My therapist asked me,

Elexa, how are you going to build a foundation for a life of happiness, success, and love? She expressed to me that the foundation of a house is based on its core. Synopsis: You may not be building on a solid foundation, but you are in fact building on something Elexa. The purpose of a foundation is to support the entire structure that is built upon it. If one wall collapses, what would happen to the structure or stability of the house? What would happen if two more walls were to fall? What would happen if the roof crumbles? We all build a life, but the difference lies in the foundation in which we build it. So, what you do you believe in? What are your values? What drives you to make decisions? How do you use your resources? If you look at the choices you make every day that will give you a clear idea of what foundation you are building your life on. Many people do not take the time to stop and reflect about that. I remind you to not just survive, but learn how to thrive! If you build a foundation with wrong materials, chaos can become a home for you! You absolutely cannot just take care of one wall (which is an aspect of your life) and expect the rest of the other walls to be fine. So, for example, your mental health can affect your physical and spiritual health, and your physical health can affect your mental and spiritual health or your spiritual health can affect your mental and physical health. Either way, they all co-exist with each other to keep the foundation of the house from falling apart.

My therapist broke down with me a combination of core values and attributes that keep me strong and productive. It takes some practice, outlining, and note taking to visually see the big changes we are looking for. Once you have outlined for yourself the change(s) you are hoping for, the next step is practicing how to apply those changes to add meaning to your life. Do not be afraid to grow at your own pace here. A small shift is just as meaningful.

Here is an outline that I practiced achieving a healthier foundation for my life with the help of the book, The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte. This book did me wonders! And I know it can for you too. Ask yourself a series of questions. I invite you to take this moment to think about yourself for a moment. Ask yourself, what does a meaningful life look like to you? Now, recall a few times where you did not feel the way you wanted to about your life. Describe the feelings, emotions, sensations, mood, and awareness associated with it. After you answered what does a meaningful life look like, ask yourself another question. How do you want to feel in each area of your life? This is good practice to express yourself freely and connect deeper to your emotions.

So, Lets Break it Down and  Map It Out:

Step 1: Within my livelihood and lifestyle, I want to feel:
Clarify your career, money, work, home, style, space, travel, and sustainability.
Step 2: Within my body and wellness, I want to feel:
Clarify your healing, fitness, mental health, rest, relaxation, movement, and diet.
Step 3: Within my creativity and learning, I want to feel:
Clarify your self-expression, interest, hobbies, therapies, and education.
Step 4: Step 3: Within my relationships and society, I want to feel:
Clarify your romance, friendships, family, collaboration(s), community, and causes.
Step 5: Within my essence and spirituality, I want to feel:
Clarify your soul, faith, inner-self, truth, intuitions, and practices.

I think it is fantastic that Laporte asks to look up the definitions of each core word you described during the five steps I listed above because my previous sponsor also asked me to look up the definitions of each word I describe or associate myself with while working on my character defects.

Step 6: Laporte then suggests that we narrow down a select few of the words we described in steps one through five and be mindful of these questions when we choose the words.

Q1: What does it feel like to [insert word]?
Q2: What does it look like to be [insert word]?
Q3: What does it sound like to be [insert word]?
Q4: If I were [insert word], what would my life be like?
Q5: What’s [insert word] really about for me?

I will provide some short examples to guide you.
(1) Maybe humility is about the connection to the world and being of service.
(2) Maybe success is about freedom.

How do you react to some of these words? Does it allow you to look deep into your truest self? The purpose of this exercise is to break the definitions apart and see if it adds more meaning to either inspire or repel us. Does the word cause pressure, does the word cause strong emotions associated? Are you using nouns or verbs, (past tense) when describing? This is a key component to visually show you that you may be seeking external validation. For example, love vs loving. There is a difference. Do not worry, I am still working on that too.

Step 7: Time to choose top three core values.
The words we described our core values must come from within, not a feeling that would expect to be delivered to us or something outside ourselves. For example, look at the word connection. We all crave connection but do we truly embody this feeling. Does this feeling pull us forward or backward in life? Do you crave it or put it into action?

Step 8: What do we need to do to experience and feel the way we desire most? Putting how you want to feel into action. Example, I want to feel independent and prosperous within my relationships and Society of my life, so I want to own an apartment in an expensive city. Well, having an apartment does not necessarily mean that you are then prosperous and fully independent. Maybe owning an apartment in an expensive is unnecessary when you can find an apartment in a “cheaper” city. No need to prove anything! In fact, you may not feel independent or prosperous but maybe constricted. Now, scratch this off and find a word you truly connect with and go with it! Do not be afraid.

Step 9:
(1) Within my livelihood and lifestyle, I want to feel:
If I want to feel this way [write core desired feeling here]
Within the realm of livelihood and lifestyle, then I want to experience and have the following:
(2) Within my body and wellness, I want to feel:
If I want to feel this way [write core desired feeling here]
Within the realm of body and wellness, then I want to experience and have the following:
(3) Within my creativity and learning, I want to feel:
If I want to feel this way [write core desired feeling here]
Within the realm of creativity and learning, then I want to experience and have the following:
(4) Within my relationships and society, I want to feel:
If I want to feel this way [write core desired feeling here]
Within the realm of relationships and society, then I want to experience and have the following:
(5) Within my essence and spirituality, I want to feel:
If I want to feel this way [write core desired feeling here]
Within the realm of essence and spirituality, then I want to experience and have the following:

Step 10:
What do you want that you already have? Separate needs from wants. You may already have what you need. Write a list: ‘I want [fill in], I already have [fill in] You may have to accept it in other places or things or search for it. You crave to be seen. As I mentioned, I struggle with the feeling of not being cared about. But, people do care about me, it may just not be the people who I “EXPECT” to care most. “Resist the temptation to compare what you are lacking” For a lot of things are already filling your cup. You may just not have recognized it. It took me a while too. Doing this list can help you practice gratitude and ease up on the people around you and be more open or give others or things more credit.

Step 11: List clear resources down.
People who can help me live out my core desired feelings?
People who I know personally or directly locally?
Professionals, experts, and service providers?
Role models or idols?
Angels, spirits or spiritual forces?

Step 12:
Choosing goals! Choose four major goals for the next couple months! Ask yourself, what are you most excited about? This is the time to put your core desired feelings are the center of your life now that you have explored it a little. How can you turn your vision, what you truly feel deep down into a reality? Well, learning how to live an affirming-life is the essential to a strong foundation. Your center core will guide you.

Step 13: Practice
(1) Plan with your core desired feelings.
(2) Write! Write! Write it out!
(3) Develop a mantra from your core desired feelings implementing it into a mindfulness exercise! Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of your five senses in your surroundings. To destress, keep calm and an inspiring reminder to yourself.
(4) Connect! Practice being vulnerable! And share your gifts and talents!
(5) Gratitude and positive self-affirmations.
(6) Let go. Be courageous and do what you want to do! Experience what you want to experience! Do not be afraid to take risks!
(7) Practice self-compassion! Be gentle with yourself! Throw those should of’s, what if’s out the window.
(8) Work on balancing your aspirational values, self-reflect and break down your foundation regularly. Who do you want to become? Work to be your best and authentic self.
(9) Stay curious
(10) You have more strengths than weaknesses even when it is hard to see it.

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We have a choice of what we feed into our minds, bodies, and souls. To uncover fear, we must dig deep down to reveal what is holding us back. Our temperament and experiences can contribute to what we so righteously fear. What are you afraid of? Do you fear the unknown or the past? Do you have traumatic events that are etched pathways of fear? Do you struggle to articulate your feelings? Are you avoidant? Do you believe that you cannot be happy in your own skin? Do you have feelings of insecurity that can intensify? Do you fear change? Do you fear judgments, shame or failure? Do you fear to be alone? Or do you fear of not having enough or being good enough? Whatever your fear is, acknowledging it is the first step to overcoming it. When we share those hidden parts of ourselves with others, true healing can begin. I was once told if I wanted to grow, I would have to sit in some un-comfortability. Now the real question is! Are you willing to fight for your peace of mind? I hope you are. I want you to know that I am here fighting for you, too. Please comment below what fears you are currently struggling to overcome or if you identify with this post. I am willing to lend a listening ear and guide you.

Psalms 118:6 reminds us that God is sending his unending, faithful love for us. That he is on our side. Fear will doubt his love, for he is in control of all things. I was told the five pillars of fearlessness are (1) God is with me, (2) God is my God, (3) God will strengthen me, (4) God will help me, (5) and God will uphold me. Fear hinders our ability to make decisions. Its purpose is to direct us to safety. It gets us ready to fight—or flee. Remember the place of destruction is not the place of safety. Sometimes, fear provokes us into wrong or dangerous responses. A quote I love that describes fear perfectly is that “fears are like flames and our efforts to protect ourselves are like gasoline. Every attempt to ease our fears is like covering fuel on the fire, and now it is consuming us.” When we put more faith in fear, then our possibilities are limited.

Shannon Kaiser touches upon the subject of fear in her book, Adventures for Your Soul. This is one of my favorite self-help books and would like to share with you all some pieces of her words. Detoxing from fear can be brought up feelings of discomfort. Detox simply means ridding your body of toxins. To “disengage with fear, we must dive straight to the core, and that requires courage, dedication, and a willingness to surrender.” Page 163. I personally explored her detox of fear challenge, and I invite you to do the same. I had revelations and breakthroughs regarding my addiction(s) and forgiveness. I come to acknowledge that fear should not decide our fate because fear amplifies our emotions ultimately hurting us.

(1) Fear of failure ultimately comes from inadequacy. As Kaiser puts it, “these are the achievement junkies.” You cannot base your life on solely being confident that you can master every craft, so please try something new! I agree with her, that you cannot hide behind achievements and win to prove your self-worth. You do not have to chase after that longing of approval just to gain some recognition. Lower down those expectations, and practice accepting yourself first instead of from others. Turn that worth ethic to finding inner peace and joy. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and be your true authentic self.

(2) “The fear of the unknown drives people to stay in situations in which they are unhappy.” Success does not perform in a straight line and there are no guarantees in life. It is an illusion that you must know all the answers for your life. I was once told that life is not a math problem to be solved. That we should trust God and the plans he has for us. The unknown is full of haunting “what ifs.” Why is it that we let security, clarity and safety trump happiness? As I mentioned before, you cannot choose fear over faith because it threatens today's moments of joy with the pain of tomorrow. When you strip down this fear, you will find insecurity and lack of control at the root. Do you want to live a life where you prevent yourself from exploring new opportunities and growing because you are simply afraid that a setback may actually be a blessing disguise, or the ending of one chapter can be the beginning of something great?

(3) Focusing on things we do not have rather what we do have is goes hand in hand with the fear of not having enough or the feeling of not being good enough. However, I can understand that it can be hard to remember those moments of positivity when mired in feelings of self-doubt and insecurity. We are so obsessed with comparing ourselves to others that we make it difficult to find our identity. If we can lower the expectation of what we want on focus on our needs, the universe can open so much more possibilities. Kaiser explains to trust that we will always get what we need. You are far better than the moment that you wish you could do differently or than you give yourself credit for.

(4) Change is going to happen rather you like it or not. Having the fear of change resonates with people who are addicted to holding onto the past and are too afraid of letting go. Change is scary, it can make us feel overwhelmed, trapped and lost. As the world continues to move around us and change, we need a place to find some hope. In order to move forward, we have to trust the universe’s support of the natural unfolding’s of our lives. The one thing the stays the same is our unchanging God and his support. (Malachi 3:6) He is our rock and anchor when we need help during troubling times or transitions. Kaiser says this perfectly (2), “When you let go of who you think you are supposed to be, you can become who you want to be. Your inner self is your guide. Faith. Change is for you and it is a good thing because it is the universal message of telling us some people, situations, habits, places or things no longer serve us.

(5) "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." – (1 John 1:8–9). Is there a place you have tried to manage your shame with silence or secrecy instead of through the faith of God? Shame takes up and emotional space because the fear of being judged will always eat up your feelings of thinking you have done something wrong. The fear of shame and judgment resonates with people who underestimate their own abilities and strengths. We may think we have shame, but to God shame no longer has us. This fear manifests into many outlets including addictions, self-sabotage, self-destructive behaviors, and people pleasing. Rejection stems from not getting recognition or support. Maybe somebody told you that they did not accept who you are. Who cares. If you accept yourself first, that is all that matters. Honor yourself, your quirks, uniqueness and gifts. I too am learning to accept myself whole-heartedly. We respectfully should never be afraid to express ourselves because we are full of compassion and love. Forgive the past, for those mistakes do not guide your future. Let it go. You have done nothing wrong.

(6) Fear of being alone is the scariest fear because you get lost in others before you get lost in yourself. You love others before you can love yourself. You want to help others before you can help yourself. And you seek from others instead of from within yourself or in other things like an addiction to fill the void. The root cause of this fear is the abandonment and the desire to feel validated, needed or loved. The people that resonate with this fear tend to sacrifice their own needs and desires for other’s happiness or avoid expressing themselves. For example, staying in an abusive or co-dependent relationship because the fear of loneliness is so strong that they rather have that than nothing at all. Or people rather sit in misery than ask for help because it is more comfortable that way. Give yourself permission to feel the love that generates through your body. When you can practice enjoying your own company, you are never alone.

(7) Lack of self-expression is a fear of staying authentic to your inner self. We crave the human connection, we will not find that by distractions in hobbies, drams, or projects. Even when you have reached your potential in all those things, there might still be a disconnect. People who can resonate with this fear tend to be the most independent. They do not need anyone and have created a closed-off lifestyle where help, advice or guidance is not accepted. Masking behind being busy is the so lonely. It is so lonely to have to feel the urge to prove yourself to others ALL THE TIME. Showing your true colors is what the world needs more of. Do not be afraid to get hurt, when you open your heart to vulnerability it creates a space for love.

I wonder how many people have gifts from God, but are not using them? How many times have you set an inspiring goal, planned to achieve it, and for reasons you put this goal to halt? Maybe you feared disappointment, or maybe you feared failure? Whatever it may have been, you decide it was not meant to be. This is untrue. God intended for us to find the confidence that comes from knowing who you are in him. God will even use our weaknesses to teach us how to become stronger. Separate your performance from your identity. God does not always choose to answer all of our prayers the way we would like. Sometimes there is something greater. He blessed our lives to draw us closer to something. Transformation and resilience.