This week I want to talk about self shaming because of things you see either on social media, in person or on tv.
I have decided that that is just silliness.
Getting caught up in the shaming has impacted how I run my side hustle, which is being a Beachbody coach. I LOVE being a beachbody coach. I love their products and I really love their programs. I have been doing their programs for 5 years now. I workout because it helps my brain. I have WAY less anxiety when I exercise regularly.
I also like the side effect this has on my appearance. I have lost weight and I personally think I look damn good for someone who is turning 50 in 2 months. I like to eat right and for ME, that means I track my food, I use a scale (gasp) I take my measurements and I portion my food out. I also drink wine, coffee and eat cake and baked goods. I love a good chacuterie.
All of this is just fine by me. I have been journalling my food and it’s made me narrow down what food makes my body feel good and what doesn’t. I am happy to be losing weight and staying fit and feeling awesome. These tools help me.
Until I see things online and then the second guessing and self shaming would start. Saying to myself, I’m seeing all these posts that we shouldn’t measure food, I should throw away the scale. These are examples I see alot, but are not directed at one person, nor do I think those messages are negative at all!
What was happening when I was seeing these posts, was I would second guess my OWN journey and doubt what I knew was working for me. I cast doubt on my own passion! I said, well, I’m working on my mindset and mental health so I shouldn’t also want to lose weight because someone somewhere said it’s wrong.
Saying stuff like this to yourself is utter bullshit. Unless of course what you’re doing is putting you in some type of danger. You need to follow your path and be loud and proud! if the scale and portioning your food makes you binge, then don’t do it! If it helps, do that. If you are proud of your physical results, then share if you want!
I have made a concious decision to be loud and proud of what I’m about and the tools that work for me, because I know I can help some of the people. And the people that are not down with how I look at food and exercise can follow the other advice! Neither is wrong or more accurate than the other. It is always YOUR choice on how you want to live.
Shameless plug here:
If any of this resonates with you, and you’d like to like to join my group, let me know. I really hope today finds you well.
I’ve been working on my mindset for quite some time, even before Kayla’s passing. I have completely changed as a person. I’ve come a really long way. From being a super submissive housewife in a terrible marriage who had such bad anxiety attacks I would leave the grocery cart in the middle of the grocery store and run out, to the person I am today: Strong, confident, and able to speak up for myself.
I’ve done this through discovering and practiciing meditation, daily exercise, TONS of self help books, counselling, and surrounding myself with like minded individuals.
I had an interesting conversation this week with one of these people and I think we both had a bit of an aha moment. We have been on this mindset journey almost in parallel: we are just on the same page usually within weeks, months or days of each other to finding what is going to work.
We have known each other for years, like over 10. In that time, I have seen her shift from someone that could be seen as aggressive, and very reactive to a positive example of someone who is really trying to embrace the non reactive, live your truth kind of life.
Well, this week, she had an altercation of sorts with a stranger. And we were talking about how angry this person made her. Like you know when you hold onto that anger for HOURS after? When you think of all the smart comebacks you could have made? This was one of those. And to her credit, she really didn’t react to this person. And to ME, that’s growth for her. Like 10 years ago, this would have been a blow up. And this time, it wasn’t.
But, she kept coming back to self blame…saying, I thought I was past this, what is the lesson here. Because, when we are on this mindset journey and growing, we always try to see the lesson in everything. Sometimes it’s right there in your face, and sometimes, you need to hash it out with someone else in order to “get it”.
I thought about it for a few minutes, and then I said to her: We are human. We can’t be fucking zen 100% of the time. That was the lesson people. And I’m writing about it today because it’s important, and a big one.
We are human. We get angry. We get sad. We get disappointed when things don’t go our way. Even when we work so diligently on our mindset. Even when we meditate every day.
You can read all the self help books in the world, and attend every motivational seminar there is but at the end of the day, you will still be a human being with emotions.
Where the true growth comes, is recognizing our feelings. Taking a few minutes to step back and acknowledging where we are at. And how we CHOOSE to react. Or feel.
This is growth friends.
I will leave you with that for this week, try to see how far you’ve come when you have these moments.
Do you believe you are worthy of happy relationships? A fit and beautiful body? Wealth?
Most of us will say yes, of course we do. But deep down do we really? Does your inner dialogue support this?
I’m still working through You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay and it’s been giving me so many “ah-ha” moments that I felt compelled to share. That and a follower shared their breakthrough experience with this very thing as well this week.
Hear me out…what are the beliefs about relationships we were brought up to believe? Are some of them ‘Everyone always leaves in the end” “I don’t know why you love me so much”?
What do we tell ourselves when we gain a few pounds? Do we say “I can’t get any lower than xx number of pounds, I’m so out of shape.” “I’m just meant to be big” “My body hates me”
What do we say about money and personal finances? Do we feel that we should always be broke? Do we tell ourselves things like “I’m not meant to be rich” “Easy come, easy go”, “I’ll never get ahead financially”.
It’s the ingrained things I am talking about here. If someone treats us poorly, do we think to ourselves, well, I was in a bad mood and was cranky so I earned that.
Everyone knows at least one person who has that life that never goes their way. There is ALWAYS something going on with them, some problem. Bring them to mind for a second. What sorts of things do they say about their life? Even if they come across as positive, what are the words they are using? If someone offers help, do they say they don’t deserve it? If they come into some money to help financially, do they say, easy come, easy go? If things are looking up, do they say, it’s only a matter of time before something happens to ruin this “lucky streak”?
I knew someone that told me they had the worst luck. And guess what? She really did. She said it on repeat to anyone that would listen. Maybe if she just turned it around and said, you know what, I have had some setbacks but now I have turned the corner, I guarantee you, her bad luck would have been the opposite.
I could go on and on and on with examples. What we think and say become truth. Even the seemingly harmless beliefs we were raised with can have an impact.
Whatever you think, you create. Think about that for a minute. Then write down 5 things you think on a regular basis about your life. Be honest, are those thoughts creating the reality you want to live?
Some of mine over the years:
My body won’t go below xx pounds
Everyone else comes first
I will never be a successful entrepreneur
I’m too busy to enjoy (insert activity here)
I may not have alot of extra money but my bills are paid
These words will absolutely create your reality. Trust me. Take some more time to determine how you can turn this wording around to create the most positive outcome. Don’t be shy! There is enough abundance for all. I am working on this myself and just now at almost 50 years old understanding that I can change how I think and therefore what I create in my life.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you think we create our own reality through our internal thoughts and word choices?
I made a promise to myself when I started this blog that I wanted it to be 2 things:
1. True to myself and followers
2. That my words would help at least one person.
I know I’m achieving the latter based on feedback and comments and that makes me so happy!
This brings me to the first. I have been very honest and open thus far and that brings me to today’s post. So here we go.
I have done a lot of work on my attitude and mentality over the years. This does not mean that I don’t have days where I backslide a little into old habits and thoughts. We are always a work in progress and always will be. That is why we are all here isn’t it? To learn and evolve.
This week, I talked negatively about someone else. Like really not nice at all. Immediately after, I felt-icky. And immediately began to do a few things.
I started internally berating myself
I started having anxiety that this person would find out
I started asking myself how I could ‘fix’ this
I wallowed in that shit for a few hours. But here is where the knowledge that I am making mental progress(for lack of a better term or should I say evolving? let me know). I knocked that shit off.
Instead of being incredibly stressed out and mean, I asked myself why I felt the need to say those things? What in this other person that I was bitching about did I dislike about myself? Why did I feel like it was ok to spew this poisonous bullshit? And I sat with that for a bit. That is where the work really is guys…and this is how we know we are “evolving”.
We recognize when we are doing something that is not conducive to the person we want to be, or that’s against the attititude we choose to live by and we do something about it. I challenge you to follow this process yourself the next time you catch yourself in the act of unkindness. Ask the questions, what do I see in this person I dislike in myself? Why do I feel the need to be unkind in this moment . Let’s make the world a better place by changing our mindsets, trust me, positivity is contagious.
I am not going to tell you what the situation was or the details about myself that I came up with, some stuff has to stay personal to me. But…I did ask my Angels this morning how to move forward in this situation, and this is what they responded with.
Needless to say, I am choosing to forgive myself, and move on.
I hope this finds you well, and that you may find this information helpful in your own personal journey to mental evolution (I like that word!).
On a recent road trip, I started thinking about what part of these excursions I focus more on, the journey or the destination.
Most of the time, I am the passenger, which affords me the luxury of casually noting the scenery as we are on our way to wherever we are headed that day. I notice beautiful landscapes, farms, amazing buildings, the clouds…the list goes on and on. More often than not, I enjoy this peaceful part of the journey more than the actual destination.
Other people, perhaps because they are the driver, are simply focused on getting from point A to point B, never really taking time to enjoy the journey and missing out on so much beauty.
Oftentimes, when we are out on these little roadtrips, I see cool little places along the way and think, that would be awesome to stop at. But then I think about timelines and such and understand that stopping along the way would jeapordize our opportunity to get to our actual destination.
This got me thinking about how this can be applied to life in general. Are we so focused on the destination that we miss out on the beautiful sights along the way?
How many little moments are we glossing over more focused on the end result? How many little side paths on a trail have we missed out on? What are missing on these short detours?
In life, we can attempt to take a straight path from A to B however, the universe will usually force us to either shift directions entirely or take a longer journey to get there aka make us Wend our Way.
Let’s try this week to keep these thoughts front of mind. When you’re out for that walk, take the side path and see where it takes you. You never know what that reward will be. Rather than getting frustrated, let’s take a moment to look around and see what’s in front of us that we can appreciate. I am right along there with you for that journey.
Let me know…are you more of a destination person or one that enjoys the journey? I’m trying every day to remembet to be the latter.
This week I want to talk aboout 2 things I practice and really believe in. One I have been practicing conciously for quite some time now and the other I am new to fully embracing and applying the concepts to.
Practicing gratitude is something that has helped me through alot of tough times. It’s not always easy to do and I’ve been through times where I really felt I had NOTHING to be grateful for. In reality though, if you’re breathing, then there is at least one thing to be grateful for. When Kayla passed, I still followed this practice and it was hard. I look back on the entries to my gratitude journal then and it was all based on the time I got to spend with Kayla, the fact we had Elena in our lives and the support of my family. It was all BIG stuff to be grateful for. I found this practice something that helped me to shed a bit of light on a really dark time. It showed me that I still had a reason to be around. I still had reasons to get up in the morning and breathe. If you’re having a hard time with thinking of things to be grateful for, you can start off with little things, it doesn’t have to be super deep. Things like, I am super grateful for this cup of coffee, because it gives me a kick start to my day and allows me to feel human. Finding a few things daily to be grateful for is especially important in tough times, like the one we are all currently living in.
There are all different methods of practicing gratitude and different times of the day that people do this. None of which are better than the other. There are journals to prompt you in the morning and evening, there are daily planners that incorporate writing things you’re grateful for when you plan your day, apps, websites, books, videos-you name it, there’s always a lot of differing opinions and methodologies out there. For me personally, I choose to do the following these days:
I wake up and try to think of 1 thing I am grateful for
I have my coffee and breakfast
I meditate for at least 10 minutes
I either use my calm app to write 3 things I am grateful for or use my gratitude journal(it depends on the month, I am currently going between the two to decide which I prefer)
That’s it! It’s not groundbreaking. I am not doing anything super crazy. The gratitude piece takes me anywhere between 30 seconds and 10 minutes, Some days it’s easy, and others it’s hard.
What I am learning though as I wend my way to an enlightened mind and spirit, is that practicing gratitude is the foundation for the my next practice, which I have only recently gotten serious about which is Affirmations.
I mentioned last week that I was rereading You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. This book is amazing if you are looking to take your spiritual self and healing your mind to the next level. It really is a book that talks about how you speak to yourself and what that creates in your life. Alot of the times, you don’t even realize the things that you say and how it is impacting the path your life takes.
Let’s look at this a bit deeper. Think about how you perceive yourself. You think, I am overweight. I don’t like my freckles, I don’t have time to meditate. I am broke. My car sucks. I hate my job. You wake up in the morning and think well, here goes another shitty day.
How do you think your days will go if you think this way? You create your own reality. A favorite quote from Louise Hay goes like this “A thought is just a thought, and a thought can be changed” Think about that for a second. YOU control your thoughts. Nobody else does, just you. Nobody else even hears your thoughts so you can THINK WHATEVER YOU WANT. What???? Holy game changer guys. Think about that. You can tell yourself anything. That means that,..if you create your own reality by telling yourself your own thoughts that nobody else can hear….then you can create the life that you want by changing how you think.
So how can we change our thoughts? First of all, as with anything, it’s going to take time. It’s creating a habit, and you’ll need to work at it just like you would with changing any habit.
So let’s think of that self perception. I am overweight. How can you change that thought to better serve you? Would you tell a friend hey you’re fat? NO! So why would you talk to yourself that way???? Instead, we can think, I love this body. This body is working so hard to carry me around every day. This beautiful body is what is helping me to exercise so that I can live a long and healthy life. How much better does this sound?
What about the thought when you wake up? Here goes another shitty day…if you think that, how do you think your day will go? You guessed it, it’s going to be shitty because you thought that, and therefore that is what you created. So instead, let’s think this, Here I am, ready to start another day. It’s a clean slate and everything is going to go so well for me today. I am open to all the lessons and experiences this day will bring to me. I can’t wait to see what is in store. This is going to create a different reality for you, and it’s going to change your mindset for the day.
I am not delusional. These things do work if you practice them. We are all here on earth for a limited time. Why would we choose to live it in a way that lends to a miserable existence? What is the point of that? We are all works in progress. Let’s make a pact to at least try. I challenge you to read the book I mentioned and to start or continue your gratitude practice.
It will change your life. It has definately changed mine.
This past weekend was the Canadian Thanksgiving. It’s long been my favorite holiday. It’s a holiday with no monetary expectations. You hang out with family and friends, reflect on what you’re thankful for and eat a delicious meal. It’s right up my mindset alley.
This year was different for many of us, we were missing people at the table and it was just not the same.
This is what every holiday/family event has been like since Kayla’s been gone. Nothing is the same.
We love to entertain, to have the house full of people and it’s usually loud. We still do that(well pre covid anyway) but there’s the empty chair. It’s still fun to be with everyone but, like everyone’s celebrations this year, there’s something missing.
So what do you do to get through?
First of all, you need to change your perspective. We aren’t getting through. It’s a time to enjoy those that are still here with us. It’s a time to reflect on being thankful for all the fun times you had pre-grief with your people/person that is no longer physically here.
You also need to talk about it. You need to speak the person’s name and say you wish they were there. It’s ok to do that. Don’t worry about bringing everyone down because, if you keep it inside, you’ll keep them all down ANYWAY.
If you’re that friend and family member that’s been shying away because you don’t know what to say when someone is grieving on a holiday, here is some advice:
Ask us how we are feeling. Don’t worry you won’t “remind us” of our loss. It’s always there.
Say the person’s name. I’m sure you miss that special loved one too.
Don’t try to “fix” us. Just listen to what we have to say. Don’t give us advice or platitudes. Don’t tell us that the person that’s gone would want us to enjoy Thanksgiving. Just say, I support you however you need today.
So this past Thanksgiving you may have gotten a little bit of an idea of what a grieving persons holidays are like. So how do I manage them?
As I get more intimately familiar with my grief, I rely more and more on my tools. I meditate, I exercise, I make sure I feed my body properly so I have the energy to keep myself in a proper mindset.
I practice gratitude believe it or not. Daily gratitude reflections have really helped me even through the days that I struggled to find one thing to be grateful for.
I walk. I go to the forest 😊 and I do some birdwatching because that calms me down.
I see my grandsons because they bring me a ton of joy.
But I don’t push Kayla from my mind in all of this. In these times, I reflect on many memories of Kayla while I’m doing these activities and it brings me back. It gives me happiness to think of her.
So, if you’re grieving it’s my hope that my words today have helped you. And if you’re that supportive friend or family member, thank you on behalf of all of us.
As the final official entry about my toolbox I was going to just talk about books I leaned on, however it turned into more than that. These things all helped me and my hope is this helps you find your own tools for your toolbox.
I was my own research assistant and others reached out and shared their tools. Some of the support I’ve gotten over the years came from the most unexpected places. Like the acquaintance I have that gave me the name of an amazing peer counsellor.
Like I said, the universe provided me with my peer counsellor C. She was recommended by someone who had her own grief and incredibly difficult loss. Through C, I ended up working with BFO(Bereaved Families of Ontario) and going to weekly peer counselling group sessions. We named ourselves the Mighty Mom’s. We cried, we shared, we laughed when other people would think it was inappropriate to be laughing. It was a safe space to get the shit out. That group helped me more than anyone will ever appreciate. I cannot say enough about this service and this organization. If you’re ever in need of grief counselling and I pray you don’t… definitely look them up here.
I said before I called my EAP(employee assistance program) at work and did email counselling. While it was a start to keep me from entirely losing my shit, it absolutely was not enough for me. BUT…they sent me a package about grief. Most of it was admittedly total bullshit written by some psychologist somewhere that’s never had a loss in their life…however, there was a book in there called The Grief Recovery Handbook. I scoffed at the title because like come on..this book though, it covers all types of grief (something I will be blogging about soon) and has activities to help you deal with your shit. I have read it through it twice and completed the activities, recommended it and leant it out to others when they needed it. This little purple book was a godsend to me and was an absolute turning point in helping with my experience with grief, not just from the loss of Kayla, but past losses too.
Books have been huge for me, not just post loss but in general over the course of my adult life..I am currently working through You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay because well, there’s still stuff I need to work through. This is another amazing tool and again, I highly recommend it. I’ll do a full post on this book when I’m done.
I did also join a few Facebook groups for grieving parents. I am going to say it and I hope I don’t offend anyone reading but they didn’t help me. I felt these parents’ pain too greatly and if I’m being honest, it was a negative experience. There was a lot of people flopping around refusing to get out of bed because their pain was too great for them to bear and I GOT IT, I really did, but I was so engrossed in my own shit it made me angry. Like so angry that people weren’t willing to get up. Right or wrong, that was how I felt…and it was alot of the “misery loves company” type of experience and I am just not about that. Once I figured out that this was making me feel worse rather than better, I jumped out of all of the groups and did more of my own thing.
So all these things have helped me get where I am today: the workouts, the healthy eating, the meditation, counselling, books etc…but I am and always will be continuing to add to my toolbox as my grief evolves. It’s never going to go away. I will never be fully “healed”. It doesn’t work that way. What will continue as life goes on for me is that as I add these tools and wend my way through my grief, is that I will keep evolving spiritually. Because that is what grief really is…it’s a spiritual evolution thing. That’s my take on it so far anyway. We will save that for another post though.
Hopefully, this is helpful to someone out there.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone, whatever that looks like for you in these crazy times.
That saying keeps popping in my head whenever I hear someone talk shit about 2020.
I don’t disagree that this year has been tough for many people. It’s seen us isolate away from family, friends and coworkers, even therapists and doctors. People that needed surgery are on a waiting list and if you need a driver’s test… you’re going to have to wait a long ass time in line. We have had to adapt to working from home, wear masks everywhere (we even need them to put out garbage and check the mail in our building). We’ve learned to stand in line to shop for necessities. Some have been out of work since March and are struggling. And this isn’t just in Canada, it’s around the world.
In Canada, it could be worse. Yep, I said it. It could be. We are asked to stay home when possible, we have food and our government is doing it’s best to support those that are struggling. They’re trying to support businesses and we have our awesome healthcare system.
I’m recapping the obvious because I want to ensure we get the point. Life can always get worse. 2016 was a shitty year for me so I wished it away. 2017 was gonna be better. It was going to be “my year”. I was so excited to move on and alot of people echoed that sentiment at the time.
Turns out..2017 got worse for me. Like life altering, bone shakingly, never back to that person kind of worse. That’s the year we lost Kayla. Most of that year is a black thick dense muddy fog for me and the rest of my family.
So therein lies the point of what I am trying to get across. Let’s stop wishing away 2020 because holy crap people we have no idea what the future holds. Hell, Trump could get RE ELECTED. The virus could get even worse…a different pandemic could happen. We. Just. Don’t. Know.
So…now that I’ve said all this…let’s sit back and see what we can take from 2020 so far.
we have learned to appreciate our family so much more
we have come to understand what a privilege it is to have access to a wide variety of food
we appreciate our freedom to just run out for a coffee or drinks with friends
we appreciate our healthcare system
I could go on and on. For me personally, I appreciate my resilience and my ability to adapt to change. I’m thankful that I have my workouts still because without them my mental state would have been terrible. I am thankful that I have my family and an awesome quarantine buddy in Mike. I am so glad I started meditating pre pandemic because that’s helped me a ton. But above all else… isolation gave me a gift.
It gave me an opportunity to take a step back and let my grief happen. I got to slow down and spend some time with myself and my brain. Believe it or not…the lockdown was a blessing for me. It hit my reset button and I am super thankful for that.
So when you start to wish away the hours, days, months and years my hope for you all is that you take a step back and think of what you’re learning from your present situation. I hope this post finds you well.
I wrote the below note in November of 2017. It captures how I felt then and still how I feel today.
It begins the same as every day, a gentle ocean wave- ever present, lapping at your feet. It’s there, gently ebbing and flowing, noticeable, but not unbearable. Then, out of nowhere, the wind picks up, the sky begins to darken. You get a shiver of coolness as the temperature drops. Waves get bigger, sometimes rapidly, until the biggest tidal wave appears and crashes over you, engulfing you, drowning you until you can’t breathe and beg for mercy. As quickly as it appeared, it vanishes. Your breath slowly returns to normal as the waves begin to diminish until they return back to the daily, gentle, bearable lapping. The sun begins to shine again. You acknowledge the waves and await the next tidal wave’s appearance.
I am sharing this today because 3 and a half years later…I am still here.
I want everyone to know that grief doesn’t go away, it doesn’t lessen and it doesn’t hurt any less. It just becomes a part of you. What changes is how you handle it. How you CHOOSE to handle it. Sometimes, I allow it to envelope me and I retreat into myself and let it impact my moods, my motivation and my health. Sometimes, I fight it and make sure I am taking care of my emotional well being by exercising, meditation and talking to my family and friends. All of this is normal and allowed.
Again, you don’t get to choose when this shows up. You DO get to choose the direction you’re going to take with it.
Here are some things that work for me. Take what resonates with YOU.
•Move your body: Get sweaty.
•Go for a walk in nature
•Yell in a pillow
•Make sure you’re focusing on fueling your body appropriately with healthy food
•Get enough sleep: Even if you need a natural sleep aid to help
•Talk to someone
•Write in a journal
•Sign up for counselling-there are all kinds of free groups out there, google is your friend