It's no news that many women are insecure. We have enough thrown at us daily via social media telling us just how much we fall short of the ever-changing new "normal." Insecurity has many names and many masks.
These resources aren't necessarily "Pregnancy" workouts, so I modified when necessary. I found it harder to find specific pregnancy workouts that actually challenged me. This way, depending on how you feel, or how fit you were before you worked out, you can modify to your own desire.
Dieting is one of the surest ways the food industry continues to try and convince us of eating things we shouldn't. They claim "healthy, low-carb, ketogenic, gluten-free, fat-free, less sugar, vegan," and the list goes on.
It's important to identify what you're trying to control in your life and learn how to work through it; otherwise, those problems will begin to control you.
I’m not sure where I first heard about this wonderful sugar substitute, but I do remember seeing it at health food store one day and thought the name of it looked familiar.
Pregnancy and simplicity don't usually go hand in hand. There is nothing simple about growing another human being. Apart from it being the most miraculous thing to ever happen, it's also a bit uncomfortable. If you've been there, you know what I mean
Have you ever had a thought that you just can't get out of your head? No matter how much you try, it keeps coming back and haunting you? The detrimental part about negative thoughts that won't subside, is when they begin to sink you and take hold of more than just your mind.
Are you a healthy eater? I am, most of the time. I love to cook as well, which makes eating healthy come a little bit easier. But sometimes I find that making healthy meals requires a bit of time and extra help. Let's just be honest, it's not easy to eat healthy!
If you aren't a natural blonde and need a little help getting that beautiful creamy blonde tone with some highlights, then this article is for you. Do you know that moment about a week after you get your highlight at the salon and you start to realize that gorgeous shade of blonde you left with is slowly turning yellow?
Identifying the Lies You Believe
Hello and welcome to week two of my six-week series, Gaining Confidence in a Critical Environment. Last week we touched on some important steps to experience healing from your past. If you haven't read or gone through it, I would encourage you to take a look and see if your past is something that has played a role in your insecurity and self-doubt.
Part of this process will include identifying the areas in which are hindering us in experiencing true freedom and joy in who we are. Many of you already know that our feelings, emotions, and actions link directly to our thoughts. Sometimes our thoughts bring about feelings and sometimes our feeling bring about thoughts. In order to learn how to better understand ourselves and see who we truly are, we need to first eliminate the lies we believe that sometimes come from those thoughts or feelings. Lets first refer to some scripture. As I have said in last week's post, much of what I discuss here has a lot to do with my belief in God. Feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments on the matter.
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." -Philippians 4:8
This is one of my favorite verses. I know that God has created me as an emotional, sensitive, and creative person. I know he has created me to think and to reason. To have emotion and feelings. To utilize my talents for his glory. I know that he knows me better than I know myself. Every thought and action I have ever have and will have won't go unnoticed by him. It is why I trust that he gave me this verse to take seriously. Even though I have all of these wonderful capabilities because of how he created me, I also know that my heart is at times deceptive. How do I know that? Because time after time I have given into my emotions and feelings, which has lead me to believe lies about myself and others. I know it is a very popular idea in this world, that we should always listen to our hearts, and do whatever your heart is leading us to do. That's great and all, but what if your heart is telling you to kill yourself or someone else? What if you are so overcome by anger that your heart feels like abusing your children? Just because we feel something, and our heart is expressing itself, doesn't mean we should act on it. This is why it is vital to filter our feelings and emotions and begin to identify the thoughts that aren't true. Now, as I have said in last weeks post, it is also important when we take something away, like our negative thoughts, we need to then put something else on. Like this verse, we need to think about things that are true, noble, lovely and so on. It will do us no good to tell ourselves, "stop thinking that way." We can't. It will take time and effort to begin to change our way of thinking. We need a plan and a strategy.
Let's begin our take action section with identifying exactly the things we believe that aren't true.
*disclaimer - This article may contain affiliate links. If you click on an image and purchase from Amazon, I will receive a commission. I will never recommend a product that I don't stand by and believe to be useful. Thanks for the support!
Identifying what ISN'T true about you
Have you ever looked in the mirror one day and thought to yourself, 'I am so ugly.' But then on another day you looked in that same mirror and thought, 'I look so good!' As women, not only do our hormones play a role in how we feel about and see ourselves, (I wrote a little on that matter here) but also the lies that we have unintentionally ingrained in our minds. Feelings, which lead to thoughts, in and of themselves are not a bad thing. It's when they lead to lies, we need to step in and take action. Feelings are a signal to your body to acknowledge that something is happening that needs a reaction, whether good or bad. We then have a choice in what we will do with that feeling if we are in a healthy headspace. Sometimes there are situations in which one feels hopeless and helpless when it comes to being able to make good decisions when our feelings are out of whack. They are incapable of knowing how to filter reality from deception. I have been there, and I know how difficult it is. If you feel this way, please seek help. It's okay to admit we need someone else's help in knowing what exactly it is that is going on in our bodies. For me, it was hormonal, which was something I didn't have control over. What I am discussing here is for those of you who are able to filter healthily what thoughts are good and bad. If you can't do that, know that it's okay. But also know you don't have to be stuck there. Many times I have struggled and been entrapped in the feelings of depression. It took someone else's loving hand to guide me in the right direction, but you also have to be willing.
The first step in identifying those lies for me begins with prayer. When I have a thought come up that makes me fearful or angry, it helps when I ask God to show me if that thought is truth. The next step is what I am about to show you, but I first want you to go through these questions and answer them the best you can. They might be helpful in identifying what the lies are. Last week we worked on our past and what areas might be causing us to feel insecure. Now I want you to keep those things in mind as you answer, and realize that how we have thought about our past has everything to do with feelings of insecurity in our present.
1. Write down how you see yourself physically, such as your weight, looks, hair, etc.
2. Write down how you see yourself as a person, such as your personality, social skills, knowledge, education, job.
3. Are you a person who likes to please others and will do whatever it takes to gain their approval?
4. Are you afraid that you will fail in life?
5. Write down the specific thoughts you have in correlation to these questions and begin to form a list of the unhealthy thoughts you have about yourself or others. If it is a feeling that brings forth thoughts of inadequacy, fear, jealousy, etc., then it is most likely a lie. Again, pray and ask God to dig deep in your heart so that you can unveil these deeply seeded lies you've been believing.
A New Perspective
Keep in mind all of those thoughts you have and lies you believe as we move on to the next section. The most important thing for me to understand if I want to see myself how I was meant to be seen, is to fully understand who God is, so that we can begin to replace those lies with truth. So often we come up with our own version of who God is instead of relying on a source that is trustworthy. I know that there is a lot going around about truth whatever you want it to be. In my opinion, this is dangerous and makes truth seem like something that is interchangeable. Since how we think about ourselves has proven to be fallible, how can our view of God or anything for that matter be true? If we are so prone to believe whatever our emotions want to believe how can we trust ourselves to think we know anything about God just from how we feel? We need a source. I believe that source is the Bible. Sure, it's offensive and sometimes confusing. It's a topic of mockery and thought by many that those of us who believe it are stupid and uneducated. I'm okay with letting them think that. Part of this process is to discover that caring how others think of you, especially in what you believe, will only hinder you in your journey to overcome insecurity. If I were on the outside looking in on this "religion" called Christianity, I would be very confused. It is sad and unfortunate the way many of us Christians have failed the world in showing others who Christ really is. It is important to know that as Christians we aren't perfect, and the last person you should depend upon to get a REAL glimpse of who God is, is a Christian. Sure, we strive to show the world who God really is, and sometimes we succeed and are good examples, but you will only truly know him by opening the Bible and reading it for yourself. What better way to get to know someone then by opening their diary, reading their love stories and their hearts poured out onto the pages. That is how we should read the Bible. As if it were Gods diary.
Let's get back to who God is by figuring out what IS true about you.
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Identifying what IS true about you
- God is Love
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son. That whosoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
"But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness." Psalm 86:15
"Through him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:2-5
and that's just the tip of the iceberg of how much he loves us.
- God wants us to be real with him
There have been so many moments in my life where I have been angry with God. When I have cried out to him in bewilderment as to why something is happening in my life.Those moments usually become a turning point in my life. I'm not completely sure, but I think it's because God just wants me to be real with him. He wants to hear my feelings and emotions. He wants every part of me, and when I hold back and try and put on a facade that I have all my shit together, he can see right through it. He doesn't want perfection. He wants my love and obedience to him. he wants my heart, and not just a "sure yeah, I believe in God," but every nook and cranny that I've hidden my emotions in. Whoeve said that our God isn't someone who wants to listen to our feelings and cries for help? If you read Psalms, you will know that David was a very emotional person, and cried out to God in every kind of way.
"3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory."
- Ephesians 1:3-14
What more could we ask for? If you are like me and have experienced the highs, the lows, and all the in-betweens, you will know that life in this world has everything to offer, yet nothing at all. We are bombarded with the world telling us we aren't good enough. That we need to get on a certain diet to be a certain weight, look a certain way, read another self-help book, meditate more and the list goes on. It's funny because the world will also tell you that Christianity will only make you feel guilty and ashamed to be you. How contradictory is that? Sure, some Christians are judgmental, but some atheists are also judgemental. I'm pretty sure all of us have been judgmental at some point in our lives. That's exactly why I don't look to other Christians to see my worth, but only in the word of God. Has anything up until now offered you something that is actually freeing you from yourself and the standard that everyone has around you, or does it offer finding within yourself the answers? I don't have the answers for myself! God help me if I ever rely on myself to get myself out of the many snares I have created. I have tried and still do from time to time, but I always land back at the reality that I cannot do this life on my own. Not to say that there aren't also things you can do physically or mentally to help you feel more confident about yourself. Working out and eating right is definitely a great thing for the health of your body, and is only taking care of what God has given you, but it shouldn't stop there.
What can we relpace the lies with?
Go back to the list you made of the lies you might be believing that cause insecurity and self-doubt. For every thought you have that is a lie, come up with a thought you would like to replace it with. New thoughts will most likely come up daily. Have a journal handy by your bed, and before you go to sleep, keep up on what those bad thoughts were. Write them down and then keep thinking of counter-thoughts you can replace them with, and dwell on the good thoughts. Sometimes it's just replacing a bad thought with gratitude and naming things you are thankful for.
With time, those thoughts will start to change, and you will begin to have victory in filtering your thoughts and feelings that are taking captive your precious mind. I would love to know if this is helping you. Maybe you aren't the one struggling, but your partner or a friend. Feel free to share this with others who could benefit from it.
By knowing who we are in Gods eyes, and how much he loves us will help us replace the lies with truth. In order to do this, we need to get to know him more. The more we know him, the more we will be able to see ourselves how we were meant to be seen. Remeber this, if anything else. God loves you, just the way you are. But he also loves you enough to know you don't need to stay where you are, in a thought process that is filled with lies, opposing his truth.
Healing From Your Past
Welcome to week one of the six-week series for learning how to overcome insecurity and gain confidence in a world that is constantly telling us we are not enough. This series is for those of you who struggle with insecurity, self-worth, and the symptoms that come along with that like depression, jealousy, anxiety and not experiencing joy or peace in your life. I am not a licensed counselor or psychologist. This series is advice from my personal experiences while adding inspiring stories from a few other women. I do not claim to know everything and would love to be held accountable if there is something you see wrong in what I am saying. Feel free to email me personally, and we can discuss it further.
I struggle with insecurity on a daily basis, so I’m not coming from a place of “I have overcome this," but rather because I know how detrimental it can be I can say, “I am doing something about this.” I also come from a place of wanting to help other women know what to do with those emotions that are evoked from our past. When these things were and are applied to my life, it has helped me to see myself how I was meant to be seen.
Before we begin, you should know that this advice is based on my faith in God. If you do not believe in God, I think you can also learn something here as these aren’t only spiritual steps, but practical things that can help everyone, whether you believe in God or not. That being said, let’s dive in! I hope you can learn something. Feel free to email me or comment and let me know if there is something specific that you might want to know from me. It may be helpful to print this out so you can keep it in your journal, or someplace you can have it handy and always refer to.
What is insecurity and why is one prone to struggling with it more than another?
Insecurity – uncertainty or anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence.
We are all susceptible to feeling insecure, but there are those of us who struggle with it more often than others. Why? Is it because we were raised a certain way? Is it because of our past and current circumstances? Maybe it’s because we have done it to ourselves by continually believing lies. I believe it is a combination of all of those things. Let’s start with the past.
Healing from your past
Our past is part of what makes us who we are, but it shouldn’t define us. We still have a choice in our present to not let the negative things from our past continue to steal our peace and joy. If you have had trauma or abuse in any way that you haven’t healed from, or if you struggle with suicidal thoughts and have not sought professional help, please do that. Call 911, a counselor, or someone you trust to help you work through those things, especially before you begin this series. Reading this article can assist you in your journey, but if you are at a place right now where you are feeling hopeless, please go and find help. It is nothing to be ignored or shoved down. Your feelings are valid, and it is best to deal with them in a healthy environment where you feel safe.
That being said, yes we have a choice, but it may sometimes take the help of someone else or even medication to bring us to that point. Only a professional will know, so again, please see one if you are severely struggling.
It is essential you go through this series in a healthy headspace; otherwise, it could be counterproductive and cause you to sink deeper.
So, back to our past. Right now, you have a choice to stop letting your negative past dictate your joy, happiness, and peace in the present. How do we do that? Let’s do a little project.
Identifying excess baggage
This will be your part in taking action to identify the things that might still be affecting you from your past. Do this when you have a quiet moment by yourself as to eliminate distractions. Write down in a journal or a piece of paper and answer these few questions. Remember, the goal here is to identify things that are causing you to feel insecure about yourself. If you believe in God, I would encourage you to first pray and ask for him to show you what could be hidden deep inside that you aren’t aware of. It is important to be as specific as possible.
1. Is there something that has happened in relation to how you look or who you are from your past that has caused insecurity in your life, such as being bullied for made fun of for a certain physical feature? Try and dig deep to name those things, the people who did them, and how it made you feel.
2. Was your family environment a place you felt safe and comfortable to be yourself in? If not, express how you couldn’t be yourself and how that made you feel.
3. If applicable, has your past experiences with being abused, molested or raped caused you to think less of yourself?
4. Is there a specific hurt or wound inflicted on you from someone you care about, like them having an affair, or being emotionally or physically abusive? Write down those hurts and how they make you feel.
5. Do you think that your past has caused you to become insecure about yourself? If so, why?
6. How often do you find yourself dwelling on the past, reliving pain someone has caused you or thinking about something someone has said about your physical appearance? Write it down, if you know, to the times/day and days/week.
7. How do you see yourself physically? Do you see yourself as someone described by someone else who has hurt you from your past? For example, someone from high school made fun of me and said I had a big nose. To this day, I still struggle with thinking that there is something wrong with my nose. Before that point, I thought my nose was just fine. Write down any negative ways you see yourself because of someone else’s hurtful words.
8. Do you see yourself as less than (beauty, talent, smarts) others? In what ways?
Okay, now that you have identified some things from your past write down anything else that may be hindering you from seeing yourself in a positive light.
Now, I want to share a story of a woman that who inspired me a few months back. I was having one of those days where nothing looked right, felt right, fit right. I was sinking, and fast, into the thoughts that align with thinking I am not good enough.
I opened up Facebook and caught sight of a video with the headline “She Was Named the Ugliest Woman Alive.” I was immediately overcome with so many feelings that I can’t even begin to describe. This woman was born with a rare condition that keeps her from gaining weight, no matter how much she eats. It causes her to look different from the “norm,” and why she was named the ugliest woman alive. Her parents instilled in her a belief that she was perfect and there was absolutely nothing wrong with her. She believed it until she was met with relentless bullying of others at school. Today she is known for her optimism when staring cruelty in the face and has become a motivational speaker and advocate for anti-bullying. Her book, Lizzie Beautiful: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, as well as a few others, tell her story and how her faith has brought her through to where she is today. I encourage you to search for her on YouTube and watch what she has to say.
This is a strong woman, and in the direst of circumstances, she has decided to believe what God thinks about her is true, instead of what the world does. She is a beautiful example of what it means to live a full and joyous life, in spite of your circumstances and someone we can all learn from. Her past does not define her. Hurtful words do not define her. She is defined by her identity in her creator, because in his eyes she is perfect. In his eyes, you are perfect, just the way you are. Your flaws, your mistakes you’ve made, your past, present, and future. In his eyes, nothing will change the way he thinks about you. Isn’t that incredible?
My belief in God has a lot to do with the next steps of healing from your past. Look at these steps however you would like, and apply them how you see fit. If you’re wanting to know more about God and his love for you, email me privately and I would love to try and answer any questions you might have.
Wouldn’t it be great to be free of our insecurity, fear, and everything that stems from that? I believe you can. It’s probably nothing that will ever go away completely, but you can do what it takes to take those feelings and filter them healthily so that you are no longer shackled by them.
So how do we begin to believe that for ourselves? How do we heal from our past to live in the present and trust God for our future (mother's wisdom)? Let's take a look at what you’ve written down and see if we can work through some of those things that are holding you back.
Healing from your past through forgiveness
Take those questions you answered earlier. Now make another list and start with number one again.
1. Whatever you wrote down, it’s time to try and forgive. Forgive the person who has hurt you. Say it out loud or write it down. Who they are, what they have done, even if they never asked for forgiveness, and choose to forgive. Forgiveness is a choice that is sometimes accompanied by "feeling like it," but most likely you won’t feel like doing it. With time those feelings will start to align with that very conscious choice. It will no longer have power over you. If you are living in unforgiveness of someone, you give them the upper hand. It is hurting you more than anyone else.
2. If you have written something here, I believe this is one of the most important steps. If you have tried to live your life trying to be someone you aren’t, or trying to please your parents, siblings, or friends, then this could be a huge step in overcoming insecurity as it is deep-rooted and practiced since childhood. Someone I know has been very damaged by his relationship with his father. He always lived to please his dad, but in return, he never received approval for those things from him. This had left him scarred and insecure, not sure of who he is until he was able to FORGIVE and let that hold on him go. After forgiving his father, he was able to live in freedom, knowing he wasn’t accomplishing something just to please his dad. Forgiveness is again a vital part of healing and it is also important to see that what you do, you do it for the right reasons. For me, this is striving to live my life to glorify God and no one else. When I look at my life this way, it takes the pressure off to just be myself and live to please God. Not in a condemning be perfect kind of way, but because He loves me so much, I desire to love Him back. I know that even if I screw up, he will still love me and be pleased with me. In many cases, our desire to please our parents is the same, but our parents aren’t able to be perfect either. In essence, you are placing too much weight on yourself and your parent/s, or anyone else, to make you feel worthy. This can go for a husband/wife relationship as well.
3. It's the best idea to seek professional help on this one if it's something you have been through. A woman I know was molested when she was young. She didn’t find out that it had happened until later in her life because of those memories surfacing. The process of healing was her being able to forgive the person that did that to her. Once again here, forgiveness is a big step to healing from even the most grievous of circumstances. Most likely your abuser will have never asked for forgiveness, but it will release you from your anger when you make that choice to forgive. Say it out loud or write it down. It is helpful in those moments when you feel that hurt rise up again.
4. This is, unfortunately, a common occurrence in marriage, and it is also wise to seek counsel from an outside source, if not for both of you, then just for you. Many of you are still enduring it and are reminded of it day after day. If your spouse has had an affair, emotional or physical, it can be a detrimental blow to your confidence. Now that you have written those wounds down, forgiveness will play a huge role here as well. The most important step in overcoming your insecurity in this realm is to forgive. It will most likely come up again in feelings you can’t control which cause you to sink, but with time healing will begin and those moments will become less and less. Now, I want you to look at what you have written for this number, and put a big x through it. Next to it write, “Forgiven.” Leave the past in the past, and forgive even if not asked, because ultimately you are hurting yourself if you don’t. There is something about seeing that big X through it that will remind you that this person no longer has a grip on you. When those thoughts come up in your mind that you weren’t enough, practice turning those thoughts into ones that are true. Now I want you to make a list of all of the things you love about yourself. If you can’t think of anything because you are so hurt, then ask a friend or family member you trust to help you see those things and write them out. You can also look at these scripture verses that help you see yourself the way God see’s you. 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:24, Ephesians 2:8, Matthew 5:14, Phillippians 2:15, Matthew 5:13, Romans 8:37, 1 Peter 2:9, John 15:16, Proverbs 18:21., and all of Psalm 139.
5. Whatever you wrote here is probably the biggest reason as to why you are insecure. If you pray, then pray about it. Ask God to release you from this bondage and begin to understand why you think and feel the way you do. It was never his intention for you to feel this way. Ask him to help you see yourself the way that he sees you.
6. This question will reveal to you just how much time it is you think about your insecurity. Try and tally that number up to know how many hours in a week you spend thinking about it. Sometimes becoming aware of how much time is spent dwelling on these things, you will become aware of the damage it can do, not only to your family who needs you but also to yourself. Don’t let this make you feel guilty or shamed. You are human and it’s completely normal. Just be aware and use it to help you make a change in your thought processes. I wrote an article about what negative thoughts do to the physical makeup of our brains. I referred to a woman, Dr. Caroline Leaf, who wrote a book called Switch on Your Brain. The more negative thoughts we have, the more we damage our brain and the harder it is to come back from it. Positive thoughts heal your brain and you can actually reverse the damage done. I don’t agree with everything she says, but it’s very informative and helpful to know that when you think a negative thought you are ultimately damaging your brain.
7. So now you have dug a little deeper into how you think about yourself. Now, lets try and change that. From all of the things you have learned here, make a list. Name it “I am no longer a slave to insecurity and self doubt.” In this list I want you to include the names of the people you have forgiven and the ones you aren't able to yet. Write them down and if you have forgiven that person, write “forgiven” next to their name. Now write down from what you have discovered here all of the things you love about yourself. Your qualities, how God sees you, and who you want to become. Be specific. Write down your physical qualities that you love, your character qualities, your talents, your ambitions and passions. It is all apart of you, and it’s important to be aware of your beauty and the things you have to offer this world.
8. If you compare yourself to others, then you are a part of 95% of the population. Most people do it, but that still doesn’t make it right. It only fuels that self doubt. So instead of comparing yourself, start thanking God. When a thought like that pops up, replace it with one that is true. For example, you have a thought like, ‘I wish my hair were as thick and long as hers.’ Replace it with. ‘Thank you, God, that you have made me beautiful just the way I am.’
Whenever we are putting off bad habits, thoughts, beliefs about ourselves, we then need something to replace it with. It’s not completing the whole task when we just try and forget something and put it in the past; we need to take another step in forgiveness and then put on truth, leaving the past in the past for good. Now that you have your plan written out, you can refer back to it. On the days you are feeling defeated, unworthy and insecure, go back to this list and remember who you are. The past is behind you and it will do you no good in reliving it. I guarantee, it will come up in your mind again, but now that you have some guidelines and truths written out, you can, with practice, begin to heal and put your past where it belongs. I am still on this journey, but I am living proof that the more you apply these things to your life, the more success you will have in healing. If you do nothing, you will be stuck in a reality that once was, and it’s possible that bitterness and resentment will rule your life. It's never too late to heal from your past.
Being pregnant for the first time can be quite trying. The first trimester you struggle with nausea, hemorrhoids, and mood swings, just to name a few. The second trimester you get a break from most of those things, except you start experiencing more physical struggles with your belly getting bigger and bigger. The third trimester, you get all of the symptoms from both the first and second, with a few added cherries on top. You know exactly what I'm talking about if you've ever been pregnant, unless you're one of those women who take on pregnancy like it's just another normal day in the life of you.
I'm going to tell you a story about a little treasure I found in an unexpected place. This article has no words of advice, but here's what I want to do with it. All of us women have embarrassing, crazy, and weird pregnancy stories. I would LOVE to hear them. So, I will tell you mine, and maybe it will give you a little laugh and encourage you to also share yours in the comments below. Here it goes.
I remember it like it was yesterday. My first pregnancy I was experiencing all kinds of things I never knew or thought could happen to my body. I don't make the most pleasant pregnant woman, and my husband can testify to that. Maybe you are one of those women as well, but you also know that even with all of the symptoms, once you hold your baby in your arms for the first time, it's all forgotten and forgiven. Every single sleepless night trying to soothe your hemorrhoids, peeing a tablespoon of pee every ten minutes, getting zits the size of grapes that never go away. It's all forgotten, and you can say with one hundred percent certainty, with all your heart, that it was all worth it.
Of all the things I experienced during my pregancy, this one was definitely the strangest.
I am a person who loves to take nice, hot, long showers. Sure, it's expensive and irresponsibly earth unfriendly, but here's the thing. I don't care. If I can have twenty minutes alone, with hot water embracing me with its liquidy arms, I will take that over any session with a psychiatrist. It keeps me sane. I can think clearly, and when all those bad thoughts come out, they seem to wash away with the water, down the drain.
To get to the point, showering while pregnant was especially important for me. Even though it did present its difficulties physically, like once I had sat down, I couldn't get up again. This is a picture resembling that problem.
Even still, it was a daily routine I treasured. This particular evening, little did I know, my shower would bring about something very strange. A diamond in the rough, if you will.
I walked out of the bathroom, to see my husband laying on the bed. I presented him with a tiny little pebble, the size of a pea, and asked him if he knew what it was all about. He gave me a look that expressed complete bewilderment.
So I said to him, "Do you know where I found this tiny little pebble after I took a shower?"
He said, "No. On the floor?"
"No." I said. "I found this little treasure inside my belly button."
"No way." He replied.
"Yeah, and it gets weirder. I think it's been in there for who knows how long. Look here, I have a tiny little indent of where it came out. Like my skin formed around it. The only reason it came out is because my belly button is turning inside out. So, at some point in my life, this little pebble found it's way into my belly button, and made its home there for years!"
He couldn't handle this one. We have never laughed so hard.
I am guessing at some point when I was a child, I got tossed and turned by the waves on some family vacation, and somehow a pebble got lodged in my belly button. My skin then grew and formed around it, unbenounced to me. After the shower softening my skin in combination with my belly button turning inside out, it couldn't stay it its little home any longer. I wish it had somehow turned into a pearl, but I'm guessing since I don't have the mad skills of a clam, that's impossible.
So, there you have it. What I found that day I put in a tiny little sample perfume bottle, and I now wear it everyday around my neck. Just kidding. That would be really weird.
I would love to hear your pregnancy stories! Please, comment away.
The Keys to a Lasting Confidence
Gaining confidence in something deeper
Starting March 15th!
One of the exclusive six-week series for women I will do here on Word From The Bird is called, Gaining Confidence in a Critical Environment. I'm always so encouraged by women who can live above this world's expectation of them and be who they are. I will be sharing with you some inspirational stories of other women who have experienced what it means to overcome insecurity. With it, I will include advice from my journey with insecurity and how to take steps in overcoming it. I want to help you be the woman you've always wanted to be and stop relying on others to make you see your worth.
Honestly speaking, I don't believe that we as women can blame our society or even men for ingraining this deeply seeded insecurity in our minds of believing we are nothing more than how we look. They play a part, yes, but I want to dig a little deeper. This won't be your average approach on the matter. When I look at what is going on with women today, I am astounded that the world is only now waking up to some of the dysfunctions of our sex-crazed culture and how women are being treated. The problem is, we are getting a little blame shifty. When I see women everywhere coming forward about their experiences, claiming #metoo and #timesup, I am saddened by it, because I know all too well how it feels. But shouldn't we also be addressing how the objectification of women has possibly played a role in that, and worst of all, that we as women have given into it? What is our solution, if how we decide to portray ourselves is exactly how men will see us, as objects? By that, I don't only mean women who are dancing around on stage wearing practically nothing at the Grammy's, but also those of us who think that changing who we are on the outside will somehow gain confidence in who we are on the inside. Those of us who think our worth lies in the hands of those we impress. We give into this mindset every single day, and you know it. So how can we rise above? The answer is, we have a choice. As much as I would love to blame everyone else around me for my insecurities or how the world sees women, I simply know that it won't help or change anything when it comes to overcoming my own battles. We need to start asking ourselves, what can help us change the way we are viewed and encourage others to see us how we were meant to be seen? As beautiful creatures who aren't defined only by outward appearance, but by our character's. God did not create you to be objectified, or insecure about who you are. He created you to be a warrior, and it all starts by not blaming anyone, including ourselves, but rather dealing with the root of our own personal issues from our past, our present, and how we view our future. Here are just a few examples of what we will be covering in this series.
Healing from your past through forgiveness
Recognizing your potential
Identifying the lies you believe
Changing how you see yourself
I will be the first to tell you that this isn't an easy journey. If it's a struggle of yours, it will most likely be apart of your life until you die. The only thing you can do is figure out what to do with it. We can't make men or our society change, but we can take responsibility for our actions, and be the women that we were created to be. It will take effort on your part, but if you'de like to follow along, get inspired by other women, and change how you see yourself in ways other than making your hair longer, or your butt tighter, then sign on up! By subscribing to my email list you can journey with me in healing from the inside out and gain confidence, even in a critical environment. These will not be public posts, so in order to receive the series, you will have to subscribe to this imparticular email list. If you are already a subscriber to the weekly newsletters, go ahead and subscribe to this email list as well as it is a different list.
Take a step in becoming the woman you were meant to be. Stop trying to gain confidence from the outside in but rather from the inside out.
* Update - Weeks one and two now posted below!
Something else that might interest you from my blog!
The Diva Cup and its benefits
Friends don't let friends use tampons
This story could quite possibly make you queasy, so if you have a weak stomach, or if you're a man, don't read any further.
*disclaimer - This article may contain affiliate links. If you click on an image and purchase from Amazon, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I will never recommend a product that I don't stand by and believe to be useful. Thanks for the support!
One regular morning, a few days after my period I woke up to use the bathroom, but the smell I smelled, made it no longer a regular morning. The smell resembled death, at least what I think death would smell like. Rotten flesh, mixed with freshly risen dough. Was it a yeast infection? No. What could it be, I wondered. A few days went by and every time I used the bathroom, I was greeted by this unpleasant reminder, causing me to schedule a doctors appointment. I couldn't get into my OBGYN until the next week, so I did a few things to try and figure out what it was. To no avail, I was left dumbfounded, and started to worry. The smell only got worse. It must have been a miracle from God because I ended up talking my mother-in-law that week, and unusually mentioned what was going on. She said, "Maybe you forgot something up there?" "No way!" I said, shoving that idea aside until later that night. Perhaps she had a point, so I checked. Without going into any detail, she was right. I had forgotten a little something up there, and let me just say, it isn't normal that a tampon left to rot inside of someone for a week wouldn't cause Toxic Shock Syndrom (TSS). I have since read articles of various women who have horror stories, to say the least, of what this can actually do to you. I am fortunate I didn't lose my life, or even my legs, like this poor soul. I'm only posting this to make you aware of how careful you need to be when it comes to this. Thankfully, God has given me a second chance, which provoked me to look further into tampons and why I should possibly convert to the Diva Cup.
A woman's menstrual cycle is no longer a hush-hush subject and rightfully so. You can read other information I have written in this article, encouraging PMS health, written for those of you who suffer from PMDD, linked with depression. There are also great book recommendations for overall PMS health in there.
Once you get over the first initial "ew" of using the Diva Cup, you get used to it. You also need to follow strict procedures in cleaning them. The time has come to get your hands a little dirty and switch on over. These are the benefits I have experienced.
Go all day long without needing to empty the Diva Cup.
I used to think that when I had my period, I must have bled an entire gas tank's worth for the duration of my cycle. Wrong! You'll actually will be surprised how little we do bleed.
Feel comfortable traveling for long periods of time.
This goes along with not having to switch these suckers out much.
Tampons are SO expensive. Diva cups last for a few years!
Possibly save your life! And your legs.
Don't lose your legs, lose your tampons! That may be a bit dramatic, but still.
There is one thing to consider as with putting in tampons. Close the door and lock it as to not make your spouse think you just murdered someone if they walk in on you washing blood down the sink. Sorry for the gory details. The closed door will also help with the suction sound creeping anyone out. Trust me, I learned this one the hard way.
Good luck with your new endeavor! It really is a better option in my opinion.
The Period Repair Manual
By the way, here is a great book about PMS Health, and how to lessen your symptoms naturally! These are great tips that have helped me both mentally and physically!
Pregnancy is the best when it comes to dreaming. I could probably write a book of dreams that would only be funny to me myself and I, but I'm going to go out on a ledge here and hope that you think this one is funny as well. For some reason, it turned very political, but I will try and leave that part out of it.
So, I'm five months pregnant at this very moment I'm writing this, and let me just tell you a little bit about my sleeping situation. My husband refers to it as my pregnancy throne, but to me, it's so much more. It's my nest. My shelter from the storm. What makes it so special is the pregnancy pillow that nestles me ever so softly as I drift off to dreamland.
That's not me, but she looks really comfortable as well, especially since she's just floating there.
Anyway, I am ever so grateful for my pillow, but no matter what I do in efforts to get relief from my pregnancy insomnia, I just don't sleep deep anymore. It leads to weird dreams and angry mornings.
So, like any dream, it didn't make one bit of sense, so of course, it all started with Michelle Obama. She was there, and apparently was my friend, which is cool I guess. Sometimes in my dreams, I am me, but I'm not me. Does that make sense? I don't know how else to explain it.
There I was or wasn't. I don't know, some version of me was there. I was watching myself like a movie and it was Halloween for some reason. I wasn't married and didn't have children like my life now, but I was single, fit, happy, full of life and energy. I was Wonder Woman. For real, I was Wonder Woman for Halloween. Anyway, I was on a mission from the gods. On a mission to find my Wonder Woman boots. They were something, those boots. Not only because they were impossible to find, but because they didn't look anything like the actual Wonder Woman boots but in fact just like the brown, scuffed, worn out boots that I wear almost every day in real life. So there I was arm and arm with this guy I used to work with. I looked at him and said, "The time has come for me to go find my boots so that we (a whole bunch of random people) can go Trick or Treating." He looked irritated like this was something I should have already done and the whole world was at risk because of it, but I didn't care, so I left to go find my boots. This is where things got real weird with my friend Michelle. I found myself in this warehouse full of, you guessed it, boots. You know the part in the Matrix where they show the field of all of those growing egg baby pod things? Yeah, it was like that, but full of boots. They weren't on shelves, but rather on scaffolding that was really high off the ground, and it was endless. I remember having this feeling like, I've got this because I'm Wonder Woman, but at the same time I was me, so it was a confliction in the feeling of capability. I knew that I, Hillary Hand, couldn't possibly find those boots, but Wonder Woman could. Was I actually Wonder Woman, or just her for Halloween? Don't know. I just was.
I started looking for those stupid boots and got distracted by this woman who appeared to be Michelle Obama. Low and behold it was Michelle Obama, also looking for boots. It's so crazy because I'm really not making this up. This dream was as vivid as real life almost. Michelle was dressed quite alarmingly, and I have an exact account of what it looked like in my brain. It's still there. She was wearing a lavender colored fluffy sweater, the kind that shimmers, with an outline in rhinestones of a kitty face on the front. Then, she had on jeans from the nineties, which might have been in style last month, I don't know. You know, the kind that has the pleats in the front and they are whitewashed with pockets on your lower back instead of on the bum? Yeah those. Then she had a very angular short bob haircut that resembled the wigs that secret agent spies wear to disguise themselves. I almost forgot. She was wearing the most ridiculous loafers you've ever seen. No socks, just loafers with tassels. Something like Tom Selleck would wear.
I remember in my dream having the thought, 'What is she doing here and what is she dressed up as for Halloween? An eleven-year-old homeschooler?' I can say that because I was homeschooled. No judgment, just observations of my past. I ended up starting up a conversation and it went something like this.
"Hey Michelle," because we were already friends, "What are you dressed up as?"
She responded "Oh hey, yeah! I'm poor."
"Yeah, I'm dressed up as a poor person."
What did she mean and how offensive was that!?
"Um, where did you get your outfit?"
"At the ARC."
"OH!" I responded, "I love the ARC." forgetting how wildly inappropriate it was that Michelle Obama was dressed up as a poor person for Halloween.
Then I woke up to my son saying, "hey guys?" Which is what he says every morning, provoking a "hey buddy" right back. Very delicately he says, "I'm hungry, you know that?"
"Okay, I'll be there in a minute."
"Okay" he says. "Can I play video games?"
5 Natural remedies for beating the flu
If you're a person who always resorts to cold and flu medicine, then you'll want to read this. I was just like that, but now that I know that there are remedies out there to lessen your symptoms without drugging you or your children Breaking Bad style, I am a believer.
I used to think that natural remedies didn't work, and even if they did, wouldn't last long. One thing I love about Germans and Europeans, in general, is that the absolute last resort of Tamiflu or antibiotics is just that, the last resort. We moved to Germany two years ago, and my desperate attempts to try and convince these doctors that we needed drugs to live through the night, just made me look even more American than I already do. Bribing didn't work, so I just had to accept it. Not once in these past two years have we been given any sort of antibiotic or Tamiflu, no matter how bad the fever got. It forced me to join the other hippie moms in dealing with this crap.
I'm no scientist or doctor, but I know for a fact that when my husband (who was born and raised in Germany) gets sick, he maybe has the flu for two days tops. Me, two weeks. The difference between us? I have had a lot more antibiotics and Tamiflu in my lifetime than he has. I can't tell you how many times I've taken them. I'm not gonna lie, it was great! But I can't help but think that maybe, even if only a few times, I need to let things ride out while keeping the symptoms at a bearable level. Again, I'm no doctor, but I'm pretty sure it's good for your immune system to learn to fight sickness in order to get over it faster or fight it all together the next time.
Almost two weeks ago, for the first time, I got the flu while being pregnant. Not fun. My husband got it, and of course, he was better after two days. Obviously, being pregnant, the only thing I could take was Tylenol, for comfort from the aches and shakes, and as a fever reducer. I have never in my life experienced what the actual flu really feels like because I've always resorted to Mucinex to dry up the sludge, or Nyquil to knock myself out. Man, let me tell you, it's awful! So if you're a hippie mom, or just pregnant and not allowed to take the good stuff, this article is for you.
1. Boost your immune system
Facebook and Pinterest are a moms best friend when it comes to these things. I haven't looked to see whether these tips are up there, so I'm not claiming them as my own secret recipes. I just know them from word of mouth or the lovely ladies who know their stuff at the German pharmacies.
Ginger and honey booster
1 tsp Ginger (antiviral, anti-inflammatory)
1 tsp honey (antibiotic qualities)
Juice of 1 lemon (reduces phlegm and has vitamin c)
1 tsp turmeric root (anti-inflammatory for your swollen glands, throat, sinuses, etc.)
Not only will this help clear up that mucus in the back of your throat, but also boost your immune system. I used to add Tumeric until I read an article that debunked any powdered version as helpful. If you happen to have turmeric root in its true form lying around (probably those hippie mommy's do) then go ahead and add that. Just make sure you research how much you're allowed to have during pregnancy.
*disclaimer - This article may contain affiliate links. If you click on an image and purchase from Amazon, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I will never recommend a product that I don't stand by and believe to be useful. Thanks for the support!
2. Thyme steam bath
2 tbsp dried thyme, or 3 bags of thyme tea
Thyme is known as an antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial herb. So no matter what sickness you have, it fights it! It is used to treat various conditions having to do with the respiratory tract.
Put in a pot of boiling water and let steep for a few minutes. Drape a towel over your head and breath in the thyme steam for about 10 minutes. That annoying cough you've had for the past week will dissipate. It also encourages you to cough up all that mucus that needs to come out. Drinking thyme tea, in addition, will dry it up even more. This is seriously the best method I've used for clearing up all that nasty mucus. It works just as good as Mucinex, but it doesn't last quite as long. I do it about three times a day.
3. Eucalyptus Bath
Not only does this feel amazing, relax and detoxify, it will clear out your sinuses.
4. Warm Foot Soak
Even if you have a fever, making your feet warm will keep your body from trying to warm them up and your fever getting even higher. Soak your feet in warm water for about 10 minutes.
5. Stay Hydrated and eat salty foods!
Eat Ramen or chicken noodle soup!
The sodium from the broth will help you retain electrolytes and keep you hydrated. It also feels great on your throat. I know it's hard to keep things down during the flu, but ramen for me is somehow manageable.
Other posts that might interest you!
When I was young, my mother always made an effort for us to be sitting down around the table together by six o clock. Most memories I have from when I was a kid are that from the dinner table. We would share how our day went, talk about how life was going, and just unwind from a crazy day. Sure, it wasn't always perfect, but it was a common space, a neutral place for us all to gather and share about our lives. I am so grateful for this example my mom made happen in my younger years. It has taught me to also make an effort in my family to keep the tradition alive, even if it takes an extra effort on my part.
Why are family meals so important?
As humans we associate specific memories with taste, smell, touch and all of the five senses. Food is something that ignites those senses and makes a basis to which memories are centered around. When those memories are good ones, you can bet that when the smell or the name of a meal comes up from your past, you are immediately taken back to that memory, and caused to think about and reminisce on. So, how perfect is it to create an environment around food that is positive and encouraging for your family at a mealtime together that will stick with them for their entire lives? Unfortunately, this can go both ways. If those meal times are spent fighting, then it could possibly become a relation to negative memories. All the more reason to make the moments special and positive for everyone involved.
How to plan ahead and set yourself up for success
Life is busy, crazy and complicated. You know that. You experience it every day. So how is it you're supposed to make time to prepare a meal, set the table, and coerce everyone else into coming and sitting down at a specific time? My best advice is to make a plan. A meal plan in particular.
Make a meal plan for the whole week, and shop accordingly.
It will save you so much time and effort to prepare beforehand. It will also encourage you to not skip out on making a meal, knowing you will possibly be throwing food away what isn't utilized. Keep it simple and whole, as to not stress yourself out.
Make yummy food that everyone will want to eat
Be intentional about your questions at the dinner table
Don't ask rhetorical questions like "Did you have a good day?" but rather, "What happened today that was funny?" or interesting, or scary. How are they treating other kids? How are other kids treating them? Show genuine interest in their day's with asking questions that lead to more than a yes or no.
Make your kids help with setting the table, cooking, or cleaning up
My little guy loves to cook with me. It not only gives us something to experience together, but also helps him with his motor skills, learning how to cut veggies in a safe environment, and preparing him to take care of himself someday. Wouldn't it be great not to have to worry about your son eating nothing more than ramen every day in college?
Having your kids help with chores and cleaning up, will enable them to succeed in something while also learning that they aren't entitled. It will teach them discipline, responsibility and awareness that life isn't always easy. We live in a society that is continually moving towards self-gratification instantaneously. We are moving away from taking time to make healthy and whole meals, towards shortcuts which leads to processed foods, and unhealthy choices.
Don't expect perfection
I know it's hard when expectations aren't met, but it's important to have grace for yourself and your family in these moments as well. Life happens, and just because you don't get to sit down every single day to a meal together, doesn't mean you are a bad mom, or that your family is falling apart. Some days we are just so tired (usually Friday nights) that we end up baking a frozen pizza and watching a documentary together while eating off of our coffee table. These memories are some of the best ones I have! So cut yourself, and everyone else some slack if things don't go according to plan every single time. That's also a part of creating a good environment when it comes to family time. You don't want your kids to get the impression that they need to please mom, and that's the only point of family meals. You want it to be something they want as well.
How PMS can affect your decisions
When I first got married, there were a lot of instances when my husband was at a loss as to how to handle his new emotional and hormonal wife. The first month of our marriage he told me that PMS was all in my head, but knows now, that was a big no-no and absolutely not true.
He was raised alongside three brothers, and when it came to his mother opening up about her hormonal issues, forget it. I mean, why would she? Up until the last however many years, hormones, periods, and women's emotions were hush-hush. No one talked about them, and in my opinion, a lot has been swept under the rug resulting in a lot of disarray on the matter.
One day, after having a moment of freak out during my special days, I was shocked in how my mind had turned so ugly so fast and wondered if I was capable of actually doing the things I had just thought in my mind. It made me curious as to what percentage of crimes were committed by women during their PMS. I, of course, googled it and read a few articles on the matter.
It was apparently brought up in court during the 80's on whether sentencing could be lowered if a woman committed a crime during PMS. Since doctors couldn't prove that PMS alters our decisions, the case was thrown out, even though there are studies that found there was a higher percentage of crimes committed by women during PMS. Honestly, it makes perfect sense to me and proves even more that PMS can affect us in so many ways, including our decisions.
Emotional vs physical symptoms of PMS and when it's called PMDD
Anger, irritability, depression, anxiety, cramps, headaches, and much much more.
Every woman is different, even when it comes to hormones. Some women suffer more physically during PMS and their period, while others suffer more emotionally. The severity of PMS is determined by how many symptoms you have. If you have 5 or more of these symptoms, it can be likely that you have Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) .
Women who are experiencing PMS, can still function and continue to perform their daily activities, even with their discomfort. Women with PMDD, because experiencing more severe symptoms, are sometimes paralyzed in their mind and body which makes it difficult to perform everyday tasks. While anger, irritability, anxiety, panic attacks, and thoughts of suicide are a part of the emotional symptoms, there is yet another painful side to PMDD that suddenly and unwillingly rears its ugly head. Depression.
There are many different forms, but the one I am referring to is that only during and having to do with the menstrual cycle. For me, this occurs both at ovulation and a week leading up to my period. Once my menstrual cycle starts, I feel like a different person. That makes it two weeks out of the month where I feel like myself. Not only do I suffer emotionally, but it affects my sleep (which affects my depression even more), my skin, and worst of all my decisions. I feel as though a tiny evil version of me is sitting in my head, and using her tiny controls to operate my bad decisions and make life seems hopeless.
Due to tracking timelines and keeping a symptom documentation, it's become apparent to me that what I experience is a bit more severe than PMS. In the second trimester of pregnancy, I am quite possibly the happiest person on earth. Most of my problems seemed to dissipate, including my skin, because my hormones changed for the better during this time. My first and third trimester are a completely different story.
Most of these things are no news to a lot of you. But what don't we know? What if there are broader issues to PMS, PMDD, and depression, and do they possibly coincide? Is there a way to get help from our symptoms?
I wanted to touch on this subject because I have benefitted from being aware of some of these things by research, reading some books on the matter, and some wise advice from a few women. Since we can't control the fact that we menstruate and from that receive wonderful side effects, let's talk about what we can control.
This post contains affiliate links.
What we can't control
Probably one of the hardest years of my life was when we moved to Germany for the second time. The unfortunate menstrual changes during PMS occur because of the rapid rising and lowering of the hormones progesterone and estrogen.
If we have high levels of stress in our lives, these symptoms are made worse due to the release of more cortisol into our bodies. I have witnessed first hand that stress plays a role in making symptoms worse, as the stressful years in my life, have brought out the record-breaking crazy lady days.
We can't control our circumstances, for the most part, nor can we control our PMS or PMDD, if birth control is not an option for you. I tried it, only to find out I do, in fact, transform into Mr. Jeckel. It made my symptoms so much worse. Some of you don't want to be on birth control, but since it helps you feel less insane, you do it. Same goes for depression medication. You need a solution, so why not?
As I am both for the use of depression medication and birth control when needed, I also don't want to accept the fact that it should be something we have to take for the rest of our lives. So what are the other options? Let's talk about the neurological side of things and how it possibly ties into PMS, PMDD, and depression. So we can't control PMS and its symptoms, neither can we control our circumstances. So what can we control?
One of the best things you can do for your period is switch to Diva Cups! Say no to tampons! Read about it here. Click the image to buy on Amazon for a great price!
What we can control
1. What we eat -The PMS diet and how it can
lessen or eliminate your symptoms
I read a book awhile back talking about natural resources that help lessen the symptoms of PMS and PMDD. It's called Period Repair Manual. One of those factors is our diet. It's important to figure out what your body needs and doesn't need. Keep a diary of what you eat and how it made you feel.
For example, our body doesn't need a twinkie, but it could need natural sugar, like fruit or yogurt. Seems reasonably straightforward, right? She goes a little deeper into it, explaining how certain foods can worsen our symptoms. A very interesting read if you want some advice on what you can do naturally to lessen or even for some women, eliminate your symptoms.
2. We can control our thoughts
There is a neurologist whose name is Dr. Caroline Leaf. She's brilliant and has written a book called Switch on your Brain. I don't agree with everything she says, but she touches on some excellent points.
Our mind/brain and our body are connected; therefore, our thoughts are the starting point of what happens to our body's emotions, ailments, physical well being, which in turn affects our lives. Our thoughts have the power to physically change the makeup of our brains for the better or the worse.
I'm going to quote a good old fashioned verse from the Bible. If you're not a Bible-believing person, that's okay it doesn't matter because this can still apply to you. Philippians 4:8 says,
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
This is advice from thousands of years ago, and I can only gather that God is trying to protect us in not wanting us to let our thoughts run wild on negativity because science now says it is neither good for us emotionally nor physically. Positive thinking, right? It can heal our brains, physically change them, and heal our bodies. Read the book. It's fascinating.
So, what does this have to do with PMS, PMDD, and depression?
A sage woman once asked me in reply to me sharing how during PMS, I have a hard time controlling anger towards my husband when we fight. She asked, "Are you able to control your anger towards your son or your friends?" I replied, "yes, of course, most times." she responded. "So there is hope. If you can control your anger towards your child and friends, then if you put your mind to it and practice, then you can also control your anger towards your husband."
That was convicting. It occurred to me that I can, in fact, control my emotions, even during PMS. How? By controlling my thoughts. It is SO hard to do during PMS, and I realize for those of you who suffer from PMDD, it seems impossible at the moment. But with practice (mostly during the good weeks,) as you will read in Dr. Leaf's book, we can physically change our brains and begin to heal from the inside out. Cool, huh? Oh and she backs it up with science, so don't worry. I don't think that this is always possible for everyone and every neurological issue. She seems to think differently on that matter. That's okay! We don't all have to agree on everything!!!
Learn more about - How do we begin to control our thoughts?
There is almost always a still small voice in my head when I think of something I shouldn't be thinking that says, "If you go down this thought journey, you will end up going down the rabbit trail into a big ugly mess of insecurity, doubt, depression, and anger. If you choose not to believe that lie, you can go on with your day NOT fighting with your husband." I believe we are continually being fed awful lies, and we always have a choice to believe them or not. Anything that causes you to curl up in fear is most likely a lie, and if you feed that lie, it will fester until your brain and emotions are a rotten mess.
It takes practice, but try it. When that lie comes up, have an escape plan. Think of something positive to replace it with that correlates to that thought that might be pestering you.
'I am fat and ugly' - replace it with something that you know is true about yourself. 'Okay, that's how I feel, but what is true? I am beautiful because...'
'She is prettier than me' - replace it with the truth. 'Wow, she is really pretty. I'm grateful that God creates everyone with some unique form of beauty. Thanks, God, for also creating me beautiful.'
I have my "escape from bad thoughts" plan all written out and taped up in my bathroom (the place I usually go when I'm upset.) It reminds me (when I choose to acknowledge it,) to take action for how I am behaving right now and own up to my side of things. I used to live in unforgiveness, bitterness, and thinking that I am a worthless piece of nothing, and why should I even bother with the world. It was a dark place, and worse yet, intensified when I was hormonal.
It brought dissension in my marriage, destruction in my heart and mind, and I physically felt like I couldn't get out of bed. I had headaches, backaches, anxiety, loss of appetite, thought of suicide and more. All because I started believing those little lies that turn into BIG LIES.
I believe, but as I said, it's my own opinion, that there were always deeper issues at hand, and during my PMS, those things would intensify and leave me paralyzed with fear. So, what else can we control?
We all have a past that includes good and bad experiences and memories. If you have undealt with baggage, then figure out a way to heal through it. Whether that's forgiving someone, even if they don't deserve it, or having someone to help you work through your wounds. Forgiveness is vital in letting the past go. I know this first hand, and it is one of my hardest struggles and something that has held me back for many years.
Some of us have deep wounds that go beyond what is even in our conscious minds. It could be subconsciously affecting you, although you thought you had gotten over it. Make sure you have made peace with your past and leave the past in the past. It won't help you to dig up those graves to justify your thought patterns. You can read more about healing from your past here.
4. Take responsibility for your actions and who you want to be.
I don't know who you are or how you got to this post, but I do know you're reading it for a reason. I am grateful if in some way it can help you in your journey to learn how to deal with PMS, PMDD, depression, and the issues that go more in-depth.
I believe, when we PMS, the deeper dwelling issues of our heart's come out, and rear their ugly heads in ways we don't like or even want. That's why in dealing with our symptoms, we need to dig deeper and figure out who we are, and why we are the way we are.
For everyone, this looks different. For me, it has helped me immensely to take responsibility for my actions and work on the things I need to change instead of wanting everyone and everything else to change. To take my thoughts captive and not let them run wild on emotion. Just like the serenity prayer. "God, grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can."
You have the power to change your own life for the better. It has first to be a choice, and then an action, starting with the opportunity to not believe lies, and to replace those evil thoughts with the good ones.
Try it, and see if you can start changing those hopeless days into days full of joy and peace. It's a long journey which I am still working on, and I can't say it always works. But at least I know I am trying something, rather than doing nothing. Feel free to share your thought below on what you experience with PMS, PMDD, or depression.
We are in this together, and your story could be an encouragement for someone else.
This product helps grow lashes longer and brows thicker!
Bad habits. We all have them. Where do they go when you get married? After they torture you your entire life, they double up and you get to deal with your partners as well. Within the realm of bad habits, there are several categories. Addictive habits, nervous habits, involuntary habits, voluntary habits and hereditary habits. I think that covers all of them, the bad habits anyway. Of course, there are good habits, but I don't want to bore you with those. The habit I am going to talk about is an involuntary, nervous habit of mine. Two in one. And the nervous part of it is the worst. I'm a picker. Not a nose picker, but an eyebrow hair picker and stress only fuels this fire. Yes, if you look very closely at my eyebrows on a very bad month you will see that I have none but a few hairs left. But thank goodness for brow liner! Christoph has tried to help with this. Slapping my hand when he sees me reach for them. Yelling at me from across the way, "Don't do it, you will only regret it" I respond, "But I have too! It's my only crutch!" Then I, of course, stop and continue on to pull his eyebrow hairs out. I have asked him to be my accountability in this by allowing me to take out my stress on his eyebrows. I know, it's weird. I have tried everything to stop myself. Last month, I was almost down to the bone because of all the stress and anxiety. Every time I am distracted and stressed, I go for the eyebrows because obviously, they are the ones to blame. Luckily, if you are like me and have this very bad habit, then there is hope.
*disclaimer - This article may contain affiliate links. If you click on an image and purchase from Amazon, I will receive a commission with no extra cost to you. I will never recommend a product that I don't stand by and believe to be useful. Thanks for the support!
A product I swear by
It's what I've been using for the past 4 years or so, and it really works, while being affordable. I was so excited when I found it on Amazon because being an affiliate for them, I can sell something I really believe in.
I use the mascara just for my eyelashes, which has the serum in it, and the serum for my eyebrows. They say you should use them both for the lashes, but the mascara alone really did the trick! I know that eyelash and brow serum is nothing new to most of you but just try this one. It's great. Not to mention, the mascara is amazing in and of itself and somehow makes your lashes look incredible right from the get-go. Now all they need to do is come up with is a hair growth serum for your head! Wouldn't that be amazing?
click the images to purchase on amazon!
It takes about 6-weeks to start working, but don't worry, it will happen. Keep at it. Now that I have shared an embarrassing, and informative bad habit about myself maybe you feel comfortable sharing one of yours. I would love to hear them. Go on, comment away.
I know, I have pink hair, but this is a good picture to show you the evidence of how great my lashes looked, and that was just at the beginning!
Chopping your locks? Why you should or shouldn't cut your hair short.
If you're thinking of chopping your locks, then here are a few tips on making the decision. As a Hairstylist, I've had just about every hairstyle there is out there. This one was one of my favorites, but there are some down-sides.
Why I loved short hair
By short hair in this post, I am referring to a pixie type crop chop like mine here back in 2016.
First Reason - Short hair is easy!
It's practically a get-up and go kind of hairstyle. You don't have to do much to make it looked "styled." There may have been a few cat butt cowlicks going in all different directions when I woke up, so I would just put some water on it, a little texture cream like this Reutzel Clay Matt Pomade, and voila!
Disclaimer - This post contains affiliate links. By clicking on the links and/or purchasing, I will receive a small percentage of the sale with no extra cost to you. Thank for supporting what I love to do!
Second Reason - Short hair brings out your facial features
It made my face stand out. What I mean by that, is I felt like my face wasn't hiding behind a curtain of hair. I love that short hair makes your features a bit more noticeable. I wouldn't say I have the smallest nose on earth, so I was a bit hesitant in letting that feature stand out. But after seeing my profile, I thought it looked good with my slightly large nose. I was confident and walked around imaging myself as Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday or Sabrina. I felt like such a badass that I almost tried to get myself a pet deer like her, but realized it would most likely ruin our wood floors.
Third Reason - Short hair is an empowering change
It's empowering. There's nothing more vulnerable than a women chopping her hair off. Our hair is part of our identity. Something that turns heads and compliments our skin. Making it go almost away is frightening, but let me tell you, once I did it, it felt good. My husband loves my hair longer, so in a way, it was my turn in looking how I wanted to look. To not have to spend a half hour on my hair, and feel a bit of freedom when it came to getting ready, kind of like taking a walk in a man's shoes was empowering! I was also one of the unique people walking on the streets. EVERYONE at this time had long hair, so I stood out.
Why I didn't love short hair
First Reason - Once it's short it's short
Once you do it, you can't go back. There were days when I cried. I missed my hair. I missed styling it. I wanted to do something different than my only one style I could accomplish every single day. If you're a person who loves change, then don't do it.
Second Reason - Short hair can bring out your not so pleasant flaws
Yes, we all have flaws. It's okay! Sometimes, if I had a giant zit on my forehead, then I could hide it with my hair. This particular hairstyle left everything exposed, so if you want to chop your hair but also want a little more to work with, then I would suggest leaving your bangs and the top longer. If that's not what you want, then this Mary Kay clear proof spot solution works great for those pimples you just can't hide. I know. Spot solutions have a bad rap at the moment, but for me, who's enemy includes those giant cystic pimples, they've become my best friend. Sometimes you just have to use them! This one imparticular only dries out your skin for the first few days you use it, then it just does its job keep those pesky buggers at bay without drying or irritating your beautiful face. I've used plenty of different kinds, and this one proves to be my favorite.
Third Reason - My son didn't like it
I love honesty from my little guy. He has no filter, and most times, it's amazing. What's not amazing is when your son looks at you after chopping your hair and says. "Why do you want to look like Daddy?