Archive for Self-Image

Shine Brightly For You And Others

Starting anything new is a process. We may consciously plan it out or just start trying it out. Some of us dive right in while others dabble near the shore. However we do it, a new loop of thought, action and habit is being created.

A good friend of mine, Angie Lee, started a project on her blog called Shine Brightly. This was not an easy project to start. It is just as hard, if not harder, to keep up. I think part of the reason is because it involves other people catching a vision and running with it. I believe in Angie, she initiated a valuable action and sowed seeds encouraging greatness.

I’ve always carried a passion and purpose to share hope and healing to the world. I had many ideas, I had desire, dream & drive. But I had a lot going on. Honing in on something to take action on, consistently, was not easy. (I take action on all kinds of things, but keeping up the actions that produce good fruit… now that’s key.)

That’s why I’m glad Angie created the Shine Brightly Monthly Planner. If you’ve been wanting to start a project, eat better or exercise more but you’re having a hard time mustering up the motivation, this tool will help break down what you want to accomplish. And it’s very doable. Download the Monthly Planner PDF from her post here.

There’s also a cool way to assess how you did the previous month. You can find that as a Shine Brightly Project Reflection PDF from her post here.

I want to take a moment and share my own Shine Brightly Project Reflection for the month of August 2017, as well as my Monthly Planner for September 2017. You’ll see them below. Thank you Angie for creating this handy tool to help others see their goals better!

August 2017

September 2017

Screen Shot 2017-09-07 at 9.46.20 PM

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Movement To Improve The Mood Part 1

Meal Move is exercise and food to improve the mood.

Movement keeps things fresh. There’s a change in place, position or state of being. But for someone who isn’t ready to take action, getting into movement is like trying to push a hundred pound boulder up a steep rocky mountain trail.

I’ve grown to like movement. It has been instrumental in helping me unload three decades of emotional baggage that was too heavy for me to keep “carrying around” every day.

Emotions are powerful, aren’t they? Maybe you have a friend or family member that’s down and out, wrestling with some issue in their life for years and years, with little improvement.

Today I want to offer some hope. Change can happen. And change happens over time.

Meal Move is exercise and food to improve the mood. Click To Tweet

Meal Move is a way to engage this dynamic of movement over time to bring about change over time. There are two kinds of movement I want to look at:

  1. Movement in meals
  2. Movement in body workouts

In this post, we’re going to focus on movement via body workouts. Movement in your body creates movement in your life. So, let’s start with something foundational. Let’s talk posture.

Posture is the way you position yourself.

Physically, it’s your body’s position when you’re standing or sitting.

Mentally, it’s your take towards life. The way you view things.

The attitude behind your position gives you posture. Someone with a winning posture carries both a positive mental attitude and an upright spine ready to support their actions.

In the martial arts, posture manifests itself in what is called stances. There are different stances for different applications of technique. The purpose for a stance is to manage where your weight is. Then you can easily shift it over to where you want to go.

Stances allow a practitioner to stand firm wherever they are and throw whatever strike they need from where they are. This means they have the ability to change stances in a heartbeat. It requires balance, feeling the ground and flowing with action. It can take years of training and practice.

Today, I want to start with a simple “Feel The Ground” exercise.

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Note how it feels to have both feet touching the ground.
  2. Take a deep breath in through your nose. As you exhale, lift one leg off the ground, bringing your knee to hip-height.
  3. Let yourself feel the shift in weight. Repeat with other leg.

Do this a few times. Notice how your weight shifts. Imagine your center of gravity as a tennis ball moving. What kind of line would it trace in the air?

Second thing to notice. How do you feel when you have both feet on the ground? When you have one foot on the ground?

If at first, you don’t feel much don’t worry. Try this exercise again later on today or this week and you’ll start to notice something. It’s subtle, but you’ll start to feel it.

What you want to look for is not so much how good you can balance on one leg (although if you can, that does feel good!). This exercise is a way to learn to listen to your body. Become more aware of your surroundings, starting with where your feet touch the ground.

With practice, you’ll be able to stand firm. And if you start to train in the martial arts, you’ll learn to change stances in a heartbeat. The benefit is that you can deal with whatever comes your way with a calm heart. Stressing out can be a thing of the past as you “battle everyday life.”

Stay tuned, next week we’ll talk about movement in meals. (Hint: It’s about “falling in love with food again.”)

Want to learn more? See The Bottom Bar created for the Lighter Every Day Journal

On Fitting In…

Sunglasses Fitting In

As I think about what my children tend to be concerned about, what comes to mind is the idea of fitting in. When I was school-aged, it was a big thing to dress like the well-known kids and act like them too. You would think that for adults, trying to fit in isn’t as much of an issue. But I’ve noticed that adults tend to conform to others just as much as children do. It might be more subtle, but I think it’s there.

How do I know? Well, I’m one of them…

Even now, when I look at my sunglasses and see that they don’t look like the latest trend, sometimes I hesitate a little before stepping out with them in public. I might get over it more quickly now than I did back in high school, but those thoughts can still be heard in the back of my mind, “Will people think I’m outdated?” and, “Will they accept me?”

Out of all the problems and pain in the world, sometimes I wonder, why be concerned about seemingly small things? Have you ever felt this way? They may seem like small concerns to others, but they are still real, valid struggles. For instance, feeling anxious about attending a gathering when there’s no apparent reason to others for feeling that way. After all, the gathering is full of people that are like family, where you’re supposed to feel safe and protected.

Some more:

“Why do people not want to hang out with me, but they can’t wait to hang out with my friend?”

“People say I’m too thin-skinned, too sensitive. Am I just not good enough for them to want to know me? Something must be wrong with me.”

“I feel so different from my friends; I’m not sure if any of them can understand me for who I am.”

“I love being creative, but I’m scared to show people my work. In fact, I feel like a failure because all my creativity has brought me is restless wandering and not being able to settle down in a ‘decent’ job.”

These are just some of many thoughts that can mess with anybody, but they especially mess with those who are deemed highly sensitive people. They may have suffered this label for most of their life wondering what’s wrong with them, when in reality, they are precious sensitive souls carrying unseen gifts deep inside their heart. If you felt or still feel any of these things, you are SO VALUED. My experience is that God might be keeping you hidden from the world until the world is ready for you – and you are ready to serve in it.

Do you want to use your gifts and talents in ways that are sustainable and not burn you out? If the answer is yes, then there is training involved. As much as we’d like to believe that our talent or passion alone will be enough, it would do us well to wake up to the fact that there’s discipline involved. And although it seems unpleasant and painful at the time, discipline produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

One discipline I’d like to share with you is emotional in nature: Training ourselves to have healthier thought patterns. Studies show that the greatest determining factor to our success in anything is not our education, background, or financial wealth. It is our thought life – our thinking patterns.

We live in a world where nearly 90% of what we see, hear and feel is negative. What can we do about this? Imagine flushing the negative out and replacing it with positive coming in. An effective way is to first identify, what’s the negative emotion and what triggered it? Then, to inject truth.

As an example, I used to feel frustrated and depressed, triggered by these thoughts, “I am worthless. I don’t know what I want to do with my life. I don’t even know who I am!” Well, that pattern kept me stuck in a deep dark pit, in which I struggled with progressively more depressing thoughts.

I finally said, “Enough! I *have to* find a way to at least start really believing good things. After all, didn’t God say that He made me wonderfully?” That is the truth I was hungry for deep down, and ready to “inject.” And it is found in the ancient text of the Bible, in Psalm 139:13-14.

Something else that has helped me re-wire some of those troublesome thoughts – thoughts that don’t serve us well – is essential oils. They don’t do the work for you, but they do make it a whole lot easier and quicker to focus on positives, by stimulating brain activity through the limbic system. What makes it powerful is using them in conjunction with Scriptures to help bypass any neural circuitry that might be keeping you stuck in an unhelpful thinking pattern. For a bit more on how the brain works, check out this post on moving towards what you want.

I was reinforcing truths like, “I am valuable. I am loved. I am wonderfully made in the image of God.” I did it consistently, daily even. And you know what? Those depressive thoughts gradually made their way out of my heart. They may still try to get into my head every now and then, but they don’t get me down like they used to, and not nearly for as long.

As you prepare to see family and friends at birthday gatherings and other parties, try to keep in mind that the way they treat you may not be anything about you. They may be seeing you through the lens of their own thinking patterns and be taking it out on you – and you may feel it more intensely because you are so much more attuned to your inner senses.

Remember, you can re-train your brain with the powerful tool of Scripture and reinforce truths deeper with essential oils. And not just these tools, but also with foods that are healing to the body and relational connections that are healing to the soul. I’m learning about some great eating practices that are out there, as well as amazing relational tools for connecting deeper with people.

I’m excited to be sharing more as I learn! You can follow my progress by subscribing to my newsletter here. If you need someone to talk to on the phone, message me directly here.

Accepted

Loved and Good

Do you ever have the thought that you have to change in order to be acceptable?

Our friend Chelsea spent a good chunk of time wrestling with this during her last year of college and first year of working at a small graphic design firm.

She tried hard to keep a good attitude, but was feeling worn down by a lot of mistakes on the job, questioning herself and feeling like she wasn’t measuring up to the rest of the designers.

“If I don’t get better soon, then everyone in the company will think I’m not fit to be here,” Chelsea thought.

Here’s a simple principle that’s not always easy to embrace…

You don’t have to change yourself in order to be acceptable. You are good enough just as you are.

I love the quote in the graphic above. I think it sums this principle up nicely. “We think we have to change, grow and be good in order to be loved. But rather we are loved and we receive His grace so we can change, grow and be good.”

We don’t have to have it all together, we don’t have to have changed an unhealthy habit, in order to be acceptable. We’re wonderfully created in the image of God – and when He looks at us He says, “Very good.”

God loves us just as we are. He also loves us too much to let us stay the same. And from this sweet space of receiving His grace and love, we are free to change and do better.

do the best you can

Have you met our good friend Chelsea? You can go here to get to know her.

And as every girl is shaped and influenced by her parents, you can go here to meet her mom Ally.

Let’s continue the discussion- I’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments below:

What do you do to remember that you’re good enough just as you are?

When you’re in a sweet space of receiving His love and grace, how free do you feel to change and do better?

Turning Mistakes into Strength

Vanellope

Photo courtesy of http://wreckitralph.wikia.com/wiki/File:LikkitySplit_LGB.png

“That glitch shouldn’t be allowed to race.”

“She’s a mistake.”

These lines from the movie “Wreck-It Ralph” stuck in my head as my family and I watched one of the main characters, Vanellope Von Schweetz, fight for a chance to race.

Vanellope was that “glitch” in the video game, Sugar Rush, that would flash in and out as if ready to disappear.  Everybody in her land believed that she shouldn’t even exist.

So she lived in a hidden cave all by herself.  Alone.  Outcast.

She was bullied by the other girl racers, who called her “an accident waiting to happen” and destroyed her car so she couldn’t race.

But check out what she says…

“I’m a racer.  It’s in my code.”

Despite what others kept telling her, she knew who she was.  Deep in her gut, she knew she was a racer.  Even though she had never driven a real race cart before.

Now that’s being sure of yourself.

She fought for her chance to race, no matter what others said to discourage her.  What’s amazing is that instead of letting her “glitching” become a handicap, she found a way to glitch herself out of tight spots.  She turned what others saw as a mistake, an accident waiting to happen, into a very unique strength.

It would do all of us a lot of good to admit our mistakes than to pretend like we don’t make any.  We all make mistakes, but we are not a mistake.

Anybody who wants to succeed at anything has failed many, many times first.  Each time we fail at doing something creates a chance to discover greatness.

Feel free to share with us in the comments: Do you sense “in your code” what you are born to be or do?

Join us at our next workshop, Reviving Love in Relationships, taking place on Facebook!

 

A Quiet Confidence

Never before had I seen so many hands shoot up in a room when asked by the speaker, “How many of you consider yourself an introvert?”

It looked like close to 90% of hands were raised…but I might be biased.

After all, I’m one of many introverts doing a juggling act with putting myself “out there” and preserving my energy. My feelings of confidence often fluctuated with this juggling act.

On that glorious night (Nov. 14), I got to meet the speaker, Susan Cain. She’s the author of the New York Times bestseller, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.”

Susan Cain

Listening to this quietly confident lady lifted me. Introverts can have our own style of relating to the world and that’s okay. Although generally misunderstood, we’re never alone in feeling alone.

Such a kindred spirit was present in that room- the cells in my body felt like dancing.

I would have loved to hear this talk when I was a little girl feeling somehow undervalued because I was quiet and shy. I had other reasons for feeling devalued (that I found healing for), but the way introversion was misunderstood by much of society added to the challenge of navigating through school and life in general.

The talk helps parents empower their quiet kids to thrive, gives validation to introverts, and helps extroverts to understand their introverted friends’ and co-workers’ energy system. Introversion is not a personality trait to grow out of, like a turtle coming out of its shell. Instead, it’s a way we store and use up energy.

The science and research behind her work further validates what I and my husband (also an introvert) feel deeply in our gut – that solitude and reflection are much needed practices. I LOVE the practical tips for introverts, like preparing ahead of time what you anticipate saying in an impromptu group setting, and speaking up early on to establish a presence. I appreciate those tips as I tend to listen first in a group and if I hadn’t prepared beforehand what I wanted to say, I often ended up saying nothing.

Susan has an exciting project in the works, called the Quiet Revolution. You can find her on http://www.thePowerOfIntroverts.com

I think both extroverts and introverts have value to bring to any table. It’s a matter of “unlearning” and “re-learning” a few things when it comes to group work and classroom participation.

Do you think you’re an introvert or an extrovert?

You Are Valuable, You Are Cherished!

Cherished cover photoDid you know, you are valued? Even when you don’t feel valued, you are valuable.  That’s the truth.

When people don’t value you, it’s not you they’re devaluing. It’s themselves.

Let’s pretend for a moment…

You’re at a get-together, pouring yourself a drink. Someone spots you and approaches the food table. As she arrives, she glances at you.

You smile to be friendly; she gives you a blank stare for one long second, then looks away without returning your smile.

You might wonder, “Did I do something wrong?” You might feel hurt.

But would you feel devalued?

You see, in her mind, she was thinking, “Oh, you’re pretty. I’m not pretty like you are.”  She may not feel secure enough in herself to be around someone that she thinks is prettier than she is. Sadly, she is devaluing herself.

If you don’t value yourself, do you see how easy it would be to start seeing yourself through her eyes – and begin to devalue yourself too?

Is that accurate? It is accurate to see yourself through someone else’s glasses?

I have a friend, Bethany Connor, who’s a a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Nurse Corps.

Bethany is a successful professional woman who seems to have it all together. She has created a life that works for her by keeping busy, being knowledgeable, doing her job with perfection, and having high expectations for herself and others. Bethany lives her life wearing masks – and not allowing people to see or know the ‘real’ Bethany in order to prevent herself from getting hurt. Although this way of being had previously served her, she got to a place where it no longer worked for her. Her realization of this led her through a journey of self-discovery.

Bethany struggled through her own journey of finding her authenticity. She suffered through two years of severe depression and a life time of low self-worth and co-dependency hidden behind the mask of perfection. Through that struggle her strength was born. Now a transformed woman, her passion is to support others in their journey of self- discovery and in re-kindling the latent dreams buried deep within their hearts.

She wrote a book about this journey – her journey into authenticity.  In it, she talks about becoming aware of the sunglasses that she was wearing, that were causing her to experience life a certain way.  For a long time, “life as she believed it to be” was giving her a lot of grief and heartache.

Cherished_sunglasses

I read her book and found it so refreshing, honest and powerful.

Powerful, not because of an out-of-the-world super power.

But powerful, because of a transformation process she was willing to go through, from the inside out.

If you struggle with seeing yourself as valuable, check out her book at http://acherishedwoman.com

Cherished will help you to get where you have always wanted to be, as you learn to live in authentic confidence of who you are – and the value that you have to share with the world!