Posts tagged self-love
Developing Self-esteem by Alyssa
empowering girls wellness.jpg

We’ve all suffered from low self-esteem at least once in our lives. Even the people that you think don’t have low self-esteem do. I promise you that they do; even if they don’t admit it. One thing we should never let this low self-esteem do is hinder our ability to love ourselves. If there’s anything I’ve learned in my short 25 years, it is that loving ourselves has the ability to completely change our lives.

Growing up and especially in high school, I hit some low points. I thought I was fat and I was incredibly unhappy with how I looked. I felt that everyone was more attractive than I was and basically better at everything. Of my friends, I was the “dumb” one. I do not feel that way now, but looking back I know that I did. I acted dumber than I actually was because that’s who I was molded to be at school.

Going to college and essentially starting over was an important part of my journey toward loving myself. I was able to shed all the preconceived notions I had carried from grade school throughout high school. I grew as a person and learned more about life and how to live it for myself.

I learned that people will tell you that you’re too fat or too unattractive or too dumb to do something. I have learned that these people usually are threatened by you. I have also learned that you can literally do anything you put your mind to and that “fake it ’til you make it” is a powerful mantra. I have learned that having a few close friends is better than an army of iffy friends. I have learned that being nice to everyone costs nothing and means everything. I have learned that non-scale victories are more important than scale victories. I have learned that who you are now matters more than who you were in college, what your GPA was or where you grew up.

I am now graduated from college and can honestly say that I love who I am. Yes I still have flaws: I’m incredibly moody some days, get angry when I’m tired or hungry, get irritated when people don’t understand what I’m saying and a bunch more. On the other hand, I love to learn and am good at my job, I’m not afraid to be the nerd that I am, I’m comfortable with being single and knowing that I don’t have everything figured out.

Don’t ever forget how powerful you are or how important it is to love who you are. You don’t have to be perfect at everything. You only have to be perfect at being who you are. Embrace yourself; flaws and all. There’s only one of you - don’t waste it!

How to Find Balance by Kelly
Empowered & Poised - dancer Kelly -poised picture.jpg

The word “balance” can be defined as “a mental steadiness or emotional stability, a habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc.”  To me, finding balance has always seemed like an end goal, a final condition, or an ethereal state of being attainable only to yogis that meditate on a daily basis.  But I’ve recently realized that balancing is also a verb.  It’s a constant action and battle that I fight every day in an effort to balance my career, personal life, and relationships.

I am 27 years old and I have danced my entire life.  I started studying ballet when I was three years old and I never stopped.  Throughout my training, I have fought for balance in the studio, in rehearsals, and on the stage.  I have pushed my muscles to the limit while trying to defy gravity, look effortless, and portray different characters.  From high school to college I managed to fit in countless hours of rehearsals amongst other clubs, activities and schoolwork. I thought I had this “balance” thing down for a while.  After all, who needs sleep?  I carried this mentality with me as I began my career.  I took on multiple jobs: performing, teaching, and anything else I could fit into an already hectic schedule.  I packed everything in until I had zero time for my friends, my relationship, or myself.  I was exhausted all of the time, I developed unhealthy eating habits, and the things I used to love became chores.  I have a passion for dance and yet I began to resent my time in the studio.  I became angry and impatient with anyone that wanted a bit of my time.  That battle for balance I mentioned earlier? I was losing it.  

In the midst of being overwhelmed, I started to take a step back.  I looked at my life and decided I wasn’t happy with how I was living. I thought writing everything in my planner would create this elusive sense of “balance.”  But balancing doesn’t just happen.  It takes a daily effort of give and take. I’ve found that it’s easier to be a caring, poised professional when more effort is put into my own well-being.  If I can remember the following things, I seem to do much better in my battle for balance.

Step back and take a breath.

You would be surprised how much better you may feel after a few deep, deliberate breaths.  When feeling totally powerless, sometimes it’s necessary to take a step back for a minute.  It’s amazing how little I focus on my breathing when I’m stressed.  There have been times that I forget to breathe while dancing. I’ve come offstage and realized that I was holding my breath during the performance. But I’ve come to realize that life, too, is easier if you remember to breath.

It’s okay to say NO.

As much as you may want to please everyone, it’s impossible.  Let go of things that don’t directly affect you and leave time for yourself.  I’ve found that if I set aside some time for myself I’m much more productive and giving with the time I have for others.  Less is more sometimes.

Find something you like to do (not something you have to do).

Even if you LOVE your job, it’s still your job.  You still have requirements, deadlines, and constraints.  Find something that you like to do outside of work.  My job once required that I take dance classes and attend rehearsals.  As much as I love dance, taking a class or exercising outside of work was sometimes more rewarding because I didn’t HAVE to do it.  If you don’t make time for yourself, you cannot expect yourself to make time for others.

I think it’s important to remember that all of us are struggling with this balancing act at some point or another. Respect for others has to start with respect for yourself.   

Photo Credits:

Headshot: Thaiger Adanoldo

Dance Photo: Mark Horning

How to Overcome Your Struggles by Christie

** as you read this blog, think about where you are in life.  This isn't just about my story, but each of ours!  So fill in the the blanks you see with something YOU can relate!

I hated myself for almost a third of my years on earth. I had been telling myself horrible things about how I wasn’t good enough, thin enough or **_____ enough and still, sometimes struggle to keep those thoughts away!  I had allowed these thoughts to dictate life in ways that were unhealthy to both body and mind. For me, it turned into an eating disorder.  

How it all came to pass or my story, doesn’t matter for this blog.  This isn’t about eating disorders.  It is about the LIES we tell ourselves!

Lie 1:  I don’t have a problem.

That was the hardest part.  I didn’t want to admit that daily, I was consumed with thoughts and pressures.  

All I could think of was how I looked, what I ate, what people thought and how I could be PERFECT.  

When I got up in the morning it had already started.  

This overwhelming pressure:

What I was going to wear?  What were my friends going to wear?  What should the popular girls wear?

What I was going to eat?  Would my crush be there at lunch and see me eating?  Of course my skinny friend was going to eat whatever she wants and I would have to watch her…and on and on and on…. It was EXHAUSTING.  I believed that I was imperfect for so long that everything I was feeling about how to become “perfect” was NORMAL and healthy.

Here is an example.  Look at Instagram.  We are shown pictures of models, fashion, fitness, food, extreme wealth, our friends having the time of their life, happy couples, and so much more.  Constant reminders of what it is we need to be, look at, have and eat without gaining a pound...more or less, what it takes to be happy and have a picturesque life. (Did I mention how exhausting it was to put this constant pressure on myself, to have these thoughts and become so consumed with looking at other people’s lives?)

Guess what guys; it is not healthy to think like this!

Truth:  I have a problem and it is OK to admit that!

So now what?

Lie 2:  I can fix this problem and do it alone!

I am not even going into the day in and day out plan to “get better” alone as it didn’t work and DOESN’T!

Truth:  GET HELP.  Recently in business, someone told me "no one who ever did any great, did it alone.”  AND WOW is that the truth! 

The first thing I suggest (And I did) is to tell someone close in confidence.  Not a girlfriend, but someone in a leadership position that can make suggestions with your best interest in mind.  

This reach out ended me in an eating disorder program. 

With time, work and a year of struggle, I became to get better!  I no longer viewed food the same way and made some huge strides in understanding how and why I let myself get to this point. 

My mind shifted and it gave me power BUT…

Lie 3:  I am broken.

It was my family who reminded me of this pretty consistently.  They were worried so they always said things that in their mind, helped.  It didn’t.  I felt that since I admitted to the problem and was in therapy, everyone felt this way anyways and I was humiliated.  So from here on out, obviously I am the broken messed up one in the family.  (Maybe for you insert Family with **______)  

Truth:  NOPE!! I am not broken.  I am **______.  There are thoughts that are broken.

I had to choose and decide I was not broken.  Instead, I realized there was an area of my mind that had been filled with lies I had begun to believe.  I was no longer fighting myself, but fighting the LIES instead!  

Lie 4:  I am FIXED!  Now, ONCE XXX HAPPENS THEN LIFE WILL BE PERFECT!

*This lie ended with a truth that was humbling.  I realized I was still sick and hadn’t given up all the crap I had put on myself*

Now that I was feeling more strong and empowered, I came to the conclusion that my life would begin after I “finished” this battle and lost the weight the program had pushed me to gain.  I thought if I could just do it in a healthier way every one would see me in the way I wanted.  I would finally be healed and happy.  

These thoughts became my new obsession.  They kept me in from events, friends, alone on holidays and on and on.  Truly, they kept me from enjoying life.  (AGAIN)

I was living with the same pressure as I had with my eating disorder.  

Truth:  Life begins this second!

One day, as I considered many things and how sad I was, I thought…What if I didn’t ever have a body that my mind felt was PERFECT?  What if every day, no matter what I did, I stayed the same?  Would I want to feel this way for the REST OF MY LIFE?   HELL NO!  That day forth, I decided I was worth fighting these thoughts.  

I wish I could say that since then I have woken up with a smile and a pure self awareness.  SO not true.  Since that moment I have had periods of time as long as months, and relationships I have allowed that were negative. Times and interactions that caused me to question my abilities and worth.  It starts a daily struggle.  Then it turns into a weekly…and with time less and less.  But it is still a struggle!

What I did and do different?

1-I created wonder.  I look up at the moon; laugh when I trip over my own two feet or do something silly.  I always wear my favorite clothes that make me feel special.  I make an effort to get to know others and work to make others smile.

2-I have a list of positive thoughts I push into my mind when negativity pops up its ugly head.  My own positive thoughts or things I have heard from others that I love. 

3-I have a support group to keep me in check.  When I have a day of questioning I TELL THEM!

4-I know when to say when.  (And I do not do so great at this one) I work to know when to end a friendship or relationship.  I know when I am feeling down to stay away from my destructive behaviors like shopping or over eating or spending too much time alone.  Some days it is as easy as knowing when to get off Instagram!

The results:

I started to treat myself differently.  I started not hiding my body or my mind.  I wore clothes that I liked that fit my body (even if it wasn’t my favorite outfit ever-it fit and made me look good!). I started to try new things and create adventures.  Negative behaviors were not in the forefront of my mind as I was too happy and busy enjoying my life!  Time passed and my body figured itself out.  I had hurt it and it needed to heal.  Just as I did.

MY ASK:

So I am asking for you to think about where you are. Are you listening to the lies?  Are you waiting for something to happen?  

Please hear me.  Loving yourself is what matters. Accept how you are today.  Accept yourself exactly in the form, feeling and state you are in.  Keep that feeling through practice of self-love. Surround yourself with people who empower you.  Work daily on those reminders and keep that same feeling.

Once you accept yourself, truly love yourself - you can only find happiness in happiness.