Choosing radical self-love
"To believe that we can and must hide the parts of us that are broken, out of fear that others are incapable of loving the parts of us that we cannot love ourselves, is to believe that sunshine is incapable of entering a broken window and warming an empty room." Sandra Kring.
I've had to do a LOT of work on this ... learning to love my whole self - even those broken parts. Much of this work I did on my own - because in general I am a fairly private person.
But in the moments where I couldn't hold this space for myself I requested the support of other people. Loving, compassionate others who helped me see that all parts of me, even those deepest darkest parts that I prefer to hide because I believed them to be unlovable, are all part of what make me ... me.
My old story read something like this: I'm unlovable. I'm not deserving of true love or joy. No one will ever love me as deeply as I love others.
Learning to really, truly love myself has been one of the biggest lessons I've had to learn in this life. That healing process has been challenging, to say the least. My unlovability stories impacted every area of my life, including how I was showing up in my personal relationships AND how I was showing up in my business. Every time I thought I was "done" healing it, something else would happen that invited me to go deeper to heal another layer.
Even though this healing work was challenging, it was worth it.
I learned to receive Divine love, grace and forgiveness.
I learned to extend grace and forgiveness to myself.
I learned that I wasn't in fact a "bad" person - I was being overly-critical of myself and some of my choices.
I rewrote those old stories about my worth and lovability.
I saw all the ways I wasn't loving myself through daily actions and choices and have been making the necessary adjustments.
Now that I've done the work to release all of this outdated and very heavy emotional baggage, I have been rediscovering who I really am beneath it all. I feel more confident. I am showing up more fully for myself. I am taking big leaps in my business. I am open to RECEIVING love, too... and that's a big one because I used to block and sabotage it in every way possible.
I've come to realize that even with all of those parts of myself that I viewed as bad, that I'd rather keep hidden - I am still worthy of being loved.
I'm fully accepting myself - exactly as I am - flaws, mistakes, failures and all.
I am choosing radical self love. I am elevating my own needs and priorities. I am standing up for myself. I am setting boundaries. I'm stepping more fully into my life. I'm choosing to let the Light, the Warmth, and the Love in.
I am finally choosing me.
How do you react when you mess up? In the past, even simple mistakes would have consumed my thoughts for a whole day or more. I would have berated myself repeatedly, saying things like, “I can’t believe you did that!” “What will people think?” “You’re so careless!” Or worse... something along the lines of... "You're such an idiot!"
We’re all human and as much as some of us would like to be, we’re not perfect. We’re going to make mistakes. We’re going to do or say things we’ll regret later. We’ll get too busy and forget things. We’ll react too strongly to things other people say or do. We'll lash out at someone we love.
As much as we strive to be 'perfect' and 'in control' at all times, neither is an achievable goal. We expect so much of ourselves. And when we fall short of these unrealistic expectations, we turn on ourselves, hurling self-criticism and self-judgment.
What about you?
For what reasons do you typically judge and criticize yourself?
Your career choices?
Your relationship or parenting choices?
Your flaws, mistakes and failures?
What if we let go of the unrealistic expectations of perfection we place on ourselves and accept our shortcomings, mistakes, and failures? What if we extended ourselves grace and compassion instead?
Easier said than done, sometimes, isn't it?
Many of us excel at extending kindness and compassion to other people, but we don’t offer that same gift to ourselves. But what if we did? What might that feel like?
If you could benefit from techniques to help you make these kinds of shifts, let’s get a discovery session on the calendar to see how I can help.
Courage or comfort...?
To live fully, to live a life without regret, requires us to summon our courage, take a risk, and take action even when we would rather hide in the safety of our comfort zone. Most of us want to change in some way or change something about our life. But resistance and fear camp out, waiting for the right moment to sabotage our efforts.
“Every day, you are signaled and summoned to embark on a journey beyond the boundaries of all you have ever known. You need only [stretch beyond] your fears, open your heart and begin.” Bob Savino
Through my own deep inner work these past few years, I’ve come to identify the beliefs, patterns, and reactions that hold me back from growing into my full potential. I’ve been playing it safe, hiding out and staying small. To move through our fears, we need to re-evaluate our beliefs about what we are or are not capable of and what is or is not possible for us to accomplish. We need to practice showing up fully for and in our own life.
Fear gets a bad wrap, but it does have an important role. It signals when we’re onto something important and it keeps us out of harm's way.
So our goal should *not* be to become fearless.
Our goal should be to acknowledge our fears and choose to take action anyway, stretching beyond our comfort zone. To do that we need to tolerate the unknown, welcome uncertainty, and be willing to fail. We need to know what is so important that we would do it anyway, even if we fail.
*In what ways are you choosing comfort in your life?
*In what ways are you choosing courage?
*In which area of your life would it be most helpful to choose courage over comfort?
*What fears are holding you back from your full potential?
A Practice to Try: Do at least one thing that scares you.
Mantra: I choose courage.
“When you’re less reactive, you become a light in the world, contributing to less suffering and more happiness for yourself and others.” Richard Shankman
Being present is very simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. We have things to do, places to go, and distractions that divert our attention. On top of this, our mind races, fretting over things we’ve said, worrying how we’re going to get everything done, and criticizing ourselves for what we've done 'wrong.'
Presence isn't necessarily something we 'accomplish' - it's more of a way of being. When you are present, you are fully in this moment – you’re not stuck in yesterday’s events or worried about tomorrow. You’re just aware of what’s happening around and within you, right now. You’re bringing your full attention to what you’re doing or who you are with. When you’re fully present, you can see more clearly and experience life more fully.
How do you define presence?
What impacts your ability to be fully present with yourself or others?
How could being more present make a positive difference in your life?
A Practice to Try
Put everything away and sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Notice yourself sitting, just as you are.
Turn your attention to your breath for a few moments. As you have thoughts, acknowledge them and allow them to float away, naturally.
Then try this exercise in mindful breathing:
Notice how you’re feeling now? What has shifted for you?
You can practice this simple breathing technique anytime you need to return to your center and bring your presence into this moment.
Today I will be fully present to whatever happens.
"I'm so overwhelmed..." Over a period of two months, I heard myself utter this phrase *multiple* times. I always added a meek, "...in a good way though..." afterwards. One day I noticed that I spoke this out loud to two different people within hours of each other. In that moment, I realized it had become an issue and needed my attention. I do not aspire to live in overwhelm. I knew I needed to quickly change this story before it became a permanent pattern.
I grabbed my journal and wrote down everything that was contributing to the feelings of overwhelm. When that list felt complete, I asked: How can I simplify and ease the feelings of overwhelm?
I wrote down the first thoughts that came to mind in my journal. I asked again and wrote additional ideas on a mind map. Then I connected with my heart and asked for its guidance, too, making a heart map.
Feeling like I had gotten everything on to the page brought an initial wave of relief. First of all, I could clearly see everything I was working with. And I could see potential solutions and a path forward.
Some of the big themes I noticed:
I welcomed ease and flow back into my life. I focused, I acted with more purpose and intention, and I shifted to making more high-energy choices in each moment. Making these few adjustments made a HUGE difference, not only in my energy level, but also how often I experienced feelings of overwhelm.
Do you struggle with overwhelm, too? How do you react and what do you do when you find yourself here?
If you need some support identifying and addressing the sources of stress and overwhelm in YOUR life, let's get scheduled for a discovery call to see how I can help.