6 Tips for Reinventing Your Monday

So every week as the  comments, memes and conversations start to circulate about the drag that is Monday, the problem solver within me gets all riled up. It drives me kind of crazy actually. Now, let me start by saying that I have spent hardly anytime doing the ‘9-5’ thing since I was in High School, but let me also say that it has been VERY intentional. I chose to live in alternative ways to the norm of going to college and working a desk job with benefits on purpose. Sure, there have been plenty of times over the years that I’ve felt like it would just be easier to show up somewhere, clock in, do my work and go home. But I knew I would hate it. So harder was still better to me if it kept me from the death that so many claim to relive 52 times a year. This was some really clear foresight on my part. I also don’t have a family to support or a spouse to contribute to. I don’t have student loan payments or much in the way of bills …..also intentional.  But if these are things that you do have to navigate and find yourself dreading the groundhog day that has become your life, here are somethings that may help to free you up from being on repeat.

6 Tips for Reinventing Your Monday

Stop Saying it Sucks

whiningIt was funny in Office Space, but in truth making a big deal about how bad Monday sucks only makes it suck more. For everyone. Even snarky sarcasm, as fun as it is, makes is worse. Not only does it drive the nail into the coffin of how less than fun it can be to have to report to work or school, but it’s not so great to hear about either. Everyone is trying their best to make it all work and no one needs extra reminders that it sucks. Venting is different if you’re really trying to get over some frustrating thing by getting it out, but remember the 3 complaint rule…..if you’ve complained about the same thing 3 times maybe it’s time to do something about it.

Start and End Your Day with Something Great

2013-07-29 10.46.52A little bit of great goes along way and there is definitely something to be said for having something to look forward to, so making a conscious effort to start and end the start of your week with your favorite things can really help to cushion the blow.  Even some small ritual like sitting with a cup of tea in the morning, or listening to your favorite album on the ride/walk into work can set a nice rhythm for the day. Make it something you enjoy and is just for you. Having a  really great moment in the morning can help to carry you thru most of the day, and where it starts to fade, let what your evening has in store carry you home. Make Monday nights ‘dinner and a movie’ night so you don’t have to do a thing. Or make it your evening of solitude and just relax. I have a client, who for years has scheduled their massage on Monday nights for this exact reason.

Do Something You've Never Done Before

curiosityFor so many, Mondays stand at the beginning of a week of monotony. Schedule and routine. Over and over.  So try adding in something you’ve never done before, or have have wanted to learn about. Make Monday the day you eat somewhere new on your lunch break. Take a different way home….what ever it is Be Curious. Curiosity creates a sense of adventure and adventure kills the mundane. I know we all have hopes for big adventures, but should never overlook the little ones.

Make Your Time Off Count

makeitcountNothing feels worse than being on the other end of time that was truly free and all ours and having not done a god damn thing with it. Or worse, done something we would have rather not, setting poor old Monday up for getting the brunt of our poor time management or misplaced priority. We’ve all done it, but please do try to cut it out. Make it a point to get a few things done that will make the week easier. Make some plans that will fill you up with the wealth that only friends and fun can pay and always be sure to take the time to rest and refuel from your weekend adventures so you’re fully stocked for what lies ahead.

Change Your Perspective

perspective‘If you Change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change”

Small changes in perspective go an incredibly long way. It’s easy to get attached to our struggle, which often keeps us from seeing how good we’ve actually got it, or from remembering all the ways our hard work will pay off. So consider for a moment what your life would be like if you stopped getting a paycheck? or if you were you who had to run the whole company? Try to find the ways, even if there are only a few that you’re actually benefited from your current situation, even if it is just for the sake of experience. You might have your appreciation renewed…..and if not? then proceed to the next tip.

Change Your Job

notsobadThen there are times that no amount of perspective shifting, or gratitude practice can change the fact that your job just fucking sucks and it it’s making you miserable. OR maybe it doesn’t totally suck but you’re still miserable because it’s not really what you want to be doing. So you can continue to work your ass off just to make your situation tolerable or start to consider how you’d rather spend your time and how you can to turn your life into your living. Start creating an exit plan and work on it every day. But remember that no amount of preparation can get you totally ready for your dreams to fully come true, so pick just a couple of goals to meet and then jump……before you jump out of your office window.

xoxo

and as always, take what you need and leave the rest for someone else

 

 

 

 

 

6 Tips for Healthy Shopping

healthy shopping

So Whole Foods Market has finally graced this town with it’s presence. Whoo-fucking-rah. The parking lot has been like a beehive since it’s opened and to call it ‘pretty busy’ would be an under statement. None the less I am very glad it’s here. It’s been something I know many people have been waiting for for a long time as there really has been no place in town that you could get all of your groceries if shopping organic, gluten free, or vegan is something you’ve committed to. At least it’s always been a multi-stop & shop event for me. and often included trips to the city to load up on the varieties of things just not available in these here parts. So no doubt there has been a buzz around town and it includes mixed reviews, but what it’s reminded me is that not everyone was lucky as I to be raised in a health conscious home and I often take for granted the things I know about shopping, cooking and eating healthy. So I thought I would put a 6 Tips together that touch on the most common things I’ve been hearing from people. But before I do, I want to mention/remind that Whole Foods is a great resource and I hope it helps to expand the number of people who make the shift to more conscious eating since it is practically a silver spoon for health food shopping, but our local stores are still here and need our support. I believe that there are plenty of people in this town and surrounding areas to support all of our markets and can’t help but feel like if more of the people who are packing the isles at the shiny new Whole Foods could have been doing more of their shopping at the local joints all along,  but with the remarkable success of the new Golden Corral Buffet it seems there is some more work to be done on finding value in healthy over heaping. Either way I just urge us all to remember the little guys that have been here for us all along. So these tips apply to shopping at any health food store and making healthier choices in general. And as always take what you need and leave the rest for someone else.

6 Tips for Healthy Shopping

1. Be Cost Effective

*photo of Emma Roberts*

The issue of cost is the number one thing I hear when people are talking about shopping at health food stores, especially Whole Foods and especially if they are comparing the receipt to the last one they got from Aldi. Yeah yeah, so it’s called Whole Paycheck and there is no doubt that I’ve bagged some serious loot into paper bags in those checkout lines, but for me the value is in how I feel over all. So for starters you’ve got to determine a personal value to what you choose to put in your body. Next, shop the sales. Sales are a real thing and they do make a difference. Not to mention by using what’s on sale to determine your meals for the week it can keep things different and interesting. Now I know this next one might seem sarcastic but I mean it…..don’t buy the $10 dollar Salted Dark Chocolate Carmel Truffles. Or do buy them, but don’t bitch about your bill. I am using these as an example for how shopping novelty foods like this gives shopping healthy a bad name. So if keeping a budget is an issue, than stick to the necessities. Lastly, follow the serving sizes. Actually I think this point is relevant enough to be it’s own tip……

2. Portion Control

2013-03-17 18.54.34This seems obvious to read and yet so few of us really do it and nobody likes it when I bring it up, but it is so relevant to not only saving money, but more importantly BEING healthy. The way that portion sizes have mutated over the years is really grotesque and yet it is such a hard habit to break. I could probably do a 6 Tips on this alone. But for right now I offer this. Start with just 1 day and not only read, but also EAT the serving size for everything you eat. Get out the measuring cups and do it for all the ingredients you are using. Because although you may read the nutrition facts, those numbers are irrelevant if you are consuming 2, 3 or even 4 times the amount of food they are talking about. If you are out to eat order a to-go box when you order your meal and put half of your food in it  before you even start eating. This way you won’t leave stuffed AND you have another meal which just cut the cost in half or use smaller plates and bowls when eating at home.The first day is really just to bring awareness to the places where we are really going over board, like when I actually measured what a serving size of cereal looked like…….ey ey ey. (let’s just say I had to retire my mixing bowl) Or when I noticed that my favorite $9 drink was actually intended as 2 servings making it more bang for the buck. So once you’ve made it thru day one you probably feel hungry and that’s okay, you will survive I assure you. Have a glass of water…or eight. Make a cup of tea. These are great ways to combat hunger. because the goal is getting thru at least 3 days, but ideally a week of of this to really see how much MORE we’ve been consuming than we even realized. In this time you will be challenged no doubt, but ultimately you will be rewarded. The rewards come different for everyone but can, in a pretty short amount of time, include some serious weight loss, more energy, better digestion, healthier skin and more money in your pocket. All things I think most of us would welcome, but they don’t stop there. More and more information is circulating about the bigger picture and long term benefits of eating less. Like lowering the chances of disease, pain and premature aging. So give it a try and let me know what you discover.

3. Eat the Rainbow

Food isn’t different colors just for show. Color represents nutrients and every color has a variety of benefits. Keeping in mind that you want lots of color on your plate and it starts with what you put in your cart. Here is a really great article on Eating the Rainbow from Wholeliving.com

3. Shop from the Outside In

Shopping from the outside in was a tip I learned in the nutrition portion of the Natural Health Practitioner program I did a few years ago and I think it’s the best way for someone who wants to eat healthier to get started. It means, do the majority of your shopping from the perimeter of the store as this is where all the fresh food is and really only enter the maze of the food isles if absolutely necessary. It’s in the process of packaging and preserving that food really gets messed up and typically the shorter the shelf life, the more straight forward and nutrient rich it is.Typically. Which leads us right into tip four.

4. Don't Assume

The assumption that if you buy it from a health food store, or it says ‘All Natural’ on the package than it’s good for you is, to put it plainly, wrong. It is unfortunate both that, this is not the case and reversely, that we’ve become so lazy or gullible (maybe one comes with the other) to believe such a thing exists. But I do understand that if you just don’t know, then you do the best with what you do know. I’ve been there. Both naive and lazy, so I get it. But common sense would tell you that a cookie, is a cookie is a cookie. Buying it from a health food store might mean you are getting higher quality ingredients, or that it fits within an otherwise restricted diet due to allergy, but unless you are really paying attention to the contents of these items than you’re not necessarily ‘eating healthier’. In fact, outside of the time I’ve spent being drunk and using drugs, the time that I spent as a vegan in my early 20’s maybe the most unhealthy I have been. I was uneducated and lazy and ended up just eating a bunch of shit because it was ‘vegan’. Oh the irony. So be sure to educate yourself and use your integrity when making the switch to a more natural diet. It’s sad but true, we just can’t trust everything. So seek out information from multiple sources and see what matches up and always run it past your common sense. You know more than you think you do.

5. Good for You Does not Mean it is Good for YOU

This is one that’s hung me up multiple times and often takes trial and error to really figure out. But as far as I am concerned, the most valuable resource for knowing what is good for us is our own body. One of the other very important pieces of information I’ve gained through my education, is the holistically based idea that symptoms are the bodies request for a change. And much like the way we learn to understand our pets by the way they move around or to be able translate whatever the hell it is a crying baby wants, we need to be able to do this with our own bodies. The power of knowledge that is gained by understanding what it is that causes negative reactions and positive responses within us is immeasurable. The tricky part is finding the baseline for what feeling good even is. You know it in hindsight, after giving up soda or quitting smoking. But what about the things that are intended to be good for you? Carrot juice gives me a headache, too much sugar. But how many times did I drink it because it was ‘good for me’? My mom is allergic to mangoes. Near death experience allergic, so it didn’t take repetition for her to name them not good for her. But still I am amazed at the number of people who choke down gross shit, get a stomach ache, feel bad and then do it again because it is supposed to be good for you. Pushing your comfort zones and torture are totally different things not to mention using something that your body doesn’t respond well to, good or bad for you, is abuse. So as you introduce new habits and foods into your life pay attention to what it is actually doing, not just what it’s supposed to do.

6. Redefine your Rewards

2012-05-11 15.45.09This last one is another one I could write a solo piece about as this one applies to so much more that just food but for the sake of this that’s what I will focus on. The tip is to rewrite what we consider a reward. Our personal reward systems are, in my opinion, one of the biggest mind fucks that exist. The things we tell ourselves we ‘deserve’ and the steel cable of attachment we create with these things is really remarkable. But to do the work to rewrite the mental code for what we consider a treat or reward, so that it reflects and honors whatever it is we just worked so hard  to do results in such a better feeling of accomplishment. There have been so many deals I’ve made with myself over the years it’s absurd, but some that I know are common for other people too are things like ” I worked out so hard this week, I EARNED this piece of cake” or “I had such a stressful day at work, I DESERVE to get drunk tonight.” And in the moment it might feel like a kind of victory, but if we are really honest with ourselves I think it pretty likely that after it’s all said and done we feel far less rewarded. So where does one even start? What we buy while shopping can play a huge part in starting to make these changes. Now I can only speak for me, but if it is in my apartment I will eat it and so if I don’t want to eat it, than I just don’t buy it. Even if I had ‘special plans’ for something, if I come home tired and hungry and seeking comfort I will eat what ever is easiest and seems most satisfying in that moment. So it is while you are shopping that you must think about not just what something tastes like, but what you will feel like AFTER you eat it. It’s like taking care of your future self. This is why I stock up on fruit and veggie juices, healthy food bars, nuts and fresh fruit. Things that are easy to grab not feel bad about later. Changing compulsive habits takes time and to expect yourself to change your habits without changing your environment is torture and self sabotage. Be good to you.

6 Tips for Returning to the Present Moment

We are most effective in our lives when we live them moment by moment…..

I really hadn’t realized how far off course my mind had gotten. Priorities all switched around, tricks, lies and this bartering system I have been working on myself is really something. I’ve also made a pretty good mess of some more tangible things that are going to require some mending, so really a minute is all I can handle before I start to stress out.

So living in the moment eh? Taking each moment as it comes, savoring the small things, working through the tough stuff. Giving no Fucks, being untethered from the past and worry-free about the future. Sounds pretty damn good to me, but does anyone actually LIVE like that? I mean is it humanly possible to remain in such a ‘present’ state as not to get caught up in the traps we set for ourselves and each other? Hell no, I call that bluff. I mean there are definitely those who seem to be with it more often than others, and some who can stay longer than most but it’s inevitable that at some point, everyone falls outside of the moment. So it seems it’s really less about staying and more about returning. Over and Over.

Now I’ll be damned if that doesn’t seem like a lot of work, to always be paying so much attention. But I figure it’s like most anything else, the more disciplined and consistent you are with your practice the better you become at it and the less like work it seems. As of late, one moment at a time is the only way I am currently making it thru my days, and it’s working great.

*Not to mention, that whatever staying power made it possible for me to make it through ALL of Bad Lieutenant with Nicholas Cage should be more then enough to keep me alive and awake during 60 seconds of my own life a few times over*

So I’ve put together a few tips to share that I find most helpful for bringing myself back to the moment I am in and as always just take what you need and leave the rest for someone else.

6 Tips for Returning to the Present Moment

 

1. Breathe Deeply

Seriously do it right now. Breathe all the way in, hold it for a second and let it all the way back out. It always feels good and is one of the easiest things we can do to get back in the moment, but making sure we actually do it is another story. Basically our bodies and brains require oxygen to survive therefore making the basic act of breathing practically involuntary, but the breaths that our bodies take without conscious effort are enough to do only that, survive. Not thrive. Truly full and deep breaths will bring your posture upright, bring relief to areas of tightness in your body, calm stress, clear your mind and give you energy. I could go on but ultimately the point is that the simple act of intentional breath, full and slow until your belly and lungs are full, bringing your body up right and even letting your eyes close is often all it takes to bring you right back to solid ground. If you are feeling anxious, sad or angry a deep breath can be the difference between feeling strong enough to move past it or responding badly…..but even when you feel good, taking a deep breath is a great way to relish in and savor the feeling.

2. Focus on Yourself

This is some elementary school shit but ironically seems even more relevant as an adult. The lesson is of bringing yourself back to the moment and what’s most important in it. YOU. How much time is spent wondering what someone else is doing, or worse, feeling jealous or competitive of what they are doing rather than just doing things yourself? How much energy gets exerted either judging other people’s choices, or trying to fix their problems in order to justify or avoid your own? Well cut it out. Consuming yourself with other people’s bizznass is one of the quickest ways to get caught up where you don’t belong. At the end of the day the only person you have any real influence over is yourself. If you catch yourself talking shit, obsessing, feeling out of control or over extending on someone else’s behalf take it as a gentle reminder to turn your attention inward. Even one moment spent attending to your self is more productive and effective than hours spent focusing on someone else.

3. Give No Fucks

summer

This is the other side of the ‘focus on yourself’ coin, which protects us from wasting energy on others. But giving no fucks protects us from worrying about if anyone cares what we’ve chosen to do with said energy. I am a big fan of giving no fucks and there is plenty of information to support why. There’s a quote to the effect of ‘no matter what you do, someone won’t like you for it’ so why end up just driving yourself mad trying? We’ve all had experiences with how trying to impress or please others really only gets us stuck either reliving things that are already done, or anticipating the future. But even with how much better it can make us feel it is still difficult to do since the risks of carrying the attitude of giving no fucks include loosing some ‘friends’ when they no longer receive your attention, feeling lonely and the worst of them all……. just becoming a cynical asshole (which seems to be a growing trend among people who use the term). Ultimately the goal is to be able to surround yourself with people who support your personal endeavors but ALSO give no fucks because they are focused on working on their OWN lives, to feel less need for validation from outside sources because you’re providing it for yourself and to be realistic about human nature but not hardening to the point of loosing hope that there are still great things happening in the world.  It should feel more light hearted and care free than bitter and jaded.

4. Un Plug

This tip expands on the coat tales of the previous two, because whenever I think of how much time I spend just staring at a computer screen, be it on my laptop or phone I get downright queasy. It’s gross how addicted I am to checking updates, just scrolling through random shit and being totally enthralled by the manufactured windows into other people’s lives. I just keep waiting for someone to DO something. There is a thin line between how helpful and hurtful technology is. For as easy as it’s made it to connect with one another, seek out information and help us to accomplish amazing things it sure does seem to be misused to avoid our realities and waste time. Have you ever thought about how many minutes you spend online instead of outside? How different would your days look if you had only limited access to a phone, the internet, or even none at all. Spending quality time with ourselves, friends and family and being inspired by and experiencing what is real and tangible in front of us is what makes our lives full and gratifying. So try it out. Start with just going for a walk without your phone, or not getting on the computer for an entire night. Eventually you might even enjoy regular blocks of time when you are just totally signed off and completely tuned in.

5. Get Organized

Stuff, stuff, stuff. I am a collector of things, but clutter distracts the shit out of me. I have really had to get organized so all the treasures I like to keep around remain inspiring and not suffocating. I can also be very forgetful, easily distracted and a procrastinator making  important “Must Do” things easy to get lost in the mix & making it that much easier to fall behind. Stress Central. When getting started, it helps to not think about it as minimizing, or having to ‘get rid of’ anything. Simplifying is a natural by-product of just putting things in their places. Sort of a survival of the best and most important theory, if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t stay. What can start with fixing up the pile of random shit on your desk could turn into a whole new way of managing the things in your life. Using a hanger for your coat instead of the back of the chair, setting reminders in your calendar for places you have you be, or even just things you want to do so you don’t have to remember. What ever getting organized looks like for you, let it help you to not feel like you have to juggle a million things. Put a system in place that you can trust so you can clear your mind of it.

6. Rituals

This is a big one, rituals are sacred things, but they don’t have to look like a seance, or take up hardly any time. By definition, a ritual is an act or set of actions performed mainly for a symbolic purpose. So for the sake of this list and the purpose of bringing yourself back to the present, the act could be just about anything since what it reminds you is what counts. Initially I got all caught up in the ceremonial idea of this, adding things to my days that, although were well intentioned, were too complicated so I often ended up overwhelmed, or not following thru and defeating the whole point. Then one day I was inspired to just make things I do anyway, everyday, mean more. Stopping at stop lights became my reminder to breathe deeply. Stepping up my skin care regime when washing my face in the morning and before bed became a time to feel loved by myself for taking such good care. Even just these subtle changes have made such a difference. Essentially setting rituals thru out your day gives you check points, that remind you to check in. Whether it’s giving symbolic reason to which of the side of the bed you get out of, letting the cup of coffee or tea you drink every morning anyway, represent spending time with yourself before anyone else, or your making your commute to work a time of quiet and solitude, it will make a difference. It’s a very rich and empowering feeling to do things with intention and in your own honor. Treat yourself……it will only take a minute. xo

 

 

 

6 Tips for Embracing Your Dark Passenger

The first time I heard Dexter describe his Dark Passenger I was mesmerized, identifying with every word. Then the scene changed and I thought, “What the fuck? Did I just come to another level of understanding about myself by watching an HBO series about a serial killer? A Sociopath? Yes, yes I did. And although I discovered this years ago and the verdict on what exactly this means to me is still out, the truth remains that I live my life somewhere in the middle. The thing is everyone has a dark side, it is human nature, but experiences this truth about themselves differently. For some it might never grow to be more than the temptation to eat a second piece of cake even though you’re already full, when for others it is an all consuming battle that wages within. It may have taken years of events and experiences before you even noticed it was there, or it may have happened instantly. Whatever your experience with this, the fact is, it doesn’t just disappear and if understood can be quiet helpful.

I wrote that last Sunday, fully expecting to then move into a lighthearted and wildly useful 6 Tips for Embracing Your Dark Passenger post, but when I hit tab it hit me back. And with the cursor blinking I was overcome with the realization, swift and unexpected that, “This is my own deepest struggle, and wildly personal. So please excuse my absence, I’ve been digging deep. And as I said in the intro, everyone experiences their darkness differently and for different reasons, so just take what you need and leave the rest for someone else.

6 Tips for Embracing Your Dark Passenger

 1. Accept that it Exists:

As much as I try to steer clear of the traditional 12 step models, the theory that admitting you have a problem as a starting place is pretty relevant. The difference here, and for me was to stop calling it a problem, or talking so much about powerlessness. This starts you off in the red right away and only makes the process more difficult. Instead just acknowledging that it exists gives you access to it. It makes it just as real as anything else about you. For it has been in my personal experience that, just like renting an apartment vs owning a home. You can’t alter it until it’s yours. Two major things can happen by doing just this. The first being that, despite how hard or ugly it is, you will feel some relief instantly, no longer having to skirt around the truth. The second being that you might actually find that there are some things you have no desire or intention to change, but they are all tangled up with other things that you would like to rid yourself of that you feel too divided to know where to begin. Now that you’re looking at it, you can get organized.

2. Don’t let it define you.

“sometimes feeling trapped is less about the walls on the outside”

This is the chaser for the shot of truth you just took in the first tip and a commonly over looked step in the process. It’s easy when you are putting your efforts towards something to narrow your focus on it, but it is really important to keep a wide view of yourself while digging in the muck. Not to mention no matter how small it starts, the deeper you keep it locked up or hidden the more it grows to feel like it holds more stock in your character then it actually does. Without having an accurate perspective of ALL that you are, the outcome of your work can backfire. It helps if you have someone who knows you well to help keep you clear headed and give you a little boost, but ultimately the goal is to be able to self correct one sided thinking. You are never just good or bad.

3. Know Your Limits

Temptations are strong, but once you’ve established a direct link to your intuition you hold the power of discerning their value. This understanding comes more from trial and error experience than from analysis, but if there are things you know will trigger you then be smart. Keep mental notes and apply them when the situations arise. The goal is to understand yourself so that you may always be in charge of your choices.

4. Learn From It

My favorite friend/reader comment on the subject was from my friend Rhea, who said, “my darker side’s name is Bertha. She comes out to defend me. I used to think she was just bitchy. Now I know someone has stepped on my toes.”

In most cases our “darker sides” are born for our protection. Out of pain, fear, or instinct there is much you can learn from the moments you are driven to move from the light into your shadow. It can be like a warning, or a guide to keep you from harm, and in many cases can help to open you up to a more balanced self. For it is in my personal opinion that much of what today’s mainstream society deems “bad” bares a close resemblance to that which makes us alive. With so much emphasis on “being a good person” we’ve lost sight of being a “real” person.

5. Get on the Same Side.

So how can you use your dark side constructively to achieve your goals? It takes having common interests. The common interest is you. Once you are no longer at odds within, the obstacles of life seem far less daunting.

6. Create a Code

A personal code, or creed is a thing of great value when working to live with your whole self. It can aid as a reminder of your intentions, desires and purpose as well as a reference to check in with when you feel yourself getting off course, in either direction. A system of accountability and inspiration. It can be long and detailed or consist of just a few words, either way it should ignite you, all of you, every time you read it.

6 Tips for Embracing Your Individuality

❝ Our individuality is all, all, that we have. There are those who barter it for security, those who repress it for what they believe is the betterment of the whole society, but blessed in the twinkle of the morning star is the one who nurtures it and rides it in, in grace and love and wit, from peculiar station to peculiar station along life’s bittersweet route. ❞
Tom Robbins (Jitterbug Perfume)

 There have been many times that I have felt just “too weird.” To be somewhere, with them, here, with you, at all. Not too tall, not too loud, not too pretty, not too obvious…..just too fucking weird. Then one day I looked around and realized,

there is no way I’d rather be than the way I am.

Suddenly what used to feel like “too weird” became Just Right…

6 Tips for Embracing Your Individuality

1. Remember NOTICING is different than JUDGING (and being noticed is really quite an honor.)

It’s easy to assume judgement is what is behind someone’s eyes when you walk in the room. Especially when their expression is anything other than obvious delight. A blank stare leaves so much space for our insecurities to project themselves right into our reality. But is it that hard to believe that behind the blank stare is awe? That you are so interesting, unique and stunning that they can’t help but take you all in? Truth is, we’ve become so dependent on outward and gratuitous validation that we’ve lost sight of the incredible value and compliment that just being noticed and acknowledged possess. So get the fear of what others might be thinking out of the way, right away. In fact, while you have their attention let them see you shine. Smile, wink, hell do a little dance. What ever you do, own your presence. Make it clear that YOU like what they see.  With that being said….

2. The more accepting we are of others, the more comfortable we become within ourselves.

There’s whole books on this, but it all comes down to you creating your own reality and if your a steaming pile of scrutiny, than that is the world you live in. In fact a lot of the things we judge most harshly about other people are the things we dislike or fear others will dislike about us. So a great way to grow to love your uniqueness is to start acknowledging and appreciating it within others. Reach out to someone else with acceptance, intrigue and admiration. It’s a powerful thing when you recognize pieces of yourself in them.

3. Make it sexy.

So your weird, that’s great! Why not be sexy weird, or come to think if it, weirdly sexy…..Turn on the heat, reel ’em in, make ’em watch. I love it when I meet someone that is clearly moving to their own beat, and they know it, they own it, and it is so hot. Work to view the things that make you different as the things that give you your heat. Feeling sexy is wildly empowering and note that fascination, curiosity and hunger for discovery are driving forces behind desire. The most rare and distinct creatures on this earth aren’t called exotic for nothing.

4. Learn the Facts

 Take some time to learn more about the things you like, the interests you have, the person you are. Read a book, watch a documentary, join a club, ask questions. It’s hard to feel sure about your quirks when you don’t fully understand them. Knowledge is power. Making the effort to get to know yourself better can be a huge boost to your confidence, it can help you to discern if you really like something, or just the idea of it and every time I come away from a conversation in which I was able to express myself intelligently and educate someone else about an interest of mine, I feel that much more sure about who I am.

5. Surround yourself with people who accept you.

The best people to have in your life are the ones who accept you for who you are. They have their own lives, interests and self awareness, and need nothing more from you than to be yourself. This is the sister tip to #2. Just as we can learn to accept yourselves by accepting other people, we can also learn a lot from the people who love us. Really listen when a close friend pays you a compliment, or gives you encouragement. Believe what they are saying. When someone offers you appreciation for your help, receive it, don’t brush it off. Be lifted from uncertainty by allowing the praise and belief that others feel for you to go straight to your heart (not your head).

6. Keep it Simple

Keeping things simple on the outside, helps to keep it simple on the inside. When we become surrounded with clutter, pressed for time and consumed with that which does not concern us we spend less time nurturing what exists within us and there is plenty there. Seek the courage you need to step out of the crowd and into yourself. Embrace your individuality