Too Much of a Good Thing Gone Wrong.

 

I’ve come to two realizations today.

Not necessarily relating to each other but I thought I would share the first anyway, despite it being more of a personal thought rather than a true realization or fact.

I find myself feeling lately that I am not qualified to be a teacher of self love or really of anything, as I myself am still learning. I’m trying not to be self-deprecating by saying that but it’s difficult to keep believing in your own ability to help others when you yourself are still struggling with so many things. Maybe I shouldn’t place so much pressure on myself. Maybe I don’t necessarily need to create a blog that is purely for “teaching” wellness skills, but rather keep my focus on changing for the better in my own journey, and hoping that it will spill over into helping others through the sharing of my experiences.

The other realization I’ve come to today is that too much of a good thing, can quickly turn into a really bad thing. Hence, the title of my post – I am learning that too much self love can deviously turn into selfishness if we are not careful.

It’s funny because when I first started this blog, I wanted to make sure that people did not get the two confused – that essentially promoting self love did not mean that I was also advocating for people to become selfish. Because that is not what self love is all about.

Self love is about learning our own value and learning to accept and love ourselves in our most true and natural state. I wanted to also make it a point that as we begin to learn to love ourselves, it also opens up a deeper part of our hearts, giving us the ability to also love others as well. This is why I believe learning to love ourselves is not doing a selfish thing, but rather it is doing a kind thing for humanity.

But I guess because we are all human, flawed, and realistically selfish by nature, we are bound to corrupt it’s good nature eventually. What I mean is this – if we become too focused on ourselves, self love can (sometimes) unknowingly turn into self-absorption, which is a selfish thing. This is how too much of a good thing can easily backfire.

Because I want to be as open and honest as possible, I’m going to admit that this blog and maybe even some of my own self love practices have caused me to become too self absorbed. I’ve taken it too far, instead of taking it to the next level and spreading that newfound love inside me to other people. I’ve become too focused on my own needs, what I want, and what I deserve. I was masking it as simply being kind or loving towards myself, but in reality, I am entertaining an attitude of entitlement. Again, I don’t mean to sound so harsh when describing myself but it is good to examine our hearts once in a while to make sure they are centered in the right place.

I began to notice most recently that I’ve become rather lazy, using the excuse that I am too tired because I work too much for everything. I’ve gone so far as to use this excuse as a reason not to cook meals for my boyfriend and I or do any housework or even get up early enough to do anything fun together anymore. I whine and complain that “I’m simply too tired,” to do any of these things, and that I need to “take care of myself and rest.” Sure, it’s great to take care of your needs when you are feeling overwhelmed because of having too much on your plate, but when does it cross the line?

It crosses the line when you begin to use this excuse as a way to manipulate other people to do things for you. I am ashamed to say this is exactly what I have been doing (not consciously mind you)! I would manipulate my boyfriend into feeling guilty by telling him that I’m always the one cooking or always the one cleaning or always the one doing everything and then demanding when it would be my turn to be taken care of. I played the classic victim role.

But this is not the only area of my life where I have done this. I’ve noticed this lazy and entitled attitude carry itself over into other parts of my life.

At work, I’ve been doing the bare minimum – accounting it to having worked there for 10+ years and giving the excuse that I’ve worked hard enough, that it was essentially someone else’s turn to work hard now and my turn to take it easy because I’ve already put in my time.

I’ve even done it with family or friends. Why did I have to put in so much effort to meet their needs? When were they going to meet mine? Why did I always have to be the one to run at their first beck and call, when would it be my turn for reciprocation?

Now that I look back on this disgusting attitude of mine, (let’s just call it for what it is) I can’t believe that this was my way of thinking! And the sad part is, it only drove people further and further away, not wanting to reciprocate in meeting my needs in any form. And I don’t blame them.

But so often we find ourselves slipping into these bad behaviors unknowingly. We simply excuse it as either taking care of ourselves first or sometimes even convincing ourselves that we deserve something because we’ve worked so hard for it.

I’m trying not to be hard on myself, although I am a bit upset at myself for allowing it to get this bad. But because God gave us grace first and taught us to extend grace to others (as well as ourselves too) this is precisely what I’m going to attempt to do.

Christina, it’s ok. You make mistakes, but you’ve realized it, and now you work on changing for the better. Simple.

And that’s it. No slipping into self-pity mode. No bashing myself with guilt or shame. Just simply forgiveness.

Much easier said than done, trust me. But I’m going to choose to do it.

But do you see how easily it is to turn self love into an excuse for self-centeredness? Do you see how easily we can manipulate it into something that it is not supposed to be?

How can we prevent this in the future?

I’m still trying to figure that part out, but through prayer and wisdom from God, I think I have a few suggestions that I’m willing to try out myself and hope that it will be good wisdom for some of you too.

We have to realize that we are not entitled to anything.

Just because we have discovered that we are worthy or deserving of better things and of love, doesn’t mean that we stop giving out that love and service to others as well and only focus on taking. We should never feel entitled to anything and remember that everything is a gift, so we must be grateful for it. As soon as you begin to feel like you deserve someone else’s love or service, that’s when you know you are headed into selfish territory.

 Just because we are learning how to love ourselves, doesn’t mean we get to stop loving others as well.

God brought me to this verse today. It says, “Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” (Phil. 2:4) AKA don’t be so self-absorbed!  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the world revolves around only you. Your needs are important, but the needs of others are important too.

When we receive love, remember to equally give out that same love to others.

If someone does something kind for you, give out that same kindness to someone else. If you receiving in a lot of love, remember to give out just as much! We should always live in an environment where we are giving more than receiving.

Stop making excuses for why you can’t do something to benefit someone else.

I know you’re tired, so am I. I know you’re probably overworked, SO AM I. I know you do a lot and I know you deserve a lot and I know you want your needs met too. But I’m learning that giving is a lot more satisfying than taking, especially when it comes to love. You know how happy it makes me feel when I do cook that meal for my boyfriend and at the end of it he tells me how wonderful it was and how grateful he was that I made it. Or have you ever experienced that moment when you decide to go out of your way to call up a friend to ask how they are rather than venting to them first about your own horrible day? You can automatically sense how grateful they are that you’ve asked. It’s a great way of showing that you really do care and aren’t always concerned with what you need.

 

Basically, the key to not being selfish is making sure that you are putting equal importance on the needs of others as well. I don’t know how I got to this point and I really hope that I can begin to change, especially in the area of feeling entitled and lazy. It’s not fair to the people I love or care about, and it’s really not good character to have this attitude.

I think if you’re like me, and – welp – giving is not really second nature to you, then start small. In a sermon I was listening to recently concerning selfishness, it said that for those of us who do struggle with selfishness and want to change, we should always start small with practicing common courtesy.

If someone asks you how you are, be sure to return the favor by asking how they are. If someone holds the door for you, be sure to hold the door for someone else. If you see someone struggling with something, ask if they need a helping hand. Just tiny little gestures, tiny baby steps towards becoming a more selfless person. And you know what, honestly, it’s going to take real effort to do it, especially for me. Because my brain does not automatically jump to, “oh I should step in and help this person.”

Part of change is an active effort of rewiring our programming and doing that requires a ton of practice and conscious effort. We have to do the right things over and over again, despite our nature to do the complete opposite. It reminds me of another verse I found in the bible when Paul is speaking about the conflict of two natures – our flesh verses our spiritual nature. He says, “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate…I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” (Romans 7:14-23)

We always seem to know what is right and yet somehow, we end up doing it wrong because it is our imperfect nature. But that doesn’t mean we can’t keep trying to do what is right and purposely choosing to do what is right despite our inherently “selfish nature.”

I don’t particularly enjoy writing blog posts where I have to admit something about an area in my life where I am not too proud of or that I struggle with. It makes me feel ashamed and like many of you will judge me for being a “bad person.” But I don’t think people are as bad as we often perceive they will be. I don’t think your first thought will automatically be to tell me how terrible I am. I think your first thought will be a thought of relief, because you have probably felt the same way I have at times when you’ve fallen short in your own ways. And I think that is exactly how we can practice giving each other grace.

Anyway, keep going, my friends.

The Self Love Daily Challenge:

Practice doing something good for someone else that may not necessarily benefit you directly.

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!

Trusting Happiness.

 

I feel like 90% of this blog is based on my own personal issues, but I guess that is how we become the best kinds of teachers, isn’t it? We learn from our own experiences and then go on to teach others so they can lessen their own chance of making mistakes. I try not to make this blog seem like a personal venting zone, but rather somewhere I can share my wisdom learned from these, sometimes trying, experiences. And it is my hope that the knowledge I do pass on is actually beneficial to someone – even just one person out there. That would make my day or my entire life, perhaps.

With that being said, here’s more of what I’m learning.

I’m learning that I find it difficult to trust happiness (or really trust most things in general). I think the wariness was born from years of betrayal and disappointment, sad to say. I’m not saying that because of this I am a permanent cynic or pessimist, but I do tend to lean towards that side of the spectrum.

I don’t want to. Really, I would love to believe the best of everything, but after experiencing years of mistrust, it becomes hard not to be a little cautious when giving your all to something.

Now I really wasn’t aware of this difficulty trusting until more recently. The awareness came to me through prayer. I wouldn’t say I am a fairly new Christian anymore, but when I just started out, I had a difficult time accepting the idea of trusting God with all areas in my life. Being the control freak that I am, I would only allow him to manage the areas which I thought didn’t really need too much of my own input, which was pretty much just my job – since it was mostly unchanging. Everywhere else, I needed to manage it myself so I could have some sense of control. And God wasn’t really having it.

Trying to control all aspects of your life rather than trusting that God has got it covered is not a good start to supposedly trying to form a relationship with Him. It was always taught to me that He cared for my well being and that He would provide what I needed to get through life if only I would just trust His judgment.

But I thought I knew better, like always. I didn’t want things to be outside my control or move in a direction that I wasn’t ready for. So I held on pretty tight and all it did was cause me more worry, more anxiety, and overall more stress.

The reason of why I had so much anxiety and worry over my life was revealed to me through a moment of conversation and prayer and He basically said that it was time for me to learn how to surrender and TRUST in Him that things would be ok, that one way or another, He had it covered.

It’s been quite the journey learning how to do that on its own. I can’t say I’ve got it all down, but I’ve definitely loosened my grip and life has become less frantic.

However now the time has come for another season of learning how to trust – and that is trusting happiness. What I mean by that is trusting that good things can actually happen to me. Because I’ve experienced quite the load of misfortune, I tend to have the “everything is too good to be true” view on life.

If something feels way too happy or seems to be going way too smoothly, I start to feel that same kind of panic. My mind begins to question it. It brings up doubt where no doubts should normally exist. It goes so far as to create thoughts that cause me to assume things that haven’t even really happened. You could say this is truly self-sabotoging behavior.

I react this way as a form of self-protection. My brain doesn’t want to get hurt again, so it puts up these guards when it senses that things are going too well. It tries to convince me that inevitably they will go bad, so I should so I should prepare for it in the best way I can – which most of the time means backing off.

This is no healthy way to live. And it’s even worse because I haven’t been fully aware that I have been prolonging this accidental sabotage of the happy things in my life all this time.

I really began to take notice of this issue more recently in my current relationships. Now my boyfriend is a wonderful man, he’s not perfect, but he really doesn’t give me much reason to panic in the way that I do. As our time being together has increased and I become more deeply attached, I’ve noticed that my mind, every few weeks or so, it decides to try and perform this act of accidental sabotage.

Thoughts will pop up in my head out of the blue sometimes and try to convince me of either backing off, breaking up, or trying to push him to admit something I am trying to assume is true. For example some of the thoughts I have are things like, “did you notice he’s being a little distant? Maybe he doesn’t love you anymore? Maybe he likes someone else? Maybe he’s cheating on you? Maybe you should break up with him because he’s inevitably going to leave you anyway?”

But this isn’t the only area of my life where it has affected me.

With friends – “you shouldn’t really trust her. She’s going to end up judging you or talking bad about you in some way like the others.” Or with career moves – “don’t go after that job, it won’t work out. You’ll probably get fired because you can’t do it.” Or with my life in general – “things are way too happy for you right now. it’s got to be too good to be true. Something bad is going to happen soon. Be prepared.”

How terrible to think this way. To live in this kind of constant state of anxiety and worry. It can drive a person mad, but most importantly, keep someone from living a truly happy life because they are always going to be doubting their happiness – or not trusting that it’s real and that they deserve it.

See, I think that’s where the problem lies at the core. After experiencing so much pain in the past, I think we almost believe this lie that maybe we just don’t deserve good things anymore, that we are almost cursed to always feel pain or that things will inevitably not work out the way we hope. We kind of arm ourselves with this truth (or lie) that we should always be on guard towards everything so that it minimizes our chance of experiencing hurt – and we do this because at least we can stay in control of protecting ourselves from the pain. There’s that control word again.


Trust is always about control. And when we allow ourselves to give up control, that’s when we are finally able to trust. When it comes to trusting happiness, we need to learn to give up that idea that we can control every little thing that happens to us, and just accept what comes – good or bad. And honestly, the bad will come. We will get hurt again. We will be disappointed eventually. It’s inevitable. But this is life.

The other things we need to wrap our brains around is accepting that we are not doomed to a life of hardship. If we continue to believe the lie or the story that we’ve told ourselves for years that we don’t deserve good things in our lives, then good things are rarely going to happen. We attract what we think we deserve. If we believe that we deserve good things, then we will begin to have a more positive outlook on life that allows us to trust in the idea that good things will happen in our life.

We can’t assume that role of the realist who sees the negative in the situation before it sees the potential. Sure, the realist might have a point, that things might possibly go wrong and we might possibly get hurt, but what if it goes the opposite. What if it’s the best thing that ever happened to us? What if we trust in optimism instead and believe that it WILL be the best thing that ever happened to us. Maybe that way we will manifest its success rather than accidentally sabotage it with our cynical assumptions.

I know it’s hard to trust that good things can happen, especially after years of pain. But take that leap of faith. Trust that you at least deserve good things, so you won’t always feel like this is what you deserve so you might as well make the most of it.

I need to stop acting like a cynic myself. I need to start seeing potential instead of seeing warning signs. I need to believe in the best instead of automatically assume the worst. I need to trust that happiness does exist and I do deserve some of it in my life. I think you should too.


The Self Love Daily Challenge:

Make a list of your worries or fears in your life, then decipher whether it is 100% true or whether you are projecting your own personal mistrust onto it and making it appear worse than it is. If it is indeed you, try finding a positive way to see the situation. If it’s a relationship that you are afraid might not end well, try to see the good aspects of it first. The reasons why it will succeed. If it’s a job that you are afraid to go after because of fear, list the reasons why you will succeed instead. Try this with different aspects of your life and see if you can manifest thoughts that project a sense of trust that it will work out, rather than fear.

xx

Christina

P.S.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook or Instagram at @The.Self.Love.Challenge !

Why Setbacks Really Mean You are Suceeding.


Right now, in this moment, I want to cry. As I’m writing this, I am dealing with a tightness in my chest. I feel a heaviness over my body as if I can’t get in a good breath of air, leaving me feeling a bit uneasy.

Suffocating is one of my greatest fears. And whenever I feel this level of anxiety, it usually effects my breath more than any other part of my body. It used to be my heart. It would race and pound and I would believe that I was literally dying. But now, it’s my breath. The feeling of uneasiness weighs down on my chest like a ton of bricks and clamps me around squeezing me like an anaconda.

It’s the worst feeling in the world. And one that can easily cause panic in the mind – making you fearful that at any minute you could stop breathing, that somehow your air is going to be cut off or that your body is going to forget how to take in another breath. But does it really happen? No. But this is how powerful the mind can be.

I’m not sure why I’m having this sort of “relapse” – I guess you could call it. It’s not really a full blown panic attack because I’ve grown to learn the symptoms of what panic feels like, and whenever I start to feel them I can usually talk myself out of it using the techniques I have learned over time. I’ve become good at living a “normal” life. 

But what is a “normal” life really? Does normal mean you do not struggle? That you never experience setbacks? Or that you get it right everything? If that’s the case, I don’t think any human being would be qualified as “normal.” Because we all struggle in some form and we all experience setbacks from time to time. 

I’ve been able to succeed in working my way around these kinds of moments or overcoming them altogether. My irrational fears are pretty much gone, so I don’t struggle anymore with those as often as I did, but I guess if you suffer from an anxiety disorder, you’re never completely healed. I’d like to think you could be, because I know that God can deliver you from all things if He chooses to and is the ultimate Healer, but I think if you have it, you will always have it in some form – whether mild or more severe. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing too, and most of you who do suffer from it would respond with an “are you kidding me?” But hear me out.

While I absolutely hate having this struggle, it’s almost like a necessary stage of growth, as well as a reminder to humble myself. That I am not perfect. That I will have weak moments. That I will experience setbacks no matter how strong I think I’ve become. But I think if we didn’t humble ourselves from time to time during our setbacks, we would always feel angry that we aren’t getting it right or that we are failures because of it. I also have realized that the good part about having this “thorn in my side” as some may call it, is that I would never have been able to relate to and encourage so many others who struggle with mental illnesses.

Good can come out of every bad thing. Remember that.

But leading to my point, I don’t enjoy this feeling or this momentary setback, but it doesn’t mean that everything I worked so hard for is now meaningless. It does not mean that I am now considered a failure. And it definitely does not mean that I am back at square one – because I have come so far, I have learned so much, and you can’t just unlearn those things simply because of a few bad moments. Sure you may still struggle, but you will overcome. It is just temporary discomfort and it will pass.

And maybe it’s not an mental illness that you are struggling with that is causing you a setback. Maybe it is some other kind of hardship. Again, it will pass. You will find a way to survive past it. Because that is how we are built at our core – to find a way to survive and keep moving forward. Just like my fear of suffocation, my body will not just stop breathing, it will continue to gasp for air because it is built to do so in order to survive. And so will you.

Setbacks are sometimes required to happen so that we can grow even stronger or reach even further than before. Setbacks allow for us to re-evaluate, to try a different path, to learn from our mistakes, or to push ourselves past a comfort zone we may have allowed ourselves to remain stagnant in. So it’s ok to experience them. In fact, rejoice that you have because it means you are still trying and have not simply given up and that is SUCCESS right there! 

Another thing I know I’ve written on it before but thought I would mention again is the phrase, “whatever you resist, will persist.” If you continue to resist the hardship you are feeling or the uncomfortable feelings you are experiencing, then it’s going to continue on bothering you, getting more powerful and having more control over you. But if you just simply accept it, accept that “ok, things took a weird turn, but it’ll pass,” then it will pass much more quickly and you will feel more at peace and more confident that you can face it.

I know it’s easier said than done. Trust me, when you are in the middle of an anxiety episode, I know the last thing on your mind is trying to accept that what you are feeling is ok. Of course you are going to want it to go away as soon as possible because it’s uncomfotable! Duh! But just trust me, just talk to your body, your mind, your breath, whatever it is that is bringing you discomfort – telling that you are there for it. That it will pass. The discomfort will pass. That this period of hardship will pass. That the anxiety will pass or the worry will pass. It is just temporary.

Be ok with the discomfort. Trust that you are much stronger than you believe yourself to be. Trust that your body knows how to survive. Trust that you will continue on breathing. Trust that you will make it through another day.

It’ll be ok. I promise.

So don’t beat yourself up. Don’t think that all your hard work means nothing now that you’ve experienced this setback. As Confucius says, “our greatest glory is not in never failing, but rising every time we fall.” Keep rising. Keep practicing to be strong. Keep believing that it will pass. It takes time and sometimes failure or setbacks to eventually heal and grow. 

Setbacks mean you want to get well. Or that you want to better your life. Or that you want to pursue your dreams. Or that you want to change a bad habit. It does not mean you have failed. Please remember this when you feel disheartened. You will move forward, just give it some time. Growth never happens over night and we will never experience good days all the time. 

I’m going to go rest now. I’m going to accept that maybe I’m stressed or overworking myself or maybe it’s just simply coincidental that I am having these feelings. But either way, I’m going to grant my body and mind the rest it needs. And most importantly, I’m not going to judge it. I’m not going to feel bad about feeling weak. I’m going to just let it be. We all have bad days, bad weeks, even bad months. But who cares. We will keep moving forward.

The Self Love Daily Challenge:

Accept that setbacks are going to happen, but it does not mean that you are a failure or that you will never move forward again. Change your perspective on it. Accept what is happening, rather than resisting it, and trust that it will pass. In the meantime, nourish your body or mind with what it needs, so that you can move forward when you’re ready

xx

Christina
P.S don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @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 

#Mood

Image result for current mood meh

Gosh. I am sooooo unbelievably lazy today. Am I allowed to say that as a wellness advocate?

OF COURSE I AM ALLOWED TO SAY THAT.

You know why? Because nobody is perfectly happy and upbeat 100% of the time and if they are they are probably on something.

So it’s not a mystery that today is a major “off” day. And that’s ok. We all have them! And you’re really fooling yourself if you think that you can be “on” all the time. Honestly, I don’t even think it’s good to be “on” all the time because then it means you are pushing your body and mind into overdrive.

We need those moments of rest. That is why rest was created in the first place. And usually when we have an “off” day, it’s most likely a side effect of pushing ourselves too hard lately, which I am totally guilty of.

Sometimes “off days” aren’t a cause of pushing ourselves or working too hard. Sometimes “off days” are caused by sadness or anxiety or some kind of hard situation. And that’s even OK.

Today is my “off day.” Why? Well, probably because I’ve been over stimulating my mind too much lately – with all of this excitement, worry, then stress, then anger, then sadness, then anxiety, and everything else in between – I’ve been like a frazzled wire. The month of August has been pretty non-stop for me and I think my body and mind have finally had it. They are forcing me to take a break by creating this fog of laziness and I’m kind of thankful for it, because I am pretty beat.

I think I’m going to take this little moment for myself. Normally, I would guilt myself into feeling bad, like I’m not doing enough “important” things with my time, or equating laziness to something negative. But I really think it is almost essential to be lazy sometimes in order to live a healthy, balanced life.

Sometimes you just want to come home after a long day at work, change into your PJ’s, grab some popcorn and M&M’s, and literally do nothing except binge watch Netflix.

And I repeat. It’s totally OK.

So I wasn’t going to write today, but I figured it’s Wednesday, or hump day (weekend is almost here! Yay!), and I really am trying to write more often (here I am striving again) so why not make myself an example and write about how unmotivated and lazy I feel. Because that is exactly what my readers want to hear from me, supposed self love and wellness advocate, right?

But you know what I say, I say I think it’s great to reveal my imperfect side. I don’t want to be one of those “normal” wellness blogs that seem to be so encouraging and freakishly upbeat all the time. That is SO boring. I want to be more real – to show others that life really isn’t perfect and you don’t have to have it all together ALL THE TIME. I want to show that I still struggle and I’m still learning and that you shouldn’t feel guilty or bad about yourself if you haven’t been able to get it quite right. Because I don’t half the time. I think it’s important to be authentic and vulnerable. I think that’s what helps build a stronger community and allows others to feel at ease about their own issues. And that’s my goal anyway, to create that “me too” feeling. Because we are all in this together, whether you are too afraid to admit it or not.

But just in case you don’t really want to stay in your current #mood for too long, I do have some tips – things that I like to do to comfort myself and help me cope when I am in the “meh” mood. (see definition below)

 Meh (adjective): word describing a feeling of not quite being happy, yet not quite being sad. More so a feeling of laziness and lack of motivation. A way of describing an “off day.” 

  1. Write it out.

Even if you’re not a writer, doesn’t mean you are incapable of writing. When I say write it out, I literally mean write every single thing you are feeling in that moment. This is useful for times when you are feeling more emotional – sad, angry, anxious, etc. Your grammar, punctuation, or even spelling don’t have to be correct. Simply write word or phrases, even sentences of what’s going on in your head and sometimes that exercise alone can help you release whatever turmoil you have inside and help you move along to a better emotional state.

2. Walk or Exercise it out.

If you really aren’t a writer by any means at all, try doing something more physical. Walking or exercising it out through yoga or cycling or whatever, can actually help release a ton of pent up emotions as well. Whenever I feel particularly anxious, I make sure to do a gentle yoga session even if I don’t feel like it at first, because usually by the end, I feel completely relieved and can breathe again. Try taking a walk in nature or around the block. Separating yourself from your mind for a bit by doing something physical with your body can be a great solution to easing your emotions.

3. PJ’s and popcorn.

Sometimes you really do just want to wallow in your “meh” feeling and not get out of it through writing or exercising it out. And that’s ok. Give yourself permission to literally be lazy for one whole day, or one whole hour, or even 30 minutes if you’re really busy and have some kind of mandatory commitment. Tell yourself that you can literally just sit there in your comfort clothes and stare at the wall if that’s what you want to do. Or go all out, grab some snacks, put on some trashy TV and zone out. Highly recommended for days when you can’t even deal anymore or are just too tired to think.

4. Cuddle party.

Feeling super down? Grab something or someone super cuddly and just relish in that moment of affection. Maybe you have a pet that you could spend some time with. A parent? A sibling? A friend? A significant other? I’ve read that hugging releases oxytocin (the happy chemical) in the brain which can give us a huge boost of warm and fuzzy feelings. Maybe you two can even have a lazy day together.

5.  Treat Yo’ Self.

Who says money can’t buy happiness? Just kidding. But it doesn’t hurt to go an indulge in a little present for yourself. Maybe you’ve been eyeing a new book or a cupcake from your favorite bakery. Why not treat yourself on an “off day”? There’s no need to wait for special occasions. We are all deserving of a little self love and treating ourselves to something small is a great way to show it. Whenever I feel “meh”, I make sure to try to do something nice for myself – most of the time it involves some form of chocolate. Just saying.

So. That’s my post. It might be a lot of fluff and nothing too deep. But I still think it’s a worthwhile read, especially when you’re feeling a bit “meh” like I am. The other thing I want to strain before I go and have my own lazy day is to make sure you DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT guilt yourself for feeling like this. There is no reason for us to be striving to feel and be 100% perfect and happy all the time, so when we do feel off balance, let us not indulge in making ourselves feel bad. That is self love rule #1. BE KIND TO YOURSELF. And shaming ourselves is not being kind.

Well, folks. Off I go to Netflix land. I will be indulging in plenty of chocolate and probably finishing off the last season of Mad Men. I wish you all a very happy (lazy) Wednesday.

The Self Love Challenge:

Feeling a bit off? Give yourself permission to have an “off day.” Be lazy. Rest. Rejuvenate. Relax. Don’t push yourself into believing you must be doing something important all the time in order to feel like you are enough. If you’re tired, overwhelmed, anxious, sad, angry, or anything related – then just chill. It’s OK.

xx

Christina

p.s. Don’t forget to follow my new Instagram account @The.Self.Love.Challenge !

 

 

 

Fear: The Passenger. 


Hello lovelies.

Happy Monday. (not really). Ok I shouldn’t really be so down on Monday. I mean what did it do to me? Nothing, except create the start of a brand new week. I should be thankful for that. Thankful that I am allowed to even see and experience a brand new week, or even a brand new day. Yeah, it kind of sucks having to go back to work and the hectic daily life routine, but maybe if our attitudes weren’t so negative, and instead we found a sense of thankfulness, we wouldn’t feel so unmotivated on Mondays.

So really. Let’s start over. HAPPY MONDAY! 

::big smile::

Today I come to talk to you about my little pal called “fear.” Me and this guy (or gal – who knows?) have had quite the relationship for some time. I can’t really say that it’s been a very happy one, but it has been quite the task trying to make him (or her) go away and leave me alone. Because really, nobody likes fear. It makes you panic. It makes you feel uneasy. It makes you feel like you’re about to die sometimes. And it just plain sucks, kind of like Mondays, right?

Well, just like my Monday analogy, I’ve decided to turn my attitude around towards fear. Start to look at him or her as a friend, rather than a really toxic relationship. I was inspired by the idea that Elizabeth Gilbert has mentioned in her latest book, Big Magic, where she speaks about how she combats her own fear.

Elizabeth explains that she treats fear as a passenger in her “life” vehicle. She realizes that it will always be in the car with her, but it does not mean that she must listen to it when it tries to scare her into being afraid of things that might not necessarily be real danger and are actually harming her personal growth journey. One of my favorite things I’ve heard her say in a few different talks was that she allows fear to travel with her, but she makes sure she establishes some ground rules, and she definitely doesn’t let it choose the snacks or especially ever take control of the wheel. She says that she is the one that always remains in control, and when fear does decide to speak up, she takes into account whether it is warning her of real danger, and if so, she thanks it. She also, however, thanks it when it’s trying to get her attention otherwise too, telling fear that she appreciates it’s concern, but it’s not really necessary this time.

This was an interesting concept. Thanking fear sounds very strange to me, especially when it causes so much anxiety and misery sometimes. Have you ever felt a tremendous amount of fear whether real or perceived? It’s absolutely terrible. Why would you ever want to thank something for making you feel that way?

But then I thought about it. Fear was originally designed for survival – to warn us of real danger. Unfortunately, our brains aren’t very good at detecting whether something is a real threat or simply perceived by our own minds. This is where anxiety comes into play.

When I was dealing with anxiety and panic attacks on a daily basis, there were moments where my “fear alarms” were going off nonstop at almost anything – and I mean things that really were no danger at all. There were days where I was afraid to shower because I was afraid that the shampoo would never come out of my hair. It sounds extremely silly when I think back on it now, and some people may even laugh at it, but it’s a real thing and real mental illness that many people go through.

At the time, my brain truthfully could not distinguish between what was real and what was just something my mind was triggering as potential danger. It was so debilitating having to deal with this because when your fear response goes off, it becomes almost impossible to make yourself believe that you are not really in danger. Your body will immediately go into “flight or fight” response and it will prepare itself to survive.

The way I was able to combat this debilitating panic was to simply acknowledge it instead of being more afraid of it. Little did I know, I was practicing Elizabeth’s theory of “thanking fear.”

Every time my mind would decide that something was scary and threatening, instead of allowing myself to go from 0 to 60 and panic, I would acknowledge it. I would tell my fear that I was aware that I was afraid. I would remind myself that it was ok. That I really was not in any true danger. I then began to give myself permission to feel the uneasy feelings, to sit with the uncomfortable anxiety that was weighing down on my chest, and I would simply move through it.

Over time, the fear began to ease up. It began to listen when I told it that there was no real danger. And little by little, the things I was once afraid of, became not as scary. My brain rewired the patterns of fear that were originally being triggered, and I was able to heal.

I haven’t experienced panic like that in almost two years. It happens once in a while, but only when I really am afraid of something that could potentially be dangerous or makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. So I’ve been pretty lucky to be able to recover. However, there are always those moments when anxiety and fear do creep up, but I am learning this new concept of thanking it and treating it as a passenger in my car, rather than the driver that is leading me.


(The scary roller coaster he wanted me to go on)

This past weekend, my boyfriend decided he wanted to take me to a local theme park so we could enjoy the experience of riding rollercoasters and acting like grown kids together. While it ended up being pretty amazing, I really wasn’t so apt to go at first.

Let me tell you. I don’t like rollercoasters. When I was a kid I loved them, but as I am now approaching my later 20s, my love for them has definitely ended. They make me incredibly uneasy and after reading so many horror stories of rollercoaster rides gone wrong, I am very wary of the safety of them.

But I went anyway. Because I love him. And because I wanted to experience something new together.

So he believes in that idea of jumping in the water with both feet in order to learn how to swim. I’m completely opposite. I like to test out the waters and get used to things. So he thought the best way to conquer my fear was by taking me on the fastest, scariest ride in the theme park. BAD IDEA. Especially for a recovering anxiety freak.

So we begin our trek to this rollercoaster and the panic starts to settle in. Fear is screaming it’s head off at me telling me to “TURN BACK” and “DO NOT GO ON THIS OR YOU WILL DIE.” I threw out all of my “acknowledging fear” wisdom and simply agreed. “Yup. You’re right fear. I definitely cannot do this. Let’s panic together.”

So we panicked. And I instantly broke out into sweat and tears and hyperventilating. My boyfriend was completely confused and couldn’t quite understand why I was so afraid because he didn’t think rollercoasters were that bad. He did his best to convince me that it would be ok and that the ride would be over quickly. But I wasn’t having it. As soon as it was our turn to get on the ride, I bolted. Literally. I jumped out of the seat and I told my boyfriend I couldn’t do it. Then I proceeded to go cry near the exit sign.

Total embarrassment.

After my boyfriend came off the ride, I apologized profusely. I told him that I didn’t think it was a good idea for us to come and that we should just go home. I gave in to fear. I let fear win. HOW AWFUL.

My boyfriend told me I shouldn’t allow fear to rule me like this. That eventually, I would need to face it and I couldn’t just keep running from it and hiding away. It was only making it stronger.

I decided he was right. My better brain came back and also decided he was right. But I still thanked fear anyway, because maybe going on the biggest rollercoaster there was not a good idea for my first ride. So we decided we would start small and work our way up.

I’m proud to say that I did end up going on plenty of rides, mostly smaller, but I did go on one pretty crazy, fast, twisty, turny rollercoaster. It wasn’t the biggest one of them all. But it was definitely up there. And I’m pretty proud of myself for getting on it. And I must say, I did survive. (HAHA!) But thank you fear anyway for keeping me safe.

(The roller coaster I conquered!)

Will I ever go on another rollercoaster? Um…maybe, or maybe not just because I really don’t like them. But maybe I won’t let fear freak me out as much anymore with other things. Instead, I’m going to thank it more often because it really does a pretty good job at keeping me alive day after day. And that’s something worthy of gratitude.

What are some things you’re afraid of? Are they really dangerous or simply perceived? Can you work on acknowledging your fear and thanking it instead of running away from it?

Next time we feel afraid as we are driving along on our path of life, let’s ask ourselves whether it’s something real or not. And if it’s not, tell fear to quiet down back there and to stop being a backseat driver, because in reality, you are in control of the wheel so don’t let it take over and keep you from living a grand life!



The Self Love Daily Challenge:

Distinguish between your real and perceived fears. Then work on acknowledging and thanking your fear, rather than giving into it right away.

xx

Christina

p.s. Don’t forget to follow my new and improved Instagram page – @The.Self.Love.Challenge!