Current life motto: I am Wonderful!

  

Have you ever had a wakeup call? Like you were so stuck in this one pattern of thought and God kept on shouting at you over and over again but you just weren’t getting it. So finally He decides to humble you by breaking your pride down just so He could get your attention. Well. This kind of just happened to me. And I wanted to share the wisdom I’ve been imparted with, because it really is important and it definitely pertains to loving yourself – because apparently I haven’t been doing that, and it was no wonder why I felt the way I did.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that recently I have been in a sort of depressive funk. Most of the reason being because I recently cut my hair pretty short (somewhat accidentally), and from someone having really long hair for the last 5 years, it was a dramatic change. What made me feel even more self-conscious was the fact that after I cut my hair everyone told me how relieved they were that I cut it because the hairstyle and color I had before was pretty bad (and that’s saying it lightly.) I love when people are honest, but when people are honest and start to poke jabs at my appearance, I become extremely self-conscious because it takes a direct hit to my self-worth.

  
(Here I am! – Hi!)

I’ve always equated part of my self-worth to my physical appearance on some level or another. I mean I’ve always been pretty confident about my appearance (not trying to be vain here!). However, it wasn’t always that way. As a child I was teased plenty. I’m going to get real honest and vulnerable here so bear with me. I have a very prominent nose and children in school used to always make fun it, calling me “big nose” or “flamingo.” It was so hurtful to the point where I would come home crying very often saying that I was ugly. I fed myself this lie constantly and because there were so many around me that confirmed it, I started to truly believe that I was ugly. 

Then came high school. I found out more about make-up and fashion and how you can manipulate your looks with the two, so that’s precisely what I did. This carried on well into my mid-twenties. I would put myself in significant debt with the amounts of money I spent on clothing and make-up just so I could feel beautiful and win the approval of others. I wanted people to tell me I was pretty. I wanted them to comment on how good I looked or how my make-up was beautiful. But I never realized that I was always hiding behind my insecurity. I was putting on a façade just so I didn’t have to face my deepest fear that I felt ugly and unworthy.

It wasn’t until my breakdown and financial meltdown in 2014, when my façade finally collapsed. I was ridden with the worst anxiety in my life that I did not care what I looked like because I could barely even function, let alone find the energy to care about my appearance. I had lost my home. Lost my ability to buy any new clothes or make up. Lost my desire to even get dressed up because I was so depressed over everything else. So people were faced to see the real me. Once I finally began my recovery, I was pretty terrified over what people would think. I remember going back to work feeling so weak as a person. I didn’t have any money or cool clothes or any kind of fashion sense anymore because I felt so out of the loop. I looked so plain. And I felt that people could tell I was different. I felt even more depressed because of this.

However, things did change in one way. I began discovering how to accept myself for where I was at. To accept this new self that did not have anything to hide behind. To accept showing people my real self, my vulnerable self. I began The Self Love Challenge and started discovering ways how to love myself more and show more kindness to who I was. I started to grow again, but of course I still wasn’t the same as before. And while I may not have thought so at first, now I believe that it is good that I am not the same as I was before.

However, even though I am doing much better than I was, God recently revealed to me a deeper wound that I was still carrying – one where I still was not able to accept myself completely. Sure, I may seem that I value myself on the outside and I may even show kindness to myself on some days, but deep down, I still feel the wound of feeling unworthy, and most of it comes from my own insecurity of feeling ugly or unlovable. I know, it may sound silly to some of you. You may say, “no way, you are so pretty!” or “there’s nothing wrong with you, you are beautiful.” But I don’t think it’s fair to discount anyone’s issues. What may be insignificant to one person, may be a severely damaging thought pattern to someone else. I was ingrained to believe that I was ugly because of my nose, which began to form even deeper core beliefs that I was ugly, unworthy, and not valued. We may not ever realize where these deep beliefs come from on the surface, but if we dig deep enough we will eventually find that somewhere in our past we were wounded very deeply and that that wound never healed properly, leaving with it a deep scar or thought pattern that was never mended.

When I cut my hair, the old wound decided to resurface. Maybe it wasn’t my nose this time, but it was still the same underlying belief that I was unworthy. I felt so insecure because I had been hiding behind my hair again and now that it was chopped off, I was revealed once more. Thoughts kept popping up into my mind, “would people still think I’m worthy?” “Am I still loved?” “Am I still considered beautiful?” These thoughts seem a bit silly to my now, but in the last few weeks I have been crying because I could not figure out the answers. And then I would analyze and re-analyze every single comment from someone, almost hoping to find some kind of confirmation that I really was ugly. That’s what we do when we are wounded. We look for reasons that confirm our negative beliefs. We don’t do it purposely because we are looking to deliberately hurt ourselves, but we do this because the mind is wired to look for reasons to confirm a belief, especially a negative one, so that it could trigger a sign of danger and make itself become defensive. And then we end up becoming defensive because of these reaffirmed beliefs and put up these walls to guard ourselves further from getting hurt, all the while not realizing that this act hinders our chances of healing the wound in the first place. It’s a cycle we put ourselves through subconsciously over and over again, until we can become consciously aware of it through awareness and eventually heal ourselves of this negative core belief.

Wow. That was a mouthful. But this is where I am at today. It took me a good few weeks of crying and feeling sorry for myself, but I’ve finally arrived thanks to God’s little wake up call. Today He allowed me to see the truth. He revealed to me that I was playing victim once again and catering to my negative thought patterns by purposely seeking out affirmations through others that I was indeed unworthy. He also revealed to me that I have been hiding behind that façade once more. That maybe it wasn’t hair and make-up, but it was definitely people pleasing and trying to mold myself into someone I was not just so I could feel valuable once more.

I’m learning through Brene Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection, that the only way to truly feel belonging is by accepting our true selves and allowing ourselves to be revealed to others through vulnerability.  

She says, “When we can let go of what others think and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness – the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging. When we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don’t fit with who we think we’re supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving. Our sense of worthiness – that critically important piece that gives us access to love and belonging – lives inside of our story.”

This is the only way we can find true belonging. This is the only way we will ever truly feel like we are loved, if we allow people to see the real us and if we allow ourselves to be the real us. We need to stop “hustling” for our worthiness and realizing that we are perfectly wonderful just as we are. And if people really don’t like us for who we are, it is not our problem to try to convince them otherwise. The people who genuinely will love you will love you for you, just the way you are. You don’t need to perform or please or perfect or prove yourself in order to gain love. Love is something that should be given freely. And it should never be given after being proven worthy of it.

So I’ve vowed to stop trying. To stop performing. To stop perfecting. To stop pleasing. And to stop proving. I’ve decided to adopt the current life motto of I AM WONDERFUL and keep it at that. I know who I am. And the greatest gift and act of self-love I could ever give myself is to allow that privilege of simply being me. So what if I have short hair now? So what if my nose is bigger than average? So what if I’m not the hottest chick alive? I’m not perfect. I never will be. But I am me. And that’s all I could give. And if you like that already, then I’m pretty stoked.

I think that’s all we can ever really ask of anyone really. For them to just be themselves for us. Because in reality, that’s the only thing we should ever strive to be. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “to be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Indeed it is. Because the world is always asking us for more. And more isn’t always good in that case. Just being ourselves is wonderful enough.

So I encourage you, don’t try to be anyone else. Be you. Just as you are. If you have flaws, OWN them. Be proud of them even. I know it’s scary and it makes you feel vulnerable, but I’m finding that the more confidence you show, the more your value will shine. That’s what true value is. That’s what true beauty is. Owning ourselves and owning our stories.

The Self Love Challenge:

Be You. Own who you are (flaws and all) and realize that person is very wonderful, very beautiful, and very worthy.

xx

Christina Ciro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Claim Your Worth.

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Hey you! Yes you! I’m talking to you. You are amazing ok? You are lovable. You are worthy. You are deserving of so many, many good things. Your own love being one of them. But besides your own love, you deserve to be loved by others as well. And if they don’t recognize your lovable potential, then they aren’t worth your time, darling. Because let me give you a little piece of advice, you don’t have to convince anyone that you are worthy of being loved. You don’t have to chase after anyone, begging them to love you. You don’t have to seek their acceptance. You don’t have to strive for their approval. You are already amazing and you don’t need to prove it to anyone. The people who truly love you will recognize that. And the ones that do recognize that, will let you know. That is the key. It always has been the key. Anyone who does not work to keep you in their lives, is undeserving of you.

I cannot tell you how many times I have chased after people. Chased after their affections. Chased after their love. Tried to prove myself over and over again that I was lovable. That I was deserving of their love. That they could pick me. It is only until most recently where I’ve learned that this is so very wrong. That I should not have to go out into the world advertising my worth to people. Because I am already valuable. And to those who are special enough to have me in their lives, they know my value.

Yet why are we always doing this? Why are we always chasing after people who don’t seem to really care about our value? Who want us to continually prove ourselves worthy in their eyes? Why do we stick around? Why do we chase after them? I’ll tell you why. Because we don’t love ourselves enough to see our own value. And the funny part is, we are the ones who determine our own value. And when we chase after people like that, we are pretty much telling them that we aren’t worth much. We give ourselves away for free. And who really values anything that comes so easily? Sure, we’ll cherish it for a while. We’ll maybe even love it a little. But sooner or later, we realize that we didn’t really work very hard to get it, so why work hard to continue to keep it?

My message today is simple. Claim your worth my friends. Determine your value. You are worth so much. You are desirable. You are beautiful. You are amazing. You are worthy. Believe it. Please believe it deep down in your heart. Love yourself enough to believe it because it is one of the most important things you can ever believe in. And once you do that, your world will begin to change. You will realize that you don’t have to fight so hard to keep people in your life. That the ones who truly matter are the ones who will be fighting to keep you in theirs.

Determine your value. Yes you are worth being taken out. You are worth being shown affection. You are worth the phone call, the text message, the email back. You are worth being asked out. You are worth spending time with. You are worth being shown that you are valuable. Don’t settle for anything less. You should not have to earn love because love is a gift and it should be freely given to others. Just as you are giving away your love, you deserve also be given love by someone else. And if all they want to do is take and give nothing in return then it is simply not worth it, darling.

It has been said that we should give without expecting anything in return, while in some circumstances I do agree with this thought, however in matters of the heart, I believe that their should always be an exchange, especially something emotionally. When we love we are giving away our love, our hearts, and a part of ourselves that we will never get back. In return, I feel that each human is deserving of receiving that from the person they give away their love to. And this does not necessarily have to be only romantic relationships, but with friendships, and with family members. Just as we exchange vows in marriage promising to love and honor each other, I feel that as human beings we should love and honor each other as well by exchanging an unspoken agreement stating that you are just as valuable to me as I am to you. So that way there will always be an even exchange, and not a single soul will ever have to work at proving their worth to anyone, but rather we will each recognize and honor each other’s value and worth.

So this is my challenge for you today my lovelies.

The Self Love Daily Challenge #026: Claim your worth.

Do not allow others to determine your value, rather claim it yourself and know that you are valuable! Believe in that value. Honor that value yourself. Allow others to honor that value. Don’t sell yourself short because you are worth so much more.

xx

Christina Ciro

Do it Anyway.

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I have a bit of writer’s block today, partly because I just don’t really feel like writing today because I’m running out of blog post ideas and partly because i’m just in one of those low moods again. I mean it hasn’t been the worst day ever, but it hasn’t been the best either. But it’s ok. Not every day is going to be all uppity and filled with joy. So what do we do? We make the best of it and do it anyway. And what do I mean exactly by “do it anyway”?

Do it Anyway – (v.) phrase meaning to push forward despite how you feel. synonyms: onward, just keep swimming, keep moving forward. 

There you have it. My creative definition for the phrase “do it anyway.” I think the purpose for this phrase is pretty simple. When we have our low days or moments, we really don’t feel like pushing forward and moving on. All we really want to do is go back to bed, hide under the covers for a little while until we fall asleep and wake up fresh to a brand new day in hopes that we are feeling more up to it. But news flash, life doesn’t wait for anyone to feel up to it. Life keeps moving forward despite how we feel and if we don’t want to be left behind, we have to move with it. So despite feeling pretty crappy or not being able to deal with anything, we have to just do it anyway. Not because we feel like it, but because it’s like a favor to our future selves. If we keep moving onward when we don’t feel like, eventually we will end up in a place where we can thank ourselves for not hiding under the covers and instead forcing ourselves to get up and move. I know it’s hard. I know that you will probably be all grumbly, but eventually it will ok. It always ends up being ok, whether it takes 5 minutes, or 5 days, or 5 months. It will be ok. But to get to that point we have to keep going. Keep doing it anyway, despite our feelings.

And let me tell you a thing or two about feelings that I have been learning. Feelings are such fickle things. One minute you’re happy. Next minute you’re angry. Next minute you’re crying your eyes out because you can’t find a single piece of chocolate in your cupboards (ok, too much?) But the point is, feelings are fleeting. They are constantly changing and you can’t depend on them for anything. One minute you think you’ve totally got it and you’ve found happiness and everything is just amazing and next minute, something goes wrong and your happy feelings go right out the window and your sad feelings decide to move in. Where were you happy feelings when I needed you? Why did you just leave me in the dust like that at the first sign of trouble? See. Feelings suck. So don’t depend on them. Ever. And that is where the handy phrase, “do it anyway” comes out to play. Because when you’re feeling down but know that going out to spend time with your friends will probably help you out in the long run to boost your mood and you don’t really feel like it, just DO IT ANYWAY. You’ll thank me. Or you’ll thank yourself really for making you do it despite what you’re silly feelings told you to do, which was to stay in bed all day binge watching Gilmore Girls (what? No. I totally didn’t do that all day).

The Self Love Daily Challenge #024: Do it Anyway.

Talk to the hand feelings. I’m not listening because I’m just going to keep moving forward anyway. I’m going to DO IT ANYWAY despite what you make me feel. And this can work for anything really. Feeling anxious? Too scared to try something new? Have a fear you’re trying to conquer? DO IT ANYWAY. Do it even though you’re afraid. Do it even though it makes you nervous. Do it even though it’s a risk. Who knows, maybe the reward will be much greater than you anticipated. Like that saying goes, “you never know until you try.” What if you go out instead of staying in and you end up having a blast? What if you decided to take that new job offer and you end up doing something you really have a passion for? What if you decided to tell that person you liked them and you end up finding real happiness and love? What if you pushed past your fear and you realize how amazing the other side of it is? What if you started to push yourself to work out and eat healthy and you end up feeling amazing and have a killer body? What if you moved to a new city and found some amazing new friends? What if you tried something new and found out it was your new life passion?

There are so many what if’s and we always tend to make them more negative than positive because we are just so afraid and our feelings have so much input on that. We FEEL afraid. Or we FEEL nervous. So we don’t try. We sit and we wait and take the safe path in life, instead of just DOING IT ANYWAY and seeing what happens. And if it does go bad, SO WHAT? Yes. that will be my next phrase that we will dive in to. Yes. SO WHAT if you fail. Is it the end of the world? Can you really not rebuild ever again? Yeah, of course it will be hard, but in life what isn’t difficult? Hard work + risks + action are the only ways we will ever get anywhere. We will never get very far by standing still, the only way we will ever have a chance at anything is if we keep moving forward and doing it anyway.

xx

Christina Ciro

Dare to Live.

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Today I decided to cut my hair short. A bit drastic, but sometimes drastic can be fun and spontaneous and an act of self love! Sometimes we get so caught up in our norms that we forget what it’s like to go outside the box and experience something new and being in a rut is never any good for any reason. Ruts are boring. Ruts are ordinary. And we don’t want to live ordinary or boring lives. We want to live lives filled with excitement and adventures and fun!

Life isn’t meant to be filled with the mundane. We are meant to go on adventures and experience new things. That’s how we grow, otherwise what’s the point? So that’s why I cut my hair today. Because I wanted something different and brand new and unexpected. And also because I felt like it. Because I didn’t want to be afraid of moving outside my comfort zone. And if I ended up not liking it, then hey, at least I tried it and gained the experience. BUT good news is, I absolutely love it! And I feel like my personality has changed into something more funky to go along with it. And that’s a good thing folks! It’s a good thing to go outside yourself sometimes.

The Self Love Daily Challenge #017: Try something new and unexpected. 

You wouldn’t believe how refreshing it feels to try something new. To experience something unknown. Sometimes it totally sucks, but sometimes it can be an amazing experience that you start to wonder why didn’t you do it earlier? I know, it’s hard to try something new. You are filled with all these “what if” questions in your head, like “what if you don’t like it?” But what if you do? What if it becomes a life changing experience? What if you discover something completely new about yourself that you didn’t even know you had inside you?

Go and try something new today. Try an exotic dish you’ve always wanted to but were too scared to try. Try out a new hair color or cut. Go buy a funky color lipstick. Go visit a town that’s unknown to you. Try surfing! Try hiking. Go buy a bike and it for a spin around the block. Do something completely weird. It’s fun, I promise.

I know for the longest time I was terrified of trying new things. I always stuck to what I knew. Stuck to the same routine. Whatever that was safe, that is exactly what I headed for. But slowly, I’ve started to move outside my comfort zone and I’ve realized there is a whole new world out there. There is so much to learn about and discover and experience. And that’s what makes you feel alive, folks! You don’t want to be merely existing, you want to be LIVING! You want to be feeling every breath. You want to be taking in new sights and sounds. You want to be tasting new things. You want to be grasping everything within reach of your senses. It’s thrilling. Yes, a little scary, a little intimidating. but thrilling!

When I went to the salon today, I had absolutely no idea that I was going to chop it all off. Earlier in the week I had been looking at photos of all these celebrities and models and their “lobs” (long bob). I kept thinking thoughts like, “oh no, i could never pull that off. I can’t style it like them. I would just look weird. And then i’ll probably miss my long hair and cry because it’ll take a year to grow out super long again.” negative. negative. negative.

Well after she dyed my hair and washed it out, she asked if I was going to get my usual trim. At first I was going to say yes without thinking twice, because that’s what I would normally do. But then some other part of me jumped out and said, “no, i want to chap it off. I’m thinking here,” as I pointed right below my collar bone. She gave me a quizzical look and said, “but that’s a good 6 inches…are you sure?” as if to say, are you crazy? Are you feeling ok? And I gulped but said, “yes. do it.” And with a heavy sigh, I gritted my teeth and let her chop away. I was afraid but I did it anyway, and it came out quite beautiful. I feel amazing, like a new wave of confidence has rushed over me!

So sometimes, it’s good to go outside the norm. It’s good to try something new. It doesn’t have to be something extreme or drastic if you don’t want it to be, but I think sometimes it is better if it is. I always say, the more crazy the more fun. OK no, I never say that, but I may start to if I try more new things in the future. And it really does make you feel better about yourself because you are giving yourself permission to experience life so to speak. You are allowing yourself to LIVE. And that’s ALWAYS a good thing.

xx

Christina Ciro

Authenticity is a Form of Self Love.

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First, Happy one week anniversary of the Self Love challenge! Congrats to myself for committing to one whole week of writing daily and congrats to any of those who have committed to each day’s challenge. I’m also happy to announce that we have 11 followers now (yes it’s a small number but who cares!). But I’m thinking that when we do get to 100 followers, perhaps we’ll have a small “self-love” themed giveaway. So that’s something to look forward to.

And now, onward to our post for today.

So we all put on different masks from time to time. We are this person when we are around family. We are that person when we are around co-workers. We are this person when we are amongst friends. This is called the “fictional self.” The self, which we create in order to be liked and accepted by everyone we come across. The self, which we create that we want the world to view us as. So we in a sense, become these chameleon-type human beings and adapt to each group we surround ourselves with and while yes, sometimes it can be a good thing to adapt or to even try on a new personality trait to change things up, it can also be very dangerous to our identities. By constantly changing who we are, we eventually will lose sight of our true, authentic selves. The authentic selves we were created to be.

I know as human beings it’s difficult to be our self, as silly as that seems because our true self is the one that should come most natural, but in reality it doesn’t. We are so afraid to be vulnerable and authentic with other people out of fear that they will not like who we truly are. That’s really no way to live, even though society makes it seem that if you don’t fit in, then you are deemed to be a outcast. But what if instead of being so afraid of what people thought, we just were ourselves anyway?

I mean wouldn’t we be more happy that way because we were being true to ourselves? I’ve always had the hardest time being my true self and it wasn’t up until recently that I have learned that it’s ok to put down the masks and show my real face. I grew up constantly trying to fit in with different groups. One minute I was part of the popular group, the next I was a jock, the next I was a nerd and I remember everything from my clothes to my personality would adapt to my new group. It was pretty annoying now that I think of it. Why was I pretending to be someone I really wasn’t just so I could fit in and be liked? I mean are we as human beings that desperate for approval that we pretend to be things we are not.

And maybe it doesn’t even have to be on a small scale like trying to fit in in school. Maybe we do it as adults as well. For example, why do we buy the latest gadgets or designer clothing? Why do we compete with other people for the best jobs, the best vacations, the best accomplishments? We are all trying to achieve status so we can be liked. Instead of simply just being who we are and doing what truly makes us happy, we force ourselves to like and do things that deep down aren’t really us, but rather what society wants us to be or rather, what society says we SHOULD be in order to be liked or to be seen as successful.

This is no way to live my friends. Why? Because at the end of your life, you’re going to realize that there was never a moment where you were living for yourself, but rather you lived your entire life for the benefit of others – what others wanted you to be, what others thought you should be. And in the end that’s a whole lot of regret and emptiness to carry.

The Self Love Daily Challenge #007: Give yourself permission to be your authentic self.

Be who you really are. Do what you truly love. Forget about what others think or what they believe you should be doing. Yes, don’t go crazy and break a bunch of rules or live selfishly, but don’t deny yourself the right to be you. You were created to be unique for a reason. You weren’t created to be like everybody else. You have specific gifts and talents so that you could achieve your specific life purpose. Don’t force yourself to try to be something you’re not just for the sake of “likes” or approval or status.

Today make yourself a promise to be your true authentic self. Put aside the masks and allow your true self to shine. Love yourself enough to be you and only you. You are doing yourself an honor by doing that. You are telling yourself that “I love myself enough to not have to pretend to be anyone else or seek anyone else’s opinions to give me my identity.”

When I went through my momentary breakdown (breakthrough let’s call it in positive terms), I was basically forced to be vulnerable and show my true identity to a lot of people. I didn’t like it at first, in fact, I resented it. I was terrified of people’s opinions to the point where I began to actually avoid seeing people. I would tell my family that I was too scared to go hang out with friends because what would they think of me now that I was this other person, this post-breakdown self whom I thought was so shameful to be. Slowly, I began to realize I was just hurting myself yet again. I was creating the shame, not other people. I was created more depression and more anxiety, not other people. So I took a chance. I stepped outside of my mask and decided to go out into the world as my vulnerable, true self.

The reactions I got were very surprising. All of my true friends, the ones that really cared about me and my well being, stuck by my side. They didn’t care if I was different. If I had flaws. If I made mistakes. If I was imperfect. They loved me for me, just like they always had and always would. And the ones who did turn their backs on me, well, I guess you can say you really know who your true friends are when you’re at your lowest point. If people can’t love you at your worst, then they sure as hell don’t deserve you at your best.

The more I let my guard down, the more I began to know my true self. I never really knew who I was before. I only knew that if I found myself with these people, then I would have to like these things or if I was found myself with these people, then I had to like those things.  Of course, I wasn’t all that clueless to what I really did enjoy and what my passions were, but I never allowed myself to fully develop them or dive in to them. I always stated that yes, I liked music or art, but I never gave myself a chance to go out and find exactly what I liked or disliked.

So who am I? Well I’m still on a life long journey of learning that. But I can tell you one thing – it truly is the greatest gift that I could have ever given myself. I love being me. The weird. The ugly. The imperfect. The flawed. The beautiful. The gracious. The simple. The quirky. The artistic. The creative.  The complicated. ME. And that’s all I ever want to be.

I only wish the same for you.

xx

Christina Ciro