The Art of Loving Yourself

Jillian Arena

Who are You Comparing Yourself To?

When you stop and think about it, we spend an awful lot of time judging ourselves.  We compare ourselves to our friends, family members, classmates, or acquaintances.  We look around and wish that we had better hair, a thinner waist, bigger breasts, or a prettier smile.  Where does this get us?  What have we accomplished at the end of the day when we look into the mirror?  Have we managed to successfully change the texture of our hair, lose 40 pounds around the middle, enhance the size of our chest, or alter our most beautiful attribute, our smile?  Unless we happened to be doing all of this judging on a day when we had some big procedure scheduled, the short answer here is no.  It is a complete and utter waste of time and brain power.  In fact, all we are really doing when we judge ourselves is feeding into the false belief that we are not enough.  The most ironic part about it is that the people we are comparing ourselves to are likely doing the same thing to themselves.  It’s a ruthless and neverending cycle that gets us nowhere.  So, who are you comparing yourself to?

Why Does it Matter?

Get up right now and go look in the mirror.  No really, go…like NOW!  Investigate the face the body and the personality staring back at you and notice what comes up.  Where do your thoughts go?  Do you hone in on the pimple that decided to grace you with its presence this morning, the three gray hairs that miraculously appeared out of nowhere, or the bags under your eyes?  Maybe your mental chatter starts to tell you that you look okay and then that distinct voice of your inner critic comes in to remind you that you snort when you laugh or you talk too loudly.  Listen very closely to the internal dialogue that’s taking place.  What are you telling yourself about yourself?  If you find yourself singing your praises, I congratulate you!  Well done.  If, on the other hand, you find yourself spiraling into a vortex of slinging insults at your poor, unsuspecting mirror-image, take a deep breath and think about something.  Imagine for a moment that it’s your mother, or your sister, or your very best friend standing in front of you.  Would you say those things to her?  Would you call her out on her blemish or remind her that she is a beautiful person?  Would you whip out a box of hair dye or not even notice?  Would you ask her to laugh so you could make fun of her snort or go on snorting right alongside her?  Chances are good that you would probably just love her, support her, and completely overlook those things that she might fault herself for.  Why can we do it for others, but not for ourselves?  We need to be championing ourselves as much as we do for others and when we can’t do that we are hurting the very fabric of our being.  The fact is that we are all uniquely beautiful and special and talented and fierce in the perfect combination.  When we can’t learn to see that, we are perpetuating the idea that nobody is ever good enough, so we aren’t even just hurting ourselves anymore, but all that we interact with.  When we can embrace ourselves, good, bad, and ugly, however, we create space to allow others to do the same!

What Happens When You Learn to Accept?

If you know me today, you probably don’t think of me as a person who is shy or holds back much.  The truth, however, is that I went through a very long time where I couldn’t stand myself.  I was constantly scrutinizing, comparing, and wishing that things were different.  After I had my children and my body changed, I got even worse!  What had they done to me????  Why was there no warning???  Where had my body disappeared to?  Slowly and gradually I learned to shift my perspective.  Instead of seeing my lack of a six-pack, I looked to my children and found gratitude that I had been lucky enough to carry them.  Instead of seeing my gray hair as an impending sign of doom, I chose to focus on the joy of the moment and use them as a reminder that each second counts.  Where I once saw lines around my eyes, I began to see a lifetime full of laughter.  The creases around my mouth became a memory of so many smiles and frowns…a remembrance of the full breadth of my ability to feel.  The worry lines at my brow have now become a reminder of my strength and resilience as I’ve learned to navigate situations that I didn’t know if I would ever get through.  The freckles and uneven skin tone, a beautiful expression of all of the days I have been lucky enough to dance under the sun.   In short, I have learned to love myself, and the freedom that has come with it is the biggest gift!  You can do it for yourself as well!

It Starts Small…

As with anything in life, start small!  Starting today, focus on one thing that you really, really, really like about yourself.  It might be your crooked smile, the color of your eyes, your flawless complexion, or even your contagious laughter!  If you have no idea where to start, ask a friend what your best attribute is.  Start with that and love it so fiercely that nothing could stop you.  Everytime you pass by a mirror stop and adoringly describe to your reflection how much you love that one thing about it or pause after every giggle and thank yourself for the beautiful sound of it.  Do this for a week and notice what happens.  You’ll likely find that during this process other parts of you begin to look a bit more appealing as well.  Start to give those a shout-out too!  Keep this process going, adding on one new physical attribute or personality trait each week and before you know it, you’ll be staring back at a much more confident, whole, happy individual.  You are different, and that’s the best thing about you.  Embrace those things that set you apart instead of wishing they were something else and you are FREE from the judgment of the world around you.  Sounds pretty good, right?  Awesome, so stop reading this, get off your bum and go find a mirror!  Your newfound confidence awaits!  Once you’ve got it fully intact, CLICK HERE to use it to build the life of your dreams!

Jillian Arena is a Certified Transitional Life Coach, RYT-200, and Reiki Practitioner.  She uses her training in each to help her clients around the globe achieve maximum clarity, happiness, and possibility out of life!  For more on working with Jillian, visit her website HERE.

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Questioning Your Discomfort

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I was reading a book the other day that, while extremely interesting, left me feeling unsettled.  After a few chapters, I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore.  I closed the book and decided to busy myself with something else, but this nagging feeling kept coming back to me that I needed to figure out why this was bothering me so much.  Reluctantly, I decided that I would sit in a quiet meditation and try to figure out what it was that was causing me so much aggravation, and…

What I found out actually surprised me very much!

I consider myself to be extremely open-minded, particularly when it comes to the area of spirituality.  I firmly believe that each of us is fully entitled to their own belief system and that the fundamental message of each form of spirituality is the same one of love and gratitude.  So, imagine my shock when I realized that the reason I was feeling so much discomfort at what I was reading is that it was making me seriously question parts of the spiritual belief system that I have held so long to be true for myself.  At first, this realization only made the discomfort grow stronger, and that nagging urge to go busy myself with other things returned.  I didn’t give in, however.  Instead, I made the resolution to sit with it until I could get a good, hard look at it and figure out why it was so powerful in swaying my mood in the first place.

The longer I sat, the more I began to understand that the discomfort I was experiencing was actually that of

EXPANSION, GROWTH, AND CHANGE.

The things that I had been reading were making me open my mind to some potential truths that I hadn’t yet considered.  So, here I was, at a pivotal moment where I got to choose the next step.  I could shut down this expansion and choose to crawl back into the box of my comfort zone mentality, or I could choose to learn to be okay with the discomfort and look at this new information objectively.  As you can likely imagine, I chose the latter, and I found that almost instantly, the discomfort lost its power over me.

So, what does this mean?

Well, discomfort is a natural part of the ebb and flow of life.  We come up against it in any moment where our thoughts, beliefs, actions, or survival feel sufficiently challenged enough to make us question our way of being.  These are POWERFUL moments that can teach us amazing things about ourselves and about the truths of the Universe, God, Almighty, Consciousness, Divine Energy, or whatever else you might like to refer to your Source as.  The name is not important, but the teaching is!  Each place where we experience discomfort is an opportunity to hold a mirror in front of ourselves and to see what we have been allowing ourselves to remain blind to.  This doesn’t just pertain to the area of spirituality either.  This moment can occur in any situation.  The fact across the board remains that if something doesn’t hold some element of truth for you, it’s not going to elicit an uncomfortable reaction.  Why is that?

Because it doesn’t challenge what you believe to be true and is, therefore, of no threat or consequence.

If I came to you and told you that the sky was yellow, you likely wouldn’t feel any discomfort at that statement because you have a scientific understanding of why the sky is blue.  The facts that you have been offered support your idea of the truth.  If, however, I came to you and offered scientific evidence that the sky was yellow and that scientific evidence resonated with you and made sense on some level, you may begin to feel a stirring of discomfort in your soul.  Where is that stirring coming from?  These new facts have created an element of possibility that did not exist prior, and that makes us, as creatures of routine, extremely squeamish.  For the record, I have no such evidence, but it is a valid example of how we trick ourselves from knowing and understanding the truth.  The full truth is locked within our psyches and our souls, and moments of discomfort are like a finger poking at them and asking them to reveal themselves.

So, what’s the takeaway here?

The next time you find yourself squirming with that notion of extreme discomfort, get curious about it.  Rather than busy yourself to try to distract from it, take a moment to get quiet, sit with it, and figure out where it’s really coming from.  What does this new idea (or ideas) cause you to question about your current belief system?  What are the ramifications for you if this new information is actually true?  How does it change your perspective on the way things are?  You will likely find that there is plenty of room to entertain the possibility of a new truth and allow it to strengthen your foundation as opposed to crumbling it.  With this greater awareness of your personal truth, who knows what you might create?  If your fear and discomfort persist, click here for a little Jedi mind trick that will help you turn it around!  Happy hunting!

 

Jillian Arena is a Certified Transitional Life Coach, RYT-200, and Reiki Practitioner.  She uses her training in each to help her clients around the globe achieve maximum clarity, happiness, and possibility out of life!  For more on working with Jillian, visit her website HERE.

Building the Stairway to Your Own Personal Heaven

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Creating the life you dream of can feel daunting at times. After all, how the hell do you get from where you are to where you want to be? You may not even know where to start! I completely understand. When you look at the big picture, it can create fear, doubt, and insecurity. The good news is that it doesn’t have to. I’m going to share a little secret…

You’ve been doing things upside down!

Yep, upside down, even if it doesn’t seem like it. You’ve been standing at the bottom of your staircase, staring ALL THE WAY up to the top. Sounds right side up, right? Sure, but how much is it helping? You see before you a billion steps and a million things that could possibly go wrong. You begin to feel overwhelmed at the enormity of the work you are going to have to do to climb up the steep set of seemingly unending steps before you. You begin to shut down before you even get going. So, what now?

It’s time to stand on your head and change your perspective.

Imagine, if you will, that you are standing at the very top of this pretend staircase. The view is much better from up here. You can look back behind you and you begin to see very clearly everything that you needed to do to gain this new perspective. You see that each step has actually been built upon the steps beneath it…that there is a very real order to the way that things were done to get you where you now are. Now, grab a pen. Start to document these steps and break them down into smaller and smaller steps as you go. Let me give you an example:

You’re dreaming of becoming a published author…

First off, congratulations on a very noble dream. How are you going to do it? You have no experience, no connections, no money to self-publish…ah, forget it. It was just a pipe dream anyway, right? WRONG! Think bigger…think upside down. Imagine you are already a well-known published author, basking in the glory of staring at your name in glossy print on the front cover of your novel. Feel the feelings, get excited, and then turn around and look behind you. What did you do to get yourself here? Well, naturally, you got published, but before you could do that you had to entice a publisher and write a book. No big deal, right? UGH.

Don’t get stressed!

Keep going!

Break your goal down even further. In order to entice a publisher, you will need to have a well-edited book, so that will be one step in the process. You will also have to query publishers, so writing a query letter may be on your eventual to-do list. And naturally, in order to query you will need to know who might even be interested in your book in the first place, but hold on. What about the book? Well, writing it will require it’s own breakdown. You’ll have to come up with an idea, format an outline, flesh out individual chapters, figure out the best way to organize said chapters, create your character profiles. WOO. Keep going! Break each of these tasks down even further and further and further. Keep going until you can’t go any further. You may wind up with 534 individual steps, maybe more, maybe less. Now, organize them from first to last and start taking them, one simple step at a time.

Any goal is attainable by moving one step at a time!

If you run into overwhelm somewhere, that means a step is still too big. How can you break it down even further? How can you create a stairway where each step is built upon a solid foundation? How can you help yourself avoid feeling overwhelmed as you move towards your goals? Once you figure that out…

KEEP climbing!

Before you know it, you will be standing back up at the top of your staircase, but this time it won’t just be in your imagination. Don’t get daunted by how long it might take to attain your goal. Just remember that a step in any direction is progress. Standing still, on the other hand, is certain to keep you where you are.

If you need help creating a plan that will catapult you into the life you truly want to live, visit my WEBSITE and contact me today for a FREE CONSULTATION. I am excited to help you make your dreams your new reality.

The Power of a Tribe and Divine Female Energy

thumbnail (2)At first glance, you may look at the above picture and believe that I am lost in a powerful moment of prayer, breathwork, or meditation, but I am here to assure you that this is not at all the case.  In fact, when this picture was snapped unbeknownst to me, I was in the middle of the ocean on a beautiful, sunny day, skin kissed by a warm breeze, in the throes of the most terrifying and life-altering panic attack I have ever experienced in my entire existence.  In fact, the story I am about to share with you was quite honestly one of the most vulnerable and powerful moments of my entire life.

My weekend adventure immersing myself in the warm, calming flow, and bold, brilliant colors of the middle of the Atlantic ocean started out amazingly well.  As my best friend and I jumped into the water with our masks and snorkels, I was instantly engulfed in the beauty and mystery of the coral reef below me.  I spent forty-five fascinating minutes exploring before we decided to head back to the boat, take off our gear, and go for an unencumbered swim.  I removed my flippers and mask, ran to the back of the boat, and jumped right into the crystal clear water.  I remember a fleeting thought entering my consciousness…”The world is SO big and I feel so small right now.” and all of a sudden I was gripped by panic.  My body became instantly cold and numb as waves of fear washed from my head all the way down through my toes.  I felt as though I couldn’t breathe, my heart racing a million miles per minute.  I couldn’t get out fast enough and when I did, it took every effort to suck in enough air to prevent me from passing out.  With forty other people milling about, I’m sure you can imagine that it wasn’t exactly helping the onset of panic.  As I sat on the front of the boat trying desperately to calm myself down, a realization hit me that I was completely vulnerable out here.  If I was indeed dying in this moment (as my mind kept assuring me that I was), there was legitimately nothing I could do about it.

I made my way cautiously back to my seat and something of a miracle happened then.   As I lifted my gaze to focus on the horizon, my eyes caught those of a woman across from me who was probably in her late 50’s, early 60’s.  She mouthed, “Are you okay?” to me, and my usually stoic composure crumbled as I mouthed back, “No.”  Without hesitation, this woman crossed the deck, sat down next to me, and swept me up in her arms.  She softly reminded me to breathe and to close my eyes as she rocked me back and forth and wrapped me up in her towel.  Another woman brought me water, and yet another encouraged me to eat a small snack.  At first, my typical self-preservation kicked in and I resisted the temptation to curl into the unknown comfort of this mystery woman, but gradually, I felt myself allow her to draw me in and I rested my head on her shoulder as she continued to squeeze me close.  This amazingly beautiful woman held me like this for a full 45-minute boat ride, never even knowing my name or anything about me…and I allowed myself in that moment to let go of all of my defenses and be taken care of.

As we neared shore and I began to feel more at ease, I sat up a little straighter and looked around me.  One by one, every woman on the boat locked her gaze with me and nodded, almost as though they, too, were breathing easier for me.  I was later informed by my best friend that the moment my body curled into this woman who had been holding me, each woman on the boat sat up straighter and closed their eyes, taking deep, methodical breaths.  She said it was the most incredible thing she had ever seen.  I thanked my amazing Angel Mama (who I found out was named Anne), and although she humbly accepted the gratitude, I don’t truly know if she understands what she did for me.  I don’t know that any of those women do.  I am notoriously a person who takes care of herself and others.  Rarely do I allow myself the opportunity to be truly nurtured, particularly by strangers, but these beautiful women from all over the world who spoke probably six languages between them, came together in a stoic show of support to provide a safe container for me to experience the very real terror and weakness that I was feeling.  I don’t want to exclude the men here either, all of whom tapped into their own Goddess energy and supported me by offering a smile, a squeeze as I walked off the boat, or as far as Anne’s husband goes, his wife.

When we got back to my car, I let myself cry harder than I’ve cried in a long time.  We often move through life forgetting that we need others to support us in our moments of weakness, maybe even sometimes feeling like we don’t deserve to be supported.   When we can cross over those self-imposed blocks, we open to possibility and allow Universal love to flow to us and even through us.  The truth is, it is always there, even when we don’t see it, and the scary thing is that if we let our fear of looking weak or vulnerable become greater than our need for love and connection, we may stand to miss out on the incredible freedom and power it can bring into our lives.

What I experienced this weekend was the power of love, the power of a group of women working toward a common goal, the power of the Warrior Goddess energy that exists within each of us regardless of our sex, and the power of treating others as though they are not separate.  At the base of it all, we are all humans, needing, seeking, and desiring love, acceptance, and the right to be ourselves at any given moment.  These women and men gave me a gift that I will work hard to pass on to others in any way that I can.  We often have no idea how great of an impact our small acts of kindness might have on another person.  As far as Anne and the other passengers on that boat go, they have unknowingly helped to heal some long-existing wounds that have prevented me from fully allowing myself to become close to others, females in particular.  They have helped to birth a better version of myself and have encouraged me to pass that feeling along. Hopefully, this story inspires you to do the same.  Let your Warrior Goddess light shine bright…the world needs it so badly right now and always.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! You made it! Congratulations! Here we are in 2018, a new year full of new possibilities. What will it hold for you? Maybe the goals that you set last year fizzled out quickly. Don’t give up! This is another chance and you CAN do it! Commit to your goals by finding an accountability buddy to keep you on track. No matter what they are, there’s a reason that you have them, so honor that, and honor yourself in the process. This is your chance to try again and go hard at whatever it is that you want to create! Remember that it only takes one yes, one success, one triumph for all of the no’s, failures, and losses. Your life can become whatever you want as long as you believe in yourself and keep working towards your goals each and every day. Let this be your year to shine! And if you need an extra hand, call me for a free consultation. Learn more at http://www.jillianarenacyi.com #newyearsresolutions #makeyourresolutioncount #dontgiveup #tryagain #2018goals #makeithappen #youcandoit #lifecoaching

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Sometimes we can be left feeling sluggish and disappointed in the wake of the holidays. Maybe this past year didn’t help us meet the goals that we had anticipated or hoped to meet. Maybe 2017 was just a big disappointment. Are you going to let that stop you? I certainly hope not. Today is a brand new day and a brand new opportunity for you to shine bright and move in a different direction. We are put on this Earth to make a difference and to create beautiful, creative, exciting, joyful, love-filled lives for ourselves. There’s NOTHING mediocre about that and there’s nothing that can stand in your way of having it, other than yourself. You hold the key to unlock the life of your dreams. USE IT! You have no idea how much happiness is waiting for you! Call me today at 561-951-7045 for a FREE CONSULTATION and let’s start moving towards the life of YOUR dreams! http://www.jillianarenacyi.com #brandnewday #shinebright #createthelifeofyourdreams #dreamlife #youholdthekey #happiness #lifecoaching