Why I Couldn’t Accept Compliments

Happy Thursday, everybody. Wow, it’s January 21st already, and we’re three weeks into 2016. Crazy! How are you doing with any resolutions or changes you are looking to make for yourself this year?

One of the changes I want to make this year is to stop suffering from the “compliment complex.” I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud today to talk about something I think most of us are suffering from (especially women) — how to start accepting compliments.

 

I cringe whenever I even think about how difficult it is for most of us to accept praise. We say things like, “oh this old thing” or “shut up, I haven’t lost weight” or “you’re crazy, I’m not amazing” to the slightest amount of praise. There are only two words we ever really need to say when somebody gives us a compliment, and yet, we rarely ever say them: Thank you.

I am still in shock whenever someone says something like that they love my hair, or they think I have lovely cheekbones. I am always looking to see if the person saying it to me is talking to me or someone standing behind me. Once I (hopefully) discern that they are in fact addressing me, my first reaction is to say, “my hair is terrible, it’s thin, and a disaster” or “my face is broad.” Instead of just accepting that person’s praise I not only refute it but argue that they are ‘seeing things’ that aren’t so. Or, I take it as far as putting something else on myself down so that I can justify accepting praise.

“Just take the compliment” — is what my inner voice wants to hear when I bounce praise off myself, but even still, I can’t seem just to shut up and) take the compliment.

Why is it so difficult to accept complimentary statements others make about us? Why does it make us feel so uncomfortable?

Years ago, while I was living in New York, I used to have this one particular friend. She was well-educated, attractive, and friendly. In fact, we ultimately became friends because she once complimented my shoes at a bar. This friend was so different from most of the women I had been surrounded by in my twenties. For starters because of how accomplished she was, but mostly because she would always say, “thank you” when complimented. I remember thinking to myself, “this might be the first friend I’ve ever had who wouldn’t sandwich compliments with self-deprecation rebuttals. ”

I have to admit — despite the fact I liked her, I had a hard time understanding how easy it was for her to accept such praise without tearing something else about herself down.

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I know that sounds ridiculous, but I mean, I had gotten used to hearing everyone else doing everything they could to talk other people out of any positive decisions they made about them, and this girl was just like, “I know.”

How dare she just accept it when somebody tells her she’s beautiful or smart?

But what made me the most uncomfortable about her was how she used to compliment others (including yours truly). For a while, I had convinced myself that she was only doing it so I would give her compliments back. Instead of finding my friend confident and kind, I was suspicious of her motives and decided she was arrogant.

Why I Couldn’t Accept Compliments

Looking back now, I can honestly say that the reason my friend’s confidence made me feel uncomfortable was that I was envious of her.

What took me years to understand was that I wasn’t envious of her in the sense that I wish I looked like her or had her job or anything like that. I was envious of her because she could find a place inside of herself that said, “I’m going to be gracious and accept kind words about myself from others.” Let’s face it; we are living in a society where many people tear one another down as a means to feel better about themselves. How dare any of us believe in ourselves or say kind things about others.  The truth was, I spent most of my life tearing myself down because I didn’t feel like there was anything praise-worthy about me.

All my life, I’ve heard the phrase, “self-praise is no praise.” But if you ask me now, self-praise is the only way we can accept any praise at all. It’s not arrogant to think highly of yourself or your capabilities; it seems quite foolish not to. Speaking from my experience, I know I have struggled with accepting compliments due to my low self-esteem. However, for others, it has less to do with their self-esteem and more to do with them having been conditioned to be humble when it comes to accepting praise. After all, confident people can be labeled as arrogant, and that is too bad in many cases.

The reality is this: When we receive complimentary statements, it is because someone is trying to connect or identify with us. When somebody we know or even a complete stranger says something kind about us whether it’s our nail polish color or an idea we’ve had, we have a responsibility to ourselves and greater humanity to take a moment to allow our inner voices to change the conversation between our ears. I believe, if more of us can step up and own the praise we receive, the more of us there will be to give it genuinely in exchange. Confidence should not be considered a stigma.

[Tweet “Confidence should not be considered a stigma. Why I Couldn’t Accept Compliments #SelfEsteem #SelfHelp via @BeetsPerMinute”]

 

So, the next time you receive a compliment just smile and say “thank you” and pay it forward.

Do you have trouble accepting compliments?

Let’s connect!

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How a Popular Weight Loss Program Relapsed My Eating Disorder

Hey, guys!  In the spirit of the new year, I have been bombarded with diet and meal plan emails.  It can be overwhelming and how can you ever be sure which program might work best for you?  Today, I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud to talk about my personal experience with how a popular weight loss program relapsed my eating disorder. 

How a Popular Weight Loss Program Relapsed My Eating Disorder

“Lose 10 pounds or your money back.”

“Fit into your little black dress without giving up cake.”

“Lose 10 pounds, and we’ll give you money back.”

I want to say right now, that this post is not bashing meal plans or weight loss franchises.  I have advised people on fitness nutrition, and I always encourage people to do what works for them.  

But are some of these meal plans just too generalized in nature?  Or worse, are some of them causing people to develop issues with food?

As I’ve written before, I struggled with bulimia nervosa and emotional eating, for over a decade.  When I was 19, I became obsessed with only eating specific foods and running twice a day.  I didn’t know what I was doing.  I just knew that I had to be thin, and I didn’t like having to make myself ‘physically ill’ all the time.

On a typical day, I would eat half of a dry, plain bagel and a black coffee for breakfast.  The other half of the bagel and a diet coke for lunch (followed by several diet cokes throughout the day), and then I would maybe pick at my dinner or eat my absolute favorite thing ever, a Subway whole wheat sub with just mustard and pickles.   If I were feeling adventurous, I would have some diet jello or sugar-free pudding.

Paired with running twice a day naturally led to a large weight loss.  I was extremely restrictive, and it was paying off.

Then, I met the boyfriend I would have all through college, and I got “comfortable.”  He loved to go out to eat and take me to do different activities that usually started, involved or ended with us eating some delicious (but not so good for us) type of foods.  As you can probably imagine, I put on all the weight I had lost plus about 15 pounds.  I knew I had gotten heavier, but was feeling happy, so I didn’t fixate on it so much.

Then, about a year after we started dating, I transferred to a college back in New Hampshire, and that’s when reality hit me.  I was suddenly surrounded by beautiful, thin girls in all of my classes and I felt totally disgusting in my skin.  I sat and compared how much weight I had to lose to look like one of them.

Good ‘ol comparison, right; the thievery of our joy.

My college roommate had been interested in losing weight, and my mother had discovered that our health insurance covered weight loss program costs.

I was excited because I assumed that signing up for a popular program meant that it would help me learn how to eat a regular, balanced diet.

And for a person without previous issues like mine that was probably an accurate assumption to make.  Before I knew it, it triggered me into a fully blown relapse of my bulimia with a big side of emotional eating.

Trigger #1:  You can only have this many ____ a day.

Now, don’t get me wrong, we all need to know there’s a stopping point.  However, for an individual with restrictive eating, bulimia nervosa, and emotional eating issues, telling me I can only have this many of anything automatically made me slip back into “control” mode.  Again, I’m not suggesting that people not be told, “you must stay within a calorie/macros/whatever” range if they are looking to lose weight.  It’s that I had just gone from one extreme to another and now I was given the green light to start on my way to being told: “you can only have.”  These are four words that have not and probably won’t ever work for me on my journey.

I was desperate, though, I wanted to lose the weight, and knew how it made me feel to starve myself or binge and purge, and that wasn’t a place I wanted to head back.

Trigger #2:  You can have this much more if you exercise.

Okay, so, truth be told I was doing rather well the first month of the program.  I lost 8 pounds and had started eating as normally as a college kid could.  I made sure to eat balanced meals with carbs, proteins, and fats.  However, I was a college kid.  People were going out drinking on the weekends and being honest, eating a self-serve frozen yogurt bar for lunch every day appealed to me.  I started to feel the burn of the restriction, and it was taking its toll.

To my delight, at the next weigh-in I had, the attendant gave me a hand out all about how I could “earn” more food per day if I upped my activity level.

Yippee, I was going to hit the gym between my morning classes and then make it rain at the frozen yogurt bar on campus during lunch.

 

And that’s what I did. In fact, I didn’t limit it to the frozen yogurt bar.  I would workout for 4 hours on a Saturday so that I could drink cosmopolitans and eat chili cheese fries.  I would figure out how many calories, sugar, and fats were in everything I wanted to eat and then I would know how many hours I had to workout to eat those foods and still lose weight.

All the while, I didn’t understand that my obsession with working out was a form of bulima nervosa also called “exercise bulimia” and it is just as dangerous, maybe more so than the average “I’m just going to use the bathroom” variety is.

The bad habits were already back in town, and they were about to get squatter’s rights pretty quickly.

Trigger #3:  You can eat whatever you want as long as you stay within the ______ range.

College is a stressful time for everyone, but it is especially stressful for me because I had never really been that dedicated to being a good student.  However, I knew my parents were breaking themselves to pay for me to get a good education, so I would study and pull all-nighters to make sure that my grades would make them proud.  I was working part-time at a call center to earn money for my daily needs.   I also had a long-distance relationship that was difficult.

I think it was this stage in my life when I started to develop my emotional eating issues.  If I wasn’t feeling stressed, I was feeling directionless.  If I wasn’t feeling directionless, I was feeling lonely.  If I wasn’t worried about something, I was focusing on how empty I felt inside.

What better to fill a void than a pint (or two) of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream?  I mean, technically on my plan, I could eat whatever, “as long as I stayed within my ____range.”

I could eat a pint of ice cream or a double cheeseburger from Wendy’s if I wanted to.  All I had to do was rework the rest of my food for the day to allow for the ice cream, burgers, and late night taco bell I was eating.

So, I would eat frozen broccoli for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so that I could eat my crap foods and still get away with losing weight.

Living like this felt balanced because before it just felt like I couldn’t eat those things and also lose weight.  But with the “get out jail free” vibe of this program, I could not only do hours of cardio to avoid weight gain, but I could also eat frozen vegetables to allow for my weekend bar visits and new junk food obsession.

Until one week when I went to weigh-in, and I discovered that I had gained two pounds.

[Tweet “How a Popular Weight Loss Program Relapsed My Eating Disorder #EatingDisorders #SelfImprovement #Wellness via @BeetsPerMinute”]

All hell broke loose, let me tell you.

I asked the girl weighing me in, “how is this possible, I’ve covered myself so that this wouldn’t happen?”  She said, “these things happen all of the time; it could be water weight, your menstrual cycle, stress — you’ve had a steady weight loss so I wouldn’t get too hung up on it if you’re following the ‘rules.'”  She then offered to look at one of my food logs to see if I was doing something incorrectly.  I said, “oh I don’t need a food log, it’s all in my head.”  She said, “Oh dear, you really should write it all out so that you can get a better understanding of your way of eating.”

And that’s when it became apparent to me; I was obsessing all day, every day about what I had eaten, how much, what to eat next, and how much exercise I had to do to be able to have a beer on Friday night.  Still, I was determined not to have the scale go up at a weigh-in ever again.  If that meant I had to up my game, so be it.

I was careful that week following the “gaining episode,” and when I went to the weigh-in, I discovered that not only had I lost the two pounds gained, but three more pounds on top of it.

The weigh-in clerk said, “see, I told you that it was just a one-off kind of thing and are you writing everything down like I suggested last time?”  I lied and told her yes.

I was so pleased with myself.  I had total control again.

Until I didn’t.

An eating disorder is a slippery slope, and I was about to be going headfirst down a mudslide.  It wasn’t long after that weigh-in that the final weeks of the spring semester began.  I was completely stressed out with papers and exams to prepare for along with the weight of working at a job where people were rude to me on the phone every day. One of my high school friends had suddenly died in a car accident.  I was having issues with my reproductive system. My relationship wasn’t going great.

So, naturally, the one thing I still had control over was my weight and winning at the weigh-in scale each week.  I wasn’t giving that up.  When I would buy a party sized bag of Doritos during an all-night paper writing session, and I didn’t have enough energy to go to the gym the next morning, it called for desperate measures.

I received shiny ribbons for all my weight loss achievements.  I stuck on them on the refrigerator door to serve as a reminder not of what I had achieved but of how much control I believed I had over my life.

That’s when I started to binge and purge again.  I had completely reverted to a version of myself that I thought I had left behind me.  Eventually, I reached my goal weight and was encouraged to start a “maintenance” program to keep my weight off.

I received shiny ribbons for all my weight loss achievements.  I stuck them on the refrigerator door to serve as a reminder —  not of what I had achieved — but of how much control I (believed) to have over my life.

I also continued to lose weight, so I could no longer go to weigh-ins anymore for fear that I would be called out for going “too far.”  Let’s be honest; I had abandoned that program before I even actually started it.

They designed this program for someone who was ready to handle all aspects of their issues with their body, weight, and self.

That sure as hell wasn’t me.  In fact, it wasn’t until I started seeing a psychologist for my anxiety and insomnia that she pointed out to me how much this weight loss program had triggered me back into a destructive pattern of control and disorder.

I knew how many program units were in everything I was eating and drinking.  I knew how many miles I had to run to earn back an Oreo McFlurry, but if you asked me about something happening in the world around me, I wouldn’t have had a clue.

Including knowing anything about myself.

At the suggestion of my therapist, I started seeing a nutritionist and taking anxiety medication to try and get myself back from this relapse.

I wish I could say it was the last relapse before my choice to fully recover (well, as best we can fully recover) but it wouldn’t be.

Sometimes I think that if I hadn’t joined that program, I might have figured out a better way that didn’t send me quite so over the edge, but everything happens for a reason.

As they say, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”  This program has worked for many people, and I’m by no means saying it doesn’t promote a healthy approach to eating and fitness, but whether it was bad timing or not it was not a good program for me.

Recovery isn’t one size fits all and what matters most is that we eventually find a way to make peace within ourselves and our need to control everything outside of ourselves.

I am thankful that I was able to do this and so much more.

Have you ever had a similar experience with a weight loss program? Do you find weight loss programs to be helpful?

Let’s connect!

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My Struggle with Delayed Grief Response

Hey, readers!

It’s been nearly a month since I’ve sat down in front of my computer, moved my fingers along the keyboard, and dealt with the business between my ears.

Over the past two years, this blog has become an outlet for me to work through my struggles while finding a common ground (and create a support network) by sharing my thoughts and feelings on an array of topics.

My Struggle with Delayed Grief Response

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I know I have written posts before about how I decided to get make my health a priority after the loss of my father, four years ago this past October 27th. This is true, just months after he passed away I swapped my habit to sit on my ass while eating and drinking for cleaning up my diet and making fitness an everyday occurrence once again.

I figured that getting healthy would be the best way to honor my father’s memory.  I know that he was always disappointed in how I stopped being an athlete when I hit my teen years and started to believe that I wasn’t really very good at anything.

Great things happened as a result of my healthy living shift.  I gained more focus, became healthier in every way, and gained the confidence to do crazy things like get married and move to another country to live with my husband.

Let’s backtrack a bit, though, shall we?

I grew up in a small town northern New Hampshire nestled between ski resorts that 9 out of 10 people I’ve encountered have never heard of.

It was a town I vowed to never end up in again once I got the hell out of it.  In fact, I used to say the only way I would ever move back to my hometown would be if one of my parents became ill.

Well, in the weeks before Christmas in 2010, while I was traveling overseas, my father got sick. Within a few weeks, after the holidays, I received the news from my dad that they had discovered he had colon cancer.

Within another few weeks, I was on a plane heading home.

I was home for eight months watching one of the most influential people in my life fade away.  That is until October 27, 2011, when my father passed away at the age of 60.

In the weeks following my dad’s death, we had a big memorial service, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas which truthfully are all a bit of a blur looking back.   There was a lot of distraction for the loss in those six weeks following my father’s passing.   After the Christmas tree was down and the “dust” had settled, I decided I needed to stay for a while and help my mother.  As you can imagine, this was a tough time for her.

So, I stayed in my hometown — in my childhood bedroom — for nearly four years.

In those four years, I grew a lot as a person. I held a job.  I grew closer to my mother.  I dedicated myself to being a healthier person.  I even got married to a wonderful man.

I learned a lot about myself.

I did what I set out to do, get my life back on track and start living a life that would make my father proud.

Except I forgot to do one crucial thing:  grieve.

I’m not suggesting that I didn’t reflect on the void created by my father passed away.  I totally did.

I cried on holidays.

I despised those automated emails reminding me of Father’s Day each spring.

I felt an emptiness on my wedding day that my father wasn’t there to give me away.

In the most basic terms, grief is “the emotional suffering one feels when someone or something an individual feels love for is taken away.”

So, you might say that crying over the loss of my father was me experiencing grief.  You wouldn’t be wrong, but I think (as do many experts on the topic) that is very simplistic and not a true way to fully grieve.

However, I thought that I had dealt with my grief.

I was always there to talk my mother back when she would be visibly upset over a memory or a sensitive time of year.  I would often speak of my father to others.

I was able to discuss memories without tears.

I thought I had “mastered” the loss and found my way to overcome the shit hand our family got dealt.

When I got married and received my spouse visa to move over to Scotland, I knew that I was entering an exciting, but also somewhat terrifying territory.  I had just spent the past four years in a metaphorical safety blanket.  Sure, I had lost my father, but I was still living in a home filled with his memory.  I could still feel him very much in my life.  I was also very connected to my family, my home, and had built a sense of comfort that I was about to surrender.

I didn’t exactly look at moving to live with my husband as “abandoning my comfort zone,” by any means, but I didn’t know how this big step was going to trigger the greater underlying feelings of loss that I had somehow managed to suppress all that time.

A whole new territory.

In March, I moved over to Glasgow to live with Luke.  And this might sound ridiculous, but it hadn’t sunk in that it was a one-way ticket and that I was leaving for good.

Even though I had spent about two months removing traces of my life from my family home and had said my goodbyes, it wasn’t until I got chatting to the Irish girl in the seat next to me on the plane that it registered that I was moving to another country permanently.

That probably sounds ridiculous, nd I wouldn’t disagree with you, but it’s difficult to describe any other way.

I was fine the first six weeks after my big move.  Luke and I were so happy to be living together finally and not having to contend with things like, you know, having a giant body of water and obnoxious time zone interfering with our relationship.

Then at about two months in, I started to feel an overwhelming amount of sadness.  It wasn’t homesickness.  It wasn’t depression.  It was something so much greater than that.  I think Sarah Silverman described it best when she compared the onset of a wave of mental illness as being “stricken by the flu”.  One minute you’re fine and then next, you’re literally hit by something that knocks you on your ass.

Towards the end of the summer,  I had to go to the doctor for a throat infection, and, of course, being a foreigner my doctor had to ask how and WHY I ended up moving to Glasgow.  I started to talk a bit about my timeline, my father’s death,  my relationship with my husband, and I started to cry.

When the doctor asked me why I was crying, I couldn’t really answer her right away.  It wasn’t really homesickness though I was homesick.  It wasn’t really depression though I was feeling a bit down.  The doctor seemed a bit concerned but said that she thought it was probably just me still adjusting to the culture shock, move, and married life.

Then over the next several weeks, I started having dreams about my father, regularly.  I started to feel things about losing my father that I hadn’t ever thought about before.  I would wake up in tears.  Some nights I would wake up sobbing hysterically without knowing why.

I would wake up and feel like I had to force myself to get ready to meet a client or just to deal with the reality of being a functioning human.  I started having more dreams with my father in them.  I continued to wake up feeling awful.  Here I am, a newlywed with an amazing husband in a new country, and I’m waking up sifting through the talk about personal gratitude that I have with myself each morning.

I also began to notice, when people would talk about their parents it would set me off.  One day a client started talking about how her in-laws were traveling now that they are retired and I had to fight back the tears and thought in my head, “I don’t want to hear this, how rude to talk about this.”  Then I remembered, it wasn’t a personal attack and she was simply making small talk. There was no way for her to have known or to think that talking about something like that would set me off.   I had never had this reaction to similar conversations before.

Then this past October came and it’s my least favorite month of all to begin with.  The weather gets shitty and the days get colder and darker earlier.  However, the worst association by far is that October was the month of my father’s illness that was the most emotionally consuming and also the month of his passing.

I felt unable to function this past October.  I was crying in the middle of the night almost every night.  When I would wake up in the morning, I would stare at the ceiling in bed for hours in silence.  I felt this overwhelming inability to function.  I mean, I kept getting up and doing what I needed to do, but it was often hard to act enthusiastic or happy about it.  It’s really hard to be genuinely upbeat when you feel like at any moment you could burst into tears.

I hadn’t really felt like this before.  It didn’t feel like depression, though as I said, all of my symptoms seemed to point to that being the cause.  I started to research grief and discovered that there are actually ten different types of grief and that those five stages of grief that are listed in leaflets at your doctor’s office can manifest in ways that determine what type of grief you experience.

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Delayed Grief Response

As I mentioned above, there are actually ten different types of grief.  You can get an excellent tutorial on these types here.  As I started to realize that I was struggling with my the loss of my father in such a forceful way, I started to research if this is normal and if it’s normal, what the hell is the reason for it now?

Delayed Grief Response occurs when grief symptoms and reactions aren’t experienced until long after a  death or a much later time than is typical. The griever, who consciously or subconsciously avoids the reality and pain of the loss, suppresses these reactions. (www.whatsyourgrief.com)

In my case, I think it was more of a subconscious effort to avoid the reality of my own pain than a conscious one.

 I was determined that falling back on my emotionally volatile self would be the worst thing I could do for myself and for my family.

I think in all of the years following my father’s passing I never really grieved for my father on my own.  I tried to keep myself very strong for my mother and also because I had been in a volatile place emotionally before my father died.  I was determined that falling back on my emotionally volatile self would be the worst thing I could do for myself and for my family.

That made it difficult to work through the bereavement process.  In being determined to not feel that vulnerability and needing to feel strong for others, I forgot to grieve properly for myself.

It’s been said that grief can sometimes be delayed for a long enough period that when an individual starts to finally experience it, they can’t figure out right away that it is grief or what has brought it on.  In many cases, there has been something to serve as a catalyst for the delayed grief response to come to the surface.  For some people, they feel delayed grief response because another death or significant life event involving loss has occurred.  All of a sudden, that original grieving process that was locked away, comes pouring out.

[Tweet “Have you heard of Delayed Grief Response? Important facts to help heal from loss #MentalHealth #Grief #SelfHelp via @BeetsPerMinute”]

In my case, it was moving so far away from my friends and family that caused my delayed grief response to be so profound.  To be clear, it was not the very act of moving, but the amount of loss I felt when I separated myself from everything and everyone I knew to start a life together with my husband.

“Loss is the remaking of life.”

When we lose someone or something there is a necessity for us to recognize the pain of that loss and reflect on how that loss is going to impact the rest of our lives.  There’s a quote I’ve become very fond of, “Grief is in two parts.  The first is the loss.  The second is the remaking of life.”

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In my case, the changes in my life (getting married, moving overseas, etc.) pushed me into the inevitable separation from the life that I had been “remaking” for myself during the last several years at home.  Once I had left home, I began to feel the significance of the loss of my father in a way that I had been subconsciously delaying for nearly four years.

The last few weeks have been very cathartic for me.  Allowing myself to have that time to feel emotional and to understand that I was feeling the things that I needed to feel and have been needing to feel for years, has made all the difference to me.

It is so important to embrace grief when it calls, and also to understand that there are many types of grief and it won’t always be obvious why you are (or are not) feeling the way others in your life might be feeling about the same loss.

Also important, is the ability to understand the five stages of grief and how to allow yourself to process those stages as needed and to practice self-care.  It’s not a sign of weakness and it’s not wallowing in self-pity, it is a necessity for emotional and physical survival.  

[Tweet “Grief is not a sign of weakness or self-pity it is a necessity for emotional and physical survival. #mentalhealth via @BeetsPerMinute”]

If you ignore grief it will manifest itself in ways that will not be healthy and will not allow you to practice optimal self-care.  Life goes on even if it feels like ours is at a standstill when something horrible happens.  As important as it is to recognize the life that continues isn’t the same as the one before the loss occurred, it is imperative that you allow for your grief to unfold.

Allowing the grieving process to unfold is the only way to begin the healing process and the “remaking” of the life that goes on.

Four years later, I have felt what I needed to feel and started the important steps for my life to go on.  It’s never too little and it’s never too late.

Grief is a bill that unfortunately comes due for us all at some point.  It’s comforting to know that we’re not alone and that we will get through this.

Resources used to help create this post:

http://www.whatsyourgrief.com

http://www.comfort-for-bereavement.com/

***************************I’m linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud***************************

Have you ever experienced a grief response?

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Are You Living Life With Passion?

HEY, Readers!  You know, I read somewhere that bloggers shouldn’t apologize for their lack of posting.  Apparently, nobody cares.  Well, I do.  I feel terrible about my lack of attention to this blog.  I’m not a parent (yet…) but in a lot of ways, I feel like Beets Per Minute is my baby and lately I’ve been a severely neglectful mother.

So, LOTS has been going on in my world!  My husband, Luke, ran his first half-marathon ever this past Sunday by participating in the Great Scottish Run.  He did a TERRIFIC job finishing at one hr 53 minutes.  I’m so very proud of him and love that he raised over £400 for Cancer Research UK in honor of my late father.  The run was a fantastic event with over 30,000 people participating including Neil from Neil’s Healthy Meals, who ran in the 10k beforehand!  I met up with Neil, his wife, Lynne, and their friend, Catherine (who was fun to meet as I read all about her on his blog)!  Catherine was there supporting her husband, Liam (also a star on Neil’s blog!) as he also completed the half-marathon in the group just behind Luke’s!

all smiles after completing!!

all smiles after finishing!!

Yeah, okay, so the Great Scottish Run was ONE day, but there are other things going on….

 

 

Are you living life with passion?

A couple of weeks ago, as I was slacking scrolling my Instagram feed, I came across the following quote:

As I’ve gone through life,  I’ve found that your chances for happiness are increased if you wind up doing something that is a reflection of what you loved  most when you were somewhere between nine and eleven years old.

-Walter Murch

A reflection of what you loved most when you were somewhere between nine and eleven years old.

Fascinating.

When I was between the ages of nine and eleven, I loved skiing, gymnastics, dancing classes and creative writing.

Now, I can hardly do a round-off triple back handspring on my lawn any longer.  Mostly because I don’t have a lawn, but also because I am pretty sure I’d break my neck if I tried.

However, I’ve loved becoming a trainer —  working to help people get healthy — and blogging has refreshed my love of writing.

 I am doing what I loved the most between the ages of nine and eleven and it has increased my level of happiness.

murchquote

Am I lucky?  Yes.  However, not in the way you think.  I’m still struggling financially and what they say is true that you “have to spend money to make money.”  However, finances and nail-biting aside, I wake up every day with the sense of purpose and passion that was missing for nearly decades of my life.

What if you could “time hop” back to a point when you were completely passionate about something?  What would you discover about yourself right now?  Would you say that you do something in your life right now that reflects those interests recreationally and professionally?

Whether it’s professionally or recreationally, is there something that used to bring you joy and comfort that you have lost along the way?

Perhaps, it wasn’t when you were aged nine to eleven. However, there must have been a time when the complications of adulthood and greater responsibilities were not your primary concern, and something put a genuine smile on your face.

Do me a favor.  If your life feels uninspired or unhappy right now, think about what you were passionate about at a young age and find a way to incorporate more of that into your life right now.

Even if it’s just coloring or building a Lego village.

Increase your level of happiness.  You’re worth it.

[Tweet “Are You Living Life With Passion? #lifecoach #happiness via @beetsperminute”]

 If you had to base your livelihood on a time when you were full of passion, what would you be doing right now?  Are you doing this already?

****************I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud*******************

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How To Stop Allowing Your Struggles To Define You

 

Hey, readers!  Do you ever feel like you’re moving so quickly that you don’t even process the events unfolding in your life?  This week has felt like that.  I am approaching the sixth-month mark of my new life in Glasgow, and even though things are heading in the right direction, there are still so many things that overwhelm me.

Last week I burst into tears because I felt homesick and just wanted to be home with familiar faces and to see my dog (please, don’t be offended friends and family, but the lack of a pet has been tough).  Monday morning, I had to take a train to an area I am not familiar with to get to a client, and got myself so upset that all the city names are weird and unpronounceable that I cried to a ticket agent, which made my whole morning schedule screwed up. Then, yesterday morning, just seconds before my husband left for work, I burst into tears because I couldn’t face the prospect of being alone for the day, again.

Now, I know, these are not “end of the world” problems.  I also know that SO many people would trade their problems for mine, and believe me, I have the perspective to know when I need to suck it up and get on with things.  I have lost a parent, so,  I know that being homesick, missing trains, and feeling lonely are ridiculous in the grand scheme of things.

However, this doesn’t make my feelings irrelevant. Though, the reason I got so upset in the first place was that I was feeling irrelevant.

As I train to become a Life Coach, I am learning our emotions and how they work to meet our needs, for better or for worse.

One of those needs is achieving a feeling of significance.  

I have struggled most of my life (definitely as the middle child) to feel significant.

I have also suffered most of my life trying to feel important.

What do I mean by this?

I mean, that in as much as I have fought (unarmed battles, albeit) to feel significant, I have also suffered by not meeting my need to feel significant.

It should not come as a surprise that significance is one of the core emotional needs that we all need to meet.

Let’s face it, feeling insignificant sucks.  Big time.

So, no wonder it has caused me both struggle and suffering in my life feeling a lack of personal significance; especially after I got married and decided to start a new life in a foreign country.  Talk about feeling insignificant!  I’m about as insignificant as they come these days.  So it’s safe to say, these feelings have been amplified by my move and are also the reason for my emotional outbursts to anybody who would listen.

Want to know the most frustrating thing about struggling to feel significant?  In trying to nurse your wounds, you do things like, for instance, starting to cry before your husband leaves for work or to the unsuspecting ticket booth employee, because, guess what?  It makes you feel momentarily significant, and thus your emotional need is instantly met.

If you ever want to feel significant — just for the hell of it — get emotional or expose your insecurities in front of another human being.

Seriously.

Whether they have sympathy and empathy for you and/or tell you to grow the hell up, your needs are met.

How To Stop Allowing Your Struggles To Define You

As I have stated before, I am happy that people, like my husband, have made me aware of my need to feel like a victim.  

I know this myself, I mean, I don’t like to hear my clients say negative things about themselves.

So, why do I get into these emotional struggles and sufferings to feel significant with myself?

The reason I get into these states is that I haven’t understood this internal battle until now.  

The combination of continuing training and having a blog is one of the greatest things for those of us on a journey or wanting to connect with others who think and feel the same as we do.  Just sitting down at my laptop and getting these words out is making me feel the right type of significance.  

My struggle and suffering for the need to feel significant have distracted me repeatedly from facing real challenges.

How To Stop Allowing Your Struggles To Define You

My real problems right now are continuing to grow my business, taking the next steps to make sure this is possible, and starting a family.  However, some days these tasks feel impossible.  So, instead of taking steps to work out these issues constructively, I return to my struggle and suffering, and distract myself from the reality of my situation, by telling myself the two following statements.

“I’m not significant enough to have a successful training business.”  Clearly, I must be because I have gone from having no clients to filling up my schedule with clients over the past several weeks.

“Why would people train with me when they have their pick of so many other better-established trainers in this city to choose from?”  I can offer something different, and people enjoy working with me because of how I make them feel and the progress they make by working with me.

How To Stop Allowing Your Struggles To Define You

How To Stop Allowing Your Struggles To Define You

One of the questions a Life Coach will ask once you’ve established that your problem is providing you with a feeling of significance is this:

“Do you feel it’s a personal struggle that’s started to define who you are?”

Maybe you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, or an eating disorder.  Take a step back and ask yourself this question.  Is your personal struggle defining who you are?  Is there a version of you that doesn’t have this issue?  Envision yourself independent of this conflict and ask yourself, “Am I the same person when I take my struggle away?”  Or, more importantly, “Am I afraid of who I will become if I remove my struggle?”

If I take away my struggle to feel significant, I not only envision living a capable life but also a life where I don’t need others to feel capable.

I’m not suggesting that none of us ever needs a boost or help in our lives.  However, if we can determine not only where our struggles lie — and subsequently whether or not we’ve allowed these struggles to define who we are  we may find a way to get past what is indeed standing in our way.

As I wrap up this post, I leave you with an important question to think about before we move on to part 2…

What is your struggle costing you?

Your happiness?  Your health?  Your relationship?  Your dreams?

Think about this and then join me next Thursday for part 2!

[Tweet “What is your struggle costing you? #SelfHelp #MentalHealth via @BeetsPerMinute”]

 

******I’m linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons today for Thinking Out Loud!*********

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