Ways to Emerge as Who You Want To Be

discoveryPhoto by Micah Hill on UnsplashBeing authentic is the emergence of your genuine self. It is when we arrive at who WE say we are and we do not rely on how others define us.

Being true to ourselves allows our actions to align with what our core believes.

When there is a shift in our actions that cause conflict with our inner beliefs, difficulties will arise in our life creating speed bumps and sometimes complete roadblocks making us feel stuck.

When you have chronic pain, it increases and complicates the roadblocks further. Like when someone asks how you are doing.  I’ve always had trouble answering that question.

My hubby and I have code words. If I tell someone I am “peachy” then he knows the pain level is high, but I don’t want to complain. Most people do not understand the experiences people with pain go through.

It’s easier to just say you are fine. This false response creates stress because we want to be real about our experience and the pressure of not being authentic creates more pain; physical and emotional. So, we are not helping ourselves when we lie about how we feel because it is easier for others to accept or so that we don’t have to say no.

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Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Is it a familiar friend or a distant relative?

SIGNS YOU AREN’T LIVING AN AUTHENTIC LIFE

You are a people pleaserdo you do things for others out of guilt? Feeling like you must do everything for everyone will get in the way of your self-care.

Honoring others is important but not at the expense of our health. It is not selfish to take the time for ourselves.

Some days I find my body exhausted and in excruciating pain. I only have myself to blame sometimes because I did not say no to a request or make the time to take care of myself.

Refueling yourself is the best way to be able to give to others

You question your own thoughtsdo you rely on others to validate your feelings? Doubt fuels negative thinking. We can find ourselves quickly spiraling down when we doubt ourselves. I constantly doubt myself. I doubt myself right now while I am writing this! On some days my unbelief in myself can be paralyzing.

You compare yourself to others – do you feel like other people have it all together and you don’t? I have a love-hate relationship with social media. So much of it is fake. No one and I mean no one has a perfect life. A friend of mine told me that her daughter would spend hours taking selfies to post one picture online. Hours to post one picture! Live who you are.

You blame others for your problems to avoid dealing with them- do you accept responsibility for your actions? Isn’t it easier to blame someone else?  It takes the pressure off of ourselves and relieves the feeling that we need to take some action. There is a little part of everyone that does not want to accept responsibility for the things we do. Not taking control of your actions is just denying there is a problem and denial will keep you stuck. Look at yourself honestly but remember to look with love also.

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When we do not live authentically, we become stuck where we are at in life which can lead to depression and anxiety.

 

I developed severe anxiety and depression after the back and leg pain began to be daily in 2014. I lived in the pit with all of these things I listed above and it kept me frozen with fear. I did not want to leave my house or see anyone.  And I definitely didn’t want anyone coming over and seeing my home.

Over the past 2 years, I have worked very hard on trying to stop the control that fear has over my life.  I have picked up a few tips on living authentically I’d like to share with you. It will give you a few tools to find your happy place by learning to live and love who you really are, even with chronic pain.  Your life can still be exceptional!

HOW TO EMERGE AS WHO YOU WANT TO BE

Decide to accept yourself. We need to love ourselves on purpose as we are at this exact moment. We can choose to love ourselves like we can choose to be angry or to be sad.

Accepting ourselves can be especially hard if we feel our body has let us down because we have chronic pain.

Living in a shell of a body that always seems to fail can make us feel unworthy of joy if we allow it to.

We each need to meet ourselves where we are at in this world and begin a real journey of self-discovery. We are exquisitely made by our Creator. Be you.

Make a list of your strengths. Whatever we are good at should be celebrated. With chronic pain, life can be challenging.

Think of all that you have overcome and put it on this list. You are reading this, so you are still standing. We may have lost some of our strengths, but we cannot forget to remind ourselves of what we can still accomplish.

I promise you that you can continue to have fulfillment with chronic pain. Dig deeper, and you can find new ways to be strong. Don’t forget you are intelligent and creative.

Stop listening to the negative voice in your head. Our minds are powerful, and we can decide where our thoughts go. Your thoughts also decide your next steps in life.

Just remember that we would probably never speak to other people the way that we talk to ourselves.

Slow down your thoughts to find out what you are saying to yourself and change the dialogue to be who you want to be.

Distance yourself from the people that do not believe in you. Your feelings and thoughts are important.

We need to surround ourselves with people that will nurture us, helping us reach our true potential, not tearing us down or keeping us stuck.

Grieve your previous life before your chronic pain or illness. I wish I had a magical way of going through grief without any pain, but everyone is much too different to have one tried and true way to get through grief. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance and are a part of the framework that helps us understand what we are experiencing when we grieve a loss. I would suggest if you feel stuck in any of the stages of grief to seek out professional help.

Spend time doing the things you love. I am doing a complete overhaul of how I spend my time every day. I feel like I don’t have time for everything I want to accomplish. I have found that I need to make blocks of time and set them aside for the things that I enjoy doing. Find what you love and do it.

Communicate with the people around you.  I understand now that I need to communicate truthfully with the people close to me. It is incredible how much of a difference being real has helped with feeling good mentally and physically. I encourage you to do it but if you haven’t had a voice in a while.  Go easy on those around you. Explain to them the things you want to change in your life and recruit their help.

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You can live your whole life and never reveal your real self to the world. What a shame that would be not to be truly known. You can decide today to live authentically and find happiness. You can learn to love yourself and even be proud of yourself. It creates better life opportunities and promotes creativity. It empowers us to live our best life, even with chronic pain.

Your life is not over. In some ways, when you get to this vantage point of living authentically, your life has just begun.

Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

 

Photo by Micah Hill on Unsplash

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The Mystery Blogger Award

The-Mystery-Blogger-Award-2Thank you so much to Anita at Discovering Your Happiness, for nominating me for the Mystery Blogger Award! Thank you for this unexpected honor and encouragement! Anita has a phenomenal blog about living a positive life.  One of my favorites of her blog is Your Depression Doesn’t Define You.

What is Mystery Blogger Award?
“This is an award for amazing bloggers with indigenous posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.” – Okoto Enigma

Rules

  • Thank whoever nominated you and include link to their blog
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • Nominate 10-20 bloggers you feel deserve the award
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice with one weird or funny one
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

3 Things About Me:

  1. I am a music freak; all kinds except cannot handle hard rap or opera. I could not live without Spotify and the variety of music it offers.
  2. I am addicted to Pepsi’s.  Yes, I know it is awful stuff.  I’ve admitted I have a problem.  They say that’s the first step. 😉
  3. I love receiving FabFitFun subscription boxes. I have not been disappointed yet.

My Nominees in No Particular Order:

My Answers:

  • What is your 2018 goal?   My biggest goal is to go to a support group training and to start a local or online chronic pain support group.
  • What is one of your biggest accomplishments? Learning how precious life is before it is too late and living life to the fullest which includes learning to listen with curiosity.
  • If you could pack up & move, where would you go? Somewhere at a very warm beach with clear water.
  • Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? Leading a support group, helping others navigate the chronic pain life and live fully, and advocating for chronic pain patients. I would love to have my psychology degree within 5 years but not sure if it’s doable, but I can dream about it.
  • What is one of your biggest fears? My biggest fear is that I haven’t learned from the past.

 

My Questions for Nominees:

  1. If money was no object, what would you do all day?
  2. Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without?
  3. Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
  4. What are your 2018 goals?
  5. Who is your favorite musical band?

This was fun!  I can’t wait to hear everyone’s answers.

Much Love and Many Prayers,

Cindy

 

Where Are Your Thoughts Taking You?

Like most people, I don’t ever want to be embarrassed, but I feel like I’ve discovered some things that most doctors do not take the time to tell chronic illness patients.

We spend time searching for answers about our chronic illnesses, and sometimes we eventually find peace with our life on our own, but that takes time.

I don’t want other people to waste another minute of life. I feel the need to shout what I have learned so that you can have a better experience. I’m willing to risk the embarrassment of being vulnerable.

Being so eager to tell the world my epiphanies reminded me of a movie called Jerry McGuire, where a sports agent finds out that life is so much more than money. He has his ah-ha moment and writes a manifesto for his life.

He bares his soul in it, things he hasn’t told anyone else that he believes in. He sent it to everyone he knew. And, he immediately regretted it.

That’s how I feel every time I hit the “publish” button on a blog post. It takes significant courage to hit the button each time.

Even though it is difficult, I want to be real about my own experiences with living with chronic pain while helping others and sharing other people’s stories.

I’ve talked with other chronic pain patients across the United States and in other countries.  Speaking to others with varied backgrounds has helped me see past myself and my own chronic illness.

I have found out that while we are different races, ages, and backgrounds, we all live the same type of chronic illness lives and have the same challenges We have different diagnoses but similar type problems.

Life can be hard, but there is an opportunity to know yourself better in every circumstance. We can choose to either focus on the bad things that have happened or find the joy that life still has to offer.

Sometimes we lower our expectations in life so that we won’t be disappointed. You don’t have to settle just because you have a chronic illness.

You may not be able to change your circumstance, but you can change your mindset. Your mind is a private battleground of positive and negative thoughts that only you have control over.

People can tell you what you should believe, but you ultimately have the final say whether you suscribe to the same beliefs or not.

It’s only true if you believe it.

Stop and think about that statement.

It’s only true if you believe it.

You decide where your thoughts go. It takes work, but you do not have to let your life circumstances keep you from happiness.

Learning how to slow down your thoughts so that you can examine each one helps you to find the best life has to offer. When you listen intently to the soundtrack in your head, you will hear what you have been telling yourself for years.  You might be surprised at what you learn.

I began doing this whenever my anxiety popped up. The words in my head would be all running together stirring up my fear. One thought after another sped through my mind not leaving enough time even to entertain what the thought meant and why it was there. When I slowed my thinking down, I found that I could challenge the thoughts one by one.

A good way to do a reality check is to balance every negative thought with a positive one and ask yourself a few questions. 

  • What is the evidence for the negative thought?
  • Am I jumping to conclusions?
  • Is there any other way to perceive this negative thought?
  • What can I do to solve the problem right now?
  • Am I safe right now?

Sounds time-consuming, but it isn’t once it becomes second nature. It just takes practice.

Think of it as a child learning to walk. Steps are slow and wobbly at first, but over time they become firm and confident.

Once you find that negative voice, you begin to smack it down faster each time with positive thoughts as time goes by.

Your thoughts determine your next steps in life. Shouldn’t you take time to consider where they are taking you?

Much Love and Many Prayers,
Cindy

 

Photo by Kevin Schmid on Unsplash