I’m never going to be able to do this.
I’m such a failure.
Everyone is going to laugh at me.
Why did I decide this is a good idea?
I can’t… (fill in the blank).
We’ve all been there. I know I have been…I still struggle with it on occasion. The doubts. The negative thoughts. Not believing in yourself. Not valuing yourself…your time, your energy, or your knowledge. But let’s talk about why this is a horrible place to be! I’m going to share with you why it’s so important…so imperative to believe in yourself, to trust yourself, and to value yourself. Because when you don’t, it manifests in every other area of your life. And even worse, that’s what you put out into the world, so other people are going to have a hard time believing in you too. It really is a vicious cycle…one you need to stop, starting today!!
Have you been here? Does this sound familiar to you? Read on because I know one thing that can drastically change for you…change your mindset, change your life!
Believe in Yourself
When we continually talk negatively to ourselves, we start to believe it. We believe we can’t do things or aren’t good enough or will struggle with whatever we do. Let’s make it simple with an example. I’m a crossfitter (duh, LOL) and pretty much every day at the gym, I approach a barbell several times with the intent of picking it up in some way, shape, or form. When I walk up to the bar thinking I can’t do it or won’t be able to do it, more often than not, I fail at the lift. I get so frustrated with myself in these situations. But when I approach the bar thinking, “Heck yeah! I am going to lift this with ease. I’ve done it over and over again. I know I can!” It all changes. I know my abilities and I believe I can do it. That belief in myself is such a huge shift…in my mindset and the outcome of the lift (or anything else I put my mind to). We have to envision our success and believe we will be successful, and guess what? We are (more often than not) successful! Believe in yourself, believe in your abilities. Period.
Just as important as believing in yourself is trusting yourself. If you don’t trust your abilities, then you won’t believe in yourself…and what follows is, you guessed it, generally a complete disaster. Without that trust, everything in life becomes a struggle. We constantly doubt our decisions and our beliefs. We question whether what we’re doing is right. We look for outside approval to make ourselves feel better about our decisions. Does this sound familiar? You call your mom, dad, best friend and ask, “Did I do the right thing?” “What would you do in this situation?” “Am I making the right decision?” “I don’t know what to do! Tell me what you think.”
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing to talk about your decisions and seek advice. But if you find that you can’t (or won’t) make a decision without getting other people’s advice or opinions, then learning to trust yourself is so important! A good way to do this is to quiet your mind and learn to listen to your intuition. I’ve learned to do this through meditation. And the more you listen, the more you put your trust in your decisions and your abilities, the easier it becomes to “hear” your voice. Trust yourself, trust your abilities.
When we start to believe in and trust ourselves, we also then begin to value ourselves. When we value our thoughts, our beliefs, and our decisions, we can conquer the world! Okay, so maybe that’s a stretch, but it certainly feels that way! Even if we aren’t always successful in our decisions (because yes, we sometimes fail at things we try), it means we are trying!! If we never try, we will never be successful at anything!
So let’s change our mindset…believe in yourself and your abilities, always. Trust in yourself and your abilities, always. And value yourself and your decisions, always. There’s nothing more confident and attractive than someone who believes, trusts, and values him or herself!
I know, you’re thinking, come on – this is so much easier said than done. I get it…I’ve been there. But start small…think about something you do every day. Something that you do well. And put all your belief, all your trust, all your value into that. Is it making coffee? Is it writing a blog post? Start with that, and then move on to the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing. Listen to your thoughts and when you hear those common “I can’t” or “I’m never going to be able to…” thoughts, immediately change them! Think “I can…” or “I will…”
One of my favorite sayings that my mom used to tell me all the time is “Fake it til you make it.” The more you practice these thoughts, the more you will believe it. I promise. Be conscious of your thoughts and beliefs and change them to positive ones! It becomes easier and easier with practice. And even if you don’t believe them right way, keep changing them to positive ones. Fake it and one day, you’ll realize you actually do believe them! And you’ve made it.
Believe in yourself, trust in yourself, value yourself. You will see HUGE changes in your life when this shift in mindset occurs.
Have a fabulous week!!
With love and wellness,
Wow. Just wow. I was going through documents on my computer and came across this word document entitled "Perfectionism." This was written three years ago and still holds true today. I can't remember why I didn't share this before, but here it is now. At a perfect (no pun intended) time.
Every day, we wake up and present our best selves to the world. But for me, just like so many others, we present our “perfectionist” selves to the world. We struggle to be “perfect” and “likeable” and “on” all the time. But in the end, where does that get us?
Do you find yourself always saying yes to everyone, even when you really want to say no? Do you find that you attend events, meetings, parties, etc. only to come home completely drained? This is how I’ve been my entire life. I overextend myself in every aspect of my life, and I don’t stop until I literally come crashing to a halt. I wake up and my body and mind are like, “Nope…it’s not happening today. There will be no “functioning” going on. May as well go back to sleep.”
This, unfortunately, is the bane of all perfectionists’ existence. We aim to please and we aim to be “perfect,” in everybody’s eyes. This, however, is so completely draining. We strive to be the “perfect” child growing up; we have to get good grades and make sure our parents are proud of us. Then, as we head off to college, we have to get into the BEST school and of course, make straight A’s! Anything less would be a catastrophe. And don’t forget, after graduation from college, you MUST get the PERFECT job! It better be the one that you will make the most money and that you will excel at!! And what?? You’re 33 and not married?! Holy crap! How did that happen in your perfect little world??
Does this sound like you? Because it sure as heck was me! Let me go back to my childhood to help explain it a little better.
My parents divorced when I was 5. And I don’t really remember much about it other than my mom remarried a Navy man and we moved from Charleston, SC, to San Pedro, CA. I had a “normal” childhood with all the bumps and bruises and scars to prove it. But I can remember always putting this immense pressure on myself, both in and outside of school. I had to get perfect scores at school and I would be so disappointed if I got in trouble for something. I think I beat myself up more than my parents or any teachers at school! I felt like I had to be this perfect little child so that my parents would love me. It sounds silly to say it out loud, but I can remember feeling that way…and I felt that way all the way through college and into my career!
I’d constantly ask for my mother’s approval (she was my main caregiver growing up). I’d ask if what I was doing was okay or the right thing to do. And I’ll admit, I still do that today, sometimes too much. It’s definitely a hard habit to break. I just recently asked both my parents if they would be okay if I never had children. This, in essence, is asking them if they’d still love me if I didn’t have kids. What?!?! That’s crazy, right?! Of course my parents would love me, no matter what. But in my head, I had to do the “right” thing…you know, get married, have kids, etc.
But I definitely didn’t do things the traditional way. After college, at the age of 22, I got an amazing job with the government as a criminal investigator…yes, six months after graduation! I did all the “right” things in college, per my mom’s advice. I majored in criminal justice and minored in accounting, and I got great grades (all that pressure on myself paid off!). So I got into the government under the Outstanding Scholar Program (they no longer have this program, but it certainly helped me!). And I thought, “Okay, here is when my life starts. I have a great job, now to find the “perfect” husband, get married and have kids.”
I went through a series of boyfriends, always wondering if the guy I was with was “the one.” Even when things weren’t the greatest, I brushed it aside and acted as if the relationship was perfect. I needed people to believe that my relationships were awesome (don’t ask me why). And when they failed, because when you are trying to force perfection, they always fail, I would beat myself up mercilessly. I was so much harder on myself than anyone else ever could be.
Now, here I am, 33 years old, single, never been married, no kids. I’ve been pseudo-engaged once (yes, that’s what I’m calling it because he had the ring, but hadn’t yet asked me, and we were planning the wedding), and I’ve lived with a couple boyfriends…one who I thought was the real deal. If you had asked me 10 years ago where I’d be in 10 years, I would have said married with two kids and settled into my career. There’s no way I would’ve thought I’d still be single, wanting to change my career path, no children, and on the tail ends of yet another failed relationship.
And I realized something about this and my other “failed” relationships. All of our relationships can’t be “perfect” or last forever, right? Without these relationships, we wouldn’t know what we want or what we’re willing to put up with. But after examining my relationships, I further realized that I wasn’t learning what I needed to learn from them. I kept getting into similar situations, because I wasn’t learning anything and using those lessons in my next relationship(s).
As part of my perfectionist problem, I had stopped listening to my intuition…to my gut instincts. I wanted so badly to find the “perfect” man to spend my life with…so I overlooked the small things…those red flags that scream at you that something is wrong. I stopped listening to my friends and family…I brushed everything aside and told myself this was how a relationship was supposed to be. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I thought having arguments and getting angry with your significant other was the norm. So I put up with a lot. And when the relationships ended, I could look back and see so very clearly all the red flags that were there at the beginning. And I kept asking myself, “What the heck?! Why didn’t you listen to yourself??”
Of course, I also looked back and beat myself up about the relationship. What could I have done better? What could I have done differently? How did I end up with another failed relationship? What was wrong with me? I could go on and on with the questions I asked and how I criticized myself again and again. Because in my mind, it was all my fault!!
It took me YEARS to come to terms with the fact that it takes two!! Yes, I may have brought my own issues into a relationship, but guess what? So did the other person!! And if two people don’t mesh, it’s not going to last, no matter how hard you try! I mean, you could act “perfect” in your relationship and act how the other person wants you to act, but where does that leave you? You end up resenting the other person and the relationship and you end up completely miserable!!! Believe me, I know. I did this FAR too many times!!
And even worse, I would change who I was for these guys…I gave up a lot of who I was and what I wanted for them. For instance, in my pseudo-engagement, I was going to sell my house and move to Kansas City for him…even though I was unhappy in our relationship and I had a lot of doubt and trust issues with him.
And with my latest relationship, I gave up even more. I rented my house out and moved in with him after only dating for three months. I knew when we started dating that he didn’t really want any more children (he already had three), but he told me he would be willing to discuss it should I (yes, I) decide I wanted kids. About a month and a half after moving in with him, he told me he didn’t want any more kids…that he thought it was something he could get over and eventually want more with me, but he couldn’t get over it. And you know what I did? I said, “Okay. I’m happy with you and with your kids and I don’t need to have any of my own.” Yes, after wanting children my whole life, I was willing to give that up for this man. I made excuse after excuse why I was okay with that decision.
I think I’m still in awe over that. Because, let’s be honest, I was less than happy with him. I had my own doubts and felt like I’d been walking on eggshells around him…like anything I did or said was going to piss him off. And there was a lot of distrust on both our parts. He didn’t feel like he could be friends with his friends that were girls because of me…and I thought that he was hiding things from me when it came to those friends that were girls, amongst other things. I’m surprised we lasted 6.5 months.
And you want to know the real kicker with both of these relationships?? At the beginning of both of them, there were a lot of red flags and things that were screaming at me to walk away. But I brushed them aside…I don’t know if this was because I wanted to be in a relationship so badly or because I thought I was just being silly and overthinking the situation. And from the beginning, there were always little voices in my head saying it was too good to be true or little doubts in the back of my mind.
I think women, in general, do this more than men. We don’t listen to ourselves or our gut instincts, because we want so badly to please everyone else. What I’ve taken away from my latest relationship is that I MUST learn to listen to and trust my intuition. When something doesn’t feel right or I have a nagging doubt in my mind, I HAVE to listen to it! I don’t have to have a reason, I don’t have to understand it, but I have to learn that it is definitely telling me something. Because we all have our intuition and our gut instincts and whether you believe it or not, they are ALWAYS right!! There is no rhyme or reason for it, but our intuition always knows. I’ve started meditating so I can get more in tune with my intuition. The next step is to actually listen to it when it’s speaking to me…and to stop brushing my feelings to the side!! Because, seriously, my feelings mean something, darn it!!
I also beat myself up at work, among other parts of my life. If I’m not giving 110% to everything in my life, I feel like a total failure. This results in total burn out on my part. I mean, when I was in college, I can remember calling my mom after an open book test in my tax class (for my accounting minor) because I had gotten a C or a D (I don’t remember the exact grade, but I was NOT happy with it). I mean, I was literally crying, saying how stupid I was and that I wanted to drop the class. How could I have done so poorly on an OPEN BOOK TEST, for pete’s sake?? And yes, this is how I was for EVERYTHING. If I got less than A on anything to do with school, I thought I was a complete failure. I called myself stupid and worthless and all the other words that went along with those feelings.
But why? Why did I continue to do that to myself? Did it make any difference? In the end, did I get anything out of it? Did it improve who I was as a person? Did I learn anything from beating myself up and calling myself names??
No – if anything, this made it all worse! I believe that it meant that my own worst enemy was between my own two ears! I was hardest on myself! My parents loved me no matter what I did (or didn’t do). My friends…my true friends loved me no matter what! And for the guys who were in and out of my life, I learned I was okay without them in my life! I survived every difficult situation I’d been in…and I will survive any difficult situation I’m put in in the future. Because you know what? My track record for surviving has been 100%!!
And I learned that I can’t talk to myself that way…it doesn’t do me any good and in fact, only hurts me more. Because what we tell ourselves on a daily basis is what we believe, and what our mind believes, our body believes. I wouldn’t talk to my friends or family that way, so why did I think it was okay to talk to myself that way? I’m not stupid or worthless or fat or crazy…I’m a human being who makes mistakes, because that’s what we do. I am not perfect, despite how hard I tried to be perfect. And with every mistake, I learned valuable lessons about who I was, what I wanted, and where I needed to be in my life.
That was where I ended this document. I'm not sure what I was thinking at the time, but I know that I have continued to grow and learn lessons from everything I've gone through. So here I am, 36 years old, coming out of a marriage that I thought was forever. Still no kids, which I am okay with at this point in my life. I couldn't even fathom going through this if I had children of my own.
What I do know is that I am still not perfect. I am a work in progress. But I am strong and successful and powerful and happy. Life has certainly been a journey...a far from perfect one. But a journey nonetheless.
So my advice to you is to stop being so hard on yourself. Speak kindly to yourself. Give yourself a break; cut yourself some slack. We are all works in progress and deserve grace and love, even from ourselves.
Have a beautiful week. Take care of yourself. Love yourself.
With love and wellness,
I didn’t know what I was expecting to find in Okinawa, but I knew I desperately needed to be away from the hecticness that had become my every day life.
I hadn’t been on a vacation since April 2017, and literally everything that you couldn’t possibly ever dream had happened to me from June 2017 to January 2018.
Yes, I was burnt out. Yes, I was tired. And yes, I needed to be away from my “normal.” So when a friend asked me to visit him, it didn’t take me very long to say yes and book the flights. I needed something to look forward to in a time when nothing was certain in my life.
Fast forward to January, when my trip was planned. I had just moved the previous Tuesday, my mom was in town helping me unpack (or really, just unpacking for me, lol), I had a crossfit competition coming up, and I was still coaching and figuring out the new living situation.
Needless to say, I wasn’t too worried about my travels around the world until the day of. In fact, I didn’t even start packing until about 90 minutes or so before I was to leave the house for the airport. Yep. That’s about how hectic my life was.
The traveling part wasn’t terrible. Figuring out international travel protocols in a foreign country where English is definitely the second language (and often not very well) was interesting, to say the least. Thankfully there were other Americans along for the journey to ensure I got where I needed to be, and in a timely manner, no less. So no hiccups. No missed flights. And before I knew it, I was in Okinawa.
Like I said in the beginning, I had no idea what to expect but that first afternoon into the next day was spent simply relaxing and sleeping and not rushing from one thing to the next, which, you guessed it, had been the norm for me at home. It was nice to be able to relax, to not have to be anywhere, and to have a place where I could just simply be.
Most of my days were spent at my friend’s place, catching up on reading, trainings, and movies, while I waited for him to get home. And believe me, I was 100% okay with that. For you see, I don’t get that at home. I don’t have time to just sit and relax and do nothing. It was a nice change of pace for me.
I rested. I worked. I chatted with new and old friends. I created my own at home crossfit workouts (and kicked my own butt daily). And then I would shower and get ready for the adventures that awaited when he got home from work.
For you see, we pretty much went out every evening, either for some sightseeing and/or for dinner. Because the food...oh, the food. I definitely ate entirely too much and things I wouldn’t normally ever eat, but it was OH SO GOOD! I enjoyed all of it so much (probably TOO much!).
My friend ended up having to work the first weekend there, but we still got out and about to see the different areas of Okinawa. I don’t even remember what we did on that Saturday but I was able to see different areas of Okinawa and places I would have never seen without him there as my tour guide. On Sunday, after church, we went to Okinawa World, which was amazing. Such an experience that I can’t even appropriately explain with words. I spent a lot of the day laughing and trying new things (including that snake drink!), which was exactly what I needed.
That following week, it was more of the same with him working during the day, me sleeping and getting my down time, and going out during the evenings. I also made it to Crossfit Asia and was able to experience crossfit, Okinawa style. It felt just like home (aka, I got my butt kicked!).
What I was really looking forward to, though, was the upcoming weekend, when my friend had planned a weekend up north, to include hiking and seeing some beautiful waterfalls and the aquarium. I was anxious to see more of Okinawa and to be away from the “norm” that had become his house.
It was such a whirlwind weekend as we were in and out of the car looking at different sites and hiking various waterfalls. It was all absolutely gorgeous! I posted most of my pictures already, but I’ve included a few here, as well. It was all so tranquil and peaceful; I spent a lot of my time looking up and around at nature and everything it had to offer.
I can’t explain it and I know it sounds funny, but it truly gave me the opportunity to slow down, appreciate this amazing life I’ve been given, and to be away from social media and the constant ping and pull into others’ worlds. It was a nice and much needed break away.
I only had a couple days left when we got back to my friend’s house. It was, once again, back to him working and me relaxing and getting some work of my own done. But it was during this time that I did a lot of planning and really figuring out my business and where I want to be and what I want to achieve this year.
Oh, and I also made it to Crossfit Habu during the last week too. What a great gym and a great crew! It made me miss my gym family so much as I could see how close knit this crew was! I would definitely recommend Habu if you’re close to or stationed on Kadena! (PS - I would recommend Crossfit Asia too, but they’re further away from Kadena...FYI).
I realized in my last couple days in Okinawa that I got so much more than I bargained for or expected from being there. I left feeling refreshed, renewed, and refocused as to what I want and WHY I want it. I feel like these last six or seven months have been ones of turmoil and massive change in my life, and this trip was the final step in that closure.
I learned that I am in a much better place than I thought. I learned that I am a survivor and strong enough to do and be on my own. And I learned that I will be okay if things don’t go as planned or the answer I hear is no.
Mind you...these are all things I knew, but I needed the opportunity to slow down and feel and believe them to my core.
Y’all. God truly does answer prayers. It may not be immediate and it may not be with what you think you want or need or deserve, but He always answers. And He certainly always provides.
So as I am settling back into home, I am going to bring some of Okinawa back with me. I am going to take the time to slow down, to enjoy the moments as they come, and I am going to put my phone down every now and again and be away from social media. Life is beautiful and we are truly blessed to be alive. I want to enjoy it...not spend it looking at my phone or waiting for the next notification.
I hope you all have a beautiful week. Don’t forget to count your blessings and to be grateful for all you have in life.
With love and wellness,
So as y'all know, one of my resolutions this year was to read a book a month. So far, I am way ahead of the curve. And yes, I'm giving myself kudos because usually I'm scrambling to play catch up. Truth, LOL.
So for January, I read the book "The Obstacle is the Way," by Ryan Holiday. Talk about an AH-MAZ-ING book. It truly helped me see how to view things in a much different way, including the negative things that happen(ed) in my life. Instead of focusing on them as problems or obstacles that I can't get past, it taught me to look at them as a catapult into something much bigger and better than expected. Talk about a totally different way to view the world and the problems that are inevitable!
Well...I finished that book early...so early, in fact, I didn't even bring it with me to Japan (WHAT?!). Instead, I brought my February book, "The Happiness Advantage," by Shawn Achor. And let's just say it is the perfect follow-on to my January book. A beautiful friend gave me this book awhile back and I'm just now getting around to reading it. But I think it is definitely at the perfect point in my life.
In our society, we are trained that happiness comes only AFTER certain things happen. For instance, I will be happy when... FILL IN THE BLANK. I get a new job, I'm in a new relationship, it's the new year, I am successful, I make X amount of money. Etc, etc, etc.
But think about that for a minute. If you continue to think this way, then you are perpetually UNHAPPY, because you are always waiting for the next thing to happen in your life. It's a craptastic cycle that just keeps you in the same place, over and over again.
Instead, in the Happiness Advantage, it talks about how much more successful you can be when you are happy FIRST!
What the... How could that possibly be?!
Well, for starters, happy people are more open minded and relaxed, thus allowing them to see the endless possibilities out there. Whether that is in their business, their relationships, their lives, etc. When you focus on the good things, the positive things in life, you automatically continue to see the good things in life. Conversely, when you focus only on the bad things in life (think of those "Woe is me" people in your life), then, you guessed it, you automatically continue to see the bad things in life.
One of the ways you can train your mind to see the good and positive things in life is to start a gratitude journal. Or if that seems too much, just a gratitude list. We used to do this when we sat down to dinner, but it's been awhile since I've had a family dinner. So...I'm going to go back to writing a list. Because let's be real...there are SO MANY good things to focus on!!
I don't know about you, but I don't want to focus only on the negative things. Yes, bad things are going to happen, but that doesn't have to be my main focus. I want to focus on all the POSITIVE things I have going on.
What about you? Do you want to join me on this gratitude journey? I'd love to start a gratitude train of people, spreading much needed love and happiness everywhere!
Comment below with 3 things you are grateful for today! I'd love to hear them!
Have a beautiful week!
With love and wellness,