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.

Who’s life are you living?

This may sound like a strange question… but when you really think about it, are you being true to yourself? Are you living your life or are you living a life to keep up with the social media influencers? Or the life that you were told you needed to live.

When you think about your goals and aspirations as a child you could be anything you wanted, there was no dream too big. But as you grew up you were given minor corrections on your path… putting you on the road that lead you in the direction that others felt was best for you. Now of course those little nudges were there to keep you safe but think of how that shaped your life as an adult.

I was always told by my wonderful parents to do what makes me happy and to live a life that makes me happy. Up until recently i believed that i was doing just that… i was living my life to make myself happy, but after some self examination i realized that deep down i was trying to live my life to not disappoint my parents, i didn’t want to let them down as they gave up so much for me.

I am not saying that i am unhappy, I am not saying that at all. I am saying that subconsciously I was making choices and decisions in the hope that I would make my parents proud. But the funny part, is any time I told my parents of a career change, life change or anything… the first thing they asked me was “are you happy?”, my response was always “yes of course” and they would reply “then we are so proud of you”. That validation means more to me than anything else. But i know my parents… and they truly mean that they want me to be happy.

For some reason my mind told me that I had to make the choice to live my life to make my parents proud and how would i do that? Well the stereotypical thing that we are lead to believe from the outside world to lead a good life is to have material wealth and financial wealth lead you to be happy. So if I have a huge house filled with lots of things, I will be happy and in my twisted mind then my parents would be proud. But that’s not right…. they want me to be happy no matter what… no matter how little money i have, as long as I am doing a job I enjoy….

So that is where the question comes in. Who’s life are you living? Are you living a life where you can be unapologetically yourself?

I have started to figure out that when you are being yourself and living life for yourself, the negative self talk in your head is blocked out by the supportive happy voices. Your stress level decreases and you find an inner level of calm. I am not saying run away from responsibilities like children, bills, pets. I am telling you to start small and make minor changes in your life to steer it in the direction you want to go.

Instead of saying “I don’t know what I want for dinner” say what you actually are craving… “I want bbq”,”I want Thai food”, making those small steps towards making your own choices will feel so insignificant but it’s a step… it’s the first step…. so take it! Because in 5 years time you won’t hesitate and you won’t hold back.

Live your life. For yourself.

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.

Sitting with yourself

I haven’t sat down to write in what feels like an eternity. I have been so busy with working two jobs, trying to keep myself going and we are trying to figure out our living situation for the next year. I realize now that I haven’t stopped, I haven’t sat down and disconnected myself from everything going on externally to see how i am actually feeling. This is something we can all relate to… we are too busy all the time. Even if you don’t realize it… you are always watching TV, working, on social media, listening to music, playing video games, eating, talking to people and just being on our phones… there’s never a moment of silence as we fill our lives down to the second… even typing all of that out made me tired.

When was the last time you sat alone, in silence , with your own mind? Maybe you are someone who journals or can separate yourself from everything else and just exist for 5 minutes… but for most of us, that’s impossible. Our brains are filled with so much shit that we constantly feel over whelmed and stressed about everything. This is what I believe has pushed anxiety and depression levels through the roof.

For me, when I am writing… I am alone (maybe with my wonderful pup by my side), sitting in a quiet room and I have my phone turned to airplane mode so that I can have zero distractions. But over the past few months I feel like I have lost my voice, I have been too busy to hear it… too busy to sit with myself and ask “how am I doing today?”. Something that I am trying my best to do now on a daily basis.

Another challenge I have been struggling with is negative self talk, I have put weight on because of stress and working too much and just generally lacking self care. This has caused me to beat myself down when I look in the mirror… but this isn’t healthy.

When you talk down about yourself that’s what you hear, that’s what you feel… that you aren’t good enough… but you are good enough. You do matter. The only person who can validate you is you. Stop talking negatively about yourself and be proud of the person you are, what you feel is legitimate, if you need to cry… do it. If you need to laugh… so it. Holding in your feelings is bad for you… No husband, wife, significant other or friend needs to validate you… you are perfect. You are your own kind of normal and it’s beautiful.

I need you to sit down in silence away from all your distractions at the end of your day and tell yourself-“I am smart, I am enough, I am beautiful”

Walking alone through the dark with someone

Everyone has their own darkness, their own story… their own cross to bare as it were. But everyone’s darkness is different, some are darker than you could ever imagine… but to us all… our period of darkness felt never ending… it felt like a trap.

That feeling is kind of like it’s own fear blanket that gets tied in a knot around you that you can’t shake.

Darkness is a lonely place to be and you need someone to be your light. No matter how dim it is. There’s a level of support that you won’t accept but that you really need.

When someone is tucking at your blanket trying to find their way under to help you… but you keep pulling the blanket back around you. That’s the true meaning on helplessness. When you become your own worst enemy. When the over thinking is so loud that you almost crave that quiet time alone in the dark where it’s just you and the doubt filled voice in your head.

I am here to tell you that it’s ok to acknowledge you need help… it’s ok to talk about what you have been through. Everyone has a story that made them who they are… and every day is another page in that story. If you hide the chapter from the ones closest to you… do they really know your whole story?

But that being said I would never force you to tell anyone something that you aren’t ready to share.

If you need me to sit in the dark with a dimly lite candle, I am here.

I have known darkness but I found light in the fact that the darkness I was crushing under… well it made me who I am… it made me tolerant of pain, compassionate for others who are lost and gave me the power to try and lead their way.

If you are dealing with your own darkness, don’t walk alone, find a friend, a loved one… someone who won’t judge you, someone who will just be there… you might not need them to guide you, lecture you or hug you. But knowing that you aren’t alone in the dark. That’s a feeling that can start helping you find your way out.

There will always be pockets of darkness that come through the cracks, but look inside yourself and find your light, find your reason to shine and NEVER let that spark extinguish.

If you open your eyes and pull back the blanket, you will find that you are not alone.

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.