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What do you do when you look into the mirror? Do you smile at yourself and realize how awesome you are? Or do you stare into your reflection and lament about how you used to look and pick out imperceptible flaws that only you can see when you focus on them intently?

If you're like me, usually you do the latter.

Recently my husband and I were at a gathering and from someone who’d been married for a very long time,I was reminded of the phrase, "Bless you, Change me." Now, this is a healthy thought to adopt when it comes to relationships with other people, especially love relationships because too often we try to change someone else which is impossible and only leads to strife. However, it's also a good remembrance for those times you look into the mirror and berate yourself.

The “Bless you,” is for the reflection you're seeing, the external you. You’re blessing your ego who’s trying to "look good" or acceptable so others will love and not abandon you. The you who wants to fit in and be liked. The "Change me," is your discussion with your brain, your mind that controls what you see. The mind that tells you on a low confidence day, that you're not enough the way you are.

So, all the way around, "Bless you, Change me," is a healthy mantra to adopt in any relationship. Even the relationship with yourself. After all, the same struggle that you find in relationships when you’re trying to change someone, will occur within yourself when you’re trying to change the external you who, through genetics or aging, can’t be changed. The same push back you feel when you try to control someone else’s actions and they rebel, will be set up within yourself. And, since all relationships start with the relationship you have with yourself, more harmony and peace will be found in your entire life, all your relationships, when you start with yourself.

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From first-hand experience working with many women from the age of eighteen to eighty, most women, especially the ones who you look at and think are really happy with their bodies, aren’t. In my experience working with and talking with thousands, I’ve only met two women who really embraced and who were happy with themselves. And judging them by today’s unrealistic beauty standards, they were not what the culture at large would deem beautiful. That’s because beauty does not start by focussing on the outside.

Their success in life was in direct accordance with how they saw themselves; as beautiful. They knew the truth that all the other women I’ve worked with, myself included, didn’t. What you see in the mirror isn't actually what you look like, it's what you think you look like. 

When I was much younger I always said I loved myself, and to prove it I worked really hard to be slimmer and more beautiful usually through excessive exercise and diets. I was maniacal about it. And I looked rather trim I might add, but I certainly didn’t feel like I looked trim, nor was I accomplishing a svelte body with any kind of self-love or honoring of myself. In fact, I was binging then purging with excessive exercise and laxatives. I was very unhealthy.

We women want to feel pretty in the least, and to have someone look at us and say, “Wow, you are amazingly beautiful,” at best. When we love our entire body—physical body, body of thought and body of emotion, efforts at weight reduction will stick, and so will your valiant efforts to make healthy lifestyle changes. This newfound alignment of the entire body of who you are helps you become whole, and when you’re whole you are more beautiful.

If you’re doing any of the following, it’s a sure sign you're not loving your body and no matter how you're trying to look, you will not be, and people will not see you as, a lasting beauty.

  • regularly drinking caffeine, energy drinks or using something stronger to power through your days instead of resting when you’re body is tired
  • excessive worry, concern and focus on how you look to others—physically, intellectual and emotionally
  • distracted eating that has caused you to accumulate too much weight
  • over busy—feeling overwhelmed or stressed out of responsibility or a feeling obligation
  • inability to sit with yourself and be present in your body—always using something whether it be work, exercise, television, reading, conversations, internet surfing, gambling, drinking to name just a few ways—anything to keep you from being quiet with yourself

What I didn't know in my naive youthfulness, is that it was my self-image that was telling me I wasn’t good enough no matter what I looked like. Yours is too. Raising your self-image makes a positive impact in your entire life especially with who you see in the mirror.

When you stop doing the actions that undermine your healthy lifestyle efforts and really start  loving your whole self, you will make lasting positive changes in your body, not to mention your life! Enroll in my video series, Love Your Body, Change Your Life and begin that work. You will be rewarded in many ways.

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Would you like your relationships to be more honest?  
Do you keep your dreams and ideas to yourself?  

Do you worry over what others will think so much so that it stops you from doing what you really want to do? 

Exposing yourself is scary. Revealing personal truths and experiences, letting your emotional guard down, and entering a commitment and risking love in a world where relationships seem fragile, are all similar to public speaking in that they invite the opportunity for rejection or abandonment.  You’re vulnerable. 

In 1997, I read Voice Lessons by Nancy Mairs. She writes, “If the very thought of taking off all your clothes in the middle of the Washington Mall during the middle of a school holiday makes you blush, you haven’t even begun to dream what it feels like to publish a book.”

At that time, I was attending college while working as an exotic dancer and writing about my own feelings and experiences within the strip club. It was scary for me to let others know what I was doing, so I chose a college on the opposite coast from California where I lived, and I went there only a few times a year for my residency then worked independently at home. Much in the same way I removed one article of clothing at a time while a dancer, I discarded the secrecy of what I was doing for a living one small experience at a time to small groups of people at a time. 

It’s important to speak your feelings, thoughts and desires so you can sort through them and help liberate and empower others, but I recommend removing one layer of psychic protection at a time. Don’t do it all at once. Doing it in stages is a way to help you get metaphorically comfortable with being in the spotlight with your truth. You’ll gain courage and confidence and become more clear in increments that can be sustained.  

  • Test your idea out with someone impartial who you know won’t criticize. If there’s no one close, talk to a stranger. (This may sound odd, but you are with strangers, more than likely, every day. I used to strike up conversations at concerts, waiting in line at the grocery store, etc. Join an on-line group where you can be anonymous.)
  • Speak again to another impartial person whom you trust. (Repetition builds that self-disclosure muscle.)
  • Search out activities and venues that invite and nurture your ideas. (You’ll find like-minded people who will support you.)
  • Take a small, one very small, action at a time to manifest your ideas/dreams. (Action is the only antidote to the pain of unrealized dreams, unspoken words and cultivating trust in oneself.) 
  • Have patience with yourself and give yourself time. (Speaking up will feel awkward and strange, but with the gift of time, you will become more comfortable.)

You may not want to literally get naked in front of strangers like I did, but realize that exposing your inner self is the only way to really let go of limiting beliefs and prejudices. When you do this, you not only liberate and empower yourself but you also help others release inhibitions and give them permission to be vulnerable. By doing this, they’ll love and respect you that much more. And you'll feel that much more courageous and confident to tackle the next hurdle you've been avoiding. Like asking for what you want in your relationship or going for your dreams!

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Self Appeal® by Susan Bremer O'neill - 4M ago

Who Do You Think You Are? 

I’ve had a few significant people in my life ask me this question—and not in a manner that was conducive to heartfelt introspection, more so in the way that implies, “don’t you dare.”

We must all dare.  Daring brings experience and knowledge.  Daring breeds courage and success—even if only in growing more experience and courage.

Often we don’t go for what we want because we may be worried about what others think? Or we haven’t been taught how to really stretch ourselves. Or we may think that something we hold dear isn’t really possible. Do you have a vision of yourself that you want to step into? Perhaps it's not a vision but instead a dream. What does your dream look like? What is the vision of that dream?

There are many ways to begin to step into your dream/vision.

  • Inspect - observe your surroundings today, then close your eyes and observe your surroundings in your dream/vision
  • Reflect - think about what motivates you today, what influences your decisions today how you react today and then close your eyes and do the same for yourself in your dream/vision. How are they different?
  • Educate - learn from others as to how they've gone for their own dreams and what obstacles they've overcome as well as what influenced them along the way to go keep going
  • Inspire - glean your truth from all your awarenesses in the above bullets and embrace what resonates in your heart, vowing to expel what doesn't

Long before I had a book to publish, I enjoyed books. I was jealous of others who had written books. I studied writing. I wrote. I wrote what I wanted, even when others thoughts I should write something different.  Today I’m a writer with a book.  It took me almost ten years from conception to publication.

Achieving dreams may take a long time, but they are worth the effort. 

What do you enjoy?  Where do your jealousies and envious thoughts stem from? Who can you learn from or what can you study to alleviate your yearnings?

Who are you?  Who are you becoming?

With the current climate of #Metoo and women speaking their truth, it is more important than ever to be who you are. Dream big. Gather support. Speak up. Stand out.

Whoever you think you are and dare to be, you will become. 

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Self Appeal® by Susan Bremer O'neill - 4M ago

I've often thought of the living cells that make up my body and that sustain my life as little Ms. Pacmans. Whether you're old enough to remember the games, Pacman and Ms. Pacman, it's beneficial for your health if you think of your cells in the same way. They're the smallest you there is. Imagine millions of them running around inside your body devouring all the nutrients from your food. While your food may be tasty on your tongue, is the food you eat also yummy for your cells?

Whether you're striving for weight loss or health, this is an important question to ponder because, as the saying goes, you are what you eat. Is your food alive and sustaining or processed and draining your energy? Here are a few facts about what your body needs regularly to keep it healthy. As you read through and consider whether you're winning at the game of life, consider paying attention to one nutrient or category of health at a time. Focus on incorporating it into your life in a healthy way for three to four weeks before you move onto the next category. Slow measured progress is what your body needs. Slow measured progress will feed your Inner Ms. Pacman well and help you adopt healthful habits that you'll be able to continue for the rest of your life.

Water is involved in every bodily function.  It makes up almost 2/3 of our total weight and is our most important nutrient.  It:

  • helps maintain body temperature
  • metabolizes body fat
  • digests food
  • lubricates and cushion organs
  • transports nutrients
  • flushes toxins
    Your blood is approximately 90% water.  If you are not getting enough water, your body will react by pulling it from other places, including your blood.      

Fiber found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes is needed to move chyme through the digestive tract.  Chyme is what our stomach produces after chemical digestion occurs and contains all the nutrients that are absorbed in the small intestine. 

Foods such as fish, meat, nuts, eggs, and legumes consist of protein that is broken down into amino acids, building blocks used to build and repair all our body tissues.

Vitamins are small organic molecules essential to life and are absorbed through the small intestine.  Excess amounts are either flushed out in the urine, water soluble, or stored in the liver and fatty tissue of the body, fat soluble.

Naturally occurring fat in foods such as nuts and avocadoes and vegetable oils such as olive and canola are a rich source of energy for the body.  While these oils contain saturated as well as unsaturated fats they’re more healthful for the body than the manufactured cottonseed and palm kernel oils.  A few benefits of fat are: 

  • helps food stay in the stomach longer
  • gives a greater sense of satisfaction and helps you feel full longer   
  • may help your body produce endorphins in the brain (pleasurable feelings)   
  • provides back-up energy if blood sugar supplies run out (after 4-6 hours)     
  • provides insulation under the skin from cold and heat   
  • protects organs and bones from shock and provides support for organs   
  • surrounds and insulates nerve fibers to help transmit nerve impulses   
  • helps transport nutrients and metabolites across cell membranes (fat is part of every cell membrane in the body)  
  • building blocks for everything from hormones to immune function   

The right kind of sodium is essential because it is:

  • a component of extracellular fluid that bathes every living cell
  • required for the proper functioning of our nerves and the contraction of our muscles
  • necessary to maintain fluid balance, electrolyte balance, and pH (acid/alkaline) balance. 

The body’s best sodium is unrefined sea salt. 

Our body’s primary source of energy for daily activities is glucose. We get most of our glucose from digesting the sugar and starch in carbohydrates.  Foods like rice, pasta, grain, potatoes, fruits, a few vegetables, and processed sweets qualify as carbohydrates.  Our digestive system breaks down the starch and sugar in these foods into glucose which then gets absorbed through the small intestine into the bloodstream where it enters cells or goes to the liver to be stored.  But glucose cannot go into the cells by itself.  The pancreas releases insulin into the blood, which serves as the helper or, "key," that lets glucose into the cells for use as energy. Too much glucose in the blood upsets the body fluid balance, too little starves the brain of energy.         

The glycemic index, GI, is a ranking of carbohydrates according to the effect on our blood glucose levels.  The best sugars are listed with a low rating because they’re let into the blood stream at a slow absorption rate.  An apple, for example, contains fiber, vitamins and minerals, and lots of carbohydrates.  The carbohydrates are the fuel.  But the carbohydrates are bound up in the fiber of the apple so that it takes your body a fair amount of time and effort to release those carbohydrates and convert them into fuel.  The apple is a medium-burning carbohydrate, in other words it has a lower glycemic index than straight sugar.  Eating mainly low GI carbs that slowly trickle glucose into your blood stream keeps your energy levels balanced and means you will feel fuller for longer between meals. 

There is a lot of controversy around dairy, but it is proven that as people age their bodies produce fewer lactase enzymes so many people have symptoms of being unable to digest natural sugar found in dairy products.  As an experiment you could try eliminating dairy and then reintroducing it to see if it affects you in any way.    

Caffeine is a fat-soluble substance that enters the bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine.  Its effects are felt as soon as 15 minutes after consumption and will continue to influence your state for 6-8 hours afterwards.  Only about ½ is eliminated in the urine within 6 hours.  It increases the release of substances like adrenaline, producing an effect similar to the stress response;

  • your heart beats faster
  • more blood is sent to your muscles
  • your liver releases glucose into the bloodstream for energy  

In women, high caffeine consumption is linked to greater bone loss.   Excessive caffeine is thought to cause adrenaline fatigue.      

If you need more information, to reset your game, or want to share your experience with any body-nutrient stories, please send me a mail. It's been my experience that Ms. Pacman eats well and lives longest when in coordination with others.

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Self Appeal® by Susan Bremer O'neill - 5M ago

Buddhism teaches that life is suffering and when we accept and surrender to this fact we can then learn to cease fighting and find internal harmony. While I try to wholeheartedly embrace Buddhist philosophy I definitely have a hard time accepting suffering. But if I manage to sit in the painful situation long enough, I usually glean some insight that relieves my difficulty.  

For the first two months we lived in our new rental home I was angry with our landlady because she wouldn’t promptly repair what was broken.“Why is she doing this?” I lamented. “We’re good people. We pay our rent.” I was so consumed by what I interpreted to be her lack of respect for us it was the last thought before sleep each night, the first thought each morning and even kept me awake in between. My mental and emotional energy was drained by this obsession and as a result of that, my physical energy as well. But eventually, after talking and thinking through my frustration in my search for relief and meaning, I had a light bulb moment when I realized it was my self-centeredness that was causing me pain.  I was taking it as a personal affront. When I could finally grasp that her refusal to be dependable had nothing to do with me, she’s just an irresponsible person, my anger subsided and resentment disappeared.

Not long after this realization my husband joked about living with the woman who never made herself up.      

“I sit home all day. Does it really bother you?” I apologetically retorted.

I’ve thought about my husband's comment for weeks now and have to finally admit that my not wearing makeup is indeed also a facet of my self-centeredness. I’m fearful about time. I feel there’s never enough and the extra ten minutes taken to apply makeup might take away from my writing or my business. And I’m lazy. If I don’t wear makeup during the day I don’t have to wash my face at night. Once I explored and admitted my motivation without judgment and self-flagellation, I then had to admit that I like me with a smidgeon of makeup. A hint of dark blue eyeliner, a dab of mascara and some face powder really doesn’t take much time to apply. While my husband loves we whether I wear makeup or not, I want to appeal to him.  

To think of myself as having been or continuing to be self-centered is repugnant to my ego, but its been in the exploration of the term that I’ve come to view it not as a character flaw to reject but instead as a trait to understand and compost to help grow my Self Appeal. In the past I never could have explored the concept of self-centeredness because it sounded and felt to me like, “selfish” which I was ashamed of being called. I wanted to deny any part of myself I thought abhorrent. But selfish, defined as only or primarily concerned with oneself without regard to others is not the same as self-centered which is defined as concern with oneself and one’s own interests. Today I can distinguish between the two terms and discern that a little bit of self-centeredness is necessary to make healthy conscious choices. 

Being Self-Centered is a Natural State

We’re born self-centered. In the first two to three years of life we’re motivated foremost by our id, the sensory pleasure seeking personality that is primarily concerned with getting our basic needs met and seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching. But as we age and progress through child development stages, our ego is under construction and our maturation shifts away from simple id gratification to understanding order. In other words, we’re able to recognize others’ needs and requests. But many of us, even as adults, don’t evolve past getting our basic needs met. Abraham Maslow theorized and arranged these basic needs from most instinctual, or strongest, to weakest.  He postulates that unless we have these needs met in ascending hierarchal order shown in the pyramid below, we cannot evolve to self-actualization, being able to achieve one’s maximum potential, which he classified as a growth need.  To further understand, his theory states that if we do not have enough food to eat, our focus will not be on health or property. Likewise, we will not be concerned with the self-actualization focus of problem solving if we lack confidence or self-esteem. Building Self Appeal focuses on walking up the hierarchal pyramid of needs creating safety, intimacy, love and respect within ourselves so that we may attract and exist interdependently with those that have these positive life-affirming qualities also. We cannot give to or get from others what we do not possess for ourselves.   

Abraham Maslow lived from 1908 to 1970 and became the leader of the humanistic school of psychology.  His Hierarchy of Needs, which he’s most remembered for, is shown here as a pyramid with the most primitive needs at the bottom and was taken from the on-line dictionary Wikipedia.

What Inhibits our Growth?

Once our physiological and safety needs are met our progression up the pyramid can be inhibited by fears that arise during childhood and lie beneath the awareness of our adult consciousness as subconscious fears that drive our actions and reactions automatically.  These fears perpetuate and aid our defense mechanisms that if go unquestioned into adulthood can prohibit conscious reasoning.  Our superego, an internalized parent and/or societal voice, develops around the age of five or six and can be heard within our heads saying, “should,” or “shouldn’t”. While keeping individuals from creating havoc outside the social order, fears of disobeying this restrictive voice can keep us locked into limiting mindsets and circumstances. And a modern-day barrier to self-actualization and greater Self Appeal is that we live in a materialistic externally focused world where emphasis is placed not on how to develop internally as a selfless yet self-loving person, but instead on outward appearance and acquisitions.

The Tool of Self-centeredness

In order to cultivate and maintain Self Appeal you need to have the courage to look deeply into your heart and scrutinize your motivations. You have to be self-centered, but with love rather than out of fear of self or others. When my husband first joked about my lack of adornment I felt hurt and wanted to defend and justify myself. But as I sat in these uncomfortable feelings with an open mind, I used honest self-examination as a chisel to identify my laziness and reveal the underlying fear of never having enough time. These tools brought into my adult consciousness aspects of myself I’d rather have denied and helped construct my reality. Regardless of where my fear of not having enough time comes from it will not automatically go away with denial. With the awareness that it’s an unconscious motivator though, I have the opportunity to understand and soothe this fearful part of myself and then it’s control on my life lessens. If I had merely reacted and started wearing makeup strictly for my husband's acceptance, it would have lead to bitterness and resentment. It would have been a, “have to,” instead of, “choose to.” In the past I wore makeup because I’d been brainwashed by magazines and television that I was plain and unattractive if I didn’t. Then I grew tired and quit wearing it because the heavy makeup worn as a stripper became laborious. Because I sincerely explored all the reasons why I do or don’t wear makeup today, I have a choice whether I want to wear it or not tomorrow. Having a choice based on information and education is empowering.

Like an onion peeled, uncovering these layers of reasoning brought me clarity and peace of mind. It is self-centeredness that helps me make choices I can live with not just reactionary decisions that might cause me and those close to me grief and anxiety. Working through discomfort I’ve been privileged to climb a step higher towards self-actualization and internal harmony. Today I can sit here plain faced with a bit more non-prejudice and acceptance and approval of myself that helps me accept and approve of others and their human imperfections. But I won’t be bare faced for long. Joe will be home soon and today I choose to put on makeup, not as a mask but as an adornment and a testament to my self-respect and love of me, which I now choose to share with him. 

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For my entire life I've had an underlying need to be “good” which has led to an overdeveloped sense of "right." This has often inhibited my voice. This is not a phenomena unique to me. I’ve seen it in women who have taken my classes and with women I coach today. Unfortunately, many of we women use this overdeveloped sense of right against ourselves so that we never feel good enough, done enough, perfect enough. It undermines our self and body-image. It shows up when we sacrifice our time and resources, when we people-please, second-guess, don’t make waves. In this instance, having to be right is wrong.

On the flip side of this, many in our country today have an underdeveloped sense of right. The news is filled with a continual barrage of stories of people taking advantage of each other, hurting each other, people trying to save face by blaming others. People we’ve elected to run our country focus their actions to look right to the special interests they cater to. Heads of big corporations consider, calculate even, how to be right to their shareholders at their customers’ expense.  

I know my overdeveloped sense of right sometimes causes me sleep issues because of second-guessing and rethinking in the middle of the night, so I’m curious, “How do the people with the underdeveloped sense of right sleep at night? With sleeping pills?” And I’m wondering, “What went so wrong in their upbringing that they lie, cheat, and steal?” Which leads me to the ultimate question, “Where is their sense of fair and good? Is all they care about money and power? Are they all so fearful for their own bank accounts that they’re blind to humanity and the notion originating in the bible of do unto others how you want them to do unto you?

My overdeveloped sense of “right” is wrong when it stifles my voice, loosens my boundaries and keeps me from progressing with my own dreams and goals. I know this. I work on eliminating this so that I feel right within myself while embracing my body as perfect as it is, my mind as good as it is, and my spirit as authentic and loving as it is.

However, when this need to be right keeps me from causing intentional harm, when I’m able to stand solid and stay true to my word and consider the fairness and outcome for all involved, not just my own limited selfish interests, I am right. I feel good. This is not an overdeveloped or misguided sense of “right.” This is common sense, basic human decency, the ultimate "right" way.  

So, women (and men too) who insist on people-pleasing, second-guessing and rethinking things done in the past for the sake of being “right,” rejoice! Celebrate that you have the mind, spirit, and heart to think about others and to try to do the right thing for them, momentarily. Then find the best side of a quality you may not feel is in your best interest, like people-pleasing, so you can can feel something about it is right even if the characteristic feels like a flaw, even while you work to transform it. Rejoice, then get back to work dissecting your thoughts and motivations if in any way you're not accepting and loving your body and who you are today because you think you're wrong. Scrutinize your thoughts and actions if in any way you are stifling your own voice because you think you're not right.  You owe it to yourself. This is your right. And it is right!

 

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Self Appeal® by Susan Bremer O'neill - 6M ago

It never fails.  I do an interview, I put myself out into the universe in some way, and right afterwards I feel good about it, but then, usually, … with the passing of time, and I never know how long that will be—ten minutes or longer typically—what I’ve come to call my intrinsic shame, me at my core, creeps in, and I’m remorseful of or apologetic for something I’ve said. 

Sometimes it wakes me up in the middle of the night, and I’m deluged with negative thoughts and want to hide forever under the covers, not sleeping mind you, simply hiding. This happened recently when I posted two pictures of myself on my Facebook page and asked friends to vote for their favorite.  “You shouldn’t be calling attention to yourself,” my mind whispered into my soul in the dark hours. I used to hold these thoughts internally and hide from the world, today I recognize it, talk to my husband, and think through what the real problem is rather than stay in my shell of fearful remorse.

The real problem is that I was raised with catch phrases that used to circulate amongst parents of my parents’ generation. “Children should be seen and not heard.” “Don’t toot your own horn.”  The real problem is that my parents probably had the same messages instilled in them.

The world today is no longer one of modesty or adherence to the rule that an individual has nothing worth while to say and should leave the talking to the experts. Today we share pain, experiences and thoughts so that others may be empowered on their own journey. The world today is one of, “shout as loudly as you can about yourself,” because everyone else is shouting too. And unfortunately, the world today is still full of people who will shoot down your confidence no matter what you say or do, but also, fortunately, the world today is full of still others who will rally around you to support you because we are now connected to each other every waking minute. Today we are all experts in life as we’ve lived it.

You are who you are at your core, and if shame is causing you to feel “bad” about yourself, you can change. However, the steps to change are s-l-o-w. Have patience and reach out, tell a trusted friend your problem, and the sting of the internalized belief system that wants to keep you shameful will lessen. Without sharing there is only the perpetuation of shame, because shame is a real or, more than likely, imagined, evaluation from others; a violation of cultural or social values. In other words, shame often arises from what you think others are going to think about you. Your shame lives in your head and grows in your isolation. You have a choice to let your shame run you or to take the steps to move beyond it.

This week my shame arose because I’ve been talking about sexuality; specifically sexuality as I learned to embrace after having been a stripper (shameful all by itself but now that I’m talking about it - doubly shameful). The unwritten, never spoken about rule from my childhood being, "Never talk about body or sex." Years ago I read a memoir by Mary Pipher, Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World wherein she wrote about stopping public speaking because afterwards she’d lay awake at night rethinking and agonizing over what she did or didn’t say. I can’t say what her motivation behind behind these thoughts were, but I consider this to be part of the inner critic typically the internalized voice that wants to keep us safe, usually instilled when we were young that for adults may be misguided.  

You have a choice to retreat into yourself or understand your shame or any other uncomfortable feelings’ origin so you can move beyond it. Choosing to understand will help to raise your trust in yourself and your confidence, however, know that whatever you choose will be right for you in that moment as long as you realize you have a choice and you know that your choice may change in the future.  There will be no shame in that.

Download the Love Your Body, Change Your Life Video Training Series to help you raise your self-image and start tuning into yourself.

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Life happens and you will fall short of your own expectations.  What do you do then?  Do you get the bat out and hit yourself a few times because, doggone it, "you SHOULD have…,” “you were SUPPOSED to…,” “you INTENDED to….”  Do you let it nag at you and infiltrate your thoughts for days and affect your spirit?  What do you do when others fall short of your expectations?  Do you hit them hard too?  Or do you give them the break you can’t give yourself?  

Experts tell you how to manage your life, how to manage your business, and it’s great to know what they think, you’ll even gain valuable knowledge about mechanics, but don’t put too much stock into what experts say about how they think it SHOULD look, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed.  Don't expect your life or business to look like theirs.  

When you believe the experts instead of tuning in to yourself, it'’s easy to get out the bat and direct it at yourself because you’ll often fall short.  I’ve done this my entire life, especially in my business, and, quite honestly, I’ve often felt like a cockroach running from what one expert said to another.  I ran so much and my head was filled with so much “expert” advice that I never really got anything accomplished.  Some call this the “shiny ball syndrome.” 

That is, until I stopped. I quit searching out expert advice, and decided to start putting into action the processes and suggestions that I’d already heard and learned.  I actually had to stop, disconnect, and tune in—to me.

There are many experts in many fields and while you can learn from them, they’re experts either because of what they’ve studied or experienced.  Experience is the better teacher.

As an expert in building a positive self-image and the relationship with myself, I offer these suggestions to not beat yourself when you fall short of your own (and perhaps others’) expectations:

  • look at your experience
  • discover your feelings
  • accept your reality
  • determine what's in your control
  • contemplate your humanness
  • redefine your expectations
  • laugh at yourself 
  • rejoice in your learning

This will not only make your mood lighter, but will also help you lighten up on others because what we’re able to give to ourselves, we more easily give to others.

Often life just happens and it’s up to each of us to decide how we let this “life” affect or influence how we feel about and treat ourselves. 

When you see everything as a learning experience and you focus on the lessons and conclusions that are true for you, you feel positive about who you are, you have greater Self Appeal and ultimately greater self-esteem.

If you’re one of those persons searching for your right way, whether in life or business, keep searching by all means, but if you’re overwhelmed, perhaps it’s time to say “enough” expert advice.  Go out and become the expert in your life—based on your experience. Take it from me—I’m an expert.

Download the Love Your Body, Change Your Life Video Training Series to help you raise your self-image and start tuning into yourself.

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You CAN go back again, and if you’re lucky…many things won’t be the same. 

This week finds me in a small town in Wisconsin, visiting my parents. It is a different season here than the warmth and flowers I left in California not even a week ago. While most of the snow is gone now except for the occasional oversized dirty snowbank, I realize it is also a different season of my life.

Earlier I took a walk by myself, something unheard of in years past because my very active mother, always anxious to get out and walk, would prod me to traipse along the river and view the memorial plaques nailed to trees and benches for grandparents and families long since past. But this year she cannot walk without her hip bothering her. “Arthritis,” the doctor said, but as long as she doesn't walk she'll be okay. 

But will I?

Although I only lived here with them for a couple years in my youth after my father retired from the Army and Ft. Banning, Georgia, before I took off to bright lights, sunnier skies and dreams in California that I didn't even know existed, in many ways, this is still home. And the reality of how home has changed hits me hard.

I walked for the first time ever, by myself. While not intending to, I went by some of my youthful haunts.  I even walked into an old bar I once frequented, in those days called the Hang Out, now known as the Lounge Around.  Not having entered it's doors for almost thirty-five years, as I stood just inside the door, it was intoxicating to remember the alcohol-induced haze of my life back then at eighteen. Transported in an instant back into being that naive insecure girl who really just wanted comfort for a while, I envisioned myself at the bar again and felt the draw of that bad boy who would come to haunt me for the rest of my life, the one who introduced me to stronger feelings of love, fear, and cocaine.  

My motto is, “compare yourself only to yourself,” and the reality is that when I compare my body of thirty-five years ago to the one I have today, much has changed.  My physique, stamina and the way my body functions, has deteriorated.  Yet, when I compare my brain today to that young girl’s brain that I used to have, I certainly don't envy my feelings of being less than everyone else and the low self-confidence that kept me from being able to clearly set boundaries and speak my truth.

I'm REALLY glad time has pushed forward and I've changed.  

When we compare ourselves to ourselves it’s important to choose what we’re comparing.  Comparing my mind today to my mind back then is a much more fruitful comparison than to how I looked or the energy I once had. A comparison of my two different minds is a comparison I can actually feel good about. Building confidence, building self-esteem, building self-respect and self-knowledge, all the aspects that lead to Self Appeal, is about choosing to think the thoughts and engaging in the activities that help us feel good about ourselves so we continue on a cycle of positivity.

The reality is that our bodies will fail. My parents, once younger livelier and able to walk long distances, are now more sedentary and less active. I yearn to have my parents stay the way they were and for myself to keep growing. This isn't realistic. This is the longing of a young girl who's afraid of losing people whom she once thought of as God's and who she will always associate as being comfort and home.  

Choosing to focus on one’s growth and not on inevitable decline is the key to all positive self-comparison; the realistic view for person’s who want to live a grateful life built on experience and wisdom. This will raise your self-image.

Time does not stand still, and we really don’t want it to, although often we can make ourselves believe that we wish it would.

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