self-help

Learning to love yourself.

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Setting out to heal myself has been such a liberating journey for myself. It’s also been a scary one, and a hard one at times. It’s hard in the sense that to heal ourselves we also need to confront ourselves. Confront the way we have been living. And we have to learn to accept ourselves for who we are. That last part is one of the hardest things we will do.

Accept ourselves. Accept things have happened to us, and are part of our growth and learning. Hopefully we learn from our missteps and stumbles in life. It’s easy to just sit there and wish we did this or that differently. What if we tried harder? What if we were nicer, or funnier, or better looking. What if. What if. There comes a time in our lives that we must accept that what has happened to us. Happened. And perhaps it could not have happened any other way. We can learn, in time, to let go. Many of us, myself included, want to control so much of our lives. That we sometimes forget that much is out of our hands, and all we can do is just enjoy the ride.

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It’s OK to feel emotions.

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My journey has been a powerful journey for myself and has revolved around healing myself from the inside out. Not just with the physical issues I have faced with my body, but with the emotional healing of the mind and spirit.

That was the healing I was not expecting but was the healing I truly needed. Being a male we are told from an early age, that “boys don’t cry.” That we have to be men. And act like men. We have to be tough. This is what society dictates of us men. We have to be rough, rugged, and tough. On the inside, and it’s not OK to have feelings. If you do, just suppress them, and ignore them. As an adult if you tell a kid something he’s going to believe you. So as a kid we are always trying so hard to grow up so fast. We want to be adults. We want to stay up late. We want to do the adult things, whatever they are, we want to do them. So we stop enjoying the things about life that kids enjoy. Do the things kids do and love. If I could have fully understood that being an adult meant getting a job, and paying bills, I would have stayed a kid forever.

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It’s OK to be me. 

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It has been a while since I have written anything on this blog. Yet it’s not for a lack of not going anywhere or doing anything. In fact, I have been all over the place these days, and have been really busy. I’m loving every moment of it. I just have not had much to write about and also have not had the time to really sit down and write. 

Lately I have been doing some introspection on myself as I do that quite a lot. This journey, and this blog, have been about the healing of my life, and changing it for the better. The other day I was having some quiet time to myself and really just pondering on my life, my journey, how far I have come, and in letting go of things that no longer serve my highest good. And in letting go of those things, I was learning to empower myself. Which is what those experiences have been for me. They have been lessons that have taught me so much. Albeit many of them were painful, they still helped me become the person I am today. Through it all I have come to love myself for the first time, in my life. In doing so I have also come to the realization that, “it is OK to be me.” When I came to that, I was taken aback, at how powerful it is, yet how simple it is. 

I have come to see that much of my life I had become a conformer to those around me who influenced me in not so positive ways. They were people that brought me down, whether they were intentional or not, they succeeded in causing me to become someone I wasn’t, but I thought I was. These were people that came in all shapes and sizes in my life, from school teachers, to relationships, to “friends” over the years. Random people on Internet forums. All telling me how things should be, or how I should do things, or how I should react to them. When you don’t know any better, you start to believe them. It lowers your self esteem and you start to doubt yourself and your abilities. Their way of being becomes yours, and you basically become defeated, wounded, and in many cases defeated. You no longer cease to exist how you were created, but become this Frankenstein creation of their design. 

I will be the first to tell you, it’s not a good way of living. Yet it becomes our only way of living because we think it’s right. Because they told us it was. We hardly ever stop and think, well maybe they were wrong. For many of us that become wounded, we are not strong enough to stand up to them and stand firm within ourselves. At the time, I did not. I just shied away, and shut down. Building up wall, after wall, to protect myself, without even really realizing I was doing it. 

I could have chosen to accept their reality was the only way to be. I could have chosen to stay that way. And lived their life. Miserable in the process. Shut down and defeated. (You probably would not be reading this blog right now if I did.) Or I could have set out to change everything and be so much more than I could have ever imagined. I chose the latter. I chose a better life. It was not easy. It has been a roller coaster of a journey over the past two years and I have loved every moment of it. I chose to heal my life. I choose to work at myself. I chose to really look at myself, the way I was living, and really work to make changes. To heal. To free myself of the shackles I was wearing. I had to do it. I had to put in the work. I had to actively do it. I had to actively work at it. I had to hammer away at the walls I had created. Brick by brick. Piece by piece. In time they slowly came down. I opened up more. I become more than I thought I was. 

In that process I have  learned one big truth of life. That it is OK to be me. It’s OK to like what I like. It’s OK to do what I do. It’s OK to be me. I am a beautiful person, inside and out. I don’t need to conform or settle. When you listen to those who don’t have your best interests at heart it takes you to a place you don’t want to be in, if you allow them to do so. If you give them that power over you. They have no power over us until we give it to them. When we stay strong in our own lights, in ourselves, we see our  own worth and what we deserve. And we deserve great things. I am so grateful for those that I have met on this journey, good and bad. It was those “bad” ones that showed me what I don’t want from people. Those good ones helped me to see myself for who I truly was. When I could no longer see it within myself. I am forever thankful for them. They helped find me when I had gotten so lost in life. They were earth angels sent to bring me home. I am glad to finally be home. Now I know my worth. I know what I deserve and now I don’t settle for anything less than that. 

Now I work through forgiving those who inadvertently took my light from me, and forgive myself for putting myself in that place. It was all learning and it was all to help me become the person I am today. Now my light is bright and it shines out to all to see. 

The will to go on again. 

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Yesterday, while glancing the internet, I was sadddened to learn about the loss the music industry received when it was revealed that Linkin Park frontman, Chester Bennington, had been found dead, from apparent suicide.

It is always truly heartbreaking to see someone take their life. I know first hand how bad depression can be, and to be in a place where I have wanted to take my own life numerous times. Reiki and energy healing really helped change my life and turn all that around for me, to a place of real and lasting happiness.

It then becomes more heartbreaking as most families and friends know nothing about the struggles we face, and when they do know about it, it’s usually way to late. So someone asked me, “Sad to hear that.. Why do you think this happens with out family realizing somethings wrong” I replied to them many who are depressed put on a false face, where they project a look of being happy, without actually being happy. Some don’t want others to be burdened with their pain or suffering. They don’t want their pity, and so keep it to themselves. And for a vast majority they don’t feel like they have anyone that’s really listening to them. They have a tendency to feel alone with it, even though they may not truly be alone. To them they are.

My struggle over the years was always a silent one, I didn’t really talk to people about it. It was always my burden to bare. I also did not want anyone’s pity. To me when that happens you start to feel guilty about the way you feel and act, and that just sends us further down the hole we are in. Or worse they tell us to “suck it up.” To others our struggles may not seem like a thing, but to us, they are huge. They are real. So we keep them to ourselves.

That’s not to say there is nothing you can do for those who are struggling. There is plenty to do for us. Being there for us and just listen to us. Listen to us ramble, listen to us complain. Hold that space of love and light for us. Because we are not seeing it within ourselves. We need that light to be there to remind us of what we already have within us, that we have forgotten. We don’t want to be told we are wrong, or that we shouldn’t feel that way, for many we already know that, but we can’t always help it, because we feel defeated. We are tired, and run down, from being strong all the time. So listen to us, don’t tell us how we are wrong, we hate that, we want to be heard, and loved. Because in those moments, we don’t love ourselves. To us all we see is what is wrong with us and our lives, we need to be shown and felt what is right. We need your patience, and support, and encouragement. To help us get ourselves back on our feet again. We have to find that light, and that spark within ourselves.

Finding that spark is a journey within itself. It’s not an easy one. It will be hard at times, and will really push us from the edges, back to the other edge, before we come out to the other side again. That in itself can be scary. Change always is. I struggled with depression, and even wanting to end it, for a long, long time. There was a lot within myself that needed to be changed. For there was a lot of healing that needed to be done. Those wounds within me, were still bleeding. I may not have shown it, or even saw it, but they were there, within me. I had to find the healing I needed, to come back from the edge of the void I was living at. I had to make that choice and decision that I wanted, no I needed to, heal my life. I had to truly want it. I had to come to the realization that what I was doing, the way I was living, was not working for me anymore. I needed more from life. It wasn’t life that had failed me, I had failed life, for I was not living. I was just existing in life.

It was energy healing and healing myself through using crystals, and Reiki, and crystal bowls, that really helped me open up, and change my life. Which helped bring me to people that were there for me, supportive of me, and able to see the spark within myself that I no longer saw, that really helped me find my way out of the darkness, and into the light, and no longer look back. This journey has been an incredible one. I have learned so much about myself, what I am capable of, and am now a person so drastically different than I was before I set out two years ago to change my life.

Change can be scary but it can be so incredible if we allow the chaos of it and allow ourselves to be more than we ever imagined. We are incredible beings capable of incredible things. We just forgot that along the way. The more we believe in and trust in ourselves the more our lives can truly change for the better. All it takes is us truly wanting to change. To live a better life. And then just enjoy the ride.

We all deserve happiness and we are all capable of being happy. We just have to realize happiness is within us. Not something we have to find outside of us.

(If you are struggling with depression, and suicidal thoughts, reach out to people. Talk to a trained professional. You don’t have to struggle alone. There are many there that can help you. )

Transforming my life for the better

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This popped up on my timeline today, I wrote it a year ago. 
“Just about a year ago, I was in a terrible place in my life. I was unhealthy, out of shape, in a lot of pain emotionally and physcially. I was in a very, very dark place in my life… I then decided to do something about it. Turn my life around. No one was going to do it for me. So I cleaned up my eating, and started running. Within a short amount of time things were changing and improving for me. I was becoming more than I could ever imagine. Within that time I dropped 70 pounds and got into the best shape in my life, I am feeling happy, healthy, and so much light. I am truly, for the first time in my life. Happy. I genuinly am happy to my very core, and I look forward with much optimism to the future and all that it will bring. I don’t wear tank tops, never have. It was not easy sharing a pic of one, even if I do look good. Na na na na na… Batman.”

It’s hard to believe the guy in the left is the same as the guy in the right and that that guy was me at one point in my life. Two years ago I sent out to change my life for the better. I never thought I would get to where I am today. Since I started that journey I have been to the Poconos, twice, to a Washington D.C., to Gettysburg and there is so many more adventures in there. I never could have fathomed being able to do any of that. Yet I am proud to say I have done that and so much more. 

I have seen and done so many things, and met so many people over the course of that two years. I am blessed and thankful for it all. I’ve seen first hand what fear can do to us and our lives and I know for us to get through the fear we have to walk through it. We can pray for all the strength in the world by only we can act upon the opportunities presented to us. Only we can act courageous in the face of fear. Many will supposed and encourage us but it’s up to us to act. Not everyone will understand our new journeys because they only knew us as the old us. Yet we become something so much more. 

My journey has shown me that if I can do it anyone can do it. Two years ago I set off on an epic journey to change my world and I am so glad to have done so. I look forward to where I will go tomorrow. 

That pic was a year ago, I have lost even more weight and finally am at a place where I love the way I look, and don’t hate to have picture taken. 

Here is what I look like today. 


That is what hard work and dedication will get you. And staying true to yourself. There was no shortcuts or magic pills. 

I’m creating a life I am proud of an can look back upon and smile. It’s not been easy and has challenged me in many ways. I know how eat it can be to just want to give up and run away. How the depression dark thoughts I have fought can still have a tendency to creep up on me and want to consume me. But I keep my head up, and keep the energy going, and keep moving forward to better things. And this time, the depression doesn’t win. It didn’t have power over me anymore. I don’t give it any. I don’t give in to it. 

I live life. 

Shadows of the past. 

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Shadows of the past – sounds like a movie in the Star Wars universe. Some days life feels like a sci-fi movie. I think my life could certainly use a theme song to it. Or at least Morgan Freeman narrating it. How awesome would life be if that happened? It would be epic. 

As I have worked with Reiki, crystals bowls, and various healers, I have gone through many layers of myself. I have brought forth parts of me I no longer remember and parts of me I didn’t even know existed. 

The more I have opened up to that, the more I have seen how much the past has cast its dark shadow upon my life. It’s that last thg can create so much anxiety, and fear within us. As we hold on to our baggage that we just for some reason or another can not let go of. Perhaps because it’s familiar to us or it’s just how we identify ourselves as. Some times we hold them because we don’t want them to repeat so if we remember that John was mean to he, we hold that baggage so no one else hurts us ever again. But really at the end of the day, who does it hurt by holding it? We do. It affects us and any future encounter with people. This baggage creates doubts and those doubts feed our insecurities and we start to just descend into dark places of the mind that start to make us feel paranoid about others. This baggage, all it ends up doing is robbing us of peace. 

The more we cling to it, the tighter our grip becomes, the more we lose ourselves in the process. We become consumed by it and that becomes all we can see. 

We then have a choice; continue to grip our baggage tight or let go of it and open our hands up to new experiences with an innocent mind. A mind that is not stuck on the past. A mind that can be one  to trust life. Trust another person. For me I have spent so long living with baggage. Unable to let it go. Unable to trust in people. I have experienced the insecurities in brings to the mind. Causing me to push away the world in the past. I choose to live a better life. I choose to be happy now. 

Working on myself has shown me many truths about myself. I know I am not perfect. I have a lot of work to do on myself. And truthfully we all do. We just have to be willing and ready to do so. Not everyone is ready. And that is ok. That is their journey. Each day I strive to be a better person than I was yesterday. I have come so far in my healing, my development, and life, within the past year. I look forward to where next year, and five years from now will take. 

I am glad I took those first steps to change my life. I can’t imagine my life any other way now. 

The courage to try something new.

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Spontaneity has never been a word that was a part of my vocabulary. While I may have heard of that word in my day to day living it was not a word that I was using. The idea of it, to just go and do something, don’t think about it, don’t plan it, just do it, made me sick to my stomach and would fill me with dread.

That was my way of living. That was life in a nutshell for me. And if you’ve ever seen a nutshell they are very tiny, you can not get much in them. So to have life in one of them did not leave room for much. Such was the life I was living. It was very routine. It was very repetitive. Such is the life of a person who was plagued with anxiety. It did not help that I am also introverted. So for me I never really had that desire to be out and mingle with my fellow peeps out there.

The idea of me going against my own core ideals was very foreign to me. Yet I knew if I was to ever make something of my life. To ever have a hope of a better life I had to take everything I had ever known, everything I ever believed was true for me, and throw it all out of the window. And create basically a brand new me. For the longest time I used to say people do not change. Not really. They could change their clothing style, and maybe their likes and dislikes could change, but they wouldn’t truly change who they are. At the end of the day they would still be the same them. Just with different clothes. That is what I believed. In some ways I still believe that to be true. Yet I have seen within my own life that it is possible to change who we think we are. And in essence change who we were. Not all of us will change and that is OK. Because those things that make up us are what make us unique and different than everyone else.

Maybe that is all superficial things that we can change and our core personalities always stay the same? I dunno. Can I go from an introvert to an extrovert? I guess that is something I will have to find out for myself.

So how do we do any of it? How do we get up and change something? How can I go from an anxious guy, not living life, to being able to go on a weekly adventure for a year? How do we get the courage to do that? We can pray for that courage and beg and plead for it, and we may receive what we ask for. But it will never be how we thought it would be. What I mean by that is, we will get opportunities to be courageous, to be brave. It is up to us to act on them. And that is what I had to do. I had to take those steps to be brave. To be courageous. To go out and have an adventure. It was the only way I would ever be able to change anything about my life. I had to take initiative. I had to take the first step.

I won’t lie, it scared the crap out of me. Even with my health doing so much better before I took that step. That was crucial for me. I had to feel better physically before I could feel better emotionally. As they were linked together for me. A lot of my anxiety stemmed from a body that reacts crazy to certain foods. Once I got a handle on that I had better control over my body and that helped me to be able to take more steps in my life. For me those steps were out on weekly adventures. Even with the better health there was still the mental aspect of it. As most anxiety is fear thoughts about the future because of something that happened in the past. So to break free from those thoughts I had to recreate new thoughts that reinforced a new reality. To do that I had to keep moving forward. Keep my life going. And keep doing new things.

Each step. Each adventure gave me more belief in myself. Belief in what I was doing. Believe that I could do this. I could go out. Was it easy? No, it was not. Is it always easy to do? No, it is not. There are sometimes when I want to just fall back into my old habits, and just say no. But I know I cannot do that. I cannot fall back into things. Or I will start to say no more and more. I have to try new things. I have to keep pushing the envelope on who I think I am and keep trying. I need to keep moving. As I encourage you all to do as well. Life and time will continue to tick by. We can either just let it go on without us. Or we can join it in its eternal dance. I don’t know about you, but after 36 years of not dancing, I want to dance until the cows come home. Well not literally, I’m not much of a dancer, but if I keep my mind open, one day I may light the floor up like John Travolta.

So can we as an individual change? Can we be something different than we were? I am starting to believe it is very plausible to change if we truly want and desire to. So can I go from introverted to a social butterfly? I don’t know. I don’t know if I purposely do it. Some would say I am shy. But I am not sure if that’s fully it. I just am not a small talker. Never really know what to talk about. It’s not that I don’t talk. Heck, I don’t shut up when I start talking. Even this post is going on so long that even I forgot what I was writing about. I think it’s about courage. And pancakes. How much better pancakes are than waffles. (Sorry waffle lovers, but pancakes rule. I will give you your due for putting ice cream and waffles together. Sadly I don’t eat gluten anymore for health reasons so I don’t get pancakes in my life these days. It’s sad. Truly is. See this is what I am talking about. Long whimsical rambling that had nothing to do with this post whatsoever. )  Yet when in public or with others I am quiet and reserved. I don’t really talk. It’s like I freeze up and don’t have anything to say. Even when people engage me I will speak short sentences and phrases, to just hurry along the conversion and get you to leave me alone. I sound like a cranky old man. But can I change that? Can I change who I am and be a social butterfly? I guess there is only one way to find out.

Anyways…

Life is crazy and exciting and it’s more so to just go out there and make something of life. To just have some wild and random fun. And if you are doing it with those you love those memories will be cherished for the rest of your life. And that is totally worth it.

Now I am living a life that is fun and that I truly enjoy. I can look back at a weekend or a day and say it was time well spent and had a lot of fun. When someone texts me about a gathering that is happening and if I want to go to it, I can get out there, on a whim, and do something new, and create new memories. That is truly a blessing to have in life. To get out there and make a memory.