THESE THINGS DO NOT DEFINE US

www.linkedin.com/posts/mhr-newmexico_mentalhealth-behavioralhealth-wellness-activity-6726818280838873088-4Du-

RECLAIMING PERSONAL POWER: KNOW WHAT YOU CAN CONTOL AND LET GO OF THE REST (Part II)

RECLAIMING PERSONAL POWER

Site Source: Mental Health Resources, Inc. via LinkedIn : Art by Mellow Doodles

I came across this amazing cartoon representation depicting examples of what we can and can not control. And I just LOVE it! (I’m such a big kid at heart!)

When life spins out of control as in some of these examples:

  • The tragic loss of a loved one.
  • A dire medical diagnosis.
  • Sudden job loss.
  • End of a relationship or divorce.
  • A global pandemic.

We can feel powerless.

In addition, lesser stresses piled up or even positive life changes can create a spiral effect as well.

So often we talk about coping skills and this is important. However, on the other hand, we fail to address the surrender of personal power.

For example, surrendering personal power can become an automatic response to circumstances beyond our control. Furthermore, it commonly goes without notice.

If I were the Fairy Godmother in the Cinderella story of life, I would wave my wand and give everyone a dose of personal power.

BUT!!! WE DON’T NEED CINDERELLA’S FAIRY GODMOTHER: WE ALL HAVE A RISING PHOENIX WITHIN US

Personal power rises up within our spirit when we say:

  • Enough is enough. I want my life back.
  • I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. This battle of… (fill in the blank… cancer, alcoholism, addiction, abuse, toxic work environment, etc) is not the end of my story! I am fighting mad and fighting back!
  • Pandemic or not, I have given up enough… I am going to adjust. I’ll keep what is working but ditch the rest! This is MY LIFE and I am the author.”
  • So and so said I will never amount to anything, well you know what? I’ll show them! I’ll show myself.

Do you sense a fighting spirit in these kinds of statements? Our inner narratives are our compass. Most importantly, it points is in the direction our life will go.

We can fan the flames of our spirited, spunky inner narratives of strength. And we do this, by doing the things we have control over. As a result, our spunky statements of strength grow in authority.

Consequently, the more this happens, the less room we rent in our minds for:

  • doubts, fears, insecurities, what if this, what if that…

These things suck the life out of us.

I am convinced that too often we give up entirely too much of our personal power. And the result? A “settled for” life.

But that does NOT have to be the case.

HOW?

By Daily Doing

🧡 SYMBOL OF STRENGTH, TRANSFORMATION, AND RENEWAL 🧡

Every single day when we wake up with the very gift of life we can CHOOSE to claim and own our personal power. Our current circumstances do not define us.

Most importantly, what does define us is what we choose to do with the set of circumstances we are given.

To fan the flames of your personal power, repeat aloud after me:

  • I know my truth.
  • I own my choices and today I only choose to focus on what I can control.
  • Every time I do what is in my control and leave behind what I can’t, I reclaim my personal power.
  • This IS MY LIFE. No one else is the author of my story.

I understand what it is like to feel hopeless, powerless, helpless, and lost. There was a time I would have said, “Phfff… This is nonsense.”

However, that was until I began to put these very things into action.

It takes hard work and dedication to engage in the healing process. The smallest bricks placed one next to the other, begin to build a strong foundation.

And this foundation of personal power? It is the very foundation from which a new life can be rebuilt.

Oh, what can rise up within us when this is the place that we function from!

How does this look in practice?

Here are some examples from my life:

1. I start every day with quiet time (prayer and devotions help me fix my eyes Above and unleashes Spiritfilled Power)

2. I drink my two glasses of Lemon water before I drink any Diet Dew (this helps me build a new habit of drinking water while cutting back on soda)

3. I always make my bed and make sure my house is tidy when I leave for the office (this fills me with comfort to know that when I return I will do so to my “nesting place”, my home).

4. I set my mind for the day; I choose faith and gratitude (this builds inner resilience as the years go by).

5. I tickle my funny bone by looking for ways to laugh, often at myself (this helps me take myself and my life less seriously)

There is ALWAYS something to chuckle about. The more we look, the more we find it.

In conclusion, when we keep doing over and over, the sense of personal power returns.

The more we continue with this, the stronger the flames of personal power grow. This is the sweet spot dear ones.

What are you willing to do to reclaim your power today? Choose “that thing” and do it. Then hit the “repeat button”.

Blessings dear ones 🍁

Christine

I’d love to hear from you! What things are you doing to regain personal power in your life? Let me know and I will share your thoughts in upcoming posts! 

RECLAIMING PERSONAL POWER: TAKE ACTION ON WHAT IS IN OUR CONTROL, LET GO OF THE REST

Thank you to those that are reaching out in response to recent posts. Keep sending me those emails (link below) and I will blog in response dear ones. I want you to know that I hear you and understand your pain.

I am hearing the intense loneliness and isolation.

I am hearing of lost time with dear loved ones.

I am hearing how much it has changed things within you.

I am hearing of lost opportunities and lost wages.

Insert hug here:

As a collective whole, we can build one another up. This is not the time for any one of us to turn a blind eye to those that are hurting and struggling.

It is important for us to reach out to those that are hurting and struggling. Finding ways to let our dear ones know that they are loved has never been more important. ❤️ May you reach out to someone you care about today.

TAKING ACTION ON WHAT IS IN OUR CONTROL: RECLAIMING PERSONAL POWER

So much is out of our control right now. But dear reader, one first step that we can take during this pandemic is to examine what IS in our control.

What difference will that make one might ask.

Let’s start with a very simple example.

If the heavy weight of the world has drained all motivation to take care of our daily needs, we can do something about that.

We may not feel like showering or doing the dishes. We may not feel like picking up the house or doing the laundry. We may not feel like doing the everyday things that we usually do.

Here is a reality however. When we fail to take care of self and home, it robs us of a sense of dignity and self-respect.

This is not the time to give up our personal power in any way.

It is incredibly important to understand that we DO HAVE PERSONAL POWER. Even with the simple act of caring for self and home, it can ignite a sense of empowerment.

Far too often we look at all that seems wrong in our lives and buy into a belief that we can do nothing about it. We believe that all the BIG things must change to feel better, for life to get better.

I have lived through moments of deep despair. I can tell you I did not begin to feel better about myself or my life by BIG things changing for me. Rather, I had to begin with reclaiming the every day mundane things. If I wanted things to BE different, I had to start DOING differently.

I remember feeling empowered by each and every thing that I reclaimed.

I may not have felt motivated at the time but it did not matter. I did it anyway.

I may not have felt like it mattered at the time. But I did it anyway.

Doing the little things helped rebuild my self-esteem.

Doing the little things helped me regain the control I felt I lost in other areas of my life.

Doing the little things helped me regain momentum that had all but stopped.

The only actions that made a positive difference then were healthy actions. Nothing changed when nothing was done. Everything changed when I started with the little things and rebuilt from that point.

Once I began to move in a forward direction, I began to DO more of the things that I would feel good about. It created a positive feedback loop.

So often life throws us curve balls. The pandemic certainly is one LARGE curveball in the game of life. I truly understand dear ones. I have been there. But I didn’t remain there and the same can hold true for you.

What can you do? Here are but just a few simple examples:

If you have stopped caring for yourself, shower, dress in clothes you feel good in, shave, style your hair, do your makeup or do your nails, etc. This promotes self-esteem and self-respect. I always feel better about myself when my nails are done and I wear heals to the office. Take care of yourself for YOU! YOU are worth it!

If you have let your house go, tackle one task a day: make your bed, pick up your clothes, do your laundry, do your dishes. How we care for our surroundings often indicates the condition of our hearts and minds. These days I have become a “nester” (my kids tease me about this). But I ALWAYS make sure any of my personal or professional spaces are arranged to promote comfort and coziness. It is an absolute must for me.

If you aren’t able to see your family and dear ones; if loneliness and isolation have set in, make it a point to Skype or FaceTime on a regular basis. Somehow I feel closer to my dear ones when I can SEE them versus just talking.

Find new ways of creating connections. Do you have a dear one in the military? Do you have a loved one in a nursing home? Start writing to them on a regular basis. Getting outside ourselves and giving love to another through cards and letters is a great way of bridging the loneliness gap so many are feeling.

These are just a few examples. May we examine the simple in our lives, the things we have surrendered control of and reclaim them! Start with ONE thing. Do it today. Then choose another thing tomorrow.

Create your own social experiment and examine how you feel in one week, two weeks, in a month. A body in motion will stay in motion dear ones.

May we all choose action today. Remember dear reader, we are all in this together.

Blessings dear ones,

Christine

HOW TO “UNSTICK YOUR STUCK STATUS”: UNDERSTANDING AND MOVING PAST MENTAL BARRIERS

 

UNSTICK YOUR STUCK STATUS

  • Have you ever let pride get in the way of achieving your goals?
  • Do you try to do on your own what would be better achieved as a team?
  • Is it hard to be honest with yourself about questions like these?
  • What holds you back from enlisting the help of others on your team?

This week I asked myself the very same questions. It went something like this…

I have been attempting to learn about information marketing and the technology that goes along with it. For two weeks I have been looking like this:

I did some soul searching to examine my “stuck status” and this is what I discovered.

I have an amazing collegue that I LOVE working with. Her intelligence and depth of knowledge about literally everything, amazes me and is such an asset to our team. But if I am honest, at times I am jealous about the ease with which she understands the kinds of things I struggle to learn. I kept telling myself I needed to “go this alone” because I wanted to prove to myself I could do it. And perhaps feel a bit better about myself?

But I recognized I wasn’t getting where I wanted to on my own. I usually LOVE learning but I was NOT enjoying learning this.

Doing this honest soul searching, I discovered that I was letting my pride and comparison complex get in the way of my learning.

And my lack of learning was getting in the way of making progress on my professional goals.

Because my current life motto, “This is no longer acceptable to me.”, I knew I had a choice to make. Continue to struggle alone OR swallow my pride and ask my collegue to join me.

I chose the latter and what started as an individual project is now a team effort. The team effort in one day produced more results than two weeks of going it alone. WOW!

Do you want to “unstick your stuck status”?

  • Start with taking an honest look at what mental barriers are holding you back from achieving forward momentum on your goals.
  • Admit the true source of what is blocking you in order to unlock new alternatives. 
  • Examine the potential outcomes of these new alternatives.
  • If you desire a different outcome, choose the alternate path of progress.

If I had not been honest with myself I would not have admitted that pride and comparisons were getting in my way. I would have:

Remained in stuck status:

Rather than achieve progress:

Absolutely the right choice. 😊

I am feeling a great deal of discomfort these days. I am allowing myself to be most vulnerable.

But somehow I am okay with this. I hope that being real and raw with you dear reader, some of the barriers that prevent deeper and more fulfilling human connections may be broken. I see a world around us that is starving for this. ❤️

If we can find common ground in our humanness, we can come together in love and support of one another.

What are some mental barriers you are struggling with? Sign up with your email and send me your comments, questions, concerns. I will devote some upcoming blog posts to address things that are heavy on your heart.

Looking forward to hearing from you. Blessings dear ones ❤️

Christine

Contact

How to Push Back and Plow Through Discouragement: Finding Your Own Power

CHOOSING OUR NARRATIVES

Can you think of a moment of recent discouragement? How did you handle it? What helped?

Yesterday I had one of those moments to kick start my Monday morning. The discouragement I felt about one particular area seemed to permeate into other aspects of my life. The excitement that I was feeling about certain dreams and goals completely vanished and in its wake, self-doubt and major questioning remained.

But something continues to arise within me these days. I hear a new voice, my voice, saying this is no longer acceptable to me.

When I hear this new and challenging voice within, it does not mean that I dismiss how I am feeling. Quite the contrary. I acknowledge it and then push through it. I am proving to myself that I CAN “do that thing” even while feeling discouraged, down, and filled with doubt. It is okay to feel these things.

But the voice telling me, “This is no longer acceptable.” means that I will not allow these things to change my trajectory. It will no longer hold me down or hold me back.

And this my friends is SO empowering! The next time you feel discouraged about your path:

1. Acknowledge how you feel. This is important. It is the opposite of “stuffing” your feelings, which works against positive mental health and well-being. Acknowledging your feelings allows you the choice of what to do next.

2. Listen to your self-talk. Is it positive or negative? Choose a NEW NARRATIVE! You are the author of your life after all. Stick to the new narrative and let it drown out all the other negative messages that drag you down.

3. Choosing these two steps and applying them over and over throughout your day, day after day IS what can create change within your heart and life.

I am choosing to listen to the new narrative that says, “This is no longer acceptable to me.” It is making a difference. If I am going to listen to any narratives within, I choose the one that will keep me on the path I desire. This is the sweet spot my friends.

Join me tomorrow as I explore the role of community in our lives. Until next time,

Blessings dear ones,

Christine

🐥🐥🐥 I DON’T HAVE DUCKS… AND I DON’T HAVE A ROW. BUT I DO HAVE SQUIRRELS AND THEY ARE EVERYWHERE 🐿🐿🐿 How to Jump Start Your “Non-Start”

For the past three plus years I have been posting “Daily Recovery Inspiration” posts on the Nicklaus Counseling Center, S.C.’s Facebook page. I started doing this as a way to encourage others on their healing, growth, and recovery journeys. What I ended up discovering is how often the prescheduled posts were just what I needed to hear or when I needed a chuckle. This is exactly what happened last week when this came on our Facebook page feed.

🐥🐥 I don’t have ducks… and I don’t have a row. But I have squirrels 🐿 and they’re everywhere! 🐿🐿🐿

Have you ever known that you want to do something, let’s say…

exercising, cutting back on sweets, drinking more water, cutting out pop (or soda depending on the vernacular of your choice 😊)… You can fill in your particular goal.

Lately I have been finding myself excited about so many things that I began struggling to focus. And as a result I look and sound just like Joey does so often in “Friends”. I can hear his voice in my head and mine sounds far too similar. 🤣

Let me share an example. When I sit down to write a blog post, two things show up on my screen.

Add title and

Start writing…

Should be simple right? But what has happened over the last number of days is that my thoughts actually get in my own way!

I begin thinking, “I should pick up where I left off on my last post. Or should I talk about adapting during Covid or…??? (insert any number of topics).

And then maybe it turns into, “I should go switch the laundry before I do anything else. Maybe it will come to me then…” I think you get the idea and I wonder how many can relate?

After a number of days in a row my frustration grew. Feeling such dissatisfaction was sapping my enthusiasm and my desire to write. And that was not acceptable any longer.

So I’d like to share a tip that can jump start your “Non-Start”.

1. Just start to do “that thing” that you want to do. Follow Nike’s brilliant advertisement call and “Just Do It”.

You might wonder what that looks like. It is getting back to the basics; applying a 🚦Stop Light to your thoughts, literally stop 🛑 and do. Nothing happens when nothing is done.

For me this morning, I literally just put fingers to keyboard and began to write what was coming to mind. By doing that, I started to let the words flow. Because I took action, the ideas began to flow. After going in a few different directions I found my focus and my thoughts came together. No amount of thinking it through the previous days got the creative juices going in my mind like this one simple first step. Just start… and the rest WILL follow.

Let’s take another simple example. I drink entirely too much Diet Mountain Dew. I’d like to change that. I also want to drink more water. I’d like to change that. So instead of just THINKING about it (which I have done mind you) I have just started to DO IT. It’s as simple as that.

My solution? I drink two glasses of water with Lime Doterra essential oil to start my day and I don’t allow myself to drink a Diet Dew unless I drink my water first. And then I repeat these two actions throughout the rest of the day.

By simplifying it down to new action, I feel good about taking this one step toward my goal, then another, then another…

Far too often we spend more time in our heads than we do in the real world. I am working on switching thoughts into action, over and over again.

The blessing of this cognitive shift is that the action fosters empowerment and leads to real change.

What have you been talking about doing for some time now? Pick one that you want to do and just start doing it.

When you do, pause and appreciate your action. Do not pay attention to the results at this point. They will come. But only if you keep doing it.

And for me? The squirrels have now scattered. 🐿 When they gather again, as they tend to for me, I will be reminded to “get out of my head” and just start doing.

Blessings dear ones ☀️

Christine

COPING WITH THE CHANGE: HOW TO EMBRACE THE UNEXPECTED

  • Has your life changed because of the pandemic?
  • Are you struggling with the changes?

I think we would be hard pressed to find someone that has not experienced change in the past 9 months. I am no exception.

When the world seemed to push a pause button last March because of the worldwide pandemic, I like everyone else had to learn how to function within a new normal. I needed to completely and quickly turn my business upside down by functioning 💯 percent remotely. This was a crazy time I won’t lie. Our team had to learn on the fly.

The additional changes that I have experienced are many: three months working from home, financial worries, fears about the health of dear ones, trips to see family canceled, changes in my children’s mode of education, long time periods of not seeing loved ones, many, many “What if…” thoughts.

This list is just the tip of the iceberg as it is for so many.

But I will also be honest dear reader. As much as my life has changed, I really want to find meaning and purpose in a kind of time I never thought I would experience in my lifetime.

The pause button of the pandemic has allowed me to reflect on what was and what was not working in my life.

I can also tell you, this list is long but here are just a few.

  • I was working too many hours during the week and feeling utterly depleted by the weekend.
  • I was trying to force myself to function within a business model that I didn’t necessarily fully embrace.
  • I was feeling satisfied with my life path, but not feeling FULLY alive.

I realize that I want more.

  • I want to feel more passion about my purpose and help more people.
  • I want to wake up so excited for my day I can’t wait to get started.
  • I want more human connectedness.
  • I want my faith to grow.
  • I want to feel more fully present and experience more joy in the moment.

Because of all of the changes that I mentioned above, I have had more time to ponder my “I Want…” list.

What I have uncovered is that this is truly THE best time, THE BEST opportunity that I have ever had to create the life I want.

How do we embrace the unexpected during these unprecedented times?

1. Daily introspection (for me during times of prayers and devotions) in which I am honest with myself.

Insert me looking like this…

HONESTY IS A WORTHY INVESTMENT IN
OUR FUTURE. WITHOUT IT, WE ARE MORE INCLINED TO REPEAT OUR PAST.

2. Stop 🛑 the negative and fear filled narratives of our thoughts right in their tracks. Practicing gratitude begets more gratitude.

  • “I am grateful to be adopting an attitude that sees opportunity versus loss, purpose versus pessimism, hope versus fear.”
  • “I am grateful that even little actions are producing little changes and I want MORE of that.”

3. Confront the unacceptable in our lives. Acknowledge the choices we have to either continue as is or take the scary steps of change.

Change can often feel like this:

But it is a necessary step in taking charge of the trajectory of our lives.

4. Understand and embrace our ability to choose! Repeat aloud after me…

  • “I can choose my attitude.”
  • “I can choose to change what is not working in my life.”
  • I can feel peace, joy, love, passion.”

5. Choose action! Action is the only way that life can begin to move in the direction we want it to go.

I continue to acknowledge that life has changed in many challenging ways. But I have embraced this time by doing all of the above. It has been making a difference. Here is how the changes are manifesting themselves.

  • I knew I enjoyed writing. I now know I LOVE it. I feel creative. I read more. I research more. I am enjoying the process and it makes me feel alive. I may not be a New York Times Best Selling Author but I am loving writing for the pure pleasure it gives me.
  • I have more time with my family as I have adjusted to periods of time that I must work from home. My family is my life. By embracing this change versus grumbling about the challenges has increased my joy of being with them more.
  • My little rescue dog, Chester “Pockets” Nicklaus loves having me around more. He follows me from room to room and it makes me feel like I am the most important person in the world. Who doesn’t love feeling like that? 
  • I am exploring new ways of helping people and I love the excitement of it. Even working through the vast “Ugh!” moments that I have shared about in this blog have resulted in feelings of accomplishments and growth.

So for now, for this crazy time we are all living through, may we begin to reframe the lense from which we are viewing our experiences.

May we embrace this time as an opportunity to reexamine our lives. Keep what is working. Discard what isn’t. It isn’t easy but it is oh so worth it!

What changes are you struggling with? What has been your most difficult challenge? Send me an email through the link below. I will be addressing future blog posts to respond to your thoughts and concerns. 

We are all in this together. We, none of us, are alone.

Blessings dear ones,

Christine

DON’T LET AGE BE A DEFINING FACTOR IN HOW YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE

AGE IS JUST A NUMBER! WE ARE NEVER TOO YOUNG OR TOO OLD!

Recently, I was completely inspired by my colleague and team member, Judith Robbins, MA, LPC when she said, “85 (years old) is the new 65!”

I have resolved to make my own resolution. “Fifty is the new thirty!” And as Joyce Meyer says, “I am not aging. I am youthing.” 

Did you know?

• Colonel Harland Sanders founded Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) at the age of 65!!

Reference:  https://www.thebalancesmb.com/colonel-sanders-bio-kentucky-fried-chicken-story-1350966

OR THAT…

• Martha Stewart didn’t become “America’s housewife” until she started writing about domestic living and publishing cookbooks when she was in her 40’s! 

Reference:  https://www.lifehack.org/370180/20-people-who-only-achieved-success-after-age-40

Far too often in my life I have allowed age to define what I was or was not capable of doing. Of course years ago, it was “I am too young.” OR “I am too inexperienced.” OR “I need more of this or less of that.”

When I found myself at age 44 asking myself, “What I am going to do when I grow up?”, I ended up finding my calling. These blog posts speak to this part of my journey. Click here to read more. MY PHOENIX RISING FROM THE ASHES and DARKNESS BEFORE DAWN: LIGHTHOUSES ~ MY LIFELONG SYMBOL OF HOPE

When we find what we are passionate about at ANY age, we can ask ourselves if we are willing to unleash the dreams within our hearts or we can choose a “settled for” life.  I really don’t want to fall in the latter category. 

When I was 47, I was provided with an opportunity to open a small mental health counseling agency. Against all odds, I took a huge leap of faith. I say against all odds (and one might say against all business wisdom) because I had zero knowledge and background in business. I did not even handle my family’s finances for goodness sake! My husband handles our checkbook and bills.  But I felt a “knowing” well up in my spirit that this was what I was MEANT to do. What I lacked in business acumen, I did believe in myself in my counseling abilities and how much I wanted (and will always want) to make a difference for the hurting in my small rural community.  

Taking this leap of faith and allowing myself to take this tremendous risk has been scary but more rewarding than I could ever have imagined. I love the clients that we serve and I love the team that makes up my Nicklaus Counseling Center Family.

I can tell you that the number of my mistakes I’ve made are almost too numerous to count, some large, some small.  And the buck always stops with me with every single one. It has been through each mistake that I have learned the most; about myself, about what I’m made of, about who I am, and about the dream catcher that I still strive to be. 

I have spent every day of the past three and a half years out of my comfort zone. Some nights I have come home so tired I could cry. Yet through it all, I know I have never felt more alive in my entire life. And oh but for the grace of God, go I. 

You may wonder why I am sharing this.  Honestly, at times I question it myself. And I do confess with every blog post, I feel raw and vulnerable.  But somehow these posts seem to be writing themselves.  It is my hope that by being real with my words about my life, it will help you dear reader feel not quite so alone. I believe in this time in the history of our world, we need more human connection, even human connection through written word. 

As I continue to push myself in my own life journey, I hope you may be encouraged to join me in watering the seeds of dreams in your soul. We have but one life after all. I believe we all have SO much more within us! Not just dreams but healing, peace, joy, forgiveness, love, and so much more. Let’s find out together shall we?! 😊

You know why? Because,

It’s time! 🌈

Blessings dear ones 💙🦋

DARKNESS BEFORE DAWN: LIGHTHOUSES ~ MY LIFELONG SYMBOL OF HOPE

Lighthouses ~ My Symbol of HOPE

In my previous post, “My Phoenix Rising from the Ashes”, I began sharing about the cognitive shift that took place when my life fell to ruins. I didn’t share that this took place when I was 44 years old. I had spent my 30’s as a stay-at-home mom, my late 30’s and early 40’s as a graduate student and beginning my career as a School Counselor.

I absolutely LOVED my first position working at a private high school and had the joy of building the start of a School Counseling Program. I easily could have spent my career in this position but I was lured away by the offer of “my dream job” and the opportunity to return to my hometown.

Unfortunately, I very quickly realized that I was not cut out for this kind of position in this kind of setting. There were SO many factors that went into making one of the HARDEST decisions of my life. I resigned from my dream job and settled into the “depths of despair”.

I had uprooted my family for a job that I was walking away from. And any passion I felt for working with children and youth was completely gone. I would not return to a career in School Counseling. I was 44 years old and I now had no idea what I was going to do when I grew up.

I spent the next year and a half putting myself and my family back together. It really can be done dear ones. During this time I focused first on my own healing and growth because I recognized two important things:

1. If I don’t take care of myself, I am of no use to anyone else.

2. If I don’t discover WHO I am and start to live my own life, by the grace of God, I would be miserable the rest of my days.

I had finally become “Sick and tired of being sick and tired.” And because of that, I found the motivation to create:

💡 Awareness➕Choose New Actions ♻️ Repeating Over and Over 2️⃣ Create Change ‼️

HOPE IS ON THE HORIZON

Never before in my life was I to experience a more pivotal, life changing moment. Every single day I woke up and CHOSE life, healing, hope, family, love, and forgiveness. It changed me from the inside out.

As I wrote those words, it occurs to me that I could write pages and pages on the lessons God taught me about choosing life, healing, hope, family, love, and forgiveness. Perhaps, they will be lessons to revisit now, as I embrace this new chapter of dream chasing. I don’t believe it is ever a waste of time to celebrate how far one has come while looking forward to the dreams of the future.

As time passed I felt a stirring in my heart that would not be denied. I missed working with youth. On a whim, I decided to reach out to the owner of a local counseling agency to inquire about any positions in working with youth. What I walked away with was an opportunity that changed the entire trajectory of my life.

My MS-Ed in K-12 School Counseling from Concordia University-Mequon (Wisconsin) also allowed me to pursue a Licensed Professional Counseling Master’s Degree. It was a career path I had decidedly chose AGAINST my whole life. And here a new opportunity was unfolding before me, a path I had felt certain I did not want. I discovered however, that by journeying down the painful path of healing, growth, and recovery, I actually found MYSELF and MY LIFE CALLING in the place I least expected it! I feel the raw emotions well up within me once again just writing these words. It was true then and remains true to this day.

From the very first moment that I saw my first client as a counselor in the private clinical setting, it was as if my entire life up to that very moment now made sense. By finding myself, I found my calling in serving others.

I am not completely certain, why all of these musings on my life are almost writing themselves on the pages of this blog (when this blog was intended to challenge myself to pursue all my dreams). Yet the words just seem to be tumbling from heart to page. And I do find myself hoping they will inspire someone along the way, to choose life, to choose healing, to never give up. Sometimes the darkest of nights, give way to the most beautiful dawn. 🌅

Blessings and hope dear ones,

Christine

 

MY PHOENIX RISING FROM THE ASHES

Growing up as a “People Pleaser”, by adulthood I had perfected this pattern into a finely tuned way of life. People pleasing was fully ingrained in the way I thought and it drove most of my actions. It was such a powerful force in so many aspects of my life that it is hard to remember any part of my inward or outward self that wasn’t consciously or unconsciously driven by this need to please.

Let me assure you, living to please others is a heavy load to carry throughout a lifetime. This burden only seemed to grow heavier as the years passed.

Can you relate with any of the following kinds of thoughts?

• What will so and so think of the job that I did on that task at work, school, home? I hope so and so will think… (insert the need for external confirmation and validation here).

• I hope my child(ren) are… (well-behaved, polite, get good grades, succeed in…) because I’d hate for anyone to think I’m a bad parent…

• I really need to succeed in Graduate school. I want to get 4.00 like my dad did because I really want to make him proud. Are there things you are doing to gain the approval of another?

• What will so and so think if I… do this OR don’t do that? Will they be mad at me if…

Or have you ever paid close attention to a person’s reaction to something you said or did and worried about what they thought of you based on your perception of their facial expressions, body language, and the like? And then agonized over it?

Well, if you have, you really are not alone. But I can also tell you that it is absolutely 💯 percent possible to break loose of the chains of people pleasing that hold you bondage.

“Hello, my name is Christine and I am a Recovering People Pleaser.”

WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF ME IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS. ~ Mark Twain

The first time I heard the Mark Twain quote, “ What other people think of me is none of my business.”, I literally didn’t get it. I think my brain was signaling, “Does not compute! Does not compute!” This seemed utterly impossible to me. But it got me thinking… what would it be like? To not worry about what others thought of me all the time? Hmmm….

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on one’s point of view, I had to learn from the “Crash and Burn 101” life curriculum.

I entered into a particular phase of my life in which everything that I had hoped for was coming to fruition. It was a case of, “Be careful what you wish for.” No sooner did I have everything that I wished for, only for it all to completely unravel and fall apart. There was not an aspect of my physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or professional life that did not lay in ruins. I knew the true meaning of being in the “depths of despair”. It was from this dark place, that I had to come to a point of personal reckoning. For the very first time I was able to look myself in the mirror and finally acknowledge who and what I was! And that included the good, the bad, and everything in between; the mistakes and failures, the successes and accomplishments, the strengths and weaknesses, the things I liked about myself and the things I didn’t. What began as crippling inner pain slowly turned into a discovery of self-acceptance and a budding of new life in my very soul. I was able to begin to accept my flaws without hating myself for them. I began to see my uniqueness as a child of God and slowly began to love myself.

As I continued to embrace a new journey of healing, I discovered within me an absolute willingness to do everything within my power and by the grace of God, to be a Phoenix rising from the ashes.

I found the love and support that I sorely needed and began to build my sense of self for the first time, to claim and own my worth, to choose new ways of thinking and new actions; all of which involved a huge cognitive shift AWAY from doing anything on the basis of pleasing others. Because I found the Faith that I had longed for my whole life during this time frame, I was able to determine if my choices would make God happy and if I was choosing what was right and best for me. It was a very foreign place to function from at first. I confess I was quite uncomfortable.

What started as feelings of utter defeat and feeling beat down by life, manifested in literally wishing my clothes would swallow me whole when I was in public. I despised myself that much. But as the healing of my soul continued, I began to feel empowered to live MY LIFE! Living by faith and by following MY OWN TRUE NORTH allows for a personal freedom in my heart and mind that allows my soul to soar. Can you feel the lightness that remains to this day?

So much work went into my time of healing in those early days but the foundation remains solid to this day. Every day I hope to be better than the day before. I still falter. I still fall. I still backslide into stinkin’ thinkin’. But the difference today is that I know I can pick myself up and dust myself off. There is always something to be learned from my mistakes ~ they are actually where my best learning comes from. There is ALWAYS sunshine that emerges after the storms and the rainbows are somehow even more glorious now. I see God’s fingerprints everywhere I look and gratitude fills my heart.

I remind myself quite often of Mark Twain’s quote and have made it one of my life mantras.

WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF ME IS NONE OF MY BUSINESS. ~ Mark Twain

And I keep on the empowering path that is guided by following ONLY My True North! This is the sweet spot dear ones. Won’t you join me in following your True North?

It’s time… 🧭 🌟

Blessings,

Christine

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