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Share-My-Story Series: Tosha

Share-My-Story Series: Tosha

I am so excited to begin the “Share My Story” series. Ever since GOTG was created I have heard hundreds of women’s stories. My heart has grown as I have listened to women’s struggles and triumphs. I have discovered that women want to share. For so long we (women) have put our best foot forward and only showed the parts of ourselves that we think people want to see. This is exhausting. I’ve learned that one of our deepest desires as human beings is to be seen. We want someone to see all of us and love us regardless. We want someone to see how far we’ve come and how hard we have fought to be who we are. We want someone to see ALL of us, our strengths and our weaknesses and love us. We don’t want to hide parts of us.

As I have heard countless stories I felt like others needed to hear them as well. We need to connect with each other through our humanity. I haven’t met a woman I didn’t love after hearing her story. I want you to hear each other’s stories and connect. Every Monday I plan to share another woman’s story. I hope you read the stories and see the connection you have with other women. See your shared humanity. See your similarities. See the courage. See the strength. See yourself in each story.

Tosha’s Story

Growing up I was shy and didn’t have confidence in myself. I had some friends, but they were superficial. Some of my so called friends were really mean to me and I was never quite sure how to navigate my feelings and emotions during those situations. I experienced some trauma in my teenage years that shaped my behaviors into early adulthood. I always longed for deep meaningful connections with people, but my lack of self confidence always seemed to bring out my fear to connect. The many experiences of rejection in my life are a huge part of my story. I deeply feared rejection and a lot of my trauma as a kid, teen and young adult stems from some form of rejection.

When I was about 30, married for 7 1/2 years with 3 kids my life changed. I didn’t want my life circumstances to run my life. I didn’t want depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts to be such a struggle. I knew there was hope and I could somehow attain it even though I wasn’t exactly sure where to look. I thank God for his divine timing in directing me to the help I needed.

Tosha and Chelsea on the June Retreat

Over the last 5 years I have gained the tools and resources to help me heal and grow into who I am today. I now have more self confidence and self compassion then I ever have. I am more available for healthy relationships and willing to try things that take me out of my comfort zone. I love connecting with women in fact I thrive on it, but if I am being honest it sometimes scares me because of my past.

Over the last year I have had the opportunity to go on many adventures. A lot of these adventures have been with Get Out There Girl. Each adventure comes with its excitements and fears. I love trying new things that I normally don’t get the opportunity to do and each Get Out There Girl adventure has given me that kind of experience. However, every time I show up to an activity or experience where I have the opportunity to connect with other women, whether I know these women or not, I have to work really hard through my fear of rejection. You would think that with several years of experience I would have conquered this fear of not being wanted or not being enough. I have not arrived there yet, but the more I put myself out there and show up in an honest, vulnerable and authentic way I see growth and change in myself. I am grateful for the many examples of women I now have in my life that provide me opportunities to conquer my fear and grow my strengths.

Tosha

Why Boundaries?

Why Boundaries?

My last blog post polarized people. I got messages asking why I would be cruel and not give someone more than 3 chances to be my friend. I also got messages from people saying they agreed with me and that they had similar boundaries. Why the polarizing? I personally think it’s because people don’t understand the concept of a boundary.

You see, when I created that 3 strike rule for new friendships it had nothing to do with being upset or offended when someone said no to hanging out. I don’t have bad feelings towards another woman when she doesn’t show interest in being my friend and I certainly don’t wish her ill. I don’t judge her or change my behavior towards her after she “strikes out.” It has nothing to do with her and everything to do with me.

I’ve always been a people pleaser. I love seeing people happy. If there is something I can do to make them happy I do it, even if it isn’t healthy for me. Over the years, I’ve been hurt and my relationships haven’t been healthy because of this. When I was less mature emotionally, I would be offended when someone would turn me down from friendship. I was sure something was wrong with me, and I was determined to find out what it was and fix it. I needed everyone to be my friend and was distraught when someone wasn’t interested in me.

Me, Hollee, Melissa, and Heather at Tiffany Roe’s self love dance party

I learned about boundaries and started implementing them little by little. At first, it was really hard for me to stick to my boundaries, and honestly sometimes it still is. I hate making people uncomfortable and would rather suffer myself than cause someone else discomfort. However, I have learned that boundaries are the key to true connection and are the greatest form of self-love and self-care. Let me try to explain.

Boundaries are the way you share yourself with others. They are the key to trust and cooperation between individuals. If you think about it, this makes sense and feels true. Why are so many of us afraid of opening up and being vulnerable? It’s because we are afraid of being hurt. We are afraid that we will share too much of our story with someone and scare them off. We are afraid that what we share will be used against us, etc. What if we weren’t scared of any of those scenarios? What if boundaries could make you feel safe? Safe enough to share, be vulnerable, and be at peace.

That is exactly what boundaries are designed for. You create a boundary to protect and share yourself with another person. It’s the key to trust and cooperation between people. Boundaries aren’t only about “ME” they are about “ME AND YOU” and being able to connect. Boundaries require you to be honest and responsible with yourself about yourself. They require you to communicate those needs with others. When the people you share those needs with honor them, you are able to feel safe and at peace. It is a wonderful feeling.

Me and my best friend Tiffany

Now unfortunately, some people misuse boundaries and create them to control others. This is wrong and burns bridges quickly. So how do you make sure you are setting them correctly and not trying to control others?

Boundaries need to be set from a calm place where you are feeling grounded. You need to be in an honest and responsible state of mind. You need to understand what’s going on inside of you.

When I created my 3 strike friend rule I was able to step back from the hurt and offense and see what was really going on inside of me. As I matured, I was able to determine that whether someone wanted to be my friend or not, I still had value. I didn’t need to change myself in order to accommodate what they liked in a friend and I wasn’t less of a person if they didn’t jump at the chance of a new friendship. Now, after setting up my boundary, I am able to freely and joyfully reach out to new people hoping they will be my friend. I have no reservations.

If after 3 attempts they aren’t showing interest, I don’t go into “people pleasing” mode and I don’t get sad. I have a boundary in place and I move on. I am at peace knowing that I did my part and I am happy with that. When I make a new friend, I know they are interested in being my friend because of my boundary. Because of that I am able to open up and be vulnerable with them. I am honest and share my good and bad with them. I have wonderful, deep friendships because of this. One of my greatest desires is to be a true and loyal friend. This 3 strike boundary is how I make sure I can connect with my friends in a real and valuable way.

Me, Tamara, Amberdaun, Jenny on a St. George canyooneering retreat

Here are 3 steps that Jodi Hildebrandt suggests when creating a boundary:

1-Clearly state your boundary. Understand what you need to feel safe and at peace. Use specifics: what, when, how, and why. Share this boundary when you are calm and attentive. Use “I” statements when communicating.

2-Clearly state the consequences of the boundary and how you will enforce it. Enforcing your boundary isn’t about controlling another person. You don’t get to say “This is what you will do if you break my boundary.” Instead you say “This is what I will do if you break my boundary.”

3-Don’t set a boundary that you are not willing to enforce.

I highly recommend listening to Jodi’s podcast, Connexions, Episode 21 all about boundaries. I had some amazing aha moments while listening and think you will too.

I wish you all the best in creating your boundaries. Everyone needs them. It’s wonderful to feel safe and at peace and it’s wonderful to make real connections with others.

Britt

My 3 Strike Friend Rule

My 3 Strike Friend Rule

It might seem crazy that I’m writing about my friend rule during a stay at home order and a pandemic wrecking havoc on the world. When this is all over we will probably run and hug the mailman we will be so excited to be around people again. And as for friends…well everyone will be our friend right?

Even with the anticipated excitement of being able to socialize in person again, I still think it’s a good idea to have boundaries regarding the people you surround yourself with. I personally have a 3 strike rule for new friendships. That might sound awful but it’s really not. These “strikes” are just boundaries that I have made to insure that I make the right friends.

Here is my rule when it comes to new friendships. I give the people I meet and want to be friends with 3 chances to be my friend and if they don’t show interest after the 3 chances then I stop trying. That simple. Not so terrible right? Let me explain with an example.

A new girl, Cindy, moves into my neighborhood. I invite Cindy to do something with me. She says, “Thanks but I’m busy. Maybe another time?” She’s very polite but not available. I think okay no problem. I’ll ask again. STRIKE 1

Next time I invite Cindy to do something she has to decline again. In between both of these invites she has not reached out to me at all. STRIKE 2

I reach out to Cindy a third time, but again she declines and doesn’t show any interest in scheduling another time for us to get together. She doesn’t say anything that even resembles, “I can’t on Tuesday but next Thursday I’m free. Want to get together then?” STRIKE 3.

Cindy is no longer a woman I will be reaching out to. We may very well become great friends later on, but only if she initiates it. If she reaches out to me and tries to plan something then I look forward to it and the chances of us becoming friends is high.

You see, I believe in being around people who want to be around me. If after three attempts and invitations to hang out there is no reciprocation on her part, I will put my focus on making other friends. I don’t hold a grudge against Cindy and I don’t judge her or wish her evil. I don’t gossip about her or tell others “oh yeah I tried to hang out 3 times and she didn’t want to be my friend.” No nothing like that. I don’t hold anything against her, I just won’t reach out to her anymore until I see some level of interest from her.

You might be saying well what if Cindy really was busy or had other plans on the days you invited her. To which I would respond yes, she probably did. The difference is that if Cindy really was interested in being my friend and I invited her to do something (3 times!) then she would have suggested another day to get together. It’s that simple.

It’s just like dating but for friends. If a guy asked you out three times and you politely declined each time didn’t you hope he got the hint and didn’t ask a fourth time? It just gets awkward. I don’t want to force anyone to be my friend.

I love all my friends and I love having so many friends. I value friendship. I don’t think there is ever a point of having too many friends, I always want more. I hope my friends know how much I value them. My life is better with each and every friend I have.

What do you think of my 3 strikes rule? Do you have any boundaries around new friendships? If so, I would love to hear them.

I Grew Up in Utah and Have Always Hated Winter.

I Grew Up in Utah and Have Always Hated Winter.

I grew up in Utah and have always hated winter. Wrong place to live if you hate winter right?! Have you seen Utah’s license plates, “Best Snow on Earth”? The issue is that I hate being cold and winter is cold. A long time ago I decided I hated winter and would just endure it every year until my favorite season Summer came along.

As I started learning about mindset and as I focused on reframing some of my negative beliefs winter came to my mind. Could I possibly reframe my mindset and learn to love winter? I thought it was worth giving a shot.

Like I said I hate being cold. My husband jokes that I am a very selfless person until I am cold. lol It’s probably true. Knowing that information I knew I needed to find a way to stay warm during winter and it couldn’t include staying inside for months. I did some research and found warm high quality outdoor clothing. I saved up and bought one bigger item each year.

I am very happy to report that I can now be outside and not be cold. In fact I love being outside in the snow now. There are so many amazing things to do in the snow: downhill ski, snowshoe, crosscountry ski, sled, build a snowman, etc. Have you ever hiked in the winter time? It is absolutely gorgeous!

The clothing makes all the difference. Let me share with you what I have purchased over the years.

Thermals are the starting point. I have these thermals. They have 435 five star reviews which is amazing. Plus the price can’t be beat, two sets for $33.99 and free shipping with Amazon Prime.

Another under layer to keep you warm is smartwool ski socks. Merina wool is great because it is breathable and it is antimicrobial so your feet won’t ever stink. Here are some great socks with great reviews on Amazon.

Snow pants are the next piece I would invest in as you build your attire. These are the pants I have. My legs haven’t been cold since I bought them. They are comfortable, waterproof, very warm, functional and flattering. I personally like the fitted feminine look. I recommend buying them off of Backcountry.com. I was bloom away with their customer service, free return policy, lightning shipping time and low prices. These particular pants are $180 on Amazon but only $122 on Backcountry.com. Plus if you sign up for their emails you get an additional 15% off. I can’t recommend these pants enough.

I searched for 3 years for a down filled coat that would keep me warm and that was flattering to my body type. I was picky! I wanted something extremely warm, packable, and fashionable. I found it at lululemon and it is everything that I was looking for. I absolutely love it and couldn’t be happier with my purchase. It is not cheap, but I saved up for it and it was worth every penny. I found these two colors of my coat on sale right now for $139. If you don’t like these colors you can pay the regular price of $198 and have more color options. P.S. Don’t buy this coat on Amazon, it is $100 more!

Tip: If you have a fitness certification lululemon gives you 20% off every purchase.

The last item I recommend are Sorel boots. Again when I was searching for my winter clothing I NEEDED something warm and waterproof and I WANTED something cute. Sorel has so many fashionable options and as far as quality it doesn’t get better. I have had my boots for 4 years now and I love love love them. You can buy them here on Amazon for the same price plus Prime shipping.

All of these items have made it so I can get out and play during the winter months. I feel like a kid at a candy store during winter now. So many new fun things to do outside. No more hibernating for me during the winter season. I have embraced the cold because I no longer feel the cold.

Do you get out and enjoy winter or do you find yourself hating it like I did? If you find yourself dreading the cold winter months, invest in some good quality clothing and go on an adventure. You might find out that you actually love it. I know I do. In fact, come join me on an adventure! Follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

Come connect with my community of women who embrace adventure and self compassion getouttheregirl.com

Disclaimer: I am not sponsored in anyway by any of the companies that sell these items. This is what I use in my personal life. I have included amazon affiliate links.

Writing People Off? You Might Be Missing Out!

Writing People Off? You Might Be Missing Out!

I’ve met people I don’t mesh with. People who I don’t have much in common with and people who I don’t feel happy around. But even with those people I’ve never met a person where, after hearing her story, that my heart didn’t change toward her. Sometimes we just need to give people a second chance at understanding each other.

Take my friend Hollee, for instance. In high school, we had the same circle of friends. There were five of us in the group, and one of her best friends was also one of my best friends. But Hollee and I didn’t get along.

She was the cute girl, confident, wore makeup, had boyfriends, and I was the shy one who didn’t understand fashion or makeup and had very little self-esteem. We were different and never gave each other a proper chance because we were superficial and judgemental.

During those high school years Hollee said some mean things to me, and I said some mean things to her. I simply didn’t like her and she did not like me. When Facebook came around we ended up friending each other on social media. (Remember we weren’t enemies just not fans of each other.) Whenever we’d comment on the same post as friends of friends, I would have a sour taste in my mouth. The negative feelings between us would show up all over again.

Out of the blue, Hollee reached out. She sent me a Facebook message, apologizing for being a brat in high school and for treating me badly. “I’m really really sorry,” she said.

Her message of apology meant a lot to me. I responded back to her message with thanks and that was it for several years.

Then I moved from Virginia to Utah. I needed someone to do my hair, Hollee was a cosmetologist and she lived near my new house, so I called her up. I was willing to trust her because she had sent me that contrite message. I thought that she’d do my hair and we could have a pleasant relationship.

But things changed after that appointment. I went in, she did my hair, and we connected. It turns out, we’re actually a lot alike. As she shared her story and I shared mine, we clicked. It’s been almost 5 years now that we’ve been besties.

We, who disliked each other for so many years, have now been able to share some of our hardest times and some of our greatest heights together. She knows the worst of me and my life and the best. We have a really deep friendship. I love Hollee. She is a genuinely good person who treats others with love and acceptance. She likes to have fun, she gives good advice and she listens with her heart. I feel blessed to have her in my life.

I’ve thought about our story a lot. All the superficiality from high school has melted off and we’ve ended up in a really beautiful friendship that has blessed both of our lives. If we had just written each other off, we’d have missed out on this friendship. We’d never have known how good of friends we would become.

I think the life lesson is: We shouldn’t write somebody off as not worth knowing. Don’t judge others. Just don’t do it! Instead listen to each others stories. Once you hear a person’s story the judgment melts away and there is only room for love. Who knows maybe there is someone in your past that could be your future bf?!

It Took Me 34 Years To Learn To Love My Body

It Took Me 34 Years To Learn To Love My Body

I always wanted to complete a triathlon, but my fear of the water made me think that would never happen.

When I was little my Mom signed me up for swim lessons. It was my turn to jump off the diving board into the waiting teacher’s arms. I took the leap, but the teacher had turned her head to talk to someone, and so I sank entirely underwater. I remember looking up through the water at my teacher, frantically dog paddling, thinking, “She’s not looking at me,” and doubting she would save me.

But she did. She saw me and quickly pulled me back into the air.

I hadn’t been drowning. I’d probably been underwater for less than a second. And really I know how to swim. I can swim perfectly well with my head above water and I enjoy playing with my kids in the water. However, I never learned the freestyle stroke which requires me to put my face under water. Plus, I have a recurring dream of drowning. That childhood trauma has affected me into adulthood.

Every time I thought about signing up for a triathlon, I would remember that swimming was included and tell myself I couldn’t do it. That fear held me back. I thought I would be fine never completing a triathlon.

Five years ago I saw signups for a duathlon (which is a run-bike-run event — no swimming). I signed up, and I ran and biked, and it was an awesome experience! I loved it! I thought it would fulfill my desire to complete a triathlon. It didn’t. I still felt this inner pull to succeed at a triathlon. But I still feared the water.

Last year when I read more about the Spudman Triathlon I felt confident enough in myself that I knew it was time to accomplish my dream and overcome my fear. I suddenly felt determination flow into my body. I paid the $100 registration fee and signed up.

I listened to some swimming tips from a couple friends and watched a few youtube videos. I did some major self talk and told myself that I was tough and capable. I started swimming a couple times a week. It was quite the struggle. I came home discouraged more than I came home motivated. Every time I got in the water I would have to talk myself through it. I was alone with my thoughts in the pool. For better or worse. All of my positive self talk that I learned about came into practice once again.

These past weeks have been brutal. I have been training 1–2 hours every day. When I wanted to sleep in, I didn’t. When I didn’t feel like swimming or biking or running — and when I felt like I had so many other things to do — I still swam, biked and ran. I have been very dedicated — even driven — to accomplish this goal.

Yes all this work has been for the triathlon. But it’s all bigger than just the physical challenge.

I’ve stopped making up excuses about why I couldn’t accomplish my dream.

I’ve learned a lot about myself these past 12 weeks. I’ve spent hours with myself alone in my head while pushing my body to its limits. I’ve seen just how capable I am. I’ve seen how beautiful morning sunrises are in the mountains on my early morning bike rides. I’ve felt how good it feels to use my body and thank my body for doing what I’ve asked it to do. I’ve learned that physical health is directly tied to emotional health (well I already knew that one.) I’ve given myself permission to believe in myself. In fact, I’ve demanded I believe in myself. I told doubt to take a hike and I told it often. And you know what? It worked.

I’m happy to report I now know how to swim.

Race day came and once again I didn’t allow myself to doubt. I knew I had prepared and I was ready. I could do it! I got in the water and my heart was pounding. For 24 minutes my heart rate was at its max. I swam freestyle then flipped on my back over and over again. My goal had been to finish the swim in 30–40 minutes. I did it in 24 and I felt great.

I quickly transitioned out of my wet suit and into my bike shorts and running shoes and off I went. I was able to see both my parents and my husband and 4 kids cheering me on as I left on my bike. I was on cloud nine. I had successfully completed the swim and now I was on to what had become my favorite event of tri: the bike.

On the bike I felt my legs immediately. I was kicking myself mentally because I knew I used them a little too much on the swim. I should have let my arms do the majority of the work swimming but I used my legs a lot. I was a little worried how my legs would hold up the rest of the race but the soreness wore off and I was able to get in the zone.

I think I smiled the majority of the 24.85 miles riding my bike. The scenery was beautiful farms and wheat crops ready to harvest. I felt great. In fact around mile 12 I started to cry because I thought about the fact that I had spent the majority of my life hating my body. Literally hating it. Wishing it were different and looked like someone else’s. I had wasted so much time hating that I had missed just how amazing my body truly was. My body is strong and capable and I am proud of it. I wish our culture was different. I wish we focused more on what our bodies can do and the gift that they are rather than what they look like and how they can be pleasing to another’s eye. The thing with culture is that it starts with us. You and me. We can teach our children that bodies are instruments rather than ornaments. We hold a lot of power as individuals, teachers, friends and parents.

My goal was to complete the triathlon in 3 hours flat.

I came in at 2 hours 47 minutes.

The euphoria of accomplishing a dream is something that I can’t put into words. Even as I type this tears are threatening to pour out. I am proud of myself. I had a dream, I set a goal and I worked hard. I stopped giving fear permission to rule my life. I didn’t give up when I doubted myself and ultimately I only allowed room for belief. I will forever be grateful for this experience and for what it has taught me about myself.

What would happen if you stopped doubting yourself?

What would happen if you believed in yourself?

This power can change our lives. You are the only one who can stop yourself from accomplishing your dreams.