Love the body you have…TODAY!

by Celebrity Makeup Artist, Self-Esteem Coach, and Bestselling Author Michelle Phillips

Love the body you have today!

It’s no small secret that women don’t like their bodies. In fact, I’ve been doing a little research and I am sad to report that recent statistics say that more than 80% of women are dissatisfied with their bodies. Even more troubling is that 65% of young girls think they are fat and are already dieting. Ladies of all ages, this has got to change!

As a celebrity makeup artist and stylist the first things I usually hear when when working with a client is “can you cover this up” or “could you make me look 10 pounds thinner?” With the right makeup, lighting, and airbrushing anything is possible in front of the camera, but in real life- the Life Coach in me has to take over from there. That bit of “cover-up” is best if it comes from inside.

I can tell you from working with hundreds of women that the latest diet or workout won’t be the key to having a body you love. Believing in who you are, and in how you look… is the foundation to achieving what you truly want out of life. I know this isn’t always an easy thing to do but freeing yourself of negative thoughts is a huge step towards living a truly beautiful life and achieving a healthy body. The first, and possibly the most crucial step on that path though, is to start loving the body you have right now.

Here are some suggestions to do just that:

Create an “I love myself because…” list 

First, write down 20 things that you love about yourself.  Your list may include your personality, kind heart, your sense of humor, compassion, smile, elbows, feet, etc.   Include your talents and achievements, or various ways you’re proud of yourself.  If you have trouble with this exercise think about what your best friend would say about you.  It’s time to be your own best friend!

Take notice of the beauty around you

Take a deeper look at nature surrounding you.  It may be a tree, mountains, clouds, the moon, butterfly, a flower…is it perfect?   Does it have imperfections, maybe a few blemishes on a leaf? Start to notice the beauty around you.  Train your mind to let go of the “imperfections” and revel in what makes things uniquely beautiful.

Delete Negative Self-Talk 

Every time you hear yourself talking negatively about how you look…STOP!  Who needs another critic? Instead, turn that inner dialogue into positive self-talk.  You have the power to focus on what is great about you right now by deleting the negative thoughts whenever they show up.

Appreciate your beautiful body 

Women are familiar with their face but not necessarily their body.  Start to look at your body in the mirror.  Study your shape and find the beauty.  Notice how your body supports you and your daily life.  Our bodies are beautiful vessels that transport our gorgeous souls.

Cut the tags out of your clothes! 

Don’t buy a closet full of clothes that are too tight for you to fit into hoping that you’ll be in them soon – those are just guilt garments that don’t make you feel good when you open your closet. Buy and wear clothes that fit the body you have today.  They call it a “fitting room” for a reason.  Size doesn’t matter; it is all about how you feel in your clothes.  By dressing the body you have today will help increase your self-esteem and in-turn unnecessary weight will begin to fall away.  When you feel better about yourself, you take better care of yourself.  It’s that simple!

Whose Voice is Running in Your Head?

ImageAre you so accustomed to the voice running in your head that you don’t even realize it’s not yours? Is it possible that voice is making your decisions for you without you even knowing it?

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go shopping with Michelle Phillips to re-evaluate my personal style. She was pushing me to look at clothes that were outside my comfort zone and I was feeling really triggered. All sorts of fears were running through my head – what if she does all this work and I still can’t get myself together? What if there’s nothing that’s going to look any better than what I’ve got now? I was driving myself nuts!

Finally, I’d had as much clothing-inspired craziness as I could take. We figured a change of venue was in order, so we went into a shop that has funky, inexpensive jewelry. As Michelle pulled out necklaces for me to look at, I turned each of them down in turn. I finally said to her, “I don’t like costume jewelry, it doesn’t look classy or elegant enough for me.” As I heard the words coming out of my mouth, I realized they didn’t feel exactly right. Is it true that I don’t like these cool, funky necklaces? I admire them on other people and wish that I had things like that to wear. So why, when presented with the opportunity to purchase a few pieces at a really great price, did I turn them all down?

Is it true that I don’t like costume jewelry? No.

Is it true that it’s not classy or elegant enough for me? No.

So what IS true? My mother doesn’t like costume jewelry! It’s not classy or elegant enough for her! And I’ve soaked that idea in so totally that I didn’t even realize it wasn’t my own idea! I’ve spent the last 15 years admiring something (my own thoughts) and reviling it (someone else’s thoughts) at the same time. Talk about making me nuts!

My mother’s way has been to find one good piece, save for it, and then wear it every day. Which is absolutely fine – FOR HER! I, on the other hand, like more variety, which is absolutely fine – FOR ME! The issue was that I was making my decisions based on someone else’s rules. As soon as I realized and verbalized the issue, it disappeared. I was free to purchase a really fun necklace, and I put it on right away…and I’m sure that I’ll enjoy wearing it for a long time to come.

So who’s making your decisions? Next time you say you don’t want to do something, or that you don’t like something, ask yourself – is that really me? You might be surprised what you find!

Leah Carey is the creator and facilitator of the Live. Write. Share.workshops that help people strengthen resilience through writing, sharing, and performance. For more info go to www.leahcarey.com.  You can read her blog at www.TheMiracleJournal.com.

Breaking the chain of low self-esteem

breaking-chain-low-self-esteemEverything we are and everything we desire stands on the foundation of self-worth that we build from within. The value that we place on ourselves in the marketplace of life dictates the quality of relationships we will have, the pay that we will receive for our services, and resonates out to our family in friends in ways that will affect generations. It is for all of these reasons and more that we build that foundation strong and tall and lovingly reinforce it every day.

Recently my friends and I celebrated the life of an amazing woman who was truly an inspiration for us all and who so beautifully illustrated the importance of creating our personal value. The day my friend Jan realized how her low self-worth was allowing her abusive marriage to continue and how that relationship was affecting her children was the day that she said enough and left. She took her kids to a shelter and started over with the desire to always be treated the way she deserved.

While living her new, higher-valued life Jan gave back to others at every opportunity. Whether it was the Red Cross, YMCA, or abuse shelters, she was always showering others with love and telling them they were worthy of more.

Eventually she started her own organization that supported foster children who had been abused or neglected. Through dedicating her life to children who felt they had no hope she helped them realize they already possessed every ounce of worth and potential needed for beautiful, abundant lives. The legacy she leaves behind doesn’t just live on in the kids and young adults whose lives she touched but in their children and children’s children. By empowering just one person to a stronger sense of self-love you afford them the opportunity to change every life they touch.

Where does this change all truly start though? How do we break the cycle of bad jobs, bad relationships, and stop passing down a belief that lives that are beneath us are acceptable? By reclaiming and building our self-worth we free ourselves from the chains that hold us back from living with purpose and joy. The next step is demanding that value be honored in every aspect of our lives. By asking for what you are worth you teach others how to treat you and model to your kids the importance of valuing themselves.

To start the self-worth ball rolling take an inventory of your amazing, positive qualities.

What are your strengths? What are the personal qualities that define you?

What are some achievements you can look back on with pride to remind yourself of what you are capable of?

How did you feel when you achieved those things? Try to remember by putting yourself back in that place of accomplishment.

Another great tool I suggest using is to think of how your best friend would speak of you, if needed, ask them. We can all think of an endless amount of beautiful things to say about someone dear to us, start by giving yourself that same amount of love.

The most important thing of all though is to pick your moment to ask for what you’re worth. Whether it is in your relationships or your job, the day or minute you make the decision to say to the world, “I am good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, and deserving of everything I desire” is the day it will start coming your way. And it is the day you break the cycle for generations by inspiring others to start construction on the foundations of their beautiful lives.

The Power of Perspective

Have you ever felt like no one understands you? That no matter how much you try to explain what you mean, no one seems to get it? You feel frustrated and think, If I understand, why can’t they? This is what I went through during the first 18 years of my life. I saw things in a way no one else could and had trouble getting others to view them from my perspective. While I felt completely alone and misunderstood, I only realized later that most people experience the same thing that I did at some point.

Most of us have a deep desire to be understood, and while we often expect others to fully comprehend what we’re saying and see things our way, this is actually impossible. We all possess a unique perspective that cannot be shared or replicated. No two people see the world in the exact same way.

This can be quite frustrating, especially when we’re trying to communicate how we feel, what we see, or what we’re experiencing. But, if we’re able to understand the power of perspective we can find ways to get around this frustration.

To help further understand the idea of perspective, try imagining your life as a movie. Let’s call it My Life. In this movie, you not only play the lead character, but you are also the writer, director, cinematographer, and producer. After all, this is your life.

Everyone else in your film is a secondary character and plays a supporting role, and some people play more important parts than others. Every character has a unique vantage point or perspective from which he or she sees the script, sets, cinematography—everything about it. However, since it’s the movie of your life, you get to direct all aspects of each individual’s performance. You get to tell the story of your life through your eyes only. You interpret every scene through the lens of your camera.

Now to complete this analogy, all of the secondary characters (your parents, kids, siblings, teachers, friends, and so on) have also created their own movies, each called My Life. They have the lead role in their own movies and work as producer, writer, and director. In each of their films, you act as a secondary character, and it’s their turn to direct you. You can probably understand that the perspective you have as a character in someone else’s story is very different from the one you have in your own. Hopefully this illustrates how complicated things can get when you interact with so many different people, all of them directing their own life movies, all at the same time.

Can you imagine watching one of your scenes where a particular event is playing out, while simultaneously watching the same scene in someone else’s movie where you’re in a supporting role? Anyone seeing these two take place at the same time would quickly realize that while they are both about the same event, they each interpret the situations and emotions in entirely different ways. No two movies will ever be the same, because no two perspectives are ever identical.

One of the reasons I always use to butt heads with other people was because I believed they should see the world as I did. Instead of trying to understand things from their points of view, I assumed that with enough persuasion they’d finally come to see things as I did. My obsession with being right often prevented me from shifting my perspective to incorporate their thoughts and opinions. As a result, I was constantly getting into power struggles, unwilling to waver in my views.

It was only when I was able to admit that everyone sees life through a difference set of lenses and no one perspective is ever right or wrong that my relationships began to transform and I finally began to feel the true freedom that I had been longing for my entire life.

It’s unreasonable to expect others to accept or consider our perspective if we’re not willing to do the same for them. The truth is that the world isn’t really “as it is,” but as we see it, and we all see it differently.

Take Action Challenge:

Do you try to make your way THE way? Do you seek validation by trying to be right? Do you expect others to get where you are coming from but aren’t willing to see their side of the story? Are you tired of having so much conflict in your life? For the next 7 days, try walking a mile in another person’s shoes. See life from a different perspective than your own. When you get to know where a person is coming from and what they have gone through, the more you understand why they think, speak and act in certain ways. This new understanding grants you the ability to respond with WAY MORE compassion and empathy instead of anger or frustration. When you practice the power of perspective you WILL eradicate all conflict from your life, once and for all!

**Part of this blog is an excerpt from Michael’s new book Empowered YOUth: A Father and Son’s Journey to Conscious Living (Hay House, Oct. 1, 2012)**

Michael Eisen is an inspirational speaker, author and the founder of the Youth Wellness Network (YWN), an organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering youth across the globe to live happier and more positive lives. YWN specializes in creating and implementing wellness programs in schools and organizations, while providing additional programs and training online (www.ywnambassadors.com). After positively transforming his own life at the age of 19, Michael is now on a lifelong crusade to share with other young people the principles, strategies, and practices that gave him the strength to start living a more joyful and healthier life. He contributes a fresh, young, authentic voice to the field of wellness, and is rapidly becoming a youth-wellness expert. Michael’s first book, Empowered YOUth: A Father and Son’s Journey to Conscious Living, co-authored with his father Jeffrey Eisen, will be officially released October 1, 2012 with Hay House. To learn more about Michael and the Youth Wellness Network, visit http://www.youthwellnessnetwork.ca.

Am I Pretty?

am-i-prettyIn a disturbing new trend thousands of girls as young as 11 and 12-years old are posting videos on YouTube asking the question, “Am I pretty?” This public call for validation shows a dangerous lack of self-worth and an unhealthy focus on outer beauty at an early age.

Am I pretty? The answer is YES!

As a Celebrity Makeup Artist and Life Coach I have been working with people for years to build their ‘beauty’ from the inside out. Usually though the questions of; “Am I pretty?” “Am I good enough?” or “Am I worthy?” don’t really start to weigh on us until life as taken its toll a little bit more. Seeing such a display of low self-esteem at such a young age though really troubles me so I feel strongly that this is a topic that needs addressing.

Whether it is the images in the media, social networking, or increased peer pressure, people, especially teen girls, are feeling pushed to look and act a certain way. One of the things they don’t understand is that in trying to find acceptance online they are opening themselves up to even more negative influence. The relative anonymity of the internet creates a breeding ground for hostility and hate resulting in wave of hurtful responses to their videos. Not to mention the fact that online predators are constantly lurking, typically preying on girls in this exact age range.”

To remedy this I suggest a variety of solutions.

– Monitor your child’s internet usage! The web is just that, a dangerous place for those that get caught up in it. There are just as many physical and emotional hazards to be found in the virtual world as there is in the real world.

– Talk to your kids about their ‘beauty’. Have your child create a list of their most beautiful qualities; their values, dreams, and maybe even throw in some physical attributes they love as well. By working to build a foundation for what makes them uniquely beautiful you create a source for real and lasting self-worth.

– Model strong self-esteem yourself. Even with all of the other sources of information your kids have access to you are still their biggest influence. By relating to them your self-worth you are instilling that same value in your kids.

Most important is have as open a line of communication with your kids as possible. And when the question “Am I pretty” is ever asked by you or them, the answer is always “Yes!”

A Case of the “What Ifs”

Isn’t it incredible how fear can nearly paralyze us and it isn’t until we really hit a major crisis that we see how strong we are? Strength comes from many different things. Mainly from going through a lot of negative experiences and through the process of overcoming these experiences we gain more strength and learn how to be tough, be strong, and plow through.

However, a lot of us still have fear to take the next step in life that is needed to go in the direction that we truly want to go in. This does not involve the type of strength that appears suddenly when hit with crisis. Most of us don’t take the steps necessary to go for our dreams because we think we are not going to be strong enough to take on what it involves to go there. Or we are afraid of failure? Or success? What if? Attached to outcomes…we all want things to turn out exactly the way we see them…but what if they don’t? Do we have the strength to handle that outcome? Do we have the strength to make it through if it is harder than we thought? What if people around me think I am crazy? What if my spouse doesn’t like me anymore because I am doing things differently? What if I can’t pay my bills? What if I take time away from taking care of everyone else? What if I appear selfish? Am I being selfish?

First of all, stop and think of all of the things that will be positive about the changes you will make. Write them down. What if it does create everything you have always wanted? What if your journey takes you in a different direction than anticipated, yet it is still better than where you are now. What if your new experiences create such positive energy and excitement despite the difficulties that come with change? What if you find that you are an even more incredible person than you ever thought you were capable of becoming? What if you do have the strength to handle anything that comes your way? What if people turned around after you started your journey and noticed how incredible your life is becoming because you took a risk, believed in yourself, and no matter what, the process made you stronger, created positive change and now your friends and family are coming to you for advice on how to improve their lives? YEAH??? Well, I can tell you that most likely the positive things that I just mentioned will occur. Now are you scared? If you only knew what you truly are capable of…you would never fear again.