Shine From Within: WEEK 5

Everything has been off these past few days, nothing seems to be going right, my house can’t stay clean, I’m nagging at Ryan (the husband), I’m getting offended by someone left and right, the list goes on and on. Right before I sat down to write this blog post I was saying to myself “Why does life have to be so hard?”.  

This is not the first time that I have felt this way and I know it will not be the last.

Then I thought to myself--  Have I been finding time for myself this week? Have I been working on Positive Self-Talk, Self forgiveness, Self- acceptance and Self- love?

The bona fide answer is... not much, if at all.

I have been so focused on what is not going right in my world, being “busy” and not making that inner effort to apply the words Be Bona Fide has been preaching. I have lost my way and I feel robbed. I feel robbed because I know what it feels like to feel self-love and I let it go.

Before Be Bona Fide I have always found a quick fix to get out of these “funks” by turning my focus outwards and start serving. This has helped me, but only temporary. I was right back to where I started a week or so later.

Before you can truly find love in serving others you need to find the love for yourself. Which brings up a question I have been battling with. Is it better for me to just go out and serve or to take a step back and apply these practices below in my life first?

  1. Positive self-talk

  2. Self-forgiveness

  3. Self-acceptance

  4. Self-love  

As you can see from my experience- these steps to shine are not something we practice once. It is not something that I can write about and talk about but not practice them daily. It will only be a matter of time where you will fall back into your old ways. You and I need to go through these steps everyday and ask ourselves:

Have I told myself that I am strong?

Have I given myself grace today?

Have I made an effort to notice my inner beauty and take care of my mental health this week?

As we are constantly working on these thoughts we will start to see the love grow for the people around us. We can openly serve others around us and give the love we are capable of.

This brings me to our 5th and final step to shine from the inside out - Serving Others. 

These next couple days I will be working from the bottom to turn my focus back on the four steps we have previously walked though. I will focus on my inner beauty so that when I do see that calling where I’m needed to serve, I will be ready for it. I will be ready with a clear mind and an open heart.

Serving others does not always have to come in extravagant forms is can be as little as a handwritten letter to a friend, opening a door for a stranger, calling a friend to be a listening ear. All it takes is being aware of where you are needed and taking action.

“When you decide to notice, when you decide to act, when you decide to make a difference (even in a small way), you have taken the first step in changing the world.”

This holiday season is the best time to look for people and places where you are needed. We have so much to be grateful for, so let’s spread the B/B holiday cheer and serve a friend, neighbor, co-worker, volunteer at a shelter, visit someone in the hospital, compliment a stranger, etc. We would love to see you serving! Feel free to share it and tag #shinefromwithin.

We will be ending this #shinefromwithin series with a sale on the product that inspired these past five blog posts. Stay tuned tomorrow for something exciting something that you can pass on to a loved one during this holiday season.

Thank you all for joining us! We love you and are grateful for this online community we have built.

 

Silence Isn't Always Golden.

Silence isn't always golden. 

Mental illness and silence often go hand in hand. 

Some people are silent about their struggles because of the stigma that surrounds it. Others are silent because they don't want to appear different. Some are silent because they refuse to accept their diagnosis.

Personally, when I was first diagnosed with anxiety and depression, I was silent for all of the above reasons and then some. I was silent because I didn't know how to put something into words that I didn't understand. I didn't know nor did I want to talk about something that I was so angry at. I was 21 at the time and would have been finishing up my senior of college but instead I was housebound due to crippling panic attacks and depression. Mental illness was new to me, but lying about what I was going through was not. When I wasn't able to return to school that year I lied and told my friends and family that I was sick with mono. I thought acceptance of something physical would be better received than something mental. I didn't know how to explain that all of a sudden I wasn't able to do simple things like walk down the street alone anymore. I didn't know how to talk about something that I couldn't see, or hear, or touch. I didn't know how to voice something I couldn't accept.

Well, I learned quickly that lying was indeed keeping people out but I failed to realize it was also keeping me in. I was so focused on managing a lie that I forgot about the taking care of myself part and the more I pushed my mental illness away the harder it pushed back. It wasn't until a life-changing therapy session where my therapist opened my eyes to a harsh truth. "Baylee, how can you expect to get through this if you won't even accept it?" So I unclenched my fists, waved the white flag and finally accepted what I had been resisting all along- I had a mental illness.

I dropped the fake story, stopped going to doctors wishing for a different diagnosis, and I started to openly talk about my struggles. The beauty and freedom I found in acceptance changed my life. I started to progress in therapy. I started to heal.

I started an Instagram community called @anxietysupport where I could share my story and give others an opportunity to do the same. I started going to support groups. Instead of shaming my mental illness I began embracing it and talking about it. I started to live an honest and genuine life no matter what it looked like and no mater who did or did not understand it. And to my surprise, the very people I was hiding from were the very same people who showed me the most support and even found comfort in my story. I never imagined I would be an example, I still don't consider myself one, I'm just someone who realized very quickly that silence isn't always golden.

Words by Baylee Krawczyk.


We are so inspired  and overwhelmed with gratitude for Baylee's words today and everyday. She shares her personal story freely and has built a strong support system for when you are seeking  comfort and understanding.  She is not afraid to stand out- to be different- to be bona fide

Be Bona Fide and these words "Silence isn't always golden" go hand in hand because we encourage people to share their story, to accept the not so great days, their struggles, and find beauty in the imperfection. Together we are creating a platform for women comfortable sharing their behind their scenes-- the stuff no one wants to talk about. Thank you Baylee for not being afraid to share yours, you have touched so many and strengthened us all.  

To just think it all started with accepting yourself and writing your story... Thank you again for being brave! Life is hard, and we cannot do it alone. 

Baylee's Instagram is found HERE

Share your Be Bona Fide story HERE- "Silence Isn't Always Golden". 

 

Shine From Within: WEEK FOUR

Love. Love is an amazing thing. Everybody wants to be loved. It's our nature as humans to crave that warm, safe and accepted feeling of what it is to be loved. We are full of love and yet we give it mostly to others, not ourselves.

I am of the opinion that our soul is like a balloon. We try to fill it with all these "stones" that we think will improve our self-love. We shop for new outfits, shoes, face creams, etc. We fill our "balloons" with the temporary satisfaction of things, comments and likes on a good photo, etc. Not all of these stones are bad, but it will take much longer to fill that balloon as it stretches and becomes heavier. So what can we do to fill it up and not be so heavy? Air, right? What does the air represent you ask? It is what we tell ourselves. What we study. How we treat others (including ourselves). 

So how do we get this air? How do we get self-love?

First, it starts with recognition. 

When we realize that we can and should love ourselves is when we begin. We start to look for ways to turn negative thoughts into positives. We seem to be experts at putting the happiness of our loved ones before ourselves. We need to treat ourselves as we would a child, we want them to be healthy, so we feed them wholesome foods, we encourage them, let them take time to play, nap and go to bed early. 

Have you ever felt so stressed trying to get everything done for everyone else, that you had no time for yourself? This is the type of thing we need to change.

I am a mom of two, a wife of one ;) and a business owner. Balancing everything on my plate can be extremely difficult and stressful at times. I am a "yes" girl. It is very hard for me to say no, because I don't like to disappoint. This is one of my biggest struggles. But, I've noticed that when I practice self-love and give myself 15 minutes of "me" time at least three times a day, I am recharged, more present and much more pleasant to be around. Every day I'm learning to put myself first. By choosing to make self-love a priority I am able to give my loved ones so much more. It's so important to remember that loving myself isn't a selfish act because it allows me to love others even more.

Now that we have recognized our lack of self-love how do we begin?

Let's start by writing down the things that we lack most of our confidence in. Then think of a better solution to work on them and write it down. For example, if you look in the mirror every morning and your first thought is how terrible you look; turn it around and start by looking at yourself and say out loud, "I love you." It's harder than it seems. If you can't even get those words out, then say it in your head then think of one thing you like about yourself. As you continue to add more positive self talk to your day, look at yourself 3 times a day and first think about the gratitude you have for your body. Are you thankful to have a healthy body? Are you thankful to have eyes to see all the beauty around you? Are you thankful to have your hair, no matter it's length or thickness?

Keep a journal near your bed and write a question to yourself to answer. It can be anything from "why do I go to bed so late?", "when will stop criticizing myself so much?" or "how can I manage my time better?" This practice is just a line of communication between you and your inner self. You are able, through this practice to receive guidance from your wisest self. You know what's best for you, always.

Once you finish your question, answer it by writing without thinking, without editing, without judgement of yourself. Write until you feel satisfied. Notice how you feel when you're done. You may feel lighter or relieved after talking to your wisest self with your concerns. Go back and re-read what you wrote. You may feel that you have found the answer to your question. If not, don't worry, it will come to you.

I promise you that the more you work on these exercises you will be happier and more grateful for yourself and what your body does for you. You have worth. Never forget that. You deserve to give yourself love... from YOURSELF. Learning and connecting with yourself will show just how amazing your are! This simple act of loving yourself and doing these exercises, in itself is an act of self-love. 

Please share your story and tell us how the 5 steps of shining from within has helped you! You can find week 1-3 here >> WEEK 1  :  WEEK 2  :  WEEK 3

 

Shine From Within: WEEK THREE

week 3.jpg

Self-Acceptance...Woof.

We all know that the most attractive and beautiful women are those who accept themselves, but it seems so natural and easy for them--- I’m over here zooming in on my double chin in the picture my husband just took of me and our dog!

The truth is: accepting yourself is hard-- And, if you really think about it, it should be.

Why? Because you know you are not perfect and you are intimately aware of the things that keep you from being so. Seriously, how can looking in the mirror and liking what you see be easy when you know about the mess going on in your mind, heart and every 30 days in our damn ovaries!

This is why we set ourselves up to fail when we compare ourselves to others. That girl that always looks amazing in your office, class or at church– we don’t know about the fight she’s in with her family and the terrible thing she said to her mom. We don’t know that when she looks in the mirror she pinches the skin on her stomach.

We just don’t know.

And that is why the first step to self-acceptance is not using others as our benchmark of success.

This brings me to the second step: set your own benchmark. Dream up your very own personalized version of success and turn it into goals that you can actually reach.

See, I think we are hard wired to grow and learn and blossom. I don’t think we are supposed to force ourselves to be something we are not, but I also don’t think we’re not supposed to try at all.

Does that make sense?

It’s this crazy balancing beam between beating yourself up and underestimating your abilities.

We were made for a purpose. To fill a small, but complex role in the master story. And I think we like ourselves the most when we are living into that identity. When we know we are miles away from perfect, but we are on the right path.

Here are my benchmarks, the goals I strive for to make me proud of myself at the end of the day:

  1. I want to have an actual relationship with God. Where He knows me and I know Him.

  2. I want to love my husband selflessly, to respect him, and to help him whenever I can.

  3. I want to work hard and contribute to something bigger than myself, and when I feel like I don’t have anything to contribute (which happens all the time, because I’m working in an industry that is completely foreign to me right now)  I want to contribute cheerfulness.

  4. I want to be happy and most of the time that looks like being thankful for what I have.

For some reason my physical appearance has always been my greatest obstacle to self-acceptance. I’ve forced myself to throw up and eat nothing but salads and work out multiple times a day, and I’ve done the complete opposite hiding from my physical body, pretending it’s not there. But somehow, by some miracle, I’ve come to realize that I don’t actually want to look like I always thought I wanted to.

And here’s why: I love pizza.

And what I mean by that is: I love life.

I love laughing and making-out with my husband and going for long walks with my disobedient hound-- I don’t want to miss these things, because I’m too preoccupied with disliking myself.

So, that’s how I practice self-acceptance. I start by loving God and then my husband and then the people around me, and then I smile because I realize that life is amazing and I’m doing just fine.

 

Shine From Within: WEEK TWO

week 2 - self forgiveness.png

How did you feel when you woke up this morning? 

Are you going to finish your To-Do list? 

Which city will you move too?

What are you going to do for someone else today? 

How are you going to find joy today? 

Choices.  Everyday we are faced with free will.  Countless choices.  It’s part of what makes us human.  Big and small, these decisions ultimately make up our world.  Given the sheer number of choices we make each and every day, we are bound to make mistakes every so often.  Even if a decision seemed like the right one at the time, there’s no way to be sure it will pan out in the long run.  Sometimes it feels like no matter what you do or how hard you try, you just can’t seem to make the right ones.  You question how all of these seemingly insignificant choices lead you to where you are now and spiral into a sea of self doubt and comparison.  

We’re taught to give grace to those around us…. even when it’s hard, even when it’s undeserving.  But how often do we give ourselves grace?  We hold ourselves to a higher standard than we do others and demand unrealistic expectations.  The truth is, you deserve the same grace you’d give a sister or friend.  It’s imperative to understand that through our lifetime we are going to make good and bad choices.  Learning to forgive yourself for mistakes made is essential.  It is up to you to decide if regret will rule your world, or if self-compassion and self-forgiveness will take the lead.  

“Forgiving ourselves is the opportunity to become an overcomer rather than remaining a victim of our own scorn.”  

Contrary to what you may have heard, forgiving does NOT go hand in hand with forgetting.  They are not a two for one deal.  You can forgive and still stay aware.  In fact, that’s one of the most rewarding parts of self-forgiveness-- it opens your eyes to all the lessons to learn from that experience.  When you are stuck in the mindset of blame, you are blinded to what could be learned.  Self-forgiveness allows you to move forward.  Ask yourself what could you do differently next time?  Learn to live with intention and apply what is learned to future endeavors.  

Self-forgiveness is easier said than done.  I’ve been there.  I am there.  The reality that a big, life altering decision made may not have been the right one is heart wrenching.  Thinking about the pain you may have caused another is overwhelming.  Self-forgiveness is a process, a lifestyle.  You are not the first or the last to make a mistake (big or small).  We are all human, none of us immune to error.  But next time you are faced with regret, recognize it and try to learn from it.  Self-forgiveness comes from understanding.  To summarize what it takes to forgive yourself, here are the three steps:

Three steps to self forgiveness:

  1. Give yourself grace

  2. Learn from past mistakes

  3. Realize no one is perfect

Lastly, I want to pass on a great way to practice Self-forgiveness. My mother-in-law encouraged me to try this and after practicing it, I have allowed myself to see my world in a whole new light:

Spend fifteen minutes a day, by setting a timer on your phone and give yourself and your mind time to think about whatever it is that is holding you back from moving forward. Make it a time to be okay with putting all your negative energy to the forefront of your mind. Focus on them. Let those thoughts consume you for fifteen minutes straight. All the small voices that are telling you that you made the wrong choice, or the memories that play over and over in your head, that you try to push away, embrace them. Give it that time. After your fifteen minutes are up- do not revisit those thoughts again until the next day. Do this practice for three weeks and when those negative voices pop back into your head remind yourself that you have already focused your energy there- you are not going to revisit them again that day. After you have practiced this for three weeks and given yourself that time to really allow yourself to FEEL those emotions that we wanted to push away, you will begin to feel lighter. Those scary thoughts and memories that you never wanted to visit will be visited enough to the point that you are content in allowing yourself to work through those emotions.

Let the positive light in and focus on what you have to be grateful for. We all make mistakes and we all deserve to give ourselves grace. Let it hurt. Let it heal. Let it go.