Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.

Marianne Williamson

Early morning last weekend, as I sat by the pool at the Ritz Carlton in Aspen, I reflected upon the present situation: it was truly a perfect moment.
Great hair day, perfectly brewed coffee in hand, new opportunities presenting themselves weekly, and a pool boy stopping by to ask if I needed anything. Deep breath in to appreciate and savor the moment…

Then– suddenly– as if I were just handed a dire diagnosis, my heart sank as dangerous thoughts crept up…

Who am I to deserve this?

What if I can’t keep this up?

What if I disappoint people?

What if I fail?

My mind became more cloudy after every thought I entertained. Here I sat turning a perfect morning into a self-made nightmare.

Then– suddenly– as if a best friend shook me from my daze, I realized something:

One of the scariest emotions to embrace is joy. (Tweet it!)

Can you relate to the following?

When things get too good, you plan for the worst and expect your life to fall apart.

When you’re feeling great in your body, you begin obsessing about getting older or weight gain.

When money starts flowing in, you start worrying about losing it.

When your dream man shows up, you push him away before you might lose him.

As Brene Brown puts it, “We dress-rehearse for tragedy.”

As I lounged by the pool torn between enjoying a precious morning and allowing myself to be my very own joy-stealer, I made a decision.

As scary as it may be, I will NOT resist joy.

I am choosing to not deny myself of excitement, pleasure, abundance, or success– even if it feels uncomfortable or too good to be true.

Instead of dress-rehearsing for tragedy, dress-rehearse for joy. (Tweet it!)

And with that decision came a clear reminder of my mission: to inspire you to expand your capacity for joy, pleasure and abundance.  And, dare I say, to ecstatic states!

Allow yourself to break the limitations you have put up around happiness, love, joy and success. Everything you desire is on the other side of that self-imposed limit.

Gay Hendricks, in the book The Big Leap, refers to this as an “upper limit problem.”

An upper-limit is essentially when you have reached your amplitude for love, wealth, joy, and all things great. If you’re not aware, you’ll end up sabotaging your joy and return to old patterns and situations that will keep you in your familiar world (but not your ideal).

I still haven’t met a person who, at some point in their lives, has not dealt with an upper-limit problem.

Here’s an example of an upper-limit problem:

One of my School of Self-image students lost six pounds during the first two weeks of the program while eating delicious foods and having the time of her life (no dieting was involved).

During one of our calls, she said, “I’m afraid this won’t last. This approach simply seems too good to be true.”

This lovely bon vivant had reached her upper-limit.

I explained the upper limit theory to her and it immediately clicked. It wasn’t the approach she was doubting, but her own ability to handle more joy, pleasure, self-satisfaction, and overflowing self-adoration.

She also discovered that her joy was being limited elsewhere: in work, relationships, and her overall quality of life. She was resting somewhere in the middle because it felt safer to not expect too much and risk disappointment.

With this new awareness and other tools she gained in the School of Self-image, she lost 20 pounds, which has been kept off more than two years now and opened up so much more joy to enter her life.

Are you wondering if you’ve hit your upper-limit? Here are some ways people often subconsciously become their own joy-stealers:

– Overeating.
– Overspending.
– Lack of sleep.
– Starting a fight with your partner.
– Getting sick.
– Drinking too much.
– Comparing self with others.
– Procrastination.
– Excessive worrying.
– Self-defeating thoughts (aka you’re-not-good-enough-who-do-you-think-you-are mind chatter).

Do any of these apply to you?

If you sense that you may be hitting an upper limit, I have two suggestions:

1. Recognize your pattern.

When things get too good, do you go to a place of fear and mistrust the goodness?

When you begin to cultivate better health and vitality, do you start to overeat or decrease your exercise?

When an amazing potential partner presents him/herself, do you reject the possibility?

When love becomes too strong, do you push away?

When money begins to flow, do you overspend or declare yourself unworthy?

We all have patterns, but it’s those who are able to recognize them that are able to break their cycles.

Next time you find yourself coming up against your upper limit, STOP.

Call a trusted friend or mentor. Put down the doughnut. Allow the right person to hug you. Say yes to the date. Find evidence that the thought simply isn’t true.

Commit to breaking through your joy limits by noticing the pattern while not engaging in self-sabotaging behaviors.

2. Expand Your Capacity for Joy.

I’ve created a personal practice: When I find myself contracting and shrinking, I know that I’ve hit a limit. So, I physically open my chest and take deep breaths as a strong indicator to the Universe that I’m willing to expand and accept more.

Then, instead of going to a place of fear, I journal pure gratitude and throw a big High Five to the Universe for this joyful moment.

I pour love on my cherished ones, celebrate my successes, turn on feel-good music, and do something decadent for myself.

In those moments, I commit to breaking through by seeing how much joy I can really handle. Bring it on, I command.

When you find yourself hitting your upper-limit, it’s normal to want to contract and regress.


Hang with the discomfort and commit to expanding even more into the greatness of life.

Remind yourself that you’re receiving what you’ve asked for.

Remember that you are worthy of all this and more.

Commit to breaking through your limits.

My goal is for every woman in this community is to begin testing the limits on how good it truly can get and then get as comfortable with joy and success as you are with fear and worry.

Up it! Let your heart open to more because I promise you that more wants to flow into your existence!

Want to share your thoughts on this one? Have you ever struggled with an upper limit? How did you breakthrough? I look forward to hearing from you!

Breaking Limits,



Self-Image Makeover

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