Happiness is Learning to Let Go

Happiness is learning to let go...

Of the trivial things that do not matter.
Of the things you can't control.
Of the past.
Of the difficult experiences you've already lived through (no need to keep re-living them).
Of the things in your life that bring negativity.
Of the people who aren't good for you.
Of a false sense of control. You'll be a lot more in control if you let go of anxiety and the need to have control over every little thing. With flexibility comes freedom!
Of resentment.
Of grudges.
Of caring what others think of you and your life.
Of the need to be liked by everyone.
Of the need to please everyone.
Of perfectionism.
Of ridiculously high expectations.
Of those childhood ideas of what you thought your life would be like.
Of your annoyance at the jerk that rode your ass all the way to work this morning.
Of guilt.
Of shame.
Of the negative committee that meets inside your head. Tell them to shut up and go away.

It's not a crime to experience these things, but why hold onto things that get in the way of your happiness?

I will never understand why we as humans have a tendency to hold onto things that do not serve us - even things that hold us back in life and harm us - things that keep us stuck in feelings of anger, frustration, pain, loneliness, sadness, and so on.

Are we looking for a crutch or an excuse in case we fail or something goes wrong? This could be seen as a protective mechanism, but how is this serving us? Doesn't hanging onto these things cause us to repeat unhealthy behavioral and emotional patterns, keeping us unhappy? Or maybe we hang onto things because it somehow feels safe and gives us a false sense of security, because these things are familiar?

There are probably many explanations, again, which I will never understand. I too have a tendency to hang onto things - there are things I have a tremendous amount of difficulty
letting go of. Being able to let go of things, I am learning, takes a lot of practice. This is certainly true for me. I saw a quote recently that I'd like to leave you with today. I'm not sure
where it came from but it seems very fitting and I think just reading this quote is cathartic: “sometimes you must let go of something, for the simple reason that it is heavy.”

What can you let go of today?

Be Well,

xoxo Allison

Perfectionism is Insanity

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Essentially, perfectionism is a form of this. If you are striving toward perfection (a state of being "entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings; accurate, exact, or correct in every detail", from dictionary.com), you will get the same result every single time: imperfection! This is insane! And you may even try to go about things differently, but if your expectation is perfection in a literal or objective sense, you will NEVER achieve it. Perfection actually doesn't exist because... 

Perfection is not an objective or universal ideal or quality. With any quality, characteristic, skill, accomplishment, or experience, there will never be a universally agreed upon definition of what is perfect. What constitutes perfection is a personal opinion and a subjective perception. We all see the world and people very differently. We all have very different opinions about what is ideal, desirable, correct, or even flawless. Therefore, again, it does not exist.

PERFECTION IS SOMETHING WE FORM IN OUR OWN MINDS.

Perfectionism is something so many of us struggle with, in the sense that we often have unrealistic expectations. It is a false sense of control, combined with an experience in which we are set up to feel that nothing we do is ever good enough, and we as a person are never good enough.

The other really important thing to consider (which I have preached out previously), is that it can be a healthy and positive thing to want to improve ourselves. For, if we did indeed believe that we were "perfect" or that something we had accomplished was "perfect" then we would not see any reason to continue improving ourselves. The amazing thing about being a human is that we are imperfect and flawed, and that we have the opportunity to improve ourselves throughout our lives. Part if this is improving our ability to love and accept ourselves. When we accept that we are imperfect, we allow ourselves to grow. Be a wildflower. Be hardy in your ability to grow in unexpected and difficult places.

I will leave you with one final quote that sums up my beliefs about perfectionism, and emphasizes the value I place on self-awareness. Be good to yourself today and every day.

"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." -Leonard Cohen

xoxo Allison

How to Deal with Insecurity using Self-Talk

 ©Basically Happy™

©Basically Happy™

Yesterday we talked about insecurity. Insecurity is a necessary and inevitable human experience. It is "normal" and expected. Feelings of insecurity actually provide us with an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and grow and evolve as people... IF we are willing to (1) acknowledge the insecurities (2) try to understand them (3) try to learn from them (4) be willing to let them go. 

Today is all about how to deal with the insecurities we feel, by breaking down how we treat ourselves internally. It is important to remember that treating ourselves well is one of the best things we can do for our mental health, and it pertains to both our physical bodies and our mental and emotional selves. How you talk to yourself is no less important than diet, exercise, and rest. This is the focus of today's article.

Self-talk is simply this: what we say to ourselves! Self-talk can be both positive (healthy/helpful) or negative (unhealthy/unhelpful). It is important to examine the things we tell ourselves, both positive and negative. Sometimes the messages we think are positive end up not being accurate or helpful at all!

For the purposes of dealing with insecurity through self-talk, I'll break things down into two separate processes. This is the typical process I go through if I am continuing to struggle with feelings of insecurity in a particular area of myself/my life, or just in general.

The first process in developing truly positive and helpful self-talk:

1. AWARENESS: be willing and able to examine your own thoughts. Ask yourself: what are the things you are telling yourself, either about yourself or about your ability to approach a situation. In other words, what are the messages you tell yourself? 

2. Try to identify where these messages came from. A past experience? Directly from someone else? From family generational patterns? From what you perceived society communicates? From your core belief system about yourself and about life? From a higher power (if that's what you believe)?

3. Ask yourself: Is it true? You must be willing to be SUPER honest with yourself here!

4. Ask yourself: how is this message serving me? How is it working for me to tell myself these things? Is it a band-aid and makes me feel better temporarily, and then the same insecurity pops up again in a different situation, even louder than before? Is it making me feel worse? Is it creating additional unhelpful thoughts, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, or leading me to engage in unhealthy behavior patterns? Or is it truly helping me move past the current feeling of insecurity and difficulty, allowing me to learn more about myself and my needs and grow as a person?

The second process in developing truly positive and helpful self-talk:

1. Choose to make an effort to show yourself love, kindness, compassion, acceptance, respect, forgiveness, and patience. You will never get to a point in which you do these things 100% of the time. It's not about getting to 100%. It's about the effort, and daily effort. If you commit to this CHOICE, you will have no problem developing patterns of positive self-talk!

2. Learn to be okay with imperfection. You are not perfect. If there was such a thing as perfect, it would be boring and if you were perfect, there would be no reason to grow and you would basically be stuck in one place for the rest of your life. When we can accept our imperfections, flaws, weaknesses, challenges, downfalls, etc., we can work to improve! It is the lack of acknowledging our humanness that keeps us stuck in unhealthy emotional and behavioral patterns.

3. Refer back to step 4 of the first process. You'll need to identify the messages that need to be tossed in the trash and the messaged that can be salvaged. For the messages that need to be trashed, try this message: "you are no longer helpful or needed, and you can go now" and allow yourself to let it go. Picture that thought leaving your mind and body and simply disappearing, or maybe going into a giant trash bin, or down a garbage disposal - whatever you need to do with the thought. This will take practice! I suggest meditation and visualization, it works wonders for me. Don't forget how powerful your brain is. You ARE able to let these thoughts go! 

4. Take the "salvaged messages" and tweak them in ways that are helpful to you. What do you truly need to hear? To modify these existing messages and to create new positive self-talk messages, look for inspiration and suggestions from your loved ones, mentors, or positive material online. (Hint: feel free to use the photo I posted with this blog, and modify it to yourself and your needs). Maybe you simply need to hear from yourself, "you are okay, and you are loved." Write all of these positive self-talk messages down. Use a journal if you'd like. Write them on your bathroom mirror. Change the background on your phone or computer. Make these messages visible to you on a daily basis, and state these as affirmations to yourself every single day. You may not believe yourself at first, but with practice, repetition, and consistency, I promise that you will start to feel differently. The messages will begin to integrate into your everyday thoughts, and hopefully become somewhat automatic.

*REMEMBER that this is NOT an easy process. Many of the thoughts we have and the messages we tell ourselves are deeply ingrained and have been with us for a very long time! This is not a one-time process where we magically rid ourselves of negative self-talk and develop permanent positive self-talk patterns. Throughout life, we will experience moments in which old thought patterns will pop up, and we will experience those familiar feelings of insecurity. We will also continually discover things we do not like about ourselves, or weaknesses we may have, and THIS IS GOOD because then we have an opportunity to improve! And isn't that what being a human being is about? Evolving?! This is about a lifelong journey of bringing these things to awareness so that we can CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE what we want to do with these messages and how we want to move forward.

Self-talk is extremely powerful. It has a direct impact on what we think, how we feel, and how we function in all aspects of life (work, home, relationships, etc.). It ALSO has a direct impact on our level of happiness and success in life. I will leave you will some of my favorite quotes related to self-talk:

"What we tell ourselves every day will either lift us up or tear us down." -Unknown

"We are defined by the stories we tell ourselves." -Tony Robbins

"We are the stories we tell ourselves." -Joan Didion

Be well!

xoxo Allison

P.S. Want to work with me? Click here to send me a message or book a session!

Insecurity

Insecurity is something we all struggle with. It is essentially lacking a sense of stability and certainty with oneself, and also a lack of acceptance of oneself. Insecurity can be associated with specific traits about oneself, or a general feeling, or a specific situation or relationship. Fair warning: this is going to get personal. A major example that has been coming up for me is around how I look in pictures and videos. I know this may sound silly, and everyone tells me "oh, we are all our own worst critics" but this is a pretty big hurdle and barrier in a lot of ways for me. I run a business in which I must put myself out there and literally show myself if I want to help people by sharing my message. But I constantly nitpick myself and compare myself to others, beating myself up and worrying that I might look "weird" or "stupid" which is completely my own projection. Not only can I not control how others respond to me and what they think about me, I also have no idea, and truly the opinions of others are none of my business!

Know that insecurity is part of the human experience, and it is necessary. Feelings of insecurity can give us a lot of important information about ourselves as well as what we are experiencing in our environment. It serves both a protective and evolutionary function. When we recognize we are feeling insecure in some way, we can then take steps to better understand our experience, and learn and grow in the process. For me, I know that insecurity shows itself in very specific ways, such as emotional reactivity, shutting down, being defensive, excessive worrying, or feeling jealous. It also shows up in my body, including tension, forgetting to breathe, stomachaches, tightness and butterflies in my chest, brain fog, and fatigue. It's pretty incredible how the body responds to threats, which is one of the reasons why it is so important for us to take care of the physical and emotional parts of ourselves! Your body has a response to everything, and even a "non-response" is a response - more on this another day...

For now, pay attention to the ways you may be experiencing insecurity. You may not always be able to understand it, but see what you can learn from it, give yourself the love and positive self-talk you need, improve and change what you can, and then release it.

Some additional positive messages for you on insecurity...

You are unique and amazing and wonderful and you matter.

Your gifts are just as valuable the gifts of others, and the gifts of others are just as valuable as yours.

When struggling with yourself and having trouble discovering your strengths and gifts, listen to what others see in you.

Regardless of how insecure you may feel right now, it will get better if you show yourself some love and compassion.

Everyone is fighting their own battle with feelings of insecurity. You are never alone.

Be Well!

xoxo Allison

Transition and Change

 ©Basically Happy™

©Basically Happy™

For whatever reason today I have been doing a lot of reflecting on the major changes I have experienced over the last year and a half. I have been through a lot of pretty major transitions, and perhaps have not taken much time to reflect on just how big this has all been for me. Most if not all of these changes have been positive, but they have also been challenging and draining and I've been forced to really examine myself and my life and make some really tough decisions. This has been a period of so much growth for me as a person! As I turned 30, things really started to shift for me - it was like a light bulb switched on and I just decided from then on that I was going to love myself and live life on my terms. I would say this was a monumental mindset shift for a "people pleaser" like me, and something that kicked off a pretty transformational journey of deepening my level of self-awareness and learning how to be my own best friend instead of my own enemy. No longer would I hold myself back because of fears related to the opinions of others, or because of what I thought others/society expected me to do, or even about feeling I needed to fit into a certain box. Over the last year and a half I have certainly hit some bumps in the road and have had to check myself on this, but with daily effort and positive self-talk, I am seeing these realizations and shifts become more and more integrated into my thoughts and the way I live my life. 

So turning 30 seems to be the big event that initiated my most recent period of transition, change, and growth. This mindset shift allowed me to really start making decisions for me. And as I mentioned, over the last year I have been through many very major changes, all necessary, including but not limited to: ending a long-term relationship, moving halfway across the country (back to my home state after 7 years of being away), changing jobs, saying goodbyes, making new friends and reconnecting with old ones, starting a new relationship, and getting rid of many of my possessions (including a junk furniture collection I fully intended to refurbish someday, right) so that I could fit into a 450 square-foot studio apartment. Through these changes I have reconnected with my roots, recharged and rebooted, and realized so many things about myself in the process. And now I am about to go through a multitude of additional major changes, including moving halfway across the country (again), starting a new job (again), and more goodbyes and reconnecting and new faces. 

Now, many people might look at my situation and choices over the last year and think, "wow, she changes her mind a lot!" or, "what in the world is she thinking, making all those major changes in such a short period of time?" - but really, the way I see it, the changes and transitions were simply a part of my story, and not only this, they were a necessary part of my personal growth journey.

It is during times of transition, change, and difficulty that we learn the most about ourselves - and isn't this what allows us to grow? If you're going through a transition or difficult time yourself, remember: there is always something to be learned, some way you'll grow and improve, and you'll always come out on the other side wiser and more self-aware than you've ever been. So with all of this reflection on my own experiences with transition and change, my advice to you is this: take a deep breath, and open your heart and mind to all that God/the Universe/whatever you believe is trying to show you. And don't forget to take good care of yourself and show yourself some love. Know that this is temporary but also necessary, and you will become better with each challenge you overcome.

Be Well!

xoxo Allison