Why Forgive?

As you know, forgiveness has been on my mind a lot lately. I’m still taking the forgiveness process one day at a time because part of me wants to hold onto resentment and hurt from past situations with friends, coworkers, bosses, boyfriends, and relatives. And honestly, part of me wants to hang onto that resentment and hurt because I don’t want to let those people off the hook for what they did or said to me. Can you relate to that feeling?

But here’s the thing. Forgiveness isn’t about the people who we may feel wronged or hurt by. Forgiveness is for us. As Deepak Chopra says, “Forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves.” We don’t forgive because we condone someone else’s behavior or words. We don’t forgive because we want to remove responsibility from that person and make them feel better.

We forgive because we want to feel better. We forgive because we want our lives to be happier and more peaceful.

We don’t have to worry about that other person at all. All that forgiveness asks of us is to let go of our anger, resentment, and hurt…because it drains our energy, makes it harder for us to be vulnerable and authentic with others, and doesn’t change what happened anyway.

Forgiveness offers us a beautiful opportunity to clear out that stale resentment, anger, and hurt, and welcome happiness, peace, and ease. And when we’re in that happy, peaceful place, we attract more good things into our lives. We can let those people we’re resenting be on their own path; we don’t have to worry about how they feel or what they’re doing. We can relax and just worry about creating a peaceful, happy life for ourselves.

I think if we view forgiveness as a gift we give to ourselves, as something that will make our own lives better, then we’ll be motivated to forgive, and then experience all of the amazing things forgiveness has to offer us!

Forgiveness is tricky, and I’m still figuring it out a day at a time. If you’re in the same boat, hopefully this post helps you out!

Why It’s Okay To Eat Your Feelings

Writing to you from the west coast! Dude, the west coast is so pretty and cool. AND YOU GET 3 HOURS OF EXTRA TIME. Amazing.

This body positive and food post is inspired by Isabel Foxen Duke (the master of overcoming binge eating and food obsession) and my amazing nutritionist.

A few days ago I was talking with a friend who was feeling upset and a little ashamed that she’s been eating a larger amount of “unhealthy” food lately because she’s been stressed out. That’s a totally normal thing to feel…but it’s problematic and dangerous.

When we judge ourselves for eating a certain way, i.e. the way my friend was judging herself about her temporary larger intake of “unhealthy” food, we make ourselves wrong, shameful, and unworthy in some way. And when we’re in that unworthy, ashamed place, we tend to do one of two things: we keep overeating because we just feel bad about ourselves, or we launch into a diet or food restriction/manipulation of some kind…which ultimately backfires and can lead us to binge eating or more and more periods of overeating. Either way, feeling ashamed about our behavior around food promotes food and body chaos.

If you get down on yourself for overeating or even just eating something “unhealthy,” I want you to take a different approach—so that you really deal with your emotions instead of dealing with them exclusively by eating.

The next time you start to judge yourself for whatever you just ate (or are currently eating), I want you to take a big inhale and exhale (conscious breath gets you out of your head) and say to yourself, “It’s totally okay that I’m eating this/ate this.” Or, “It’s totally okay that I’m emotionally eating or binge eating right now.” When you make your behavior “okay” or acceptable, you remove the shame that you (and society) usually put on yourself…which makes that food or behavior around food less charged and therefore less appealing or satisfying in some way. When you remove the shame around it, you have the mental space to also deal with the emotion that’s causing you to eat.

From a moral standpoint, binge eating or overeating is neither good nor bad. Food is neither good nor bad—even when you’re eating it for emotional reasons. When you start viewing food and your behavior around food as more neutral, you’ll find that food becomes just one of the many ways you can deal with your emotions, and that you can face and work through your emotions, too.

This is a heady topic. I’m asking you to flip the way you’ve been taught to think about food, your body, and emotions. But if you want to stop eating over your emotions and actually deal with them, you have to start with believing that eating over your emotions isn’t wrong in the first place.

3 Keys to Forgiveness

Forgiveness has been on my mind lately and man is it a tricky subject. Of course forgiving others or a situation or ourselves is the “spiritually evolved” thing to do, but it’s f*cking hard. And it’s easy to think that forgiving something means that the same thing will happen to us again, or that if we forgive someone, they have to be part of our lives. Ug.

Forgiveness is complicated, and I’m still figuring out what it means to me. But there are a few people and situations in my life that have been replaying in my head over and over–so much so that they’re decreasing the quality of my life. Replaying those old scenarios drains my energy, affects my other relationships, and pushes away other good things that are trying to come to me. So I’m thinking it’s time work my forgiveness muscle.

Take a second right now and think about one person (maybe it’s yourself?) or situation that is circulating in your head all the time and not making you feel any better at all.

I just started my journey with forgiveness, but in part thanks to the amazing Gabrielle Bernstein, I’ve learned 3 things that will help us ease into forgiveness and experience peace and freedom. Check it:

1. Willingness. The very first step to forgiving someone or something is to be willing to forgive. You have to want the peace, freedom, and happiness that result from forgiveness more than hanging on to your hurt, anger, or resentment. Even if you’re just slightly open to forgiveness, that’s enough to get the process going. When you catch yourself replaying that old scenario or conversation that you’re resenting, just say to yourself (I do this out loud), “I’m open to forgiving,” “I’m willing to forgive this situation/person/myself,” or “I don’t need to hang onto this. I’m open to releasing this.”

2. Face your feelings. It’s crucial to be willing to forgive, but you can’t just slap a prayer or mantra over your feelings and expect to experience true and lasting peace. You have to face the pain, hurt, anger, etc. that you experienced because of the situation you’re resenting. Most of the time, when we think about a situation or person who triggers us, we push it down or distract ourselves so we don’t have to feel it. But that just keeps those feelings alive and silently torturing us. In the forgiveness process, we have to acknowledge how a certain situation made us feel instead of running away. Then the feelings will move through us and leave us for good, never haunting us again. So whenever you experience an emotion because of that person/situation, just take a deep breath, notice where you feel it in your body, and breathe through it or journal, stretch, cry, etc. Feel your feelings with the intention that you’re moving towards forgiveness, and thus peace, freedom, and happiness.

3. Give it up. The best and most relieving part of this whole process is that we don’t have to take some major action. We simply have to surrender that situation or person and our feelings about them to God or The Universe. We don’t have to worry about what the forgiveness will look like, how our lives may or may not change, or whether we’ll actually be able to forgive. We just have to take it one day at a time, be willing to forgive, and feel our feelings along the way. God/The Universe will handle it from there.

Forgiveness is a process, and I’m still figuring it out. But if we want to experience more peace and ease in our lives, and attract wonderful, high-vibe things, then we have to consider forgiving the people and situations that are haunting us and keeping us stuck in fear, resentment, hurt, and anger.

What Thoughts Are Holding You Hostage?

Last week, I got into the Easter spirit by dying eggs with a dear friend and wearing my bunny ears to dinner with my family and May.

In church a few mornings ago (I know, when do I ever talk about what I learned in church??), we talked about the things that hold us hostage–the situations, people, world events, inner beliefs, or thought patterns that trigger us. These are the things that take us out of the present moment, fester inside of us, and make us feel angry, resentful, unforgiving, sad, and disconnected from ourselves, our inner peace, and God/The Universe/Source.

When we’re in that angry/resentful/disconnected state, we tend to do things that exacerbate those emotions and hurt ourselves or others even more.

I tend to get taken hostage when I’m driving. I’ll be behind the wheel and then thoughts about past situations involving former friends, bosses, and romantic partners seep in and fill me with rage, resentment, and hurt. So when the car in front of me is going too slow, or when another car cuts me off…what do you think I do? Do I peacefully change lanes or slow down to let someone in? No! I honk my horn like crazy and shout obscenities, which endangers myself, endangers others, and doesn’t even make me feel better!

That’s the thing. Even when we’re in that emotional state and take a somewhat destructive action, we don’t even feel a release or feel peaceful at all. When we’re taken hostage, honking our horns, cursing someone out, or snapping at someone doesn’t give us what we’re really look for. We’re looking for a way out, a way back to inner peace or a way to restore our connection with God. Taking that quick, negative action doesn’t get us there. Taking a breath, saying a quick prayer, wishing someone well, finding gratitude in something–all of those things return us to peace…and makes us more powerful. So when that past situation, person, or negative inner belief comes to the surface again, it’ll have less and less power over us, and then will eventually stop bothering us.

The next time something tries to take you hostage, all you have to do is just recognize that you’re being taken out of the present moment. Simply recognizing when you’re being taken hostage will give you power. Then, you can choose what to do with whatever is bothering you. Maybe you take a few deep breaths. Maybe you drink some water. Maybe you journal or pray or vent to a friend. These things will help return you to inner peace quickly–so that you take action from that space and live with ease.

Then, no matter what anyone does or says to you, you’ll still be chilled out and happy!

There’s a new 3-Second Rule in town…

A couple weeks ago, I attended a Disney/Batman themed wedding. And on Thursday night, I taught a body image workshop for UMD CHAARG at my alma mater. It was amazing!

Alright I have to out myself. The girl behind The Happy College Girl has been pretty…angry, judgmental, snippy, and negative lately. Aside from all of the crazy sh*t going on the world right now/always, there are some things in my own life that I really let get under my skin. In fact, I’m stewing about something RIGHT NOW.

Ug and when I’m in that mad, resentful place, I tend to say really mean things to and about other people. My voice takes on a harsh tone and I use all kinds of foul language. Other people get exhausted by me. My mind and body get tense and anxious. And the situation or people I’m mad at don’t get better. In fact, all of that anger and resentment just hooks me into that situation/person even more…and then it’s even harder for me to make peace with it. Gah!

Can you relate to feeling so angry and resentful at a person or situation that you say something really mean or snippy in the moment?

It’s so easy to let a person or situation trigger us into saying or doing something impulsive. But when we say or do that thing, we only feel slightly better. Then we get hooked into the situation even more and it takes us even longer to experience happiness and peace.

I’m not totally sure how to stop myself from saying or doing something impulsive out of anger…or from letting anger and resentment overtake me and ruin my whole day (or just part of my day). But I know it affects other people, doesn’t make them feel good, doesn’t make me feel good, and doesn’t do anything to move me forward.

That’s why I’ve decided to experiment with the 3-Second Rule–not the one that allows you to eat food that’s been on the floor for three seconds or less. This 3-Second Rule requires you to wait three seconds before speaking. The next time you’re having a conversation and you’re about to say something (even if it’s totally positive or benign), count 1, 2, 3, and then speak. I like this rule because it gives us a few moments to decide whether what we’re about to say will make ourselves and our conversation partners feel good and/or will move us forward in some way.

Then, no matter what we say, whether it’s that impulsive thing we were going to say anyway, or whether we’ve filtered it a bit, at least we took those crucial moments to think before we speak.

I think that the 3-Second Rule can help us be less reactive to people and situations so that we experience more peace, ease, and happiness in our lives.

How To Handle FOMO

Hope you’re doing great! This week, I went to a conference and slept in my car between sessions because I was so tired, ate lots of Italian food, and went to a sprawling lights show with May.

I also got a chance to Skype with a friend, and we talked about how easy it is to think that no matter what we’re doing in our lives, we should be doing something else.

Know what we mean?

Our culture puts so much pressure on us to live perfect, adventurous, yet peaceful lives, and no matter how hard we try to do all of that, we still think we’re not doing enough. The millions of opportunities we have per day to engage in comparison exacerbates our feeling of inadequacy and pushes us even harder to strive for perfect lives, worthy of envy. We’re bombarded with messages every day about how our lives are supposed to look–so that we get approval and admiration from others.

We work so hard to live a “perfect” life (whatever that is) or we constantly looking at what our friends/acquaintances are doing to see how we measure up. But when we do that, not only do we exhaust our mind and body, we also miss out on the awesome life we could be living right now. We spend so much time trying to achieve some made up social ideal that we lose track of what truly makes us happy. Then we end up doing things or spending time with people who don’t really make us feel fulfilled. Then we become unhappy, resentful, and lost about how to move forward.

I struggle with this every day–and I especially struggled with it after I moved home from school and had no idea what to do next. I know you can relate.

That’s why I created some awesome tips to help you move through moments of comparison and inadequacy about your life choices. I used these pretty much every day of 2015…and still use them today!

Check ’em out:

1. Use the acceptance prayer. This is a classic one, and so, so helpful. Whenever you get a pang of anxiety, FOMO, or inadequacy, say this to yourself and feel a shift: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

2. Saturate yourself in books/content about acceptance. Acceptance will set you free and push you forward. Read Radical Acceptance by the amazing Tara Brach. Read these quotes. And this one from my former coach Christine Gutierrez: Life will trick you. You will see certain things not work out and believe that you must certainly be in the wrong place, that you are not where you are supposed to be. But the truth is you are always exactly where you need to be, and your point of power comes from accepting where you are and making conscious choices for where you want to be next. You can’t pressure yourself or make yourself feel bad about where you are, because I promise you it’s perfect and divine. What is the lesson that life is giving you right now, in this moment? Surrender just a bit more and have faith. You are exactly where you need to be.

3. Follow your body’s signals. The next time you engage in an activity or hang out with someone, notice how your body feels. Does your body feel open, light, relaxed, energized? Does it feel contracted, heavy, depleted, tired? Notice what kinds of things, activities, and people make you feel open, and spend more time with them. Your body’s signals will never steer you in the wrong direction.

4. Sleep and drink water. These simple practices will help you listen to your body (see #3) and release the stress that’s building up inside of you because of all of the pressure you’re putting on yourself to live a perfect life. Trust me on this one.

Give these tips a try and let the acceptance and ease set in!

What To Do When The Guy Won’t Text You Back

We’ve all been there. We like a guy (or girl), we engage in some exciting and anxiety-producing texting, and then when they don’t respond to one of our texts, we freak out. Just minutes earlier we felt sexy, desirable, and bad-ass, and then all of the sudden–when we don’t get that text or when it comes later than we wanted–we feel like disgusting losers.

And when we’re in that low-energy space, we begin to need that validation from the guy to feel good about ourselves, so we might text him again…which tends to make us feel even more desperate and worse…and we end up pushing the guy away.

Why do we do this to ourselves??

I used to (and still do sometimes) experience these swings in emotion and self-worth a lot around men. But over the years, I’ve learned some useful tools to feel peaceful and beautiful no matter what a guy texts or doesn’t text me.

The BEST TIP for how to handle yourself when a guy doesn’t respond to your text is….

Get right with yourself.

Take your focus off of the guy and put it on yourself. Feeling less worthy or desirable because the guy hasn’t texted yet just means that you have some internal work to do. And that’s great news because that means you no longer have to worry about him (because you can’t control what he thinks/does anyway). All you have to do is focus on improving your own sense of self-worth and feeling great in yourself–no matter what happens with this guy.

Getting right with yourself can look like…

  • Viewing your emotional response to the (temporary) lack of text as a Divine lesson. This is a beautiful opportunity for you to improve your self-worth and release your need for external validation. Other people are our greatest teachers in life, and this guy is helping you realize how worthy you are on your own. So, he’s actually doing you a favor.
  • Journaling about how the lack of text makes you feel mentally and physically, when you’ve felt this way in the past, and how you may be bringing your past experiences and fears into the present.
  • Removing your self-worth from the external world, i.e. whether the guy texts back, the size of your jeans, how much money you have, etc. and placing your self-worth in something internal and unchanging, i.e. your connection to God/Universe, your intuition, your core ESSENCE. Do this by making a list of all the things you love about yourself, what’s unique about you, and what YOU bring to the world. Look at pictures of yourself as a little kid. What would you tell that little girl about her self-worth? Would you tell her that it lies in whether a guy will text her back? Um, no.
  • Connecting to your body through movement. Stretch, walk/run, dance, do some yoga. Working out makes you feel hot and more in tune with your intuition, which will help you decide your next step with this guy–from a peaceful, loving space, rather than a frantic, needy one.
  • Flirt with/open your eyes to other men. Relax your focus on this guy and realize how many other great men there are in your world. Smile at the hot guy in Starbucks. Give a man (even if it’s your friend or family member) a compliment. Keep track of real-life examples of men treating their girlfriends the way you want to be treated. This will make you feel more abundant in men and ease that desperation you may feel around the one who’s not texting back.

Whew, these are just some of the many ways you can get right with yourself–so that you can return to a loving and peaceful place in yourself, which will energetically draw that guy to you…or draw in other men who are a better match for you

It’s totally okay to text that guy again…as long as you do it from a place of self-love and calm, with no expectation of a response from him (just text him bc you were thinking about him, not bc you want something from him), and with a solid sense of self-worth so that if he doesn’t respond, you still feel fly and desirable.

This is a tricky topic, and I’m still working on it. Use these tips to experience more ease with those boys (or girls or whoever you dig)!

My best tools for making decisions with ease

You know how anxious I get when I have to make a big decision. While I’ve made a lot of progress on creating more peace and ease around decision making, I STILL have moments of freaking out when faced with many choices.

Welp, it’s hit me again. I’m smack dab in the middle of a decision and for most of the weekend, I’ve been doing my best to manage my anxiety around it.

That’s why this email is dedicated to helping you make decisions with ease, too. Below is a collection of my best decision making tools! Read ’em, use ’em, and start making some decisions!

Here they are:

My realization of what freedom REALLY means

Anxiety does not have to rule your romantic relationships. Here’s how to get free.

Quick Guide: Goal setting when you have no idea what your goals are or what you want

Are you a flip-flopper? Make decisions with ease

Give these tips a try and let the peaceful decision making begin!

How to accomplish your goals faster

Almost every day for the past three weeks, I’ve been hopping on the phone with a friend I made in a coaching group. At 9:30am, we do an exercise from our program to keep us on track with having a positive mindset–so that we see positive results in our lives.

If I didn’t have this phone call with my friend every morning, motivating myself to do that exercise would be much more difficult. If left on my own, I would probably skip a few days, then eventually lose motivation and not do the exercise for weeks…requiring me to build up the mental strength and discipline again to get myself back on track. Think of all of that time and energy I wasted not doing the exercise, when just doing it would’ve been a much for effective way to see the results I want in my life.

But working with my friend, aka my accountability buddy, forces me (in a gentle way) to do the exercise. She calls me every morning, and I pick up. We do the exercise, then get on with our days. Our system is great. It gives me the structure and discipline I need to help me accomplish my goals faster than I would if I didn’t have that support.

Think about one of your goals or an area of your life that you’d like to improve.

How might you incorporate an accountability buddy to help you move towards that goal/improvement faster?

Here are some ideas to help you out!

  • If your goal is to incorporate more exercise in your life, make a plan with a friend to go to a class together, or take a walk/run together. Instead of meeting there, try carpooling. If you’re responsible for picking up someone or being picked up, you’ll be more likely to go and not just bail if you’re too tired.
  • Start a group gratitude chat. Gather a few of your friends and text each other three things you’re grateful for each day. Pick different things each time. Gratitude makes you feel instantly abundant and happy!
  • Choose an inspirational/self-improvement book to read with a friend/group of friends. Get together once a week to discuss how you’re incorporating the principles into your life, cheer each other on, and get ideas for how to stay on track.

These are just some of the MANY ways you can incorporate an accountability buddy system into your life…and get the discipline you need to accomplish your goals faster!

You have the power to shift your whole day

First of all, here’s a little reminder to attend my FREE, LIVE call on Wednesday, March 8 at 8pm est. I’m going to teach you how to stay physically and mentally healthy while achieving your personal, academic, and professional goals!

Second of all…I saw Moonlight with my friend May and it was beautiful. I’m so glad it won Best Picture. Omg.

Watching a meaningful film with a friend is something that really fills me up.

When I do things that fill me up, my body feels open, energized, and calm. I feel positive and connected. In that space, I’m motivated to tackle my To Do list, accomplish my goals, and dream big. I feel confident in myself and more trusting that my future will be okay.

On the flip side, when I do things that drain me, like troll social media, watch crappy reality TV (the kind that’s not even entertaining), or try to do too many things at once (like text while writing an email and Skype-chatting a colleague), my body feels tight and tense. In that space, I’m NOT inspired to tackle my To Do list or feel confident in myself. I want to contract, stay in bed, and hide from the world.

What about you? What kinds of things fill you up, aka make you feel energized, inspired, and calm? And what kinds of things deplete you, aka make you feel stagnant and tense?

Paying attention to what drains us v. what fills us up is crucial. It teaches us that we have the power to shift our experience in any given moment. If we’re feeling stagnant, negative, scared, or inferior, and thus not inspired to love ourselves/others, accomplish goals, etc., we can do things to cultivate different feelings–ones that make us feel good and want to participate fully in our lives. Even if outside circumstances or other people try to affect our feelings, we still have the power to choose how to respond to those things and how we let them affect us.

For example, maybe you get a bad grade on an exam. That’s a sh*tty feeling. But if you let that feeling keep you stuck, you don’t feel confident or inspired to take a positive action, like study harder for the next exam, talk to your professor, join a study group, etc. You just want to hide in bed. But when you remember your power to change your feelings and you do something that fills you up, you move through that negative feeling faster and are then able to be proactive about that bad grade. Comforting, right?

This week, I want you to pay attention to how your body feels while you’re working, eating, with friends, getting ready for bed, waking up, etc. Does your body feel calm, tight, open, drained, energized? What kinds of thoughts go through your mind as your doing those things? Are your thoughts chaotic, soft, quiet, loud, all over the place?

Then, ask yourself: Is this how I want to feel right now? If you want to feel differently, then do something that fills you up and makes you feel good. Maybe that looks like having a phone date with a friend, drinking a smoothie, having a dance party, watching a movie, crying–you get the idea.

Remember, you have much more power than you think to shift how you feel in any given moment and change the course of your whole day.

And if you’re ready to feel confident in your own skin and accomplish your goals WITHOUT obsessing about food and your body, then you gotta join me for my live call!