Getting out of the darkness is a process that requires support and vision. Take a listen to learn what it’s like. Please subscribe and share!
Getting out of the darkness is a process that requires support and vision. Take a listen to learn what it’s like. Please subscribe and share!
I’m Dr. Nancy De Andrade and I’d like to share a little bit of the path that led me to embark on this journey of helping others.
When I was 15 years old I wanted desperately to run away from home. Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say that I was miserable and knew that I could no longer live in such toxic environment.
I had it all planned out. I would move in with my best friend’s family, drop out of school and get a job. I imagined how peaceful and happy my life was finally going to be when I moved away. I couldn’t wait!
But then my friend’s mom said I needed to stay home and figure my life out. Ouch.
Even though it was not the answer I wanted to hear, it was the one I needed to hear, because as hard as it was to live at home with my abusive, helicopter parents, I would have missed the most important lessons of my life.
What happened in the following years changed me and showed me the path to my purpose (even though I didn’t know it then).
My oldest sister was like a mother to me. As often as she could, she mentored and guided me, and somehow knew I needed help. At the time, she was enrolled in a training program to facilitate workshops about psychology and personal growth. As luck would have it, the program allowed her bring someone to the workshops for free.
She introduced me to the most transformational workshops on personal growth, self-esteem, communication, personal excellence, meditation, and even retreats! I was exposed to so many valuable experiences that truly changed my life for the better. I became more confident, happier, forgiving, and assertive. Armed with the tools and the thirst for more expansion, I finally moved out at the age of 18.
However, life was harder than I had envisioned, and I hit a wall.
Out in the world of regular interactions, my assertiveness was mistaken by arrogance, I was wronged for being straight-forward, and was called names for speaking my truth. Even family members would say things like: “Who do you think you are?”, “You think you are better than everyone?” “Don’t throw that psycho-babble at me!” and so much more.
It was confusing and hurtful, and honestly, I didn’t enjoy feeling rejected and isolated, so I “conformed to belong”, and adapted to my current environment and culture. I became extra careful with my words so people would not get hurt (or hurt me), I tiptoed around others, I “toned-down” my personality, and became a people pleaser, making sure everyone was happy… everyone except me.
Unknowingly, I became codependent.
It struck me one day, when I was visiting my brother. He frankly pointed out that I was not the same happy person he remembered. He said I looked worried and much too serious. The reality was that I felt unhappy, insecure, anxious, and stuck.
Inspired by this epiphany, (and feeling tired of living depressed and anxious), I set course to learn a more comprehensive and holistic approach to take charge of my mind, body, and spirit. I hired a mentor, attended countless workshops, and even went back to school to complete a PhD in Psychology.
I learned as much as I could about the body-mind connection, codependency, self-esteem, healthy communication, boundaries, spirituality, mindfulness and so much more. I became obsessed with self-awareness and personal growth and applied this knowledge in my years of practicing psychology.
As I implemented what I learned, my life improved. I started my own coaching practice and became more confident about my talents and skills, more assertive in my approach, and more clear in my requests. I learned the right way to set boundaries, the most effective way to speak one’s truth, the most compassionate way to engage with others, and the most loving way to treat one’s self.
I continue to share the specific strategies I find most effective with my clients. They benefit greatly as I provided them with cutting-edge, holistic techniques to improve their body, mind, and spirit. I’m blessed to continue to witness amazing transformations, and see many of my clients go from feeling insecure, depressed, anxious, and taking a passive role in their lives, to feeling confident, empowered, loving, clear and enlightened.
I know my journey doesn’t end here. My purpose is to continue learning and sharing this knowledge with as many people as I can. My aspiration is to make an impact in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and help them experience a more empowered and authentic life filled with love and confidence.
My journey continues and I would like for you to be a part of it. Would you join me?
In a study published in October 2018, experts agree that chronic stress is the leading cause of medical, mental, work, and relationship issues. A moderate amount of stress can motivate you to accomplish tasks, but consistently high levels of stress can alter your physical and mental health, hurting your perceptions and damaging your relationships.
Below are six statistics about the effects of stress and practical solutions to improve your wellbeing.
Are you feeling stressed about something you can’t control? Is your mind going over all of the possible scenarios and conversations you could have? Does it feel like you can’t catch your breath and your mind is racing?
Take a slow deep breath in and out.
I’m here to help you.
You’ve probably heard people say, “don’t worry about it!”, “let it go!”, or “just breathe”. As if it were that easy to quiet the monkey mind (the monkey mind is a Buddhist term for an unsettled mind). The truth is, you cannot jump from obsessing about something, to just simply letting it go. It’s like asking you to get off a roller coaster ride and immediately go into a library and be extra quiet, it takes time and skills.
Why is it so hard to quiet the mind? Because your entire nervous system is in fight or flight mode, seeking solutions for a situation that is triggering feelings of insecurity and anxiety. Your heart is beating fast, your mind is racing, your breath shallow, you can’t focus, and you are feeling out of control. The anxiety takes over your mind, body, and emotions and in order to calm your mind, you need to address this in practical ways.
Don’t despair. I’m going to share with you 3 valuable and practical steps that have helped me (and my clients) calm the body, quiet the mind, and let go of anxiety. Practice these skills and let me know in the comments below which ones worked best for you, or if you have a preferred method that you’d like to share.
Step 1: Shift your physicality
Stress tends to get stuck in the physical body, so in order to change how you feel or perceive a situation, you must change your physicality first. How do you shift from high stress to lesser stress? Here are some suggestions to practice this first step:
Step 2: Connect with your inner self
You become anxious about a situation because of the perceived consequences it may have in your life. You try to control the outcome or predict what could happen, but when you look deep within, you discover that what you are trying to so is avoid rejection, disappointment, or abandonment. Practice this next step by connecting to your deepest needs:
Step 3: Surrender
When you have expectations about the way things should be, how people should behave, or how life should go, you set yourself up for disappointment and suffering. Trying to control situations or people so you don’t get hurt is not a realistic or genuine way of living (I’ve tried!). The only thing you can control is how you respond to situations, your feeling, and your decisions. Below are some suggestions to help you move to the third step to free yourself from an anxious mind.
Practice these skills as often as possible to help you quiet your monkey mind. The more connected you are to your inner self, the more you’ll understand your triggers and how to be present with your emotions. By being present you release the need to control your current situation and stop judging it based on your past or your future expectations.
Surrendering is the tool that brings you the most peace but only after you have shifted the physical stress and acknowledged your feelings. Surrendering means letting go of control and trusting that you’ll be OK no matter what, and allowing your path to unfold.
If you need additional help with this, contact me.
What does it mean to walk the talk? In this interview, Kate asks important questions about being in alignment and authentic in the way you show up in this world.
We can’t continue pretending that we can do it all, that we are always strong and in control, that we are not bothered by the back-breaking struggles we face in this life. We know there are solutions but can’t see them because they hide underneath unshed tears.
Sometimes you just need to talk to someone who won’t judge you, who asks the right questions that open the flood gates of your innermost sorrows.
Someone to witness your pain so you know that you are not crazy for feeling your feelings.
Someone to hold the space for you to break down without feeling pity for you or see you as less capable just because you opened up, because you put the load you’ve been carrying down to break open.
Sometimes you need someone who won’t try to fix you or stop you from feeling because they are uncomfortable, but who will hold a safe space for you to be vulnerable.
Sometimes that someone is a counselor, or a friend. Sometimes is paper and pen.
If you need someone, contact me for an appointment.
Early on I learned to build a bubble around me and not let anyone too close. I thought people couldn’t see it and if I continued to be a good person and help others, I would be safe. But certain painful experiences have shown me what I was truly protecting myself from.
It is very difficult to have a good relationship with people that take everything personally. It makes it hard because you have to tip toe around them constantly, measuring the words you say so they are not offended by something you might have said inadvertently and they took it as direct offense. When people take things personally like that, it makes me wonder what they think of themselves, do they feel good enough? do they think the world is out to get them and have to constantly defend themselves from the attacks of others? I want to shout out, love yourself for goodness’ sake! Of course, then I think, why am I taking this personally? why is this bothering me so much? Why do I even need to talk about this? Yes, thank you, this is my lesson.
Don’t get me wrong, I think we all need to vent and get our feelings out. This could easily turn into gossip if we are not careful, into a pity party looking for others to side with us and reassure us that we are still good people and we did nothing wrong. They are the ones that made the mistake and judged us! we did nothing wrong, right? Wrong. When we look close at our own co-dependence and insecurities, we are the ones who might have made the mistake.
Sometimes we make the mistake to try to save others, to help them or make them feel better, but in reality we are just trying to act selfishly in order to gain their appreciation and value. We try to be a good friend so they appreciate us, looking for approval and acceptance, but still feeling insecure and trying to buy admiration and love by doing things that didn’t ask us to do -out of the goodness of our hearts.
When others confront us, our first instinct is to close the doors and to wish to move somewhere far where we don’t have to deal with this kind of drama, but that only creates distance and isolation and solves nothing. Sure, start fresh, go somewhere else where people don’t know you and could just leave you alone, but this problem will follow us because it is not other people’s problems, it is our own. Venting, writing it down, letting it cool down and let it go is a better strategy; we shouldn’t run away or hold on to things for long or we’ll live in misery for the rest of our lives.
In the bible it says that it’s easier to look at the speck of sawdust in another person’s eye than to see the log in our own. This is what it is all about. We could get mad about what another person did to us, but the real work is within us. Can we let it go? Is it about letting it go? What do we need to learn about this? How can we keep a relationship healthy while we both grow and learn?
Here we go again, thinking that others have to “grow” and “learn” too. We don’t need to be worrying about anybody that is not asking for our help. We need to work on ourselves. There seems to be an underlying need for control, making sure that everyone is happy, that things are taken care of, and that everyone is getting along, and for some reason, we are responsible for it. When did we sign up for that? Why is it our job to make others happy?
Whenever others get mad at me, I remember my psychologist supervisor who shared his own experience with his fiancee and how she appeared to take things personally, but all she did was call on his misalignment, when he wasn’t being truthful about what he wanted or feeling at the moment for whatever reason. He was able to recognize that in himself and make proper adjustments. I want to be like him. I have ways to go though.
Being completely honest with people is scary because not everyone is going to like what you have to say and most people avoid confrontations. I am one of them. It is hard for me to let people know how I truly feel and I tend to tolerate many things, making me passive aggressive and avoidant, which is exactly what bothers me about other people .
The truth is, this is about being honest and facing rejection, not looking for perfection. The fear of rejection is so deeply ingrained in us that it can mask itself as many things, like righteousness, being concerned, perfectionism, or avoidance, but it hurts people and creates mistrust. I have tiptoed around people so much that I have created a bubble around me that others can see but none can penetrate. It is tiring trying to keep it up.
I used to be very straight forward before I moved to the States, but then I kept inadvertently offending people and it made me wary of ever being truly honest again. If someone is open to receive feedback and asks directly, then I can tell them carefully what I see, but if they don’t, I tend not to say a word or decide to help without being asked and get the same ugly results. I’ve masked the pain of rejection with “they have their own path” and my bubble got bigger.
People would say I was enigmatic, like I was hiding something, and the truth is, I was, I didn’t let people in because I wanted to be perfect and not let people see my mistakes. Thanks Dad! Making mistakes meant to me rejection and a blow in the face. I was so afraid of imperfections that I hid some parts of who I am because I didn’t believe I had the perfect life regardless of how good it was. My life will never be perfect, I know that now.
When I was young, my dad would resort to using harsh ways to make corrections to my mistakes. I learned to save myself by either hiding, or pretending to be perfect. Perfect grades, perfect behavior around him, perfect obedience, or hide by going to sleep extremely early or behind jokes and laughter. When I made others smile, I felt accepted. It was a hard task with my dad though. No matter what kind of clowny acts I performed, he saw my fears and insecurities and pointed them out, which made me feel inadequate and not enough to deserve his love and appreciation. I didn’t want his full attention, I just wanted to be enough for him, enough to deserve love or an encouraging word, enough to deserve appreciation for who I was and the things I did. I kept hurting because I kept looking for this appreciation outside of me.
I’ve always hated people being mad at me. I wanted everyone to think that I was great, beautiful, smart and had the best personality. I was truly afraid that people would see the entirety of me and realize that I was not good enough. I was afraid of falling in love with someone and not be good enough for them. I wanted to be perfect and whenever I’d realized it was impossible, I would go into fear, jealousy and insecurities and all of the emotions I didn’t want. I liked myself and I thought I was pretty awesome, but it was that last bit of imperfection, the part I couldn’t achieve no matter how high I reached, that kept me in a bind.
Most of the time I can shake these insecurities, but sometimes they take over. I sometimes want to be so perfect -I know I am not- that I get paralyzed and do nothing. On the other hand I know I can’t achieve perfection and when I feel loved and accepted with my faults and mistakes, I get insecure and I go into fear and mistrust. Either way I lose.
I love myself and I like who I am but I still have the remnants of “I’m still not perfect” that kill me. I can’t keep blaming my dad for it. It kills me because when I want something really bad and I’m not allowed to have it, I blame myself for not doing or being perfect to deserve it. Then, I push people away because I don’t want to be reminded of what and why I can’t have what I want and I force myself to keep working on being perfect so I can finally deserve it, a never-ending cycle.
I want to be more honest with people, not try to save others or gain their appreciation for me. I will never be perfect and I need to stop trying. People will be disappointed in me, that’s inevitable. I want to love my imperfections and not try to hide them. As I’m writing this, it doesn’t matter anymore if other people get mad at me or not. That is their work and I still have mine to do. It doesn’t take away from how much I appreciate other’s friendship, it just teaches me to love myself and take care of my own feelings.
Even now these thoughts that are jumping at me; share this in a way people won’t think you have problems; write it in 3rd person; don’t publish it; don’t let people see your imperfections, if people ever liked this article they won’t like the others; this blog is not perfect yet, not enough; re-read it one more time and fix your mistakes, and so on. I’m sure I’m not alone when it comes to thoughts that negate our value and make us feel small. What I want to do is become aware of them every moment, challenge and change them as soon as I see them because I don’t want to live inside this bubble any more and I want to free myself.
The weekend before the solstice, (Dec 19 in Spanish and Dec 20th in English) I’ll be facilitating a workshop, Creating an Energized Vision Board. In addition, weekly meditations will start every Monday at 6:30pm in my office in La Jolla. Limited seating.
Winter’s Solstice is a time for celebration of the light. It is the darkest time of the year and marks the rebirth of the light, a great opportunity for renewal and manifestation.
In this workshop we’ll focus on enhancing the energetic flow of words, images, and symbols to match our highest vibration. We’ll meditate and tune in to Divine Guidance to assist in creating a board that reflects our inner light and wisdom and we’ll connect with our soul’s guidance to show us what it is in our highest interest to create for ourselves and for humanity.
Limited spaces available since this will be an intensely focused experience. Address will be sent upon confirmation of your participation. Location is Rancho Santa Fe, CA.
What a lesson I learned! After writing an article about not taking things personally, my daughter changed plans on me and I got mad. I tried expressing my feelings of hurt to her but that didn’t go very well. We ended up fighting and me feeling like a hypocrite. What went wrong? Why did I take it personally? What can I learn from this? What can I preach to myself that can help me change this feeling of frustration?
I replayed the conversation over and over in my mind trying to look for clues as to what I should have done differently.
I realized that, first of all, I didn’t feel heard so, I pretended to have a conversation with her (in my mind). I explained to her, with much vulnerability, all of the things I have done and sacrificed for her arrival, not to make her feel guilty but to identify why her actions had affected me so much. I quickly realized that I was acting in a codependent mode and that I needed to release attachment to the way things needed to be.
Ouch! What a lesson! I am so glad I was able to play it out in my mind before I laid on her guilt trips. I will share with her the lessons and growth.
So, of course my article had to include this painful piece and the awareness that came with it.
I chose to believe that every person is innately good (including myself) and I look for that in every interaction and every conversation I have with others. I’m not naive nor a saint. I just make a choice. Daily. It’s not an easy choice because all around us we are bombarded with reasons why we shouldn’t trust people or why the world is evil.
I chose to give the benefit of the doubt because each person, in their own eyes, is right. We just haven’t had the chance to hear each other, or we just simply reject their opinion because it’s different from ours. Values are important, don’t get me wrong; they keep order and respect in a community.
The difference I want to point out here is, we can take things personally or we can try to understand and see if there is common ground. This requires openness of mind. To hear each other’s point of view without judgment or preconceived ideas is a monumental task. Just because something doesn’t match our values or beliefs doesn’t mean it’s wrong, we just have to find what benefits all.
This task requires that we look deep within and take responsibility for our feelings, actions, beliefs, and judgments. It requires that we recognize our part in everything we do, say or create. If we take it personal, we blame and judge, we stop listening and become victims. If we suspend judgment, acknowledge our own process, and attempt to see things from different points of view or perspectives, change and co-creation happens. Freedom happens.
If we wait for others to change so we can feel better, then we are placing control of our life, emotions and outcomes in the hands of somebody or something else and we relinquish responsibility for our own life. Your life is yours. How you choose to experience it is your choice. You can chose to take things personal and feel victimized or you can choose to be the co-creator of your experience and manifest what you desire most.
What would you choose?
I chose love.