Do You Really See How Pretty You Are?

As crazy as it may seem for most of my life I have never saw who I really was.  Sure I saw the facade I chose to wear when I went to work, a different one when I was with my friends, another one when I was with my family and yet a completely different one when I went home to my ex-husband.  The question is why do we do that?  Why do we think that the person that we are is somehow not capable of being enough in all the different aspects of our lives?  But the real question comes is who are you when no one is around?  Are you pieces of each of your facades? 

I say absolutely I am but, there is more to it than that - more to me but for some reason I have never let anyone see, her.  Is it because I’m really shy?  Is is because I don’t let people in easily?  Is it because I don’t like who I am?  or Is it simply because I don’t believe if I am truly myself that I am worthy?  In retrospect it is all of them and somewhere along the way I finally realized that I was hiding even from myself.  Sure it is easy enough to avoid the mirror - only looking in it to put makeup on, do my hair and make sure my clothes were okay but have I ever really looked in the mirror and saw myself?  Have you ever saw the person staring back and thought  “wow she’s awesome”.  Hell no, I spent too much time avoiding my own eyes, avoiding the body that I hated and tried desperately to cover up the embarrassment so that not even I had to look at it. 

And, I also tried not to listen to my own thoughts too much because I was truly unhappy in so many areas of my life.  So I somehow thought if I stayed busy, really busy I could even avoid my own thoughts.  Cause the truth is when you hate yourself, hate your body, hate your job and know if your heart that you married the wrong person for all of the wrong reasons its not easy to face those truths.  Its not easy to own up to your mistakes and correct them.  Heck where would you even start?  And with which part?  So as I have faced all of my “ugly” truths and all of my fears (or shall I say each one as it comes up);  I have somehow managed to live beyond the misery of myself.  I have found a place of happiness, true contentment that I have never felt in my own skin, love and appreciation for myself and for who I am today. 

Something else came alive in me that I never noticed before or truthfully had the courage to listen to and that was a real desire and need to share what I have learned with as many people as I possibly can so that no one has to go through what I had to struggle with my entire life.  Self hatred, anger, disappointment, hiding from myself were not things that suddenly popped up in my life that had been there for a long, long time and I finally realized that when I looked back on my life and thought there has to be more to life than this?  There has to be more to look forward to everyday than a life that was full of so much anger, sadness, stress, sickness and absolute denial as to how bad life really was.  There had to be more and I can honestly say there truly is now but it took more courage, determination and fight than I thought I had in me to be here today, but I am here.  I am here in such a better place and it all started when I truly saw myself in the mirror for the first time and thought okay no judgment, no ugly thoughts, lets just look and see - get a starting point and I’ll move on from there but I have to truly “SEE ME” not the nasty images or thoughts that I have conjured up in my head over the years but really me, the person looking back at myself in the mirror. 

So my question for you, do reader is who do you see when you look in the mirror?  And do you think he/she is truly awesome for who you are today?  If you do than I am truly thrilled for you beyond belief but my guess is if you are reading this than you are more like me.  So lets do this together - one day at a time.

Till next time,

Lisa

Do you know what it is like to feel beautiful?

First of all when was the last time you felt beautiful?  Do you have a specific outfit? shirt? jacket? dress? something that you wear that you think “Gee I feel beautiful”  and if  feeling beautiful is a stretch for you have you - ever thought you felt “cute”?  Do you even know what pretty even feels like?  For far too long I was so mortified with how I looked, embarrassed by myself because I was so use to beating myself up about how my body turned out that I actually put words in other people’s mouths that they never said instead of bettering my thoughts in my own head.  Have you ever done that?  Has your brain ever taken over and had a conversation for you?   I think it comes with years of unhappiness and everyone who I have met who isn’t happy with themselves has had these type of conversations.

But what I have learned is that even if I have the most gorgeous, fantastic and expensive clothes in my closet if I don’t like the me in them I’m never gonna be pretty.  So you can dress me up but you can’t take the ugly out of me cause its stuck in my head.  It wasn’t until I finally learned to turn down that voice did I ever learn to feel not bad, to okay, to kinda cute, to cute, to adorable and to finally pretty.  And I tell you it is a revelation to feel pretty on a regular basis.  Truth is we all have things in our closet that can be pretty if we only allow our brain to function that way.  When was the last time your brain thought you were pretty?  or that your makeup looked good?  or your hair looked nice?  or that dress was not bad?

My next question is when you feel pretty or cute do you carry yourself differently into the world?  Do people react to you differently when you carry yourself in a different manner?  And the answer is absolutely.  When you are confident and when you carry yourself with an air of self esteem not only do you treat yourself better but so does the world around you.  So why is it that we rarely make the effort to feel pretty?  Why is it that we fail to take the time to take care of ourselves so that we can put our best foot forward?  

I know absolutely when I am dressed like a bum so to speak, I feel crappy, I tend to eat crappy, look crappy, act and react to people in a negative or really nonchalant way.  And I also know that when I take a few extra minutes and put some great makeup on, do my hair and put on something that I’m not hiding my body in, I actually have a better day.  I actually am in a better mood, I actually am way more positive and therefore attract more positiveness to my life from here.  But some days it feels like I just can’t?  So my question is why can’t I?  Why can’t we make a concerted effort to feel pretty about yourself every day?  To turn down that voice in our heads and be the best pretty we can be today?  No judgment just be pretty that is my goal everyday.  I strive to like one think about my appearance every day.  Want to play with me?  How cool would it be if we learned to appreciate ourself a little bit more every single day?   A little self confidence goes a long way.  :)

Till next time.

Lisa

Don’t Be Afraid To Live

Why is it we are programed to believe that what during the course of our lives that we are to strive toward a picture perfect life?  That we are to try and minimize our mistakes and try and come up with every possible solution before we make a decision?  But the truth is there is no such thing as a picture perfect life.  There is no such thing as perfection.  We all make mistakes, but its what we learn from these mistakes that truly makes us who we are.  It’s having to pick yourself up off the floor and dust yourself off that you really learn what you are made of, what you stand for and what matters to you most.  When we try to live our lives and not make waves - are we really living our lives or playing it safe?  We are all gonna love, disappoint and hurt people in our lives and the same is gonna be done to you.  Life is full of surprises and sometimes life just plain stinks cause it has been known to kick you when you are down and force you to hit rock bottom just to make sure you have learned your lesson.  But its when you have taken all the punches life has to give you - and you can look at life and smile and say “It’s gonna take a whole lot more than that to keep me down!!!”   

Sometimes we need to fall down to realize how high we can go, sometimes we need to sleep before we truly know what it is to be awake, sometimes we need to break before we can be grateful for being whole, sometimes we need to quit in order to find real victory, and sometimes we need to let go, in order for the pieces of your life to finally come together.  The only person who can change your life is you.  It took me a while before I really understood that I am responsible for me.  That my choices are my own and that as pathetic or as amazing as my life is - it is my own.  So I’m learning to live my life, and not sit on the sidelines.  How about you?  My new motto is live your life hard with no regrets.  And I’ve stopped trying to be perfect and not make mistakes cause I wouldn’t be half the person I am today had I not been knocked down as many times as I have.  So don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid to not live. 

Till next time,

Lisa

Embrace your curves!

As a former really big girl and someone who always made an effort to hide my body so that no one else would be as grossed out as I was by it - I have to say that I found myself dressing several sizes bigger than I was.  Truth be told I even shopped in the Men’s Department anything so that no one could see me.  But what happens to your own brain is that you start to think of yourself as being bigger than you really are.  In addition, when you are swimming in your clothes you definitely look bigger than you really are - so my question is who are you fooling?  So then what is the answer?  I have to say the only answer is to find clothes that actually fit you.  When you start wearing clothes that actually fit you actually begin to see yourself differently.  I know that sounds basic enough but when you actually put on a blouse that fits with a pair of straighter legged pants instead of the enormous wide legged ones you will find that you may actually start to feel differently about yourself.  Now I realize that doing this once is not gonna make that happen, but if you do this consistently for a week, I promise you - you will start to treat yourself differently and so will the people around you.

I have to say shopping for other people is truly one of my favorite things on earth to do but when I’m shopping for me, my brain still plays tricks on me.  I still gravitate towards the larger sizes even now and some days it makes me laugh.  Nothing better than holding up something or trying on something that is falling off of you and you actually send the sales person for a smaller size.  The truth is before I would have NEVER asked the sales person for help cause I’d rather die than tell someone what size I was, so now I rather enjoy that little victory.  

But as I looked in my closet the other day something hit me pretty hard and that was all of my blouses are still quite flowing, I have one form fitting blouse in my entire closet that I rarely pull out unless I’m really looking to impress.  So the question that rang in my head was - “what if I need to impress someone more than once, then what am I gonna wear?”  Everything in my closet is a different color but mostly similar in style - my Mom calls then “moo moos” and a friend of mind refers to her blouses as her “uniform” or even “schmatas” so my question to you is what does your closet look like?  Is it full of a ton of schmatas?  And what do you wear when you want to impress someone a second or third time?  

So I decided to do something radical and that was go shopping for more form fitting clothes that actually fit me.  But I have to say in the dressing room I almost chickened out cause I still went for the flowing one as opposed to the one that fit close to my body.  I actually came out of the dressing room in the shirt that I thought was too tight and went to see if the shirt came in a bigger size when the sales person caught me as wanted to help me.  So I told her I wanted the same shirt in the next size up and the girl looked at me like I had three heads and said “Why”?  I told her it was too tight and she said “No, it fits you perfectly - wish I had your curves”  Okay at this point I looked at this 19 year old girl and said “I’m sorry but what did you just say?”  And as she repeated this too me, I burst out laughing cause even now when I look in the mirror I don’t see curves and beauty some days - I still see that overweight insecure girl I use to be.  And of course the fact that a 19 year old liked my curves made my freaken week.  So lets just say I went back in the dressing room and took the form fitting ones.  

But my point is, this is a process.  Some days are better than others and we all struggle sometimes. Its important that you recognize how far you have come, it’s important that you appreciate you for the size that you are today and embrace your own curves - they are what makes you, you and beautiful.

Till next time,

Lisa

Eat, Pray and Love

This weekend I had the pleasure of seeing the movie Eat, Pray, Love again with some special girlfriends who I love dearly.  I love this movie and it holds a special place in my heart as the book inspired me to follow in Elizabeth Gilbert's footsteps.  I too had just gone through an ugly divorce and was struggling to feel something again and I decided to do something for me, something I had always wanted to do in an effort to somehow learn to forgive myself, to find myself and to feel something - anything but the deadness that had moved into my heart.

So I went to Italy, by myself for 3 weeks and I have to say that place is truly magical to me as well.  The people, the lifestyle, the passion for living and loving is just nothing I had ever come close to experiencing.  I truly believe they have found the secret to life - to live well, to love with all your heart and to treasure your family.  Somehow here in the US, we seem to loose sight of what is so clear to them over there.  I had spent my entire life building a life instead of living my life.  I was constantly at battle with myself over everything.  Always trying to find some imperfect perfection that could never be achieved. Perfection to the Italians is something they use to describe a meal not something they try to measure themselves by.  They don't live their lives trying to control things actual they seem to embrace even the simplest of things and they do it with flair and style.

I learned to surrender, to stop fighting, to stop pushing myself so damn hard.  I FINALLY realized that beating myself up my whole life had got me nowhere.... the only place it had brought me to was some serious unhappiness.  One small decision after another, more unhappiness and yet a little more. Italy showed me that you can find happiness in a strangers smile.  Happiness can be talking to your best friend, happiness can be in an embrace, happiness does not have to be complicated.  Happiness isn't perfect.  Happiness is a mindset.  You get to chose who you are.  You get to chose how you show up.  You get to chose who you love.  You get to chose how you live your live.  This actually reminds me of a quote from the book: "There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I'm going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts."
— Elizabeth Gilbert

So I'm here to tell you first hand, nothing beats living your life full of passion, love and being the person you are.  Stop trying to be someone who you are not, stop trying to be someone who others expect you to be, stop trying to please everyone else, just be the you who you truly are and you will discover that life has some of the most incredible gifts if you are open to accepting them.

Till next time,

Lisa

Expectations - Theirs or Yours?

We all have expectations of how things should be.  We all have expectations of what we want out of life or even out of just today.  But the question than comes up when you let other people influence your expectations - who’s expectations are they theirs or yours?  When you fail to reach another’s expectations does it make it any easier or harder on you?  And then what happens to what you want, to your expectations?  Do they get lost? Pushed aside? Forgotten?  

All too often we get consumed with trying to please other people, that we forget to learn to please ourself.  If you are a people pleaser like me, I have a hard time remembering that I matter, that what I want counts more than another’s.  It took me a long, long time to realize that if I don’t take care of me first - than I won’t be around to take care of anyone else.  And truth is - its a lesson I seem to keep learning.  I have been last on my own list for so long, I was programed to believe that others wants, needs, desires and dreams meant somehow more than mine.  It wasn’t until my life came crumbling down that I realized that I didn’t even know what I wanted, or what was right for me, or what I needed to fill myself up - because I had been pushing aside me for such a long time.   I felt wrong and selfish for even saying that I wanted something more in my life.  But what I have learned through my life is that you can’t make another happy, until you are happy yourself.  You can’t love another, until you learn to love yourself.  And how can you possible do these things if you don’t even know what you really want because you are so use to pushing ”you” aside.  The answer is you can’t.  You have to learn to listen to your own heart, your own head, create your own life, and create your own expectations.  Stop trying to live someone else’s life.  We only get one life, we only get one shot at this and I know I sure as heck was tired of trying to please everyone else and never able to please myself.

Truly, now that I have but myself first, my life has been enriched a million times over because there is so much more of me to give to others and life is now a gift to me every day as opposed to something that I just had to survive and get through.  What do you think?  Are you living your life according to your expectations or another’s?  And how fulfilled are you?  

Till next time,

Lisa

Find your inner JLo

When was the last time you felt sexy?  Do you even know what it is to be sexy?  or what even makes a woman sexy?  Merrian-Webster defines sexy as generally attractive or appealing.  But to me sexy is more than that.  When you think of some of the sexiest people in Hollywood Jennifer Lopez always comes to mind, sure there are others but for me she epitomizes what sexy looks like.  You may think of someone else and that is totally fine, but my question to you is what is it about them that makes them sexy?  Sure they all have nice bodies, carry themselves a certain way and they exude confidence.  So then my question for you is confidence sexy?

I know my body is a constant work in progress as I am finally learning to love it and appreciate it as it is right now - so then the question comes up in my own brain do I have to wait to look like JLo to be sexy?  And I have to tell you for the first time ever the response surprised me cause it was Hell NO...  There are plenty of people who are sexy and aren’t a size two, being sexy is a state of mind not a dress size.  So why not add a little sexy to your day?  Why not surprise yourself and be attractive and appealing, we all know how to do that.  What is it that holds us back?  For me I know I’m out of practice, truly I don’t think I’ve ever felt particular sexy ever but then isn’t that my fault?  Absolutely, don’t let your brain give you some false images or false misconceptions or false talk to think that you can not be sexy cause that’s just plain silly.  

So I decided to sike myself out and try something new.  I have decided to do things that boost my confidence levels which for me includes working out and eating really healthy are always the best places to start.  I also decided to try on some clothes in the back of my closet that were a little snug and I have to say I was pleasantly thrilled cause they fit (hence the extra working out),  I also decided to pull out a pair of strappy shoes that I save for special occasions and pull out a pair of sexy underwear and guess what - when I had them on I felt sexy, I felt more like a woman, I felt more confident.  So why not do this every day - why does this have to be reserved for special occasions?  Isn’t every day that you are above ground a special occasion or possible could be?  So my challenge to you is to put on those strappy shoes, find clothes that fit your body and add some sexy undies to your life no one has to know.  :)  

Till next time,

Lisa

Flirt Away...

Okay as silly as it may seem, I have recently realized I have no idea how to flirt?  Sure I have been out on dates, hell I was even married, but what is funny to me is that I always seem to miss cues of interest from the opposite sex.  Why is that?  How could that be?  Or is it that I’m flirting and didn’t even know I was flirting?  Sure we all know people who are unbelievable flirts and who get tons of attention from the opposite sex and whatever it is I do just is way, way more subtile than that.  So the question is - Is it better to be a full on flirt or is it okay to flirt just a little?  I have to say that it absolutely depends on the person.

I can tell you though that after spending a lifetime trying to be invisible and hiding even to myself the art of flirting somehow has escaped me or at least that is how I feel.   When someone pays attention to you and you have programed yourself to not be seen suddenly being noticed is scary, uncomfortable, feels downright ridiculous sometimes and okay a little flattering.

If the other person is looking at you, smiling at you and makes a cute comment to you  (it couldn’t possible mean he’s interested in you) so I respond without thinking and smile back ever so sweetly yup I’m flirting even if I didn’t know it.  What I have finally realized is the negative self talk and the bad body images that I have carried with me has led me to think that I actually have no clue how to flirt.  Truth is I flirt all the time and don’t even know it.  How about you?  Do you know how to flirt?  Do you know what kind of signals you are sending out and are they the right ones?  And when you get a signal back can you read them correctly?  

I think for me when you don’t see yourself as pretty or beautiful or like you have something incredible to offer and someone pays you a compliment or shows an interest in you - you don’t believe them.  You doubt yourself way too much to believe that you could be desirable to another.  Guess when you feel so bad about yourself, you put on your own protective armor when you go out and it takes someone pretty fantastic to put a dent in it.  But the question becomes how many dents before you start to believe in yourself that gee you might be attractive to the opposite sex and gee you actually might be worth making an effort for.  So for me flirting comes down to confidence in who you are and how you look and being able to portray that to the people outside your inner sanctuary.  Confidence is something that is hard to come by most days when you don’t like what you look like and when you hide from yourself and it absolutely makes sense that it would carry on into other things like finding a great man in your life.

But for me, I never realized just how much “pretending” that I had confidence and actually having confidence could make in your life and how it spills over into ever aspect of your life.  Which includes meeting new people and yes flirting and having fun with it.  So I have a new game plan and that is to pay more attention to how people respond to me and look for the verbal and non-verbal cues that someone else is sending me.  Want to play along too and just see how great of a flirt you can become?  Hee!Hee!

Till next time,

Lisa

Follow your heart

Why is it sometimes that we get something in our minds and we can’t let it go?  Is it that we sometimes try to hard, or is it that we are programed to not fight for what we want any more?  It sure is easier to say you changed your mind as opposed to not followed your dreams?  I have found myself lately revisiting several of these questions as things in my life have suddenly taken a turn and I have an opportunity to possibly rewrite a few regrets in life that I never followed through on.  And I find myself coming back to how I feel about me and how I feel about my body are really key factors in whether or not I face some of the demons or run from them again.

In the past, my insecurities took over and the not so magical voice inside my head would fill me with doubts of all the reasons why I wasn’t good enough, why I couldn’t possibly try something so crazy and why I would never be given a chance and I would cave.  I would suddenly decide that something wasn’t right for me even though in my heart I knew that it was.  Have you ever done that?   Have you ever given into your insecurities and then changed your mind?  Why is it so hard to admit what we truly want in life and go after it with all you have inside of you, cause at least if you don’t make it - you will have given it your best shot and not live with a lifetime of regrets of what if I only had tried?

I find myself in uncharted territories right now cause the voice inside my head has stopped harassing me and all that I am left is the question of why not?  Why couldn’t I do this?  Why can’t I face my fears and just get out of my own damn way?  And I realize that the reason the voice inside my head has stopped harassing me is because I have finally learned to accept myself for who I am today, not who I want to be, not who I could be when I’m a certain weight or dress size but who I am today - right where I am now.  Once you face that and learn to accept who you are and where you are in your life it is sooooo much easier to face your fears when you are not being bogged down with all this extra pressure that negative voice adds.  The negative voice only ever feeds your insecurities never helps calm them down.  So I’m finally learning that the key to any success in life is turn off the negative voice inside your head and follow your heart even if sometimes its scary and makes no sense even to yourself - you have to learn to trust yourself before you can truly go after your dreams.

So my tip for today is listen to your heart and get out of your own head.  What do you think good plan?  How about you start listening to your own heart and quieting down that voice in your own head?

Till next time,

Lisa

Getting off the self-sabotage merry-go-round

Why is that sometimes when things finally start to go our way - we over think things or do things that really don’t make sense to us that set us back a bit?  Is it that we don’t believe in ourselves that much that we start to sabotage our own success or is it that we think that we’re not worthy?  I think its a little of everything,  cause when you grow up being overweight and never quite feeling like you fit in or you feel like you have to constantly prove yourself - it leaves with you feeling like you just aren’t enough.  Or maybe that’s what your head tells you, I’m not sure I can differentiate.  

Feeling like you aren’t enough and that you aren’t worthy is truly an awful place to be cause once you get that set in your head, you carry that with you for years and years.  You have no idea how stupid thoughts like this can effect you but when you believe them and believe that this is who you are, you are in for a lot of hurting to come.  I can tell you from first hand experience on this one, when you believe that you are not worthy it does something to you and you begin to make choices because you think this is the best that you can do or you begin to dream smaller because you don’t believe in yourself enough to go for what you truly want.  And I am here to tell you this is NO PLACE TO BE....  Truly, if you don’t believe in yourself than no one else will.  And even if by some miracle you are lucky enough to have others around you who believe in you more than you do yourself - you won’t believe them in your heart.  Its a viscous cycle that once you start is super hard to stop but I’m here to say you can stop, you can get off the merry-go-round to no where.  It will take some work and truly the amount of work that you will have to do depends on how deep you have imprinted this in your soul.

For me it all started with a question and that “Did I deserve that?”  I may not have felt worthy but did I deserve the things that were happening to me? and around me? and in my life?  And my answer was a resounding NO, I deserved better.  So if I deserved better than obviously I had to believe that I was worthy of something - now wasn’t I?  Was I worthy of being treated kindly?  Was I worthy of being loved?  Was I a good friend?  Was I a good daughter?  Was I a good wife?  All of these answers were definitely a YES.  But for me it wasn’t until I started asking myself better questions about myself, it wasn’t until I realized that I deserved better even from myself that I was able to make several shifts and step of the merry-go-round that I was often stuck on.  It takes guts and courage to stop the madness  (which is the stream of BS running through my head) sometimes I even falter still but I catch myself falling into old patterns of thinking super negatively or trying to push things away and not deal with them at all.  You ever get like that?  Ever just want to run away from the thoughts in your head, just silence them for a while so you can think clearly?

I have actually found sometimes that if I immerse myself in a good book for a while, I can turn down the voices in my head enough to have a few coherent thoughts and then am able to ask myself some really key questions, that are my secrets to dealing with me.  

  1. What am I really freaking out about?  
  2. What can I do right now to easy some of my own anxiety?  (non-food related)
  3. What did I do that makes me feel like I don’t/do deserve this?
  4. Who can I call/email/see that will help me through this?
  5. How can I make today better for me?

I try and answer as many of these questions as I can cause they absolutely make me stop, re-evaluate and move in a more positive direction than before.  I’m definitely not saying that this is easy and I can assure you that the answer to number two is not go to the frig and start eating out of anxiety cause it is 1000% not the answer and only make you feel worse and takes you way longer to move forward from when you reach for bad food and the guilt cycle begins.  Making bad food choices is the catalysis for several of the reasons that got you here in the first place so breaking that pattern is a must.  So want to try with me - to break some of your old patterns that aren’t working for you?  It will take some time but if you stick with it, it does get easier and believing in yourself won’t be so foreign even to you!

Till next time,

Lisa

“Good” Friends Are A Gift You Give Yourself

You know you are blessed in your life when your friends and family see you as more than you do.  You know that you are blessed when people want more for you than they want for themselves.  And you know you are blessed when these amazing people in your life hold you to a higher standard.  They remind you to follow your dreams and to not settle for anything less than who you can be.

It’s never easy chasing dreams no matter how big or small.  It takes guts, courage, strength, sacrifice, and love to believe that you deserve the opportunity to bring these things into your reality.  You have to put down your fears of the unknown.  You have to put down your fears of self-doubt.   You have to put down your fears that you you simply aren’t enough.  And, throw caution to the wind and  JUST GO FOR IT, even if everyone thinks you are crazy or they don’t understand.  

For far to long in my life I tried to please everyone, I tried to put my wants and needs second to everyone else’s and the only thing that got me was a lifetime of feeling like I was somehow less than I could have been.  It wasn’t until I realized that what I wanted and what I thought was important even if no one else thought so.  One of the hardest truths  for me to realize was that I was the only one that I had to face in the mirror and explain myself to.  Ya see when you stop listening to your heart and you kill your own spirit - you are only half of the person that you can be.  And as a half a person, you can never find happiness, you don’t believe in yourself and you rarely  follow through on your dreams .

So I have to say now when friends and family don’t understand my choices I just smile and no longer feel the need to change their minds.  That is their opinion, its not mine.  I appreciate them, I’m happy that they are in my life but they don’t live my life.  They are not me.  There job is not to always understand me, but to love me and support me.  I no longer live my life looking for approval and needing to please everyone anymore cause you can never make everyone happy.    The only thing that did was burn me out and left me feeling empty.  Empty because I didn’t try and believe in myself enough to go for what I wanted.  

There is a Gabonese Proverb that says “Bad friends prevent you having good friends”.  Good friends love you no matter what. Good friends push you to be better than you are.  Good friends challenge you.  And a good friend believes in you even when you don’t.  So don’t let bad friends hold you back because they are jealous, envious, or simply don’t understand.  Be your own best friend and surround yourself with lots and lots of good friends.  “Good” friends are a gift that you give to yourself - my update to Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous quote.  And love those friends who stop you from remembering who you are from afar. 

Life is too short to be half of the person you can be.

Till next time,

Lisa

Hating Yourself A Little Less

I happened to catch the last few minutes of an old program called Huge the other day.  Its was ABC Family show that is based on a group of kids attending fat camp and learning to make better choices and how to better understand why they overeat.  As a former fat kid I could certainly relate but I have to say the last few minutes of the show have stayed with me.  Wil is the lead girl, (played by Nikki Blonsky) and she asks  the Director, Dr. Rand (played by Gina Torres) who is now thin “So do you still  hate yourself?”  And the director replied “A little less now”  And Wil didn’t like her answer and was like “That’s it, that’s the big secret”.  It was such a great moment in the show and it parallels life so much.  Sometimes as the fat kid you long to be the skinny girl but you never realize that the skinny girl may be desperately afraid that she’s not enough either and she has her own issues too.  

As a big girl who is now a normal sized woman I can tell you I have the same insecurities that I did back then they are just a little less.  Some days you still hate yourself, some days you like yourself a little more - that never really goes away.  But the good days definitely outweigh the bad ones now.   Some days you do every thing you can to avoid a mirror or getting your picture taken I think more out of habit than necessity now.  And, I still have a tough time accepting compliments and have been known to look behind me because I think, “he’s not talking to me”.  It is the craziest thing going from trying to hide and not being noticed to people looking up and smiling when you walk into a room.  I have come to understand it requires a different kind of confidence in yourself that I certainly never had before.  

We are all just people, we all have the same basic needs to be loved and it is truly unbelievable at the lengths that people go through sometimes to get love.  And when you have been hurt in the past we have a tendency to put up walls and sometimes those walls become part of our appearance and our part of our identity.  

It’s moving past those wall, putting the insecurities down, believing in yourself and finding an inner confidence that you never knew you had that helps you “Hate yourself a little less today”  and one day you’ll be able to “Fully embrace the woman and the beauty that shines from within you”.

Till next time,

Lisa

I'll try?

What is it about the word trying that really gets to me?  I’ll try to be better.  I’ll try to be on time.  I’ll try, I’ll try but do we ever mean it?  Why is it that when we say that word, it feels more like a cop out to me?  If I really want something or if I am really committed to something there is no I’ll try involved.  There is a heck of a lot of I’ll make it happen, I’ll rearrange this, I’ll do’s but there is never any I’ll tries that I have found myself successful at anything?  

So why is it every time I think about working out “I’ll try” is the first thing that pops into my head.  Maybe it’s because I have been injured quite a bit - some even of my own doing.  Its almost like finally get to the gym and for whatever reason once I walk in those doors whether I was there yesterday, a few days ago or even a month ago I feel this urge that I have to bust my butt to push myself harder and harder cause there is no other way.  And to be honest I’m tired.  I’m too tired to work out like that anymore.  Its not working for me.  Maybe it’s cause of all the injuries and visits to the Chiropractor that I am finally starting to feel better the last thing I really want to do is push myself and hurt myself again so “I’l try” which really means to me “I’d rather not” or “Do I have to?” certainly no where near the “I’ll do it” that I know it takes to be successful and to make exercising a more consistent part of my life every day. 

So the question then for me has become “How can I make this happen?”  “How can I find a way to workout on a consistent basis and not hurt myself or I’ll try myself to death?”  And it was like someone switched on a light bulb in my head.  It is me who has the messed up notion of what it means to workout and exercise - no one said it has to be no pain no gain.  You know maybe I have been watching too much Julian Michaels lately :0) as I hear her screaming in my head.

But something switched inside of me as I finally realized that there is more than one way to exercise. It doesn’t have to be all about pushing myself to my limits everyday.  So I opted to take a Pilates Class for the first time ever and I have to say yeah I certainly need practice but it was a welcome change to feel my muscles stretching and elongating instead of feeling so tight that they were gonna snap.  So for the first time in I can’t remember when the thought of “I can do this” is wringing in my ears.  I can workout and not have to hurt.  So now the thought of what else can I do?  What else could work for me?  What could be fun and not hurt?  

It’s crazy but the power of questions and what you say to yourself on a regular basis, truly have an impact on your life.  So when you change it up a bit, you change what you focus on.  I was too busy trying to protect myself from getting hurt that I didn’t see that I had other options.  But when I finally asked better questions the answers came to me immediately.  So then my question to you is, what better questions could you be asking yourself?  and where do you “try” in your own life?

Till next time,

Lisa

Faking Yourself Out?

A friend of mine has recently reminded me what it is to just have absolute blind faith, throw caution to wind, move several states away and just follow your bliss and your dreams.  Sure we all have dreams, goals that just seem out of reach but what would happen if you stopped giving yourself excuses and went after your dreams with everything you have?  Would that be the end of your world?  I say most definitely, it would be THE END OF THE WORLD AS YOU KNOW IT, but would that really be the end of the world, NO!  

Do you have that kind of courage?  Do you have that much belief in yourself?  Do you have that much conviction in your dreams? These have been the thoughts that have been running around in my head as today is his big moving day and I have to say I have been surprised by my thoughts of “WHY NOT?” that keep coming up for me.  

If we do not have faith in ourselves, in our abilities and have the courage to stand up for what we believe in -  than are we really even living our own lives?  In the past, I had wasted so much time not living my life, living the life some one else thought I should have that now that I have the opportunity to live life on my own terms, I find that I am sometimes still riddled with conversations of the past telling me all the reasons why I can’t and the worst part is I start believe those voices.  Intellectually, I know how ridiculous this sounds but that crap still creeps in.  

So when does it ever go away?  The answer to that question is, when you stop caring what other people think, when you stop letting others insecurities and fears cloud you’re own judgment and you go after your own life and your own dreams on your own terms.  So I’d like to say thank you to my friend Anthony for reminding me that you are only as good as you believe you are.  I hope New York is ready for you my friend, best of luck and I’m so proud of you.  You are an inspiration!  :)  

Till next week,

Lisa

Best in everyone else, worst in me!

Why is that sometimes we can’t see people for who they are-  but who we want them to be?  I have a definite problem with this and struggle with this in my own life.  I have always been the kind of person who sees the best in everyone.   I think my downfall is that I sometimes see so much more than the person does and then I get hurt or disappointed when I believe in someone more than they do.  Oprah has a tremendous quote that I really think I absolutely need to take to heart and that is “people will show you who they are, our job is to believe them”  for me I never do.  I always give people the benefit of the doubt until they prove me wrong and you know what they usually do.  And why is that?  Because I never believed what they showed me the first time around.

Its kinda crazy I have complete faith in someone else but very little in me?  Why is that?  Why is it that I can see the best in someone else but see only the worst in me?  Why can’t I look beyond myself and give myself the benefit of the doubt?  I guess the answer is because I was waiting for someone else to see my own potential.  I have been waiting my whole life for someone to notice that there is more to me than meets the eye and the truth is no one ever did; but, that was because I became really good at protecting myself.   As someone who not only didn’t like the way I looked on the outside I let it effect the way I felt about the kind of person I was on the inside, so much so that I started to really dislike all of me and no longer only parts of me.  Have you ever done that?  Ever hated the way you looked so much that you made it personal cause that is exactly what I did.  Truth is the person that it hurt the most was definitely myself.  Its hard to let someone in to love you when you hate who you are.  That other person never stands a chance, cause when you think of yourself as less than - you keep others at arms length afraid that they may learn you secret.  So of course they disappoint you but I’ve come to understand that this is your fault not theirs.  If you can’t be honest enough with yourself and who you are -  than how can you possibly be honest, truly honest with another?  In actuality your lying to someone, so the question is then who are you lying to yourself of the person/people that you love?

Being honest with yourself takes courage and strength and may be one of the hardest things you may do but it is truly a lesson we must all learn.  Where you are right now in your life?  Don’t make it better or worse just be honest with yourself and from this place you can move in a path of your own choosing.  I find it utterly ridiculous and quite disheartening that I have had so little faith in myself and have spent so much time protecting myself from people who could hurt me that I’ve missed out on some pretty incredible people as well as myself all of these years.  

So I have adopted a new plan and that is to have faith in myself, to believe in me - quiet the doubts that sometimes seem to consume my head space and also to take people as they show themselves to be.  How about you what are your plans?

Till next time,

Lisa

 

Broken promises to yourself

Have you ever made a promise to yourself that tomorrow would be different?  that tomorrow you would exercise?  that tomorrow you would eat better?  that tomorrow you would make better choices?  I think we all do this to ourselves all of the time and its a really bad practice to get into.  When you can’t keep your own promises to yourself, what do you think that does to your own self-esteem?  to your own belief in yourself?  and to that annoying voice in the back of your head that always reminds you that you are not good enough?  It gives them power over yourself - you make that damn voice louder in your head cause you’ve given it more references to remind you why you can’t succeed the next time you fully intend to.  And quite honestly, I’m beyond sick of the crap that makes its way into my brain when I’m trying a new challenge or trying something completely new for the first time.

I finally have learned to turn down the volume of this negative voice - a friend of mine calls this voice the “Wizard” its not magical in any way but it sure seems to think it knows all doesn’t it?  It sure has an unsolicited opinion about everything I want to do.  I’ve learned that when I really want something, I get excited and start to make moves in a positive direction but then the “Wizard” magically shows up.  And the question is - why and where does he come from?  The “Wizard” is simply all of your fears and insecurities all rolled up in one really loud voice.  And it seems the more you have given into this voice - the louder he thinks he is and the more influence he has over you.  The absolutely only way to turn down his volume is to keep on going after what I want and to reach my goals.  The more goals I reach the less power he has over me and the less and less I pay attention to him.

So I started small and learned to keep the promises that I make to me and this absolutely keeps me in check.  It reminds me to make sure my goals are realistic cause every time I follow through the “Wizard” has less and less power to influence me.  And as the goals get bigger they are so much easier to reach when there isn’t a really loud, annoying voice playing in your head giving you a laundry list of why you’ll never have what you want.   What do you think, want to play with me and turn off your own “wizard” in  your own head?  We’ve all heard the saying “to thine own self be true” I’d like to add keep the promises you make to yourself, they are greatest and simplest gift you can give to yourself.

Till next time,

Lisa

Do you ever really have control?

You know it's funny, I have always considered myself a bit of a control freak and when I have no control over a situation, I feel like a caged animal ready to attack or to run for me there has never been much of any other option.  So I recently took a look back at the events in my life to try and figure out how I can break this pattern cause I'm exhausted and over always trying to control every little detail of my life.  Have you ever felt that way?  I finally realized that I am a self-described control freak because I'm one big ball of fear.  

When my life felt upside-down, I realized that I then tried to control as many things in my life as I possible could because I felt so out of control and unhappy with my own life.  Have you ever done that?  Have you ever tried to control everything for fear that if you didn't things would get worse?  But I finally realized that the reason I have become such a control nutcase even today is because I have lived my life in a state of fear for so long and I finally realized where that fear came from, it came from me!  

I made certain concessions, even though I knew I shouldn't in my life, I settled for less than I should have but I have always that that since I made those decisions I was in control.  Could it be possible that I was DEAD WRONG?  I think it is very possible that because I thought less of me, I settled for less than what I deserved and I was miserable - that I then scrounged around and had to control everything else around me for fear that I would give away more or settle for less than once again.  Not really addressing the main issue but merely trying to cover it up once again.  

So I took away my own trust in me, my own trust in people and tried to hide behind my shield of power and control.  You can only hide and protect yourself for so long and then eventually you realize that if you don't deal with your crap from your past, you bring it into your present and eventually your future.  And the really cool thing is when you can make the correlation, you notice what you are doing and you are able to make better and informed decisions going forward.   For me, I also realized that this isn't just about being out of control in one area in my life because that certainly flows over into my relationship that I have with myself, with my body and with food.  When your life feels out of control - what or who do you turn to?  And when you are trying to gain that control back - what do you obsess about that you then tend to try and over control or over analyze?  Just some questions ratting around in my head, isn't that what life is all about learning from your mistakes and moving forward?  I sure as heck think so.  So I'm trying a new thing, I'm giving up my self-imposed title of control freak and gonna try really, really hard to trust and to be honest and to love myself and stop trying to hide behind a false sense of bravado.

Till next time,

Lisa

Confidence?

How is it that we can be competent in our lives, we can handle just about anything that life has to throw at us, we can juggle a million things at one time yet we still feel somehow inadequate within ourselves?  How is it that possible when so many people depend on us and look to us for so much yet when the world quiets down around us we are not happy with the person looking back at ourselves in the mirror?  I have to say I use to live here, I use to be Superwoman so to speak for everyone else but myself.  I use to forget to put myself on my own to do list of 50 things in a day.  After some serious life changing events that occurred in my life I have finally learned to rearrange my priorities and have put me on my own to-do list.  This is a hugely important step as I have talked about before, but what I have also come to understand that just by adding myself to a laundry list of things to do that’s not enough - its only a start.  

Its only the start because you have to follow through everyday.  You have to make a conscious decisions everyday to be true to you.  You have to actually retrain your brain that you are important - that what you want is important.  As a natural caregiver it is so easy to sacrifice yourself for others.  Its almost automatic for me to just put love ones before me that this takes some serious focus and some serious time just to figure out what I need today.  I have found that when you just go through the motions of the day, when you get into a routine and you get busy - I never have time for myself.  There just are not enough hours in the day.  I take time.  I take scheduling.  I take planning.  And the truth is somedays you just feel like you do enough of that in your day and that you are exhausted and you just can’t do one more thing.  And I have come to realize that this is BS, seriously.  You make time for what is important in your life.  You can move freaken mountains if we have to.  We all know we have, we have all looked back at days or times in our life where you were like how did I do all that?  The truth is when we get in the zone and time just flies.  So I am here to remind you that its time to get you into your own zone.  Its time to make sure that you plan time for you.  First thing in the morning map out your day or do it the night before and figure out how to squeeze out time for you and/or move things around to take care of yourself and be kind to yourself.  Get up earlier, plan some quiet time, or go to bed a little later whatever it is that works for you.  I can promise you that it is worth it.  You are worth it.  Cause when you make time for you and you get into the habit of making time for you, you will begin to feel differently about yourself.  You will carry yourself differently.  You will handle things differently.   You will be able to actually take care of more things when you have already taken care of you.  You will find yourself in a more positive frame of mind.  You will begin to appreciate things again.  And the coolest thing is you will actually start to feel more confident and more secure within yourself when you make better choices on a consistent basis.  You deserve to walk around every day feeling confident, don’t you think?  Give yourself the gift of confidence, it is one of the greatest gifts that you can give yourself.  I guarantee you that you will see your life through new eyes when you give yourself this gift and so will others.  So make time for you, every day it is soooooo important and you are more than worth it and its about time to remember that - don’t ya think?

Till next time,

Lisa

Angels among us

Support systems are crucial to all of us.  They are a select group of special people in our lives that champion for us even when we don’t - these people are truly among life’s most amazing gifts.  I have been truly blessed in my life to have a few people who have been there with me through thick and thin, who have always somehow found a way to say the right thing at the right time, and who have truly made my life better because of them.  If it weren’t for these incredible people, I have no idea where I would be today.  I am extremely grateful that these “angels “are in my life.   And I truly hope that everyone has an angel or two in you own life who you can be honest with, who knows you at the depths of your soul, and who can lift you when you need it most.  These people can be your mom, dad, best friend, long-time friend or even a new friend that you really click with on a different level but they truly help shape the person that you are.  I also hope that you get to return the favor and be there for them when they need you the most.  

I have always believed that people come into our lives for a reason and if you feel bad about yourself you have a tendency to withdraw and hide a bit, even from ourselves sometimes.  This is no place to be.  Learned that lesson the hard way - that this is not living at all.  Not being present is robbing your friends and family of the beauty of who you are.  So why do we do that?  I have found for me that this was because of some silly and/or dumb fear that I manifested in my own head.  These fears popped up because I was feeling uncertain about myself, or about a situation, or about the people around me.  So I would shut down and cut myself off; but, then I realized that I was missing way to much of life and I was missing the joy of meeting the people who were coming into my life.  I never got to know the beauty of who they were or vice versa and I felt like I had cheated myself.  I would actually catch myself sometimes, shutting down right in front of people and I decided it was time for a major change.  Now, if you meet me I’m way more open and outgoing and even when I am still uncomfortable I still make myself be present and meet new people with a smile.  So I’d like to offer you a challenge of sorts, be bold, be present and become an angel to someone around you.  The world would be such a better place if it were filled with the amazing gifts of ourselves coming from a place of love and kindness.  Not to mention the fact that when you give an act of kindness like that I believe the universe gives that kind of kindness back to you tenfold so you really have nothing to loose and only fabulousness to gain.  Don’t you think?

Till next time,

Lisa