Whose voice is running in your head?

th (1)

We all have them; those voices in our head that cause fear and doubt and undermine our lives. Often, they are the voices of people who we trusted and felt safe around but betrayed that security, and in the process, created a life-long internal battle for our self-esteem. It could be the voice of a parent, love interest, or even a teacher or boss whose opinion you valued, and now their words hang over your heart. “Don’t eat that or you’ll get fat.” “Don’t bother trying that you’re not capable.”

I know those voices all too well. Several years ago, after going through a difficult divorce, I lost my job of 12 years, and found myself raising three small children with no money. For months I paid my bills with credit cards and when those ran out, I applied for welfare. As I struggled through a downward spiral, voices from my past played like a broken record telling me that I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, or pretty enough. That was until my best friend Lori called and told me she had stage four colon cancer.

I realized at that moment life was too short to listen to any voice other than mine. I decided that whatever was playing in my head, and no matter who said it, it was time to erase the tape and live my beauty! When I did, my life changed dramatically.

So how do you erase and reprogram your positive inner dialogue?

You can start by writing down all the negative inner dialogue that runs through your mind. For each bit, answer this question: What was the true intent behind the statement, meaning, who made it and why? Here’s a story to help you get the gist of what I want you to do. . . .

I was working with a client shortly after her husband left her. After weeks of self-esteem coaching, she wanted to go shopping to create a new look that matched her new life. As a celebrity stylist and life coach it’s always fun to help women bring their inner beauty to life through a look that matches who they are. After trying on several flattering outfits, however, she looked dejected and stared at the dressing-room floor.

“I have to tell you something,” she said. I braced myself because, by now, I’ve learned that clients who are making bold changes also confront even bigger fears. “I think my stomach looks terrible in all these clothes.”

“What?” I gasped. “You look incredible! You have a great body. Where is this coming from? What is the voice in your head saying exactly?”

“It’s my ex’s voice,” she confessed. “He told me that I was getting fat, and he didn’t want to have sex with me anymore.”

“What was his genuine intention behind that statement?” I asked.

“To hurt me, I guess.”

“So, it wasn’t true, right? He only said it to upset you. Do you see the difference?”
She nodded, and relief washed over her face. The inner voice that had damaged her so deeply wasn’t true, and now she saw it for what is was; a lie. She stood up straighter and smiled, and I knew she was on her way to becoming a free woman.

Whose voice is running through your head? Now it’s your turn to do this exercise so that you can finally be free of any shaming voices that hold you back. And even if the original intention was positive—as a way to protect you, for instance—the result may still be the same. This exercise enables you to observe this dialogue for what it truly is and no longer allow it to control you.

Love,
Michelle

Going Home

What does it feel like to die? By Anita Moorjani

th

Oh my God, I feel incredible! I’m so free and light! How come I’m not feeling any more pain in my body? Where has it all gone? Hey, why does it seem like my surroundings are moving away from me? But I’m not scared! Why am I not scared? Where has my fear gone? Oh wow, I can’t find the fear anymore!

These were some of my thoughts as I was being rushed to the hospital. The world around me started to appear surreal and dreamlike, and I could feel myself slip farther and farther away from consciousness and into a coma. My organs were beginning to shut down as I succumbed to the cancer that had ravaged—no, devoured—my body for the past four years.

It was February 2, 2006, a day that will be etched in my memory forever as the day I “died.”

Although in a coma, I was acutely aware of everything that was happening around me, including the sense of urgency and emotional frenzy of my family as they rushed me to the hospital. When we arrived, the moment the oncologist saw me, her face filled with shock.

“Your wife’s heart may still be beating,” she told my husband, Danny, “but, she’s not really in there. It’s too late to save her.”Who is the doctor talking about? I wondered. I’ve never felt better in my life! And why do Mum and Danny look so frightened and worried? Mum, please don’t cry. What’s wrong? Are you crying because of me? Don’t cry! I’m fine, really, dear Mama, I am! I thought I was speaking those words aloud, but nothing came out. I had no voice.

I wanted to hug my mother, comfort her and tell her that I was fine, and I couldn’t comprehend why I was unable to do so. Why was my physical body not cooperating? Why was I just lying there, lifeless and limp, when all I wanted to do was to hug my beloved husband and mother, assuring them that I was fine and no longer in pain?

Look, Danny—I can move around without my wheelchair. This feels so amazing! And I’m not connected to the oxygen tank anymore. Oh wow, my breathing is no longer labored, and my skin lesions are gone! They’re no longer weeping and painful. After four agonizing years, I’m finally healed!

I was in a state of pure joy and jubilation. Finally, I was free from the pain caused by the cancer that had ravaged my body. I wanted them to be happy for me. Why weren’t they happy that my struggle was finally over, that their struggle was over? Why weren’t they sharing my jubilation? Couldn’t they see the joy I was feeling?

“Please, there must be something you can do,” Danny and my mother pleaded with the doctor.“It’s only a matter of hours for her,” the oncologist argued. “Why didn’t your other doctors send her to us earlier? Her organs are already shutting down, and that’s why she has slipped into a coma. She won’t even make it through the night. You’re asking for the impossible. Whatever we administer at this stage could prove too toxic and fatal for her body, as her organs aren’t even functioning!” “Well, maybe,” Danny insisted, “but I’m not giving up on her!”

My husband held my limp hand tightly as I lay there, and I was aware of the combination of anguish and helplessness in his voice. I wanted more than anything to relieve him of his suffering. I wanted him to know how wonderful I was feeling, but I felt helpless in trying to convey it.

Don’t listen to the doctor, Danny; please don’t listen to her! Why is she saying that? I’m still here, and I’m fine. Better than fine—in fact, I feel great!

I couldn’t understand why, but I experienced what everyone was going through—both my family members as well as the doctor. I could actually feel their fear, anxiety, helplessness, and despair. It was as though their emotions were mine. It was as though I became them.

I’m feeling your pain, darling—I can feel all your emotions. Please don’t cry for me, and tell Mum not to cry for me, either. Please tell her!

But as soon as I started to get emotionally attached to the drama taking place around me, I also felt myself being simultaneously pulled away, as though there were a bigger picture, a grander plan that was unfolding. I could feel my attachment to the scene receding as I began to realize that everything was perfect and going according to plan in the greater tapestry.

It was then that the realization truly set in that I was actually dying.
Ohh . . . I’m dying! Is this what it feels like? It’s nothing like I ever imagined. I feel so beautifully peaceful and calm . . . and I feel healed at last!I then understood that even if my physical body stopped, everything is still perfect in the greater tapestry of life, for we never truly die.

I was still acutely aware of every detail unfolding before me as I observed the medical team wheeling my near-lifeless body to the intensive care unit. They were surrounding me in an emotional frenzy, hooking me up to machines while poking and prodding with needles and tubes.

I felt no attachment to my limp body as it lay there on the hospital bed. It didn’t feel as though it were mine. It looked far too small and insignificant to house what I was experiencing. I felt free, liberated, and magnificent! Every pain, ache, sadness, and sorrow was gone. I was completely unencumbered, and I couldn’t recall feeling this way before—not ever.

I then had a sense of being encompassed by something that I can only describe as pure, unconditional love, but even the word love doesn’t do it justice. It was the deepest kind of caring, and I’d never experienced it before. It was beyond any physical form of affection that we can imagine, and it was unconditional—this was mine, regardless of what I’d ever done. I didn’t have to do anything or behave a certain way to deserve it. This love was for me, no matter what!

I felt completely bathed and renewed in this energy, and it made me feel as though I belonged, as though I’d finally arrived after all those years of struggle, pain, anxiety, and fear.

I had finally come home!

Getting Rid of Judgments

judgement....
The next time you find yourself criticizing someone, ask yourself: Do I really know what is triggering or motivating her choices? You can even say, I’m sorry she made that choice. Something is going on with her. This is a powerful way to model true beauty to the women around you.

When we criticize an individual, we are also identifying with him or her in some aspect. A client once told me, “When I look at my ex, who was horrible to me, I realize that I have the capability of being just as angry and mean to others. If I’m going to be free, I have to bless him and wish him well, and not permit any negativity to remain in my heart.”

By refusing to cast judgment, we help ourselves live in true beauty. We’re breaking the cycle of fear and anger. It’s also vital to remember that we influence everyone around us, especially our children, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and so on. Young girls need positive role models! We women must teach the next generation how to lead truly beautiful, authentic lives.
Excerpt: The Beauty Blueprint by Michelle Phillips

Louise Hay is true beauty!

Me and Louise
LIKE MOST PEOPLE, I first came in contact with the work and spirit of Louise Hay at a difficult time in my life. Although I was living my professional dream of being a celebrity makeup artist and stylist, there was a nagging emptiness in my personal life that I hadn’t put my finger on. That was until the day I was drawn into a bookstore with a little extra time on my hands.

I had no idea what led me to that store any more than the divine hand that guided me to a copy of You Can Heal Your Life.  I had never heard of Louise Hay, or any other Hay House authors, yet as I flipped through the pages her words touched me like no other book ever had. From the moment I opened the cover I couldn’t put it down. It felt as though she was speaking directly to me, touching me in a way that didn’t just encourage and strengthen my mind, it validated and invigorated my soul. I felt as though everything I believed spiritually, but had previously questioned, was ringing true through the power of her words. These were beliefs that I had discounted up until that very moment because they were so different from those everyone around me held. Wrapped in Louise’s words I had found freedom, security, and a spiritual home.

Along with discovering the strength of my authentic self came the realization that I did not truly love who I was. On top of that, I was in a marriage with someone who did not love or honor who I was and definitely not who I was becoming as I grew.

I continued on the path of self-discovery, though, by reading more Hay House books and attending workshops. After eventually leaving my unhappy marriage, and still in the depths of the soul search, I would have another more personal and divine encounter with Louise.  When a mutual friend invited me to the I Can Do It Event in Tampa to meet Louise, I jumped at the opportunity.

Even a brief “audience” with Louise was life changing, and while my career was taking off in the ways I had always dreamed it would, Louise’s spirit and words were guiding me in a new direction. I knew what I was truly intended to do, along with focusing on external beauty as a makeup artist, my calling was to be a teacher and help people bring true beauty to their lives. I was to help others feel this beauty by learning to love themselves the way I had from Louise. I created a vision board with the picture of Louise and me in the very center and the journey began.

Two years from then I would take my seat at the Speak, Write and Promote Event in Boston, moments later to be joined by Louise herself. From the first time I picked up her book to the times spent with her today, and now as a Hay House author. I cherish beyond words the guidance her spirit has been to mine.  To be a part of the Hay House family and for my message to have the endorsement of trust that comes with her name brings tears of joy and gratitude I could never truly express.

Your Significant…Self? How To Be The Best YOU For Any Relationship

That famous country song said we were looking for love in “all the wrong places” but maybe we were actually looking in all the wrong ways. You might have a “list” of what you are looking for in your ideal mate or you might be looking for that special someone who “completes you”. In the process you might be bringing in that same person who we may think is our type yet the reality to finding love successfully may be asking the question, “What type are we?”

Before you put on your Friday night best or log back on to your favorite hook-up website again let’s take a minute to look and feel your best about the most important person in the next relationship, YOU! It is absolutely true that we attract what and who we are in to our lives. When it comes to bringing in our friendships and romantic relations what we radiate is something I call, “The Law of Attractive”. It is the true beauty that can’t be painted on or pumped up in the gym, instead it is the kind of amazing that, when you have the confidence to let it shine, will bring in the perfect person who compliments you not completes you.

I recently had a client I was coaching and after we conquered her work fears she said that her next goal was to get back into a relationship. Of course, no one who wants a relationship truly wants just anyone, they want Mr. or Ms. Right! And most of us know in our hearts exactly what that means, when someone asks we unfurl that dreaded “List”! It is the magic, 10-foot long scroll with every physical, emotional, and spiritual quality that we think we need in a mate to be happy. I asked her what was on her list and she rattled off things like; patient, extroverted, and easy-going. I have to back up by saying I had already been working with her for a few months, and, while she was working on herself currently, she was none of those things. So when I asked how her manhunt was going she said sadly that the people she was dating were none of those things. Shocker!

So where do you start? Think about the phrase, “He” or “She” is a good match for me. You don’t match socks by finding some that go nicely with each other, you match them by finding two that are as close to each other as possible.

– Make your list. Make a note of all the attributes you would find important in a long-term or forever type relationship. Be sure to list more than just physical qualities like dark hair and full lips, the values that you find important such as; honesty, integrity, loyalty, and compassion, will play a much bigger role in the long-term success of your partnership.

– Check it twice. Before you start on your scavenger hunt for love, check the list once for yourself first. If there are areas that you find important in someone else think about if you have them. If you don’t, there is nothing wrong with taking some time to work on you.

– Pay close attention to who is naughty and who is nice. All too often when don’t stick to our list out of fear of rejection, (something), or maybe just a physical connection that we mistake for love but the whole time the alarms are going off inside us to run. Trust your gut here and know that when the time is right for you and that special someone it will work out.

While there may not be a club, church, or online dating site to find true love there is one place that holds the magic of cupid’s arrow, your heart. Find that and honor it and you will be fully capable of loving someone else. Love and be loved, it starts with you!

Michelle Phillips is the author of the bestselling beauty and self-esteem book, “The Beauty Blueprint- 8 Steps to Building the Life and Look of your Dreams” (Hay House) is now available on major book sites. You can listen to her live onMondays at 12pm est on www.HayHouseRadio.com . She is also a regular guest on the national TV shows, The Daily Buzz, GalTime, and Daytime. www.michellephillips.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.

No More Makeovers

As women in our 20’s and 30’s, we are often chasing fashion fads—the latest hairstyle, smoky eyes or skinny jeans in an effort to live up to someone else’s idea of beauty. We find out years later how we looked when reminiscing over pictures. “Wow” you say, “I looked like a crazy blend of Madonna and Rachel from Friends!” “What was I thinking?” Worse yet, if we don’t stop going for the trendy looks, we find our kids saying, “Please tell me you’re not wearing that Mom?”

What we don’t know about the futility of these surface fixes is that the beauty we are searching for lies a little deeper. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we may have lost touch with the woman we wanted to be physically, spiritually or emotionally, and it could be affecting every aspect of our beauty. We don’t know what’s missing or how we lost it, but at some point there is an awakening. We spend our 20’s and 30’s in what I call our getting years—getting the job, getting the husband, getting the kids, getting the perfect house—only to wake up later on and say, “I may want everything I have, but do I have everything I want?”

If you want to find real and lasting beauty in your life and look, now is the time in your life to know that you have earned something more. Let’s stop wasting time on make overs, it’s time for a transformation!

I was lucky enough to spend the first 10 years of my career working on my dream of being a makeup artist, doing what I thought was making people beautiful. After working with top celebrities and truly amazing people who don’t live in the spotlight, I learned an invaluable lesson. No matter how good I am as a makeup artist I can only enhance your true beauty. Saying that usually brings up two reactions; “Yeah right” and “Great, but what is true beauty?” Your true beauty is in your passion, compassion, your tears and laughter. It’s also the times when you allow yourself to revel in your deeply beautiful qualities. Every line, every wrinkle, and every gray hair, is a wonderful part of the story of your beauty.

This next step is the most challenging for a lot of us: defining our beautiful qualities. In my experience, women would pop down in my makeup chair time and again with the first words out of their mouths being, “Could you cover this or that up” or “Make me look 10 pounds thinner” or “10 years younger?” Listing what we feel is wrong with us is easy. But when I ask women to list 10 things they feel make them beautiful, they often have a hard time. I’d like you to do that when you finish reading this. But don’t stop at 10. I want you to list 20 or even more of your beautiful qualities. These can be your hips, lips, smile, sense of humor, listening skills, intelligence, or anything else that makes you a stunning one-of-a-kind woman.

From there, I want you to post your list where you can see it, maybe even break it down into smaller lists. Put them on post-it notes on your make up mirror or the visor of your car. Just be sure to put these reminders of your beauty in places that constantly reinforce the definition of who you are.

Busy women fall out of touch with who they are and forget what they have to offer. Sometimes they need a reminder of the divine gifts they are to the world. They need permission to celebrate themselves and know that it’s okay to bloom, soak in the sun and express the wild colors they were created to be.

Let your list be your reminder and before you spend any time at the end of this year or the beginning of the next thinking about what you don’t have, remember the beauty you DO have!