The Powerful Things Within

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So, I am sitting in a gorgeous sunroom at the end of quite a physically challenging day and I thought it would be very beneficial to share some thoughts with you :-)

I learned a few new things after branching out (pun intended) and taking up some serious mountain hiking. My family is on vacation in Nashville, TN until tomorrow and we opted for a bit of adventure seeking. Early this morning we set out on what seemed like just a pretty walk. Somebody (guilty!) chose not once, but twice, to take the difficult road. After ending our 3 hour adventure, this is what I noticed:
1. Time really does go by much quicker when you are engaged in the task at hand.
2. God is gracious and gives hikers shade and plenty of breezes!
3. Deer on hiking trails could care less if you see them and do not scare so easily.
4. Water is awesome!
5. Going downhill can be just as hard as going uphill, but you don’t REALLY feel it until you get out of the car upon arriving home.

The sixth thing I learned is in regards to the picture above. Do you know what that is? Well, yes it is a tree smarty pants! But do you know what is wrong with this tree? The large bulge is actually a disease that trees get, similar to cancer.

You see, a bug can burrow into the trunk of the tree and through a series of unfortunate events, the tree is left with a disease. This mass is evidence of the disease. Eventually the tree trunk can weaken and break since the tree is being killed from the inside out. All because something as small as perhaps a hornet wedged its way into the tree.

As I was learning about the plight of this tree, I began to think of my own “trunk”. How many times have I allowed tiny things such as opinions or words penetrate and cause a disease in my soul? Have I allowed guilt or anger to fester and grow into a disease of the heart? Have poor thoughts eaten away at my infrastructure until I am left a shell of what I was supposed to be?

Sadly, these things have happened. I have good news for you though! We are NOT trees! We can be healed and restructured to the people we were born to be. Just as this disease weakens the structure of this tree, the negative thoughts that pierce our minds weakens us. It is all about choosing the thoughts you hang on to and letting go of the ones that do not serve a higher purpose.

If you find yourself feeling unworthy, change those thoughts by discovering your true worth. I’ll even give you a hint: Somebody cared enough to DIE for YOU (John 3:16). If you’re unhappy in your marriage, look into your own thoughts and mind. It is not your spouses job description to make you happy, they are to love you. There is a difference. Feelings of guilt, anxiety, stress, depression; all of these are deep seeded in fear and NOT fostering a stronger trunk for your life to grow.

Make the choice today to begin confronting these thoughts. Dark thoughts cannot grow in the light, but if you hide them they will cause disease.

Learning these things were not all I was blessed with this morning. God also granted me another book idea and I am faithful it will grow, strong as an oak :-)

Word to the wise: after hiking for 3 hours through the mountains, don’t hike for 2 more through gardens and tree houses!

Have a healthy day, in every way.
Michelle

How to put the SHUSH on negative thoughts

This may seem like an odd post coming from somebody who has made a living in the body alteration field. That’s kind of a fancy word for trainer :)

I feel that this post could not be more timely. As I wander into Summer, I am enlightened to the way people behave. My mom was a serious people watcher, so I guess it just trickled down. Anyways, what I have noticed is that we women have developed carefully strategized habits of degradation that have been part of our make up for generations. My goal is to put a stop to the madness. Seriously…

Now, buckle up because this is going to take more than one post, I assure you. So, why am I so impassioned about breaking the cycle? I was raised by a beautiful woman who never knew her worth and believed the lies of society. I am now raising a young woman of my own and I want this to end with her generation. As of right now, there are scores of women not living up to their full life purpose because they believe a lie. It’s time to step into our own and be the women this up and coming generation can really look up to.

Body image is attacked daily. Although America is not the only place, I believe it is most rampant here (though I may be biased!). We constantly look at pencil thin models (no fault to those who are naturally thin! God made you that way, so love it), supremely etched athletes and glowing movie stars with bodacious booties. There is nothing wrong with these images in and of themselves now, it’s the emotion they can tend to prod. As women, we make a few body image mistakes that must first be realized and then corrected. Please, do it for you and our future…

  1. We compare. There, I said it! Women compare ourselves to other women and often we compare other women with other women. We can quickly size somebody up or down, depending on our mood. We not only compare our bodies, but also our hair, nails, facial structure, mothering, homes, cleaning, husbands, careers, children, cars, etc. Do you get the point here? And all the men say “I KNEW IT!”. Duh! That’s how we know when you’re looking at another women (even by accident). It’s because we already sized her up.
  2. We decide that we are not as good as… You may fill in the blank here. I have found that no matter how much a woman has, or if she seemingly can juggle it all, we all face insecurities and allow them to whittle away at who we are.
  3. We degrade ourselves…in public. Oh, I am a guilty party, but I must admit I am getting better. One thing I always try to teach my life coaching clients is how to take a compliment. That is by far the hardest lesson! We usually end up with this scenario: “What a lovely dress”. “This old thing? I just threw it on and it’s all wrinkled because I haven’t had time to do the laundry much less get my hair done or get a good night’s sleep. Do you see the bags under my eyes?!?!?” Have you been there? Rather it’s that we really feel so poorly about ourselves or that we don’t wish to hurt another (um, they paid the compliment), we deny our beauty.
  4. We are convinced that we must live up to a standard of perfection that DOES NOT EXIST. There are no perfect bodies. There are no perfect lives. There are those that strive for perfection, sure. And there are those can fake perfect pretty good (give me some spray tanner and glitter oil and I’ll show you abs! LOL), but perfect does not exist in this world. Heaven is the only place where perfection truly resides, and the last time I checked I wasn’t there yet :) .
  5. We hold on too tight. Just as we can hold grudges (oh, you know you do) we can also hold on to the way we think we should be/act/look with a vengeance. We have a hard time letting go of a certain number on the scale (because life was perfect when I was THAT weight), or a number on our jeans. We have unrelenting commitment to being “there” again.

Now, I’m not suggesting we all put our flannel pj’s on, stop shaving (eewww, no) and watch I Love Lucy reruns while eating oreos all day. Healthy is good. Obsession and self degradation is bad.

One thing to realize is that when we say we hate our bodies or certain parts of our bodies, our children burn that into their psyche. Our negative self-image becomes their genetic makeup. Scary thought? It is to me! A study was done years ago that followed young ladies from their tween years to adulthood, studying family dynamics. While the study meant to focus on family meal times and involvement linked to self-esteem, they stumbled upon even more eye-opening discoveries. The young ladies whose mother’s had poor body image grew up with eating disorders. These were normal, working class families. As it turns out, the girls where either scared of getting their moms thighs (or gut, or butt, you choose), OR they already felt as though their body was sub-par. Your words count!

So, what do we do now? There is hope. There is hope for each of us, no matter the age. The first thing to realize is that there is no perfect. I mean, none of us has seen perfect so who’s to say your body isn’t it right? Start today by taking small steps towards a better body image. Workout because it makes you feel good, NOT to get a tighter butt or flatter abs. If you, like me, struggle with your midsection, remember that it housed a life (or 2-3 or more!) for 9 months! Sheesh, cut yourself a break. Embrace your stretch marks. My stretch marks are my war wounds for giving birth to a nearly 10 pound baby. WonderWoman? You bet!

When you feel as though negative thoughts are invading your mind, remember that you were made for a specific purpose. There is nobody else on Earth that can do what God sent you here to do. It may be HUGE or it may seem small, but it is yours. Let go of those negative conversations. Just stop giving your energy to it. For some of us, these thoughts are so deep seeded it will take time and faith to purge them, but take note from a survivor: it is worth the effort.

You are beautiful, never accept anything less in your mind :)

Michelle