Monthly Archives: February 2016

What’s Your Soul’s Purpose?

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I had a conversation with a recently retired client last week. She and I were discussing her options now that she has retired and had lots of free time. I mischievously asked her, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Her response? “I have no idea.”

I find this to be an increasing concern among my clients. Many of my clients have careers and are quite successful, but they are also very unhappy and unfulfilled. They view their job as a paycheck, not a Soul’s Purpose.

I get it. Up until 2012, I felt the same way. I had been a professor for nearly 2 decades and

A colleague challenged me to write a book about our relationships with food, our bodies, and ourselves – my area of expertise. I thought, “Maybe that’s it! Maybe that will finally fulfill me!”

Six months later, I had a book proposal written, 3 chapters under my belt, and an interested agent. Then I ran into a bit of a snag: writer’s block. For 3 months, I couldn’t write a word. Keep in mind that this book was based on nearly 20 years of my own research, so you’d think I’d have had plenty to say… Yet, every time I sat down at my computer, nothing came out.

Frustrated, I reached out to a friend of mine who had just finished her own book. She recommended I contact her book coach to see if she had any ideas. Desperate, I reached out to Lisa Tener.

She asked if she could lead me through a guided meditation to speak with my writing muse (aka Inner Goddess/Inner Diva/Intuition/Inner Guidance System). A big believer in meditation, although it had never occurred to me to meditate on my book, I jumped at the chance. What happened during that guided meditation changed my life. I was told by my Inner Goddess that I had writer’s block because I was writing the wrong book for the wrong people. Say what? I argued with her. I explained that this book was based on 20 years of my life’s work and research; it couldn’t be the “wrong book.” She was insistent. She told me I was to write a book for women about reconnecting with their Inner Goddess and finding and achieving their Soul’s Calling. That as I wrote the book, I would heal, and as women read the book, they would heal. She told me I needed to create a tribe of women for women. Women who would support each other; lift each other up; help each other through life’s ups and downs.

I sat with this for a week, second guessing myself, and then I dove in headfirst. I wrote that book, created that tribe, and now spend my days living my Soul’s Purpose and helping other women find and live theirs. Do I still work with body image? Absolutely. But in a different way. I help women heal instead of researching them in a lab. I help them learn to call on their own strengths instead of relying on what other people tell them they “should” be doing. I help them learn to love, accept and appreciate themselves for who they are, not for someone else’s definition of who they “should” be.

If you want help, if this post calls to you, I hope you’ll join our Sacred Circle. This month we are working on helping each other find and live our Sacred Soul’s Purpose. We are finding our passions, exploring what we always wanted to do but never dreamed was possible. We are living our truth. You can too.




5 Lessons I Learned from My Father

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As I write this, on February 22nd, it would have been my Dad’s 69th birthday. It’s been 6.5 years since he died and I still miss him. I imagine I always will.

Grief is an interesting emotion – unlike anger and fear, which seem to pass relatively quickly and easily (you get mad, you do something about it, done; you’re afraid, you face your fear, and let whatever happens happen), grief seems to come in waves. Sometimes you can see the tides of grief coming, sometimes you can’t. This one hit me by surprise as I’m usually not that affected by his birthday as I am by his favorite holiday – Christmas – and the anniversary of his death – October 29th. But this year, I sat with my tears and let the memories flow in.

My father was not without faults, no one is, but it seems fitting to talk about some of those memories and the lessons I learned from him today. I share them with you in the hopes that you’ll be reminded of what your loved ones mean to you and what you’ve learned from them.

  1. Be selective about who you let into your world, but be willing to move heaven and earth for them – having lost his own father at an early age, my Dad had to become the “man of the house” when he was 12 years old. A few years later, his favorite uncle died. From these experiences, he learned to closely guard his heart – he was afraid of getting hurt again. Of losing who he loved most. But he also learned that time was precious; that there may not be a tomorrow. So if my Dad let you in, really and truly let his walls down for you, consider yourself lucky (I’m very much like him in that regard), but once you were in… he would do whatever it took to make you happy, to share a little slice of his world with you. I think there is wisdom in that. You don’t want to let just anyone into your heart – at least, I don’t. But those in your inner circle are more valuable than gold. So be generous with your time, energy, and your love with them.
  2. Stand firm for what you believe in – as he got older, my father became invested in using his resources wisely. Having worked in construction his entire life, he saw how much we took for granted, how much we wasted. He started planting trees and building eco-friendly office building – reusing as many materials as he could. Yes, this was sometimes more costly, but the Earth and its limited resources were too valuable for him to throw away. He believed that in his heart and did what he could to renew some of the resources that he and the generations before him destroyed.
  3. If you want to achieve something, don’t give up – a self-made man, my father knew success and failure. His company made millions and lost even more. There were years growing up that we were rolling in the dough and years where we were practically bankrupt. But he never gave up on his dream. He believed in his vision; in himself. He took pride in what a little boy from Arkansas was able to achieve on a wing and a prayer and a whole lot of faith.
  4. Keep moving forward – my Dad was a runner – I got that from him, but he stopped running in his 40s and the poor diet and lack of exercise quickly caught up with him. A man who once ran marathons had trouble climbing a flight of stairs. We were talking about this about a year before he died. He looked me in the eye and said, “Don’t stop running.” He meant that literally and figuratively. On the literal side of things, he saw that I was healthy and wanted me to stay that way – he didn’t want me to make the choices he did and suffer for it. But, more importantly, he meant that forward progress, no matter how small, is still forward progress. There may be days when your dream of being a New York Times Best Selling author (or whatever your big dream is) seems fleeting, intangible. Yet, if you do nothing, you will surely fail. Instead, write that chapter, paragraph, sentence, word. Do something – anything – just keep moving forward.
  5. Keep the peace – Richard Carlson once said, “Choose being kind over being right, and you’ll be right every time.” In a field where egos ruled and mere dollars could make or break a deal, my father excelled at keeping everyone at the table feeling satisfied and that their opinions mattered. He didn’t sacrifice his principles, but he was a diplomat. He knew – long before his daughter became a psychologist – that relationships were important. More important than “sealing the deal.”

What lessons have you learned from your loved ones that you’d like to share with us? Comment below.


Want to Change Your Life? Why Gratitude is the Key

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I recently wrote a blog post for Psychology Today on the importance of loving yourself. I immediately received a comment:

“Others lead fuller lives than me. How can I possibly love myself if I don't rate? Others seem to be more fulfilled than me. They live richer lives. I'm like the kid pressed with his nose against the window on December 25th-or Valentine’s Day.”

Ah… The Inner Critic strikes again!

So how can you fully learn to love and accept yourself when it seems like everyone else is more fortunate than you are? For me, this is a multi-faceted, multi-step process. In today’s video, I’m going to share my 7 steps to re-learning to love yourself again and truly transform the relationship you have with the woman in the mirror.


What I’d like to highlight for you is this:

  • You’ve got to stop the comparison game – comparing yourself to others only sends yourself the message that you are not worthy/not good enough and you never will be. You’ve got to get out of that mindset to both learn to love yourself and to manifest your dream life.
  • Be grateful for what you do have – how can you expect Universe to give you what you want when you aren’t even grateful for what you have? This is the first key to manifesting your dream life:

Over two decades ago I started a daily practice where I made myself write down at least 10 things I was grateful for every night before I went to bed. Some days this seemed an almost impossible feat. After all, when I started this practice I was spending most of my days (and nights) doubled over in the floor in pain from my endometriosis.  But I persevered and wrote down whatever I could think of – even the small things like someone opening the door for me or finding a penny on the sidewalk. I cannot tell you how this shifted my mindset and my ability to manifest what I truly desired. By being grateful for what you have, you are telling the Universe “Thank you! I’ll take more where that came from or better!” And who doesn’t respond to being thanked?

If you truly believe you are less fortunate or keep playing the victim role, then you are only going to get more of the same. That’s the basic premise of the law of attraction. But if you are thankful for what you do have – big and small – and take aligned action to shoot for your dreams, then that sets you up to manifest what you want in a big way. Gratitude truly is the first key to manifesting your desires.

But you can’t stop there.

After you list out what you are grateful for, then it’s time to dream big (which is step 5 in the video). For your dreams to become a reality, however, you must take action to get there. Universe won’t deliver if you keep asking for something and then just sit there and wait. You’ve got to show the world that you are serious; put some skin in the game.

How does this all work? Let’s say you want to manifest $10,000 so you can pay off your credit card bills.

  1. Be grateful for your abundance – start tracking your money inflow every day (actual money that comes in as well as things of value that you receive – so if someone buys your lunch, then that counts as value).
  2. Believe you deserve it – if you don’t, you need to do the 7 steps I share in my video above and at this link:
  3. Ask the Universe for what you want and share you know why you want it – do this in the form of a positive statement. Something like, “I’m so grateful now that I’ve finally paid off all of my credit card bills and have extra money in the bank so I feel more safe and secure.”
  4. Take aligned action – as much as I’d love a money tree in my back yard, I haven’t quite manifested that one yet. If you want to manifest $10,000, what steps can you take to get there? Make a product you can sell? Get a few new clients? Prep and submit your taxes so you can get your tax refund back? Yes, by all means, be open for that $10,000 to come in other ways, but you still need to take action to manifest it yourself. Asking the Universe for $10000 and then sitting on your laurels won’t do any good.
  5. Wait for it – if you are grateful, ask for what you want and take aligned action, you will get what you desire. It may not come in the form you thought it would take, but it will come. Have faith!






How Does Your Inner Mean Girl Show Up?

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I was talking with a client with other day about how she was doing with her Inner Mean Girl. She observed that her Inner Mean Girl really hasn’t been showing up lately. Before I could even congratulate her on her progress, she explained that she has been experiencing more self-doubt though. That, I told her, is just her Inner Mean Girl in another form.

Although I call her the Inner Critic or Inner Mean Girl, she doesn’t necessarily have to be mean. In fact, meanness is usually not her motive, regardless of how she shows up. It’s fear. So if she’s been making you doubt yourself, not trust in your decisions, or is keeping you up at night with anxiety or depression, that’s still your Inner Mean Girl.

See if any of these sound familiar:

  • Comparison Queen Carla – she takes keeping up with the Jones’ literally. She compares herself – her looks, her possessions, her personality, her finances, her success – to everyone else and when she feels she’s lacking she dives head first into self-improvement.
  • Nit Picking Nancy – is the Queen of nit-picking – physical (popping zits, plucking her eye brows) or emotionally (constantly picking apart at herself and everyone else).
  • Control Freak Cathy – As a Control Freak Cathy, you’ve got overachiever tattooed on your forehead. You’re driven, committed, and a hard worker, as evidenced by your meteoric rise in your industry. But you’re finding yourself a little frustrated because people seem to be taking advantage of your good nature. You never seem to have time to get everything done on your to-do list because things keep cropping up at work or at home to get in the way of your ideal life and success.
  • As a Perfectionist Polly, you’ve got it all. You exude confidence, always look put together, and everything seems to come easily and effortlessly to you. Unfortunately, looks can be deceiving. While you may ‘have it all’ on the outside, on the inside, you’re wilting.
  • You know a Negative Nelly when you hear her speak. Every word out of her mouth is a criticism – of herself or others. I look fat in these. I’m so stupid. Can you believe she’s wearing that? People are idiots! You’re going to regret that!
  • Gossip Girl Gigi is looking to feel better about herself by spreading rumors – true or false. Did you hear what happened to Sue? I can’t believe Ed is sleeping with that tramp Valerie and his wife doesn’t even know!
  • Blaming Betty blames herself for everything – whether she had anything to do with it or not. Betty is the ultimate inner mean girl in some ways because all of the blaming is directed inward. If you are constantly saying things to yourself like, “Why did you do that?” or “I can’t believe I did that?” or “What were you thinking?” you might be a Blaming Betty.
  • Do-Gooder Daisy – The key word here is “DO.” Daisy doesn’t know the meaning of the word rest. She’s out to prove herself by doing everything she can. So if you’re a Do-gooder Daisy, she probably won’t let you rest or sit still. Why are you wasting time? Think of all the things you could be do-ing!
  • Self-Doubting Susan – Susan riddled with self-doubt, which makes her very indecisive. When she does do something, the doubts immediately come in. She may ruminate for days over what might seem like a small decision to someone else.
  • Over-reacting Ophelia – Poor Ophelia takes everything personally. Every time someone says something that might be constructed as a criticism, she takes to heart. Every time things don’t go her way, she feels like she failed. She doesn’t realize that her boss is just having a bad day and that Ophelia did nothing to upset her boss.

So what do you do if one (or more) of these rings true for you? This week’s podcast is all about facing the Inner Mean Girl when she’s criticizing you, but the same steps apply no matter what kind of Inner Mean Girl is showing up for you right now.

If you need more support, we’ve been working on dealing with our Inner Mean Girls in the Sacred Circle. Come join us!

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways: The Art of Self-Love

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Type the words “self-love” into any index of psychology journals and you will pull up nearly 300 articles on narcissism. True story. In my academic job, I have been conducting research on self-love for a couple of years now and I am getting tired of reading about narcissism.

When I think of narcissism, I think of people who are arrogant, lack empathy, willingly exploit others for their own gain, and are emotionally unstable. (And, believe me, I should know – before I met my current life partner, I dated a few men who fit this bill.) But none of those behaviors appear on the surface to be loving, do they?

When I think of the word “love,” I think of affection, intimacy, friendship, effective communication, trust, honesty, caring, consideration, sharing, support, appreciation and respect. As I’ve gotten older, I have even started putting the word “unconditional” in there because I think love should involve being there for your loved one whenever or whatever happens.

into something that involves narcissism. Isn’t it time we changed that definition?

In her book, Madly in Love with ME: The Daring Adventure of Becoming Your Own Best Friend, my friend and colleague Christine Arylo defined self-love as “the unconditional love and respect you have for yourself that is so deep, so solid, so unwavering that you choose only situations and relationships – including the one you have with yourself – that reflect that same unconditional love and respect.” That’s a beautiful concept isn’t it?

– when you Inner Mean Girl keeps telling you how flawed you are? Step one: learn to forgive yourself.

In today’s video, I explain how to write a letter of forgiveness to yourself and start to let that sh*t go.

If you want more help and support around learning to love yourself, I invite you to join my new sacred circle and on-line community where we are working on self-love this month.