Monthly Archives: August 2012

Struggle is Nature’s Way of Strengthening

Struggle is Nature’s Way of Strengthening

I recently started watching the series “Lost” on Netflix. I know, I’m only seven or eight years behind the power curve on this one – and it’s even worse that it was filmed on Hawaii right around the corner from where I live. In any case, if anyone has seen it, you may remember that after the plane crashes in the very beginning, one of the guys is a drug user who has to face detox. Another older man decides to help him by offering no help whatsoever. When the drug addict is crashing and at his wit’s end, he screams out to the man with anger at why he isn’t helping him more. Then the older man says, “Come here, let me show you something.” …you know what? This is better if you see it yourself.

“If there is no struggle, there is no change.” ~Frederick Douglass

I love this analogy. But I’m going to be so bold as to go ahead and label struggle as something else in life…change. The moth had to struggle in order to change. In fact, most change comes about through struggle. It goes without saying then that if we endure a struggle, we will experience change, and if we desire change, we must endure the struggle.

Many people fear struggle because it can be painful – and like I’ve written about before, ours is a species to avoid pain whatever the cost. Pain is a funny thing though. It reminds me of a competition. When I have a big race or competition coming up, I will go around with crazy butterflies in my stomach the whole day before…it’s a sort of fear or nervousness about the pain I will be in during the race. All I have to do is think about the race and the butterflies will start flitting about. But then the craziest thing happens. The second I line up at the starting line and the gun goes off, my butterflies disappear. Once the race – or the pain as it can be paralleled – begins, there is no more fear or worry about it because you’re in it and doing it.

I guess what I’m saying is that there’s no point in fearing change because the worry and fear ahead of time don’t really matter or make any difference, and when you’re in the struggle itself, you won’t be afraid anyways; you’ll be doing the thing you didn’t think you could do and you will change into your own butterfly (I still like the word butterfly better than moth even if the moth is the prettier of the two).

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ~Reinhold Niebuhr



“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, “Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.” … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved.” Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen (one of my favorite authors)

People Please No More!

People Please No More!

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ~Steve Jobs

For those of you non people-pleasers out there, I’d like to introduce you to a very unfortunate lot of some pretty great people who don’t realize just how great they are…the people pleasers. You may be related to one, you may work with one, you may be married to one, but I can guarantee that you have at least one in your life. You can recognize these sorry chaps by some of their distinguishing qualities of…drum roll…people pleasing! This takes many forms, but translates to people that are friendly, outgoing, easily liked, helpful, supportive and are generous with their time and energy. They’ll usually be smiling and will be encouraging and fun to be around. They’ll also be the first to volunteer when needed, and they’ll be the ones to keep the peace in families and at work. Most of them are talented, creative, loyal, gregarious, encouraging, warm, popular, and seem to have it all “together.” You may be asking yourself how all of these traits could be in any one person, and why in the world it would be a bad thing?

People pleasers crave and can even be addicted to attention and positive feedback from other people – it’s like a drug to them – and they will do whatever it takes to get another hit. And just like drug addicts, their own inward health and mental well being are the true victims that suffer quiet atrophy from perpetual neglect. While a people-pleaser will go to the ends of the earth to help other people live more fully, they slowly lose touch of their own voice and soul.

On the outside, these people are the ones other people are drawn to – they have it all. But on the inside, they are a dark, decrepit void that is dominated by fear. They fear rejection, they fear failure, they fear loss of personal identity and self worth. They feel inferior, undeserving, and not good enough. They isolate themselves and are afraid to make decisions lest it be the wrong choice. They live in a constant fear they will let others down, and constantly feel unappreciated, taken for granted, and taken advantage of. They are exhausted and run down from always trying to be perfect and make everyone else happy…which is impossible, so they always feel like a miserable failure. Is it any wonder that they suffer from low self-esteem as they ignore their personal rights and deny any personal problems? Can you begin to see why I call these people a sorry lot? They give and give from ever-depleting inner strength until there is nothing left but a carcass of what used to be a beautiful person. You may think I’m writing over-dramatically, but in my desire to help people recognize their true worth, I have experienced and witnessed this cold way of life. Many people-pleasers end up in abusive relationships because they stay around trying to please unpleasable partners. They don’t realize they have the right to demand respect and mutual, giving love, and instead they settle for being yelled at, pushed around, belittled and hurt. And the crazy thing is, they would rather remain in that state over letting the person who hurt them down or “found out” that they are not as good as they appear to the world.

It breaks my heart to see these poor, generous souls decay toward empty bitterness. They end up with no personal identity or rights. They can’t achieve personal goals or handle leadership roles because they can’t make decisive decisions or solve problems. They are immobilized by irrational beliefs and guilt of not doing enough, not pleasing enough, not accomplishing enough. They don’t trust the sincerity of others because they themselves maintain a helpful and giving façade. They often burn out both at work and at home, and they rarely have genuinely intimate relationships because they’re so guarded and scared to reveal their own vulnerabilities…but they never even give themselves permission to be on equal footing with everyone else in their life. Oh, and did I mention they can’t relax and can rarely enjoy themselves? It’s criminal!

Now I turn my attention to you people-pleasers that might be reading this. This is a dismal life path you are choosing – and make no mistake, you choose it each and every day. You will continue to choose it until you comprehend the true, immeasurable value of the treasured soul in you that you continue to ignore, neglect and abuse. You may get some mini high off helping others, or you may not be able to stop yourself from being the one to break uncomfortable silences and inject yourself into fights to smooth tensions. But you either strengthen or weaken yourself with every word and every act, and if you continue on this people-pleasing trail you are on, you will end up bitter, empty and withered. You will hate everyone you’ve “sacrificed” for because they willingly took your time, your help, your love, and your energy over the years, and you will never understand that they didn’t do this to you – you did. Here are some hard truths for you to swallow: you don’t need to be liked by everyone, people do no like you in proportion to how much you give them, you’re allowed to upset other people, you are not responsible for other peoples’ happiness, you are allowed to make mistakes, there is strength in vulnerability, it’s who you are and not what you do that counts, and hardest to believe of all, you please people simply by BEING YOU. What’s more, IT’S OK NOT TO BE LIKED BY PEOPLE. I should also add that you don’t need to be understanding or tolerant of people who hurt you.

It is imperative that we be our own champion – we need to be in our own corner of the ring rooting and standing up for ourselves. But right now you are in someone else’s corner – be it your spouse, your boss, your friends, and absurdly enough even total strangers. I’ve spent over three decades being in that other corner, and the universe has started to teach me a thing or two about the value of loving, knowing, and standing up for myself. The wonderful news is that in your “disease to please,” you have cultivated some very great traits if they can be used from a healthy place. If you can understand that you are actually beautiful, then you can give to others from a genuine place of love and concern. If you see yourself as worthy, you won’t need to get approval and affirmation from others through your deeds – and instead you can give for the sake of giving and let it restore your reserve instead of empty it.

Stop putting yourself last and realize that you serve the world best not through your littleness, but through your living fully. Set your own boundaries and say NO MORE to being the best doormat around. Your worth does not come from your deeds or from how liked you are – it is an intrinsic quality already present in you. Cut yourself some slack and let go of this unquenchable need to be seen as perfect. Can you imagine how much energy you could save yourself? That’s energy that could be used toward actually living a full and healthy life…and maybe for once, you could relax and enjoy yourself!

“Social chameleons, though, don’t mind in the least saying one thing and doing another, if that will win them social approval. They simply live with the discrepancy between their public face and their private reality.” ~Daniel Goleman

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” ~Dr. Suess

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ~Oscar Wilde

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson

This blog is dedicated to my very beautiful friend, Miranda. I hope you can come to see how incredible you are!

Resources I used to write this blog:

  • The People Pleasing Pattern: Transforming Compliance to Autonomy
  • Is People Pleasing Preventing You from Pleasing the Right People?
  • The Perils of People Pleasing
  • The People-Pleasing Personality
  • The Disease to Please (great book!) by Harriet Braiker
  • Daring Feats

    Daring Feats

    “It’s the heart afraid of dying, that never learns to dance; It’s the dream afraid of waking, that never takes the chance; It’s the one who won’t be taken, who cannot seem to give; And the soul afraid of dying, that never learns to live.” ~Bette Midler “The Rose”

    In high school I tried a front flip on our trampoline we just got for Christmas. Because it was cold, my socks slipped on the slick surface and I dislocated my ankle. That injury not only put me out of the swim team season that year, but it also instilled in me a new fear of throwing my body around in any flippy way. I haven’t tried a front flip of any kind since that day…until today. I don’t know if it was all my research, contemplating and blogging about stepping up and taking chances or if it was just simply time for me to try again. Either way, I felt a surge of courage in me and I couldn’t pass it up. I started by trying to roll into my grandpa’s pool. Once I did that without incident, I got another boost of courage and tried jumping a little higher of the side of the pool in a flip sort of maneuver. Same thing – I felt better and wanted to try it again – but this time off the diving board. And on and on went my flipping journey – each time I tried and realized I wasn’t dead (like my fear tricked me into thinking would happen), I wanted to try it a again but a little bolder. Granted, my flips are no Olympic caliber with a crooked torque to them, but I did it! At 34 I finally did my first front flip off a diving board!

    I can’t help but wonder if my experience today isn’t a lot like the rest of life. I didn’t wake up imagining I would do a front flip into the pool, but with little steps, each a little more bold than the one before, I achieved something I didn’t think I could. We’re scared to go for the big thing – the flip off the board – but it can start small, and with each successive step we inevitably get bolder and bolder. And it’s SUCH a great feeling doing something you started out thinking you couldn’t do!

    For my gymnast sister, doing a front flip is something very simple, and she would not have the same birth of boldness unless she did something challenging to her. So don’t compare what’s a big deal to you with other people, because it’s equally as significant and emboldening. It’s your front flip, and you can be bold and do it! Don’t listen to that voice that occupies a hunk of your brain and tells you that you’re too old, or too weak, or too ANYTHING. You’re not. I’m not. We’re not.


    Power in Emotion

    Power in Emotion

    “Sometimes I feel as though there are two me’s, one coasting directly on top of the other: the superficial me, who nods when she’s supposed to nod and says what she’s supposed to say, and some other, deeper part, the part that worries and dreams… Most of the time they move along in sync and I hardly notice the split, but sometimes it feels as though I’m two whole different people and I could rip apart at any second.” ~Lauren Oliver

    I have a bit of a plug stuck in my mouth when it comes to verbalizing just what it is I’m feeling…especially any negative feelings. I can cry for a week straight, then when someone asks how I’m feeling, I say with a straight face that I do not know. Maybe it’s the whole growing up in a Catholic family where you don’t really talk about the negative emotions – you just remove yourself from the situation and try to think about something else. It turns out, go figure, that walking away and ignoring negative emotions not only hurts our bodies physically with added internal stress leading to a depleted immune system, but it also takes away our own personal power. When we walk away and look the other way from our own emotions, we rob ourselves of the opportunity to choose how to respond to difficult situations. In essence, I stifle myself from maturing and gaining experience from the tough stuff of life…and I prevent myself from knowing ME better.

    Here’s my lesson for myself for the day: If I feel anger, frustration, rejection, hurt or humiliation, I should recognize that I have choices…and from those choices I can either choose to gain or lose power through acknowledging what I’m feeling. So often we try to push the emotions down and away to escape suffering, but that ends up working against us. It creates a sort of pressure cooker that will fester and eventually blow up.

    Finding the ability to recognize what is physically going on inside of you can be a challenge in itself, especially if you were in the habit (like me) of stuffing it back inside for decades at a time. But mustering up the courage and willingness to verbalize what you are feeling – even if just to yourself – can be a very healing experience. Don’t vent and blame, but trust yourself or someone else to listen open-heartedly to what you have to say. It can be a tremendous source of relief to have someone you feel safe enough to share your true feelings with. I grew up writing feelings in journals, but I never got in the habit of sharing with others, and it’s been a long adult life lesson to see the necessity of knowing and sharing my feelings with others in order to have deeper and more intimate and real relationships. We don’t always understand why we feel what we do, but our feelings have validity. I often feel as if I shouldn’t feel particular feelings – like I don’t have a right to be sad or upset – but learning that I am free to feel and am not wrong to feel, and I have a right to share those feelings, I come to a new personal freedom…not to mention I save my body from another internal beating.

    It’s much easier for me to know and identify the good feelings…contentment, fired up, relieved, mellow. No problemo. But the bad ones are a big problemo para mi. By the way, I’m writing this from Los Angeles as I visit my grandpa, so maybe that’s why my Espanol is coming out…don’t get much of that in Hawaii! As I was researching emotions, I found some helpful charts (below) to help us all identify just what it is we’re feeling.

    “Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.” ~Mr. Rogers

    “The best way out is always through.” ~Robert Frost

    …or for those of you who prefer pictures…

    Some of these thoughts were found from the article The Matrix of Emotions.

    Hear the Women Roar

    Hear the Women Roar

    “Training of female athletes is so new that the limits of female possibility are still unknown.” ~Katherine Dunn

    In celebration of the Olympics, I would like to honor the women out there who have overcome odds and won medals through the years.

    Don’t Let Being a Woman Ever Stop You2012 Olympic Muslim Women

    For the first time, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei all entered women athletes into the 2012 Olympic Games. Each of them had to fight for the right just to train in their sport to get to London. They were used to being heckled and screamed at to get back to their house where they belonged. In countries where women are banned from driving and cannot leave the house without a male chaperone, let alone compete in the biggest sports event in the world in front of millions of people. Their families have been threatened and shunned, the clergy called them “Prostitutes of the Olympics,” but they fought on. Imagine what the cheers of the crowds celebrating their courage as they stepped into the arena in their Muslim-adapted athletic clothing sounded like to them.

    23 year old Afghanistani 100 meter sprinter, Tahmina Kohistan, commented, “I faced a lot of challenges in my training for the London Olympics. One day I was coming to the stadium and the taxi driver asked me where I was going. I said ‘I am training, I am going to London Olympics’ and he said ‘get out of the cab, I don’t want to take you there.’ Whenever I train there’s a lot of people who want to disturb me. They say ‘just leave these things, it’s not good for Afghan females to do these things.’” She then boldly declared, “I have a message for the women of Afghanistan. Come and join me. We must be ready for the next Olympics. I’m going to do my best to be in Brazil, I am going to give reason for other athletes to follow my way.”

    Although none of the women placed, they achieved a far nobler prize.

    Seeing Yourself is and Inward ActionMarla Runyan
    For a woman who cannot see, Marla Runyan certainly has vision. After macular degeneration stripped the runner of her sight at just nine years old, she became the first legally-blind athlete to compete in the Olympics when she placed eighth in the 2000 Games in the 1,500-meter event. Her Paralympic record is even more impressive: five times she left the medal circle wearing gold.

    Her doctors told her they didn’t have many expectations for her life when she lost her sight as a young girl. She not only disproved all expectations, but she did so with grace and speed, and with the determination to live as normal a life as any other Olympic female athlete.

    Your Motivation Must Come 100% From You Penny Heyns

    She is a South African swimming star, who is a double Olympic gold and Olympic bronze medalist. She is the only woman in Olympic history to win both the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke events in Atlanta 1996, bronze in Sydney 2000 and by breaking a total of 14 individual world records during her swimming career.

    The first thing her coach said to her when he decided he would coach her was, “If you’re willing to give 100%, I’ll give a 100%. But it’s all up to you. The commitment must come from you. I don’t want you to come to the pool because I’m standing there. You must come because it’s from you!”

    Defy Others’ Expectations of YouAlice Coachman

    In 1948, Alice Coachman was the only U.S. woman to win a gold medal—despite the fact that segregation prevented her from training in white-only facilities. She was also the first African-American woman to ever win a gold medal. She was so obsessed with achieving track and field success that she trained wherever and however she could, including running barefoot in fields and jumping over rags and sticks for hours each day to improve her high jump, the event in which she took the gold.

    Even after she stopped competing, she continued to break records. She benefited from endorsement deals and was the first African-American female athlete to do so. In later years, she formed the Alice Coachman Track and Field Foundation to support young athletes and provide help for Olympic veterans. When Atlanta hosted the 1996 Olympics, she was honored as one of the top 100 greatest Olympic athletes. Since the end of her career, she has been inducted into eight different halls of fame.

    You Must Be Tough in Spirit Sara Reinersten
    “The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.” ~Anon

    American triathlete, writer and motivational speaker, and former Paralympic athlete 1992. She was the first female leg amputee to complete the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.

    Setbacks and Difficulties Must Be OvercomeNatalie du Toit

    Natalie du Toit is a South African swimmer who lost her leg in a car accident. She is best known for the gold medals she won at the 2004 Paralympic Games as well as the Commonwealth Games. Natalie impressively became the first leg amputee ever to qualify for the Olympics.

    I say, “If I’m able to go out there and achieve a dream, then anybody can do it.”

    Age is Just a NumberDara Torres

    Gold Medal champion swimmer, Dara Torres. At the age of 41, Dara took home her 12th career Olympic medal in the 2008 Games as part of the U.S. 4X100-meter medley relay team. This is a remarkable physical achievement, especially given the fact that the average age of U.S. Olympic team members at the Beijing games was 26.8 years.

    She has set three world records and has brought home twelve Olympic medals, including four gold. Dara Torres is arguably the fastest female swimmer in America.

    “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” ~Calvin Coolidge

    Some of these highlights were found from the article 5 Famous Female Athletes Reveal Attitudes Needed for Dream Achievement.

    Real Dreams Come True

    Real Dreams Come True

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain

    I am coming out of a great week in Vegas with my mom – who would have ever thought I’d say that?! What a non-typical Vegas week it was…no strip clubs, no gambling – instead it was a Shaklee health company conference focused on health and wellness…and my personal focus of meeting some very cool women. The people here were all jazzed up on living life fully and making their dreams come true…and though what happens here is supposed to stay here, I think I’ll take this energy and inspiration with me.

    There’s something about witnessing other people declare and then go pursue their dreams that is addicting. One woman I met actually started up a non profit organization to employ women and get them out of the sex trade in Thailand. They weave material, which she then uses to sew into cute bags…and they are sewn by homeless women she has hired in the U.S. to help get a new start. Amazing! Her Etsty link is here if you’d like to check out her bags.

    I met another woman who is a professional blogger and is making a living doing what she loves doing most – writing about her take on life. One woman I met is starting her own business to support her and her kids just after they were all abandoned by her husband for another woman. Another woman had a horrific childhood of neglect and abuse, and rose from her own ashes of utter sabotage and destruction of all herself and decided to simply push aside the hand she was dealt and make a new life defined by her own dreams…and they came true! There was even a segment where the company linked in live to London to talk with some of the athletes there about their journeys to make their own dreams come true and the importance of their health on that journey. I’m telling you, no one could make it through this week and not want to go race to their own gold finish. SOLD!

    As I met and talked with these women (there were lots of men here too, but I’m all about female empowerment these days, so I made sure to meet the cool ladies around me), they were no wet rags or Debby Downers or firehoses or positive sucks. Positive Sucks is the name I’ve given to those people who manage to suck the positive out of ANY and ALL situations they’re in. They complain about the weather or their salary or their boss or their kids or their house. Even when you overtly try to change the conversation to a more upbeat tune, they will bring it back down to a dull, boring, negative groan. But these women were different…they were alive and powerful – their positive energy was spilling outward. They had their own fire, and their fire was contagious!

    The more I write and the more amazing women I cross paths with, I realize that there is no time to waste. We don’t have time to sit back and let life come to us. There is no sense in being complacent even just one more day. I look around me at women who have overcome all odds. At one point the world looked at them counted them out; it was too late and they were too far gone. But they proved the world wrong and decided to flourish instead of wither.

    “No dreamer is ever too small; no dream is ever too big.” – Anonymous

    “Not fulfilling your dreams will be a loss to the world, because the world needs everyone’s gift — yours and mine.” – Barbara Sher

    “Keep your heart open to dreams. For as long as there’s a dream, there is hope, and as long as there is hope, there is joy in living.” – Anonymous

    Moms Are People Too

    Moms Are People Too

    “My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it.” ~Mark Twain

    I just flew into Vegas to meet my mom and have some bonding time. She completely idolizes Celine Dion, so we’re going to see her tonight in concert. I’m hoping to have good, open and honest time with her this week, but I also need to head into this time with my mom with realistic expectations. She is all over the map when it comes to social plans and doing things – no possible plan can capture all the mass amounts of stuff you end up doing when she’s around. So my vision of some nice mother-daughter bonding probably isn’t the reality I’m going to go home with, but I’ve decided to be grateful for and appreciative of whatever gifts of bonding do arise.

    My mom is extroverted and gets her energy from being around people – the more people the better for her. For me, it’s always been the opposite. I have to sneak away from a chaotic party to a quiet bathroom just to regain myself and take a breather. She’s loud, I’m not. She talks a ton, I don’t. I like coffee shop bonding, she feels like she should be multitasking and doing other things besides just talking while drinking coffee. But I love her and enjoy spending time with her, so long as I don’t go in with a certain picture of how I want our time together to be.

    I have not been an easy daughter because I’ve always demanded perfection from her…and believe it or not, she has always come up short. The nerve! I suspect this is true of many people with their parents and loved ones. I certainly haven’t made it easy on her over the years, and I just hope that weeks like this one can help to repair some of that damage.

    The thing is, she will surprise me with little intimate mother-daughter moments if I let go and don’t try to force them out of her. She will reveal her vulnerabilities and her soft side if I don’t put on aires and complain about how she’s never real with me. The harder I try to make her the mom I think I need, the more disappointed I become, and the bitchier I get.

    My mom is who she is. It’s taken 35 years to come to that understanding. She has been a good mom and has taught me many valuable lessons that have helped make me who I am today. I accept her humanity – which is a very difficult things for girls to accept about their moms – and I know she can’t be a superhero to me. She’s just herself – her social, fun loving self. When I let go of my expectations, I allow myself to see the woman she actually is, and I can enjoy her company and bond even more.

    Uh oh, she just called me and asked if I could pick up wine before I meet her at the hotel. Her timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Yes, Mom, I’ll get your wine. Here’s to all the daughters and moms out there – cut your mom some slack, go get her some wine, and see her for the gift that she is…not for all the things she isn’t.

    The Beauty-Brain Loop

    The Beauty-Brain Loop

    “You are one thing only. You are a Divine Being. An all-powerful Creator. You are a Deity in jeans and a t-shirt, and within you dwells the infinite wisdom of the ages and the sacred creative force of All that is, will be and ever was.” ~Anthon St. Maarten

    I found an interesting article titled the Beauty-Brain Loop by Dr Debra and Dr Eva. The idea is that four main areas – Inner Beauty, Health, Outer Beauty and Environment are all related and affected by each other. “Everything you do shapes how you feel and how attractive you are. So, how you feel is how you look. Also, how you think is how you feel.”

  • Inner Beauty has to do with mental and emotional well-being, self-esteem, self-awareness and self-confidence
  • Health is part of the loop to do with taking care of your body and physical health through nutrition, exercise, sleep and leading a healthy lifestyle
  • Outer Beauty has to do with maintaining your external looks – skin, nails, hair and make-up
  • Environment has to do with the feedback you get from your surroundings: home, work, relationships and friendships

    So, how exactly does this concept work? “It’s about keeping all areas of the loop flowing,” says Dr Debra. “For example, when someone pays you a compliment and says you look really beautiful today, you actually start to feel more beautiful.” In essence, the more beautiful we feel, the more we want to maintain that feel-good state. So, we start to look after ourselves more – whether by exercising, eating better or maintaining physical looks and care.

    Then it goes to reason that the better we feel and look, the more positive the response we’ll get from our environment. Friends tell us how great we look, people are more attracted to us and we feel confident.

    The downside, of course, is that when one factor is not working, there evolves a negative cycle. Think about it – we rarely feel pretty when we’re sick or suffering from cramps or some other physical struggle. When we feel ugly or fat, it’s rarely the motivation we need to get out and go for a run or a swim and eat healthy foods…we seek comfort foods and chick flicks.

    The good news is that it only takes a boost in one of the categories to help start the upward positive cycle…and there are gobs of ideas to help jumpstart this beauty cycle…namely everything I’ve been writing about for months! Here are a few: practice a random act of kindness, go for a walk, create something, fill your moment with beauty in the form of art or nature, try a new healthy recipe, sign up for a race, learn something new, do something that will make you laugh, get a good night’s sleep, wear an outfit you feel sexy in, get a pedicure, buy some flowers. This list could be endless, but these are to get your mind out of the traditional mindset that you can only feel pretty if you look in the mirror and see what you judge as pretty. NOT SO! Yours are the harshest and most judgemental eyes ever to set sight on yourself. Did you realize studies show that on average others see you as 20% more attractive than you see yourself? They’re not seeing that stray eyebrow hair you see when you look in the mirror – instead they’re seeing your movements, your laughter, your body language – all the things you miss.

    The truth is, you’re more beautiful than you’ll probably ever give yourself credit for…and if you can’t see that, then you can at least FEEL it. Treat yourself like the temple and goddess (or god) that you are, and love the body you’ve been loaned for this short life. Breathe and live fully the way we were designed to live. Please pretty please stop shrinking inside your own body! …and I’ll try and do the same!

  • Perfectly Imperfect

    Perfectly Imperfect

    “I Untamed the Tamed Woman inside me. I gave my power to the quiet voice of sensitivity that was buried so deep inside me. I learned to release my anger, especially the anger that I directed at myself. I gained a new kind of strength, by allowing my power to work in support of my vulnerable side. I confronted my deepest fear by learning to embrace my weakness. I learned to lose a fight. I learned how to win in the face of great difficulty. I learned to fall down and let someone else help me back up. I learned to stand up for what I believe, yet listen intently to others. I learned to hear my own whispering voice. I even learned how to show my tears in front of other women.” ~Carol Hartung

    Someone had the audacity today to tell me that I’m impatient. The nerve! My initial reaction was to defend it and reason out and prove why I wasn’t impatient. When I later vented to my cousin (more like my brother) on the phone that I was accused of being impatient, he said matter-of-factly back, “So what? So what if you’re impatient? We all have our shortcomings, maybe that’s just one of yours. Who cares?” It wasn’t until then that I stopped and realized he was right. Who cares? I sat back and gave myself the permission to be impatient. As I thought about it more, I realized someone could accuse me of practically any quirk, and my first reaction would be to defend myself of it regardless of whether it was merited or not.

    Trying so hard my whole life to be the perfect version of me has left little to no room to just be me…prickly quirks and all. I write and write about the need to accept others and forgive ourselves, yet my first reaction is to reject anything less than perfection. What sort of double standard is that?

    I agree there are shortcomings that we can strive to overcome…like people pleasing. But maybe there are some – like impatience – and I’m not fully admitting yet to that one until I ponder it patiently for a while longer – that are simply a part of us. Why do I leap to jump to avoid and deny the quirks when in my head I know it’s those traits that give us the marks of distinction as individuals? I don’t want to be a cookie-cutter prototype of a person, but my instinct still flees to the high school popular girl circle. I need a pot to hit over my own head…right now.

    My scars: my wrinkles, my messed up pinky toenail, my obsessive mindset over things I want, my bedsheet greed, my love of bad English drama, my brooding and over-analytic approach, my awful karaoke voice, my stubbornness, my (possible) impatience…it’s all a part of this unique woman that somehow in some way has turned into quite a piece of work….or is it a work in progress? I’ve overcome so many obstacles and still have my body and heart in tact and some of those “shortcomings” were what helped me survive through the tough times…ok maybe not my messed up pinky toenail…I could really do without that one. But you know what? Even that I got that from military bootcamp, and I look back on being in the military as something that helped me grow up and learn about things like work ethic, patriotism and responsibility. So I’ll take my messed up pinky toenail if that was the price…easy sacrifice.

    I suppose I’m learning how to untame the otherwise tame woman inside…giving free space and permission to just BE. The result is the softer, more real me. There is true strength in being comfortable in our own skin – weaknesses, strengths, scars, skills – all of it.

    “It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.” ~Anonymous, The Bhagavad Gita