Posts by Liz:
She’s so much more than I expected. She’s so much wittier, more captivating, endearing, adorable and unique than I could have ever imagined. And so whenever I’m away from her and I pause to think about all her magic, I sometimes feel like she’s a dream. Like she’s not my baby. Like this is not my life I’m living.
I got used to learning lessons from struggle. In many ways I am who I am today because I like to think about prior struggles, study them, learn from them, share them.
I haven’t really understood what I’m supposed to learn from this little being that does nothing but make my heart sing. If it doesn’t feel like a tragic struggle, what lessons will I have to share?
Of course there are struggles… sleep deprivation, what seems like an endless amount of chores, and, with balancing a full time job, overall lack of any time for myself being major ones. Did I mention sleep deprivation? I now understand why that is a torture technique…
But as far as she goes, all I can see is the beauty in her little being. The blessing.
I’ve never been so deeply in love with both the perfections and imperfections of someone before. I’ve never given my deepest levels of strength and vulnerability to anyone so simultaneously. I am mercilessly wrapped around every little part of her soul and yet she is healing and strengthening every little part of mine.
So how can this be? What do you do when life gives you way more than you ever asked for, way more than you ever thought to want? What do you learn? Do you even deserve this?
I’ve believed for so many years that we’re all here to learn hard tragic lessons about life and then heal. And that it’s through the tragedy and the healing that we elevate our souls. I spent a long time believing that life is supposed to be and always will be, hard. And sad. And lonely. And a struggle.
In the past, I never stopped to think about how life has the potential to just dump love all over you. To give so abundantly and ask for nothing back.
The other night I found an old diary from high school. I bravely opened it to read a few pages. I couldn’t believe the words on the page… the sadness and anger I used to feel towards life.
I wanted to reach through the pages and give that girl a hug. And tell her, that if you work on things, if you challenge your perspectives, if you believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who lift you up, if you own who you are and honor what you need to thrive, you can fill your life with magic.
Magic of your own making. Magic of your own definitions.
In reading those pages I realized I could view my life through that old perspective now if I chose to. I could lose myself in all the things that are so very hard and overwhelming. I could even go back to allowing things into my life that do not serve me, to perpetuate problems and patterns that harm me. And I wonder what life would look like now if I did. Would I be married to such a gentle-man? Would I love my daughter in the same way?
Being a mom is hard. Being a working mom is hard. Paying law school loans is hard. Living in New York can be hard. And so many other things. There are times when it all gets the best of me, of course.
But when I lose myself in those moments, I work hard to get myself back on track. Back to gratitude. Back to magic. Once I decided that that would be my track, I am always looking for it when it’s out of sight, always inching my way back towards it and moving things out of its way.
What I’ve been finding is that when you immerse yourself in gratitude, life gives back to you in unexpected ways. Life brings you the people, the rewards, the courtesies, the mentors, the gifts you never would have known to ask for.
My daughter’s not magical because she’s perfect. And I know our relationship won’t be perfect. But the one thing I’ll never demand from her, is perfection.
I decided that my daughter would be magical on the day she was born. And it was that decision, that commitment to that feeling, that has made every moment since feel just that way. And carrying that same sense of gratitude towards other areas of life, is creating similar results.
It’s so hard to give a gift to someone who never likes anything you get them. It’s so much more fun to buy a gift when you know it will be received with joy and appreciation and love.
I’m finding that life is just that way. When you believe in the magic of life and live in the gratitude of all the blessings around you (while also honoring and protecting your needs), life wants to give back to you, reward you with its gifts more and more.
My daughter makes every today the best day of my life.
I decided that that’s what she would do. And so it is.
What magic do you have in your life right now?
And, happy birthday, my sweet girl.
I used to get intimidated by people so easily. People I thought were bigger and better than me. I’d shake and stutter and make myself as small as possible. I’d fill my words with ‘I’m sorry’s’, having nothing in particular to apologize for. I’d hide the fierceness that has always lived within me.
Over the past few years there’s been a major shift in me. An internal shift that’s come from a ton of work on myself, from challenging the perspective I had developed over way too many years.
I’ve taken risks, I’ve taken time to be on my own and figure out who I am (and who I’m not), and I’ve challenged the rules I was taught to live my life by.
Ironically, in many ways life has come full circle. I’m back working as a lawyer and I’m living in a place I thought I had left forever, but now surprisingly enjoy.
But I’m not the same. I’ve changed. And so these old but new roles fit so differently. And I feel gratitude to the Universe for showing me this 360 degree perspective.
One major shift I’ve experienced is how I feel about the people around me. People don’t scare me anymore. People I used to view on the highest of pedestals, towering over quivering me.
I no longer quiver. They no longer tower.
If you are often intimidated by others, here are a few things I’ve learned along they way. I hope they help you see that you deserve to stand strongly amongst even your greatest idols, “superiors”, and authority figures.
1. The person you’re intimidated by is human.
Even your biggest idol, or the head of the company you answer to, or whoever it is that makes your knees shake, is still just a person. They have family issues, daddy issues, mother issues, insecurities, things they’re trying to prove, obstacles they’re trying to overcome, fears they’re dealing with, people they’re hoping to impress, bills they have to pay, and feelings their trying to protect. And they all poop in the morning, floss their teeth at night, cry when they’re alone, and do whatever else it is that makes us completely and utterly human.
They are no different from you. No better. No worse.
2. They may not be who you think they are, after all.
I had quite a few people that I idolized, that I was so intimidated to meet, and then upon meeting and interacting with them shockingly found that not only were some of them not the people I thought they were, they were sometimes even ego driven, rude and judgmental of those around them (including a famed celebrity whose name I won’t mention!). It’s all love, we all have our own demons to battle but after enough of these experiences I started to question the values I so quickly assigned to those who intimidated me.
We often idolize those in powerful positions. But power doesn’t always come with tact or with the gentleness we should all strive to treat one another with. Power is just as likely to accompany a fragile ego as is insecurity. And power fueling a fragile ego can be a particularly troublesome combination.
With enough of these experiences, I learned to change the way I judge people.
“Powerful” people are those who impact me deeply, spiritually,
lovingly, regardless of what their resumes are stacked with.
Powerful people are the people I welcome into my life, who welcome
me back, who fill me with positivity, and who teach me how to grow.
This is not to say that some of the people I idolized or admired didn’t turn out to be some of the most loving, generous and kind people I know. They absolutely did. But again, I see them now for the love they share with the world, not for merely their title or “power”.
3. Separate your own ego.
I used to think I was egoless, because I felt insecure, so where’s the ego there? But it is there. Ego is just as involved in insecurity as it is in arrogance. You’re worried about how the world is perceiving you. You’re fearing people will spot your imperfections. You’re attached to and driven by the opinions of others.
Acknowledge your ego. Know that if your response to someone is based on fear, it’s your ego talking, telling you you’re not good enough. The more aware of it you are, the more you can learn to separate from it and send it love, instead of letting it control you and your emotions.
4. Don’t posture — but do stand tall.
Never pretend to be someone you’re not in order to impress anybody. Fakeness is oddly transparent, especially on those who feel insecure to begin with.
Alway strive for authenticity.
Be who you are, the best version of who you are.
Those who don’t accept that version of you, are not meant to be in your life, no matter how special or admired they may seem to be. Wish them well and move on.
There is such beauty in the authenticity that comes from a place of humble self-love and acceptance, instead of a place of ego driven fear. Find that place and you will stand tall genuinely, instead of pretending to be someone you’re not and posturing from insecurity.
5. Understand your own worth.
To be the best version of who you are, you must first accept who you are, whole heartedly. Stop fighting against yourself. Put your inner battles to rest. Accept yourself. Accept your history. Accept the flaws you cannot change and grow in all the ways you can. Rewrite the internal story you’ve been telling about yourself into a story of triumph.
The people who intimidate you are not worth more than you. They are not better than you. They are not more deserving. They are not luckier.
We are all the same and we are all just trying to find our way
in this world and heal our souls in the process.
To do so we must look internally, with love and gratitude,
not outwardly with envy and lack.
Own who you are. Own your experiences. Own your strengths and even your weaknesses. Stand strong in all that makes you, you.
6. Approach everyone with love.
Lastly, one of the best ways I’ve learned to lose all intimidation of others is to assume that everyone I meet already loves me. And I assume that they are lovable as well. It’s amazing how quickly this technique can soften up even the harshest and scariest of people.
If you approach people assuming that they won’t like you or that they’ll hurt you in some way, chances are they won’t like you or they’ll hurt you in some way.
Our lives are the fruits of our thoughts.
Believe in the good in you. Believe that others will see it, and so they will.
Soon enough you’ll see, that there’s no reason to be so intimidated by others, you have way too much to give and you are open to all you wish to receive.
It was pouring rain a couple of Saturday mornings ago, as my husband and I packed up our car with dog and baby to head to Central Park, as we do every Saturday, come rain, shine, hail, sleet or complete lack of sleep. It’s one of our many rituals.
“I may be pushing our luck this time”, I said to my husband, J, as buckets of rain hit our windshield. But still, we kept driving. And my faith lingered…
Faith in the oddest of tiny miracles we experience time and time again on these early Saturday morning outings ~ no matter what the weather is like when we leave our house, as soon as we’re approaching the park, the skies suddenly clear up and our walks are filled with the mystical glow and intoxicating smell that only follows after the rain. That misty air I love so much, that always calms me down as it seeps into my pours.
J used to protest our park trips when we’d wake up in the morning to a water filled sky. But each time I’d say, “let’s just go anyway babe”. And he’d oblige.
He doesn’t protest anymore, he knows our miracle never lets us down.
Our walks through the park during off leash hours (before 9:00 AM), where hundreds of dogs are running around freely, are the highlight of my week. Only a hurricane would make me want to miss them.
We hold hands and talk about life and all the things we hope for. We chase our dog. We talk to strangers. We fawn over our own little Rayne drop.
We stroll, slowly, enjoying the moment, the walk, the ease of the morning. Tea in hand.
We’re not rushing off to work, juggling the baby, catching up quickly on the phone or dealing with laundry, dishes and cooking dinner. We’re just strolling, enjoying the morning, the nature, the dogs, and each other’s company.
It brings us back. Back to each other. Back to our peaceful foundation, even if we’re discussing heated topics. We’re in our world, together, rehashing and reseting, so all that’s off can run parallel again.
And as we drive back home from the park, the sheets of rain often start pouring down once again. And each time I’m in awe of the timing of it all. In awe of the magic created in the honoring of our ritual.
The reseting. And then life, as it comes pouring back in.
My husband and I have so many rituals. Rituals that developed organically. Instinctually. But I’ve noticed over time how quickly these little rituals can ground your relationship when things are feeling off. How sturdily they can forge your foundation. Even the silly ones seem to work magic.
They work so well when you honor them. We don’t skip ours in a fight. I used to, I thought that was okay. I’d be furious about something so doing our simple kiss goodnight, our long hug in the morning, or our “I love you’s” as one walks out the door would get tossed aside.
But my husband taught me a better way. He is endlessly my teacher in love.
He never skips a ritual out of spite or anger. And over the years it’s proved to be such a comfort, to know that if I mess up and piss him off, he’ll still kiss me and say I love you before walking out the door. He doesn’t punish or use his love as a weapon, as I’ve experienced in previous relationships. He doesn’t withhold his love when things get ugly. He makes it unconditional.
It’s such a blessing that I’ve learned to give him the same courtesy, despite being somewhat more emotional of a person than he is (an understatement).
And with the honoring of each little ritual, no matter what the disagreement or annoyance is, we reset.
And like clearing of the skies on the rainiest of days, it’s our commitment to our rituals that helps us clear our own inner clouds, and has us walking hand in hand once again…
Perhaps if things seem rocky at times in any of your relationships (romantic, family or friend), you can find a way to create simple rituals that ground and reset.
*I hope they bring you a little magic*
I promised to her that no matter what, I would always smile when I’m around her.
I don’t know if I’ll be able to give her everything she ever wants. I don’t know if I’ll always be who she wishes I would be. But I know that I can give her the gift of always knowing that I’m happy with her. I know that I can always choose happy, for her.
There are times when I can’t smile, when I’m cranky, stressed out, exhausted. And in those times, where I just can’t do it, I ask for help, so I can take the time I need to gather myself. I step away so that I can find the joy I want showing up for her.
This past weekend my husband and I embarked upon the most massive decluttering project known to man. We’ve been debating moving for a long time and after seeing available apartments, we decided we’d stay put for the time being. Dog, baby and us, in our one bedroom apartment. We’d rather save our money and sell our place a bit down the line, perhaps in time for baby #2, whenever that blessed event might happen.
And so we spent my birthday weekend (yup, it was my bday!), painting the living room, tearing down shelves that were built into the wall, emptying closets, cabinets and trunks and donating not only bags upon bags of clothes, but large pieces of furniture and boxes upon boxes of books as well. I even got rid of some old diaries (never thought that day would come!). And then we proceeded to rearrange our entire apartment, finding a way to give the baby her very own room.
I typically declutter by emptying a shelf or two, cleaning out a drawer or cabinet, throwing away some old clothes. Gentle decluttering, easy breezy.
The decluttering and redecorating we did this past weekend was offensive, obnoxious, physical and plain ugly (that’s our bed more or less in our kitchen at one point in the picture above). All while juggling the little one.
We were exhausted. And grumpy. Honestly, I’m still feeling the effects.
Yet throughout the weekend I was reminded of my promise to my daughter. And so I kept smiling, I kept searching for the joy, in the midst of the sweat and mess.
And in that search I found myself caught in giggle attacks that were so overpowering I could no longer lift furniture. My husband had to wait them out so productivity could begin again. Fortunately, laughing is contagious.
It’s amazing what choosing to smile can do for those on the receiving end, and even more so what it does for yourself. Things start to roll off your back faster, the small stuff seems to matter less, life simply becomes happier.
I think of my promise to my daughter every day. I work on carrying through on it for her constantly. I may not always do it perfectly, but I am always mindful of it.
And I’ve come to realize something throughout these past few months of smiling so consistently…
There is no such thing as a fake smile.
Because when you smile, even if you don’t want to, it changes you. It lights you up within, releasing chemicals in your brain, changing the vibration of your cells, emitting and cultivating joy all around you.
Suddenly the physical takes over the mental. And you realize just how much control you can have over the joy in your life.
And so for my daughter, and now for myself, I choose to smile as often possible. And when she smiles back, in fits of giggles, I know the value of my promise to her, and to myself, is priceless.
Have you ever tried smiling no matter what? Do you have someone in your life that you could make this promise to? Perhaps to yourself, as you are worth it.
My birthday lunch…
The fam, a couple of months ago, at a friend’s house…
In writing this blog I often try to find the perfect picture, which I’ll then edit just right. I look for a beautiful font, with the right colors. I work on creating the softest flow of sentences I can, with hopefully a touch of inspiration. I’ll make sure to research the ideal keywords for the best google search results. Then I’ll edit it all some more, and then some more again. Eventually I hit publish and proceed to share it on every social media network I’m a member of.
I want it all to be as perfect as I can make it. I want to know I gave it my very best. Even if it is just a silly little blog post.
And in that strive for perfection… I haven’t blogged for 4 weeks.
Life got insanely busy. Back at a law firm full time plus raising a baby and all the errands, chores, feedings, and sleepless nights that go with it, have left me… exhausted.
And so I couldn’t write, not in the Type-A can’t leave any detail behind kind of way that I like to. I’ve had zero time for perfection. And so I’ve been letting more and more things go. More and more slips through the cracks, cracks that I’ve allowed to open, so that I have more room to breathe.
And so I’ve been thinking about these little details and my obsession with them. And I’ve been asking myself tough questions like if I can’t do things the way I want, should I just not do them at all?
And I’ve started to realize that maybe one of the things that holds many of us back the most in life is our obsession with perfectionism.
We wait for the timing of things to be just right. We wait until we’re fully comfortable. We wait until all the stars align just perfectly. And in all that waiting, there is no forward motion.
I’ve been wondering how I can do it all, trying to find the secret formula to getting everything done now that I’m a mama. Being a wife, a mother, a friend, a provider, etc. Trying to do each to my best yet often feeling like I’m failing at them all, and wondering what else I need to drop from my life in order to find balance.
It took me some time to realize that perhaps what I need to drop is simply trying to get it all done perfectly.
Last Sunday I made my baby over a month’s worth of homemade organic baby food. I felt this need to go above and beyond. To make sure she’s thriving during all the hours I’m away from her when I’m at work.
And as I looked in my freezer at all the brightly colored purees I had stacked up for her I laughed at myself. Did I really need to do ALL that? Who am I trying to prove my good mama-hood to? Is it my guilt for being back at work and away from her that made me go to such lengths? All I know is that what I really needed to do on Sunday was take a nap, instead of pureeing for 4 hours…
So in the wake of all this self-realization, I am going to make an effort to not bog myself down in the paralyzing quest for perfection. A quest that exists completely in our minds. A quest that sets us up for failure before we even begin. A quest that stops us dead in our tracks.
I write this blog because I love writing, and I love helping people to feel better about themselves. I would hate to stop doing something I love just because I can’t do it exactly the way I’d want to in my ideal fantasy world.
So I’m going to try to be the best wife, mother, friend, lawyer, blogger, etc. that I can be while embracing that it’s all going to be a little rough around the edges.
And maybe what we find when we stop waiting for perfection, is that perfection already exists within our imperfectly rough edges.
Do you ever allow yourself to get bogged down in trying to achieve perfection? Does it ever stop you from even starting?
P.S. I hope this post looks okay
I’m reading an amazing book by renowned author Martha Beck called Steering by Starlight. It’s about finding the life that’s meant for you and it’s incredibly insightful, I highly recommend it (and all of her books for that matter). In it Martha teaches the most interesting trick to silencing your inner critic and I had to share it with you as I think you might benefit from it as well.
Martha explains the significance of the battle for our brain between the “lizard” and the “wizard”, as she calls them.
The wizard is the part of our brain that sees our endless potential, that knows exactly what our soul wants and is capable of, our purest essence, our childlike enthusiasm and wonder, our wildest unfiltered imagination. Our wizard is our truth, shining brightly as our core, before life came and smacked us around.
The lizard on the other hand is our inner critic. It is the neural structure in our brain that first evolved in reptiles. It literally wraps around our brain stem like a serpent. This part of the brain’s sole function is to trigger survival fears, constantly telling us that we don’t have enough and that we’re in danger.
Back in our caveman days this part of our brain protected us from threats and starvation. But now we use it to control our perspective on so many other areas of life – love, friendship, time, money, occupation, etc.
It’s the voice that constantly tells you to hold on too tight to what little you have, to give up on love because it’s clearly not meant to be for you, to stop looking for supportive friendships because clearly everyone is really just out to hurt you, to not reach for your dreams because you’ll never get them. It causes you to approach life from a starvation, destitute, defensive, attack mode mentality.
We all have this voice screaming over at least one area of our life. It’s the root of all insecurities, jealousies, comparison addictions, love mishaps and career paranoias.
Martha’s technique for taming this beast is to give it a name and identity.
I’ve heard of giving this nagging alter ego a name before but I always brushed it off as somewhat silly. But Martha has shed some serious light on this tactic. She states that you can literally change the structure of your brain by naming your inner critic. In fact, the more clearly you create an image and identity for it the better.
She explains that by calling on your brain to observe this lizard identity you’ve created, “you subtract neural energy from survival fear and move it to a more highly evolved portion of the brain… The neuron pathways that carry lizard fears become weaker the more we observe them. Patients with ‘abnormal’ brains, such as those with obsessive-compulsive disorder, have actually reconfigured their brains to ‘normal’ by using self-observation techniques.”
So if you know you have a battle going on in your brain with the voice that’s constantly telling you you’re not enough, people are out to hurt you, you’ll never be appreciated, you’ll never find love, you’ll never get what you want, etc., stop and identify this voice. Name it, picture it, and observe it.
So many changes have been happening in my life over the last few weeks and I’ve found myself working back in a law firm (I’m an attorney and spent 6 years at a law firm before the economic collapse). It’s a good thing, I hope to write about it more soon. Being back in my power suits I’ve been thinking a lot about the battles I’ve had to win with my own inner critic and I’ve felt such a sense of pride in knowing it didn’t get the best of me.
The battles within often throw the hardest punches.
Learn to love yourself and you will win the war.
I want you to win those battles.
Being that my name is Liz, I’ve decided to just go ahead and call my inner critic, Lizard. I was asked once to write my inner critic a love letter as a healing exercise. I’ve decided to share that with you here. It may seem silly but writing it did prove to be very healing.
I hope my love note helps change the way you speak to yourself when you’re feeling a sense of lack…
My Dearest Lizard,
Thank you. If it weren’t for you, what would I know of inner strength, of perseverance, of overcoming obstacles, of the power of positive thinking and self-love? Would I be able to empathize with others so deeply? Would I long to help others heal so strongly? Would I have truly understood that our greatest battles often lie within and that winning these battles is where true freedom lies?
You’ve played such a prominent role in my self-growth and for too many years I wasted energy hating you, pushing back on you, fighting you, resisting you… which only made you stronger. I see now how exhausting that was for me, for both of us. How unnecessary. My hatred of you merely reflected how much I was listening to your harsh words and how much I was letting you win our inner battle.
You never intended to hurt me, as much as your words did in fact burn. You were simply trying to protect me, from failure, from disappointment, from others, from myself, from life… You were going about it the only way that you knew how; loudly and brashly.
But my dearest critic, you don’t know what I know. You’re buried so deep within that you don’t see anything other than darkness. That’s not your fault. Occupational hazard.
If you could see what I see you would know that there’s so much light and beauty in the world and that in trying to protect me so vigorously, you were actually robbing me of all the world has to offer and of all I have to offer it. And in spending so much time fighting with you and succumbing to your darkness, I was also robbing myself. We were both at fault.
I want you to know that I forgive you and I truly understand why you treated me the way you did for so long. I also want to tell you that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all the years I spent hating you, resenting you, wishing I could vanish you. Because in hating you I was really only hating myself, which hurt us both.
You are a part of me dearest critic. And to truly love myself, I have to love all of me, the good and the bad, the light and the dark. I don’t get to pick and choose. So, while this has been really hard for me to say, I’m just going to say it, I love you.
I hope you’re not offended that you no longer get quite as much of my attention. I hear you, I really do, but now that I’ve accepted you, your voice is a bit softer, a bit kinder, and a bit less persistent. Were you just looking for a little acceptance all along?
Since deciding to love you, I’ve felt more free, more alive, more bold and more empowered. And you’ve played a big role in that. You seem more comfortable allowing me to shine my unique light. It never occurred to me that all of your yelling and harsh words throughout the years may have just been a cry for help, a longing to be seen, to be loved.
Well, I see you. We don’t need to battle so relentlessly for me to remember that you’re there. You will always be a part of me. I’m just so glad that we’ve learned to respect each other more and set some boundaries. I know we’ll still fight sometimes, but I’ve accepted that too so even our fights don’t seem as overwhelming.
You’ve taught me so many important lessons about myself, about life, about love, about self-worth, and for that I am truly grateful. For in your harsh dealings with me you deepened my soul and gave me insight into the complexity of humanity. In “seeing” you, you’ve truly helped me to see into others. I often wonder if I’d have any of the gifts I have if it weren’t for you.
So hopefully we have no hard feelings and we can go forward together in harmony. Here’s to our future together, one of peace, acceptance, respect and understanding, with the occasional rough and tumble.
Thank you, for everything.
We all have inner critics. They put us down, sabotage us, and block us from achieving our potential, if we let them. But in resisting them too strongly, we often just fuel them on.
So once you give yours an identity instead of fighting with it and hating it (because that really just means you’re hating a part of yourself), I challenge you to make peace with it. Stop focusing on the ways that dark voice inside your head has held you back and instead think of all the ways it has actually helped you to grow as a person.
Identify your inner critic and accept it. In the process you’ll change your brain and change your life.
In what ways has your own inner critic held you back? Can you make peace with it?
There’s a voice deep inside us. A soft voice that tells us our truths. An all knowing voice that comes from a place of self-love. Not the shallow but louder voice of self-doubt but a voice born into our soul that comes from love, purity, compassion and wisdom. Let’s call it our “soul voice”. It wants to guide us, it wants what’s best for us, it wants us to fulfill the longings of our soul.
Yet too often we ignore it. We hear the opinions of others, loudly washing out that quiter inner voice of love. And those outside opinions create a conflict with our soul voice, often paralyzing us when it comes to making important decisions.
Trusting yourself is particularly difficult for people who feel things deeply. People who bruise easily. People who absorb the emotions of those around them, who feel the pain of others as if it is their own.
This ability to feel deeply, empathize, absorb, and take it all in so profoundly (the very qualities that help us heal and serve others so well), is often what leads to our own self doubts and blocks. Blocks that prevent us from feeling secure in ourselves, from feeling trustworthy in our own eyes.
Just as easily as we can absorb someone else’s sadness, we also absorb criticism, especially if it was given during vulnerable times in our life. We take it in, deeply, and let it perculate through our cells until it becomes embedded in our programming.
The qualities we’re able to give so well and freely to others are often the hardest things to give to ourselves. So while we so easily help others to feel comforted, secure, understood, validated, and respected, we dump the doubts of the world upon ourselves. We can help others connect to their own soul voices but we often can’t hear our own.
And so we wonder around in confusion when important decisions are on the line.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can use the gifts we give to the world and direct them to ourselves.
We can learn to trust ourselves and make decisions with clarity. But this is not a switch you turn on and off, it’s a practice, a nurturing.
Here are five steps to growing your sense of trust in yourself:
1. Connect with Your Soul Voice.
It’s not easy to hear our soul voice through all the doubt and confusion circulating around in our head.
To access it think of when you’re helping someone you cherish with a problem. You see them struggling, you want to fix it all for them, you want to heal every aspect of their pain, you see nothing but their potential, you offer nothing but helpful solutions. That place of love you’re approaching them from is often straight from your soul voice.
When your attention is directed outwards towards helping someone else, your blocks are often released, allowing you to approach their problem with purity and clarity.
Find that voice. That egoless voice born of pure compassion and respect. Find that voice and practice using it on yourself. This is a practice you must do every day until your soul voice is the loudest one you hear.
2. Substantiate Your Trustworthiness.
Think back to times when you followed your inner instincts against the opinions of others and you experienced a favorable outcome. And think back to the times when you followed the opinions of others against your inner instincts and you suffered because of it.
List out those times. What impact did each of those decisions have on your life? What would your life be like if you had chosen differently?
Your soul voice never lets you down. When you truly connect to it it will lead you to where you need to go time and time again. You may not realize it as it’s happening, but if you look back at some of the decisions you’ve made in the past based upon a longing deep within you, you’ll like see just how knowing your soul voice truly was. You’ll likely see that it’s been guiding you effectively all along, helping you to grow and evolve along the way.
When you’re faced with a big decision, think of those times and your trust in yourself will grow.
3. Stretch and Expand.
When faced with an important decision, ask yourself which path will stretch and expand you the most. Which path will challenge you to grow – professionally, spiritually, personally, or in whatever way your decision focuses on.
Which path pushes you outside of your comfort zone in a positive way versus the path that makes you feel like you want to crawl inward, shrink or run.
The path that challenges you to grow may be scary but it is likely the path you’re being called to take. In analyzing it this way you’ll be able to see if you’re basing your decision on fear based thinking or on the deeper voice that believes in you and sees your potential.
4. Align Yourself with People Who Understand and Support You.
There’s no faster way to stifle your soul voice than if you’re surrounded by people who don’t get you, who criticize you, who belittle your opinions and smother you with theirs, who make you shrink. This can be particularly damaging if it’s coming from family members.
It’s hard to hear your soul voice in such a hostile environment. And so you shrink, smother and quiet your inner wisdom instead of working on expanding it.
Surround yourself with people who love, support and nurture you, people who help you stretch and expand, and your soul voice will thrive.
5. Let Go and Look Forward.
Make your decision. Make it from a place of love. And then let go. Don’t try to move forward while looking backward. Trust in the process of life. Trust that your soul voice is conspiring with the Universe to get you to go exactly where you need to be.
The more faith you put into your decision, the better your outcome will be. Make your decision and then only look forward. See the end in sight and your soul will continue to conspire with the Universe to get you there.
And when voices of doubt and judgment inevitably come flooding back through, just stop and pause. Close your eyes. Meditate. Go for a walk in nature. Go through these steps again and wait for your soul voice to rise back up. Welcome it back in.
What are your biggest struggles when it comes to trusting yourself and making important decisions?
Many sensitive people don’t realize it but one of our greatest powers is our ability to heal those around us. And in healing others, we often heal pieces of ourselves.
After the attacks in Boston on Monday I was reminded of the power in healing one another; the power that radiates outward in simply offering to help those in the midst of crisis.
Just as prevalent are the memories of the love that seemed to surround everything and everyone. The people who stood outside day after day handing out food and drinks to those searching for their loved ones. The endless offers to help. The teams that rallied to search every hospital. The loved ones who knew when to simply hold my hand, tight, and not say a word.
It’s not easy to find beauty in tragedy, but it’s there. It’s then that we give the most love. It’s then that we rise to our potential because we’re able to let go of all the nonsense that pulls us down spiritually. It’s then that we call forth our deepest ability to heal others.
And the more sensitive you are, the more you are able to heal those around you.
There will always be people in our lives who need healing. But sometimes we get so lost in our own struggles that we forget about what a gift this is.
So if you often feel like you’re too sensitive, focus instead on the powers it brings to you. One of those powers is your ability to heal others. This gift is so essential, especially in times of great suffering or tragedy.
Below are some of the healing strengths I bet you possess that you can focus on so you give the most to the people you love. And in doing so, you nurture and grow the very best of yourself.
If you’re sensitive, your intuition is your superpower. You sense things others miss. You can sense exactly what someone needs to hear or needs to happen. It’s that intuition that will guide you to help someone exactly as they need to be helped.
When I was looking for my friend immediately following 9/11 (when it wasn’t yet clear just how few survivors there would be), my very intuitive friend stayed by my side day after day. There were a ton of people around me, but it was her healing ability that got me through it. It was her intuition that often told her to hold my hand and not say a word. Without having to ask she knew that what I needed most, was silence. Without her I’m really not sure how I would have gotten through that agonizing time.
I don’t think my friend fully realized how powerful that was for me. She was simply following her intuition and doing what came naturally to her because of it. I wasn’t ready to hear comforting words, they made me want to run, her silence is what kept me grounded.
Follow your intuition and you will likely have the same affect on someone who needs you. You will sooth in profound ways without even trying.
Sensitive people seem to read energies. They can read the feel of a room the second they walk into it.
After I gave birth to my daughter we spent two nights in a room with lovely roommates. The energy was wonderful. My baby was peaceful. She wasn’t, and isn’t to this day, a big cryer (we are blessed). It was all love. But our nurse was terrible and my husband insisted we switch rooms.
As we walked into our new room and heard the couple we’d be sharing space with I immediately turned to my husband and said “this was a mistake.” He didn’t know what I was talking about.
The couple were nice people, telling each other nice things, but their energy was off in a really bad way. I could feel their energy coursing through my body just from the few words they spoke. And apparently so did my baby; she wailed mercilessly the entire night. To date, that was her worse night ever.
Our ability to read people’s energies can feel overwhelming at times. As it should. But it’s also one of our greatest strengths.
If someone needs your help you can use that strength to see what’s blocking them, what they’re attracting, or what they need to release.
The more in tuned you are to people’s energy, the more affectively you can respond to their specific needs. And the healing begins.
If someone needs you, your ability to listen deeply to what they’re saying, how they’re saying it, and equally as important, what they’re not saying, is essential.
Sensitive people are natural listeners. We hear what’s spoken and we hear what’s not spoken.
Use this strength to guide your intuition, your actions, your words. Listen, deeply, and you will heal with your response.
As I mentioned in a previous article, I think sensitive people are some of the strongest people out there. We’re sensitive, but we can actually handle a lot more than most. We just get it done, whatever it may be, for whoever needs us. And it’s this strength that rises up when people need the most help.
Whether big tragedies or small personal tragedies, the world needs healers. Healers can take what’s broken, sooth the sore spots, and slowly put things back together. Sometimes it won’t seem like much, but your actions can change the life of the person you’re helping.
I will never forget the comfort of my friend, holding my hand, and standing with me in silence.
If you are a healer, you are gifted. The world needs you.
Have you ever felt like you have a gift for healing others?
“A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction…
But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds,
and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough
to see beyond horizons.” ~ Richard Bach
I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships lately. About the unhealthy patterns we sometimes weave into them. So many of us seem to repeat the same relationship stories over and over again throughout our lives. They look different at first, but before we know it we’re right back where we were however many years ago, dealing with issues we’d sworn we put behind us.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Perhaps you’ve experienced this. Maybe you keep dating the same type of guy/gal. Maybe you keep finding friendships that make you feel uncomfortable, taken advantage of, not listened to, or that generally bring out the worst in you, instead of the best.
Repetition. Recycling. But the garbage here is of the emotional kind. Garbage you can’t seem to get out of your life. Out of you. And so it shows up, again and again, stinking up your world.
Didn’t you just date a guy who brought out these same exact issues a few months ago? Wasn’t he basically the same guy you dated three years ago? Didn’t you just dump that friend who always uses harsh nasty words to describe other people, only to find a new one a year later?
And so, it keeps happening, over and over again…
Sometimes it feels like it’s our destiny to relive endless versions of the same situation. As if the Universe is trying to hammer in some kind of message. As if she’s trying to imprint an ugly pattern into our soul.
Stuck in the ‘eternal sunshine of the spotless mind’… but with different characters every time. Different players, same outcome.
Nothing is accidental. Nothing is coincidence. And no one is conspiring against us. It’s all devised by our subconscious. We’re calling for this repetition. Deeply. It represents something unfulfilled, unresolved. And it’s in our control to change it.
Below are 5 ways to challenge those bad patterns so you can focus on weaving more beauty into new and existing relationships.
1. Forgive Yourself.
We obviously play a huge role in the creation of these bad relationships. And while they often go disguised for awhile, when the pattern finally rears it ugly design, we’re left wondering what’s wrong with us. How did we allow this to happen, again. We must not be destined for anything better. We must deserve this.
That kind of self talk certainly doesn’t help end the bad pattern you’re hoping to break. If anything it reinforces it by robbing you of all power and hope.
Understand that it’s not your fault. Our subconscious minds control so much of what we do. And often we don’t know to challenge the subconscious beliefs that bring us to dark places until we’re already there, knee deep, buried in emotional garbage.
You didn’t ask for the unhealthy relationships you’ve found yourself in. You’re not a masochist. You’re not an emotional cutter.
What you are is someone who hasn’t learned the lesson you were meant to learn quite yet. Someone who wants deeply to resolve something but who just needs the right tools to do so.
So forgive yourself. Forgive all the times you’ve entered into a relationship that wasn’t healthy, that caused you to feel hurt, unworthy, or unnoticed. Or that caused you to hurt others.
Start with forgiveness. Only after you forgive yourself can you take steps forward to weave a new pattern. Forgiveness will help you put the past where it belongs – in the past – so it stops tainting your future.
So close your eyes. Tell yourself you forgive. Feel it wash over you. Then take the next step forward.
2. Understand Where the Pattern Came From.
After you’ve forgiven yourself you can start to do some work to correct this yucky pattern you keep sewing into your life.
If it’s a pattern you’ve repeated multiple times you should be able to pinpoint some of the traits, characteristics, and symptoms. Think about them, write them down, analyze them. What exactly do all these relationships have in common? What were some telltale warning signs that you missed early on but can now easily identify? What behaviors have these relationships brought out in you time and time again? What was it about those relationships that triggered such behaviors in you?
Now think about what led you to enter those relationships. What was it you were longing for? What feelings were you enjoying? What results were you hoping for? What emotions were these relationships triggering for you?
A lot of times we enter into relationships because they feel familiar to us, like a story we know well, so we fall right into them seamlessly, without even giving it much thought. Sometimes that’s okay and other times it’s a reflection of a story that wasn’t good for us to begin with.
Understanding where the pattern comes from and how it was created is key to finding ways to break it.
3. Recognize the Warning Signs
Now it’s time to take a look at some of the warning signs you may have overlooked in the past so you can quickly identify them when they come up again.
I used to long for love, badly. I wanted to feel adored. I looked for other people’s love to give me security. And that often led me into relationships with possessive and controlling men. These relationships felt amazing at first because they were so intense but before I knew it I was back into an old pattern. Why didn’t I see it coming? Now that I look back I can see how I missed a lot of clues.
So what are some of the warning signs for your pattern? You have to look hard for these, as they can be disguised as really attractive things that lure you in like bait.
Identify the warning signs and you won’t get trapped so easily.
What kind of relationship are you really hoping for? Describe it. Flesh it out.
Most importantly, what does it feel like? Focus less on what the person looks like or what they do for a living. Focus instead on the feeling.
One of the reasons I was fortunate enough to end up with my husband was because I had had enough bad relationships to really force myself to understand the underlying feelings I was really longing for. Not the on the surface feelings that were based on insecurities I had, like wanting to feel adored. But the real deep down feelings I hadn’t even realized I was longing for.
For me, what I truly longed for, what my soul wanted to live forever with, was a relationship full of peace.
Peace. That’s all I wanted. Something so big, yet so simple, I didn’t even know to wish for it.
And then when I met my husband and we fell in love in the unlikeliest of love stories, it was the peace in our everyday dynamic that made it work.
So dig deep, what is it you are truly longing for? What are the feelings that would help you happily stay in a relationship/friendship forever.
When you identify the feelings you long for you won’t get as easily lured in by the triggers you’ve identified in #3 above.
5. Move Forward.
Don’t be fearful of getting into new relationships. We learn something new with every one, which is the whole point of life anyway; to live and love, make mistakes, learn, and go forward.
So take the lessons you’ve learned and trust that you’ll take the right steps forward. And if you find yourself back in a bad relationship, it just means that there was something else for you to learn. So take the time to reflect on it and correct course and you’ll be that much closer to filling your life with the feelings you’ve been longing for in your relationships.
Forgive. Understand. Recognize. Clarify. Move.
Take these steps and eventually the threads of your bad relationship patterns will come undone from the cloth of your soul.
I’d love to hear from you if this resonated. Leave a comment letting me know of any bad relationship patterns you’d like to break. I hope these steps have been helpful.
Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind.
If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.
~Arthur Somers Roche
We all battle nerves and insecurities, and when we lose the battle, they rob us of our potential.
Personally I’ve battled insecurities quite a bit in my life. I know what it’s like to go from feeling as powerful as a lioness, to feeling as meek as a caterpillar. And when you feel meek, you act meek, and so people perceive you as such. Little do they know there’s so much strength inside of you.
I’ve had situations, one extremely embarrassing one in particular, where nerves and insecurities took me over so tremendously that I could barely speak. My body shook, my words stuttered, nothing I said made any sense, and my ego walked away with its tail in between its legs. Not my most impressive moment.
I’ve come a long way in learning how to fight my security attacking demons but it’s taken years to learn the tricks and maneuvers that help me find my strength when I feel weakness starting to surface. In a world where first impressions are so important, it’s so imperative that we put our best, strongest, bravest foot forward.
Below are some of my best tips for battling the nerves and insecurities that arise just when you really need to shine the most. Since I started using these tips I haven’t had one of those crushingly ego bruising embarrassing moments that I wish I could erase from my memory. And each tip is incredibly easy to implement so I hope they help you a bit as well.
1. Breathe Deep.
Breathing deeply is one of the absolute best ways to calm a nervous mind. Bringing in an abundance of oxygen deep into your diaphragm is a well proven way to reduce stress and anxiety (especially if you feel an anxiety attack coming on).
When we’re anxious we start to take fast shallow breathes directly from our chests instead of our diaphragms. This prevents your blood from being properly oxygenated which throws off the oxygen/carbon dioxide balance. This then signals a stress response which results in an increased heart rate, dizziness, muscle tension and other physical symptoms of anxiety. So when you’re starting to feel anxious you need to consciously ensure that you are taking deep, long, even breaths straight into your diaphragm.
If you have an interview, or you need to speak in front of a group, or you want to approach someone you admire, or any other situation where you feel your nerves and insecurities starting to take over every cell of your body, stop and take a series of long deep breaths (preferably with your eyes closed) where you hold the oxygen in your diaphragm for a few seconds each time before releasing it. There is no faster or easier way to calm yourself down.
It sounds too good to be true but trust me, it is so effective.
2. Check Your Posture.
When we’re feeling insecure, we often try to make ourselves appear smaller. So we hunch over, fold our arms, and let our eyes fall to the floor. Your body is simply responding to how your brain feels.
What I’ve found is that your brain can just as easily respond to what your body is telling it. So when you’re feeling your insecurities come on immediately check your posture. Are you slouching forward? What are your arms doing? Be aware of your body. Throw your shoulders back and extend your neck upwards as if a string is lifting you up.
If you can, do some stretching exercises before the event that’s causing your insecurities to rise up. Stretch with your arms out and open wide. In doing so you are not only relaxing your muscles but you’re also making yourself as physically big as you can possibly be. Instead of letting your body cower in fear you are using your body to tell your brain that you are big and powerful, tall and proud. You are worthy.
Another incredibly easy yet effective way to use your body to get your brain to relax – smile. Smiling is one of the most powerful ways to not only enhance the moods of those around you but to completely alter your mood in the process.
If you’re about to meet someone or do something that’s incredibly scary to you, start smiling. You may not feel like it, every cell in your body may be telling you that the last thing you want to do is put a smile on your face, but do it anyway. It will immediately relax you. It’s like a energy zap to your brain telling it that all is okay, there’s really nothing to fear, and you’re going to enjoy every second of what you’re about to experience.
Whether you’re feeling insecure, stressed, anxious, down, bored, whatever, just start smiling – big and wide – throw in a little laugh if you want to, you will immediately see things through a new, happier, more secure and relaxed light.
4. Remember A Time When You Felt Really Powerful.
Even the most nervous and insecure have had one time or another where they were at their best self, their most powerful, most self-assured, most secure. If you’re about to meet someone or do something that rattles your chakras, take a moment and close your eyes. Think about that time when for whatever reason all of your demons faded away and you were able to accomplish just what you hoped to accomplish, with an elegance and grace that suprised even yourself.
Who was that person? What allowed her to be so relaxed, so self-assured? What was she tapping into?
That person was you. And you were tapping into your core. The true essence of who you are before all the life circumstances and ego bruising mishaps came along that try to smother your true potential.
That strong version of you is still there, there are simply a few layers on top that you need to learn how to peel away. Picture yourself removing those dusty layers, one by one, so that the you underneath can shine.
So as you step forward into the big, bad and scary situation that has you feeling the jitters, picture the core you, dusty layers peeled away… the you that has shown so brightly in the past when you were feeling your best, picture that person stepping forward.
5. Accept it. Don’t Fight It.
When I used to struggle endlessly with nerves one of the biggest mistakes I made was to try and fight it. And so the internal dialogue would go something like this “Stop it. Relax. Calm down. Do not mess this up. OMG my body’s shaking, I’m not going to be able to speak, I suck.”
How do you think the end result of that internal dialogue went? Not good.
I’ve learned that if I’m starting to feel nervous, instead of fighting it and yelling at myself internally to calm the heck down (which only ever backfires), I’m way better off acknowledging my nerves in a loving way, respecting that they’re merely there to show me how important something is to me, and then giving myself permission to feel nervous.
We all get nervous, it’s human nature, by accepting it you can lean into it, gently and lovingly, and then it simply does not take you over. I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times by now - what you resist persists. Once you stop resisting you stop becoming your own worst enemy.
I’ve learned to accept my nerves so much that I can now even joke, with a big smile on my face, about my own nervousness. And shockingly enough, instead of feeling like it’s doomsday when my nerves start to overflow, it can even feel fun and exciting. Yup, I said it, it can feel fun and exciting to feel nervous – sometimes
6. Ask Yourself These Questions.
A little perspective goes a long way. So whenever you’re feeling like your nerves are going to take you over, ask yourself what you’re really afraid of? What is the absolute worst case scenario? If that worst case scenario were to come true, would it be the end of your world? In five years, would you still be hating yourself for it? Would there be absolutely no lessons you could learn from it? Would it just completely annihilate your life?
Chances are, you’d live, you’d love and you’d move on. As they say, the greatest fear is fear itself.
7. Think About Who or What You’re Trying to Help.
Usually our insecurities come up when we’re hoping to get something from someone. Whether that’s attention, a better grade, a new job, a new client, admiration, applause, you name it.
The more we want something from someone the more reason for our nerves and insecurities to spike.
A very simple way to take the edge off of that wanting is to reframe it in terms of how you can help the person you’re hoping to get something from. Chances are you are in fact trying to help them in some way. Maybe you’re helping them with a problem, or you’re helping to make a discussion they’re leading richer and more interesting, or you’re offering the skills that could make someone’s life easier.
Reframe what you’re presenting so that you’re coming from a place of generosity. The less you feel like you’re trying to take from someone, the more you’ll calm down and present what you have to give in a stronger and more abundant light.
Nerves and insecurities come from a feeling of lack. Focus on what you have to give and how you can help and your nerves will fall to the wayside.
8. Don’t Over Compensate.
When we’re feeling really insecure sometimes we try to overcompensate with extremely bold statements and outlandish promises or we try to be someone we’re not, because heaven forbid we just be ourselves.
Remember your core, the true you, you at your greatest potential. That you is not flashy, cavalier or arrogant. That you is calm, composed, graceful, relaxed and strong.
If you’re being fake it will be transparent and will only increase your own feelings of lack. You are better than that. Use these tips and you’ll be able to shine just as you are.
Lastly, we’re back to the number one tip. If you forget all other tips above, just remember to take deep long abundant breaths into your diaphragm. That one thing alone will make whatever scary situation you’re walking into feel not so bad after all.
Do you struggle with nerves and insecurities? What tricks work for you?