Self-development, Selfcare Tips

4 Steps to Ending Your Shame (Part 1 of 2)

You’re ashamed…

Of your past, your actions, and your decisions.

You feel guilty or embarrassed about something you have done or a quality in your character.

But why do you feel this way?

I find the topic of shame to be quite an interesting one because I believe it is far more nuanced than you might think. It is especially nuanced because it can arise for 2 different reasons: (1) as a result of your actions that namely effected other(s), and; (2) as a result of your actions that namely effected you.

To break things down simply, today’s blog post will be about the former reason (make sure you tune-in next week where I discuss reason 2)

So Why Shame?

If you do something dishonourable toward another person, I think it is incredibly important for you to feel remorseful; an essential mark of self-awareness is to recognize actions that are unethical, immoral, and that have negative consequences.

BUT, I do not think you should live with shame forever, nor should you be shamed forever by other people.

So what are the steps to ridding yourself of shame?

Shame kills your mental health. Keep smiling and ask forgiveness.

1) Ask for forgiveness.

Admitting that you did something wrong is incredibly difficult, especially when you admit it to the person(s) you hurt.

But admission coupled with remorse and a sincere apology is necessary for taking responsibility of your actions.

You cannot hide from the fact you did something hurtful and you cannot expect others to forget what you did by “never bringing it up.”

Humans have the capacity to forgive. And if you are scared that the person you hurt won’t forgive you…well yes, that is a possibility. And although I personally believe people should ALWAYS find forgiveness, I can’t make anyone forgive if they don’t want to.

So if someone chooses to not forgive you, then take it as a learning experience — your words and actions can have long-term consequences that you never expected in the first place.

BUT if they do forgive you, then consider yourself 1 step closer to ridding yourself of shame.

2) Do NOT feel the following 2 things in response to your shame:

• You shouldn’t feel proud. Yes ok, you learned and important lesson. But talking about your learning experience like it was something you read out of a prestigious academic article is disrespectful to those who you affected. The fact is, you learned something the hard way, and although you learned, the difficult experience you learned from was probably not ideal for anyone involved.

• You shouldn’t feel indifferent. As I said earlier, we must recognize the consequences of our actions. So if you want to be considered a decent person, you cannot just “not care” about the hurt you might’ve caused/created in the past.

3) Feel Empathy

When you acknowledge your actions and regard them as forever shameful, you might just be correct. To clarify my point, your actions were bad and if repeated in the same context, they would render the same bad consequences. But where you are INCORRECT is if you transfer the shame surrounding your actions onto your being. So to clarify again, you did something bad but you are not a bad person.

You must have empathy for those who were effected by your actions so that you can understand their perspective and contrast it your personal perspective. And through that contrast, come to understand why the choice you made at the time was wrong.

4) Cut-out the people who continue to shame you after you’ve completed steps 1-3.

You don’t need to convince anyone you’re a changed person, and at the same time no one should convince you otherwise.

Plus being around people who inhibit your growth will only be of detriment to YOU.

So in conclusion …

Swallowing your ego and taking responsibility for your actions does not mean accepting shame into your life – it means becoming a better person.

Shame kills your mental health

The moment you understand your actions were wrong is the exact moment you grow as a person.

And hey!!👋 Make sure you subscribe to my blog by typing in your email below so you’ll be notified of next week’s post where I discuss shame as a result of your actions that negatively you.

As always, Happy Monday ❤✌

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.

New Beginnings

What it Means to be Capable PLUS 3 Steps to Recognizing Your Self-Worth

In last week’s blog post I discussed the importance of recognizing your self-worth.

Humans have infinite worth

I mentioned that, as a human being, you are completely capable of developing yourself so that you can give meaning to your worth.

So my question for you today is: Do you know what it means to be capable?

Let’s start with ruling-out what you probably think capable means, and that is “the skill or power to do something”.

INCORRECT. That is actually the definition of the word able. On the otherhand, the word capable takes able to a whole new level. The word capable means to have the mental capacity or know-how to do things in the best way possible.

So as a human being, you may have certain physical characteristics and skills which help you reach your goals, but most importantly you have the brain power to strategize and figure out different ways to reach your goals.

Take the story of Nick Scott as a great example:

Nick Scott was a football player in high school. During high school, he got in a horrible car accident which ended his football career and put him in a wheelchair for life.

Even though Scott couldn’t walk, run, or play football, he still had the ability to bench press at the gym. So he capitalized on that ability and committed himself to benching more weight than anyone else in his high school. Nick Scott began to recognize he was still capable of creating a good life for himself even though his accident left him with a physical disability.

Scott’s weightlifting hobby soon turned into more than that — he decided to compete in a body building competition. After finding a new passion and talent, Scott fought to have a wheelchair bodybuilding competition established under the IFBB (International Ferderation of Bodybuilding and Fitness) so that him and others could compete professionally. He began winning shows and bodybuilding.com eventually signed him as one of their athletes.

Nick Scott wheelchair bodybuilder

Scott is now, a motivational speaker and a personal trainer for other men and women in wheelchairs who want to learn bodybuilding.

The moral…

Even though Scott wasn’t physically able to play football or use all the equipment in the gym, he used his mental capacity to figure out HOW he could become a winner in the body building world.

Nick Scott might have injured himself physically but he still recognized his infinite human worth – after he was injured, he exercised his CAPABILITIES to reach a new goal in the best way he could.

Just like Nick Scott, YOU are capable of reaching your goals. You are capable of strategizing and learning and developing yourself so that you too can be successful.

So if you don’t know how to access your capabilities try following these steps:

1) Make a list of your goals, both short term and long term, career related or personal.

List of goals to achieve

2) Write why you are or are not able of achieving each goal. Be realistic in your assessment.

Why am I able to achieve my goals?

3) Write down why you are capable of improving your abilities to meet your goals.

Why am I capable of achieving my goals?

Final Step: Realize that you just created new pathways of success for yourself.

New path to success created using my capabilities

In the words of Nick Scott, it’s not about your glass being half empty or half full, it’s about being grateful that you have a glass at all.

There are so many paths that can lead you to a single goal, so remember that if one path becomes impossible to go down, you can take another. Also remember that you can dig out a new and completely unique path for yourself. And even cooler than that, you can take a path that leads toward a different goal, one that you haven’t tried to reach before. You can do all this because you are a human and you are not meant to do just ONE thing in your life.

You are meant to THINK, DEVELOP, and ADAPT. You are meant to work hard and exercise your capabilities to give your worth some meaning.

And most importantly, you can do all those things and make the next 365 days the #YearOfYou.

As always, Happy Monday ❤✌

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.

Selfcare Tips

That thing you’re probably not doing, but need to start doing ASAP in order to tackle anxiety 👊

I bet 8 in 10 of you reading this post have trouble falling asleep at night.

Anxiety before sleep

And I bet that’s because you can’t quiet your thoughts at night and just relax. Whether you call it stress, anxiety, over-thinking, or constant worry, the feeling you get when you can’t shut off your thoughts is unpleasant and tiresome.

So, am I right? … Are you one of those 8?

Now what if I told you I know the secret to relaxing your mind and improving your sleep? And what if I told you that secret would help reduce your anxiety and increase your productivity?

Well, here it is:

You no longer give-in to life’s daily distractions like social media, partying, mindless television, or unnecessary thoughts about work. And most importantly, you welcome your thoughts when they enter your mind.

“Ella, you seem confused. I thought we were talking about shutting off my thoughts, not welcoming them…?!”

Yes, yes – we are! But here is the key: the trick to NOT thinking during the wrong time is to THINK MORE during the right time 😃

Let me break that down …

The reason you find it difficult to shut off your brain before bed, is because you actually have a lot of shit to think about. And believe it or not, all this shit you want to think about has already attempted to enter your mind throughout your day! HOWEVER THE PROBLEM IS, when thoughts begin to enter your mind during the day you immediately find a million +1 ways to distract yourself; social media, work, what to make for dinner, and why Sally can lift more than you at the gym are just a few things that can easily distract you from your thoughts. So once you get home after work, eat dinner, and crawl into bed, your mind says “HOORAY” because it finally has time to think!

When you distract yourself from your thoughts until the moment you actually need quiet time, your thoughts seize the opportunity and pour out like someone forgot to turn off the faucet.

So instead of giving-in to constant distractions, try giving yourself 15 minutes during the day to actually be alone with your thoughts. Whether it be during your lunch break, walking to your car, sitting on public transit, showering, or working out, I seriously recommend you give your mind the time it wants to think.

And the more you give your mind this time, you’ll notice some thoughts begin to expand and flourish into ideas. You’ll notice other thoughts fade into the “it doesn’t matter” space in your brain. You’ll be able to more easily prioritize your thoughts. You’ll be able to realize why you choose to wear certain clothes, why you associate with certain people, what hobbies you actually enjoy, what your strengths and weakness are… and many more things about how you relate to the world! All that fading, flourishing, and prioritizing is called analytical processing.

And here’s the best part: The better you get at analytical processing, the quicker you’ll be at dumping pointless thoughts, studying critical thoughts, and ultimately controlling what you choose to think about. And if you get all this thinking done during the day, you’ll ultimately get more accomplished, more planned, and more discussed before it’s time to hit the hay.

Work hard, sleep well

The mind is a limitless force – it can create, re-train, calculate, and more.

Imagine how YOU could FLOURISH if you simply allowed your mind to think when it wanted to. Imagine your outcome after you simply allowed yourself to be silent with your own thoughts.

So in conclusion, treat your mind like your friend – give it time, love, and attention. Start welcoming your thoughts during the right time and watch yourself become one of the 2 in 10 people who fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow. Give yourself 14 consecutive days to implement your new routine, then come back to this post to let me know if I was right.

As always, I hope you have a productive week and a very happy Monday ❤✌

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself […] .” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.

New Beginnings, Selfcare Tips

Why I Don’t Want You to Kill Yourself … and Neither Should You 🙏❤

“It gets better,” they say.

And if you think they are lying, I will tell you first hand, they aren’t.

I’ll tell you it get’s better. From the absolute bottom of my heart I will tell you it gets better. But most importantly, I need you to believe that’s true.

You need to hear the whole truth:

For the rest of your life, you will continue to experience hard times, people will continue to hurt you, and you will occasionally fail. But the game changer is, YOU ARE going to learn how to deal with it all. So if you hang in there and put in a good fight, it WILL get better.

The whole truth is, you are going to learn how to find good friends. You are going to find and practice something you are good at. You are going to learn how to love yourself for who you are.

So maybe the whole truth is not that it gets better, but that YOU get a hell of a lot better at dealing with it. 💪🧠

You might need help to get your feet off the ground – that’s ok. Help comes in many different forms: from reading to journalling, social workers to doctors, from family to friends, from yoga to prayer, and even from medicine to weekly counseling. You might need to take a weekend off and spend it with yourself. And you might need to learn how to say “no” to people you love. But I promise, the small sacrifices you make will be worth it in the end. Because in the end you’ll be happy to be alive.

And if you still aren’t buying my plead for your life, let me tell you my “life got better” story:

Every single night for as long as I can remember, I’ve said my prayers before bed. And every single night for as long as I can remember, I asked God to “please bless every person around the world with a long, happy, and healthy life.” And then the kicker — after asking for the best for others, I’d always ask him to let me fall asleep and never wake up. [FYI, I still say my prayers every night. And FYI I dropped the second part from my nightly prayers last year.]

Sad (and slightly embarrassing) to say, I spent a lot of years hoping the worst for myself. And after 23 years of life, I’d still wake up in the morning and ask myself why I was still f***ing living. I started to think, what the hell was so wrong with me that (1) I didn’t know how to live happily and (2) I was still living …?

It took me until age 23 to finally ask somebody for some help. And even though most of me was miserable, a tiny incremental part of me was saying “YOU CAN DO IT”.

I had lots of friends, a great education, a superb family, a sick job, and basically a sweet friggin life. I recognized all of that! So why the hell was I still unhappy?

It was only when I started researching about the brain that I realized I was missing a major ingredient: I never believed it could get better.

I never believed it. Yes, I put in the work to have a sweet life…that helped. But I didn’t believe it was reality. I always thought, “well it’s been a great week. That means a bad day is right around the corner.”

I was not doing myself any favours.

It was like this:

Imagine you have a delicious plate of food in front of you. You have not taken a bite yet, but the food was prepared by a famous chef. Everyone knows it will taste good, including the chef. But you tell yourself it will taste horrible, so you refuse to eat it.

Why? … It’s because you primed your brain with negativity which stopped you from trying the food with an open and objective mind.

How many times have you primed your brain with something negative, which in turn altered your behaviour? You know, like if your friend tells you, “I don’t like that person”. Then you meet the person for the first time and you already dislike them. Or you read a bad review on a movie, so you go into the theatre already assuming you won’t like the movie.

Or in my case, I assumed I life was never going to get better so my attitude towards my life never changed.

Habits often begin with a simple belief – a simple daily prime of your brain to help you believe life will get better. If you believe it will never get better, it will never get better. But if you believe it will get better because you will try to make it better, you’re golden.

Now, when I look back at my sad years, I’m not sure what to make of them. Maybe I’m just an extra sensitive or emotional person. Maybe I have issues with serotonin and other hormones. But regardless, I’ve come to learn that my über emotional personality is not a bad thing.

Just like I did and many others have, you will have to work hard to be happy. But one day you’ll realize the hard work paid off.

I want you to live, work hard, find meaning, and learn to love existence. I want you to do all those things. And I want you to want all those things too.

After years upon years of not thinking I could do it, I actually did it. And you can do it too. I swear on my life that i love so much, YOU CAN F***ING DO IT.

I don’t want you to kill yourself. And neither should you❤.

[If you like this post and know someone who needs this message, please share it with them. And if you need to talk, I am only a message away! All my social accounts are listed at the bottom of this page if you want to get in contact. And my email is ellasssofia@gmail.com]

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.

Self-Discipline

If You Think You’ve Got it Rough, Read This …

For every single person who has ever lived, their life has been difficult to some extent.

Yes you heard me right –

Every. Single. Person. I have a hard time believing there are people in the world saying their lives are perfect with zero difficulties.

Brain Injury Awareness Month - Rock Bottom

No matter if you’re Kylie Jenner, Tony Robbins, a 9 – 5 secretary, or living on the sidewalk … you’ve probably suffered some sort of hardship because:

(1) all people have different ideas about what life should be like, and

(2) all people are influenced to live life in various ways.

… So, the results are relative. Our vastly different lives result in experiences that might be hard for some and not as hard for others.

BUT does that mean some hardships rank higher on the “my problems are worse than yours” scale? Well interestingly enough, I think the answer to that question is both no and yes

Here’s a scenario to best explain:

If the worst thing that has ever happened to you is X, then you have no worse personal problem to compare X to. And if that is the case, X might just be your personal version of rock bottom.

Now, if you’ve hit your rock bottom you can either,

1) downplay your personal problem because you think it isn’t “as bad as someone elses”

OR

2) be ignorant to the fact that other people have problems, and claim your problem as the worst.

However those options aren’t mutually exclusive… so below you’ll find my explanation for surprise option 3 –

3) Acknowledge you have a problem and take responsibility for finding a solution. Big or small, you have to acknowledge your problem’s existence so you can start implementing actions to fix it.

That could mean removing yourself from the situation, changing your behaviour, grieving, praying, learning, practicing, etc.

BUT, at the same time, you have to remember your situation could always be worse. And somewhere around the world it is incredibly likely that there is at least one person suffering that “worse problem” you just imagined.

And if you’re still confused about option 3, here’s a sick analogy to help explain:

The other day I got home from work and went to wash the dishes. I put my hands under the running water but immediately removed them because of a stinging pain I felt. The culprit? Two small scratches. WOOPDY FRIGGEN DOO.. right?

At that point I could have stopped washing the dishes because my dinky little scratches caused me minor discomfort. But instead. I acknowledged that (1) my dinky little scratches would not kill me or cause me dire pain, and (2) I could be working 12 hour shifts on an assembly line in a developing country causing me to have 5000x more beat-up hands.

Be grateful for what you have - obstacles are gifts.

So after approximately half a millisecond of focusing on the stinging on my hands, I decided not to be ridiculous and fixed my problem by washing the damn dishes.

The fact of the matter is my scratches stung, but that problem was so incredibly minuscule it would have been utterly comical, ignorant, and ungrateful for me complain about it.

So maybe you are someone who’s only ever experienced scratch-type problems in your life. If that is the case, you should consider yourself lucky and empathize with those whose problems are worse than yours.

But at the same time, you suffered scratches and you’re allowed to take a moment and say “this sucks”. You have to acknowledge the scratch and then decide if it is worth bandaging-up or leaving as is.

And if you’re someone who’s mostly experienced factory labourer in a developing country-type problems, I hope you can do your best to find solutions. I, as well as others, empathize with you. But remember that those who’ve only experienced scratches have no clue what your pain is like; so try to make them understand your pain before you squash their pain as living “an easy life”.

So if you think you have it rough, maybe you do. I hope you can find a solution. But if you think you’ve had it the worst, I can’t be sure … And unfortunately neither can you. But I still have your back, and I still hope you can find a solution.

Whether your problems are scratches or deep cuts, you are responsible for finding solutions. And at the end of the day, the decision to take responsibility may be the hardest for all of us, no matter our pain.

As always, I hope you have a productive day and Happy Monday ❤✌

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.

Selfcare Tips

How to Finally Feel Comfortable in Your Own Skin (Learn to Be Yourself in 3 Steps)

Be comfortable in your own skin

Socialization has a funny way of eating away your self-confidence.

… Don’t you agree?

Think about it, you were born a happy little baby, but as soon as you were exposed to society – whether that was through school, social media, or recreational activities – the self-judgment began.

“I want those new Jordans because they are the fly-est shoe.”
“I want a thinner waist so I can look hot on the gram.”
“I need bigger lips to make me feel pretty.”
“I need to do squats everyday so my ass can look bomb.”

Stop. You don’t need to punish yourself like that.

You want to feel good about yourself – I get it. Who the hell doesn’t want that? But (and here comes the shocker) did you know you can legitimately feel good about yourself just by owning the body and the personality you were born with??

I know that may sound crazy (especially if you’re under 20), but if you read this post til the end, I’ll teach you 3 things you can start implementing in order to become comfortable in your own skin.

1) Physically remove the nonsense.

Yes I said “physically”. There is no way I’d sit here and tell you to start by mentally ignoring things and people that don’t serve you because that requires a lot of willpower. And let’s not kid ourselves, very few people in the world have that kind of willpower, and they are probably not reading this post.

So if you’re starting from square one like most of us are, please go ahead and start the implementing the following: unfollow, block, mute, unfriend, and delete. Do whatever it physically takes to cut out the things and people breaking-down your self-confidence.

Delete fake friends

With that will come the end of comparisons.

Keep in mind, unless you can magically become another person like some “Freaky Friday” shit, you have approximately 0 reasons to compare yourself to others. You would not compare apples to oranges so why in the hell would you compare your life to the life of another person?!?! The fact is, you don’t know what’s going on inside anyone’s head, anyone’s home, or anyone’s life. So please stop wishing you were people you don’t know anything about.

2) Realize that other people want what you have.

There are literally 7 billion people in this world. The chances that at least one of them wants hair like yours or a personality like yours or a nose like yours etc., is f***ing high! We all want what we don’t have. Well the tough news is, you only have what you have!

I think it is f***ing sick that there is nobody else in the world exactly like you. Even identical twins have differences in personality and behaviour!! BABE, you are LITERALLY 1 in 7 000 000 000 000! That in and of itself is a lovely freaking miracle!

Unique and lovely

Please understand that no matter how hard you try to not be you, your true self will always shine through. Always and forever, you will be lucky enough to be yourself, and that my friends is a beautiful thing.

3) If you want to succeed at anything (…and yes, I said anything) you HAVE TO work at it.

And, believe it or not, that includes being comfortable in your own skin! I know it may seem shocking that you have to practice such a thing. But being comfortable with yourself in a socialized world does not come naturally.

Have you ever realized that adults get embarrassed less often than kids and teenagers? That is because they’ve been being themselves for a longer time!

So the good news is, you’ll get there too. And you can get there quicker if you start to do little things every day that will make you feel confident. Start by doing your hair the way you want, then wearing the clothes you want, then working the job you want … then one day, a few years from now, you’ll wake up and realize you are absolutely full of happiness because you fully embraced the real you!

Decide right now how you are going to practice self-confidence over the next 7 days. Write down the way(s) in your calendar or agenda or on a random scrap of paper, then COMMIT to doing those things. 7 consecutive days is all you need to get the “confidence ball” rolling.

In conclusion, I need you to start being brave enough to feel vulnerable. Confidence can become a habit just like anything else can. It won’t happen overnight, and it will be hard as f***, but I swear the day you realize you love who you are, you’ll realize it was worth it.

As always, Happy Monday ❤✌

Love yourself

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.

Selfcare Tips

For Those of us Who are “Overly Emotional” or “Extra Sensitive” … It’s a Gift

Heart ache. Disgust. Envy. … Are those familiar to you?

Passion. Hope. Joy. … Do you recognize them?

They are emotions – both varied and yet commonly felt among us. Some of us feel emotions neutrally, while others feel certain emotions more often. And some of us feel emotions so intensely that we begin to question our own sanity. … I fall into the latter category. Let’s call it the “extra sensitive” or “overly emotional” category.

Emotions - both varied yet commonly felt among us

For most of my life I felt that belonging to this “overly emotional” category made me weird or crazy. I tried to suppress my weirdness and craziness so I never talked about how I truly felt. The more I grew up, the more intensely I felt negative emotions and as a result, my positive emotions appeared much less. Somewhere between ages 8 and 10, I started to regard myself as an extra sad human being; I concluded I was more sad more often than any other person I knew. I figured being overly emotional was a disadvantage in my life, which ultimately led me to believe I was better off not being alive.

Don't let the sadness win

So what changed, you ask?

My perspective – After years of believing the same thing, I decided to assess myself from a different angle. I figured there must be at least 1 up-side to being overly emotional, so finally at age 24 I sought to find it.

I imagined emotions as little hollow spheres, where 1 sphere = 1 potential to experience emotion. Let’s say the average person has 20 emotion spheres. When someone has an experience in life, I pictured the spheres fill-up with a certain coloured liquid, where each colour = a different emotion. So if something makes you angry, your spheres fill up with the colour red. Or if something makes you happy, your spheres fill up with the colour yellow.

Get it so far?

Then I figured, when God was creating me before my birth, he tripped and accidentally dropped a whole load of emotion spheres into my body. So instead of the normal 20 spheres, I have like 70.

Let’s roll with that.

I figured that unlike other people I knew, I had the ability to feel f***ing everything. And because of that, I eventually realized I have a huge advantage over other people:

I can empathize and support people when nobody else knows they are hurting.

I can commit to being there for my friends both spiritually and emotionally.

I have a pretty good intuition that I now know to follow.

I can offer advice or say things that make people feel better about themselves.

And with that, I learned that all my actions have consequences.

It is February 17, 2019 as I write this and I finally realize I am not an extra sad person. Because when I am happy, I am happy as sh**, and when I am motivated, I am motivated as hell. Maybe I’m just a really intense person. Maybe I just have a lot more “feeling spheres” in my body … . All I know for sure, is that being overly emotional is not a bad thing. I just have to work harder than most at not letting the sadness win.

Be happy and love your life

If you use your emotions to your advantage, you’ll begin to regard them as strengths rather than weaknesses. You can use these strengths to do things in life that other people cannot do or even require training to do well.

You don’t have to be an extra sad person, but you will have to work extra hard to not let the sadness win.

For all of us who feel “overly emotional” or “extra sensitive”, I think we are lucky. I think we have an advantage. I learned to be happy and love my life, and I KNOW you can believe that about your life too. If you think you’re overly emotional or extra sensitive, please know you can live an amazing life, and please know you are not alone.

As always, Happy Monday,

From the girl who thought she was alone ✌

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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional, medical, or legal advice.