Sucker-Punch Unwanted Thoughts

11 days ago I issued the ‘One Day Self-Love Challenge’.  I’ve never gotten so much feedback and so many responses as I have on that one day.  I’m still getting emails from people telling me about their experience on that day and the subsequent days since. One of the things I knew would arise for most participants was emotional roadblocks.  It happens every time we set our mind on change in our lives.  All kinds of feelings of unworthiness and shame arise almost immediately after deciding to value and love ourselves.  Steven Pressfield calls this ‘resistance’.  One reader wrote, “It’s just so ironic how I’m supposed to be loving myself during a time when I feel so completely irrelevant”.  But it’s precisely the recognition of these negative feelings that confirm that we are in fact on the right path.  Resistance almost always shows up when we begin to make a change that might lead us from the comfortable into something that is new and healthy.  And trust me, making major changes to the core of your belief system about yourself WILL be uncomfortable.  The more you can be ok with the uncomfortable, the better quality of life you will have.  Mastin Kipp says it this way… “The more you can learn to live with necessary risk, the higher quality of life you will have.”

Now, let’s get right to some grounded action steps that can really pack a punch.  Self-loving mental and verbal affirmations and attitudes are necessary on your journey.  But loving yourself through actions puts greater power behind your transformation.  Using affirmations helps to change your belief system and can be a shock to your long held current paradigms.  But self-loving actions actively tear down your old limiting belief system while simultaneously reinforcing your new beliefs.

What are self-loving actions?  Anything you do that effectively cares for yourself.  Going for a run.  Eating a healthy meal.  Not smoking.  Walking away from self-destructive relationships.  Engaging those people that always seem to lift you up.  Writing.  Painting.  Reading.  Anything that is good for you.

When your actions show you that you love yourself, it is one of the most powerful affirmations.  It cannot be argued against.  And you feel this.  For many people it is extremely difficult to change their thought patterns because they run into their old beliefs like a brick wall built to keep them a prisoner.  But actions bypass the thought patterns all together and can be like a wrecking ball to limiting-beliefs.

In the next 3 minutes, determine exactly what loving action you are going to do for yourself.  DO NOT put this off.  Decide right now and commit to it.  One action of self-love today.  Do it for the love of yourself.  One final thought.  Don’t let this exercise become a list of things you ‘should be’ doing or ‘shouldn’t be’ doing.  That’s like waiving a white flag of surrender to shame.  As soon as you begin to think about all the ‘shoulds’, simply let those thoughts flow on by like a toy boat on a mighty river.


"Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you." - Thomas Jefferson

"Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often." - Mark Twain

"There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction." - John F. Kennedy

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One Day Self-Love Challenge

Yes, I do believe that one of the single most effective and powerful things we can do to participate in the Divine’s transformation of our own lives is to learn to love ourselves more.  Time and time again, as I work with people, when we get to the core of the problem, be it limiting belief, addiction, etc., it is a lack of self-love.  The thing that’s behind the thing that’s behind the thing is that they have placed a very low value on their life and don’t believe they deserve to be happy.    It is the most messed up thing of all and most people are barely aware of it. I genuinely think people want to be happy.  Yet deep down in places they haven’t explored often, they don’t believe they deserve to be happy or are worth it.  It’s the most devious trick in humanity.  Somewhere in our life we were told that we aren’t worth it.  We either were treated that way by those who were supposed to love and protect us when we were young and vulnerable, or because of decisions we made in the past, mistakes, we buy into the lie that we don’t have value and we aren’t worth being loved.  And yet we can spend our whole lives trying to prove that we are worth being loved and go to incredible lengths to try to show everyone that we are of value.

But you don’t have to prove anything.  Let me say it again.  You have nothing to prove.  The fact that God created you is enough.  That oxygen flows in and out of your lungs, bringing life to your blood cells, is enough.  What if instead of constantly trying to prove ourselves to ourselves and everyone around us, we just acknowledged that because we are alive and loved by the Divine, that we are enough.

Tomorrow is the one day self-love challenge.  Now if you just read that sentence and rolled your eyes a little, I understand.  I used to respond in the same manner.  And then I realized that being a control freak and a perfectionist, and being harder on myself than anyone else hadn’t really gotten me the things in life I want… peace, happiness, self-control, etc.  Has the way you’ve been living your life taken you to the heights of your dreams?  So why not take one day and commit to loving yourself?  Why not take one day to be completely and utterly gracious with yourself?  Why not take one day and instead of criticizing yourself for making a mistake, simply affirm that you love yourself anyways, just the way you are?  Here are a few places to start...

1.  Make the commitment to love yourself for 1 day:  Make the commitment and choose love for yourself.  Do it now.  If love is the greatest gift we have to give, what could be possibly wrong with loving yourself for one day in all your thoughts and actions?  Go ahead and literally write it out right now or type it in an email to yourself or send it as a text to yourself.  "Tomorrow I will commit my entire day to practicing self love."

2.  Affirm yourself verbally throughout the day:  Think of the most loving thing you could say to yourself, and repeat regularly throughout the day.  Get up and repeat it OUT LOUD to yourself first thing.  Write it on a post it note and stick it on your bathroom mirror before you go to bed tonight.  If you are having trouble coming up with something loving to say to yourself, try starting here.

3.  Forgive yourself immediately after any intentional or unintentional mistake:  So you just screwed up and maybe no one else knows it, but you do.  Immediately forgive yourself.  If it helps, you can allow yourself to feel your remorse and then say... "I totally and completely forgive myself for ____________________ and I release myself of all my anger and all my disappointment."  Try it.  Forgiveness is incredibly powerful and it is the one of the most freeing things to experience.  In fact, maybe you want to start your day by forgiving yourself for everything you've done that you have yet to forgive yourself for.

4.  Give yourself a gift:  Choose one thing to do for yourself that you know brings you life and you know cares for your soul and heart.  Maybe you love going for a run but haven't had time lately.  Maybe there is a good book you just haven't allowed yourself to read lately because you haven't had time.  Read it.  Maybe there is a friend that always brings you life that you haven't spent time with or talk to lately.  Ask them to hang out or simply call them and just talk.

Taking the one day self-love challenge is a gift that you can give to yourself with no strings attached.  It's only one day.  How bad could it possibly be?  A better question and motivation is, how incredible might it be?  What if you discover some things about yourself?  Wouldn't it be worth it?

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me via the website and I will be glad to get back to you before you wake up tomorrow.  What do you say?  ARE YOU WORTH IT?


“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”  - C.G. Jung

"Loving yourself…does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion. "- Margo Anand

"Well-ordered self-love is right and natural." - Thomas Aquinas

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Power and Motivation for Change

The health of your habits will be in direct proportion to the amount with which you love and value yourself. What? Ok, let me put it this way. The more you love and value yourself, the healthier your habits will be. This seems like a simple concept right? A no brainer. The more I care about myself, the more I will want to actively care for myself. And yet how many of us have habits that we know aren’t healthy and wish we could change, but we feel powerless to do so? This is true at every level. Some of us have paralyzing addictions that keep us from having any sense of clarity and tend to compound poor choices upon more poor choices. We don’t love or value ourselves much, so we don’t put an end to the self-destructive behaviors that we engage. These behaviors are what we are comfortable with and we aren’t sure how to cope in any other fashion. Breaking the gravitational pull of these habits can only be done when we determine that we are more valuable than we previously thought.

And then there are other, more subversive unhealthy habits that we may have formed. Co-dependence, emotional soothing eating patterns, working all the time, searching for validation through social media, and lack of exercising, to name a few. What are some of the habits that you wish you could change? That you feel you really want to change, but haven’t succeeded yet.

I used to think that it was a matter of just really wanting the new habit or really wanting to get rid of the old habit. But habits are simply a by-product of how we view ourselves. You can’t ‘make’ yourself ‘want’ something more than you do. But you can choose to love and value yourself. The more you love and value yourself, the more your ‘want’ for caring for yourself will grow. Love for yourself will break the gravitational pull of any unhealthy habit and will automatically replace the poor habits with healthy ones.

In the past I’ve tried to shame or fear myself into changing the way I lived my life. I need to exercise more. I need to stop smoking. I need to eat better. I need to get more sleep… and so on and so forth. I would literally try to do mental gymnastics to convince myself and attempt to motivate myself to make changes. But the reality is, I was only going to make the changes that I felt I deserved. I was only going to live the life that I valued.

The real kicker is that loving and valuing ourselves is a choice. We can decide to love ourselves. We can determine that we are worth it. It isn’t a matter of convincing ourselves as much as it is a matter of believing the truth that we have value. That we are worth being loved. Making a choice is a powerful thing. To agree on a daily basis that you are worth it, that you do love yourself, will have ramifications that will reach your children's children. And then actually making choices to actively love yourself and value yourself. Instead of playing mental gymnastics, you can put your energy towards making decisions to care for yourself.

Not long ago, these concepts were completely foreign to me and seemed too ‘self-helpy’ or too ‘Stuart Smiley-ish’. But with some age, and a little bit of maturity, I began to realize that there is nothing as valuable as caring for, loving, and valuing myself. In loving myself I’m becoming a better person. In becoming a better person, I make everyone’s life around me better. I'm absolutely still learning how to value myself and love myself. But I'm finding the more I do, the better my choices and habits become.

So how about it? Are you stuck in some unhealthy patterns? Do you beat yourself up for not being the kind of person you ‘want’ to be or think you should be? Why not simply make the decision to determine that you are valuable and choose to love yourself? I dare you to say it out loud with conviction. No seriously, I double dog dare you.


“The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I'm not going to let myself pull me down anymore.” ~C. Joybell C.

“You leave old habits behind by starting out with the thought, 'I release the need for this in my life'." ~Dr. Wayne Dyer

"I think the most important thing in life is self-love, because if you don't have self-love, and respect for everything about your own body, your own soul, your own capsule, then how can you have an authentic relationship with anyone else?" ~Shailene Woodley

Your Next Moment...

Another moment just passed.  Wait for it… there went another moment.  It’s amazing to me how that works.  What took place in that second moment was not determined by the first one.  And the next moment that will come is not necessarily determined by this exact moment, unless we let it be. Bad habits and habitual destructive behavior suck on many levels.  It’s not just that the bad habit or continued destructive behavior has negative effects on our bodies, minds, hearts and souls.  It goes beyond that.  Sometimes the worst part is how repeated destructive behaviors trigger something in us that tends to cause massive amounts of shame.

I struggle with exercising on a regular basis.  I often make unhealthy choices when it comes to eating, exercise, and restful sleep.  But what happens is as soon as I make an unhealthy choice,  let’s say something as simple as eating a donut, I almost immediately begin to feel shame for eating that donut.  But that shame doesn’t motivate me to make a healthy choice the next time.  That shame makes me feel worse about myself, if I let it, and I begin to devalue myself even more.  “I don’t deserve to have good health.”  That’s the shame tape that plays in my mind.  And if I feel like I don’t deserve to have good health because of my poor eating habits, I am even less motivated to  make a beneficial decision in the future.  Mostly because I now value myself less.  It doesn't matter what the destructive behavior is... substance abuse, relational dysfunction, self mutilation, poor eating habits, lack of exercise, self hatred, selfish behavior, ____________.  If it isn't an act of love and value for yourself and others, it is most likely a destructive act and will bring shame like an avalanche.

Shame is a disgusting and cruel enemy.  Shame will never motivate you to care for yourself.  Shame will cause you to hide and most of the time will drive you to embrace another self-destructive behavior.

But if I truly believe that I deserve to be healthy… if I truly care for myself and value myself, I have so much more motivation to choose caring acts for myself.

There is freedom.  That freedom can often be found in some simple realizations.  Here is one of those realizations and an axiom that I live by.

No matter how many poor and self-destructive decisions I’ve made before this moment, I have the ability to make my next decision a great one.”

There it is.  No matter how many times you’ve chosen poorly, your next choice can be for good.  It is irrelevant if in the last moment you engaged your ‘stuff’ and embraced the destructive in shame… the next moment in time holds the opportunity for a choice that adds value to you and those around you.

It doesn’t matter if you chose poorly for 5 days or 5 years in a row.  That does not determine your next choice.  You determine your next choice.  YOU DO.  No power or entity determines that for you.  With this realization you can find the freedom to choose well.

So what will you do with this next undetermined moment?

Embrace the Uncomfortable

There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t allow myself to feel uncomfortable.  If I was in a particular situation I didn’t want to be in, I would lie to myself and try to convince myself that everything was ok, or I would simply come up with an excuse and bow out.  In fact when I was a child I would constantly try to get out of going to school because being at school just made me uncomfortable.  Or if there was a relationship in which I felt the other person wasn’t satisfied with me, instead of allowing myself to sit with those feelings, I would go to great lengths as soon as humanly possible to try to mend the perceived rift.  I just didn’t think I could cope with feeling uncomfortable. This was extremely dangerous for me.  Over the years I found myself doing all kinds of things that were self-destructive, just so that I wouldn’t feel things like loneliness, heart ache, dissatisfaction, anger, fear, shame, ____________, etc.  Slowly over time I began to lose all sight of who I was, what I wanted, and how I could live into my purpose.  This unwillingness to sit with any awkward feelings was one of the main reasons I ended up spending years in a downward spiral trying to hide in substance abuse and dysfunctional relationships.  Fortunately when I hit rock bottom, I had people to turn to.

After cleaning up and getting some clarity, I eventually began to realize that my addiction wasn’t to cocaine.  My addiction was to not feeling uncomfortable and going to any length in order to hide from any and all dissatisfaction.  As I’ve said before, the problem with trying to negate what some consider negative emotions is that you end up negating all emotions.  We can’t just selectively turn off part of our emotions and expect to feel the others.  So when you shut out feelings like anger, sadness, discomfort, you also shut out joy, elation, satisfaction, etc.  But there is another way.

It is the way of courage.  It is the way of hope.  It is the way of allowing yourself to fully feel any and all emotions.  Brene Brown, in ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ details the power and the benefits of allowing yourself to be fully present with all of your feelings.  This takes some practice and isn’t something that just happens over night.  It takes constant reminders and the courage when we begin to feel uncomfortable to not shut down.

One thing that helps is to ask questions.  Why does this situation always make me feel uncomfortable.  What is the precise emotion I am feeling that makes me want to run or hide?  Why do I think that person is unhappy with me?  Are they really?  Does it really matter?  Sitting with these questions will yield answers.  These answers won’t come from the external world… they will come from deep within you.

The more comfortable you can grow so that you can sit with the uncomfortable in your life, the better quality of life you will have.  Things won’t sneak up on you as much.  You’ll recognize what triggers you and sends you for a loop before it actually locks you into the roller coaster and launches onto the tracks.

So what does trigger you?  What emotions do you avoid?  How often do you lie to yourself and say ‘nothings really wrong’? Once you’ve sat with those negative feelings long enough, they lose the power over you that they once had.  You’ll find yourself able to make clear decisions based on who you are and what you want, as opposed to making decisions based on how to avoid feeling awkward or uncomfortable.

So sit with it.  Sit with it all.  What once felt impossible to deal with will seem like a very little problem indeed.