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I Love Myself, Therefore….

“I love myself, therefore…” how would you complete this sentence?

How does that sentence make you feel? Do you instantly start to feel anxious or uncomfortable? Great! Lean into that. Why does the thought of loving yourself bring up these feelings? Often we live our lives from the perspective of limiting beliefs that, over time, we have accepted as truth. The real truth is these beliefs are lies- messages we have been told growing up, maybe from scorned lovers, or messages fed to us from the media.

Some of these lies may include “You’re not good enough”, “You’ll never have enough money”, “Thin is beautiful”, “Conflict is bad”, etc.

It is so easy to continue these limiting belief loops, well, because that has been our norm. They’re so ingrained in us we don’t consciously think of them, unaware of how powerfully they affect how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. And by choosing to change these beliefs, we are choosing to fight our brain patterns (I’ll do another post on how the brain is affected by our thoughts), which takes time and consistency.

By choosing to change these beliefs, we are choosing to make a difficult decision. But if our normal pattern includes berating ourselves day in and day out, should we simply allow this to continue? Think about it this way: If you said the messages that you replay in your head out loud to a loved one, hopefully they wouldn’t continue exposing themselves to that type of abuse. So why do we consider it acceptable for us to continue to constantly belittle ourselves internally?!  Making the difficult decision to change this thinking is so worth it. This is your life we’re talking about.

So let’s take a look at how we can start to change these belief patterns….

Mantras are a great way to start to challenge limiting beliefs. Mantras can be created for a year, a month, a moment- there’s a mantra for any season or situation! At the beginning of this year I wrote out the mantras from which I wanted to live out each day. I focused on one in particular and made it a point to repeat the following mantra hundreds of times per day: “I love and accept myself exactly as I am.” 

The prospect of saying a mantra hundreds of times per day seemed excessive at first, but I quickly realized it paled in comparison to the number of times per day I was telling myself numerous limiting beliefs.  And those limiting beliefs became even more apparent to me when I started to challenge them.  For a while, and perhaps even now, my limiting beliefs- those lies that I have been told and have told myself- have been screaming at me. Attempting to derail my relationships and keep me from fulfilling my true potential.

Some days I don’t feel like this mantra is truthful in any way. But I continue to speak  it anyway.  Some days I am exhausted from fighting to simply love myself, and other days I realize that my worldview has been starting to shift to a perspective of love.  I realize I am looking at people around me from a place of peace and humanity as opposed to a place of judgement. I realize I am listening to truly listen, not simply waiting to drown another in my opinions. And I know this all stems from me choosing to love myself first.

I am still primarily focusing on this one main mantra, and have also included the following mantras throughout the day, even if only first thing in the morning and before I go to bed.

“I am willing to change”

“The thoughts I am thinking and the words I am declaring at this moment are creating my future”

“I release all resistance”

“Everything I need to know is revealed to me”

“Everything I need comes to me”

“I am young, youthful, and full of vitality”

“Money flows to me in abundance”

“Everything I touch is a success”

When we change our perspective from one of untruths and limiting beliefs to one of love and acceptance, we start to see our entire world change. Because our perception of the world is changing. A world we did not allow ourselves to see starts to reveal itself to us. Beauty and good and love are here, but it’s not until we love ourselves that we are able to truly see it surrounding us.

How would you complete this sentence “I love myself, therefore….”? Simply put pen to paper and write without thinking- without letting those limiting beliefs creep in. Write all of the ways in which you choose to treat yourself and others, from the perspective of love. Then write a mantra and don’t give up on it or yourself. Speak it to yourself 300-400 times per day (yes, seriously). It’s not too late to save yourself from your beliefs. Your truth is fighting to be discovered again.

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

Confused Girl

“You are imperfect & inventively flawed. And you are beautiful.” -Giovanna Silvestre

 

On any given day you can find me with at least one crystal on me, whether it’s tucked in my bra, on a ring or necklace, or in my pocket. So I was excited to also have the leggings I wear also be representative of the crystal properties I want to incorporate into each day!

My first Confused Girl leggings purchase was the Mystery Leggings, which represent the stone marble. First, I love that they’re black, white, and grey because they go with everything.

The marble stone has numerous properties. In general, it represents nurturing and protection. It can also be very grounding, which is certainly a property I always need more of in my life! I like to wear these leggings when I’m going to engage in longer meditations than normal, as marble also aids in clarify and focus, so it can assist in deeper meditative states.

The motto of Confused Girl is “Find Your True Nature”. I find my true nature by tapping into my intuition through meditation, yoga, and spending time in nature. When I have all of those integrated in my life, I am in tune with my truth.

Everywhere we turn there are brands that focus on Photoshop and perfectly sculpted bodies in order to sell their products. Please join me in supporting this brand that supports us where we are- because this is where our power lies. This brand aligns with my mission of learning to accept ourselves as we are in this moment.

To purchase your own pair of Confused Girl leggings, use this link  and use the code ‘jessaleighsmith’ to get 15% your order!

confused girl 2.jpg

 

The light in me honors the light in you

Fear of Success

Lately I’ve felt stuck. Stuck to the point where I’ve felt paralyzed. My reaction to this emotion has been typical for me: to withdrawal, to hibernate, to not reach out to my support network, to binge Netflix, to escape.

As with most negative emotions, I acknowledge the root of this feeling is fear. And what I’ve started to uncover that this fear is an authentic fear of success; a fear of what could happen if I put everything into this dream.  I know in my gut that my potential is limitless, as is yours. But the fear of the result of that potential is holding me back… how wild is that to think about?!

So often I get stuck in patterns of dreaming, of comparing, of wanting- all without acting. Friends, we have one month left in 2017. What do we have to lose?? It’s time to tell that fear to take a hike and before our minds can talk us out of it- ACT. Just send the email, make the phone call, write the blog post, ask the question.

Yes, I’m writing this for me as much as for anyone else reading this. I need these words just as much as you do right now. I’m right here with you. I’m dedicating the rest of the year to taking action, and I have faith that the Universe will respond to this risk with nothing but joy, love, and support.

It’s time to stop being afraid of my potential and start living up to it.  Who’s with me?!

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

Seven Years

I have so many drafts of this post written that I feel it will take a year for me to edit it into a format in which I am both satisfied and comfortable.

I started this site as a safe space to share the messy parts of life. And I wouldn’t be authentic in this mission if I disregarded this universal pull to share this very messy chapter of my life.

This year, October 15 marked seven years since the day of my wedding. This year I took back the power of this date and as such officially changed it’s significance in my life. As a result, this has also been the Universe’s unwavering signal that it is time. It’s time to move into the next chapter that this life has in store for me. And Universe, I see you. I hear you. I feel you. And I openly accept this invitation. In fact I can’t wait. I feel like I’ve been waiting for this invitation for years now, but I also recognize that it has not been until now that I have been ready. Friends, my body is buzzing just thinking about this next step. And I can’t wait to share this next chapter with you.

I know the Universe will guide me toward the next piece of myself in which I should reveal.  All I need to do is wait, listen, and follow it’s direction. For now, this is all that I am able to convey effectively.

Seven years ago I walked down the aisle of my church and had a vision for what my life would look like. Today I am unrecognizable from that woman, and on October 15th of this year I graduated from yoga teacher training.

I’ve been envisioning myself, in my lace wedding gown, in a room alone, before my father saw me, before taking those steps toward my future husband. I’ve been asking myself if I would change anything about those quiet moments, and what I would tell that young woman anxiously waiting to start her new life.

As cliche as it sounds, I could never tell that bride to do anything but take those steps, knowing that yes, you will be betrayed by the person at the end of that aisle. You will feel pain, loss, emptiness. You will find yourself alone, with no money, surrounded by strangers in an unfamiliar city and state.


And slowly (very slowly) that city will become your new home. And one day, alone in your empty apartment, your new friend will come over with her boyfriend and they will give you an old television and microwave because these are luxuries and you can’t afford to purchase either of these items on your own. And then one weekend your parents will visit and you’ll be embarrassed because you don’t own any kitchen chairs or a couch but they will take you to Home Depot and your dad will buy you tools and he will fix your kitchen table. And your mom will cry the entire way back to Michigan but you won’t be privy to that information until months later.


And then, beautiful girl, then one day you’ll walk into your first yoga class. And all of the pain will come back- years and years of pain. But this time it’s different. This time instead of running from it, you lean into it. All of it. And an entirely new world will unfold before you. And you will never be the same.

If I could speak to that bride today I would tell her that she’s in for one hell of a chapter. That the world will fight to make her heart hard and that she will go into battle, but she’ll be fighting for softness and vulnerability. Fighting for hope and grace. And what she’ll find is that hope and grace have been seeking her the whole time, and for all of her days, they will never leave her.

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

 

Manifesting Part 2: Setting Intentions

In Part 1 of the manifesting series, we examined the power of thought. Now we’ll be looking at how to channel the power of thought to manifest the life we desire.

As we discussed in the previous post, the Universe directly reflects the energy that is put into it. In Part 2 we’ll examine how channeling the power of our thoughts can manifest our intentions.

Our thoughts and our entire existence are made up of vibrations of energy. Everything we see, hear, touch, taste- they’re all made of vibrations. Our thoughts are also included in this vibrational energy, and as such we are constantly putting out vibrations into the Universe.   When negative vibrations/energy are sent into the Universe, these energies are directly reflected back to us and are perceived as our reality. Likewise, when we vibrate positive energies, that will become our reality as well.

Perhaps you’ve used a phrase referencing a person’s “good vibes”, or you’ve walked into a room and instantly gotten a negative “gut feeling” towards someone… those are based on the literal vibrations of yourself and the other party. When we sense these things we are sensing another person’s energies. Cool, right?!

It’s important to understand the power of our thoughts, intentions, and vibrations because this will greatly impact our ability to manifest an intention. It is common to be sending out negative vibrations without realizing it, and then become frustrated when intentions do not manifest. In fact, our brain naturally focuses on negative experiences and thoughts as a protective mechanism. Because of this, changing our thought patterns requires practicing and changing the way in which our brain naturally focuses. A great way to implement a change in vibration is to incorporate a gratitude practice into a daily routine. This is an excellent way to set the tone for the day,  by beginning each day reminding yourself or one thing in which you are grateful, then continuing to build on this practice. Soon you will be able to recognize when you have found yourself in a negative thought pattern and will be able to change that internal dialogue.

Since it’s in our nature to focus on the negative as opposed to the positive, when we’re setting intentions it’s easy for us to focus on what we want to discontinue or remove from our lives, instead of focusing on what we want to bring into our lives. These differences, however, are massive and can make all of the difference in having a manifestation come to fruition.

When choosing an intention to manifest, begin by acknowledging what the manifestation goal is- for example “complete self-acceptance”. If this is the manifestation we’re striving for, instead of vibrating an intention of “I don’t want to judge myself anymore”, or “I want to stop self-loathing behaviors”, an intention to manifest would sound something like “I love myself completely. I am worthy of love and I attract unconditional love. I know that I am enough.”

Can you see the difference between these two intentions? One is vibrating negatively, and that intention will manifest as continuing to receive the same self-defeating vibrations, whereas sending out positive vibrations provides space for this intention to manifest!

Intentions can be set daily, hourly, yearly, etc. There are no limitations to our ability to manifest once we learn how to set them in accordance with the Universe!

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manifesting Part 1: The Power of Thought

There’s so much to say when it comes to manifestation that I’m making this a 3 part series about the power of manifestation. To begin discussing manifestation, we must begin with the power of thought. Our thoughts directly impact the world around us and what we experience each day.

I like to think of manifestation in this way: the Universe is neutral in nature and as such, it responds directly to the energy that is put into it. If the energy being put into the Universe is one of defeat, anger and jealousy,  those thoughts (energy) will shape what the Universe returns to us. However if the energy being put into the Universe is gratitude, love and generosity, those thoughts (energy) will be returned to us.

All day, every day we are sending energy into the Universe. For most of us, these are limiting beliefs we have playing on a continuous loop in our head, and these limiting beliefs have probably been playing for most of our lives. We call these “truths” but my friend, they are rotten lies.

The work of the late Dr. Marasu Emoto illustrates the immense power we hold within ourselves. Dr. Emoto’s experiments showed the power of thought energy by studying the way in which water crystals would form based upon words spoken to water, music that was played to water, and even how the crystals formed based upon images that the water was placed over. For example, when the phrase “You make me sick, I will kill you” was spoken to the water, the crystals formed were incomplete, with no structure to them whatsoever. Conversely, when the phrase “Thank you” was spoken to the water, the beauty of the crystals that were created upon the water becoming frozen brings tears to my eyes. You can view photos of some of these crystals on Dr. Emoto’s website here.

I also conducted my own at-home experiment to further illustrate the power of thought. Over the course of one week I conducted an experiment with an apple, my words, and my energy. Each day for one minute at a time I held half of an apple. To the half on the left side of the plate, I spoke into it positive affirmations and sent into it positive energy, speaking into it phrases such as “I am so thankful that we share this moment together”, “you are so beautiful”, and “thank you for existing to nourish my body”.  To the right half of the apple, for one minute a day, I berated the apple and spoke into it words of hate such as, “You disgust me”, “I can’t even look at you, you’re so rotten”, and “I want you to die”.

Below are photos of the apple. The results are pretty astounding.

 

Both halves of the same apple, sharing the same plate, receiving the same amount of sunlight. The only difference between the halves is the energy that was spoken into each one.

You see, with each negative word we tell ourselves, with each comment about how we need to lose weight, with each comparison to another person, we slowly rot ourselves from the inside out, just like the apple half on the right. Whereas when we spread love, light, and gratitude to our incredible bodies for simply existing, and share our light with those around us, we literally have the power to change the world.

 

What are some “truths” that you play on repeat in your mind? Some of these “truths” may have been placed upon you as a child, such as “She’s a feisty one”, or “He’s a troublemaker”. It’s not a coincidence that once we take ownership of these false beliefs that were pushed upon us as children, they manifest as our reality.

Some limiting beliefs that play in my head throughout any given day may include “I wish I had what she has”, “Why can’t I just look like her?”, “My life is such a mess”, “I failed again”, “I can’t do that”…. the list is endless.

Take a moment to examine some of the limiting beliefs that play in your mind. This is a very uncomfortable exercise, I acknowledge. However, we cannot begin to change these beliefs until we acknowledge that they exist and also acknowledge that they are cruel, vicious lies. That is where we find our power. That is where our strength resides.

For this opening post about manifestation, I challenge you to reflect upon the limiting beliefs you tell yourself daily. Sit with this and notice how it makes you feel. Find comfort in the uncomfortable parts of yourself. This journey is not always pretty but it is so worth it. You are so worth it.

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

 

 

 

Practicing Radical Self-Care

Selfish
Lazy
Self-Centered
Unproductive
Egotistical

These are only a few descriptors we use to describe self-care. Our societal idolization of busyness ensures we continue in a cycle of serving others and putting everyone’s needs before our own. In truth, practicing radical self-care is the best thing we can do for ourselves and our loved ones.

Some definitions of self-care include:

  • Fostering an intimate relationship with yourself
  • A way in which you give yourself what you need
  • Any activity you do voluntarily which helps you maintain your physical, mental, or emotional health
  • An activity that helps you feel healthy, relaxed, and ready to take on your work and responsibilities

What does radical self-care mean to you? How do you feel about the idea of being caring towards yourself?

In researching self-care, the inability to say “no” quickly became a recurring theme. This complements our idolization with busyness seamlessly; a perfect combination of saying “yes” to everything and everyone, with a pinch of guilt at the thought of taking care of ourselves.  Friends, I’m here to tell you that saying ‘no’ can be an act of love. 

A friend recently provided this insight to me regarding saying “no”, Whenever we choose to say ‘yes’ to one thing, we are also choosing to say ‘no’ to something else. I LOVE this as a way to think about radical self-care!  When I say “yes” to chairing another committee, I am also saying “no” to grabbing dinner with a friend whose connection I have been missing and needing in my life. When I say “yes” to assisting a colleague on a project that is beyond the scope of my job responsibilities, I am saying “no” to spending time cooking a nutritious meal for myself- a meal that will keep me feeling connected and happy with my body.

This quote by Parker Palmer sums it up nicely,  “Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on Earth to offer to others.”  Can I get an amen?!

When we put others’ needs before our own, we deplete ourselves and the world of our own unique gifts. Gifts that we possess and are being concealed because of our inability to say “no”.

Give yourself permission to accept the idea that you are the most important person in your life, meaning if you don’t care for yourself, you can’t accomplish your goals or care for those in your life to the best of your abilities. If we are able to take time for ourselves on a regular basis, we also gain the ability to be more present with our friends, children, family, work colleagues and so on.

Your relationship with yourself also sets the standard for all of the relationships in your life. How you treat yourself shows others how you expect to be treated, good or bad.

There is no perfect formula or cookie-cutter answer for what radical self-care looks like. For me, self-care often involves connecting with a friend who is able to speak loving truth to me. For another, this may involve spending time reconnecting with oneself or going to a yoga class.

The first step in beginning a radical self-care journey is reflecting on areas in which we can say “no” more often, beginning to set healthy boundaries, and continuing to foster a loving relationship with ourselves. Writing down these reflections will also allow them to become more permanent, and will provide us with guidance on how to move forward on our own radical self-care journey. Writing down our plans and goals make them more realistic, and we are therefore more likely to continue to follow them when they’re noted and referred back to regularly.

Feel free to download my free Radical Self-Care Plan below to get started with your own self-care practice!  The first part of the Radical Self-Care Plan prompts you to consider what boundaries can be established in your life, and the second half of the plan asks what can be brought into your life in order to practice your own radical self-care. Enjoy!

My Radical Self-Care Plan

The light in me honors the light in you.

 

 

Let’s Talk Diet

Diets and diet culture have been on my heart lately. Probably because I’ve been in a few encounters recently with women who have been discussing a diet they will be starting soon, are currently on, or a recent diet failure. In some instances an open dialogue is welcomed, and other times I need to remove myself from a conversation and reach out to a supportive friend to maintain healthy boundaries in my life.

I don’t know about you, but when I find that I am becoming more grounded in my truths, I am put in situations that challenge those truths. While these challenges provide me with affirmation that I am following my path, these situations have been just that- very, very challenging. 

What has stood out to me as a common denominator throughout these conversations has been the concept of cutting oneself off from their cravings. Cravings equal bad, control equals good; it’s just that simple. Control the cravings, gain control over your life. This has become the goal- to become completely detached from our body in order to dictate what is in it’s best interest. While we may deceive ourselves into thinking the only goal of dieting is to lose weight, I challenge that it is truly a deception, and a dangerous one.

The real question we should be asking is this: What am I really hungry for? What am I craving? An authentic connection? To feel love? To be worthy? To be seen? To feel valued? To be desired?

It is when we reflect on our true cravings that we will begin to satiate our deepest hungers. And if our ultimate goals include authentic connections and a feeling of worthiness, we must also question how cutting ourselves off at the neck will help us achieve them. What is the fear rooted in listening to our bodies? Why are we so terrified of this flesh that we spend every second residing within? Why do we keep reaching for diets that cut us off from our cravings in order to gain more control over them?

To attempt to answer these questions, I reflect on my own body image journey.  Throughout most of my life, my body was a source of anger, confusion, and frustration. Attempting to sit and ask my body what it needed and then listen for a response was beyond my comprehension. My body was the enemy- it wasn’t to be trusted, as it had betrayed me too many times before, based on previously failed diets that ended in me laying on the cold tile of the bathroom floor in a ball of failure, feeling more worthless and shameful than I had when I had begun. 

What I believed, and what the $60 billion dollar-a-year diet industry wanted me to believe, was that if I listened to my body I would end up eating endless amounts of candy, fried chicken and nachos all day, every day. That my body would betray me at the first chance it got, and therefore my life would be nothing but cyclical diets and failure.

Ignoring our body’s signals simply will not work in the long run. We all  know how diets end- they end with us binging on the food we were depriving ourselves of, or we end up sick and depleted. There’s a reason that 95% of diets fail. Because we are not meant to be living a life separated from our body. Our body is crying out for a relationship with us, and when we honor that request, we are on the path to living a life of all-inclusive health.

I’d like to share an example with you. Every year for a few years now, in the fall and winter, I crave citrus fruits: grapefruit, oranges, clementines- I can’t get enough of them. And there’s a reason my body is craving these specific foods during these cold weather seasons … aka cold and flu season. These foods are full of Vitamin C, which is exactly what my body needs to stay healthy all winter long.  My body is communicating with me. When I choose to listen to it and honor my cravings, I will be less susceptible to getting sick that winter, and I will also continue to nurture my relationship with my body. However if I were on a restrictive diet that, for example, limits or completely forbids me from eating fruit, I would be fighting against my body’s natural instinct to protect me, ultimately ending with me getting sick more often throughout the winter. 

Once we give our body the space to do so, it will tell us the nutrients it is in need of to sustain us through each season of life.  When we honor our body by giving it what it is asking for, we continue to nurture this relationship. By second-guessing it, ignoring it, or attempting to cut off this communication via a diet, we continue to harm our body and harm this sacred relationship.

We will be in these bodies for the rest of our lives. We can continue to degrade them, punish them, dishonor them, completely ignore them- or we can choose to sit with them, honor them, talk to them (yes, literally… but that is for another post), and nurture this relationship we will have for the rest of our living days.

So perhaps the next time you crave a salty snack, allow yourself to open up to a conversation with your body. If you confirm this is what you are in need of, honor your body by feeding it what it’s asking for… then wait. Perhaps you misheard the request- your body will tell you. Or perhaps you honored your craving perfectly and your body will thank you accordingly.

Like any new relationship, there will be some bumps along the way, some communication issues, some expectations that will need to be re-evaluated. Be patient with yourself. No, this will not melt your belly fat in 48 hours, however given time to cultivate a nurturing relationship with yourself, this will sustain your body, at the healthy size it is meant to be, for the rest of your life.

 

The light in me honors the light in you.

 

 

My Recovery Journey Continues

My concept of recovery is fluid. What I considered a successful day 9 years ago looks completely different than it does today.

Multiple times a week, I chose to walk the aisles of the grocery store in the middle of the night, avoiding other shoppers and preferring the company of other creatures of the early morning hours, feeling a comfort knowing that the stock boy with baggy jeans and Queens of the Stone Age blasting from his earbuds wouldn’t judge me as I carefully reviewed the labels of the scarce foods I trusted to put in my body.

In that time of my recovery I preferred to slip under the radar, to be invisible. That’s where my disease wanted me to stay because that’s where it held the most power over me. As long as I continued to isolate myself from the rest of the world, the eating disorder was in control.

Yoga showed me that I have a greater purpose in this world and allowed me to discover an identity beyond the eating disorder. It gave me self-confidence to re-connect with loved ones with whom I had become detached, and gave me permission to reveal to them the various vulnerabilities that arise throughout the recovery process.

By inviting me to connect my true self with my physical body, yoga was there to catch me before I could fall deeper into isolation, acting as a net below the emotional tightrope I had found myself balancing upon. What began as another exercise regimen became a recovery tool that transformed from treating my current circumstance, to healing years of emotional scars.

By allowing me to view my body as a conduit of strength, yoga taught me that I am worthy.

By simply stepping on my mat and honoring my mind and body where I am in that moment, I am serving myself.

Yoga taught me to love my body not for how my hips look in my yoga pants, but for its strength and general amazing-ness.

Most importantly, after years of fighting for control of my life, yoga taught me that I was never in control and I never will be. I found peace within myself once I released control.

My journey with an eating disorder is embedded into my life, like an olfactory memory that can be lifted up into my senses at a moment’s notice, only to float away with the breeze just as quickly.

Today a successful day is one that includes honoring my mind, body, and soul. It includes catching up with an authentic friend, finishing a project I’ve worked on tirelessly, journaling, exercising because I love the rush of endorphins that I feel afterward, and nourishing my body with foods that it craves.

I now see my recovery as an instrument in my arsenal of empathetic tools; it has provided me with the ability to embrace, cry, and laugh with strangers who instantly become yet another recovery warrior from whom I gain strength, hoping that I become the same to them as well.

Living an isolated life prevents one from giving themselves to another, and what a tragedy that is! The more we give, the more love our hearts are able to receive. By giving of myself and my story, I find so much strength within me, and in return, receive abundant love from those around me. My recovery continues, and it is my hope that it never ends.

This post was originally published as part of  YBIC’s monthly column that highlights how the practice of yoga can be an integral component in the effective treatment of and on-going recovery from eating disorders and disordered eating. You can find it on the YBIC website here.

Your Worst Fears Have Already Happened

It happened again, I realize as I scan the room and take in the aftermath of my latest binge.

Numerous bags, wrappers, cans of diet soda, remnants of microwave low-carb meals, what I can assume was once a bowl of popcorn based on the grease and salt dusting the bowl, combined with marks from my fingers swiping against the plastic, attempting to eat every last morsel.

During these moments I found myself reflecting on a seemingly bleak future, wondering into the vastness if I would ever feel hope, attempting to imagine a reality in which I could make eye contact with myself in the mirror instead of the flitting glances I allowed myself at the time. That reality seeming to fall from my imagination as quickly as I had devoured the box of Oreos to my left.

A feeling of loneliness so vast and deep, but also so loud that the throbbing of my ear drums that greeted me at the finale of a purge became soothing relief.

The feelings I felt in that room, surrounded by the mess I had created, was symbolic of how I was living my life and how I viewed myself. I was running, in a constant state of distraction, and was attempting to satisfy a hunger that food (or alcohol… or men… or shopping…) could never satiate. Fear ruled my life and dictated each moment.

What is the root of your biggest fear? That you’re misunderstood? Lonely? Rejected? Hurt? Out of control?

What are the fears that keep you from applying for the job? Making the phone call? Letting someone in? Leaving the relationship? Feeling your feelings without judgement?

As Susan Jeffers offers, feel the fear and do it anyway. Because, I would like to suggest, our worst fears have already happened.

All of those fears listed above… I would dare to surmise you’ve felt them all before. And yet here you are.

Acknowledging that you may have experienced these fears previously is not meant to undermine or disregard current fears, as fears can certainly serve a purpose in an appropriate setting. But holding you back from sharing your full potential with the world that so desperately needs your true you-ness is not one of them.

We can declare these fears powerless over our lives by reflecting on times in which we experienced them and how we chose to process them. Perhaps reflecting on how we handled these past situations allows us to recognize a change we should make in our coping skills.  Or perhaps we can reflect on how strong we have been, how amazingly resilient we are, and how the universe has supported us through it all.

When I experience moments of loneliness or anxiety now, I’m able to reflect on times in my life in which I’ve experienced that same feeling. Because I know within my entire being – the same being that sat in that room and told myself I was unlovable- that my worst fears have already happened. I’ve experienced them, I’ve sat with them, I’ve gotten to know them intimately, and I’ve learned from them. It is my deepest hope that you are able to take this journey as well. Because it is so worth it, and you are so worthy.

 

The light in me honors the light in you.