Self-Forgiveness

Have you ever noticed or felt you are stuck on something which happened in the past, and for whatever reason you can’t emotionally move beyond it.

Self-forgivesness is a process–a process which is different for everyone. But no matter how long it takes, there’s hope! Here are some steps you can take during the journey:

Become clear on your morals and values as they are right now.

The reason (According to Amy Goldenberg, Consumer Research Analyst, SurveyStud, Inc) most of us feel guilt or shame for actions done in the past is because those actions are not in line with our current morals and values. Our past wrongs can actually clue us in to what we hold important. By identifying our morals and values, we start to get a clearer picture as to “why” we’re hurting over what we’ve done, or what others did to us.

Realize that the past is the past.

This seems fairly straightforward, but when we can really wrap our head around the fact that we can’t undo the past, the past is done, those things happened, we open ourselves up to more acceptance. Increased acceptance can lead to the emotional healing we are all looking for.

Create a “re-do.”

Never underestimate the power of a “re-do”. Write down how you would have done things differently if you could go back and do it again. In doing so, we affirm that we not only learned from our past mistake, but that if we had the skills we have now, back then, we would have done things differently.

Realize you did the best you could at the time.

The way we respond depends on the skills we have, the frame of mind we’re in, and how we perceive the situation at that moment. Maybe we didn’t have as much objectivity, or acted out of survival or protection mode. Maybe we’d let stress build up, which put us at a higher risk of responding poorly. Whatever the factors, cut yourself a break. If you learn from it, it was never in vain.

Start acting in accordance with your morals and values.

The best thing you can do for yourself in order to forgive is start replacing the negative behavior and thoughts with more appropriate ones that are congruous with your morals and values. By so doing, you reaffirm to yourself that you can handle situations in the way you want to. This can lead to a sense of pride, which is a huge part of building self-esteem.

Identify your biggest regrets.

When I talk with people on the importance of  moving on from their past, it can be very overwhelming for them because they see so many regrets. It’s often helpful to categorize these things because people often only hold on to a handful of big categories/patterns. Working on patterns of behavior is often more helpful than working on individual regrets.

Tackle the big ones.

There may be some regrets that don’t seem to improve, and they’re going to require some extra work. I call it “clearing your conscience.” This means it might take bringing this regret into the room and apologizing for your past mistake.

Turn the page.

At some point, you have to accept that the past has happened and you’ve done everything in your power to amend past mistakes. It’s now time to turn the page and accept those events as part of your story. They’ve all contributed to making you who you are. Being grateful for those experiences allows you to move on and truly forgive yourself.

Cut yourself some slack.

When we learned how to ride a bike, most of us realized it would probably take a few tries before achieving perfection. New behavior and thinking patterns are no different. They’re both skills. Cut yourself some slack while you’re on a new learning curve. Realize that you’re going to make mistakes. We all do.

Question: Do you find it hard to move beyond past hurt?

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Venting…

I remember the first time I tried to describe the physical sensation of menstrual cramps to my dad. His face twisting into a horrified grimace.

Yes. Yes, it can be. And many of us deal with it every month. But unless you’re our SO or close friend, you’ll probably never know about it. Because we still manage to get sh*t done.

There are a lot of similar struggles that women experience all the time — some silly and small, some alarmingly big — that many men might not be aware of or understand. For example we’re always expected to look nice. And to look happy and have a pleasant demeanor. Seriously, sometimes we want to go outside with frizzy hair and no makeup and sweatpants and not talk to or smile at anyone. I also hate white I go to sleep on white sheets, with a white pillow, and wake up with sheets that look like a 1st grader just colored all over them… uggggghhhh.

OMG what about thinking about your safety ALL the time… Where you walk, how dark it is, where you park, who is in your general vicinity at all times. Parking at the mall? Don’t park near a van! Want to stay late studying? Better have someone walk you to your car. It’s exhausting honestly.

See guys dont have these type of thoughts and or problems.

Then you have the petty stuff i.e… painting your nails with the non-dominant hand–how about going-upstairs boobs. Sleeping face down boobs. Hello I’m going to hurt for no reason today boobs. Boob bra knot boobs. We’ve fallen out and going to do our own thing today boobs.

Don’t judge me, I’m venting…

If I happen to run a few errands or God forbid go to school or work without makeup on and I run into someone I know, I get ‘hey are you okay? You look sick.’ And then when I do wear makeup and I look all cute and presentable, I’ll hear, ‘yeah guys definitely like the natural look better.’

Then there’s the stress of an unexpected period, but then also the stress of an unexpected not-period.

Then theres shaving my kneecaps. Twenty-three years of practice and I’m still awful at it.

Finally because I don’t want to bore you with my problems, but ANYTHING and everything you do with the opposite sex can ([and] probably will at some point) be interpreted as being a tease or leading him on.

I could go on-and-on. Sorry, thanks for reading 🙂

Question: What’s something you want to vent about but for whatever reason have not let it out?

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SurveyStud: In the App Store

Bikini Wax

So today I took my best friend to get a Bikini Wax, and I learned something I did not know i.e… there are many types of wax–OMG where have I been.

From a landing strip to a love heart, the front fluff is a thing to be cherished. Here’s how to have some fun with yours, if you fancy:

Before we get all waxy with ya, let’s be clear, there is nada wrong with leaving things down there 100% au natural. There’s no pressure to play around with your pubes if you don’t want to, but if you do, these are some of the best styles and shapes to try.

Ideal for a first time waxer, the bikini line touch up is exactly as the name would suggest, a tidy up around the edges. A good option if you want to keep things on the natural side, but prefer a little more definition. Hair is removed from anywhere outside of a modest panty line – so around the tops of thighs and any hair above your panty.

Similarly to the above, the full bikini wax is still nice ‘n’ natural, but with a little more of a neaten up around the top and sides of your pubes. This is usually referred to as a standard bikini line on most salon menus. You can keep your knickers on when you have this one done.

A French wax differs from other styles like a Brazilian as most of the hair is taken from around the front and sides, but the middle (labia) and around the back is left alone.

If you want down there to be smooth and clean of hair, without feeling too bare, French is the way to go.

The shape of the hair at the front is totally up to you, but the landing strip is a classic option. Other popular shapes include a tiny triangle and a postage stamp, but feel free to ask for whatever style you prefer.

Now if you want to feel super clean, Brazilian waxes are one of the most popular options when it comes to primping ya pubes. Unlike the French version, when you go Brazilian they take the hair off the top and sides of the bikini line, but also all the way under and around the back, too. 

If you want to feel totally smooth and hairless, go Brazilian.

Just like with a French wax, when having a Brazilian you can ask for whatever shape you like, many people opt for a landing strip, but another popular option is the Bermuda triangle. It resembles a traditional bikini line wax (with just a neat triangle of hair left) but minus the fluff on your labia and ass.

Question: What’s your thoughts on waxing?

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SurveyStud: In the App Store 

Kissing A Guy With Bad Breath

Looking back at a specific relationship, I am a little surprised I was down for the sh*t breath for so long. I think that had we not been cool and pretty good friends before we tried dating for a while, I probably would’ve nipped that in the bud early. But it’s amazing what you’re willing to look past when you genuinely like someone.

I’m writing this is because during a brainstorming meeting my boss (Amy Goldenberg, Consumer Research Analyst, SurveyStud,inc) said she wanted someone to explain the psychology behind being able to date someone with tart breath (to put it mildly) and never tell them about it. Before I knew, it I was opening my big mouth announcing, “Oh I did that.”

In my defense, I was 20, I had known the guy nearly all my life, and we didn’t date that long. Still, the joke to end all jokes on him was that his breath smelled like some sort of horrid combination of rust and metal. And there I was putting my tongue all up in and through the danger zone. Gag me. Literally.

Any time I was about to meet up with Yuck Mouth (YM,) there was anxiety in my stomach, worrying just what level of stank his mouth was going to reek of that day.

In all seriousness, gum was my lifesaver. I’m never one to leave home without it anyway, but I made sure to double up when I knew we’d be hanging out. And just in case any of you are finding yourself in the unfortunate position of slobbing a yuck mouth, know that the flavor must absolutely be wintergreen, green mint, winter mint, peppermint, or anything in that category. Messing around with that wildberry, bubble mint mess with have feeling like you just stuck your tongue in a field of strawberries that mother nature defecated on. Learn from me, don’t do it to yourself.

Being careful not to stand too close when talking also helped. Like with anything else, the longer you think about something the less likely you are to do it. If I would have been up in his face for too much time before we had one of our cheesy makeout sessions, I’m pretty sure I would have eventually ran the other way and pulled one of those curfew copouts or fake phone calls to get myself up out of that sticky spot. But when the odor doesn’t overcome you until right about the time that you’re ready to start exchanging pecks, those teenage hormones are already in overdrive and you figure eff it. What doesn’t make me throw up, only makes my stomach stronger.

As for why I didn’t tell YM about the atrociousness spilling from his oral orifices. Simple: I wouldn’t be telling him anything he didn’t already know or that would make a difference. The thing is, gum was like a band-aid over his breath. Heck, toothpaste was a bandage over that putrocity (yeah, I made that up). I was convinced my summer fling/friend thing had a serious case of halitosis and what I knew for sure, like Oprah says, is that simply saying “your breath smells” didn’t even cover the half and was surely not going to remedy that ailment

Question: Is it appropriate to tell someone their breath is tart?

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SurveyStud: In the App Store

Itchy Nipples…

Have you ever been walking along, having a totally normal day, and suddenly your nipples feel itchy, it’s like you’re wearing a bra made of a 1000 nipples.

If your nipples are anything like mine, they don’t usually cause much trouble — they go along to get along, trooping around quietly in the bra until you need to unleash them for practical and/or recreational purposes — which might be why, when your nipples feel strange, it can sometimes be kind of terrifying.

That terror can easily turn into full-tilt panic: My first thoughts are ALWAYS could my itchy, dry nipples be a sign of something serious? Are these random hairs going to be here for the rest of my life? Why hast thou betrayed me, beloved headlights!

The shock of having a nipple feel weird is usually much worse than whatever’s actually going on with your nipple — because, for the most part, nipple weirdness is not a sign of a serious health problem. Anything having to do with my breasts can send me into breast cancer panic mode.

The most common nipple-related breast cancer symptoms are tenderness, dimpling, a change in skin texture on the nipple, and a suddenly inverted nipple (inverted nipples are common and harmless — a sudden inversion is the only cause for alarm.)

So what I’ve learned is that anything else that you feel: random itch, tingle, or drip — is most likely nothing to worry about.

If your nipples look or feel different than they usually do for a prolonged period of time, or if you’re just freaked out, it’s always a good idea to see a doctor. 

First of all, itchy nipples are almost never a sign of a health problem. In rare cases, itchy nipples can be a symptom of inflammatory breast cancer or Paget disease of the breast, but itching is almost never the only symptom.

Run-of-the-mill itchy nipples have more benign causes: sometimes the itchiness is created by a skin condition, like eczema, but if you’re not experiencing a rash or other symptoms, odds are that your nipples are itchy because they’ve become irritated — by the laundry detergent or soap that you use, by friction in an ill-fitting bra, or by dry weather that’s making all of your skin dry and itchy.

Itchy nipples can also be a side effect of pregnancy-related breast growth — as a pregnant woman’s breasts expand, the stretching of the skin can irritate the nipple, leading to drying, cracking, and a persistent nipple itch.

Fortunately, itchy nipples are easy to treat, for pregnant and non-pregnant folks alike — just massage some non-irritating moisturizer into your nipple, especially right after you come out of the shower. The moisture should keep your nipples calm. But no matter how itchy your nips get, don’t put calamine lotion on them — that lotion can actually dry the skin of the nipple, and make the itching worse.

Question of the day: How do you handle the itchy nipple?

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SurveyStud: In the App Store

The Ex

I like designer bags but I don’t necessarily like baggage. Not the “ex” kind of baggage. At my age, it’s more likely than not that anyone I would date/end up with has baggage. It’s a term I don’t like because when you find the right guy, his baggage doesn’t seem so much like “baggage” as it does a “pretty package.”

For example, before I met the man I’m now dating, I made it perfectly clear to any man I went out with that I come as a package. If you date me, you’re also, for lack of better description, dating my kid. Meaning, you have to get along with her, she has to like you, and you almost certainly will be my second priority.

When you have a kid, it’s easier to date someone else who has a kid or even children. They usually understand if you have to bail at the last minute because your child is sick, they like children (because they already have them), and they understand why a child can turn from an angel into a sobbing heap on the floor within 10 seconds.

But what I’ve never quite understood is the baggage that is known as “the ex.” Rather, I understand it; I just don’t like to deal with it.

One of my exes had an ex-wife who acted as if she were still his wife. They had no children and it was hard for me to fathom why this woman would still want to go out of her way to decorate his place, ask him to drive her to the airport, and buy him flowers. There is nothing worse than an ex who doesn’t realize she is an ex (at least for the person dating the man/woman.)

The man I’m dating now has gorgeous, kind and sweet children. I thought God was looking down on me, finally, when I fell in love. Plus, his ex lives a 40-minute drive away, is not in my social circle, and we didn’t have any friends in common.

But of course, I was a little naïve. I recently found out that this ex is following my every move on Facebook — which is fine, but, it makes me uncomfortable, especially when exes of the man I am dating, or the men I have dated, check me out. My boyfriend and I are serious, to the point where we both would like to be included in every aspect of each other’s lives. This includes school plays (which he attended with me when my daughter was recently in one) to birthday parties. One of his children has an upcoming birthday party. As we slowly blend our families together, I don’t want there to be any drama.

My ex’s ex-wife (the one with no children) actually wanted to meet and hang out with me. My response was, “Why?” But if I do plan on being a stepmom with my new man, I do understand why I may have to meet my boyfriend’s ex-wife. Do I want to do this? No. Do I think if we can get along at least politely it will be best for the children? Absolutely. Does she have to like me? No.

But if my ex was/is dating another woman who could possibly be my daughter’s stepmother, I would for sure want to meet her, at least once, to make sure that my daughter is safe. My daughter, her safety and her happiness, will always be my first priority, just as I’m sure that’s my boyfriend’s ex-wife priority.

Question: If you have any ex-partner/parent advice… I’d really like to hear your thoughts.

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SurveyStud: In the App Store

Saggy Breasts

As a 20 something I would have never thought saggy boobs represent some sort of canonistic experience for women of all ages regardless of social-economics, and or demographics. See unless you saw me naked, you would never guess I have saggy boobs. Yes I said it. I have saggy boobs.

It’s like one morning I woke up, rolled on my back and my boobs just didn’t follow with the rest of my body. I’m not kidding, when I lie down, 80 percent of my breasts fall into my armpit. It’s really cute.

At the ripe age of 23, they’re completely deflated. I thought boob sag would only come after pregnancy, but I was wrong. Gravity is a law. My body has abided.

Sometimes I wonder what I did to gravity to deserve this boob sag. Sometimes I’ll lift them up, look in the mirror and gawk at how much of my body they cover up. My upper ribs are constantly in the shadow of my under-boob.

When I hit puberty, my ta-tas were a size D. I even had stretch marks in high school because my chest was #blessed. But at around age 20, my overwhelming D-cups deflated to modest C-cups.

Another thing I noticed my boob sag is my biggest insecurity when it comes to hooking up. They look great when they’re tucked up into a bra, but once that comes off, they’re just going to flop out. It’s like opening a bag of chips only to find more air than chips.

Then there’s the gym… OMG!!! Has anyone else gone to the gym, attempted to do some crunches and all of the sudden notice half your boob is leaking out the side of your sports bra? Just me? OK.

If you have saggy boobs, sports bras work their magic by reinforcing everything, but your boobs just get flattened against your chest in the most unflattering way. They do this droopy, separation thing as you run on the treadmill. It’s just not cute.

No matter what bra cup size you have, you probably struggle to find bathing suits that fit well. I laugh when I look at string bikinis because they’re just something I’ll never be able to wear. Ever since I grew these damn things, bikini tops have been my worst enemy. Either I’m busting out of them, forming an attractive quad boob (when they spill out the top) or there’s no support whatsoever. That’s when I contemplate just avoiding beaches altogether.

My cleavage used to be difficult to cover up. Now, I can only create Victoria’s Secret-worthy cleavage when there’s a gravity-defying push-up bra involved.

So I wrote all of this to say, you are not the only woman to deal with boob sag.

Question: Have you ever experienced boob sag?

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SurveyStud: In the App Store