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Body confidence: A battle for many, who only a few dare describe.

An epidemic which silently steals away energy, happiness, and life itself! I hear stories like the one portrayed here ever more often than I wish. Please take the time to read it completely. Thank you to Embracing Authenticity for sharing this. You are so right!

Raise your hand if you’ve ever looked in the mirror and been left feeling utterly deflated. Believe me you’re not alone, I have both hands raised too! Thinking about it I don’t really know anyone who is completely satisfied with their body, it’s either too big, too small, to short. Blotches, pimples, wrinkles and hair […]

via Body Confidence – Why it’s not all about change… — Embracing Authenticity

Choose to be kind and grateful.

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Recognizing the difference between guilt, humiliation, and shame in order to live and not only survive in life.

Is it natural to feel ashamed or humiliated? Yes, of course it is natural, it is human. What can we do about it? Well, first it is important to recognize it and acknowledge that everybody experiences these emotions- yes, everybody.  But they are not one and the same, there is some difference between them, giving shame the opportunity to be the worst among them.

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Here is a very oversimplified way to differentiate these very complex emotions by our own thoughts or beliefs:

“I am bad” (shame)

“I did something bad” (guilt)

“I deserve this” (shame)

“I don’t deserve this” (humiliation)

All of the above may result from one same situation lived by different people and vary according to each person’s previous experiences. The same event may cause humiliation for someone and also cause deep damaging shame for another. This is important because humiliation fades away but shame remains.

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“Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging” (Brené Brown).

I wanted to write about this topic so badly but it was so hard to comprise it in only a few words. Thanks to Brené Brown’s work, we all have a world of information about shame through her books.

Please be sure not to be bullying yourself into shame, because we only live once and shame stops you from living.

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

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You don’t need an eating disorder for your weight loss pursuit to become a chronic form of self-abuse.

I have two beautiful daughters. I have fought hard to help them choose to deter themselves from materialism, to love themselves and their bodies, to respect themselves and their souls above all.

We live in a difficult city where looks and what you own takes precedence above all. Now more than ever, I would like to tell so many teenagers that they are beautiful just as they are. Just the same, I would like to tell so many women that the fact that 40 does not usually look like 20 is not a tragedy and that obsessing about it depletes life of energy and takes away time that could otherwise be dedicated to loved ones and to new, enriching, and exciting experiences.

Some weeks ago I read another blogger’s (Tracy I, Fit is a feminist issue) as she wrote about having been suffering from food poisoning. She wrote what follows: “Back in the day I, or one of the friends whom I complained to about my affliction, would have thought or said something like, “at least you’ll lose some weight.” Now, this is a ridiculous thing to say, I realize. But back then it was assumed that weight loss was an ever present goal in the life of every woman”. Sadly, I believe it still is an ever present goal that somehow has morphed into this idea that losing weight will make every trouble in life go away. So, lets do ourselves a favor and post this somewhere we can see it as often as needed:

Important note to self:

Loving myself and taking care of myself and my health is a priority, if the self-care nourishing process I choose includes losing pounds it´s ok. However, if the way I am or the way my body looks prevents me from living a full, happy life and I choose then to attack myself and my body until the process becomes a perennial obsession, then it’s not ok. Get help.

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

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The time to change is now.

That thing you would like to experience someday, why not do it now?

The person you want to be someday, why not start working on being that person now?

The way of life you are putting on hold for when you are older, richer, healthier, less busy, prettier, thinner, why not start living it now?

It is a mistake of gigantic proportions when we think that putting life on hold, shielding ourselves from evolving via fear and excuses, is in any way justified. It is a terrible waste of life and life’s opportunities to grow.

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Sometimes we need to acknowledge our circumstances. Life is complicated, and therefore caring for a child, an elderly person, or a sick one may prevent us from doing or being where we would like. Nevertheless, these circumstances have the amazing potential to become selfless acts of love which, even if we resist, may bring evolution, change and growth if we let them. No, these circumstances are not the same as shielding or staying within a fence unable to explore beyond.

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It is an interesting process to self-discover and analyze the way we may cast ourselves down, the effects of toxic self-talk and negative thinking. I particularly worry about the number of women (for example), that would not wear a swimsuit, that think they cannot be in a relationship or deserved to be loved because they don’t look as they “should” or are somehow overweight. So many persons think themselves too old to start anew or to study new things, to learn a new sport, profession, or skill. Others will think that they need only have a certain job or status in order to thrive and live a happy life.

Maybe some will read what I’m writing now and will be glad not to be in such a situation as described here, but experience tells me they are a minority. In the end, we only have one life, so the time to start healing and living is today. The time to change is now.

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

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The rebel inside me; the one that never settles.

Some things will never settle easily inside my soul, my mind, my heart or my body. Once received, some ideas will never be allowed to settle peacefully inside me. The rebel within me will not be silenced, at least not easily. That’s why I had learned that it is better to listen rather than try to control such a rebel, mainly because the cause of the uproar will in fact, almost every time, be right and in more than one way justified.

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I have learned to love my rebel, the one that lives within me, the one who shows up to stir everything up when something is not right, the one that signals that change is imminent and utterly necessary, the one that never takes no for an answer.

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The rebel inside me: The rebel that fights to let go of anger, the one that fights to be free from fears, to move forward, to take responsibility, to fully commit, the rebel that challenges perspective and attitude, and wisely fights to let go of useless expectations while choosing love and health instead. The rebel who fiercely defends and shows that God loves me and is ever present.

Choose to be kind and grateful.

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Tips from a highly sensitive person (HSP) living within a highly sensitive family.

Featured image by Geoff Hunter at geoffhunterwildlifeart.wordpress.com

I dare describe being an HSP as having but one constant: its own inconsistency. Living in a household full of HSPs has been the adventure of a lifetime or better said a lifetime of adventure.

Together, through helping each other and learning from each other is how we have learned to thrive. Getting to know each other´s potential and limitations and respecting each other through them has been key in making of sensitivities an opportunity to become better people.

The highly sensitive person has a sensitive nervous system, is aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.” (Elaine Aron, Ph.D.)

I would like to share some tips we find helpful as an HSP family:

-Accepting that we cannot handle our sensitivity while being very tired or hungry. Therefore we try to prevent this and if not possible, we understand a limit has been reached and either try to minimize the blow for the HSP in turn or respect their space.

-Accepting that sometimes people don’t understand what being an HSP is all about so our home and family are our safe haven.

-Avoiding (when possible) hostile environments (no matter what people say). Since this kind of situation drains our energy fast and it’s hard not to be affected by the negative energy around.

-Learning to let go easily. Knowing that what may look as “a bad temper outburst” is seldom personal. Instead, we try remembering that it’s probably the result from overstimulation.

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-Spending time in nature or exercising outside. We have learned never to underestimate the power of this one. In our family we know gyms are not for us.

-Having a personal private space. It doesn’t have to be a room. For example, one of our daughter’s private personal space is her bed, if she is there reading, working or even doing nothing she should not be bothered, we know she is recharging.

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-Kindness. Kindness against fears, against negative thoughts and against mistakes, knowing that as HSPs we tend to be harsh on ourselves.

-Practicing receiving. Simply because sometimes we are not good at receiving help or compliments.

-Going for the next best feeling. Some feelings and sensations are hard to overcome and trying to go from overwhelmed and negative to cheerful-positive is impossible; therefore, just taking one step at a time is better and completely ok.

-Learning to take responsibility. Knowing when a person or situation is too much simply because I am the sensitive one and knowing this (too) is completely ok.

-Doing our best. Which means softening the standards (we tend to be very hard on ourselves) and doing what we can at the moment: not what we “should” or what is expected, but what we can.

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

Some images from the internet.

 

About food, an overwhelming day, and my love for hiking.

We just celebrated my oldest daughter’s birthday and the fridge is full: muffins, banana cake, banana pie, and cookies. After a completely overwhelming day full of unexpected news about work and money, together with several events highlighting (still partially digested) truths about how my life is upside-down now, and a day in which I had planned to take a break to just read and rest… finding myself craving what’s inside the fridge freaked me out at first (I don’t even like banana! I can’t stand it).

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AAAhhhh anxiety! I’m tired and dehydrated. There, problem detected and accepted, emotions validated… now what?… Breathe…

After having a cup of soothing herbal tea I get prepared to call it a day. I tried to pray but it was not working. Of course He is always with me but I don’t want to talk neither listen, I’m too tired. I proceeded to do some tapping but I was not being that comfortable about it either. Panic… I was not going to be able to sleep like these. Breathe…

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I thought: “I will go mind hiking! Yes”.  I closed my eyes and started taking deep breaths… I was walking… there’s so much green, the smells, the wind, the temperature was just right for me. I could hear the wind through the trees. The wind… the lake is just around the corner… it was so silent and peaceful. I was able to pray there. I was able to rest there too. I wanted to stay there and never wake up…

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I really love hiking but I can’t do it as often as I wish I could. Therefore, I do my mind hiking and regain whatever strength I can gather from it. It is so important to release stress before sleep at night. There are so many ways of achieving this. What do you do to release stress before sleep?

Choose to be kind and grateful.

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Free energy enhancers.

No energy drinks, supplements or coffee… better use one of these:

-Slowing down.

-Letting go of fear.

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-Rest and down time (doing whatever is necessary to have at least some).

-Nourishment (good quality food, enjoyable activities, hobbies, friends).

-Quiet (to de-stimulate, to pray, to listen to ourbody).

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-Being yourself instead of pushing (Perfectionism and ego).

-Forgiving.

-Trusting.

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-Allowing love in and allowing it to flow.

-Letting feelings be.

-And of course, nature! 😉

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

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“We are what we eat”… not exactly.

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We are not just what we eat but what we metabolize and, in order to do so, our bodies should be in a relaxed and balanced state. Of course the quality of the food we eat and the choices we make are very important; along with (just as important) stress management and taking care of hidden bottled up emotions. Otherwise, we could be eating the healthiest of foods and still be unable to achieve health.

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People who has survived traumatic events (even from long ago), highly sensitive people and those who live at a fast and stressful pace all the time may see signs of metabolic unbalance even if they follow a healthy diet. Toxic beliefs and negative self-talk also affect how we digest and assimilate food.

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We are complex human beings and  we are not just what we eat… not exactly.

Choose to be kind and grateful.

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Defense mechanisms: Destroyers or growth opportunities?

Life is challenging. Everybody, yes everybody, uses defense mechanisms to survive. This is not a conscious choice but by becoming aware of the defense mechanism(s) we tend to use the most, we might handle life in a more positive way.
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As we discover those places in our life where we feel no control, let’s focus on progress, not perfection. So let’s review the mechanisms in order to identify them and work on being more conscious of our reactions, and instead of labeling our experiences and reactions as negative, be able to generate a personal transformation. Instead of using them as destroyers, turn them into growth opportunities.
Displacement: This one is used by everybody when we are tired, low on energy, or not nourished enough. We transfer our feelings to someone else. This is usually the case after having a hard day at work and then we snap at our children or partner. It’s important to know that treating ourselves poorly by negative self-talk or by using (any) toxic substances (even food) is displacement in its most damaging form, a true destroyer.
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Rationalization: It’s hard to accept that sometimes even good people do something bad. Rationalization is making an excuse for a behavior by blaming circumstances where we believe ourselves to be innocent bystanders. This prevents us from being able to handle the truth. It’s ok to fail, be embarrassed, and feel scared sometimes.
Repression: Events we think we forget but create negative automatic thoughts at a subconscious level which in turn make us feel bad. This is the case with all irrational beliefs.
Projection: When we attribute to others what we think are unacceptable impulses or behaviors. What we don’t like in others usually we don’t like in ourselves. This is the case when we are always in the right and that person is always in the wrong; or when we hate something in ourselves, therefore we hate it in others.
Denial: Simply put, denial means not accepting reality. Denying helps with negative impulses that otherwise might fill us with anxiety. The problem is that by being in denial, we are not able to learn from an experience, accept advice and grow. It’s understandable, some truths are too painful to be accepted in full but are better digested in small doses.
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Regression: We use this defense mechanism when stressed and go back to an earlier stage where we felt more happy and safe. This is the case of childish behaviors or the abuse of comfort food.
Reaction Formation: This one turns an unacceptable impulse into the enemy, demonizing something we are attracted to, or trying to feel repulsed by our deep down desires. As a result, instead of defending ourselves we destroy using feelings of failure and guilt. It’s a polarization. This is the case with certain foods (like sugar is the enemy) or sexual impulses.
Intellectualization: This one serves better instead of rationalization. It’s coming up with a reason to explain an event without using a story around it.
Sublimation: Love this one! We take our troubles and turn them into something good. We take unacceptable behavior and let it out in a positive way by using healthy outlets. This is the case in painting, playing a musical instrument, a sport or any hobby that makes us feel better after a stressful day or experience. So we might lose interest in such activity that unconsciously served to let out frustration once we don’t need the outlet anymore.
Defense mechanisms are neither bad nor good, they just are, but we need to discard the ones that may be preventing us from evolving, living a full life and achieving good health. Therefore, if we practice taking responsibility and developing positive interpretations of our experiences then we will not needlessly punish ourselves for imagined failures or losses using self-criticism or negative self-talk, victimizing ourselves or looking to others to save us from ourselves or even make us happy. We will also be more conscious of why others behave the way they do and be more understanding.
Choose to be kind and grateful.
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