Improve Your Self-Esteem

After going to a conference a month ago, I decided to pick a word for 2020 that I would force myself to work on throughout the entire year. My word was “confidence”. While it may look like I have a ton of confidence and high self-esteem, it is far from the truth. I do my best to portray confidence, so that in return, I might gain confidence back.

Working out your innermost demons can be a daily struggle, but it is necessary in order to grow. But where do you even begin?

It begins with decision, which is then accompanied by daily ACTION. Mindset is everything when it comes to overcoming negative self-esteem.

Here are some simple tips on how to build self-esteem and gain confidence:

  1. Start your morning out right – Set your intention for the day. Say out loud – in front of a mirror – your affirmations (ex: “I am strong. I am smart. I am a warrior.”)
  2. Stop the negative voices/self-talk – Anytime you hear yourself saying something negative, stop and think about what you are saying. Would you say that to a friend?
  3. Widen your lens – Get out of your own head and body. What good can you do out in the world? Volunteer, hold a door, help a friend, fundraise.
  4. Manage your expectations – What are you asking of yourself? It is good to think big; but in retrospect, keep your goals measurable. Look up “S.M.A.R.T.” goals for more reference.
  5. Don’t compare – Your fifth step cannot be compared to someone’s tenth. There is so much that is unseen and each of our journey’s are different. Stop yourself from trying to compare.
  6. Practice meditation/self-reflecting – Practice for at least 10-15 minutes a day. Slow down your mind by either meditating or doing yoga so that you can release those negative thoughts into the atmosphere.
  7. Reflect, Rather than React – Accept constructive criticism rather than react to it. Let it better you, not tear you down. No one started at the top.
  8. Take risks – Seek out the uncomfortable because ultimately it will help you grow.
  9. List the positive – List out three positive things you did each day.

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How Your Core-Conflict Shapes Your Identity

“Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.”

William James

One of the coolest things about being a human being is that we are each unique due to our various experiences and circumstances. These layers of influences have shaped our beliefs whether we realize it or not, and have created the person we are today.

This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. While we use our values to have a positive impact on the world, we also have limiting beliefs about ourselves that we have formed from an early age. The negative beliefs, while we try to repress them, are actually working subconsciously throughout our everyday life.

While on a coaching call the other night, my friend pointed out to me that I had a pattern – a pattern that was influenced by something called a “core-conflict”. We began talking it out and I realized that everytime I thought I wasn’t going to succeed in something, I gave up. I wouldn’t let myself completely fail. By doing that, I never let myself completely succeed in something because I stopped anytime a bump in the road came. The road to success is often very bumpy. As Rachel Hollis says, you have to let yourself “fail forward” many times in order to achieve the very thing you want. Success is not linear, but rather a curvy line.

When I realized this talking to my coach, it angered me. I began to think of all the things I quit prematurely – – multiple sports, swimming, acting, singing, piano lessons, and dance. I asked her, “Well I just don’t understand…when did I start feeling ‘not good enough’? What was the turning point and why did I feel like I needed to protect myself?”

Her response – “Your core-conflict is often shaped by an event in your childhood (sometime between the ages of two and six) and then continues to fester over time. The good thing is you can rewrite your story. You just have to face it head on.”

I think back and it’s amazing to see how that core-conflict of mine negatively affected my identity and how I went about doing things. To be completely honest and transparent – there have been many times even recently when I thought “what’s the point of my blog and what’s the point of Arbonne – I’m not really helping anyone anyway.” Even though this is not completely true, it “feels” true and it feels safe to take the easy way out. “I can’t fail this way” is what I tell myself. But, in reality the only way I do fail is by quitting.

I know in my heart that God has a huge purpose for me. As I sit here writing this, I know that if I were to continue down this path of self-destruction, my potential would not be met and the people I want to help will never be helped. I have learned I need to trust myself, as I begin to rewrite my story. Trust what I know to be true, and allow those bumps in the road to happen.

According to the Law of Attraction (which I have discussed in my blog before), what you send out into the universe is what you get back. In other words, “believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create that fact.” So if I am to rewrite my story and send positivity out into the world, I must first start by abandoning my core-conflict and allowing myself to feel the emotions connected with failure. By doing that, I will have to practice seeing these experiences as opportunities to practice mindfulness and self-development rather than times that I am “not good enough”.

Whatever your core-conflict is, I challenge you to do some self-reflecting as well. It will hurt to uncover the past and it will be challenging to relearn a new truth about yourself. But I guarantee you it will be worth it. Your purpose is just waiting for you to discover.


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Anniversary of My Suicide Attempt

The semicolon project: my life could have stopped, but I continued on.

Exactly seventeen years ago, I attempted to take my own life. I don’t talk about it much because I don’t like to remember that day or the events after it. In actuality, I think part of my psyche has blocked it from my memory because I only remember bits and pieces.

I was thirteen. I remember the pain I felt; deep, intense, hopeless. I felt alone. Yet, when I went into the inpatient/outpatient programs, everyone just looked at me and said “You don’t belong here.” It wasn’t out of malice, even though it may sound like it. All the other teenagers around me had severely broken childhoods and families that really did not give a damn. And there I was – with two parents who loved me and who tried to give me the best life possible. It pains me to think of it because the guilt I felt was tremendous. “I didn’t deserve to feel pain”, I thought.

But the truth? Everyone is entitled to their emotions. We cannot compare circumstances. It does no good and it does not solve the problem.

While I did not have a broken family, I had a severe chemical imbalance – most of which I contribute to getting my menstrual cycle early. My body was developing fast, but my surroundings were not and my brain was still one of a thirteen-year-old. I would get conflicted as to how I should be feeling and what I actually was feeling.

In addition, the meds I was put on for my depression and anxiety were not handled properly. The doctor started me off on a high dose and then did not monitor it. My parents did not know any better. After all, they trusted the doctor.

To this day, I remember my dad’s face when he found out I overdosed on pain medication. I stayed home that day because I needed a mental break from school. I felt so alone with my feelings that I just broke – I grabbed the bottle without thinking and continued to shove the pills down my throat. My dad knew I did something. He kept asking, “What did you do? What did you do?” I don’t remember what tipped him off honestly, but he knew. I was honest. Then he called 911.

The cops showed up with an ambulance. I was so scared. I was crying. “I’m fine! I’m sorry. I won’t do it again. Please don’t take me away.” I just wanted them to go away.

Once at the hospital, they pumped my stomach full of charcoal. I met with some doctors who I tried to convince “I WAS FINE”. But since I had made an attempt, I had to be inpatient for a couple days.

Those days were filled with the scariest moments I had seen yet being only thirteen. I was trying to understand my emotions, while also be frightened into seeing the worst of the worst situations. To give you an idea – someone smashed their head through a glass panel on a door in an attempt to end their life.

I wouldn’t understand this experience until much later in life. I never wanted to end my life. I wanted the pain to stop. I wanted to understand my feelings and how to feel better.

Since I refused to deal with it, those emotions just fostered into an eating disorder three years later. I used food as a cop out to control the emotions I felt were out of control.

Now almost two decades later, I have completely done a 180. I’m so glad I failed that day because I had so much to accomplish that God was planning for me. I look at my struggles with mental health as a time that made me stronger and more understanding. I am now able to help others with my story and encourage them to keep fighting. It is no walk in the park; it takes time, dedication, continual therapy, and patience. BUT IT IS SO WORTH IT. I truly believe we were each created for something special. Sometimes it takes others longer to find it and that’s okay. We each bloom at our own time.

When you feel at your lowest, remember me as an example to keep fighting. You have no idea what God has in store for you and whose life you will one day impact. I’m in your corner.

If you or something you know is suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Help is available.


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My “Coming Out” Story

“I am gay. I am straight. I am a lesbian. I am bisexual. I am trans. I AM HUMAN.”

My story is anything but ordinary, especially when it comes to my relationships and sexual orientation.

The most common question I get is, “Did you always know you were attracted to women?” The answer is quite simple – yes, and no. 😉

Growing up, I knew I was attracted to women’s bodies but – if I’m being honest – women, frankly, were annoying to me. I am a low maintenance, fun outdoorsy type. I don’t need a lot of things to make me happy. The girls I grew up with were not like that. So to me, the thought never occurred,”Oh, maybe I could be a lesbian.” I also had the longest crush on a guy for most of my schooling, so again, my sexual orientation was never a question.

During my teenage years, while I was not aware of my own identity, I supported others who were discovering themselves and would praise friends who came out. In addition, I would occasionally check out the LGBT events, but that was about as far as that went.

Then college came. Within the second week of Freshmen year, I fell for a guy, who would later become my husband. For the first year or two, things were great. Then I found out he cheated on me with my roommate, and things were never the same after. We spent ten years in an on-again, off-again relationship (I was definitely not a saint during those years, let me make that clear).

While he grew restless with our relationship, I did as well. Even before getting married, I wondered if I was doing the right thing. In this mixed up time, I was starting to wonder about my sexuality. He found it enticing at first that I could be interested in women, so I began to explore that part of me. As our issues continued to mount, he and both realized “that part of me” grew louder – especially the more our relationship unraveled.

Fast forward to Fall 2017, I found out he cheated on me again and was browsing internet dating sites . At this point, after just having a miscarriage as well, I was mentally done and checked out of the relationship. I could not give anymore to this marriage no matter what he did to try to make it up. We began living separate lives, but we still lived together. As I described in previous posts, I overdosed on anxiety meds twice during this period of time and drank heavily to deal with the pain. It was December when I downloaded the app “Her” – a lesbian dating app. I was so annoyed at my situation and figured if he can get something from these apps, why can’t I? And a lesbian one, even better – no fucking men!

Long story short, I downloaded the app but barely used it. One – I felt guilty, and two – I wasn’t in the right place to be with anyone. On December 20th, a girl messaged me saying “hey” and asking “what I was looking for”. I think I was in one of those moods where I just didn’t care anymore so I answered and went on about my sob story. The funny thing was – she was going through an almost mirror situation. Talk about the heavens aligning.

We spent a few months talking, supporting each other as friends as we both tried to end our long-term relationships and get our lives back. The more time we spent talking, the more I realized how much I liked her. This was the first time I really felt this deep about someone since my husband – and it was a woman! At the time I was discovering my feelings for her, we never crossed that line from friends to lovers because we knew things were already dicey – but the romantic pull was strong. I liked her as a person and I was insanely attracted to her. I had a hard time comprehending this concept.

After filing for divorce, I began telling my immediate family the situation. At the time, I had no idea if things would work out between her and I, but I knew that I needed to be real with them. My brother and mom supported me wholeheartedly, but it was definitely an adjustment for them as months went on and this girl and I actually began dating. They were not used to seeing me with a female, which lead to some awkward moments to say the least. There were times I cried because I felt like if I was dating a guy it would be different. Guys and girls show affection all the time, why is it so different now that I am with a girl? I knew it would take time for everyone to adjust, so we tried to be more considerate while everyone got to know each other better. It was hard to not show how in love we were though, because – honestly – for the first time in a long time, we both were so happy. We could not hide the happiness we were feeling.

I was hoping that by the time of my mom’s wedding later that year, everyone would be more comfortable. I remember calling my Aunt in fear that my family would not accept me. She told me to calm down, that people’s views are changing and evolving. It just takes time.

By the time of the wedding, everyone had grown to love my girl and, to my surprise, my extended family was so accepting and happy for me. My mom’s cousin’s comment stands out the most – “I’m just so happy -You are happy. Your mom is happy. Mike is happy. Everyone is happy!”

Now two years later, life couldn’t be more amazing. I am still with this amazing girl and she has become a part of my family. And most importantly, I am finally at peace with myself.

So the question I’m sure everyone has on their mind, if you are “bi”, would you ever be with a guy again? The answer is “no”.

The reason? It has nothing to do with my orientation and everything to do with me finding “my person”.

When you find yourself, you know when you have found the right person for you….whether you are gay, straight, bi, queer, lesbian, trans, etc. – you will know. That person will signal those heart strings that say “GAME OVER” and sexual orientation will mean nothing -“I am gay. I am straight. I am a lesbian. I am bisexual. I am trans. I AM HUMAN” just like you.


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Are You an Overthinker? Try this.

“Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.”

Buddha
Ever feel like your mind is going in circles?

Overthinking – I could write a book on that topic. If you were to look up “overthinking” in the dictionary, my picture would be next to it. I am the Queen of second-guessing and going back over situations a million times.

It is easy to feel paralyzed and then become stuck in the destructive habit of overthinking. You can overthink a small problem so much that it begins to snowball into a massive, undefeatable monster.

Here are 10 signs of overthinking you should be aware of:

  1. Second guessing everything.
  2. Feeling overwhelmed by the littlest decisions.
  3. You regret often.
  4. You are a perfectionist.
  5. Body tenses up. You may feel ill or have a headache.
  6. Insomnia.
  7. Your mind just keeps going in circles. Almost like you can’t shut it off.
  8. You take things personally when they aren’t meant to be personal.
  9. Criticize yourself often.
  10. You always feel on edge.

So now that you know what the signs are, what can you do about it? When you are an overthinker, it is almost like you have to retrain your brain to not think that way. Because of this, it does take time to master these skills.

Here are some things I have tried that may be helpful:

  • Be mindful. Stay present-focused. There could be a million “what if” scenarios. You are not a fortune teller. Acknowledge how you feel and then release those “what ifs” into the atmosphere.
  • Let go of perfection. Perfection is an unrealistic goal.
  • Embrace mistakes. It is okay to mess up. That is how we grow.
  • Write down your worries. Get them out of your head and onto paper. Then place them in a drawer; you can revisit later.
  • Acknowledge your fears.
  • Meditation/Yoga. This can be extremely hard at first for an overthinker, but with practice it gets better.
  • Positive affirmations. It is important to tell yourself you are doing the best you can.

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Why Reading is Important for Personal Growth and Achievement

Do not underestimate the magic of what 15 minutes of reading can do for your self-growth.

Kristen S.

Reading is a popular habit among super successful (and happy!) people. But not just any kind of reading – it’s the kind of reading which helps to spark the soul, building self-confidence and spirit.

Some people choose to read a devotional in the morning to help with setting their frame of mind for the day. Others may pick up a book or read a blog post in the evening. And then there are the other individuals (like I was) who do nothing because there is NO TIME.

Here is the cold, hard truth. You do have time. You just choose not to use it. Let me explain — a lot of us waste minutes throughout the day without really realizing it. Fifteen minutes can come and go as you scroll through Facebook. Fifteen minutes can easily fly by as you flip through the channels on your TV. You might spend fifteen minutes or more shopping or driving in the car. Those fifteen minutes you spent complaining about how unfair life is? Yep, those just flew by too. Get my point? You need to purposely fit it in your schedule. If you say you can’t fit it in, then clearly your mind has already rejected the idea. Here are some tips:

1. Get an audiobook for the car
2. Wake up fifteen minutes earlier
3. Set aside fifteen minutes before you go to bed
4. Subscribe to an uplifting blog that will send you notifications every time a new article is posted
5. Purchase a daily devotional book (not all of these are religious; some just have positive quotes)

Whichever is more convenient for you (or more inspiring), choose that. Do not make excuses.

If you need suggestions, here is some of my favorites:

1. “You are a Badass” by Jen Sincero
2. “Girl, Wash Your Face” and “Girl, Stop Apologizing” by Rachel Hollis
3. “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck” by Mark Manson
4. “The Power (The Secret)” by Rhonda Byrne
5. “Get Out of Your Own Way” by Mark Goulston

Remember, do not underestimate the magic of what fifteen minutes of positive reading can do for your self-growth. Make the time, and see how that changes your attitude over the next couple of months.

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