About uncertainty and striving for perfection.

How wonderful it is when we can finally find ourselves in a calm place! How often do this happen? Not as often as we wish. We are usually at war with ourselves, drowning our calm with meaningless comparisons, drowning our own feelings, and striving to keep reality as a (false) positive one by force.

Today I wanted to share some wise and true are words coming from my dear teacher and friend, Melinda Jacobs (see video). She talks about the ‘striving for perfection paradox’. It’s so important to know that things, just as they are in our lives (and the way we are right now too) are perfect. Calm can be found in uncertainty.

 

You can find Melinda at quantum-therapeutics.com

Choose to be kind and grateful.

Image by Richard Larssen

A not so simple opinion on forgiveness.

This was one of my first blog posts. I wanted to share it with you again. I would love to hear your opinion on forgiveness…

We all get hurt one way or the other. Such is life. It is the way we react that counts, or so I’ve heard. The truth is we need to forgive constantly in order to move on. In fact, we tend to forgive small things on a daily basis without even noticing. But when a major offense (or group of accumulated offenses) like abuse, serious lies, betrayal or any action resulting in a major loss comes crashing our way, the reaction is different. It may be immediate or it may take some time but we feel hurt, confused, vulnerable and  sadness, resentment and anger explodes within us.

 

 

 

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We have a problem now, besides the offensive act commited againts us I mean. We click into survival mode and find that pain and resentment are so uncomfortable that we try with all our might to put those feelings and emotions away, bury them and forget about them. This process may last hours, days, months or years. The subsequent effort in denying what we feel may create health consequences. Now, this may not be true for some people, but for some people it is. It happens that our heart knows, our soul knows and every cell in our body knows that we are in pain and that we are unable to forgive at the moment, and our whole being acts accordingly, even if our mind says otherwise.

Permanent unforgiveness causes chronic stress. Our feelings and emotions are alive and if buried, they will try to find a way out. This chronic stress response causes our body to release cortisol and excess insulin, to say the least, which results in short term or long term health issues that may include: low immune defense system, indigestion, weight gain, inability to loose weight, excess weight loss because of malnutrition or malnourishment, headaches and even depression.

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It is important to notice that forgiveness of a major offense will not take away the pain and resentment right away. Forgiveness is the switch that turns the power of healing on. Healing is a process, a slow one sometimes, which would be easier to undestand with an example of physical injury. Such may be the case of a person  riding a motorcycle when, suddenly, a newly licensed texting and driving teenager hits this person. They rush him/her to the ER and after a month in intensive care, this teen comes to see this person looking for forgiveness. This is a nice person, so compassion fills his/her heart and he/she forgives the kid. Did this person got out of the hospital the minute he/she forgave? Did the pain go away? Did the broken bones heal instantly? No. Healing will be a process of months, maybe a year or more. He/she will have scars, maybe for life and will need therapy, probably. But this person will go on and life will be good again someday because he/she is strong and just helped the recovery proccess by forgiving the kid for everything.

When a person is devastaded on the inside, the healing process may be slower than a physical one. It may take an hour, a day, a week, months even years but forgiveness always starts the healing process.

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Time doesn’t heal everything, it can make it worse actually, specially if we don’t forgive. So we have to choose either to forgive, let go and start healing or to resent, hold, bury and start affecting our health. So, forgiveness becomes a self care decision. We don’t forgive for the offender, we mainly forgive for our own self. Because we should love ourselves enough to care for our own well being. Because we live once and do not want to waste away life. Because we want to help our body, soul and heart to let go and relax in order to have a good working metabolism, better health and live in the best way possible.

It is so important to take our unresolved emotional and psychological issues into account when there is a physical health problem and viceversa. Forgiveness is key, it is within our reach and it is so worth it.

Choose to be kind and grateful. 

Images from the internet

“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.

Images from the internet

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.
Images from the web

Watching your thoughts during hard times.

It is completely understandable not loving what we are going through sometimes, but if we love ourselves during it, things actually become a lot more endurable. I have experimented with this idea many times and it always works wonders. The trick is to switch off the negative thoughts that flow through our head (at all times) as soon as they show up. Some of us seem programmed to automatically think the worst case scenarios and blame ourselves for them simultaneously, but loving ourselves during difficult situations really makes a difference, making it possible to go through life’s painful moments with peace of mind and heart.

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As everything around you collapses and nothing works according to plan, the only thing you can do is love yourself through the process. This releases a chain reaction: good thoughts -good feelings- good actions and, if you are lucky, good reactions. Just give it a try, write down every negative thought that crosses your mind during your day and how many of this thoughts provoke self-judgment or loathing of yourself in any way. Also, please check later how many of this thoughts became an actual reality. I can only say that  I’m grateful each and every time I can achieve this (not always) because even though I might end up my day feeling very tired, this makes the difference between a good day or a bad one.

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

Image from the internet

Are you a highly sensitive person?

“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 add that a HSP’s inner world is very rich.

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If you think you have this amazing trait please do not try to fix it, do not feel broken, do not feel like a victim. Honor your sensitivity and take into account that all events happening around you affect you more than they will affect everybody else; you might be more prone to emotional eating as a way of protection, more prone to overthinking and self-judgment, might have a hard time with change and letting go.

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I really recommend Dr. Elaine Aron’s book: The Highly Sensitive Person, How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You where you will find a fresh perspective on this trait and great techniques to take care of yourself.

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the internet

Food after mood or mood after food.

What we eat affects our mood and our mood affects what we eat. It’s a fact. It’s the way it is. The longer the (food/mood or vice versa) cycle goes on, the longer it takes to break free of it and correct course. If the cycle has been going on for a long time, it will take a long time to correct. Quitting ‘cold turkey’ either food or emotions usually ends up in failure, so taking just one or several steps every day is key in breaking the pattern. Take notice… if mood started the cycle, taking steps for inner self-care first is essential. On the other hand, if food started the cycle, taking steps to add more nourishing food to slowly displace the bad food choices should start to decelerate the problem. A combination of both, inner self care and better food choices is optimal but I do suggest to start with the main cause first. Look not for overnight perfection or correction but for slow daily progress and since sometimes things get worse before they get better, self-compassion and understanding will go a long way in the process.

Choose to be kind and grateful.

Image from the internet

Only you can.

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“Don’t let the sadness of your past and the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present”. Ah, easier said than done.

Indeed there are things we do not want to happen but have to accept, let go and see what else might happen afterwards. Some of us usually get stuck between the ‘accept/let go’ part or the ‘trust in the future’ part. In these situations it might help us remember that we can’t control anything except our own reactions and perspective towards life. Do know that no one can do this for you, even if you have support and help from others, you have the last word. Only you can make the choice to enjoy the present moment no matter what. Only you can.

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the web

Three questions.

I want to invite you today to ask yourself these three questions:

Which are some places in life where I need to set more boundaries, to say “NO” more frequently?

Which are some places in my life where I need to say “YES” more often?

And what am I doing about it?

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Everyone carries around what has been learned through generations (good and bad). In my case there are many things to be grateful for. I’ve been blessed but nevertheless carry the weight of things I’ve learned that are no longer healthy.

Is it time for you to change and break old patterns? If it is, just remember that you might face some conscious or unconscious resistance coming from within or from others around you. Sometimes when people try to evolve, they face resistance instead of assistance. Once we decide to change, things around us start to shift and usually other people get caught in the ripples produced by this change in circumstances. These people might start to question themselves too and feel uncomfortable.

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Your friends and family (or even coworkers) might resist change if you are, for example, the first among them to fight for a degree, to be sober, to eat nutritionally, to take care of yourself, to exercise, to travel, to work in something different, to leave the old family business, to have a new hobby, to change cities or find any new path, your path. For the sake of future generations and your health: Persist. Persist in the kindest way towards yourself and others, listen to counsel from loved ones, but nevertheless persist in setting healthy boundaries and always continue to open yourself to new possibilities.

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Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the web.

The illusion of control

We always try to do the best we can, always. In spite of that, time, schedules, people, feelings, food, health, relationships, work and everything in between cannot be controlled. We can control nothing except our own thoughts.

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Almost everyone I know have some control issue (or issues), whether they accept it or not. Control seems to communicate a feeling of protection in an uncertain world, but it’s only an illusion that transmits worry and anxiety instead.

Life is living us and not the other way around, so we better learn to go with the flow while doing our best, which is enough.

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Until recently, I’ve always had a hard time letting go while riding a rollercoaster. I have always envied people who raise their arms and enjoy ups and downs at top speed while laughing. Therefore, I will never ever forget the moment I finally could.

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Life is a rollercoaster and I am making an effort in riding it as freely as possible. I want to forever practice living the good and the bad while searching around every little corner where control might be hidden.  I will forever persist in letting go of it every time I find it.

 

Choose to be kind and grateful.

Images from the internet.