A manifesto is a collection of values, intentions or philosophies of a group or individual. Here is the Truly Me Manifesto. All these principles and values form the backbone for all the content created for you.
Thank you for checking this out! Let me know in the comments which one(s) you resonate with the most.
At first, Shrek struggled to accept himself; he thought that because he was an Ogre, nobody would ever love him. He assumed everyone would hate him and so he found it hard to love or accept himself. He had a negative view of who he was.
Fiona lived with a secret—she went from princess to Ogre every day when the sun went down. She was terrified that people would find out who she was and consequently judge her. She felt like an outcast and a freak; she couldn’t accept the fact that she was part princess and part Ogre.
The turning point for both of them came when they met Donkey and, of course, each other.
What does this have to do with self-acceptance? First of all, weaving my favorite characters into a blog post is so much fun! Second of all, don’t be fooled by animated movies. A lot of them deliver powerful messages about life. And no, I haven’t been smoking the wacky tobacky.
Take a look at some of the lessons that Shrek and Fiona deliver (all with cleverly-timed comic relief and Shrek’s delightful Scottish accent):
1. Self-acceptance comes in the form of a mirror
Sometimes we can’t see how wonderful we are so the Universe sends a friend or lover along to relay the message. Donkey repeatedly offered his friendship to Shrek until Shrek finally realized that he was a pretty great Ogre after all. Think of the people in your life who stand by you and tell you how amazing you are. They are here to tell you what you may not be able to accept about yourself. Try to see yourself through an admirer’s eyes.
2. Self-acceptance means loving all of yourself
Fiona overcomes the spell she is under the moment she accepts all of herself. She sheds the shame of not living up to what she thinks she’s supposed to be (a beautiful princess) and embraces her duality (light and shadow). The gift in this is when she realizes that Shrek loves her for being an Ogre. She evolves into the beautiful Fiona—the princess or Ogre aspects are no longer important. The point is that she accepted who she was and then the miracles unfolded. Accept yourself as you are and watch how others respond to you. More often than not, people are drawn to those who are authentic.
3. Self-acceptance is a risk
Shrek takes a risk in the movie; he accepts Donkey into his life. In other words, he lets someone in. He had to get to the point where he accepted himself enough to realize that Donkey wanted to be part of his life. Shrek took the risk and opened up; he found true friendship. However, just because we accept ourselves doesn’t mean that we are accepted by everyone else. Fiona tried to hide who she was, but when it was revealed that she was part Ogre, the Lord Farquaad rejected her. When others reject us for who we are it is painful. This doesn’t mean that our response would be to reject ourselves. This means that the person is not the right fit for us. They are not meant to come on our life journey with us. That’s ok. This realization is liberating; we can accept ourselves even when others don’t. We can make more room for those who love us for who we are. A note about family—sometimes our family members don’t accept us. Again, this doesn’t mean that we have to believe them or agree with their view of us. Our opinion of ourselves is all that matters.
The next time you start to reject yourself, think about Shrek, Fiona, Donkey and friends living happily ever after as themselves, in the swamp. Or at the very least, they are living as happily as they can when faced with killjoys like Lord Farquaad, Rumpelstiltskin and the Fairy Godmother.
Don’t leave me hanging.
Hanging from the cliff, dangling over the chasm of wanting.
Looking down but trying not to look down.
Don’t look at me now because I’m ashamed.
I hang my head because you caught me. Caught me reaching out.
Caught me needing, kneeling over my own glass statue. Shielding it with my wary embrace.
Don’t look at me now—my face is embarrassed.
You caught me between poses.
In between stages. In between rehearsals.
Suspended between carefully orchestrated deliberations.
Don’t judge what I’m doing. I do it with blindness.
Without a reliable script.
I love you.
I love you through your uncertainty,
your desperate grasping of another,
frantic groping for a plug to stop this sink.
I love you.
I love you through the shiny mirages,
the race to the horizon,
The realization of an empty sandy landscape.
I love you.
I love you through the utter humiliation of obvious need,
your naked body in the dream where you forgot to dress,
The revealing that seems so involuntary.
I love you.
I love you for your striving, for running to goal posts.
I love you for beating yourself at your own time.
I love you for wanting. For needing.
For despairing. For grasping.
For struggling. For reaching.
I don’t hold this against you. I hold you against me.
I wrap my arms around you and stoke the flames of your raging bonfire.
I love you.
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Sometimes when life gives us lemons, we say “screw the lemonade--this sucks!” We may feel like crap and that’s just the way it is. Maybe our business is not doing well or we’re fighting with our spouse or we just feel like a shadow is blocking our sun. In essence, we’re feeling unmotivated and broody or we lack the energy to enjoy things that we normally would. Nobody wants to feel like this for long, so what can we do?
I’ve put together my favorite words of encouragement as well as a couple of wildly insightful life observations to help you feel like yourself again. I use these words for myself and in fact I just put them to the test this morning. The first quote I read made me cry like a baby—check. Operation Eleanor Encouragement in full effect!
1. Never give up—this quote by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, has encouraged me throughout my life. The words are deeply profound in their simplicity—isn’t that always the way? This is the quote that got the tears flowing and opened my heart a little wider. Use this if it resonates with you as a way back home when the small and large circumstances in your life veer you off course.
Never give up
No matter what is going on
Never give up
Develop the heart
Too much energy in your country is spent
Developing the mind instead of the heart.
Be compassionate not just to your friends but to everyone
Be compassionate. Work for peace in your heart and in the world.
Work for peace and I say again
Never give up.
No matter what is happening, No matter what is going on around you,
Never give up.
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama
More beautiful inspiration below:
2. Do what you can with what you have and where you are-Teddy Roosevelt. I love this one. Each piece of the quote is a beautiful invitation to self-acceptance.
- Do what you can—you can only literally do what you can. There is no other way. Again, this truth is profoundly simple and simply profound.
- With what you have—whatever set of circumstances, capacities, talents and abilities that you have, that is what you have to work with. Nothing more, nothing less. There is great relief in this truth. You don’t have to try to be something you are not. You simply work with what you have to take you where you need to go. Dream big but don’t set yourself up for what is not in the cards for you.
- Where you are—this refers to the stage of life you’re in, the experiences you’re having and your mental/emotional state. It doesn’t mean you can’t go elsewhere, but it does mean that you need to accept this moment first. It all starts with acceptance and awareness—where are you right now?
3. Circling the drain—when I feel as if I’m going around in circles, sometimes I can mistakenly think that I’m going down the drain. In other words, I feel like I’m spiraling downwards into oblivion. This is when I remind myself that the world operates in a vortex of energy; this energy is constantly spiraling. The spirals move upwards and downwards. That’s the truth. So, instead of thinking that I’m spiraling down the drain, I think of it as up-leveling. I’m going around in circles yes, but I’m spiraling with the motion of life itself. Whether I’m moving up or down, nothing is static and there is no judgement in that. I can be spiraling down to a certain point, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not evolving and growing. Whether up or down I’m always up-leveling in terms of growth and expansion. Change your outlook and you’ll feel an immense lightening of the soul-try it!
My final words of encouragement would be this: don’t go AWOL on yourself. Stay with the experience, accept yourself in all ways and trust in the fact that this too shall pass. Lots of blessings to you!
What encourages you when you feel down? Comment below!
Feeling disconnected and like something is missing in your life? Sign-up to receive my free mini-class here and discover how to connect with yourself again:
When you form the word NO and let it pass your lips what does it feel like? Ick? Can’t do it? Guilt shower? Does your mouth even go like that? Since we obviously can’t very well go through life without the use of the word NO, let’s get to the bottom of this!
My first approach to anything in my life is to ask some questions—either out loud or in my journal.
- What kind of person am I when I say NO?
- What will others think of me if I say NO?
- What consequences will I suffer if I say NO?
Anything interesting come up for you there? Sometimes you let things rattle around in your brain for a few days and then all of a sudden—eureka! Major insight happens.
Now that we’ve delved a little deeper with the questions, we can move onto some psychological beliefs we may have about saying NO
- Do I identify as someone who doesn’t say NO? Who would I be if I started to say NO? At times our identity can be a real jail cell. If we live our lives confining ourselves within the bars we’ve created, we miss out on plenty of experiences. Life becomes a very small arena of circumstances.
- Does saying NO really mean that I’m a bad person or unworthy or undeserving in life? This may sound harsh but believe me the subconscious doesn’t pull any punches. Examine whether these beliefs resonate with you and just through this awareness you may find that the pull of their influence starts to lessen.
- Do I live my life with the belief that I’m someone who only says yes? Do I strive to be the good person or whatever label I’ve given myself? When we live by these rigid rules of conduct we can’t respond in the moment as our authentic selves.
What to do about it:
Find ways to connect with our authentic selves: when we are grounded and rooted in our True Self, our true identity, we don’t need outside validation or recognition. We are free to respond as we are. Meditate in the mornings or even in the shower with the intention of connecting to your inner core. Ask for guidance or support on how to stay with yourself throughout the day and especially if things get hairy.
- Celebrate yourself:
This is a way to validate yourself without the need for others and therefore without the need to please people by saying yes. Write down all the ways you are a good person—it could be very small things like you are kind to strangers and like to smile at others. You don’t really have to have a list of things that you do, it’s more like who are you on a regular basis? How do you greet the world in every moment? Celebrate that! You’re doing a great job.
- Write down all your fears around who you would be if you said no.
Bring the fears to the surface. Give them a voice. Let them have their say. Then say thank you for sharing. You will notice that these fears may not have the Vulcan grip they once had over you.
- Saying NO does not make you anything.
It is merely a way to show up in the world in any given moment. There is nothing shameful about being authentic and responding from your core. Say it with kindness and say it with me now: NO!
Perhaps you still have an old crumpled up job application from 2000 stuffed in your desk drawer. You meant to get to it, but somehow you just didn’t go for it. No worries! If you’re not sure why you can’t go for it, here are five practical steps that work as the salve for hesitation wounds. Try them out and let me know what you were finally able to grab by the horns (in a metaphorical way of course—I don’t recommend grabbing anything that has horns).
Ask yourself these questions to open up your awareness first:
- What am I getting from not going for it? What is the pay off?
- What would happen to me if I didn’t go for it?
- What do I need to know in order to start going for it?
Now that we’re warmed up we can dive into these steps:
- Make a list of why you want to do something
The more you get clear on why you want something the more likely you are to do it. As you write your whys down something will become abundantly clear. You’ll realize how important that particular desire is to you or you’ll see that it is connected to a deep and profound part of you. Once you see those reasons staring back at you, you won’t dare hesitate any longer! Keep this list visible—put it on your mirror or keep it in your wallet. Refer to it frequently.
- Make a list of your fears and worst-case scenarios
Write down a fear then on the next line write: then what? Write down what would happen if the fear came true. Then keep writing “then what?” until you’ve reached the end of the line. Hint: you’ll know it’s the end of the line when you die or your house blows up or the world explodes. Once you get to the end on that fear move onto the next one until you’ve purged all the biggest fears you have. The point of this is to see how silly our fears can be or how deeply rooted they are. The more we voice our fears the less they grip our subconscious. It’s like shedding light on the dark scary stairway—the stairs are just in need of a good coat of paint. In other words, our fears needn’t run our life. We can look at them, accept that they are there and make peace with them. At least you’ll know what you’re working with. Keep this list visible and handy like the previous one and refer to it when you feel some anxiety coming up.
- Prepare and intend
Put some ritual into your go for it. This is where you make a declaration with your quill pen and seal it off with hot wax, frame it and salute it. Make it official. I intend to xyz on such and such date. Declare it. This is the way to give your heart’s desires a voice and the attention they deserve. Better yet declare it on your Facebook page. There is no way you’ll change your mind once it’s in Facebook land. So, think about what you really, really want to go for and then make a ritual around intending to do it. You’ll be amazed at the power behind it!
- Gather your forces
You need your team around you for this. By team I mean people, pets, those on the other side, your other worldly cheerleaders, whomever stands as a support system for you. You are going to tell them what you want to do and then ask for their support. Whether it’s a phone call, a prayer, a ceremony or a huddle, gather your forces and let them know that you need them!
Whether you got the job, the date or the spot on the Amazing Race is irrelevant. The point is to celebrate the act of going for it. You went for it! No matter what the outcome was you did it. This is definite cause to shout your accomplishment from the rooftops! Go out for dinner, put your feet up or buy yourself the new juicer you’ve always wanted. You deserve it.
I hope these five tips help you get out there and go for it! I would love to hear about your experiences—email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you prefer listening instead of reading, here is the link to my podcast on this very same topic :
Do you feel that no matter what you do—whether you win employee of the month or raise the most money for your charity—that something is still missing in your life? Have you spent the better part of your life trying to fill this bottomless pit of dissatisfaction? Or maybe you feel that if you actually stopped to think about it, this gaping hole would gobble you up.
There may be another way to look at this very painful circumstance. Sometimes changing our perspective can make all the difference in the world.
A way to unravel the mystery of what is missing in our life is to ask questions. Asking questions will alert us to try to find the answers. As we try to find an answer to something we’ve never thought of before we can create a new way of looking at things.
Test this out by asking yourself these questions:
- Is something really missing in my life or am I afraid of spaciousness?
- Is there a missing piece in my life or is the Universe giving me breathing room for things to come in?
- Do I need to fill every space o r can I be accepting of this spaciousness?
Let these questions float around in your psyche for a few hours, days or even weeks and allow insight to bubble to the surface. The mind has gone on a fact finding mission and is eager to bring something to you—now that you’ve asked.
Another way to look at this overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction is to relate it to the connection with ourselves. Can this chronic dissatisfaction and frustration be the disconnection from our core, our True Self? When we turn away from the deepest part of who we are there will be a feeling of loss. A feeling that something is missing. With that in mind, we can say that to connect to our core self (referred to here as the True Self) is to dissolve all feelings of discontent, frustration and dissatisfaction. When we are disconnected from ourselves we feel loss, so the solution is to connect. Let’s look at three common ways that we disconnect with ourselves and what we can do to reconnect.
Three ways we disconnect from ourselves:
1. Blending in
Do you ignore your natural talents and abilities so others won’t notice you? Do you deflect all ways that people try to recognize and honor you? Have you ever wondered what your underlying motivation for doing this is? Hint: it may not be shyness.
What is so bad about being noticed? Why do some of us avoid any sort of spotlight no matter how small? When others look at you and notice you this forces you to look at yourself. Interest from others is a mirror that they hold up to you.
Who is in the mirror? You.
Some of us feel that the scariest thing in the world is to see ourselves. If you stop others from seeing you, then you don’t see you. No big surprises to deal with. Nothing to answer to—like why am I living my life like this when it makes me miserable? When we can finally look at ourselves we are free from this hiding game.
Exercise to reconnect to you:
- Ask yourself these questions. Do this in a quiet space and be open to the insight that emerges over time.
What do you want me to know? What can I do for you to reveal yourself more to me?
Then say out loud: I’m open to guidance. I’m willing to hear the answers.
- Experiment with revealing yourself to others. Start sharing things with people. For example share a piece of poetry you wrote or the latest recipe you created. Or take someone on one of your favourite walks.
As you practice these exercises you will start to feel more familiar and at home with yourself. This is the door to fulfillment—walk through!
2. Blaming others
When we blame others for our present circumstances we inherently keep our issues outside of ourselves. We are automatically disconnected. We haven’t looked within to find answers or to check in with how we ended up where we are. If you’re constantly asking yourself who out there is making me dissatisfied then you are moving further and further away from yourself.
This act of looking outside for answers pushes us away from ourselves and others. We create shame around those situations. We may feel ashamed for shaming others. There is a gaping hole in our life. Not only are we dissatisfied and angry but we are also dumping this onto someone else.
We’ve all been in a place where we’ve felt victimized. Some of us have suffered immeasurably; I’m not referring to those who have been abused and mistreated. I’m referring to small to medium sized unhappy situations in our life where we want to tell someone else that they are to blame. For the purpose of this article we will concentrate on these types of scenarios.
Exercise to reconnect to you:
- Think of three situations where you felt victimized by others. Again these are small to medium sized situations. For example, you didn’t get the promotion at work.
Write down these situations in a summarized version in the sequence that they happened.
- Imagine you fully intended for it to work out the way that it did
- Beside the sequence of events write down the steps you took to make sure to that it happened that way
- Label those steps as the “best choices I made at the time”
This exercise is very empowering and downright scary at times. To look at scenarios in this light can be very uncomfortable. The point of this is to take back power and move into acceptance of the choices we made. Once we are in this place we aren’t afraid to face what we may have been running away from. This insight automatically creates a deep connection with ourselves. Once we open the doors of insight and acknowledgement, we feel more fulfillment, more satisfaction. We aren’t blaming ourselves or others. We are standing in the full awareness that we made the best choices we could and that no one is to blame for our lives.
3. Criticising ourselves
How do you feel around those who criticize you? You don’t want to be around them do you?
Doing this to yourself pushes away the deep part of yourself—the True Self. There is no way to feel connected to ourselves if we are chronically critical. In order to feel safe we have to look at ourselves with compassion and understanding. When we treat ourselves with the love that we deserve, we feel an immediate connection. This brings the feelings of satisfaction and fulfillment to the forefront. Can you look at yourself in the mirror and say, “you’re doing a great job!”?
Exercise to reconnect to you:
- Write down a list of flaws that you think you have. It doesn’t matter how many there are. You need to be real about how you feel about yourself.
- Beside each flaw write down why you love this flaw. For example, I love the fact that I have OCD tendencies because I’m so organized and I can help others to get organized.
This exercise is about shifting your perspective. You may judge yourself for having flaws, so what if you acknowledged the flaw but added a love message about it too?
The more we can align with ourselves in full awareness—flaws and all—the more connection we feel. Our True Self wants to love us no matter what. Once you reconnect with this wonderful part of you you’ll be surprised at how fulfilled and satisfied you feel.
Take some time to look at the three areas that we disconnect with ourselves and see what feels true for you. Try the exercises and journal about the shifts and changes that happen internally. This is a process—it doesn’t happen overnight—but just know that you can feel fulfilled and profoundly connected to yourself. This is our natural state. Remember: You are home.
How much fun do you have? If you said, “Eleanor, I always have fun” please empathize with me for the rest of this post. I come from a long line of ancestors with a record that skips like this: “work hard, get things done, roll up your sleeves, don’t be afraid of a little hard work, laziness is a serious offense, rest is not in our vocabulary, and what are you sitting around for don't you know there's work to be done?”
Of course, some of my family members manage to relax a little and get around the background theme song, but it’s in there like a well-worn brain pathway. Recently, I realized that i put forth a lot of energy “working” and not a lot of energy “fun-ing”.
Since, I don’t want to end up looking like an old sea captain with a leather purse for a face, I’m determined to change this! (I picture an old man in a wool sweater working his fingers to the bone every day with not a second of non-work related energy expended). If you can relate lets change that today!
Here we go, let the fun-ing begin:
- Schedule in some fun.
As ridiculous as this sounds, according to an astrology reading I had, not only do I work hard, but I also approach fun with the same hard work ethic. In other words, I sit down and say—Ok, some fun needs to go on this week. How do I strategically insert the necessary amount of units? So I am gently reminding myself that I can just say—I’m taking the afternoon off to hit the streets of downtown—either walk the Lake boardwalk or go for a hike through a beautiful park or meet up with a friend for lunch. Check.
- Put a boundary around work times.
This is a similar thing but with more specific instructions. For example, I don’t work weekends. I only work until 6:30 pm at night as a general rule, except for evening meetings. I limit the amount of evening meetings. Being self-employed can turn into one long work day—from January to December—if you’re not careful.
- What do I love?
Beaches & flip flops, cooking classes, cute furry animals, the forest, documentary films, good conversation over wine & snacks. Now I have some tangible things to work with. I can take a vacation where I wear flip flops...look up the latest cooking class online...arrange a night out with friends...go to the hot docs fest! What’s on your list?
Joy comes in all shapes and sizes. Fun can simply be the time I give myself to go within and re-calibrate my frazzled nerves. I make time for this ever day. This also opens up the ideas on how to have more fun!
This one is tough for me and not natural. It takes practice for me to say yes to things that pop up. I promised myself this year that I will say yes to all invitations that come across my radar. Like the Jim Carey movie! I’ll let you know how it works out.
I hope you enjoyed my list of ways to insert more fun into life. Think about how this sits with you and make your own list or use the suggestions I have here. Excuse me it’s three o-clock: fun time!
I’m not one to reinvent the wheel, so let us stick with the timeless February theme: LOVE. Love takes many forms, but it all stems from how you feel about yourself. Last year gave me plenty of insight into how I treated myself. Frankly, it was a shocker.
You know those strange little behaviours that form the basis of your unique personality? Well, some of them may be outright self-bullying until you take a look at them boldly. Here is an excerpt from Chapter three of my book “What Would Little Red Riding Hood Do? 7 Ways to Face Your Wolf and Live Happily Ever After” in which I explore my fear of facing myself:
“I wasn’t willing to look at myself. I wasn’t willing to look in the mirror and ask what’s wrong. Why are you feeling like this? Why do you have so much anxiety? Why is there so much pain? I didn’t want to ask any of that, so I put on my running shoes and ran.
This frantic hamster wheel motion went on for many years, taking me from one place to another with my suitcase and boxes. I was worn out, exhausted and constantly in a state of anxiety. It felt as if something was chasing me; I now know it was my awareness.
I encourage you to look at yourself in whatever form it may take (the mirror, on paper, with a trusted friend/advisor). Instead of running or jumping or diving into the sand…let’s face ourselves and you'll see that it’s not so bad. You might even like it. In fact you will love it, because deep down there is a part of you that really loves YOU for YOU!”
Here’s to looking full on at oneself in the name of self-love. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Take a look at some changes I made last year—you may want to try some of these:
- I no longer buy things that make me say: “that's good enough for now”, “not too bad” or “I’ll just ignore the fact that I don’t really like it” (don’t ask me it was just an unconscious habit); I do buy things that make me say: “fantastic”, “holy sh*t that’s awesome”, “I love this for life”. Translation: does NOT mean more expensive.
- I surround myself with pleasant and beautiful things: aka fresh flowers, new pictures on the wall, and happytastic photos of myself; I got rid of and I’m in the process of exchanging/replacing and burning all items connected to past relationships, hand me downs and anything heavily laden with emotional baggage.
- I take part in gratitude practices and focus on things/situations/people that make me feel happy (ex. 100happydays.com).
- I take time to pamper myself: I went for a full body Dead Sea scrub. That was amazing. Not to mention being introduced to disposable underwear—strange concept, but interesting.
- I find ways to purge negative emotions/feelings/vibes through yoga, walking and journaling.
All of the above brings me more joy, confidence, adventurous tendencies and spontaneous bursts of happiness! How will you bring more self-love into your life today?
Do you remember sitting at a rickety fold-out table, with the other outcasts, also known as children, at holiday meal time? I’m talking about the kids table. I always felt that being forced to sit with other ostracized children was not my idea of holiday like behaviour. But who has a say when you’re eight?
Which brings me to my point: always sitting at the kids table. This is of course, a metaphorical, not literal situation and addresses my past feelings of being a child in adult form.
From the age of eighteen, I felt very uncomfortable and unprepared to live my life as an adult. I felt like a fraud. I’d somehow grown up physically, but I was completely unequipped and unprepared psychologically. Maybe you can relate…
As you know when you feel insecure inside, you somehow want to prove that you don’t. So, I set out to prove that I wasn’t a helpless little girl. My inner warrior went full tilt and I kicked things into turbo gear. Oh yeah, I’ll show you! I’m not some incapable female… I’ll just go to Africa all by myself. That did not end well by the way. It was a “learning experience” (the phrase used for complete disasters).
The first problem with rebellion is that it’s painfully unsustainable. The second problem with rebellion is that you waste a lot of time rebelling against an idea of yourself. In other words, you are trying to prove yourself, to yourself.
There I was recreating situations in which I would be taken care of, while simultaneously rebelling against being taken care of. I was gallivanting off to different corners of the earth to disprove my self-imposed identity and secretly wishing I didn’t have to. Can you see the turmoil and conflict this situation creates?
When your Identity Doesn’t Fit Anymore
After years of playing identity tennis, I was wrung out. From pure exhaustion I dropped my rebellious cape and began to emerge as my True Self. I started to embrace the positive side of being young at heart. I acknowledged all the good things that go along with being young minded, young spirited and young looking (I’ll milk this one until my friends and family start to get embarrassed for me). I decided that being a little girl was fun but didn’t suit me anymore in its limitations. I couldn’t expand and live my dreams while playing the little girl; I was tired of dress-up time.
The good news is that your True Self is not limited: it has many facets. We can tap into our inner child, our feminine self, our masculine self, our teacher and our parent, just to name a few. I wanted to embrace them all and give them full access to come forward.
So I experimented. I became a Reiki teacher. I got a toolbox. I bought a little black dress. I mentored youth. If I felt that creepy sensation of being a little girl in grown-up clothes, I became still and asked what my inner child was trying to tell me. Most times I was just frightened because of a new experience or I felt vulnerable. So I would nurture my inner child by colouring one of the princesses or I would put heart stickers all over my computer. Afterwards, I felt more like an adult than ever—go figure! Try these steps and exercises-they did me a world of good as a woman-child.
Acknowledge your inner child. Colour, draw, splash around in puddles, climb trees (no one has to see you!), build a fort, hang out with your kids or other people’s kids.
Acknowledge your self-sufficient side. When you accomplish something celebrate it! For instance, if you went outside your comfort zone and drove a far distance alone or if you showed up at a new club without a companion…congratulate yourself! Anytime you do something that normally feels like a bit of a challenge, acknowledge it. Each time will get easier and you’ll feel more comfortable doing it. Then you’ll have the CHOICE as to whether you accept another’s help or not.
Honour your rebellious side—let your inner warrior come out and play. Instead of traipsing off to a war torn country for some good old fashioned danger, try some smaller challenges. Join a bootcamp. Try mountain climbing. Take up karate. Do “risky” things in small doses more frequently and you won’t end up like a shaken up bottle of pop.
Exercise: Little Girl Persona
- Write down all the nicknames people have called you and pick out the most little girlish ones. Circle them.
How did you feel when someone called you those nicknames? Did you rise to the occasion and act more like a little girl? Or did you become resentful and rebellious?
- Make up three empowered nicknames for your True Self.
What would your true nature love to be called? Once you have your favourite one, call yourself by the nickname (in your head) at any point when you feel that a pattern has taken hold of you. Repeat it in your mind as many times as you want throughout the day—“I AM_____ (insert nickname). I allow my true self to direct my thoughts and actions.” Mine is: Truly Me (you’re welcome to use that one)!
Adapted from Chapter Two of my soon to be launched book:
When you were a kid did you think—when I grow up I’m going to whine and complain about my life and blame everyone else for my own issues? Of course not. This is something you try on, decide it fits and then you wear it. Pretty soon it’s your uniform. Eventually it becomes everything you stand for and you start to cling to it like a 40 year old man wearing his painfully tight, cracked leather high school football jacket every day. You don’t see how weird it looks, but everybody else does. In other words, we get so wrapped up in our drama and story about being hard done by, that we are deaf and blind to everything else. We miss the little whispers that try to nudge us towards the possibilities and to grab opportunities. Take a moment to ask: are you fixated on how everyone makes your life harder instead of figuring out how to make yourself happy?
What does it take to throw away that old school jacket? It takes courage. You decide that you’re going to open your eyes and ears to what you’ve been doing. This is like looking close-up at a rat in daylight—it’s ugly and frightening and it makes you want to run. If you decide not to, you can always wait for other people to step in (not recommended).
Let’s take my life for example. I was about nineteen when my friends sat me down and told me that I was acting like a real pain in the ass. Talk about a WTF moment. Apparently, I was a walking/breathing complaint dressed like negative nelly. They couldn’t take it anymore. I still remember the shock, pain and humiliation that came with this intervention. I’m not going to pretend that I took it well. I was an emotional mess, but eventually I came to terms with what was being offered to me: a chance to live a happier, more authentic life. Are you ready to chuck that jacket?
Here are some steps you can take today to rid yourself of behaviours and patterns that stand in the way of a relationship with your True Self. To let YOU come through so that you can experience more joy and happiness:
This is the starting point:
- Make a decision that enough is enough.
You’re ready to make some changes in your behaviour.
- Feel the feelings that will come up with this decision.
Don’t judge them. Allow them to surface and leave your body.
- Realize that you’ve made every single choice to get you to where you are today.
Accept this with compassion and love yourself anyway, no matter what.
Exercise for Victim Consciousness
Write down two situations where you feel that life was unfair to you. That somehow you ended up there through circumstances beyond your control. With each situation, imagine that you had fully intended to end up there. What would you have done to make sure that you ended up in those situations? Write out the two ways you bravely made choices in your life, whether you recognized them or not—title these your “best choices I made at the time”. Keep the exercise as a reminder of how you can make choices and to show you that you are in charge of your life. If you ever feel that life has plopped you down into the middle of a landmine, go back and re-read what you wrote.
Exercise for Chronic Complaining
Write out your top five complaints of all time. Are they about what other people are doing or not doing? Cross out anything that is not directly about you. What can you do today to start improving the complaints that involve only you? Write out three steps you can take to change them and start doing them!
If there are only complaints about other people and their behavior or actions, remember that we can’t change other peoples’ behavior. Re-word the complaints in a way that reflects how you feel but doesn’t blame the other person. Re-name the list of complaints to concerns. Then take your new approach to the streets! Express your concerns to whoever it is in a calm and kind manner; make sure the other party is willing to sit down and listen. For example, the complaint could be “My husband always criticizes me”. You could reword it to say, “When you tell me that I don’t listen, it hurts my feelings, because I feel that I do listen. Can you tell me more about that?” Have this conversation over a coffee in the backyard or on a walk. Material based on the soon to be released book: “What Would Little Red Riding Hood Do? 7 Ways to Face Your Wolf and Live Happily Ever After” Eleanor Healy
Like a record baby….
Do your thoughts spin through your brain like a demented merry-go-round? If you’re anything like me this week, you’ll need a walker just to stand upright.
Examples of my thought process over the last few days:
I better get going on my presentation, it’s next week. What if I charged too much…I doubt people will come anyway…but what if they show up and I don’t have anything good to say? They won’t come back! I’ll damage my reputation. Concentrate. Stop. Find your notes and get started…I don’t even like this topic. What if some know-it-all in the audience asks me questions to put me on the spot?
“So, where’s the scientific proof of any of this? I’ve heard this is all a bunch of bs anyway. Where did you get your information?”
“Sir, I’d be happy to email you some of the references I have at home” (How’d you get such a lumpy head just bad luck being so bald isn’t it??)
At this point my mind completely takes over in various dramatic versions of being confronted and each time I swiftly make mincemeat of the guy. In public. Then I spend a few minutes thinking how cool that would be and then a few more minutes feeling bad about being so mean to someone when I should be calm and focused and zen-like at all times…because of course my life is supposed to set an example for others.
See? You spin me right round baby right round like a record baby….
Then I spent two hours pretending to be a computer technician by installing and uninstalling all kinds of random programs so that I could read my external hard drive data. It still looks like this:
My brain at this point is pumping out hundreds of useless sentences strung together to spell out I’M GOING OUT OF MY MIND LIKE JACK NICHOLSON IN THE SHINING.
At this point, I took a few sips of coconut water, a few deep breaths and took stock of myself. Ok, you’re having one of those days. What you’re going to do is go to yoga and calm down. My mind complained that it was so darn hot in there and I said, yes, it’s hot yoga. It’s hot in there, but you’re still going.
When I finally dragged myself kicking and screaming to yoga class they told me my pass expired but if I bought a package right then and there it would be 25% percent off. Which would’ve been great if I had brought my wallet.
So I went for a walk through the park near my house for 30 minutes and tried to convince myself that the workout value was pretty comparable. Something like walking your way to becoming a triathlete.
Then I wrote this blog and I feel better! I got out my frustrations, put things into perspective, wrote silly things and reflected on some points and here I am. Feeling pretty good about myself again. Jack Nicholson thankfully left.
When the brain starts whipping you round and round that merry-go-round: grab it by the tail and wrestle it down. Sit on top of it and tell it what’s what. There are times to be firm and times to be gentle and compassionate. When you’re having a mind-trip type of day like I was, it’s time for some serious hand to hand combat.
And you could try some of these things also:
Watch some comedy
Take a bath
Pet your dog/cat
Call a friend
Look up future travel destinations/adventures you’d like to go on
And remember that we all have our days…
Do you find yourself so caught up in others or helping people that you forget to care for yourself? Do you lose sleep? Forget to eat? Skip meals and go without breaks?
I’ve talked to clients about this and it really is a common spiral that leads you into the realm of breakdown, burn out. I’ve been there. I’ve gone into the obsessive dark side of helping others so much that it was really to my own detriment. I learned this the very hard way.
So, what do you do when you focus too much on others? First, of all I’m not saying that we can’t help people and friends/families-of course being helpful and supportive is what makes the world a wonderful place. Another point—being a parent of course involves doing a lot for your children and making sacrifices. This is needed to raise healthy, happy children, but there needs to be a balance—parent time and/or relationship time. So, overall, there is a limit and we need to see the line in the sand.
Take this little quiz to see where you are on the scale:
- How many times per week do you skip lunch and/or dinner to run around for people, either at their request, or worse, of your own volition?
- How many times per week do you feel resentful of others for not appreciating what you do for them?
- How many times per week do you feel exhausted from a chaotic day filled with errands, tasks and jobs that have to do with others and are not in any way supportive of the things you like to do?
- How many people do you care for, not including children and spouses/partners?
- How often do you find yourself thinking about other people’s problems and dilemmas? Do you lose sleep over them?
If you spend 4-5 days per week on numbers 1-3, then you have definitely left yourself out of the equation.
If you answered the same to number 5 then your time is spent focusing on others to your own detriment.
Number 4 is just to give you an idea of the extent of your responsibilities…that may turn into a burden.
What can you do to turn things around?
Here are some things that I do to remind myself that I’m very important and special and without my health, vitality and wellness, there is nothing. I can’t do anything for others unless I have a solid foundation.
- Put time into your agenda
to do some of your favourite silly things that have nothing at all to do with responsibility or obligation (Mine is either: reading an Archie comic, going for a walk in the park beside my house, listening to Hayhouse radio, baking cookies, going to bootcamp)
- Focus on pampering.
(Mine are: bath with epsom salt or lavender essential oil, give myself a pedicure & paint my toenails)
- Take a nap.
(I love to nap on my days off or in the evening when I get home after a long, stressful day—you can set the alarm if you’re worried about sleeping too long)
- Stop and assess how you feel.
(Pick a time in the day-for example at 2pm in the afternoon in the middle of the work day. Go into the bathroom or somewhere private and breathe for a minute and then ask yourself silently, How do I feel? How is my day going? Am I hungry? Am I thirsty? Pay attention and do what your body or emotional self is asking for. Maybe it means go outside and sit in the sun for 10 minutes or head to the cafe for a latte/tea)
- Be easy on yourself.
(Write down at the end of the day—What did I do really well today? What am I proud of that I’ve done for myself today? Give an example of what you did to make your life easier that day…for example, Did I take the scenic route home? Did I voice my opinion in the board meeting?)
Try these suggestions for 2 weeks and see how you feel! Focus on the idea that without you, there is nothing. You are the centre of your own universe. You are the most important person to look after and when you do, others will benefit the most.
If this sounds simplistic, it is. Life is not meant to be a struggle. Let’s all keep this in mind as we go about our day, being helpful and supportive (as a balanced, whole person).
Photo credit: Brooklyn Morgan
Put up your hand if it seems like your thoughts run a 24 hour nightclub in your brain. Join the club…no pun intended. Ok, so here’s what I do: A few blocks from my apartment is a beautiful park called Cedarvale. The trails run along the bottom of a ravine lined with large and small trees alike, winding its way through shrubbery and a field of water reeds taller than the average giant. I find myself in there almost every day losing my way in the trails, buffered from the nearby congested traffic.
During my walks I like to look around and take in my surroundings, but mostly my feet pound out the rhythm of my thoughts. I allow them to play around my ankles and weave in and out of the trees. They become almost like a fluid reminder of my life patterns. Only this time they are leaving for good—I watch them go with a pang—because don’t we all love our stories? Yet, what I love even more lately is to unburden myself and leave space for new supportive thoughts and patterns.
What do you find yourself thinking about?
My thoughts go something like this: I need to write my article today. What should I write about? Hmmm…oh I wonder why he always walks with so many dogs? How much does he get paid for that anyway? Wow I can’t really imagine doing that…I have no luck with training dogs, they don’t listen to me…I could write about stress. Boring! Ugh Everybody writes about stress…I never have anything new to say. I don’t know why I bother writing anything anyway…no! Lots of people like my articles. Think positively. Don’t people get sore ankles jogging like that? I don’t know how she does it…I should go back to the gym. I really need to find my yoga class. When I get home I’m going to look up a yoga studio. Don’t forget!!…You get the picture. Bouncy, bouncy, bouncy…where it goes nobody knows.
The point is sometimes you need to let your thoughts wander. Pay attention but don’t judge or control them, just allow and listen with your inner ear. If you judge your thoughts, that’s just adding more thoughts and the mess looks like a pile of hopelessly entangled Christmas lights. When I’m able to calmly allow my thoughts (more and more I can say I can) I’m rewarded with a beautiful, soft gem of a thought whispering among the clamour, but bravely asserting itself. These are the inspirations, the wow-what-a-great-idea thoughts. They only come when you allow things to flow and being in nature is one of the easiest ways to open yourself up to these universal taps on the heart. And the best part is…these whispers soon become louder! The next time you go for a walk—notice your surroundings, both inner and outer. You might be surprised at what comes through. Happy walking!
When you think of love what comes to mind? Moonlight? Sunset? Riding into it? I admit that I’m a fully recovering romantic and will never rid myself of the line from The Princess Bride—“This is true love, you think this happens every day?” I was sure for most of my teenage years that Wesley was going to clone somehow and appear on my doorstep. He must be sidetracked because he hasn’t arrived yet. Because of this obvious disappointment and assault to my idealistic sensibilities, I’ve had to grow up and bite into the sour apple of life—sometimes there are no sunset walks and sometimes there is not even a visible sunset. Those are the times when we realize that the only sun is within us and this is the whole point.
Whatever is within can shine out at all times, whether we’re dancing in the moonlight with the love of our life or not…Let’s look at it this way instead—we are lighthouses shining our light out across the ocean signalling ships that the shore is near-us. As we blink across the expanse of the water, left and right, we cast our light wider and wider until a ship comes within range. A lighthouse doesn’t get bitter and dim down its light because a ship hasn’t arrived. A lighthouse doesn’t angrily shut off its light because its tired of waiting. A lighthouse just shines. Period. Ships passing in the night will always see the lighthouse. It doesn’t have to jump into the ocean and swim frantically towards the boat—how would that help? Lighthouses don’t have to lasso the ship and pull it in—the ship may crash against the rocks. You get the picture right? So, whether you’re a fellow romantic soul or a more down to earth lover, remember that our light shines eternally bright and nothing will stop The Love Boat.
When someone you care about deeply rejects you in some way, whether they leave, tell you they don’t love you anymore or somehow decide they don’t want to be around you—that hurts. In fact that is an obscene understatement. Rejection can knock the wind out of you so much so that you don’t know if you’re coming or going. Especially if you feel that the rejection comes out of nowhere as if you were merrily dancing along when you ran face first into the lamppost. I have experienced this many times in my life—rejection of my projects, my ideas and worst of all my heart. I have also rejected others, sometimes cruelly so. No matter which end you’re staring at, it stinks. I’ve also discovered that rejection can be an opportunity to hug your cherished ideals, dreams or your heart (the way you would hug a child who’s just run head first into a lamppost). What better way to recover from rejection than to love yourself more than ever? Here are five ways that soothe the pain of rejection and help me move forward with a stronger belief in myself. My hope is that these suggestions will also bring you relief.
- Get angry.
Don’t deny the feelings that come up. If you’re afraid of your anger or think it’s not nice to get angry you’ll push those emotions down and sooner or later they will pop up-like a soccer ball held under the water. So, just deal with the emotions as they happen-feel them and express them without berating yourself. Punch some pillows, scream in the basement, jump up and down—do whatever it takes to let it move through your system. I’ve learned over the years not to get onto the computer and send angry emails or leave voice messages. That just leads down a path of misery and having to deal with a bunch of unwanted consequences. Express the anger, but leave other people out of it. They are your feelings so deal with them yourself. The key is not to judge the feelings—just feel them. This goes for any feelings that arise.
- Get rest.
Usually after an emotional blow or intense experience you feel very tired. It’s like you’ve just run a marathon that you didn’t know you were in. Take the time to go to bed early. Come home from work and go to bed if you can or at least downgrade all activities to the bare minimum. This is taking care of yourself. This is loving yourself. In the end, this will help you recover and come out stronger and more able to help those around you. Don’t underestimate this point. Your mind, body and spirit need time to recuperate and process the rejection. Take your time until you feel your energy slowly returning.
- Get perspective.
Here’s the chance to turn things around for yourself. Rejection is not personal. The person may be rejecting themselves, rejecting something that they don’t want to deal with, rejecting an experience they’d rather avoid or they simply don’t want to partake. Whatever it is, do you see that it is about them? It’s not wrong or right, it’s their choice. They chose not to accept whatever it was you were offering. That doesn’t mean that what you offered was automatically crap. That somehow you are flawed and unworthy. It means the person didn’t want what you wanted to give them. Period. So, all the pain and stories that we can come up with as to why they rejected it or what they didn’t like, etc. is an elaborate distraction from the facts. You offered something and the person said no. If you can get your brain to that point or tap into your inner awareness that this has nothing to do with you, then you’ve come through the thickest part. Yes, I even mean when we offer “ourselves”—our love. Your love for someone can’t be rejected. In other words, love can’t be destroyed or changed. You love someone and that’s that. The fact that they don’t reciprocate doesn’t diminish your love or make you less than.
- Get back up.
When we react to something that hurts us it may feel like we’ve fallen and don’t feel like getting up. In my world getting up means to remind myself how amazing I am. How much I love being me. Yes, it sounds cheesy, but it’s worked so well for me countless times that I don’t mind when people think I’m a Pollyanna. If you think this is silly just consider how far you’ve come telling yourself how stupid, ridiculous, ugly, fat, irresponsible and unworthy you are. Try the other way—trust me it’s much more fun and helps you get back up. I do funny things like putting heart stickers all over my computer or I say I love you into the mirror in the morning. You’ll be amazed how fast the rejection sting fades into the distance.
- Get compassionate.
The last piece is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Try to imagine their life and why they might’ve rejected you. If you can spend some time thinking about their situation you will see that it might start to make sense to you. You don’t have to like the decision they made but reaching a deeper understanding of the other person may help. In certain situations you may not have the slightest clue what their motivations were. This may be more challenging but give them the benefit of the doubt that they had a good reason for the choice they made. In the end, all we can do is our best in each moment.