Everyone expects a certain measure of disappointment when they start a relationship, but when it comes to the core people in your life, nobody prepares for a disjoint. Which is why relationships can be so unfair.
I have always wanted so much to be acknowledged and revered for doing something great — for accomplishing something amazing in my life. I’ve always wanted people to say, “Look at her – she’s awesome.” I guess it was an ego thing. It was a narcissist thing. I felt the world revolved around me.
But this is not what our life is really about. We are here to be happy and take care of ourselves, but we are also here to do the same to other people. We’re here to be kind — to make other people’s lives a little bit happier even if it means bringing a cup of tea to your coworker who has a slight cough. Even if it means high-fiving the newspaper guy in the subway station. Even if it means thanking your cab driver for getting you safely to your destination.
I’d always used to be angry. I felt a sense of entitlement. I felt bitter and closed off. I was a very cold person for a long time. Many people thought I was a snob. I guess I was. But when I realized how badly I needed love, I learned that the only way to feel loved is to share the desired feeling with everyone in this world. Once you start, you don’t want to stop. I guess it’s like having sex or eating chocolate. Except the entire world feels the sensation! :-p
On a more serious note, though, you really do create your life by the way you act and think. Things do not simply HAPPEN to you. You make them happen. And you choose whether to allow them to continue or not. I choose peace in my life, and I choose to bring peace to this world. Here are a few ways to be the silent hero — to bring peace and kindness to your world today:
1. Sit for a minute, breathe deeply, close your eyes and imagine a sphere of white light surrounding our beloved earth. If we all did this, I truly believe our lives would all be more peaceful.
2. Buy a snack or a drink at the vending machine and leave it there for someone else. When that person goes to buy something, he or she will be super surprised to see a freebie bag of pretzels already waiting to be eaten. Or better yet, M&Ms.
3. Leave little Post-It love notes on the doors in bathroom stalls, bar stools, windshields and street poles. Post-Its are great because they don’t damage surfaces and people who need them can simply peel them off and take them.
4. Hug an animal. No, I don’t suggest climbing over the fence at the zoo to embrace a cheetah, but hugging or petting a dog or a cat, yes. If you’re feeling sad or angry, this will help to save your day!
5. Share a sandwich with a friend the way you did in the first grade. Nutella always guarantees a great day! Remember — we all hunger for a good sandwich and a good friend.
6. Send an email to someone you haven’t spoken to for a while just to let them know you are thinking about them and that they matter to you. So many of us feel like friends only want to talk to us when they need something. Let the person know that you need THEM in your life You will make this person’s day for sure!
We are here to enjoy each other and care for each other. If you’re one of those cynics who rolls your eyes whenever you hear anything slightly sentimental, take heart. Please. We need more good people in this crazy world who will spread the love and light.
Life is too short to not kiss, make up and hug the people you love (or even just like a lot!).
Young girls are socialized to get along well with others, to play nicely, and to be aware of others’ feelings. As girls go through middle and high school, some of these values are lost and competitiveness and jealousy play themselves out in a hurtful way. I believe that the unfortunate combination of the aforementioned values and the competition that develops in the later school years contribute to women’s fear of success.
Yes, men too are susceptible to this fear, but I believe that it is a more common problem among women.
Getting what we really want in life takes incredible focus, perseverance, and the ability to forge ahead in the face of failure. There are many times during this journey when we fall flat on our faces, but we have to dust ourselves off and get on with the show. This is not always easy if you lack a support group — the fan club that is cheering just for you. Many women are prone to self-doubt and to internalizing the negative evaluations of others, which manifests as a fear of failure. And when we experience small successes that may lead to larger successes, sometimes a new set of fears overcomes us — the fear of success.
If any of the below rings true, you may have a fear of success.
1. Am I truly worthy of success?
2. If I achieve success, will it make me as happy as I expect it to?
3. Will others still love/like me?
4. Will success lead me to loneliness because my friends will abandon the successful me?
5. Will I be exploited by those who want to benefit from my connections, contacts, et cetera?
6. Will men still like me if I am successful, or will they find me undesirable?
Success and our Friendships
The fact is that success is associated with great satisfaction and yes, it is also associated with some problems. As women transform themselves into powerful individuals they may, in fact, lose some friends. Those friends that were expected to cheer you on may instead become jealous of your success.
My recommendation is that we women re-examine how we take care of each other. There is enough success to go around for everyone! The girlfriend that you cheer on today may be a wonderful and enthusiastic member of your fan club as you work on climbing that tricky ladder of success.
I suggest that, in your journey toward current and future success, you carefully examine your friendships. Friends who support us will be delighted for us and we will recognize this in their tone of voice, their positive affirming statements toward us, and their desire to celebrate with us. Friends who do not support us may become unusually quiet when they hear of our source of joy. They become quiet because they feel deflated and in turn they deflate you.
In my own journey I have learned to differentiate which friends provide me with good energy and which deflate me. So, I have done a bit of housecleaning. This is how you clean house. You do it gradually. Start having less contact with those who deflate you. Spend less time with them on the phone and in person. You don’t need to terminate these friendships abruptly but rather gradually and gracefully.
Good luck on this journey and may all women become cheerleaders in the right kind of way.
Freedom with Food: bestselling author Marc David dishes about popular weight loss beliefs and the psychology of eating
Please take a few minutes to read the following online discussion I had with Marc David, a truly wonderful and inspiring human being who founded the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. His teachings have absolutely changed…and saved…my life. I have never met him in person, but if I did, I would run up to him and give him the biggest hug ever.
“Women in our culture are infected with a deep sense of: I’m not good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, lovable enough. These toxic beliefs are way worse than any junk food we put into our bodies.” - Marc David, Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating
Mary Nuessen-Brost, a 32-year-old mother of two young daughters, began working out to lose weight for her recent wedding. Driving home from the gym one day, she had an epiphany: she no longer wanted to be skinny; she wanted to be fit!
“I don’t only want to wear a size six,” Neussen-Brost explains, “I want to rock a size six. I don’t only want to look thin at the pool, I want people to say, ‘holy crap girl!’ My goals are now changed.” Like most of us, Mary was fixated on the scale in her bathroom. So she slid it into hiding and unfurled her tape measure. “I want to teach my girls that being ‘skinny’ isn’t what you should worry about, rather being fit and healthy!”
Body image is often a controversial subject. According to their policy boards, Tumblr and Pinterest have placed bans on posts promoting self-mutilation, including “Thinspirational” (Thin-spo) sites. The Huffington Post has recently published articles linking Thin-spo blogs with eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, as weight loss options. Although, some sites state they are NOT pro-anorexia (Pro-ana) or pro-bulimia (Pro-mia) and they are merely attempting to provide a supportive platform for weight loss. However, there are Pro-ana and Pro-mia sites encouraging others to participate in unhealthy lifestyles in order to achieve a waiflike appearance.
The health risks involved with anorexia and bulimia are high. Lisa Brown, MS, RD, CDN and Jennifer Medina MS, RD, CDN, CDE are co-founders of Brown & Medina Nutrition in New York, and caution that “anorexia and bulimia may cause thinning hair [soft, doe-y hair] and hair loss. It affects your fingernails, skin, teeth, and, in some cases, even lead to dark, receded eyes, esophageal erosion, and brain tissue damage.” They also explain, when your body is starved, it slows down your metabolism in order to store what little nutrition it is getting. This also leads to constipation and gastro-intestinal problems. Other risks include a slowing of heart rate, sleep deprivation, swelling in the glands around the jaw and disintegration of eyesight.
For physical and emotional health, don’t focus too much on the scale or your Body Mass Index (BMI). Brown and Medina suggest a different approach to maintaining a healthy body. “There isn’t one tool to tell what is right or wrong. Instead, focus on a fuel mix and intuitive eating — Eat when you’re hungry, but use portion control.” A good reference is the “plate portion” model below. While you may feel compelled to cut sugars, fats, and carbohydrates from your diet, as suggested by some fad diets, it’s not a good idea. Brown and Medina say, “Do not cut categories. Your bodies need certain fats, sugars and carbs and when you cut them cold turkey, you leave yourself open to temptations, which can lead to binging. Be consistent.”
Exercise is the last essential aspect to a healthy body. According to Brown and Medina, you should give your gorgeous body at least 45 minutes of aerobic exercise, four days a week, and work all muscle groups twice weekly. Bodies are different, and scales and BMI charts can be misleading. They also add, “If you’re overweight, decreasing your starting weight by 10 percent will decrease your risk of heart disease and other diet related illnesses;” for example, diabetes.
Discovery Fit and Health lists the following as the best foods for healthy skin. Seafoods, particularly those high in Omega 3, citrus fruits (vitamin C), red and green vegetables (vitamin A and beta carotene), nuts (vitamin E) and whole grains are essential for beautiful, young, and healthy looking skin. WebMD also lists the same foods, plus beans, poultry, eggs and carrots for beautiful silky hair. In a related article they also suggest strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries for cancer prevention. A quick Internet search will provide you with plenty of literature linking healthy diets with beauty.
For further healthy eating and exercising advice, the website for Brown & Medina Nutrition has a resources page loaded with books and articles. While bombarded by babes on billboards and Hollywood hotties, fad diets and trendy cleanses, remind yourself that healthy is always in fashion.
If there’s one thing that really annoys me, it’s turning on the television and seeing self-righteous nutritionists on the news wagging a finger at the camera, saying, “don’t eat this, because it’ll make you fat,” and “eat this, but don’t eat that.”
Oy. It makes me want to jump through the TV screen and yell at them. If we all lived in a Pollyanna world, we’d be eating clean every second of every day. In fact, most of my diet is clean and nutritious. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to cheat a couple times during the week. And it sure as hell doesn’t mean I’m going to feel bad about myself if I do. Those days are long gone.
For most of us, feeling guilty and stressed over food only leads to bingeing, and often, purging via exercise. Or it can lead to giving up on yourself and your health goals (e.g. “I feel bad about myself, so I’m just going to eat more ice cream, because I’m a hopeless case anyway.”).
I’ve learned from Marc David, M.A., nutritionist and psychologist who founded the Psychology of Eating Institute in Boulder, Colorado, that the way you think and the way you eat can actually affect your metabolism. That’s right. And what is metabolism? Metabolism, from a food psychologist’s perspective, is really the sum of the body’s chemical reactions as well as thoughts, emotions and feelings. It’s your body’s calorie-burning machine, since a calorie is a unit of thermic energy, or heat.
In my studies as a food psychology coach, Marc explained that up to 80 percent of digestion, relaxation, assimilation and calorie-burning power comes from something called the CPDR- cephalic phase digestive response. Cephalic (sef-ah-lick) means “of the head,” and studies show that we need to experience more than full bellies; we need to experience taste, aroma, satisfaction, colors/visuals and pleasure (yes, PLEASURE, people!) in order to increase our digestion and calorie burning capacity.
Why? Because when we are relaxed during a meal, we tend to breathe more deeply—there’s no way you’re going to pant and gasp for air when you’re calm and collected. Deep breaths and a state of emotional, psychological enjoyment help increase blood flow to the digestive tract and stimulate digestion and metabolism.
When you’re shoveling down food in a rushed or guilty manner (e.g. my boyfriend dumped me so I’ll chow down an entire Big Mac with fries in 30 seconds), how can you digest it? Do you even taste your food? Chances are if you really got the chance to slowly eat a fast-food burger, you might not even like the taste. But how would you know if you didn’t take the time to notice? And the reverse can be true. I think if most people really savored a good piece of parmesan cheese, they’d notice the sweet and salty combination that makes mouths water. Same goes for chocolate. Or even a delicious chocolate ice cream / frozen yogurt.
Which leads me to that quadrillion dollar question question: should I really be eating that? “OMIGOD, cheese is so fattening.” Or, “I can’t eat ice cream. People will think I’m a pig. I have a wedding dress to fit into.”
So, now there’s this split in your thoughts. I need pleasure to digest and burn calories, but the foods that give me pleasure are bad for me. Uh oh.
Listen up. Instead of telling you WHICH foods to eat, I’m going to give you a few pointers.
1. Experts who preach the “right foods” and “right way” to eat don’t always have the right answer. If there was one true answer, then why are there so many different diets and nutritionists with different beliefs about what keeps people at the optimal weight? Over the years, beliefs in the realm of science and nutrition have changed. And they’re going to change again. Fortunately, the internal mechanisms you’re born with, such as the cephalic phase digestive response, which actually requires pleasure to help burn calories, won’t change.
2. Your thoughts have a huge, huge impact on your weight. If you choose to fear the food instead of enjoy it, you’ll increase stress hormones such as cortisol and insulin, which can actually lead to weight gain. Slow down and relax. Chances are, if you’re relaxed, you won’t raise these hormone levels and you won’t overeat (do you remember the last time you scarfed down a bag of Doritos® when relaxed?).
3. Certain foods, even those deemed “bad” for us, are not harmful when eaten in small qualities and much less frequently than healthier foods.
4. Quality of food matters. Stay away from trans fats and hydrogenated oils. If you’re going to have ice cream, buy the natural kind. If you’re going to eat a flavored yogurt, get the organic kind without any high fructose corn syrup (the Yoplait stuff has a disgraceful amount of sugar, and in my opinion, is really just masquerading as yogurt).
5. Exercise is important, but it’s not the best choice to do it when you’re constantly thinking “I’m fat and I’m no good unless I work out.” Instead, think of exercise as a reward for your body— something that will energize you. When you exercise this way, you’re less stressed and more likely to breathe deeply and take in more oxygen, which helps burn calories.
6. Don’t eat with people you don’t like. Don’t eat with people who make you feel bad about yourself. This will only cause you negative thoughts—>stress—>lower your calorie burning capacity.
For more detailed, personalized help on metabolism or body image issues, visit www.danielletravali.com, where I can coach you via phone or Skype.
So, stop feeling bad about yourself and just eat. Eat slowly. Eat mindfully. Eat with people you love.
Being a woman isn’t easy. We need ways to relieve stress. While some choose yoga, others like activities with a little more kick. Want to find your inner badass? Traditionally male-oriented hobbies, like marksmanship and archery, may get that blood pumping!
Cheri Vibberts, 47-years-old, grew tired of merely watching her son take archery lessons. So, she gripped a bow and took lessons herself. She found, “Archery is a release, it’s my inner yoga.” At the time, she held a stressful position at work and attributes archery to giving her the confidence to move on. After four years of shooting she believes, “archery gives women a little bit of self worth, a little bit of power. When you’re up there shooting, nothing else matters. Everything else is gone.”
Vibberts now works in the office of the same archery range she learned to shoot in, Hall’s Arrow Indoor Range and Pro Shop. The general manager, Rich Johnson, and the rest of the staff are busy preparing for fall classes and hunting season. Johnson has seen an increase in female interest over last few years. He attributes movies like “The Hunger Games” and “Brave,” for the rise. The youngest a child can begin lessons is eight years old; there are no restrictions for girls. In fact, Johnson has seen skill levels in females equal, sometimes surpass, that of males. He’s experienced a case in which a young girl out-performed an older boy. Johnson says, “She paid attention to the steps. I could see her logging them into her brain as I went through them. [The older boy] just wanted to shoot. When they finally got to, she went through the checklist in her head and she was the better shooter.”
Female focus may also help with developing firearm skills as well. According to Chris Nolan, an NRA Pistol Instructor, “Women are actually better shooters than men; they listen better. I think women come to the table with a willingness to learn.” Nolan has been an instructor for eight years. He and his friends also compete in marksmanship competitions, a largely male dominated activity. But, he says, “There’s been a lot more interest from women lately, in the last four to five years.” A 2011 poll from gallup.com states females reporting firearm ownership is up 10% since 2009. He says if there’s any drawback for women, it may be less upper body/hand strength than men, “but that’s something women can develop.” During classes Nolan has noticed, “Women that are initially tentative or shy about guns, find that when they get comfortable, it’s empowering for them. They feel more confident and secure.”
Cheri Vibberts understands. She suggests, “Take that time for yourself and do the best you can do. The outcome is great. I love it. I love it! It really does bring out the badass in you.”
The great people at Halls Arrow Indoor Range helped me find my inner badass. Below is a video of my lesson. I had a fantastic time and am hoping to find the time to continue learning!
Remember, archery and firearms are dangerous and need to be used in a controlled environment and supervised by professionals. Ultimately, it’s about being responsible and taking responsibly for what you’re doing! If you’d like to find a firearm class near you, go to www.nra.org. To search for archery ranges, click here.
Chain retail is a fast-paced, accelerating industry, and its workers are a homogenous mass. We must put the needs of the business before ourselves. Working in cosmetics, my job is to make people feel pampered by focusing on our luxury products and teaching women creative ways to enhance their beauty. In fact, the job itself is quite pleasant. I really do love to sit down with someone, listen to their needs and have them relax with a lovely facial treatment. Creatively coming up with ways to convince them that they need to spend $500 or more on the products, however, is where the fun abruptly ends. Having to spend eight hours a day on my feet, running after people, listening to customers complain and oftentimes being the one to blame for the shop’s failure to meet goals can, on any given day, be a nightmare.
Many days I feel tired, rejected, and terrified at my retail job. So, what are the solutions?
Believe it or not, there is light at the end of the tunnel!
After ending each working week with a heavy heart, a good friend advised me to list ways to transform my working life without giving up and starting all over again. So, after a few months of tried and tested home remedies, here’s my advice!
This is of utmost importance. Once I sat down and really re-evaluated my work life, I realized that that was exactly what I had. A work life. At the store 6 days per week for 8-10 hours at a time, work became everything and I suddenly realized that this was the problem. I had made a slave out of myself. And for whose good? Find that work/life balance. If your day ends at five, clock out at five. It will all be there for you in the morning.
2. Remember, you are only one person
This is something that my mother has said to me all my life. Remember this, and use it as your personal daily mantra if you have to. You are only one person, and as one person, you cannot be expected to carry the company by yourself. You just need to know when to cut yourself off. This is definitely a tricky one, especially if you find yourself heavily invested in the company. But the truth is, you will ultimately be more productive — and above all, happy — if you stop taking on everything and pass some tasks on to others every now and again.
3. Adjust your attitude
Over the years, one of my biggest challenges has been dealing with a negative work environment. People will always try and find something to complain about. Try to avoid those conversations and focus on the positives. Focus on why you love doing what you do and why it gets you up in the morning. In every job, no matter what it is, there will always be someone who wants to talk negatively and complain. Stay as far away from this as you can. It’s easier to get sucked into giving out than finding the positive. Finding the positive will give you that drive and ambition to keep going.
4. If you have to, re-evaluate your choice in career
This is, on the surface, an easy one. Think about what you are doing and why you are doing it. If this is the exact opposite to what you saw yourself doing, then there is no harm in re-evaluating your choices. If your childhood dream job is completely out of the question, why not find a way to incorporate aspects of it into your daily life somehow?
5. Don’t let your job define who you are
It’s important to use your free time wisely. Remember to detach yourself in the evenings and weekends. If you are a fellow retail worker, don’t take it all so seriously. Yes there are rules and required behavior when you’re on the clock, but if you ‘play the game’ the way you’re expected to, things will start improving and doors will open up! Go back to basics and bring yourself out for a walk or to meet a friend for coffee. There’s a whole world outside of work. Find it!
Simple but necessary advice. As my mother always said, ‘Find a job that you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life!’ Easier said than done, but possible!
Photo credit: Quote Pictures
Dear Dr. G,
I’ve been dating a guy for six weeks, and I pressured myself into being sexually intimate too soon — the fifth date, in the third week. I like him well enough, but I want to be super turned on by him, and I’m not. Also, a pattern is emerging — we go out to dinner and then go home and have sex. Why in the world would I do this to myself? And how can I gracefully extract myself from this situation?
Stuck So Soon, 28
It sounds to me as if you didn’t give yourself a chance to get to know this guy and you already feel like you are in a rut with him. Why did you do this to yourself? Perhaps, you thought that you would get closer to him by becoming sexually intimate. There is no reason to berate yourself about this. Please have a little self-compassion. Nonetheless, if you are truly interested in getting to know this guy you must talk with him about how you’d like to have more varied experiences with him and let him know kindly and authentically that the current pattern is not satisfying. If he agrees with you then perhaps you’d like to invest a little more time in the relationship. if, on the other hand, he wants to simply eat and have sex with you then move on quickly!
Dear Sister Bro,
Dear Dr. G,
I’ve been waiting for the beautiful spring weather to come, and now that it’s here, I feel sad, as if it’s still winter. I’ve recently been having some guy troubles as well as problems with friends who seem to meddle in my business. They judge me for every action I make with regard to career and relationships. With this seasonal transition, I need to make some serious life changes in both the friend and relationship zones. I’m afraid to make those moves, as I feel out of my comfort area. Where do I begin?
-Confused and Anxious
Dear Confused and Anxious,
You are in good and plentiful company. Many of us feel that we need to “clean house” literally and figuratively as the seasons change. Many times house cleaning involves stepping out of our comfort zones and into zones that eventually will improve our overall life satisfaction. These are not easy tasks but are nonetheless often necessary.
You say that you have friends who meddle in your business. I assume that this means that they are judging your relationships and career decisions in both an unwelcome and not so helpful manner. My question to you is whether or not you are setting boundaries for your friends. If not, my suggestion is that you ask them for less input so that they have less to comment on. You see, if you talk to them about sensitive boyfriend and work issues, they may misinterpret this as an invitation for their feedback.
If you have tried to set boundaries with friends and they have handily dismissed them then perhaps you need to consider removing them from your inner circle of confidantes. I have found in both my own life and in the life of many of the people that I work with there are only a few select people who really “get” you and know what would be reassuring to say when you are talking about important life concerns.
You asked for a way to start and how to push yourself out of your comfort zone. My suggestion is that you do this with baby steps rather than sweeping changes. Tell friends a little less, be a little less responsive to feedback, and perhaps cut down on the amount of communication that you have with meddlesome friends. Stepping out of a comfort zone is never easy but is easier if you do it gradually and gracefully. I have a strong sense that you are a sensitive person who does better with a gentle approach.
Please write back to me and let me know how it goes.
Photo credit: Flickr user Benson Kua