Trust The Process

My how time flies! I have officially been at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology as a Clinical Mental Counseling graduate student for nineteen months! I am currently embarking on my second, and last residency in Chicago, and there is finally a glimmer of practicing as a professional in the near future!

Residency week is filled with intense emotions, anxiety, professionalism, networking, and constant skills practice; it is truly an amazing experience although it requires intense focus, staying in the present, and trust. The program is all about “trusting the process”, we are constantly told to “trust the process”, and this truly doesn’t make any sense until you are within the process. I feel that this concept is parallel to life, in that when we truly live within the here and now, we must learn how to trust the process, no matter what that process may bring us at that time, as that is what the process is!

What if we went through life with only guidelines or the skeleton of a plan, truly lived within the present and ambitiously gave our full trust to the process of life? I wonder how this would look? Would we all find our meaning in life? Would we rid of the stresses of what could be, or what isn’t? Would we rid of the social implications of the “should” and “what ifs” within our lives?

As I embark upon this journey, and brand new process during my second Residency, so many emotions arise for me, and I am finding that the underlying theme is fear.

When I truly take a moment to reflect on these emotions I realize that this feeling of fear of the unknown is irrational, in that once I truly immerse myself into the process and into the present, the unknown will be no longer. Therefore, these thoughts of failure, imperfection, and the unknown are assumptions about the future. Once I embark on my present journey I notice that my true feelings are of content, curiosity, and calm, in that, while I sit here at a café at the Merchandise Mart I feel at peace within my present process.

Staying in the present doesn’t prevent us from feeling fearful, shameful, or saddened, instead it provides us with the opportunity to take our emotions as they come, and accept them as they are! Therefore, we experience, we learn, we change and we therefore grow! Trusting the process is not just a frame of mind but also a catalyst for growth!

Trusting the process is also trusting yourself, it is trusting others and trusting the concept of the present! The more we can allow ourselves to live within the here and now, and trust the process, the more we will grow into successful, happy and healthy human beings!

Whether it be that you are working through Eating Disorder Recovery, practicing self care, or just looking to live a life worth living, my advice to you is to TRUST THE PROCESS!

Trust the Process, and as always, Self Care it Out!

The Power of Patience

“We want things so badly – that job, that check, a relationship, a possession. We want our life to change…. We try to predict, circling dates on the calendar, asking questions…. we forget that we don’t hold the answers” – Melody Beattie

Patience, this is a concept that many individuals struggle within our society. We live in a society that constantly craves the here and now, the immediate results, and instant gratification. We want, need and desire the concept of that quick fix, in that the media sends us messages that we can achieve results in one week or one day, we are flooded with before and after photos, and the concept of immediacy within every aspect of our life! How are we supposed to achieve self-care, self-love, and a safe level of health in a world that doesn’t allow the time to heal and take care of ourselves? How can we truly change and grow with this pressing mindset in the absence of time, quality and patience?

We cannot grow, change, heal and achieve recovery within this quick fix world; therefore we must change our mindset and monitor our expectations, in that change and recovery does not occur within a rushed environment. Full Recovery IS POSSIBLE, but it only comes with hard work and patience, if it were easy no one would have an eating disorder, disordered eating, body image issues, lowered self worth, and lack of self care and self love!

Patience is crucial and necessary within recovery. Self-love, self-care, and a strong and positive sense of self-worth come with time. Everyone is worthy of time to heal, grow, change and recover, but it only comes with time.

Recovery takes time although a good bit of this time is tough, tumultuous and has moments that seem to stall the overall process of getting better. It gets worse before it gets better, it seems too hard, too exhausting, and seems that it takes too long, but Recovery and self-love IS WORTH IT and it is BEAUTIFUL!

Recovery only occurs when an individual wants to recover, when an individual feels worthy of recovery, when an individual is whiling to go through the motions, to feel uncomfortable in order to grow, and take the time to work through the process. Recovery is not an instant transformation on Instagram or Facebook, it is not a before and after photo, it is not suddenly having the ability to eat a burger and fries in the absence of shame, guilt, fear, or purging, it is painful, and just plain hard…but WITH TIME, recovery is truly beautiful and amazing!

Ask yourself this; do we expect our broken bones to heal without pain, discomfort, and time? Do we expect our strep throat to go away after just one dose of medicine? Do we expect our heartbreak to disappear after one good cry or rom-com? NO! Why is Eating disorder recovery, self-care and self-love any different? We have to allow for time, and patience.

Be patient with your process, you are no less of a person if your recovery takes longer than someone else’s. You are worthy of self-love, self-care and health!

 

Feel Good Look Good Series – A New Take on Dressing for Success – Collaboration with East Coast Gypsy and Recovery Love and Care!

Life is all about change, transition, and growth, and without discomfort we cannot truly grow as human beings. Therefore in a world filled with many moments of discomfort it is best to avoid it when unnecessary! For instance, feeling uncomfortable in your clothes is something that no one should endure, in that it can truly lower your self esteem, and drive for the rest of the day. We follow so many rules, regulations, challenges, and standards within our day-to-day lives, therefore why not think outside the box when it comes to what you wear? Why not give yourself a little bit of self-love, and self-care within your wardrobe?

I know that throughout my entire life, I have felt the need to dress a certain way, and look a certain way in order to “fit in”, in order to gain acceptance from others. Simple things like wearing skinny jeans, high heels, or crop tops, but in reality I HATE wearing skinny jeans, in that I physically do not feel comfortable in them. It is not a matter of self-loathing, it is a matter of me just not feeling comfortable, and with that discomfort comes lack of self love and self care for my mind and body! Why hold myself to these, literally, uncomfortable and, most often, unattainable standards?

My good friend Tara Murray, has a growing fashion blog, East Coast Gypsy that is all about finding your own fashion, and thinking out side of the box. I slowly learned that I do not need to torture myself, and neglect love and care for my body through fashion. Instead I can find things that work for me, for my lifestyle and body type! Tara believes that fashion means something different to everyone.

“There are all types of styles and trends that resonate specifically to a certain person and make them feel their best mentally and physically. I truly believe that the way you dress affects the way you feel and vice versa. Everyone gravitates towards a specific fit or type of clothing that they feel the most confident and comfortable in. I believe that this truly plays a role in your every day lifestyle and routine. For me personally, some of the items that I see as an essential in my closet when I want to look and feel the best are maxi dresses, off the shoulder tops, kimonos, flowy dresses, ripped jeans, and lulu lemon pants. All of these groups are dependent upon my mood, but all make me feel the most secure and confident.” –East Coast Gypsy

Tara has taught me that I can dress myself for success, in that I can feel good, look good, and maintain my own self-worth, self-care, and self-love through fashion! For instance, with a curvier and bustier body,  I look and feel my best wearing high waisted pants and shorts, shift dresses, rompers, low cut, slouched dresses with pockets, and slouchy cropped sweaters!

All women are beautiful and all bodies are beautiful, and no matter your struggles and challenges in life, you are deserving of looking good AND feeling good, so practice self-love through dressing for success!

Feel Good Look Good Series AND The Tiny Tassel Give Away!

 

***A winner has been chosen!***

I am starting a series that is near and dear to my heart! This series is about FEELING your best while embracing your outward appearance! This is something that we can all benefit from, especially for those within their Eating Disorder Recovery, or for those working through body positivity, low self-esteem, and/or self-care!

Recovery Love and Care is all about living for life love and self-care, and in order to do that successfully, a multidimensional approach is crucial! For instance, your health, your mind, your feelings and emotions, your family, your energy, your spirituality, your soul, your body, your inner self, and your outer self are ALL important within the practice of self-love and self-care! Everything that makes you, YOU, is important…and that is self-care and self-love at its finest! So when I talk about feeling good and looking good, I mean this in the absence of shame, and only in the presence of self-care and self-love, in that we all deserve to feel good and look good, whatever that means to you!

With that being said, I am kicking this week off with a treat! Seeing that National Eating Disorder Awareness Week just came to an end, I feel that the awareness and support should not stop there, therefore, The Tiny Tassel and Recovery Love and Care are coming together to spread the self-love in a giveaway!

The Tiny-Tassel is an amazing business, jewelry line, accessory line, and fashion line that my good friend Mimi Striplin started in Charleston, SC. Mimi and The Tiny Tassel are truly inspiring as a business, and as a brand! The Tiny Tassel is all about loving yourself for who you are, and celebrating it through fashion, bright colors, and tassel happiness! One think I love about The Tiny Tassel, is that the tassel’s and garments are a bright, fun and fashionable accessory to your personal beauty! Mimi uses REAL women within her modeling and photography, which is just one more reason why I adore the brand!

The Tiny Tassel and Recovery Love and Care are giving away two items that represent Eating Disorder Awareness and Eating Disorder Recovery, in that they have the light purple colors that correspond with the light purple ribbon for Eating Disorder Awareness. We hope to spread some awareness on Eating Disorders and the beauty that comes with Recovery, as well as, help someone feel and look their best! Check out down for the items in the give away and details on how to enter!

***A winner has been chosen!***

Let’s spread the self-love and awareness everyone!

Healthy Is The New Skinny – A Five Star Book Review!

Healthy Is the New Skinny started out as a blog, website, and forum for women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and demographics, who were in need of a new message that challenged the common conception that women need to be small in order to achieve success and happiness. The blog, turned into a brand, Instagram movement, clothing line, and now book! Katie H. Willcox provides a fresh perspective into the world of size shaming, consumer America, and the finding happiness within our lives dependent of our shape, or weight!

As a growing blog, and brand focused on body positivity, self-love, self-care and Eating Disorder Recovery, as well as, a developing Clinical Mental Health Counselor, I can proudly say that Healthy Is the New Skinny is a book worth reading! It is a safe and helpful read for ALL individuals, in that Katie has created a strong piece of work that is clearly based on research and awareness towards true self-love within a “picture perfect world”. We live in a world filled with filters, hash tags, likes, Photoshop, and fabrication, therefore books like Healthy Is the New Skinny are necessary and crucial within our journey towards a world filled with honesty, self love, self care, and health!

Healthy Is The New Skinny brings self-awareness towards media manipulation, the true working life of models, Photoshop, redefining beauty, creating a healthful life, choosing self-love, and spreading the love. This entire book is truly dense with information that does not come easily to the average American, in that we have been programed to think in a certain way, towards ourselves, towards others, as well as, towards consumer America.

We are living within a picture perfect world, basing our happiness off of what we believe is ideal, what we believe is true and real, when in reality happiness is dependent of these unattainable ideals. Katie touches on the words of Freud, in that the subconscious and conscious minds are what fuel our ideals and concepts of worth and beauty. We have conditioned ourselves to store certain images, messages, and concepts into our subconscious mind, therefore we must bring consciousness to what we are retrieving and absorbing and condition our thoughts and behaviors towards true self-love and self worth.

Self-love does not come from losing weight, gaining weight, Instagram likes, or food, instead it comes from a state of consciousness towards what we truly need, not what we desire. Once we tune into our conscious mind we start to become self-aware, and with self-awareness comes self-love. It is our thoughts, actions and behaviors that fuel our self-love, and with self-love comes true happiness and health!

Healthy is The New Skinny is a book that I would recommend to my professional colleagues, my academic peers, my fellow women, and all individuals living within Eating Disorder Recovery!

This is not a book that you read one time and put on display, this is a book that will endure wear and tear, it is a book that you will keep on your nightstand and reach for every night. This is a book that you will re-read over and over again, a book that you will recommend to others, share and appreciate on a day-to-day basis! Thank you to the HNS team, and Katie Willcox for producing a beautiful message, because in truth, Healthy IS the New Skinny! Go order a book now on Amazon or Barnes and Noble!

The Awareness Doesn’t Stop Here!

National Eating Disorder Awarness Week is coming to an end, but the awareness does not stop here! I got this tattoo almost three years ago, this tattoo represents, strength, beauty, self love, self worth, and recovery! After living with an Eating Disorder the majority of my young life, I can now say I am recovered! Full Recovery IS POSSIBLE, but it takes hard work, dedication, and desire to grow and change!

It was the most difficult and trying journey,  but oh my goodness was it worth it! Let’s continue to spread awareness, truth and education about ED Recovery! Below are three truths within ED Recovery, that I will touch upon throughout my future posts!

More Than a Number

Within the body positive world, it is often said that happiness is beyond the scale. This concept is incredibly difficult, if not, at times impossible to grasp for those deep within an eating disorder. An entire book could be written just on this concept, therefore in this short post I will touch upon this myth within the numbers.

How many times have you thought/said/heard these statements?

“If only I were smaller”

“I wish I was two sizes smaller, then I would be happy”

“If I could get to ____weight my life would be perfect”

“The only thing that I don’t have under control is my weight, and size”

“I would kill for that body”

“I wish I was a size smaller”

“I wish my boobs were bigger”

“If I had those hips I could rule the world”

Our society places so much importance on numbers, in that our clothing sizes and number on the scale determines success and worth, but do they? Does that number on the scale, bra size, pant size, or dress size actually determines success and happiness? The answer is 100% NO, happiness is not determined by a number, it is not determined by a piece of clothing, or a side by side before and after photo, happiness is from the core. Happiness is managed by feelings, emotions, expectations and our external and internal world.

In addition to the common misconception that a certain size or weight brings about happiness, there is also an assumption that numbers should bring about shame. We hide our dress sizes from our smaller friends, we lie about our weight when filling out our driver’s license, we bring about self shame and self blame when we are of a weight or size that isn’t “ideal” for ourselves or others.

These two assumptions; that numbers bring about happiness, and that numbers are shameful, are rampant within our society. But there is nothing in a number but a number this is the harsh and beautiful truth! There is nothing in a number. A number will not bring about happiness in any individual, eating disorder or not, and it is not until we rid of the shame that we coincide with numbers that we will truly start to understand this concept.

Two common misconceptions:

  1. The number on the scale, and the number on your clothing tag will bring about happiness and success
  2. The number on the scale, and the number on your clothing tag is shameful

Two counter arguments:

  1. The number on the scale and the number on your clothing tag is only a number, just a number, period, end, done. These numbers do not bring about happiness and success.
  2. The number on the scale and the number on your clothing tag is nothing to be ashamed about, because it is a number.

Bringing awareness to these misconceptions surrounding weight and size is a major step towards finding body positivity, acceptance, self-love, and true happiness. Let’s all try our best to rid of these misconceptions and replace self blame, self shame, and failure with realistic understandings towards numbers and the true origin of happiness.

 

Self Love, Short and Sweet

 

Here is my professional and personal take on self-love, I’ll make this short and sweet!

Self love is a new concept to many, in that it is not something that we were taught about in school, it is not something that was drilled into our minds much like math, science, and geography, instead it is a concept that is incredibly foreign to us. Why is this? Why is such an important and crucial concept so new to us within our adult years? I don’t quite have the answer to this, because the lack of self-love has fostered a world of negativity, hatred, illness, and self-loathing.

In a world filled with selfies, hash tags and filters, it can be easy to view self love as selfishness, narcissism, and fabrication…. and yes, this does exist, but this is not self love. Self-love is appreciating the person that you are, accepting yourself for your flaws, loving yourself for the good and the bad, loving the black and white while also embracing the grey! Self love is loving yourself, for yourself, not for someone else’s gratification, not doing it for likes on Instagram and Facebook, not doing it for followers, or social acceptance, instead doing it for YOU!

Because we haven’t been taught how to practice self-love, it may come as an overwhelming and intimidating task, therefore, practice patience, and give yourself time; you will eventually learn to love yourself! Therefore, the next time you take a selfie, do it for self love not selfishness, do it for self-appreciation, not to prove something to others! Below are a few ways to begin your practice of self love, and let me tell you….it is worth it, I promise!

Write yourself a daily love note

Journal words of love to your self-hatred

Smile when you wake up in the morning

Give yourself a hug

Wear something that makes you FEEL good

Do something that makes you FEEL good

Read a book

Cook a meal

Spend time with a loved one

Go for a walk

Wake up to watch the sunrise

Take a selfie for self-love

Light a candle and listen to your favorite song

Watch your favorite movie

Take a picture for self-love NOT selfishness or self-loathing

Take away negative self talk, such as, should, shouldn’t, good, bad, fat and ugly

Self-love is something that we ALL need, it is a non negotiable. Therefore, whether you are working your way through eating disorder recovery, trying to find body positivity, struggling with self-loathing and self-hating language and behavior, or just need a bit more self-love in your life, take a moment today, tomorrow, and the day after that to begin your practice of self-love! Be the model of your own life!