Bragging Rights... You've got them!

I don’t about you but sometimes, even now, I still struggle around the concept of bragging.

As women, we are raised to believe that we shouldn’t brag about our accomplishments.

Think about it!

How many times have you heard your mother, aunt, or grandmother say:

Yes, that pie I made is delicious! I’m so happy I finally mastered the crust. 


I’m so proud of myself for juggling kids and a career for so many years.


I brag that I ignored the cleaning to treat myself to some self care last night! 

Hmmmm, probably not that often, or maybe ever. It’s likely that you heard the opposite. All the could have would have, should haves or toning down of accomplishments... Like, “Oh, it was nothing...” or “It could have been better...”

We were raised to devalue what was considered “women's” work and anything that had to do with taking care of our own needs.

This theme has come up a lot recently with my clients. And even though I’ve spent a lot of years reconditioning myself, I notice that sometimes I still second guess myself around my own right to brag.

Around 5 years ago, when I was really beginning to commit to this path of transformation and personal growth, I was incredibly fortunate to be invited to guest teach Nia dance at a retreat in Sayulita, Mexico. It was at this retreat that I was introduced to the teachings of Mama Gena’s School of the Womanly Arts.

Mama Gena seeks to liberate women from 5000+ years of patriarchal oppression through pleasure, fun and flirtation. A bold mission sure, but if anyone’s up for the task, she is.

In fact, she has an entire chapter in her book devoted to the topic of bragging, and how we much reclaim our right to brag as part of our evolution and empowerment.

So ask yourself the following:

  • Do you stay up at night with worry or anxiety about the future?

  • Do you second guess your actions and replaying scenarios in your mind thinking about what you could have done differently?

  • Do you experience regret, shame or guilt over your behaviours or actions of the past?

  • Do you have thoughts that you are a bad person?

  • Do you sometimes (or always) feel like you are not good enough or not accomplishing enough?

If you answered yes to any one of these questions, then it’s time add some mantras and bragging rights to your toolkit.

Tool #1: Daily (wo)mantra

This is the mantra I began saying to myself, over and over again, 5 year ago.

“I am Caitlin. I am whole and I am enough, exactly as I am.”

Say it out loud.
How does it feel?
Insert your name and try it out.

“I am <INSERT YOUR NAME HERE>. I am whole and I am enough, exactly as I am.”

Is there hesitation in your voice? Uncertainty? Do you believe the words as you say them? You might want to come up with your own - find the words that resonate and challenge you to overcome your deepest insecurities or fears about yourself and your place in the world.

When I have clients do this for the first time, they almost never say it with conviction.

It takes practice and repetition and daily action to begin accepting ourselves, as we are right now in this moment, imperfectly perfect. 

To know that you are a divine creation, and happiness and love is your birthright. You don’t have to earn it, chase it, pine for it... it’s yours because you are you.

If this still isn’t quite believable yet - then it’s time for you to start bragging!!

Tool #2: Daily Brags

Grab your journal, and in addition to your daily gratitudes, write down 3-5 brags.

I’ll go first ;)

  • I brag that I convinced my dance teacher to start incorporating Kizomba into our classes, driven by my desire to learn it  AND I brag that I’m prioritize 2-3 dance classes a week, even when I start to feel “selfish” for taking that time away from home, baby and/or work.

  • I brag that I’ve started drinking more matcha to help resist the temptation of caffeine

  • I brag that I’m always striving for better communication with my partner, even when it’s really really hard and I'm really tired

  • I brag that I have beautiful thick hair and I’m enjoying discovering the “real” colour

When I first started doing this, sometimes it was hard to come up with 3-5 brags EVERY SINGLE DAY.

However, as I stuck to it, it gradually because easier and easier. A note on this: Some days you will feel extra crappy, and it seems farfetched to come up with even one brag. These are the days where it’s even MORE important to find something to brag, stop beating yourself up, and flip the script.

Some friends of mine even started a “brag” email group so that we could brag to each other, and up-level each others brags by celebrating with each others successes.

And here’s your bonus task ... Next time you receive a compliment, smile, take a deep breath and really receive the words into your heart, and reply with: Thank you, it’s true.

For example:

OMG, this dinner you cooked was amazing!

 Your response: Thank you, it’s true!!

You look fabulous in that dress!

Your response: Thank you! It’s true.

You’re making some really great changes in your life, and it shows!

Your response: Thank you... it’s true!

It’s time to let our let shine. Get rid of the dimmer switch my friend.

No matter how many times I read the following Marianne Williamson quote, I still need a moment to breathe it in and believe it in my bones.

I remember the first time I read it I was in high school and I started to cry. I wanted so desperately to feel safe and free to shine, and I was terrified to do so. During subsequent years, this quote gave me strength as I shed toxic relationships, broke out of the mould that my small-town upbringing tried to impose on me, and ultimately, I remind myself of it each and every time I start feeling like I need to make myself smaller.

Here’s one final bonus task... forward this email to a friend or family member. Some who’s light could shine a little brighter and who feels like a safe person for you to practice your brags with. Set a phone, Skype or Google Hangout date each week to brag together, uplevel each other’s brags, and practice receiving with “thank you, it’s true!”

Let me know how it goes for you! I'd love to hear! Better yet, post your brags in the comments below, so that I can celebrate and uplevel YOU!!


ps. The March Motivation calls have been so transformative. If you are feeling the pull - sign up for one now by clicking here. There’s only 1.5 weeks left to take part.

pps. I only have one spot left for my 6-month coaching program!! I’m so thrilled to be working with exactly the number of clients I wanted (minus one, which could be you!). I will not be taking any new clients for at least a couple of months. If you’ve been thinking about calling me, setting up a discovery session, etc and have hesitated, please don’t wait any longer to invest in yourself. Remember, by signing up for the March Motivation call, you’ll receive a free month of coaching in my 6-month program.

Spring've got to create space for something new

How much clutter do you have in your life?

What does clutter have to do with mindfulness, and ultimately wellness?

Disorganized people with cluttered lives often feel frustrated, anxious or out of control. Surrounded by mess and chaos, it can be hard to truly unwind and relax.

Surrounded by “stuff” and holding on to items from the past keeps us stuck back there, instead of allowing for growth and change.

You’ve got to create space for something new to emerge.

 Minimizing and organizing also provide the foundation (ie zen space) for real change to happen.

Letting go of items tied to the “you of the past”, creates the lightness for the new you to soar.

Being mindful of your possessions and where you put them, creates a ripple effect of mindful intentionality in your life.

As decluttering expert Peter Walsh puts it: "Things that are left undone can be your own undoing. They just add stress and waste precious time. Organising is the act of giving yourself more time and peace of mind."

Just as I used to be a really sick person (you can read more about that here), I also used to be a really chaotic, messy and disorganized person.

My bedroom routinely looked the aftermath of ground zero for a tornado touchdown.

My sister called me a hurricane.

Even though I had convinced myself that I “knew where everything was,” I didn’t really. I was forever digging through piles to find what I needed.

I also held on to clutter for way too long. In the name of “memories” and sentimentality, I had boxes of stuff in storage at my mom’s AND my dad’s (yep, spanning two countries).

It’s no surprise that when I started to clean up my act, literally, other aspects of my life began to flow more effortlessly.

"Decluttering is the number one step in the feng shui process because, if energy can't flow freely, nothing else can begin to improve," says personal organiser Kerri Rodley, who is also secretary of the Association of Feng Shui Consultants. She says the bedroom is the best place to start, since this is the most important room for healing and rejuvenation.

I had conveniently forgotten about the “messy me” until one of my best friends, and former roommates (who I lived with during some of my worst “natural disaster phases”) recently said to me: “How does Luis feel about your messiness?”

At first I was taken aback, like excuuuuuuse me?? Moi, messy!?! But then I had to laugh and remember the old me that she knew, and that the organized, minimalist, tidy me is relatively new.

Spring is the perfect time to clear out the clutter and create space for more awesomeness, abundance and change. 

Think about the many aspects of your life that could do with a cleansing.

  • Your closet: do you still have party dresses, high heels and/or accessories that are so “old you” that you will probably never wear them (but maybe are holding on for nostalgia’s sake?) - Put them in a bag, and donate them!!

  • Your bathroom: Do you have unused hair products? Glitter? Make up and accessories that are either expired or outdated? Clear it out!! See if there’s a “Ladies night” at a local women’s shelter, they sometimes accept donations of used makeup and beauty products.

  • Your cupboards: do you have a shot glass collection? Customized pint glasses? Other drinking paraphernalia? It’s time to get rid of it!! Or, transform it. Can you turn martini glasses into money catchers (for loose change) or other glasses into vases? If you can’t transform it into something that beauties your space, pack it up and donate it!

  • Your purse/wallet: You may wonder that this has to do with your health and wellbeing... but think about it. How much unnecessary stress comes from financial challenges? As Kate Northrup, author of “Money: A Love Story” says: Your purse and wallet are your daily money receptacles. To attract more abundance you’ve got to create a soothing, decluttered container for it. That means streamlining your purse and wallet.

Here are a few more tips from Body + Soul website on how to declutter:

  • Start small, even if it's only with a single drawer or cupboard

  • Make decluttering a quick 15-minute weekly routineGet in the habit of putting things away, than "doing it later"Store away seldom used items, and dispose or donate unused onesUse plenty of containers when storing items

  • Have friends help, they aren't as attached to your things as you are

  • Teach your kids to be responsible for their mess

  • Address the emotional reasons why you collect clutter

In the spirit of making bold declarations and holding myself accountable, I have created the following event.

It’s planned for 2 weeks from today, and I’ll have to follow through!! I’m going to get the remaining boxes of stuff I have in storage and comb through my closest, and give it away. This includes mini-skirts I will never wear again, crop tops, high heeled boots, office wear from 5 years ago when I went through a “Scarlett Johanson is my style icon” phase (nice dresses, but I have no use for them now!), scarves, accessories and more.

What action can you take today to begin to declutter your life, and your mind? How will you create more spaciousness, and invite more abundance into your life?

The power of community

This weekend I was invited to celebrate a close family member’s 30 years of sobriety. This person is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the group was celebrating four “birthdays” that evening.

Each of the celebrants had a significant number of years of sobriety under their belt: the range was from 27-31 years.

As I listened to the speeches they gave after receiving their chips, I heard a very common theme throughout.

More than the 12 steps themselves, the celebrants cited the supportive community and friendships they had made through the program as being the biggest reason they kept coming back to meetings, day after day, year after year. 

These folks also have a lot more in common with each other than simply their commitment to sobriety. They are all retirees, all love Mexico and spent at least a good portion of the winter here in Puerto Escondido (and some live here full time). Their politics can all be described as left of center. They have crazy stories and experiences they shared from “back in the day” yet in the now, they are all seeking a fairly similar quality of life.

I was moved to tears hearing the gratitude and love they felt towards their peers that had supported them in their commitment to their sobriety, and living well.

One person mentioned that he had often heard that “sick people attract sickness” and what he felt being a part of the group here was the opposite... that well people attract wellness.

This resonated with me so strongly. I believe that I have made an unconscious shift towards living that adage... the healthier I become, the more I attract health into my life... by the activities I chose, the people I surround myself with, the partner I attracted, the values I wish to share with my child... It is the positive ripple effect of choosing a life of wellness.

It can be hard when making a transition to know who “your people” are. It may require a shift in friendships and in how you chose to spend your time.

You may find yourself letting go of certain relationships or pass times. Sometimes this happens naturally and sometimes it requires a painful decision (on your part) when you realize that certain people in your life aren’t able to support your wellness goals, or you realize you just don’t have as much to relate to now that you aren’t sharing the same alcohol-fuelled activities.

It can also happen that certain friends or acquaintances start letting go of you. This too can be painful. It’s happened to me... invites to certain kinds of events (read parties) come fewer and far between.

All of this to say, finding supportive people that are aligned with your wellness goals is absolutely critical to achieving what you desire.

I heard somewhere that you are a reflection of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Think about that. Are you surrounding yourself with the people that will most help optimize your health and wellbeing? If not, why?

When I was first starting to want to make changes to my drinking, I found it hard to know who to talk to. I didn’t really want to share my process with everyone as I was grappling to understand what it all meant. I also didn’t want to alienate my friends at the time.

One of the first steps I took was to open up to one of my best friends, who was also going through something similar. Even though we lived in different cities, we started a shared google document where we would write to each other as if it were a journal entry, as we worked through our issues with alcohol and set new intentions for ourself.

If you are not sure where or how to find supportive people in your immediate surroundings, try reaching out online. There are communities of incredibly supportive women online, including Sip Sisters. I’m also a member of a few others, so let me know if you are interested.

The most important thing for you to know is that you do not have to do this alone. 

In fact, it will be much harder if you do.

If you are not ready to talk to your close friends and family about the changes you are going through, that’s totally fine. However, that doesn’t mean that you should be doing this in isolation.

The speeches I heard the other night reflected that the members of that group had found solace and comfort in an anonymous group, but that the members of that group quickly became their closest friends... and they came to share so much more than sobriety.

Whether it be a workout partner, an accountability buddy or a sip sister, go forth and find your peeps!