Don’t be more loyal to someone else than you are to your own self.
Take time to do what makes your soul happy! #lifecoach #lifecoaching #behappy
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Thank you to everyone who has been following and supporting my blog!
Ladies have hard expectations when it comes to how we’re supposed to look. Photoshopped magazines and the Victoria’s Secret televised fashion show can do wonders to damage our body image.
Because most of us will never look like that in real life.
Even most of the models in magazines don’t look like that way in real life when up close and personal with them! (Trust me, I lived in London in a flat with high earning, world traveling, Vogue gracing, catwalk strutting models.)
Patterns of body bashing and negative self image can start really early. In fact, I read a figure that suggests that by the age of ten 40% of girls have poor self-esteem or body issues.
We are not taught that our bodies are beautiful and that no matter what our bodies look like on the outside, we should respect and appreciate them. It’s no wonder that so many of us feel awkward in our own skin. We’ve forgotten how awesome we are in every way!
To get that mojo back,a little full on self worship can help you see yourself with new eyes.
::Shake What Your Mama Gave You::
Doing something physical can totally help you feel like a sexy mofo. Maybe that means hitting the gym or using cable to do a free OnDemand video. It could mean taking a yoga class, going for a walk, or (my all time favorite) dancing like a maniac to good music in the comfort of your own home.
Feel your body moving and embrace how wonderful it feels just to move. Your legs may feel extra strong, or doing push ups may help you feel extra bad ass. Or maybe you’re twerking it and just feeling lovely in your skin. Allow yourself to fully feel your body and to marvel in how amazing you are.
::Reframe Your Thoughts::
When we look at ourselves in the mirror it’s easy to focus on the things that we don’t like. Acne, dull skin, wrinkles, age spots, boobs that are too big/small/perky/saggy, too much/little body fat, cellulite, thick cuticles, bushy eyebrows, and the list goes on an on. Instead of looking at those things, pick one body part that you really love and focus on how beautiful that is.
Maybe you have beautiful eyes in a gorgeous honey brown color. Maybe your lips are perfectly pouty, or your hips are round and you have a booty that would make J. Lo say, “damn girl.” Maybe your wrists are delicate like a ballerina’s or you have feet that would make someone with a foot fetish have a wet dream. Look at the beauty in that part of your body and don’t even think about the other parts.
::Wear Sexy Undies::
This is my solution for a lot of things, actually. I don’t know why but sexy lingerie has the potential to just make a woman feel good. It’s almost like a naughty secret that hides under regular clothes.
I’m not talking about just wearing a matching set, but rather lingerie that makes you feel sexy – the kind you’d actually want your lover to see you in. The kind that makes you feel beautiful. Wear that for no reason other than you’re awesome.
::Get All Dolled Up::
Now, when I say get all dolled up I don’t mean you have to throw on bright red lipstick and your highest heels if that doesn’t make you feel good about how you look. I mean get all dolled up for you and your personal sense of style. Wear something that make you look and feel like hotsauce, or whatever feeling good is to you.
While I’m not one of those always in sweats or yoga pants kind of girls (not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you) I don’t always go the extra mile. I buy clothes that fit me well and generally just put on whatever’s closest. No lie.
But, When I take extra time to really plan out an outfit and really dress up I feel freaking awesome and I look even better. See, when we feel good about how we look it shows on the outside too. It’s that shine and spark that folks see that make heads turn.
Our bodies are amazing creations. With them we can do so much from taste to move to experience different sensations. And that is freaking amazeballs, isn’t it? (And, yes, I used the word amazeballs. Sue me.)
Sure, they may not be perfect but they are perfectly ours and really what in life is perfect?
One great way to show yourself and your body love is to just accept it. Accept your body for all it’s beautiful parts and for everything that it is. This doesn’t mean that you have to fall madly in love with your cellulite. I will never love the stretch marks I have from having three kids, but that doesn’t mean I have to hate them either.
Acceptance can be liberating. It frees us from the chains of self-hate and leaves us with more room to focus on the things about ourselves that we do love about our bodies.
Your body is the place your Spirit lives. There’s no point in fighting with it, hating it, or rejecting it. It’s the place your Spirit lives. It’s your temple, babe. Worship it.
Although in this society we’re starting to learn and accept our feelings more anger is one of the feelings that is still very taboo.
We are taught that anger is like cancer that kills us from the inside. We’re made to feel bad when we feel angry.
“You’re too angry.”
“Being angry is unhealthy.”
For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind. – Emerson
The truth is that anger is an emotion like all the others. It’s not better or worse. It just is what it is.
Love is another emotion that is known for getting people in heaps of trouble and yet no one would dare suggest that folks not feel love.
When we repress our natural feelings, whatever they are, we are saying that what we feel is not okay. Not only that but when we don’t find positive and productive ways to channel our anger, we hold onto those feelings and they just change into something else that is usually more toxic than just sitting with the feeling would have been.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is to get angry.
In fact being angry can actually be healthy for you. The trick is to find the delicate balance between allowing yourself to feel angry without going overboard or allowing the anger to consume you.
Holding onto angry like a friend’s hand and walking around angry with the world isn’t healthy but neither is pretending it doesn’t exist.
Feeling your feelings — whatever they are — is perfectly okay. There is nothing wrong with you because you get angry. (Little secret: everyone does!)
But process your anger in a way that doesn’t leave you feeling worse, beating up on yourself, or shameful. Some ways I like to process anger are:
::Writing an email to someone you’re pissed at and saying everything you’re feeling::
This is one of my personal favorites. I love to open a blank email and write out every angry thought I’m thinking. I do not censor myself and really let myself go crazy with it. I say the things that I would never really say to anyone and just allow myself to feel it without judgment.
I type until I’ve let it all go and then I either save it or delete it. I never type in a name in the subject and I never press send.
There is something really liberating about being able to comfortably say and feel what you want. It’s much better than holding onto those angry thoughts and letting them plant seed in my heart.
While sometimes anger makes us want to punch, hit or throw things that is NOT what I am suggesting here. What I am suggesting is that moving your body can help get you out of your head and help release some of the mad energy.
It should be intense movement like going for a fast paced walk, doing sit-up or push-ups, riding your bike or just dancing like a maniac to music that gets your juices going. The activity it to channel the angry energy by using your body as a tool. You can scream, punch the air, or really any movement that feels comfortable and good.
:: Sit with it::
It’s okay to sit with anger.
Yes, you read that right. I said it’s okay to sit with anger.
It’s okay to sit quietly and just feel it. To breathe in and out and to notice where the anger turns up as physical sensations in your body. It’s okay to notice whether the anger has other feelings that come along with it, like guilt or sadness or shame.
Sit for a set period of time (5-10 mins) and just feel it. Watch the anger float past and through you like clouds in the sky.
When you’ve reached the end of your set time, get up and shake your body and do something that makes you happy, like listening to a song, or watching a funny clip on YouTube. The trick is to leave the anger where you were sitting and not carry it the rest of the day.
Normally I believe that we shouldn’t spend a lot of time complaining about stuff, and that venting can sometimes be misused and abused. But I also think that venting to someone can be helpful for releasing anger.
You can vent to a friend, a family member, a professional like a therapist or life coach, or even your pet. The trick is to have someone who is safe and who will not judge you, offer advice or tell you to “get over it,” and who understands that you need to just feel the anger to get over it.
Like with some of the other things, you’ll want to set a time limit with how long you vent so that it doesn’t become a never ending bitch-fest that makes you feel worse rather than better. Maybe ask your venting friend to set a timer for you and to tell you a joke at the end.
I sometimes think that our feelings are very much like us: energy that is moving and breathing and just wants to be seen and acknowledged. The best way to get through any feeling with a negative association is just to feel it, without judgment, and to let it go like the ribbon of a balloon and watch it float up into the air until you can no longer see it.
Don’t be afraid to be angry. Get pissed. Get fucking good and mad.
You can like the life you’re living, you can live the life you like. – Roxie Hart, Chicago
Some mornings my Facebook feed is littered with complaints. Complaints about someone’s boss, not being able to find a parking space, or going out to eat and the meal being overpriced and crappy.
And while I validate that all these things can suck they’re first world problems, you know? Problems that come with having a certain level of privilege.
I also see other posts, usually from the same few people, that are peppered with sadness.
There is a lot of talk on blogs about how Facebook can be a curated version of a person’s life. Even I have written about that and how we shouldn’t compare our daily lives to someone’s highlight reel. But, the sad posts filled with what seems like so much pain, hurt and frustration are harder to ignore. It’s the anti-highlight reel.
No matter what happens in life, we always have a choice, and I think that’s something that we forget when we focus on all the things that are going wrong, all the bad crap. We always have a choice.
You can like the life you’re living, you can live the life you like.
And that’s good. Isn’t it grand? Isn’t it great? Isn’t it swell? Isn’t it fun? Isn’t it?
If you don’t like the way something is going in your life you can trust, like the famous Coco Chanel quote, that anything you don’t like will have an opposite that you will like. You can invent yourself and your life.
And that’s good, isn’t it?
Don’t like your job? Work to change it.
In an unfulfilling relationship? End it.
Feeling off balance? Take time to sit in silence until you feel balanced.
Feel like something is missing from you life? Do some honest soul searching with your friends, a life coach, or a therapist.
On the flipside, you also have the option to like the life you’re living right now. Even though everything may not be perfect, you can make a conscious choice to like your life. It may sound complicated, but it’s really quite easy.
The first step is to make the choice to like the life you’re living, or live the life you like. Or both.
If you want to like the life you’re living, the best way to start is by appreciating everything that already makes your life so awesome. Because no matter how shitty a day may seem, or how fucked up a year you might be having, the truth is that there is something good in your life if you only look to see it.
Call me Pollyanna if you want to, but it’s just as easy to look on the bright-side as the negative side. It just feels a lot better to look on the bright-side. And, no, that doesn’t meant that you won’t have bad days.
You will have bad days, and you will feel bad sometimes because that’s apart of life. But that doesn’t have to be the overall tone of your life on a regular basis.
Happiness is not some complicated mystery that only happens when everything in your life aligns perfectly with the cosmos.
Happiness is very frequently a choice, a conscious decision to feel good rather than bad. It’s a change in perception from fear to love.
You also have the option to live the life you like.
It’s no secret that my life has not always been sunshine and roses. I’ve worked several years in a job that was not my calling. I’ve been through a difficult marriage, divorce, and being a young single mother.
I’ve battled depression, PTSD and anxiety. I’ve also had amazing experiences, wonderful opportunities, and been so surrounded by love and joy that it feels unreal.
Even though I’ve sometimes worn the role of the victim like a warm winter coat.
I’ve also worn the string bikini of “fuck it, you only live once so I’m going balls to the wall with happiness.”
The only difference between the two, is that I decided that I didn’t want to feel bad anymore.
Not like that.
Not ever again.
I took responsibility for my life and everything in it, and realized how many wonderful things are in my life and there are to be grateful for on a daily basis.That doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days: I do. It doesn’t mean that I’m 100% satisfied with every aspect of my life right now: I’m not.
What it does mean is that I’m liking the life I’m living as best as I can by making a conscious effort to see good and change my perception about “bad” things that come my way, and living the life I like by taking action to have that life.
When everything seems to be falling down around me, I can choose to let it take me down with it or I can say, “that sucks” and keep it moving. And how awesome is that to be able to have that choice?
And I’ll let you in on a little secret – you have that option too!
Isn’t it grand? Isn’t it swell? Isn’t it?
I received one of the most important pieces of advice that I’ve ever received on a drunken St. Patty’s Day.
I was with my then boss and his girlfriend at a St. Patrick’s Day event on a closed-off street in downtown San Francisco. I was maybe 22 at the time, if not younger.
My boss’ girlfriend was a petite brunette who was super sweet. I don’t remember all the details what we were talking about or why (blame the booze) but what I do remember is she was very classy, she did something and made a lot of money for herself, and she was wearing a turtleneck.
She and I stood face to face with the crowd buzzing around us in varying shades of green and intoxication.
We were generally talking about being an adult and feeling like an adult and that’s when she passed on the advice that she felt was an “adult” making revelation.
“A real woman never makes excuses,” she told me.
“This is for everything,” she continued. “If you don’t want to date a guy, you just say no, don’t make any excuses.”
It was such a simple concept and yet it seemed so profound.
“A real woman never makes excuses.”
At the time, although I generally got the gist of what she was saying I don’t think I understood it as well as I do now. Logically, it makes sense but for many women, especially those of us who tend to be people pleasers, the idea of just owning our shit without making excuses is a very sensitive spot.
In some ways, it seems like we’re taught from a very young age to be apologetic for who we are. We pepper our feelings with “I’m sorries,” or offer other polite explanations as a way to make others more comfortable with our feelings.
We say no when we mean yes, and say yes when we mean no. And, even if we’re being 100% honest with how we feel and say yes or no, we still feel like we have to give an explanation, as if to apologize for how we feel.
But we don’t.
As I’m growing and becoming more comfortable with the woman I am, I now fully understand what my boss’ girlfriend was trying to tell me all those years ago – that it’s okay to just be myself.
I do not need to explain, ask for permission, or feel guilty for anything.
In a world that is constantly telling us who we should be, what we should dress like, and that we are not enough, it’s a great act of bravery to just be who you are. To mean what you say, and to say what you mean.
And to never have to make up an excuse.
Yoga Berra said, “When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it.”
Robert Frost wrote about two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and how he wished he could have traveled them both. Our lives are kind of like walking down a road. Sometimes the road is smoothly paved for us and sometimes there are rocks and cracks.
Sometimes we’re guided down the road by our parents, fear, or just the idea what we have to keep going in this direction because that’s the only road we’ve seen, so we make like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz and follow it hoping that it will take us to safety.
Or sometimes there are no roads.
When I was little I had my life planned out.
I was going to go to George Washington High School and I was going to be on the pep squad. I would then go on to college, most likely at Spellman, where I would learn to speak fluent French, Spanish and Italian.
See, I was going to be the first female Secretary General of the United Nations and in the past all the Secretary Generals had always spoken multiple languages. Or at least that’s what my 10 year-old self remembered from the tour of the UN.
My plans were like a path laid out in front of me. I knew exactly the road to walk to get to my goal of becoming the Secretary General.
Clearly, that didn’t happen and instead, I choose to meander off the path and into an area that was undefined. And it all started with one small step and one giant leap of faith.
And this little city that you may have heard of – Paris.
In keeping with my young girl dreams I studied Spanish and, though not completely fluent, found that languages really were a gift for me. So I decided I’d also learn French because why not?
Lots of living and life happened in between and then one day there I was at the airport with a one-way ticket to Paris.
Not only was I completely off the beaten path, but I was deep in the wild uncharted territory of life. And I was scared shitless.
Yet, walking away from the planned path for my life was the best thing I ever did. It changed me permanently leaving a lasting impression like a butterfly tattoo on a teenage ankle.
I did not have a plan when I left other than to live and experience, and to see and to feel. There was no goal in mind other than to grow and just have life experiences. The feeling of just being without anything extra attached to it, no goal or expectation, felt like freedom. It felt the way birds must feel when they fly high into the air with nothing but the clouds around them.
It felt like life.
But, we get older and wiser and with kids it’s not always possible to just throw on a back pack, stuff some traveler’s checks in your pocket, and hop a flight to anywhere.
Yet there are still things that we can do to feel that sense of freedom, of excitement and mystery in our everyday lives. We can feel freedom and that je ne sais quoi by just daring to be a little uncomfortable, or maybe even scared shitless, and to try new things by taking a tiny step off the usual paths we walk down. Things like…
Doing Something You Never Want to Do Alone
For me, it’s going to the movies. I’ve never wanted to go to a movie alone. I don’t know what weird phobia that is, but I’ve always imagined that going to the movies alone would be a really lonely experience. And yet when you’re at the movies it’s not like you talk to anyone anyway.
In reality, these types of feelings are usually fear. Fear that someone will see us at the movies alone and think, “Wow, what’s wrong with her?” I mean, I traveled the world alone at a very young age knowing no one there and yet I couldn’t get my butt to the movies alone? Life is nothing if not ironic, n’est pas?
When we push ourselves to do things that are outside of our comfort zone, we create a space for possibility. We give ourselves permission to experience life.
Taking The Stairs – Doing Something Uncomfortable
I recently went to a retreat for my life coach certificate program. When we registered we had the option to have single or double rooms. Normally, I’m the type who would pay extra for a private room because I don’t want to be sharing a room with a stranger. I mean a stranger is someone who I wouldn’t know. Someone who could be, well, strange.
But, I really want to meet and connect with other women who are like me and how on Earth am I going to make new friends and connections if I don’t step outside of my comfort zone? So, I got the double room. And then I spent the days leading up to the retreat kicking myself and even as I was checking into the hotel considering whether it was too late to get the solo room.
I didn’t end up getting a solo room and, instead, had a great roomie and a fun night of talking and laughter. I got what I wanted – connection. I also opened my world up more and gave myself a little more freedom to just live and to be. And all by taking a tiny step off the usual path I walk down.
No matter how old I get I will never stop being curious about the world and wanting to try new things. There is just so much out there to experience and yet we often miss out on things that we would really enjoy because we don’t make like Nike and just do it. Classes are a great way to expand our minds and open up more space in our lives.
It could be anything from a language class to a dance class, a cooking class, or learning how to fix your own brakes.
I am participating in two programs this year and my mind and heart have been blown wide open. For the first time in a really long time, I feel the same sense of excitement, bewilderment and endless possibility that I did when I stepped off the airplane in Paris when I was 18.
You don’t have to travel the world with a hiking backpack to find yourself or to renew your zest for life. You can just open your mind, feel the fear of trying something new, take a step off the comfort of the path, and run barefoot into the woods of life.
If you don’t like the road you’re walking at, start paving another one. – Dolly Parton
If you didn’t catch the last post, I’ve decided to take Fridays to express my gratitude to the Universe for different things that I’ve seen, done or experienced in the week. It’s my belief that when we stop to appreciate what we have right now in the present, no matter what else is going on in our lives, we can feel happier and experience joy more.
I believe that by practicing appreciating the little things on a regular basis, we can train ourselves to be more joyful, relaxed and open to life and that gratitude is one of the tools that can help us get there.
So, here are five things that have totally raised my vibration this week (in no particular order):
I love music, clearly. I’ve written about it’s power and how it can heal us, it can soothe us and pick us up when we’re down. Music can be a hug. I was having “one of those days” and listening to Pandora just minding my own business and working when this song came on. It’s by Stardust and I just love it.
“Music Sounds Better With You” was followed by some other awesome tracks including Prince and Lenny Kravitz and, hello, I was instantly happy. “I feel so good, I feel like the music sounds better with you…” It’s true, friends, the music sounds better with you.
My Grandma Helen
For the past week I’ve missed her terribly. I have thought of her everyday.
Every. Single. Day.
And even though she’s now Spirit, I am left with a profound sense of gratitude. Gratitude that I was blessed enough to have such an awesome grandmother who was such a huge part of my life, and who helped to shape the person I am today. She gave me Paris, a love for quality, art, blond hair, consistency, courage. She gave me my mom who is an awesome mom and is who she is because of her parents.
With every new step I take in my life, every courageous breath I take, every moment when I love myself just a little bit more, I know she is there with me pushing me on and that she is so proud of me. I am grateful for knowing so completely how much she loves me that I can still feel her love today.
Flowers are beautiful. They smell good and did I mention they’re beautiful? And how amazing is it to live in a world with flowers?
Second, Third & Fourth Chances
No matter how many mistakes we make, we can always begin again. This week I feel incredibly thankful for the gift of being able to start over. I am incredibly thankful for allowing myself to try again.
With today being the national day of love it’s only appropriate to be grateful for it. I’m not talking solely about romantic love, or the love we feel for our children, or our best friends. Not the love we feel for our pets.
But Love with a capital L.
The Love that is the very essence of who we are. How magical is that?
What’s got your gratitude bee buzzing this week?
“Never give up.”
“Keep on trucking.”
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”
Many a bumper sticker, magnet and cute meme are peppered with quotes about never giving in and never giving up.
McHammer sang that he was “too legit to quit.”
There is something to be said for sticking to your guns and trying your best even when you fail at something. Many a successful person has failed miserably at their first attempt at something. People probably questioned their sanity at times when they continued to try.
“Don’t be a quitter,” is a message most of us learned from early childhood.
But there are times when the best thing we can do is quit. There are times when quitting is not a sign of weakness, or not being smart enough or good enough, or a judgment on the type of person someone is.
Sometimes quitting is an expression of self-love.
Some great things to quit are:
Now, I’m not one to judge but let’s get real here, smoking is bad. It’s not a judgment; it’s just science. I smoked for years. I have even smoked the occasional outside a bar cigarette even after quitting. I’m not saying that it’s easy to quit, or that the occasional once a year “cause it’s my birthday” cigarette is bad either. What I am saying is that smoking is not good for any of us and the less we do it the better. When we do things we know are harmful to us, we really have to think about why we would make that choice.
I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. If you’re still smoking that’s your choice but quitting is always the better option. Plus, when you quit smoking you’ll realize how horribly those things stink. So, if you look at it from that point of view, you’re also quitting being stinky at times. Cigarettes are also hella expensive. That’s shoe money right there which makes quitting a triple win because you’ll have better health, no worries about smelling bad, and have more shoe money. Winning!
We’ve all had times when we don’t want to do something and we say no but we still feel like we have to make an excuse or explanation. Just as we’ve all had moments when we want to do something but we’re worried about what someone else will think so we make an excuse about it.
“I’d really love to come to that event, but my husband is working and I don’t have a babysitter, so I wont be able to make it,” or “I know it’s dumb but I’m only taking this dance class because I need another elective to get my degree.”
Those kinds of excuses – quit that shit!
Saying no is okay. So is doing what you want even if no one else gets it.
No excuse is needed. This goes at work, or with your spouse, your kids and even with yourself.
When we make an excuse we’re essentially shifting our focus from how we feel onto something else to avoid being accountable, in a way. Like, last night I didn’t workout that hard or for that long. I said, “oh, I’m too tired to do this,” which was an excuse. In reality I just didn’t feel like it. And that’s cool – no excuse needed. But I told myself that excuse to avoid feeling guilty when in reality I had no reason to feel guilty about it. It was my choice and I should’ve just been okay with it.
Owning how we feel is important and is also a way that we can hold on to our power. When we make excuses and are not accountable for how we feel, it’s almost like we’re saying how we feel isn’t okay and can’t stand on it’s own. It’s kind of like admitting we’re guilty for how we feel so we have to find a reason outside of ourselves to make it okay. Whether you want or don’t want to do something, that’s cool. Do you and quitting making excuses.
::Saying You’re Broke::
One of the things I’ve really been working with is my relationship to money and realizing that money is just energy. I’ve also been working on taking responsibility for my financial decisions. “I’m broke,” used to be a standard response when asked to do something I didn’t want to spend the money on.The truth is that usually when we say “I’m broke,” we’re not broke. It’s just that we choose not to spend our money that way. I’m sure that, like me, when there has been something that you really want to do, you found the money to make it happen.
Quit saying you’re broke and instead own your financial choices. Replace the thought “I’m broke” with “I choose to spend my money differently,” or “I choose not to spend my money on that right now.” Not only are you totally owning it, but it also keeps the good money energy flowing towards you. Think of it like this, do you think energy wants to flow to something that is broken? Probably not.
(Okay, here’s where it gets super sappy and woo woo ’cause that’s how I roll. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)
You were born to shine. You are special because you are YOU and there is no one else in the world quite like you. You were here to share your unique gifts and talents and to be fully yourself. You were not born to play small, beloveds.
So, quit playing small. When you do something great — own that shit. Own the hell out of it like it’s your favorite new purse that you just have to carry with you everywhere. Reach for your dreams, whatever they are, even when it feels scary and like you’re doing everything wrong. Even when it makes other people uncomfortable.
Quit playing small in any way that you do be by taking care of everyone but yourself, to over committing, to not speaking up in a work meeting to share a great idea, or staying in situations that no longer serve you. Stop playing small by quitting the things that make your heart sing while holding onto those that don’t.
Like everything in life, there are times when you keep walking forward knowing that no matter how many times you get lost, you will reach your destination. But there are also times when we need to know when to fold ’em. Never feel too legit to quit.