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.

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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 ❤

The Transformative Belief Essential for Everyone: I Am Enough

I am not enough.

Did you know that this belief about oneself is the common denominator of all other negative thoughts?

I love listening to any podcast that teaches self-transformation. I am always striving to learn about how to become a more peace-filled, joyful person. One of my absolute favorite people to listen to when I need some guidance is world-renowned psychologist Marisa Peer. From the first time I listened to her, I really resonated with what she had to say. After witnessing how simple yet effective her methods are and how well they have worked when applying them to my own life, I am astonished that so few therapists teach similar strategies to their clients.

Marisa’s whole philosophy on living a happier, confident, anxiety-free life is fundamentally rooted on these three words: I am enough.

A phrase so simple that its meaning is often lost. This is unfortunate, because the words ‘I am enough’ contain the power to absolutely transform your life if you make it a part of your core belief system.

I am enough. Say this to yourself, either in your mind or out loud. It sounds a bit silly or maybe even uncomfortable, doesn’t it?

This is because deep down in our subconscious mind where our core belief system resides, ‘I am enough’ is not there. The majority of us don’t believe that phrase to be truth.

It is not your fault that you don’t believe it. We live in a society that sends out very contradictory messages. Confidence is something to be admired, but be careful, because too much confidence is not okay. It’s often considered conceited or selfish. Most of us do not want to be seen this way. Our society also puts great pressure on women and men to be attractive and successful, and it promotes the need to constantly get more of everything. Our beliefs are a reflection of our personal experiences and what we have been taught by society. Ultimately, our beliefs create our reality. So, if you wonder why you experience fear, anxiety, depression, or a constant sense of wanting more all the time, these are the reasons.

We tell ourselves we want to be happy, but we go about it in an entirely wrong way simply out of ignorance. We think that just maybe if we gain the recognition, the likes, the promotion, the money, the dream spouse, tons of friends, the big house or the fancy car, then we will be fulfilled and complete, but we soon come to find that we never are. Eventually, we get used to everything, and thus, you very well could achieve every dream you ever wanted and it still wouldn’t be enough. You will then very likely become even more depressed, because after you get everything you ever thought you wanted and you’re still not happy – what is left? What’s the point?

Like any substantial problem, in order to truly fix it, you cannot just fix the surface or put a band-aid on it. Instead, you have to dig deep down to the root of the issue, pull it out completely and replace it with truth. In this case, trying to fix the surface would be telling yourself things like, “Don’t be anxious.” “Why are you depressed? You have nothing to be sad about.” “I’ll just focus all my energy on working hard and getting what I want. After I get it, then I will be happy.” These things we frequently tell ourselves in an attempt to feel better don’t work, because the core issue hasn’t been uprooted, seen as a lie, and then replaced with truth. The core issue of course is the belief that we alone are not enough.

If you truly believe you are enough, you will not need anything. You will not crave outside validation, fancy things, or a high status. You will still receive some of these things, as true security in oneself is a magnet for manifestation (but that’s a whole other topic for another day 🙂 ), and yes, it will be nice to get those things, and yes, you should display gratitude for them if you receive them. But if you lose them, or don’t get them on time, or in the way in which you yourself would choose, it will not rattle you. This is because you know that you are enough, just as you are, and you always will be. It doesn’t matter if others reject you if you believe you are enough. You won’t lose anything. If people say nice things to you, that’s great, but that’s extra; you don’t need it. Your happiness doesn’t depend upon their approval.

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The funny thing about the mind is that it doesn’t care what you tell it, it simply believes whatever you tell it. Think about it. If you continuously tell yourself things like, “I’m so stupid. I could never do that. My life is pathetic. She’s so much better/smarter/prettier than me. He’s so much more successful than me. I’m worthless.” After thinking thoughts like this enough times, your mind is going to internalize it, and it will become an automatic thought response. With negative thoughts being your mind’s automatic response to any given situation, how do you think you are going to feel, both mentally and physically? Obviously not great, because your emotions are bodily projections of your thoughts. This is why we often feel sick or pain for unexplained reasons. It stems from too many negative thoughts over a substantial period of time, looking for an outlet.

Fortunately, there is a cure, and it really is quite simple. Since the mind believes whatever you tell it, begin to tell it great things!

As I mentioned, in the beginning of your practice this may be uncomfortable or difficult. You see, our minds like what is familiar and they avoid what is unfamiliar. Because praising ourselves is usually very foreign to our minds, our minds don’t like it. It forces them to work harder, and to be honest, our minds are quite lazy. They want to take the path of least resistance, the one that has been traveled many times over, because it’s easier.

But you are not your mind. You have a mind, and thus you can tell it what to do, with practice. So tell your mind you don’t care if it is uncomfortable or has to work a bit, you are going to praise and love yourself from now on. As Marisa Peer says, “Make praise familiar, and criticism unfamiliar.” You do this by praising yourself over and over again until it becomes the norm.

Teach your mind to only accept praise and to reject destructive words. How many times has someone complimented you, only for you to say something negative about yourself back? While you may think this is humble, it’s really only hurting you as it reinforces the mind’s negative beliefs about yourself, whether you consciously realize it or not. So the next time someone gives you a compliment, stop hindering your happiness and just take it! On the other hand, if someone says something negative to you or about you, choose not to let it in. If someone told you they hated you because you were an alien from Mars, would it hurt you all that much? No, because you know without a doubt that what they said is not true. You would just think they are some crazy person talking nonsense. Therefore, if you know without a doubt that their intentionally hurtful words, whatever they may be, (“You are so stupid, I hate you, nobody likes you, etc.”) aren’t true, then you can brush them off and move on about your day, completely unaffected.

Do you ever find yourself upset because you feel unappreciated or not acknowledged? What do you wish others would say to you? Do you wish your boss would tell you what a great job you’ve done, or do you wish your partner would tell you how attractive you are? Instead of waiting around for others to say it to you, say it to yourself. Yes, it might feel fake and forced at first, but over time it will rewire you mindset and will become a part of your core belief system. And again, if you do this, then you won’t crave outside validation in order to feel okay with yourself, because you will already be okay with yourself.

Your mind responds to two things, the pictures you make in your head and the words you say to yourself. Think about it- the things you’ve done in your life that beforehand you felt extremely excited about- what were you telling yourself? What were you picturing in your mind? I highly doubt if you went into something feeling excited that you were picturing embarrassment, failure, death, or any other negative scenario prior to the actual event. I also highly doubt that you were telling yourself how afraid you were, or how stupid you were going to look while doing it. You can’t have negative thoughts and a happy life!

So often, we wonder why we say we want something, but when the time comes around to do it, we feel another way. It’s all because of the pictures we have created in our head and the words we have said to ourselves about the situation.

Want to get in shape but never do? What have you been telling yourself?

If it is along the lines of “I want to workout….but it’s so hard, I don’t have time, I don’t feel like it, I dread exercising, I’m so out of shape it will take forever to reach my goals… etc.” Then guess what? Your mind thinks, “Working out?! You make that sound hard and painful. My job is to avoid all things painful. Therefore, I’m not going to give you any motivation whatsoever to do it!” And thus, we don’t work out, or we give up very quickly upon starting.

Or perhaps you want to move up in your career, but it requires a great deal of harder work than you are used to, or public speaking which terrifies you, or something else that makes you uncomfortable. You think you want it so bad, but every time you get ready to go to work or do what you need to do to get to where you want to be, you start to feel sick. Headache, nauseous, shaky, whatever form it comes in for you…why do you feel this way? Well, once again, what have you been telling yourself or picturing in your mind about this situation? More than likely, the accumulation of negative thoughts and pictures are the cause of these feelings.

So what do you do when you want to do something, but you can’t get your motivation up or your fear down? Tell yourself, “I’m choosing to do this, I’m choosing to feel great about this. I want to work, I want to reach my goals. I enjoy doing everything it takes to get to where I want to be.” Your brain will work with you when it thinks it’s doing what you like or when it thinks it’s doing the choosing. So tell your brain what you want, don’t let it tell you. You are so much stronger than any thoughts that come to you. Eventually, after much practice, once your mind is familiar with positive thoughts, negative thoughts may try to come, but they won’t stick. Your mind will instantly reject them because they won’t be aligned with your core belief system that says you are enough, and therefore you will be able to wave them away without any sort of confusion or resistance.

In conclusion, tell yourself “I am enough” repeatedly, everyday. Write it down. Post it in random places around your house. Set an alert on your phone that tells you this, whatever helps you. I promise the more you see it and speak it, the more you will begin to believe it. And once you start to believe it, your whole life will change. You will be happier, satisfied, and more confident. I am a prime example of someone who was always anxious, always unhappy, super insecure, and to be honest, felt quite hopeless. Now, I am the opposite of all of those things. Learning to love myself set me free.

To learn more about the concept of ‘being enough’, watch the full-length video featured below!

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. 🖤