Comfortable in my own skin (and it only took me 30 years to do it)

A few years ago I used to co-facilitate a  workshop for pre adolescent girls. The themes of  the workshop  focused on body image, and increasing self-esteem. Bi weekly my co-facilitator and I would have sessions with these girls to assist them with  becoming comfortable with themselves, and learning how to see themselves as beautiful both inside and out. During one of our sessions we began the group by handing each of the girls a mirror and, asked them to look into the mirror while telling themselves that they were beautiful.  None of the girls were able to do this task. They were not able to say “I am beautiful”. The girls told me if they said that then they would sound conceited, and they didn’t want to come off as conceited. I gave them permission to be as conceited  as they wanted. They continued to struggle. We were in a room with nine girls aged 11-13, not one of them were able to stand up, look in a mirror, and tell themselves that they were beautiful.

When is it acceptable for us to be comfortable in our own skin?

Now that I am 30, I can safely say to myself that I Am Beautiful. I wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and think to myself, hey I look pretty cute. Am I being conceited? Some people might think so. But honestly, I don’t even care. As long as I am happy with me, my whole self, inside and out, what other people think is a secondary notion that spends little time in my mind.

Now that I am 30, I am at peace with myself. To be comfortable with myself goes far beyond the way I look in the mirror. I am a girl, so some days I will have my “fat days”, or my “I look like a hot mess” days, but even on those days I will be comfortable with who I am. This is only possible because I have found a sense of inner peace. I have calmed down from over thinking what everyone else expects of me, and what everyone else wants me to be. What is the sense of working so hard to please everyone else, when I am not putting any energy into pleasing myself? I have chosen to please myself first. If others do not agree, then its a great thing that this is my life. I can only be affected by those things that I allow to affect me. If it is positive then bring it on! If it is negative, well then it can stay far far away from me.

Now that I am 30, I choose to be in control.  I am in control of what happens in my life. At 30 I am at the most mentally, physically, and spiritually stable point in my life. I know how to control my moods, I am aware of my body’s emotional regulation so I do  not feel like a crazy person. I can run faster and longer than ever before, exercise has become a daily fixture in my life, and my body has the strength to overcome many physical challenges because of its constant conditioning. I am doing things that I have never done before, like actually sign up for races (who knew I would be doing that at 30?). I look forward to physical challenges, sweat is great, and exercise pain is my new best friend.  I am spiritually ready for what God has in store for me. Years ago I was far from ready for what God had planned for me. God knows exactly what he is doing, walking by faith, I will let him take the lead. With God and balance I will continue to be just fine.

Now that I am 30, I just like being me. I will always say it, I am a little bit different. I am slightly to the left, I am clumsy, I hesitate to wear white because I know something will spill on it. I hate getting my hair and nails done because I think it takes too long to finish, and I dislike shopping because I hate waiting in lines. Some days I never know if I’m coming or going, and I work best when I can just wing it. That is me. I laugh at my own jokes, and I can easily laugh at myself for doing something silly. I have a ton of faults, and I love them all. I am a consistent marcher to the beat of my own drum, and my beat sure does sound damn good (well in my head). I can only be me. And finally, I have fallen so deep in love with me!

So hopefully now it is acceptable for me to be comfortable in my own skin. Because if not, I don’t have another 30 years to waste on being someone else.

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences.

 

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P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens)

prayer..Pray Until Something Happens. I remember seeing that somewhere (probably on a  Facebook status), but it is a line that has been stuck in my mind recently.

Recently I have been undergoing severe writer’s block. I have been going through a period of having ideas to write about, thoughts about what I want to say, yet I am missing the words to express these thoughts. My mind is not connecting properly. It is a frustrating experience, you ever want to speak on something but cannot find the right words to say it. I feel like that now. I attribute that feeling to a period of overwhelm. I like to describe it as brain overload. Some days I feel like my brain is about to explode. Too much information, but the inability to disseminate the information properly. The outcome, an inner explosion of meaningless thoughts. So once again I come to a point where I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to change it so I take the easy route I PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens).

I am a firm believer of the power of prayer, if you are not that’s fine.  I wont force you to pray or force you to believe in a higher power. I believe in the power of prayer because it has worked for me. Now no I haven’t had a life changing miracle moment where I am suddenly healed from a deathly illness, but I have had small moments where prayer has kept me going in life. When I get scared, I pray, when I feel angry, I pray, and when I feel like my life is lost and I don’t know what direction to turn, I pray. I keep praying because I know something will happen. I don’t feel alone anymore, God takes the burden with each prayer so I am assured that something is happening.

In my career, some days I feel overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by confusion and lack of immediate thought. I am a Therapist, I find people look to me for answers. Most days I don’t have an answer. The constant interaction with clients who suffer from strong feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts is emotionally draining. Clients look to me for help, they look to me to make it better. I pray that I am able to do that. But some days I feel like I can’t do it, I start to feel as if  I have given all my positive energy away to clients and I have nothing left for myself. The burden has then caught up to me. I want to crawl in between the sheets of my bed, put the comforter over my head and disappear. When I get the feeling of wanting to go away, I have to find just a small amount of energy deep down inside to keep going and PUSH. In order to PUSH not much energy is required, so it is simple. To keep going and believing takes a leap of faith, a faith that has to stay constant for something to happen. I then get back to finding me.

Eventually I get up. I wipe the problems of others off me. I keep going. I find my energy and eventually I am better able to  help my clients to keep going. I often find myself asking them what helps them to keep going, and yes they usually have a response. Many of them have faith that it will get better, they have the belief that life will always get better. So no matter how bad it seems, no matter how stuck you are in the moment, and no matter how overwhelming life may get, if you are able to just PUSH, God is already working to make something happen.

 

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

Life Happens: Be ready for the changes

Life happens quick, watch out for the changes.

In a week 2011 will be over. What the heck happened to the last 365 days? I am having a hard time grasping the fact that it is already December 24, 2011. I feel like I missed something. Maybe an entire year of life.

I  feel as if  I grew a lot this year. Even though I did not have any major life changing accomplishments in 2011, I feel vastly different from this time last year. Recently, I have had an immense feeling of excitement, and inspiration. Normally I would blame that feeling on the super large amount of caffeine I intake each day, or  possibly a sudden passing moment of mania because I have labeled myself as having bipolar moments every so often. But no, this time the excitement is different. I feel like I am ready for what’s next. Does that mean I am ready for 2012? Maybe. As with every year-end we often say, “next year is going to be my year”.  Or the cliched, “next year is going to different”.  I am not hoping for so much to change, however, I have a feeling that 2012 will be my breakout year.

In therapy, we often talk about stages of change with clients while doing motivational interviewing.  The stages go from  pre-contemplation, to contemplation, to preparation, to action, to maintenance, to relapse (well its an addiction counseling modeling actually, hence the relapse), but I always think that the concept of the model can be translated to any change in life. Over the past few years I have been going through my cycle of change, and I would say from 2010-2011 I moved from contemplation to preparation (everything before that was pre-contemplation). In 2012 I will be ready for action. I am ready to act on the ideas that have been processing in my mind, follow my path, and show the world my purpose. Does this sound a little manic? Well yeah maybe, but if you are going to have a dream, be sure to make that dream big.

Even though I did little in 2011, I grew a lot. It’s funny because when I think about the last three years since I have been in Hawaii, I feel like I grew up more than I have in my entire life. Excuse me while I sound a bit cheesy, but I have truly gained understanding and clarity. With insight comes a sense of peace, and life will be just fine. Everyone I have met has had an impact on my life, and I am finally starting to realize why I needed to be where I am, why I needed to meet the people who have entered my life, and what I am capable of doing next. The future used to scare me, now I wake up excited to enjoy the present.  No one can predict life, it is filled with uncertainty. The uncertainty makes it all the more interesting.

Normally I would end the year by feeling sad that another year has passed me by, I would want time to slow down. I will end 2011 with acceptance that the year is coming to a close, grateful for all that I have learned, and excited that I am fully prepared for whatever may come my way.

Life changes quick, be prepared for the changes.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

I’m ready to run a marathon! Well maybe one day I will be ready

Scene from Honolulu Marathon
Image by El Hombre via Flickr

Yesterday was the Honolulu marathon. Did I run? Nope. Things I know about myself: long distance running is not for me, and I would not be too happy with marathon blisters on my feet. However, with all the pre marathon excitement and anticipation I almost had a small inkling of a desire to actually go for a 26.2 mile run. But yeah, that just did not happen.

When I was living in New York every first Sunday of November,  I would watch the New York City marathon on television and always think to myself, next year I am going to run in that marathon. It looks fun rather from afar. All the people, the crowds cheering, running through the city borough by borough. I would say to myself “oh what fun, I can’t wait to do that next year”.  Then the following day would come, and of course I would forget all about it.

When I lived in New York I wasn’t really a runner. It was cold outside for half the year, so I wouldn’t dare run outside, and getting on a treadmill excessively was a bore after a while. So needless to say, running was not a high priority activity for me.  Running an entire 26.2 in one day would be something that I would continue to only dream about.

Since I have been in Honolulu I have been running on a more consistent basis. Honestly, I have no excuse not to run. The weather is perfect, there are plenty of areas to go running, and everyone is doing it (as they say when in Rome, do as the Romans do). I have become actually pretty good at running, not great, but a far better runner than my New York self. I can run miles now, and when I completed the Great Aloha Run, I realized that I could actually run 8  full miles. Now if only I could add on 18.2 miles to that then I would be prepared to complete a marathon.

It amazes me that I am 29 and finally in the best athletic shape of my life, I wonder where all this energy to stay in shape was when I was 16. But oh well, better now than never. My hope is to be in even better shape at 30, and maybe next year the thought of doing a marathon in either New York or Honolulu can go from being a distant pipe dream to an actual reality! And why not, I already know that I have some athletic capability. If I keep going I will be able to have the endurance to go longer, stronger, harder, faster, and suddenly hit that 26.2 mile wall, which I must say will make my inner 16-year-old self very proud.

I am not the best runner. I get bored with running. I never get that runner’s high that so many people talk about. When I run I don’t stop because I am tired, or my legs are giving out, I stop because my mind has taken over and hit the territory of boredom.  How do I get over that? I know running is mostly mental, I need to keep my mind on track so I can go for that long distance run.

Any good ideas on how to get to the land of runner’s high so I could just zone out and run?

English: Marathon de New-York : Verrazano Bridge
Image via Wikipedia

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

You are powerful beyond measure, now just believe it

Marriane Williamson states : “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.”

Those words are inspiring, yet so scary. To think “I AM POWERFUL BEYOND MEASURE.” What a frightening thought. I write this as I enter into a new stage of life. One that will require some creative risks, but also one that can lead me on a path to a better concept of my success. However, when I think of what I am able to accomplish I hesitate to move forward. I doubt my own abilities. I become too stuck to try, and fear the mistakes along the way. Then I say, what’s the point of living if you’re not going to make mistakes. Without those mistakes there is no room to grow. I told myself a long time ago that I want to live. I want to live my life, my best life. Currently I am standing in my own way.

“Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” I find myself reciting that sentence in my head throughout each second of the day. It is a constant reminder that God has a plan that is so much greater than the plan I have for myself. I am gifted, I am talented. I fear my own talents. With fear I am not living.

To grow you must  leap, to live you must not be afraid to fly. The saying “To fail is not to try”, also comes to me. My light shines bright, my task: follow it and become that powerful being that is my purpose.

 

Positive thoughts, Positive energy, Positive experiences

 

29 and counting part 2

 

Presently 6 months and 28 days away from 30!              

 

Photo courtesy of Astrid London

Something happens as you get older.  Time starts to fade, and outsiders are suddenly more interested in your personal life than they really should be. Lately I have noticed that more and more people actually have expectations for where I should be in my life. Not career wise because they see that I love my job, and I am independent enough to support myself, but they have a strong interest in my love life. I don’t think I care as much about my own love life as other people do. Why do they care so much? Sometimes I wonder what is so wrong with their own life that they seem to take so much time caring about mine. Yeah, I do go against the grain. I have never been a normal chick anyway. I prefer to march to the beat of my own drum, that way I don’t have to adjust to a new beat when I hate the song anyway. I live my life my way, and it works for me.

In my pre-phase for 30, I already go into each week knowing that at least three people are going to ask me if I am married, do I have a boyfriend, or do I have kids. The follow-up question being, why not? With a comment of, “you are so pretty”.  I have been asked these questions so much that the answers no to all of them, and it just hasn’t happened,  roll off my tongue in the same manner as if someone were to ask me my first name.

As I get older societal expectations grow. Some days it can be overwhelming. In true form, I ignore them. Independence is an anomaly, and to be connected to something, or someone is a 30 something  must have.

I on the other hand look at the glass half full. News flash #1: It is not hard to get married. Believe it or not there are men who want to get married. So sure I could have been married by now.  Would I have been happy? Probably not. Marriage does not guarantee love or happiness. So where would that leave me, 7 months away from 30 and possibly on the road to my first divorce. Yeah, I’ll pass on that one. 30 and divorced does not sound like much fun.

The subject of kids. Yeah, I guess I want them one day. News flash #2, It is not hard to make a baby! So sure I could have had kids by now. My life plan just worked out a little bit differently.  I have more to learn about myself before kids enters the plan.  I love kids, but I also love returning them back to their parents after a few hours.

At 30 people may wonder more than ever when I will settle down, and adjust to what is expected of me. Not sure.  But, I know that I am just where I need to be in life and so life is good.

A daily reminder to myself,  in actuality I am happy where I am at. I went through a lot to get here, so why not enjoy the moment. Five years ago the thought of being able to watch a sunset in Waikiki was an impossible dream that would never happen. Today it is my reality. My life did not happen by accident, it comes with purpose.

A  good friend of mine always tells me not to allow someone to enter my life who is going to take away my happiness. If I allow myself to fall to the pressures of society before the time is right, the end result may be a sacrifice of my happiness. Today I choose to own my happy.

 

To be continued…

 

Photo courtesy of Astrid London