Hope Wissel, Recovery

How To Sparkle

sparkle

 

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!

Woohoo Wednesday

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.

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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!