Moving forward when it seems too hard

Sometimes our struggles can seem bigger than we can handle.  Perhaps you had a sudden loss in your career, health, finances, or relationship and getting through it has been difficult.  Or perhaps you’ve been enduring a struggle for a long time and it doesn’t seem like the situation will ever improve.  Here’s 5 ways to help you get through it.

  1. Acknowledge your feelings. You may feel grief, frustration, or anger. You may be feeling sadness, shame, or regret.  You may find yourself feeling a little better one day, and then feel a little worse the next.  Know that it’s okay to feel the emotions you are feeling and allow yourself to experience it.
  2. Remember how strong you are.  You’ve experienced tough times before and got through it.  You will get through this too.  Everything you’ve gone through in the past has made you stronger and more resilient.
  3. Be kind to yourself.  Treat yourself with empathy and understanding during this difficult time.  Do whatever is necessary to take good care of you as you go through the process.
  4. Reach out to others.  You’re not alone.  If you need time to yourself or would like time to deal with your struggles on your own, it’s perfectly okay.  Know that if you need help in any way, it’s courageous to ask for help.
  5. Believe that everything is happening a reason.  It may be hard to believe right now, but there’s something positive about going through this difficulty. Know that things will get better in time and that this too shall pass.

You are a strong person.  You are capable.  You will endure this.  Be good to yourself.

 

 

Why I faked my own wedding shoot

Lo wedding holding orchids

I didn’t expect to be single at 40. No, almost all of my family and friends tied the knot long ago and had kids…except me.  I had a lot of questions over the years like, “You’re such a nice girl, why hasn’t some guy snatched you up yet?” Not something I could easily answer; nor was it something I wanted to answer.

I was never someone who had big dreams of walking down the aisle in a large church and a white wedding dress.  I wasn’t opposed; however, to flying to Vegas over a weekend and getting hitched at the little chapel in the Excalibur hotel to my night in shining armor.  I even have a red velvet medieval costume dress I had custom-made and tailored when I was 22 to prove it.

So if I was never starry-eyed to make wedding plans, why the big deal about being unwed at 40?  I’ll let you in on a little secret…a painful little secret.  Four years ago today, on June 2, 2012, my brother got married.  My little brother got married; and something just hit me. Whether it was watching them make a lifelong commitment in front of all of us, or listening to the promises they vowed to each other, or the laughter and tears we shared in that moment, I got it. On that day, I made a wish to be married before I turned 40. It was a secret desire I kept to myself.

I tried the usual stuff to meet someone: online dating, social events, singles events, asking family and friends if they know anyone.  While I met some nice guys (and some not-so-nice guys), I remained single.  When my 40th birthday started to get closer, and I knew that my secret wish would never come true, I was hurt and disappointed.

Well, I turned 40 this year on April 13th, still not married.  And I realized that I had a choice whether to feel sorry for myself or not; being single or married was not a reason for me to be happy or unhappy.  So I decided to give myself a birthday present I’ll never forget: I purchased the most beautiful wedding dress I had ever seen and booked a professional wedding shoot for one.

It was AMAZING!! I had a makeup artist come in and do my hair and makeup like the photos I saw online with hair off to one side and bright red lips. I had five photographers taking photos of me lying across a classic chaise lounge, sitting in a window sill I had to climb up a ladder for, and having the fan blowing in my face like a superstar! It was 6 hours straight, first in my bridal gown, and then in a glamorous gold evening dress.

But the photo taken above is the one that means the most to me: holding delicate orchids gently in my hands.  For those of you that are familiar with my book, Back to Loving Me, you may recall the image on the front cover: a closeup of my hands holding a single orchid. Writing and sharing that book has changed my life for the better.  Taking lessons from my own words, I often have to remind myself to be kind, patient, and loving towards myself. This experience was my way of expressing my deepest commitment to loving me.

I am hopeful that the day would come that I’ll wear an engagement ring on one hand, my grandmother’s ring on the other (blue for good luck), and be on a wedding shoot for two. Until then, I can choose happiness despite my circumstances. And I will have lifelong memories, forever and always, of how fabulous it was to turn 40!

Be your own best friend

The most important relationship you’ll ever have is not with your parents, your spouse, your children, your friends, other family members, or anyone else.  It’s with you.  You alone will determine your life experiences.  You are responsible for your decisions. Your level of self-love and self-worth will determine what you feel you deserve. So be your own best friend.

Be kind to yourself.  Be patient.  Take time to get to know you better. Be understanding. Be firm, but gentle. Be forgiving. Be grateful.  Show appreciation. Treat yourself to the little things to let you know you’re special.  Treat yourself to the big things to let you know you deserve it.

Envision what it’s like to have the perfect person in your life – and then realize it’s YOU! Be open to change. Be willing to grow.  Be yourself. You are more than enough.

The fastest way to happiness

We all have struggles and challenges we face.  Perhaps it’s a health concern.  Perhaps it’s a financial situation. Maybe a relationship isn’t working out the way we hoped it would. Whether it’s health, wealth, love, or something else, what we really want is to be happy.  But how can we feel happy when life isn’t going the way we want it to?

The fastest way to feel happy NOW is by being grateful.  If we focus our attention away from our struggles towards what we’re thankful for, we start to feel a shift immediately. When we truly experience a feeling of gratefulness and appreciation, the feeling of happiness always follows.

Try it: What are you grateful for? Are there people in your life you appreciate?  Is there something or someone you love? Are there hobbies or activities you enjoy doing?  Do you have a memory that warms your heart?  Did you have an experience that made you laugh? What do you love about yourself? Are you grateful to be alive?  Can you see, hear, smell, taste, touch?  Can you walk, run, jump, skip, move? Can you appreciate being able to breathe and having a heartbeat?

After trying the exercise: Did you feel a shift? Do you feel happier?  If you did, that’s wonderful!  If you didn’t, try it again, and with practice you will start to feel a change.  The more you’re able to find things to be grateful for, and be able to repeat this exercise, the happier you will be.

 

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