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When you appreciate someone, you value that person; you respect that person; you give that person a special place in your life. When you appreciate someone’s work you praise their performance, you show respect, and you motivate them to grow professionally so they can continue performing greatly. Based on the definition I found on, appreciation is a “feeling or expression of admiration, approval or gratitude”. Therefore, the way you treat someone represents the value that person has for you. Note that I am not saying that it is the actual value of that person, because we are all valuable and nobody can define our worth by the way someone else feels for us. Your worth and their feelings are two separate things.

Having said that, it is shameful that many people treat others as if they were objects. Some people take advantage of others and use them as they please to later dispose of them. The continuous mistreatment can damage a person’s self-esteem. As a result, the mistreated person will tend to accept mistreatment more and more, because it becomes the norm. Unfortunately, the mistreated individual becomes accustomed to this type of abuse and as a result can even believe they are worth to be treated that way. I am not only talking about love relationships, but this can also happen in the workplace, between family members, and between friends.

It is important to recognize when we are not being appreciated. It is important to learn how to manage the feelings of rejection and mistreatment by not making them personal. At the end of the day, the person who does not appreciate you, even though you have given your best (into the work, into the friendship, or into the relationship), is the one with the problem. If you have evaluated yourself and corrected your behavior (because hey! We all can make some improvements), but still you are being mistreated, disrespected, and not appreciated; then it is best FOR YOU to cut off that relationship. On the other hand, if you are constantly finding flaws in people, perhaps you are the one who cannot appreciate the beauty of the people around you. Perhaps, you need to evaluate yourself and find out why is it that you cannot appreciate people the way they deserve to be appreciated.

The process of the realization that you are not being appreciated could be difficult because, like I mentioned, if you are accustomed to being mistreated it becomes “normal”, but the key to this realization are the feelings of unworthiness that you encounter. These feelings are your warning signs! It is not normal to be constantly screamed at! It is not normal to be constantly blamed for things that are not under your control! It is not normal to be hit, slapped, or punched! It is not normal to be forced into having sex! It is not normal for a person to say, “I love you” and then dispose of you as if you are a trash bag. It is not normal to be insulted or disrespected at work! It is not normal to be told that “you are special” but then treated like an option or be left in “standby”. It is not normal to have relationship privileges (after you have expressed your feelings to a person) and be referred to as “my friend” or have that person deny any sort of bonding with you. These kinds of behaviors are wrong and abusive; they are toxic. Be on the lookout! Pay attention to your gut feeling. It is there for a reason. When a person truly appreciates you, that person will never act the way I mentioned above. However, a person who has been abused or that suffers from depression could be greatly affected by these kinds of treatments and not be able to cut the ties of these toxic relationships. They might feel like they are unworthy of love and respect, and because of those feelings of unworthiness they are willing to continue in the relationship in order to “prove” and convince the abusive person that they are in fact worthy of their love and respect… This becomes a dangerous cycle that only benefits one side and completely discredit the other.

If you have ever encountered these feelings of unworthiness and you don’t know how to overcome them, I think that it is important for you to seek professional help. If you are currently in a working environment that is toxic and unappreciative of your performance, you need to leave. If you are encountering any of these feelings among friends or family members, you need to cut those ties or establish boundaries. If you are in a relationship with someone you love and you are continuously feeling down, unvalued, mistreated, or not considered as important as they are to you in their lives…It is time to leave that relationship. This is the most difficult part of loving ourselves…to cut out the people we love! It is hard because we have attachment issues. It hard because we love them so much and we fear we will miss them. It is hard because it is your mother, or it is your father, or it is your sister, or it is the person that you are in love with… But why carry with ANYONE’S mistreatment and lack of appreciation? Loving yourself is letting them go, not because you don’t love them but because you love yourself MORE.

Listen to those feelings of unworthiness because they are the ones that are speaking to you! No! Those feelings are actually SCREEMING at you, letting you know that you need to do something about it. Letting you know it is NOT OK to feel down. Letting you know that you’ve had enough! Letting you know that you deserve better because you are WORTHY! Protect yourself and keep yourself sane. Don’t focus on your idealization of those relationships or of those people because you’ve idealized those people because of what they represent to you, but not because of how they have appreciated you. Focus on the reality of what you are receiving instead. That is your truth. Actions are the true colors of people’s feelings for you, but again, their feelings don’t define your worth.

When you learn your VALUE, you will be able to appreciate your OWN self! You won’t be accepting anything less than what you know you deserve. If someone truly loves you, they will definitely show appreciation and respect for you, and YOU won’t be having any doubts of your worth. Always listen to your gut feeling…it always talks to you (and sometimes it even screams at you). Free yourself from that feeling of unworthiness because of someone else’s lack of capacity or emotional maturity to see how wonderful and unique you are. Walk away. Grab your heart and walk away with your self-love. You’ll be happier without them!

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Updated: Feb 8

There is so much people out there that are hurting. They are hurting and they don’t even know it, or they just simply ignore it. It becomes normal to live our lives carrying old pains and traumas. However, the way people treat others reflects their lack of trust, their frustrations, their fears, their insecurities, among many other things. We are constantly in “defense mode” because we are fearful that someone will hurt us, or lie to us, or simply pretend to be someone they are not. We tend to hide our darkest secrets and we pretend to be “OK” in the eyes of everyone outside our internal world (meaning our head). It is a self-defense mechanism; we put a shield to pretend we are perfectly fine! I’m not suggesting you go out and burst out all of your traumas! Of course not! But why instead of pretending to be fine, can’t we just focus on healing the old traumas or whatever pains us? That way we won’t need to live our lives pretending; instead, we can be free!

Healing is not an easy task. It is not easy to accomplish. It takes time. Trust me…I know! But what happens? Life happens! Life continues, and we need to continue along with our routines, our jobs, and responsibilities, but as a result we end up failing in finding the necessary time for us to heal. The problem starts to arise when we don’t take care of our internal “things”. We pile up damaged emotions. We accumulate all the hurting without realizing that one day it will explode in our face! Have you thought about how many people out there have mental health issues? We see people being aggressive towards others. We see hatred, we see bullying, we encounter liars, we encounter pretenders…. maybe we even pretend ourselves! We see people having nervous breakdowns or suffering from anxiety. But we don’t see many people looking to heal from any of that because society have taught us that if you need to seek help from a psychologist, you are “crazy”! If we need medication to help us handle our depression, our anxiety, or even the ADD/ADHD, we are seen as weak! However, we do medicate ourselves if we have a headache or if we have a heart condition or if we have any other medical condition. But God forbit we get medication for anything related to our mental health! Why is it that it is seen as “wrong” for us to seek help or care for our mental health? Why is it seen as something bad, or people are seen as weak or “crazy”? Well, that comes with history. In the mid 1800’s psychology was considered a branch of philosophy and not of science, and some people still argue that it is not a science but more of a social behavior problem. Not too far along (in the 1930’s), people who suffered from depression were placed in asylums and given electric shocks and many other torturing treatments. Therefore, since the treatments were traumatic and physically damaging, the patients didn’t seem to improve and therefore, were labeled as “crazy”. The solution was to isolate them and lock them up! In my opinion, those treatments were the ones who were insane and whoever practiced them on those patients were the actual crazy ones!

I don’t want to get you bored with all this history, but it is important to mention it to bring up some of the reasons why mental health has a bad reputation in our society. However, as important as it is for us to take care of our physical health, we need to also take care of our mental health and give it the same importance. So, how do we heal? How can we find out those things that have traumatized us or that are hurting us, and we don’t even realize? Well, the first step is to accept and realize that you need healing! That will require you to do a self-evaluation. If you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious or inexplicably sad, you need to take a PAUSE and begin a journey of self-evaluation. Even if you don’t experience any of these symptoms I mentioned, perhaps you are constantly feeling defensive or aggressive. Maybe you overreact and then you regret it. Maybe you feel frustrated. Maybe you feel unimportant. Perhaps you feel unsuccessful. All of these are signs that show that you are hurting in some way and that therefore you need healing. In order for us to aim to heal we need to find the root of the problem.

If you want to embark in this journey on your own, it is perfectly fine, if I did it…you can also do it! However, I did require some guidance during my process, and I will try my best to share with you the steps I followed and the things I did that helped me (and that I still do) while in this healing process. The first step is to make the decision that you will commit yourself into healing. If you don’t make this commitment with yourself, you won’t reach the goal. Once the decision is made you will need some guidance as well. You can start by researching into finding books that can help you during this process. Books related self-help and psychology. Since I am not a psychologist or therapist, that was a MUST for me and reading was one of the things I did during my journey of healing, and doing so helped me incredibly (I still read). I am speaking based on my personal experience and what worked for me. A book I read that truly helped me was: “Love Don’t Leave Me: Overcoming Fear of Abandonment and Building Lasting, Loving Relationships” by Michelle Skeen, Psy D. This book took me on this journey of self-evaluation, and I was able to understand and identify many of my traumas, many of which I didn’t even knew I had. My being able to identify them, helped me understand myself without judgement; why I had acted a certain way or made X or Y decision throughout the course of my life.

Another important part of your healing process is to have someone to talk to and that you know won’t judge you. Many times, the closest people in our lives are biased and they will unconsciously judge or would give us advises based on their view of themselves and the view they have of us. They may mean well, but they really don’t help during this process the way we need to be helped. That is not really fair for you if you are looking for healing, for growth, and for self-improvement; you will need someone outside of your regular circle of people and the best person would be a therapist, a coach, or a psychologist. These people are trained to listen and to guide you into finding the answers you need during this journey of self-improvement. Look for one with whom you connect well with, someone you feel comfortable with and free to be yourself and speak out your concerns and issues without a care. If you cannot connect with that person, how can that person help you? So that is very important!

Healing is long process, like I said. But it is a journey worth taking. It will liberate you from huge bags that you’ve been carrying for far too long and without a reason. At the end of the day, the only person in control of your feelings and of your emotions is YOURSELF. If you are hurting, you can’t walk the walk of life properly. You will be hurting all the way and, unfortunately, you will be hurting others along your way, even when you don’t mean to do so. If you walk the walk of life being hurt, you won’t be able to go too far in your life because you are limping throughout your journey. But that doesn’t have to be your story. You can change things around by simply committing to this process of healing. You can and you are capable of taking control of your life and take action into becoming better. For that you need to start with the simple decision of embarking yourself in the journey of self-healing. If you are hurting inside, it would be very difficult to find purpose in your life.

Being able to heal sets you free into the life you never thought you could live. Being able to heal allows you to enjoy life despite having difficult days. Being able to heal allows you to help others heal as well. Being able to heal allows you to be more sensitive and compassionate towards others and therefore you won’t be hurting people along your way. There are so many things we need to unlearn and many others we need to learn in order to find true happiness in this journey called life. But the true happiness will come into your life once you heal because you will see life from a different perspective. The angle changes and so does the view. You will be able to forgive everyone who ever hurt you, including yourself. This journey of healing is empowering, and it’ll take you to the best and ultimate destination of life which is to learn to love yourself so much that there will be no more pain, no more hurting, no more dragging bags full of traumas and resentment that don’t allow you to run and reach your goals. You will have control of your happiness and you will shine happiness into other people’s life. Healing gives you that freedom and that kind of life.

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Many of us are struggling with routines, stress, anxiety, and burn out. We fail to find balance since we are constantly juggling many things that are important and have priority. But doesn’t our well-being deserve to be in our top list of priorities as well? Why is it that everyone and everything else comes before us? I know I am definitely not the only who has felt this way; you have felt it too. Maybe you are dealing with such high level of stress that you can barely sleep. Maybe you are so anxious that you end up the workday snacking and eating a lot of things that you know are not healthy or good for you, but the anxiety wins over the fight. Perhaps your daily routines of taking the kids to school, run errands all day, pick up the kids, take them to their extracurricular activities, plus cooking, homework, the dishes…. Augh! It is overwhelming to even detail the endless list of things to do. Let alone have that endless list plus a challenging job. Yes! It is exhausting and hard to find balance. But balance is crucial for us.

As important as it is, it is difficult to accomplish. The best way to find balance in our lives is to start building the habit of prioritizing ourselves. What things we should do in order to have a balanced life? I personally found balance by adding to my daily routine the things that are important to me and that bring good health to my life. Things such as exercising, cooking healthy meals, reading, and meditating. Every new beginning is hard! But the way to go is to start little by little; with small changes. I started exercising by walking 3 days every week. There were weeks I only walked 1 day, but there were others in which I was more consistent and accomplished my 3 days goal or even more. Eventually my body started to ask for that walk, and it became a habit that I enjoy. While I walk, I talk to friends or family, or I listen to motivational videos, Podcasts, TED videos, or just listen to the music I like. It is my fun time! It is my “ME” time! It is only a 30 minutes’ walk… better than nothing right! Now I am at a different level in which I get to exercise more intensely at least 5 days a week, but it all started with baby steps.

Adding habits in your daily routine that are good for your health (physical and mental), is important. Why is it that we can plan and be there for everyone else, but we can’t take time for ourselves? Why is it that when we think about taking time for ourselves, we visualize it as sitting on the couch watching TV and eating chips or ice cream? Life is simply passing us by, and we are not living. We love our family, our children, but we also need to love ourselves enough to take some time for ourselves; and not just watching TV. When I stared the habit of reading, I never thought I was going to be able to finish one chapter. I hated reading! But I made the decision that I wanted to work on myself and for me to do so I needed to read and learn. It was hard! I used to read 1 page and fall asleep halfway, or I had to re-read the whole thing because I was not retaining anything (ADD anyone?!). But again, little by little, I started improving. Little by little I became hungry for more knowledge and for more information. My goal was my self-improvement and I started to notice the change from within. Now I love to read, and I look forward to doing so. You don’t have to read if you don’t like to, but I do believe that it is important to learn whichever way works best for you, whether it is with audio books or with TED videos or listening to a mentor. Learning and self-improvement bring balance in life.

Another thing I believe brings balance in life is being actively grateful. I used to think that I was grateful until I started to do a daily exercise in which I had to list 3 things I was grateful for THAT day, but the trick was that I couldn’t repeat anything from previous days. The first week was easy, then it became challenging because I had to pay attention to the blessings as the day went by and that helped me realize the many things and blessings I had daily that I never paid attention to. But even though there were days that were challenging, I knew there were always 3 things I could be grateful for in spite of the challenges. This exercise is only mental, it doesn’t disturb you from your daily routine or responsibilities, but it keeps you constantly searching for blessings, and you’ll have less time to worry about the bad things and the negativity that a day could bring; and even when you have one those days, you are still finding blessings; because it transforms into a new perspective rather than just letting the days pass you by or allowing a bad day take over.

One last thing I can recommend in this process of finding balance is to meditate and pray. You don’t need much time for this, just 5 minutes! Clear your mind from any noise! Sit quietly with yourself; alone. Just 5 minutes. It recharges you. It enables you to start and end your days clean and refreshed. Like taking a shower but it’s an internal shower to rid your mind from worries. Connect with God, connect your soul with the highest energy and you will recharge. It gives an extreme amount of peace that you will eventually look forward to that moment in the day and those 5 minutes won’t be enough, you’ll want more time to meditate, and the best thing is that you will find the time because it flows. Like with the other habits, the beginning is hard… those 5 minutes feel eternal, and it seems as if you cannot quiet your mind, but trust me, you will eventually get the hold of it. Whether it is meditation or praying, this kind of balance is key to start and end the day, it is best to take those 5 minutes twice a day, 5 minutes in the morning, before the crazy routine starts, and 5 minutes at night, right before going to bed. Connecting spiritually is very empowering and brings extreme balance in your life.

Creating healthy routines that don’t take much of your time is very important because it balances your stress and anxiety. Balancing your life is crucial. Sometimes it is important to disconnect from the things that you know are not good for you, not because you don’t care but because you love yourself enough to let yourself breathe. Balance is your way to breathe and relax even during difficult days and eventually the difficulties won’t seem as big or as complicated as they used to.

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