6 Secret Weapons for Rockin’ Your Summer Body with Confidence

By Kristi K. Hoffman, M.S.

Last time we checked, no one was flawless. But that’s not always easy to remember when you’re going to the season’s first pool party or heading to the beach for summer vacation.

Feeling panicked, insecure, and ultra-intimidated about bathing suit weather? No more! Beach vacations and pool parties are about to get fun again.

Ninety percent of teen girls surveyed by Total Package Global, an Ohio-based professional and personal development corporation, have felt insecure about their bodies, often when wearing a bathing suit. In fact, according to Dove Self-Esteem Project research, “Six out of ten girls are so concerned with the way they look that they are holding back from participating in important life activities.” And we can’t have that! So here are six secret weapons for rockin’ your beach body this summer:

1. Don’t pre-determine that you will have a bad time at the beach or that you will look “awful” in your beachwear. Lose self-judgments from the get-go and instead, tell yourself that you will have fun and not be self-conscious. Get your head and your thoughts in the right game — one of positive self-thoughts, not negative ones — and #jbu (just be you!).

2. Erase the negative thoughts you think others are thinking about your body. They’re not.

3. Develop a sassy attitude. Walk with your chin up and shoulders back, wear beachwear you feel confident in, pop up a sassy pony tail, and smile… a lot.

4. Halt the envy. No more “I wish I had her body.” Negative self-talk is your enemy — don’t give those anti-thoughts about your body any energy. Ever think that others are envying you at the same time you are envying them? Put the envy and comparisons to bed…permanently.

5. Focus on your assets. You have many — you may, however, have pushed them aside to obsess about your body image. Get real with your outside beauty. You rock, now list the ways.

6. As you are walking down the beach this summer, repeat this confidence mantra to yourself and you will have graduated from Bathing Suitin’ 101: “I am gorgeous and I know it.”

Remember, pools and beaches are for summer fun, no more insecurities and self-consciousness. It’s time, #rightnow to rock summer #bathingsuitin’ with attitude and confidence.

6 Ways to Value Yourself

By Talya Flowers

Our values often shape who we are, how we view life, and our expectations and standards that we have of ourselves and others. I love and enjoy people because we both can learn something from one another. I value an amazing sale because material items come and go. I’m not one who pinches pennies, but I do like to save. So, finding an item that I really like that’s marked down makes me feel like I am being wise with my money, especially when it frees me up financially to be a blessing to others. Others may value love, success, trust, family, and/or careers. Either way, what we value speaks highly of how committed we are to a particular thing or person.

In the past, I valued other people above myself and would go above and beyond to make sure someone else was comfortable and happy because I believed the unconscious lie that humility was a true mark of beauty. When I denied myself, I subconsciously told myself that others’ needs were more important. And that their opinions thoughts and desires were more valuable than mine. I was sending myself the message that I should go above and beyond for other people but not for myself because that would be considered stingy and selfish.

I watched “What are your values?” by motivational speaker Kenny Graham and I was shocked when he asked “What do you value about yourself?” I have really never asked myself that question. I was so caught up in valuing other people that I forgot that I, too, am valuable. I am more than enough. I deserve the best. I am the best. I am a jade emerald. And that’s not in a conceited or arrogant way; it is a certainty, a fact that cannot be compromised.

When I know my value, I stop running toward things that hinder my success or my self-respect. I stop allowing people to hurt, use, or abuse me. I become more selective of the people that I allow into my inner sanctum. I watch and study their life principles. I compare them to mine and then I either promote or demote. I no longer have time to be telling people what they should be doing because I value myself. I am no longer going to pour water into an empty bucket.

Graham asks the question “what do you value about yourself?” in his video. I am going to take his question further and ask “do you “know” your value?” Not by the worlds standards, but by Gods standards. What does it mean to know? It means to be certain, to be firm, to be steady, to be assured, to be secured, and to be anchored. What does it mean to “value?” It means to protect, to cherish, to embrace, to accept, to admire, to love, to respect, and to invest.

Do you know your value? That’s the key to winning in life. Realize that you are a priceless, precious treasure that the maker has created in his image. Despite what anyone says or does to you in the present, the maker loves you and considers you valuable. Despite what may have happened in your past, the maker is the anchor which makes all things new and gives us assurance that we can begin again. Know who you are in Christ and give from a place of love. And that my friend can never be taken by anyone. Here are my suggestions for knowing your value:

1. Trust God

He is the orchestrator of your value and he never changes. He is the same today, yesterday and forever. Allow his stability to become yours.

2. Exercise

When you and I exercise, we have more energy to get all of our tasks completed. More energy means that we annihilate our to-do list, which makes us feel much more confident and valuable.

3. Eat healthy

Exercising and eating healthy are two of the most important aspects of our life. Eating healthy gives us more fuel for our day. Instead of feeling tired and fatigued, we feel energized and ready to take on the world which increases your value in yourself.

4. Affirm yourself

Think and say: “I am valuable, I am love, I am loved, I am more than enough, I am special.” How can anyone know your value, if you don’t believe it for yourself?

5. Love yourself

If you could see me writing this, I am shouting “LOVE YOURSELF.” You have to love you first before loving anyone else. You have to show yourself that you love all of you. And then tell yourself as well.

6. Keep commitments

We love over committing our schedules and helping everyone else but ourselves. Value yourself enough to keep the commitments that you’ve made to yourself.

11 Ways To Boost Your Confidence

By Anisha Joshi

Confidence – a personality trait that each one of us aspires to have, but very few people actually possess. Most of the people develop their confidence with the passing time because they need to be confident in every task they do and thought they have. You want to buy/sell the shares of a particular company; you want to propose someone; you want to give the perfect presentation – it all requires the confidence. Wearing branded clothes or driving a fancy car can’t make you feel confident. Confidence is the attitude; it’s all about how you feel about yourself. People will criticize you for various reasons, and not everyone will support you. But you need to know that you have the power within you to boost your confidence with these 11 ways:

1. Wear comfortable and clean clothes

Your first impression is the last impression. Hence, your clothes say a lot about you – even before you open your mouth to speak. It is important to wear clean & comfortable clothes. This will allow you to take away your attention from your own appearance – which can be a major distraction. As a result, you will be able to focus on your discussions and will appear confident. When you are totally involved in doing something, low self-esteem vanishes and your confidence is boosted.

2. Sit straight and show your confidence

Take a look at the videos of all successful public speakers. Notice them and their gestures. They all are comfortable while speaking and show an outstanding confidence. Their gestures, facial expressions, straight posture, and everything else depicts their confidence. Start with sitting/standing with your spine erect. Gradually, work on your gestures and facial expressions. You, too, can do it.

3. Be yourself

Be yourself. Because each of us is unique. You look the best when you are “you.” It is wrong to compare yourself because “you can’t judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree.” Being yourself, you will realize you are special and unique. When you realize you are special, you automatically become confident. Love yourself for who you are

4. Give time to your passion

Your passion is a creative action that you love doing. When you are spending time on your passion you “feel complete.” This feeling makes you confident. You enjoy your own company, you appreciate your existence, and you do have a reason to be confident.

5. Respect and care for your own body

The reason why most people don’t feel confident is because of their physical appearance and ailments. Everybody wants a beautiful and healthy body, and it is a major factor in boosting your confidence. Hang a photo of the super star, like whom you aspire to be. Seeing her/him everyday will motivate you to wake up a bit earlier and work upon your body. Take care!!

6. Use optimism & positive affirmations

The thoughts and affirmations in which you tell yourself hold the highest importance. So, instead of saying “I can’t do it,” say ” I will give my 100% and I will do my best.” Instead of feeling “Life is of no use,” say “Life can be made amazing , I too can be happy, because there are many people who are happy living an amazing life. I need to discover my dream and paint my own life.” There is so much to say about being positive, but the whole crux is: Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.

7. Be in the company of confident people

You become like the people around you. Surrounding yourself with confident people makes you feel that attitude for being confident. You don’t need an specific amount of bank balance, or a certain quality of education, or a branded outfit to boost your confidence. You just need to feel it. Watch people who are confident and learn from them: you will get your piece of inspiration from that group of people around you.

8. Talk to those people in your life who believe in you

Confidence is all about believing yourself. There are times when all concepts of self-motivation fail, but when someone else counts our “qualities” to us, we feel better. So there must be a few people in life who love us and believe in us. Have such people and treasure them.

9. Count the successes you have achieved earlier in your life

We are born. We learn the ways of life. We learn to walk while being toddlers. We learn to eat by ourselves when we are in play group. We learn to read and write in 1st grade. And life keeps on moving – each year we have something to applaud about our own live. But with all the hustle & bustle, and glistening shadows of life, we forget our own achievements. It may be school grades, appreciation certificates, appraisals at office, or we may have helped someone while crossing the road, or be the reason for someone’s smile. There are so many things that can be counted under the list of achievements – materialistic, physical, spiritual, emotional or social level.

10. Smile: fake it, till you make it

A smile is a sure sign of a confident personality. Smile a while. Let it spread a mile. Let it be the reason for another smiles. Very soon it will become your own nature.

11. Believe in the higher power

Call him God, Angels, Prophet, Energy or anything as per your religious customs. But there is a higher power, which always protects you and has always taken care of you and will continue doing the same. Believe in this higher power is like a backbone to confidence. Anything can fail but a strong faith that someone is there to help you out will always boost your confidence.

 

You Are Worth Loving

By Natalie Jenkins

You are good enough. You are worth loving.

It’s been about four years since I heard those words in the safety and seclusion of my therapist’s office. Simple statements, but enough to unleash the newest wave of tears. I cried because I wasn’t sure I believed it. I cried because if I could, my healing would begin.

I was in the midst of a messy divorce, my own personal hell. A hell that had me wallowing in self doubt, insecurity, and self-loathing.

I suffered in limbo for two years, unable to release myself and unwilling to trust myself enough to reinvest in creating a new life. I had never failed at anything, how could I fail at this? How could I possibly be good enough and deserve to be happy after this failure? How could my family and friends ever feel I was worth loving again?

Emotionally exhausted, I sought counsel. I was encouraged to learn, to grow, and to reflect. Where did my guilt, my rage, my pain come from? What did I want and what did I need?

The answers to these questions became life changing for me. It doesn’t matter if the answers scared me, surprised me, or confused me. Whether seemingly good or bad, they were mine. I made a choice to learn from them. Until that moment, my life had been relatively conflict-free. I had never been forced to get to know myself, to ask the tough questions and to fearlessly face my personal truth.

I discovered that ignorance of yourself – and of your prevailing intention – is a true tragedy. I chose to stop hiding from myself, and I learned not to sit in judgement of myself or others. You may not be who you think you are, and that’s okay … We are always changing on our journey.

My Reset Retreat journey began when I recognized the compassion, empathy, and extraordinary capacity for learning in three amazing women. We began to share experiences and bond over love, life, and loss. We were shockingly similar and different all at once, but our commonality was wanting to institute a change – in ourselves, our friends, and the world- and knowing that we could. The chemistry and excitement was palpable as we began conceptualizing Reset Retreat- a place to learn, grow, and reflect.

By even reading a bit of our story, you know you are ready to let your real journey begin.

Accept yourself. Forgive yourself. Know that you are good enough. Know that you are worth loving… Reset. Rejuvenate. Reinvent.

This is who I am. This is why I am here today at Reset Retreat.

Simple Reminders To Love Yourself Each Day

By Cierra Savatgy-King

Do you actively love yourself each day? Remembering to love ourselves is something we frequently forget to do. We get distracted by the day-to-day and it’s easy to put ourselves on the back burner. The Reset Retreat team set out to ask women who we sincerely respect how they actively remember to love themselves each day.

Here’s what these inspirational ladies had to say:

“I dance and meditate each day. Even if it’s just one song and a 5 minute sit in silence, this taps me into my love of being alive and wonder and gratitude for my healthy, beautiful body.”

– KC Baker, Founder of KC Baker International Inc.

“This may seem strange but I take time out when having a shower just to cleanse the day from my body and mind, and as the water covers my body I think about all the great things I am blessed with; a healthy body, a strong business, kind and generous friends. Mainly I thank God that I was born me, flaws and all. My favorite saying is that what makes us different makes us beautiful. I celebrate my difference.”

– Mellissah Smith, Founder of Marketing Eye, Australia

“I try to actively practice self compassion – realize that I am human and that making mistakes is inevitable, and even desirable. This is where the learning occurs. When I do make a mistake, I remind myself to treat myself as I would a friend. Surely I would not shame and denigrate a friend who made a mistake; I would treat that friend with love, care, compassion and forgiveness.

– Danelle Gerber, Mother of 2

“When I put my hand on my heart I actually say out loud to my heart ” I love you” a couple of times to feel that love and it’s response – it always responds to me with warm feeling all throughout my body – I totally feel my vibration change. ”

– Olga Pechnenko, Founder of RevenueHire, Austin

“I find that what reminds me to love myself are the moments when I am most loving towards others. My favorite thing in the WHOLE world is giving someone a fun surprise – a gift that is perfect for them. A little handmade something created with love, even an unexpected note sharing my adoration for them and telling them why they matter to me. I love loving others! The interesting thing is that the moments I am most filled with love for others are the same moments I am most filled with love for myself. My giving is both a mirror of my love reflecting it back and a magnifying glass making it larger.”

– Melissa Lombard, Founder of 5 Year Project.

“I make sure to take 30 – 60 minutes to exercise everyday. This is my meditation and I use those minutes to focus solely on doing something good for my mind and body. I listen to my repetitious deep breathing and leave feeling refreshed, focused, and thankful I am a still moving.”  –

– Jennifer McCamish, Founder of Dancers Shape.

“My time alone makes me feel incredibly connected, loved and at peace with myself. I used to avoid being alone. I filled my schedule with noise and distraction because spending time with myself felt scary and lonely. A couple of years ago, I faced my fear of aloneness by choosing to spend a weekend by myself in a Texas Hill Country cabin. I found out that my own company isn’t quite so bad. In fact, I sort of fell in love with myself on that trip. I now relish these solo getaways and make them a priority. ”

– Amanda McPherson, Licensed Professional Counselor-Intern under the supervision of Kat Elrod, LPC-S. and author of Girl, Get Your Roots Done!

“I have made my home a sanctuary for myself, so that coming home at the end of a long day is to a place that nourishes me and makes even the most difficult of days comforting. I think it is so important to make your surroundings beautiful and create a place for yourself that you feel good in always. Before I go to sleep I find even a quick minute to reflect on the good and how far I have come in my crazy journey.”

– Rachelle Wintzen, owner of The Chi Junky Studio and yoga and nutrition guide at the Reset Retreat in February.

How do you love yourself each day? Let us know on Facebook or send us an e-mail so we can add onto our growing list!

We hope that you find some inspiration in reminding yourself that you are amazing.

Like Mae West said, “I don’t like myself, I’m crazy about myself.”

Go be crazy about yourself.

9 Ways To Raise Your Self-Esteem

By Dr. Carol Morgan

So, here’s a question: do you have high self-esteem? I’m assuming that you may not have said yes – and you’re not alone. We all  know that our world that is pretty destructive to how we feel about ourselves. We do things like compare ourselves to super models or think we need to make more money. Regardless of how you look at it, most of us think we need to be better. But the good news is that you can raise your self-esteem and work on being a better ‘me.’

Here are 9 things you can do, starting today:

1. Stop comparing yourself to other people.

If you constantly compare how you look to Jennifer Anniston or your bank account to your millionaire cousin, you will definitely feel bad about yourself. So here’s an idea‒don’t do it!! Instead, focus on how lucky you are. If you have a roof over your head and food on the table, you are among the luckiest people in the world. Be grateful for what you have. Don’t complain about what you lack.

2. Monitor your self-talk.

Do you have any idea how many negative thoughts go through your mind every day about yourself? Probably not. Even if it’s just something simple like, “My hair looks terrible today,” you need to monitor and control your thoughts. So get a notebook and write down every negative thought that you say to yourself, about yourself. After about a week, take a look. Then write down why each negative thought is NOT true.

3. Realize that fact and feelings are not the same.

You might think you are overweight, but you might not be. For example, perhaps you are average weight, but you grew up with two older sisters who are naturally skinny. If you constantly compared yourself to them growing up, you might have labeled yourself as “fat.” However, those are only your feelings. The facts might be very different. You might only weigh 130 pounds. That’s not overweight. Facts and feelings are different.

4. Stop thinking about the past.

Maybe you did something in the past that you are ashamed of, like cheating on your significant other. Well, you can’t undo it. All you can do is forgive yourself, decide to do better, and move on. Replaying it and beating yourself up doesn’t work. Or maybe your past was “The Good Ol’ Days.” Don’t dwell there either. We all age, and we all have the opportunity to make today and tomorrow the best we can. Move onward and upwards. Not backwards.

5. Grab a friend and support each other.

Anyone who has tried to change their habits knows it’s difficult. And your self-esteem is also a “habit”–it’s a habitual way of thinking about yourself. So it helps to have someone point out when we are being negative and help us steer in the right direction. Sometimes we don’t even recognize when we are being down on ourselves because we do it so much. Your buddy will help you, and you can help them.

6. Treat yourself as if you weren’t yourself.

We are all harder on ourselves than our friends are. While we tear ourselves down, our good friends try to lift us up. Well, try to act like those friends! Be your own friend. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself compliments and positive affirmations. You don’t need to rely on others to do that. You can do it for yourself, too.

7. Focus on your past successes and your good qualities.

Sometimes we get too focused on our negatives, and we forget to notice our good qualities! So take some time to sit down and write out why you are an awesome person. Are you a great mom? Are you smart? Do you have a career you enjoy? A great marriage? Whatever it is, write it down. What have you been successful doing in the past? Review these daily to remind yourself how you’re making a difference in the world.

8. Try visualization and affirmations.

Visualization and affirmations are powerful tools to reprogram your thinking. The more you repeat words or visualize something in your mind, the more your subconscious believes it. So repeat positive statements to yourself such as, “I am a good person. I am healthy. I am strong. I am lovable.” And then visualize yourself being and feeling that way.

9. Do something about it!

While I appreciate you all reading this article, it will do you no good if you don’t actually take my advice! Don’t just share this on your Facebook page and forget about it. Do something! Take action! Nothing will change unless you do. It all starts with a decision. So just do it!

5 Things You Didn’t Know Were Confidence Issues

By Dan Munro

As a former sufferer of low self-confidence (without knowing it), I really sympathize with everyone out there. When clients finish my coaching program, we often discuss how they see the world differently now that they are confident. Without exception, one major change is always that they finally see how lacking in confidence nearly every person is.

Before, when they lacked it themselves, they thought everyone else had it all sorted out. Yet, it only takes a little personal experience of stretching your own comfort zone to start seeing how no one else is doing it.

I can’t work with someone until they’re ready to see that they are not living up to their potential. Sometimes, I can help someone see that by creating an internal crisis by pointing out the signs of low confidence.

If you think of yourself as confident and yet aren’t totally enjoying life, check out some of these common examples that might be sneaking past your conscious awareness…

1. Procrastination

Many people think of procrastination as some sort of uncontrollable pattern of behavior. They will often justify it by downplaying the task they’re procrastinating on, giving it a lower perceived value or importance.

Procrastination is actually caused by many different confidence issues.

The fear of a wrongful decision: being so unsure of your own ability to call the shots that you think it’s safer to not make any calls at all. The fear of failure: avoiding the risk of getting something wrong by not completing it. The fear of rejection: staying away from the task most at risk of getting a negative reaction from others.

Basically, it’s all about the secretly perceived consequences of actually doing the task.

When you procrastinate, it’s not because you’re lazy, busy, or overloaded. It’s because you are scared. Simple as that.

Solution:

Eat the big ugly frog. To translate: do the biggest, most uncomfortable task first, every day. This is almost always the most important activity for the day, and the one most likely to get the results you seek. Tell yourself you cannot even check your emails or eat breakfast until it’s done. Then you won’t having it eating away at your attention and confidence all day!

2. Obsession With Busy Work

This is often another form of procrastination, but the reason I separated it is because it’s so much more than that. The more someone is bored with their job, the more likely they are to remain as busy as possible. Chores, multi-tasking, rushing around, and doing lots of little tasks on the to-do list.

Quite often, I even see people somehow creating crises for themselves, as if to sabotage their own ability to find time. You know the ones I mean; their car always breaks down, there’s always some relationship having issues, or they’re often late.

Being busy is a nice easy distraction from the painful questions our Higher Self is trying to ask us. Questions like “Why do you keep making things worse?”, or “What the hell are you going to do with your life?”, and even “What’s the point of all this?”

Be keeping yourself physically occupied, you are essentially plugging yourself into the Matrix. You give yourself the illusion that you are productive and purposeful, because gosh, you’re just so busy, aren’t you? That must mean something, right?

Solution:

Do less. Sit down and write out a story about who you wish you were. List the kinds of behavior you would see in someone you admire. Admit and accept the time wasted that you regret. And then, every day, instead of doing a million things, just do the few things that actually matter.

Start living up to a higher standard rather than just running on fumes the whole time.

3. All Information and No Transformation

The self-development industry has a crucial flaw. It perpetuates the notion of being able to change without taking action. Life simply doesn’t work that way, but boy don’t we wish it did?

We can convince ourselves that we are improving by doing lots of nice little safe things. Reading self-help books, attending seminars, watching videos, and asking for advice. Feels like you’re doing a lot to improve yourself, right?

Wrong.

Seriously. Just wrong.

None of these things will create a single microscopic fraction of improvement until you take action. When you learn of some potential improvement strategy, the thing you dread most – trying it out – is the most important step of all.

Change is painful. Accept this fact or be doomed to a life that stays the same. If you want all that information to work for you, it will require facing failure, rejection, uncertainty, frustration, and lots of hard work.

And it will be totally worth it.

Solution:

Put down the books, trade in your seminar tickets, and stop asking questions. Take the information you have so far and go and put it into use. Measure your attempts as objectively as possible, and aim to make small improvements each week. Focus on your behavior rather than the results you want.

4. Reasonable Excuses

Rationality is what fear likes to hide behind. Excuses are the number one cause of quitting.

You can sit there and tell yourself all tons of interesting, credible, and completely understandable reasons as to why it’s not the right time to do that important thing. Or why you can’t afford it. Or why it would upset other people.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

You know you’re lying to yourself! That’s the most messed up part: you have to first lie to yourself and then go through the laborious journey of making the lie true.

The ironic thing is, it’s actually easier to just face the fear and do it. I know because I’ve been both the excuses guy and, later on, the guy who just went and did it.

Solution:

Start approaching life with the assumption that 99% of what you believe is not accurate. That everything in your head telling you “No, not yet!” is actually your fear sabotaging you. It’s trying to keep you safe, a slave of beliefs that do not help you achieve your dreams.

Every time you think that you “can’t” do something, test it out. Design an objective way of testing your beliefs, and measure the evidence. Prepare to be wrong, time and time again, and prepare to be glad you were wrong! Failure is your friend, you simply haven’t been properly introduced yet.

5. Anxiety Before Work

This should be an obvious one, but it isn’t. We’re raised to believe that work is a suffering we must endure to survive. We should be slaves for wages, and be grateful for the opportunity.

Can you really be a confident person if you’re feeling anxious every week? Can you really have high self-worth if you think your job is pointless and unrewarding?

Most people can convince themselves that their job doesn’t suck, or that they have no choice. This is to avoid the pain and guilt of wasting their time. But some part of them still knows. That’s why they feel the anxiety.

I used to wake up every day with excuses I could use to call in sick. For 15 to 30 minutes each morning, I would lie in bed debating whether or not to use them. Most times I could drag myself to work, after a long battle convincing myself that it was worthwhile, that people needed me.

Solution:

Figure out what your dream job is, and then put together a step by step plan as to how you could achieve it. No matter how “impossible” it seems, assume that you will find a way to make it work. Then, in your spare time, put as many hours aside as possible to take those steps.

Just one at a time.

When You Build Your Confidence, You Understand These 5 Things

By Dan Munro

Most people have low self-confidence, but yet they never do anything about it. I was one of them until 5 years ago. Now I want to give back what I have learned.

In my coaching career, I have come to realize that everyone already has what they need, they just can’t access it due to confidence barriers in their heads. These barriers include our inability to overcome feelings of fear, doubt, and discomfort.

So come with me and take the steps toward higher self-worth today, because it will be a step away from the boredom and impotence of a life half-lived.

Here are 5 things I’ve learned:

1. Everyone else is scared, too.

You know that voice that keeps you up at night? The one making you doubt yourself, the one preventing you from making moves? Yeah, everyone else hears it too.

There is no such thing as being “fearless.” Anyone who claims otherwise is either psychopathic, deluded or just full of it.

“We all have a story playing in our head; the ‘I’m not good enough’ story.” – Dr Russ Harris

It plays continuously in the background, and has no association with logic, reason or evidence. Sometimes it’s loud and it’s all we can hear, other times it is blissfully drowned out by positive thoughts. Either way, it is always there. And it’s there to stay. Unless you decide to change your story.

2. There is no such thing as a pain-free life.

“Life is suffering” – Buddha (apparently)

Continuing on from point 1, pain is also a crucial part of life. The pursuit of happiness implies that there is some magical stage of life you can get to which will be pain-free. Pain is the natural by-product of experience. Think of all of your favorite activities, relationships, and experiences. There is always some sort of pain involved.

Try to re-frame pain. Think of it as the reference point for joy, meaning, and fulfillment. You simply cannot enjoy life without knowing what the opposite of enjoyment is. You can’t appreciate something unless you can understand the inevitable tragedy that it will one day be taken away.

You don’t have to enjoy pain, you just have to accept its presence. Welcome it like you would the burning feeling you get lifting weights. It is a necessary part of our experience in order for life to have meaning.

3. Happiness is just a temporary feeling.

I often jabber on about the pointlessness in pursuing “happiness.” Building confidence will open your eyes to something very important: happiness may never be a permanent state.

Again we come back to the ‘points of reference.’ Life is a rich tapestry of emotion, each with its benefits for our experience. There is peace in sadness, there is confidence in fear, and there is passion in anger.

All the emotions you think of as “bad” are far from it. By definition, happiness requires other emotions to exist. You cannot be permanently happy, as it would eventually just end up being the worst state you can possibly experience: BOREDOM.

4. People do not ‘have’ status, you give it to them.

People tend to look at others as either better or worse than themselves. Depending on the situation, you are either The Man/Woman, or A Loser. There is a system in your mind that compares you constantly to others.

This leads always to seeing some people being seen as above you. You will cower, bow and scrape to those who you see as better. This might include people you are attracted to, your bosses, socially confident people, and anyone else whose presence makes you feel like either withdrawing or showing off.

Confidence building will make you realise the truth: we are all the same. People are only better than you when YOU think they are. Best to just stop comparing altogether.

5. Slavery is mindset, not a situation.

People mostly think of themselves as “free” because they are not technically slaves. In fact most people are either slaves or prisoners. I have met very few people in my life who I consider to be “free.” Sometimes I’m not even sure I am free (but I’m definitely getting closer).

What is the definition of slavery? Being owned and controlled by someone else.

What defines being a prisoner? Being in a place where you cannot escape.

If you feel you cannot talk back to your boss because he will fire you, then you are technically a slave. He owns you. And in a more practical sense, he exchanges money for your time. If that is not completely of your free will (i.e. some part of you believes you MUST accept it and you cannot walk away at any time), then you have the mind of a slave.

If you feel like you can’t pursue your passions because of your restrictions and obligations, then you are a prisoner. You have put up walls around yourself. Your life cannot be escaped, and your limitations dictate your options.

Slavery and imprisonment can only happen inside your mind.

Prove to yourself that there are no limits. Ask yourself “If I could do anything, or be anyone, what would that look like? What would need to change in my life? What would I have to do differently?”

Then act on the answers to those questions.

5 Habits To Change To Be ‘A Better Me’

Let’s face it. Becoming a better version of yourself takes effort! That’s probably why a lot of people don’t bother. I know I can relate to how hard it is. For example, I grew up in a family who hates to exercise. And I mean HATES it. On top of that, we didn’t exactly pay attention to eating high quality, raw, nutritious food. Not that we ate junk – that’s not what I mean. But we ate ‘normal food,’ which now (decades later) is known to be not the healthiest thing you should eat (think processed food).

The reason I’m bringing this up is because I KNOW how difficult it is to change your habits. I try to eat healthy. I try to exercise (I’m sure my family just read that and had a heart attack!). Well, I go through my phases where I exercise moderately … very moderately. But it’s a struggle. I can always find some reason (*ahem* … okay … EXCUSE) to slack off on working out.

We all have our ‘bad habits.’ Yours might be smoking, drinking, procrastinating, or eating too much pizza. We all have our vices. But change starts with awareness. You can’t change what you don’t recognize. So take a look at this list. Do you see yourself in any of these habits?

Here we go …

1. Complaining

We live in a word of complainers. Really – we do! It’s almost like the school system had classes in it. Okay, okay, obviously that’s not true. But what is true is that we live in an incredibly negative world. I teach classes about the media, and a well-known motto in the news industry is “If it bleeds, it leads!” In other words, the more sensational (and negative) the better! Think about the “Jerry Springer Show.” Why would that show have survived decades on the air unless people liked watching all that negativity?

2. Living “Unconsiously”

There are a lot of people who don’t live consciously. What I mean by that, is they kind of go through life with blinders on. They don’t ever look in the metaphorical mirror at themselves and see their behavior for what it really is. For example, I saw this show once called “I Consume 30,000 Calories a Day” (or something to that effect). The people on the show literally did not know they were eating that much. It’s hard for the average person to fathom that they weren’t conscious of it, but they weren’t. They were sleepwalking through their eating habits until someone had to wake them up and point it out. It may not be your eating habits, but there may be some other behavior(s) that you are not noticing or acknowledging.

3. Not being “Present”

Texting. Phone calls. TV. Internet. Distractions. I could go on and on about what takes our attention away from being mentally and emotionally “present” with other people. I have heard parents say that their teenagers and their friends sit around in a room together but they’re all texting other people on their phones. Really? Why bother even being in each other’s physical presence. They might as well just go home and text each other from there. The best thing you can do for another person is to show them you care by being “present.” And that doesn’t include texting other people when you’re with someone else.

4. Being Selfish

I know that human beings were programmed to be selfish – it’s a survival mechanism. If cavemen weren’t the first to snatch up the last of the food, then they might starve to death. But this behavior has manifested into bad social behaviosr. No one likes a selfish person! I teach my students that it’s best to have a balance between “Self” and “Other.” You shouldn’t completely ignore your own needs and wants, but you shouldn’t ignore other people’s either. Having a nice balance seems to work out well if you can find a way to achieve it. However – one note. BOTH people have to have a balance. One person giving and the other one taking (all the time), does not make for happy relationships!

5. Being Late

I know a lot of people who are chronically late. And while some people may think they’re doing it to have a power trip, I tend to think that a lot of people who are late just either (1) have a really bad sense of time, (2) aren’t aware of how their lateness negatively impacts other people. I can’t tell you how many times I have waited over an hour in restaurants for friends to show up thinking, “Well, this is a waste of my time. I could have been doing something productive for the last hour instead of waiting for this person!”

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list by far. It’s just a start.

Remember that no one is perfect. But the difference between someone who is trying to be better – and someone who is not – is making an effort to change. And as I said earlier, change starts with awareness! So I promise you that I will keep working on my eating and exercise habits … if you promise me that you will work on whatever habits you need to change. Deal? 🙂

Better Self-Worth In Two Quick Steps

By Danielle Faith

When you look into a mirror, what do you see? Do you see someone who is worth everything that makes you who you are? Do you feel like you are worth more than anything in this world to other people? More importantly, do you have a sense of self-worth? If you do not have one clue as to how to answer these questions honestly, continue reading and discover your self-worth.

What is Self-Worth?

The dictionary defines Self-Worth as,

“The sense of one’s own value or worth as a person; self-esteem; self-respect.”

What does this mean? It means that you have the knowledge that you are worth more than you can ever know and that you respect yourself enough to believe your value, as a person, is important.

What is Your Self-Worth?

Looking at the definition above, do you have a clear understanding and a sense of self-worth? If your answer is yes, then you know, without question or doubt that you are worth so much; even if it is only to yourself. When you look into a mirror, do you see your unique physical features that no one else has? If you answered yes, you know your true value. When you are with your family and friends, can you see how important you are? If you answered yes, then you know your self-worth. Self-Worth is not defined the same way for each person; is defined as how you see yourself through your eyes and the eyes of others.

Build it Up

For some people, knowing their self-worth is not an easy task; and if you are one of them, you need to find your sense of self-worth and build it up. By doing this, you will gain a power that you will always have.

Here are 2 ways to build your self-worth:

  • Know the Power of Your Attitude Toward Yourself and How Others See You

The way you see yourself, how you talk about yourself, and the way you represent yourself will become your reality. If you are putting yourself down, tearing your worth apart, or making light of your talents in the presence of others you will soon come across to them as a self-effacing person with very low self-esteem.

  • Remember That You Matter

Some people may not believe in giving yourself pep-talks. Surprisingly, they are great ways to affirm your self-image. By openly giving yourself a pep-talk you start changing the internal negative dialog you have developed. Set a certain time during the day to remind yourself what a great person you are and tell yourself how special, wonderful, and loved you are.

Healthy self-worth is critical to you and your life; what you believe in your mind, you will receive.

Five Steps to Loving your Body…Totally

by Kristi K. Hoffman

If I see something I absolutely love and tell my young sons about it, they’ll frequently quip, “If you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?”  We laugh because it’s always something that makes no sense to marry, like Jimmy Choo shoes, a fabulous car, or a gorgeous painting. But they recognize how much I adore that item.

While that’s certainly not true love, have you ever experienced a love for something or someone that is so deep that you would go out on a limb to protect it, talk about it, share it?  Ever experienced so much amazement about something that you beam from ear to ear every time you think about it?  Perhaps it’s when you gave birth to your baby, got your first pet, bought a new car, found the perfect house, or met a new significant other. 

At such times, you likely are experiencing extreme or euphoric feelings which can be staggering.  Biochemistry tells us that at these times –such as when you exercise at peak performance or have great sex — chemicals including dopamine, oxytocin, or serotonin are released and contribute to feelings of contentment, optimism, romance, or true love.  Which explains why we go back to love even after a broken heart. We are hooked on the good feeling.

On the flip side, many of us do not get that feeling when it comes to loving and respecting our bodies.  In fact, a recent survey of 300 women showed that each woman had over 10 negative — even hateful — thoughts about her body every day.

Imagine what would happen if you could transfer the euphoria and power of excitement, to an amazing love of your body, so much so that you would do anything to protect it and keep it safe. Imagine yourself being so jazzed about yourself and your body that you longed to treat it with love and respect so that that nothing would harm it and that good feeling would translate to future positive actions for your body.

It’s an intriguing exercise to explore how far back in your life you’d have to go to remember the point when you loved your body.  If you’ve grown to dislike your body or if you feel anything other than proud of who you are, try implementing these steps to begin self-love again.

1.  Put your body at the top of your “Things I Love” list. 

Make a pact with yourself that from this day on, with every iota of inner strength you have, you will treat your body with respect and you will love your body for what it is today.  You’ve been through a lot with your body, so appreciate it for all it’s worth and all it has gotten you through.  This may seem selfish at first, but moving your body to the top of your “things I love” list may very well bring about self love — or at least self-like — in a hurry.

2. Establish a Care Plan for Yourself

Taking action always makes us feel better.  Sometimes we get so busy we forget to take care of ourselves.  Develop a big-picture wellness plan for yourself.  For example, every year do one thing to better your body.  You may have been wanting to remove a precancerous mole, straighten your teeth, get rid of dark spots on your face or body.  By implementing a plan, you will feel satisfied with yourself and your body. 

3.  Rethink Your Imperfections

Perception is reality so until you stop thinking that you have flaws, you will continue to live that reality.  Remember, imperfections are in your own eyes.  What you see as a weakness, others may see as a strength.  Stop being your own worst critic and instead say, “That’s what makes me me” or “God made me that way.”  Things you had been thinking of as negatives, are really your own “uniquenesses.”  Beauty is both the inside and the outside of you so see yourself as “total package” beautiful.

4.  Eat Body-Benefit Foods Only

Know the nutritional value including sugars, fat, protein, cholesterol, and carbohydrates, of every single thing that goes into your mouth.  Know your daily intake of healthy nutrients and calories.  Have a pre-plan for going out to dinner, or potlucks, or friends’ homes so that you don’t over-indulge in unhealthy foods and high calorie beverages. Be sure to discipline yourself to say no to unhealthy consumption.  You know what’s bad for your body. Now steer clear and protect that body of yours.

5.  Pick One Thing That’s Special about your Body. 

Is it your eyes, your legs, your smile?  Focus on that one physical attribute that you believe is extra-special, until you are ready to grow your list to another then another characteristic.  Eventually your special list may extend to the entire you, building your love of self, one thoughtful step at a time.

Setting out to love yourself takes conscious choices and daily affirmations.  Remember not to stray from your commitment to loving your body. When you stay devoted to your commitment to self, you will being to notice optimal changes in how you feel physically and emotionally about yourself.  And who knows, you may begin to love your body so much you’ll want to marry it. 

Embrace the Absurdities, and Create a Wonderful Life

I LIKE Polly Campbell. Have you heard of her?  She wrote the book “Imperfect Spirituality: Extraordinary Enlightenment for Ordinary People,” have you read it? One of the reviewers on Amazon summed it up by saying that it helped her take more control of her life, overcome negative thinking and learn to give herself a break.

Does that sound like something that might be helpful? It did to me – I just ordered it!

She also writes for the Huffington Post, and recently posted an article there about how to be a creator rather than a complainer.

She used the metaphor of spilling something colorful and sticky on the refrigerator and the floor – what a mess! And how that could represent life’s “sticky situations.”

Are you someone that gets stuck in those types of situations, or do you use it as incentive to clean it up and move on?

If you do the latter, then you are a creator. Resilient, taking action, experiencing life.

What is the difference between a creator and a complainer?  Here are a few of Polly’s observations. Creators usually:

– Seek meaning in all situations.

– Don’t beat up on themselves – recognizing their humanness instead, they move through tough situations doing what they can.

– Laugh a lot, finding humor in life’s crazy situations and the unique positions they find themselves in, accepting that life includes the good, the bad, and the bizarre.

bigstock-Portrait-of-a-bothered-woman-b-30216275Complainers, on the other hand often:

– Play the blame game, shirking any responsibility

– Make endless excuses

– Spend time wishing – that things were different, that things were working, that others would change.

If you are a complainer, you can turn that around by adopting more of the attitude of the creator and less of the complainers.

If you are a creator – GOOD FOR YOU!!!  You are happy and whole and loving life!

Imperfect Spirituality: Extraordinary Enlightenment for Ordinary People
Imperfect Spirituality: Extraordinary Enlightenment for Ordinary People