Saturday, December 29, 2012

2013 A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step!

I don't ever do resolutions because I don't believe in them.  However, when the year comes to an end I do like to reflect on the past and see what I can do in the next year to live a more fulfilled life.  Life is too short, extremely hard, exhausting, and unpredictable.  With all of my heart I truly believe life is not just meant to be endured but also enjoyed.  I strive daily to build a life which I can be a better influence to those around me.  Last year I wanted to build a stronger spiritual connection and made a promise to myself that I would complete a gratitude journal daily to help me see and feel more connected to a higher power.  Over the past year, I have had the wonderful opportunity to complete a gratitude journal every night.  Tonight I read my gratitude journal, and my heart was instantly full in recognizing how much my life has blessed.
 
Since the gratitude journal was such a great success this year I was pondering what I could do in 2013 to continue with my spiritual journey.  I just watched the bucket list a couple weeks ago, and thought why not create a bucket list for 2013.  A list of 12 things (1 thing each month) I could do throughout the year, and while I'm doing them or preparing for them I can pay special attention to the tender mercies in my life.  Instead of journaling about these experiences I will be blogging about them instead.  These Entries will be labeled "Tender Mercies".  As I will be paying specific attention to my blessings while completing my list.  I don't ever want to get to the point in my life where I lose sight of the many ways I continue to be blessed in my life.
 
TENDER MERCY BUCKET LIST 2013
 
1)  Identify someone who has inspired you the most in your life.  Let them know how much they have inspired you by writing a letter.
2)  Make friends with at least 5 strangers on the street.
3)  Go deep into the heart of mother nature and experience a sunrise or sunset.
4)  Conquer your biggest fear.
5)  Get closure on one of your hurt, grievances, or unhappiness of the past.
6)   Help someone in need.
7)   Read a book on a subject you'd never thought of reading.
8)   Learn a new language
9)   Run a marathon
10)  Fall in love with something or someone
11)  Go on a cruise or road trip
12) Watch the top 12 movies of all time
 
I'm really excited for my next year, and I'm sure I will continue to be blessed. I welcome 2013 with open arms!!
 
Crystal Angel 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Why do we pick it up?

I love my job so much, and often times my greatest thoughts come in the midst of doing therapy or groups.  I've always struggled with guilt....I'm always apologizing to others whether my behavior or actions are to blame or not. I think I can be guilted into almost anything.  I have been carrying a lot of guilt lately about choices I have made, and I'm anxiously trying to figure out a way to release my guilt.  Today I was facilitating a group therapy session.  One of the group members said "it's hard for me not to jump to conclusions with my mom.  She is so uncaring and I wish that she could feel and understand what I am going through.  Instead she makes me feel guilty for being depressed, and puts all these unrealistic demands on me.  I should just set boundaries with her, but it's difficult for me to do that."  Using her language I looked at her and said "Just because someone throw's you their shit doesn't mean you have to pick it up.  It's a choice.  Who wants to pick up someone else's shit?"  My patient looked at me smiles and says "your right who wants to pick up someone's shit?"  I think too often we carry around other people's crap or our own crap out of guilt, and a form of punishment.  Guilt serves no real purpose, and it's important to find ways to release our guilt and live a more fulfilling and rewarding life.  After my group I thought "Why do I keep picking up crap, and holding on to it?  I'm sick of the unnecessary guilt I place on myself.  I just need to let it go."    

Being an expert in the feeling guilty department I have learned a lot about guilt.  Guilt is a response to our behavior; it's a reaction to events that have occurred in our past that we are holding onto.  It can be messy, hurtful, and painful.  When the past is gone we can't go back and erase what has occurred no matter how much we wish we could, and often time because we cannot erase our past we often feel more guilt and remorse.  We carry this guilt around, and it eats away at us until we start feeling inadequate and numb. 

Sometimes the only way we feel like we can release guilt is if someone releases it for us, either by absolution, forgiveness, or repentance.  However, all that other person is really doing is saying it is okay for us to release guilt.  We are the holders to our own guilt and we are the only ones who can let it go.  Guilt serves no purpose; it only weights us down.  Guilt, the kind we carry around us is a personal choice; it is a kind of belief that we deserve to feel bad because of something we did or didn’t do.  The only purpose it serves is to make us feel miserable and unhappy. 

We can make a choice to release the guilt or we can continue to hold onto it.  Holding onto it only prevents us from moving forward.  Guilt does nothing for us or our past it is not something that will help us be a better person.  To release guilt accept it, seek forgiveness, and let go so that it no longer weighs on us.  Once you've released guilt move on and live life now.  No need to carry around crap or continue to pick it up over and over again.  Today I make a choice to release my guilt.

 

Crystal Angel       

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

To Cry or Not to Cry?

I hate crying.  Anytime I feel the urge to cry I stuff it until I can’t stuff it anymore.  My whole life I have been taught that to cry is a sign of weakness.  So, I have been conditioned to not cry.  It’s funny if you want to make everyone in my family uncomfortable “cry” it works everytime.  LOL.  Usually, when I get the urge to cry I laugh or become super sarcastic.  Over the past week I have had some stressful and emotional things happen.  I have felt this overwhelming urge to cry, but I haven’t.  I watched my cousin’s kids on Saturday and I was telling them how much I just needed to cry.  My cousin admitted that he too feels guilty and weak when he cries.  Since reading my book by “Brene Brown” I’ve been really sensitive to my emotions and trying to allow myself to feel things that I wouldn’t normally allow myself feel.  Yet, when it comes to crying…..I just can’t as a result I feel numb.  Let’s just say I’m trying to work on it J.
 
Today I was walking through the grocery store listening to my playlist.  My favorite song came up.  When unexpectantly I became instantly overwhelmed with distressing emotions.  I thought OH CRAP!!! I’m gonna cry.  Immediately, I thought “Crystal, Don’t you dare.  Just wait till you get to your car then you can cry.”  I finished up my shopping got in my car….and DIDN’T Cry.  Surprised?  Yeah me either.  I’m still trying to figure out why I won’t allow myself to cry.  In the meantime I’m really trying to feel and understand my emotions.  I have a desire to be more mature in understanding my emotions and to be authentic and real.  Any recommendations on overcoming my fear of crying would be highly appreciated!!!
 
Crystal Angel   

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The gifts of imperfection!!


          
           I’ve just finished reading this book by Brene Brown called “The gifts of imperfection” Your guide to wholehearted living.  I’ve also included her youtube link on “The power of vulnerability.”  This book has been a transforming resource in my life.  I’m excited to see where her words will lead me.

            All of my life I have numbed myself to certain emotions in my life as a way to protect myself.  Some of the emotions I have chosen to numb consciously and others I have been taught to avoid.  One of the things that Brene talks about in her book is that when we numb certain emotions it takes the edge of off feelings that cause vulnerability, discomfort, and pain. Although, it may feel safe in the short term in the long term we pay the price.  When we numb the negative emotions in our life we also numb the positive emotions in our life.  If we want to experience joy in our life we must also experience pain.  As a professional avoider of pain I’m really trying to work on this. 

            I was working with a patient this past week who has struggled with depression for 25 years.  He told me he had tried everything to rid himself of his depression, and that he had given up hope that he could ever experience joy.  He looked at me and said “I just want a pill to fix everything.  I’ve tried everything else.”  I looked at him and dropped a pen in front of him and said “Try picking up the pen.”  He gave me this weird look and went to pick up the pen.  I abruptly stopped him and said “I told you to try.”  What I wanted him to realize is that sometimes dealing with emotions are difficult, and learning to understand them takes work.  It’s the same with pain.  There is no “easy button” to pain and discomfort.  We cannot heal a lifetime of pain overnight.  Experiencing pain isn’t easy, but as we allow ourselves to feel it.  Pain becomes a teacher, motivator, it allows us to love more deeply, and eventually allows for healing.  We cannot experience real joy until we experience pain.

            Over the past couple of months I have done a better job at allowing myself to feel certain emotions and not allow guilt, shame, or feelings that I don’t deserve love and belongingness to interfere in my life.  However, over the past week I have allowed these vulnerabilities to overcome me.  Immediately after responding to my fear and trust issues I recognized what I did.  However, the damage was already done.  Still over the past week I have continued to open myself up to feeling the pain.  It has been the hardest thing that I have ever done. 

            Brene said it best when she said “Authenticity demands wholehearted living and loving even when it’s hard, even when we are wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so intense that we are afraid to let ourselves feel it.   Authenticity is a daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re suppose to be and embracing who we are.  Choosing authenticity means cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable; exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle; and nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe that we are enough.”  I’m so excited to see where the path of wholehearted living leads me.  No matter what comes in my life and what I experience I only want to be true to myself.  That’s the greatest gift I can give myself, and I will be able to be a better influence in the lives of others.   

 

Crystal Angel      

Thursday, December 13, 2012

No regrets!


"In the end, we only regret the chances we didn't take, relationships we were afraid to have, and the decisions we waited too long to make."  

Every one of us has experienced feelings of regret.  The things we didn't do when we had the chance, the priceless relationship we neglected, and those important words we left unspoken.  I was talking to a friend about recent decisions I have made in my life, and telling them how much I regret making stupid decisions.  They looked at me and said "Crystal, if you don't have any regrets in life you’re really not living."  This got me thinking about what it is I'm really regretful of?  Is it making a mistake or having to deal with the consequences of making a mistake?  What I realized is that it's never too late to set things straight.  We're still here breathing, and can choose to make things right.  I do agree with my friend that if we don't have regrets in our life we aren't really living, but these are just some of my thoughts on different ways to live without regret. 

1.  Spend time with the people we love.

You've heard the saying, "The best things in life are free."  Spending quality time with family, friends, and others are heart-felt moments that bring more joy in our lives.  They are precious and free.  Too often we get caught up in the rat race, working numerous hours a week, to the point where we are too stressed and exhausted to enjoy our closest relationships.  By simplifying our life style and making conscious choices along the way it is possible to enjoy more of what matters most.  Life is too short so enjoy it while it last with those you love. 
 
2.  Don't hold a grudge.

We have all been hurt by another person at some point whether we were treated poorly, trust was broken, and hearts were hurt.  And while this pain is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long.  We relive the pain over and over and have a hard time letting go.  This creates problems.  It not only causes us to be unhappy, but it can strain or ruin future relationships, distract us from work and family, and make us reluctant to open up to new things and people.  We get trapped in a cycle of anger and hurt, and miss out on the beauty of life as it happens.  Grudges are a waste of perfect happiness.  If there is someone in your life who deserves another chance, give it to them.  If you need to apologize, do it.  We can always give our life story a happy new beginning.  Forgiveness is the biggest gift we can give ourselves and others.
 
3.  Be who you are
As long as you keep being you, as long as you keep staying true to yourself and the passions that move you, it doesn't matter how many mistakes you make or how many times we pull a U-turn.  Have courage to live a life true to you, not the life others expect of you.  Make time to pursue your passion, no matter how busy you are or what anyone else says.  Steve Jobs once said: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

4.  Be honest about how you feel.

Say what you need to say, and never apologize for showing your feelings.  This is something I tell my patients all the time.  People may feel uncomfortable with what you have to say, but that is something they will have to deal with.  Too many times people suppress their feelings in order to keep peace with others.  As a result, they settle for carrying the weight of their own silence.  Give yourself permission to feel a full range of emotions.  When you are in touch with what you are feeling, you are more likely to understand the situation at hand and resolve it instead of avoiding it.  In order to feel connectedness you need to accept and love yourself first, even when your truth feels heavy.  In the end, expressing your feelings will improve your relationships, including your relationship with yourself, to a new healthier level.  Your open honestly will also help you realize and realize unhealthy relationships from your life. 

5.  Release negativity from your life.

Don't expect to achieve long-term happiness if you surround yourself with negative people.  Don't give up part-time people a full-time position in your life.  Know your value and what you have to offer stay positive, and never settle for ANYTHING less than you deserve.  I love this quote "There comes a time in life when you have to let go of all the pointless drama and the people that create it."  Staying out of other's drama is an incredibly effective way to simplify your life and reduce stress.  Surround yourself with positive people who make you laugh so hard that you forget the bad, so you can focus on the good.  Life is really too short not to be happy. 

6.  Make happiness a priority in your life.

Happiness is a choice and many people walk around unhappy.  There are many reasons for this, but it boils down to one principle.  People choose something else over happiness.  I can't tell you how many times I have been told by others 'it's easier to stay in something that's comfortable even if it's destructive to my happiness."  To find true happiness in life you need to follow your heart and intuition.  You may need to do things you are uncomfortable doing.  Life isn't about pleasing everybody.  We can take responsibility for our own happiness. 

7.  Make a difference in other's lives.

Every person can make a difference, and every person should try.  In life, you get what you put in.  When you make a positive impact in someone else's life you also make a positive impact on your own.  Do something that is greater than you.  Something that helps someone else to be happy or suffer less.  I can't tell you how many times my life has been magnified and my joy increased when I have been able to help others. 

8.  Take risks

If your fear of failure, or of not being perfect, has driven you to take the safe road of doing nothing, you have already failed.  Accept the fact that everyone fails, but don't accept the act of not trying as your form of failure.  I love the quote "Don't let the risk of striking out prevent you from playing the game."  We will have failures along the road of reaching our goals, but they are simply opportunities to learn and grow.  If we keep moving forward eventually we will reach our dreams. 

9.  Goodbye and Hello's

In life, goodbyes are a gift.  When certain people walk away from you, and certain opportunities close their doors on you, there is no need to hold onto them or pray to keep them present in your life.  If they close you out, take it as direct indication that these people, circumstances and opportunities are not part of the plan for the next step of your life.  It is a hint that your personal growth requires someone different and something more, and life is simply making room.  So embrace your goodbyes, because every "goodbye" you receive sets you up for even a better "hello".   

"Forget the past. forget your age.  Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  At the end of it, let there be no excuses, no explanations, and no regrets."

 

Crystal Angel

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Simple things!


My mom has kept this poem with my handprint on it since I was in kindergarten.  Whenever I’m going through her stuff I look at my handprint and it’s hard to believe that I was ever so small.  Here’s what it says:
“Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small,
And always leave my fingerprints
On the furniture and walls.
But everyday I’m growing,
I’ll be grown up someday,
And all these tiny handprints
Will simply fade away.
So here’s a final handprint
Just so you can recall,
Exactly how my fingers looked
When I was very small.”

I can honestly say that I had an amazing childhood filled with lots of playing, love, and laughter.  It’s amazing to think back on those times, and realize how slowly time passed.  As I have grown, I have noticced that time moves much faster.  I contemplate that a lot and ponder why?  What I’ve realized is that as a child most of us are usually sheltered from the worldly pains and distress, we are encouraged to explore, to learn, and to appreciate the simplicities of life.  As we grow older, we are introduced to time, pain, distress, and life demands.  Sometimes the complexities of life get me to the point where I’m wishing my days away for better ones that are simpler.  For example, if I’m stressed at work I’m waiting for my work day to end or if I’m going through a painful experience I’m often wishing for it to be over.  Throughout my week I find myself in auto pilot mode for example when I drive to work instead of appreciating the beauty of nature I’m watching the clock and wondering when the light will turn green so I can get to work on time.  Every day I try to enjoy all the moments in my life good or bad, and try to appreciate the joy that life brings me.        

Today I took a run and it was an amazing experience.  One of my favorite things about running is its away for me to distress and appreciate those simple things in life that I sometimes take for granted.  I love moments like today where life reminds me that there is much to be appreciated.  Today, I wanted to share with you the simple things I love!

1)      The taste of water after a workout.

2)      Reading a good book on a rainy day.

3)      When someone tells you they like the sound of your laugh.

4)      Heart to heart talks.

5)      Warm water on cold hands.

6)      Listening to someone laugh.

7)      Finding out something is easier than you thought.

8)      Finishing a paper or work assignment.

9)      The first time you listen to your favorite song.

10)  When you realize your hot chocolate has reached the perfect temperature.

11)  Learning something new.

12)  Going out of your way to help someone.

13)  Smiling at a stranger.

14)  Watching a sunset or sunrise

15)  Making an accidental discovery.

16)  Unexpected hugs.

17)  Hearing someone talk about what they’re passionate about.

18)  When someone remembers the small details about you.

19)  Talking to the people I love.

20)  Saying “I love you” and falling in love. 

This list could go on forever so I’ll stop at 20.  This week I encourage you to appreciate the small things in life.   

Crystal Angel

Monday, November 26, 2012

Why do you smile so much?




Today I had a patient ask me "Crystal, Why do you smile so much?"  My response:  "When I smile it makes me feel so good.  If I had to be honest though the real reason why I smile is because I secretly want people to smile back at me." The patient who struggles severely with depression looked into my eyes and gave me the biggest smile I've ever seen.  I can't tell you how much that made my day.  I love this poem and the author is unknown.

                                                         SMILING IS INFECTIOUS

Smiling is infectious,
you catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today,
I started smiling too.

I passed around the corner
and someone saw my grin.
When he smiled I realized
I'd passed it on to him.

I thought about that smile,
then I realized its worth.
A single smile, just like mine
could travel round the earth.

So, if you feel a smile begin,
don't leave it undetected.
Let's start an epidemic quick,
and get the world infected!

 

I truly believe that smiles are contagious.  I test my theory everyday.  People recognize when you smile and I can honestly say that 90% of the time that I smile at someone they smile back at me.  It's interesting when I don't smile how many people recognize this and ask me why I'm not "Smiling".  In one of my classes in college I read a research study on how smiling can improve your happiness.  It stated that smiling not only makes you feel better emotionally, but as you smile your brain releases endorphins that can relieve pain and increases feelings of contentment.  In my theory and in this poems theory when we smile and get someone else to smile we can increase their happiness just by sharing a smile.  So, Why not smile more? 

 

Get the world infected! I encourage you to test my theory and let me know how it goes! 

 

Crystal Angel

 


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A time to be grateful

Everyday I feel so so blessed.  I'm so grateful for an amazing and wonderful god in my life, for my loving family, for amazing friends,  and for a job I absouletly love.  I came across this story the other day, and realized that so many times we lose perspective on what really matters most.  Life is to be enjoyed.  I'm so grateful for the holidays and the time I spend with those I love.  Make room for the things that matter most in your life....everything else is just stuff!!

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.The students laughed..

‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—-your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—-and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.. The sand is everything else—-the small stuff.

‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.

Take care of the golf balls first—-the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’ The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.
 
Happy Holidays friends,
 
Crystal Angel

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Simply Become who you are!


 
In my bedroom hangs a sign that says "Live, Laugh, and Love."  This has always been my motto in life.  I love my life, I love who I am, and am so excited for the person I am becoming.  Since I was little I have always had a passion for life.    I've always been a curious person who loves people, enjoys the small things in life such as nature, animals (except for squirrels), and the environment around me.  Every day I wake up and tell myself it's gonna be a good day and I believe it.  I'm a half-glass full kinda a girl, and even on my worst day find joy in naming my blessings.  I only have one hold up.     

My greatest vulnerability is human suffering.  I SO DISLIKE to see people suffer.  I've never understood why people are mean, manipulative, and deceitful.  As long as I can remember I have tried to comfort those who stand in need of comfort, who are grieving, and who have been treated unfairly.  The greatest joy that I feel in life is helping and serving others.   

Even though loving others is one of my greatest strengths ......I can honestly say it's also my greatest weaknesses.  Lately, I have felt so inadequate.  I've been praying and pondering why I feel this way.  In the middle of the day it came to me.  Over the course of my life I have had people tell me that I have too much passion for things in my life.  Over the past two weeks two people have told me this very thing.  This has been weighing heavily on my mind...."can you really have too much passion for life?"  Marianne Williamson once said "It's our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so people won't feel insecure around you." 

I realized today that it's easy to put myself in a box so other people won't feel hurt, insecure, or inadequate.  Today I felt god tell me "Crystal, why are you constantly holding in your light?"  I didn't have an answer.  I honestly feel that it's my passion for my life that makes me successful in my work, and in my relationships with my family and friends.  No longer will I put myself in a box to make other's feel comfortable.  I can love people, but it does me no justice to love people to the point where I give up qualities or traits that make me happy. Life is to be enjoyed not just endured. 

 

Crystal Angel

Friday, October 19, 2012

Breaking down the walls


People have asked me why I fear vulnerability. I guess to fully understand why I fear vulnerability so much. I have had to take some time to do some self-reflection, and really ask myself the question, when did I stop being vulnerable. What I've found is I really can't determine a key point in my life when I decided that love and openness were less desirable than going through some pain.

Each time I've been hurt, wounded, or scared. Little by little I've unconsciously built a wall around my heart..... brick by brick to protect myself from the pain. The walls I've built are like armor, which eventually have imprisoned the softness of the heart.

When people meet me they tell me that I'm hard to get to know, and they don't know how to take me. It's like my walls are built so thick due to being hurt so much in my life that people can feel my resistance. Yet, for those who get through the walls I've built around my heart tell me that getting through the resistance was worth it.

I've asked some of the people closest to tell me what it's like to really know me. Their responses include the following: Your the most selfless person I know, your thoughtful, your loving, your responsible, your honest, your caring, your forgiving, you enjoy what you have and love life, your a leader, your compassionate, you make me want to be a better person, and your funny. Can you imagine what I could be like if I allowed myself to be vulnerable. Who wouldn't want to love a person like that? Because I have locked my heart up for so long out of protection it's hard for me to recognize and see those qualities I have. I don't believe that I deserve love or connectedness's. So, of course it's easy for me to sabotage any relationship that I get into.

Over the past month I've really looked inside myself on how I can rebuild my connectedness, and have turned to the one person who understands that connectedness more than anyone (GOD). He has spoken to my heart and is helping me rebuild my walls and allowing that vulnerability and authenticity to take over. In the past month I have experienced more hurt, pain, and sorrow than ever before. Over the past week I found myself grabbing for the bricks again, and instead of building a thicker wall I got down on my knees and prayed. Let's just say even though I placed the brick on my wall God took it off for me. As I continue to fight my urges to cut people out of my life in the process I'm building a stronger and better me. I can't wait to see what my heart will become as I continue to allow myself to be vulnerable. So, to answer everyone questions I don't know why I fear vulnerability, but I'm ready to master it!

Crystal Angel

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What is your Kryptonite?



To answer that question truthfully mine is to be vulnerable. I don't like feeling vulnerable, but I don't think anyone really does.....do they? I go to lengths to hide my soft underbelly from the world. I pretend that I'm covered in impenetrable armor. I try not to show my emotions. I know that it seems kind of a joke considering I work with people everyday encouraging them to do that very thing. Vulnerability is about trust, openness, and allowing yourself to feel emotions even though it may be difficult.

So....Emotional vulnerability: Why are we afraid of it?

Is there a greater gift that we can give ourselves than being true and loving to our emotions and needs? From all I have observed, I would have to say "No." When it all comes down to it, there is no greater gift that one could give themselves. So, why do we hide our emotions and needs from others?

What would happen if we really opened up to emotional vulnerability? Would this enable us to achieve the success we desired in our life? Would it improve our career, relationship, health, and other areas of our life? Sometimes when I find myself avoiding certain emotional needs I ask myself these questions: What am I running away from? If I'm running away from deep rooted desires and needs can I truly be happy? Is there something I want to say but I hold it back from others out of fear or rejection? What would happen if I were to be open and honest to others and myself?

Sometimes we are so afraid to express what we love, want or need out of fear of rejection or ridicule. Truth be told the more I withhold my emotional needs the more I lack the capacity to discover true love and true success. By not being vulnerable, we are missing out on so much of our full potential. We are missing out on attracting what is best for us.

True love and true happiness comes as we are able to express our thoughts and feelings without rejection or fear. I've lived too long fearing my emotions and desires. I desire to be more vulnerable to my emotions and love. I know as I do that I can truly embrace who I am. I can be open with myself and in return open with others. I say that being vulnerable is nothing to be feared only desired.

 

Crystal Angel

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The journey

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao-tzu

 

I cannot think of an instance where falling is supposed to be an activity that implies safety and fun to me. Skydiving. Bungee jumping. Free falling. Nope, none of these activities are making me feel warm and/or fuzzy inside. I feel like falling in love should be renamed "gently landing onto a soft bed" in love. That is something that I could believe in.

And yet we are expected to fall in love and associate it with feelings of safety, security, and completeness. It's like the universe is playing a sick mind bender game with us just to see if we're paying attention. And of course we're paying attention. There are few things in life that command our attention the way falling in love does. You can’t ignore it even if you want to. Go ahead, try to stop thinking of that person you’re thinking of right now. I dare you.

In reality, falling in love should be the safest thing we can do, but we’ve all fallen in love and subsequently fallen flat on our faces, conditioning us to feel anything but safe or secure when we’re lucky enough to do it again. It’s like biting in to a slice of pizza that is way too hot. You’re expecting warm, soft, gooey cheese and chewy dough and that moment of culinary bliss when you close your eyes and thank the sweet heavens above for such a wonderful taste bud gift. Instead, you scald the roof of your mouth, leaving your taste buds singed and that flap of skin that just won’t seem to heal no matter how many "therapeutic" first aid ice cream sandwiches you eat. The next weekend when your friends order a pizza, you’re eating a salad and avoiding the croutons, fearing you’ll chafe your just-beginning-to-heal mouth.

If only heartbreak were as pleasant as a pizza burn on the roof of your mouth.

It’s so hard, once you’ve experienced heartache, to let yourself fall in love again. So you dip a toe in and go on a date. Then you go on a few more. Pretty soon you’ve put a label on the relationship and then what? Then you’re emotionally skydiving for as long as it takes for you to feel safe. If you ever let yourself feel safe with someone. But once you’ve jumped out of the plane, there’s no going back. I'm ready to heal my heart I just need someone to be my parachute.

I've been thinking about the concept of vulnerability lately, and one of my good friends recommended a talk on vulnerability by Brene Brown. She speaks about being vulnerable and says that "the one thing that keeps us out of love and connection is our fear that we're not worthy of love and connection." I know that as I open up and become more authentic by being vulnerable to love I will have more joy in my life. I'm trying to be open and will focus my next few post on my journey on learning about being vulnerable. If someone wants to comment on what makes you vulnerable feel free! Have a good day!

Crystal Angel

Monday, October 1, 2012

Where did the Spark go?


Dating?  What can I say I have a love/hate relationship with dating, but since I've been writing about dating I decided that I should follow my own advice.  Last week I was asked out by three different guys, and I didn't really want to go but I did.  I know I'm surprised too (thanks to all my wonderful friends who wouldn't allow me to cancel I really do appreciate it!).  I won't go into detail about all of those dates, but let's just say that there weren't really any sparks!  Plus there were some pretty awkward moments if you get my drift? Since I've been dating more frequently it's really got me thinking about what turns women off?  Looking at my past dating experiences these are some things that really turn me off.  
One of the biggest turn offs for women is a guy who’s insecure about himself. If you’re not confident about yourself or are feeling nervous, trust me, it shows. This is one of the biggest reasons why guys get spurned on a date. Are you happy being who you are? Do you think you make for great company? If you aren’t happy being who you are, what are the odds that the girl you’re with would like your company? Some guys have a great positive aura around themselves and some guys are just plain nervous and scared. If you’re an insecure guy, it’s time to change your behavior. Or lose the girl! Be who you are and be comfortable with who you are becoming! Confidence not arrogance is a big turn on for any women!
Guys I know most of your life you have been taught to be nice and chivalrous.  Somewhere along the line, some guys take the whole game of being chivalrous and experiencing the womanliness inside a man to a whole new level. Drum roll… welcome… the sensitive guy.  Sensitive guys are really nice guys who’ve listened to their mama and have learnt their manners. They’re very much in touch with the feminine side inside them, but they’ve been so rigorously trained on connecting with their feminine side that they’ve crossed the line and have gone way overboard. Watching a mushy movie with a guy and crying on his manly shoulder is a great way for a girl to spend Sunday afternoon, but sharing tissues to wipe each other’s tears? Nope, that’s just not right. Same goes with guys who ask if a girl’s having a nice time a hundred times on a date.  There is
Some guys think they have it all. And at some point, all the attention and the smothering from their parents and buddies make them assume they own the world. They make idiotic statements and love talking about their own glorious deeds or misdeeds. Do you incessantly talk about how well you played a game or how many cars you own?  Well, say what you want, you’re just going to be a cocky pompous prick. Even gold diggers may get bored of you in no time. Learn some humility and you could still get back in a girl’s good books.  By bragging about how much money your making or how intelligent you are can be a huge turn off for a woman. 
Gosh, another big one on the list. Have you ever met a guy who was just too boring? Now I don’t mean nerdy or geeky, those types can be great guys and even better boyfriend materials. I’m talking about boring guys whose company can kill you in no time.  All girls and guys have experienced this at some point in their lives. We’ve all had to sit next to a guy, and his conversations were so boring that you would rather jump off a cliff. To avoid being a guy in this cliché, work your conversation around what your date wants to talk about. If you see her looking around while you’re talking, it’s time to change the conversation. If you see her eyes light up and her gestures getting animated, you’ve hit the conversation jackpot, baby!
Are you a dumb guy? Yeah, of course, you aren’t. But many guys are really dumb without realizing it. Now I’m not talking about being an idiot or the village simpleton. I’m talking about guys who speak their minds on a date, without thinking about how their date would feel. If she’s looking around while you’re talking, and you realize you need to change the topic of conversation, do it discreetly. Don’t ever say, “Oh, you’re getting bored, aren’t you? You can tell me, I won’t mind…” Unless you want your date to claw her nails into the leather of her seat or crawl her toes in awkward cringing desperation, avoid being a dumb guy.
Now we have the mirror cracking good looking boy. Any guy who spends more time in front of the mirror than his own girlfriend is a huge turn off. But we’re not stopping there. If you’re having dinner with your date, and the waiter accidently spills a bit of juice on your silk shirt, wipe it away like a man. Don’t whine about how your silk shirt is ruined and behave like a drama queen. In the world of dating, a narcissistic guy is one who’s overly bothered about his own things like his cell phone, watch, or just about anything else that belongs to him. Boy, you’re with a woman. Let her be the cynosure of your eyes!
Manner, manners. Girls like a guy who knows his manners. Now every guy should know his manners *though he should never push it and become the sensitive guy*. But that’s not it at all. There’s something even bigger. You should be man enough to apologize or accept that you’re wrong. No guy’s a bigger sore loser or a turn off than a guy who just can’t accept his fault, but would rather throw tantrums and make a fuss and pout like a four year old. Learn to man up and remember, accepting that you’ve made a mistake is not a sign of weakness.
Don't get me wrong I love meeting people and getting to know them, and am grateful for the dating experiences.  There are many good guys out there that make wonderful dates!  It's just been a long couple of weeks of bad experiences!
 
Crystal Angel  
 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Who defines our happiness?


 
Happiness is something that everyone wants and desires to have.  Happiness is different for everyone.  I have heard time and time again from my single friends "When I get into a relationship or get married then I will be happy."  Many of these single friends who have made this comment once they get into a relationship or get married still feel unhappy.  The real question should be does being single make us unhappy or is it not knowing who we are?  Who defines our happiness?  For those of you who struggle in being single and finding happiness in your life I have some words of wisdom today!

Being single is not anything to be ashamed about in our age! We live in a time when most relationships break up and there is no guarantee that even the best ones will last.  In the meantime, there is much to enjoy in life, and singleness has a great many benefits that those couples you envy would give an arm or a leg for!!  I'm not saying avoid relationships and stay single.  Today I want to talk about different ways to find joy in your single life.

1st: Take charge of your reality and give up all that envy! 
I'll admit that sometimes I get a little envious when I get the wedding or baby announcement in the mail!!! I say stop worrying about everyone else around you getting into relationships, getting married, or having babies believing that you need those things as well.  All those happy couples in movies and television shows are the fabrications of Hollywood writers.  Real couples have messy lives; they fight, leave the bathroom dirty, have financial struggles, and fight over the remote control.  Give up your unrealistic fantasies of your soul mate and how most people around you are just regular folk--good people, but not magical heroes who fix each other’s lives.

2nd: Be better
Focus on becoming the best person you can be.  Take classes, workout, grow a garden, do volunteer work, go to therapy, do whatever your heart desires.  Remember that everything you do should be for you! High self-confidence will attract more friends and maybe in the long run even a little romance.  One of the most amazing feelings ever is looking yourself in the mirror every morning and being proud of the person that you are becoming.  As I strive to be better I learn to love myself more and more.  Concentrate on yourself and figure out what you like and don't like.  Make plans with friends that you haven't seen in a while.  Take a nice hot bath, read a book, walk the dog, or watch your favorite TV show.  Take time for yourself and don't sweat finding someone.  Finding love will be easier as you get to know yourself and love yourself. 

3rd:  Indulge yourself
Go out and get your nails done, have a spa day, or get a massage.  Just because you don't have someone to impress or please doesn’t mean you stop leasing yourself.  Remember you are a strong, independent person who deserves the best.  So give it to yourself and don't feel guilty.  I can't tell you how many of my married friends can no longer afford doing some of the things that I enjoy doing like getting my hair and nails done.  We might as well enjoy it while we can right? 

4th: Play the field
Go out and have fun.  Go out to clubs with your friends.  Dance and flirt with others if you like.  Don't be afraid to give or take phone numbers, just realize that nothing may come of it.  I was laughing with a friend the other day about how many times I have refused to give my phone number out.  I kick myself now.  Take a risk who knows the guy at the grocery store throwing you those corny lines might actually be a really nice guy... (But seriously who asks for a girl’s number in the grocery store?).  Let people set you up, or try online dating.  Make yourself available to have fun and meet people!

5th:  Take up a new hobby
Learn guitar, join tap class, grow a garden, write a novel, and cook some gourmet meals!  Do whatever you have ever wanted to do, and do it now.  Trying something new can lead to new skills, friendships, and a higher self-esteem. 

6th:  Positive affirmations are important
Look in the mirror and say things that you like about yourself.  Repeat phrases to yourself such as "I'm strong and beautiful." and tell your reflection that you love you.  You need to know that you cannot expect others to make you happy.  You are the only person who can make you happy in the end.

7th: Be an optimist
I've always been a half glass full kind of person. Being optimistic helps you whether you are single, married, divorced or widowed.  One of the things that I do every day is keep a gratitude diary and every night think of five things I am grateful for.  I love finding the silver lining in everything throughout my day, and savoring the little pleasures.  I love this quote that says "happiness is not just a package that we can open up and consume.  True happiness comes by recognize the elements of happiness and enjoying them as they last."

Happiness is a life time goal and desire.  Happiness is not a destination but a journey.  Enjoy the journey!! 
 
Love,
Crystal