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Friday, June 24, 2011

Using Vision Boards to Achieve Self-Love

Don’t ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive and go out and do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

Howard Thurman

So many times, I will write someone an email or leave a comment on someone else's blog, and then I realize I'm formulating a new blog post without realizing it! That's how this one got started as well. Here's the proof. This is a comment I left on my pal Ally's blog to our mutual pal Ashelle as she was asking for some advice on how to achieve her goals toward self-love:

Something that helps me tremendously is my vision board. I made one a year and a half ago and have achieved almost everything on it except for one. When I look at it now and realize that, I marvel. Mine was all life stuff I wanted to achieve, but you could just as easily make one for goals like these. Just steer clear of adding magazine photos that have to do with appearance or "how you wish you looked" unless those images constitute health and vitality. Inspiring phrases and quotes are especially helpful. If a board seems like too big of a project, try cutting a notch in the top of a shoe box and dropping clippings or notes in it as you're inspired. I just read about the box idea yesterday. It doesn't matter how you go about it; the idea is that the physical act of doing it is your way of stating to the Universe that you believe your goals are going to happen. When you really believe it...they do. Uh-oh, I feel a blog post coming on. ;)

Maybe you have seemingly lofty goals of learning to love yourself more too but aren't quite sure how to get there or maybe even how to begin. This post isn't necessarily the answer for everybody, but it is me telling you what has proven to work in my life. When you speak something into existence, that's half the battle of getting there. And when you have something concrete and tangible ever-present to remind you of your goals, no matter what those goals are, you're 10 times more likely to actually achieve them. I just made up that statistic, but whatever. ;) Visualization works. I believe in it so strongly that I am using Hypnobirthing techniques, not just when I have our baby but all throughout the rest of my pregnancy. (If you're interested, the gist of it is removing the fear from labor, thereby removing tension, thereby removing pain, and using exercises that use powerful visualization.) I know I sound like I'm only one step away from becoming a motivational speaker for The Secret, but when something has worked so powerfully for me, I wanna share it with you!

I have blogged about making a vision board before, but our BFF Bon emailed me about an alternate that she feels fits her a little better than the traditional board: a vision box, as I mentioned in the above comment to Ashelle. (Here's the article about them, which I strongly suggest you look at!) Instead of cutting out pictures and phrases and gluing them to a board, you drop them in a box with the belief that they will happen. One major upside to the box is there's not as much preparation involved...who doesn't have a shoe box lying around somewhere? You don't even have to decorate it if you don't want to; you just put "Whatever is contained in this box—IS!" somewhere on it and drop things in as you're inspired by something. Personally, I prefer the board, but that's just me...there was something very cathartic about the whole process of gathering magazines and craft supplies, poring through them searching for just the right pictures and words, gluing them on and feeling the weight of their purpose, and then having something to look at anytime I want, which helps with the visualization. Try whichever option resonates with you more, or come up with your own variation. We made a party out of creating our vision boards and burned little pieces of paper with our fears written on them at the end, and wow, was it ever healing for me, not to mention, I GOT RESULTS!! And I mean right down to the details. I ended up wearing the exact wedding dress on my vision board - it was way too expensive new, but I was so bent on getting it, and it ended up falling into my lap via a sample sale for a much lower price just when I'd almost given up hope. The only major thing left to achieve on my board now is learning to play guitar; everything else has virtually been checked off. If I could "conjure up" achieving some pretty big ole life goals by believing in my board, why couldn't you do the very same thing with your goals toward loving yourself more?

By the way, Bon always sends me the best emails in the world; she's the one who got me hooked on "Notes from the Universe" and If you're not already a subscriber to these daily emails, oh, you HAVE to do it today!! My day is no longer complete without starting out with them. In that vein, another thing I seem to be leaving in comments on other blogs lately is my firm belief that gratefulness is the absolute #1 key to everything: it’s the key to being happier, more secure in yourself and your relationships, attracting more and more things in life to be grateful for, on and on and on. People who have a truly grateful heart and live that way have the ultimate secret to contentment and self-love. When gratefulness is really a lifestyle for you, something that becomes so much a part of you that you even do it unconsciously, it's pretty damn hard not to also live in a state of self-love. You're far too appreciative of what you have to dwell too long on hating yourself. (You still have off days, sure, but we're only human, after all.) So when you make your board or box, if you really want it to work, you have to go into it with a sense of gratefulness that you will achieve those believe it so strongly that you're already grateful for them happening even before they have! This is part of the original vision board post I wrote on gratefulness:

Another tip I'd like to share concerning resolutions is to change your phrasing. Instead of saying, "I resolve to..." or "I will no longer..." and the like (because we all know it almost always fizzles out eventually), try switching up your wording to something like, "I am so thankful that I..." This is basic law of attraction/The Secret type of stuff. But trust me, it really works! The key to getting anything you want out of life is first being grateful for what you already have. The more grateful you are, the more you open yourself up to receiving even more of what you want. If you thank God/the Universe/your own self that you have already accomplished whatever it is, even though you haven't, you're more likely to believe that it's possible and therefore end up doing it. Just try it!

And, finally, something else Bon has taught me (she's so incredible) that really helps me is a very simple exercise you can do anytime, anywhere. I mostly use it for stress release and fear/anxiety release. But the principle could easily be used for increasing your confidence and sense of self-worth. She just repeats the words "release and relax" to herself as she focuses on her breathing. I reverse the phrase and say "relax" as I inhale and "release" as I exhale; as I exhale, it feels like I am literally releasing the stress or fear. For self-love purposes, you could use this to calm your spiraling negative self-talk and release it away from your mind.  You could even change the words to something else that works for you. 

I hope some of these things will help all of you on your self-love quest! One more thing, since I'm kinda link-happy today...this is a must-read post over on "Looking in the Mirror": 

If you end up making a board or box or otherwise have suggestions for things that would help achieve the same results, we'd love to hear about 'em!