Thankful Thursday: Weaknesses

A weakness is defined as “a quality or feature regarded as a disadvantage or fault”.
Are you wondering why I am thankful for my weaknesses? Believe me, this was not always the case. For many years, I hid in fear of anyone finding out what my weaknesses were.  I  struggled to do everything asked – the people pleaser in me was afraid they wouldn’t like me if I shared my weaknesses.  How many of you can relate to this?
So, I focused on my strengths – to move ahead in my career, to grow my direct sales business, to build relationships and to hide my weaknesses.  Not letting many close enough to see my true weaknesses.  The first time I wrote this post, it was all about being in direct sales, this time it is more of a personal revelation to help those who may be struggling….
In business and in life, we can’t be strong in every aspect. For those of us who feel insecure, this is a hard pill to swallow.  We compare ourselves to others, afraid to admit what we don’t know.  Just because we may have a weakness, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.  Trying and failing is part of learning and growing.
Think about your life (and your business).  Things are probably dictated by what you’re good at.  In your life, your hobbies, your job,  your relationships are all based on the things you are good at and enjoy, right?  What about your business?  If you are in direct sales, don’t you focus on the things you are good at whether it is booking, selling or recruiting?  I mean we can’t all be good at everything, right?  We are usually good at one aspect and struggle on another.  As a result, we place a majority of our focus on our strengths. Makes sense though right? If you’re strong in one aspect then it’s probably the part you most enjoy as well! But is thinking like this letting you grow?
I challenge you to be thankful for your weaknesses. We all have them, but sometimes it can be hard to look in the mirror and tell ourselves we need to be better at the part we struggle with.  I don’t mean in a “beat yourself up” kind of way.  I mean to look at the things you want to change or aren’t good at; find resources to help you learn, and strive to be a better version of yourself tomorrow.

 

I will admit I have always been a “beat yourself up” kind of gal.  MS and recovery have taught me a lot.  I am able to admit my weaknesses, ask for help and then even try some of the suggestions I’m given.  Notice I didn’t say DO them but I said try.  My goal is to be a better version of myself every day.

 

Let’s start by writing down what you are strongest at right now.  What do you feel you do really really well. That’s the pillar you build upon. Next, write out what you feel you do decent. Not great but you can get by with the skills you have. These are items you’ll build up over time. But lastly, write out what you feel like you just aren’t good at, or not comfortable doing at all!

 

The last list is the one you have to go and face head on. These are the topics you should be searching for online, and watching videos to help give you the tools to succeed in your business or in life.   It can be hard to admit these to ourselves but it can be the most freeing exercises, as it’s you giving yourself the direction you need.

 

Some of my weaknesses I am thankful for today are being an introvert (shocker, right?), controlling my graze eating, taking everything personally when someone says something, and the dreaded comparison game.  The two things I am working on right now is controlling my graze eating and playing the comparison game.  Eating on the Wahl’s Diet which is designed for those with MS has helped but I still have the urge to “pick” once in a while.  The comparison game or being self-critical is a tough one to overcome.  Some days are better than others but I am learning to let go and let God on the days when I want to beat myself up for something I have no control over.  I am also learning asking for help allows us to meet some really great people and get to know others better.

 

What weaknesses are your thankful for?  Have a blessed day!

 

Thankful Thursday: Acceptance

How well do you accept things – mainly change?  Do you adjust quickly or do you fight it all the way?   Do you embrace change or close your eyes ignoring it is happening?

Since my health issues started in 2012, it has been a roller coaster ride of acceptance.  When the diagnosis of MS  finally came in 2017 I realized it would be physically challenging, emotionally draining, and around-the-clock exhausting with some extremely lonely times. The truth is for those who don’t have it, you can’t understand the challenges or how it is different in each person.  On the surface, I accepted things.  Those closest to me saw the struggles but I was still living a kind of denial.

I had been having a run of good days – when there is no brain fog, moving okay just a little slow and making it through most of the day before I was totally drained.  Then there are the days which take an extraordinary amount of effort to complete even a simple task. Try going through a day not knowing if you will be able to manage another moment of fatigue, dizziness, muscle weakness, dropping anything you get your hands on, and feeling as if you don’t have the strength to hold it together for one more second.  I accepted these minor challenges too… or at least I thought I did.

When I started my journey again working through my addiction, I realized I have never really accepted my MS diagnosis.  Why was accepting I’m an addict so much easier than accepting I have MS.   On most days I admit to those around me the limitations I have especially with memory as a result of my MS. Acceptance, right?  Then,  I came across this definition of acceptance in an NA reading.  “Acceptance is an opening of your heart to the realities of life and to the ways in which you have been impacted by your life choices. It means you don’t fight against the realities of your life, but accept them for what they are and use them to grow as a person and move forward in life. Accepting life on life’s terms.  Accepting the things you can not change while you focus on the things you can“. The truth is, I have not truly accepted my MS diagnosis.

Last week, I was told by disability “you are not considered disabled”.  One of their reasons was “you can use your arms and hands so basically go to work” and instead of getting angry, I started to wonder if they were right.  Then I was told by the physical therapist, I had flunked the balance test!  She said “you are a fall risk and need to have a cane with you”.  SMACK!  She had me pegged though, she said “you still think of yourself as an independent woman who can take care of everyone else”.  It took both of these things to make be realize I was still fighting the realities of my life.  I continue to fight the things I can’t change instead of focusing on the things I can change.  I can’t change I’m a 62 year old woman who struggles most days with MS both physically and mentally.  What I can change is the way I decide to handle things………working on eating healthier, getting sleep, getting up and moving when I feel up to it instead of just sitting around then resting when my body says it is time.

Now, your struggle with acceptance could be much different.  The difficulties you face may be different from mine, but I am convinced there is someone, somewhere in the world who is going through the same overwhelming moments as you. Just because you don’t hear about them or know them personally doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  Believe me, I have been there.

Whatever your challenge, it’s okay to feel like you’re falling apart.  Eventually things will get better and you will find new ways of coping with all the changes happening in your life. I can guarantee it, but in the moment or in the heat of the battle it may not seem like it’s even possible.  I know, I am there fighting the battle of acceptance right now – with you.

It’s okay to ask for help.  I’m grateful for the rooms of NA where I can dump my stuff on the floor and walk away feeling a little less like a hot mess.  Find someone you can talk with about ways to help you manage your emotional chaos.  There is still hope for a better tomorrow whatever your challenge may be. I believe in you even when you don’t believe in yourself.

When all else fails, repeat the Serenity Prayer and wait for an answer.  Of course waiting for an answer is not one of my strong points.  Answers will always come but they may not be in a way we expect them or it may not be the answer we want….. expectations is a whole other topic.  LOL.

So, just for today, focus on the things you can change.  Accept life on life’s terms and count your blessings.

Have a blessed day!

 

Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Salad

I have struggled with staying at goal for the last few months.  Just when I wanted to get back on track eating zero point foods, it has been recommended in addition to dairy free and gluten free – I go vegetarian.  BUT before I made the change, I tried this YUMMY recipe.

Give this AWESOME 1 Smartpoint. per 1/2 cup service recipe a chance.  This will make 12 servings!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup purple grapes, halved
  • 2 TBS chives, scallions or green onions, minced
  • 5 ribs celery, washed and chopped
  • 1 TSP garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup plain, non fat Greek yogurt

Directions:

  1. Cook the chicken breasts until done. You can pan fry with non stick cooking spray or bake in the oven.
  2. Shred the chicken or chop using a knife. Place in medium sized mixing bowl.
  3. Wash and cut the grapes in half. Place in bowl.
  4. Wash and mince chives. Place in bowl.
  5. Wash and chop celery. Place in bowl.
  6. Add garlic powder to bowl.
  7. Add light mayonnaise and Greek yogurt to bowl.
  8. Add a dash or two of this seasoning if you’d like some more flavor.
  9. Mix well and chill for an hour before serving.

Since this makes 12 servings, why not take some for lunch using your Thirty One Around the Clock Thermal..  It is one of the most versatile totes.  Great for lunch or snacks anytime, anywhere—work, school, festivals, road trips, pool, beach, golf course, boating or sporting events. The water-resistant thermal lining keeps contents cool and makes cleanup easier. A removable shoulder strap means you can carry it any number of ways, including crossbody for hands-free movement. An interior mesh pocket and exterior front zipper pocket provide separate storage options when needed. Makes a great gift for friends, neighbors, kids, teachers and everyone else on the go!

If you try this yummy recipe, let us know what you think.  Have a recipe you want to share?  Send me an email – if I use it, I will send you some happy mail.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

#MSWillNotDefeatMe


Over the last month, I have reconnected with people I haven’t seen in years (27 years for one)…. It should be a time for excitement as we reminisce about past adventures, unfortunately, it has been a struggle.  I’ve shared my diagnosis and the most devastating part is not being able to remember….

When they ask “What’s it like living with MS?” Uhm…there’s just not a simple answer.  To those who don’t see me every day, they don’t know the subtle changes taking place.  They figure all must be well since I am still walking.  I mean isn’t MS all about not being able to walk and constant pain?  The truth is there is so much more to it….

When I try to describe the occasional physical and daily mental difficulties I experience because of MS, it is often met with some interesting responses. They have stemmed from “eat healthier”, to “eat more potassium” for the spasms in my legs, to try those pills on TV to help with memory, to “take B12” for the exhaustion. When I explain, I do some of those things already but they simply don’t work, They look at me like I have 12 heads!   After all, it works for them so it should for me too.

Some people just don’t seem to understand that those of us living with MS aren’t like them. We have a damaged Central Nervous System and our immune system is in chaos causing our own body to attack us. Some of the damaged areas to our nerves have healed well over time but some haven’t and new damage appears all the time.

The exhaustion I experience isn’t always because I didn’t sleep well the night before or because we aren’t eating nutritionally. It’s a debilitating symptom which isn’t always remedied with natural herbs and better sleep. Those things can help, but it’s not a “fix”. Catch me between 1PM – 3PM and you might find me falling asleep mid-sentence.

The loss of memory is something i will have to live with FOREVER!  Some things come back – you know those random things – but maybe only a snapshot instead of the whole movie.  LOL.  I’m learning to be honest about it and thankfully most people understand.

A trip to the mall is exhausting!  Some days just making my way across the parking lot of the grocery store presents a challenge.  When I am with my mom I always say, I wish I could walk as fast as she does at 82!

Through it all, I have learned to look this disease of MS square in the eyes and say, “I am not defeated because of you and regardless of what happens in life I am thankful for each new day I am given.”  A friend said to me recently, “God has a plan for you through all of this, just remain faithful”.  My recovery and working the steps has helped tremendously with this process.  I am turning things over and waiting for God to tell me what to do!

We will never understand all the why’s in life. Why MS? Why now? Why me?

No matter what the storm is you are going through; face it and be determined to be thankful as you go through it. Yes, it is possible to be thankful even in the most horrible of circumstances, but it’s a choice; and you have it within you to make the choice. You can stand up (even if only on the inside) and say, “I refuse to be defeated by MS (or whatever storm you are experiencing).”

Strength isn’t measured by the amount of things I can do or by how big my muscles are, it’s determined by the attitude I have while going through the difficult times in life. You are doing it. You are making it. Square your shoulders back and hold your head up high today because you are STRONG even though your body is weak!

This is MS Awareness Month and his has been my mantra lately.  I’ve had more days then I can count where the reality of MS has hit me. From struggling to walk with an ache in my legs, to brain fog which never seems to end to not be able to process thoughts, words or sentences.  God has placed loving people in my life who help me through the struggles.  It is his plan and even though some days I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel…. I will hold onto my faith.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How To Turn Challenges into Opportunities

I have been talking a lot lately about my struggles.  Of trying to decide if the glass is half empty or half full?  My vision has been blurred (and not just by the glaucoma) with the struggle to process thoughts, find my passion and to stay focused. Do you look at the world through rose-colored glasses? Some days I do.

We’ve all heard those sayings, right?  We may have actually felt the distinct difference between viewing life with a positive perspective and viewing it with a negative one.  Positive beliefs draw more positive things, right?

My struggles with emotions is real… some days I want to curl up in a ball and cry for no apparent reason.  Then there are days when I feel like the movie “50 Dates”, you know the one where she keeps reliving the same day and is always happy.  All of these challenges hold opportunity but the key is learning how to change the mindset.

When it comes to facing life’s challenges—because we all have them—we have the change to reframe them,  appreciating how struggles help us build strength and resilience. I could be a world-class weight lifter if that was the case.  LOL.  The key is to train our minds to view these challenges in a more positive light by first reflecting on our lives, identifying those tough times, and understanding how they shaped us and made us stronger.

As I reflect on the past challenges, those I can remember, I struggle with understanding them but I do see how they have made a huge impact on my life.  I can see how the negative mindset has led me on the path of relapse and had me looking at life as if I was a victim.  As I moved into recovery, I am slowly able to embrace the positive in all of life’s challenges and move forward.

In every challenge—and in the time which follows—we build strength and resilience. We don’t have the power to change the past, but we do have the power to find the positive within the past and use it to create a greater impact today.

Thank you for sticking with me during these challenges… my blog posts tend to ramble, my Thirty One business continues despite my bad days, and The Angel Connection is starting to grow.  I guess you are wondering where is the challenge, right?  For me, the challenge in finding my passion and deciding where I want to head in the future.  How am I moving forward?  I am reflecting on these key questions:

What are you learning? How are you growing?

I’m looking for the growth from each difficulty especially in my relapse and my MS diagnosis.  I’m trying to identify new knowledge I’ve gained, relationships I’ve built, or personal growth I’ve experienced. The truth is I’m moving forward despite these challenges, which means I’m strong and resilient, right? I need to open my eyes to the positive outcomes.  I know the lessons I have learned will help me to find my passion again and decide the direction for my business.

How does this challenge reinforce what you are grateful for in your life?

Practicing gratitude has been BIG during my recovery.  I have felt ungrateful for all of the problems which came from my relapse.  I felt resentful.  I needed to find gratitude for what it’s given me and what it’s shown me. As I  look at everything in my life—the big and little things—and learn to appreciate them, it is those things which will help me during the tough times.

What boundaries will you put in place in your life to avoid future challenges and allow yourself to grow?

With the lessons you learn and the strength you build, consider whether there are ways you can adjust your mindset or actions to prevent future challenges. Sometimes life events are out of your control, but other times, you can make changes to move you toward a life of growth, positivity, and purpose.  My MS may be out of my control but continuing in recovery is something I can work on daily.

Today’s post has been a ramble, a way for me to share not only my personal struggles but to try and reframe it to help someone else.  It you are struggling to discover your strength and resilience today, try these simple steps:

  • Use the above questions to look at a challenge from your past. How has this challenge made you stronger and more resilient?  Believe it or not, it has!
  • Make a list of things you’re grateful for. Focus on the positive in your life, no matter what the circumstances. Large or small, it doesn’t matter.

Now, think about one way you can live out your purpose today—and then do it! It could be as simple as a random act of kindness or buying someone a coffee.  Living with purpose requires strength and resilience. Tap into those and challenge yourself to grow further.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!