phone calls lessen, or people just start disappearing, it’s time for self-evaluation. You don’t have to be this way, and can make a decision to be a more pleasant person. For the friends of those Negative N’s, my advice is to set clear boundaries. If you have listened to this story, given advice and support, only to have it ignored, then it’s time to say no. No more calling you to vent about the same thing. No more going out in public with someone who ALWAYS causes a scene. It is okay to love your Negative Nancys and Not-So-Nice Normans, but not at the expense of your own peace. Now that I know better, I am diligent about protecting my energy and I urge you…

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Just Do It, Already!

As I’m sitting here thinking of what I want to write about today, I can clearly hear, “just do it!” As in, just start writing and the thoughts will come. The phrase “Just Do It!,” is more than just a slogan for Nike. In fact, it should be a mantra for those of us who spend our lives on the fence, never quite ready to make a decision. We want to relocate, but we don’t know anyone in the new city. We want to lose weight, but that can wait until after the holidays. You want to leave a bad relationship, but the drama you know is more comfortable than the unknown. And so, although you know what you should do, you don’t. A month later, you don’t. A year later, you don’t, and before you know it years have passed and you are still in the same place you’ve always been. I, as much as anyone have been guilty of this, but no more! It is time that we stop making excuses and just do it already! There have been several endeavors I have wanted to pursue and I’ve decided, I’m just going to do it. I may fail miserably, but I don’t care about failure more. I do care that I have already let too many years pass with me frozen by fear. I’m more than willing to travel this “just do it,” journey alone, but it would be great to have some company along the way. Will you join me? What are the ideas you’ve been too afraid to bring to life? What are you passionate about  that you haven’t made time for? Are you afraid to do something new because you may fail? Now is the time. Just do it already! Welcome the failure and the fear, and then do it anyway. I, for one, am ready and willing to either fail or succeed, starting now. Ready?…

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Gratitude

The word of the day is gratitude, and if you want to stop failing at life, then having gratitude is the way to go. I’ve spent a decade studying the power of the mind and positive thinking, and the one consistent truth is that gratitude is of the utmost importance. I know, I know…it’s hard to have gratitude when you’re feeling sad, lonely, depressed and defeated. Trust me, I’ve been there, and there are days when I still struggle. It is much easier to be thankful to God, the Universe –or whatever it is you believe in– when things are going well. When things aren’t going well, negativity is like quicksand; you just keep sinking deeper and deeper, even as you struggle to get out of it. As I have studied gratitude, I find that the “law” of gratitude is found even throughout the Bible. We are reminded to give thanks in spite of what we see. It makes no sense right? If I am dying of cancer, the last thing I want to do is give thanks. I may want to scream, or cry or get angry at life, but I definitely don’t think I would be in a mood to give thanks. So why is gratitude important and how does it help when you feel like you’re failing at life? The simplest explanation is that expressing gratitude shifts the energy in our lives. This is a hard concept to explain, but it’s true. As we begin to think about the good things happening in our lives, our mood and outlook begin to improve. Once our outlook improves, our mind is clear to start thinking of solutions instead of dwelling on problems. Once we begin to look for solutions, we create positive change that literally shifts the energy in our life and opens us up to countless…

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