Author Archives: Christine Arylo

Doing Best You Can

Overwhelmed, Overworked and Over It! Giving Up the Addiction to Do, Be and Have It All

In honor of International Women’s Day (3/8), a day that should be celebrated through the entire month of March!

Start a company, support your family, save the world, all while looking no older than 25. And by the way, don’t break a sweat while doing it…after all other women seem to be keeping it together, what’s wrong with you?

That’s the mind chatter that’s been stamped into our brains as 21st century super women who look like we have it all together, but are really smiling the stress away gritting our teeth. Behind the façade of perfection is the reality that almost every woman feels completely overwhelmed and overworked, without a clue how to manage her life any differently. Although few of us would ever openly admit just how stretched and full of self-doubt we are, the truth is that most of us are overworked, overwhelmed, and over it!

Dig even deeper behind the mask, and you will reveal that as insane as it may be, most of us super women wear our busyness like a badge of honor, trying to prove to ourselves and others that we are worthy because we can get so much done.

It’s important to realize that this insanity of our lives is not totally our fault. We didn’t start off as achievement junkies, doing addicts, and obsessive perfectionists—we were conditioned to behave like this; we were not born this way. After decades of receiving the message of self-esteem, girls and women today have more self-confidence, and independence than any generation of women before. We have more choices than our mothers and grandmothers combined, but with those choices have also come mountains of stress and more self-criticism, without the pay off of more happiness—a fact backed up by a study conducted by Rockefeller Foundation and Time Magazine in 2009[1] which compared the level of women’s happiness in the 1970s to that of women today. The results were revealing. Yes, women have more opportunity and equality but we aren’t happier. More work and less happiness. What a raw deal!

So yes, women have been liberated in many ways, but in the process, we became trapped in a new jail cell, with a nameplate bearing the motto we all live by—and unknowingly teach our daughters:

“I feel empowered to do, be, and have anything, but I feel pressured to do, be, and have everything.”

The solutions thus far have been focused on giving girls and women around the world self-esteem, teaching the message, “You can do anything.” And there lies the problem. The focus is on ‘doing.’ While self-esteem has been a critical step for raising the confidence of women and girls around this country, the unintended impact is a generation who defines themselves and their value by what they ‘do.’

We have conditioned our selves and our girls to believe that if we are not doing everything, then we are failing, ultimately leading to the damaging and crushing belief that “You are not enough.” The unintended impact of the over value on self-esteem and the under value on things like self-compassion and self-care. Sure we say we want to relax, take good care of ourselves, but when you look at our actions and how we spend our time, money and energy, we are not.

No matter how much a woman or girl does, she will never feel like she is enough, and therefore she will never attain the happiness she works so hard for.

So what is the new solution?

Self-Love.

How is self-love different than self-esteem?

Self-love has nothing to do with what you ‘do’ but everything to do with how you respect and honor yourself. Self-love, when you have it, doesn’t measure your worth by what you’ve accomplished, but by the measure of, “Have you treated yourself and others with unconditional love and respect?”

The definition of self-love posted on dictionary.com is “conceit, vanity and narcissism,” a testament to how our society currently views self-love. Is it surprising that most women feel guilty when they take time away from the doing to take care of themselves? Or that they don’t value the ability to relax, find inner peace or just ‘be’ like they value the ability to get it all done?

Our patterns, habits and beliefs as 21st century women have been formed based on valuing ourselves by what we can do instead of by who we are, regardless of what we accomplish. If we ever hope to have lives that sustain us versus drain us, we must rewire our thought patterns and change what we value.

The ticket out of the overwhelm and overwork is not another downward dog pose, a new time management system or the holy grail of balance. The ticket out is your belief that you are enough simply because you are, and that is the act of self-love.

3 Acts of Self-Love You Can Start Today:

Stop wearing your busyness and overwhelm like a badge of honor.

Give up saying things like “I am SO busy. I have SO much to do.” Stop looking for sympathy and acknowledgement for your busyness. If you feel overwhelmed or too busy, don’t be a martyr, instead take your life back. Go through your calendar and say “No” to previous “Yes’.” Renegotiate promises and deadlines. You’ll be amazed how the world just gives you the space you ask for when you stop valuing yourself for being so darn busy.

Stop acknowledging other women for their super human feats of multi-tasking.

When a woman flashes her busy badge of honor – whether your are face-to-face or facebooking – instead of congratulating or commiserating with her, either ignore the invitation to collude, or invite her to put less pressure on herself by sharing your personal experience of transforming your own overwhelm into self-love.

Start your morning by asking, “What do I need to take care of me today?” How you start your day is how you will live your day, so before you even get out of bed, close your eyes and ask yourself what you really need that day to take care of yourself. Listen to what your intuition tells you. No matter what, keep that promise to yourself, even if that means doing nothing!



[1] Time Magazine, October 26, 2009, Justin Wolfers, co-author of The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness

self_confidence

7 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence

We live in a time when we are constantly bombarded with images, ideas and sound bytes that tell us who we should be, could be and ought to be. Unless you live in a cave, you can’t escape their massive barrage, and let’s face it, even from a cave you could probably still get text messages.

 

Think of all you see in a day… images and words of what you should look like, should have and ought to measure up to, all pointing to one main message, ‘You are not enough.’ It’s enough to make your head spin, and throw even the most self-assured person off center. Add in a few difficult life events – a breakup, a job loss, a pay cut — and you could end up with a Hiroshima to your self-confidence.

 

Unless that is, you have built up your self-confidence muscles. Just like training for a marathon and building physical muscles, to be a successful, happy and confident person you must work out your mental and emotional muscles regularly.

 

You wouldn’t go to the gym to start training your physical muscles the day before a marathon, would you? No way! You’d peril on the pavement. So why would the marathon of your life be any different? It’s not.

 

Put these 7 tips into practice daily and you will develop the confidence and conviction that you can do anything… no matter what the outside world is telling you:

 

1. Stop Worrying About What Others Think. Trust Yourself

You can’t be responsible for how everyone else thinks about how you live your life, so stop worrying about how your family, partner and friends will react to your choices and start getting real about how you feel about your life. Act from what you think is right for you. We always know what the best action is to take for ourselves, when we slow down enough to listen to our inner wisdom. It’s just not always easy to slow down or to trust our intuition. Be committed to trusting yourself, even when it’s scary, and even when others disagree.

 

2. Become Best Buds with Your Intuition

Inside of you is the best life and decision making compass ever – your intuition. It always communicates what is best for you, but you have to be listening, and you have to trust its advice. Just like a best friend, if you’re not calling, it will stop trying to contact you. If you keep asking for advice but don’t take it, it will stop trying to help. Start listening for the communication cues of your intuition – through words you hear, images you see, feelings you have, and things you just know. Act based on what your intuition tells you and you will start to trust yourself more, and build more self-confidence in the process.

 

3. Know What Makes You Unique

Every person, including you, was born with a set of unique gifts, talents and inclinations that they are naturally good at, more so than the average person. When you find these gifts and use them, your confidence, success and happiness increases. Think Tiger Woods. Born to golf. No matter how much you practiced, you’d never be as great as him; he has a gift. You have gifts too. Ask the people that know you the best, “What are my gifts?” Take notice of the compliments you receive, especially ones you find hard to accept. Make a list of your gifts and start putting time, energy and money there.

 

4. Know What Makes You Happy

Stop trying to fit into the expectations and ideals that outside forces – society, family, work, friends — have said you ‘should’ be in order to be successful, happy and accepted, and start asking yourself, “What really makes ME happy?” Think about the times that you’ve been happiest. Who were you being? What did you have? What were you doing? Do the same for your most unhappy times. Compare the two to your life today and notice the gaps. Happiness breeds confidence.

 

5. Have an Opinion and Express It

Know what you believe and don’t be afraid to express it. Confident people have convictions that come from inside their souls, minds and hearts. They know their truth and are willing to stand in it, even when what they have to say makes others uncomfortable. Know your truth in all situations and share it with pride and conviction, knowing that your unique voice deserves to be heard just because you’re you.

 

6. Never Apologize For Being You

Unfortunately the world is full of people, including our inner mean girls and inner bullies, that want to keep us small, playing along and being ‘good’ girls and boys. When you listen to them by apologizing for who you are, or by discounting your contributions, thoughts and feelings, you squash your self-confidence. Be brilliant. Be you. And never apologize for it.

 

7. Spend Less Time in the Basement, More Time in the Penthouse

We all have emotional triggers, things that evoke an overly strong feeling and reaction–anxiety, anger, worry, shame, despair, fear–especially during times of stress. Your job is to notice when you have one of these ‘basement’ emotions that erode your confidence, and then to get yourself back up into the ‘penthouse’ where emotions like trust, peace, love, joy and happiness live. Have your hard emotions, just have them and move back on up to the penthouse, where the view of your life is much better!

Is Your Soul Starving For Joy?

Since the day I decided to fall in love with myself and stop trying to live a life that wasn’t mine, I have been one of the happiest people i know – not happy all the time, but happy most of the time, or not very unhappy for very long. But several weeks ago i found myself on the tail end of a several week “I am not feeling so happy” spin. I’d wake up unhappy, be cranky, feel stressed most of the day, eat way too many brownies, work ALOT, stay up too late, pass out and start the whole thing over again.

Finally one day when my assistant Mary walked in for a fresh day of work and her first tentative words were, “How are you feeling today Christine???” I knew something was amiss and I had to fix it. This wonderful being who helps and supports me was having to stick a dipstick into my temperament just to gauge how close she should get  – now that wasn’t any way to live! And if she was feeling that way, how was my partner, friends feeling? Or even more importantly, how was I feeling??? And had I even stopped to take that into consideration before plunging myself into overwhelm and overwork?

I decided to hold an honesty hearing with myself, a deep conversation that included 5 super powerful questions that led me to the startling truth that my SOUL was starving for JOY – all the success, $$, drive and hard work were not feeding my soul, because as it turns out my heart derives joy from play, rest AND doing great work – and the first two were sorely missing!

And that is when I realized, I hadn’t asked myself in a very long time ‘What makes you happy?” I hadn’t considered my joy factor when making decisions. And I wasn’t quite sure I could name 10 things that even made me happy, really happy Can you? And are you living them – making sure YOUR soul gets what it needs?

Just like your lungs need air to live, your  SOUL needs MORE JOY … The question is, are you willing to do WHATEVER it takes to create it for yourself. If you don’t, who will?

I taped in the video in this blog for you – a Mediation on Location taped on the eve of Lunar Beltane, a day that is about expanding into JOY! This video meditation and the self love adventure that follows will take you on the same adventure I took that led me back to joy – as I remembered what really made me happy and promised myself to get it!

ME ART: CREATE YOUR JOY PORTRAIT

Supplies: Piece of paper and color-infused writing utensils – Get ready to claim your bliss!

 

Step 1: Get the Joy Started. In the middle of the paper write the word JOY. Underneath the word JOY write, “What brings me joy?”

 

Step 2: Tap into Your Joy. To get your joy motor moving (it may have been sitting quite awhile) close your eyes, put your hand on your heart and take a few deep breaths with yourself. As you take each breath feel yourself going back in time to different points in your life when you can remember experiencing great joy, bliss, and happiness. Almost as if a movie is playing in your head, see yourself in these moments, feel yourself in these moments and remember what joy felt like for you. If you need help accessing your joy center, go to www.selflovemeditations.com and get the Self Pleasure meditation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3: Fill Up with Joy.  Taking what you’ve seen about your joy moments, and what your soul already knows about following your bliss, your mission is to fill your entire page – your personal Joy Portrait –with everything that brings you Joy – words, phrases, and symbols. Make this page Joy-FULL. Use the following joy starters to find your bliss…

  • I am happiest when…
  • I feel most alive when…
  • I feel most free when…
  • I can’t help but smile and laugh when I …
  • When I was a little girl I loved to….
  • My soul gets nourished when…
  • I feel most cared for when…
  • I just love…
  • I find great joy in…

 

Step 4:  Ask Your Soul What it Needs… and make sure it receives it.  Once the page is full, completely full, pause for a ME MOMENT.

  • What do I see?
  • How is my life in alignment with my joy? How is it not?
  • What’s one re-direct I can make now to attune my life to joy and get my soul what it needs to thrive?

 

As a completion ritual, write the words “I Attune to Joy” on your ME ART and make a self-love promise to attune your life and timing to what brings you joy.

And i’d love to hear 5 JOY-FULL things you found from this self-love adventure – post them here!

And, For more fabulous self-love adventures, go to www.MadlyinLovewithME.com and get the free Self-Love Kit – full of all kinds of daring acts of love and inspiration guaranteed to bring  more joy and love into your life!

you are enough-thumb-595x435

You Are Doing the Best You Can!

So here I was,
The queen of self-love
SO not loving herself.
Asking myself questions that led me down the road of self-hate, not self-love.
(the irony didn’t escape me!)

And so I did the only thing I know how to do
When I come to that place of self-doubt and confusion
I knelt in front of the self-love altar.
Plugged into my 24/7 downline to divine love and asked it

“How can I find my way back to love?”

I was led right back to the book I was writing.
To ask myself, ” What branch of my self-love tree is starving for nourishment?”
No surprise – as an recovering over-achiever –
My branch of Self-Compassion was as brittle as could be.

And so you know what I did? I followed my own advice –
Or more aptly, the words of wisdom that spirit had given me for the book.
I went deeper into myself…
And led myself through a series of transformative questions I call a ME MOMENT (like having a honest talk with your b.f.f.)

Which I have now cut and paste into this blog for you… New material that I haven’t yet shared with anyone, until now, with you. And I share them now with you because this is the transformation that occurred for me when I sat and asked myself questions that were actually helpful, not hurtful.

As I knelt and got quiet with myself, and took myself through these questions,
I started to see how harshly and unfairly I was judging myself.
And then I began to apply compassion.
And then the comparison and unrealistic expectations started to loosen.
And I started remembering who I am.

Finally, I got the message loud and clear that I needed to hear,
and perhaps you do too – the core message of this love letter —

You are doing the best that you can, and that is enough.
You are enough.

Does your heart need to hear this message too?
To feel love instead of comparison and judgment towards yourself
To know love and happiness instead of stress and self-hate

Then give yourself the gift of love today (or in the next 48 hours)
Answer the 3 questions, take the daring act of love I included, and rub some compassion onto yourself.

Lead yourself back to the land of love, where you can remember that…
YOU ARE DOING THE BEST YOU CAN.

AND YOU ARE ENOUGH.

ME MOMENT:

Tell Your The Truth About Just How Hard You’re Being On You… 

 

The way to free yourself from comparison and judgment is to first tell the truth to yourself – the truth will set you free. Then apply compassion to the wounds and love yourself back to the truth – YOU ARE ENOUGH.

 

Use the three truth starters below, get a piece of paper, and as if you were sitting down with your most trusted best friend (even if that is your dog or cat), someone you can trust to give you unconditional love without judgment, and write the truth.

 

1.     I am unhappy with myself about…  Write down all the areas of your life in which you are upset that things are not going the way you want, including all the ways in which you aren’t acting or doing what you really want.  List at least 3 no more than 5.
Example: I am unhappy or upset with myself about….

  • My love life, and lack of a romantic, loving relationship
  • How my body is super out of shape right now
  • Not having enough money and spending money that I don’t have

 

2.     I judge that I should…  Fill in the blank after this phrase for each of the “unhappy with me” areas you identified.

 

For example: I judge that I should….

  • Be able to find a man to like me enough to want to be with me
  • Be thinner and be able to control what I eat better
  • Be more financially secure and stable

3.  What I am really thinking is…  Now here’s the juice, the juicy energetically charged judgments. Your mission is to let them rip, full force so you can release them out of your mind and body and replace them with some good love. For each response to question #2, write in the most harsh, real words a statement that reflects what you are really saying to yourself when you make this judgment. Don’t hold back, really let yourself give it to you – the more you can tap into the mean, critical, ‘what the hell is wrong with you’ energy, the more you will succeed in getting to the compassionate energy in the next part of our adventure. Let yourself free flow write until every judgment comes out.

 

  • You are not pretty enough. You are too old. No one wants you. You are damaged goods.
  • You are fat, ugly and an out of control eating machine. You are a sugar addict who can’t deal with her feelings so you stuff yourself full of food.
  • You are not disciplined enough. You are not smart enough. You are not worth more.

 

Pause here and look at this list of judgments that you have just written about yourself. Let the energy from these statements impact you. What does your body and heart feel like when you look at and feel these words that you’ve been directed at you? Not good.

At the top of the paper, write the words, I CHOOSE SELF-HATE. Whenever you choose to think these thoughts to yourself – whether you are conscious of them or not – you are hating on yourself. This is nothing to be ashamed about, that’s double self-hate, because the truth is that we alldo this. Now is the time to choose love by first choosing to admit the ways in which you haven’t been compassionate  with yourself .


Now… Choose Self-Compassion Instead!        

Just like you would instinctively give compassion for a child learning to walk, a young girl trying to find herself, or a friend who was completely overwhelmed, you need you to be there to put a hand on your shoulder to say to yourself, “You are doing the best that you can.” Not “You’ll do better next time,” as if what you’ve just done isn’t good enough. As if you have to strive for a next time in order to be okay. But “You are doing the best you can right now, period.” And if you are not doing this for yourself now, then you are not loving yourself enough.

Today you make the choice to be there for yourself always, ready to deliver compassion, and act as a best friend or fabulous mother would. From this day forwards, every time you judge yourself, hold yourself to unrealistic expectations or perfections, fail, fall short, or fall behind, or don’t feel well, are tired, or are just having a bad day – you promise to be there, ready and able to deliver compassion. And when you fail to be compassionate, you are compassionate about your inability to be compassionate – lol!

How do you know if you are giving compassion vs criticism? They are both energies that you can feel in your body. Self-compassion feels kind, understanding and a gentle. It feels like a warm and loving energy is being offered instead of harsh and hard being blasted. Compassion feels rooted in love. It makes your mind feel at peace, because it believes that regardless of what you achieve or don’t, what you do or don’t, if you fail or succeed, act poorly or magnificently, you are enough, and you deserve love. When compassion is present, you feel as if you’re being embraced by the sweetest, most unconditionally loving mother in the world – and you are, because you are mothering you.

 

TAKE THIS Daring Act of Love: Smother and Mother Yourself with Compassion 

             Close your eyes, take a breath and think of something that you are being really hard on yourself about right now. Something that you are frustrated by, that you’ve been judging yourself for. Something that no matter what you try just isn’t working the way you want, or something you really want but haven’t received yet. Allow yourself to fully feel the frustration, and beneath that the judgment, and beneath that the emotion of sadness/despair/exhaustion. Then, from a place of compassion, witness your struggle and also of your inherent perfection, and place your hand on your shoulder. And just as a mother would, with love say these words at least three times out loud,

 

“You are doing the best that you can.”

“You are doing the best that you can.”

 “You are doing the best that you can.” 

 

Say them until you can feel the compassion sink into your heart and bring you back into a state of love for yourself.

 

Welcome back to love!

 

If any part of this helped you or if you have an aha or insight you’d like to share – post it here on the blog so we can see the LOVE TRANSFORMATION you generated for yourself.  That is the power of love directed at yourself.

 

If you’d like a song to help you lock this all in, go to www.MadlyinlovewithME.com and download the free Self-Love Kit where you will find the official 2012 self-love song, I am Enough by Karen Drucker.