My Most Meaningful Lesson: Love yourself before all the rest.

By Anita Moorjani

We cannot give others what we ourselves do not have.
We cannot give others what we ourselves do not have.

“How could I have said something so stupid??”

“That was so dumb of me!! I should have known better!”

“I will never get it right! Why am I even bothering to try??”

“I wish I wasn’t so clumsy! Why can’t I be more elegant and graceful, like Janet?”

Does any of that sound familiar to you? That was my inner voice, several years ago. That was the voice in my head, constantly nagging, putting myself down, wishing I was different, better, smarter, stronger, more spiritual. Wishing I was anyone but who I am.

The most meaningful lesson I learned from being at death’s door is that unless I love myself, nothing else in my life can function at its best. The amount of depth, meaning, and joy I experience in my life is in direct proportion to how much love I have for myself. The amount of love, kindness, patience I have for others is also directly proportional to how much love, patience and kindness I have for myself, because we cannot give others what we ourselves do not have. And, unsurprisingly, the amount of love, respect, support, and compassion I receive from others is also in direct proportion to how much of the same I have for myself.

Many of us are taught from a young age to “love our neighbors as we love ourselves”. But what if we don’t love ourselves? What if we are our own worst enemy, and our own harshest critic? If we treat others as we treat ourselves, then are we judging everyone else with the same harsh brush that we are using to paint ourselves? Is this why there are more people on our planet obsessed with trying to condemn anyone who is different, instead of learning to embrace everyone who shares our earth, and rejoice in our differences?

Learning to love others begins with learning to love ourselves unconditionally first. This seems to be a well-kept secret, which no one taught me as I was growing up. On the contrary, I was encouraged from a young age to put myself last, that it is selfish to love ourselves, or put ourselves first.  In fact, I used to give and give of myself, without tending to my own needs, to the point that I became so drained it started to affect my health. Continuing in this vein, I constantly believed that I needed to work on myself because I wasn’t good enough as I am. So I continued to work on being “better”, kinder, more “loving”, more “spiritual”. I was always judging myself because I never felt I made the mark.

And then I got cancer.  In fact, I didn’t just get cancer, I nearly died from cancer! But my cancer was the greatest gift I could ever have. Nearly dying taught me how to live. My cancer taught me the importance of loving and valuing myself unconditionally for who I am – a perfect being of the Universe, who is worthy and deserving of love, without needing to prove myself, better myself or change myself in any way. I became aware that I am someone who has a right to express my uniqueness with abandon.

I now also understand that I don’t have to work at being spiritual. Being spiritual is who we are, at our core, whether we realize it or not. It is our true nature, so we cannot NOT be spiritual! Being yourself and being spiritual are one and the same thing.

Because of my experience, I will never forsake myself ever again. I will never let myself down, treat myself like a doormat, or make myself small so others can feel big. I have learned that this is the biggest gift that I give not only to myself, but also to the planet, because I paint others with the same brush as I use on myself.

My life is much more joyful and meaningful now, and I have much more love to share with others than I ever did before, which I do unconditionally, and without draining myself. But most important, I now understand that if I do not express my authenticity, the Universe will be deprived of who I came here to be.

Confessions of a Perfectionist

By Ashley Ryan
confessionsI spent the majority of my life pretending to be someone I wasn’t.

Putting on a happy face and looking good in order to disguise what was going on inside.

I thought with nice clothes or a brighter smile, people wouldn’t notice my inherent flaws or the mistakes I made.

This mask of perfection lasted many years and now that I’m a mother, I especially notice all the ways I try and keep up appearances…

Setting a good example for my child.
Keeping it all together for my significant other.
Giving, giving, giving so others will see me in a good light.
The list goes on.

At work, I get emails from wonderful, incredible, women and mothers who feel isolated, anxious and depressed.

They feel under-appreciated and live with an invisible wall of pressure to be the perfect woman, mother and wife.

They experience negative emotions that stem from the strong ideals of how they should be.

Living with these feelings for many years; keeping it all together for way too long, and comparing myself to what I thought others wanted, my perfection came at a cost. It cost me my parenting and my marriage. This was a hard lesson to learn, and my struggle with perfection taught me that…

Perfection is an illusion.

It’s the golden handcuffs that keep us locked in an invisible cell.

The expectations, ideals and fantasies that we hold of ourselves, constantly comparing our bodies, hearts and minds to others, striving to fit in, looking for others to say we’re OK so we can feel OK.

Perfection doesn’t exist, it’s created in our minds.

Perfection comes at a cost.

Trying to be someone were not is exhausting. When we put energy into being what we’re not, we often lose precious people and moments along the way. Moments we can never get back — and sometimes relationships that can’t be mended.

When we try to hold it all together we give our power away.

By pretending that we can do it all; by trying to be everything for everyone, we give our power away. When we give our power away we lose ourselves and the nature of who we are and what we stand for.

Some valuable lessons I learned through trying to be perfect…

Tell the truth.

When we tell the truth about something we set ourselves free from the burden of the un-truth. Being honest is enough to release ourselves from the bondage of perfection.

Be vulnerable.

If we’re vulnerable and show our true feelings and needs we set the tone for others to do the same. It’s amazing what opens up when we share ourselves with others.

Share with others.

By sharing with others, we open up the space for them to share with us. The more we share ourselves with friends and strangers, the more we see how alike we all are. Sharing creates a space of love and closeness and is a breeding ground for new relationships and opportunities.

Mistakes are opportunities.

I used to hide my mistakes and avoid them at all costs, but perfection taught me to embrace the opportunity in my mistakes and not to give up at the smallest sign of challenge.

I spent many years living in the shadow of the perfect woman; now have the freedom to live my life as I truly am, not as others want me to be.

Say no and set boundaries {with love}

By Renee Heigel

So you have a hard time saying “no” huh?

You did a few things this week because you felt guilty and now you’re angry with yourself.

You complain that you get taken advantage of and people walk all over you…?

You find yourself, saying, “How can I not take that comment personally?”

Boundaries.

There was a pivotal moment for me where I began to see the emotional connection to my desires, specifically for food.

I was renting an office space on the top floor of this massive office complex for the marketing biz I was running at the time. There was a little restaurant, downstairs on the first floor. I often bought my lunch there and ate way too many spinach pies.

One morning when arriving to the office, I parked and just sat in my car. I couldn’t bring myself to go in. I was feeling sad, unmotivated, and stressed. I didn’t feel like I had any time for me and that people around me always wanted more, more, more. All of the thoughts in my head were shifted to what was going wrong in my life.

When I gained some composure, I went inside and started the day with some interviews to add some people to the team I had. When I finished and came out of one of the offices, I learned that someone had come in and stolen my laptop.

I felt like I got kicked while I was down.

I immediately went downstairs and bought candy, chips, cookies, and anything else I could find.

I slowly walked back up the flights of stairs with my items and sat down at my desk and began to eat, and it was in that moment that I learned what I was really doing with this “food.” I noticed a pattern. As I dove deeper into my salt and vinegar chips, I began to feel disgusted.

I made a spontaneous choice and threw away everything.

When I think back to that time in my life, especially as a woman, I felt driven, burned out, controlling, and uber-ambitious and determined. I didn’t say no, even when I wanted to. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I was also frustrated because I wasn’t getting the results I wanted despite my hard work.

Everything is energy, and when we are not prioritizing our energy, then that energy needs to go somewhere.

We end up internalizing it, and then it comes out in various ways: food, sugar, alcohol, relationships, shopping, work, drugs, and caffeine – you get the picture.

You relate to this, right?

You might already know that the extra weight you carry is symbolic of the safety you desire.

The amount you might immerse yourself in the tub of ice cream, relationships that are unhealthy or dependent, or your workaholic ways are often a reflection of seeking safety in something outside of you.

Your body reflects your ego.

Are you ready to let go of this?

Yes?

Toxic.

I was sitting in court this week fighting a traffic ticket (yes, I walked away with no points) and I overheard this woman next to me sharing with someone that she spent $2,500 on this curio cabinet to hold the 100+ ‘Precious Moment’ knick-knacks given to her that she absolutely loathes.

She said, “I hate those damn things, I spent thousands on something just to store crap in my home that I don’t even like. I felt like I had to…”

Sound familiar?

Self-sacrifice leads to resentment, guilt, anger, obligation, and more emotions. These are the biggest internal factors that destroy our health.

These are called internal toxins.

So many of us are in this cycle of over-achieving, controlling, and doing, and then building up a toxic overload because of it, and then going home to numb it all out with a glass of red wine and bowl of popcorn.

That’s not going to work for you and it didn’t work for me.

When in this self-sacrificing place, not only will you attract unhealthy relationships with needy, dependent people, but you will also continue the cycle and halt your capacity to learn from your experiences.

There is hope, please don’t fear.

It’s time to build up some more boundaries, internally.

You must figure out how much the situation is about you versus the other person, and then specifically learn to stand up for yourself.

I hear this often from my clients and readers…

–  I don’t want to make any waves.

–  I don’t like confrontation.

–  It isn’t my personality to say how I feel.

You were likely not taught how to create boundaries as a child if this sounds like you. You are likely used to feeling guilt and dishing it out on occasion, and you must face the guilt directly.

How, you ask?

You must make yourself a priority.

“Good self-care is the single, most important aspect of our health, period.” ~ Dr. Christiane Northrop

Self-care includes not using food, work, substances, shopping, etc. to numb you. Please learn where you are channeling this extra masculine-feminine energy and channel it into self-love instead.

Self-care includes exploring practices of spirituality or awareness that allow you to feel safe without external stuff.

Self-care means learning the power of saying “no” and telling people your priorities are different right now.  Saying “no” to someone else is really saying “yes” to yourself.  This takes practice. Start now.

Self-care means seeking support from people who will help you put yourself on your priority list versus people who are enabling you because they have the same “boundary” stuff going on.

Take action.

Most of our energy is often spent hiding our true self.

Know that it may be time for you to establish stronger boundaries in your life that support you and allow you to evolve as a human being.

You must determine how much is about you and how much of it is about the other person.

Ask for help.

Learn to stand up for yourself. Practice, practice. A mirror works great at first.

Self care and creating boundaries is your responsibility.

It doesn’t matter what you learned as a child. Your adult self will flourish with boundaries and self-care.

These internal toxins are destroying your health, and I have a strong belief that you can heal them by letting them go.

Delight in yourself today by saying no to someone else.

I want to remind you of something:

–  Yes, you’ll feel guilty at first.

–  Yes, it will feel uncomfortable.

But here is the truth…

You will not be able to give the gifts that you are meant to give in this lifetime while you are feeling guilty, without any internal boundaries.

When you numb the guilt you are also numbing the joy.

I am here with you holding your hand along the way.

It’s time to step into your naked truth.

This is pivotal path in that journey.

Deep gratitude and love,

Renee
xo

What I Gave Up Because I Felt Fat

By Melissa Kathryn

scaleHave you ever stayed in because you felt fat? Missed a party, didn’t go on a date? Even worse, declined going on a trip or vacation because you didn’t like your body and the thought of being in a bathing suit put your mind into a complete frenzy?

I recall several instances in my life where I did not go on trips, made up excuses to not go out and didn’t attend parties, date or events because I “felt” fat.  I look back now and I get frustrated at the experiences I could have had.  Instead I chose not to go, which is essentially choosing isolation.  What happened next? I would feel even worse for not going, which would lead to emotional eating, then self loathing…and the cycle continues.

Does this resonate with you? Can you recall a time when you chose, willingly to miss out on life because of your weight?

By staying in isolation, by choosing to say “No” to life, you are missing out on life, living and experience joy.  It is through isolation that we continue to deprive ourselves of happiness.

Here are simple steps that you can do to ensure you stop missing out on life and start living it!

  1. It begins with Self-Acceptance – start to learn to love yourself and your body exactly as it is.  Weight is weight, you are you are your core – you have to begin by loving her (your body) and accepting her no matter her size, shape or the way she looks.
  2. You body is your temple – care for it. It provides you with everything you ask it to do.  Be kind and loving, nourish your body with movement and food.
  3. Say “YES” to life – be you and the rest will come.
  4. Recognize that “You” are judging yourself, whatever thoughts you have, they are not the thoughts of anyone else.  Work to get out of your head and into your heart for yourself.

Once you do this, the fulfillment you will find from the pleasure of being around others and the experiences you will have, food and your weight will become an after-thought.

The Best Foundation for Your Beauty

Image

By Michelle Phillips

One of the most common beauty questions women find themselves asking is, “What is the best foundation?” This seemingly shallow but daunting question is the subject of countless articles, TV segments, and conversations, in which we are totally engrossed. And as much as generations may have searched the world over for a miraculous product to give them the “perfect” look, let the search be over.  The perfect foundation for your true beauty doesn’t get applied to you on the outside, it lies within you and radiates out!

So at this point you may have a new question, rather than “What is the best foundation”, you may be wondering “How do I develop mine?” The start of that answer is remarkably similar to how we select the best makeup.  Have ever looked in the mirror while trying a new shade of lipstick or eye shadow and it made you smile? By looking in that same mirror for the natural beauty that is you, and simply smiling, you are creating a layer of foundation. You are putting on a foundation of self-love that could never be found at a makeup counter.

Look again. Do you see the beautiful color of your eyes? The depth of your soul behind them? Take a moment to make a mental note of all the beauty that you see in just those eyes. Now go a step farther by actually writing it down. Are there wrinkles around your eyes from years of smiling, sun, laughter, and tears? Continue through the features you love on your face and move on to your body. If you are having trouble finding the glory of you, remember how each of these amazing parts serve you on your journey.

When you are done collecting all of your beautiful external qualities the real foundation building can begin. Take a minute to think of twenty of your most gorgeous internal qualities. It can be your sense of humor, generosity, curiosity, adventure, caring, intelligence, or anything else you think makes you unique. This is a very important exercise because even more than your facial features or fingerprints, it is this combination of personal attributes that makes you a one-of-a-kind work of art. You are a stunning original that has never been done before and never will again in this exact form.

As you discover and build your “foundation” you will find that you radiate a new, deeper beauty that can’t compare to the mere external. You will begin to experience some of the very important differences between a cosmetic foundation and a deeper spiritual one.

First, is the strength of the foundation itself. While the makeup layer may be microscopically thin, the spiritual foundation spreads far and wide across every aspect of your life. In addition, at the end of any day, you can wipe away your makeup and the thin veneer of so-called beauty is gone. Meanwhile, your beautiful internal qualities continue shine bright.

Also, makeup styles may change with the times, your age, complexion, and for any occasion, but the enduring power of your passion and compassion, courage and character, never go out of style.

Once you have taken the time for this self-discovery you can start to build a life of authenticity on this foundation. It is with this strength of knowing who you truly are that will afford you a life based on what you think and feel, according to your values and purpose. This is a life of true beauty that can beyond any trend and that only gets better with age.

Michelle Phillips is a celebrity makeup artist and Life Coach, speaker, and author of the bestselling beauty and self-esteem book from Hay House, “The Beauty Blueprint: 8 Steps to Building the Life and Look of Your Dreams”. http://www.michellephillips.com

Warning :: Pleasure + Connection Ahead

By Nancy Levin

Untitled3I’m at the tail end of a week in NYC. I lived here for 5 years a long time ago and come back often, but I was particularly struck on this trip – in a very positive way –  by a specific segment of the population that usually gets a bad rap: construction workers!

I made it part of my ritual nearly every day on this trip to go for an outing up on the High Line, which meant crossing several of the avenues west in order to get there. And there’s a lot of construction!

When I used to live here – and for many years after – I walked around guarded, closed off, uninviting. I’d scowl and practically bark if a construction worker even looked at me, let alone talked to me. And eye contact – never!

But on this trip something shifted…I found myself meeting the eyes of these guys. And truly taking in their expression.I began to experience them as connoisseurs appreciating beauty and I felt like a work of art in their presence.What if they were really just my mirrors, reflecting my own light back to me. No one said anything lewd, I mostly received lots of smiles – and I willingly smiled back. The best thing I heard was:  ”Keep doin’ what you’re doin’ and eatin’ what you’re eatin’!”

Maybe it’s that I’m getting older – but I actually think it’s that I’m willing to truly connect now and be seen. For much of my life I was so shut down. I didn’t want to see myself and therefore certainly couldn’t handle being seen by others, in any capacity. The truth is that I didn’t want to connect.

And now that I’ve released those old protections that no longer serve me, I’m happy to walk down the street leaving little morsels of pleasure along the way while allowing myself to receive the same hit as well. And I’m grateful for a safe and fun way to play.

We tend to think that connection is so scary, but what if all it takes is simply letting someone’s eye contact and smile in, reflecting back the impact it has, and then basking in your own warm heart. It’s a start anyway…

Is it time for you to be a rookie?

By Joan Hermann
220px-Rookie02posterJuly marked the fourth anniversary of the creation of Change Your Attitude…Change Your Life. When I began the radio show and then the magazine, I never imagined that it would become what it is today, that I would be able to turn personal tragedy, transition, and transformation into something that has the potential to positively impact thousands of lives. When I began, there were naysayers who said I was crazy, that I would fail. For some reason, for the first time in my life, I didn’t listen. I pushed their words aside and have held my ground. The result? I am making my wildest dreams come true and evolving into someone that I never thought I could be.

It hasn’t always been easy. I have had many obstacles to overcome, financial problems to solve, betrayals to survive, and endless business lessons to learn. But in the end, I emerge stronger and more self-confident and I face each day with renewed passion and joy. I receive countless rewards. I always say that a blessed person is someone that can find life work that serves others, adds something positive to the world, and gives your life meaning. I am truly blessed!

I celebrated the fourth anniversary show by interviewing Jim “The Rookie” Morris. You may know Jim’s story from the movie The Rookie, which starred Dennis Quaid (if you haven’t seen this movie I highly recommend that you do – it’s a wonderful story!). Jim was a want-to-be professional baseball player turned high school teacher that coached the boy’s baseball team. One season, in an attempt to motivate the team, he made a bet with his players: if you win the district championship I’ll try out for a major league baseball team. The players won the title and Jim held up his end of the bargain, going to a tryout and throwing 12 consecutive 98 mile per hour pitches. Three months later, 35-year-old Jim Morris was striking out big league hitters in front of his high school players and family. The Rookie was born.

Jim could have reneged on his agreement; there were a million logical reasons why he shouldn’t have attended the tryout starting with the fact that he was 35 years old! But he took a chance, risked looking foolish (in his mind), and reaped tremendous rewards. That day, that tryout, changed the course of Jim’s life.

There were a million logical reasons why I should have given up creating a radio show starting with the fact that I had no experience doing this type of work and I was 46 years old! But I took a chance, risked looking foolish (in my mind), and have reaped tremendous rewards. The past four years have changed my life. I too am a rookie.

What about you? What do you want to do but fear looking foolish (in your mind)? What action can you take that will bring you closer to reaping tremendous rewards? Isn’t it time you took action and became a rookie too?