Keeping Faith through Discomfort

Compared to who I was even just a year ago, I am totally changed. I no longer wake up in the morning fearing how bad my anxiety is going to be that day, or wondering in what physical way anxiety is going to manifest itself in my life. However, every now and then, anxiety tries to sneak its way in. Since I am easily able to spot anxiety for what it is now, it often uses various disguises in hopes that I won’t catch onto it until it’s too late. One of the most common disguises anxiety uses with me comes through the form of dread.

Dread has been a prevalent feeling throughout my life. Even as a young child I remember always dreading some future event. Only within the past year or so have I realized that dread is an extension of anxiety.

I often dread doing simple things, like going to the grocery store, going to the bank, or making a work related phone call. (Thankfully no longer because I’m worried about having a panic attack while I do them, which used to be a daily reality). I also dread bigger things like starting a new job, events where I’ll be doing some public speaking, or long-term planning for my future.

Whenever I start to feel dread within me, along tags its best friend avoidance. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve sabotaged my own mental health because I put off tasks until the last second possible because I felt a sense of dread toward doing them.

After a minor inner breakdown I experienced recently because of issues I caused myself through avoiding important tasks I needed to complete, I finally stopped and reflected.

I went back to the root of the problem and I asked myself, “Why am I avoiding these things? Where is this feeling coming from?”

I quickly saw that these seemingly simple tasks caused immense dread within me. I then asked myself why I was feeling so much dread. What is it about these tasks that makes me feel so anxious that I avoid doing them altogether?

I came to the conclusion that it’s not even that I am afraid of these tasks themselves.
Like I said, I’ve worked really hard toward my mental health and I no longer fear having a panic attack or getting sick all the time when out in public. It simply comes down to not feeling like putting in the work to do these things.

This isn’t the real me, though. The real me, my true inner self, wants the best for me and thus, wants me to get stuff done. Instead it is my ego (you might think of the ego as the devil) holding me back, keeping me lazy and complacent, because it doesn’t want me to move forward anytime soon in my life. And why? Because if I did, it knows that each time I faced a task that I ‘dread’ doing, I would get closer to completing God’s will for my life, and it obviously doesn’t want that to happen. So it sends dread to me, in hopes to prevent me from reaching out to fulfill my calling.

I understand this now, and it’s always nice to bring this truth back into my awareness. However, the discomfort and dread is still there. So I have created a list of four things to remember when I need to accept the discomfort and move through it, rather than around it. To be honest, there really is no way around discomfort if you ever want to get anywhere significant in life. Every time you try to go forward, it will keep popping back up through different people or situations. So, you might as well go through it now! Now is all we ever really have anyway.

01fof

 

1. Stay connected. I cannot stress this enough. I know when we are being challenged the only thing we usually want to do is lay in bed, curl up into a ball and forget about the hard stuff coming our way. The last thing we feel like doing is taking time to pray or meditate. However, these are the very things we need and the only things that will get us us back on track.

On the other hand, I’ve noticed that many times I’ll be having a series of good days, where things are going really well for me, and I am all too often tempted to not workout or meditate because I don’t feel like I need it. I’m feeling good so obviously I can skip it just this once, right? Well, once usually turns into several days, and before I know it, I feel like crap again. Sound familiar?!

This is why we MUST stay connected. During the good and bad times. It is the only way to keep the peace even when our outside circumstances are anything but peaceful. For me I stay connected through prayer, meditation, yoga, working out, reading books about positivity and spirituality, listening to music, writing, or being out in nature. Whatever works for you is fine, the key is to just do something to stay connected to the source! Otherwise, you will quickly deplete your supply and thus, keep reinforcing the cycle of negativity in your life.

 
2. Know that challenges aren’t bad, they’re simply strength builders sent to help you grow. I have believed the lie for far too long that if I’m feeling some level of discomfort, that the situation causing the discomfort must not be right for me. I used to take it as a sign that I was on the wrong path and that I needed to run away– fast. However, I’ve come to find that discomfort is usually a good sign that I am exactly where I need to be. If you find yourself feeling this way it simply means that you are growing!

God often sends discomfort or disruption into our lives to keep us from staying stagnant. He loves us too much to keep us where we are. If we never had anything come into our lives and upset everything around us, what would be our incentive to change? More than likely, we would never change if we always stayed comfortable. Sometimes God sends discomfort because it is the only way to annihilate negativity or fear-based thoughts (lies) from our lives. It brings these lies out of dormancy and makes us aware of them, which is ultimately the only way we can get rid of it.

Growth is challenging at times, I’m not denying that. And just like with any physical workout, it stretches you and takes you beyond anywhere you’ve been before. If it’s easy, you aren’t doing it right! The process of growth is hard, but once you’ve completed the challenge you will be so glad you did it and you will never the same. So don’t run away from hard times. Don’t complain about how hard they are either. Instead, see them as opportunities sent from God for your personal growth. Every challenge has a miracle hidden beneath its surface!

 
3. Know that peace only comes after obedience. We often wait or at least want to wait until we feel peace about a decision before stepping out and doing it. We believe that if we don’t feel a sense of peace (comfort) about it, or that if it doesn’t make sense logically, then it must not be God’s will.

However, a motto I always strive to live by is that ‘it’s not faith if you use your eyes’. God wants us to live by faith, and he typically won’t send us peace before we do something, because that shows no faith. All that shows is a trust in comfort and complacency rather than a trust in God. But God is that still, small voice within us that often makes no logical sense whatsoever saying, “No, do it first, and then you will feel the peace you long for.”

Peace comes after obedience, not before. You will feel peace afterward knowing that you went by faith and not by sight and trusted in God instead of logic. You will feel peace when you believe the truth that he wants the best for you, and that ultimately his ways are higher and more knowledgeable than our ways. We must always remember that he see the entire picture of our lives from his vantage point; we don’t. We don’t have all the details yet. Knowing this, we can easily move forward in discomfort, trusting that he is bringing the highest good for all through it, and that he will make a way even when there seems to be none.

 

4. Know that resistance blocks the flow of God in our lives. When we resist what is now (our present circumstances/conditions), or when we resist what we need to do in the near future, we are only getting in the way of God’s plan. Our resisting thoughts literally block the easy flow of God’s energy through us. This doesn’t mean the situation itself is easy, but when we obey God through surrendering to what is, instead of resisting it or wanting what we don’t have, we begin to feel an ease and a peace inside, regardless of the degree of difficulty on the outside.

Somehow our spirit’s seem to ‘just know’ when we are in our flow. It cannot be explained or comprehended, only felt. When we feel dread, tension, anxiety, anger or stress within ourselves, these are all clear signs that the channel through which God’s life energy can flow through us is blocked. The good news is that we can easily return to the life source within us through a simple prayer such as, “I witness that I am being blocked by fear. I forgive myself, and I return to love right now. I choose to see this situation through love.” A quick prayer like this can easily change your whole mindset and put you back on the path of love, where life flows through you freely and you don’t have to dread anything because you know that God has your back.

“I witness that I am being blocked by fear. I forgive myself, and I return to love right now. I choose to see this situation through love.”

What allows ordinary people to accomplish things that seem extraordinary is that they do the things others are unwilling to do. They know that talent alone won’t save them. There are so many talented people who let their dreams die young because they don’t want to put in the effort. They don’t want to be noticed. They don’t want people to talk about them. They don’t want to be uncomfortable. They want an easy ride, and if it doesn’t come easy they don’t believe it’s meant to happen. While of course belief is key to accomplishing a goal, actions are absolutely necessary too.

I refuse to let my dreams die. I refuse to settle for a mediocre life. I refuse to live only for the weekends. I refuse to live paycheck to paycheck. Therefore, I must rid myself of complacency, procrastination, dread, and yes, even my comfort, so that I can live out my dreams and make room for God’s will. Remembering these four things I’ve listed above every day will help me do just that, and I hope they will help you too!

So what about you? What do you do when you feel anxiety, dread, or even just a lack of motivation begin to rise up within you? If you have any tips, please share! I look forward to hearing from you! As always, feel free to share this blog if you resonated with it in any way.

Sending love and light your way,

Kara ❀

Nine Ways to Transform Your Life

Happy Friday everyone!

To be honest, I had a few posts I wanted to write this week but I’ve been seriously lacking the motivation to get them done. Although I’m not feeling super inspired, I don’t want to go completely MIA this week, so to compromise I thought I’d do a quick post where I share something that I’ve discovered recently that’s radically changed my life.

Last week I wrote a post about the concept of ‘believing you are enough’, which I discovered from psychologist Marisa Peer. This week, I am going to do a continuation of that post and Marisa’s teachings by sharing nine things you must do if you want to change your thoughts and mastermind your life. To find out how continue reading below! πŸ™‚

Nine Ways to Transform Your Life

  1. Believe you alone are enough, and tell yourself this everyday. This belief is the foundation upon which all of the other beliefs you need are built. If you don’t accept this phrase as absolute truth for yourself, no amount of positive thinking will work. (For more about this, see my most recent post.)
  2. Praise yourself. Don’t wait for or depend upon other people’s praise to be happy. For one, you might be waiting awhile, and two, it honestly doesn’t matter what they think. If you know you are awesome, you don’t need anyone else telling you! Besides, you already have everything you need within you to live a joy-filled life.
  3. Reject all destructive criticism. Any thought or word not filled with love is a lie that breaks you down and hinders your growth! Refuse to let negative poison (yours or other’s) infect your life any longer.
  4. Your brain does exactly what it thinks you want it to do, so whenever you have to do something challenging or unpleasant, instead of complaining tell yourself, “I want to do this, I like doing this, I am choosing to do this.” I promise it really works! Think about it this way: when we say things like, “I’d rather die than give that presentation,” or, “God I dread going to work tomorrow,” we are essentially telling our minds that we don’t want to do those things. The crazy part is that we then we wonder why we end up feeling sick or anxious all them time…um, hello! It’s because your mind listens to everything you tell it and you are filling it with negativity and lies! Therefore, never say “I DON’T want to do something” that you have to do anyway, because your mind will fight against you when the time comes to do it. A big life-changer for me was instead of saying “I’m so nervous” before a difficult situation, I now say “I’m so excited!”. It sounds too simple to actually work, but I am living proof that it does.
  5. Know that your brain always works to move you toward pleasure and away from pain. This one goes right along with number 4. Start telling your mind that working toward your goals is fun and enjoyable, and to not do so is painful. Write it down, speak it aloud, whatever method works best for you, just make sure you continuously do it. Overtime you will rewire your brain and it will begin to work with you, rather than against you.
  6. Realize the way you think and feel is determined by two things: the pictures you make in your head and the words you say to yourself. If you want to feel better, be more confident, achieve a goal, etc., start picturing and telling yourself positive things that don’t contradict what you want to achieve. Visualize what you want and speak about it as if you already have it.
  7. Be willing to do challenging and/or uncomfortable things in order to get what you want. Life may not be 100% ideal for you right now, but don’t get depressed or ungrateful because of this. See everything in your journey as a necessary stepping stone to get you to where you want to be, even if it doesn’t make sense yet. Life will not feel so strenuous when you realize that your current situation is only temporary.
  8. Don’t take no for an answer. It is guaranteed that you will get rejected from time to time if you are putting yourself out there. It’s happened to every single person who has ever accomplished anything great. The only difference between them and most other people was they kept pushing through the trials and adversity they faced along the way. They didn’t let any rejection stop them, so don’t let it stop you either!
  9. Take action every single day. No matter how seemingly small, take it. Even the smallest step taken keeps some momentum going. On the other hand, it is very easy to lose inspiration and give up altogether if you take a good deal of time off. You will absolutely make progress if you take action everyday, so keep going!

 

That’s all for me today! What thoughts or actions have you taken to rewire your thinking or transform your life? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! Have a wonderful weekend. πŸ™‚

 

P.s. Click below to watch the full-length video!

Embracing Uncertainty

Hey there πŸ™‚ It’s been a long time since my last post, and that is because I was student teaching and finishing my final semester of college. It was one of the most challenging yet rewarding things I have ever done, and I cannot believe it’s already over. On the other hand, I have really missed blogging and am so glad that I now have more time to focus on writing!

It feels amazing to be done with school, but with the excitement of graduating, also comes the unsettling feeling of having no idea what I’ll be doing in this next season of life. For the past several years, I’ve always had the comfort of knowing that at the end of a semester comes another one. And while at times I desperately wanted to be done with school and move on with life, college did provide a sense of stability and security. Now that it is finally over, the possibilities of what I could do are endless, which is thrilling, but at the same time it also leaves me with the anxiety-provoking question: Which path should I take?

Have you ever been here before? You beg for change, you’re tired of the same-old routine, you want something new and exciting, and then change finally comes. Only now that it’s in your face, it’s kinda terrifying. You may find yourself asking questions like, “What should I do next? What job should I take? Should I make that big move? What if I make the wrong choice? How do I know this is right for me?” Questions like these have been consuming my mind lately. It’s easy to daydream about how wonderful a big change in life would be, but when it arrives and it’s time to start making some life-altering decisions, it can be very easy to fall into the trap of fear and self-doubt.

Fortunately, now that I have some extra time on my hands, I’ve been able to sort of press pause and reflect. What I’ve come to the realize is that although I don’t have a set plan, yet, I do know what I want and where I want to be within the next few years, and that’s a all I need right now. After having given my life to Christ almost six years ago, I’ve learned that he is always faithful. He has never once not come through. He may not have always come through right when or how I thought he should, but he came through nevertheless. Ultimately, his way is always better than mine. So in this season of uncertainty, I am choosing to trust. I am choosing to trust that he has given me certain dreams for a reason, that he has a plan for me, and that he will make a way even when there seems to be none.

I have learned that living one day at a time, sometimes even one hour at a time, is necessary for a healthy mind. So now whenever I start to feel fear creeping into my mind, I stop and ask myself: Why should I worry? It won’t accomplish anything! When I worry, all I am doing is trying, yet failing, to answer questions that I cannot possibly answer yet. I’m great at creating all these scenarios in my head, but who’s to say that the pictures I form in my mind are the way things are actually going to turn out? This isn’t to say I don’t have goals, or that I sit on my couch just waiting for things to happen to me. It just means that I am no longer going to get too far ahead of myself or caught up in the details anymore. I know that if I submit my plans to God, and continuously choose faith in his promises over worrying and trying to make everything happen all by myself, he will be faithful to provide me with a much greater outcome than I could ever create myself.

One of the most valuable things I’ve ever learned is that God does not tell us our whole life plan ahead of time for two reasons. The first of these is because he doesn’t want to overwhelm us. If we knew everything that was going to be required of us in this life, it would see impossible since we haven’t had the time nor the experiences to prepare us for those things yet. The second reason he doesn’t show us the way ahead of time is because if he did, what would be the purpose of faith? Faith is believing in things not yet seen, so if we knew how every detail in our lives was going to turn out, our faith would be useless because we would put our trust in the outcome, rather than in the God who makes the outcome.

So if you are entering a season of uncertainty, just know that it is a normal part of the process in this thing called life. It doesn’t mean you won’t find your way. You may feel weak now, but on the contrary, this uncertainty is the very thing that is strengthening your faith. I have no idea what all the upcoming year has in store for me, but I am releasing my worry and control to the one who already has it all figured out.

 

 

 

P.s. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season! And if you would like, feel free to share this post with others! I plan to be writing much more frequently now so keep checking for new posts! πŸ™‚

 

Healing is a Process

Living with an anxiety disorder is challenging on the easier days and downright terrifying on the more difficult days.

Unfortunately, I know this from firsthand experience. Until recently, I lived with an anxiety disorder that manifested itself with intense physical sensations. I experienced all sorts of scary feelings in my body; panic attacks, upset stomach, shaking, derealization, headaches, weakness, dry mouth, hot flashes and dizziness were just some of the many things I would feel on a day-to-day basis.

These feelings typically came about when I was out in public, like being in a big crowd, or somewhere that it wasn’t easy to escape without being noticed (sitting in class, eating in a restaurant) or in places with a lot of stimulation going on. Loud noises and bright lights really bothered me. There was even a time period where I could not bear to go into grocery stores because of the loud noises and fluorescent lighting. I know it sounds crazy, but it was that bad. It came on fast and intense, and left me feeling terrified to leave the house for fear of what might happen.

Many times I backed out of doing things because I believed I physically couldn’t. I thought surely I was going to faint, throw up, go crazy or die. My body felt weak all the time. Anxiety made me depressed. I isolated myself and so I lost a lot of friends and missed out on many of the typical college experiences because my anxiety always arose while I was out. The craziest part was that all of these symptoms seemed to appear out of nowhere.

I used to have lots of friends, I went out to parties and drank frequently, and never had any issues feeling this way. I would’ve thought someone who couldn’t handle sitting in class or at a restaurant for two hours was a crazy person. So when this became my life so suddenly, I was sure something was wrong. I thought I was really sick. It couldn’t just all be ‘in my mind’.

I went to the doctor (even though that gave me extreme anxiety too) and was told that I was totally fine and healthy. Then I got really depressed because I didn’t feel ‘fine or healthy’ one bit. I wanted an immediate cure to my problem and I wasn’t getting one. I started to think, “So this is going to be my life? I’m going to be isolated from the rest of the world forever? I’ll never have fun or be happy again?” I started to believe that I would be doomed to a life of confinement in my house for all of eternity. I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me. It wasn’t fair. I was a prisoner in my own mind and I couldn’t escape.

4364761eaba819b1510fc293436af94c

Looking back now, five years later from when it all began, I can see that it was never random. In all actuality, the anxiety disorder I developed should have been expected. The only thing that surprises me now is that it didn’t manifest itself sooner.

My entire life I may not have suffered from a panic disorder, but I always lived anxiously. I had social anxiety growing up, and I always cared way too much about what other people thought about me… I obsessively worried about family, friends, money, school, boys, fitting in, you name it, I worried about it! I listened to negativity and drama from those around me and let it affect me, and I spoke negatively about myself and others. I did nothing to care for my mental health. I did not love myself, and I didn’t do anything I was passionate about. I didn’t have goals or dreams I believed I would accomplish. I didn’t feed myself healthy thoughts or practice self-care, ever. I always played the victim. It was always someone or something else’s fault that I didn’t have a better life. I had done nothing but feed my mind negative, self-sabotaging thoughts my entire life, so, it was no wonder I developed such intense anxiety at the age of 21!

What I didn’t know then that I do now is that your thoughts create your life. The thoughts you think have a DIRECT effect on your health. Your mind, body and soul are all connected and the well-being of one greatly impacts the well-being of the other two.

Think of it this way: Our mind is like a giant computer system and negative thoughts are like bad viruses that get in and infect it. One person says or does something that hurts you, or you listen to/partake in drama, negativity or gossip, then your mind processes it, internalizes it, and keeps it, like a file downloaded on your computer. We usually forget about the negative thought itself, but its’ effects are still there looming in our subconscious for years to come.

And the more we think negatively, gossip, or put ourselves down, the more used to negativity our mind becomes, and because our minds find so much comfort in familiarity, the cycle continues. Thus, the virus just keep getting bigger and bigger, you begin to internalize these thoughts as truth, and then when your mind becomes too full of them, they start to spread to other parts of your body.

Many times, your physical illnesses and pains are literally your mind crying out to you for help! It’s telling you something is not okay in here! The worried thoughts weren’t enough warning for you, so your mind has to get your attention another way. However, typically by the time you realize what’s going on, why your body is acting so strange, it’s too late. You can’t just stop it. You know it’s anxiety, you know it’s ‘all in your head’, but you can’t control the way your body feels. You’re in too deep.

This is what I would call rock bottom. The place where you feel you have no control over your life. You feel trapped in your own mind. In this place, you are always afraid. You never know how you are going to feel, or when the anxiety is going to arise. Life is draining, and it often feels hopeless. I know because I’ve been there.

But even though you can’t escape it, no matter how badly you want to or try to, there is some good news. You will get through it.

Believe me when I say I really believed I would never feel normal again. I begged and pleaded and cried to God to take it away, but he never did. I didn’t understand. I felt like he had abandoned me. I wasn’t hearing anything from him, no guidance toward a way out. I was angry with him for a long time.

As much as I wanted to, I knew couldn’t stay in the house forever; it just wasn’t an option for me. I had to force myself to do things like go back to school and work, otherwise I couldn’t survive. But after time and time again of forcing myself to go through class or work and sit through the anxiety, even though I was terrified, shaking, feeling like I was going to vomit, I couldn’t focus and my mind was screaming “Stop, leave, run, don’t go! Stay home where it’s safe!”, after sitting through all of those feelings countless times yet still surviving, I started to realize that anxiety couldn’t kill me. Then I began to see that it couldn’t really hurt me either. If I could just ride the feelings out, they would eventually dissipate. And after four years of feeling like I was going to faint or throw up or go crazy every time I was in a social situation, I began to figure that if it was ever going to happen, surely it would have by now, yet it never had. When I thought about it that way, that my worst fears literally never came to fruition not one single time, I began to call anxiety’s bluff.

Hitting rock bottom was actually a huge blessing in disguise. I had nowhere to go but up. My old life wasn’t coming back, so I had to recreate a whole new life, a whole new me. I was alone most of the time because I had isolated myself from people due to the anxiety. I had nothing else to do, so I started reading and found the love I had for it as a child again. I also studied anxiety and I learned all about it, which was very informative and helpful, but to be completely honest, nothing really changed until I began learning how to love myself and the power behind it. I quit trying to learn ways to stop the anxiety, and instead began retraining my mind toward positive thinking and self-love. Doing this was the catalyst that absolutely changed my life. Believing I am enough, that I can create my life and literally do anything I want to as long as I believe I can and put the effort in, has truly changed everything. It’s incredibly simple, yet incredibly powerful.

But as the title of this post suggests, this change did not happen overnight. It took time, and lots of it. It took hours of reading and self-reflection and forgiving myself. It wasn’t a linear progression, either. Some days I’d feel on top of the world, like I’d finally beaten my demons once and for all, and then something would happen and I’d have a few off days where I felt like I took 100 steps backward. But the key to my change was that I kept pushing forward despite the setbacks. I’m still working on it. I continuously have to replace negative thoughts that come to my mind every single day. I’ve learned that no matter how small or insignificant one negative thought may seem, I must replace it with love and truth so I don’t risk poisoning my mind again.

I will warn you: the anxiety will fight to stay. Our minds long for routine and familiarity, because it’s easy and comfortable. When you try to change your thinking, your mind won’t like it because it hasn’t been wired to think that way. My mind wasn’t used to love and positive thinking, so it felt forced and fake at first. But I kept doing it. I kept practicing it even when it felt phony. I spent time alone with myself, something I used to be afraid to do, and over time I began to enjoy it, then I began to need it. I started listening to inspirational podcasts. I found new people to look up to, people who lived lives similar to the one I wanted. I created a vision board. I started this blog and began writing a book. I began saying yes to things that got me out of my comfort zone. I started praising myself everyday and I’ve never felt better.

My anxiety doesn’t have much room to roam anymore. I’m too busy being productive to worry about most things. I am becoming so filled with love and light that there is nowhere for the negativity to stay. It tries to creep back in every now and then, the only difference is that now I see anxiety exactly for what it is, and therefore it can no longer control me. Anytime I sense anxiety within me now, I immediately capture it and throw it away.

I began to realize that this whole time my anxiety was just the result of my unhealthy mind trying to find some sort of outlet for the negativity. My body was only doing it to try and help me, so I forgave myself. Once I internalized this, I began the process of healing. It wasn’t quick. It wasn’t easy. It’s still ongoing, and I get the feeling that it will be for the rest of my life. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world now. Why? Because I am finally myself. It stripped me of absolutely everything I had, this false outer persona I used to put on for the rest of the world, and forced me to be more me than I have ever been before.

1dbd6a26bc49fc6520c880dc2d923e60

So I want to ask you today, if God isn’t taking something away, could it be for a reason? Is he trying to teach you something? I know that for me personally, I always strayed away from God really easily until my anxiety started getting bad. Anxiety always helped me stay close to him because I knew I couldn’t make it through the day without his divine help. Because of anxiety, our relationship is so much deeper than it was before. I also know that I wouldn’t be doing the things I’m doing now and living a fulfilling life that I love if it weren’t for anxiety taking my old life away and leaving me to start a completely new one from scratch, which ended up being the one I’ve always wanted. And last but certainly not least, because I’ve come so far from where I once was when I began experiencing such bad anxiety, I know without a doubt that I am capable of just about anything! Right now I’m living a life and doing things that I didn’t think were possible just two to three years ago! It truly amazes me every time I think about it.

So if you are in a bad place today, I just want you to know healing is a process. It’s a journey. It’s terrifying at times and amazing at others. You’ll want to give up. But then you’ll do something you never thought you could and you won’t believe how far you’ve come. It takes time, but it is so incredibly worth it.

I challenge you today to start seeing your toughest battles as blessings in disguise. Ask yourself, what can I learn from this? How can I grow and be a better person because of this? If you need someone to talk to or help getting started on your healing journey, don’t hesitate to reach out. As always, please feel free to leave a comment or share this post if it resonated with you!

I leave you with some words of encouragement, and also my all-time favorite bible verse.

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he did in fact was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its’ own in your weakness.” Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size — abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

-2 Corinthians 12:7 MSG

 

New Beginnings

To be honest, whenever I look in the mirror as of lately, I don’t particularly like what I see staring back at me. It’s not that I think I’m fat, but my body definitely isn’t the one I want. 

The body I want is one that is toned, strong, healthy and has a high endurance. The body I want is one I believe I’m more than capable of obtaining if only I cultivate traits like hard work, persistence, and most importantly, belief in myself. 

I don’t have that body right now. But instead of berating my body, crying in a bout of self-pity, or blaming bad genes, a lack of time, and just the sheer difficulty of exercise and healthy eating in general like I always used to do, I decided to look at the situation logically. What I realized was this: 

The only one to blame for my disappointment is me

I could have the body I want. I could get toned. I could feel stronger and healthier. The fact that I don’t have the body I want is not due to a lack of time, money or experience. I can no longer blame my parents for not pushing me harder to be more fit during my childhood. I can’t do these things anymore, because it’s always been my choice to not lead a healthy life, even if the choice was made subconsciously most of the time. If I never obtain the body I want, I’m the only one there is to blame. 

If the old me was reading this, being told that getting fit was all up to me would’ve made me want to give in before I even got started. This is because ‘I can’t do it by myself!’ was always my go-to mindset. But now that I know the power of the mind, and that I can literally do anything as long as I believe I can, knowing that it’s all up to me takes the stressful feeling away! 

While it’s true that nothing else in this world can make me get into shape, it’s also true that nothing else in this world can stop it from happening either! It’s totally, 100% up to me. So with this new awareness, I am choosing to get fit and I am choosing to stay committed to my goals, no matter what challenges present themselves throughout the process.

I have tried to get in shape countless times before, but I could never make it past a month or two. This is because thoughts like, “I’m not good enough, strong enough, athletic enough… It’s too hard…I don’t have time… I can’t afford the gym…I can’t do that because of my anxiety… I’m so weak… I’ve been working out for a week and I don’t see any results…It’ll take years to get to the place I want to be, so why bother?” consumed my mind and kept me from staying committed to living a healthy lifestyle.

The list of negative thoughts I’ve had when trying to get in shape in the past could go on for hours. Thankfully, now I am not only aware of how bad negativity is for me, but I’ve finally internalized the belief that negative thinking does nothing but hold me back. 

I must mention, this new way of thinking certainly wasn’t an overnight transformation. Because negative thinking was engrained so deeply in my subconscious for years, it was definitely a challenge learning how to rewire the strong patterns that had been created within my mind. But I finally decided enough was enough. All my life I listened to and believed the negative thoughts that entered my mind. I always gave into the negative thinking, which is also why I would always quickly give up on trying to become fit. In my mind, I truly believed that fitness just wasn’t in the cards for me. This one negative thought led to negative words about myself, which led to negative actions, or I guess I should say in this case, a lack of positive actions in my life. 

You see, thoughts, words and actions, are directly linked and greatly affect one another. Since I’ve learned this, I’ve been on a journey of renewing my mind and changing my life to make it one filled with purpose and fulfillment. And once I changed my thoughts, things became increasingly better for me in this area of life. So when I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw, I thought, “If this mentality works for my career goals, why can’t I apply it to fitness as well? Why can’t I get the body I want? Be as fit as I want? Be as strong as I want?” And then it hit me; I most definitely can! 

So I’ve decided I will. It’s going to be hard, and no doubt there will be many times I’ll want to give up, but I’m so sick and tired of not being who I want to be. Fortunately, getting to this place is actually a blessing in disguise, because it’s exactly where true change and transformation begin. As the lovely Elizabeth Gilbert said in her book, Big Magic

 

I’m tired of my excuses. I selfishly want this, which is good, because this is what it’s going to take to make this goal become a reality in my life. It must come first. I have to want it more than anything else. Besides, if I don’t start now, then when? I’m certainly not getting any younger, and I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. 

It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.

-Hugh Laurie

It’s not about being ready, it simply comes down to how badly I want it. I’ve come to terms with the fact that it is going to suck in the beginning; there’s just no getting around it. But I’d rather live through the pain of hard work and soreness, than the pain of regret, or the pain of feeling sick, tired, and insecure for the rest of my life. 

My body, and yours, love us so much. They work so hard to heal and protect us. I’ve decided that it’s about time I return the favor and show my body just how much I love it back. After all it’s done for me, I simply refuse to take it for granted and mistreat it anymore. My body deserves good health. It deserves love. It was made to be pushed. It was made for hard work and movement. I’m ready to give it all I’ve got. 

I am certainly no fitness or health expert. I’m just beginning this journey. So if you have any fitness tips or advice on how you got fit, or how to stay committed to a healthier lifestyle, please let me know! I will keep you all updated on my new journey, in hopes that you all will hold me accountable! If anyone else is going through the same thing and needs some encouragement, just let me know, I’d be more than happy to help! If I can do this, then you most certainly can too! We are in this together! Stay strong. πŸ–€

Choosing an Attitude of Gratitude: 10 Things I’m Grateful ForΒ 

In today’s world, due to the presence of social media being so widespread, it’s very easy to get caught up in comparing our lives to those of others, or wanting things that we don’t have. This leaves many of us never feeling fully satisfied. I’ll admit, if I’m not careful, I have the tendency to fall into this trap of always wanting more, and comparing my life to the lives of those who I believe are happier or more successful than me, and then allowing this to negatively affect my mood. 

Thankfully, I’ve finally realized how unhealthy this is. I already have so much to be grateful for, and when I do nothing but complain about what I don’t have, I’m basically telling God all the wonderful things He has provided me with aren’t enough. That His love for me is not enough. I don’t want to do this anymore, because I love Him and the life He’s given me!

Luckily, there’s an easy fix for this, and that is choosing to have a grateful attitude. Everytime I practice expressing gratitude, my mood is instantly lifted, my stress vanishes, and I am reminded how good my God is. I also remember how He’s always provided for me in the past, and when this happens, the stress of feeling like I’m lacking something is gone because I know He is sure to provide for me in the future.

So today, I’m going to go a little deeper with my gratitude practice by sharing with you 10 things I’m grateful for!

1. Coffee 


First on my gratitude list is coffee, or basically anything with a few shots of espresso in it. Whenever I lose motivation to complete an important task on my to-do list, bribing myself with some Starbucks is almost always enough motivation to do the trick for me. Plus, it also helps my brain focus better on the task at hand. I honestly don’t know what I would do without my daily dose of caffeine!


2. Bubble Baths 

Call me crazy, but if they weren’t so time-consuming, I would literally take a bubble bath everyday! There’s nothing quite like the relaxation I get from turning down the lights, lighting a few candles, listening to music or reading a good book, and putting in a scented bubble bath or bath bomb. To me, it’s the perfect way to unwind and end my day. 

P.s. I really want that pink tub!


3. Books


I love reading so much this one could be put on the list twice. I’ve had a deep love of reading for as long as I can remember. There’s just something about the feeling that a good book invokes in me. When I find a book I love it truly feels as if I’m escaping into another world, and I find it very hard to get back out. One of my favorite things ever is reading a good novel on a rainy day in bed. Those days are much needed, and I’m so thankful whenever I get one!


4. Music


If given the choice of music or TV, I would choose music, hands-down, every time. Music is such an escape and stress-reliever for me. I love music that I can really resonate with, that allows me to create a story in my mind whenever I to listen it. I find the music I love is very personal to me, and I often have a hard time sharing my playlists with others because of this. I love so many artists, but my absolute favorite in the entire world is Lana Del Rey. She’s the best! Her music takes me to another world.


5. Long Scenic Drives


Whenever I am overwhelmed and need some time to recharge, I go on a long drive out in nature.  Really just wherever I can go to look at pretty scenery; preferably somewhere with lots of trees! Even if it’s only for an hour or so, just escaping for a little while is like medicine for my soul whenever I’m feeling stressed.


6. Impractical Jokers (TV Show)


Oh my gosh. Have you ever seen this show? Now I understand this kind of humor isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I find it absolutely hilarious. It’s about four friends who challenge one another to do crazy/ embarrassing things in public. It’s a competition-based show, and if one of the guys doesn’t do the given embarrassing task asked of them, they lose and then have to be punished in an even more humiliating way. It sounds dumb (it kind of is) but I laugh so much throughout the show that my stomach hurts, so I don’t even care! I guess you could say it’s my guilty pleasure. Every time I watch this show I’m instantly put in a good mood and for that I’m so grateful!


7. Family


Being both an introvert and an infj personality type, I often find it hard to connect with new people. Which is why I am so grateful for my family, and also why if you are my close friend, you are basically considered family to me. They know I’m a person who needs lots of space and time to recharge, and they happily give it to me.  But at the same time, they are always there if I ever need anything. I know I can be a complicated person and difficult to understand at times, which is why I’m so thankful that they just accept me as I am. Unfortunately, it took me too many years to learn to truly appreciate my family, but now I am so extremely grateful for all the sacrifices they have made for me and I want to do whatever I can to return the favor!

8. Summertime


There’s just no other time of the year that’s as wonderful to me as summer. I live for the days sitting poolside, going on spontaneous adventures, and just chilling in my backyard reading and writing. The days are longer and the nights are warmer, and I feel a certain freedom in the summer that I don’t feel any other time of the year. Simply put, everything’s sweeter in the summertime. 

9. Children


I may be a little biased studying to be a teacher and all, but I am so grateful for kids. I have none of my own yet, but I’ve spent several years working in schools, daycares, after-school programs and babysitting, and have learned some priceless lessons during my experiences. I admire children’s wild imaginations, as well as their ability to believe and have faith without first seeing proof. I  appreciate their ability to see the fun and beauty in life, how they remember what’s most important, and how they don’t take life too seriously. They are simply themselves, honest and not afraid to love. I used to be a child like this, but somewhere along the way, like most people, I lost my inner child. I traded her in for a miserable adult. Now that I’ve gone back to my childhood roots, I am so happy and life seems full of possibility. I know as an adult I have responsibilities, and I make sure to take care of them all, but after working with children so much the past few years I have once again become more free-spirited and relaxed. I’ve started to show more love to those I care about. I take time to do what I love, and I enjoy the small moments. There’s truly so much we can learn from kids if we’ll just take the time to pay attention.


10. My Body

And last but certainly not least, I’m grateful for my body and its’ capabilities. The fact that I can walk, talk, hear, see, smell, run, dance, work, and even breathe is truly a gift that I take for granted everyday. When I sit and think about people who can’t do one or more of these things and how much it would affect my life if I lost any of these abilities, I feel ashamed of myself for complaining about other things. When I look at it from this perspective, all my complaints seem so trivial. Because I had an anxiety disorder, for a very long time I only saw my body and mind as sick and weak, and I hated my body for feeling the way it did. Now I realize how strong I actually was to push through that difficult time period in my life, and I’m so blessed because that’s really the only major health issue I’ve ever had. My only regret in life has been waiting so long to get my mind and body healthy, and not making both my mental and physical health a priority earlier on in life. My body, and yours, literally work so hard to heal and protect us. Our bodies love us tremendously. I’m so eternally grateful for this body and life that I’ve been given. I just want to do everything I can to show I love it back.

So that’s my gratitude list! What’s on yours? I’d love to know what puts you in a good mood and learn about the things you’re grateful for! As always, feel free to share my blog with others, or comment below if this post resonated with you! Thanks! πŸ’•

What’s Stopping You?

Do you have the courage? Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”

-Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

Lately I’ve been on a journey of sorts. After years of being anxiety-ridden, sad and bored with life, not to mention feeling lost, insecure and like I had accomplished very few things of importance or signifigance, I decided enough was enough. I was ready for a change, and I was ready to live a happy life, no matter what it took. Although I am still on this journey and have plenty of room for further improvement, I am now happier and more at peace than I have ever been. On top of that, I finally feel capable of defeating all of my inner demons and going after my dreams. 

Since I’ve been on this journey, I have come to learn that this isn’t working for me because I’m lucky or special, but everyone (including you!) is capable of doing incredible things, and leading exciting, passion-fueled, fulfilling lives. So, if this kind of life is possible for everyone, then why do so few people actually end up living this way?

When it comes down to it, the answer is really quite simple. If you aren’t living the kind of life that makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning, it’s all because of you! You are the only thing stopping yourself from living the life you love. 

While that may sound depressing, don’t fear, because once you begin to fully comprehend what this means for your life, it’s really quite liberating. We each have unique dreams deep inside of us that so badly want to be brought to life. These desires aren’t arbitrary; they’re within us for a reason! The only thing that prevents your dreams from actually being brought to life is your lack of belief. Not other people, not your past, not your luck, not your current situation. YOU. You and you alone hold the key to your happiness, your future and the manifestion of your dreams. 

If you tell yourself you can’t do something, or that your dream could never happen for someone like you, then guess what? It won’t! 

The mind is a funny thing. You see, it doesn’t care what you tell it. It’s job is to simply do what you tell it. It just wants to make you happy. So when contradict your dreams by telling yourself that what you want is is too hard or too scary to be done, or you aren’t ready or you aren’t “_________” enough, your mind prevents it from happening. This is because even though you would really like if (insert your dream here) happened, your brain hears your negative talk about yourself, or the process it will take to get you there and thinks things like, 

“Hard and scary?!” Or, “I’m probably not talented enough or smart enough for (insert your dream)?! Yeah, that sounds unpredictable. And unpredictable equals dangerous. It’s my job to keep her away from things that are dangerous. So, let’s make her feel anxious when she thinks about it, and give her a panic attrack every time she tries it, that way she knows how dangerous it is and won’t try again.”

So often, we don’t align our thinking and the words we speak with our greatest desires, which is why our minds never let them manifest. 

It doesn’t matter how much you wish something would happen. If your brain thinks your wishes are scary because you tell it they are, it will always fight against them because it thinks it’s protecting you. Which is awfully sweet, but highly unhelpful.

Fortunately, all hope is not lost for you! The good news is, you can literally rewire your entire brain. All you have to do is change your thoughts and words. You can make your dreams happen, but you must repeatedly tell yourself that you like doing and are happily choosing whatever it takes to get you there. 

Want to get in shape? Instead of saying things like, “Oh I really want to get that beach body, but I just dread going to the gym. I hate exercising. I don’t have time! I’m so out of shape, it will take forever.”

Say, “I love working out. It makes me feel so good. I love being sore because it’s progress I can feel. I have plenty of time to exercise and still get everything else on my list done.” 

Want to start a new career? Instead of saying things like, “I’m too old. What if it doesn’t work out? I’m not skilled enough. It’s too much work to begin now.” 

Say, “I can’t wait to start this new journey. I’m so glad I have a goal. I am capable. I am likeable. God’s favor is upon me. I will make this happen!”

This can be done for any dream you have, regardless of your age. You just have to trick your mind into doing what you want it to. As I said before, your mind doesn’t care what you tell it, it just wants you to be happy. So, if you repeatedly tell yourself you love doing something and want to do it, your brain goes, “Oh, wait, I like this? This brings me joy? I want to do this? Okay, I’ll keep on doing it then!” Because you brain is automatically wired toward pleasure, when you tell yourself you love something and you’re choosing that something, your brain will work with you, rather than against you, to get it done.  

People cannot make their dreams come true from talent alone. There are plenty of people in this world with an enormous amount of underlying talent that never see anything come of it. Talent is good, but it is not enough. No, people make their dreams come true simply through the relentless belief that they are going to. And because they truly, wholeheartedly believe in themselves, they don’t give up. They know success will come in due time.

If you are anything like the person I once was, where high anxiety consumes the majority of your life, you may be thinking, “Changing my thoughts sounds good and all, but how can I when the fear I feel is so great? I’ll have to wait until the fear stops. Then I’ll be ready to change and start going after my dreams.” 

As much as I wish I could tell you  differently, fear is never going to magically go away if you are trying something new and unfamiliar. Trust me, I searched for years. I wanted a new, exciting and fulfilling life, but I didn’t want to do it afraid. I hoped that if waited long enough, it would go away on its own. I wanted an instant fix to end the fear, but much to my dismay, there was none to be found.

So if this is currently you, you have two choices. The first choice is to keep giving in to fear by sticking with what feels safe and familiar. Although this path provides the comfort of safety, the consequence of choosing this path is that you will never see your dreams become a reality. 

Your other option is to bring fear along for the ride with you. Let it talk, let it bring its’ uncomfortable feelings, but keep going anyway. It’ll fight you kicking and screaming, and will list reason after reason why you shouldn’t try. It’ll beg and plead for you to quit, but I promise you, the longer you keep going, the weaker the fear will get. When it sees its’ efforts aren’t working, it’ll become smaller and smaller until one day you’ll look around and realize that the thing you feared so much isn’t really all that scary anymore. And the more you keep doing things afraid, the more you will begin to see fear for what it really is, simply a fleeting feeling. Fear cannot hurt you. Fear is only temporary. And it can only hold you back if you choose to let it. 

With that being said, I know it’s incredibly hard, and it isn’t something that happens overnight. But my biggest hope is that you will stop letting fear run your life. Stop letting fear win. Have the courage to believe in yourself and go after your dreams. You are so worthy of them. Be the person who decides to go for it. The only difference between those that lead successful lives, and those that don’t is people who choose to go after what they want day after day, even when the results aren’t immediate, because they believe with everything in them that they will manifest. If it worked for me, I know it will work for you!

As always, please leave a comment below or share my blog with others if this post resonated with you! Stay strong πŸ–€

KaraπŸŒΈβœ¨πŸ–€