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You used to have it. That rock solid confidence. That playful way of engaging with yourself.

You used to be fascinated with your feet, your fingers tasted like honey on a buttered bread.

You used to feel light, excited, free.

Most of all, you followed your inner core, your peaceful self and were genuinely happy, liking yourself for who you were.

Then, something changed.

You grew up.

You listened to your parents, teachers, strangers on TV. You began to see yourself in a new light. Not a brighter one, but a darker, grimmer, uglier one.

Suddenly your hair that you used to cherish so much wasn’t good enough anymore.

Suddenly your legs that carried you over meadows and helped you win races against your friends felt too short, the thighs too big and the gap in between not big enough.

Suddenly your beautiful art that you spent hours upon hours creating seemed silly and was replaced by arduous studying and burning self-doubts.

Suddenly, you just didn’t like yourself anymore. Your relationship with yourself was washed down the drain and replaced by a facade that carried you through life but made you more and more unhappy as every day went by.

Maybe you began to binge, diet or exercise excessively. Maybe you began to have sex with strangers you met in a bar. Maybe you began to retreat into your own little shell. Or maybe you just sleepwalked through your days dreaming of a better life.

Simply put, you just felt lost, abandoned by the most important person in your life: yourself.

Now, however, you’re reading this. Now, however, you want to change. Now, however, it’s time to reconnect, get your bliss back and begin feeling divine in the skin you’re in.

Having a great relationship with yourself, truly knowing and appreciating yourself, is not only essential when it comes to your issues with food, but it’s also a way of adding more quality of life to your every day. You spend so much time with yourself, 24/7 to be exact – so why shouldn’t you feel truly happy with who you are?

It’s a no brainer, right? But it’s easier said than done. I’ve been working on my relationship with myself for more than 3 years now, but as I’ve been thinking about my own inner world over the last few months, I realized that there are still tons of construction places to be worked on.

One of them is my lack of self-confidence. In a way, I think I’ve regressed in the past year. I used to feel rock solid, but somehow, I’ve begun to feel small again. How does it show up?

I’m terrified of talking with people on the phone. TERRIFIED. When I know I have a call, I feel restless all day long. I’m sweating, trembling and queasy as I still think that I don’t have anything worthy to say, that I have to pretend to be someone else, that people will dislike me for who I am. As a result, my English goes out the window and I just stumble along those calls.

At the same time, I’ve noticed that when people ask me about my life, I refer back to them as fast as I can. For some reason, I feel embarrassed about sharing my story and am more comfortable listening to others share theirs.

Now, obviously this isn’t a bad characteristic, but if you do it too often, you’re being self-denying and that hurts your self-esteem and does injustice to your self-worth.

I am sure that this is standing in the way of me being the mom and sister, coach and business owner, friend and daughter I truly want and am destined to be.

You can probably relate, right?

If you can, then it’s time to turn it around. It’s time to begin a relationship with yourself again that lasts a lifetime, supports you, loves you and heals you inside and out.

1. Change your living situation

Thomas Moore, who is a former monk and clinical psychologist, says that our outer world (the possessions we have, the way we choose to decorate our bedroom, the pictures we hang on the wall etc.) reflects the condition of our inner lives.

And I agree.

The more clutter I have, the less relaxed I feel. The lighter the colors of my furniture, the freer I feel. The bigger the windows in my home, the clearer my mind. It’s all connected.

So, take a look around your house and do a body check to see how you feel in your home. If you feel negative feelings, it’s time to change something. Now, I don’t suggest you go ahead, sell your home and move across the world. Although, if that’s what you truly desire, DO IT. But even just a few adjustments can make a big difference in the way you feel, and thus in your relationship with your beautiful self.

Set yourself a challenge, look for the room or corner in your home that you like the least and begin taking out one piece a day that you’d rather live without. You can then either leave that spot empty or replace it with an object, a painting, a scent that inspires you and feels like it represents your core.

Repeat this process for a week or until your space feels good to you again and see how your relationship with yourself evolves.

2. Do The Work on yourself

Never heard of The Work by Byron Katie? Then, it’s about time you learn about it, my love.

I’ve stumbled upon Byron Katie’s work two years ago as I was going through a big self-transformation and Byron’s process helped me tremendously. My initial separation from my husband paired with a new bout of anorexia unleashed a whole slew of painful thoughts and beliefs that made me want to dig deeper into my inner demons. Through The Work, I was able to create space around my thoughts and replace the charge they carried with a more benign way of looking at myself and my situation.

I know I’m not alone with my painful doubts and we all carry around hideous reminders of our supposed shortcoming that keep us up at night.

You know the Top 10 list of your own limiting beliefs, don’t you? Some of my clients’ favourites are:

I’m not good enough.

I’m not smart enough.

I need to do more.

I need to lose weight.

I should work out more. 

I should dress up more often for my husband.

I am a failure as a mom. 

I’m failing myself.

People judge me for my weight.

I should be happier. 

And on and on and on goes our mind. Yet, Byron Katie reminds us that our thoughts are just a random running commentary that doesn’t have to be true. We can easily defuse the pain these thoughts create by asking the following questions:

1. Is it true?

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

4. Who would you be without the thought?

Then, we can turn the thought around, and find at least three genuine, specific examples for each turnaround.

Turn the thought to the Opposite.

Turn the thought to the Other.

Turn the thought to the Self.

Sounds too complicated? It isn’t. Let’s look at an example.

People judge me for my weight.

1. Is it true? Yes.

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? No.

3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? I resent people who look at me or even just glance at me. I feel insecure and just want to cry all day long. It also makes me want to binge on everything in sight.

4. Who would you be without the thought? I would be free, happy and self-confident. I would finally accept myself the way I am. I’d also be so much friendlier and open towards other people.

Time to turn the thought around:

Turn the thought to the Opposite. People don’t judge me for my weight.

Turn the thought to the Other. My weight judges me for people.

Turn the thought to the Self. I judge me for my weight.

Then try to find three examples for every turnaround that could be true or truer than the original thought. 

There’s no right or wrong way to answer these questions. There’s no way of doing it wrong. Just go with your gut reactions and see how you feel after you’ve gone through this process. My experience shows that you’ll feel relieved, lighter and just a tiny bit less sad.

Obviously, there’s much more to The Work than that. So go over to Byron Katie’s website to dig a little deeper and get the entire scoop about freeing yourself from your destructive thoughts.

3. Use the Body Compass to find out what you really want

Your body is your truest guide and the best tool to find your way back home to yourself. However, most of us have completely forgotten to rely on the wisdom of our bodies and instead rely solely on our minds.

This leads to unhappiness, wrong decisions, weight gain, disordered eating, staying in disastrous relationships, accepting jobs we hate and forgetting who we really are.

The cool thing is that your body is very forgiving and always ready to welcome you back home. {Click to tweet}

So, maybe now is the time for you to re-connect with your body, learn to listen to it again and live a life in a partnership that won’t let you down.

In comes the Body Compass by Martha Beck, which will help you to make decisions, figure out if you’re hungry, emotional, feeling good or bad (some of us don’t even know the difference anymore) and simply serve as a guide on your journey to a deeper relationship with yourself.

Try to give yourself an hour of uninterrupted time in order to calibrate your body compass. Close your eyes, begin to breathe deeply and relax.

First, do a simple body scan. Feel your body beginning at your toes and ending at your head. Simply notice your body, one part at a time.

Once you feel complete, recall a very unhappy memory in your life. Try to go back to that painful event and dig into how you felt at that point. Then, notice how your body feels right now. What changed in your body once you began thinking of this painful memory? What bodily sensations are connected to this event?

Once you’ve identified the physical sensations connected to the bad feeling, give this feeling a name.

Then, shake it all off and repeat the process for a happy, joyful event in your life.

Now that you’ve begun the reconnection process with your body, you’ll begin to notice the good and bad feelings in your body more and more, which will enable you to change the course of your life and your relationship with yourself.

Does your body compass tell you that the meeting with your friend feels negative? Well, don’t go.

Does your body compass signal that you are happiest when you are in your garden? Purchase more seeds and spend more time outside.

Simply listen, act and have fun with it.

4. Change what doesn’t work

You already know what stands in the way of you truly liking yourself, don’t you? You know when you’re most unhappy, when you feel most out of balance, when your inner core is most misaligned.

You’re just waiting for someone to take your hand and guide you to the change that you truly desire. Well, you can be your own guide beginning right now.

You just need to commit to it. Commit to taking steps forward. Every little one counts. If you feel stuck, do The Work on your thoughts and begin again. If you feel like you can’t do it alone, hire a coach (like me) and let the wisdom and councel of others help you along. If you feel resistance inside about changing anything at all, acknowledge that these fears are normal, expected even, but that your life will forever be the same if you choose to stand still.

But you already know what you need to do, am I right?

5. Act As If

Sometimes the first step towards a more aligned relationship with yourself is to just act as if you already have one.

How would you behave, what would you do, what would your daily patterns look like if you didn’t feel resentful about yourself? What happen if you were truly happy with your body, mind and soul? How would you walk into a room if you felt self-confident and how would you talk to that handsome guy you can’t stop looking at if your self-doubts were suddenly gone?

Act as if and find out!

6. Simply have some fun

When was the last time you just let go and enjoyed yourself? A month ago? 2 years? 3 decades?

Having fun, doing what truly makes your heart sing is a great way of reconnecting with yourself.

If you’re having trouble coming up with anything you enjoy doing, try to think back to what you loved doing as a child.

If you loved to paint, paint! Even if it feels scary or you fear that you’re not good at it anymore. Who cares? Just do it.

If you loved to play hide and seek, do that. Drag your husband or your neighbor’s children along and just play.

If you loved to observe and catch bees (which I did), then go on a tour and do that. But try not to get hurt. 

If you watched Spice Girls concerts over and over again trying to learn the choreographies of every song (me again!), take up a Zumba class or dance Hip Hop at they Y.

The possibilities are endless. Just choose one thing and go with it.

7. Stop the blame game

So, you’ve had something really bad happen in the past. It hurt, maybe it knocked you down for a while and it took you months or years to get back up. It stinks. It’s unfair, but it doesn’t matter. It’s in the past.

If you keep blaming others for your circumstances, you’re standing in your own way of finding happiness and peace.

I’ve done it. For years, I’ve blamed my brother for my unhappiness, my anorexia, my lack of will to be alive. I’ve resented him for everything he did to me. I’ve played the scenarios and the psycho messages he sent me over and over again in my head until they made me go crazier, get more and more mad, feel more hurt and more like a victim. Slowly, I was destroying myself by repeating the past in my mind.

Then I realized that my brother didn’t give a s**t about my pain and that he wouldn’t get hurt by my holding on to his actions. So, slowly and gently, I let go. I freed myself of the blame game and I accepted responsibility for my own life. None of this makes his freakish behavior right, but it’s made me the person I truly am supposed to be.

Now, I’m happy, free and successful.

So, whatever past resentments you are holding on to, let them go, realize that you are responsible for your own life, for your present circumstances and your future. Take back control and notice how you begin seeing yourself in a new light.

8. Go deeper

If you desire to build a true, genuine connection with yourself, you can’t stay on the surface. Your work has to go deep – so deep that it hurts initially. A life-changing transformation requires a dissolution of your old beliefs, your old habits, your ego. This doesn’t happen over night and it doesn’t happen by buying yourself a bouquet of your favorite flowers.

The deeper you go, the more it hurts, the more certain your ascent to a new life and a deeper relationship with yourself.

So, question yourself. Question your behavior. Journal, work with a coach, meditate and sit with your emotions until you have dealt with the root issue, until you have freed yourself and uncovered the person you truly are.

Don’t rush this process, be patient and confident that the other side will feel like homing home to the person you have always been.

9. Dare to dream

I’ve just had someone coach me through my perfect day and boy was it a revelation. Everything I saw was different than I had expected it to be. My outlook on life, my dreams for Johann and myself changed completely: in the matter of an hour. It was powerful, emotional and truly eye opening.

Do you know what you want for yourself? Do you know what your ideal day really looks like? What makes you feel blissful, confident and – most importantly – true to yourself?

If not, dare to dream. Sit back, relax and envision your ideal life, your perfect day, your most outrageous dreams. Do you want to wake up on Fiji and go to bed in the mountains of Colorado? Done! Do you want to spend your days outside and your nights having dinner in Paris? No big deal. Do you want to live a quiet life with your crazy family and build a business you can be truly proud of? It’s happening!

Whatever you want, it’s yours. Don’t chastise yourself for wanting more than you have right now, but let it inspire you to create your ideal day in the life you have now.

Finding you way back home to yourself is a process that might sometimes seem rocky and often, you’ll want to give up. But just think about the possibilities, the freedom, the love and the peace you’ll have once you’ve bust through your fears, worked your way through your blogs, loved your way to a whole you?

The reward, believe me, will feel, look, smell and taste so much better than you can ever imagine.

So, begin your journey today. Be brave. Be curious. And you’ll finally find - and love - the real you!

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It’s Not About Willpower

by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt on August 16, 2014

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It’s not about willpower

It’s about your story

It’s about your patterns

It’s about your life

 

It’s not about failure

It’s about loss

It’s about guilt

It’s about shame

 

It’s not about force

It’s about tenderness

It’s about gentleness

It’s about kindness

 

It’s not about laziness

It’s about fear

It’s about courage

It’s about hope

 

It’s not about carelessness

It’s about creating space

It’s about giving in

It’s about going deep

 

It’s not about hate

It’s about love

It’s about protection

It’s about faith

 

It’s not about strength

It’s about letting go

It’s about vulnerability

It’s about unraveling

 

It’s not about your weight

It’s about your soul

It’s about your core

It’s about your home

 

It’s about you

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Transforming Your Relationship With Food Won’t Make You Happy

August 13, 2014

There’s a lot of talk about how to change your relationship with food in order to finally be free, happy and healthy and it got me thinking: Do we have to have a relationship with food? Whether good or bad, is a relationship with food healthy and even sane? I say NO. You see, the […]

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Free eBook: A Guide to Body-Acceptance- Real-Life Stories About Making Peace With The Body You Have

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For most of my life, I’ve hated my body. I grew up wishing to be skinnier, wanting to look like Britney Spears, with toned abs and a perfect butt. I longed to have upper arms like Heidi Klum and long legs like Giselle Bundchen. All in all, I wanted to be everyone but me: a […]

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What It Really Means to Love Your Body

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Body-love is such a loaded topic, isn’t it? Every woman is talking about it and every woman has an opinion on it because every woman is struggling with it. There are those who say loving your body is impossible if you don’t wear a size 0 and there are those who pretend to be totally […]

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Body-Love & Self-Care After Cancer

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Today, I am super excited to share an interview with Llinos Mai Thomas with you. Llinos Mai Thomas is a writer, cancer survivor, mental health warrior and creative soul from Cardiff, UK.  She shares her health journey to inspire others on the road to healing, and has raised thousands of pounds for charity. Her book, […]

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100 Beautiful Quotes To Inspire Your Body-Love Journey

May 23, 2014

Your body hears everything your mind says. ~ Naomi Judd To love yourself as you are is a miracle, and to see yourself is to have found yourself, for now. And now is all we have, and love is who we are. ~ Anne Lamott As a child, I never heard one woman say to me, “I love […]

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Body-acceptance 101 – The 5 Best Tactics to Finally Love the Skin You’re In

May 16, 2014

Much has been said and written about body-acceptance and self-love. There are many ways you can learn to make peace with your body and stop dieting once and for all. But what are the best ways to begin your body-love journey? What does really help when you just can’t seem to be OK with who […]

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{Body-Confidence Makeover Challenge} Day 10: Break Up With Your Body-Love Frenemies

May 10, 2014

Vogue. Elle. Vanity Fair. Cosmopolitan. Shape Magazine. Bravo. Seventeen. Marie Claire. Glamour. Allure. The list of magazines published on a weekly basis is huge. Every week, you see new pictures of beautiful, flawless, skinny, (often) teenage models–on the way to work, on the way to checking out, and in the hands of co-workers and friends. […]

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{Body-Confidence Makeover Challenge} Day 9: Pay It Forward

May 9, 2014

Day 9 of the Body-Confidence Makeover Challenge is here and today – as you’ve guessed – it’s Summer’s turn again! Take it away, Summer: http://summerinnanen.com/10daybcm-day9 SHARE YOUR MAKEOVER SUCCESS! I want you to report your actions in the comments or on social media…tag it on facebook, twitter and instagram (use the #10BCM). Have fun today and stay tuned for tomorrow’s 10-Day Body Confidence Makeover […]

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