When Anxiety Attacks

by: Anonymous author

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I remember being younger and clinging to my mother at social events because I was so anxious. I would get a stomach ache whenever she would drop me off at school or at a social function. This began at the age of eight and I still deal  with anxiety today. From a young age this chemical imbalance in my brain made me feel inadequate and scared. It wasn’t until I was 17 that I decided to finally tell my mother how I felt, and I broke down crying and said that I needed help. In high school, I was so anxious all of the time that I barely spoke in class and going to school was unbearable. Imagine the anxiety that you feel before a big test, or something that you are very nervous about. Sure, that may be a temporary feeling for some, but for me it was constant and I could not turn it off. That constant feeling caused me to miss school dances, events, games, and many other social gatherings during my teenage years. I felt so ashamed of myself. I thought, “How could I let this stupid disorder take away my teenage years.” When I told my mother how I felt, I was taken to the doctor and started treating my anxiety with medication which helped immensely. As soon as I started to control my anxiety, things turned around completely. I began having fun my senior year of high school, went to the gym and lost a ton of weight that I had gained from hiding in my bedroom all of the time, and I began hanging out with friends and actually went to the homecoming and prom dances. It was finally then that I had realized that I had taken control of MY life and this chemical imbalance in my brain was not going to take away my life any longer. I think that the main thing to do is recognize it, treat it, and not be ashamed of it.

However, this wasn’t the end of the battle for me. When I graduated high school, I was on my way to college in the fall and I couldn’t have been more excited. I spent the summer on the beaches in San Diego, traveling, and getting ready to start college. Once I started my classes at the university, I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of work I had. I had always had good grades, and I was sure that it would be okay but I also was terrified at the same time. As the weeks went by, I was so consumed with schoolwork and a part time job that I began to gain weight again, and I stopped caring about myself. I was always the one to get dressed up and ready for the day, but now I was completely neglecting myself and my health. This is when my depression began. I resorted to hiding out in my bedroom, not caring about my appearance, and ignoring everyone around me. I lost so many friends because I simply would not feel like answering the phone when they called, or let alone go out somewhere. There were only a few of my close friends who understood what I was going through, but others were just quick to stop talking to me altogether. I became almost unrecognizable. I had gained over 50 pounds and was not even the same person anymore. Every time I tried to help myself and get better, I decided that it was more important to immerse myself in an insane amount of schoolwork to get good grades. I was completely neglecting myself and I had no idea if I would ever be the same again. I can not tell you how many different medications I have tried at my young age for depression. All of these medications of course had different side effects. I started gaining even more weight on some, I began feeling even worse on others, and I felt like I was completely spiraling out of control.

I felt pathetic. How could I let this change my life so much. I would show up to family gatherings and could feel the eyes on me and people wondering why I gained so much weight. As college went on, I decided that I needed to finish and not let this ruin my plans of a college education. I pushed through it, and with the help of my best friend and family I was okay and stable and graduated. As time went on and I slowed down on pushing myself to work so hard and I began to focus on my health, I felt better. Slowly but surely, I was going back to normal and deciding that it was important to recognize how I felt and to treat it. It’s never easy to tell somebody that you deal with depression and anxiety. I feel like there is so much stigma regarding mental health. Some people are completely embarrassed to even tell close friends and family that they need help. The most important thing for someone who is suffering from a mental health issue is SUPPORT. The worst thing is the stigma that goes along with it. It is hard enough to deal with a mental health issue, but society makes it even harder when we have so much stigma surrounding it. I learned to not be ashamed. I decide to keep it a private matter since it is my health, but those close to me know that I deal with it and help and support me. I urge anyone who is suffering to seek help and support because you are not alone, and I urge those to make fun of mental health issues or those who don’t take them seriously to stop the stigma and to help those who may be suffering because a single sign of support and encouragement could change their lives.

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#NoFilter Needed

by: Morgan Martin

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Physically, you probably don’t see much of a difference between these two pictures. But, it’s what you don’t see where my story begins. The girl on the left only smiled on the outside knowing the extreme measures she took to have those “abs” and reach “perfection.” Fifteen years later, the woman on the right not only smiles, but laughs on the inside because she knows she achieved the SAME exact results by doing it the healthy way!

The measures I took in order to present the “perfect Morgan” left me feeling pain and shame.

While I believe in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and physique, I spent too much time focusing on my outer beauty in an unhealthy way. The danger of this, is that it forced me to deny myself the freedom of fully living and being the person that God had so perfectly designed me to be, which is the Proverbs 31 woman “who is fearfully and wonderfully made.”  I struggled daily to keep up an image of perfection that I created in my mind.

When it came to my mental health and body image, I felt I had it all under control but in truth, my obsessive behavior was out of control. My physical appearance consumed my thoughts. I took excessive amounts of diet pills and other extreme measures to keep up an outward appearance of perfection. And it hurt.

It became a constant battle between my inner and outer self.

Outwardly, “Perfect Morgan” didn’t feel so perfect at all, but, I thought I was at least looking the part. “Perfect Morgan” wasn’t the type of girl to have fun and eat sweets, potato chips, fried chicken, pizza, or anything with too many calories, which, lets face it, could be anything in excess. But then behind closed doors, my inner self was the exact opposite from the character I played in public. When no one was watching, I would eat all of the things that the perfect Morgan wouldn’t.  After binge eating, I’d feel so ashamed and afraid of the pounds it would put on my body that I would purge to get it all out of my system. What began as a “one time thing” slowly became more and more frequent.  And before I knew it, I was dealing with bulimia. This eating disorder took away my happiness – and all because I wanted to look a certain way.

I suffered alone and I suffered quietly. To everyone else, I appeared to be happy, fit and whole on the outside, even though I was dying on the inside.

It was difficult to admit all of this, until now. I’m so grateful for God, because through reading His word and surrounding myself with good people, I’ve been able to break free from the monster I created.  I credit my recovery to God and the genuine kindness, concern, faith, support and love from others. I was so ashamed of my past for so long that it prevented me from stepping into my calling of coaching others to live a healthier and happier lifestyle without taking unhealthy measures as I once did.

Seeing results by simply living an overall healthy lifestyle has been so rewarding. I think it’s one of the greatest gifts you can ever give yourself! When my mind is less concerned about obtaining perfection, I notice the happier I am with my imperfections. In fact, I’ve learned to love them!  (The mind is a powerful tool in the healing process.)

If I can stop just one person from taking unhealthy measures and mentally exhausting themselves about their outward appearance, then I will consider my life a success. The obstacles God helps us overcome are the same obstacles He will use to build our testimony to help save and inspire others.

Through finally breaking free from the bondage of the “perfect Morgan” I can now use my personal story to help others.  I’ve never felt more beautiful than when I’m being open, honest, transparent and anything BUT perfect. Ironic?

If you are going through a difficult time or can relate to my story, please know you’re not alone in any way. There are 7 billion people in this world and the more and more of us who start to GET REAL and take off the filters of this perfect life we try to portray, the bigger the WAVE of change we will see in the world.  When people feel like they can relate to others, walls come down and healing can really begin. 

What’s Hott and What’s Not

by: Rikayah Crawford

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The girl that you see to your left in the picture was a bit chubby, insecure, and did not understand her inner beauty. That’s the girl who tried to take her own life.

The confident young woman you see to the right is the exact opposite. In that picture I understand that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I now understand the love I have for myself from within overflows into my outward appearance. Loving yourself is what’s hot. But obsessing over your appearance is not.

The world we live in today has shattered the authentic meaning of self-esteem and confidence. It has been dismantled by the misconceptions from the media, peers, celebrities (and really good filters.) The theory of “what’s hot and what’s not” has invaded the impressionable minds of young girls. As a result, many young women have referred to self-esteem as “feeling good” about themselves while others equate esteem to arrogance, conceit and egotism.  Damned if we do and damned if we don’t take a selfie!

Often times we embody the reflections and opinions of those around us.  It’d be nice if there was an instruction manual for how to overcome the tough times and judgments of others. In my life I’ve had lots of those tough times- hardships in my relationships, insecurities around other women, and ultimately the contemplation of committing suicide.

There was a moment in my life when I hit rock bottom due to the overwhelming insecurities I felt about the way I looked and interacted with others.  I had allowed the opinions of others about me to become my reality. Worst of all, I had blamed every problem and insecurity on myself. I was so hard on myself. Every day I struggled to look in the mirror.

It was the morning after the night I attempted to take my own life that I realized that I wanted more for my life than so much attention to be on my physical reflection.  And it was clear I survived that dark night for a purpose.

If I wanted to be successful, it had to begin with the renewing of my mind and making changes from within rather than analyzing so much about my exterior.

My parents always told me, “Rikayah, every gift that God has blessed you with and everything that you go through is not only for you but for you to share with someone else.” I didn’t see it at the time, but now I see how my story can help other women who might be able to relate to body image, depression and suicide.

By surrounding myself around positive and uplifting people and focusing on my inner beauty it enabled me to pick myself back up and begin again. As a result of focusing on my inner self, the rest of me started to transform, too. Today I love the skin i’m in, without a filter, without comparing myself to others, and truthfully without giving a damn about what others think.

Even though I have endured some heavy stuff in the short time God has granted me, I know I have a purpose and I plan to live out. If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please encourage them to seek help TODAY. It’s never too late to transform your mind.

3 Ways Focusing on Inner Beauty is Healthy For Your Heart

by: Zera McMahon

After battling with an eating disorder for several years I’ve learned how giving more attention to one’s own inner beauty is healthy for the human heart in several ways. Here are three main ways you’ll benefit from giving more attention to your inner beauty instead of focusing on the way you look.

1) Inner beauty is not only nurturing for your own heart, but for the hearts of others as well.

I have always felt that the two {inner beauty & the heart} are largely connected; perhaps a direct reflection of the other. One of the greatest ways to delight an empty heart or soul is with acts of gentleness
and love. Help yourself by helping other people, and be instantly rewarded with an immense sense of gratification and love. Your inner beauty will flourish with selfless acts of kindness, as this is one of the best ways to pass the love around and welcome it back with an open heart.

Within the last year, Iʼve made it a habit of reaching out to complete strangers by involving them in conversation. For example…a couple of weeks ago I was in HomeDepot trying to get a swatch of paint matched for our living room. It was late in the evening, and the lady who was helping me behind the counter was exhausted and just being a total grouch. As much as I wanted to walk away from her negative attitude, Idecided to talk to her anyway and ignore the menacing glances she was giving me. So, I set a mental challenge for myself and made it my goal to lighten her mood. I began asking her questions pertaining to work and showed compassion for all of the un-paid overtime she was putting in. Before I knew it, we were sharing stories about our families, the holiday season, and even exchanging tips on our favorite nail polishes, etc.

My plan had worked! Just from acknowledging this individual whom I had never met before and by striking up a conversation, I was able to help give her laughter and enjoyment, and improve her overall state of mind.

Not only did this lady walk away with a smile on her face, but so did I. Lets face it, the last thing I wanted to be doing at 10pm was hanging out in Home Depotʼs paint department. This challenge I set for myself gave me almost instant happiness and fulfillment. It feels incredible to have such a positive impact on another individual!

Too often we obsess about our own physical beauty, and critically measure our “beauty”against other women. The mainstream media is constantly trying to sell us illusions of the “perfect body” and lifestyle that we can achieve only if purchasing their products.

They really think we can be fooled, but I know that as women we are stronger and capable of more. We donʼt need to strive for a perfect body or prettier face. When we do this, we are not truly in touch with our inner beauty. What we genuinely need is each other. Coming together peacefully with open hearts, appreciating others (and ourselves) for more than physical appearances; that is when we create and promote inner beauty that is infectious.

The media is failing to communicate the importance of nourishing the authentic self. Instead of measuring our self worth on physical traits, genuine self worth is measured from the inside out. When you cherish and manifest your inner beauty, your physical appearance is sure to be positively influenced when your heart radiates from within.

2) You’ll discover your inspiration & creativity…

When we realize and cherish our inner beauty, we are consciously granting ourselves the permission to be open and accepting to the beauty and talents around us.

Speaking from experience, I understand that the search for that “magical something” to ignite our inspiration is not always so simple. When I find myself in a mental slump, it can be really tough to pull myself out of it. One thing I have learned though, is that the inspiration I crave will always emerge when I least expect it. This sometimes take days to happen, but when it does I am shaken out of my slump and my spirit is instantly lifted and renewed with a sense of hope.

Sometimes, deviating from my typical routine can help ʻcureʼ me of the blues. Itʼs so easy to get ourselves caught in routine, stuck in the same motions day after day. I have to almost force myself out of it at times. What I like to do when this happens is to go somewhere ʻspur-of-the-momentʼ; somewhere I donʼt typically make the time to visit. I like to call these, ʻmini adventure daysʼ. This can be anything from checking out a museum downtown, taking a walk around a nature preserve to feed the ducks, treating myself to a movie (by myself), or indulging in an Oreo blizzard from Dairy Queen. These things may seem a little ridiculous, but itʼs what helps me to get outside of myself and the destructive thinking patterns.

Inspiration stimulates our heart and soul. It can be that mini miracle we need to get us back on track to creating opportunities and realizing our dreams.

3) It builds a beautiful and healthy life…

Its been said that positive attracts positive, and negative attracts negative. The same goes for people holding onto positive and negative thoughts. I am a total believer in this theory, and I have applied it as a general rule to my life, involving the people I surround myself with.

Have you ever felt completely empowered and delighted by something, only to then have that excitement be ripped away from you by someone with a negative mindset? I have definitely experienced this, and at times would find myself powerless and unable to shed myself of those negative feelings.

This is not only counteractive to strengthen your confidence and inner beauty ʻpowerhouseʼ, but is also very toxicant. After feeling depleted time and again from seeking outside approval, I decided that this
was not how I wanted to live my life and I was done with it.

This realization became my fundamental building blocks for a powerful inner beauty. Through this change in my thought process, I was able to create a mental barrier against negative energies that had previously blocked my inspiration and happiness. I made the conscious decision to choose my happiness and health, and to live my life through an authentic, and beautiful inner soul.

I donʼt believe we were intended to live our lives carelessly at the expense of others. Rather, I believe we have been gifted a heart and soul to nurture and love so that we can fulfill a truly gratifying existence.

Tip to block out the negative vibes:

Creating a mental bubble around myself is the easiest way for me to create an impervious blockade against negative vibes that are bound and determined to lower my positive energy. By establishing this kind of forcefield, you are preparing yourself to confront negativity without allowing your inner peace to be sacrificed in the process.

There is a beautiful quote by Audrie Hepburn that Iʼd like to share. Itʼs incredibly inspiring and respectful, and I feel that it reflects the pursuit of inner beauty quite perfectly….

‘For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed. Never throw out anybody. The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows.’ – Audrie Hepburn

The Inner Beauty of Healing

by: Zera McMahon

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Living with an eating disorder hardly qualifies as ‘living’ at all in my mind. It’s a torturous state of existence that torments your mind, body and soul. Anyone who is familiar with the agony of an ED, is very familiar with the privation of life surrounding them. Unfortunately it can be a lifelong battle fought only in private silence. At least that is what I have experienced during my struggle with anorexia, which began in the 7th grade.

I am now 27 years old, and sharing my story for the first time.

Before now, anorexia has been a part of my existence that I have greatly attempted to shield and draw a curtain over. It was an extremely dark and painful time in my life, and I was always so ashamed to ever reach out to anyone about it.  It wasn’t easy to admit that so much of my focus was on outer beauty and the way I wanted others to see me.

However, my experience with anorexia wasn’t JUST the desire to be skinny. Of course, I wanted to be thin…I wanted to be painfully thin,  yet the reasoning behind this disease went much deeper than the hunger to be thin, and ultimately I do feel that it could have been prevented. These deep-rooted issues encompass a range of concerns I believe many people are faced with on a daily basis, such as media, social and peer pressures. Additionally, the lack of kindness and compassion in this world also serves as a huge trigger for many.

I remember middle school being a very volatile stage growing up. School for me was never enjoyable, socially nor academically. One of my biggest struggles was feeling so inherently different from my peers. I was born with clubbed feet and musculature issues that prevented me from participating in school athletic programs, which gave students the motive to label me as ‘weird’. I desperately wanted to look beautiful, to be the A student, to be the girl who was asked to school dances, to compete in sports, etc. The list goes on. Middle school was a time when the cliques of friends were being established, girls got their periods, and school dances were unfortunately (for me) a reality! I did not have many friends and the few I did have I quickly lost to my eating disorder. Anorexia was after all, the only friend I had grown to want or need. At first, it was my little secret, and that was thrilling to me to have something no one else knew about or to my knowledge, had.

The first time I remember making the decision to restrict food was at school lunch. There was a girl who sat at the lunch table with me who thought she was doing me a favor by advising I lose just a few pounds. How kind. Since I was unable to compete in sports, I thought the quickest way for me to lose the weight I so clearly needed to lose, was to starve myself. When this vicious cycle began, I restricted my food intake to only one meal a day…dinner. I chose this one meal as dinner, because it was the one meal I ate in front of my family. Because this was my secret, it was imperative that no one find out. Mind you, while making the conscious decision to restrict my food intake, I never once considered myself anorexic. That is, until I decided to restrict my food intake even more. After a couple weeks of being on my new “diet” of eating only once a day, I had begun to lose a couple pounds. Not enough pounds, though, for anyone to take notice.

So, I ramped it up a bit and began going an entire day without any food. At home, I’d be completely panic stricken about the notion of eating dinner in front of my family. Hours in school that should have been spent studying, I spent obsessively fabricating excuses to avoid eating dinner. My family eventually caught on to my behaviors, and began using threats to get me to eat. Nonetheless, I refused my body of any food. This rapidly became my addiction, and I consistently wanted more and more. Fundamentally what I was really displaying was my desire to exist less and less. One day without food quickly doubled, and soon I was surviving off of a menial amount of food every three days. By the third day, I would feel incredibly weak and dehydrated, to the point where I would begin black out in class just sitting at my desk. This occurred more than once throughout middle school and high school. I’d have to feel my way out of the classroom and then lay on my back along the side of the hallway. When the bell would ring, it was if no one noticed me and students would rush around the hall to get to their classes, while I just laid there unable to stand up. Finally, a teacher came to get me with a wheel chair and took me to the office to phone my parents. Sometimes I wonder how different my story might have been if a random act of kindness was gifted to me on those dark days. It could’ve changed my direction and story completely.

Unfortunately, this mental and physical addition went on for years and years. I felt completely detached from my parents as they continuously buried their fears and avoided the major issue at hand. The family dynamics in my household were unbalanced, and mental abuse was a part of my day-to-day existence. I was left feeling inadequate, and without the tools to love and respect myself as an individual. Seeking constant fulfillment from my family and peers at school was my way of determining my own self-worth.

In the middle of the night during the summer of my 9th grade, by some miracle I had a sort of epiphany, and suddenly knew that if I continued to choose anorexia as the most important part of myself, then I would undoubtedly die. My life had become a pathetic state of existence, and it was in fact, really void of any life at all. Even though I was so incredibly ill both mentally and physically, I knew I had to put an end to this. I wanted anorexia to get the fuck out of me! In order to heal the fragile skeleton everyone saw me as, I had to work from the inside out, from the core of my being.

Anorexia has not only robbed five years of my life, taken my friends away when I needed them most, damaged my health to the point of near liver failure, but also robbed me of my identity. With the help of two incredible psychologists and a nutritionist, I have been able to recapture and embrace this gift of life. I feel truly blessed to have been able to separate my own mind from the death grip of the ED. Recovery from anorexia has been a long and challenging process, and will require a lifetime commitment from me. The ED is always lingering in the background, waiting to swoop in again…but I refuse to give it any power. It takes great courage to really own your life, without letting media and peer pressures dictate your self-worth.

A good friend once said to me, “acting with self-love is never selfish”. This is such a profound statement to me, because it signifies my evolution from violent self-hatred to self-love and fulfillment. This miraculous transformation has given me confidence to recognize and nurture the talent and beauty within myself rather than seeking OUTER BEAUTY.

As I’ve grown with such mindfulness, I have been able to cultivate my own passions instead of focusing on the perfect body image. As a result, I’ve learned aspects of fashion and design which I have embraced and evolved into my own business. ZERA Couture celebrates the inner beauty of women with luxurious headpieces and accessories, focusing on the adornment of the head-space inside and out. The creation of these headpieces was born from the realization that women should be revered as the strong and beautiful individuals that we positively are. This business is fueled and Inspired by my journey towards healing – and i’ve never felt more beautiful on the INSIDE because of it.

If I were to say just one thing to someone struggling with an ED, it would be this…FOCUS on your INNER BEAUTY – not on what you’ll wear or how your makeup matches up to all the tutorials you see online everyday or how your body compares to your friends. Focus on the things in this world that truly matter and offer fulfillment. If you do, you will be the most beautiful and powerful true self that you could ever hope for.

Lastly, if you know someone who is suffering with some form of addiction, don’t ignore them. Don’t allow them to sit in the hallways and feel unseen. A random act of kindness in showing that you give a damn can go a long way. Sometimes though, you don’t always know who is silently suffering with their own forms of depression and loneliness which is why being kind should become a way of life. If we all pay it forward when something kind happens for us, we have the chance to start a huge wave of change in the world. Make it part of your daily routine to do something kind for a stranger starting today. You never know what that person is going through. You may have just changed the direction of their story…

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Enough

by: Brittany Winston

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“Brittany get up, you need to go run.” This is how most of my mornings started off at 5:15am when my mother would wake me up and make me go for a run before school. On the weekends it was 5:00am to go hiking. Being a child and teenager, I would grumble in my head and be so exasperated at these early morning wakeups, but it was more than the early wakeup times that upset me.

The reason she woke me up so early everyday was so that I wouldn’t become “fat”.

I was always told that I had a predisposition to be heavy and if I didn’t “stay on top of it” I would be overweight. From the moment I hit puberty I developed hips, thighs and a booty even though I was a runner and extremely active. I was taught that my curves weren’t beautiful and that I shouldn’t want to have a big butt or hips. So much focus was on my appearance.

When I was in high school I didn’t realize the effect my “outer beauty” was having on my confidence and personality. I retreated more and more into a shell of self-doubt and low self-esteem because of my curves. I never felt that I was enough; pretty enough, thin enough, tall enough (all I was focusing on what my outer beauty traits.) And when it came to boys, it was even worse. Anytime I received any attention from a guy I always thought
to myself, “why me, what does he SEE?”

I didn’t stop to think of the other non-physical attributes and traits I had to offer someone.

I made poor decisions on how far I went with a boy because I thought it was the only way to keep him around. I told myself, “he can’t really want me. I’m not skinny and I’m not that pretty. If I don’t do this, he will leave me.”

I was constantly starving for physical attention and outer acceptance.

When I started college it got even worse because I started to get a lot of consistent attention for my outer “looks and figure”, and it hit me like a ton of bricks in the worst way. I didn’t know what was going on. I still had the internal feeling of “why me, I’m not enough.”

Yet still, I flourished in a totally superficial way.

I dated men with money and status, I partied and I made it appear as though I was thoroughly and genuinely enjoying my life. I looked happy from the outside, but I was empty and depressed on the inside. There were so many times I cried myself to sleep at night but then would go to work and school with a smile on my face pretending I was okay.

Actually, I even started losing weight because the depression stopped me from mustering up the energy to eat!

I didn’t run anymore because I associated it with punishment, I drank too much and when I did eat, I ate like crap. Plain and simple, I wasn’t happy and everywhere that I was looking for happiness was on the OUTSIDE – and it was superficial and empty, no matter how much attention I received.

Desperate for a cure to my depression, I made an abrupt move across the country and changed my surroundings entirely. But still, the depression continued to haunt me.

I considered ending my life.

But then my moment of clarity came when I realized I didn’t care what people thought about the way I LOOKED, and that my INNER BEAUTY was more than enough to deserve all this love and attention.

I realized I had a lot to love from within! I love that I have an awesome sense of humor, I’m quirky, I love to read and travel the world – and I can think of no better place to spend a warm day than outside soaking in the sun and enjoying nature. I think these are just a few of the many things that make me pretty darn amazing on the INSIDE, and that’s where it counts.

Through first mastering the art of self-acceptance and inner healing, I began to embrace, accept and LOVE my outer beauty too! Living in the south helped me appreciate my body type, so I even began to do plus size modeling! I love being a plus size model because I pray some little girl or woman will see me and realize there is more than one type of physical beauty. I hope it helps lead others to healing and loving themselves just as they are and not comparing themselves to images in magazines and billboards. It is so disheartening to see what society and media does to little girls from an early age… just like it did to me. So much is based on OUTER BEAUTY and it’s an unattainable standard of beauty and body image. It makes me want to cry.

Naturally, I still need to remind myself every now and then that there’s so much more to life than having the “perfect body.” Beauty fades and no two women are just alike on the outside anyways. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Depression has no stereotype on who it attacks. And despite working in a stereotypically “superficial industry”, I’ve learned so much about self-love and self-worth from so many women I’ve encountered.

We should all be a team and help one another to remember what’s most important in life – and that’s inner happiness and inner beauty.

“A woman’s beauty should be that of [her] inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” Peter 3:4

Today, I know that I am ENOUGH. And that’s worth being alive for.

Incurable Means Curable From Within // In 5 Steps

by: Alicia M. Blanco

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Sunday’s message at church was so compelling that I had to share it with you.

Hopefully by now you can tell that I’m extremely passionate about words and thoughts of affirmation. (This is probably my 3rd entry on this very topic.) So when guest speaker Jordan Rubin began talking about how it literally saved his life and brought him back to health, I was hooked.

When Rubin was 19, he had suffered from a severe case of Crohn’s Disease, diabetes, arthritis, anemia, rapid weight loss, hair loss, and chronic fatigue, just to name a few. At six feet tall he had gone from 185 pounds down to 106 and was confined to a wheelchair for an extended period of time.

“I traveled the world trying every treatment you could think of, conventional medicine, alternative medicine. It all failed.” – Jordan Rubin

In desperate search of a drastic change, Rubin turned to God through prayer, declaration, and a radical change in diet. In record time, Rubin miraculously regained full health without the help of any medicine at all. He felt compelled to write a book about his journey (The Makers Diet Revolution), the changes he made, and even started preaching around the world about his all-natural and miraculous recovery.

But then, something unexpected happened.

He was diagnosed with cancer.

He was told that he had 0% chance of survival without immediate surgery, chemotherapy and radiation…not 1%, 0%…!!!

Rubin was confused. How could HE have cancer? Rubin had already survived life-threatening illnesses. He was eating what God wanted him to eat, preaching and helping others around the world do the same, and was becoming the face of a healthy lifestyle amongst his community. After asking himself these questions, Rubin became more determined than ever. He would not be defeated.

Here’s how Jordan Rubin claimed victory over his health in 5 steps:

1. “WHEN TRAGEDY STRIKES, GO TO GOD FIRST.” – On the day of his diagnosis, doctors told him his ‘numbers’ were at 280. (0 is normal.) They also told him that if he didn’t go into surgery immediately, it would be like committing suicide, giving him 3 months to live. You would think that after already experiencing such a rough chapter in life in his earlier years, that hearing “you have cancer” and a death sentence would trigger a frantic and discouraged response. Instead, his response was racing towards his faith. Sometimes bad things happen, and it’s awful. But we need to remember God doesn’t allow bad things to happen without a purpose. There is a reason and purpose for everything so when something bad happens, take it to God and leave it with Him to work out.

2. DON’T CLAIM THE ILLNESS. – Some people wear their ailments like a badge of honor. They accept their condition and misfortune as fact. “As a man thinks in his heart so is he…” In other words. YOUR WORDS AND THOUGHTS MATTER because thoughts put things in motion. “I have cancer” is a statement Rubin never once uttered or believed. He emphasized how you need to block out all negativity and cut it off immediately. Rubin had one doctor who spoke such negativity into his condition that he fled from his office at once. In times of crisis, there is no room for any negative energy whatsoever.

3. Take ACTION. – Faith without action is dead. You need to actively participate in your healing and clarity. Rubin committed to 40 days of cleansing his mind and spirit, which meant he had to actively remove any toxic people from his life for his cleanse. He turned off his phone, never checked social media, didn’t research cancer, and wouldn’t even correspond with doctors on a regular basis. The only time he spoke with his doctor was every two weeks when blood test results arrived (which were steadily improving without ANY medicine, by the way…) In addition, he also committed to a drastically new diet that consisted of a ‘back to the basics’ approach inspired by The Bible. Learn more about this diet here.

4. WALK IN HEALING .– Act as though you are already healed. No matter the odds that were against him, Rubin walked and talked as if he was healthy. He spoke words of abundance, prosperity, health and wellness over his life. As stated before, the word ‘cancer’ never left his lips.

5. SHARE YOUR STORY WITH SOMEONE. – On the day of his final test results, Rubin and his wife drove to the hospital to pick up the manila envelope that would contain his fate inside. The results were stunning. His numbers were ZERO. CANCER FREE. TUMOR FREE. GONE. From 280 to 0. He was a healed man! He knew then and there the last step to claiming victory was to share his story and encourage the world. He continued preaching his message on the importance of a proper diet and mindset, but this time, with way more ammunition. His message became that much more powerful due to the cancer he experienced.

These steps worked for Jordan Rubin to defeat cancer, so imagine what it can do for you and whatever it is you are facing! I believe it can work in all areas of your life, not just physical health, but also, mental health, emotional well-being, relationships, career… whatever YOU want and NEED.

(Replace the word cancer with whatever is threatening your well-being. It can be depression, addiction, loneliness, stress, insecurity, mental illness…)

Then, apply these 5 steps and watch your world transform. I pray it does.

I hope you are starting to see just how powerful you really are. The mind is a powerful thing, so start using yours with intention, affirmation and above all else, unwavering faith.

You are healed.