You Are You, and That’s Enough!

I have been fat; I have been thin. Sometimes I am sexy; other times I am frumpy. I can be charming; I can be obnoxious. I’m lazy; I’m energetic. I am loud; I am reserved. I am intelligent; I am naive. I am a skeptic; I am an optimist. I am all of these things and more, but there is one thing that is always consistent: I AM ME…

dove-real-beauty

Posted in Thinking | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Sneak Peak

Preview from the first page of my book: White Picket Fence Disease and Other Strange Phenomenons, By Denise Scarbro

After my marriage ended, I found myself a 34 year-old single woman with two young children and no adult dating experience. My ex and I had been together since we were both 18, and after 16 years of living out the course of a failed relationship, I had no idea what I wanted, what I needed, or what I was doing. My level of self-esteem was directly tied to the attention and approval I received from others. Some attention was better than no attention, and because I had no clue what I wanted, I redefined what I was willing to accept as validation of my self-worth constantly.

What a confusing time! I am still ironing out all of the kinks and now, ten years later, I am finally getting closer to understanding the simplicity of what it means to be happy. I have gone through a lot of ups and downs, all of which added to the total sum of who I am today. I would not change a single thing for that reason alone, but I can certainly say that I wish the road had been little easier to travel. The road ahead will likely have some bumps and turns, a few potholes and detours, but at least now I have new tires on this ride and I know where the mental service station is whenever I need a tune up.

Posted in Thinking | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Hey…Wait a Minute!

Do you know who you are? You’d be surprised at how little we know about who we are, and how much the people in our lives and our perceptions of the events around us influence who we think we are. It is almost as if we are living in a dream state.  What does this person think? How does society view this? What would my family say about that? What have others told me I am good at? What do other people like that I do? It’s all bullshit, my friends.

Over the last few years, I have made a concerted effort to get to know myself. Myself as I really am, not the perception of myself that I have developed over the years. Too often, we let approval and validation from others determine what we value in ourselves, and what we perceive as good or bad. Many times, we don’t even know what makes us happy unless we unconsciously put it through a mental checklist we have created from this pervasive fear.

Well, enough! Take a moment to reflect…how much of what you see in yourself was planted there because of what someone else said, or what you think they will think about you? This takes time; we have been holding ourselves to someone else’s standard masquerading as our own for our whole lives. This does not mean we don’t think for ourselves – quite the contrary. That’s the whole fucking point!

So, take a lesson from me, and clear your mind. A chair is a chair; a tree is a tree; a job is a job; what makes you happy makes you happy. Things only have the meaning and value you have assigned to them. Short of hurting others and, of course, learning from your mistakes, there is no need to let what other people deem as acceptable, good, bad, right, or wrong drive you. How many of these value judgments have you adopted as what you think are your own thoughts? How many are you imposing on others?

Think about it…and then turn and say hello to yourself for the first time.

don-t-let-others-judge-you-d2abc278-sz400x214

 

Posted in Thinking | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Changin’ it Up!

Hello Onion Peelers!  As you may have noticed, I have not written in a while.  I have been taking a bit of a break due to (among other things) a lack of inspiration.  I have had some significant changes in my physical surroundings, which has affected my internal state of mind.  In retrospect, I can also see how my previous internal state of mind may have been contributing to my physical circumstances.  A very interesting phenomenon…at least it is when you’re not in the heat of the moment.

Supermassive black hole

Trying to figure it all out and deal with my immediate circumstances while processing my emotions, fighting bad habits, re-programming my thinking, and combating negative self-talk is quite an exhausting  process and ultimately has been very self-defeating.  I have come to the realization that all of the running around I do in my head is actually quite a Catch 22 and has been contributing to my negative sense of being.  So, I am changin’ it up!  I am going to stop thinking about things until I have thought myself into a black hole of thoughts that lead to nowhere, and I am sticking to the basics!  What does this mean?  Well, it means that I am going to start tackling things in my life with the simplicity of a child, but with the security and confidence of an expert.

To begin, I am going to list the rules of the game:

1.  NO over-thinking.

2.  Listen to and trust your instincts.

3.  Always choose what feels right.

4.  Be grateful for what you have, and remind yourself of what you can do.

5.  Disconnect from negative thoughts whenever they come up.

6.  Do not engage in other people’s drama, even if it feels like fun!

7.  Remember that everything happens for a reason, and you don’t need to know why.

8.  Forgive yourself – every new moment is a chance to start over.

9.  Live in the present as much as possible.

10.  Be kind to your body.

Next, I am going to start putting my “mental money” where my mouth is and practice my own advice!  THINKING about the importance of positive thoughts and LIVING the benefits of positive thinking are two very different things.  Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  Well, here’s to you Al…I’m changin’ it up!

Posted in Thinking | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

My Bucket is Overflowing!

When we are trying to make changes, we are often times our own worst enemy.  We want what we want, and we want it NOW.  Our impatience can sabotage all of the strides we make, sometimes even canceling them out.  Instead of focusing on the progress we are making, we fixate on the fact that we have not achieved whatever it is that we are trying to achieve.  When making a change of any kind, our minds have to adapt.  It has been said that it takes 21-days to make a new habit.  So why are we so hard on ourselves when things don’t happen immediately?

Sometimes when we don’t achieve what we were trying to accomplish in the time frame we expected it, we decide that means we are a failure.  Did you catch the key word there?  We DECIDE it means we are a failure.  A failure?  No.  This could not be farther from the truth.  In fact, we can just as easily DECIDE we are doing just fine and actually give ourselves some credit for the work we are doing.  Every step we make toward a positive change means that we are winners!

Let’s imagine you have a bucket full of muddy water.  The muddy water represents something you would like to change.  In line with our desire for quick change, the first thing we might think to do is dump out the muddy water and fill it with clean water.  Well, what if dumping out that muddy water and starting fresh were not an option?  Just like in life, we are often times faced with things that we cannot instantly change.  So, what do we do?  Well, we can start by pouring cups of clean water into the bucket.  Each cup of clean water we pour into the bucket displaces some of the muddy water, and  if we are persistent, eventually we will have a bucket full of clean water.  Each of the positive changes we make in our lives is the same thing as one of those cups of water being poured in the bucket.  No matter what kind of change we are trying to make, if  we keep moving steadily toward our goal, we can have confidence that at some point those changes will add up and we will have accomplished our goal.

When we take a step in the wrong direction, we haven’t failed; we just need to get back on track and fill up a new cup of water to add to our bucket.  We also have to be patient and remember that most changes don’t happen overnight.  Whether the change we desire is tangible like losing weight, or it is something more subjective like having more positive thoughts…big or small, those cups of water make a difference!

So?  How full is your bucket?

Posted in Thinking | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Motivation: How to Stay in Control

“Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” ~Wayne Dyer

Whether it is about losing weight, quitting smoking, finding a new job, or learning a new skill, there is only one thing that we need to have in place to accomplish our goal: MOTIVATION.  If we put our minds to something, we can accomplish anything.  A lot of  times, however, the challenge is not getting motivated, but staying motivated!

How we we stay motivated?  We begin with great motivation (“Diet starts Monday!”), but then somehow things get in our way and we cannot accomplish our goal.  A lot of the time, we feel like we have no control of these things when in reality, the things that really get in the way are our own desires and urges.   It is human nature to seek out what we feel will give us the most pleasure and the least pain.  Who wants to feel uncomfortable, and if having what we desire will make the uncomfortable feeling go away, of course that is what we gravitate toward.  We seek out whatever action is less painful, so it only makes sense that we will choose to have those french fries when we are hungry and the craving for what we want is making us uncomfortable.  If we believe the french fries will make us happy and also take away the pain of not having them, pleasure over pain will win every time.  The trick is to find more pleasure in NOT eating those fries.  And that is where our control comes in!

We may not feel like we have control over our desires and urges, but we DO have absolute control over our actions.  Admittedly it can be a challenge sometimes, but we have complete control over whether or not we do something.  In order to maintain the power to do something or not to do something, you have to continuously remind yourself WHY you want to do something.  Make lists, cut out pictures, think about what you will do when you achieve what you are working for.  Give yourself all of the “cheat sheets” and study guides you can to help ease you through the tough moments.  The pleasure of accomplishing what you want to accomplish has to outweigh the pain of not having or doing what you want.  The end result has to outweigh the immediate discomfort, and we are the ones who control the choices that make things happen.

We have the CHOICE to be miserable, or to change things.  We have to be patient with ourselves; we need to continuously remind ourselves of the rewards the better choice will bring when we are feeling challenged.  It is not about making the challenges go away, it is about staying in control when facing those challenges.  You can do anything you set your mind to, because you are the only one in control of your mind!  You can do it!

Posted in Thinking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Attract Abundance into Your Life

How do we attract abundance?  How do we open ourselves up to receive what we want in life?  There is a simple way to start receiving more in your life:  In order to receive, we need to give.  When we give to others, we not only help them, we help ourselves in so many ways.  Of course, we are able to enjoy the wonderful sense of well-being that comes from helping another person, or supporting a cause we believe in, but when we give we also attract similar opportunities to ourselves.  Whether it is the giving of our time, our attention, or making a financial contribution, when we give something freely, it attracts more of whatever it is we gave back to us.

You see, what we do is mirrored back to us, and when we give, we send a clear message to the Universe.  Perhaps someone will make efforts to spend quality time with us, we will receive a bonus check in the mail, someone will go out of their way to help us when we are in need – we attract the spirit of helping back to us by sending the message with clear intention, and we send the message to the Universe by giving.  Now, we cannot give with the underlying motive that we expect to receive something in return, because this is actually false giving.  We need to give with pure motives and a sense of knowing that what we are doing is making a difference.  We must feel the sense of peace that accompanies giving – that is how we know the giving was done with pure intention.

Each month, I am making a commitment to giving something of myself to someone or something else.  I have decided to choose a cause each month and give a donation of at least $25.  There is no reason why I cannot come up with $25 a month, even when money is tight.  Even more valuable, each month I will give a minimum of 2 hours of my time.  Even with the busiest of schedules, there has to be at least two hours that can be carved out to help someone.  Volunteer opportunities are available for so many kinds of different causes: animal shelters; homeless shelters; retirement homes; boys and girls clubs; literacy programs; letters for service men and women.  The opportunities are endless!

While you are at it, look at your family and see who could use some of your extra attention?  Maybe your parents could use a visit, or give some extra one-on-one time to your children?  Perhaps a cup of coffee with a sibling you haven’t spent much time with lately, or stop by and play a game with an elderly relative?  And what about YOU?  How much time have you spent with yourself lately?  Giving is addictive…the more you give, the more you will want to give!

What are you going to do this month?  Share your ideas with others and ignite the spirit of giving in someone right now!

Posted in Thinking | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment