I am perfect. I never make mistakes. Neither does anyone else in the world. This actually false, but hey, it’s okay to make mistakes! What I want to get away from, is apologizing for everyone’s mistakes. I am serious. Sometimes I feel like I have to apologize just for the color of my skin, but I know that would be crazy because I had no control over genetics, pigmentation or anything like that.
Unnecessary apologies don’t help anything. In fact, it sends the message that you think you are responsible for the issue at hand. Are you? Did you create the mess we’re all in right now? I know I didn’t, yet I honestly do find myself wanting to apologize and I realize that is a reaction more to the fact that I want to help the world change. However, if I keep apologizing for the state of the world, that is a huge burden for just one person to bear. I know that I am not alone in feeling this way, so let’s look at a few other things we need to stop apologizing for.
5 Things to Stop Apologizing For:
- Your skin color or appearance. I watched this really interesting short video where the parents in some cultures wanted their kids to be lighter skinned…not just here. I actually had my mouth drop open at one point when a Korean girl said lighter skin there is associated with beauty. Or the beautiful girl from Bengali. You see, no one ever said any of this mess to me, thankfully. I enjoyed darker skin as one side of my family is naturally olive toned. I actually researched the factors that cause skin to change color, and there are many different reports, but of course, it was an adaptation to protect ourselves much like my own genetic condition to store iron. Why would we let this bother us so much? It’s absurd that this is still an issue today.
- Your religion. Whatever you believe, don’t believe or practice, that is personal. It has no bearing on my life whatsoever…nor should it. If someone is making you feel guilty for your beliefs or differences, that really says more about them than you. Don’t apologize for what you believe in. It’s okay to be different.
- Asking a question. If the question pertains to something that you just don’t understand, or want to get a better grasp on, why should you apologize for it? I don’t think it’s necessary to apologize for asking questions during a meeting, or even when something seems like the wrong way to go at work. You might be the one who asks the question in front of everyone, but I bet you are certainly not the only one who had that question. You can voice your opinion and be bold without needing to apologize.
- Having “you” time. Why do we apologize for this? Sometimes I don’t want to be involved in someone’s drama, mess or ridiculousness. Maybe I just really want to have me time…lots. But that is actually no one’s business. I do like lots of time alone and I also enjoy time with friends. Thankfully, my friends get it if I say I don’t feel like doing something or not right now, or whatever I say. The word no should be enough without needing to apologize for taking a step back.
- Circumstances, or health problems, you can’t control. I felt guilty for so long on this one. Wow. Why? Because I was born with iron overload and didn’t know it?? How the hell was that my fault and why did I keep carrying that around? I don’t know. It really wasn’t my fault. If there are circumstances beyond your control, stop apologizing. You are wasting precious time feeling guilty, sorry, angry and other emotions that have no place in your life. They are taking up head space, so kick them out. Don’t say you are sorry if someone shares something difficult with you as well <<< I have to work on this one. Try “I can’t imagine how you feel.” Or “That must be difficult.” Why do we apologize like we caused it??? I know it’s instinct, so I really have to work on this one.
What is a narcissist exactly? By definition it is someone who is overly self-involved, vain or selfish. I happen to know quite a few of these people, and yes, was in a relationship with one once long ago. Quite thankfully, I recognized what he was doing even back then as it could have been quite scary. What exactly were the signs I recognized?
- everything was on his time
- wanted to party all the time
- had to be in the center of attention by drawing people to him
- put on an “act” like it was a circus show
- lied to me…constantly
- would do one good thing, to replace the 50 bad things he did
These are just some of the signs that I recognized and knew it was a ridiculous arrangement. Read this article for more on When an Empath Loves a Narcissist. So how does one move on after this?
How to Move Forward:
- Stop feeling guilty, judging yourself, or feeling used. It is quite possible that this is what he or she wants. It creates that isolating feeling that they love. Now you have no one to call, and feel sorry for yourself. It is normal. You will be able to build up relationships once again that help you with your self-esteem, not drain it.
- Start your self-care routines again…which means focusing on you! Consider this experience a lesson in how to take care of yourself and make yourself a priority once again. Honestly, you can be stronger than the you that just came out of this relationship. I know it sounds crazy, but it is true. Start your wellness routine which includes fitness, nutrition, balance and self-care. I talk about this in 4 Weeks to Wellness, but it is absolutely the best way to heal yourself completely.
- Journal the things you want to remove from your life and the things you want to attract. Write down the qualities you would like to have in your next relationship, and compare your list to what just happened. Chances are, the qualities were never there to begin with. It was all smoke and mirrors. Get in the habit of putting yourself first and thinking about your goals and dreams.
- Take stock of your feelings. Sit with them a minute. Write them down. How are you feeling? Now imagine the best version of you. The you that is there, but is just hidden way below the surface right now. What if you journaled each and every night on the best parts of your day, you, your family, your friends, and everything about your life that is great? There is so much left to be thankful for and after all this, the relationship has shown you what you don’t want to be like. That was not a relationship for your highest good and somewhere deep inside you knew it all along. You are able to see much more clearly now that the fog has lifted.
You will be able to move forward. Use yoga, journaling, meditation, walks in nature, alone time, massage and more as a way to get back to the you that you want to be. We all have bad days, make bad decisions and date the wrong people. But that doesn’t mean we have to stay in that place forever. This has prepared us for what we no longer want in our lives.
You have a choice to make. A decision. You listen to the chatter in your head for hours, days maybe and still can’t decide what to do. Your heart knows the right answer. But you keep listening to the chatter. Did you know 73% of 25-35 year-olds identified as over thinkers? More women (57%) find themselves over thinking than men (43%).
If you find yourself obsessing, over thinking, and not being able to stop, you need to change the thoughts immediately!!
5 Signs You Are Over Thinking:
- You change clothes quite a few times before finally deciding on what to wear. Solution: Pick out your clothes the night before. Everything, down to the accessories, and try it all on. No matter what, stick with it.
- You are so busy running in a negative state of mind, that you can’t see past the situation. The here and now. Solution: Get outside. Change what you are doing right now. Drop that thought and everything that comes with it. Go on a bike ride, a walk, take a yoga class. Move forward into the present.
- You don’t take time for yourself because you are too busy thinking about things that could go wrong. You say no to new opportunities, new friends, and possibly new yoga classes because you might do something wrong. Solution: Say yes. Really, as soon as someone asks you to something that your body immediately thinks YES to, just say it without over thinking what could go wrong. Your gut instinct and your heart are telling you to listen. It’s your brain that is over thinking. You have to change the pattern of the old ways by listening to your heart and gut feelings. Here is what I like to do to get away: Get outside and preserve my spirit.
- You stay up all night thinking about the thing that happened. The worst case scenario of that thing. Maybe that pain was cancer? You go from fine to spontaneously combusting in your head. Solution: Journaling all your thoughts out before you go to bed. All the negatives in your head. Then you write everything as you wish it will happen like in my manifesting journal article. You write how it will go in the positive and believe it.
- The cycle of over thinking creates anger, jealousy, fear, betrayal, doubt, indecision and more in your real life. Solution: You have to take a step back and look at the process of letting go. Get out of your head and let it all go. Let go of the feeling that distract you from your higher purpose. You can’t live your life in your head. Start to come back to the body, the breath and this moment. Slow down. Be present and be real. This is the only way to stop this process. For me, it’s getting into my flow. As you know that’s writing, yoga and reading a good book. Gardening, hiking and more also fall on this list. Time stops. The world comes to a halt when I am in my flow. Find that activity that makes your heart sing and stop the chatter.
I bet you never think that famous people, writers, doctors, lawyers and perhaps even great speakers once had to grow their self-confidence? Well, it’s true. This is not something that is taught in school. Some people think that we are born that way, but the truth is, we can actually cultivate it like a talent.
Imagine playing the piano and practicing over and over to become better at it. Now imagine looking at yourself in the mirror, saying hello and what you do. If it does not inspire you, try saying it with a smile. Seriously. Then say it while imagining yourself in your favorite “power” outfit…whatever that looks like. Let’s keep working on it with these 7 tips.
7 Ways to Grow Your Self-Confidence:
- Get clear on what you want your day to look like. That’s right. YOU decide! Set your intention and write it down. Make a deliberate act to bring about what you want your day to look like. How is it going to feel to nail that speech, ask that person out, or tackle the meeting you have to get through? Have a strong sense of purpose guide you through your day as you constantly think of your intention.
- Get out of your own way. At the next social event, go mingle. No matter how difficult it has been before, at least try it. You don’t know anyone in a certain section of your office? Go over and introduce yourself. You never know what might come of it.
- Stop being plugged in and on auto-pilot. Don’t say yes to things that you want to say no to…and take control of your life. Be real. What do you wish you had more of? What do you wish you had less of? What have you been doing to fix this? Seriously?? Have you been doing anything to fix this? Think about it and make a conscious decision to go for what you want. not for what someone else might want.
- Don’t tell yourself that you can’t do something. Stop it. Here is what people say to me “I’d love to come to yoga, but I’m not flexible.” People. Get to yoga. It’s not about being flexible. I also hear “I can’t do that pose. I’m not ever going to be able to do that.” Guess what. That’s what I thought about forearm stand a year ago, only it made me mad to think that way. So I did it. Make your list of things you think you can’t do. Look over it and pick one to work on that you really want to go for!
- When was the last time you felt great? Like you got off an exercise machine and were like woo. I did it. How about something as simple as mani/pedi day? Whatever you have done recently that made you feel good about yourself, your abilities and what you can do, never think “I don’t have money for that.” because that is something you need to keep in your life. Think to yourself, I love the way I always have access money to pay for yoga classes. << yes this is my thought, but insert yours.
- Being scared doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It could be that you are on the brink of something exciting and new, so take a deep breath. Visualize what happens after the speech is over, the deal is signed, the leap is made. Wow. That rush. That feeling. The thought of getting through something that scared you, but not giving up. It means you are alive! Even the most confident people go through this.
- Think about yourself a year from now. Where do you want to be? What would it be like if you didn’t step out on faith? Would you be in the same place? Likely. What about the future you who tries new things, make new friends, stands up in a crowd and gives a speech. Completes that scary yoga training at a certain age when mostly young folks do that…and completes it while in pain, but grows stronger each day. Whatever it is. Grin. Feel the love. You deserve it.
I struggled for years against the grain. Let the pain take over and when I was finally ready to grow my self-confidence again, I almost said no. but there was this tiny little bubble of excitement as I visualized the end result. That’s when I knew it would be worth it. The end result was worth more to me than the lack of self-confidence, fear of failure, or anything else trying to control my life. Only I could control the end results. And I did. What if you could control your results as well? Would you try? Don’t be afraid to let me know what you are struggling with by taking my brief survey linked above.
Each night, I go through my rituals of thinking about the life I want. It didn’t used to be that way though. Before my epiphany, I went to bed thinking about what I didn’t want in my life. The funny thing is, that never got me anywhere. I was miserable in my job, my health was failing as you know, and I couldn’t see through the red haze of pain. I started clearing away everything, and I do mean everything, that was making me miserable.
My soul couldn’t speak in words, but it sure was telling me that I was living my life wrong. It was showing me through my pain that there was more out there, as well as my intuition that kept saying I could improve my entire well-being using my head-heart-health plan that I had started developing for myself. I was on the right path and each time I would veer away, something would catch my eye and I would continue my research into holistic health and wellness. When I was finally ready, I launched the 4 Weeks to Wellness plan in a small group for my friends and ultimately decided to open it to the public.
5 Signs Your Soul is Trying to Guide You:
- My intuition was going crazy and my empath skills were working overtime. I was getting real-life friends messaging me all the time asking me to help them with something new that the doctor told them they had, and after talking to me they felt better. I couldn’t sleep without answering their messages and once I did, I knew instinctively that I had put them on the right path.
- I spent lots of time thinking I was almost onto something big…I could just feel it. But I had to make space for the messages to appear. I had spent a lifetime of over-thinking and needed to re-wire my entire brain. I started slowly and methodically re-centering my thoughts when they went away from my purpose. I did this by eating right, moving, balancing my schedule, and creating self-care routines that were so necessary I started telling others about what I was doing.
- I noticed I was unhappy when I did things that did not feel authentic. Let me un-jargon this for you. There were people in a group who wanted me to sell, sell, sell. Get customers of my all-natural products a certain way; however, it felt “icky” for lack of a better word. I really like using kid terms as I was a teacher and they feel really pure to me. Kids create and do what makes them happy. They make their drawings never looking over to the other kid beside them going wow, his is better than mine. I should have added more blue here or more this or more that. No, they are like wow!!! That is really pretty. I like that. They feel happy with what they create. It is only later when start to compare ourselves to others. <<<< I dislike this to the highest degree. So I didn’t want to be like everyone else. I wanted to do what felt right to me. Basic-level happiness goals.
- Answer this question with the first thing that pops into your head: What do you want? If I was doing things that I didn’t want, I started to feel off course again. Anxious, and not all present. It was a clue that I needed to realign myself with all the methods I taught myself worked for me. Am I just going through the motions on this? Is this a path I want to go down or did I say yes because I was afraid to say no or afraid to miss out on something? I had to stop and listen to my gut feeling about the situation. Was this a hell yes feeling or a meh okay? If it was not what I wanted, why did I put it on my plate to begin with??? I needed to cut that out.
- How do you feel when you get out of bed in the morning? What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you think about work, or doing whatever you have planned for the day? <<< note, HUGE flashing sign there. I knew that I only had a short time here on this earth and I was wasting away because I thought I HAD to finish the job I went to college for. I had to do what my parents thought, or my friends thought, or my colleagues thought was best for my future. I had been programmed to think that way. I had been programmed to think it was selfish to want to leave a perfectly good job when other people were looking for jobs. How many times have I heard that one?
My soul was telling me each and every day that I was meant to help larger groups of people. I lost all sense of time writing and teaching yoga. I lost all sense of time helping other people on the path to wellness. I felt such great joy at seeing my friend do a certain yoga pose for the first time or create her journal based off our talks. When she showed me a particularly private page in her journal, it was an extremely vulnerable talk that we had, but I felt so proud of the things she had written. She was not in the same place a year prior to that. When my newly divorced girlfriend said she turned a corner and started feeling better after her journaling, I knew that my questions were leading these women to really cool places. They were digging deep into what their souls wanted as well and we were uncovering layer after layer of programming. Getting back to the core of who they were.
The last thing that really made me feel great about this path was when a friend said they wanted to cart me around with them to help deal with the anxiety and lead the journal questions in their mind on why they were reacting certain ways. So I say again to you my friends, you really know what you have to do if you have read this article and thought of many answers to the questions your soul might be asking. It’s time to start listening.
If you are anything like me, there is more to do on your “to-do” list than you could possibly get done. That’s okay. I will move things to the next day and then it’s fine. Because surely by tomorrow I can get all this done, right? Wrong. Because tomorrow, I won’t get it done, so I will move it to the next day’s list:) That’s the art of procrastinating. I give myself a big window of time to get things done.
To be honest, the delay does not actually make me happy. In fact, when I can check things off my list, I feel pretty good! Putting things off can threaten my dreams and goals and actually make me feel pretty bad about my time-management skills. Some of the things I might do in order to avoid doing something on my list is look at social media, check my e-mail, or decide to start doing something that pops into my head right this moment instead of writing (I did not just finish researching something I might want to write about in the future…when I could have been writing this article).
Do you avoid doing things, make excuses, or are you truly not able to fit it all in? The reasons we might create sound really, really good! Even in business. I don’t feel like keeping this scheduled appointment because of x,y,z. I need the perfect time to do this. I am not sure this is the right time. Many many people do this even in their wellness goals! I can’t possibly start a new way of eating right now because I have a vacation, birthday, grandma’s visit, etc. Fill it in with your reason you are putting off eating right:) Yes, I have done all this too.
5 Tips to Start Doing Things (and stop avoiding things):
- Make a list of all the things that were on your to-do list from yesterday…or perhaps this week. Maybe even this month. Now, after that is finished number them in importance. Take the top three, and see if you can enlist in help to accomplish them. Could your kids, spouse, friend help or are these things you have to do alone? Decide if you can delegate, but don’t delegate if it’s not going to get done. Ask for help with a chunk of the item. For example, say it’s too much laundry. Could your children just fold theirs? Yes. Then get started!
- Visualize the task actually getting done and how you will feel. I do lots of this, I know. I do this because the brain undergoes a type of change called neuroplasticity, and while I am not a doctor or scientist, I find brain research really amazing. In the field of wellness, it has changed my life and the lives of many others who use this technique. I use this in the yoga classes I teach, my journal therapy, and my online course 4 Weeks to Wellness. Belief changes brain chemistry and brings about immune, hormonal, and physiological changes throughout the body, so believe you can accomplish your task.
- Give yourself a time-out or consequence if you don’t finish your task by the date you picked. If you prefer positive reinforcement, you can do that instead. If I clean the whole house before the kids come home, I can take a long bath in peace and quiet. If I don’t clean the house before the kids come home, I am going to be stressed out, and that doesn’t help the situation. It could be something like, I am going to remove the social media app X because I know it distracts me. I know lots of people who do this one. One girl who runs a business removed her entire personal account off social media…and only gets on through her husbands. I am not suggesting that, but some people know where the distractions are. You probably know too:)
- Declare your goals in a small group! You have to find the right group though…not a competitive one, or one where everybody says oh it’s okay. Just put it off until you feel ready. We are all looking for that assurance that we can put everything off until tomorrow Scarlett. Accountability partners are great to help you with not wasting time.
- WRITE it out on sticky notes, on a list, on the fridge, in your phone, etc. Have it visible and fresh in your mind what you need to get done each day. If it helps you, make monthly goals at the start of each month, then weekly. Then daily. I know this is crazy, but I actually do this. For the month of July, my goals are ____. I write them in my journal. On my planner I have weekly goals. On the day I have daily goals. I love to check things off!
Remember, this ties in with my Manifesting Journal Tips.
People always told me, “Don’t quit your day job”. No matter how many times I said, this is not what I went to school for. I didn’t think it was going to be like this…I am miserable and the stress makes me ill (side note, it literally did make me ill, but probably the black mold and asbestos tiles didn’t help either). I was a classroom teacher who only ever dreamed of being a writer.
I actually loved the thought of teaching without strings attached and the children if that makes sense…I did not love lots of other things. So I started thinking to myself, if people don’t 100% love what they are doing every single day, then why not dream bigger?
So what happened when I finally decided to leave teaching and started secretly planning my escape?
3 Dream Killers…and how to handle them:
- Everyone will give you constructive criticism, but it’s not really constructive. It’s what they would do. People talk from their place of fear. I did not have another job lined up. Had no idea how I was going to make it if we dropped my salary. I did not have a large savings. There was no safety net. I am a kind of jump person think later…soooo. I get told how others would have done x,y,z. The only thing that mattered to me was am I currently happy in my job? No. That was all I needed to know. So people tried to break down my dream, or give me safety net options…like just take leave for a while. So I told people that’s what I was doing finally. But I honestly was not coming back because I believed that strongly in my dream.
- Losing friends, status, or ending up an outcast. I didn’t worry so much about this the first year, because they all thought I might be taking a year off on one of those awesome things called a “sabbatical”. If you tell people using special jargon, they are okay with it for some reason. Ohh, hmm. Okay, it’s a sabbatical. However, eventually people started saying things like “Are you ever coming back?” or “Are you really making money?” See, I had been teaching long enough to get a pin for being there a while, and then I left. I sacrificed the next level of pin. I was totally okay with this. We sacrificed a few things that were wants not needs at home. My family was okay with this. And if I lost friends because of this, then they really weren’t my friends to begin with and I was equally okay with this as well. I made new friends and forged new relationships in this new world of writing.
- Fear of failure, being laughed at or making mistakes. I left 3 years ago, and the first year was the most exciting; however, it was also the year I had to remember to calm down and not go overboard with trying to fit everything I wanted to accomplish in 1 year. Overnight success might seem like a thing, but I knew it was not the case. I had to get more established and build trust. I wasn’t going to find the next viral blog post in a year. Or year two either…it took year three, but I was learning and I was growing. I was teaching myself how to think like a business woman and to stop treating my dream like a hobby. There was no other option in my mind by this point except to succeed at what I was doing.
What helped me turn the dream into a reality?
It was not a hobby. It was a job. I finally learned that lesson and took back my old office instead of writing on the sofa with my laptop. I set up appointments, collaborations, and meetings internationally on Skype. I said yes to things that scared the hell out of me…like meeting some of my new friends face-to-face overseas by accepting the offer of speaking internationally. I created workshops with my local friend who really treated her business like a business, and I was grateful to be able to watch her say yes only to things that would propel her in the direction she wanted to go (P.S. she made the free meditation for you guys on my newsletter). I read books from women I admired who did scary things…like Danielle LaPorte, and I breathed in her style.
I did not create the safety net for myself because I didn’t want to fall back on it. I wanted to keep going and try new paths should the one I was on not work out. Some way, some how, I was going to make this new business work. I could actually be a writer, yoga teacher, wellness advocate, entrepreneur mom and follow my heart. Start thinking of your dream daily and journal how it would feel to make it a reality.
This article is not medical advice, but it is intended to help you on your journey. While I don’t know if anything can actually prevent you from becoming depressed, I believe that my diligence helped me come out of it. The signs that I personally experienced were from my own combination of invisible diseases. I was diagnosed with “secondary depression” stemming from pain.
Symptoms you might experience:
- Loss of energy or fatigue even after sleeping.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt that you are to blame.
- Weight loss or gain…in my case it was gain.
- Thoughts of suicide or just nothingness…as in what would happen if you didn’t exist?
- Restlessness, insomnia, or wanting to sleep all day long.
- No pleasure in any or all activities, and/or no joy or happiness in other things that used to bring you joy.
- “Hermit” behavior and not speaking to anyone.
While there are certainly more symptoms, these are just a few that are warning signs your body is trying to tell you something. What do you think your body is trying to tell you? There could be many underlying health problems mimicking depression that can be corrected and/or helped once noted.
5 steps to take if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms:
- Have your thyroid checked, your vitamin levels and possibly even your adrenal glands. If you open the link on thyroid, in the fine print of the article, it says this: A 2005 study found that subjects with Hashimoto’s disease displayed high frequencies of lifetime Depressive Episodes, Generalized Anxiety Disorders, Social Phobia, and Primary Sleep Disorders. What had I been trying to tell my doctor for over a year? That there was a link. When he refused, seriously, to listen to me I went to a functional medical doctor instead. The body gives us these warning signs as a way of letting us know that we really are not in balance. I could see that I was not, and definitely knew something brought it on because never in my life had I felt so empty.
- Get more Vitamin D. I take this one right here, but have your levels checked first. I started looking into the most pure form of phytotherapy, or plant-based nutrition supplements, and was personally sold by the methods of how this company preserved the nutrients in the most readily available form. I read that Vitamin B-12 and other B vitamins play a role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and other brain functions. Low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 and folate may be linked to depression. So I also decided to take a gluten-free multivitamin.
- Check and see if you suffer from food intolerance as it a real thing. Like most people, I used to think that food intolerance caused unpleasant reactions like diarrhea, swelling of lips or tongue, etc. I would not have associated my food with what was happening in my brain and gut until I studied the effects of what I was eating. I journal the questionable items which might have sugar or gluten to see if that is what triggers my response or mood shift now. When I am away from foods I need to eat, and make do with foods that I should NOT eat, there is a consequence in my body. My body warns me almost immediately now.
- This one is hard, but drink less caffeine. Anxiety often happens along with depression, and too much caffeine can make you nervous, jittery, or anxious. There is no clear link; however, it is well known that cutting out sodas and sugary drinks that spike your energy and then leave you in a slump and replacing with water will leave your blood sugar levels at a more normal balance, which will, in fact, help you in the long run. Plus you might just sleep better this breaking the cycle.
- Exercise in some way shape or form daily. People get mad at me for pointing this one out usually, but it brings us back to the endorphins. I wrote about this a while back, but it is true that endorphins help us. In my own way, I always have dark chocolate here, so I hope you opened my old post up there as it has a funny clip, plus I do yoga and walk, get outside, etc. Truly is life saving to get exercise.
While these things might seem insignificant to others who do not know what it’s like to be trapped in a world of nothingness, these tips really could help save a friend’s life. Keep the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on a card as well.
Articles I have written on autoimmune can also help you in your research on gluten intolerance, leaky gut and more.
- The great puzzle takes you back to my allergy tests.
- Fog speaks on what it’s like to have brain fog.
- War on me talks about my inside battle.
- Motivational Monday on this day talked about tips I used to get by daily in pain.
- The Thief is one of my faves and talks about old age being a bitch.
Happy International Day of Yoga my friends. After one full year of teaching yoga, wow, I can honestly say that my body image has changed, but I still work on it daily! In 2010, you are welcome to use the side search on the blog and read all about that year, but that was the year that everything started to attack me. Autoimmune changed my life…and I don’t know if I will ever really accept it, but I have learned how to control it and that was a huge relief.
That being said, several changes happened to my body during the last 5 years that were not there before. I found out I had fibrocystic breasts, and while it’s never a fun topic, I am linking it to my blog post on what happened that year and how I found out. So I am going to be honest, my body image was not good around the time I came back to yoga due to pain, years of invisible diseases playing a game with me, plus more. In some of my previous posts, I honestly thought I was writing in a positive way as I always laughed at myself; however, going back and reading now, I see that I was not fooling anyone.
I was in severe pain for so long that it was a deep path I had carved into my brain. It was well-worn, so naturally I didn’t notice when my self-esteem went down the same path. Why is it that your friends don’t say the things you need to hear? Don’t be that friend who just lets your friend continue down this path. Set the path on fire so they have to find a new way.
My new path was yoga. Yoga became my saving grace. When my anxiety from the countless doctor’s appointments was high as I waited on new tests, I would go to yoga. At first, I cared what people thought of me in my yoga clothes. I was not able to do all the things other people could…but I went to restorative yoga anyway.
What did I learn from this class? I will tell you lessons that I learned which can’t be taught from a mirror.
3 Reasons to Ignore the Mirror:
- The mirror doesn’t tell you how beautiful you are to other people. This is serious. It reflects back your insecurities. When you look in the mirror, you might see tired eyes, lines, and saggy skin. When your friend sees you do a pose in yoga class for the first time that you have working on for a few months, they see your natural inner beauty. I am telling you I know this to be true. I have witnessed it in my friends who were afraid to come to yoga. You might not even see how you glow, but I do. As your teacher, I send you so much love and light during class. Never once thinking of what you can’t do at all. I have been there my friend.
- The mirror is actually supposed to be a tool. Yup. Just a thing to use for alignment in postures. It is not there to judge us as that’s our job. Do you ever stop in mid-thought and think to yourself “What if my daughter, sister, friend does this to herself?” Would you allow others to speak so badly about themselves as you do in your head? No matter the woman, no matter how you talk to yourself in your head, the answer is always I would never want anyone else to talk to themselves like this. Seriously. Ask a friend. My group of sisters, not related, but from all cultures, meet regularly and we have said this many times.
- The mirror reflects the light around us, but not inside us. Remember that the next time you are not going to yoga class because of how you “look” in the mirror or in yoga clothes or in blah, blah or until you lose x number of pounds. Seriously remember this. Because through yoga, I have learned to steady my mind, open my heart and come back to the breath. If I miss yoga for too long, or don’t go for myself as I am the teacher, ha, if I don’t have that time to do the inner reflection, yes, hell yes, the outer reflection can look ugly to me. I absorb others energy at times and if I don’t get it out through the experience of yoking myself back to the present moment, this breath, this body as Rolf Gates would say, “The real payoff of a yoga practice, I came to see, is not a perfect handstand or a deeper forward bend—it is the newly born self that each day steps off the yoga mat and back into life.”
Each time I leave practice I am whole again my friends. I have then collected all the pieces of my soul that seemed scattered and I feel new again. Come to yoga my friends. The mirror can’t possibly tell you how it feels.