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

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

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

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

Are you gonna sink or swim?

Why do we get so much push back from ourselves?  Why is it so scary to stand up for yourself and speak your mind and tell someone exactly what you want from them?  If I believe in happiness & that it is something that you create - how can you create happiness with someone if you are afraid to tell someone that something is bothering you?  The short answer is you can't.  So if you can't learn to communicate, be open, honest with yourself and those who love us - how do we ever think we are gonna move past our old BS and pasts?

The truth is trusting someone is so hard to do, but  when you've been betrayed it feels like Mount Everest sometimes? Do we really expect to always be betrayed - I don't believe that at all.  One persons actions does not equal another's.   But what I think is the hardest lesson for me to learn and wrap my brain around is that I betrayed myself first.

So now that life has presented me with amazing opportunity to trust another person - the question remains have I truly learned from my mistakes?  Can I truly trust another completely?  And most importantly will I betray me again?  The problem is there are no easy answers - the only way to test and see if I've learned my lesson  is to truly give this a try.   And, we're not talking about sticking your toe in the water - we're talking about going all the way in so you can't touch the bottom.  So are you gonna sink or swim?  So far I've been swimming but when I freak out, have a melt down about something that really isn't relevant to now and is more about my own insecurities - I feel like I swallow a giant mouth full of water and I'm treading water.  To me treading water is like being stuck.   And,  it comes down to a simple question are you gonna learn to trust and swim or are you gonna stay stuck in fear and eventually sink?  That choice is absolutely yours and I don't know about you but I'm so over being afraid that I'm swimming and never looking back.  :)

Till next time,

Lisa

At what age do we begin to dislike our bodies?

I use to think that there was something wrong with me.  That maybe I was genetically predisposed to being a “Big” girl but I know that is not true.  Sure genetics plays a part but when you have bad eating habits and never move - there is only so much you can blame on your parents as adults.  I am certainly not in a place where I am interested in placing blame, I am in a place where I need to take responsibility for my own actions finally, and I truly believe I have done that an accepted myself for the first time ever in my life.  

But the question that keeps running through my head is at what age do you first notice your body?  At what age do you realize that you are uncomfortable in your own skin?  And what could have been done or could be done right now to help our kids not go down some of the same slipper slopes that I know I  have.  Does the realization that you are “Big” or “Fat” first come when you are picked on in school, or when you recognize that you are not as cute and skinny as some of the other girls?  

I recently visited with one of my best friends and her daughter who is thirteen is making some of the very same discoveries.  As any young lady in her situation, she is having a bit of a hard time right now.  Her body is going through so many changes she’s not sure what to or how to make sense of some of it.  Thinking she was in need of some girlie time, I soon realized girlie time wasn’t something she enjoyed and she had no clue really what that even meant.  Sure she has spent time with her Mom running errands on the weekend even though this time it was specifically for her made no difference to her at all.  She hates shopping whether its for her little brother to get him a new suit or whether she is getting something new, she would sooooo much rather go to the movies and skip the rest.  So my thought was if this darling can’t even wrap her brain around what a treat girl time is - what else do we assume all teens know but we don’t really take the time to explain to them.  Stuff like the importance of washing your face & taking care of your skin, making sure to remember to put on deodorant & perfume, how to style your hair and some of the products that work best, tips on how to put on and experiment with a little makeup, making some time for herself, finding clothes that make her feel cute in and are right for her body type, making better food choices and exercising.  All these may seem obvious to us as adults but they are certainly not so obvious to a young teenager who is trying to find her own way.  The difference these little lessons or tips can and will have on her life could be tremendous if she learns early on that she is truly beautiful on the inside and all this stuff is just helping her outside match the beauty inside.  I know I wish someone would have taken me aside and explained this to me when I was her age.  Sure this is not a one time thing and this is truly an ongoing process that will take some time. 

Speaking of time, when I started sparklewithin.com I was mainly thinking my audience would be women but I decided that young ladies needed this information as much if not more than woman do so I am now working on creating a new website with the focus on some incredible young ladies that will be linked to each other, so wish me luck.  I just can’t sit by knowing I have the tools to make a difference in these young girls lives and not get involved so here goes.  :)  

Till next time,

Lisa