Take Responsibility

A word of caution, this is very blunt. It is not meant to be taken as a lack of empathy, but rather words of encouragement. I noticed myself making excuses and this was exactly what I needed to hear:

All too often, you blame the hardships in life on people and circumstances external to you: I can’t find a job because school is too expensive, I experience unhealthy relationships because my father left me. The truth is, you can’t do this. Until you accept that you’re the one responsible for your life, the hardships will not change. Yes, some of these circumstances may have been out of your control, BUT it is up to YOU to work with them. It is up to YOU to redirect your focus. It is up to YOU to take responsibility for your life. You need to accept that just because someone may have caused an undesirable situation, it is not their responsibility to fix it; they are not the ones prolonging the pain. I’m sorry for being blunt, but in many cases, it is you. You need to take a good look in the mirror and examine how you are perpetuating the hardships. Only when you accept responsibility, will you be able to move forward in a positive direction.

What limiting beliefs do you have that keep you in the victim mindset?

Natasha xoxo

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A New Perspective On Stress

While unpacking from a recent move, I came across something I wrote in school; a perspective on stress I was trying to adopt. I remember reading this repeatedly with the hope of it altering my perspective and thus diminishing feelings of anxiety. Did it work? Sometimes. I do believe that we can retrain our brains to see things in a new, more positive light (repetition is the best way to do so). I plan on placing this wherever I’ll read it every day. If it resonates with you, I invite you to do the same.

“Stress does not exist! Stress is nothing more than socially constructed ideals planted in our minds like seeds…left to be watered by incomplete perceptions of the world around us. Therefore, stress does not exist.”

I’m curious, how do you perceive stress vs how you would like to perceive it?

 

Xoxo Natasha Mercey

Self-Compassion Writing Prompt

There’s an aspect of my life that I’ve felt a tremendous amount of shame around, that is, until I followed this writing prompt. My counsellor suggested I do it and wow, I could not stop writing. It was word vomit like I’ve never experienced before. It brought light and clarity to the issue and to top it off, it left me with solutions I didn’t even know I had! If you decide to try this, I recommend writing without judgements; forget about grammar, forget about sentence structure. Just write whatever comes to mind and I assure you, solutions and self-forgiveness will appear.

I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me.

Exploring self-compassion through writing

Part One: Which imperfections make you feel inadequate?

Everybody has something about themselves that they don’t like; something that causes them to feel shame, to feel insecure, or not “good enough.” It is the human condition to be imperfect, and feelings of failure and inadequacy are part of the experience of living a human life. Try writing about an issue you have that tends to make you feel inadequate or bad about yourself (physical appearance, work or relationship issues…) What emotions come up for you when you think about this aspect of yourself? Try to just feel your emotions exactly as they are – no more, no less – and then write about them.

Part Two: Write a letter to yourself from the perspective of an unconditionally loving imaginary friend

Now think about an imaginary friend who is unconditionally loving, accepting, kind and compassionate. Imagine that this friend can see all your strengths and all your weaknesses, including the aspect of yourself you have just been writing about. Reflect upon what this friend feels towards you, and how you are loved and accepted exactly as you are, with all your very human imperfections. This friend recognizes the limits of human nature, and is kind and forgiving towards you. In his/her great wisdom this friend understands your life history and the millions of things that have happened in your life to create you as you are in this moment. Your particular inadequacy is connected to so many things you didn’t necessarily choose: your genes, your family history, life circumstances – things that were outside of your control.

Write a letter to yourself from the perspective of this imaginary friend – focusing on the perceived inadequacy you tend to judge yourself for. What would this friend say to you about your “flaw” from the perspective of unlimited compassion? How would this friend convey the deep compassion he/she feels for you, especially for the pain you feel when you judge yourself so harshly? What would this friend write in order to remind you that you are only human, that all people have both strengths and weaknesses? And if you think this friend would suggest possible changes you should make, how would these suggestions embody feelings of unconditional understanding and compassion? As you write to yourself from the perspective of this imaginary friend, try to infuse your letter with a strong sense of his/her acceptance, kindness, caring, and desire for your health and happiness.

 

xoxo Natasha

 

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies GF & V

One could say I have a slight oatmeal addiction, thus I’ve decided to try out multiple variations of the classic oatmeal cookie. Today I made a toasted coconut chocolate chunk variation and I must say, they turned out phenomenal! Even my Dad liked them and that says a lot!

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Hope you enjoy them as much as my family did.

<makes 12>

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup GF oats

1 cup GF oat flour

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

½ cup toasted coconut (Place in a frying pan on low for 5-10 minutes. Watch to ensure they don’t burn)

Wet Ingredients:

¼ cup + 2tbs melted coconut oil

¼ cup coconut sugar

¼ cup maple syrup

2 flax eggs (2tbs ground flax and 6tbs hot water. Let sit for 15 min until gelatin like)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Add Ins:

¾ cup chocolate chunks

½ cup GF oats

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Toast coconut
  3. Prepare flax eggs
  4. In a bowl, mix dry ingredients
  5. In another bowl, mix wet ingredients until caramel like
  6. Add dry mixture to wet mixture
  7. Fold in Add Ins
  8. Place on baking sheet and flatten. I had to add a bit of GF oat flour to my hands to make it easier to roll into balls.
  9. Bake for 8-14 min. Mine took 13. Let cool completely.
  10. ENJOY!

 

 

A Dogs Love

Waking up this morning, I had one of those aha moments. As I exited my room, my dog greeted me; he was so happy and over joyed to see me. Why can’t we love ourselves this much? It reminded me of something I’ve heard in multiple podcasts lately and that is, ‘we are intrinsically valuable. Just the simple fact that we exist is a miracle’. My dog didn’t care about what I did yesterday, he didn’t care about the perceived flaws I have of myself. All he cared, was that I was there.

Yes, you may say that he needs me to survive, which could explain his happiness, but don’t I need myself to survive? Don’t I need myself to go about my life? Don’t you need yourself to rely on day in and day out? We need ourselves more than we need anyone else! As soon as we begin to realize this, maybe just maybe we will begin to love ourselves just as much as our dogs love us.

I’ll leave you with this:

“You are loved for who you are, not what you do” – Quote from Mind Body Musings podcast episode 193.

 

xoxo Natasha Mercey

What my 25-year-old self would advise my 20-year-old self.

Dear 20-year-old self:

  • A degree does not increase your value, happiness or success.
  • Chase joy, not money. Abundance comes when you’re in a state of joy. It’s in the state of joy that you add the most value to the world; you will be rewarded for it.
  • No boy that causes you stress is worth your time. You don’t need a relationship to feel loved.
  • No one has it all figured out so don’t compare your life to the highlights you see of others.
  • Put yourself out there; don’t play it small, you have too much to offer the world.
  • Make the most of the time you have because its time you won’t get back.
  • Nothing will change until you do the internal work. You can’t run away from yourself.
  • Happiness comes from within; it is not dependant on your external situation(s).
  • Holding on often causes more pain that the original circumstance.
  • Don’t regret the past, you were doing your best with the information you had at the time.
  • The moment that you are in right now is perfect despite what it may look like.

Love,

Your 25-year-old self

2017

What I’ve learned to be true (for me) in 2017:

1.    It’s okay to say no

I can say no to relationships, to invitations and to requests at work; if it goes against my best interests and I’m in no way hurting anyone else, it’s okay to say no. I truly believe that in any relationship, it’s better that I give an honest no, then go against my own hearts desires. By saying no, I am saying yes to myself.

2.    Everything happens for a reason

I’ve always believed this to some extent, but it wasn’t until recently that I began to wholeheartedly believe it. By looking at my life in retrospect I began to see this as truth (see #9).

3.    I hear and see things the way I want to hear and see them

Do you ever take something one way only to find out that the other individual didn’t mean it that way at all? I mean they may have at a subconscious level, but that’s beside the point. In all cases, I hear and see things through the lenses of my own perceptions: the stories I tell myself and the beliefs I have. All sensory input goes through these lenses and becomes morphed into what I want to perceive.

4.    Not everyone is going to like me

I learned that not everyone is going to like me, nor do I want them to. As I began to learn who I am at a deeper level, I came to realize that I was silencing the true version of myself. I was silencing her to please everyone else and to make them and myself more comfortable; because God forbid if I had different opinions and/or interests. With this new-found knowledge of self, I can voice my opinions (when it’s called for) and express my interests. If ppl like it great, if ppl don’t, that’s okay to. Besides, by being myself I allow room for the right people to enter my life.

5.    Self-love will get me further than self-hatred ever will.

My go to motivator used to be beating myself up for not attaining a certain result or accomplishing a certain goal; boy was that the wrong thing to do! All that did was lead me down a path of self-destruction. Self-love is my new go to motivator.

6.    Without health, I have nothing

While being challenged with my own health journey I learned that without it, I don’t have much. Without my health, I’m not as productive, I’m not as motivated and I can’t fully immerse myself into the things I want to enjoy; I simply can’t be my highest self. I’ve pressed pause on some areas of my life to make my health a priority and the correlation between my wellbeing and how I show up in my life is clear.

7.    My external world is a result of my internal state

How I feel internally will alter how I perceive the world around me. If I feel good about myself, I will see the beauty around me; if I feel bad about myself I will see the shit around me.

8.    Boundaries are key

This closely relates to number 1, its okay to say no, except that now I have rules regarding what to say no to. Sticking to them is a form of self-love and self-respect. I just need to remember that it’s okay for my boundaries to change and evolve day by day.

9.    Life makes sense in retrospect

Over the last few years I said a lot of, “why me?”. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I was in a state of victimhood. I wondered why some events were taking so long move on from and why they occurred in the first place. But it wasn’t until I became honest with myself about playing the victim, that I saw the line I could cross. I could stay in a self-destructive state or I could learn from it, take the importance and move on. I learned this by looking back; only in retrospect was I able to connect the dots and realize that life was not happening to me, but rather for me. Once I made this realization, life began to make sense.

Having learned all this in 2017, I’ve decided that 2018 is the year I prioritize my internal state, because after all, my external world is a clear reflection.

Wishing love, lessons and growth for you all in 2018.

xoxo Natasha