Monthly Archives: June 2015

Splurging a little lifts your mood and gives you confidence!

Let your confidence shine!

Let your confidence shine!

A while back, I was reading some articles and information about the importance of what we wear and showing off a little to impress others. I’ve always been frugal and avoided name brands, because I thought that was the smart thing to do, and that what I wore didn’t matter. It turns out, sometimes what we wear does matter because wearing or owning items of value gives others the image that we are confident and successful, as well as able to do great work. What we wear to an interview can influence whether or not we get a job or make a sale. For example, if you are a real estate broker, and you drive around in an old junker car, your clients are going to think that you must not make much money, you must not sell houses very well, and you must not do a very good job if that’s all you can afford. But, if you pick them up in a nice new Mercedes, they are going to think, “wow, that Realtor must really be good to have such a nice car!” Let’s hire her to sell our house too!

It’s not necessarily fair that life works this way, but sometimes it does. Our first impressions matter, and people judge us based on appearance even if we don’t think they should. I had read this in multiple self-help books, so I decided to invest in some nicer clothing and accessories.

I decided to buy myself a Coach purse. I’ve never owned one, but I know they are a status symbol, so I started looking for deals and learning about their value. I knew I didn’t want to spend a ton of money, so I went to their outlet store on a sale day. Immediately, a very pretty, robins-egg-blue purse caught my eye. It was a sunny spring day, and that beautiful blue was so pleasant and calming! It fit in with all the good feelings of a fresh spring after a cold winter, and it inspired me. I made myself look around the store and see everything, but I went back to that purse, and I bought it.

Once I got home, I put it on my dresser, and every time I walked by, I smiled about how much I liked that color. It lifted my spirits every time. Then, when I needed to go out, I decided to put on a prettier outfit and carry my new purse. Usually I go to the store in jeans and a t-shirt, but that day I put on a pretty spring dress for no reason other than I felt like being pretty! Usually I let my pretty clothes wait in my closet until I have a special event, but it was really fun just getting prettied up to go to the store.

Now I carry my blue Coach purse everywhere I go. It perks me up and makes me feel special. I carried it to a job interview last week and the person interviewing me complimented me on it. I got the job, too! I don’t think it was the purse that got me the job, but instead the confidence I felt when I carried it and felt good about myself.

Yes, that purse was a splurge, (for me,) but it was totally worth it! The color brightens my day, carrying it makes me feel good, and it makes me stand out. That investment in my wardrobe was also an investment in ME, and I’m glad I made it. I can’t spend that kind of money every day, but it’s important to remember the principle behind it. Be good to yourself and remember you have value, and you do deserve little splurges. When you pamper yourself, you feel better, and you look happier to the world around you. Your improved mood will inspire others to have confidence in you as well.

Controlling your reaction to things you cannot control

Napoleon Hill’s a Year of Growing Rich: 52 Steps to Achieving Life’s Rewards

I post about reading this book every once in a while, because I read one chapter at a time and I’m taking my time. It’s a very inspiring book! Even though it is focused on getting rich by making more money, the tips the author gives for getting rich are really tips that make our lives better anyway. And that is where my journey is taking me after surviving abuse–a better life where I am assertive and taking care of myself better than I have in the past!

The chapter I read today was “Your Source of Power,” and at the end was a quote that really got me thinking. I’ve read it before, but I usually find it a bit frustrating. Hill says:

Your state of mind is something you can control completely….

No one can control the actions of others or the many circumstances of life that tend to make one angry, but you can control your reactions to these actions and circumstances.

This is not a new idea, but sometimes I just read things in a new light. This idea is also the main point of another book I read called People Can’t Drive You Crazy If You Don’t Give Them the Keys. That book is filled with assertive ways to deal with maddening people! It really is the truth that we can control our reactions, but I’ve always found the idea so frustrating because when you are dealing with a crazy person–especially an abuser–you begin to feel helpless after a while. It’s hard to believe you have any control over anything when there is a strong bully ruling over your life! The authors can say we control our own minds, but if you are being criticized and attacked and gaslighted daily, it really gets hard to stay strong. So I guess what I’m thinking is, sometimes it is harder than usual to control your reaction to a situation and stay strong, and that’s why every time I’ve seen that quote, I have had trouble fully accepting it. It was always so hard to see a way out of the abuse.

Still, it gets me thinking…when my ex was screaming and calling me names all the time, and I was huddled and crying in fear, could I have changed my reaction by simply not letting his rages scare me? I don’t know, because he was so unpredictable. I did change the problem by ending the marriage very quickly, so I guess that was the only way I could control my reaction to a volatile person.

Since I used to be a co-dependent, I’ve always had a problem with working harder and harder to fix the problems with abusive people, when I should have been strong, and kicked them right out the door after it became clear they weren’t going to change! When I was trying to fix disordered people, I was giving up my own power and letting them run all over my life while I waited for them to be respectful. (As if that would ever happen!) I can’t believe it took me so long to gain the insight and boundaries to stop letting unrepentant abusers control me when I could have said “no!” so much sooner. Lesson learned….

As I’ve been healing, I’ve really taken heart in this idea that I can control my reactions instead of trying to control people’s bad behavior. It is so much easier and less stressful, that’s for sure! It makes me feel like I have more personal power, and it gives me so much excitement for the future.

The other day, someone did something really crappy to me–stole my work off of my website, cropped out my website address, re-posted it as her own, said it was hers, and told people they too could share it. I was not happy that this person was so disrespectful with my work, nor the fact that technically, that is a crime. When I confronted the person, she refused to remove my stolen work, and she blocked me. That’s the kind of situation where someone else is taking control of your life, and you feel like you can’t stop them! It was incredibly rude and entitled of that person to think it was okay to do that! And it was that situation that made me see that old quote up there in a new light. I am no longer allowing people to abuse me. That person violated me, and I cannot control her behavior, nor can I make her an honest, ethical person. She was dishonest and that probably isn’t going to change. People are what they are until they decide to change… and judging by her refusal to remove my copyrighted work or even talk about it, she wasn’t planning on changing any time soon!

So…if I can’t prevent someone from violating me, I can control whether or not I let them continue, and whether or not I let it ruin my day. There are always going to be jerks in the world. All I can do is use my legal rights, (which I did.) I am done engaging with that person, because I don’t want to waste my time on abusive people anymore. I cannot keep those types of people from walking through my life, but I can keep them from staying. And that’s really what that quote is about.

The importance of relaxing without feeling guilty

blogphotoBecause of the way I was raised with an abusive mother, I was taught not to take care of myself or nurture myself. I was made to feel guilty about enjoying anything. I grew up to be a strict goody-two-shoes who was nervous about trying anything “bad” or even taking a break. Hedonistic people live for pleasure, but I grew up being the opposite–denying myself pleasure. In some ways, that is a good thing because I never got caught up in vices, but at the same time, I never learned to relax…or even believe I deserved to.

I rarely watched television, I never drank alcohol, I didn’t get to movies, I didn’t splurge on self-care like massages or manicures, I didn’t buy delicious foods, I didn’t take time out for fun. I lived as if I did not deserve anything good. Even if I did watch television, I’d do work while I watched. I never did anything enjoyable without doing something productive at the same time. I have been one incredibly stressed-out person!

Most people are looking to watch less T.V. or get off the couch more, but recently, I have started trying to do the opposite. For all of my life, I have been active and busy doing things that “matter” from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. In the past few years, especially now that I have two toddlers, my days have been non-stop. It’s nearly impossible to keep the house clean, keep the dishes done, get all the laundry finished, and I’ve been stressing myself out trying to do everything and keep everything perfect.

That’s no way to live!

So, a few months ago, I decided to sit down in my comfy recliner and watch MORE television. Every night before bed. And…I force myself to put down the laptop, put down the books, and just sit. (Even though it’s tempting to run around the house and put things away with the TV going in the background.) I’m challenging myself to just sit, relax and do nothing. To enjoy just watching mindless shows for pure enjoyment. It’s nice!

Learning to enjoy life probably comes naturally to many people, but it was not natural to me. In fact, I remember being around 9-10 years old and watching my mother buy herself new clothes. I asked her to buy me a shirt–a purple turtleneck–and she told me that I did not deserve anything because I did not earn the money. Even when I did grow up to earn the money, I carried that comment with me–that I did not deserve things.

Over the past few years, I have learned to indulge myself in luxuries like some fancy perfume, a manicure, a massage…and a night in front of my television watching good-looking men on an interesting show. Purely wasting my time…and not feeling guilty about it!

Free eBooks on Amazon June 6, 2015

I haven’t read any of these, but I go through the free Kindle books on Amazon from time to time. Right now, all of these are free and sound like they could be helpful! If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the program for free to read on your computer.


Sometimes the prices on free books go back up, so make sure you check to see if it’s still free before you download.

The jump between knowing what you need to do to grow and actually doing it

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Earlier someone asked me if I’d been abused before and knew the signs, how did I end up with another abuser? So, I wrote about it on my narcissism blog. There were a few reasons I was naive enough to let it happen again, but one of them really got me thinking because it related to this blog about learning and growing. The reason I hadn’t yet changed and grown went beyond just recovering from abuse.

I made the mistake of marrying a second abuser because I didn’t do the work I needed to do to recover and learn after the first one! I naively thought that just knowing what to look for was enough for me to avoid any more abuse. I thought that it couldn’t happen again and I’d get lucky the next time. Wrong! The reality is, I knew in my head what was going on, but I didn’t change my life. I didn’t change my poor coping skills that led me to marry the first abuser.

Even though I’d started reading so many of the self-help books I review for this blog, and I truly believed them and loved what I was reading, I hadn’t yet made the jump to LIVE them. I passively thought reading them was enough. I used to go to therapy and understand all of the psychological reasons I was the way I was, and all the textbook reasons I repeated abusive relationships, but I would ask my therapist HOW to go from having the knowledge in my head to activating change in my life. My heart was not catching up with my brain.

This problem translates to all parts of life–not just abuse recovery. I was trying to take the easy way out and acting like reading books was going to fix my problems. In reality, *I* had to fix my problems, and the books were just the instruction manuals. I truly believe there is so much to learn from therapy, self-help books, and the wisdom of others, but I needed to be an active participant in that learning. That was the final step that took me a few more years to master.

If you want to change, you have to change. You have to make the jump from head to heart to life. You have to know yourself to see your weaknesses then choose to be proactive about changing your behavior and your thoughts.

It’s like learning a dance. You can read a book about it, you can watch videos, you can think about it until you are an expert in how it should be done…but you don’t actually dance until you get up and do it. And this is the same leap that I needed to make to connect what I learned with how I was going to start living.

For me, even though I hated the way my life was going, and I felt frustrated that I met two different controlling, narcissistic men after growing up with a narcissistic mother, I hadn’t yet hit the point where I was desperate enough to change. For several years, I learned and learned and learned until I understood what was going on, but one day, I had to get fed up and move to the next level. That’s when my life really began to improve.

1. I had to recognize the problem.
2. I had to examine the problem.
3. I had to find the source.
4. I had to learn how to fix the problem.
5. Then I had to live the solution!


For several years, I was stuck on step four. On my narcissism blog, I write all about my observations of narcissists and their victims. This blog is my journey through the final step–living my life the way I make it!