Month: October 2021

From Fear to Faith: Overcoming the Lies We Tell Ourselves

From starting to stalled. Excited to deflated. Passion-filled to filled with self-doubt.

You see, my thoughts and I… we don’t have the healthiest of relationships. 

For all my life, I’ve been everyone else’s cheerleader.  Helping others realize their potential and feel good about who they are is a real passion for me.

But what happens when the same voice that encourages everyone else discourages her own self? 

That’s my story.  I’ve often allowed my fears, doubts, and suffering self-esteem to override any good sense I’ve been blessed with. 

Those fears began to produce unhealthy patterns, thoughts, and behaviors.  I got into abusive relationships, stopped taking care of my health, and allowed my identity to become who everyone else said I was. 

Over time, these sneaky, self-defeating lies and patterns become so familiar to us that we get comfortable with the dysfunction, even if it’s killing us.

If your inner critic is a loud, obnoxious, constant talker like mine, all hope is not lost. 

So, what do you do when your own worst enemy is you? How do we break free from the lies that hold us at arm’s length from our dreams; always hoping but never actually achieving?

Joyce Meyer says it best, “You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.”  Believing everything you think can set you up to fail before you even begin. 

We can challenge our ‘stinking thinking’ by becoming more mindful of what we allow to aimlessly wander through our hearts and minds.

Settling for less than we deserve and accepting lies as truth, is not something we have to put up with anymore.   

We all have a story to tell.  Some are darker and more painful than others with more twists and turns.  In my case, there was a lot of dysfunction and emotional abuse, lacking in love and acceptance.

Your story may be different from mine, but I’d be willing to bet most of us have experienced some difficult days that have shaken our confidence and trust.

If you see yourself in any of these lies, I invite you to face the lie for what it is so you too can grow into a life you love.

I’m not ready.

Healthy caution when making most life decisions is a good thing. Rushing into marriage, a career choice, or a business partnership without weighing the pros and cons could end in disaster.

However, there are times in our lives when our hesitancy is no longer healthy. Truth is – if we wait until we are “ready” for many decisions – we will never start.

If you find yourself stuck in a rut of overthinking; could it be you know what’s right, but are just afraid to go for it?

As a woman of strong Christian faith, I like to ask myself this question as I pray over it, “Do I have peace about it?” If something in my gut/spirit feels off, there’s probably a reason.

Let’s be honest, though. How often is, “I’m not ready,” or “I can’t, because…” just a cover-up for “I’m afraid to…?”

What I’ve discovered in my own life is that sometimes I just have to do it afraid.  When we are doing something we’ve never done before, it’s going to feel uncomfortable and uncertain.  That’s why it’s called, “getting out of our comfort zone.” 

I’ve just decided that I’d rather try and fail than look back 10 years from now and mourn for all I didn’t do.  What about you?

I’m not as good as them.

I’ve struggled with this one a lot throughout my life.  The more I compared myself to others, the more I lost sight of what makes me one-of-a-kind.  Instead of focusing on what I do have, my fixation became on all that I didn’t have or couldn’t do.

Because my focus was wrong,  I ended up doing nothing at all.  

We humans tend to have a bad habit of looking at someone else’s best and comparing it to our worst.

What would you say if I told you that when the person you look up to considered your strengths against their weaknesses – they’d feel exactly the same as you do?

That’s right.

Truth is, no one has all the answers. No one has it all figured out. There’s not a “secret formula to success,” that the person you admire has the monopoly on.

Most likely, they’ve just put in the work that it required to get where they are — which means you can too.

You weren’t designed to be a carbon copy of anyone. It’s fine to be inspired by others, but just remember, there is something you offer that no one else can.

It is good to be different. What makes you unique is what makes you shine.

They’re not smarter, better looking, the “right” age, or more talented — they’re just different from you. And you are different from them. My friend, that’s a truth worth celebrating.

I am learning to show up as my authentic self, no matter what others think.  Guess what happens next?  We begin to form real relationships with people who actually like who we are and what we offer.          

The needs of others matter more than my own.

I’m a recovering people-pleaser. Far too often, my value was tied to how well I served others and what they thought of me.

If you can relate, then you know the end to this story: burnout, frustration, emptiness, exhaustion, and unhealthy habits.

Self-love is not selfish. In fact, it is the very opposite. If you love those around you and want to be there for them, taking care of you is the perfect place to start.

Consider these examples for how to show yourself some love today:

  • Take time out to rest, even if only for a moment
  • Practice saying no when something doesn’t work for you and don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for it
  • Let go of toxic relationships
  • Heal from unhelpful mindsets through coaching or counseling
  • Find time for health-and-happiness-boosting activities
  • Be mindful of the foods you put into your body
  • Forgive yourself for past mistakes and wrong turns in life
  •  Boundaries are good. Don’t forget to use them wisely

We really do teach people how to treat us.  As I learned to treat myself with kindness and respect, I realized what was and wasn’t working in my life. 

Anyone who doesn’t respect your boundaries doesn’t respect you. 

I have to be perfect.

Perfectionism is a poison that many of us, including myself, drink every day and wonder why we aren’t well.

May I ask you a question?

Would you rather be friends with, and learn from, someone who is humble and shows their struggles; or someone who seems to never struggle with anything?

Most of us long to connect with the stories of others who have been where we are. It makes us feel less alone in our mess.

The world doesn’t need more phony, filtered, “perfection.” What we need are people willing to be real –  sharing the good, bad, and the ugly.

You have the power to make someone else see the hope in their own story. What you’ve been through can serve a purpose. Your pain doesn’t have to be in vain.

Choose the power of authenticity over the illusion of perfection. We are all growing and learning.  We will make mistakes along the way, hopefully, learn from them, and be better for it. 

I’ll be happy when ____.

Ever said this lie to yourself? I sure have. We convince ourselves that when we have a certain thing, reach a certain weight or goal, suddenly we’ll be happy.

It’s okay for us to have goals and to work toward growth in our lives. These are healthy, but it becomes unhealthy when we get so future-focused that we miss the gift of here and now.

No, we may not be where we want to be, but look how far you’ve come since last year, or even a few months ago! Celebrate that with a heart full of gratitude and notice how much happier you instantly feel.

Gratitude is a weapon. Use it.

I re-visit that quote from Joyce Meyer about being unable to have a positive life while thinking negative thoughts. 

It’s not easy, but little by little, I’ve been training myself to take those lying, mean-spirited thoughts, out to the trash where they belong.  You can too.

In my office, there is print art that reads, “The past is your lesson, the present is your gift, the future is your motivation.” 

Let’s choose joy right now.  In the simple things.  It could be the smell or flavor of your favorite cup of coffee, the way a fresh breeze feels against your skin, or the way your pet makes you laugh and feel unconditionally loved. 

Whatever it is for you, how about we determine that “I’ll be happy when___” turns into, “I’ll be happy now because this moment is a gift not everyone was given.”

Letting go of the lies.

By no means do I intend to make letting go of these lies sound easy. A lie must be replaced by a truth. Changing our minds is a process.

It is possible, though. One step, one day, one thought, at a time.

Challenge yourself to think about what you’re thinking about. You might find patterns in your thinking that are holding you back out of fear, and keeping you stuck in limitations that you may not have even created.

As you work your way through those cobwebs of lies, you’ll begin to see possibility where you only saw problems. You are worthy.

What lies do you tell yourself?  What is the best piece of advice you could give others who are struggling in the same way?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Great conversation helps everyone!

lies we tell ourselves

Teaching Kids to Listen to Their Gut Means We Have to Listen to Ours


Have you ever had the feeling you’re not where you should be, and it’s time to change direction?

Your stomach tightens, you feel uncomfortable and your instinct kicks in, but it doesn’t give you precise, easy answers.

All you know is where you are is causing friction in your soul.

This inner voice is something I whole-heartedly believe in, but it’s a bit of a murky concept to teach to my children.

It sounds hokey if I flippantly say, “Listen to your gut!” It’s a lesson I’ve witnessed lands harder when they actually experience it for themselves.

But it’s still a tricky lesson to navigate.

I mean, I am telling them to listen to their guts and be true to who they are, and to back away if something doesn’t feel right. How do we balance this advice with the equally well-intentioned guidance to have perseverance and grit to see hard things through? To stick with it and be victorious?

Like nearly everything in life, there is no right or wrong answer, but I find myself wanting to put more weight on the side of my brain that reminds me everyone–even children–are armed with an inner voice that is their compass, and tuning into that is even more important than staying with something that feels wrong, which is different from something that feels only difficult.

My son is 10 years old, and he begged me for two years to play tackle football.

I refused.

I know this child.

This child is not aggressive or competitive. He likes to cook and care for animals, so I had no idea where this desire to play tackle football was coming from.

After his asking one too many times, I finally agreed. I realized the worst thing that could happen would be he would dislike it, and he would at least know after doing it.

At first he really liked it.

And then the tackling drills began.

He cowered and flinched and was taken to the ground.

Over. And over. And over.

The kids who had been playing football for years took this as a challenge to initiate my son, so they came after him more. The coaches yelled at the team that if anyone flinches or does not face a tackle, they’ll do it again until they can take it.

I get it. They were trying to get the boys to not be afraid because being afraid would be the thing that would cause even more injuries.

But there was a lot of emphasis on manhood and not “playing like girls” and the practices started to feel like something I had not anticipated or appreciated. I sat back and let my son figure out if this felt right to him. (What I really wanted to do was storm the field and show them just how scrappy and strong a girl can be.)

My eyes widened as I pretended to read a book but in reality was staring at the same sentence, nervously overhearing the heated practices that rarely included any fun or positivity.

He kept running to me on the sidelines with tears in his eyes, telling me it hurt so bad. He got the wind knocked out of him, got a helmet to the stomach and again to the shoulder and his hands and arms stomped on by cleats.

I am so ashamed to admit this, but my first emotion was anger. I was angry that he hadn’t listened to me. I knew he would not like the aggressive tackles and daily injuries.

After the wave of anger, my instinct was to tell him, “Let’s get out of here if you’re in pain, and this doesn’t feel right.” but I looked down at my book and told him to get back on the field and keep at it.

My own gut was telling me to let him stop, but I doubted the voice, telling myself I was being too sensitive. I didn’t want to make a knee-jerk-over-reactive-mama-bear decision, so I sat and breathed, listening to my gut and then ignoring my gut.

He tried, and again, he flinched and cowered practice after practice, fearing the pain and cut-throat environment.

He ran to me on the sidelines again during a water break, and my protective brain could not keep up the bad-cop persona anymore. He needed my help, and acting cold and angry with him was no way to show him I had his back.

He was looking to me to get him out of a situation where he felt completely overwhelmed. I couldn’t continue to say no.

I calmly folded my camping chair, picked up the book I was pretending to read, and told him, “Let’s get you out of here.” I went up to the coach and told him my son wasn’t feeling great, and we were leaving early.

We got to the car and my son burst into tears. He had been holding them in out of fear of being made fun of by others on the team.

He said, “I don’t know why I didn’t listen to you when you told me I wouldn’t like football. I can’t do this anymore.”

I exhaled, “I know, sweet birdie. It’s okay. But, hey, can I please record you saying that again?”

He smiled.

We had a long conversation about how he didn’t enjoy football at all. He didn’t like that coaches kept yelling at them to not play like girls and to “man up.” He didn’t like that it was no longer fun and nothing but getting yelled and cussed at.

He said it didn’t feel right.

I quietly said, “I know. I hated every second of it, and it was torture watching every practice. I did it because you wanted to try it, and I didn’t want to shield you from things you’re curious about.”

I told him that he could quit, because to me, what helps a boy be a man doesn’t have to be just physical challenges like tackling others. Being an aggressive boy who is in training to be a good man means you have to have good communication skills and a sense of accountability. I told him he could quit only if he would go to the coach in person and tell him face to face.

He rolled his eyes and told me that would be awkward. I said, “Well, let’s go get you back on that field then if you can’t do that.”

He met with the coach the next day and told him football was just not for him.

I told my son he learned something really powerful and that’s the gift of listening to his gut.

We talked about how he could feel he wasn’t in the right place. That’s not to say he was any better than anyone there, but everyone else was having fun and loving tackling each other. He was, however, miserable.

We talked about how it’s a fine line between giving up too soon before you give something a chance and staying too long even when you know it doesn’t feel right.

I told him, “I know this was a hard experience, but I’m grateful I let you play. This way you now know what it feels like, and you won’t wonder and resent me for not letting you. I’m grateful you got to hear your gut tell you you weren’t where you wanted to be. This is all good stuff and worth the last month of practice and injuries.”

I pulled back the curtain and admitted to him as an adult I have made mistakes by ignoring this inner voice. I’ve stayed in relationships in the past where I could feel every day it wasn’t right, but I told myself to stop being sensitive and just deal with it, even when I was miserable.

This lesson of honoring yourself and facing disappointment when things don’t go as we envisioned is one of the biggest obstacles in life.

I told him that’s the hard truth, but how great that he got to experience it and feel it all, so he could understand it next time he faces it.

I can’t lie to you and pretend I wasn’t torn. I wasn’t sure if letting him quit was right. I wanted to push him to a victorious place where he faced something difficult and gained confidence by conquering it. I had visions of him turning a corner and suddenly loving this sport that is so unlike anything else he is interested in.

Aside from wanting to push him, I was also selfishly embarrassed. I assumed the other parents would judge me and my son as weak. I am not proud of my parenting when I waste time on worrying what others think of me.

I stayed awake for a lot of the night, wondering if I had made the right decision, second-guessing my parenting skills. I wanted a guarantee that letting him quit was not setting the precedent of soft parenting that would lead to him one day living in my basement in his 40s as he lacks the backbone to face life, thanks to my coddling.

I can get dramatic and in my head when parenting dilemmas come to me. It’s never fun.

That morning, I had my answers. I knew I too had to listen to my gut. I knew letting him quit was the right answer this time. I can’t tell him to listen to his gut when in reality I doubt my own.

That’s the thing about listening to our guts–the message it sends to us gets muddled when we let ourselves get distracted by doubt.

It can’t be something we abuse to get out of having to face new situations or striving for more in life. We can’t confuse laziness and fear of hard work with raw instinct giving us information about how we’re wired.

As adults, most of us are probably going through life ignoring a voice within us that is trying to nudge us toward something else, right?

It’s hard work to listen to the voice, so we turn on Netflix or scroll social media, but the voice of who we are and what we’re meant to go after is always there. It’s mysterious, uncomfortable and fuzzy at times, but it gets louder when we don’t listen.

When we spend time owning our truths and firmly plant our feet in them instead of chasing after things or people that don’t feel right, we can live a life that is deeper.

These are all big concepts for anyone to wrangle, let alone a 10-year-old boy who prides himself on his repertoire of fart jokes.

But he got it.

He said he felt it and now knows what it means to give yourself permission to be who you are.

This took me about 30 years longer to learn than it did for him, and it’s still something I have to re-learn often.

I run myself into the ground with worry that I’m not guiding my kids in the right direction or giving them the tools they need to be healthy adults who have healthy relationships. But on that day as I saw my son struggle, cry, and then find relief in the permission to walk away and be himself, I realized I am doing something right.

I feel it in my gut.


Rebecca Rine is a writer and speaker at RebeccaRine.com where she writes with raw honesty about the joys and challenges of an ordinary life, feeling it all and living simply and deeply while not being a bag of turds to others. Readers say her writing connects with them because she openly writes about her life and shortcomings regarding marriage, parenting, spirituality, and aging with a goal of embracing your imperfect, authentic self. She is an opinion contributor to Dayton Daily News and public radio, and has been published in places such as: Scary Mommy, Blunt Moms, Fatherly, and The Write Life. Her podcast “Real Life out Loud” can be heard on various platforms, and her short videos about “one thing to think about” can be found on YouTube. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Subscribe to her website and to purchase her book, “What Waits Ahead is Way Better and Way Worse Than You Imagined: True Stories of Balancing Joy and Poo in Life”.

Image courtesy of Ivan Samkov.

Heartache

When stress, fear or sadness weigh on us, our hearts can suffer — even break. But there are ways to mend our broken hearts. This hour, TED speakers share stories and ideas about soothing heartache. Guests include cardiologist Sandeep Jauhar, law professor Jeannie Suk Gersen, pediatric nurse Hui-wen Sato, and climate activist Knut Ivar Bjørlykhaug.