Posts tagged #self love

An open letter to Singles on Valentine's Day

How do you make it through the day when the whole world is in Love EXCEPT for you?

First of all, you and I both know that not everyone is in love—there are at least two of us sitting here right now and there may be dozens more out there. Regardless of the facts, it IS what Hallmark Cards, Lindt Chocolate and De Beers Diamonds wants you to feel like. Which is why we have to stick together like that saying goes: misery loves company.

Here are my two cents on what it's like to be single on Valentine's Day: it sucks. And any Single who says they don't care is a liar.

1. My promise to you in this letter

  • I will NOT tell you that all you need to do is love yourself.
  • I will NOT tell you to look for the hidden blocks to love that keep you from meeting “The One.”
  • And I certainly WILL NOT tell you how awesome it is to be single.

2. Pick up a Valentine's Day Survival pack

  • 1 box of tissues (let's not even try to deny that this won't be needed at some point).

  • Netflix account or access to your 1990s DVD collection of Romantic Movies. For example, Pretty Woman or Sleepless in Seattle (don't go halfway on this; you want to use up all of the tissues).

  • Your favorite blanket and slippers, preferably unwashed so that you can feel especially sorry for yourself.

  • Carbs (not the complex kind, the shitty kind).

  • Chocolate (make sure you purchase these before Valentine's Day—you don't want to endure the pity stares of the well-meaning clerk at 7-Eleven when you unload a basketful of chocolate hearts, while obviously wearing your PJs under your coat).

  • Your furry friend or alternatively, someone who won't try to talk you out of crying, wailing or otherwise making a fool out of yourself. Today you have every right to make a damn fool out of yourself.

  • A large bottle of alcohol or a large bottle of sugary liquid or both.
     

    3. Suggested Itinerary to make the intolerable, tolerable

  • Call in sick with the stomach flu (as in you won't be able to stomach the Valentine's Day cheer at the office)

  • If you must go to work, arrive in black with a veil over your face and tell everyone you had a death in the family (anyone with a brain in their head will give you a wide berth).

  • Bring your children to a relative or trusted friend's house so that you can let it all hang out at home.

  • Buy takeout for dinner—preferably Chinese food as this will be the only place where the staff is used to awkward and antisocial people arriving to pick up their food wearing their PJs under their coat.

  • Watch the first movie (see above).

  • Cry.

  • Get angry and yell at the wall.

  • Cry some more.

  • Laugh.

  • Cry again because now you feel like a crazy person.

  • Watch the second movie.

  • Pass out on the couch and wake up with pillow indents and a heavy sigh of relief. It's February 15th! You made it!

Remember that no matter what you decide to do today, just love yourself. Kidding! You should've seen your face! That was a good one.

But seriously, you will want to sign up for my FREE guided meditation Align with Your True Self because there is nothing better than being connected to yourself no matter what is going on in your life: 

Three Ways to Stop Devaluing Yourself

Do you ever do things that don't feel very good but that you think you should be doing anyway--to be a good person or to do the right thing? I get it--I just described most of my teens and twenties. The problem with behaving in ways that don't feel good is that you are not valuing yourself. We get so wrapped up in being the good daughter or the perfect employee or the helpful citizen that we lose sight of our own needs and desires. That is the ultimate devaluing practice. The consequences are far reaching; we may feel depressed, unfulfilled, anxious, bitter, resentful or just plain exhausted.

Here are three ways that you may not be valuing yourself and exercises that you can do to practice self-love instead:

1. Constant Improvements. If you are like me, you enjoy the practice of self-improvement and personal development. However, we can fall into the trap where we get so determined to improve this and improve that, that we don't stop and say, "This feeling is ok" or "I'm ok the way I am. Yes, I want to grow and evolve but I am perfect the way I am right now." You are ok the way you are--no matter what flaws you feel that you have. All your feelings are ok. Come from that place and move forward. Exercise: Write down all the things you want to improve about yourself and then write down beside each one, "I love this flaw. I love myself no matter what." Repeat these out loud. When you start to feel more loving towards yourself then you can move on to expanding into the new.

2. Holding back for others. You're a loving and compassionate person. That doesn't mean that you need to stay where you are because others are in a certain stage in their life. It may be scary to change and grow when others around you aren't, but there is nothing scarier than stagnation and wasting your precious life. Ask yourself--what will happen if my loved ones stay where they are and I evolve into my greatest potential? Will they walk away? Will they be angry, jealous or resentful? Will they reject me? I have relatives that no longer talk to me because they were so uncomfortable with my spiritual and personal growth. It was damn painful. But ultimately I came to the realization that I'm living my life, not theirs. On the other hand, I've bonded more than ever with other loved ones. The bottom line is that making others comfortable is a terrible trap and you're the one who will suffer the most. Exercise: Make a declaration in your journal: "As I grow, I invite others to grow. As I shine my light, I invite others to shine their light. As I love myself, others will be inspired to also go within and love themselves. I acknowledge my free will and the free will of others to take this spiritual invitation. I love myself no matter what the choice of others may be. I trust that those who love me unconditionally will surround me. My self-love sustains me through all. And so it is."

3. Doing things for the greater good. As a beautiful and giving person, you decide that you're going to be selfless and do what's for the greater good (best for everyone). You may decide to do your spiritual duty and put aside your personal desires and needs to help others or improve a situation. This is another big trap. We are here to model and show others how to love ourselves more deeply and more authentically. That means that as we value and honor our own desires and needs, we let others know its ok for them to do the same. This creates a ripple effect happens that spreads love around the world--for the greater good. Exercise: Visualize energy coming from above and below you, running through you and exiting through your heart space and expanding out. Do this every day for two minutes. You will train yourself to give from the inside out, filling yourself up first.

Looking for more practical ways to love and honor yourself? Dive in with my self-help ebook based on my spiritual journey from self-sabotage to self-love. Practical exercises and inspiration included!

What Would Little Red Riding Hood Do? 7 Ways to Face Your Wolf and Live Happily Ever After

Comment below: How do you practice self-love?

The Evolution of Self-Love: Three Phases (original poem)

Phase one: Other/Comparison/Jealousy/

If I was you
I'd be much better off.

Your grass grows greener
(like an envious brother)

Your smile seems cooler
(like an empty mother)

Your pocket runs deeper
(like a broken teacher)

If I was you
I'd be better off.

Phase two: Angst/Self-loathing

If I wasn't me
I'd be much better off.

I'd ring true
(like the weekly preacher)

I'd jump for joy
(like the tied-down seeker)

I'd be free of a limp tongue
and a chest full of
nos

If I wasn't me
I'd be better off.

Phase three: Acceptance and self-adoration

If I were me
I'd be much better off.

I'd hug the betrayals
out of my lungs

I'd sing the praises of
life's good graces

I'd slip me on
like a new suit,
freshly pressed with hope

I am me.

I am me.

I am.

And I'm much better off.

How to Make Your Inner Child Super Happy-Pts 1, 2 & 3

Check out this fun little activity I did with a friend on her balcony. Slow motion-so cool!!
Pt 1 below:

Part 2--Things take an unexpected turn! Oh how it makes my inner child giggle lol

Part 3--I wasn't known for being a giggle monster for nothing as a child! This reminds me--when did I get so serious??!!

How to Remind Yourself How Awesome You Are (even if you wish you could be Beyonce instead)

Do you love the Beyonces of the world, but feel crappy about yourself? There is a way to admire others and love yourself too!
In this video, I'll teach you how to have more confidence and reconnect with your own awesomeness. Learn about the super simple mirror trick and how to make sure you never live by the teeter totter metaphor again!

How to Live a Life of Affluence Podcast Interview: Surprising Tips & Truths with Janet Tyler Johnson

Feeling frustrated and unsatisfied at your current job or income level? Do you feel a lack of freedom to create a work life that you love and get paid well to do it? Join us for this wonderful podcast interview with Janet Tyler Johnson, Certified Financial Planner®, founder of Corporate Hostage, No More! and certified Soul Awareness Energy Healer. During our talk we uncovered some deeply profound, yet simple ways to shift money blocks and limiting beliefs.

Here are some highlights from this awareness shifting podcast:

-What is an affluent life and why should you care?

-If money and time wasn’t an issue what kind of life would you want?

-Why you need to become your own Private Detective around your money habits

-The number one question to ask yourself about your spending to help shift you into a more affluent life

-What is the either/or money belief and how can you shift it?

And much more! Don’t miss this one—I scribbled notes furiously during this call to start using her tips in my own life and I know you’ll definitely want to do the same.

Time sensitive: be sure to visit her website to purchase her course Awakening to Affluence at a discounted price! Or connect with her at www.janettylerjohnson.com.

Click here for the podcast

Three Ways to Soothe Intense Frustration

Frustration is the annoying neighbor—he sees you before you can duck behind the badly placed front window curtain and now he’s in your living room not using a coaster. Like the unwanted neighbor, the intensity of a frustration meltdown usually comes out of nowhere and never wants to leave. So, what do you do when you feel like an emotional battlefield is taking place in your chest, head and gut? Read on!

Awareness raising questions-ask yourself these questions to open up the mind and prepare it for our step by step instructions to deal with frustration:

  • What happens when I stop pushing?
  • What is the fear if I don’t make it happen?
  • Would it be ok if I didn’t push and instead let things be?

Now that our brain is on board with this mission, let’s dive into some practical tools for self-soothing.

  1. Take a Step Back…way back
    Sometimes we need to pull back from the bonfire—otherwise our face will melt off. The same goes with intense situations. If we feel a raging fire emitting from a certain situation it would make sense to take a step away from it. You want to give yourself the perspective so that you don’t get burned. Taking a step back can mean giving yourself some time alone, having a relaxing bath, going to yoga, talking to a friend or hanging out with your kids and/or pets. In other words, go do something else for a while. You need this time to process, decompress and reorient yourself. 
     
  2. What are the triggers underneath this?
    When we have an intense emotional reaction to something it may mean that it is a deep wound from childhood. Maybe our needs weren’t met or the recent situation reminds us of how we didn’t get the love and attention we wanted in a similar situation. For example, you showed our painting to a parent and they were busy so they ignored you or they were angry about something else and took it out on you.

    These memories can leave a deep scar and when we do something in our present life that reminds us of that, we feel the same feelings in a more intense fashion. We show our creative project to our colleagues and they react negatively or they ignore it—there is the trigger. It’s like a hook that is stuck inside you and when the person says something they are essentially pulling on the emotional hook. Hence the emotional frustration. What we need to remember is that these triggers can be soothed. Sit in a quiet place and go within. Ask to talk to your inner child or the deeply vulnerable part of yourself. Then tell it what it needs to hear. You’ll instinctively know what to say. Once you’ve soothed that part of you, it won’t need to get your attention. The hook will be removed. Sometimes this is a process that takes a few “soothing” sessions, but it will get better each time.
     
  3.  How can you fill yourself up?
    Just as there are emotional triggers and hooks from childhood there are also triggers that relate to today. Maybe you aren’t living a balanced life and giving yourself what you need right now. When we look at the holes in our lives, we may see that we are getting frustrated at work but it’s really about the fact that we don’t have any fun. Or we don’t give ourselves enough sleep. Or alone time. Or social time. So, we may have an intensely frustrated reaction to a family member but when we take a bigger look at our life, it’s really about the fact that we aren’t expressing ourselves enough.

These triggers are very helpful. They let you know how you’re doing and what you need. Sit down again and get quiet. Listen to the inner part of yourself for messages about what you are ignoring or what you’ve focused on too much. Take note and try to adjust your life so that it’s more fluid and all encompassing.

Try these three ways to soothe yourself and you will notice that the next time you get into that state, the warning signs will be there for you. In other words, you’ll feel it right before the frustration gets really big. Or you’ll be more ready for it when it happens. Or better yet—you may dupe the frustration all together! Ah to live in a world with strategically placed curtains.

 

How to Say NO and Feel Good About It

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  1. 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.
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. 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!
     

How to Discover What is Missing in Your life and What to Do About It

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.
 

Ask questions

Test this out by asking yourself these questions:

  1. Is something really missing in my life or am I afraid of spaciousness?
  2. Is there a missing piece in my life or is the Universe giving me breathing room for things to come in?
  3. 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.
 

Different perspective

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:

  1. 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.
     
  2. 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: 

  1. 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.

 

Are you Heartless?

In my mid-twenties, I had a plan for everything: the five-year plan, the five-month plan and the five-day plan. I even planned what to wear the next day. Those around me were included too; my carefully crafted plans involved controlling everyone within grasping distance.

I wrote lists and maps and charts for my next goal, accomplishment or achievement. This feverish pace kept me going, going, going, so that I never, never, never stopped to feel into things. Have you ever felt into a situation? Back then I thought that was a foreign and pretty creepy practice. I would scoff “what is there to feel into about life goals and five-year plans?” It took several unpleasant life lessons to figure out that I was heartless.

The problem with acting heartless-cutting the heart out of planning-is that the heart starts to vie for your attention in very odd ways. You can write out plan after plan and logically bounce your way through life, but sooner or later the heart will stage a revolution. For example, you’re knocking off your lists like a bandit, but you start to feel angry…all the time. Or you feel sad every morning and it takes a lot of donuts and coffee to shake it off. These annoying feelings get more intense and stay for longer. Welcome to the world of the ignored heart.

The ignored heart is quite a nuisance. It will pester you to death and ruin all your well-thought out plans. Just as you’re getting a foot hold on your five-year plan, the heart will throw you off track and before you know it you’ll be in a ditch somewhere wondering what happened.

When I graduated from high school I wanted to work in the travel industry. I imagined myself jetting around the world riding camels and climbing mountains. What I didn’t understand was that in my heart of hearts I really wanted to live the travelling lifestyle not WORK so others could ride camels and climb mountains. I stubbornly continued with my heartless plans and finished the travel and airline program. Mission accomplished-hooray! Yet there I was feeling disappointed, sad and frustrated. If I’d explored what my heart was actually telling me—find a way to travel and get paid for it—my plans would’ve looked very different. Needless to say, my career in travel was short lived.

As I began to let my heart tell me things I was amazed at how intelligent it was. My heart led me back to writing. My writing led me to express myself and help others at the same time. Opportunities continue to unfold for me within this realm and I feel extremely happy. So the next time you want to lead with your head and ignore your heart remember this saying: the heart wants what the heart wants. And believe me it will stop at nothing to get it. But so what? Who really wants to be heartless anyway?

Please comment below on your experiences of living from the heart or of ignoring your heart. I would love to hear from you!

 

From my heart to yours,

Eleanor
 

How’s that Workin’ for Ya?

When I say “that” I mean my body. This winter I wasn't impressed with myself. My thought patterns over the past few months went something like this:

I didn’t dedicate my life to health and wholeness so I can read about it from my hospital bed. I picture being something more like a Jillian Michaels prototype, but I realize it doesn’t happen overnight...

Apparently, my vision for physical nirvana is not in line with so called reality. A four month string of ass-kicking flus, followed by the onset of pneumonia (I have a whole new respect for breathing now), is worrisome. What am I doing wrong?

I eat vegetables—even the weird ones. I connect with nature regularly. I smile at strangers. I take my vitamins. I eat organic. I never engage in fist fights. I meditate.

What’s the deal? Should I start donating organs?

Any time my confusion scale climbs above 10, I know what I need to do: reflect! Go deep...as deep as the fluid in my lungs.

What I discover is an unrealistic ideal that demands perfect functioning all the time. If I do this, you better perform—like the elephant balancing on the circus ball. Who says anyone has to  listen to me anyway? My body is doing what it does in the capacity that it has, under the present circumstances. In other words, what business is it of mine what my body does or doesn't do?

My job is to accept my body with compassion, openness and occasional mockery. Me and my body go way back, it can take a little friendly ribbing. In all seriousness, the key takeaways for me are (and perhaps you can relate):

  1. Sh*t happens.
    We break a bone, fall down the stairs, stub our toes, pull our back hauling groceries, give ourselves an accidental black eye walking into a doorframe (really? you should be more careful!)-the possibilities are endless. It’s nobody’s fault, you’re not being punished and you don’t have to go into a shame spiral because your body isn't working properly.
     
  2. Sh*t doesn’t happen.
    We try to run a marathon and end up walking then hitching a ride the last 15 miles, we go to the gym but never look like Jillian Michaels or we learn to ski but never get off the bunny hill. So what? Does it help to berate our body for betraying us or would it be more fun to lift a few 2 lbers in the living room and call it a day? The point is we deserve our own support and acceptance more than anyone!
     
  3. As is.
    We’re like the as is section in Ikea-all our dings, scratches, bent frames and mismatched drawers make us the beautiful beings that we are. If we can get to this point of love and acceptance, you can bet that our body will rise to the occasion. Think of a child learning to read—they’ll never become a super famous orator if you say: “Your grammar sucks! You're a train wreck!” But if you say: “I think you’re amazing. Whatever you do, I’ll love you with all my heart”. Just think what might happen then...

My health is improving and aside from the extra effort to take a deep breath, I’m ok. I told my body the other day to take it’s time with whatever it needs to do. I’ll be along for the ride and I promise no more scathing remarks, only a few brilliantly timed cheap shots to keep us on our toes. I wish you and your body a long and loving relationship!
 

Where’s the Fun in That?

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: 

  1. 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.
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. 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?
     
  4. Meditation. 
    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!
     
  5. Spontaneity.
    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!
 

Take the Fear Out of Self-Love

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:

  1. 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.
     
  2. 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.
     
  3. I take part in gratitude practices and focus on things/situations/people that make me feel happy (ex. 100happydays.com).
     
  4. 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.
     
  5. 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?
 

Stuck at the Kids Table

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.
 

Action Steps

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

  1. 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?

     
  2. 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:

“What Would Little Red Riding Hood Do? 7 Ways to Face Your Wolf and Live Happily Ever After”

 

Is it Always Their Fault? How to Update your Behaviour Wardrobe

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:

  1. Make a decision that enough is enough.
    You’re ready to make some changes in your behaviour.
     
  2. Feel the feelings that will come up with this decision.
    Don’t judge them. Allow them to surface and leave your body.
     
  3. 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