Year: 2019

My New Job Choice

WOW! So it just hit me today how amazing it is to work online. It is such a blessing to work from home for so many reasons. For me, it is magnificent. I live my best life. As I have written in the past, I am an introvert and an empath. These two things make it difficult for me to be around people all the time. I take in the energies and emotions of other people. If I am around angry people with no time to recharge, I become exhausted and emotionally chaotic.

Teaching online gives me emotional space from people.

Since it is through the computer, I don’t take in the energies and emotions like I would if I was physically near them. I have been teaching online for a month now and I notice a huge difference.

During the day, I am not near people. Seriously! I am home with Nina for most of the day. I work 2-hour shifts throughout the day which is amazing. It is such a noticeable difference for me when I can choose who and when I am around people. If I am needing space, I stay home. If I want to go out and talk to people I do. 

When I work, the computer creates a barrier that allows me to keep the emotional and energetic distance from the students. I can tell when they are tired, sick or not wanting to be in class. I, however, have the distance I need to not take that energy on. It is a wonderous thing!! Especially for an Empath like me. 

Teaching online gives me flexibility.

Since I can create my own schedule, I am able to give my self the choice to interact with people or not. Being an introvert is difficult when you work at a school (or any place with people). There were times where I didn’t want to go to work because I didn’t want to talk to people. I just wanted to do my job and leave. 

With teaching online, I can do that just. I don’t have people coming into my classroom to talk to me about the weekend or other random conversation. I teach my students and I leave the classroom. I don’t have to deal with the administration or a principal or other co-workers. When I need to deal with admin, it’s via email. Which makes it super simple. 

If it’s the time of the month where I am feeling I need some socialization, I call up a friend or go someplace to talk with people. If I am not feeling social, I stay home with Nina and write or create content for the blog among other things. 

Working From Home is a lifesaver.

Being able to work from home is truly a lifesaver. I am able to live the way that is best for me. I am work when I want and where I want. If I want to travel to the US for an event, I can work part of the time I am there. I could work from Thailand if I wanted too. As long as there’s internet, I can work. 

There is stress involved because I am not guaranteed a salary.  So each month, I may not be able to pay all my bills. Budgeting and having savings for emergencies is a must. Some of the hours are really early in the morning like 3 or 4 am. Since I am teaching children in China the difference makes me work early. I do work for another company that is with the Spanish countries. This one is afternoons and evenings. The pay is low compared to teaching Chinese students. 

Either way, the stress is doable because I am mentally and spiritually in a better place. 

I LOVE MY LIFE!

For all the reasons listed above, working online is the best job ever! I am grateful and blessed to have this opportunity. I am looking forward to what the future brings. Changes bring good things when you do them for the right reasons. 

I encourage you to live your best life by making choices that work for you in every way: mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Let me know what choices you have made so you can live your best life. Big or small. Tough or easy. Let me know. 

Teaching English to Refugees in the Middle East

In a post last week, I wrote about wanting to give back to society and volunteering more often. At the time of writing that I had forgotten a volunteer opportunity, I was enrolled in. I had enrolled and accepted the position there a few months back. I was waiting for the training information. 

Paper Airplanes

Today I received the training information for a place called “Paper Airplanes”. It is a non-profit foundation that bridges the gap in language and work skills to people living in war-torn areas. They are mainly focused in the middle east areas like Syria.

They were founded in 2014 by Bailey Ulbricht. She started using skype to help a few refugees learn English. They desperately want to complete their college degrees and in order to do this, they needed to know English. Paper Airplanes has since grown into a bigger non-profit with 25 staff members and many volunteers.

They have five different programs: English, Turkish, Youth, Citizen Journalism, and Woman in Tech. 

English Program 

The English Program (the one I am volunteering for) matched tutors like me to students in need of learning English. They have semesters that you can volunteer for, each lasts about 3 months. They provide a training course for you to take before you are assigned a student. Once assigned a student you work with them for about 2 hours a week. 

Turkish Program

This program provides refugees from Syria the opportunity to learn the Turkish Language. This is much needed because many Syrian refugees go to Turkey without knowing the language. The program helps them gain access to jobs and other resources they need to live in Turkey. 

Youth Exchange

I think this program is amazing. It is a program that allows High-school aged youth in the United States tutor youth in conflict areas. This allows them to create an understanding of what is happening in other areas of the world. They get to understand different cultures and backgrounds. It truly is a great opportunity for our youth.

Woman in Tech

This program helps women understand and develop the skill of coding computers. It is such a vital skill for a woman to learn in this day in age. At the end of the course, it gives women the opportunity to work remotely using the new coding skill they learned.

Citizen Journalism

The people in the areas of conflict can greatly impact society by sharing their stories. This program offers them the tools to be able to publish their own stories. It is a great way to get the word of what’s happening in those areas. As we all know the news isn’t always the most accurate. 

They do AMAZING work

They do some amazing things giving the refugees an opportunity to succeed. I am thrilled to be apart of the English Program. I am learning a lot about the conflict in the Middle East. 

I love non-profits that provide support to others by giving them a skill. All the refugees now have a better opportunity to grow themselves. There are so many NGOs or non-profits that do more harm than good. If you want to know more about how NGOs and non-profits hinder the growth out of poverty check out the documentary: Poverty, Inc.

We all have Fears

Everyone has fears, small or big. They affect many areas of our lives whether we are aware of it or not. They stop us from having the things we want or they give us more than we could ever need. Having more than we could imagine can cause greed or egotistical issues. Fear can keep us from happiness. Fear can be paralyzing or a propeller forward.  Fear can help us find what makes us happy if we work through it.

Where do Fears start?

They start in the past. Our fears are from childhood situations that we don’t want to happen or have shaped our thinking. When something happens in our past we then have thoughts about it. We create a story that we carry with us forever. It creates what happens to us in the future. It gives us what we love and what we hate. 

How do we conquer our fears?

I was recently watching a TV series called “Scorpion”. They had this episode where they were exposed to seed dust that caused them to live their worst fears. They were hallucinating theirs from the past. The most intelligent psychiatrist had a solution to get this to become conscious again.  

“So let’s be logical. All fear has a genesis in history. If we go back and undo that moment then their darkest fears will cease to exist.”

This can be true. I know it has worked for me in the past and even now. If I work through the past and re-tell the story differently, my fears go away. We can all do this. We can all change the story from our past. It is what will help you get past some of your fears. 

Does this work for all fears?

Not all fears are based on the past. So no, it doesn’t work for all fears. The fear of heights for me isn’t based on an issue from the past. The way I get through this type of fear is to just do it. I went skydiving even though heights scares the hell out of me. 

If you have fear of water, germs, or heights you can just work through them by doing them. Go swimming in the ocean, shake someone’s hands, or go skydiving. Of course, be careful and make sure that you are safe. You don’t want to go swimming in the ocean if it is unsafe. 

These fears can be overcome little by little. I have come to conquer my fears over the years. Like surfing, I told myself I would never go surfing because of my fear of ocean waves drowning me. I have gone surfing twice. Once on my own without a trainer. 

Fears can help up grow

When we are fearful, we can learn what stops us. We can work through the fear and become freer. Being free from our fears can help us live the life we want. We can learn what our life’s purpose is when we conquer our fears. 

Don’t let fears stop you. Overcome them and live your best life. Find the part in your past that is shaping the way you think and live. See where you could be freer. It is possible to LIVE YOU BEST LIFE! 

What are your fears? What is stopping you from doing what you really want? What can you do about it? Live life as superwoman (or superman) and find your purpose.

Living a Bigger Life

I want bigger things with my life. I want to help the world in more ways than one. I have the heart of gold and I care about people with a passion and love that doesn’t fade. I have always been one to volunteer and help the people in need or be there for people. It all started when I was a child and has continued throughout my life.

One Thanksgiving when I was younger

I remember when I was about 5 years old. It was Thanksgiving day. My family and I were at my grandmother’s house eating and enjoying time with each other. It was a regular Thanksgiving for us. Nothing special, nothing different, only spending time with each other. 

I remember looking out the back door window. I could see the local ball field from the house. I saw a lonely man sitting on a bench. Feeling the way I feel about people, I asked my dad if we could take him food. My dad agreed and we took the man some food. We have no idea who he was or what his story was. I do know that we changed his life that day. We took time to go and make sure he had food. We made sure he wasn’t alone on that Thanksgiving Day. 

Christmas in Bridgeport

When I lived in Bridgeport, WV, I attended a church that made and handed out cards to the shut-ins (people who could not attend church for one reason or another). We would get anywhere from 5-10 stacks of cards to drive to different houses where people lived. This was the highlight of the year for my dad and me. We enjoyed going from house to house talking to people about their lives. 

There was one house I will never forget. My dad and I went to an Asian ladies house. She had a huge stack of cards from others at the church. We were with her for a few hours from what I remember. The lady was hard to understand with her broken English, but we could understand most of what she said. We handed her the cards. She was so moved by joy and love that she cried and cried. The lady, my dad, and I read the cards with her. She didn’t have family and she didn’t have many visitors so us being there was a huge deal for her. 

It touched my heart. I like bringing joy, hope, and faith to the lives of people. 

It didn’t just stop there. When I was in the choir (no, I can’t sing), we would go to the local manor (a living place for elderly that needed support.) I had made some elderly friends that day that inspired me. So for the next week, I spent my time handmaking cards for each resident that lived in the manor. 

Literally! I cut, glued, blow painted, and drew on over 100 cards to hand out to the residence. I asked my dad to buy me mini candy canes and taped them to the cards. My dad and I went from apartment to apartment until every person had a card and candy cane. Some people weren’t there so we left them at the door. 

Some people didn’t believe I had made all the cards. Others were delighted and happy. It was an amazing feeling that I cherish. 

It hasn’t stopped there.

I could go on about all the ways I have volunteered and given my time to help people in amazing ways. It is an enriching and inspiring way to give back to society. Since I’ve been in Costa Rica, I have given back even more in different ways. Giving back is what makes life worth living. It’s not about the money, it’s about making the lives of other people better and more loving. 

One reason I want to make this website making money is so that I can work less and give back more. I would love to do a 3-month volunteer program here in Costa Rica supporting the locals in low-income areas. Having a full-time job doing that becomes difficult. It’s not even about Costa Rica. If there is a natural disaster somewhere or a place that really needs support, I would love to get on a plane or drive there to support on the ground. 

Living a bigger life is what’s important to me. I don’t want a fancy car or a mansion for a house. I want to make a difference in the world by showing people how to love themselves and supporting people who are struggling by brightening their lives. 

I do the best I can with the amount of time and money I have now. I feel the more residual income I have the more I can volunteer and change the lives of people. My life is important, but the lives of others are just as important. If I can provide love, inspiration, and hope to others, then my life is fulfilled. I don’t want to live a little life. I AM LIVING A BIGGER LIFE!! My life wasn’t made for living small. It was meant for changing the world, one inspirational act at a time.

Why this song?

The song is an inspiration. I first heard this song at the end of the movie “The Red Sea Diving Resort.” It was about a man who was helping Ethiopian Refugees go from Sudan to Isreal. One of his main sayings was “leave no man behind!” He did what he could to help thousands of people find a safe place. The movie inspired me and the song is in another language, but it is touching. 

How do you give back to society?

Magical Things Happen When…

Manifest Your Life

As I begin to make changes in my life, ideas and situations come to me that I need. I am letting life manifest itself as I move into a different point in my life. I find that if I manifest while I am hustling magical things happen.

I have been working hard on changing jobs so that I can have more flexibility with my time. I have been worried about how I will make ends meet for the first few months during the transition. In my mind, I know that I am worth the life I want, so I went within and found myself in a place of tranquility and calm. This allowed a way for me to make it happen. It’s not long term answer, but it is a solution for the time being. It gives me an extra few months to get things up and running.

Also, I was able to come up with some ideas for the blog. I don’t know how that will take a form or how I will make it happen. However, I am positive when the time is right the new ideas will launch and achieve amazing results.  

Be Positive

When creating the life you want or making a change that is scary the best way to keep you going is to be positive. I know it is hard to do when times are tough or when you are faced with the unknown. I struggle with it all the time. I do have friends, family, and the blog to remind me that everything will be okay. 

If you don’t have someone in your life that doesn’t help you stay positive, you can always read inspirational stories like the ones in my blog or find read an autobiography from your favorite person. There are so many inspirational people out there including me that could help you through a tough patch. 

Listen to Your Heart

Get quiet, feel your heart, and listen. Your heart will tell you what’s meant for you. It doesn’t happen when your mind is full of chatter. Calm and quiet your thoughts so you can listen and feel your heart. 

It is easier to make life changes and manifest them when you know what your heart is saying and feeling. There are things that I want and I know what is important when I feel my heart. I may have to forgo those things because my heart knows it isn’t time for that yet. Events and situations happen at the right time. Even if something bad happens there is a reason for it. They happen to give us a push to make a change whether internal or external. 

Life is Beautiful

Life is beautiful in every situation. It may seem it is difficult or depressing or downright horrible, I guarantee there is something to be grateful for. Whether is a sunset or a beautiful rainbow during the rain, there is always something to find. 

I live in paradise, but life isn’t always sunshine and roses (not literally). I struggle and go through difficult times more often than I’d like to admit. When those times happen I find something little to be grateful for. The smile of the person walking past me or Nina’s excitement when I get home are things I am grateful for always. Sometimes we have to make our own beauty. We can do that by cooking ourselves and an amazing meal, or painting a picture, or take a bath. There are so many ways we can create beauty and gratefulness.

I challenge you… 

Find something to be grateful for for the next two weeks. Write it down and post in on the fridge (or place you will see it often). Find beauty somewhere in your life. Be aware of your surroundings and find something you find beautiful. Write about it or take a picture and share it with a friend. Whatever it is you can be grateful and find the beauty in every situation.

Letters to Loved Ones

My favorite picture from when I was younger. Those are my Memom’s hands.

When you miss someone in your life because the time was cut short due to death or other circumstances. Writing a letter to someone from your past is a great way to move forward and build closure. It is also a way to get the thoughts out of your head and into the universe. Writing is a great way to give self-love.

Memories

Memories from the past can always be with us. We may not remember them every minute of every day, but they are there, in our mind. We have memories of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Some amazing memories, some sad and painful, they are always part of us. 

We all have those moments in our lives that we have close to us. That special moment with a grandma or grandpa, sister or brother. Moments that we can never get back because of a death or loss of some kind. 

Memories whether good or bad can give us a sense of hope or perseverance. 

My grandmother who was the backbone of our family when I was younger passed away unexpectantly when I was nine years old. I know that she is always here with me. She is cheering me on from the afterlife. I have a sense of hope and perseverance knowing that she will always protect me in some way or another.

I was reminded that our family and friends are always with us in spirit no matter what happens. They are with us, in memories and spirit. I have so many memories from the past that I hold near and dear to my heart. Those memories will never be forgotten. 

I wrote a letter to my Memom.

Today, I saw the new live-action LION KING. It brought back so many memories for me. When the original Lion King came out a long, long time ago, I saw it with my Memom. It was my first time seeing a movie in the theater. I went to see it alone because it wouldn’t be the same seeing it with someone else. 

Seeing the movie was a sad and rewarding experience. I was able to remember my Memom and the first time we spent in the movie theater seeing The Lion King. So, I decided to write her a letter. I missed having her present for so many events in my life.

Dear Memom,

I know you have been watching from where ever you are. You have seen me grow and change in so many ways. You have seen me teach my self through high school. You have seen me nanny some amazing children over the years. 

I know that I am not perfect and I have made some mistakes. You have seen me learn from a broken marriage to leaving a life I was fighting to survive in. I battled and won depression. I found myself and you saw me do it all. 

I don’t know what life would be like if you were here. I would hope that you would be proud and excited about the work I have done to become the woman I am today. I would have loved for you to have seen me walk down the aisle or been there to comfort me during the divorce. 

Even though I couldn’t experience your physical presence, I know you were there spiritually. You always are with me because I tattooed a fairy sitting on the moon for you. I never wanted to forget the times we had.

Remember when we handed out food to the homeless man in the park on Thanksgiving? Remember when you used to buy Jodi and I scratch-off lottery tickets? Remember the last New Years we spent making a fort out of the boxes from daddy’s move to WV? Remember making steak and salad every Sunday? 

We had so many good times. I loved reading Grover Sleeps Over and Barney before bed. I remember my toes used to be so cold, but since the bed was so comfortable it didn’t matter. I still have my Grover and white bear. You remember the time when I tore my blanket and cried until you fixed it and returned it to me? Or the times you made my Halloween costumes? Like the tube of toothpaste with lampshade cap that hurt my head? 

These are the memories I will carry with me forever. Thank you for always being there for me when I was little. You mean (meant) the world to the entire family. My mom and sister loved you as much as I did. I know they miss you every day. Daddy and I miss you the most. We talk about you all the time. Every anniversary, we reminisce about the times we spent with you. 

I love you. I miss you. And you are in my thoughts. I learned how to give without taking from you. You taught my daddy so many things that he taught me over the years. Life is good, Memom. 

Love you forever,

Ashley

P.s. One last thing I remember… Do you remember when we stopped at Checkers? You know the time we had no gas but magically the gas tank filled up to ⅓ left? That is a time I never forgot. We had a great day that day. We had a moment together that was magical. I have taken that with me because things like that happen to me all the time. Is that you watching over me making sure I am making the most of my life? Protecting me in some way from the afterlife? 

If it is… thank you. 

This is my Memom, Daddy, and Pepop at my parent’s wedding.

What a Weekend!

It has been a pretty socially fulfilling this weekend. My friends from Liberia came to spend the night and go to the beach. We laughed, had a cookout, and spent time on the beach. It was amazing. I finished my first week teaching online with Open English.

Open English

I started teaching for Open English last Saturday. I took the job so I could make some extra money during the summer to pay off some bills. In the past, I never wanted to teach online. I am in a new place now so I thought I would give it a try. It’s only for a few months during the year. 

I have been loving it. I have a set schedule, but I can pick up classes whenever I want too. I don’t need to leave my house. I can walk Nina during the day. It’s been super nice. It doesn’t pay a whole lot, but it is enough to supplement my current income. 

The shifts are two hours long. The classes are from 25 to 27 minutes each. So, I teach 4 classes a shift. I have between 1 to 4 students in each class. The students are kids ranging from 8 to 14. They may be younger or older, but I haven’t had any. They are from Spanish countries as far north Mexico and as far south as South America goes. (I didn’t study South American geography.) The student understands and speaks basic English or higher.

Friends came to visit. 

They came Saturday night. We went grocery shopping for food to grill out on the porch. They don’t have a grill so I thought it would be a nice treat for them. We made rice and beans and tortillas in the house. On the grill, I made mixed veggies and chicken. It was a nice spread of food. We devoured it. We had great laughs about nipples and life. We didn’t go to bed until way after midnight. 

We woke up early on Sunday. They helped me with my VIPKid summer teacher showcase video, cooked breakfast, and prepared for the beach. Once at the beach, we went swimming, took a nap, played with Nina, and enjoyed each others company. It was a really relaxing day. We got to meet some new people who are staying at the Westin Hotel by the beach. 

Nina was in heaven. Her favorite place is the beach. She gets scared of the water, but she has come a long way. She entered the water alone quite a few times. Nina, however, gets too excited when people run and play with her. So, she had to take a rest from playing to control herself. 

One of my friends was sick. She toughed it out and made it through a great day at the beach. We had a great day despite the sickness. I love seeing her so it was so worth it! (even if I do get sick)

We had another wonderful dinner after the beach. We bought some fresh red snapper and fried it whole. Prepared some veggies and rice and beans to go with it. It was a great ending to my time with them. 

Unexpected Job offers. 

I get paid in a few days, but I had some unplanned purchases this month making my money very tight. I have $5 to last me the next five days. I was budgeting it out so I can make sure I have the cash I need on hand. The budget was going to work. I was happy. I wasn’t stressed. I was making it happen. 

To top off the end of the weekend, I got two jobs offers today. 

Job One

I get a message around 1:30 p.m. from a babysitting company I occasionally work for. She wanted to know if I could work that evening from 8 p.m. until midnight. I replied no questions asked, “YES!”. I will make a few bucks that will help me feel more comfortable for the next four days. 

Also, I love working for the babysitting company because I get to see some places I couldn’t afford to see on my own. This place is at the new W hotel on Playa Conchal. It has been here for like 6 months or so. Very upscale. 

I get paid for transportation since I don’t have a car. So, when it’s late at night I pay Jonathan to take me and pick me up. We had the run around trying to get on to the W hotel property. They had us go from one gate to another. And He couldn’t drop me off at the main entrance. I had to walk from the employee entrance. It was a mess. We had a huge laugh about it. Definitely, well worth it. The hotel is GORGEOUS! 

Job Two

While on the way to the W hotel, I got a facebook message from a friend of mine. They wanted to know if I could take over their position at a local club. It’s not paid (as far as I know), but it is a huge network of amazing woman that I have come to love over the last two years here. I am going to have to speak to her later this week for specifics. 

I am not sure any of the specifics like how much time she spends working on the club, if it pays any (I am sure it doesn’t), or anything else. I only know what I know from the participation I have with them. There is probably so much she does from behind the scenes that no one sees. I am pretty open to the possibility of being the leader. 

I love volunteering and being apart of the community. This group does so much for the locals here in Costa Rica. It is super amazing and I couldn’t imagine not having this group in my life.

What is it you need?

Around this time last year, I wrote my self a letter. I gave myself love by telling myself things I used to look to others to tell me. Being in Costa Rica has shown me how to love myself even more. It is such a wonderful feeling to be able to tell yourself exactly what you need to hear when you need to hear it. It is even more amazing when you do what you need for yourself when you need it. It’s self-love!

What is it that you need to hear?

I challenge you to write a letter to yourself. In the letter, tell yourself what you need to hear. Give yourself all the love that you crave from other people. Make it as short or as long as you need. Post it in your house and read it every day when you wake up. Really EMBRACE and BELIEVE what you write. Dig deep inside and write what you really feel. 

What is it that you need to do? 

I challenge you to do what you need to do. Do you need to change your job? Do you need to go on a date with yourself? Do you need to start the book you have always wanted to write? Do you need to take your dream trip to Europe or Thailand? Maybe, it is deep cleaning your house. (I needed that so I did it today) Whatever it is, BIG or SMALL, DO IT! Take some time to meditate and dig deep within your soul to see what you truly need to do. 

It will give you confidence!

Doing those two things will give you the boost of confidence you might need. I do them on a regular basis. I may not write a letter to myself every day, but I do tell myself what I need to hear. It boosts my confidence and enables me to be less attached to people’s words of encouragement. Don’t get me wrong, there are times we need encouragement from other people. Last week, I needed to hear from my mom something I had been struggling with. I had written about it and gave myself love. 

Doing what you need gives you peace of mind. It helps you relax. Every few months, I need to deep clean and organize my house so that my thoughts and outer world are consistent. I am now feeling order around me. I started two new jobs teaching online to make some extra money to pay off bills and create savings. 

Share the Love!

After you are full of self-love, share it. There are so many different ways to share the love. You can volunteer in your community. Recently, I volunteered for a local castration event for Dogs and Cats in the area. It was something new and it was so rewarding. I was able to share my inner love with the animals recovering from surgery. 

You can have a bonfire or get together with some close friends (or new friends). You can write a letter to someone who needs uplifting. Maybe a single mom struggling at the local shelter or even for the entire shelter. You can send a care package to military people overseas. 

Just give back the love you now have within! It will come back to you double!

Remembering the Phoenix Inside

Have you ever made decisions in your life that took you to a place you’ve never been? Everyone has at some point in their life. That is what the last two years have been like for me. One decision after another that is a life-changer. The biggest one being moving my life to Costa Rica. 

Sometimes I look back at what I had before I made the move and I miss it. I miss my SUV. I miss the comforts of the US. I miss my friends. I miss IHP. I miss my family. I wonder what life would be like today if I had stayed in the States. 

Would I be the same person I am today? 

I don’t think I would be the same person I am today. Making the move started something in me that has gone away. Writing and working toward a self-love coaching business has grown into something I never had imagined when I started writing 2 years ago. If I had stayed, I wouldn’t have this amazing blog. If I had stayed, I wouldn’t have Nina. If I had stayed, I would still be living to survive. 

I am not always happy. I don’t always want to get out of bed in the morning. And I sure as hell don’t have the energy I had when I first moved here. I doubt my decisions (even though I would never change them if I had the chance). Life isn’t always sunshine and roses. There are so many people out there on their blogs that make life seem grand and wonderous all the time. I can’t do that because it would be a lie. The life we live is full of ups and downs. If we aren’t honest about the downs, how can we appreciate the ups? 

I don’t want to fool anyone.

This blog is about being honest with oneself. If I want to show you how to be honest with oneself, I have to do that too. I have to admit the mistakes I make. I have shared the downs in the past and will continue to do so because it is the truth. Even though I live in paradise, it isn’t always easy. 

I love living here and it is amazing in so many ways. I have beaches and it’s hot all the time. There is so much to explore and so many amazing people to meet. Volunteering opportunities are all around me. It is paradise here.

Paradise doesn’t equal happiness.

My outer world is full of amazing and wonderful opportunities. I have a wonderful dog that protects and loves me in ways I never imagined. I have a few close friends that allow me to be me and still love me no matter what. I have family that is here for me whenever I need them. My family and I talk on the phone often sharing what happens in life. Life is so fulfilling on the outside. On the outside, I live in paradise. 

One the inside, I am struggling. I am fighting demons that don’t want me to grow and live the life I know I can have. Fighting the thoughts of not being good enough are happening within me. I am battling constant headaches that keep me in bed most days. It’s hard to let people in because of the feelings I have inside. I wonder where it all came from. I haven’t felt this way in a few years. Even though, I struggled when I got to Costa Rica my internal self was strong. It doesn’t feel that way now.

Remembering the Phoenix inside

Last year, I hit a place in my life I never thought I would happen. That day I knew I needed a reminder that I can make it to where I want to be because how I felt that day wouldn’t last forever. I knew that I would have to burn to ashes again and again. I would have to work through more demons and thoughts. So, I got my Phoenix tattoo. 

It is visible. It is right where I need it to be. Every day when I wake up I see it. I am reminded that I will rise again, but for now, I need to fight and burn what I think I am to the ground. This will allow me to be reborn into the beautiful and amazing person I know I am deep inside. 

I am right where I need to be. Even though I miss aspects of my past, I do love my present. I love Nina, my friends, and family. 

In the struggle, I still have me.

In this struggle, I still have me. I am still amazed at the person I am today. Who I have become in the last two years hasn’t been for nothing. It has become a stepping stone for me to continue to grow into the wonderful woman I know I am.

The thoughts of feeling worthless and not good enough keep me pushing to achieve the next level of amazement. I don’t know when that will happen and it is okay that I don’t know. I am figuring out how much I am worth it. The struggle is allowing me to grow. It is creating self-love so deep that I am unstoppable. 

Self-love is important.

I wouldn’t be able to fight the way I do if I didn’t have the self-love I have. For all of you out there fighting an inner battle, know that self-love will be the foundation that will keep you standing tall. Great self-love mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually are key to winning the battle. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t show myself the love I do every day.

What is Self-Love?

sandy beach with blue water and a brown mountain.

I have been writing about self-love a lot recently. It is one of my specialties. Learning what self-love is took me a long time. I have come to master it in so many ways. Even during a difficult time, I know what to do to give myself the love I need to make it through.

Since I am a self-love specialist and have been writing a lot about the subject, I should probably tell you what self-love is. 

Self Love can take many forms.

Self- love is deep or shallow. There are so many ways someone can show themselves self-love. It can range from saying “I love you” to working through past trauma. It varies and changes depending on what is going on in a person’s life. I am going to break it down into different parts. You may be really good at one part and struggle with the other ways. 

You need all forms of self-love to live a happy and fulfilled life. It is easy to neglect one way and focus on others. The way to get the most out of life is to practice self-love in every area of your life. 

Physical

This consists of doing things for yourself that you need physically.  You would be surprised how often people do not take care of themselves physically. This is a basic need that should be met no matter what. There are way more ways than the ones listed below. This list is a starting point.

  • Take a shower every day. If you need twice a day.
  • Clip your toenails and fingernails. (I am not kidding you on this one.)
  • Brush and floss your teeth.
  • Do your hair. Make sure it is nice. If you are a man, get it cut regularly. If you are a girl, switch up the hairstyle every now and then.
  • Eat and drink healthy. Sometimes this means giving up smoking or drinking alcohol. 
  • Wear nice, clean clothes. I don’t mean dress for a black tie event. I am talking about having nice clothes. No holes, no dirt, no sweat stains, the right size, etc. 
  • Shave. For girls shave your legs, armpits, and other areas you like to shave often. For men, if you have a beard keep it tight. Here in Costa Rica, plenty of men actually shave their armpits as well. Since it is so hot it keeps them from smelling bad. 
  • Drink fresh water. I am not talking about flavored water or water with something added to it. If you need to add electrolytes as I do here, that’s okay because it can keep you from being dehydrated. 
  • Exercise. Whether it is running around the yard with your dog or running a marathon get active. There are so many ways to stay fit. Take an aerial yoga class, swim, or dance. Do what you can do. 

Emotional

Emotions can be intense or dampened depending on the person. They can vary in intensity too. Some people experience a ton of emotions (this is me) and others simply ignore them. One way or another they need to be understood and overcame. This can be done a bunch of ways. 

  • Let yourself go through the emotion. Cry or Scream if needed
  • Write down your feelings and emotions.
  • Talk to a therapist or someone you trust about what you are feeling and going through.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (They have apps for this) I have used this in the past and it is super helpful with understanding feelings, thoughts, and emotions.
  • Take space to deal with what is going on inside. Do breathing exercises. 
  • Tell people how you feel.
  • Walk away from people who are negative or harmful to you.

Spiritual

This one is the hardest for me to get now that I am in Costa Rica. When in the states, I had a school in NYC that I attended. Here is either cost a boat ton of money or during my workday. For me, the church doesn’t help anymore. I don’t want to get into that. Here are some suggestions for you.

  • A spiritual school
  • Church
  • Yoga/Meditating
  • Self-Improvement seminars 
  • Breathing Exercises

Social

This one will vary depending on the person. If you are an extrovert you may need more of this than an introvert. As you begin to understand what you need, you will notice how much socialization you need and when. This can be friendships and intimate partners. 

  • Take your self out on a date. Go to the movies. Plan a romantic dinner at your favorite restaurant. Give yourself the date you have always wanted.
  • Meet someone new or talk to someone new. Volunteer at a local food shelter and start chatting with the people there. Say “hi” to your neighbor that you never talk to. 
  • Try a new activity. Join a meetup for something you like to do. Join a book club or writing club. 
  • Move or visit another country. 
  • If you don’t hang out with a person of the same sex often, start finding friends of the same sex.
  • Do something for your partner, that they have been wanting for a long time.

Take Away

There are so many more ways you can create self-love for yourself under these different categories. You may struggle with one or two categories more than the others. How you give self-love depends on your personality types and what you like. For example, I am introvert, so if I have been very social for 3 days in a row, I may need some space for myself. I could get that space by watching a movie at home, watching the sunset alone, or getting my toenails done. 

Everyone can show themselves love and it’s the start of a better and more fulfilling life! Find your inner superwoman (or superman)!

**In a few weeks, I will be releasing a workbook to help with some of these areas. I am so excited to share it with you soon. So keep a look out for the release!