You Are Not Limited By Your Experiences.

You are capable of anything you set your mind to…and I mean anything.  So often, we don’t give ourselves enough credit or we question our abilities to make it through a difficult situation.
If you were to tell the 16-year-old me that I would eventually complete my Masters…I wouldn’t have believed you. I say that because at 16 I felt as though my world was ending.

At 16, I suddenly and unexpectedly lost my mother. I still remember my last moments with her so clearly; conversations that I would replay in my mind for the better part of two years. My mom was truly my best friend, my biggest cheerleader, and my constant support. At 16, I had to learn how to navigate my life without her and being so young, it was incredibly difficult. In an instant, my entire life changed. I was depressed, overcome by grief, and feelings of emptiness.

My grades starting slipping, something that was very out of character for me and I was experiencing high levels of anxiety. My school guidance counselor encouraged me to seek help from a social worker, and for that, I am so grateful.
The social worker not only helped me cope with the loss of my mom but with many other challenging experiencing I had been going through at that time. It took several months of therapy but the bad days started coming less and less.  I started to shift my mindset…I started to become more positive.

The purpose of me sharing this experience is to remind you that although you may feel overwhelmed by a situation, you are capable of making it through. I overcame a situation that at the time felt completely debilitating. Can you relate? I think we’ve all experienced situations that we’ve felt we couldn’t handle…yet we always do. Situations that foster self-doubt and leave us questioning our capabilities. Perhaps you’re questioning whether you’ll make it through or repeatedly telling yourself that you aren’t strong enough.

I am here to remind you that you are strong and capable of anything.

Remind yourself of all the previous experiences you’ve conquered and endured. 

If you’re struggling, I strongly encourage you to reach out and turn to your loved ones for support or seek out professional help. Seeking the help of a social worker during my lowest of lows was the best decision I could have made.

My experience with working with my social worker inspired me to pursue a career in helping others. My dream to help people led me to my Masters and for that, I am so grateful. I had my dream, and it took a lot of hard work and dedication. I believed in myself and the vision I had for my career and my life.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that you are not defined by your situation. These experiences can definitely shape you; I don’t think I would be where I am today without the influence of my life’s experiences. But I have never let these experiences prevent me from chasing my dreams if anything….they’ve become my motivation.

If you have a dream, keep going.

You are so capable.

As always, I am rooting for you.

xo. Ashley

4 Easy Strategies to Help You Let Go & Heal from Negative Experiences and Trauma

Letting go; to let go of feelings, people and experiences that no longer serve you.To let go of experiences that may have caused you pain and suffering.

It’s not an easy task…I’ll be honest, it’s actually very difficult. But for your own well-being, it is so important to let it go. Let go of it all; not for the person or experience that inflicted/elicited these emotions, but for yourself. I truly believe that letting go allows you to heal and move forward.

I was recently given the opportunity to let go; to let go of negative feelings that I have carried for years. Negative feelings that have truly held me back, feelings that encouraged me to build walls around me and that led me to feel “broken”.

Although I no longer feel broken, letting go of these negative feelings was extremely therapeutic. I hadn’t realized the impact of holding onto those feelings were having on my mind, body and my soul.

I let go of the negative feelings of resentment, hurt and anger; for me.

I did it for me. When I was able to let go, I truly felt like a weight was removed from my shoulders and my heart.
So, if you’re currently holding on to negative emotions, I encourage you to try and let them go. It might take longer than you expect and that’s okay. Do it for yourself. Don’t allow someone’s actions or words dictate the trajectory of your life. Let’s let them go; to no longer feel trapped by your experiences.

This is another opportunity for me to remind you that you are not defined by these experiences; you are so much more.

One thing I know for sure, is that letting go will bring you so much more peace than holding onto these negative experiences ever will.
Let’s all try and let go of feelings and experiences that have held us back in the past. I promise, it is so worth it in the end. Here is my process of letting go:

My Process of Letting Go 

  1. Allow yourself to feel the emotions.
  2. Reflect on the lesson.
  3. Learn, grow & heal
  4. And then, let it go.

As always, I am rooting for you.

Ashley

 

Could Anger Be Displaced Grief?

Absolutely.  

I would argue that so much of our anger is actually the displacement of loss or grief. Perhaps you are feeling grief or immense sadness over situations that did not go the way you planned or relationships your heart longs for/ you feel like you’re missing. ⁣

Take a minute to reflect on a person or experience that regularly elicits anger.

Now, are you truly angry at the situation OR are you more sad about the outcome?

For years, I felt angry over a particular relationship in my life, which led to bitterness and resentment. However, within the past year I’ve realized that for as much as I was angry…I was more sad.

I was grieving the relationship that I never had the opportunity to have. The relationship that I felt I lost.

My sadness was showing up as anger.⁣

My anger was truly displaced grief. 

I have to say that this was one of the most powerful and pivotal realizations for me. Once I realized why I was reacting the way I had been for so many years, I was able to work on healing and letting go the past. I truly believe that once you have an understanding of the underlying cause of your behaviour and thoughts, you are better able to move past it.

If you are feeling particularly triggered by a situation, I encourage you to dig deep on your emotions because how you are presenting (emotions you are feeling) may be the result of a different displaced emotion. 

As always, I’m rooting for you 💖

Ashley

My Top Personal Development Books

Within the past couple of years I have done my fair share of reading. Reading has become one of my favourite things to do to unwind. There is nothing more relaxing then having a nice bath infused with epsom salts and essential oils and a good book. Aside from climbing into bed with freshly cleaned sheets & a good book…I’d say that’s a close second. I digress. Below, you will see  a comprehensive list of all of my favourite personal development books. I believe that personal development books provide the opportunity to learn, growth, engage in self-reflection and encourage critical thinking.

These are books that have had a profound impact on my journey to self-love & discovery.

  1. You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
  2. Adventures for your Soul by Shannon Kaiser
  3. Find your Happy Daily Mantras by Shannon Kaiser
  4. 50 Ways to Yay by Alexi Panos

Introduction into Spirituality:

  • The Soul Searcher’s Handbook by Emma Milden
  • The Universe has your Back by Gabby Bernstein
  • The Judgement Detox by Gabby Bernstein
  • Light is the New Black by Rebecca Campbell

Introduction to Law of Attraction/Manifestation:

  • The Law of Attraction by Esther and Jerry Hicks (Teachings of Abraham)
  • Creating Money, Attracting Abundance by Sanaya Roman & Duane Packer
  • The Secret & The Power by Rhonda Byrne

Inspiration to become organized: 

  • The life changing magic of tidying up

*this book helped transform & declutter my personal space. The saying cluttered space leads to a cluttered mind is definitely not a joke. Decluttering my personal space has had a profound impact on my well-being.

What are your favourite personal development books? I’d love for you to share in the comments. 

As always, I am rooting for you.

Ashley

 

2017: A Year of Self-Discovery

 

New Year, New Me?

A statement that has become increasingly popular during this time of year. For me, this time of year signifies an opportunity to reflect on the lessons that I learned throughout the year; as well as a time to set intentions for the next year.  Instead of setting New Years Resolutions, I prefer to think of it as New Year Intentions.

Here are a few of the lessons that I learned in 2017:

  1. I learned my self-worth & the true meaning of self-love. I worked on improving my self-confidence by investing and spending time with myself. By reading numerous personal development/self-love books (blogpost on my favourites coming soon). I learned that I am worthy, strong & most importantly enough.
  2. I learned the meaning of perseverance, especially during times of uncertainty & self-doubt. I learned the importance of trusting that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. That sometimes you may experience situations that elicit many more questions than answers. And that you have to believe and trust yourself to get through anything.
  3. I learned the importance of surrounding myself with positive & uplifting people. People who are genuine, kind, caring and have a positive outlook. I learned the importance of having people who are excited about your dreams, celebrate your wins/successes and are supportive through the lows. Friendships should be reciprocal, treat those in your life with the respect that you deserve.
  4. I learned/confirmed my love for travel. I travelled to Europe for the first time in February 2017. I stayed in Nice, France & had the opportunity to travel to the surrounding areas, such as: Ville-Franche, Cannes, Antibes, Menton & Monaco (Monte Carlo). This trip was truly life-changing and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t reflect on this trip. This trip taught me about the amount of joy that travelling and experiencing new places, foods etc., brings to me. I made a promise to myself that travelling would be a priority to me, I made the decision that I would rather spend money on experiences than material goods…and I couldn’t be happier.

In summary 2017 was a year of self-discovery, improving my self-confidence, discovered my love for travelling.

Do you take time to reflect on the lessons that you learned throughout the previous year?

 

As always, I am rooting for you.

Ashley

Lessons in Experiences

With every experience, you have the ability to learn more about yourself. You can learn what you want from life, the type of people you want to surround you, the place you want to live, the job you’d like to have etc.

On that same note, maybe an experience has taught you what you don’t want, the things that don’t work for you, the deal breakers etc…and that’s okay too.  I have learned the most about myself through difficult situations. If I’m faced with a challenging situation I make the decision to look for the lesson to be learned. This has dramatically reshaped my outlook because now I view difficult situations as an opportunity for personal growth. I recognize that not every experience is going to be perfect, but if it brings me closer to becoming my authentic self then I’d say it’s pretty close.

Be open to learning, but most importantly be open to learning more about yourself. Discover your interests and passions. And when you figure out whatever brings you the most joy, do more of it. Make time for it. Make it a priority. Express your passions, interests, aspirations and dreams to those close to you. One of my favourite things to do is to ask people to describe their passions.  I love seeing the spark in their eyes, the irrevocable smile on their faces and to experience the energy they are exuding when they describe something that matters to them.

Learn from each experience; as each experience allows you to uncover more of your authentic self. My experiences have taught me that I thrive when I’m surrounded by nature. That I find immense joy in looking at a beautiful sunset. I’m at complete peace when I’m hiking and surrounded by mountains. I find clarity when I’m near a body of water. And I achieve a new level of happiness when I’m traveling.

Reflect on the experiences you’ve had. What have you learned about yourself?

As always,

I am rooting for you,

Ashley

 

The Main Reason it’s Important to Reflect on how Far You’ve​ Come.

Have you taken the time to reflect on how far you’ve come? So often when we’re on a personal development journey we become solely focused on who we want to be or where we want to go, that we forget to reflect on where we started.   I’m going to bet that if you’ve been dedicated to self-improvement, then you have made remarkable changes and experienced substantial growth.  I encourage you to take a second to reflect on who you were before you embarked on this journey.

Now, think of who you are today.

Be proud of yourself. Feel grateful for the person you have become. I encourage you to write a list of three things that you are grateful to have learned along the way.

I’m sure this journey wasn’t easy, but I truly believe that you can learn something from every experience. And that, it’s through these experiences that we are able to grow and uncover more about ourselves.

You may feel like you still have a long way to go and believe me I get it. I’m with you. But there is something incredibly powerful about thinking about the progress you’ve made. It can also be a great motivator.

I wish I could put into words how much implementing gratitude has impacted my life. I have come to a point where I have no regrets and I truly would not change a single event that has happened…even the devastating, earth-shattering situations. My experiences have shaped me into the person that I am today and for that I am thankful.

Know that I am rooting for you, wherever you are on your journey to self-love or personal development.

I am rooting for you.

All the best,

Ashley