GUEST POST: How I Became Empowered By My “History”

Hmmm… About that Taiwan recap…

Yeah, Tara and I filmed over 200 videos, so editing this epic conglomerate of footage is going to take a bit longer than it does for a man with prostate problems to… Pee.


Okay, that’s actually not something to necessarily joke about. But I did. Whoops.


So any who… When my friend, who also happens to be an author, speaker and life changer, Nanci Besser, offered to write a guest post for this week, I pretty much got on the ground and kissed her feet! (BOOM!! She is a LIFE CHANGER… She gave me an extra week to piece together this Taiwan video)

Nancy Besser headshot

You see, Nanci has started a “Go Kindly” movement. This philosophy empowers everyone to rewrite his or her life story with the power of kindness. It is made up of three components: Work Kindly, Live Kindly, and Move Kindly.

Go Kindly Logo

She teaches how to relate to your life in “kind” via practical modalities such as workshops, videos, seminars, and private coaching.

How did this whole movement commence…? Well read her story and find out!

PS: Some of what she asks/discusses… Could be great fuel for your own blog post content! 

Take it away Nanci!


Would you do me a favor, kind reader? Close your eyes. Tell an overview of your life “story.” Start with “Once Upon A Time” and conclude with the present. Done? Perfect.

Now, reflect upon your words and notice how many times the main character (you) was the victim of circumstances or other people. Great, one more task and then I will share the details of my “story.”

Last favor; retell your story from a place of empowerment. Notice the difference? Good, now come with me into my history of learned disempowerment and discover how I rewrote my story with the power of kindness.

Each and every one of us has a story. That fact is without dispute. How we “live” our story is a product of deliberate choice. No matter what the circumstances surrounding the “character” of you, it is possible to craft a story where you shine because of your experiences, not in spite of them.

Venice Beach Sunset

Looking back at the history of my childhood and family interactions reflects the early indoctrination that women came second to men. When it was time for dessert, my grandma offered all the men at the table a second helping. One night, at my grandparents’ white tablecloth shrouded dining table, I rebelled. Perplexed by the dessert allocation discrepancies, my seven year-old hand reached for another cookie without asking permission.


Gentle, yet firm pressure met my wayward fingers along with the words, “No dear. You only think you want more dessert. Let the men have more first. Then, if there are leftovers, you may ask for another cookie.” And that, became the mantra for how I approached relationships with a man: Take care of him first and accept the unwanted, discarded crumbs.

Ever since my first crush, I longed for a soul mate. Yes, that mythical entity of effortless coupling that fairytales assures us exists. Since attending to a man’s needs was my designated station in life, I better find one that I can prove my worth; else I faced a lifetime of emptiness or horror upon horrors: spinsterhood.

Whatever intention motivates our actions, the outcome must also reflect the tone of that initial intention. Fear of not being enough, on my own, catalyzed my interactions with men. Therefore all of my manifested relationships had fear as their foundation. It is no surprise that I chose “unavailable” and domineering men as partners. Dominance arises from receiving pleasure from controlling another. My pain was secondary: After all, they were worthy of happiness; I was not.

Nancy Besser

The irony is that the more I pleased a man, the less I liked myself. Yet, like any “addict,” I couldn’t stop. I had to be with a man, no matter the misery the compulsion caused me. Disgust greeted me in the mirror. Who was I? The question haunted me. Unable to formulate an answer without the presence of a man’s validation, I quickly adapted to his point of view. Do you recall the movie “Runaway Bride?” The character Julia Roberts portrayed always based how she liked her eggs according to the preference of the man she dated. She had no idea how she liked her eggs outside of adhering to her date’s choice. The same was true for me literally and figuratively.


In hindsight, I recognize that I too was being manipulative by not sharing who I was with the men in my life. Though my manipulation was unconscious and without intent to harm, it was still deceptive. An inability to be myself (or even to know “what” that was) led others to view me as dishonest. Changing my opinion to suit the situation or person also revealed my lack of confidence and self-esteem.

A mindset forged upon indecision invites those with rigid thought processes to assert and spread their doctrine. Each of my serious boyfriends held intractable opinions. In the vein of fulfilling their happiness by giving them what I thought they wanted, I yielded to their will, sometimes with physical marks signifying my inevitable surrender. An inability to trust my instincts and my inner voice left me adrift from a solid sense of self.

Looking back at my “dating story,” each relationship, save one, left me more disconnected from my inner strength. Detachment became my coping mechanism. The less I internalized the abuse I received, the easier it was to endure. However, we all have our breaking points. Mine came this past year with my-now ex-boyfriend. Enough was enough and getting–by was no longer good enough.


He bellowed rants at me more often than not. On that day, something in his tone awoke a forgotten song of empowerment within my mind. No more. I was done being the receptacle of his anger. It wasn’t my lot in life to be his verbal punching bag. My imagination taunted me with envisioning a life beyond the confines of the walls of “Us.”

Nancy Besser

There must be something bigger than just existing. What if I could flourish? All it required was letting go and standing solo. Taking a “blind” leap with only my desire to be free as my forwarding address, I left. No longer would I settle for leftover crumbs: I wanted the whole meal and seconds.


Living life as an “intentional gypsy” reawakened my inner compass and sense of worthiness. As if by design, my world attracted those who were either struggling with being “enough” as I had or whom had transformed their destiny by self-directed intention. Shame and regret do not taint the memories about my past. Pride and courage define my present.

My experiences ushered in a capacity of empathy and kindness that knows no end. All of us have our “addictions” to things that do not serve our higher purpose. Be kind to you and to those around you that struggle with releasing their compulsions.

We are all in this together. Kindness and judgment cannot coexist. By creating space to “choose again,” we empower our choices to reflect who we are when we forgive our history. It’s never too late to begin anew and no one need accept crumbs, ever.


“Kindness is the gateway to better relationships (with “others” and yourself); I teach Kindness.” –Nanci Besser

So tell me…

  • Do you tend to put yourself second? 
  • How do you take time for you? Do you feel guilty treating yourself? 
  • Can you relate to Nancy’s story?
  • What was the last nice thing you did for someone else?
  • What advice would you give your 10 year younger self, about relationships?

Nanci is certainly someone to look up to, so feel free to check out her website, follow her on Twitter and connect with her in Linkedin


  1. I love everything about this post. So inspiring. Thanks for sharing your story, Nancy

    • She is definitely encouraging for those who have gone through events such as this!

    • Thanks, Liz! I’m glad you liked it. I’d love to hear how it inspires you. Please feel free to reach out if you’d like to share your story with me.

  2. I can totally relate to Nancy’s story! Great post. I try to be as selfless with my time as I can!

    • As we all should :) Of course, being a tad selfish every so often is definitely okay- ha ha!

    • Thanks, Nellie! I’m happy you enjoyed it. Yes, Gigi. You raise a good point. Self care is crucial. Rather than “selfish” I adopted the word “selffull” for when I have to take care of me before I’m any use to anyone else.

  3. It’s amazing how such “innocent” words or actions from our parents and grandparents create a profound impact on how we live the rest of our lives. I’ve recently undergone hypnotherapy to help clear those old, untrue beliefs and it astounded me on what came up! Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Oh yes! Our parents and grandparents are extreme influencers in our lives. I know for a fact that my parents and the way they brought me up, as impacted who I am as a person. Happily, I can report, that they brought me up phenomenally, and I am a very happy person, but I know far too many who didn’t have the best upbringings and it’s sad to see in some of their actions :(

    • Thanks, Susan! You raise some great points. Good for you for rewriting your past beliefs in a way that serves you. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

  4. I love this. I actually have a post with a similar topic going up on Thursday. It’s so wonderful to be able to step out of a situation and restructure the experience in a way that it’s healing and defining in a positive way! I’m definitely going to follow Nancy! Thanks for sharing this post with us, GiGi!

    • I will certainly need to stay-tuned to your Thursday post! And I agree – it takes a very strong person to be able to see the negative in their life and twist it into positivity!

    • Thanks, Erin! You said it: restructure experiences so they have a healing and positive impact. Let’s connect. I’d love to read your post on Thursday.

  5. This is perfect for my post today! It is all about thinking You can. BEGINNING OF STORY.

  6. Wow! Blown away by the kind responses so far. Thank you Gigi for sharing my story. I’m touched to see that it is touching the hearts of so many. We are all in this together!

    • We can all relate in some capacity to your story Nanci! However, a lot of people chose not to talk about it, but sometimes you really just have to, as you know!

  7. Great post filled with openness and inspiration. I feel like I experienced this “song of empowerment” a few years ago, and made changes that completely changed the path of my life. I am the happiest I have ever been, and reflect a lot on the strength I had to make the changes needed to bring me to today. Good luck on changing the rest of your story on your Kindness Journey :)

    • Rachel, I am BEYOND THRILLED TO HEAR THIS! Nanci is certainly someone to look up to if you’re struggling to find happiness in your life. I am lucky enough to say that I have always been a very happy person and don’t let evil manipulative people into my life.
      Keep rockin’ your happiness! :)

    • Thanks, Rachel! Congrats on finding your “fight song” of empowerment. It sounds like you are on an incredible journey. I’d love to hear more. Please say hello and let’s connect.

  8. I have written articles about this specifically in relationships and I have come a long way from the person I used to be. I also suffered from an alcohol and heroin addiction and lost my career and freedom. I use those experiences and what I have learned in recovery to help give back to others and try to break the stigma around addiction. Thanks so much for this post; it is our histories that make us who we are and how we choose to view and grow from them is what will make a difference in the lives of others.

    • Erin, I am thrilled beyond belief that you took your pitfalls and past negative experiences, and used them as motivation and help for others! You too are an inspiration and I appreciate your efforts to want to better other people while you continue to live a positive lifestyle yourself! :)

    • Thanks, Erin! Your journey is brave and heroic. Thank you for sharing your path and insights. I’d love to be in the loop and learn more about your efforts to help others.

  9. Love this. Kindness = key. When we let fear, when we let the ego, when we let insecurities take over…we lose connection to the kindness, to the love, and to our inner guide. When we listen, when we find the presence, when we find the confidence in the NOW, we can be at peace and joy results. Lovely lovely lovely post. Now to remember that everything is always unfolding the way that it is meant to. Never look back on the past with anger, derision, or self-dout. It was perfect for you and making you YOU today! 😀

    • You said is Lora, you said it!!! Such a poetic comment that makes perfect sense :)

    • Thank you, Lora! Your comment is beyond eloquent. I’m touched that you enjoyed the post. I’d love to learn more about your journey. :)

  10. That’s a powerful story, and I appreciate the honesty! Fitness is what changed me from a very passive person to an active, make my own luck, type person. That’s why I started my blog! I can completely relate to Nanci’s feelings of not just wanting to exist, but flourish, and dream big for herself and her life. So happy for you, Nanci. Go get it, girl! And, thanks for inspiring us. PS Really looking forward to those vids, Gigi. WOOHOO!

    • Fitness certainly has a way of putting positivity in one’s life, and I am thrilled you used it as your “medication” for your passiveness… As well as BLOGGING but of course – if you didn’t then we would have never “met”!!!

      Oh man, this video is straight-up ridiculous. HAHA! iPhone loveeee!

    • Thanks, Jessica! I’m glad you related to the post. Life is amazing when you live it rather than observe it through someone else’s direction. Congrats on your blog and for using fitness to fire you up! I’d love to learn more about your story.

  11. This was the perfect post for the time before you can get to the Taiwan recap! It was certainly insightful and positive. Hmm… I just feel like a more happy person after reading that 😉 Thanks for sharing, Gigi! Btw, How was Taiwan? 😉

    • :) I am glad that post enlightened you a bit Kennedy!!

      As for Taiwan. OH MY LANTA – ha ha ha ah ha! So much to tell, I am editing the video right now… And I am already at 11 minutes and it’s only day 2 – HA HA!! There are going to be multiple parts to this re-cap, for sure! 😉 It was quite the filling excursion!

    • Thank you, Kennedy! Seeing your comment that you feel like a happier person after reading my post made me smile. Thank you for sharing your experience. Comments like yours encourage me to keep writing. Have a wonderful day!

  12. SUCH a brilliant article! I do tend to put myself either always second or always first, meaning I’m too passive or too selfish! :( It’s tough to find balance.

    • HA HA! We are all struggling to find a balance ALL the time – it takes time to figure it all out and we are never going to be 100% perfect.

    • Thanks for commenting, Cassie! So happy you enjoyed reading it. Finding a balance is a challenge. Remembering to be kind to myself when I get out of a balance has been key to feeling more balanced. What do you think?

  13. I think she is spot on…everything in life can be a bit better if we focus on being kind. Humans make situations so complex but honestly, act like we are taught in Kindergarten and life can be good. We can be happy and prosperous because we care and act kindly to others.

    • OMG Kindergarden! I feel like when we hit age 25 we should all be required to go back to kindergarden!! 😉

    • Thanks, Caryn! You bring up a great point. Kindness isn’t rocket science. It’s simple, but not always easy to remember to access. Yes, Gigi! All of us should go back to the fundamentals when it comes down to “how to treat one another.” :)

  14. Very inspiring woman!

  15. I put others first, but only when I WANT to and only when I know they should come first. I also treat myself….possibly too often. HAHA. Yesterday I shared a piece of pie with one of my regular customers, that was my nice moment of the day. I never share pie…

    • Thanks, Brittany! It sounds like you’ve got a great perspective when it comes to kindness. Sharing pie is the ultimate example of kindness-in-action!

      • Oh I know you Britt, and you’re my twin aka: PEOPLE PLEASER. It is so hard to balance us vs. others that is for sure, but we can do it and we need to do it far more often….. As for sharing food… NEVER! lol

  16. A lot of unintentional trauma gets inflicted on all of us when we’re growing up, doesn’t it? And continues throughout our life if we let it. Good post — very eyeopening. Thanks.

    • Thanks, John! I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. You bring up a great point. Childhood beliefs may cloud our adult life unless we are willing to rewrite them.

    • Unintentional drama – OH YES. Too much and people get way to caught up in it! :(

  17. thank you for sharing such an empowering story. it’s incredible how childhood can shape our habits/life expectations, but it’s more amazing when we overcome them and don’t let the negative influences define us..

    • Thank you, Tianna! I’m touched that the story touched you. It sounds like you know firsthand the power of being empowered in your present rather than defined by your past. Thanks again for sharing your insights.

    • Oh heck yes childhood can shape EVERYTHING – who we are as people today is truly dictated from our past experiences, especially those from Childhood even if you don’t remember them, subconsciously you do!

  18. Great post – thanks for sharing. I think it is so important to take time for yourself. As how are you meant to look after other people if you can’t look after yourself?

  19. I can definitely relate. I’m so bad about putting myself dead last as a mom. Before I became a mom, I could do whatever I wanted. Well, in reason ;). I realized a few months after my daughter was born that I needed to advocate for myself with everyone. My husband has been great at noticing when I’m starting to burn out, so we already started to “schedule” mommy alone time. It’s so necessary & my goal is to make this a priority this year. Frankly, I’m less grumpy and a better mom for it!

    • Aw! I love that your husband helps out and realizes when you need your alone time. My sister will need to do that very soon as she just had her first daughter. She in fact was just messaging me about how she is a bit stressed, I think it’s all starting to hit her that her life has all of a sudden changed and she’s not putting herself first. Having mommy-time definitely helps with the GRUMPS 😉

    • Wow, Elizabeth! Congrats on speaking up for what you want and deserve: Alone time! How wonderful your hubby supports you in such a kind way. Thanks for sharing your story of empowerment. :)

  20. I’ve had so many of those same soulmate thoughts throughout my early life..

    I tend to put myself second, not because anyone asks me to, but I have two young kids and a busy husband. So I guess I put myself fourth. I’d really like to change that.

    • :( I don’t want you to always put yourself 4th! I know you’re working on that. I am sure your husband would allow you to put yourself first every once in awhile – he seems like the best 😉

      Put yourself first, come visit me, and we can go for a spa day, exactly what you need!! A foot rub? Oh heck yes! lol

      • Tamara, I don’t know you personally, but I agree with Gigi! Come visit her and go have a fun spa day! You deserve to pamper yourself. :)

  21. Wow – such an inspiring post! Thanks Nanci for sharing your story and GiGi for hosting!
    I’ve been a single mom for awhile and it’s this relationship more than any other that has taught me that I NEED to take time for myself in order to be the best me. I also happen to love that quote at the end!

    • I AM THRILLED you know this. You’re a smart woman, of course you know that you need YOU time, in order to be your best! 😉

    • Hi Shashi! Thanks for your kind comment. I’m glad you liked the quote. It’s the foundation under everything I am and do. Congrats on deciding to relate to yourself with kindness! :)

  22. I LOVE this. I consider myself a people-pleaser, and am working on being kind to both myself AND others. Putting others first 24/7 is exhausting, haha.

    • Oh I hear you! There was a point where I was a 100% people pleaser, but now I am taking time for ME and it’s wonderful because it keeps me sane so I can continue to give to others 😉

      • Yes, Gigi and Jess! Being kind to you first empowers you to be able to help others. Congrats to both of you for taking the time to be kind to yourself. :)

  23. I love that scene from Runaway Bride with the eggs. I know that growing up I was very much a follower who just wanted to be liked by everyone. When my best friend picked the flute to play in band, I did too. When a boy I liked named another girl as “hot”, all I could think of was “How can I be more like that?”
    It took me a long time to break from this mentality, and if I am honest, I still do from time to time.
    Thank you for sharing this.

  24. Jennifer says:

    I try and do something nice for someone (or a few people) every single day, even if it’s just opening the door for someone. Every small good deed helps. I feel like putting smiles on people’s faces is even doing something nice!

    • We are twins Jennifer! I try and make people laugh/smile every day! :) And you just put a smile on MY FACE!

      • We might be triplets, Gigi and Jennifer! When you make the intention to “be” kind, then everything you “do” also reflects that intention. :)

  25. I love this post. Seriously enjoyed reading it

  26. It’s amazing how much seemingly little things can affect us — and how hard it can be to re-write our scripts.

    • It truly can be! And it’s crazy to think that going through certain situations, you may be blinded by what they’re doing to you, but the second you step outside of yourself and look at the situation, you realize whether or not it’s good for you.

      • Yes, Gigi. Once you have the courage to step out of a situation, you gain the power of perspective. From that point, you get to choose how to respond to the situation without coming from a mindset of preconceived judgement or fear.

  27. “kindness and judgement can never coesist”
    This whole post had me nodding my head….

  28. I hope Nanci can heal from the trauma she has gone through. I imagine it will take a little longer. Forgive me, but when I started reading I was initially struck by how men were the problem, and that persisted. I kept waiting for a more egalitarian viewpoint. As a man, I can assure you that women do their share of damage too. Yes, a kinder, more gentle world will help all of us.

    • Nanci has healed (and continues to) from the trauma in her life and has only used all of it as motivation.
      And I agree with you, men are not the only one at fault. I think Nanci is writing this just through her experience and since a woman never did any wrong-doing to her, she never voiced her word about it. Of course women can cause trauma in people’s lives as well, no one is truly an angel in this world… Well, I mean, except me… Right Dr. J? lol!

      • Yes GiGi, you are an angel! 😉

      • Yes, Dr. J and Gigi. My issue was not specifically “men.” My issue was the purpose I gave to men in my life. It was the dynamic of the relationships that was unhealthy. I could have given that power to women or to purple elephants for that matter, but my life’s classroom has been shifting the purpose of my relationships with men. We all have our “thing” in life that we are tempted to give our power away to outside of ourself. My past history empowers me to have compassion for everyone, regardless of his or her specific form of struggle. And yes, Gigi, you are a total Angel! 😉

  29. What an insightful, well put together article. I am glad that you and Nancy teamed up. Great job!

  30. What an inspirational post! I like this quote you shared “Kindness is the gateway to better relationships (with “others” and yourself); I teach Kindness.”.

    • Thanks, Doreen! That quote underlies everything that I am and do. I’m touched that you enjoyed the post. Please keep in touch!

    • Such a true statement about kindness, I see it every single day… As I practice it on the regular!

  31. I am AWFUL when it comes to putting myself on second. As a result I have some health problems I’m now trying to work through. Definitely something I need to change! Thanks so much for taking the time to link up with us over at the #HomeMattersParty – we hope to see you again next week!

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Kristen. Awareness is the first step to change. Be kind to yourself on your journey to put yourself first! :)

    • Hopefully your health problems will continue to motivate you to get yourself BETTER :)

  32. Thanks for sharing on the Healthy Living Link Party.

  33. Wow, such an awesome and inspiring post! Thanks so much for sharing!

  34. My grandmother always said, “Kindness is next to Godliness” and it stuck with me. I have tried to make kindness a way of being. I am so delighted that you shared this inspiring post about the power of kindness with us at the Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up. I’m pinning and sharing.

  35. This is a beautiful post – thank you for sharing your personal story Nancy.
    “We are all in this together. Kindness and judgment cannot coexist.”
    I LOVE this =) It is so true. I don’t put myself ahead of everyone and anyone much of the time, but I am fortunate to have an instinct to put myself first when it counts.

    • I am glad you have that instinct, as so many people don’t – or when they do they feel guilty about it!