This photo has all “the feels” for me…
I took this photo in August 2016 (1 1/2 years ago) and I was hiking in Colorado with one of my besties, Meredith. We were lying in a hammock next to a rushing river after a beautiful hike amongst the trees and waterfalls.
Now of course many of these things made me happy: I was spending time with my amazing girl friend, I was in beautiful Colorado, and I was laying in a hammock for God sakes! But all of that aside, I was just genuinely HAPPY! This was ME to the core!
Now fast forward to this last month of December, I was not feeling that way. In fact, 2017 proved to be a very tough year for me. But why? It was full of amazing things:
Danny and I bought our first house, we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary, I pursued my passion through my business, we went on an amazing trip to Italy with great friends, and my brother and best friend flew in from Maine to surprise me on my 30th birthday! Despite all of these amazing things, it was very hard for me to find a moment of deep genuine happiness like felt in this picture.
It actually made me feel guilty that I didn’t feel joy or happiness on a daily basis because I had everything I could ever want.
After months of refection and observation I noticed that I was being extremely critical of myself ALL THE TIME.
Like literally every minute of every day.
I kept hearing myself say, “I’m not good enough” and I noticed… this wasn’t a new voice, it was a very familiar voice in fact. It was a voice that I had reserved especially for myself and I’ve been saying it for the last 30 years of my life: “I’m not good enough”.
Wow that’s serious.
How could anyone live a thriving, healthy, happy life thinking they are never good enough?
What an awful loop to keep myself in, no wonder I felt so stuck!
Now one of the biggest concepts in traditional medicine and especially Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is this concept that any physical dis-ease has to do with and emotional and spiritual imbalance.
So here I am telling myself I am not good enough, multiple times per day and then wondering why I don’t feel pretty enough, or healthy enough, or athletic enough, or confident enough, or smart enough, or worthy enough, etc etc. This loop would go on and on and get darker and darker leaving me feeling depleted and depressed.
Physically I felt exhausted despite all the sleep I was getting, my body was holding on to and extra 15lbs, I was irritable, had mood swings like crazy, and I was looking like anything but a picture of health!
Of course if I were to analyze these symptoms, I would see that I am dealing with adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalance, depleted kidneys, fatigued thyroid, and a congested liver. I know exactly how to treat this condition if a client came to me but to treat myself was a whole other obstacle.
I had self-sabotaging tendencies and didn’t seem to care enough to fix my condition the way I knew how.
Fortunately, I have always been a healthy eater and have lived an active lifestyle which, I believe, has kept me from experiencing more serious symptoms or diseases. But going the extra step to try to heal myself on a deep level was just too much for me.
What do I do now? Do I go to a doctor- gasp! No, what would they do for me? Take a blood test and tell me my hormones are out of wack and prescribe me an anti-depressant. Um, no thanks! That’s against everything I believe in!
And in 2017 I went to every healer that you can imagine. I went to therapists, acupuncturists, energy healers, angel readers, massage therapists, chiropractors, and everything to shake whatever it was out of me! Of course all of these healers brought great clarity and wisdom to what I was suffering with but there was still something that no one else could fix. What on earth (or in the heavens) could that be!?
Last month it dawned on me… it was me and it had everything to do with how I was speaking to myself. This negative mantra I was saying everyday was preventing me from being my happy and thriving self!
So how was I going to silence that voice?
Would I try and appease it by loosing weight, getting in shape, and looking prettier?
I mean, that’s what everyone does in the New Year. They go to the gym, drink their juice, and try to be better because… wait a minute… they also don’t feel good enough, huh…
This is obviously a struggle that’s not unique just to myself, this is something everyone deals with in our world- it’s a pandemic! And no wonder these New Years Resolutions don’t stick, they’re just feeding that voice of “I’m not good enough”. So no matter what new workout habits, eating habits, or meditative practices you adopt, it never seems to be good enough. And after about 4-6 weeks people just stop and go back to their normal routine.
So what’s the answer?
Well, what’s the opposite of that critical voice? A gentle voice!
I realized I needed to change my approach and be gentle with myself!
Wow I mean really… basic, simple, gentleness.
If I were gentle with myself, I could soften the way I look at myself. I might actually find something positive to focus on and realize I am a pretty great person. I might actually find compassion and love for myself!
Wow mind blown!
So I did just that. After my 30th birthday on December 26, I bought myself a gratitude journal and made a promise to myself that I was going enter this new decade and 2018 gently.
Being gentle with myself is how I’m going to find genuine happiness. Happiness that goes deeper than the fleeting exterior happiness. Happiness that is so deep it’s called joy. And it’s not dependent on the condition of anything outside of myself.
Now of course I’m not there yet. I just started 2 weeks ago, but I have felt a HUGE shift!
Because of that, I have put together a “Recipe for Happiness” so you too can find that gentle voice. And the best part is, we can do it together!
I have left blanks after each “ingredient” so you can make the recipe fit your taste.
Like starting anything new, it’s different, it’s not always easy, but if we can try to be consistent this new muscle will grow. It will grow slowly and gently while this inner happiness expands and the harsh voice shrinks. So do just one little thing and if you forget one day, that’s ok, just try again tomorrow!
Lastly, and maybe most importantly, is your daily mantra or “I am” statement. Create a sentence that incorporates what you want to be. Keep it in the first person and in the present tense- as if you already have it:
“I am happy in my own skin and it radiates through me”.
Say your mantra everyday to yourself or out loud until it becomes you. Yes, it WILL become you!
I want to thank you so much for reading to this point! It is one more thing I am grateful for! I hope you will join me in finding our inner happiness and stop the loop of feeling “not good enough”.
Please print out the recipe and fill it in with your answers. This simple exercise will start that shift- RIGHT NOW!
Again, I am so thankful for you and please know I am here to support you. Please leave a comment with your thoughts or anything that might help someone else on the same journey.
Here’s to treating ourselves gently in 2018!
Literally, right now in my headphones a Dido song is playing, “…and you’re asking me why pain’s the only way to happiness, well, I promise you you’ll see the sun again…”
Wow the universe is pretty amazing if we just listen to it!
Recipe for Happiness
This recipe is a guideline. The most important part is to ensure it alines with your highest self. So feel free to adjust it however you see fit. Remember to be gentle when learning new things. If you forget to do it, just try again tomorrow.
- 1x/day Mantra I AM ___________________________________________
- 1x/day Gratitude Journal ______________________________________
- 1x/day Soul Food ____________________________________
- 3x/week Feel Physically Alive _________________________________
- 1x/week Art _________________________________
- 1x/month Massage ____________________________________________
- Passion ______________________________________________
(what are you grateful for today?)
(what will nourish you today?)
(walking, yoga, hiking, soccer)
(what did you do as a child?)
(book a massage and put it on the calendar, yay)
(what have you not been doing that you love?)
- Think about what you want to be: is it happy, confident, successful, an entrepreneur, in a loving relationship. Whatever it is, write it down as if you already have it. Repeat it to yourself everyday. This will vibrate every cell of your body and raise your overall energetic vibration to attract that very thing you want. My mantra, “I am happy in my own skin and it radiates through me”. Write your mantra everyday until it becomes you, yes, it WILL become you.
- Journals or gratitude journals are everywhere nowadays. Get one you LOVE. Use it to release what’s stressing you and reach deep for what you are grateful for. It can be as simple as “I’m grateful for my bed” or “I’m grateful that I woke up today”. I promise, as you continue, you will find many things about yourself that gives your heart wings!
- Make one meal/day that nourishes your soul. Cooking for yourself is a gesture of love. Make something that leaves you feeling cozy, nourished, and relaxed.
- I have reignited my passion for spinning because it makes me feel alive. What activity makes you feel alive? Going for a brisk walk? Doing hot yoga? Or maybe the opposite and doing a restorative yin yoga. Incorporate something that gets your body moving and feeling alive!
- Art is so important for us humans. We are extremely creative and that creativity looks different for everyone. For me, art is literally drawing and painting. For you it could be music, dance, writing, reading, cooking, poetry, making videos, going to museums, inventing something, speaking, or whatever 🙂 When we suppress our creative side it’s the most painful- let it out!
- Treat yourself to a massage, pedicure, acupuncture, or all of the above once/month. As much as these seem like an extravagance they are actually part of your health routine. Every traditional culture around the world has some sort of massage (Swedish, Thai, Shiatsu, etc) that’s how important they for the human body 🙂
- Finally, pick up a new passion or pursue a passion that you’ve been meaning to. For me that is reconnecting to nature. Like the picture of me in Colorado, I thrive when I am outside. It might be tough here in Houston to find areas as beautiful as Colorado but reconnecting with nature and being amongst plants and trees is a must for my soul.
Enjoy treating yourself this year!
If you enjoyed this happiness recipe I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below and be sure to share with family and friends.