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 

Advertisements

#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!

 

 

 

 

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

Image result for ain't nobody got time for that

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.

Image result for pity party

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
P.S Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @christina.ciro and Facebook! thanks for the support! 

 

 

Honestly Speaking.


Did you know that today is the two year anniversary of the day I broke down completely? I’m not sure if anniversary is really the right word to use when remembering a mental breakdown you once had, because the word ‘anniversary’ usually connotes something happy that you’d like to remember. And that moment is definitely not something I really want to remember, but at the same time, I do in this weird way. I want to remember because something that came out of it is something worth celebrating – the rebirth of myself.

I like to try to find silver lining in everything, the good in every bad you could say, because you know there is one somewhere deep down in there. While that experience was incredibly terrifying, it was also the moment when I found out I could be brave. It also pushed me to recognize that there was indeed more to who I was, and that I was made for something more as well. I figured out how to love myself. To take care of me for once, after a life full of constantly dimming my own light and making sure that everyone else around me is still shining.
This post is difficult to write and even as I sit here and write, I still struggle with these flashes of memories from that awful day that are currently making my body tense up. I remember how deathly afraid I was and incapable of understanding that I would be ok, and that I was not going to die right there. Panic attacks are no joke. And to those who have experienced one, they will understand. But for those who haven’t, it is not something to be taken lightly. They are real. And they make you feel like your worst fears are really real. And no, you can’t just snap out of it.

I want to write about this, not only just to celebrate another year of growth in my own personal journey, but because I want to start living in a more honest world, even if that world is so small and I am the only one keeping that policy. I figured I’m pretty tired of hiding. I’ve been tired for a long time and it can get pretty annoying keeping up this charade of acting normal. Let’s just be real. We’re all weird in some way. We all struggle with something. And nobody, even Kim Kardashian or Cher or any other celebrity who you might envy, is perfect.

I want to start telling the truth. After being inspired by one of my most recently discovered favorite writers, Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery, she claims that the reason behind the creation for her blog, was simply because she wanted to start being honest. She wanted to be her real self. And she wanted to start “living out loud.” I think I want to as well.

So let’s be real.

I know it’s scary. And to tell you the truth, I still hide parts of myself in some way because it’s terrifying of showing your real self to people. Humans can be so cruel and I’m not even sure why because it’s not like they are any better themselves. So what if we appear to be weak? At least we are honest about our struggles and I think that in itself is more brave and  a sign of strength than pretending to have it all together.

I don’t really know exactly where I’m going with this. I think it’s more of a post just trying to reach out to those of you who are struggling, who are dealing with something, some kind of human crisis. I want to give you permission so that you will know that it’s ok. It’s ok to be where you’re at. It’s ok to not be perfect. And you know what’s even better news – that you will be ok even if you’re found out.

I wish I knew that back then.

And I think if we knew this early on, we wouldn’t have so much unbearable pain weighing down on us. We would almost feel a kind of freedom or lightness to just be. We wouldn’t have to hide parts of ourselves that we were ashamed of. And maybe, just maybe, if people did actually give us permission to be imperfect, we would want to get help and better ourselves or our situations. But because we are living in such a pro-shame society, we feel like these weirdoes and outcasts that have to hide our true selves, which only puts more pressure and stress upon our bodies and minds, and then it’s almost impossible to get better.

I think the reason why I was able to push through it all was because of these “love warriors” as Glennon describes them. Love warriors like herself, Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, Jennifer Pastiloff, and Cheryl Strayed. These human beings did the brave thing by simply being honest about their struggles or the fact that they were imperfect. And you know what that did for me to hear their stories and to see how real they were; it gave me permission to be myself and to start living authentically too.

So thank you my fellow writers who I cannot thank enough for being brave souls. And I wish someday you will be able to know just how much you helped me and inspired me to be brave too. I think this why I have an even greater passion and burning desire to write. Because I aspire to be as brave as they are. I want to be honest. I want to show others that it’s ok to be imperfect, and it’s ok to love who you are, and it’s ok to struggle. I want to start that revolution inside of you beautiful human beings so that we can combat this false idea of perfection.

What can you be honest about today? Maybe you don’t have to take that next level and live honestly with everyone around you, but maybe it’s time to even just be honest with yourself. Because sometimes we even try to fool ourselves into believing we are perfect. And after years of doing that, I can say it is definitely the worst thing you can do.
That’s want to challenge you with today. Just that. Just be honest with yourself first and then see how that feels. Does it make you feel scared? Anxious? Depressed? Angry? Are you disappointed? Whatever you feel, accept it and then tell yourself it’s ok, because I love you anyway. Then see how you feel. Don’t be surprised if you begin to feel a little lighter and little bit more free.

And it’s a process. Just because you’re trying honestly out today, doesn’t mean it’ll last until tomorrow. You have to constantly choose to be honest and authentic. You have to constantly choose to give yourself grace. Trust me, I’m still working on it.


(Me being my honest self. A side profile photograph I would not normally post because I am so self conscious, but because I want to stop hiding out of fear, here I am.

In fact, I’ll share with you a little struggle right now. That anxiety I mentioned, it’s kind of rearing it’s ugly head right now. Not permanently and not as intensely but I can feel it lingering around and it’s definitely not welcome. My body feels tense, too tense, and I just can’t seem to slow my mind down. It’s most likely from stress, and thank God, I am much stronger than I used to be so I am able to function pretty well, but it is still extremely uncomfortable. And you know what I’ve noticed, I am beginning to try to hide it because I’m ashamed. Because that fear inside me has welled up into believing that people are going to think I’m weak for this or that I’m going to relapse and all of my progress is going to mean nothing. But you know what I say to that…

“It’s ok, I love you anyway. I’m not going to hide you from anybody. In fact, I’m going to shine some light in your direction, just so you know that I’m not intimidated by you anymore. And when you pass, I will still continue on being brave. Still being me, my imperfect little self.”


You are much braver than you believe, my friends.


Love you all.

The Self Love Daily Challenge: Be honest with yourself. Accept what you feel and tell yourself it’s ok, I love you anyway. Then try incorporating that same honesty and acceptance in your life with others.

xx

Christina Ciro

p.s.

Don’t forget to reach out to me. It gets a bit lonely not seeing anyone respond (haha) and I’d really love to hear from you. Follow me on instagram @christina.ciro or Facebook!