It’s real easy for me to seek outside myself for the answers.
What should I wear?
What should I say?
What books should I read?
What should I eat?
What course should I take?
Who should I follow?
What should I study?
Who should I trust?
My questions all some version of “What’s the right thing to do?”
One of my biggest drivers is to not be wrong.
In that state, I was at the mercy of everyone else while simultaneously reinforcing the (total BS, but very real) story that I can’t be trusted.
Here’s what I learned to do
Step 1 – I redefined “right”
For me, what’s “right” is what feels good for me at the moment.
My inner protector immediately said, “Absolutely not. We cannot trust ourselves with what feels good.” 👈🏻That’s part of our patriarchal programming.
I listened and acknowledged their fears. “You’re right. It is scary. And, it is going to be super fucking uncomfortable until it’s not and that’s okay. We’re going to be with it together. I’m going to be with you and we’re going to learn how to move with the discomfort and fear.”
And we did.
And we are.
Step 2 – Practice the ask
I ask myself + my body what she wants. Wants to eat, wants to wear, wants to read, wants to study, wants to do at this moment.
I ask her if and how she wants to move, when she wants to wake up, when she wants breaks, who she wants to work with and what she wants to do for fun.
Step 3 – I communicate with her + take action on her desires
Sometimes we take action right away and sometimes it’s later that day and sometimes we negotiate to a different day.
I practice trusting her by letting her lead.
And, sometimes I find myself wanting to ask someone if they think I should take a course or hire a coach or take a program or buy the book and in those moments, I smile and I pause.
I remind myself who I am and what I know and I seek an answer from the only person who knows what I want.
Now I DO believe in external support.
It’s important + necessary.
The support I invest in is support that helps ME tap into MY answers.
Why? Because I’m fucking brilliant about me.
Just like YOU are fucking brilliant about YOU and anyone who has told you differently (even if it’s you) is lying.
They are likely lying because they love you and are trying to keep you safe. And they are lying about you.
You can unlearn the stories.
You can heal your relationship with your reflection.
You can come safely home to who you really are.
I don’t understand why I’m so tired…
If our needs are unmet as children, we can develop a belief that we are unworthy of being taken care of.
We create this belief because as small children, we think that everything happening in our environment is a reflection of us.
So if our needs are unmet, we make it mean that it’s happening because there is something wrong with us.
When I say “unmet needs”, that might have been your physical needs (things like healthcare, proper clothing, hunger, thirst, etc.) but it also applies to your emotional needs (things like safety, stability, security, unconditional love, acceptance, validation and affirmation of your belonging + worthiness).
Our brain is wired for survival and therefore if our needs are unmet, it will feel life-threatening.
Because we are incredibly resilient, when this happens, we tap into our creative problem-solving muscle.
We humans will do whatever we need to do in order to survive.
So if we feel unsafe, unlovable, unimportant, invalid and/or unworthy, we will figure out ways to get those things we desire, even if we have to manipulate ourselves or others in order to make it happen.
Again, we are creative + innovative like that.
I’ve been reflecting a lot recently and one of the biggest realizations + healings I have had has been around self-sacrifice labeled as “I am a good person in service to others”.
When that part of me was leading, I didn’t realize how much pressure I was putting on those that I claimed to love by NOT taking care of myself.
I didn’t realize that I had been functioning, stuck inside of a trauma response where I believed my safety was at risk.
I didn’t recognize that I had been unconsciously operating from the belief that my needs were invalid.
I couldn’t see that I was an adult who was being led by an inner child with unmet needs.
So I overworked, I pushed myself beyond my capacity, and I didn’t uphold my boundaries because this wounded part of me believed that I was unworthy, but thought if I were to do a good enough job taking care of everyone else, I might be taken care of.
The people that I loved the most were the most stressed out and worried about me as they watched me destroy myself + declare I was doing it for them.
The moment I recognized what was happening I began to shift.
The journey wasn’t always easy because there was a lot of healing that needed to happen, but what I know is that I was — I AM worth it.
So are you.
I’m worth the time it has taken + I’m worth the practice.
So are you.
We humans are programmed for survival so it makes sense that we will do whatever we can to ensure that survival.
And, I do not need to choose to live how I was conditioned.
Neither do you.
You can learn to neutrally observe what is happening.
You can learn to explore with curiosity and a desire to understand.
You can decide what you want to experience.
You can learn to take new actions.
You can learn to meet your own needs without blaming anyone else.
You can heal your relationship with your reflection.
I spent much of my life rushing to a finish line that didn’t exist + while missing the journey that did
I was working for my worthiness like it was a thing waiting for me at the end of my never-ending to do list
Earlier this year, my body let me know she was done tolerating what she’d been tolerating (amazingly well!) for so many years
She got sick
My diet had to be completely overhauled, I was in adrenal fatigue + I was realllllll close to walking myself right into an Autoimmune Disease
See, one of my programmed patterns is to fight — push though
If you’re like me, I know you get it
I learned this probably in a similar way you learned it…
By watching + listening to my parents, teachers, leaders + society in general preach the “Work Harder! Do More! Perform Better! Be Stronger! Win at all costs! There’s only ONE seat at the table!” battle cry
But the ones who sacrificed the most…
They never really won or got that seat because the game they were playing was unending – never over
But that didn’t stop me from trying to be the ONE – the winner they spoke about
☝🏻 F * * K T H A T
I could have killed myself and our “perform for your worthiness patriarchal culture” would have stepped right over my dead body + kept on moving
➡️ l needed to learn that I already had that seat I was hoping to earn
➡️ I needed to learn to choose me instead of waiting to be chosen by them
➡️ I needed to learn that getting things done was more important than me doing things
➡️ I needed to learn that collaboration is better than competition
➡️ I needed to learn that a table with only one seat is a table built on fear
➡️ I needed to learn that rest is as — if not more — important than work
➡️ I needed to learn how to slow down
➡️ I needed to learn that it could be safe to slow down + I needed to do the work to make it safe in my body
☝🏻 Those are practices
Those are practices I practice daily + they are practices I share with the entrepreneurial women I coach
Look, I get it
It’s hard to relax
You feel guilty + lazy because there’s so much you should be + could be doing
And even on those days where you do choose to take it easy you end up feeling worse than you did before you took the day off so you promise yourself you won’t do that again anytime soon
You tell yourself that you’ll rest after this thing is done or after you take care of this one more task, but there’s always one more task
You tell yourself + others that you’re at the bottom of your to do list when the truth is you’re not even on it
I know what you’re afraid of
👉🏻 You’re scared if you stop you won’t start up again
👉🏻 You don’t trust yourself or your body
👉🏻 You’re afraid of losing your edge
It makes sense
After all, this work ethic is why you’re so successful
(or maybe I’m the only one who thought those things + felt that way)
The truth is, my work HAS changed
No longer do I subscribe to the belief that hard work itself makes me intrinsically virtuous or worthy of reward <– as the definition of work ethic explains
That doesn’t mean I don’t work well – I do
Since making these personal transformations…
✅ I’m more productive
✅ I’m more focused
✅ I’m more creative
✅ I’m more inspired
✅ I’m more organized
✅ I’m more fluid
☝🏻 And that’s not all…
✅ I begin my days with me, not with work
✅ My sleep patterns + sleep schedule are more consistent
✅ I have created + upheld boundaries around my time + my calendar
✅ I say “No” without apologizing, guilt + self-shame
✅ I go on weekly dates with my wife
✅ I play with my puppies
✅ I go for walks
✅ I take breaks + naps
✅ I practice yoga
✅ I practice meditation
✅ I have created rituals I use throughout the day that allow me to remain in the present moment
✅ I’ve stopped multi-tasking (as much 😉)
✅ I am doing what I want to do
✅ My body is healthy
Friend, if you’ve got yourself convinced that your unrelenting discipline is serving you, I get it
For years you could not have convinced me otherwise + I have no interest in convincing you, but if you’re tired of feeling exhausted, tense, resentful, stressed out, anxious, secretly out of control while pretending to be in control, overwhelmed + in pain, comment below or send me an email
There’s another way
the problem is, most of us ignore them because they are so accepted and expected that we don’t recognize them for the red flags they are
it’s called being an adultwe saypull it togetherput your big girl panties onjust do itwhat’s wrong with youwe askso-and-so has it worse than youyou’re so lazy
it’s not that badeveryone i know is friedi’m too busyi don’t have timetoday is the ONLY day to get things donelook at our to-do listhe needs methey need meshe needs meit’s finei’m finei’m fine
the cannibalistic cycle
of miserable determination
consumed by the me
i now be
still alive in me
the scathing, self-loathing
giving birth to the breath
finally willing to feel
allowing them to melt
all of the me
i spent my life
pretending to be
the pretty me
the polished me
the perfect me
i felt the burning heat
and stood there
taking my breath
in the me
i used to be
which is why
i used to be
𝘜𝘚𝘌𝘋 to not feel
of the heat
on my sensitive skin
the me i used to be
terrified of the inevitable
the fear inside
i used to be
grew into fascination
i found myself
by the burning
masochistic in my curiosity
wanting to step
in the me
i used to be
unable to take
until the moment
yearning for everything
i’d spent years protecting
for my fragile front
to be decimated
pulled into the magnetic flames
of my own vulnerable authenticity
ready to be reborn
1. a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others, especially considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action.
- an intense feeling of deep affection.
- a great interest and pleasure in something.
- a person or thing that one loves.
- feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to (someone).
Self-love feels like one of the most talked about concepts, yet I believe most of us don’t DO self love.
While we are familiar with the notion, for so many of my sisters, self love is simply not an ACTIVE practice.
It sounds good in theory and we read books and burn sage and purchase crystals and get manicures, but when it comes to actually executing an intentional practice…
We say things like, “That’d be nice. I wish I had time for that luxury…”
The truth is, the active practice of self love demands us to shift our seat on our long task list. We have to move ourselves from dead last to first. Self love calls forth a bold declaration from the depths of our soul. An unapologetic battle cry…
“My needs are JUST as important as your needs.”
Because dead last? It is killing us.
We are quick to leap at the opportunity to serve and give and show up for another, but “GASP!” how dare you ask us to show up for ourselves? I mean, we’re soooooooo busy.
The habitual “I’m fine” slowly erodes at our self-esteem and self-worth as we seemingly, suddenly find ourselves angry and resentful waiting for others to give us what we haven’t given ourselves. We’re impatiently waiting for a person or an accomplishment to come along and validate us. And when they don’t? We become irrational and irritable because they haven’t given us what we haven’t asked for and yet believe we are owed.
But friend, it’s you. The love you’re seeking is within. There is NO external source that can love you enough… validate you enough… to satiate the hunger rumbling deep in your belly.
I snapped this picture in April 2018. I was leaving a week long transformational coaching training and it was during this week — just one year ago — that I fell in love with me. I released shame and guilt I’d been carrying for years. I stopped punishing myself and I chose love. Intentionally. I saw the wholeness of who I was and I loved her with the ferocious compassion of a mama bear protecting her cubs.
I didn’t know how
But you showed me
I didn’t know if I could
But you believe in me
I didn’t know I was worthy
But you reminded me
I didn’t know if I was enough
But you lovingly affirmed my truth
I forgot where to look
But then I saw your reflection
It is impossible to love others if we are not actively in love with ourself first. And, if you’re like most people, you are going to have to enlist support in cultivating new habits. We are simply not programmed to choose us.
In “Pussy – A Reclamation” Regena Thomashauer says, “It’s very difficult for us to say yes to our own pleasure. We have no experience prioritizing our own joy or making an investment in ourselves. But it is very easy to say yes to responsibility and obligation.”
This has to change.
It’s time to change.
And, I believe we are most effective in transforming our lives and habits when we have the support of tribe.
My new friend Sharon, the founder of GO LOVE YOURSELF– a self care and self love subscription box- shares the following on her website:
…as March’s featured author Kelly Corrigan notes, “you can’t really be loved if you can’t bear to be really known.”
And you deserve to take the time for yourself to know yourself, and love yourself, to know others, and to love others, and to be known by others, and to be loved by others. You don’t have to go it alone.
Sharon believes that self care is an action and self love is the result.
Awareness in and of itself doesn’t bring change. Motivation, while fun to experience, doesn’t bring change. What does bring change is ACTION. A commitment to DOING what needs to be done to change our lives and increase our self love and happiness.
As Sharon shares, “if you’re ready to be the change you want to see, take the actions you need to take, do the work, and connect with a group of women who are committed to truly living their best lives, we’re here for you.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Take the first action step in choosing YOU and get yourself the support you’re worthy of.
If you have any questions about the support Sharon provides, feel free to contact her directly through her website: https://www.thegoloveyourselfbox.com/about_us or if you have questions for me, send me an email at: email@example.com.
For so long I pretended I was unworthy. Like I had to do more and be more to earn the right to want. Ugh. “Earn the right to want…”
The law had been written and I had declared, “I never was nor would I ever be enough.” I had crowned myself “unworthy” and so it was.
Eventually, I stopped wanting. It wasn’t safe. It was too risky.
My dreams and desires were trapped. Locked inside my soul, fighting to come out– to come alive. Longing to be spoken out loud into the Universe, fueled by the oxygen of my breath. But, I’d build a wall to keep them in.
And yet I stood there yelling about how I can’t dream and how I don’t know what I want, but the reality was, I’d built the wall to trap my desires. I put the padlock on the chains, I latched it closed, the lock was on MY side of the door, and I was the one person holding the only key.
And yet, I was angry and throwing a fit about how it wasn’t fair.
Like many of you, I was waiting. Telling myself, I’d express my desires if a few standards were met…
I had to know it was safe.
I needed “them” to prove they could be trusted with my desires.
And more than that? I needed to know for sure that what I wanted would come true before I dare speak anything out loud.
Can you relate?
Good luck with that.
You’re going to wait forever.
Because you’re requesting the impossible. You’re demanding an unknown prediction of the future so that you can ensure everything will work out the way you want it to and if and only if you get the guarantee will you then come back to the present and take action and speak your desires aloud.
Pretending you “don’t know” feels safer.
Pretending feels more comfortable than confronting the truth: Your desires and dreams are not safe with you.
How do I know? Because I wasn’t safe with me for years. I couldn’t trust myself so I hunted for my answers– sought out my dreams– in others. “You tell me what I should want,” I’d say.
My gluttonous consumption of information and my addiction to the intoxication– high off of the answers others gave me– had me waking up everyday with a pounding headache and a hangover from hell because the shots they poured and what I guzzled down didn’t have the capacity to satiate my soul’s real longing.
Things began to change for me when I admitted all of this to myself and recognized that the solutions I was getting were to the questions I was asking, but I wasn’t asking the right questions.
Friend, it is possible to live a life liberated. It is possible to dismantle and transform the lie you’re living disguised as a life you’re not living, extinguish your suffering, unlock the padlock, and release your soul.
while i don’t recall the moment i first heard haruki murakami’s quote, i distinctly remember the feeling in my body. my jaw clenched and my shoulders rolled back and tightened as i began to embody a fighting stance. i was under attack and preparing myself for battle. i was ready to defend my suffering. i was set to argue against anyone who would dare try to take my limitations away.
now, as i reflect on that version of me, i feel a sadness for her. but her aggressively defensive behavior makes sense to me.
when i was told my suffering was optional, i made it mean that it was a choice. and i didn’t want to hear that i was CHOOSING to suffer.
because that would mean i would no longer be able to blame my mom or my dad or my life or those people over there or this circumstance here or my finances or that one person from 15 years ago who called me fat or that teacher who wouldn’t help me or that guy that broke my heart or that girl who said those things mean things.
if my suffering was a choice, i’d have to stop saying it was “them” keeping me down and admit that it was me.
and friend, i didn’t like that one bit.
but, here’s the thing that’s important to understand if you want to live an empowered life– your experience is 100% within your control.
if we are suffering, it is our choice.
if you are suffering, it is your choice.
i was reading an article that described it like this: it is possible to experience pain and not suffer as much as it’s possible to suffer and not be in any physical pain.
to me, the suffering kicks in when we become emotionally entangled in our pain. when we take our pain and we attach who we are to that pain we will suffer. when we beat ourselves up (physically, mentally, or emotionally) for our pain, we will suffer. when we continue our self-abuse with guilt and shame, we will continue our suffering.
THESE are the things that are our choice.
the painful or traumatic or painful thing that happened? that’s not on you.
but, making that event(s) mean something negative about who you are, beating yourself up again and again for your perceived mistake(s), and torturing yourself with guilt and shame… friend, those things are your choice.
if you believe you’ve suffered enough, comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. i’d love to support you. and if you haven’t suffered enough, carry on. but, as you carry on, do it will full ownership that at this point, the suffering you’re experiencing is YOUR CHOICE.
blame is easier, but it’s never healed a hurting human. please don’t try to be the first.