Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen,
 The past week I have had plenty of time to read, write, and do some deep thinking. This week's newsletter is going to be very personal, one I hope you can learn from. The newsletter is about my path towards acceptance and how one book changed my life for the better....

          I have always struggled with acceptance and relationships. I didn't understand relationships nor did I understand what love was. As usual, to figure out this question, I did some digging and came across the book, "The Truth : An Uncomfortable Book about Relationships."  It was written by New York Times Best Selling author, Neil Strauss . The book was an excellent read, but as the title suggests, it can be uncomfortable at times. The book's main point is simple, if you want a relationship to work, you must first accept yourself and be true to yourself. To understand this, you must do a ton of self reflection, you have to remember every event of your childhood and put it on paper. The reason your childhood is so important is because that is when most of your habits are formed.

Have you ever wondered why your friend constantly dates assholes?

Most likely, it is due to some childhood event that formed a habit. Habits can be changed though, as Charles Duhigg put it,

"What we know from lab studies is that it's never too late to break a habit. Habits are malleable throughout your entire life. But we also know that the best way to change a habit is to understand its structure — that once you tell people about the cue and the reward and you force them to recognize what those factors are in a behavior, it becomes much, much easier to change."

 After reading a couple chapters, it was time for me to self reflect and understand my own habits.  I wrote the following in my journal after the first 100 pages:

"Growing up I dealt with insecurities and low self esteem. As a kid I had a speech impediment, a terrible haircut  (bowl cut for a solid 5 years, thanks ma), suffered from numerous cold sore outbreaks, and was absolutely terrified at meeting new people. I still remember skipping social events because of a bad haircut or because something embarrassing happened to me, I was extremely insecure. The only way I knew how to hide my insecurity was to be over confident. To be cocky and brag about everything I did. My cockiness was a facade, a mask; covering the real issues at hand. This did not work though, I was still afraid to be the first one in line, I was afraid to make a mistake. I was afraid to say "hi" to people first because I thought I was bothering them.."

After reading my journal entry a couple times, my life started to make more sense. It allowed me to understand my awkwardness as a kid. I realized I was so afraid to make a mistake as a kid because my Dad was so strict. As a kid, I was yelled at for any mistake I made. Without even realizing it, this formed into a habit and followed me in my daily life. However, now that I have recognized it, I can separate myself from the habit and not let it control me anymore. I believe self reflection begins with writing in a journal every day. We constantly have thoughts running through our mind 24/7, our mind is constantly wandering, and we are constantly shying away from our flaws . By hiding our flaws you are giving them power over you. You must embrace your insecurities, embrace your fears, write down every single fear you have. Start out slowly by writing down something that scares you. For example, abandonment used to scare me, but I addressed the issue by writing about it in my journal. It turns out I am not afraid of being abandoned, rather, I am afraid of being seen as inadequate. In my mind, abandonment equals, "I am not good enough." When, in reality, it could have nothing to do with me. It could just be the other person. . By writing everyday and being honest with yourself, it allows you to be the real you, the person you were born to be. Write down your thoughts, fears, goals and everything you are grateful for. This process doesn't have to be long, five minutes is more then enough, start small and slowly build on it. 
       Next, we must practice mindfulness. Meditation is one of the best things you can do for your mind, especially since it is free! Anybody can meditate. You don't need anything except for yourself. More and more research is coming out on the benefits of meditation:

“It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life,” says Britta Hölze

A harvard study found that in 8 weeks, meditation shrunk the grey matter of the amygdala. The amygdala is a part of the brain that controls stress, fear, and anxiety.  By shrinking the amygdala, you will become better equipped at dealing with your anxieties and fears. Not only does it decrease stress, but it also increases empathy and compassion.  Empathy allows you to understand people better, which I believe will help you understand yourself better.. From personal experiences, I believe that self esteem is the most important thing in a relationship. When one person in the relationship has low self esteem they cling on for attention. It creates an imbalance of power.  The lesser person can become needy, jealous, and selfless.  They constantly give because they feel they don't deserve their partner. Overtime, this imbalance of power will lead to resentment. The insecure partner will resent their partner for making them feel this way. It can be as simple as one person paying the bill at dinner every time. 
      According to the book, a relationship will never work if it is founded on lies. You have to show your partner the real you; if they don't accept you then obviously he/she isn't right for you. This can be scary and the fear of rejection can keep you lying to yourself and your loved ones. However, you must be strong and stick to the real you. By pretending to be someone else it will only lead to resentment because you are constantly lying to yourself. You may never actually tell a lie, but you are living a lie. 

As Barbara De Angelis put it,  "If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself."  

Remember, it is your natural right to be comfortable and happy in the body you are given, but it will be uncomfortable at times and not everyone is going to like you. However, this is perfectly fine and this is exactly what you want. You want to be around people who allow you to be yourself. . Your loved one's should embrace this and bring out this person, they shouldn't make you feel inadequate.

I experienced this phenomenon this past summer, I fell in love with a girl. She had the looks, the personality, and made me feel loved. I mean she was beautiful, and plus, she let me wear my blue blockers at night.  Even though it  eventually came to an end. I am grateful for every moment I spent with her. She showed me who the real me was and taught me how to accept myself.  I truly believe that we are put on this Earth to figure out who we are. We are here to figure out our passion helping as many people as possible. 

"We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light." ~Mary Dunbar

Here is what you do

  1. Write for 5 minutes in the morning, and for 5 minutes at night
  2. Meditate once a day and slowly build up your duration to 30 minutes
  3. Stop thinking, "what if" instead think, " I will accept it IF this happens
  4. Enjoy the journey and don't be afraid of your flaws; embrace them