Yup, I Was Scared

For the last few years, I’ve done a fair job maintaining my physical health and weight. I aim to walk at least 3 miles a day (ohhhhhh how I love my walks). I get my greens in, usually sauteed or blended in a smoothie. I say no to dessert (at least a few times a week anyways). But, that’s all I’ve done – maintain. I’ve stayed comfortable and content with the status quo. There’s been no strength training. No changes to my diet (which means lots of carbs and eating right before bed). No challenging myself to do better – to be better.

Over the last six or so months, a voice inside of me has grown louder:

“Danielle, it’s time to make your health a bigger priority. Kick things up a notch. You need to feel better – and look better.”

I always try and listen to ‘that voice inside of me’ and I even jazzed myself up about all the benefits – but I still didn’t take action. I continued to do the bare minimum for my health.

And the reason for my inaction was fear.

I was afraid that getting my body back into shape would be hard. That it would physically hurt. That it would require time and discipline. My biggest fear was that I’d have to face my reality – I have physical limitations. Thanks to an accident when I was a kid, I walk funny. As a result, I have back, hip and foot problems that prevent me from running and cause abnormal stiffness and pain. My physical limitations can also make certain exercises challenging and some even impossible.

Mountain climbers are difficult, side lunges hurt my back, and I can’t imagine how my body would react to a pistol squat. My physical limitations are like my Achilles’ heel, my sore spot (literally and figuratively). I feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I’m pissed off. Sometimes I casually work out, telling myself that if I were to push any harder, it’d just be painful so there’s really no point, right? Why face my limitations when I can just ignore them?

Finally, just a few weeks ago, I convinced myself to stop settling for mediocre and to push myself. That’s what my inner me has been craving.

The first step? DO.

I restarted a yoga practice I had before the pandemic. I began taking classes at Orangetheory Fitness (huge fan btw!). And I have started to be more responsible when it comes to meal prep and not eating right before bed.

What’s the result?

I’ve hurt. I’ve cried. I’ve been reminded of my limitations.

And…

I’ve felt amazing – looser, stronger, more energetic. I’ve cried (proud, happy tears)! I’ve been reminded of my strength amidst adversity.

When I think about my procrastination, it seems silly. The pros absolutely outweigh the cons and if I had started these efforts months ago, getting back into shape would have been a bit easier and I would have had more months feeling like my best me.  I choose to live my life with no regrets, but I do appreciate how important the time we have on this Earth is, which is why I wrote this blog for you.

So, what have you been putting off because you’re afraid? And how can you move forward?

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this blog to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

Sincerely,
Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help you overcome fear, “Fear stands for False Expectations Appearing Real.”

PPS – Do you want a deeper understanding of fear? If so, let’s get philosophical. Grab your pen and journal. What do you think is the purpose of fear? How do you think it has played a part in human evolution? How has fear played a part in your own life?

Coitus And Communication

I was feeling a little frisky the other day as I stood over my husband Ron while he sat on my desk chair. I leaned into him and started to rub his arms and chest. After a few minutes of some light caressing, I let my hands trail down to his belly (yes people, belly. Sorry, but for this one I’m keeping it PG, well maybe PG-13). I then traced small figure eights near his bellybutton. Out of nowhere, Ron quickly moved my arm away from his stomach.

“What?” I asked confused.

Ron responded, “I dunno. I’m just feeling fat and don’t want to be touched there. I get embarrassed.”

This seemed really weird to me because for one, I don’t view Ron as fat, and two, wouldn’t me touching somewhere he didn’t feel sexy make him feel sexier?

Ron’s thought process got me thinking… When Ron and I make love, he rarely touches my stomach and thighs (which do have what I would consider some extra fat and fluff on them).

I said, “Wow. Okay, so do you not touch me on my stomach and thighs because you don’t want to embarrass me?”

“Yeah kinda. I’d never want you to feel uncomfortable.”

After 15 years of marriage – 15 years of Ron not touching me on my stomach and thighs I was stunned. I felt relief but also sad compassion. I internalized his lack of touching. I thought he didn’t find those parts of me sexy. I thought I was the problem and that he avoided those parts of me because they weren’t a turn on. But all this time, he was just trying to be nice.

Ron and I kept our talk going and we continued to learn more about each other. I realized he projected his own shame onto me, while I assumed his inaction was a message of displeasure. Talking through it was enlightening for us both.

If you haven’t connected the dots yet, I’m telling you this story to remind you to openly communicate with those around you – especially the ones you love. Hundreds of times I felt less Marilyn Monroe than I should because I thought something that wasn’t true. If I had just spoken up and asked the hard question (“Ron – why don’t you touch me there? I wish you would…”), I would have learned that Ron, in his own special way, was showing me love and respect.

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this blog to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

Sincerely,
Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help you speak your truth, “Today I express myself honestly and with grace.”

PPS – Communicating what you want to say isn’t easy; it takes more than just courage to say it and say it well. Grab a pen and journal. Rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 (10 being awesome) on the following communication necessities: self-confidence, active listening skills, body language, and having an open mind. Once you’ve rated yourself for each one, comb through your ratings and reflect. Is your communication style working? If one or two ratings are lower than others, it may be a sign to start working on YOU.

I made a mistake

A few weeks ago, I made an admin mistake at one of the colleges where I work. I won’t bore you with the mechanics of what I did (or more accurately what I didn’t do), but know I was in charge of something and dropped the ball. As a result, some students and teachers were unhappy.

When my boss sent me an email to bring my mistake to my attention, I:

  1. Read it and felt embarrassed and sorry
  2. Apologized and offered to rectify the situation
  3. Showed myself empathy and forgiveness and moved on quickly from the situation

While #1 and #2 didn’t surprise me (after all, I take great pride in my work), #3 did. As someone who has worked really, really hard to break self-judgment habits, I expected to dive into some form of self-bashing after #2:

“Danielle, how could you? Can’t you get anything right? What’s wrong with you?”

But instead, I marveled at how gentle I was with myself and how naturally #3 came. There wasn’t a single anxious heartbeat or bead of nervous sweat. My inner voice said, “Danielle, you’ve had a lot on your mind and it’s easy to understand how you made a mistake. Don’t even worry about it.” This felt amazing! It was as if I had my best friend there saying all the right things to me – and my best friend was me.

I wanted to share my snafu turned self-love story with you as a reminder that:

  1. You’re going to make mistakes too. Rather than be shocked when they pop up, let’s just agree to expect them moving forward. Even if you are caught off-guard, that’s okay! Honor the fact that you’re doing the best you can and show yourself care and compassion always, through the ups, the downs and the mistakes.
  2. The hard work you put in to break your self-judgment habits will pay off. Self-peace and self-love is possible. Just like I have, you can heal from your self-bullying and retrain your brain to be more open-minded and supportive.
  3. If you need help quieting your inner-critic, here’s my Guide to Combatting Self-Criticism.
  4. And don’t forget, I’m available for intuitive coaching sessions as well.

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this blog to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

Sincerely,
Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to use when you’ve made a mistake, “I won’t let a mistake define my day, week – or life.”

PPS – Do you want some hands-on writing activities to help you work through your self-criticism? Don’t forget to check out my Guide to Combatting Self-Criticism.

When hate is okay

The other day, me and my good friend Ella were catching up and offering each other intuitive guidance. One of the many things I appreciate about our relationship is we rarely stay surface level. We skip the small talk and get vulnerable, get real and go deep so we can support each other on this wild journey of life.

Ella said, “Okay. I hate them. Yes, hate. And yes, I know I’m not supposed to hate. I know forgiveness is the path and I know holding onto anger hurts me, but I just can’t let go. I do all the right things: I meditate. I read about spirituality and forgiveness… But at the end of the day, I still hate them.”

Ella wasn’t referring to the parking spot stealers or the jaywalkers of the world. Sad and heartbreakingly true, she was referring to people in her life who hurt her and a loved one deeply. These individuals are responsible for years of manipulation and abuse which caused pain, trauma and a series of events that can never be undone. Ella, I am sending you and your hurt so much love.  

As Ella spoke, I felt a lightness to me and the words flowed out, “You can hate. Don’t judge your feelings. It’s okay to feel it all. Just continue to do what you’re doing and be healthy about that hate. Take care of yourself and work towards releasing the heavy emotions but know you can’t control the timing of that release.”

Ella sent me a note a few days later and told me she felt lighter. That simple act of ‘giving her permission’ to feel the not-so-pleasant stuff had removed the guilt and angst she carried.

Most of us have someone or even several people in our lives who have done us or others we love wrong: an old friend spoke lies about you, a mother made you feel small daily, an ex-wife stole your money, a friend or family member sexually abused you or someone you love.

If you find yourself fixating on someone because you’re harboring anger and disgust, that is okay. You’re beautifully human and you should experience all of your emotions without judgement. You’re not a bad person or a less spiritually evolved person for feeling what you do. Just keep putting in the hard work: the talk therapy, the meditating, the reading, the working towards forgiveness.

Amidst the hard work, be sure to manage your hate. You don’t want hate to control you or your actions (while it’s okay to feel something, don’t let that emotion lead you to do something that’s not in your best interest: revenge, hurting yourself, or hurting others are never okay).  

Similar to Ella’s experience, I believe if you allow yourself to feel your emotions, and you accept where you are on your healing journey, it will be easier to move to a place of love and forgiveness when you’re ready. Just like ‘love’ takes a lot of work to maintain, ‘hate’ takes a lot to remove, but it’s possible. I’ve had the amazingly beautiful opportunity to love many and to forgive several emotional, physical and/or sexual abusers in my life. While I’m healed now, the journey was tough yet worth every ounce of hate, frustration and patience.

Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this blog to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

Sincerely,

Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help support your healing journey, I give time and space to my soul to restore. I have the power to heal, and I’m getting healthier every day.”

PPS – Healing hate requires a balance of focusing on your emotion/the situation at hand and giving yourself space from your hate. For this journal prompt, you’ll focus on getting space from whatever it is that’s driving your negative emotions. Here’s what to do. Breathe in and out a few times while picturing yourself as a ball of white, beautiful light. Once you feel relaxed, open your eyes and write about a time when you felt tremendous love. Was it when your new puppy licked your face for the first time? Was it when your husband proposed to you at your favorite restaurant? Focus on your senses to really get lost in writing the story (the process of writing is where the healing comings in). What can you hear? What can you taste? What do you feel? What can you see?

That Mistake I Made Wasn’t A Mistake

A few weeks ago, in my Learn by doing newsletter, I talked about how I unintentionally interrupted Shawna, the host of The Quantum Shift when she had me on her podcast as a guest. The days that followed, I wasted time and lost positive energy as I hyper-focused on my blunder. Fortunately, I finally snapped out of my funk when I remembered that we all learn by doing and that my intention was pure.

I wrote that newsletter as a healing vehicle for myself (writing is such a good release), as a learning opportunity for you, and as an ‘I’m sorry’ to Shawna. I posted the newsletter to Instagram and tagged Shawna, feeling good that I owned my mistakes and that the air was cleared.

Shawna wrote me back and here’s what she said: “I don’t even recall you ‘interrupting’ me! You left me with the impression that you’re a very knowledgeable coach and lovely human with an absolutely huge heart from having overcome great challenges. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and hope to have you back again!”

I chuckled when I read her response, looked up to the sky and said, “Okay Universe. Message received.”

Can you believe it? I spent days beating myself up for a faux pas Shawna didn’t even notice, a mistake that didn’t even exist.  

Shawna’s note gave me a powerful reminder: I can be my own worst enemy.
The next time I doubt myself (and worse, bully myself) about how I think someone perceives me, I’m going to:

  1. Use the affirmation below as many times a day as I need to so that I quiet the negative noise in my head;
  2. Fill myself with understanding and grace by remembering the positive purpose of my actions;
  3. Directly ask the person how they felt about whatever it is I did or think I did.

Hopefully, you’ll be kinder to yourself too the next time you ‘make a mistake’.

Did you enjoy this story? Join me in spreading my messages of breaking judgement habits and strengthening intuition even further: forward this newsletter to a few family members and friendsThe greater the shares, the greater the impact – They can subscribe here.  

Sincerely,
Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help you (and to help me!) stop focusing on others’ opinions, I live life without concern of what others think of me.”

PPS – To help you feel more comfortable with ‘mistakes’, think back to a time you made one and because of it, things turned out great. Get out your journal and write out the story. Did you miss your exit and ended up late to work but found an amazing coffee shop you wouldn’t have known about otherwise? Did you bomb a first date which led you to meeting your husband? Keep this story handy and the next time you are down-in-the-dumps because you made a perceived mistake, read this story to yourself.

Remove negativity

Thanks to 2020, I, like many others, have been in survivor mode: Protecting my physical, emotional and mental health has been my top priority. With the heightened focus on me, I’ve found it much easier to say ‘no’ to people and things that don’t support me, that don’t lift me up and make me stronger. Over the last few months, I have:

  • Changed nails salons so I no longer have to hear the nail tech talk angrily about politics;
  • Parted ways with my car detail guy who is awesome to shoot-the-shit with but doesn’t do the best job actually cleaning my car (and with a yellow lab that sheds a ton, this is a necessity);
  • Stopped going to the young woman who gives an awesome facial but steals away my relaxation because she complains of her boyfriend and tries to squeeze free life coaching from me

While my actions may seem small and obvious, they are big to me. Before 2020, I would have stayed in these unfulfilling relationships due to some jaded belief I should be loyal and avoid hurting others’ feelings. Or, I would have ended these relationships, all the while letting guilt live inside me for weeks, if not months. But I’m different now, and everlasting guilt is no longer my M.O.

Thank you, 2020, for helping me find my power (and hello to you, 2021 – prepare to witness my strengths!). Every time I took steps to remove negativity from my life, I felt nothing but better. I could feel it in my shoulders. I could feel it in my stomach. I could feel it in my mind, heart and soul. The calm, the ease. By choosing to honor my time, my money and myself, I’m lighter and more open to the people I need along my journey. I now have a new nail tech, a new car detail guy and a new esthetician, and all are enhancing my life and feeding my soul.

Do you have anyone in your life who’s dragging you down? If so, you know what to do.

Did you enjoy this post? You can subscribe here

Sincerely,
Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help you find the power you need to say ‘no’ to the things and people that aren’t serving you, “I am in touch with my wants and needs. I stand up for myself and am confident in my ability to make change and say ‘no’.

PPS – It’s all too easy to settle for mediocre, to go out to a restaurant and be served a lukewarm meal and say nothing to the waiter because you’d rather not ‘look bad’ or cause problems. Get out your journal. Here’s a writing prompt to give yourself confidence the next time you need to speak up for yourself: Get your imagination going. Think of a situation where someone isn’t meeting your expectations (i.e. the lukewarm dinner you’re paying for!). Write out the scene. What happens? And what do you do to voice your concerns? Make sure the story has a happy ending and carry those triumphant feelings with you until you need to speak up for real.

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Regret The Past

The other night, in bed with my husband Ron, I said, “Did you see that thing your brother posted? I really liked it. It asked, ‘If you could go back in time to your 18-year-old self, what advice would you give yourself in 3 words?’”

Ron responded, “No. I didn’t see it. What would you say?”

I replied, “Stop smoking now. You?”

Ron stated, “Just enjoy it.” He followed his three words with this: “You know, I wouldn’t want to change a single thing. Everything connects. Everything has gotten me to where I am today. If you change one thing you change it all.”

His words were profound and got me thinking differently about my smoker’s remorse. What would have happened if I stopped smoking earlier or perhaps never started in the first place?

While the obvious benefits would be a lower risk for cancer and fewer dental problems, I realized that if I had chosen to stop smoking, I may never have:

Fallen in love with my husband: When I met Ron at 19 years young, I was instantly attracted to him. His tall lean frame, his auburn hair and the fact that he smoked were all sexy as hell. As a smoker, I loved men who smoked, and most non-smokers didn’t want to date “a girl like me”. If I had quit smoking, perhaps Ron wouldn’t have been so sexy to me. Perhaps I wouldn’t have wanted to date a smoker because he may have triggered me, and maybe Ron only wanted to date a smoker.

Gained strong empathy for addicts: While I’ve experimented with my fair share of drugs and alcohol, I never got addicted (Thank you, God!). But I know what addiction feels like due to smoking. I started when I was 13 years old and the habit quickly spiraled to the point where I couldn’t hold a conversation, focus or function without the inhale of a Marlboro Red. Because I know what addiction feels like, I’ve found success coaching and supporting those with addictive personalities. If I never smoked for so many years and never tried to quit so many times, perhaps I wouldn’t have the enormous amount of empathy that I do now for addicts of all kinds (food, sex, drugs).

Saved Ron and myself: After I got pregnant with our son Aaron, I was determined to quit smoking, but after I had him, it was an all-too-typical cycle: stop, start, stop, start again. Ron kept smoking which didn’t make the “stopping” part stick. We’d fight and it’d get ugly. I’d beg him to quit, to help me quit. One night during a nasty argument, we both got so mad with each other – my arms flailing and Ron going into silent mode – that we swore we’d both stop smoking to avoid the fights; to avoid getting divorced. And we did. We quit. Without the opportunity to reach a place of compromise and synergy with Ron, he might never have quit for good and perhaps I wouldn’t have either.  

While there are still pieces of me that wish I never smoked, I don’t regret it. I forgive myself for the experience. I’m thankful for the learning and growth it gave me. And I accept the lightness and the darkness of what is.

Did you enjoy this post? You can subscribe here

Sincerely,

Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help you let go of regret: “I live in the present and look to the future.

PPS – To explore your regret, get out your journal. Here’s a writing prompt: Describe the life you would have now if something you regret never happened. How would it be different? How would it be the same?

If You Don’t Know Why, Ask Me

The other morning, when my 14-year-old son Aaron asked me where I was going, I cheerfully responded, “To my eyelash appoint.”

Aaron’s nose crinkled as he gave me a judgy look, “Why do you try to be someone you’re not? Who are you trying to impress anyways?”

His response hurt; he was quick to judge with questions oozing accusation.

Excited for a change amidst the 2020 work from home same-old, same-old, a few months ago I started getting false lashes. My lashes have brought me joy. They make me feel more confident, more prepared and prettier for my dozens of Zoom calls. I’ve had fun waking up looking like Marilyn Monroe (hey, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) and receiving compliments from my clients, students and even strangers I meet on my daily walks and trips to the store.

That’s why I was disappointed by Aaron’s assumption; that I was trying to pretend I was someone I wasn’t as opposed to enhancing the person I already was and am: Confident. Prepared. Pretty. I cringed hearing that Aaron thought impressing the world was a bad thing. What’s the problem with wanting to look good for others? I’ve found that the more put together and refreshed I look, the more others perk up and are open to my energy, which helps when I am teaching, coaching or giving a seminar. As long as self-esteem doesn’t solely rely on how others see you, then looking good can fuel self-love and happiness.

To snap me out of my critical feelings towards Aaron and I’s conversation, I found empathy. I reminded myself that Aaron’s limited viewpoint wasn’t his fault. He’s a freshman in high school, an age when many kids judge one another and make unfair assumptions based on appearance. He’s superglued to Snapchat, TikTok and I’m sure other apps I don’t know much about that seem to perpetuate this habit.

I took a deep breath in, looking Aaron straight in the eyes.

“This is important. I don’t like that you judged me right there. I am being ME. Just like my blonde highlights and gel nail polish compliment me, so do my eyelashes. A girl can want to look good and do that for different reasons. Some will do it for herself and others will do it for someone else and regardless, that’s their decision to make. These lashes make me happy. I’m not getting them to try to fit in or hide who I am; I get them as sort of a celebration of who I am. As a way to treat myself.”

I could see Aaron processing. I smiled and said, “I love you kid.”

Aaron told me he loved me back. He then gave me a ‘thanks’ and a head nod that showed me I got him thinking differently. And with that, we moved on with our day.  

I’m proud for speaking my truth – not always an easy thing to do – especially to my teenage son. Will he get it? Will he understand? Will he care?

I hope introducing Aaron to a new way of thinking opens his eyes to the importance of not snapping judgements and instead, becoming more conscious of others’ WHY. I hope he starts asking questions that come from a place of curiosity such as, “Does it make you happy? How so?”

Later that day, I started wondering how many people had judged me for my fake eyelashes and how many other females had also been judged for theirs. I then thought about all the women out there getting judged for their botox, their weight or their clothing. That number was enough to inspire me to write this post.

So, to those rocking new outfits that match your flair; those typing away with fake nails; those driving to work with a brand-new hairstyle: Go YOU! There is no need hide or be ashamed. You’ve taken the time to invest in yourself, and that’s beautiful self-love!

As for the others who judge you, remember that their judgment is a reflection of themselves, not you. Hold onto grace and patience in these moments; they don’t know your WHY. If they don’t ask, they probably don’t know any better. Keep rocking anyways.

If you’re making assumptions about others, how can you break those limiting beliefs and work toward appreciating the choices that others make?

And most importantly, how can we have meaningful conversations with our youth to ensure appearances don’t control their perceptions of others?

Did you enjoy this post? You can subscribe here

Sincerely,
Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help you along your ‘I won’t let sticks and stones hurt me’ journey: “I am the only one responsible for my self-esteem.”

PPS – To remind you that empathy is possible in all situations, get out you journal. Here’s a writing prompt: Think back to a time when someone hurt you. What did that person do? How did they make you feel? Although you may not forgive that person, can you find empathy? What human experiences may have shaped the way they treated you? How do you think they feel about the situation now?

I listened to my true self

Every morning, I aim to walk 3 miles before I do any computer work. I like walking, I really do, but sometimes keeping active feels like a chore. Lately, the conversation in my head sounds something like this:

The Other Danielle: “You have tons of work to do. Go for a walk later.”

The True Danielle: “Get that blood moving. Take in nature. Clear your mind. You know if you wait you won’t go.”

The Other Danielle: “What’s the point of going for a walk? You’ll need to do more than that if you want to get rid of your extra Covid pounds.”

The True Danielle: “Get your butt outside. You’re walking to reconnect with yourself and the universe. To stay healthy. This is where your best ideas come to you and so what if you have a few extra pounds?”

Last week, I woke up and it was pouring. I’m sure it’s easy to imagine how my two sides handled this conversation:

The Other Danielle: “It’s raining. Here’s your excuse! You don’t have to walk today. Woot woot!”

The True Danielle: “You made a commitment to yourself. You’re not going to melt. Since when do you need excuses?”

The Other Danielle: “But the walk will be sooo boring. I can’t even track my steps or listen to my Audible because my phone is on the fritz and it can’t get wet.”

The True Danielle: “Quit your whining.”

As tempting as the arguments were from The Other Danielle, I listened to my truth-telling, no bull crap self. I laced up my sneakers, left my phone on my desk, and braved the weather.

Ten minutes into my walk, I chuckled to myself. I was having the time of my life. Each droplet of water on my skin made me feel alive. The streets weren’t filled with walkers or cars and so I got a beautiful, solidary ‘It’s just me and the world’ experience. All I could hear were the birds chirping and the squirrels nibbling away at their acorns. And best of all, I didn’t break a promise to myself.

After I showered and powered up the laptop, I produced some of my best work of the week.

How can you tune into your True Self instead of that Other Self trying to derail you?

Did you enjoy this post? You can subscribe here

Sincerely,

Danielle

PS – Here’s an affirmation to help you along your ‘I listen to my true self’ journey: “I will trust myself, my intuition and my guidance.

PPS – To remind you that your True Self and your Other Self are always present in the moment of decision, get out you journal. Here’s a writing prompt: Think back to a time when your True Self overcame the excuses from your Other Self. What positives came from that experience?