Learning to Say No

March 20, 2017

 Hello my loves! Happy first day of Spring, we made it, we made it!  I've been thinking about the level of happiness that I have been able to achieve within my marriage, work, family and life in general and Ive been trying to break that happiness down into the tangible steps I took to get the life I wanted.  So I thought about it and it started about seven years ago, picture it..an MMA boxing gym in the Bronx (it's a Golden Girl reference in case you missed it, lol..ahh whatevs) ok so I had just ended  an unhealthy relationship that carried on, off and on, for five years when I joined this gym that truly changed my life (its where I met my husband).  I met these two career oriented, educated women who took me in as their sparring partner and friend. One Saturday morning as we are packing up after a good workout, I started whining about agreeing to hang out that night with a friend.  I went on and on about being tired, having a long week and just wanting to have a night in bed curled up with my son watching some Jennifer Aniston movies.  My friend stopped me mid-rant and said, "Erica, if you don't want to go, don't go.  Tell your friend you aren't up for it and thats it.  She will understand."  Now this might be a bad example cause it would seem like I left my friend high and dry but actually I was tagging along with her and her girlfriends, so no harm, no foul.  But it dawned on me, why do I say yes to things I don't want to do only to stress and agonize about it?  And it occurred to me, this was a pattern I needed to break.  Seriously.  Why didn't I listen to myself? Why didn't I think what I wanted was worthy?  Why did I allow people (and boyfriends) to subtlety bully me into doing what they wanted me to do?  To be nice?  To have them like me?  So they wouldn't be mad at me?  Understanding these fears and breaking them done to their worst conclusions like, what if I say no to this person they won't be my friend anymore? Ok well if that is the reason they don't want to be my friend, then bye Felicia, bye!  I started small, I canceled on my friend and told her why, she totally understood and wished she could cancel too.  lol  Then I practiced saying no at the workplace, to my family and my friends.  Each no, made me more and more confident.  I began to really listen to myself and value my feelings instead of rationalizing and justifying why I should just go with the flow.  A wonderful thing started happening, my circle of friends got smaller but in a good way.  The friends who didn't respect me or felt threatened by my new found confidence melted away and faded into the background.  Do you know who was left?  The friends who really loved, respected and continue to help me grow into who I am becoming.  And I couldn't be happier, because your circle is everything.  It is your reality so if your circle is filled with negativity and self hate, guess what your reality will be?  Choose wisely and learn to say yes to yourself my loves!  You are soooo worth it! I promise.  

Cause who doesn't love a blooper!?!?!? OMG so the hubby and I did this shoot today after work (ps, thankful for longer days) and we stood local, we ran into three people we knew in like a ten minute shoot!  Hahahahaha, here I am spotting one of my husband's students coming down the stairs..

Exact Blazer (only $10!!!!)

Similar White Pants

Similar Snake Skin Print Satchel

Zara blouse was thrifted, have you checked out www.thredup.com yet, copy and paste this link to get $10 off your first purchase!! http://www.thredup.com/r/NCNHPX

Thanks for reading my loves!  Don't forget to subscribe. XOXO

by LifeStyledbyErica 💋

Conquer Your Emotional Triggers!

March 5, 2017

Hello loves!  I am so pleased with the feedback I received from my last post, you can read it here.  I talked about figuring out what you want and going after it, a possibility all of us can achieve.  Today I want to talk about emotional triggers.  So this morning as I was having breakfast with my family, I got really angry.  Our boys woke up on the wrong side of the bed and they were being very difficult, to say the least.  I lost my patience and told my husband to take care of it and retreated to my bedroom to prepare for our day's shoot.  This anger began to filter into everything as I was getting ready.  I began to feel rushed by my husband, unimportant and crunched into his schedule, I didn't feel valued or important.  That feeling permeated into my creativity and my self esteem.  I couldn't put a look together to save my life.  It was just awful.  I came downstairs, my hubby knew I was upset and asked me what was wrong.  How did I respond? (Come on ladies you know our go-to, lol) I said, "nothing's wrong". 😊 He wasn't buying it so instead of taking a moment to figure out what I was feeling and what triggered it, I picked a fight with him.  All sorts of dumb things came out of my mouth, I was rationalizing picking the argument by saying things like, "well would it be too much to ask to bring your cup downstairs instead of leaving it on your nightstand?" I even threw in, "I just feel so rushed by you, like this isn't important to you, its just another check on the list of less important things to do."  I am telling you ladies I was on fire! 😂 Lucky for me, he knows me better than I know myself and didn't take the bait.  He sat next to me and asked, "what is really going on?" You know what? At the moment I really didn't know but I began to feel comforted by his support and patience.

So what the hell was going on?  An emotional trigger set me on a path of near meltdown porportions. Ok, that might be dramatic, lol.  Have you ever felt this way?  Has your mind just traveled down a deep and dark rabbit hole for what seems to be a simple, inconsequential comment or body language you picked up on?  So in my quest to understand the science behind these triggers I would like to share with you some research I did in the hopes that you will be able to recognize these feelings and head them off at the pass before they get the best of you.  Because they are just feelings after all.

The first step is to accept responsibility for your reactions. You are powerful, you are not the victim of your feelings.  Once you seek to identify what is triggering how you feel in that moment, you have an opportunity to feel differently about them if you want to.  This also gives you an opportunity to gain clarity on what you need to do to feel differently.

The second step is recognizing the physical signs of an emotional reaction, are you breathing quickly or not at all, do you feel pressure in your gut or heart, stop and ask yourself what you are feeling and why. Don't judge or fear your emotions. Explore them.  If you don't, they will consume you and take any hint of happiness with them.

The third step is what triggered this reaction? What do you think you lost or what did you not get that you expected or desired to have? This is the nitty gritty of your triggers.  Some examples are acceptance, be valued, respected or attention be needed to name a few.  Full disclosure, attention is a big one for me.  My hubby is a very busy man, we both are!  But for some reason when he is busy and I am not, it bugs me.  Now at the same time, when I am busy and he is not, I don't think twice about it.  (I know, not attractive at all, but I am just being honest.  Honesty is key to understanding and shining light on the darkest parts of you, and thats the point right?)

Now that you have identified your trigger, the fourth step is what do you want to do about it?  I mean is what you are feeling really what is happening?  Is my husband not attentive to me?  NOT AT ALL. Yes we are busy but we ALWAYS take time for one another.  We went on a date on Friday night and cuddled up to watch a movie in bed Saturday night after he returned from an event he attended.  All important ways he shows me how much he values and appreciates me.  But what if you identify your trigger and in fact that is what is happening?  Well, have a grown-up conversation about what you are feeling and what you NEED.  That is important, don't just say I feel scared (for example) try to understand what you need from the other person in order to feel safe.  Does that make sense?

The final step is to shift your emotional state.  Separate truth from fiction and choose how you want to feel.  I know it sounds easier said than done but its worth more than a try, don't you think?  I know I will actively put these steps into play the next time my mind starts playing tricks on me.  Emotions can be scary, especially if they are triggers we have had for many years but that doesn't mean you can't challenge them.  Take back the control and gain emotional freedom and balance!  Tell me your thoughts below.

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Smile knowing everything will be ok.  You will find your way, and I will help.  Go on and conquer those feelings.

Thanks for reading my loves!

by LifesStyledbyErica

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