Signing Off With Love.


Hi Friends,

I have an announcement to make. I guess the title kind of gave it away.

I am shutting down the blog – or more specifically my creation of “The Self Love Challenge.” I guess technically the website and my corresponding social media pages will still exist, so if anyone does want to read old posts, they can. But as far as my relationship with The Self Love Challenge – I have to say it has come to an end.

It’s been a tough decision, and while I absolutely love writing it and speaking to some of you and knowing that I have made a difference in some of your lives, it is something I have to do for myself. It’s served it’s purpose and I’m grateful for that season of my life, but it’s time for a new season. A new purpose.

I came to the final decision this morning, but God has placed it on my heart to do this for a few weeks now. It’s not because I’ve run out of things to write about or because of the bullying I’ve experieced most recently or because the community wasn’t taking off like I had hoped it would – my decision is based solely on what God wants for my life – and frankly, right now, this is not what my focus should be on.

I think He has a bigger plan for me. I’m not really sure what exactly it is yet, but I trust in it. And I’m learning that part this obedience as a Christ follower means learning how to surrender all parts of our life to Him, which I really haven’t been. So I think that is where my focus should be right now. Surrendering my life completely and trusting that He will lead me to wherever I need to go – whether it be as a writer, a blogger, an artist, a life coach, or something completely different – the first step begins with me choosing to obey His commands.

I know some of this may not make sense to some of you, especially those who do not call themselves Christian. However, it does not need to make sense to you and I really don’t have to explain it. I’m not saying that to be rude, but I guess this is my personal journey and my deeper reasoning for doing this is something that will have to stay between God and I.

I’m also learning that some thing we are not meant to understand the reason behind why He wants us to let certain things go, but we must do it anyway. Of all the times God has asked me to let something go, I’ve always been hesitant. I’ve always thought that I knew better. That I could keep it going on my own. But He always brought me to the point where I needed to make a decision – whether to continue in my own strength or to surrender and do it His way. He’s a very patient God, and He is always patient with me as I continue to defy Him and try to do it on my own. But just like any parent, He waits until His child eventually realizes their need for Him and gives in.

I’ve had to let go of several things in my life that I really did not want to let go of. But God seems to prune us of the things He knows shouldn’t be in our life, because He knows He has something better for us.

So. With all that said, I do want to thank each and every one of you for following my blog, for engaging with me, and for teaching me things I wouldn’t have learned otherwise from this experience.

I know this doesn’t mean that I will quit writing. I will always be writing something. But I think The Self Love Challenge had it’s moment, and now it’s time to move on to the next part of my journey.

I wish you all well. Keep going, friends.

xx

Christina

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10 Brave Truths.

 

The most embarrassing thing to admit after claiming to be a self love advocate is that you are still having trouble actually loving yourself. I guess that is the bravest thing you could do – to admit that you are essentially bad at something you claim to know so much about. And it’s brave because you’re telling the world “here I am” regardless of how flawed or imperfect you really are, despite whatever it is you claim to know. No one is an expert. We all have places we are weak or places where we are not so good. But just because we have said places that exist within us, doesn’t mean that we are less than or not enough, it means that we are actually brave enough to decide to show our real selves to the world.

I’ve been really struggling with this blog or “self love movement” I’ve been trying to create. I don’t want to admit that because I want to seem like I’ve got it all together and know what I’m doing so I can be this role model and inspirational leader for others to follow.

I’ve noticed that I’ve placed this unnecessary pressure upon myself to do a “good job” at playing this role of “self love advocate,” “wellness blogger,” and “writer.” However, I’m recognizing that by trying to be “good” at these things rather than creating and expressing myself freely as I should, is creating prison born out of the pressure of being “good” that is ultimately killing my creativty and motivation to even keep writing sometimes. Author, Kristen Bell, once said “I am tired of being good, I want to be free.” I am tired of trying to be good, I want to be free now! And isn’t it funny how when we actually want to do a really good job at something we are passionate about it actually does the complete opposite – like trying too hard?

And trying too hard isn’t really doing the brave thing. Trying too hard is playing it safe. And when you play it safe you’re not really being yourself. You’re doing what you know will work for sure or what everybody else wants you to do or what you think everybody wants to see you do. That’s why when you go out and be yourself and create from the heart instead of from this “safe zone” it is a tremendous act of bravery. Because being your self is doing the brave thing and I haven’t been doing the brave thing lately.

Sure, I am open and honest but I’ve been playing it safe at the same time. I’ve been too worried about how my writing will be received and not worried enough about whether I am being true to myself when I write. I am worried about the numbers, the likes, the comments, the feedback, the amount of people who are responding and not worried enough about whether I am writing honestly and authentically. And because of these worries, I’ve noticed that I’ve begun to write in a way that is more about “how-to-do-this” rather than “this is me, this is my journey, and this is what I hope will inspire you.” That’s not being brave or honest. That’s writing because I want you to like what I write, and although I want you to like what I write, it shouldn’t matter to me more than writing what makes me feel true to myself. And that stuff doesn’t make me feel true. When I get to write about whatever I want without thinking twice about how it sounds, that’s when I know I am writing from my heart and not from a “marketing mindset.”

I’m realizing that you can’t place these kinds of pressures on yourself when you are creating something. You can’t worry about the end result. The only worry you should have is whether or not you are creating something real and genuine that speaks to what you believe in. The rest of it will follow. And while people may respond to the “cookie cutter” outline blogs of “how to create a better life in 10 steps”, they will respond in a greater way if you are just yourself. Because you will have given them permission to take off their own masks too and say “me too, I get it.” And that’s where connection happens. That’s when the magic happens – where honesty meets vulnerability through choice of being brave and then connection is born.

That is our ultimate goal. To connect so that we can be seen. To say “here I am” and for others to respond “I see you.”

That is what I want. To be seen. It’s not about likes or having my blog blow up to have a million followers but to just be able to do that brave thing every day of showing up and being myself in this world where everyone is too afraid to do it. And when others see that braveness, I want them to know that it’s ok to be brave too!

As Glennon Doyle Melton creator of Momastery says, “being brave is a decision.” It doesn’t just come out of nowhere, you have to actively make that choice to be brave. And it doesn’t always have to mean going out and doing something outrageous thing. Being brave could be as simple as choosing to be kind in a place where it might be difficult or uncomfortable to show kindness. It may mean admitting that you need help. It may be writing a blog post entry that really sucks but doing it anyway because that’s what you needed to get out today. Doing the brave could saying I’m sorry when you really don’t want to admit that you did wrong. It may mean getting out of bed and trying to do life again despite the challenges that you are currently facing.


There are a ton of ways to be brave, but the difference between being brave and playing it safe is actually showing up instead of hiding in that space of fear.

So I guess I want to be brave today and to reveal that braveness to the world I want to play a little game I made up called “10 brave truths.” I want to reveal 10 brave truths about how I’m deciding to be brave today or just in general.

10 brave truths

  • I’m choosing to be brave by writing this blog post, despite really wanting to quit writing anything all together because lately I feel like it’s not making much of an impact and nobody cares.
  • I’m choosing to be brave by admitting that I am struggling lately with my self love rituals and not really being as kind as I’d like to be towards myself.
  • I’m choosing to be brave by continuing to try to be kind and patient and loving towards myself and others, despite failing numerous times this week because of my own anger and bitterness that I still struggle with.
  • I chose to be brave by getting out of bed this morning and not calling in sick to work despite really wanting to hide from the world due to my recent bout of hopelessness and lack of motivation.
  • I’m choosing to be brave by admitting that I am struggling and how embarrassed I feel because every single one of these points thus far have been about some sort of struggle making me feel like I am weak, when really I am not.
  • I’m choosing to be brave by not listening to my fear, and trying my hardest to build trust with the idea of happiness or rather trying to trust that good things can and will exist in my life.
  • I’m choosing to be brave by really trying to choose gratitude over dwelling on what isn’t going right in my life and making a habit of seeing what I have rather than what I lack.
  • I’m choosing to be brave by speaking up about my needs to the people that care about me rather than sitting quietly in resentment because my needs aren’t being met.
  • I’m choosing to be brave by staying close to God rather than seeking some unhealthy version of a coping mechanism to get me through each day.
  • I chose to be brave by picking the path in life that was unknown, that may not have necessarily been easy or conventional, but that ultimately will prove to be more satisfying and authentic.   

 

The Self Love Daily Challenge:

What are your 10 brave truths? Share with me.

 

Keep going,

xx

Christina

P.S. You can follow more from me on my instagram at @The.Self.Love.Challenge or on my facebook page! Thank you!

On Learning How to Laugh at Yourself.

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I’ve never been the funny one. In fact, I’ve always been the responsible, serious one. And it could be why I take life so seriously and have pretty much forgotten how to laugh, especially at myself. You may be wondering, laugh at yourself? Why would you ever want to laugh at yourself? Isn’t that kind of like making fun of yourself? Isn’t that mean?

Not really. I’m learning that it’s a good thing to be able to laugh at yourself, because it means that you are accepting that you are not perfect and that it’s ok not be perfect. So when you don’t know how to laugh at yourself, like me, it usually means that you are either a) too serious about life, b) a perfectionist who has unrealistic expectations of yourself, or c) both. I am obviously both and I think those of us who do struggle with being able to easily brush off those moments when we inevitably fall short fall into the same category.

I don’t know when I began to take life too seriously. Maybe it was after my parents’ divorce. There’s something about childhood trauma that dampens your sense of humor. Or maybe it was a culmination of that plus other challenging life events over the years that took away my ability to chuckle. Regardless, I’ve always been more on the serious side anyway. For someone who struggles with insecurity, it can be difficult to just “laugh it off.”

Whenever I am struggling with a wearisome situation, I notice that in my mind I am completely focused on that situation and solving that situation alone. I forget that life goes on. I forget that I am allowed to have a good time, even if something terrible or difficult is happening simultaneously in my life. I tend to believe that if things aren’t completely happy or going well, then I do not have permission to laugh, especially at myself. As if laughing equates to being irresponsible or taking things too lightly, which somehow is looked down upon according to my standards.

But I think that’s exactly the problem. I am not living “light” enough. I am living too “heavy” instead. I am allowing my problems or personal shortcomings to weigh me down, when instead I should be living life in a lighter way, allowing room for grace and softness.

I realized this after listening to another episode of Liz Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast. She was speaking to a dancer who had a hard time bringing her ideas to reality because she was afraid of how they would be received or whether they were meaningful enough to the world. She kept repeating that it was simply too “hard,” to do and Liz advised her that she was the one who was making her life “hard” by putting such a restriction on her creativity. She said that she should be living a “lighter” life instead, one where she just creates what she feels without thinking twice about how her art would be received, and basically giving herself that space to create without worry or fear.

It reminded me of what I do when I am stressed. I become too hyper aware of what is causing me stress and I place all of my focus on that one thing, allowing myself to obsess over it and be consumed with it entirely. I forget that life is still in existence and that I don’t have to always be the perfect, responsible one. That there is room for growth and learning and experience. That I am allowed to make mistakes. That I don’t have to get it right the very first time. That there is no time limit in getting things done the way I expect them to.

Of course, I still want to work hard and perform a job well done, but if I don’t, and inevitably end up making a fool of myself or performing less than par, then it’s ok. And I should be able to just laugh it off, all the while telling myself, “nice try, you’ll get it next time,” or “just try something different.”

What I am trying to get at is we don’t have to be perfect all the time, even with life.

It’s great if we do seem to get it right, but it’s also ok if we don’t. Let me give you an example.

This past weekend my best friend visited home from college out of state. We threw her a little picnic at the park and decided to play a game of volleyball. Her and her friends are all huge volleyball fanatics, I however, am not. I have never played volleyball in my life (ok maybe once in high school, but it was for phys. Ed. and I was probably not taking it seriously.)

So my friend encouraged me to try and play with her and her group (who are all pretty much expert players). At first I laughed thinking, “who are you kidding? Me – play volleyball with you? No way. I will make a fool out of myself.” Then I thought, “why not?” Honestly. Why not? What was keeping me from doing it besides fear? It’s not like they were playing it for a real competition and a prize was at stake or that they were playing it for the Olympics and I would’ve totally ruined their team. They were simply playing for fun and they were all friends, so why would they judge me? They wanted me to play. They wanted to teach me how. So I decided, I’d play.

I did. And I can’t say that I was the M.V.P of the game but I wasn’t completely terrible either. My forte was undoubtedly serving the ball, but as far as being in contact with the ball after that, it really wasn’t my strong point. But it was ok.

They didn’t laugh at me – in fact they encouraged me greatly. And instead of cowering after 5 minutes of play, I played the entire full length game. I will admit there were points where I was about to just walk away because my little “shame demon” decided to taunt me and tell me that “I sucked” or that “they were losing because of me.” But instead I laughed.

I laughed at myself. I laughed at my imperfect ability to play this game. I laughed because I kept missing the ball. I laughed because whenever I did hit it, it would go completely the other direction. And I laughed because I was actually having fun!

And you know what, nothing bad happened. I didn’t feel like a failure. I didn’t feel like I let everybody down. And I didn’t feel that insecurity. I actually felt more confident even though I completely bombed at this sport. And the reason it happened was because I was able to look past the “too serious-ness” of it all and just have fun. To just laugh even though I had no idea what I was doing.

But if I would’ve just stood there trying too hard, worrying about hitting the ball perfectly, or what everybody else thought of me, you know I would have for sure felt bad about myself later on that day and done even worse while playing.

I think that attitude of being “light” is one that we have to carry with ALL of life. Even when terrible things happen to us. We have to be able to learn to see the humor in it, even if the humor means just being grateful.

Allow space for that lightness in your life. Allow yourself to laugh and receive happiness. Allow yourself to not be perfect. Allow yourself not to overly worry and just trust instead that things will happen the way they are supposed to.

We need to learn to live “lighter” lives because if we live too “heavy” all the time, we are going to feel that heaviness in our hearts. We are going to feel stressed or fatigued or weighed down. We are going to feel depressed or angry or bitter. We are going to feel self-pity and self-hate and shame. Those are all terrible things to feel and be. So maybe it’s time to take off those weights, let yourself loose, and laugh a little.

I think I’m going to try to do it more often because frankly, I like the feeling of being light. And life is way too short to be so serious and miserable all the time. Worry never gets you any closer to solving anything. And shame never makes you perform any better. So why indulge in those things unnecessarily?

Laugh instead. They don’t say laughter is the best medicine for no reason.

The Self Love Daily Challenge:

Learn to laugh at yourself. Learn to allow room for “lightness” in your life. Try an activity which you know you are not that good at, and then be ok with how you perform – even if it’s bad. Laugh at yourself if it’s bad. Laugh at yourself it I’s good! But regardless, don’t let anything weigh your down.

xx

Christina

P.S Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram at @The.Self.Love.Challenge !

Nothing Great is Ever Easy.


“Nothing in life that is great is easy. If it were easy then it wouldn’t be great.” – Who Says You Can’t? You Do, Daniel Chidiac
How come nobody ever told me that truth telling is hard? Or that loving other people is hard? Or maybe that loving yourself is very hard? And that being a kind person is hard? Or that being an authentic person in a very surface-level world is extremely hard? Or how about that being consistantly creative and not giving into your fears is, you guessed it…hard.

You can tell that today I’m kind of at this fork in the road where I’m asking myself if I want to keep going. I feel like I am failing at life. Can I just be honest for a moment? I think so.

I feel like I am trying so incredibly hard to get it “right” and yet I keep failing. I keep getting it wrong. I keep sucking at being a loving person. I keep sucking at loving myself. I keep sucking at pursuing my creativity and instead I just keep giving up on it because, frankly, I get lazy and I just don’t feel like it or maybe fear gets in the way, I don’t know! But either way, I keep failing.

And yet, I’m sure if Liz Gilbert were here listening to me whine about how much of a failure I believe myself to be she would tell me to stop it. Because am I really failing if I am continuing on with my journey? Am I really failing if I continue on trying to do better?

She quotes Clive James in her book, Big Magic, saying that “failure has a function. It asks you whether you really want to go on making things.”

So here I am.

Do I want to go on? Do I want to keep on being a truth teller? Do I want to keep trying to love other people even if I can’t seem to get it perfect all the time? Do I want to keep trying to figure out how to love myself even though I keep falling short? Do I want to go on being real in this almost too superficial world? Do I want to keep chasing my creative path that I know deep in my heart I am meant to chase after?

HELL YEAH I DO.

But you know what I’ve realized. It’s hard. And great things are always hard. Great journeys are always hard. So of course being authentic and creative and loving and kind and patient is going to be insanely hard because all of those things are GREAT things.

But they are worth doing. They are worth continuing. They are worth making.

Today, Liz Gilbert officially annouced on her Facebook that she was in love with her female best friend, Rayya Elias, who was recently diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer, and that she will be divorcing her husband to be together with her. This news was completely shocking to me at first because I have been such a devotee of hers and her novels and realizing that she was basically giving up on marriage (which she wrote an entire book on and even though she was never really fully committed to it in the first place) in order to be with this woman was kind of a shocker to me.

I almost felt betrayed and I don’t really know why. I mean I don’t really have anything against the LGBT community or of people’s choices to be with a same-sex partner, although I would never decide to go that path myself. But I have no hate for these people. But I think I was shocked simply because she was being so honest. Because in this world, it is almost uncommon for people to just go and be who they want to be. Most of the time we are hiding behind something or making excuses as to why we can’t be a certain way or do something we want to do. Most of the time we are simply following each other, trying to fit in, or not make any waves. So for this woman to be so transparent and honest this way, it just turned me upside down.

I felt like, “how dare she stray from the norm? How dare she be this person after I thought that she was this other person?” But aren’t I being hypocritical if I react that way? Because I am expecting her to be something she is not and therefore not being very loving towards her choices because of it?

See. That is why loving is hard. That is why being authentic is hard. And that is why taking your own path less travelled in this world that is encouraging you to just follow the lead, is EXTREMELY HARD. And that is why we become so afraid to do it – because it is so hard and anything hard produces fear which we do our best to avoid.

But then think about the joy that would come if we were to truly be ourselves? Think about how much joy Liz feels now that she gets to stop pretending to be someone everyone thought she was. And think about how great of a service she is doing for herself and for others even though it is incredibly hard to do.

In her announcement today she wrote, “I need to live my life in truth and transparency, even more than I need privacy, or good publicity, or prudence, or other people’s approval or understanding, or just about anything else. Truth and transparancy will not only make my life more ethical, but also easier. Why easier? Because untruth is always complicating – and truth – no matter the consequences – is always strangely simplifying.”

Which brings me back to the idea that doing anything great, whether it be truth telling, living a life of transparency and authenticity, being true to your creativity, learning how to love others or yourself, or simply just pursuing something great in your eyes, is always going to be hard – but in the end, living a lie, or untruth, is always more complicating. Sure, you may face a load of adversity at first, or maybe even the whole time through, but you are pursuing greatness, you are pursuing truth, you are pursuing something real. That is worth every last bit of that hardship.

If we want to make great things, we must take the path less travelled. We must put in the hard work and effort. We must go through the failure. We must push past the fear and doubt. We must go on.

That is how we can honor the greatness in us or the greatness that we are after.

So I ask myself again. Am I really failing? Am I truly failing because I may not be showing the kind of progress that may be easily recognized in the eyes of others or even in myself, but yet am continuing on in my pursuit despite how difficult it is? No, I’m not failing. And neither are you if you are still on that path – that path that is leading into the unknown that very few have travelled before you.

We could all easily just give in. We could take the safe route. The predictable route. We could call it a day and simply turn our heads from our curiosity and go on living a mediocre life. But that would be such a shame and dishonor to who we truly are. We weren’t meant to live in such drudgery.

We were meant to be real. To run after our calling. To how to love and to learn how to feel, even if it meant feeling heartache. We were meant to create. We were meant to dream. We were meant to keep falling, learning from our mistakes, and then putting ourselves back together even stronger. This is why we were created. To keep going. To keep moving onward (as Liz would say.)

So keep going.

If it’s hard to keep living an honest, authentic life and you’ve failed at it — keep going.  

If it’s difficult to love others or yourself and you’ve messed up again — keep going.


If you feel stuck and hopeless or even lazy in your creative process and have no more hope for ever creating again – keep going.

Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.

Despite what anyone says. Despite what your fear even says. Keep going.

If it is truly something great that you are pursuing, you wil face difficulty, but anything worthy of being called great is never easy.

The Self Love Daily Challenge:

Keep going.

 

xx

Christina Ciro

P.S Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram – @the.self.love.challenge 

Pity Parties: Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That. 

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Please note: I had this post written out earlier this week, but because I was dealing with a few things, I did not have a chance to actually post this. So here it is now, semi-edited to be more relevant to today. I hope you enjoy!:

Bad habits die hard. Bad habits that you aren’t fully consciously aware of die even harder. I’m all too familiar with the habit of throwing pity parties. And although, I didn’t quite know that they had a name, I definitely knew the behavior very well. My life has been a bit stressful lately, especially these last few weeks. I’ve been throwing myself multiple pity parties. I allowed myself to be consumed with my worries and anxiety. I sat there in the depths of my sorrow and I whined and complained about how everyone around me was at fault, when all the while, it really has always been in my control.

Thanks to my boyfriend for leading me to a principle in a Wayne Dyer book called, Your Sacred Self, and after doing some research on my own, I’ve opened up my mind to learning how stop throwing pity parties and instead taking responsibility for my own happiness and progress in my life. and some research on my own.

Although I was too caught up in my shroud of misery to actually learn the principle last week when he was telling me about it, I’ve now learned that we are in control of our own happiness and our reactions towards the happenings in our lives. Nobody else. To quote Mr. Dyer himself he says,

“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you. The only thing blame does is to keep the focus off you when you are looking for external reasons to explain your unhappiness or frustration. You may succeed in making another feel guilty about something by blaming him, but you won’t succeed in changing whatever it is about you that is making you unhappy.”

To sum it up, Mr. Dyer is basically saying: GET OUT OF YOUR PITY PARTY AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN EMOTIONS.

Was that a bit too much?

Sorry.

But it was apparently loud enough for me to hear as I was trying to pull myself out of my own pity party and snap me back into progress mode.

Now what is a pity party, you say? It’s basically a few things. First it is being excessively self-absorbed in our own unhappiness and troubles. It is taking on that victim mindset of “why me?” or “what did I do to deserve this?”. It is seeking out condolence from everyone by whining about our circumstances and blaming external sources for our own despair.

When I learned about this definition, my first thought was, “what, no. I don’t do that. Right?” But then I realized it is EXACTLY what I do. But because I am so self-absorbed in my own sadness, anger, or frustration, I don’t realize that I am consciously doing this. I know there are a ton of us who are guilty of this bad habit, and many of us are not aware that we are even doing it.

Think about the last time something went wrong or was stressing you out excessively. Were you quick to blame outside circumstances as the cause of your unhappiness? Did you want to talk about it relentlessly to anyone who would listen and secretly enjoy when they would give you their compassion? Did you go on and on wasting time blaming things or people, when all the while you could’ve easily just changed the circumstance or done something about it to better the situation?

All signs of a pity party attendee.

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Self-pity is a selfish response. It is one where we are so focused on ourselves and why we are so unfortunate, that we become ignorant to the fact that we have any real control or say over the situation. We look to others to solve our issues or to at least make us feel better.

The other little known fact that I learned was that self-pity is actually driven by pride! Who knew?! Pride makes us feel that we deserve better and when we feel unhappy and are pitying ourselves, we are basically lamenting over the fact that we have sacrificed so much or have done so much that we just don’t deserve the kind of sorrow that we feel.  

See how easily it is to think that we are not throwing ourselves a pity party. In my mind, I would have never guessed that this was all driven by pride or selfish reasons. In my mind, I was simply venting out my frustrations, hoping that by doing so, something would resolve. But then I realized, what actually got resolved? NOTHING!

All I ended up doing was blaming all of these external circumstances for my own stress, when I could have easily taken responsibility for my emotions or actions and lessened the feeling of distress.

The cure to self-pity is humility. It is taking responsibility rather than blaming outside things or people. Of course, there may be times when outside things or people do cause us pain, hurt, or frustration, and I’m not saying that you should not feel those emotions, but what I am saying is not to continue living in them so that you are paralyzed into believing that you are stuck and there is no way to get out of the despair that you feel. There is always a way out of everything, even if it seems like an incredibly hopeless situation.

So what else can we do to stop throwing ourselves multiple pity parties and instead start living lives full of abundance and happiness? Here’s a few principles I’ve come up with.

1.Take responsibility!

Instead of blaming others or outside circumstances, realize that you, too, are part of the problem in some way, even if you may not see it. Take a good look at your own actions. Maybe there is something that you might have done or said that contributed to the issue. Usually in every problem, we are partly at fault. Don’t stay in that victim mentality that only enables you to feel stuck, instead take control by understanding you do have that choice.

2.What can you change?

Once you realize that you can change your circumstances, figure out what is the root cause of your stress or unhappiness. Are there toxic people in your life that you need to cut out or create stricter boundaries with? Do you have any destructive habits that need nixing? Can you change or improve in an area in your life where you may feel stuck in – a job, relationship, personal issue, etc? Maybe it is the way you are reacting emotionally – are you a bit negative? Take little steps to create change so that you will feel that you have control over your own happiness.

3. Realize that Life isn’t fair and it was never promised to be.

Stop comparing your life to others. Just because one person has something you don’t have (yet), doesn’t mean that you need to feel that it is unfair and begin to feel sorry for yourself that you don’t have it. Life isn’t fair. And the quicker you are able to believe this truth, the less stressed or upset you will feel. Remember that you are worthy of good things and that these good things will come into your life when you are ready for receiving them. The reality is there will always be good and bad days, but just because the bad ones exist, doesn’t mean we should give them more weight in determine our happiness.

4. Remember you aren’t special.

Ok. You are special, but only to yourself (and to those who love you.) But as far as the universe goes, you aren’t the exception when it comes to facing adversities. Just like everyone else, you will face hard times and you will go through troubles. Just because you feel that you don’t deserve something, doesn’t mean it’s going to stop it from happening. Take the good and the bad. Learn from the bad. Make the best of the bad. But don’t feel bad just because something bad is happening to you. Its power over you will pass as soon as you learn to accept it and choose your reaction towards it.

5. You will survive.

Last but not least, you will survive because that’s what you are built to do at your most primal self. Remind yourself that you have gone through tough times before, and even though you believed you couldn’t possibility make it through, you are here – so obviously you survived. And just because it feels terrible right now, doesn’t mean it always will be. It will pass and you will survive until it’s passing.

 

So there you go. Do me a favor and don’t go throwing yourself any more pity parties. It’s not good for you. It’s not good for me. And it’s not good for the rest of humanity, because honestly, ain’t nobody got time for that. Take charge of your own life and your own happiness. If you feel a bit down, remember, you can change that. You can change your attitude or you do something that might make you feel better, but don’t go around complaining about it and not doing anything to make it actually better.

The Self Love Daily Challenge:

No more pity parties. Follow the five principles to beat the habit of self-pity. And start living a better life where you take control of your own happiness.

xx

Christina

Love Always Triumphs Darkness.

Image result for love conquers all

It’s too beautiful of a day to be sad. And it’s too beautiful of a life not to honor myself by doing what I love, which is to write. As Mark Nepo, a favorite poet of mine once said, “it hurts not to be heard or not to be seen, but it’s more deadly not to see and hear,” in other words, it is more deadly to your spirit to not create at all, than to live in fear that your work will never be received.  So with that said, I must continue to write, despite the challenges I have been facing over the last week.

If you have been following my blog, or more so, my Instagram or Facebook page for The Self Love Challenge, you would know that a pesky little individual (which I will not give credit to by name) has been driving me absolutely mad by commenting the most cruel, disgusting, and malicious comments on my posts. I do not understand why another human being would have so much hate towards me or towards anyone really, but this is the world we live in – where hate is literally everywhere.

But you know what is much, much greater and stronger than hate – LOVE. Love will always triumph hate in every and any possible way. Allow to further explain.

While at first, I was a bit disconcerted by this person’s comments and almost allowed myself to believe them (how silly of me, right?), I decided that the best defense against this sort of hate was a community of love to surround myself with. So that is exactly what I set out to find.

I made a post on my various social media pages speaking out against cyberbullying and how I had been exposed to it. I was overwhelmed by the amount of responses I received to what I said. People that I did not expect to even read my post, were responding with love and encouragement. So many others were responding with reassuring comments telling me not to worry, that I was incredibly beautiful no matter what anybody said, that I was such an encouraging person, that I write so beautifully, that I am so kind hearted. The list went on and on and my heart began to feel amazed by the loving spirit of all of these people who I had no idea cared for me this greatly.

See, this is what love does.

It always protects. It is faithful. It fights. It always perseveres even through any kind of darkness. Love is vessel of which God’s light flows through and it fights against the dark and always win.

With that said, to the person who believed they could throw me off course or halt my journey – I say, not today. The love I have within me and that surrounds me is much more powerful and much greater than any of the words you can say. And I will not stop spreading the goodness of love, even to you. Because hate will never stand for very long. It may produce temporary fear or pain, but it will never outlast the power of love.

I will keep on writing. And I will keep on expressing who I am, and to those who do not care for it, then I bid you farewell. You have the right to not read anything I write. You have the right to not look at anything I post. Why waste so much effort trying to hurt another human being, when instead you could lift them up and love them instead?

That is the antidote to all of the hate in this world. To all of the suffering. To all of the darkness. To all of the destruction and toxicity. It is love. It is always love.

Thank you for helping me see that. I may not have known my full worth before and was still searching for that concrete feeling, but after this, I know that I am really loved. And although you may never understand it, I forgive you. And I hope one day you will feel the exact same love that I feel now.

To my friends and family, thank you for encouraging me. For reminding me not to give up on my purpose just because of a minor dark spot in the road. I am grateful for this journey and I am grateful that I am learning how to truly love who I am, because that really is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Once you learn that, you can use that power inside you to spread light to everyone else.

I had another post that I had prepared for today, but I won’t post it just yet. This was much more important. But I guess in every post there is a message – so this one being that love will always triumph darkness. Remember that the light will always expose the dark.

“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

xx

Christina

Life is Not a Competitive Sport. 


With the Olympics going on, my boyfriend and I have been making a conscious effort to be more active together. This last weekend we decided to play one of our favorite sports together, basketball, near the beach (since it was much cooler weather). It was amazing getting back into the game and I not only realized how much fun it was to play together, but it really brought out my confidence.

My boyfriend asked me to use this picture of him from our game as inspiration for my next blog post. It’s been challenging trying to come up with something directly related to basketball that would tie into the Self Love Challenge. When you think of sports, you don’t automatically correlate it to loving yourself and others or with learning how to become a better human being. However, today after listening to an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert, the idea finally came to me. It’s a little outside the box, but trust me, read on because it might be helpful.

In the interview, Liz spoke about the difference between ambition and competitiveness in relation to creativity. With a little bit of digging into my own imagination, I was able to find a way to connect her ideas with how it relates to life, love, and overall personal growth.

There is a time and place for competitiveness. In sports, it’s necessary. However, in living a healthy lifestyle and in pursuing creativity as Liz warns, it can be destructive. For example, when in competition, the end goal in mind is usually to win or to prove something, sometimes by any means. Your entire focus is on achieving this goal, because you want to be the best out of everyone in what you are competing in. Most of the time it is a means of proving our worth or our skill.  

However, when it comes to creativity, Liz explains that this kind of competitive mindset can actually be harmful and a killer of creativity. Competition should not be the motivating factor that drives you to create art. If the end goal of achieving fame, money, or recognition is why you are creating, then it really isn’t much of a passion but rather another form of striving for acceptance or recognition. Passion should come from a deeper drive within ourselves. We should want to create something, not feel like we must in order to achieve some sort of reward or win. Our passion should come out of our own place of curiosity and inherent desire to pursue what makes us feel alive.

She then goes on to speak about ambition and how ambition is a better motivating factor when it comes to creativity. Ambition is a different sort of drive. It is the drive that motivates you to be the best version of yourself, rather than simply doing something for the sake of winning. When we are ambitious about something, we want to put our best selves forth. We want to create something beautiful because it reflects who we are. We want to learn more and hone our craft just because we are eager to become better at it for our own sake.

How does this relate to life or loving ourselves and others? In life and love we do not compete. Our goal in life is not to compete with other people, to be the best at this or have the best of this, but rather to enjoy our own individual journeys. If we have a set end goal in mind, then we are not truly living, but rather in this competing mindset of having to prove something.

Think about it, if your only motive in life was to have more of something than someone else does, does that truly bring satisfaction? Or what about in relationships, would you feel genuinely happy when you know you are just in it to reach an end goal of say, getting married or having someone commit? Not really right. It would feel too forced. And then you would end up comparing your life to the lives of others, realizing that some other person did it better than you or has something more than you. 

That lack of happiness or joy comes from having a competitive mindset. Life isn’t a race or a game that we have to win at. Life is meant to be a journey where we experience different successes and failures. It doesn’t matter whether we are considered true winners, because in reality, someone else is always going to be doing better off than us.

Winning in life means living a full life. Loving fully. Giving our best selves to the world and to the people we interact with each and every day. We want to have an ambitious mindset and display characteristics of honesty, patience, kindness, and trust. We want to take our time. We want to carefully learn our craft of loving ourselves or loving other people. And that when we will understand that it’s really not about winning or losing, but simply experiencing something.

Just as in making artwork, when we do it for the pure love of doing it, even if it looks terrible, we still can find joy in creating it. But if we don’t bring that sort of ambition with us, and rather are creating something just for sake of reward and end up losing, we create HUGE disappointment for ourselves, which may even destroy us a little in the long run.

Let us not think of life or love as something we must do perfectly or competitively. We all know that striving and trying too hard at something, doesn’t really get us very far. So it’s really best to just be ourselves. To love purely. To live simply. And most importantly to do these things not with any hidden intentions or underlying motives for some sort of gain, but just living authentically because we want to be better people.

So when it comes to love, life or creativity, leave the competition at the courts, and do yourself a favor and just let it flow out from your heart instead. There’s no need to prove yourself, to compare yourself, to force, to compete, or to win – because in the end success is what you define it as. 


So I guess you could say that I what I learned on the courts that day. Yes, we may have been playing a type of competing sport against each other, but at the end of the day, I learned that it wasn’t about being a winner or a loser, it was about having fun, and enjoying life for what it is.

The Self Love Daily Challenge: Life is not a competition, so don’t treat it as such. Bring your best self into every situation, and don’t strive to prove your worth.

xx

Christina Ciro
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