New Beginnings, Selfcare Tips

3 MORE Steps for Getting Rid of Shame (Part 2 of 2)

“I need counseling”

“I’m having suicidal thoughts”

“I tried to kill myself”

Are any of those words familiar to you?

Does the thought of saying “yes, they are familiar” make your stomach tie-up in a knot?

That feeling of discomfort is called shame. And shame is the feeling of guilt or embarrassment after doing something dishonourable.

…Interesting definition, eh? Now here’s where my important question comes in:

What is there is to be ashamed of?

If you read my post last week, then you already know the first 4 steps to ridding yourself of shame. And you know I mentioned that shame can arise from (1) your actions that namely effected others and (2) your actions that namely effected you.

Since we’re talking about the second reason today, I thought I’d discuss the 3 steps you can take if you feel ashamed of having poor mental health.

#1 Question the Logic

Recall the definition of shame – it is the feeling you get after doing something dishonourable. Hmmm… something doesn’t sit right with me here. Why should anyone feel they have done something dishonourable simply by suffering with poor mental health?

Think about having a broken arm or a scrape on your knee… my guess is you wouldn’t be ashamed of those physical injuries. But maybe you made a stupid decision that led you to injure yourself (ex. You ran on a wet floor or jumped off a tall fence). So it is the action that you should be questioning rather than the result of that action.

In retrospect, I made a lot of stupid decisions when I was festering in my downward mental health spiral. But at the time of those decisions, I genuinely thought I was doing the right thing for myself. So on one hand, you could say that not making the effort to improve your mental health is a sign of disrespect toward yourself (also keeping in mind that EVERYTHING you do has some sort of effect on other people). HOWEVER, if you don’t know how to go about improving your mental health before you start spiralling downward, stupid decisions become easy solutions to your problems.

Remember that perspective is everything. So if you are spiralling downward, you might think your decisions are awesome but you have to try to take the perspective of a mentally healthy person. Should a mentally healthy person have thoughts like this? Is it okay for me to self-harm? Those are the types of questions you should ask yourself and the answer of a healthy person would be NO.

That leads me to the next step…

#2 Confront Your Discomfort

When you start that downward spiral and think decisions like calling in sick for work when you feel fine and starving yourself because you think you’re too fat, are good decisions, it is time to confront your discomfort.

If you feel like shit…or maybe even worse than that… you have to admit that feeling to yourself. And more importantly, once you admit that feeling to yourself, you need to admit that your feelings are not good ones.

And with those admissions, you will and should respond by wondering how you can feel better.

For example, “I feel upset and sad all the time. Those are not good feelings. I should ask a professional for advice so I can feel good again.” Your response can be as simple as that.

Confront your discomfort instead of burying it deep inside yourself. As Dr. Brené Brown says, “When we bury the story, we forever stay the subject of the story. If we own the story we get to narrate the ending.”

#3 Be Proactive

Although confronting your discomfort is a must, it is even better to be proactive and manage or minimize the discomfort that could arise in the future.

Follow the personal development loop by balancing your self-care, self-development, and self-discipline so you can avoid a downward mental health spiral.

Study-up on tools that you can implement when you feel stressed, over-whelmed, and over-worked.

Just like you are not born with the knowledge of cooking, or plumbing, or writing, etc., you are not born with the knowledge of personal development. You have to learn how to do things through reading and asking questions. So going to see a psychologist shouldn’t be any more “shameful” than picking up a self-help book.

Work to fill your mental health toolbox so you can be prepared to battle your mental health struggles.

Be proactive, be ready, be resilient. And as always, have a very 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.

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 ❤✌

[Like this post? Then don’t forget to follow my blog by typing in your email below. And consider sharing it with your friends and family on social media!]

*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-development

How to be Happy for Other People + 3 Deep Questions You Need to Ask in Order to Ditch Jealousy

“Jealousy is the root of all evil”

Have you heard that expression before? Maybe you’ve experienced the backstab (or frontstab) by a jealousy-fueled person… or, maybe you’ve been the dealer of similar jealousy-fueled actions…

Worry about you and no one else!

In talking with people since starting my blog, a question I often get asked is, why the f*** can’t people just be happy for other people?

It’s funny, I ask myself that question a lot too.

Why is it so hard for some to see a person happy in a career, a relationship, or any life circumstance and just say “congrats”? Why is it so easy for some to see a person happy then deliberately make that person miserable? …And what I think is the most frustrating question: Why is it so hard to NOT communicate the reason for being bitter toward the happy person? …I thought we were all adults here?

Are you green with envy?

Well, I think the reason some can’t be happy for others is jealousy.

And I know what some of you are thinking “wow Ella, who are you to say other people are mean as a result of jealousy?”

Well I can say that because (1) it’s my opinion and (2) I can actually recall times I’ve been jealous in the past (yes I will admit I have flaws) and noticed how it changed my view of other people’s success.

So that said, I’ve come-up with 3 questions you need to ask yourself if you’re having trouble being happy for other people:

#1 Are you in competition with that person?

Unless that person is in a life competition with you (doubtful), their is LITERALLY zero reason for you to be jealous of them. For example, let’s say you want to lose weight but you are having some trouble reaching your goal. One weekend you go to the beach with Sally and notice her shredded abs. You both go for lunch afterward and Sally orders a salad. You immediately tell her she is a boring friend for eating “rabbit food” for lunch. …Now, instead of poking fun at Sally for being healthy, try reconsidering your own decision to eat fries and a coke for lunch.

Now let’s say you’re looking for a long-term relationship. Then one day Sally tells you she found a man to share the rest of her life with. (…I know, it seems like Sally has it all. Don’t be jealous 😉 )

Anyways… after hearing about Sally’s relationship, you immediately cut her out of your life and start talking behind her back. Now, instead of being bitter, maybe you should just reconsider why you can’t find a happy relationship yourself.

So… if you are confused as to why I want you to ask yourself question #1, let me clear things up: YOU ARE NOT IN A LIFE COMPETITION WITH ANYBODY ELSE. The only person you should seriously be competing with is who you were yesterday. You can not control anyone’s life but your own so why bother exerting negative jealous energy towards other people, as if they should change their situation for you? The only energy you should exert is the kind it will take you to improve your own life.

Here’s an anecdote to help you understand better:

Top athletes like Lional Messi and Wayne Gretzky probably never made dirty, jealousy-fueled fouls against other athletes as kids. Instead, those athletes decided to improve their own tactical skills and techniques; they improved their personal talents so that they could be happy with themselves and become personally successful. They might’ve been jealous of other athletes at times, BUT they clearly manifested their jealousy in ways that never negatively affected those athletes.

Remember, you’ll never win the game by tearing-down people around you – you have to do things honorably and honestly. And the fact is, nobody is trying to go after the trophy of your life, so worry about your own trophy and be happy when someone else gets theirs.

#2 What about yourself are you not happy with?

Do you have any flaws to improve or insecurities to stop worrying about? Maybe you do…and maybe those flaws and insecurities are inhibiting you from getting what you want.

Furthermore, maybe you’re being ignorant to the fact that you do have flaws and insecurities (although I will admit, self-awareness is NOT an easy task). And yes, self-awareness requires effort and a break-down of your ego. I know what you’re thinking… it is unfortunate that you need to eat healthy and workout to get shredded abs, and it is inconvenient that you need to be a decent person if you want to be in any sort of friendship or romantic relationship. So just because someone else decided to put in that effort and you did not, that is no reason to NOT be happy for them.

#3 Can you clearly articulate the logical reason you cannot be happy for someone?

Has the person you aren’t happy for done anything to hurt you? Have they purposely done anything to make you upset? If the answer is “no”, but you still cannot articulate why you cannot be happy for them, my guess is you don’t want to admit the answer…And that’s because jealousy is nothing to be proud of.

If you find jealousy has boiled up inside you, IT IS OKAY because jealous is a human emotion felt by all of us. What is NOT OKAY, is allowing that jealousy to control your actions.

So please people, let’s all start practicing self-awareness. Why wouldn’t you want to be happy for others and why wouldn’t you want to be happy for yourself?

It might take a little hard work, but at the end of the day, you can win your personal life trophy and not have to worry about anyone else’s.

At the the end of the day, all you can do is focus on making the next 365 days the #YearOfYOU.

As always, have a very happy Monday ❤✌

[Like this post? Then don’t forget to follow my blog by typing in your email below. And consider sharing it with your friends and family on social media!]

*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

Why You Should 🛑Stop🛑 Concerning Yourself with Self-Esteem

Give me ’til the end of of this 5 minute read to get you thinking differently about self-esteem.

Let’s start by looking at the definition of esteem:

Esteem ➡️ v. regard highly or favourably; regard with respect or admiration

Now hold that thought. And let’s look at the history of the word esteem:

“Esteem” comes from the Latin word aestimare and the Old French word estimer, meaning to estimate value or appraise (1) (2).

Now take the meaning of “esteem” and apply it to the way YOU perceive YOURSELF. Do you admire yourself? What sort of value you do you place on yourself?

High self-esteem; esteemed King.

If you value yourself highly, why is that? Do you have certain qualities that rank higher on the “esteem scale” than, say, your good friend?

And how about your friend … would you esteem the qualities of your good friend in the same way they would esteem them?

If you’re seriously thinking about those questions but not sure how to answer them, we are starting to get somewhere.

Do you esteem yourself?

Think about the intrinsic value of a human being (and yes, I said “intrinsic”). The intrinsic value of a human being (A.K.A. YOUR VALUE) is infinite.

So if the value of your being – your existence – is infinite, then why bother dissecting your being into qualities that you do or do not esteem?

When you describe the way you think about yourself, instead of saying “high or low self-esteem”, just use the term “self-worth”. Accepting the existence of your human-ness is preferable to a self-diagnosis of high or low self-esteem.

“But Ella, you’re over-thinking this. I am SUPPOSED to have high self-esteem! Having high self-esteem is good for my mental health!”

I SOOOO disagree.

First, I’m not over-thinking, I just like to use words properly. If words didn’t matter, I would start calling an apple and orange, and a house a car.

On that note, if you believe your humanness has value or purpose, then why use the word “esteem”? If you aren’t appraising yourself based on anything but your existence, then there’s nothing to appraise. You simply have worth as a human because you exist. Which leads me to my second point …

Neither appraising your qualities and placing yourself higher along the esteem scale NOR regarding yourself with esteem for no apparent reason are beneficial to your mental health. As I explained earlier, you have nothing to appraise – there is no scale of intrinsic human worth. And to the second point, your humanness alone leaves you capable of personal development and therefore capable of improving your life. You should not esteem yourself for no reason, but instead give your intrinsic worth meaning by improving your extrinsic qualities. It is always better to try to improving extrinsic qualities instead of lowering the value you place on yourself because of them.

Stacks of money represents not lowering your instrinsic value based on your extrinsic qualities

But most importantly, recognizing your worth does not mean you get life a participation trophy. Thinking you’re the bomb.com for no apparent reason is called narcissism. So instead, give yourself a reason to be confident in life. As a human you are COMPLETELY CAPABLE of giving yourself a good life by working hard for something that gives your worth, meaning. Take advantage of your humanness and give yourself a reason to keep living.

For example, both the alcoholic and brain surgeon have infinite worth. But only the brain surgeon has taken advantage of his humanness to give his worth, meaning.

And as you were probably expecting, here’s a nifty analogy to help you understand:

Let’s say you’re a soccer player. Your team never practices so they come in last place in the league. Your team should not get a trophy for simply participating. BUT just because you came in last place, that DOES NOT mean you or anyone on your team are no longer soccer players.

What your team decides to do is take advantage of their “soccer player-ness” and hold weekly practices. The more your team practices, the more your team gives itself a reason to keep competing.

So no matter your race, ability or disability, career, social economic status, etc., your existence as a human being has infinite worth.

You have self-worth because you are human.

Next time you say you have high or low self-esteem, remember that esteem doesn’t actually matter; what matters is the fact you exist and you can make your existence more meaningful everyday, and that alone is enough ❤

[Like this post? Then don’t forget to follow my blog by typing in your email below. And consider sharing it with your friends and family on social media!]

*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.