A Free Pat On Your Back

Recently someone said to me, “Stop being so hard on yourself, you just don’t give yourself enough credit”. That made me stop in my tracks and really think about those words. We have so many conversations online and in-person but when you hear those words come from anyone, your best bet is to take that in and listen. I really had to take some inventory of how true those statements were for me. Why was I being so hard on myself? Well, the honest truth is that we are our worst and toughest critic.

How often do we go through so many events in our lives that really push our limits to be stronger? How many times do we overcome losses, disappointments, rejection and still we dust ourselves off and move forward? Sometimes we don’t even realize that as time goes by, we have grown and learned so many lessons thanks to our strong spirit. We may have had failures but we also have made the conscious effort to keep pushing ahead for a better tomorrow. And even if tomorrow came and we stumbled again, we should just try again and just think, “Ok, this didn’t quite go the way I thought but what was my lesson here?” Your perseverance no matter how big or small should be acknowledged and celebrated. Now, sure you’re not going to throw yourself a party every time you overcome a problem (or would you? invites being accepted), but taking notice that you are trying is a HUGE step. Let’s agree to not be so hard on ourselves because if we were to look back, I’m sure we could find we have made bigger strides than we give ourselves credit for. Of course, it’s always nice to hear “great job” from your bosses, peers, friends but just remember not to let that command your thoughts or let that be your drive. An idea is to perhaps begin making a list of difficult circumstances you have experienced and how you saw yourself through it. Write down your strengths or actions that you may have taken to turn your situation around. Thinking about it just fine but there is something special about putting it on paper and seeing it in front of you. You don’t have to show this list to anyone. This is for yourself and a moment of face to face transparency and sincerity for you.  Just like any muscle that needs exercise, so is the act of validating your successes and your inner strength. Once you put some thought behind this you are off to empowering yourself to another level. Today, I am here to remind you that you should pat yourself on your back. Why? Because you deserve to give yourself much credit for working hard, being a great parent, sibling, friend, colleague and heck just for making it from one day to the next with all the obstacles out in the world.

“Always concentrate on how far you’ve come, rather than how far you have left to go.” ~Unknown

Photo by: Nghia Le

The Magic of Solitude

We live in such a noisy, busy and chaotic world these days. We also live in a world where being connected online is a daily marathon. Everyone is mindful of likes, sharing photos, personal status updates and hunting for followers. Sure, it’s important to keep up with your circle of friends and family in some way. But the question today is do you ever find alone time? It seems too often people will go out of their way to ensure that they are never alone. More often than not those who do enjoy time on their own are criticized for being anti-social, loners, shy, boring or labeled wallflowers. The fact of the matter is that enjoying time by yourself is actually healthy and valuable to your mental and emotional space. It’s so important to be comfortable enough to do things alone and appreciate your own company. Going for a walk, treating yourself to a movie (yes alone), going for a drive, taking a short or long trip on your own. These are just some ways that you can reconnect with yourself. How often do you get lost throughout the day by going to work, then you go home and it’s time to be a parent, a spouse, sibling, roommate, etc? Being of service and available to those you care about is kind and commendable, but when do you make time to be your own best friend. How about finding a quiet space and just listening to your thoughts and connecting with your inner self? Yes – it’s true that depending on what you have going on in your life you may not want to be in your head too much. Yet, connecting with yourself on a deeper level can be quite transformative and can even be a form of healing. It’s in this moment of solitude where you may likely find answers. It’s when the magic is awakened. The magic is that moment when you can just be free to be your unique self. It’s the moment when you don’t have to be anything you are not, just your authentic YOU and that is pure freedom. Silence is not something you should take for granted. Try it some time. You can start with just a few minutes during the day by taking a few deep breaths. If you feel you have to schedule the time to do so, that’s okay too.  The point is to seek this time and treat it as a gift to yourself and to your soul. The more you do find these small moments to nurture your spirit, the more you will grow and the more peace you will find and within that, there is unlimited power.

So dear readers, do you enjoy alone time or is this something you find challenging? Have you tried taking up the practice of meditation?

 

Photo by Josh Adamski

 

When Change Knocks At Your Door

It’s hard to believe we only have a few months left of the year 2017. This year, it seems so many people are experiencing changes and shifts in some area of their lives that is quite significant. When change knocks at your door, how do you answer? Do you open the door without hesitation or are you extra cautious? It’s safe to say many of us can experience doubt and fear when uncertainty enters our lives. They say progress is impossible without change and no matter how uncomfortable it might be, it could be the gateway to something really incredible. It could be the universe’s way of shaking things up and taking you out of the old comfort zone which is where stagnant energy lives. We are here to grow, evolve and learn and sometimes a major change is necessary. Are you in a soul-sucking job? Are you in an unhappy and unfulfilling relationship? Are your relationships unbalanced? Have you outgrown the home where you live or the area where you live? Are you feeling unhealthy and have been considering a lifestyle change? The safe zone is where many of us stay but there does come a time when our inner voice tries so hard to tell us to move on! Do we listen and act, or do we listen and suppress those thoughts? If you have been contemplating a change in your life and you’re reading this now, consider this as your SIGN. The time is now. So what’s the worst that can happen if you leave the old behind? Maybe it’s time to explore that new career, invest in yourself and remove those people or things that no longer resonate with you or bring positivity to your life.

Change may not come easy and yes there may be a bit of struggle but that is where you develop your strength. Think back on a time in your life when you actually made the conscious decision to go in a different direction from where you were. Maybe that decision brought you new relationships or new opportunities. As you can see, the calendar days wait for no one and times moves quickly. We are only here for a limited time so why not take action and do those things that you enjoy. Why not surround yourself with kind and supportive people. The battle of fear of the uncertainty and acceptance can be challenging but very much attainable. The question is how badly do you want to move forward. If you think you’re not ready that means you are! Wait, what? Yes, waiting for the right time or circumstance is just another form of procrastination and comes from a place of fear. Taking that leap of faith is not about timing, it’s about that deep desire to want to be happy. Always trust your inner voice and take that chance. So, now I ask you again –  when change comes knocking at your door, how will you answer? Will you open the door gracefully allowing the ebb and flow of growth to enter or will you push back and struggle through the process? The choice is yours but remember great things comes outside of your comfort zone. So One Style at Time readers, have you experienced any changes in your life? How did you handle these events no matter how big or small?

 

Express Your Soul’s Creativity

Have you ever felt like courage likes to play hide and seek with you sometimes? We all remember the character of the Lion in the classic film, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and how cowardly he seemed for the most part of the movie? His wish all along the way to Emerald City was to gain some much-needed courage. Believe it or not, sometimes it really does take a great amount of courage to allow yourself to just follow your dreams especially if your dreams entail creativity. It takes courage to let your guard down and listen to what your soul really desires. Ever notice how children at a young age can get lost playing with their toys, drawing, coloring or playing an instrument? Those are the initial imaginative inclinations we are all born with but as we become adults, they get lost in this big busy world of logical thinking. The fact of the matter is that those creative passions never die and are deep-rooted within us and are a part of who we are as individuals. Many times you may crave to express those passions but because of fear, we tend to just give up and walk away. Sometimes the best thing you can do is invite fear in and have a long, needed facetime with it and just hash it out. Talk to it, write it a letter, make a date with it or have a cup of coffee with this big ugly monster. Facing it is the only way to get to the next steps.

Throughout my years as a fashion blogger, I have interacted with so many men and women utterly afraid to engage in their passions. They have asked what made me start a blog and how did I get here. My honest answer is because my soul needed to express myself in some way. After so many years of strictly working in the corporate world without any artistic outlet, the truth of the matter was that ‘restless feeling’ just got louder as time went by. It became so loud that with zero knowledge of what blogging was I made the decision one day to just take a chance. Getting there wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. How long did it take me? A long time, but the important thing is to start somewhere, anywhere and avoid suppressing those gut feelings or nudges in your heart and mind. Never ignore a creative calling because you never know where this can lead. Yes, you will encounter the fear of feeling too old or that you’re not good enough. The fear of what will family and friends think, being judged and ridiculed or not accepted. The list goes on and frankly, it’s completely normal to doubt yourself at some point. Let your soul’s passion be greater than your doubt. One of my favorite quotes by the late and amazing Dr. Wayne Dyer is so poignant, “Don’t die with your music still inside you”. So whatever it is that moves your spirit, just do it. This is part of your calling, authentic self and purpose. You never know along this journey – you just may end up inspiring someone else to do the same.

So readers, have you ever found yourself at this crossroads? Have you taken the plunge on a creative endeavor? How did you face that fear before diving in and taking action? Leave your comments below.

Photo: Pinterest

 

The Power of Color for Home and Business

What is the power of COLOR? It’s pretty safe to say that colors have one of the highest frequencies which we interact with on a daily basis. If we think about it, from the moment we get up in the morning one of our first decisions we make is what are we going to wear and that usually includes a choice of color(s). Have you ever decorated a room, home or office space? If so, then you know that the right choice of colors can make or break the vibe of your space. At some point you may have shopped around for new paint for a home improvement project. Then you know there are so many options and it’s a little more involved than just saying, “I’m going to paint a wall green”. The choice you make will have a lasting effect on your space regardless of its size. Colors can symbolize or represent a variety of things in western or eastern cultures. Have you heard the term ‘Feng Shui'(pronounced fung shway)? In English it means “wind-water” and it’s the Chinese system of placing and arranging items at home to increase the flow of ‘Chi’ or energy. Color plays a predominant role in the proper execution in Feng Shui. (See below for some of the meanings behind the colors in this system) It is believed that many of these principles can aid in increasing good luck, money, harmony, health and all areas of your life. Seriously, who doesn’t want any and all of these things! So why not give it a try. Here are 9 simple tips to Feng Shui your home.

On the side of business, perhaps you are looking to launch a new website or are looking to purchase business cards for that business. Once again, the importance of your color selection will distinguish and represent your brand so you want to make sure that you put some thought behind this. Color can be persuasive and influential from a marketing perspective and according to an article in Small Business Trends, “Color can often be the sole reason someone purchases a product, where 93% of buyers focus on visual appearance and almost 85% claim color to be their primary reason for purchase!”

The color choices we make can make a difference in how we feel. If we believe that colors carry a certain sense of energy, then how does this translate into our mood? I believe we all bring our own source of energy to this world. When we combine this with certain colors that we gravitate to, then we can make beautiful music together. Learning about the meaning behind certain hues is important, but remember to go with what resonates best with you. Whatever you feel is best aligned with you and lifts your spirits is exactly the color you may want to bring into your space. So, how do you find the use of certain colors have impacted life at home, business etc? Have you tried using Feng Shui in any way? Would love to hear your thoughts!

XO

Maria

Photo:Louisem.com