Maybe You Only Thought You Had to Transform Yourself

Maybe you thought that you had to transform your eating habits or your lifestyle because others either said you should or it’s what everyone else was doing. Maybe you were exactly right for you before making changes.

Have you tried something new and ended up feeling frustrated or like you are failing at making positive change? I know I have. I guess I never really knew who I was because I was not ecouraged to be myself; I was encouraged to be who my parents wanted me to be which followed me into my adult life making a negative impact on me. I became a people pleaser to everyone – everyone except myself. I felt constantly disappointed, in myself, in others, in life.

Once I felt somewhat free of judgement I decided to attend a holistic nutritional wellness school because I was for a long time and still am, amazed by the fact that the right foods and lifestyle choices can keep your body healthy and often heal minor illness/issues. Food can make your body feel bright, strong and energized. Through attending school I’ve become more absorbed into different diets and sometimes frustrated by the contradictions of particular food’s health benefits. SInce my training I have changed my way of eating several times – basically following what others claim as healthy. The thing is, claims are ever-changing.

In the past eight or so years I kind of lost myself to conforming. As I began realizing that, I felt my head spinning with overwhelm. From that moment I decided to get back to what works for me. I thought I needed to improve my weight, my choices, my looks and all that comes with lack of self-esteem when I really only needed to change the way I thought of myself. I’ve grown tired of living with so much self-doubt. I realized not long ago that I can help others while being myself. I needed to make some changes but not drastic ones like I had done while in nutritional coaching school and long after graduating.

Think about things you have wanted to change. Make a list. Think about how you imagine yourself having made those changes. Do they fit your true self – your deepest inner being? Line your goals up with who you are. Make changes that will benefit your health and lifestyle. Don’t do what is currently popular because everyone else is doing it; don’t cave in to pressure.

Embrace the person you’ve always been. Just be you. Always strive and work toward being better than you were yesterday and let go of “everyone’s doing it” peer pressure. You were perfectly made, embrace that. We are all perfectly imperfect.

Every day, every new dawn is a chance to start over; even if that means going back to past good habits.

Stand tall, be you.

Choosing to be Thankful

If you read any of my past posts, you know that my childhood and young adulthood weren’t necessarily filled with love and hope and encouragement. My past in fact took a lot of time and energy from my present because I let it. I let it because everything needed to be pocessed in order to let it be. Today, I appreciate each day with my chin up.

When I was dealing with being haunted by my past abuse, I would hear and read things such as “let it go”, “move on” and “stop living in the past”. It is certainly easier said than done and even easier for someone on the outside to say it. I can honestly say that I haven’t let it go but I have let it be. There is nothing I can do to change what happened; it became part of who I am but it did not define me.

My mother was particularly tough on me. It didn’t matter what I said or did, how I looked, what I may have achieved, nor how kind I was to her at all times – she still found something negative or made negativity out of it. Despite that, I remained kind to her. I wanted to walk away so many times while in the moment but it’s not in me to abandon anyone. I remained because we are family and because I am always true to who I am. I remained helpful, kind, caring, serving and all that goodness but I did it for me. Hindsite, I have no regrets, I did all I could and then a little more.

If you’re struggling with a relationship whether with an extended family member, parent, sibling, spouse or other, it’s important to try to understand or at the very least listen to their side of the situation. What might seem outrageous to you is very real in their mind. False reality is real it’s likely an emotional issue. You may not ever understand their explanation and how life is/was for them but acknowledging their reality is fair. In some way, listening to another’s personal feelings, fears, and concerns just may help you appreciate that they are or were broken and made choices that felt right for them at the time.

While growing up there was not a lot of love shown to my brothers and me but we always had a place to live, clothes to wear and food to eat. We didn’t have designer things, we didn’t eat the finest foods but that was life then. We did have a very clean house and from that we learned how to clean well. We learned how to cook well. We learned perseverence and determination from my mother. We learned how to tune things out and let it slide from my father; though I’m not sure that is a good thing. We also had our maternal grandparents to lean on and that made all the difference – without them we would be lost still today. They didn’t step in and rescue us away from what was going on, I’m not even sure they truly knew but we could always talk to them and be with them. For them, we are all so very thankful.

While dealing with my mother in the more recent past there were times when I was so hurt and angry that I wished I could disappear. I didn’t want to go back and help her out nor spend time with her ever again. But that didn’t happen. I kept her in my life because despite my focus on her negativity toward me and others, she had good qualities too. I was quick to compliment her on those qualities to try to encourage her to be positive and proud in the good things. Though it rarely helped, I have no regrets calling out the good. Her cup was always half empty – mine is always half full.

Have you ever done something or thought a certain way in the past that you completely feel opposite about today? As we mature, our priorities change. As we experience life, we also experience growth.

We all want to feel accepted. We all make mistakes and many of them we cannot change and that doesn’t make us bad people. We still deserve love without condition. We learn from the things we say and do. We grow, we decide to break free from our self-made prison. Things won’t always be bad and things won’t always be good. Choose to keep people in your life, especially family but set healthy boundaries so that you and they can have peace.

We can’t change yesterday but we can start to love and live today and forever.

Where Do You Find Comfort?

Comfort comes in many forms and for each of us comfort means something very different from the next.

We all seek comfort. We look for it in our family members, our friends, sometimes strangers, nowadays we can reach out and find it through social media, we seek it from our pets, some look for it in cleaning, shopping, going to the gym, finding distraction in a movie; we also look to food for comfort and some look for it in a glass of wine, a bottle of beer or other alcohol. I’m sure there are hundreds more ways people look for and sometimes find comfort.

Along with looking for comforting situations comes the reason we seek it. Those reasons are endless and among them is stress, sadness, boredom, depression and loneliness.

Too often many comforts lead to less than healthy choices. We crave certain foods when we seek comfort. Particular textures and tastes have much to do with how we are feeling. Common cravings are sweets, carbs, junk foods and alcohol. Giving in to these cravings leads us into a downward spiral often leaving us feeling worse.

If you find yourself seeking comfort on a regular basis and turning to foods or activities that you know deep down isn’t doing your body or lifestyle any good, take a step back and make a decision to finally take care of YOU. Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is important for a healthy, happy and long life.

As a holistic wellness coach, I’ve helped people overcome their overwhelming desire to give in to self-sabotaging choices for seeking comfort. Is seeking unhealthy comforts getting you down? Reach out to me here 🙂

Don’t Look Back

Today, while I was completing a menial task, my mind wandered off to remembering how time felt like it dragged on so slowly as a kid and how time seems to fly by now.

Becoming truly caught in my past through thought, I remembered how much I wished to get out of the home, the abuse, the negative energy and feeling like each of us kids couldn’t do anything right. Walking on eggshells flooded back in. Wondering what the mood would be like once we woke up and started the day.

While thinking about all those moments again and bringing myself back to today and how time has gotten away, I felt let down, scared, short-changed and anxious. Anxious that I am going to miss out on more happiness in life, anxious that half of my life is over. The first half of my life seemed to drag on, how can this second half be so fleeting?

I was suddenly brought back to reality in an instant; the instant a song came on the radio at exactly the right time! Here I was sunken deep in the past and worried about the future when the group Boston shouted to me, “Don’t Look Back”! Wow, the power of the Lord in this universe and in our lives!

I’m humbled. I’m thankful. And, I have a new favorite song for the moment. Message received loud and clear!

Every New Dawn is another chance to start over. That is something wonderful!

Stand Tall!

Dawn

Self-Awareness is part of Self-Healing and Growth – It is not Selfish!

Every New Dawn is a Time to Renew

I am free.
I am whole.
I am good.
I am kind.
I am not the negative energy that others tried to fill me with.
I am not made of the stones that others threw at me.
I am not weak like the sticks that were hurled my way.
I am sometimes fragile but never frail.
I can be counted on by others and for myself.
I am a bright light in the middle of someone’s dark day.
I am enough.
I love enough.
I do enough.
I can do more.
I am open to fantastic adventures.
I am content when I need to be.
I am God’s child.
I am loved.
I am not broken.
I am vital.

I’m Learning to “Let Go” by Practicing Small Acts of Letting Go

As anyone who has had to deal with trauma at some point in their life knows, it’s hard to let it go. It’s not that we want to hold onto it, it’s just that things in daily life sometimes stop us in our tracks and hit us like a tidal wave – a tidal wave of emotions and sometimes reliving an experience. With professional help and hope, those moments lessen, don’t last as long and eventually get pushed to the back of the line.

I had my share plus some of trauma from childhood and into adulthood. I’ve worked on releasing my past for many years; and for those who haven’t had devastating physical and/or emotional trauma, it’s not easy to release. My hope would be that more people had good experiences without trauma in their lives but I have learned that there are more people who have had traumatic experiences, similar to mine.

PTSD – is very real and not limited to military personnel and veterans. PTSD is serious. It causes anxiety, depression, discomfort among many other feelings and it’s different for everyone. My feeling is once I can get past being shaken by a memory, accept the memory and move forward in my activity, I can heal from PTSD. I speak for myself because I’m not trained in psychotherapy – I’ll leave the professionals to do their job.

Moving on to practicing small acts of letting go.

I recently had a situation that has no need for details to tell you what it did for me. In the past, I’d have been angry still and thinking about what that person did to me versus what the situation did for me. I’ve always been a glass half-full kind of gal. I usually give people the benefit of the doubt, see the good in people, ignore red flags and such. Over time more recent, I have been allowing myself to see people for whom they truly are rather than who I want them to be. This has become a huge release of negativity inside of me. I can honestly say that it has lifted my mind as well as my heart, stomach and lungs. Each time I release them from my emotional heart, it’s like a fresh air breeze hit me and twirled me around into a new space.

How can you do this? Take a small situation that upsets you and try to view it differently than your typical go-to reaction. Sure, allow yourself to be upset, but don’t let it fester. Instead of being stuck on the details of the situation, take a mental look at the person involved. Ask yourself if he/she is a taker, energy suck, if they seem to always act/react this way or if it was a once in a lifetime random flaw. When you see the person for who they truly are, you may be able to dislocate from them.

In doing this practice, it has been allowing my traumatic experiences in my past, be recognized and filed into files of the past. For so long I have thought that what happened to me, defined who I am today. By letting people in my current life go, it is helping me to move away from my past. I can’t honestly say that I have forgiven those people who hurt me, but I can see them for who they were instead of who I wanted them to be, who they should have been but weren’t. A few of them have died and I didn’t mourn their death, I mourned the fact that they would never be who I thought they should be; protective, loving and caring, because they are gone. I also came to realize that I am that person to my kids; I am the parent that I wish I had. I love my kids, will never hurt them and will never despise nor insult them. Even though they are adults now!

Start today. Try one small act of letting go. See a situation for exactly what it is or a person for exactly who they are to you. How someone treats you, says more about them than it does about you. Learn to free yourself from those who take advantage, who see you as weak or who think of only themselves.

Share your thoughts or ask me anything.

Each day starts new, you can too.

Learning How to Un-see Ourselves as Others Have Seen Us

I was recently asked “What’s the worst impact a little joke has had on you?”. It didn’t take long to give an answer. While many jokes have been pulled on me, this one specific so-called joke shaped how I felt about myself at a young age.

I was about five years old when my parents forced me to do something that I immediately was horrified at; I was so young yet I felt how degrading it was. One day before going out, to run errands I suppose, my parents tied one of my father’s brown socks around my neck. I tried to take it off as they and my older brother was laughing at me. My parents said that every kid had to wear a brown sock for the day. I asked why my brother didn’t have to wear one, he is just 18 months older than me after all. They replied that only kids with brown eyes had to wear it. I cried and pleaded to take it off but they wouldn’t allow it.

We all got into the car and while riding to our destination I pulled at the sock sobbing while they laughed and ridiculed me. They kept reminding me that if I took it off, I would be in trouble. I felt unloved, degraded, no good and ugly.

As I look back on that “joke”, my heart still feels the pain and ridicule. I was also told too often that I was full of (expletive) and that’s why my eyes are brown. I have hated my brown eyes since those younger days of my life. I’m not sure where that idea came from nor do I know why or how a parent could treat a child with such hatred and insult. I never held my brother’s laughter about the situation against him as he was also young and just following my parent’s lead. It simply baffles me that they would come up with such a sick, cruel-hearted stunt.

That joke played a large part in how I viewed myself for many, many years; maybe it still plays a part in how I see myself today. I try not to believe the cruel words said to me and all the cruel things that were done to me. I try not to think of them, I want to leave it all in the past but things happen on a daily basis, to all of us, that bring up the memories of dark times in our lives. I suppose writing about it, talking about it and trying to make sense of it is a way to overcome it.

Things from our past can shape our behaviors and likes and dislikes today. Perhaps that’s why I cannot tolerate turtleneck shirts or anything even slightly snug around my neck. Maybe I rarely look at myself in the mirror, I mean really see who I am, because of these brown eyes. Who knows and honestly, who cares — it’s not who I am. I’m not an ugly brown-eyed little girl anymore. I’m still very self-conscious and with low self-esteem but I can guarantee that I raised my boys to be self-confident and with support and encouragement to do and be anything they feel deep in their beings. I also regularly let them know that they were (still are in my opinion) adorable, cute and handsome, etc.

My current self-therapy is to undo how I have always seen myself and create a new vision of who I am. I strive to erase the negative self-description that I was taught and replace it with the reality of who I am and what I look like; not an easy feat. I’m not working to over-value myself, just to find a healthy and confident base.

So let me ask you the same question that was posed to me, “What’s the worst impact a little joke has had on you?” How has that shaped who you are today?

In light and love,

Dawn

There Will Always Be Endings and New Beginnings

Lily – her favorite place to be was laying in the backyard soaking up the sun and watching the wildlife.

Change is always going to happen whether we like it or not. Almost three weeks ago I had to help my dog cross that rainbow bridge. My heart is aching. Still. Despite knowing that she was almost 13 years old and that there was nothing anyone could do to make her better, it was traumatic for me. Making that call is traumatic for most people who have to undertake that role whether it’s to help a pet or a family member. It doesn’t get easier with each passing day, it just gets familiar.

Lily was my girl that had to leave me and her sister Addie and our newly acquired pup, that was my mother’s Boston terrier, Lacy. Lacy seems indifferent about Lily’s absence but Addie seems to miss her. I tried to thin out the dog bed situation but Addie would have none of it as she climbed atop the pile of memory foam and round dog beds that were Lily’s. When I feed the two remaining, Addie looks for Lily’s dish then looks to me as if questioning where is she?

Lily was my first pup after having to put down my greyhound Snowy…he took a big part of my heart when he passed. Lily brought comfort and so much love after two years of being dog-less. Lily was sensitive and very intuitive. She would lean on anyone who cried, run to my mother if she sneezed, and she laid her head on my chest when I had asthma attacks. She was such a sweet, sensitive, mushy girl.

Lily was also very well behaved and a silent tattle-tale. If Addie was getting into something that she shouldn’t have, Lily would come to me and sit pressingly close while looking away from the area that Addie was in. Each time she did this, I would ask, “what’s Addie up to”? and sure enough she was tearing tissues from the trash or papers from my office.

After a long and wrenching day with my mother I would come home to be greeted by happy dogs. Lily was a leaner and being sensitive to other’s anxieties she quickly drew out the stress and negativity from me. Each night while unwinding, watching TV, she would lay beside me, often between Dale and me, with her paw, her head or her back touching me – connection. I miss those puppy hugs that she gave so well.

This part of being a pet parent completely stinks. We all miss you sweet girl. I believe you are with your adopted siblings from years past and making new friends. I know that we will see each other again. Thank you for being my girl, for helping me through some tough times and for always being happy to see me no matter what.

Change will always happen and it won’t always feel good but with each passing day it get’s more familiar and we learn to accept what is. We need to embrace the good things in our lives because there will always be endings and new beginnings.

I’m Still Learning…

When we were young, we absorbed more information than we thought possible for a child. We learned how to cope and cooperate in our family in order to please and “be liked”. No child should have to work to be loved but it happens every day for many children.

The words our parents and grandparents speak to us as children become the foundation of our molded lives. We learn what is acceptable and what isn’t. We learn what behaviors please them and we use those words and actions to make them happy with us – (as if we have that power). We are taught that we do have that power by their reactions to our actions. When we learn what pleases them, we file it into our young minds for future use.

Eventually, through all that learning, a child becomes an adult and applies all the information that has been learned and stored away in their everyday lives. With a healthy, loving upbringing, we have a sturdy foundation and we move through life confidently. With a healthy foundation, as serious issues pop up in life, we hopefully can navigate them with ease and grace. If as a child we learned how to navigate daily life by metaphorically walking on eggshells, we might have a less sturdy/healthy foundation.

As children my brothers and I walked on eggshells. We were careful to speak, careful to take action, and careful not to “rock the boat”. So not to speak for others I will speak for myself in saying that those learned behaviors followed me into my adult life right up to this very day. I’m now learning to embrace healthy behaviors and drown out the survival-modes of my past. It’s not a simple task when the words of bitter and angry parents are still in your head with every decision or action you make.

I haven’t been very good at releasing negative words that were fired at me. I find myself hearing them while doing menial tasks as if they are current ramblings of the day. I also find myself believing some of the lies and hurtful words before I snap back to the present moment and try to force them out. I’m learning how to build a new foundation – a healthy, positive foundation.

Has there been a time when you felt worthless if you couldn’t make someone close to you happy? Have you ever felt unloved by a parent, grandparent or other prominent relative?

Just because someone speaks their opinion about you, it doesn’t make it true. If anyone told you that you were ugly, simple, stupid, useless, worthless, or any negative attack words, you don’t have to believe them. When you were a child, you had to comply with the expectations of a parent but you don’t/didn’t have to carry it into your adult life.

I became the kind of parent to my kids that I hoped to have growing up. I was strict but I was fair and respectful toward my little humans. I allowed them to have and express opinions on things. I allowed them to find their place in the world. I firmly and lovingly guided them while helping to build their foundation for life.

Life isn’t easy all the time. There are moments when you think, “boy, it doesn’t get better than this”, but those moments don’t stay forever. Everything changes. Even bad moments don’t last and for that we are all thankful I am quite sure of that. Change is inevitable but change is also a choice for many situations. It starts with wanting something to be different and personally making that happen. For me that means erasing the angry actions and words that were slung at me from today so I can replace them with healthy inner thoughts. The past will always pop up especially when triggered but it should never be welcomed to stay.

Be confident in yourself today. Give yourself the support you didn’t have back then when learning how to navigate obstacles in the world. Let those negative experiences come but also let them leave. Use positive self-talk to force the hurt out and embrace who you are today and who you can be tomorrow.

Stand Tall ~ Stay Mighty

Breaking Point

Everyone has a breaking point and that point is different for each situation and different for each person.

I have an extended breaking point. I give people the benefit of the doubt, I have a lot of patience and I care about other’s happiness a lot, maybe to a fault. I give to the point of neglecting my own needs. I’ve been making great improvements in that area; I’m beginning to take care of myself better.

Sometimes, maybe often, when you make changes that support your best health those around you find it inconvenient – they find you selfish if you’re unavailable for their needs. Don’t let that halt your self-care. Self-care is not selfish.

Think of times when someone said or did something to you that felt uneasy, rude, aggressive and even offensive. Remember how that made you feel deep inside your belly? Your head? What kind of response did you have? Did you defend yourself or did keep it inside to fester and mess with your peace? Maybe someone sat in your home and arrogantly snickered at your accomplishments or your certificates on display that made them roll their eyes and poke fun as if your accomplishments were no great feat. Maybe it was your family member who never asked how you were doing or if you dared to mention that you felt off that day, they disregarded you and turned the subject to be all about them. Is your time taken advantage of or disrespected? Are your professional services treated with disregard? Are you often talked down to? Does someone too often disagree with your opinions, statements or feelings? Do they deny saying or doing something that you know for a fact they said or did? The people that behave that way are not your people.

You aren’t responsible for anyone’s gratification, happiness, sense of superiority, nor do you need to play along. It’s not your job to be uplifting to anyone’s insecurities. Your job is to uplift your consciousness. Fulfill your desires, dreams, goals and accomplishments – no one can do that for you, just as you can’t for anyone.

I’ve beat myself up over the years by first being available for everyone at any given moment and then by allowing them to insult, discourage and use me and my time. I followed that with being angry at myself for not standing up for my best health, both mentally and physically. Somewhere along the way, more recently, I have had enough, I broke. I broke those behaviors that hurt me and decided that it’s time to finally take care of myself first so that I may be more in touch with those I choose to help in the future. I have found who is for me and who is not for me.

I can be angry that it took so many years and so many abuses but that doesn’t help me; it doesn’t erase history nor experiences. I choose to start today with the knowledge and sophistication that I have brought to existence personally.

Don’t be a punching bag. Don’t disregard and underplay your accomplishments and needs to suit anyone else no matter what. Be your true and beautiful, best self.

Every new day is a chance to start over. Every New Dawn begins again.

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