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Feel Your Emotions

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November, over year ago, I first experienced Fibromyalgia. I had a confrontation with someone at Bible Study and I didn’t feel like I had a voice in the situation. I was angry and became depressed. Within the week, I had insomnia and pain up my spine and over my shoulders so bad that no one could touch me. It was not only hard to experience those physical pains, but one of my main Love Languages is touch which left me feeling lonely.

 

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I worked with a friend of mine to find the best essential oils for me to help heal the inflammation. Within a month, I was able to get the pain gone.

 

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Doing the Dressing Your Truth program began to teach me that I am lovable and created beautiful in my own type. I began to be excited to be me and tell others what I had learned.

 

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In the process, I had friends that were angry with me for doing so. I began to notice a pattern in these confrontations and I would feel the pain severely again. Some of it was that I would turn to my sugar addiction and my body is already out of balance with bad bacteria causing Leaky Gut. Part of it is that I would revert right back to “Somebody doesn’t like me, I’m not good enough” thinking. I realized after the last time, that I’d had enough of taking my anger out on me.

 

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I began to go to counseling to learn to deal with my anger in a healthy way. And here I’ve been learning to set boundaries in my relationships, to be more patient with myself, and to use my voice.

 

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One of the things that my counselor has been reiterating is that emotions don’t last very long. If we don’t allow ourselves to feel our emotions, it turns into suffering.

 

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I used to stop myself from crying because it wasn’t a “positive” emotion. I felt that it was incorrect to be angry or to cry. I would still be angry, I just wouldn’t express it. Pretending that the feeling wasn’t there didn’t make it go away. My anger would then last for a few days, then I would get depressed for a few days thinking that it was my fault that I was feeling angry and it was wrong. Then would find a way to move on.

 

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But this weekend, my husband and I went out to eat at a buffet. Going out to eat is hard for me because so many things can knock me back down again. I got a lot of meat and found a few veggies that were not covered in sauces. My husband sits down with carbs. I looked at his plate and said, “I miss that.” He said that a little bit would probably not hurt me, but in this healing stage, I need to stay away from it. I also know that I wouldn’t stop with a little bit because I fear I may never have it again and go overboard.

 

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And I began to cry. This time, I didn’t stop it. I cried because of grief over the loss of my favorite foods. I cried because it wasn’t fair. I cried because I caused this damage to my body. I cried because I don’t know how long it will take to heal.

 

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And after a couple minutes of crying over my food, it was over. I took a deep breath and felt great! I didn’t not mourn for the rest of the day. I did not mope about it for the next week. I wasn’t angry with myself, depressed about it, nor did I feel the Fibromyalgia pain. I’m so excited that I’m learning!!! I’m getting it!!! It’s one thing to know what is wrong with you, or have the answer of how to get better, but accomplishing that task is so rewarding!!

 

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I know that without my vitamins and supplements right now, I would still and have crashed. I know that diet changes and exercise are crucial and I don’t have it down, yet! I know that I need to be especially careful around hormone changes. I know that what works for me, may not work for everyone, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t answers for you. I know that addressing whatever caused the problem may not be the only way to heal. Because all parts of the body work together, one thing can affect all the other. By praying, hoping, being willing to seek and find answers, and paying attention to my body, I was able to see the connection for me. I am excited that I am practicing feeling my emotions, learning how to voice them, that it is okay to do so, and that I’m getting this part!!! I am healing!

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Recovering Perfectionist Here

This Amazing Journey

 

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It’s not fair!

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“It’s not fair!” My 5yr old son was throwing a tantrum. I asked him to do his chores, he refused, and now was missing out on the T.V. show that his siblings were watching. “It’s not fair! It’s not fair!” He continued. I can completely relate to this feeling.

 

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When I was 13yrs old, I gave up chocolate because I was addicted to it. A speaker at church talked about addictions, and I took to heart that scripture, “if your hand offends you, cut it off.” (Mark 9:43) In quitting chocolate, I noticed that my asthma attacks went way down. It was difficult. I proved that I had self-control and that it did not control me.

 

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When I was 16yrs, I noticed that my stomach felt like it had knives in it when I drank milk. I switched to rice milk, though, the colonoscopy results said “the beginnings of stomach ulcers.”

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When I was 18yrs, I began passing out and having severe migraines. I found a severe intolerance to Red Dye #40, and a corn allergy were the cause. Often these ingredients were together in products which made it easier to avoid both.

 

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And now, in my mid-thirties, my body won’t tolerate sugar. A little over a year ago, I began experiencing Chronic Pain and Fatigue, and other Dysautonomia/POTS symptoms. My body is very low on salts and doesn’t hold them anymore, so sugar sends me right back where I was over a year ago. It’s just not fair.

 

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This Christmas, they were passing around treats at church, and normally, I can refrain because they are pre-packaged. (Either chocolate, corn syrup, red dye or all 3.) But there were tiny muffin size home-made pecan treats… so I ate a few. Almost immediately afterwards, I felt light-headed. I went to the kitchen and took out my emergency Nuun tablets. It wasn’t enough this time. It was just not fair!

 

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Now, I have been learning to love myself this last year, but right there, I turned immediately to frustration at myself. But, if I truly looked at this situation with love, I would see how far I’ve come and be a little more patient in my learning… just like my 5yr old child in the beginning of this post.

 

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A year ago, I didn’t know why I was so exhausted. I not only have those answers of why, but how to heal. This is my first Christmas knowing how sugar hurts my body. It’s hard to cut out foods or change anything regardless of what that change is. And frankly, life just isn’t fair. It’s okay to grieve through it. We all have our own struggles. I’m realizing that the expectations I place on myself to “Get it right already!” are just as damaging as the sugar itself.

 

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I have learned to avoid harmful foods before. I have made healthy changes before. I can be patient with myself while I learn to change and be healthy in this new way. I have a wonderful support system that is ready to help me in the way I ask. I can use my voice and ask for help. I can change and learn at a pace that I’m able to handle. And… I can enjoy the accomplishments I’ve made this far.

 

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For more articles like this one:

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Treatments for EDS

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I Want to be STRONG!

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Recently, I’ve been thinking about New Year’s Goals. I used to LOVE to make goals! This last year, my goal was just trying to figure out how to get better. I have prayed and received so many tools and so many answers on how to get better, but now… I want to BE better. I want to put those answers better into action. I want to be Strong!

 

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IS THIS GOAL REALISTIC?

#1 This is not how it has always been for me. Many people who have EDS say that this is normal to feel this way. BUT I have not ALWAYS been this way. I have NOT always had to watch what I eat so close or I may pass out. I have NOT always had joint pain in my entire body and had to take vitamins to be normal. I have NOT always felt weak physically. As a teen, I loved to exercise and thought I was Super-woman! Sure, I had weird quirks like when I would catch my toe on a chair and it would pop out of place or my skin would split open easy. That just goes with the EDS territory. But my day-to-day living wasn’t a fight. I had an amazing mother who made healthy meals, who was an example of exercising daily, and who understood that what was best for EVERYONE wasn’t necessarily true, who listened and changed if something didn’t work. We researched to find what was best and tried it out together. I have never liked to cook and for the last 15 years, I have taken plenty of short-cuts. I have seen the damage done, but this is NOT my new normal and I refuse to accept it.

#2 I have made progress. In one year, I have made plenty of progress just in adding supplements, going through physical therapy, a few diet changes, counseling, and learning about so many different EDS problems and treatments. I KNOW I can continue making progress.

#3 I have encouragement from those how have been there. I have been blessed by two doctors who have EDS that support me and encourage me to continue to get better. If they can do it, so can I.

 

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HOW DO I ACCOMPLISH THIS GOAL?

#1 Ask for help. I am not alone. I have learned first and foremost this last year that I CAN ask for help. There were only a few people that did not support me when I reached out. Most of the time, I have had to ask for specifics. I have been so blessed to have the support of my doctors, family, friends, and most of all my God. I have prayed and been lead to these answers and I can ask for help when needed. I do not have to try to do this on my own.

 

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#2 Love Myself In the past, I waited for someone else’s approval. If someone didn’t like me, I would punish myself or resort to addictions to make me feel better. It is not my job to die for everyone; that has already been done. It is my job to treat myself the way that God does. He loves me more that I could fathom. I want to continue to love myself. I want to be patient with myself as I’m adjusting to these changes and to continue to be my own caregiver. I want to rejoice in my own creations and be okay with making and keeping boundaries.

 

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#3 Be Creative. I want to be excited to do things on my own again. I miss my hobbies including organizing, sewing, gardening etc. I have been afraid of being alone as I used to pass out easy and needed a significant amount of help. I have made great improvements and I want to have fun with many different things again. Maybe not dancing, yet, but definitely creative and different every day.

 

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#4. Let Go. I want to continue letting go of things that no longer support me. In going through the Dressing Your Truth program, it has given me freedom to get rid of the things that I really don’t like. I have begun to go through my books, games, and baby clothes this year and have have gotten rid of the things that I never look at. I have enjoyed reading minimalist’s blogs. My kids have benefited from having a few toys out at a time. A friend of mine has been doing the KonMari method and has really enjoyed getting rid of things that don’t bring her joy.

 

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#5 Fuel the Body. I don’t like being afraid of the kitchen. I would like to be proactive in finding new meals that I can currently eat. I don’t want to resort to old eating habits just because I don’t know anything else to make. I want to teach my kids how to eat before they are on their own. I would like to continue to get better with self-control, though, I am still grieving the loss of sugar because of how it hurts my body. We all need to learn to be self-sufficient with our food choices. I’ve already adjusted some of my old meals. I don’t want to look through my old cookbooks trying to adjust them for my current diet. I want to adopt new cookbooks and recipes. I don’t change fast, so I believe the best thing for me would be to find one meal that I would like to add to the list every month.

 

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#6 Start Slow. When I was a teenager, I exercised everyday and felt like “Super Woman!” During my third pregnancy, I had stopped exercising because I didn’t know what the heart palpitations were from. My doctor at the time just told me to drink more water. (Now I know it’s from low Magnesium levels) After my fourth baby, in physical therapy for my knee, they said that I was stronger than most people that had EDS that they’ve met. What a compliment! 30 years ago, they told people with EDS NOT to exercise. Now, they know we need to exercise to keep our joints in place. So, I want to go back to that time in my life where I didn’t have to worry about my knee going out of place from stepping up stairs. I want to be strong again enough to run! In physical fitness, I need to begin again with some smaller exercises and slowly work myself back up. This is tough for me as I am the type of person to jump in and have fun with it, but that hasn’t gone so well for me. I don’t want to break myself while trying to get better. I would like to make small changes and work my way back up.

 

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I know there is a lot of pessimism and frustration out there of those who have set goals and not accomplished them. We cannot be better if we passively accept what is. Let’s make some long-term goals and little goals every month to accomplish them. We can be better! This life is not easy, but you’re not alone! I hope this encourages you in your journey!

 

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I Have a Choice

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Recently, I’ve been becoming more aware of what I am thinking. I had already noticed a couple of months ago how my Fibromyalgia would flare up when I was angry. I began to be aware of how much throughout the day that I really am angry and how I deal with it. And just to clarify, anger is not bad. It tells me that something is wrong.

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Most of the time, I have dealt with the anger through calming down with one of my “comforts” or things that make me feel safe and then dealing with the situation in a good manner. But I become overwhelmed when something from outside my home demands attention.

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So, becoming more aware of my thoughts is helping me to understand that it isn’t that I become angry, it’s that I am overwhelmed. My personal boundary has been crossed. I am taking on too much and am overwhelmed. Then, the anger tells me that something is wrong. But is it really outside influences that I am taking on too much? Is it too much inside the house?

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I have realized how often in the day I say the word, “should.” “I should get my vitamins.” “I should take care of that.” “I should get dinner on.” “I should clean that… fix that… handle that.” “I should have done that.” The real culprit, for me being overwhelmed, is me. I am putting so many expectations on myself.

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I’ve begun to change the way I speak internally to myself. I speak out loud to contradict my thinking, “I COULD do that.” I notice a change right away in my posture. I feel like a weight was lifted off my shoulders and I am in control of what I want to accomplish. I have a choice.

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I am not to be controlled by everything around me. I don’t need to allow other things that kind of power over me. I can choose what I’d like to do everyday. I can help my children, teach them, help them to get along, speak nice to them, pray with them, or hug them. I don’t HAVE to. I can choose to when I feel it is right for me. I can choose to take care of myself in exercise, eating well, taking my vitamins, and not adding too much on myself. I don’t HAVE to, but I can choose to when I’m ready. I don’t have to do extra things outside of my home including church, grocery shopping, hanging out with friends, doctor appointments, etc. I can choose to do so when it is right for me.

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And in doing this, I am finding it easier to not just love myself better, but others around me. I have been choosing to be critical of myself and others in the past without being aware that I was doing so. I am learning to be more patient with myself and others around me by changing my thoughts. You can do this to, if you choose. You don’t HAVE to.

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For more articles like this one:

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Setting Boundaries Under Pressure

 

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Setting Boundaries Under Pressure

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Recently, I have gotten into conflict in my relationships because I have made decisions very quickly. I didn’t want to give a quick response, but I felt pushed. The phone rings and that person wants to know what time I can take care of something. They want an answer right now. I’m in the middle of helping one of my children and they are frustrated that I’m on the phone when I was helping them. In giving an answer at this frustrating time, I am setting myself up for failure. What I really need is time to think. People are not going to just give me time, I need to make the time. I need to set Boundaries.

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  • I do not have to answer the phone when I am busy.

It is so tempting to answer the phone just because it rings. It’s like the phone is saying, “Hey! I have something important to say! Answer me now!” So, by answering it, am I saying that what that person wants is more important than what I am doing? Sometimes, it’s not a big deal to answer the phone. It’s sometimes really nice. But other times, it can be an inconvenience. I have turned my phone on a ring-tone that is calming to help me remember that it’s not an emergency. Other times, I have turned it off.

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  • I do not have to give an answer right away. It’s okay to take time to think about it.

If they don’t leave a message, is it really that important? Something my mom instilled in me when I was little is that if they didn’t leave a message, it must not be that important. In this day and age, if you don’t want to leave a voice message, you can text it. This ensures that you get the message and can get back when it’s convenient.

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  • If this person continues to push for an answer right now, I can just say no.

If this person demands your attention right away all the time and ignoring or even turning off your phone is not working, it’s best to just say no. It is disrespectful and eventually toxic for you to have to continually ask for respect on the same issue.

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Now this process is helpful even outside of a phone. If I need to take time to process something, even for just a moment, I can take that time. I can be direct and honest. I can simply say, “I need to think about that and I’ll get back to you.” I am also realizing that it is okay to say, “I don’t know.” “I don’t have the answer right now.” And if that is not accepted and I am pushed beyond my boundary, I can just say “No, thank you.”

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For more information on Boundaries, see the series by Dr. John Townsend

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Get Over It!

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Sitting in church not too long ago, we were talking about how we could be more like Jesus. One of the ladies put her hand up and stated, “I just think we need to get over ourselves and love people. I tell my daughter that she just needs to buck up and stop taking things so personally. Cheer up and Move on! That’s what Jesus did.” This last week, I heard something similar from a gentleman, “Grow a thicker skin and a thinner heart.” I would like to address the lies and harm done in these statements.

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  1. Jesus was a man of many sorrows. (Isaiah 53) He felt pain and loved deeply at the same time. He didn’t have a “thicker skin” as to assume that pain bounced off of him or didn’t affect him. He bore his sorrow. We are also called to carry our own cross. (Matthew 16:24) Carrying our own cross is a tough thing. It’s not something we shrug off. To those of us that you might say, “Cheer up and Move On,” I might ask you to provide a little more understanding and compassion. Jesus understood our sorrows because he experienced them. We can provide empathy for those who are having a hard time and be there for them. In doing so, we give them hope, a smile, and a reason to move on: we show them Jesus.

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2. For some reason, we have it stuck in our heads that we have GOOD and BAD emotions. Anger, Frustration, Sorrow  VS. Joy, Happiness, Excitement. God made ALL of our emotions. Understand what our emotions are for and allow them to be expressed.

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Anger, Frustration, and Being Upset are all red flags to our system that something is wrong. Just like Pain in our body, we need to stop and address that pain. When we ignore it and push through it, we can cause major damage. Anyone who has had a knee or back injury understands the danger in that statement. Take a time-out, Rest, or Get away from the person who stirs up these feelings inside you. In a healthy way, express your anger or pain where you will not hurt anyone. Don’t go out and yell at the world hurting everyone in the process. Write your anger in a journal, Shout into a pillow. Talk to a friend that you trust not to gossip, but to encourage you. Think it through and realize what you’re really angry or upset aboutProcess the best way to confront the issue in a kind, loving way. If you cannot do that at that moment remember to come back to the issue soon or it will grow. And ALWAYS pray through it. It is through these issues in our lives that we can grow OR create more problems.

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I remember grieving over my first daughter who I miscarried at 16wks. So many people wanted me to hurry to get through the grief. “You’ll have another one.” “You’re still young.”  After a few months, even my own grandmother told me to “Get over it, already.” I was still grieving long after my son was born. Comments like those did not help me in my grieving process, in fact, it made me feel more alone than ever.

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We NEED to express our emotion. We need to go THROUGH the emotions similar to a grieving process if we are ever to heal. By stuffing them inside or claiming that they do not exist, we are making the emotion a bigger problem. It will be expressed one way or another. Sometimes, it comes out internally as mine did in Fybromyalgia or suicidal thoughts. Sometimes it comes out as explosions, sarcasm, or even apathy. Some revert to addictions. Not expressing these emotions that are tough to understand, causes us not to want to feel anything. How can you feel love if you do not feel sorrow? I know, for me, I can cry and laugh at the same time sometimes for the same reason. “My baby is growing up.”

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If we cannot feel, we cannot “mourn with those that mourn.” (Romans 12:15) We cannot have compassion on ANYONE. So, what’s the point of being together on this earth, if we do not care about each other? (1 John 4:7)  By NOT feeling our emotions, we cause Bitterness, Resentment, and Hatred towards others. This is not what God wants for us.

 

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3. We are all different personalities. Some of us can work through our emotions super fast, while others of us need to take our time and work through things a little longer. I know from experience that if someone pushes me to get through something faster, I will dig my heels in because I literally cannot process things when I am pushed. With these different ways of dealing with things also comes different amazing talents and gifts. We do not need to be like each other. We need to become the gifts that God created us to be and stop judging others for not being like US. Learn about different kinds of people and have understanding and appreciation for the different types. God made all of us to be different and to help each other. (1 Corinthians 12)

 

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Instead of saying, “Get Over It”  Let’s understand that we all have pain, have compassion for those that are currently experiencing it, allow ourselves and others to feel, express, and go through pain, be there for them who are going through it, and understand that there is no time limit on going through pain. We can be gifts to each other instead of robots. (expressionless mechanical actors) You cannot be both.

 

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I Don’t Need Your Approval

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It wasn’t but a year ago that I began this blog. It came out of my desire to remember what I was learning about how to heal from the symptoms of EDS, the desire to pass on information to my kids, and hopefully help others along the way.

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Earlier in the summer, I had attended my first EDS support group and learned many things. I had pain in my hands and  other joints which they affirmed was Chronic Pain.

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And then… something happened at a place where I felt safe… a church meeting. I was told to sit in the back so I could be easily gotten in case of emergency for my Mast Cell son. There was no discussion. I felt singled out. We had already come up with an emergency plan and this wasn’t it. I was so angry, shocked, and humiliated. I balled in the bathroom and was sought out by the person in charge. She didn’t seem to want to listen, but to inform me that her plan was best. At that moment, I could have walked out and never come back. I was ready to.

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A leader there convinced me to wait it out. She prayed with me and listened to me complain. She agreed that it was not the best way to handle things. Another friend did the same thing. My husband wanted to defend me. He made me laugh by saying that they should be rolling out the red carpet for me and having me sit in the front row instead of the back because of how amazing I was.

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I personally experienced stages of grief. And the nerve pain began. Tingling pain from the bottom of my spine all the way up and over my shoulders. Nobody could touch me. My mind became as if in a fog. I was extremely tired, but I couldn’t sleep.

I watched videos on Chronic Pain trying to figure out what to do. I contacted my friend who’d taught me about essential oils and she gave me different samples and suggested Fibromyalgia. I went to my doctor and he made an appointment with several specialists and tests. The tests came back negative. (which I was used to all my life.) One specialist suggested pain reliever or birth control. One was an occupational therapist for the pain in my hands. The other I needed to wait for. So, I set up a blog. And while waiting, I prayed, researched, tested, and when completely confident, posted.

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I had talked to the person in charge at church, told them a little of what was going on in my life, and how hard it was for me to take what had happened. She apologized and has become my biggest advocate there. I had gotten the Fibro pain down within one month with essential oils. I researched diet changes to prevent further problems. When I had finally gotten in to see Dr. Collins, she backed up the information I had gained and added supplements. I had continued therapy exercises to strengthen my hands, as well as, core body strength. I had begun the Dressing Your Truth program and not only felt better in the right texture of clothing and more confident, but I began to understand myself emotionally. My first specialist was ecstatic. I was so excited to share what was working for me with others.

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Since then, over the last year, I have had people who I thought were close friends and family write angry letters and completely turn their backs on me and my family. Each time, I went through a grieving type process. Each time, I have gotten better at handling it, however, I feel the fibro pain begin at the top of my spine threatening to flare up and I know I’m not there,yet.

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But when praying about it this last time, it hit me. I have an Approval Addiction. This need for approval has caused me to become a victim in each circumstance. And when I was rejected, I would turn to another addiction: sugar cravings, facebook, spending addiction, or in the past, anorexia. I was doing this all subconsciously, but I have been doing it for most of my life.

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So, I’m ready to heal another part of my life. I’m ready to take care of myself. I have felt God’s amazing love for me, but it’s okay to love myself AND to not be loved by everyone.

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I don’t need your approval to be the beautiful person that God created me to be. I don’t need you to love me to take care of myself. I don’t need to fall prey to your manipulation and I don’t need to victimize myself. I can call it what it is, stand on my own two feet, and know that I am loved whether you love me or not.



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