5 Steps Toward Self Acceptance

These are not only steps toward finding self acceptance, but will eventually become habits to help you keep it up.  The journey toward self acceptance is not just a long road, it is unending. Life isn’t static. You are always changing, and so will your feelings about yourself. You will need to have habits in place to help yourself continue to find self acceptance.

So, what are some steps you can take on this journey? I’ve come up with five to discuss with you today.

1) Forgive yourself

Any past mistakes you have made, forgive yourself. No matter how big or small. You did your best, at the time, with what you knew. Now you know better, so you can do better, but you need to move on from the past.

It does you no good to dwell on those past mistakes. It changes nothing. All you can do now is move forward knowing better.

2) Work on fighting negative thoughts

That inner critic you hear doesn’t speak the truth. If the thoughts you hear aren’t something you would say to a close friend, disregard them. They aren’t helpful, they’re just unwanted, harsh judgment, and you don’t benefit from it.

The best way I’ve found to counteract negative thoughts, is to immediately tell myself, “No. That isn’t true,” and then correct the thought. For example, if I think, “No one likes you. No one really wants to be your friend.” I right away stop myself, sometimes with an actual, “Stop it,” and think, “Of course that’s not true. You know you have people who would be there for you if you called. You know you have people who enjoy spending time with you.”

It feels really awkward and weird at first, but with repetition it feels more natural and becomes automatic. One day, you will suddenly realize you are having fewer negative thoughts overall.

3) Stop comparing yourself to anyone

Seriously, anyone. You are a unique individual. No one on Earth has the same life experience as you. Think on how amazing that is!

No one has gone through the exact same things. No one is at the exact same place in their life. There is just no comparison to make.

Accept your life as the singular experience that it is, and see it as one-of-a-kind, to be appreciated with all its ups and downs.

4) Accept your flaws

Your flaws are part of the human experience. They are part of what makes you unique. It isn’t only your gifts and positive qualities that contribute to your uniqueness. Your faults really do add to who you are as a person.  Sometimes they are what draw people to you and even endear you to them. They are also opportunities to grow and learn. You may or may not be able to change what you perceive to be a flaw, so accept your flaws, because they make you who you are, and you are an amazing, distinctive individual.

5) Create a support system

Surround yourself with people who support you and accept you as you are. Find people who believe in you and are uplifting to be around.

If there are people in your life who drag you down, reinforce your negative self talk, or criticize you, ask yourself why you allow it. You deserve better. Distance yourself from such people so they can’t reinforce your negative thoughts.

There is so much more to finding self acceptance, but this list will get you started in the journey. If you found this helpful, please feel free to share it with your friends on Facebook, etc., and be sure to subscribe so you can easily join me back here for more tips and helpful posts.

(Edit: I have since written this post which contains 4 more steps you can take toward self acceptance.)

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The Fundamental Key to Happiness

New year, new me. It seems like that is always the theme this time of year. There is always a push to be changing and fixing yourself. Bettering yourself is a wonderful idea, but I really feel it is better to approach it from a place of loving yourself and not hating yourself. So I feel it’s better to work on self-acceptance first.

Self-acceptance is your satisfaction or overall happiness with yourself. It has a broader reach than self-esteem. While self-esteem focuses more on the positives, and the value we place on ourselves as individuals, self-acceptance is embracing all of yourself, both positive and negative.

Why is this important?

Self-acceptance quote "Accepting yourself is about respecting yourself. It's about honoring yourself right now, here today, in this moment. Not just who you could become somewhere down the line." Kris Carr

You are living with yourself, right now. All the strengths and weaknesses you deal with day to day are your reality. Self-acceptance is being able to embrace all of that, and stop judging yourself. Embracing everything about yourself, the good, the bad, and the ugly, allows you to move past self pity and self hate and into a more productive place.

Once you can have compassion and understanding for yourself, you stop wasting time being critical of your short comings. You can recognize your failings, and move past them. You can actually appreciate your good traits, and take advantage of them to help build the life you want.

Self-acceptance quote "Instead of trying to mend me, I decided to enjoy me. Instead of trying to solve me, I decided to discover me. It was one of the best decisions of my life." S. C. Lourie

Change that comes from a place of acceptance instead of derision is more successful. You will relieve so much pressure on yourself by being ok with where you are in life and who you are right now. Being happy and feeling good about yourself doesn’t leave you drained like self criticism. You can do so much with that energy. Loving yourself as you are means being ok with not being successful right away with a change. When you aren’t worried about your deficiencies you have mental energy available to focus on other things.

Can you imagine not obsessing over what you aren’t? Imagine the freedom. Picture being aware of it, but being able to focus on your strengths instead. Celebrating yourself as you are. It’s a beautiful thing.  I know, because I recently found that freedom. I’ll be sharing my story in an upcoming blog post.

Back to that freedom. Can you see why it is such a basic foundation to happiness? People are always searching for ways to be happy. There is lots of talk about improving self-esteem, but I think we all need to start much more basic and fundamental. Really, everyone tries to start backward. Losing weight, getting organized, buying new things, none of those things are going to help your self-esteem, and working on your self-esteem isn’t going to work, until you accept yourself.

In this blog, I want us to start at the foundation. I want us to work on improving our self-acceptance. All the rest will fall into place after that. I’ve striven for better self-esteem for so long. Once I started to understand and accept myself as I am, the rest just sorta happened. I still need to work on it, but that’s why I’m excited about the blog. I want to work on it with you!  How fun to have someone to do this with!

Sounds great! Now what?

Well, that’s also coming in future blog posts. So, click to subscribe, and be sure to come back and read more!

Please feel free to leave comments below. I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

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Pain Is Not A Competition

“Pain is not a competition. Just because someone, somewhere may have had worse in their life, it doesn’t excuse or erase your pain.” 

Pain is not a competition. Just because someone, somewhere may have had worse in their life, it doesn't excuse or erase your pain.

This quote has meant so much to me over the past couple of years. I feel it applies to everyone, no matter what kind of physical, mental, or emotional pain they may have.

Pain is pain

If you are affected by depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness, you may have a tendency to feel your condition isn’t as bad compared to other people. In fact, I had no idea how bad my depression had gotten this last time. I slowly got used to the “new normal” of each decline farther into depression, and compared myself to others who I saw as “worse off”. Given those goal posts, I just didn’t think my depression was that bad. People struggling with mental illness or emotional pain can also feel their struggles aren’t important because they are told so. Have you been told to suck it up, because others are worse off? The fact is, everyone’s feelings and thoughts matter. Even though there may be people worse off, it doesn’t negate your struggle.

People with chronic pain or illnesses find themselves in the same position. Their friends and/or family, not to mention society, are not very supportive. So many people in this position are demoralized by being told their pain isn’t enough. They are told to “suck it up” because someone else judges their condition to not be severe enough.

It isn’t an exclusive membership

As a member of both groups, I’m telling you that your pain counts even if you aren’t in either group.  The only person you should ever compare yourself to is yourself. Even then, sometimes you should just focus on how you feel in the moment. If you think it is bad, then it is, and you should have compassion for yourself, and care for yourself.

This is why comparing pain can be so detrimental to your health. If it leads you to putting off care, that is a bad thing. Please don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Your health and happiness is important. It is just as important as the next person.

Do you have a quote that means a lot to you, or has gotten you through hard times? Please feel free to share in the comments. I would love to hear from you. ❤

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Do You Ipsy? 

For a long time I did not. I didn’t have the money for one thing. It felt extravagant to spend $10 on myself every month. Also, I’m not much of a makeup person.

Then my husband convinced me we could spare the $10, and I decided I’d like to play around with makeup some, so I looked into just what Ipsy is.

From the Ipsy site:

“Each month, subscribers will receive a beautiful Glam Bag with deluxe samples and full-sized beauty products. Members can watch and play along with the stylists with the same products that they are using. All for only $10 a month.”

I’ve had so much fun with Ipsy over the past year. It’s a form of self care for me. Beyond the makeup and skin and hair products, the bags are so freaking cute, and usable for an assortment of things. Here are a few of my favorites.

Revie
A few of my favorite Glam Bags from Ipsy

This is what I got this month. So excited!

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Glam Bag From January 2017


Slanted Tweezers from The Vintage Cosmetic Company

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Slanted Tweezers from The Vintage Cosmetic Company


I love the tweezers. First off, they are gorgeous. Beautiful rose gold color. More importantly, they work well. I tend to have a problem with tweezers either not working or breaking off hair rather than plucking it. These do neither. I was easily able to isolate each hair and pluck it. 5 out of 5

Coffee + Coconut Lip Scrub from Jelly Pong Pong

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Lip Scrub from Jelly Pong Pong


I am not a fan of this lip scrub. I love lip scrubs, but this one didn’t do it’s job as a scrub. My lips were left feeling moisturized, but none of the dry skin was scrubbed off. I used my other lip scrub afterward and there was a big difference. My other issue was with the coconut flavor/scent. This scrub smells delicious. You can’t really pick up the coffee scent until you apply it, but the coconut scent is yummy. After I applied it though, I could taste the coconut down my throat and it tasted of sunscreen. Not yummy. I won’t be using this product again. 1 out of 5

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream with SPF 35

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Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream with SPF 35


I ended up trying this twice. The first time I loved how it performed. It goes on very easily, and feels fantastic on my skin. It is very light. It also is easy to smooth out and doesn’t ball up. I loved how it smoothed out my skin. It is just too dark for me even though they sent me the “light” shade. I read a bit more about it and decided to give it one more shot by using it as a primer. This time I really liked it. It works well as a thin layer underneath my regular foundation. I don’t know if I’ll buy it, but this sample will get used up. 4 out of 5 

Star Crushed Minerals Metallic Eyeshadow in Aged to Perfection Champagne 

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Star Crushed Minerals Eyeshadow
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Start Crushed Minerals Eyeshadow

This is a loose powder instead of a little cake, and so gets everywhere. Not being very schooled in makeup I wasn’t too sure what to do with it, so first I just put it on like regular eyeshadow. I really like it. It is a nice amount of sparkle/glimmer/shine. Reading more about it, you can also put some on a tissue, dampen your brush, and then apply it as a liner or shadow. Using it this way, it gives a more foil look.  I just used it alone and another time over another color. I’m very fond of the glimmer it adds. I’ll use this one a lot. 5 out of 5 
Cianté London Gelology Top Coat 

Review
Cianté London Gelology Top Coat

I put No Filter from Trust Fund Beauty on both hands, two coats, and the top coat on one hand but not the other. No complaints about the application. It went on very smoothly. It dried nicely also. Typically, my nail polish alone lasts two days. I’m thrilled if I make it through the first day with no chipping. At the end of two days I had zero chipping on the hand with this top coat. My other hand , polish only, had the start of wear showing at the edges.  Two more day later, four days after I polished, my hand with the top coat still showed no sign of wear. I’m thrilled! I’ll be using this top coat for sure. 5 out of 5

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Left hand with nail polish and top coat.


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Right hand with nail polish only.

The pics above show the slight difference in glossiness with the top coat.

 

So, that’s all for this Glam Bag from Ipsy. What did you think? Do you have any experience with these products? Tips for me? Would you like to see this type of post again? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

How I De-stress

Everyone has their own ways to de-stress. There are numerous ways to go about it, and none of them work for everyone. These are the ways I relax:

1) Games on my phoneStress relief ideas

This works fantastically for me. I can distract myself from any intrusive thoughts with games. I have both mindless and more brainy types so I’m set no matter what I need. Some people might actually find this stressful, but it is a great diversion for me. Puzzle games and word games are my favorite.

2) Colouring

Unless you live under a rock, you have heard about adult coloring books. Some are elaborate, beautiful scenes, some are based on favorite shows and movies, others have swear words. I promise there is an adult coloring book out there for everyone. There is an actual study out there that shows how effective this method of stress relief is.

3) Music

Listening to my favorite music does an amazing job to help reduce stress. The more I know the lyrics the better. It distracts me and helps me to think about something else. There is some scientific backing on this one too. I tend to listen to my favorites instead of soothing music though. I suppose I’m looking for more of an uplifting experience, or an energy outlet.

4) T.V.

Well, Netflix and YouTube actually. It’s just another way to use distraction. Sometimes it’s nice to lose yourself in another world, and make their troubles yours, or to find something funny and laugh until your stomach hurts.  Too much T.V. may backfire, but an hour or two is nice.

5) Reading

It’s a classic. If I can actually get some uninturrupted time to myself, this works great. If not, I’ll just get more stressed with each interruption. It’s so nice to curl up with a good book and get lost in it’s pages.

6) Lists

Okay maybe I’m a weirdo, but making lists is rather soothing to me. I’m not sure if it is organizing my thoughts, or just the act of writing. Whatever it is, it works.

7) Getting out of the house

Some days, after one too many days of staying home with the kids, I just have to leave. I grab my purse and keys, and start driving into town. It doesn’t matter if I go to Walmart, the library, or grab a snack, just a change of scenery and a chance to have my brain to myself makes a big difference.
Do any of these methods work for you? Do you have different ways to reduce stress? Please share in a comment below, or send me an email at leighbryant@flawedmessylife.com . I’d love to hear from you!

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This Lazy Woman’s Guide to Housework

I have never liked housework. Now that I deal with fibromyalgia, dysautonomia, and arthritis, I’m less able to do it. It still needs to get done though, so here are some of my thoughts and tips to get the most done with the least effort.

Work out what your bare minimum is.

What do you have to have done for you to feel you are not living in filth? For us, that includes vacuuming, sweeping the kitchen floor, doing at least one load in the dishwasher, and a load of laundry. Remember, I have four kids, three dogs, and a cat. (We have 3 cats, but two stay downstairs with my mom.) Your list might look very different.

Add in extras when you have extra energy for it.

This might include dusting, washing windows, vacuuming the edges, mopping, cleaning the bathroom, etc. Everything will eventually get done, and you don’t have to wear yourself out in the process.

Now for some specifics.

  • Don’t worry about using dusting spray. Grab some Swiffer cloths or microfiber rags and go to it.
  • I only clean the outside windows maybe twice a year. Usually I stick to just the insides.
  • Using a cotton dish towel and non-streaking window cleaner will give you quick results on your windows and mirrors.
  • We don’t actually mop. I sit on the floor with either Clorox wipes or some spray cleaner and a rag and clean up any obvious spots.
  • We keep rags under my sink in the bathroom. I also keep doubles of many of my cleaners. That way, if I find myself suddenly thinking an area needs cleaning, I can spot clean easily without tracking down the supplies.
  • All cotton socks with holes in them become rags. We wash them, but if they are needed for a really gross job, it is no biggie to toss them.

Finally, if you have kids, put them to work. It is an important life lesson for them to know how to care for a household. Believe me, it is no good for them to move out and have no idea what actually goes into taking care of a house.  Here is a good example of what kids are capable of doing. I found this chart on Pinterest. There are many other versions available too.

Cleaning tips to make cleaning simple
Kids’ Chores by Age

Do you have any tips or tricks for making housework easier? Please share below or email me at leighbryant@flawedmessylife.com if you would rather. My links for Twitter and Instagram are also below.

Don’t miss out! Subscribe and you’ll be notified about my most recent posts.

 

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Try new things

Trying to learn new things can be scary. I’ve never been very good at it. I hate the idea of not being able to do something perfect right away. Unfortunately, that way of thinking leads to never doing anything, and that’s not any fun. 

I’m still not very good at trying new things in front of people, but I have started to try out some new hobbies and games by myself. Most recently, I have been working on learning to crochet.

I’ve always wanted to learn to crochet, and be good at it, because my grandma used to crochet. I have a few afghans she made. I’ve tried to learn off and on over the years. It seems like my fingers always get tangled, and then I give up in exasperation. This time around I seem to have it. Well, enough that I’m not giving up anyway. 

I made this rat bed for my neice, N.J., for Christmas. 

Self confidence, brave, new things

And I made this blanket for C’s kitten, Leo.

Blanket

This is my attempt at a pot holder. It works at least. 😉

Finally, I decided to try to make a mug cozi.

OMG. Yeah. Those are supposed to be straight edges. I really need to work on that. 😄 It still needs a button so it can be fastened onto the mug.

The important thing is that I really enjoyed doing it and I’m having fun trying new patterns. I’ll keep writing about my successes and failures here, so you all can share the experience with me. 

Do you have anything you have been wanting to do, but have been scared to try? Let me know in the comments below or on TwitterInstagram, or my Facebook page.
Ed

4 Cooking Shortcuts (Plus 5 Really Easy Recipes)

Even perfectly healthy people can find themselves short on energy at the end of the day. Anyone with chronic and/or mental illnesses knows that fatigue is a real problem. You still need to eat though. I usually find myself short on energy for cooking, so I’ve collected some helpful shortcuts over time. I’d like to share a few with you.

1) Buy frozen, precut veggies, like onions and bell peppers. This really reduces prep work. Bonus, they are easy to keep on hand and won’t go bad if you don’t use them right away.

2) Utilize canned foods. Veggies are obvious, but don’t forget about canned beans and meats. Canned beans are quick. They don’t have to cook, they just need heated up. You can buy canned chicken just like you can get tuna. It works beautifully in casseroles, and is much quicker than cooking up some chicken breasts and cutting them up.

3) A slow cooker is extremely helpful. It allows you to throw some ingredients in in the morning and not worry about it until suppertime. I especially like to use it on days that I know I’m going to have no desire to cook once evening comes around. A little energy earlier in the day is easier to find rather than later.

Bonus tip: Use slow cooker liners (found near the foil and cling wrap). These make clean up so much easier, so they are well worth buying.

4) Another appliance I’ve found to be a great investment is my rice cooker. If you use it to cook your rice before adding it to the recipe, it will dramatically cut down the cook time. I just start it up, go do something else while the rice cooks, and then throw everything together in the oven for a quick meal.

You can use a rice cooker for more than just rice. There are lots of recipes for soups, stews, oatmeal, pancakes, and more. I have quite a few pinned on my Pinterest board here.

Cooking shortcuts are just the start of course, simple recipes help also. The following are five of my family’s favorites.

Easy Baked Ravioli – Frozen ravioli and jarred sauce make these recipe super simple.

Swiss Cheese Chicken – You can make this as suggested, or use canned chicken instead and cut the cooking time way back.

Creamy, Cheesy, Chicken Spaghetti

Taco Bake

Crock-Pot Pulled  Pork – Surprisingly simple and super yummy.

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6 Tips for When You are Feeling Down

We all have down days. Whether you are diagnosed with depression, or just having a down day, some of these suggestions will help you care for yourself.

1) Practice Self-care and Nurture Yourself

I think top priority should be making sure you are clean and dressed. You just feel better if you have that covered. So, pamper yourself with a long soak in the tub, or at least grab a quick shower. Then get dressed in some comfy clothes. Psychologically, it helps to wear real clothes, so lose the PJs if you can.

Now do something you enjoy, and makes you feel pampered. Have a cup of hot tea. Get a massage or a manicure. Take time to read that book or magazine you’ve been wanting to dive into. Listen to some music, or just take a nap.

2) Engage Your Brain

Do something that really makes you think. It can help you to interrupt those negative thoughts. You might do a crossword, word search, or Sudoku. Perhaps you might want to learn a new skill. Try a new recipe with a cooking technique you haven’t used before. Learn how to knit or crochet. Try your hand at a new sport.

Journaling is another great activity for engaging your brain. You can write about what’s bothering you, focus on more positive things, or look up writing prompts to use.

If you enjoy it, planning can be great way to distract yourself. Plan a dream trip (even if you might not take it), what you want to do this weekend, a party for a fun event coming up, or anything else you would like to plan.

3) Get Moving

It can be tempting to hang out in bed, or on the couch, all day, but you are much more likely to feel better if you get up and get moving.

I think everyone knows that exercising can help your mood due to the endorphins it releases. Give it a shot, and go on a walk or for a bike ride. How about dancing to your favorite music? If you aren’t up for that, just try some gentle stretching. If you can bring yourself to do it, doing some dishes, or a load of laundry, will get you going and also give you a feeling of accomplishment!

4) Be Social

When you are depressed, or feeling down, it is easy to isolate yourself. That isn’t very helpful though, so try to get out of your head and have some outside contact.

One if the most obvious ways to do this is to call a friend to talk. Bonus if you can invite that friend over or out for lunch.

If you don’t have someone you want to call, try chatting online or texting. Maybe now is a good time to write someone a letter.

Another way to get some social interaction is to bake some cookies, and deliver them to someone. Perhaps you have a friend or neighbor who would appreciate them, or maybe a local nursing home would like a visitor.

5) Get Creative

There are so many ways to cover this one. We have already covered some of them (journaling, knitting, crocheting, baking/cooking, planning something, etc). You can keep it simple with coloring, drawing or just doodling even. There are many types of crafts out there to try, but if you are short on ideas, visiting a craft store might give you inspiration. If you aren’t up to creating something yourself, try visiting an art museum.

6) Be Spiritual

I, personally, am an atheist, but if you aren’t, and feel better when you pray, then do it.

Other activities that I feel can fall into this category include getting outside, deep breathing, meditation, and mindfulness.

If you find any of these suggestions helpful, please let me know in the comments, and feel free to add in your own ideas! Perhaps I’ll make a later post detailing what my readers find helpful on their down days.

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My Inspiration for this Blog (part 2)

And then comes the middle…

In the midst of this, I started watching YouTube videos with the kids. They had some favorites they wanted to share with me, and I thought it would be good bonding time.  It turned out to be some great laughs for me. My kids have good taste!

I decided to watch past videos, and looked up their funny stuff on Pinterest. If you know me, you know this is typical. I’m a “researcher”. I always like to know more.

I learned that these two funny guys are incredible people. They care about their fans. They have struggled themselves, and want to be there for their subscribers. These men are Phil Lester of AmazingPhil and Dan Howell of danisnotonfire.

I found quotes like these:

It's a good thing to be strange, normalness leads to sadness. --Phil Lester

You are an independent mind in this universe that can do everything and anything you have ever dreamed of. --Dan Howell

Am I important? You are the center of your own universe, as a human with existence. So yes, you are important. Every human that can realize they're in existence, is important. Always remember that. --Dan Howell

Then I ran across these:

You are a human with one life, and it's up to you to make it the best life you can. -Dan Howell

You decide who you want to be, and do what you want with your life. -Dan Howell

These quotes hit me hard. Like “having a freaking epiphany” hard. I can actually do what I want with my life. I really don’t know why it took this particular wording, at this particular time, but it did, and it clicked.

So then I was thinking, what do I want to do with my life? What will make it the best life for me? It’s the same questions as before really, but something clicked in my head. So I thought, no matter what I do, what does everything I do come back to? I want to help. I want to help people. From there it was a matter of brainstorming and narrowing down ideas until this blog was born!

(Now, at the beginning of this, I stated that my inspiration for the blog was embarrassing for me. Why? Well, for some reason I’m a bit embarrassed to be so inspired by two twenty-something guys on YouTube. Is that reasonable? I don’t know, but there it is.)

Interested in more? Check out my Posts To Start With page to get started. Make sure you subscribe to get notifications about my most recent posts too.

 

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