The healthiest people I know eat when they’re hungry and stay active in ways they enjoy. They don’t deprive themselves of foods they crave, they never starve themselves for a diet, and they aren’t pushing themselves harder than feels good.
I suppose if I start a post with “the healthiest people I know” you need my definition of healthy to hear me out. Healthy to me means self-love. It means feeling good physically AND mentally. Intuitive eating meaning listening to our bodies’ wants and needs. Nurturing our body instead of starving it.
Having a healthy relationship with our body starts with a respecting relationship with our mind. No guilt for our thoughts. No neglecting our desires. Balance. Finding consistent ways to stay active that don’t feel like torture. Working out because we love our bodies, not hate them. Staying self-aware when efforts towards a better life become abusive. I should never feel hungry if I have access to food. I should never feel dizzy because of intermittent fasting. Pushing muscles to soreness is different than pushing myself to headaches or dramatic fatigue. I should never have to be mean to my body in pursuit of health.
Friends who follow diets or cleanses tend to be more exhausted physically and mentally. Let down by the results and on to the next attempt. Consumed in conspiracies but unable to stop following them. Unhealthy cycles repeated in the name of health. Claiming they don’t have a bad relationship with food but at the same time choosing to fast for 72 hours. Unable to see the toxicity these fads enable. How is restricting your freedoms actually benefitting you? How is starving yourself on purpose not placing poison over your natural need to eat?
What is your definition of healthy? If it’s to feel good, are you allowing yourself to truly experience this? Or are you putting yourself through suffering because you believe it will lead to success? What would your life look like if instead you allowed yourself to love food? If you found an activity that brought you joy and kept your body moving? How would you feel if you could eat what you wanted but still love your body? If you read the last question and you wish that could be true, it can. Reclaim your definition of health. Grab on to your confidence. Living the life you want might just be the healthiest you!
Mental health struggles are the norm. We all deal with them. It would be impossible not to! Life is freaking hard. It’s a lot of work, learning, growing and pain. But, it’s also a lot of celebrating, becoming and joy. Unfortunately, we live in a world where so many people keep mental struggles a secret. Under the impression they are alone and something is wrong with them. But trust me, no one has it easy.
Life isn’t smooth sailing for anyone. We’ll all face difficult obstacles. Have feelings of worry, sadness, discomfort of all kinds. It’s not about the fights we face though, it’s about our character development. Leveling up is always an option. Believing in myself has been the ultimate key to my balancing life’s challenges with successes. Old Lindsay wouldn’t have chosen herself for battle, let alone entered with the will to fight. But now, I’d choose my character confidently. There’s no cheat code to be another player. There is however the ability to become the person I know can win.
I always tell people who reach out to me at the beginning of their journey that the desire to want a better life already demonstrates success. Wanting to better ourselves is something we should all be striving for. Navigating life’s struggles feels easier with open-minded observation and willingness to change. When I notice something about myself I don’t like, I don’t let it drag me down. I celebrate the opportunity for new accomplishment. Whether it’s the way I see myself or actions I can take to instill new behavior, I know it’s an issue I can work through. Small tasks to achieve greatness. Never ending successes fueled by those difficult moments. I am unstoppable in becoming the person I want to be.
Understanding life is hard eases my expectations. Gives room to love myself while I put in the work. Hardships don’t weigh me down anymore because I’ve seen my strength and I know hurdles make me stronger. Anxiety, overthinking and over worrying are uncomfortable feelings I can work through now. Of course they still come up, but I’m better equipped to refocus and stay positive with practice and understanding. Heartbreak, grief, loss in general is something I’ve dealt with a lot in my life. Something we will all eventually deal with. Perspective comes from experience. As my mind opens to new concepts, new ideas and new ways of thinking and being, I have built a better relationship with how I cope. Everything that feels more powerful than me…isn’t.
My older brother died unexpectedly at the age of 26. He wasn’t the first unexpected or painful death in my life, but he was the closest to me. In the past, I dealt with these situations with a “why me?” attitude. As if bad things only happened to me. That perspective blocked me from having hope. From creating positive perspective in my life. Resentful towards people around me who seemed to have it easier, I would sit in misery like I was destined for it. Like bad things happened to me so my life would just simply be bad. I’m extremely grateful to have turned this perspective around before my brother’s death. A horrible tragedy that happened to my family and his friends yet we all had to find a way to keep living. To accept the fact that his life was only 26 years long. Letting my mind wander to the “what ifs” of him still being with us would be nothing but torture. I cherish the moments we had together but I know this is life. Life happens to all of us and I’m lucky enough to be able to rely on myself to carry on and continue finding happiness.
I am the most powerful person in my own life. I have the opportunity to defeat every obstacle I face and use those experiences to become the best person I can be. I choose to see the positives. I choose to believe in my potential. I choose myself as my guide, my hero and my protector. I have learned to love myself and in return, love this life I live.
Every year for Thanksgiving I have traveled to gather with family, spend quality time together and eat incredible food. This year for Thanksgiving, my health held me back. Lacking the energy I needed to commit to travel or too much time spent away from my freezer full of ice packs, I decided to stay home alone.
While already the idea of Thanksgiving alone was lonely and a little sad, I set my attitude on it being a relaxing and enjoyable day. Facetiming both sides of my family as they joined together, soaking in the California sun and spending family time with my dog as we walk the quiet beach. I even made plans to head over to my favorite grocery store and put together a single Thanksgiving plate from their hot meal section. A peaceful and joyful day, but Malibu had other plans.
Wednesday night was restless through chaotic and loud wind storms and when I got up Thursday morning, my power had been shutoff for fire prevention. All good though, I got my dog in my car and we met up with a friend in Santa Monica for breakfast and a walk! I was just beginning to appreciate how my Thanksgiving played out until I got home and the power was still out. In fact, we were warned it most likely wouldn’t come back until Friday afternoon. This meant all my food in my fridge and freezer would spoil. My ice packs I stayed home to be near no longer had a freezer to keep them cold. No cell reception, no internet, no light after the sun went down. The grocery store I had planned on going to for my Thanksgiving meal was also closed from the power outage. I had drive-thru Mcdonald’s for lunch and nothing for dinner. While I sit here typing this disastrous Thanksgiving story, I can’t help but realize how ridiculous these complaints are. ONE night without fresh food. ONE night without electronics. ONE night of candlelight. ONE night to simply appreciate all I have even when these major everyday luxuries are stripped away.
Every year for Thanksgiving I am grateful for a happy and healthy family and the food we shared together. This year for Thanksgiving I am grateful for so much more. I am grateful for a roof above my head. The fact that I had a full fridge to begin with and the ability to replace everything with a trip or two to the store. I am grateful for my dog to keep me company and my neighbor for supplying me with candlesticks. I am thankful to have a family I truly missed spending this day apart from. Most of all, I am grateful for my own personal growth. I can remember a time that the stress of this day would have destroyed me. I would have curled up in a ball, broken by the circumstances that drowned me. But who I am today simply laughed it off. My dad said, “One day this will be a funny story.” to which I replied, “It already is!” My ability to accept a bad situation and make the most of it is life changing to say the least. While my Thanksgiving didn’t go as usual, didn’t even go as I planned that morning, my Thanksgiving was exactly what it was meant to be. A day of appreciation. A clear demonstration of all I have to be thankful for. A reminder of my strength and my security when I keep a positive attitude. Today I sit here writing this on my laptop with power restored and a fridge refilled. That one stressful Thanksgiving is already a story in the past and instead of extra pounds from all the Turkey I ate, I come away instead with a lesson. A humble reminder that while life is difficult, challenging, chaotic and stressful at times, it is worth it. No matter what, life itself is what I should be thankful for. I am thankful.
Being vulnerable is not one of my personal challenges. It is not hard for me to be raw and real about what I’ve gone through in life. In fact, you probably shouldn’t ask me anything you’re not ready for an answer to because I have no filter. I am as open of a book as they come. Flip to any page, at any time, and you will get the truth. My brand is authenticity. My mission is to relate to everyone in some way. Provide hope for those still healing from struggles I once faced. Offer inspiration to those stuck in similar situations I have personally crawled out of. But most importantly, to stand on the same platform as my readers. I am just a normal woman. I’ve lived through many ups and downs. I am not more capable than anyone else to achieve the mental milestones I have achieved and I am never done. Accomplishing and maintaining a healthy and fulfilling life is something I work towards everyday, and it’s what I love to do.
While I may have no problem sharing my flaws, my struggles, my pain and my setbacks, I often forget to air out that laundry. My Instagram gets carried away with the beauty I’m searching for. Because my mind is more focused on the color and the light these days, explorations, sunsets, hikes with my dog or finding the next best fried chicken sandwich is naturally what I think about posting. Chronic pain, grief, delving into my past is not as aesthetically pleasing. The captured moments of my daily facial ice packs or teary eyes from pain radiating through my face and neck just isn’t something I think about as a new Instagram post. But the most important part of my Instagram, to me, is not representing a fake summary of my life. I refuse to use my platform to only show off the good. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this world has become too focused on perfection as a goal. Social media has created false realities of what living means and unnecessary devastation in its wake. Expecting perfection will only set you up for failure. Perfection is impossible. The enemy of fulfillment. We must remind ourselves the people behind these social media accounts are humans. They experience loss, heartbreak, embarrassment, guilt, frustration, anger, and all the same emotions we face. Just because we don’t see it as a square between their touched up smiles, extravagant parties and luxurious travels doesn’t mean it’s not part of their real life feed.
While the entire purpose of my social media accounts is to provide the real and the raw along with the pretty, even I get carried away with the pretty. Of course we’d rather see what’s pleasing to the eye, but it is vital we stay tuned with what’s pleasing to our heart. We must not lead ourselves on. We can never compare our lives to someone’s social media account. Be grateful for what you have and humbled by what you’re burdened with. Be kind to others, you never know what someone else is going through. But most importantly, be kind to yourself. You are not behind or less than anyone else. Your life isn’t less valuable because your “content” doesn’t look as done up in a box. You have qualities others crave and we’re all in need of self improvement. We all continue to progress and grow, if we’re doing it right. While you have every right in the world to use your own social media as an outlet for all things good, don’t forget others are doing the same. In my opinion, working towards your best self, accepting and including all of what that journey means, is the most important social media message of all. Life isn’t always butterflies and rainbows, even if social media is.
“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn life is short and there is no time for hate.” - Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl
The loss from September 11th, 2001 is immense to say the least. Pulling emotion from mostly anyone, at any moment, from just a memory. I didn’t lose anyone personally from the events of 9/11 but I empathize with those who did.
Receiving those heartbreaking text messages from victims of the planes, sending their final “I love you”s, their final goodbyes. Spouses and children of those hardworking individuals who simply went in for another day of work, never imagining it would be their last. The heroes on the front line, fully aware they were risking their lives, but committed to saving others. Their families, their friends. The events from 9/11 ripped nearly 3,000 human lives away from us. How can we waste any time hating each other when that reality exists?
I have written about grief. Different kinds of loss. How distant relatives or old friends dying affected me vs. the sudden loss of my only sibling. Life is short as a takeaway is about as obvious as it gets. We all know it. We’re not here forever. No moments are guaranteed, no lifetime lasts forever. What is the point of hate? How does it benefit us? How does it benefit our community? Imagine a world of people who focus simply on love.
This world has been torn apart because of hate. Hating each other for having different views, for breaking up with us, for cutting us off in traffic when we have definitely done the same. Most of us want the same thing. We want to live happy lives. We want love. Well, love can be hard. Especially when it comes to loving ourselves. It takes practice. Rewriting of thoughts. Giving the benefit of the doubt. Sacrificing and an open mind. While hate might seem easier, it makes everything else harder. For every moment I waste on hate, I will contribute small acts of kindness. For every moment I spend on love, I too get to feel love. Love is worth the effort.
So today and every day you can, hug your loved ones. Tell them you love them. Not because they might die tomorrow, but because we are alive today. Spend time creating and sharing precious moments to appreciate one another. Fill your mind with uplifting thoughts. Whether or not you believe in the good of somebody, trust they have some good inside of them. They have qualities that will be missed. We all deserve love. Those people we’re urged to hate, they need it the most. Let’s honor all the lives lost with love for them and for each other.
I’ve only been in love once and I wouldn’t have loved him less if he turned to mush. While I liked him first because of his looks, I ultimately fell in love with him from the inside out. His thoughts, his goals, his demeanor. I wonder if we all looked identical, would we see more healthy connections? Would more people be able to find successful love?
I think a lot about how much physical attraction really even plays a role in relationships. From what level it must start in order to grow. How much time it takes to build attraction to someone by getting to know their other qualities. Can we completely shut down preconceived notions of “our type” or what we find physically attractive for the right soul? I mean some of it really is biological!
With dating apps instigating such a carefree way to be shallow, are we even able to give real love a chance? Our looks don’t last, so where’s the substance? I’m sure we’ve all experienced, in one way or another, growing attraction for another. Whether they reveal a beautiful singing voice or you take part in a riveting conversation with them, there are moments and qualities shared in which we may learn to see a person in a different way. So I ask myself what matters more, my first judgements on a person’s appearance, or a person’s ability to carry my desires in ways I can’t grasp from a photo? Where are the dating apps that exclude profile pictures?
In my opinion, it would be ideal if looks didn’t matter at all to me. If I could scratch that detail off my wants and needs when considering a romantic partner. However, realistically I know it’s not that easy. But if being in love removed that requirement, why must I need it in the first place?
Can anyone truly commit to a relationship before committing to themselves? Taking time to understand our own qualities and dedicating ourselves to personal growth seems like it should be a requirement before making promises to someone else. Becoming full before offering to share. Is being shallow a sign of immaturity? If looks are the first thing that matter to someone when choosing a partner for life, I wonder if enough time has been taken thinking about their own value and what they have to offer.
If I had to rank my best qualities, I would choose those that make a difference in the world. Not qualities given to me, qualities I earned. The parts of myself I nurtured and enhanced. The ways in which I can provide a positive effect on the well-being of others. So when choosing a romantic partner, I must at first blind my thoughts on their appearance. Go straight to the qualities that matter. If I’m able to date in that way, I believe it will be easier for me to find someone I can be excited about. Someone who can hold an everlasting love.
It’s no secret women have been photoshopped for years and years. Fashion magazines and billboards portraying “dream” women over real ones. How aware are we that women we see on Instagram and other social media platforms are demonstrating that same photoshopped and IMAGINARY vision? Until my friend recently pointed out to me all of the facetuning that goes on behind social media accounts, I was one of those women who fell victim to it. Who compared myself to EDITED realities. Who has had men compare me to women who DO NOT EXIST past their screens. Comparing ourselves to the facetuned women of the internet is inevitable AND avoidable.
Celebrities like Khloe Kardashian and Bella Hadid, amongst many more, set unrealistic expectations for women everywhere to feel pressured by. Let’s be honest, the reason anyone facetunes to begin with is because of unfair social norms. Women have been conditioned for centuries to hate themselves. To strive to be the skinniest and the smoothest. To be something for everyone else at the expense of our own mental health. Fitting in to a “normal” that has been faked for years.
How do we stop this trend? Give women back the freedom of authenticity and girls the lesson to appreciate themselves for their own uniqueness. There is honestly nothing easier than BEING UNAPOLOGETICALLY OURSELVES. Khloe Kardashian has said “you can’t facetune energy”, but think of how much energy would be saved without editing, without worrying, without caring for other people’s opinions. Think about how many girls would grow up feeling beautiful and excited to walk around as themselves. How many women would feel relief getting to breathe outside the comfort of their privacy.
Why is this so important? The more these edited photos circulate, the more people’s minds are rewired to believe these bodies and these faces are the norm. Real life past a screen is nothing but below average and unpleasant. We as a society are more secluded from real life interactions than ever before. Our minds are being impacted daily by our new constant visuals of edited and imaginary people. The internet has taken enough from our society. Kids on iPads instead of in sandboxes. Adults consumed by their phones after their work days are complete. We already need to be distancing ourselves from social media yet social media is now manipulating our reality.
Imagine a world where real women are celebrated. Cellulite and stretch marks are symbols of strength, considered beautiful and appreciated by everyone. Treating our bodies with kindness is the only ingredient to confidence. Where the energy it takes to hide and lie is conserved and our focus can be about creating positivity and a safe place to feel healthy.
Facetuning is a lie. It’s a scam. It’s not a personal preference when it affects the way the world perceives women as a whole. It is cowardly to hide behind a screen. Be proud to be authentic because we all have it, but only some of us are brave enough to show it. Let’s reset expectations on what being beautiful means. Fitting in is simple when we provide the truth as our goals. We have so much more to offer than a touched up, glossed over doll.
As a teenager struggling to believe I could one day attain “happiness,” the most important thing I could have been told was that if I wanted it, all I had to do was reach for it. That it isn’t something only some people are given the opportunity to have, but only the people who fight for it get to hold onto it. That circumstances aren’t the determining factor, but my actions and my choices are. That no matter how defeated I may sometimes feel, happiness always lives inside of me if I rent out the space for it.
I’m honestly incredibly proud of myself. I think that’s something I don’t share too often, because it’s a message that doesn’t necessarily seem beneficial for others. But I am confident I have surpassed the moment where happiness can escape my possession. Where sadness is the exception to happiness, instead of a coexisting and accepted emotion. I have complete faith in my ability to balance whatever comes my way. To make the best of any situation and never lose sight of the power of my own mind.
So why now do I feel like publicly patting myself on the back? Because I see too many people struggling to believe that happiness is in their cards. Too many reminders of what I used to tell myself everyday. Not only do I deserve to take credit for getting myself to where I am today, but I want to broadcast that I was THE ONLY person who could manage to do it. As scary as it is to know there’s only one person we can rely on to find and hold onto happiness, how lucky we are that person is ourself. Control is in our own hands.
I think if someone had told me, when I was struggling, happiness is waiting for me and not the other way around, I might have seen it differently. That happiness isn’t something I’m given directly, it is something that is mine to take. It’s not something people are born with or without, but something any person can find and protect. Can explore and understand. Can grow with and be loyal to. I think that mentality could have opened my mind to a spark from a certain mood or a certain situation clicking it all into place. I think if someone had explained to me that it’s not “one day you’ll find it” but it’s there for me to find RIGHT NOW, I could have been inspired to grab my life by my own hands and give it a great big hug. Team up with myself and say “let’s do this.” I might have made the choice sooner to BE happy, instead of wait for it.
There are a million different memes, sayings, theories on when to fight for love, when to let a relationship go, what kind of connections are worth sticking out and what kind of behavior is unforgivable. But the truth is, there is no proven guide book on how to be in a successful relationship. In fact, there is not even one definition of what this success looks like. With my mind opening more and more to the idea of settling down with one person, I wonder what that will look like for myself.
Each one of us speaks a different love language. There are endless combinations of people and actions that can lead to a successful relationship. All sorts of communication styles that maintain healthy problem solving. Love stories of romance and love stories of patience. Love at first sight and love waited for. Some stumble upon the right timing, others with long lost love that took growth and life changes to reconnect and reestablish.
It’s hard these days with everyone on social media thinking they’re certified therapists. Statements like, “once a cheater, always a cheater” or “if he isn’t responding, he doesn’t care” are not facts, but observations from specific circumstances. While I believe all of our trials, tribulations, challenges and successes in life can help others when shared, I think it’s important to be cautious with how we absorb other people’s stories and opinions. Our own stories are what we make them.
The only fact about love is that there are a million and one lessons to be learned from it. How vital having healthy relationships is to having a fulfilling life. Learning how to pay attention to other’s needs as well as our own. Exposing ourselves to new experiences, new cultures and new ideas of love opens up the possibility for more. Expecting love to be easy is an unfair mindset to embark with. Fitting our opinions of successful love into someone else’s recipe can drown out the sweetness with a bitter, unwanted flavor.
My views on relationships, dating and love are always adapting. As some pieces in my life grow and reshape, I must make sure the rest of my pieces are too. Fitting what works for me in my life means recognizing the types of pieces that add to my puzzle, unforced but connected. Understanding my puzzle doesn’t look the same as anyone else’s. Reflecting not as a third-party but as the guest of honor. I don’t see relationship goals as guidelines, but as motivation to imagine what those may look like for myself. Just as beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, love can look like anything. Trust your own judgement when deciphering what may be toxic or when patience is required. Trust your gut and use both your head and your heart. Don’t hide from your own truths. While relationships take continuous work, I believe they are a choice that should bring more joy than despair.
“I’m just bored.” “They love me so much and I want them in my life.” “Things aren’t working out at the moment.” None of this validates your actions. If you’re bored, seeking flirtatious entertainment from outside your relationship, you should not be in a committed relationship. You are weak and manipulative for betraying someone who loves you because you’re too afraid to let them go. If things aren’t working out at the moment, work them out. There is never an excuse to cheat, emotionally or physically. If you feel like you’re hiding something from your partner, if you know in your gut what you’re doing isn’t right, stop doing it. Ask yourself why that person isn’t enough for you. The answer may be it’s not the right person. The answer could also be you’re not interested in a fully committed relationship. Adjust accordingly. Losing someone you care about is painful, but keeping them in your life by your standards and disregarding theirs is selfish.
If you’re scared of coming clean, of being unforgivable, own that. Own your mistakes and grow. They don’t really love you if they don’t know this part of you. You also deserve to be fully loved. Love yourself first. Understand who you are and what you have to give. Be proud of your morals, the way you treat others. Find someone you have nothing to hide from. Someone who brings out the best in you. Work through the parts of you that you keep secret, they don’t need to stay with you forever.
Heartbreak hurts. Coming clean probably feels dreadful. Possibly losing someone you love, definitely hurting them at the least. But you’d be doing it for the right reasons. You will get to move forward and allow better, more real connections to develop. They will get a chance to make a fair decision for themselves, knowing all the facts.
One day you’ll find someone who makes all the temptations fade away. Someone who satisfies all your cravings. Someone you know deserves the world and you’ll feel honored you are the one they choose to share it with. Your wandering eye will zone in and loving just one person will feel natural. The idea of someone doing to them what you’re doing to your partner now will anger and upset you. You will look at your past self and understand why you weren’t ready. But you will be grateful for your growth because now, you are.
Life isn’t about navigating through your journey to please yourself at all costs. Life is about thinking and caring about others to connect and enjoy together. Causing as little damage as possible. Stopping when you make mistakes to do what you can to heal them. If you don’t think they’re hurting because they‘re in the dark about what’s going on, wouldn’t they be better off with someone who simply didn’t need to go outside the relationship? Someone who truly devotes to them when they say they are committed. Are you too selfish to allow them to move on while you move around but keep them leashed? I know you have love for them, but let them go. Temporary pain to heal from is less damaging than an unfair and dishonest connection. They deserve better and you deserve to be good. To be honest. To be loyal, one day, when it feels right. Temptations will always exist, but look out for the one that makes you look over them.