Self Talk

How often do you stop and take time to really observe the way you talk to yourself? What kinds of things are you saying to yourself? Developing the best relationship with myself possible has been a laser beam focus of mine for awhile now. A crucial component to developing that relationship has been self talk. Being aware of the way I talk to myself has been a game changer for me. When you stop and take some time to think about the relationships you have in your life, the most important one you will ever have is with yourself, and I truly believe that. It all starts with you and stems outward like branches on a tree from there, weaving its way into the rest of your life.

Let me explain why I think your relationship with yourself is the most important one you will ever have. You are the one person who you are riding your entire life out with. That’s it. Let that sink in. The one thing you can count on is that you will be with you forever. Life changes, people pass away, they grow apart. These things are out of our control. We only have control over our side of our relationships with other people, so that means the only relationship you will ever have full control over forever is the one with YOU! This is exciting news! Think about how empowering that concept feels.

Now you’re probably like, okay that’s cool and all, but how do I build a relationship with myself? You guys…this is the FUN part!! You get to become as creative as you want in how you would like to develop that relationship. For starters, practice spending time alone. If this concept scares you, then that is a clear sign that it’s the perfect place to start! Start small, and work your way up into more and more alone time. How are you going to build a badass relationship with yourself if you’re not talking time to hang out with you? It might feel lonely at first, but the more comfortable you get with your own company the more the loneliness will fade away. Have fun and get creative with what you do during your alone time. I am a person who requires a lot of alone time. I need to hang out with myself regularly to stay balanced and grounded, and man do I look forward to it every. single. time. What’s not to look forward to?! You get to hang out with yourself. The most fun, hilarious, interesting, easy going person who always let’s you choose the activities and the music for the day! Next time you have a self hangout planned, hype yourself up for it in a major way, be ridiculous, cheesy, I don’t care, just go for it, and I swear at the very least it will put a smile on your face. Look at you, already making yourself smile!

Before I digress too far, let me circle back to my original subject, Self Talk. I heard this really good analogy once that literally opened my eyes to just how much I was abandoning, and ignoring myself. Scenario number one: Pretend one of your friends just went through a breakup, they call you because they need some support and you tell them to come over. Once they are over they start telling you how they are feeling and going into details about it all. You give them your full and undivided attention, validate their feelings, and pour out loving compassion towards them and what they are going through. Lets look at scenario number two now. Everything is the same except for this time when your friend comes over and is expressing their feelings you pick up your phone and start scrolling on social media, only half listening. Or you say hold on, I’m going to need to get myself some more wine for me to be able to keep listening to all this. The last scenario is a very dismissive approach and would probably make your friend feel even worse, unheard, and invalidated. So now lets turn this around on ourselves. Why when we are going through something difficult we often treat ourselves like the friend in the second scenario. We distract ourselves with social media, so we don’t have to think about or deal with it. We treat ourselves poorly and only half acknowledge how we are feeling while doing other things at the same time. We usually judge ourselves for what we are going through, how long it is taking us to deal with it, (the list goes on), and we show little to no compassion towards ourselves. Next time you are going through something difficult actively try to be the friend in the first scenario for yourself. Sit with yourself and say I am here to listen. Truly being there for yourself and helping yourself through something without judgment for however long it takes, showing up day after day, listening, and compassionately responding is truly the most empowering feeling ever, and self care at its core.

Self compassion is the key to loving self talk. This might look different for everyone, and you have to find what works for you. It might sound cheesy, but if I experienced a particularly difficult day or I’m going through a hard time, I will pick up my phone that night while I’m lying in bed and write a goodnight text to myself in my notes. Here’s an example of one I wrote to myself awhile back with some edits done to it of course:

“Hey love! Me again, I know you’ve had a hard day. I’m sorry you’re going through this. It’s not easy dealing with (insert here what you’ve been dealing with). Don’t forget to take some time out and think about yourself to focus on your healing. You’ve come along ways and I am proud of you. There is still more healing to be done though. Keep focusing on you and the things you want to accomplish. You’ve got this girl! I promise I will give you whatever you need, all you have to do is ask for it. Don’t be afraid to let me know. I will do anything for you. I love you so much. Enjoy your day tomorrow with the full moon and try to minimize your social media use for tomorrow. And make sure to write down everything you would like to release with this full moon! I love you, goodnight! I hope you wake up feeling rejuvenated!”

If you read this was was like what!? She actually says those things to herself?? Yep, I do. Why is it so taboo to talk to yourself the way you would talk to others, or even say things to yourself that you would want others to say to you? I’ve got a relationship to build with myself and I am the only one who can do it. I will also periodically write myself messages even when I’m experiencing really good days! There is no wrong day to write yourself a love note, or to practice compassionate self talk. You have full permission to be so genuinely kind, loving, and nice to yourself every day. So here’s an example of what I wrote myself on a good day:

“Goodnight you lovely soul!!! You’re doing an amazing job and I am so very proud of you! Remember don’t get too caught up on anything and just stay the course! Keep doing you baby girl because you are starting to shine so bright and happiness is slowly sinking into every cell of your body. Keep focusing on you like you have been! If you feel something though, don’t be afraid to feel it, express it, release it, and let it go! This is a journey filled with peaks and valleys. Everyday is sure to be different. Make sure to keep appreciating every. single. day. They are such a blessing and a gift best used intentionally! I love you. You have really got something special girl. Keep discovering yourself and don’t let anything hold you back! Have a restful, rejuvenating sleep!”

If you read that one and was like, “who does this girl think she is?” I’m just a person who is choosing to love myself through my actions and words to the best of my abilities. I remember a time when I was not very loving. I was 21, and something traumatic had just happened. I was SO hard on myself about it. I didn’t know who to talk to so I finally sought out a therapist. I only visited her a handful of times and the poor lady basically just sat with me while I cried the whole visit. In between sobs I did muster out harsh sentences about myself. I’ll never forget how she made me realize just how hard I was being on myself because I honestly didn’t see it. She said, “You need to stop being so hard on yourself.” I replied, “Yes, but how?” She said, “Imagine your eight year old self, you’re on the monkey bars then fall off and hurt yourself.” The little girl says, “‘I’m so stupid and embarrassed, I shouldn’t have fallen.'” “What would you say to her?” “It’s not your fault, I whispered.” That was the first time my eyes were really opened to my own self talk and how I wasn’t talking to myself the way I would talk to anyone else. Especially the person I am in the most important relationship of my life with.

Things did not change overnight. I was still hard on myself for years. It’s a practice and a slow evolution and I plan to keep evolving the rest of my life. I hope this inspires you to be aware of your own self talk. It can literally make or break you. I also hope you aren’t afraid to admit truths even when they’re uncomfortable, and to accept accountability with compassion and without excuses. Don’t wait around for other people to validate you and say the things you need to hear because that might never happen. Take your control back and empower yourself by validating yourself and telling yourself everything you’ve ever needed to hear.

The last thing I would like to point out is that I am in no way trying to say in this post that you don’t need anyone else. You absolutely need other people. It’s been proven and human connection is one of the most powerful and important things in this world. The quality of our relationships is one of the most influential factors on our health. All I am saying is that if that’s the case, you should definitely check your relationship with yourself. The person you, by far, spend the most time with.

Don’t Feed The Monsters

What’s one of your biggest fears? Fear is an interesting thing. It is such an important instinctual force that keeps us alive, but when left unchecked can quickly grow out of control, like the weeds in your garden. Sleep deprivation has grown over the years into a big fear of mine. I would argue that I had good reasons to fear it. Nothing good would come out of it for me. Anxiety was always triggered by sleep deprivation, and I’m not talking about your normal everyday anxiety. I’m talking about an anxiety that is impossible to reason with. Completely irrational. This particular anxiety has been a big scary monster hiding in my closet for far too long now. After a bad nights sleep this monstrous anxiety would follow me around like a shadow, and I would find myself at its mercy that whole next day, possibly next couple of days. Sometimes I could get away with a few bad nights sleeps before anxiety would come busting through that closet door to pay me a visit, but it always came. Sleep was my tool, a key specifically. It was the way I was able to keep that closet door locked so that anxiety couldn’t come out. I avoided that monster at all costs. Even the possibility of sleep deprivation would send me into a panic. Fear coursing through me. This cycle has gone on for years. I have a good idea of when this weeds seed got planted years ago, but won’t go digging into that here. So, cut to Friday, October 18th. If your reading this in real time its Sunday October 27th, exactly eight sleeps ago sleep deprivation paid me a visit. From around 2:30 am to around 5:30 am I could not sleep, but not just that night; every night after it too. No matter what I tried I could not get myself to fall back asleep. It’s almost as if the Universe knows when your ready. Knows when to test you. This amount of sleep deprivation has never consistently happened to me for this long ever. The Universe conveniently misplaced my key and said, “lets see what happens.” Around three days in I felt fear creeping up on me. This is around the time I would, in the past, begin anticipating my monsters arrival in terror. Instead of letting fear consume me this time, I acknowledged its presence then shifted my focus from what I couldn’t control, falling back asleep, and I began focusing on what I could control, keeping a calm, relaxed, and positive mindset. Lack of sleep has always made these more challenging for me, but once I pushed the ball rolling in this direction it built momentum fast. Each day sleep deprivation returned and each day I met it with a smile on my face and accepted the challenge to find peace within. I upped my self care. Drank my teas, did restorative yoga, listened to my body, gave my imagination positive and creative outlets to focus on, etc… and everyday despite the sleep deprivation I woke up happy. Not panicked, not fearful, just happy. Content with exactly what was happening. Trusting I was doing my part and it would all work itself out. Last night while laying in bed I gave myself permission to surrender it all. Especially the need to control my sleep. And last night I had my best night yet! If you allow it, everything can be your teacher. A chance to learn and grow. I have a good feeling this lesson is almost over. And I have an even better feeling that since my closet has been left unlocked this whole week, the monster has slipped out of it, into the night in search of someone who won’t refuse to feed him. You can’t force or rush healing, its a long, slow journey, where you have to continually show up for yourself and put the work in. (And also forgive yourself when you don’t.) But eventually, one day the Universe just might recognize your readiness and present you with something you thought you might never overcome, and you will surprise yourself with the way you flow through it with a grace you forgot you had hidden deep inside you all along.

Inspiration is a Wild Women.

Inspiration is a wild women. Long, tangled, flowing hair. Bare naked, totally free, only supporting a massive smile that is always stretched across her face. That smile is the first thing you see when she’s coming. She has the presence of a goddess, always surrounded by fireflies, birds, and forest animals. She also, has quite the sense of humor. She will skip right into you at the silliest, and most likely inconvenient of times. She visited me today while I was in the shower. Ran up to me dancing, twirling with words, spinning around my head before she briefly stopped to whisper them into my ear. She left as fast as she came, running back into the enchanted forest she came from. All the while, laughing while she seen me frantically finishing my shower, before the words she spoke to me, disappeared with her too. She comes and goes as she pleases. There is no taming her, and no use trying. You can’t lasso her in, in an attempt to hang onto her. That will only scare her away. She can not be controlled, because her very nature is free. When she shows up, I embrace her. We hug like dear friends, we dance, sharing and exchanging energy, and then she slips away, leaving me behind, in a heavy fog of euphoria every time. I quite like her unpredictability, it keeps my life exciting. Sometimes she shows up right as I am about to fall asleep. If I ignore her and tell her to come back the next morning, she will take the gifts she brought for me from the forest and give them to someone more willing to receive them in that moment. That’s only fair. She is in fact, a wild women who is unbound by the tangles of humanity. She works with you, if you work with her. A sacred contract lies between the two of you. Your job is to uphold your end of the deal whenever possible. Sometimes you will lose sleep or miss meals (like I am right now). It is always worth it giving her your undivided attention because her presence is an unmatched magic all its own. This is how Inspiration lives within my imagination. She might look completely different to you, and come in a distinctly different form, maybe she is a he. That’s the magnificently beautiful part, Inspiration is quite the brilliant shape shifter that one.

A Quest for Peace

In February 2018, I went to see a counselor/therapist (I prefer saying counselor, but whatever you like to call them) for what I would consider to be the first time in my life. On a side note, I am now a total advocate of seeking help from a source of that sort for anything you think you might need it for! Anyways, I knew I had anxiety and depression, but she confirmed my long-standing suspicions (and my moms) that I had PTSD. The thing you always hear about veterans getting, but never really anyone else, or at least I had never heard of anyone else getting it before doing more research into it. If you’re reading this wondering to yourself, how in the heck did this girl get PTSD? Well that’s not whats important in this post. Maybe I’ll save that for another post someday, for now whats important is not how I got it, but how I dealt with it. There are so many people out there dealing with at least one of these things; anxiety, depression, or PTSD, and I am here to tell you, you are not alone. The feelings you are feeling are valid, and there is no shame in having any one of these things. They do not make you any less of a person, any less worthy, or any less deserving of love and happiness. I hope you chose to talk about it, and not to hide it. In the beginning I had to repeat to myself that not talking about it does not change it, so I might as well talk about it. There is no way to work through them, until you’ve accepted them. As I move on to sharing the greatest tool I’ve found for dealing with these things, I want to quickly acknowledge that all of us are different. Our anxieties are different, our depressions are different and no two are the same, so if what I share does not work for you, please DO NOT be discouraged. Keep searching and you will find your own “tool” that works for you as well. Also if you are reading this out of interest and have none of these things, I’m so glad you’re here too! This next part could be great for you too! It could be a catalyst for growing your self-care practice, and if you decide to do this strictly for self-care purposes, you rock!

An at home yoga practice has been my biggest tool for helping me to deal with these issues, but like anything there is no one cure. I am continually working on my mind set, repeating mantras to myself throughout the day, and I have been seeing a counselor for the last ten months, among other things. Yoga is what helps me the most though, specifically Yoga With Adriene on Youtube. https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene. I have tried other yoga classes, or even videos in the past, but they didn’t make me feel the way hers do. I have Jared’s brother, Cody, to thank for suggesting her videos to me. The first time I did one of her videos, I was absolutely hooked. The minute I get on that mat my mind goes quiet, and the tightness in my chest seems to melt away. Make sure you keep your expectations realistic though. When I first started doing her videos sometimes that thirty minutes was the only thirty minutes I felt peace that whole day; the only thirty minutes I didn’t feel like I was drowning in anxiety. Another reason I love at home yoga so much is the flexibility it offers with your schedule and if your depression keeps you from wanting to leave the house, or even your bed, you can do it in bed! No seriously, I’ve done her videos on my bed before. I like to tell myself I’m an adult, so I can do yoga where ever I want! Haha! The thing I love the most about Yoga with Adriene is how it has helped me to reconnect to my mind, body, and breath (soul). She often repeats, “find what feels good”, encouraging you to really connect within, and notice what feels good for your own body instead of trying to recreate a perfect pose. Every time I walk off that mat I feel centered again. Anchored back into my own self. I really encourage you to try some of her videos. Don’t let your excuses keep you trapped in a cycle. If you don’t have a yoga mat put down a towel on your carpet. If you have wood floors use a more cushioned blanket. If you think you don’t have time, she has videos as short as 7 minutes! If you don’t like yoga, she has guided meditations, or even just pranayama (breathing) videos! That might sound simple, but do not underestimate the power of breathing. One of my favorite things to do is check in with myself everyday, and ask myself what video am I being called to today. She has a video for EVERYTHING. I’m serious literally EVERYTHING!! My personal favorite video is Yoga for After Disaster, but there’s yoga for stress, anxiety, PTSD, mood swings, anger, flexibility, seniors, and even yoga for when you’re sick! The first time I got sick after starting to do her videos, as ridiculous as it sounds I was actually really excited I was finally going to get to try out the Yoga for When You’re Sick, video. What I’m trying to say is there is a yoga for everything, and everybody. Yoga used for self-care can be a powerful tool that I believe everyone can reap some type of benefits from. Whether you’re a stressed out mom who needs some “me time”, or a retired person looking for a new hobby, or just someone looking to deepen your connection with yourself.

Every year the Yoga with Adriene channel does a 30 day yoga journey where she releases a video a day the whole month of January. The best part is that it is on Youtube, so if you can’t do a video a day for whatever reason you can do them at your own pace. I think the most important part is just seeing them through until you finish. Last year I did her 30 day True series and it took me until April to finish the 30 day series. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t doing her videos consistently, I was, but I was also listening to what I needed and most days the videos I needed were ones like Yoga for After Disaster. I did that same video everyday for a whole week straight because my anxiety was so high that week. Anyways, when I finally did finish the series in April despite it taking so long, I was so proud of myself, I actually got on the mat that day and cried, a lot. It was such a surreal experience. This year the 30 day yoga journey is called Dedicate. How fitting! Why not make a dedication to yourself to see this 30 day journey through and start this year off by making a dedication to a self-care practice. If you’d like to join me in this journey I will post the link to the sign up page. It is completely free! January 1st is a welcome day, and yoga actually begins on the 2nd, so if you have a really fun New Years Eve no worries, you can rest up on the 1st and start on the 2nd! Let me know in the comments if you plan to join me! Namaste! https://do.yogawithadriene.com/p/dedicate

Finding My Voice

As I sit here listening to Alt-J, I am contemplating what to write for my first blog post. This blog feels like it is mostly for me, but with the intention of hopefully helping others. Something that has always fascinated me is connection. Knowing I’m not alone. Not the only person with these thoughts, feelings, and experiences. The more I learned about other people, the less alone I began to feel. I’ve watched other people shamelessly own their lives and stories in total vulnerability and through that create empowerment, and amazingly through their example I’ve learned how to empower myself. Things come to us in life as we are ready. Lately “finding my voice” has been whirling around my mind like a mantra on repeat. It hasn’t let up and the time finally feels right. My intention for 2019 is to “find my voice” and this blog is the first step in that direction. I’ve always been what I would describe as a “passive” person, and because of that my voice has been stifled in attempts to make sure everyone else always feels comfortable. In doing that I’m not allowing myself to be my authentic, true self. I’ve always felt like I’m better at expressing myself and my feelings through writing, and that is where my true self resides. Writing has always made me think about exactly what I want to say and the way I want to say it. It gives me the time to think through my thoughts and to sort them out, helping me better understand myself. I love the way I can craft each and every word, weaving them together to beautifully depict my innermost world. My intention is to share with you, share in experiences, laughs, and life. Helping us all to feel a little less alone, and finding my voice while in the process. These posts probably won’t be polished, but I can promise they will be raw and I will keep it real.