Hope Wissel

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!

Hope Wissel

Grow Your Self Confidence

Did you know 62% of all girls feel insecure about themselves?  How about 4 in 5 women have low self-esteem?  For some low self-esteem feels like a life sentence with no chance of escape.

Self Confidence by definition is realistic confidence in one’s own judgment, ability, power, etc.

With such a simple definition, why is is so hard at times to wrap our head around the idea?   I battle the inner gremlins of low self-esteem as well as a lack of self-confidence.  Honestly, I don’t know when it all started but I’m sure it goes back to those formative years in middle school.  I’ve learned (okay, so still learning some days), we each have our own unique story, and with help we can rebuild our life and rewrite our story.

The words self-esteem and self-confidence are usually interchangeable when we talk about our struggles but there is a distinct difference between the two:

Self Esteem is determined by whether you believe you’re worthy of respect from others

Self Confidence is whether you believe in yourself.

When we rebuild our confidence, we are actually retraining our brain to recognize our worth thereby increasing our self-esteem. Here are a few of my favorite tips which have helped me fight those nasty inner gremlins.

1. Dress for Success.

I am guilty of NOT dressing for success when my confidence is waining and my self-esteem is low.  How often are you worried about what others will think of you based on how you are dressed?  Feel like you are stuck in a rut? Battling with self-consciousness?  Take a minute to focus on your appearance. Scary, right?  When you feel good about how you look, your confidence will shine through.

Have a favorite outfit which always gets you compliments?  Wear it.  Need a hair cut?  Pamper yourself and get one. What makes you feel good?  It is a simple pedicure – go get one.  I’m not saying go on a spending spree, but you need to dress for success.  Use the things in your closet or check out a local thrift store for some great finds.  Working from home, I have found the sweats and no make up are an every day thing.  I find when I “dress” for work even at home with a little bit of makeup, I feel good.  When I feel good, I am confident.

2. Positive Thinking

I know I talk about it a lot but the truth is changing the way we think can change the outcomes in our life.  There are some amazing people out there who teach this – Dana Wilde at Train Your Brain; Eryka Peskin with her fierce cheerleading; and of course, Norman Vincent Peale in his book Positive Self Image or The Secret.

Negative thoughts bring more negative thoughts.  When you learn to shift your mindset, you gain the ability to see things in a new light, which in turn provides new alternatives and better outcomes.  Daily affirmations from Dana Wilde and The Secret have helped me to fight and win most days the battle with the inner gremlins.

3. Invest in others deeply

This one probably sounds the craziest right?  If you have low confidence and low self-esteem, how can you possibly get to know others and build a relationship with them?

By taking the focus off of you and putting it on them.  As you start getting to know someone else, asking questions beyond the surface they will see you are genuinely interested in them.  As we start to care for others helping them to feel seen and heard while building a rapport with them, we are letting our own light shine.

We talk about this a lot in direct sales but the truth is when I do it every day, I have gained confidence.  I started many years ago as a newly recovering addict who was helping individuals during the early years of the AIDS epidemic.  My focus was on helping to improve their quality of life and through it, I became an expert in my field.  Confident, letting my light shine.  Most days, I consider my work in direct sales the same way.  Helping others with organizing or gift giving or just feeling good about themselves.  When I focus on helping others instead of “needing sales”, my confidence sparkles.  As an introvert (yes, I really am), I know it can be hard so it is something I am aware of and practice being more open to receiving every day.

16830796_1645365192439826_81617413760659325_n

What is your best tip for boosting your confidence or has helped you to raise your self-esteem?  Share them with us…

Have  ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Unclutter Your Life

How Often Do You Say “I’m Sorry”?

16142225_10158214267640220_190293698090786954_nI have to be honest, I never really thought about how often I say this word, until someone flat out asked me “What are you sorry for?”  The truth was, I didn’t know why.  It had become a habit over the years as I dealt with my Adjustment Disorder and became a “people pleaser“.  I’m not talking about when you are truly sorry for something YOU did;  I’m talking about when we apologize for things we had no control over.  Be honest, I am not alone, right?

I started observing people around me and I noticed the word “sorry” is thrown around like wildfire, for the littlest things. But why do we do it?

As you can guess, women are more prone to over-apologizing than men. There are actually some valid reasons according to researchers.  The main reason is women are more attuned to other people’s feelings which leads us to apologize for circumstances out of our control.

If you feel like you are saying sorry too much and don’t know why, here are some tips I am using to help me stop!

#1 – Are you avoiding conflict?

Do you find yourself apologizing for not liking someone else’s point of view?  Are you worried the other person may be upset by your point of view so you instantly apologize?  Everyone is absolutely entitled to their own opinion and there is NO need to apologize.   

The proverbial people pleaser in me wants everyone to be happy.  Is it going to happen? NO!!! I have been practicing embracing my point of view and attempting to have an invigorating discussion. Since dealing with the memory issues of MS, these kinds of discussions are a struggle but debating on topics which interest me seem to stir the cobwebs which is a good thing.

I am big on writing, as if you couldn’t tell, so I have started writing down the answers to these three questions about saying sorry so much: #1 What is making me say sorry?; #2 – Why?; and #3 – Where does it keep happening?. Then I can figure out how to fix it?  This gives us a pattern so we can change our actions.

#2 Do you have self-image issues?

When I share my past and how I have struggled with a poor self-image for years people are shocked.  Despite years of counseling and life changes, those inner gremlins hide for awhile but they are never really gone forever.  Believe it or not, sometimes when we say sorry, it is a reflection on how we view ourself. OUCH!!

The more confidence we have in ourself, the more confidence we have in what comes out of our mouth.  When I am feeling confident, sorry is seldom a word I say EXCEPT when it is actually something I did and need to apologize for.  I have not found a magic wand to wave for instant confidence or believe me, I would be sharing it with everyone.   Working on your confidence and self-image will naturally stop you from apologizing for everything.  Take it from one who knows.

#3 Do words fly out faster than you think?

If you find yourself over-apologizing, try to figure out whether you actually did something (or said something) wrong.  If you are like me, words fly out of your mouth faster than you think.  The old saying “open mouth, insert foot” was written for me.  I am trying to step back,  slow down my thoughts and think before I say something.  I know, it is easier said than done sometimes.  What often happens is the way I express the thoughts instead of the actual words.  Something I meant as a joke, others take seriously.  Something I say seriously, others laugh out.  You get the picture, right?

If saying sorry has become second nature and is easily said – STOP yourself before the word comes out of your mouth.  Consider if what you are saying sorry for is actually something you need to say at all.  I admit, it will be difficult in the beginning, but it will come with time.

Remember, you are not alone, LOADS of people are like you. Myself included. The main thing is you deserve better, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it either.  We usually feel worse after, right?  I have been told for years I am my own worse enemy so it is time for us to join together to combat the need to say sorry?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Moving into a Better Measurement

Thank you AMY CARROLL for today’s message…john159

For a checklist-loving girl, there’s nothing quite as frustrating as feeling you’re getting nothing accomplished.

In fact, for much of my life, here’s how I processed my days: No check-marks. → No progress. → No worth.

I determined my value by what I produced. Consequently, I often bore the soul-crushing weight of my own disapproval. Times like:

When I used three-fourths of a day to feed and care for an infant without even accomplishing a shower.
When my toddlers dismantled the house faster than I could put it back together.
When I moved to a new place and the phone stopped ringing and my calendar remained empty.
Those periods were a struggle because when I didn’t do enough, I thought I wasn’t enough. I let my work define my value. Maybe you’ve been there too.

Young mom, you love your children madly, but life’s joy drains out of the holes you poke in yourself.

Single friend, you know there are upsides to singleness, but it feels like a trap that keeps you from building the future you’d prefer.

Newbie neighbor, instead of seeing new possibilities in your new home, you feel stuck in grieving the old one.

Sick sister, your body needs rest, but you feel like a failure as you lay on your bed.

But the saddest part happens when we start believing God views us with the same disappointment we view ourselves. After all, we even express our spiritual life in terms like “faith walk” and “journey,” which implies forward movement. We start to view Him as the One pushing us along and measuring us by our work — a divine Project Manager in the sky. That belief left me wrongly feeling like His laborer instead of His daughter … His friend.

In today’s key verse, John, the beloved disciple, records this instruction from Jesus: “As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love” (John 15:9). In this verse, the word “remain” can also be translated dwell orabide. Reflecting on these definitions made me realize how wrong my beliefs had been.

We want to move on, but Jesus invites us to move in.

Remain, abide and dwell — these words revealed how I evaluated progress and growth, and they helped me understand God’s approval in a new way. We don’t have to produce or create forward movement to earn God’s love. Instead, He asks us to move into … to settle … to be still in His love.

This idea changes everything. As a wise friend once told me, “You don’t work for God’s love. You rest in His love.”

God doesn’t measure our worth by our works. He establishes our worth by His love. Although I tend to calculate value by external things, God gauges value by internal things, and love is an internal work.

I invite you with the same invitation God extends to each of us: Remain in God’s love.

Move in all the pieces of your life. Every thought, emotion, gift and flaw.

Stay awhile.

As we say in the South, “Sit a spell!” In other words, dwell and bask in the love of God. You are worthy because of God’s gift of love, not the checks on your to-do list.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!