Your inner critic

A few months ago I listened to a podcast that talked about your inner critic… and it surprised me, I never really put a name to the voice in my head, the doubter, the naysayer…I never realized that the voice was criticizing my thoughts and actions. Nearly all of us have this voice, this inner monologue that tells us “you are not enough, so why even try”.

What has your inner critic stopped you from doing? What risks has it saved you from… or what paths has it stopped you from pursuing? What clothes has that voice told you don’t fit you right? Or made you feel like you need to lose weight, gain weight or go to the gym? Now I am not saying an inner critic is a bad thing, it brings balance to your mind, in some ways it keeps you safe… but when your inner critic is ruling your mind 90% of the time, you aren’t living, you are hiding.

That’s the thing with your inner critic, they know you better than anyone, they can push those buttons that make you feel ashamed, scared, weak and worthless… and most of the time they don’t hold it back. It wares you don’t, it exhausts you and before you know it, you feel like that inner critic is talking the truth. But are they? Or are they just bullying you? If they were a separate person who talked to you like that, you wouldn’t answer the phone when they called or open the door when they knocked… the way things that your inner critic can treat you, it a way that you would never EVER treat someone else… so I ask you this, why do you talk to yourself that way?

The podcast said we should try talking to ourselves how we talk to our best friend, that person who we love no matter what they have been through… this through me off, I would never talk to my best friend how I talk to myself. But that’s the point isn’t it… kindness, support, love and friendship… that’s how we should talk to ourselves. If you can switch your mindset and lead with a voice that they called your “best friend” voice, you would take more chances, make more decisions to better yourself and support yourself. It’s tough, trust me… with everything going on in the world negative does feel like it rules, but you can control your inner critic, you can put them in check and let your “best friend” speak up.

I encourage you to try it, when you feel your inner critic is ruling your mind, stop and think how would my best friend voice respond. With love.

Don’t put yourself down. There are plenty of people out there who will judge you, who will put you down… and who will criticize you. Don’t do that to yourself.

Take risks, make choices to make you happy.

Life is always worth exploring.

Food Addiction, negative self talk and the insecurities that follow.

Addiction is a scary word…and most think addiction is only for drugs and alcohol but in reality you can be addicted to So many things.

What I have recently realized is that i have an addiction to food. I overeat when I am sad, when I am happy, when I am stressed or lonely. Food has always offered me comfort, it has always been there and it was always available twenty four seven.

I have never said these words out loud or typed them out, but this is it…. this is my addiction. I know some will say it’s not as severe as alcohol or drugs… but weight fluctuation and terrible food intake can lead to so many other long term issues.

After some reflection on my childhood years I pin pointed where a lot of my self esteem issues spawned from and it was food related… whether it was my grandmother commenting on my second helping of dessert, my grandfather pointing out I had put weight on… or closer to home, my brother calling me fatso for most of my preteen-teenage years. Or more recently in a past romantic relationship being told “oh if you lost weight you would be hot”.

I was always… shall we say…well rounded physically than my brother was. Looking back those memories of him name calling still hurt me now which is Insane as they are at least 22 years old. I truly believe this created my downward spiral Into weight issues as an adult. When you are a kid there are parents monitoring your food… when you are an adult… there is no one to tell you to stop eating the entire pizza… followed by some French fries. So naturally I find myself some nights gorging on food and picking at snacks. Everyone tells me “you don’t look big, you are tall so you can carry it well”… I really appreciate the support but I know how I look and how that makes me feel.

Why oh why do we talk so badly about yourselves… why do we look in the mirror to point out imperfections…. when there will always be a grandparents, friend or sibling who will be happy bring us down without even asking for it. My insecurities spawn from those family dinners where my brother made comments, those dates when I was told “are you sure you want to eat that?”.

I started weight watchers a year ago, for a solid six months I stuck to it, I felt great and it was teaching me to have a healthy relationship with food. But with a job change and stress I slipped right off the band wagon and my weight sky rocketed back to where it was. This was a kick in the crotch… it knocked my self esteem, it knocked my confidence and it made me feel like a failure… which is not a nice feeling.

I discovered a podcast that tells you that you have to make changes to yourself in a positive way. No negative talk. You want to lose weight to better yourself, to improve your energy level and so on. But here’s the thing… of you start a lifestyle change focusing on the negative, your body is conditioned to not follow through… start with the positive and go from there.

Every body of every size is beautiful… you just have to listen to what you are telling yourself and make sure it is positive… encourage yourself to try harder, improvement not weight loss.

With that being said, I will be working on improving my well being, cutting my food I take down and focusing on feeling better within my skin.

Forgiveness.

I try and choose to not regret things that have happened in my life. At least that’s what I tell myself. Of course there are many nights I have regretted drinking that drink, eating that terribly greasy and delicious burger, or even sending that text that shouldn’t have been sent. But the big things in life, those moments where you make a choice that changes the very direction you are heading… never regret those. You never know how beautiful things can turn out… and if you are just looking backwards you will never look up. You will never see the stars motioning for you to join them.

In a world if technology we spend so much time looking down, physically and metaphorically. We look down at our smart phones, rolling our eyes at a text message, liking those Instagram posts or judging a Facebook update. We look down on ourselves for not living our life to the “full potential”, or because we aren’t skinny enough, smart enough or rich enough. That’s the key right there… what is enough?? You ask someone who has nothing but is perfectly happy they will tell you that they have enough. It’s because we look down that we miss the beauty, we miss the wonders and we miss the moments that change our lives.

Forgiveness is something that is taught to us as a child, you aren’t allowed to hold a grudge, you are told to forgive and move on. Some people struggle with forgiving people who do them wrong. I am not here to tell you to forgive everyone and you will be happy. I am telling you to forgive yourself… forgive your mind for over thinking, forgive your metabolism for not burning off those extra cheese fries and most importantly… forgive yourself for loving even when it hurts. This is something i struggle with. I don’t regret much… but i don’t forgive myself for making mistakes. Whether big or small mistakes… I beat myself up internally and smile through the overthinking.

The point in forgiveness isn’t letting the other person get away with something, it’s about saying “i choose to not let this consume me”… that’s so important. But when it’s all internal… there’s no escape from the negative. You have to find your positives, those people who guide you away from the negative.

I have realized that I struggle when people say they are proud of me, proud of what I am doing, proud of how far I have come. I couldn’t place a finger on why I didn’t want to accept their praise… then it hit me. I haven’t forgiven myself for the times i have let myself down, I haven’t looked in the mirror and said “I forgive you.” Forgiving yourself is a step in a positive direction where you can move forward. But it’s the hardest step to take. It’s the first step to looking up.

Do it scared

When ever someone would ask me what I deepest fear was… They would ask if I was scared of spider? Snakes? Heights? Airplanes?

What filled me with fear was an easy, losing the ones I love… or disappointing them. That’s always been my answer. What I have recently discovered is that fear… ruled my life. More than a fear of spiders… more than a fear of heights. I found out that I am a people pleaser. Again… this wasn’t a surprise. I love helping others, supporting them and I am willing to work with anyone… I’ll never say no.

When I took an online assessment from a book called “Do it scared” I matched 89% with the “People Pleaser” archetype. Shocking… ha.

What this book has taught me though is that I hold myself back from following my dreams… from speaking up and from following through on what I really want in life… because my fear of disappointment… fear of the unknown… my fear of “what will others think”.

This surprised me because I have never really consciously cared about what others think… if people like me great, if they don’t… oh well. Part of being a people pleaser is letting what you think others think of you rule everything, when 90% of the time it’s just your brain over reacting, and that’s true with any fear. Your mind instantly fires off worst case scenarios, jumping to the darkest possible endings… when in reality… it won’t be like that. That’s fear… fear isn’t the spider, it isn’t the heights, it’s not the disappointment… fear is your brain over reacting.

As per of the book purchase you get access you your “premium” results where it breaks down the overall impact that fear has in your life. There are seven different categories… and all of mine fell in the medium range with people pleaser being the highest. Now of course with all fears there are positives and negatives attached and the book really dives deeply into them, it really makes you examine yourself… your past choices and your decision making processes.

The “final thought” from my results really sums my fear up-

“You struggle most with the fear of being judged, which also manifests itself as the fear of letting people down and the fear of what other people might say”

Growing up I always though that people who prioritize themselves over others were selfish. Really they aren’t. Are you giving the world the best you can give if you aren’t looking after yourself? If you aren’t making choices based on your own happiness?…. no…you are living your life scared.

“Do it scared” is the mantra I am trying to keep in my mind every day… I am trying to turn it into a positive affirmation that I can chant in my mind when ever I feel any kind of doubt… any kind of withdrawal… Life is about exploring…. exploring outside of your comfort zone and sometimes you have to “do it scared”.

Who are you living for?

I am now in my 30s and I have always put the world before myself, it has lead me to become the completely indecisive person I am today. But I am starting to realize, 20 years of sacrificing myself for others is catching up. I don’t have a clear direction in my life. I work hard because that is what I expect of myself, am I in the career that 10 year old me dreamt about-nope. Now I am not blaming the world for where I am, i am not complaining that I have a terrible life, because I don’t. My life is wonderful. Minus some health issues here and there.

If you are someone like me, you will always put others before yourself, whether it’s family, friends or even someone you don’t know. Being a kind and caring individual is a wonderful thing… but it gets to the point that you sacrifice yourself for others, you lose the person you are and become the person the world creates for you… or rather the person you let the world tell you that you are.

My point is, being happy with yourself, with your choices and with your life is what makes you a well rounded individual, being decisive about your career, what you do every day and the direction you want to go will lead to you being happy. Hopefully causing less stress, less high blood pressure and meaning that you can wake up every morning with a smile on your face.

The interesting part about all of this is that it starts with you. No one else. It starts with that voice inside your head… you have to turn down the noise, turn off the overthinking and make a choice. Who are you living for? The answer should be… wait scratch that the answer IS “I am living for me”.

Pride.

June is pride month. For the LGBTQ+ community it’s a month where we celebrate how far we have come and continue to strive towards acceptance and equality.

It’s the month when most companies come out with rainbow colored merchandise, adjust their logos to rainbows and just generally show their support. It’s a beautiful time, where I spend too much money on rainbow pins, tumblrs, clothes and rainbow food (because why not!)

This pride month for me is a bit different though… with the stress of work and some other things going on… I seem to be struggling to find my inner rainbow as it were. Over the last few months I seem to be going on a rollercoaster of ups and downs emotionally where I can be fine and happy for short periods of time and then feel drained, exhausted and sad for longer periods. I lost the desire to write… something that I was truly enjoying…My anxiety is on high alert and I feel the desire to eat everything in sight.

Yesterday while reading a blog post about losing yourself to work… made me realize that I really have dived in head first into my new job, leaving everything else to the wayside, if I am honest my work location is probably the least health environment you could imagine… especially if you are not in the right mind set.

I started to think, have I lost who I am? Who am I? Most of my working life I have always thrown myself at my job, to work the hardest I can to grow and learn, but by doing so I think I may have lost part of who I was… I truly believe this is when we turn into that dreaded “grown up” we heard so much about as kids.

When your stress to happiness ratio is sitting about 10 to 1, It’s hard to balance everything out… that’s when you hit the “burnt-out” phase and your body shuts down.

Yes there are so many factors that cause stress-bills, work, yard work, HOA’s, rats and everything else. It’s the moments that everything piles up so much it feels completely overwhelming, that’s when you have to push through… and that’s what I’m dealing with.

June isn’t over, I am trying to find the person I buried under the pile of work, bills and broken things… somewhere under that’s mess is 21 year old, (rainbow clad), laughing and dancing Shane.

Happiness is worth more to your mental stability than anything else, if you can’t be happy leading the life you want, are you really living or just surviving.

Is there a lost and found department for personality sparks?

The quote of the day… Don’t lose the spark that makes you… you!

When you think of your own personality… you are super biased and don’t always see the good… you don’t see the spark that others see in you. But you feel the loss of that spark when it dims or when it disappears. You notice your mentality changes… how you handle things, how you address situations and people. But it’s not until you take a hard look in the mirror that you realize. The spark you lost was what made you the person you are.

Everyone has days that they feel down, exhausted, worn out and hopeless… the spark is what moves you forward, the little voice that says “chin up, keep going”. But after a lot of beating down… that spark isn’t so willing to say chin up… it says “you know it’s ok… let’s just rest for a bit”.

The key to addressing this is actually acknowledging it… accepting that you are worth everything you want, you are worth more. More than what anyone’s opinion says. More than what any company tells you that you are worth.

I don’t know how to find your lost spark… Mine is currently playing hide and seek too. But all I can do is keep telling myself, in one of my subconscious filling cabinets, hiding in a drawer, is my spark.

I just need to find a way to bring him out… whether it’s bribing him with bacon, taking a walk outside… or just cuddling under the covers with my pup.

There’s so many external factors in life that try to kill you spark… people who are just trying to knock you down. We all need to focus on the good… the loved ones who, no matter how down we feel, no matter how isolated we become… they push themselves in and stay with you. We all have those people, those family members, best friends and co workers who give us a bit of love and support throughout the darkness, they shine their spark on you trying to keep you going… in cone of light beams saying “chin up, we got you”.