Hope Wissel, Recovery

How To Sparkle

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This week starts my first “official week” at the gym.  Last week was all about talking to people about my goals, setting up a personal trainer and getting a schedule in place…..  I actually put it in my planner so I don’t blow it off.

Despite my best efforts those inner gremlins have been trying to rear their nasty heads.  They still seem to hang around but are becoming weaker as I spend more time in recovery working the steps….

Let’s face it, we all have inner gremlins.  Have you ever wondered how you can prevent the “inner gremlin” of low self-esteem from creeping in and setting up camp?  Have you ever felt like “I’m not good enough”?  Have you ever thought “I can’t do that”?  Tidbits of negative beliefs creep in every day even when we least expect it.  Let me tell you, when the personal trainer said “one week we will be working in the pool”, I was ready to jump ship!  I was all of a sudden self-conscious about my “jiggle thighs”.  I was worried what people would think.  I wanted to shout “do you  know the last time I was in a pool or even put on a bathing suit????”  She saw the look I gave her.  She asked what my greatest fear was. Then she suggested shorts with a tank top to get over my “fear” of being seen in a bathing suit. Yup, in 3 weeks I will be doing exercises in the pool….

For some, they could quickly slam the door on those inner gremlins.  Others let the negative thought simmer for a moment before kicking it to the curb. Then there are some of us who let the negative thought of “I’m not good enough” ruin their entire day.  So where do you fall in the spectrum of stomping out this inner gremlin?  I will admit, I can fall into anyone of those places on any given day.

When self-doubt creeps in here are some tips which might help:

1. Remember “Life is perfectly imperfect”.

Strive for personal excellence instead of perfection.  I know, I should practice what I preach, right?  When we try to be perfect, we set ourself up for failure and Negative Nelly starts to creep in.  Look for YOUR personal best and when you reach it – CELEBRATE!  Recovery and MS has taught me so much about this.  I do  my best – I don’t (or at least try not to most days) compare myself to others.  Yes, I am going to  celebrate the fact I even getting in the pool.  I actually had a dream where the pool was one of my favorite things to do at the gym.  Don’t worry I will keep you posted.

2. Positive thinking is your decision.

Yes, you get to decide if you want to allow positive thinking to come to your rescue when negativity is banging on the door.  To turn things around… you must have faith, release the fear (let it go…. yes, you can sing the Frozen song if it helps), and focus on the solution. Positive thinking can improve any situation, no matter how awful it may appear.  The positive aspect of the pool (my focus) and going to the gym is to help my muscles stay strong to fight the MS AND drop a few pounds or at least tone up some.

3. Everyone makes mistakes!

Yes, EVERYONE! The real truth is mistakes teach us and allow us to grow. Mistakes are evidence we are trying and doing the best we can.  As we learn and grow from our mistakes, we begin to see more success in our life. Success takes work and mistakes are part of it.  There is a sign I pass every day in front of a local shop which says “We learn from our failures not our successes”.  Focusing on my relapse and what I “coulda, shoulda, woulda” had is not going to help.  I have learned MANY lessons, gotten a little older (okay a lot) and accept my mistakes.  Do you accept your mistakes or do you beat yourself up?

4. Be kind and gentle with yourself.

This has been one of the toughest things for me to learn!  I have to believe I am doing the best I can and so are you.  Your light is shining, no matter how small the flame.  Think of a flower garden – every flower blooms at it’s own pace and shows it’s unique beauty. Continue reaching for the light, and much like the flower, your life will come into bloom as well.  It may not happen as quickly as you (or I) want it but it will happen.

5. You deserve your own unconditional love and forgiveness.

“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.”- Max Ehrmann

Letting go is not easy.  Some days it is easier for me because I can’t remember.  Hubby has always said it is God’s way of helping me forget some of the pain.  By letting go of bitterness, resentment and negative feelings; you can move to forgiving yourself for past mistakes. Forgiveness allows you to “love YOU no matter what”. It will lead you to more positive feelings of understanding, compassion and empathy, allowing you to embrace the experience.  On the days I LOVE me, all is right with the world.

6. You can’t always change things, but you can ALWAYS change the way you look at things.

This moment, this negative thought was created by a collection of past thoughts, words and actions.  The bottom line is times can get tough – but you need to believe you’re tougher. When I struggle to remember The Serenity Prayer helps to keep me in check:

When you believe you ARE good enough to create the life you desire, and you believe YOU ARE good enough to make it through any situation…….AMAZING things happen.  The way you look at things suddenly change, and before you know it, your reality positively changes with it.

Now, who said you’re not good enough? Have a blessed day!

Unclutter Your Life

Will This Matter A Year From Now?

Yup, it is Monday morning.  Even worse is the fact for some it is after a LONG 4-day holiday weekend filled with food, family & friends and lots of shopping.  Time to get back to work as we start to juggle the holidays with work.

Black Friday has passed.  Small Business Saturday is done.  Cyber Monday is in full swing.  But the question I have for you this morning is…

Will This Matter A Year From Now?

The countless hours spent rushing around for gifts?  The baking? The decorating?  The non-stop whirlwind of activity?  Some would say yes because despite the craziness, they are enjoying the moments.  For others, you are so busy racing around, you don’t even remember the moments.

Life is constantly changing…. just when you think you got what you were looking for, doubt starts to creep in.  Maybe this year you have more money (or less) for gifts.  Maybe you are working countless hours missing out on time with family and friends.  Maybe you have lost who you are as you spend time pleasing the rest of the world.

If you answer to the question above is a resounding NO!  Then “let it go”…. (here the music for Frozen playing in the background)

Why do we spend time worrying about things we can’t control or fighting for things which don’t deserve our energy?

Did holiday celebrations with family trigger a button inside?  You know the one of self-doubt, fear, or anger.  Did the inner gremlins rear their heads because you allowed someone to push your button? Now you are spending your time on things which are insignificant in the big picture of things…

Maybe it was fussing with a rude store clerk during holiday shopping, or making a point with a trouble-making co-worker, or nitpicking over every mistake your child might make. The reality is some things simply are not worth it.

Fighting every battle leaves you little energy for the ones which really matter. In the process, you can damage relationships and stress yourself out. When you are intentional about which battles to engage in, you are more effective in resolving those challenges. After all, if you let go of the small stuff, it becomes clear the battles you choose are important. As a result, the people in your life or more likely to take notice and listen.

As we head into what is probably the craziest time of the year, I challenge you to let go of at least one battle this week. Enjoy the drop in your stress level.

What battle(s) did you engage in over the long weekend? Will it matter a year from now?  If it won’t matter a year from now, are you willing to drop similar battles when they arise?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Woohoo Wednesday

Let It Go!

This post is NOT all about the movie “Frozen“.  Although, I did see the movie and loved it.  This phrase has been coming up a lot lately for me.  It was the topic at a recent Weight Watcher meeting which of course sent me into emotional tailspin.  WHY? Because “letting go” is not something I do easily.  Then it came up in conversations with friends about business and personal lives.  Do you think God is trying to send me a message?

Do your emotions lead to food?  Whether we are happy, sad, stressed or angry – food seems to be solace for many of us.  We probably aren’t physically hungry but we find ourselves eating mindlessly and then wondering why the scale is not moving.  GUILTY!

Did you know between 35-60 percent of people who struggle with their weight claim to be emotional eaters.  It becomes a habit.  The two become so closely linked, we have a hard time separating them.  Yes, eating can provide temporary relief but then we never learn how to handle the emotion without eating.  Lately, it has become just the opposite for me – I don’t eat at all when I am upset.  Not good either since my body then goes into starvation mode and the end result is the scale doesn’t move.  Learning how to “let it go” is key to having balance in life (or at least in mine).  

Here are some steps to use when emotions trigger an urge to eat or when you need to let go of things in your life:

  1. Sit comfortably with feet on the floor and back straight but not rigid.  Let your gaze fall onto a spot which won’t distract you or gently close your eyes
  2. Settle yourself and focus on your breath moving in and out of your body.
  3. Imagine a blue sky with fluffy clouds lightly drifting across it (or actually watch them enjoying God’s beauty). Imagine each cloud passing by is a thought, image or feeling.
  4. Mentally step back to observe and label each cloud.  Maybe it’s a thought about work, a feeling of frustration, an urge to eat, or feeling alone.  You are not trying to change or stop the clouds, just watching, describing and letting feelings and thoughts pass by.
  5. Continue for two minutes.  Gently bring your attention back to your breath, slowly inhaling and exhaling three times and back to the present.

You can apply this same technique to other parts of your life as well.  Anger at a friend or family member.  Frustration with your business.  Feeling alone.  Hurt by someone’s unkind words.  Letting go of emotions is not easy but when we hold on to them, we feed those nasty inner gremlins.  As a result, the negative feelings build up and the inner gremlins grow causing a downward spiral which effects all aspects of your life, including the scale.

What unhelpful (or negative) thought have you had when emotions trigger the urge to eat?  Do a reality check?  You do not have to own those feelings, you can let them go and STOMP out those inner gremlins.  

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Woohoo Wednesday

How To Boost Your Self-Confidence

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Do you know what day it is???? If it is Wednesday, it is HUMP day which means that it is WOOHOO Wednesday.  A day where we talk about YOU!   We are going to CELEBRATE you!

My word for this year is CONFIDENCE but some days it is more about self-confidence then it is about confidence in my business journey.  For years, my confidence wained because of other people or things or society constantly reminding me that I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, rich enough, stylish enough, or whatever enough.

I’m done with all that.

Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with my insecurities but the difference is that I know how to overcome the bad days.  I have never felt more confident in my life.  So, if you are struggling with “self-confidence” here are some tips:

1. Let go of people that are not positive influences in your life.

We all know that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes, right?  I love this analogy by Valerie Burton:

If you are not being treated with the love and respect you deserve, check your price tag. Perhaps you’ve marked yourself down. It’s you that determines your worth by what you accept from others. Get off the clearance rack and get behind that glass case where the valuables are kept. Value yourself, and accept nothing less.

It’s really hard to walk away from people, or cut people off – especially if you love them. But you have to recognize that they are negative influences in your life. LET THEM GO (yes, I am singing FROZEN, again).  You deserve better, and you’ll find the strength to walk away.

2. Do, wear, try, anything that makes you feel beautiful.

Get dressed up (or at least out of the jammies or sweats) and go out dancing with your friends. Put makeup on and do your hair. Curl or straighten your hair just because.  I was trying hard to embrace my curls over the last few months but I wasn’t feeling it.  I actually felt like a hot mess so my confidence level started to slide.  Out came the flat iron and my straight hair – POOF!  I am feeling better about me.  I’m a jeans girl with a simple top but I am learning how to accessorize so that I feel PRETTY!  Was the first song you thought of “I feel pretty, oh so pretty”?

3. Book a ticket somewhere and just GO.

For those of us on a budget or who have a family, this may be a little tougher.  How about a mini trip ANYWHERE just to get away…  Have a slumber party with a girlfriend.  Go out and meet new people.  I am going to attend a “meet up” tonight at a local restaurant/bar just for something different.  A quick getaway may not SOLVE your problems, but it will help you to change how you VIEW your problems.

4. Laugh, a lot.

Laughter is healing – even when tears are streaming – laughter heals. There’s someone in your life that can make you laugh while you’re crying. If it’s not your mom/dad, brother/sister, or best friend – it can be your favorite comedian.  Watch a comedy stand-up, silly TV shows or sitcoms.  It’s a wonderful way to get yourself smiling.  Happiness is contagious – laughter, especially.  The more you laugh, the happier you’ll be, and the happier you are, the more happiness you’ll attract.  Remember the Law of Attraction?

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5. Discover a new passion, hobby, and work really, really hard at it.

Do you have a hobby? If so, make some time to practice so you get better. If you don’t have one – or aren’t sure what you want to do yet, try anything and everything.  The results will be that you’ll find what you DON’T like – so you will get you closer to finding out what you do like.  The feeling of accomplishment is like no other feeling in the world.

6. Put yourself first.

This is one that was the most difficult for me but it is the one that got me on a track to self-love, self-acceptance and self-confidence.  Reinvest the energy you used to spend thinking about other people into YOURSELF.  I see the eyes rolling and the thoughts of “I’m being selfish” flashing in your mind.  Believe it or not, when you put energy into yourself and become your first priority, you will be able to inspire and care for others.  I know it sounds crazy but it is true, trust me.

So, when those inner gremlins start to raise their nasty heads and have you doubting yourself – pick up your sword and FIGHT!  What are your best tips for gaining and keeping your self-confidence?

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Have a ThirtyOne-deful day!

 

Unclutter Your Life

Are You Being Seen?

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Sounds like a strange question, right?  Aren’t we are all seen by someone?   But are we really letting people “see us” – the true us or are we letting them see the face we put on because of who “we think” they want to see?

It is hard to let ourselves be seen. To open ourselves up and let go of the fear of judgment, the fear of failure, and that dreadful fear of what people will think of us.  It is important for us to let others SEE us because it frees us from the fears that are holding us back from showing our true awesomeness.  It lets our gifts shine through.  It STOMPS on those inner gremlins that make us think small.

Want to overcome those issues of being small?  It will take a little bit of work BUT it can be done.  I lived with not wanting to be seen for years.  I let my need to people-please keep me from sharing my gifts and talents.  That has changed over the last year or so and these are the steps that helped me:

Step #1. Know, really KNOW, that you are unbelievably awesome.

We need to build your self-confidence.  I know it is easier said then done, right?  I have been there.  If you aren’t there yet, just have faith that you are indeed awesome.  I BELIVE in you.  My favorite thing to do when I am feeling “less than” is to CELEBRATE my accomplishments – no matter how small.  It could be getting up in the morning and taking a shower.  Make a list of your strengths, gifts and talents.  Keep them handy so that you can act on them!  Set small doable goals and make sure you achieve them!

Step #2. Give yourself some compassion.

You know that we judge ourselves the hardest, right?  Give your self a break.  Every time you start to judge yourself, read your strengths and gifts.  Give yourself some love and space. It’s okay!  Be nice to YOU, you so deserve it!  This may take some practice but baby steps will help.  Practice a little self-care – a bubble bath, a cup of that “special” coffee or tea.  When you feel special, it will be easier to show yourself some compassion.

Step #3. Let go.

Yes, I am singing the words to FROZEN.  Do  you know how amazing it feels to “let go” of caring excessively about how others see you? OMG!  It is an amazing feeling and life changing.  When you realize that you are changing your behavior based on how someone else might see you, breathe…and tell yourself to let go. It’s so powerful.  We have very little control over how others see us.  If we let fear run our lives, we’re giving the fear and that person power over us.  Don’t you want to control your own life?

Wouldn’t you rather be uncomfortable for a few minutes then let Negative Nelly control the rest of your life?  How many of your dreams will never be reached?  How many people will miss out on your gifts and talents because of this fear?

 

 

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Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!