You Are Worthy of Optimal Wellness

Control Change

I’ve had encounters with two big stories from my past this weekend.

While I am thrilled at how my response has changed to these old experiences, my emotions have still been up and down. Frankly I’m feeling a little vulnerable.

Do you see that as a weakness?

I don’t. Surrendering to how things are unfolding, allowing myself to be vulnerable, fully feeling and acknowledging where I am, being extra committed to my self-care, and trusting that everything is always working out for me feels like the best way I can move through this experience AND stay connected to the foundation of love that only comes from my Higher Self.

Feeling—and exposing—this vulnerability reminded me of a TEDxHouston presentation by Brene’ Brown, who studies the human connection—our ability to empathize, belong, and love.

In this poignant, funny talk, Brown shares a deep insight from her research that expanded her personal perception and changed the way she lives, loves, works, and parents.

According to Brown’s research, connection is why we’re here. Connection is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be fully and truly seen. We have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable.

She says this is the most important thing she has learned in a decade of doing research. Vulnerability is opening ourselves up to shame, fear, and the struggle for worthiness, but it is also the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging, and love.

And it is shame that is at the root of being unwilling to be vulnerable. Research defines shame as “the fear of disconnection.” It is that feeling that there is something about you and if other people see it, they won’t love and accept you.

The feeling of vulnerability is so painful, that people do everything they can to “numb” themselves.

Brown believes this is one reason we are the “most in debt, most obese, most addicted, and most medicated adult cohort in U.S. history.”

The problem is you cannot selectively numb emotion. If you numb fear, embarrassment, and shame then you also numb joy, gratitude, and happiness. That sets up a cycle where you just keep reaching for another doughnut.

When Brown interviewed what she termed “Whole-Hearted” people who were willing to be vulnerable, the common denominator was a sense of worthiness. Those people had a strong sense of being worthy of love and belonging.

What it all boils down to is believing you are worthy.

Other elements that “Whole-Hearted” people had in common were a sense of courage, meaning they tell the story of Who they are with their whole heart. They have the courage to be imperfect. They are willing to let go of who they should be and be Who they truly are. They fully embrace vulnerability, believing that’s what makes them beautiful.

And they have the compassion to be kind to themselves first. Brown notes that you cannot act with compassion towards others if don’t have compassion for yourself.

The great news is that I am proof that a belief in worthiness can be learned. You don’t have to be born with it. You don’t have to have a tribe of close relatives and flawless family relationships. You can grow up excruciatingly insecure, suffer through years of depression and anxiety, and be perpetually aware of your flaws and imperfections—and still come to realize that you are worthy of love and belonging.

For me, that sense of worthiness comes from my connection with All-That-Is (God, the Universe, Source Energy, Higher Coach—whatever works for you.) Somehow I “got” that no matter what I do, say, or how I show up in this life, or who else loves or doesn’t love me, I am loved beyond my ability to comprehend love.

And so are you!

So my message today is simple. You are loved. You are adored. You belong. No matter what, you are worthy.

What can you do today to show up as more of Who you really are? How does being honest about who you are—the good, the bad, and the ugly—help you connect with others? How does feeling worthy change how you want to care for your body—and yourself?

Together we can do it!

Tomorrow is my last blog here! To keep receiving my posts, follow my new blog, at LoveYourWaySlim.com. Thank you for all your support here at Goss Coaching. I so appreciate each of your fabulous readers. Blessings to you!

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Self-Soothing vs. Self-Medicating

I still self-medicate with food. 

When I’m writing and have deadline stress, all of a sudden I feel like I “need” popcorn. It is irrational and powerful and does not let up until I eat some popcorn. 

So often, overeating is about what’s happening on the inside. It’s reaching for food when you are really seeking love, acceptance, happiness, or comfort in the face of a difficult situation or relationship. 

My coach has helped me discover that my “pressure cooker” feelings of deadline stress are old limiting beliefs about what I’m capable of. It’s the tyrant inside me—who I have quieted in so many areas of my life—who is still bullying me to perform and be “perfect.” I’m coming up with ways to self-soothe rather than self-medicate with food.

I wanted to share this blog by Dr. Anne Nanmoum because I thought she did a fabulous job of describing the difference between self-soothing and self-medicating those painful emotions you may be avoiding by reaching for your favorite comfort food.

Reading

After a particularly stressful day, a friend of mine noticed that she came home from the grocery store with several items she would not normally buy: a wine cooler, an apple pie, and a gallon of ice cream. “If I keep up with this, I will end up fat and miserable as well as stressed out!

She realized that she needed to come up with a better approach to handling her stress, including ways to “self-soothe” rather than “self-medicate.”

The ability to self-soothe rather than self-medicate in the face of stress, anxiety, boredom, or other uncomfortable emotions is an important skill for healthy living. When we don’t have good strategies for self-soothing, we may be inclined to overeat, abuse alcohol or drugs, bury ourselves in work, or spend hours watching TV or YouTube videos in order to “numb” ourselves.

What is the difference between self-soothing and self-medicating?

Self-medicating generally involves doing something that distracts from or avoids the uncomfortable feeling, at least temporarily. In addition to the more obvious forms of self-medicating with alcohol or drugs, self-medicating can also take the form of compulsive shopping, over-exercising, video games, orany activity that anesthetizes us from the discomfort without addressing the underlying problem. (Like when taking painkillers for a broken bone without setting the fracture, the pain will return when the medication wears off.)

While self-medicating involves numbing and avoiding, self-soothing involves acceptance of the discomfort, and the decision to do something that will make us feel better in the long term as well as the short term. Self-soothing does not involve activities that will ultimately hurt our health, relationships, or integrity.

Self-soothing could be the decision to go for a walk rather than eat that pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, or call a friend rather than drown our anxiety or exhaustion in a few glasses of wine. Writing in a journal, gardening, doing yoga, painting, or just taking a few deep breaths can also be self-soothing.

Sometimes an activity can go from self-soothing to self-medicating when done excessively or compulsively, even “healthy” activities such as exercise, work, or community service.

Try asking yourself these questions if you are trying to decide if you are self-medicating:

  1. Am I doing this in order to avoid an uncomfortable feeling or situation?
  2. When the pleasure of this activity wears off, will I feel better about myself and the situation, or worse?
  3. Is this activity likely to bring me closer to those people I want to be close to, or create more distance?

We all self-medicate to some extent, or as author and researcher Brené Brown describes it, we engage in an activity to “take the edge off” of the pain, anxiety, disappointment, shame, or other difficult emotions we are facing. Her research has shown that individuals who are able to feel the feelings, stay mindful about the numbing behaviors, and try to lean into the discomfort of unpleasant emotions are more likely to be healthy and happy.

AnneNamnoumBooksWhile virtually everyone numbs and takes the edge off to some extent, addictions develop when the numbing behaviors become compulsive and chronic.

For me, reading books can be self-soothing, but at other times it can be self-medicating if it keeps me from confronting a situation that is bothering me, or distances me from my family members. (My children would likely point to the piles and piles of self-help books in my office as evidence that this is something of an addiction for me.)

The first step in moving from self-medicating to self-soothing is to notice when we are “numbing,” and to get curious about what we are numbing from. Exploring different options for self-soothing, finding which appeal to us most, and practicing a few of these regularly can reduce our tendency to self-medicate when faced with unpleasant emotions.

AnneNamnoumPhotoAnne Nanmoum, M.D. is a Johns Hopkins trained OB/GYN and Reproductive Endocrinologist who wants women to thrive rather than just survive. She offers workshops and seminars in the Atlanta area on the science of happiness and well-being, and factors that influence your health such as stress, hormones, and nutrition. She believes that being well-informed gives you the ability to make healthier choices, but medical information is often contradictory, confusing, and ever-changing. She uses her background as a medical doctor to share information in a way that is evidence-based but easy to understand in order to help you take better care of yourself. Her goal is to give women the insight and confidence they need to become their own health experts and advocates.

To read her blog go to http://www.annenamnoum.com/self-soothing-vs-self-medicating/

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My blog is moving! To keep following my posts after January 15, you will need to follow my new blog, at LoveYourWaySlim.com. I look forward to continuing the journey with you!

The Power of Vulnerability

The other day, someone I love shared with me that they thought I was making myself vulnerable by being so open about my shortcomings in my blog. Perhaps people would use it against me?

This perspective didn’t feel right to me. It feels important to be authentically me—even if other people see that as weakness. Allowing myself to be vulnerable and trusting that everything is always working out for me feels like the best way I can connect with you fabulous readers and share how to learn and grow anyway.

But it was a feeling. There was nothing concrete that I could point to.

How awesome that the next day, I received this TEDxHouston presentation by Brene’ Brown, who studies the human connection—our ability to empathize, belong, and love. In this poignant, funny talk, Brown shares a deep insight from her research that expanded her personal perception and changed the way she lives, loves, works, and parents.

According to Brown’s research, connection is why we’re here. Connection is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be fully and truly seen. We have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable.

She says this is the most important thing she has learned in a decade of doing research. Vulnerability is opening ourselves up to shame, fear, and the struggle for worthiness, but it is also the birthplace of joy, creativity, belonging, and love.

And it is shame that is at the root of being unwilling to be vulnerable. Research defines shame as “the fear of disconnection.” It is that feeling that there is something about you and if other people see it, they won’t love and accept you.

The feeling of vulnerability is so painful, that people do everything they can to “numb” themselves. Brown believes this is one reason we are the “most in debt, most obese, most addicted, and most medicated adult cohort in U.S. history.”

The problem is you cannot selectively numb emotion. If you numb fear, embarrassment, and shame then you also numb joy, gratitude, and happiness. That sets up a cycle where you just keep reaching for another doughnut.

When Brown interviewed what she termed “Whole-Hearted” people who were willing to be vulnerable, the common denominator was a sense of worthiness. Those people had a strong sense of being worthy of love and belonging.

What it all boils down to is believing you are worthy.

Other elements that “Whole-Hearted” people had in common were a sense of courage, meaning they tell the story of Who they are with their whole heart. They have the courage to be imperfect. They are willing to let go of who they should be and be Who they truly are. They fully embrace vulnerability, believing that’s what makes them beautiful.

And they have the compassion to be kind to themselves first. Brown notes that you cannot act with compassion towards others if don’t have compassion for yourself.

The great news is that I am proof that a belief in worthiness can be learned. You don’t have to be born with it. You don’t have to have a tribe of close relatives and flawless family relationships. You can grow up excruciatingly insecure, suffer through years of depression and anxiety, and be perpetually aware of your flaws and imperfections—and still come to realize that you are worthy of love and belonging.

For me, that sense of worthiness comes from my connection with All-That-Is (God, the Universe, Source Energy, Higher Coach—whatever works for you.) Somehow I “got” that no matter what I do, say, or how I show up in this life, I am loved beyond my ability to comprehend love.

And so are you!

So my message today is simple. You are loved. You are adored. You belong. No matter what, you are worthy.

What can you do today to show up as more of Who you really are? How does being honest about who you are—the good, the bad, and the ugly—help you connect with others? How does that help you find your purpose?

Together we can do it!