Rejection as a Learning Experience

Rejection might seem like the end of the world but the sting will always pass with time. When I look at rejection from a stance of growth rather than fear, I’m better equipped to learn ways to improve myself. Rejection and failure are not so distant cousins and both provide an opportunity for learning and growth.

Fear of rejection has held me back from countless opportunities because I didn’t want to face the fact that maybe I’m not as awesome as I think I am. However, if I don’t experience rejection occasionally I won’t be able to see flaws in myself or make improvements. Lack of rejection gives me a false sense of perfection that will be damaging in the long run. How I handle rejection is imperative to my spiritual growth. It has helped make me a “grownup.”

The new opportunities rejection can bring are endless. It forces me to consider different ways of doing things, ways that could possibly be even better than before. Giving up on something just because I got rejected is not an option for me anymore. Today I choose not to sit and wallow in my unworthiness. I want to explore new possibilities. Rejection gets me back out there meeting new people, going to different places, and trying out new things. Rejection can be a blessing in disguise. It’s all about what mindset I choose to invoke when dealing with it.

If I utilize the mindset of using rejection as a learning experience rather than an attack on my ego I can gain valuable insights on who I am and how I present to the world. I can learn ways to improve how I act and what I say. I can learn new ways of doing things. Some of these may even be better than how I currently practice. Rejection doesn’t need to be feared. It’s a fact of life. Everyone experiences it. If I fear rejection I fear life, and hiding from my fears isn’t living, so it’s best for me to accept rejection and learn from it rather than fear it, because it’s happened before and it will happen again. When it happens again, I will tweak my performance and carry on. I have to remember that just because I got rejected doesn’t mean I’m “less than.” It just means I wasn’t a good fit for a particular person, place, or thing.

Acknowledge it, learn from it, let it go.

Learning how to accept rejection has been a crucial part of my personal growth. First, I had to realize rejection isn’t actually an assault on my ego. Often times rejection actually has nothing to do with me. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. I can accept rejection better by getting in the right mindset first. I have to let go of any and all expectations I have of whatever the outcome will be. If I obsess over it, the more disappointed I’ll be when I get rejected. I don’t seek a reason for the rejection. All I have to do is respect the other person’s wishes. If I get a reason, great! I can learn from it. There’s no reason to create more misery for myself or the other person by asking why. The sooner I can let it go, the sooner I can move on with my life. No need to get sucked into the vortex of resentments and fear.

I accept rejection for my own peace of mind. If I give power to rejections I am certain to be cast into a vicious downward spiral with no end in sight. If I want to be an adult I have to accept the fact that things won’t always go my way. That’s just a fact of life, and I can’t take it personally.

When facing rejection there are things I can do to ease the discomfort. I can meditate on it, ask my higher power for guidance, let it go, and move on. I can prioritize things more important than fixating on the “why” of a rejection so I can learn from it and grow into a stronger, more resilient adult.

I can now recognize that when one door closes, another opens. I shift my focus to the next right thing. Experience has taught me the more I obsess over something the more miserable I get. I take action to get out of my own head rather than dwell on “what if”.

~Thanks for reading
LC

The Power of “The Pause”

Somewhere in my recovery I learned about a powerful tool that I like to call The Pause. I figured out, with some help, that I didn’t always need to reply with a quick snarky answer, or any answer at all in some cases. The Pause has kept me out of a lot of trouble since I started using it…

The trouble with it is actually remembering to use it. In the heat of the moment it’s easy for me to just blurt something out that may or may not be helpful or kind. I keep practicing though, pausing before I speak or act out, and it is now becoming almost second nature.

I try to ask myself and answer the 3 questions guaranteed to keep me in line:

1. Does it need to be said?

2. Does it need to be said now?

3. Does it need to be said by me?

When I’m irritated at a person or situation, the answer to all three of these questions is usually “no.” I can save myself a lot of grief later by utilizing The Pause and keeping my mouth shut now. The same principle can be applied to actions, not just words.

Another helpful set of questions I can ask myself before speaking that has been shared with me is T.H.I.N.K.

1. Is it True?

2. Is it Helpful?

3. Is it Inspiring?

4. Is it Necessary?

5. Is it Kind?

Practicing The Pause has helped make me a better person, and happier as well. It has enabled me to open my mind to other ideas because I’m not using my brain to quickly come up with a quick retort or snappy comeback.

The Pause has been an essential tool in my spiritual toolkit. It has saved me from having to make thousands of apologies and amends for my words and actions, and I’m sure it can do the same for you.

Just practice.

~Thanks for reading
LC

Anger is a Luxury I Can’t Afford

Time is money.

When I think of all the time I’ve wasted over the years being angry at people and situations, I get even angrier. I’ve literally wasted several hours in a day many times just sitting and fuming over things I’m mad about.

Is it productive? No.

Is it helpful? No.

Does it make me feel better? No.

Does it make my life better? No.

Is it justified? Yes!! No.

I can’t control how other people act but I can control how much space they take up in my head and my own actions. Anger, to me, is related to fear. Many times when I’m angry, it’s usually because something didn’t go my way, which plays into my fears.

Fear of rejection or failure. Fear of things not working out. Ego, jealousy,  worry, the list could go on…

Anger takes a lot of time. Wouldn’t my time be better spent thinking about things I’m grateful for and people I love?

Acceptance and the ability to move on, and not let people live rent free in my head for too long, are paramount to my recovery and personal growth. I can guarantee you the people I’m angry with usually have no idea just how much power they have over me and how I spend my time obsessing over them. And I can guarantee they are not wasting their valuable time thinking about me.

So why do I do it? Why do I waste my time obsessing over people and things I have no control over? When there is an assault on my sense of self (ego), it affects my self esteem, which can send me into a downward spiral of self pity and self degradation. In this spiral, I get to control what is said about me, and I get to control the outcome in my own head, even if it isn’t even true or even possible.

I can also turn it around.. I can choose to accept the reality of my anger, adapt to it, and acknowledge it from a more practical point of view. A viewpoint that is not self-centered.

I can remember the serenity prayer:

“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.”

These days, as the result of LOTS of practice, I’m much more aware of when I begin that downward spiral and I know how to take action to reverse it as soon as possible.

I don’t have time for anger. I choose to be grateful for what I do have.

I choose health and happiness.

 

~Thanks for reading
LC

Why I Keep My Trash Can Clean

Emotional garbage can fester and eventually stink up everything around it. Keeping spiritually fit and conducting a daily inventory of my actions, thoughts, and feelings every day is imperative to my overall happiness.

Much like the physical garbage can in my kitchen, my mind and body accumulate trash. Poor eating, poor thinking, and poor actions build up a kind of filmy layer of scum that is much easier to clean and sanitize than if it’s left to rot.

My daily inventory includes reflection and ideas for action. I identify the character defects in play and then look at the opposites.

Resentments, anger, jealousy, condescending thoughts and words, arrogance, hatred, fear, frustration, selfishness, hard-headedness, guilt, sarcasm, hurt pride… These are all things I need to be wary of because these are the things that run me off the rails and into a severe downward spiral if left unchecked.

What are the opposites of these?

Resentment :: Contentment, Happiness

I’ve discovered it is possible to choose joy, live in happiness, and to love and be loved.

Anger :: Calm

Deep breathing exercises and taking the time to re-center myself help with this. Anger and resentments are luxuries I can’t afford.

Jealousy:: Admiration

What can I learn from this person? What do they have I don’t? What is it about them I can emulate to improve myself ?

Condescend:: Respect

It’s important to show people respect even when I don’t like them. I can learn something from someone even if I don’t think they possess the same level of education or experience as I have. At the very least I can learn what not to do, and show them the same courtesy I would to those I actually do respect. Perhaps by setting a good example I’ll be able to be helpful to them

Arrogance :: Humility, Modesty

It helps me to remember we are all human and that mistakes will be made daily. No one is perfect, even me. First I have to learn to give myself a break. When I can forgive myself for my imperfections, it makes it easier to forgive others for theirs.

Hatred :: Love

I don’t have to like everyone, but I have to love them. My sanity and sense of well being depend on it. Hatred is a very heavy load to carry around all the time. It will wear me down in a very short time if I don’t keep it in check. It’s also a lot easier to hate than to love, which is why this is something that requires constant vigilance.

Fear :: Faith, Calmness, Confidence

I connect with my higher power on a daily basis. I ask for my fear to be removed and my attention directed to what it would have me be. I turn over my will to my higher power. When I try to force my will I become disconnected and the fear takes over. Being connected helps me stay calm knowing everything will happen the way it’s supposed to. Even if it’s not the way I think it should be, I have faith that there’s a reason for it.

Frustration :: Satisfaction

This goes hand in hand with fear. When progress is not being made the way I think it should be, I need to look at how I can be helpful instead of looking at how it should’ve gone. Criticizing something that is already done is not helpful and adds to the frustration. Having faith that things will work out in the end, even if it’s not the way I wanted it to go, helps me achieve the feeling of satisfaction.

Selfishness :: Generosity

‘Tis better to give than to receive. Getting what I want at the expense of others doesn’t make me feel good. Giving to others in need does. Generosity builds confidence, goodwill, and awareness of others. I am not in this world alone. We are all in this together. This is one of the best deodorizers for my “trash can”.

Hard-Headedness :: Realistic

I’ve learned that being right just for the sake of being right, isn’t right. It doesn’t make me feel good in the long run. It creates animosity and is generally unhelpful in every way. Its much more practical and realistic for me to collaborate and hear others thoughts and ideas.

Guilt :: Peace

What’s in the past is done. I can’t go back. I can only try my best to correct my past behavior. Only once I can forgive myself can I move forward.

Sarcasm :: Sincerity, Kindness

A first cousin of anger, sarcasm is the gateway into all the other defects. It’s a very quick way to begin the decomposition of garbage in my “trash can” and the smell, and consequences are horrendous. Before opening my mouth I try to remember to ask myself the following questions:

  1. Is it True?
  2. Is it Helpful?
  3. Is it Inspiring?
  4. Is it Necessary?
  5. Is it Kind?

This is known as the “THINK” method of speech. It has really been a game changer in my quest for self improvement.

Hurt Pride :: Let it go

As stated above, no one is perfect. The sooner I can get over myself, the sooner I can move on. Dwelling on the words and actions of others doesn’t do any good. Those are things I can’t control. Sulking leads me into that downward spiral that is very difficult to get out of. It’s better for me to laugh something off and learn from it than it is to fixate and worry.

Keeping my trash can clean every day helps me be better equipped to deal with life on life’s terms. Not mine.

Eating healthy foods and getting physical at least once a day are also important building blocks in my inner transformation.

When I put junk in my body, junk comes out of my mouth.

When I do something active every day, no matter how brief, I feel physically better and get a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. This carries over into my mood.

A great mood becomes a great day, which becomes a great year, which becomes a great life.

~Thanks for reading
LC

Apples

Apples are one of the top five fruits produced in the world and are readily available year round. They’re also delicious! And the magnitude of health benefits they hold makes it seemingly impossible to not eat one every day!

Apples are an abundant source of:

To get the full benefits, wash them well and leave the skin on. That’s where most of the nutrients are. Unpeeled apples have 2-6 times the antioxidant activity as peeled ones.

Apples are extremely versatile in the kitchen! You can eat them raw or cooked, hot or cold, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner… They’re amazing!

Try pairing them with dark chocolate, cheese, or pork. They’re awesome baked with honey, cinnamon, and walnuts!

The fiber in apples can help promote circulatory and heart health, while helping you lose weight by helping you feel fuller, longer.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and is essential for the development, growth, and repair of your body’s tissues. Antioxidants boost the immune system and protect against free radicals, which are molecules harmful to the body. Vitamin C can’t be produced by the body so it’s important to consume it through fresh fruits and vegetables.

A diet rich in potassium can help prevent osteoporosis, reduce the risk of a stroke, and regulate fluids.

Phytochemicals play a prominent role in the prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, strokes, and cognitive decline due to aging.

 

 

Try to make apples a daily part of your healthy eating routine!

Thanks for reading ~ LC

 

Bad Luck is a by-product of Bad Habits

Bad habits are hard to break and good habits are hard to form. At least this has been my experience…

Sometimes I get so busy and so overwhelmed I forget to do certain things that help get me set up for success in any given day.

My number one problem is starting out the day with a bad attitude, but if I do certain things when I wake up to set my attitude right for the day, my day goes so much better, even when things don’t go my way, or as planned.

*A great attitude becomes a great day, which becomes a great year, which becomes a great life.

Not sure where that quote came from but I read it daily as part of my morning routine to help set my mind right for the upcoming unknown.

Back when I was drinking heavily and hating everything and everyone around me, I had a lot of bad luck.

Because I didn’t write things down in my calendar, I would miss appointments for things that would help me.

Because I constantly fought the flow of life instead of going with it, I would become increasingly, and visually, frustrated and people didn’t want to be around me.

Because I wasn’t interested in anyone but myself I didn’t have anyone to go to when things got really bad. The only place I had to go was into my own head (which I discovered later is a very dangerous place for me to be).

Things would never go my way and life got really hard.  I lost jobs. I lost friends. I lost my will to live. I was never helpful to anyone else because I was obsessed with myself. I would run out of gas and have to walk because I wouldn’t get gas when I could. It was hard to get a job because I had a bad reputation. I would eat unhealthy food that made me feel like crap.

And none of this was ever MY fault…

I knew I had to make a change or I would be miserable until I died and I didn’t want that.

I started researching ways to improve my life and how to change bad habits. Just about everything I read said to quit drinking so I did. I also read a lot about having an attitude of gratitude and began writing 6-10 things every day that I’m grateful for. This practice has helped me immeasurably. I can be grateful for my job now even when I have a bad day there. And bad days get fewer and farther between.

Here’s what I do daily to get my head screwed on right:

  1. Practice gratitude:  I make a quick list of things I’m grateful for. I try to always include a few things that I sometimes take for granted that I don’t always think about every day. For example a reliable vehicle and power, water, and gas. I also include people, like my husband who puts up with my crap, real friends, and great co-workers who push me to be better.
  2. Plan my Day:   I sit down with my calendar and go over places I need to be at what time, and tasks that need to be done. Then I figure out what order to do everything in. This includes making time to do something that puts me closer to my long-term goals, to improve myself just a little bit every day.
  3. I ask my higher power for help:  I ask for help to keep my thoughts away from self-pity and self seeking motives. I ask for insight about any problems that may arise. I ask to remember to pause if I get upset instead of reacting immediately. I ask for guidance on how I can be helpful to to others and how I can pack as much as possible into the stream of life. I ask to be helped to be kind and loving to everyone I come in contact with.
  4. End of Day:  I review my day to see what went well and what didn’t. I take a moment to enjoy the good parts, and I think about solutions to the bad parts. If I owe an apology I do it as soon as possible. I ask for my fear to be removed and for help being better the next day.

 

The mind is a powerful thing. It can make or break a person. People consumed with negativity always have a bad day, no matter how well it’s going.

I don’t hang out with negative people anymore. They brought me down. I keep them at arm’s length now. My serenity depends on it. I’ve seen a positive person have a worse day than a negative person and end their day in a much better place. Those are the people I want to be around these days.

I don’t play the victim. I look for a solution.

I don’t look for sympathy. I help someone else out instead.

I try to be the listener, not the talker.

I try to be the giver, not the taker.

I know the rewards will come soon enough. If I can achieve peace within myself, I will never have a bad day.

I try not to put things off. Why put off til tomorrow what I can do today? I try to stay ahead of the game. I enjoy my down time so much more when I’m not worried about what I have to do later.

I’m not the person who complains and tries to make everyone as miserable as I am. I’m the one who lifts morale.

I don’t believe in luck anymore. I believe everything happens for a reason. I don’t  have to know what the reason is either. I just know that when I do these certain things, my days go better and my life improves a little bit more every day.

I do this, and good things happen to me.

 

“You can’t fully commit to your personal growth if you’re still committed to your bullshit.”  ~ Neghar Fonooni

~Thanks for reading – LC

Homemade Veggie Broth

There’s no real set recipe here as far as quantities go, or ingredients, but making your own veggie broth at home is easy and it lets you control the quality of ingredients as well as salt content.

Why buy it, when you can make it?

Use your veggie broth in homemade soups and sauces. I even use it instead of water to cook beans, rice, and quinoa for another layer of flavor!

Usual Ingredients:

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Yellow onions
  • Garlic
  • Bay leaves
  • Whole black peppercorns
  • Fresh thyme

Method:

  • Rough chop all the veggies and throw them in a pot
  • Add all other ingredients
  • Cover with plenty of cold water
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer for awhile
  • Strain liquid
  • Enjoy!

**Tip: Don’t include salt. You will more than likely be adding to salt to whatever dish you are using your homemade veggie broth in. No need to add it twice!

**Side note: There are many opinions on making stocks and broths. Some people peel the carrots and onions, and trim the leaves off the celery because they think it turns it bitter. Some people don’t. It is entirely up to you. There are no rules!

**I save my veggie scraps in a bag in the freezer when I cook and throw them in as well when I make broth. Also, you are not limited to the ingredients listed above. Try adding mushrooms, peppers, etc. into your broth. If you’re going for a particular color though, keep than in mind when adding your ingredients.

**This recipe freezes well. Make a big batch and portion in in smaller amounts to freeze. Then just pull some out as you need it.

Can Too Much Cardio Prevent Weight Loss?

If you’re busting your butt daily with some insane gut-busting routine you could possibly be doing more harm than good..

In western cultures like we have here in the United States, we have been taught that in order to lose weight, you have to pound the pavement running, hit the exercise bike or the treadmill, and start burning those calories! And forget about eating what you want…

At first glance, it makes sense.. Sweating and breathing heavy, working hard, and running all those miles… Surely the pounds must just be melting off, right?

This isn’t entirely true…

As with anything else, too much of one thing can end up being really bad for you.

Excessive cardio exercises are really hard on your feet, knees, and back. It’s also really hard on your heart. It can increase the risk of a heart attack by adding scar tissue and cardiac plaque.

Here are just a few of the studies done on the effects of excessive cardio:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3538475/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109715075452

https://globalnews.ca/news/3810972/too-much-high-intensity-exercise-can-be-bad-for-your-heart-study-says/

It also puts your body in a state of anabolism, which means it will start to burn the most effective source of energy first, which is your muscle, not your fat. Ever notice how chronic marathon runners look stringy and unhealthily lean? That’s why. They have to pack on carbs just to keep from losing muscle mass.

So, you want your body to burn fat, not muscle. Yes, you want to take in less calories than you burn to lose weight, but you don’t have to give up your favorite foods.

==> This video explains more about the science behind using your body’s natural processes to your advantage, and lose 10-15 pounds in a short amount of time without starving yourself, or doing crazy hard workouts which you’ll be unlikely to stay committed to for long anyway.

 

Educate yourself, and invest in yourself.

You are your most important asset.

Remember, it’s all about balance.

 

Thanks for reading ~ LC

Fruits and Veggies to Avoid While Trying to Lose Weight

So, you want to lose belly fat…

While it’s true, whole fruits and veggies are good for you, some are better than others. If you’re trying to lose weight and rid yourself of some extra flab, you’ll want to avoid, or at least keep these to a minimum, and possibly only have them as an occasional indulgence. Especially this one…

  1. Tropical Fruits: This includes pineapple, papaya,mangoes, bananas, and the like. They contain more calories and sugar than other fruits. While they are certainly a better dessert alternative than a slice of key lime pie, they aren’t as effective to weight loss as berries or apples.
  2. Potatoes: The starch found in all varieties of potatoes is what really loads up the calories. Other starchy vegetables that might not be as obvious include carrots, beans, corn, squash, and green peas.
  3. Foods labeled “Fat Free”: Products containing this common statement are notorious for containing excessive amounts of processed sugar. Additionally, some fatty foods can actually help you lose weight by suppressing your appetite, which in turn can cut your daily calorie intake. Olive oil, almond butter, and Greek yogurt are all good “fatty food” choices that can also help you lose weight. To see more, check out Eat This, Not That’s article on8 Fatty Foods That Make You Skinny“.

“Best Diet Tips” also has a really great and informative article on the “Best and Worst Vegetables to Help You Lose Weight“.

In short, the lower the food is on the Glycemic Index, the better they stabilize blood sugar between meals and help to curb your appetite.

Please, become aware of what you are actually putting into your body. Your body will thank you for it.

Thanks for reading ~ LC

Synergy: More Bang for your Buck

Eating whole foods provides a better balance of nutrients than just taking vitamins. The reason is the way the nutrients work together to maximize absorption.

An example of this is the way spinach improves the heath of your eyes.

Spinach contains both lutein and zeaxanthin. These two carotenoids offer a power punch of vision protection. You can increase your macular pigment which helps protect your eyesight within a few weeks just by increasing the amount of spinach you eat.

According to the American Optometric Association both lutein and zeaxanthin working together help to maintain healthy cells in the eyes by filtering high energy blue wavelengths of light, which are harmful to the eyes.

WebMD has an interesting article that can help get you started with research on the perfect food combinations.

And here’s a really handy chart and article to help you find out which foods work best together. Try playing around with some of these. You might even come up with your new favorite recipe!

In the meantime, try this Spinach and Grapefruit salad.. (*hint: The grapefruit helps your body absorb the iron from the spinach!)