Category Archives: Self – Love

Loving Yourself – Can You? Do You?

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Loving-ourselves

 

A friend recently asked me why I had stopped writing in my blog.  I told her, because sometimes I feel like I have nothing to say, that’s all.   Sometimes I feel I have words that the world needs to hear. (And wow, doesn’t that sound boastful?)  But so does everyone and their brother nowadays! Other times I think, with all the people who are trying to get their words across on the internet these days, why on earth would anyone want to hear what I have to say?

Perhaps it’s just that I’ve been trying to learn something important.   You see, for as far back as I can remember, I’ve tried (and tried and tried and tried!) to be better in some way.  As if who I’ve been has never been enough.  I’ve read books (oh-so-many-books) on how to be this or that, or how do this or that even better.  I’ve read articles, I’ve watched videos, I’ve gone to support groups and women’s groups and prayer groups and church groups – because my belief has been that I must always strive to be better.  But I’m tired of striving!  I’m tired of reading, watching, and attending!  For the first time in my entire life I’ve been asking myself – what’s so wrong with me that I need to change everything all the time?

And the answer that I’ve come up with is…..nothing.  Nothing is wrong with me.  I AM good enough, just the way I am.  I don’t need to be fixed. I don’t need to constantly be berating myself because of some random thought that I had that I felt wasn’t appropriate. I don’t need to continually be chastising myself because I ate something (or did something or thought something) some vague person or article said wasn’t good for me.  Who gets to say what’s good for me – or not good for me?  Shouldn’t that be ME, after all?

More and more I’ve come to believe that I no longer need to search for answers outside myself.  I believe I’ve talked about this before somewhere here, but this is becoming clear to me in a brand new way. I believe, now, that the constance with which I berate myself for the way I feel I’m never doing it right (whatever IT is) – that this way of being is a complete disconnect to myself – body, mind and spirit.  I’m coming to believe that if I constantly hate on myself for what I’m not, then I’ll never, ever achieve a true sense of being ok with who I am, right now, warts and all.

And believe me, I have warts – BIG ones.  I worry and fret way too much over things I cannot control.  I spend too much time regretting things in my past that I cannot change. I procrastinate.  I don’t have a body that is – how shall we say – acceptable – in today’s society.  I sometimes over-mother my kids and grandbabies.  I perhaps spend too much time alone.  I am what I like to call myself – a reluctant servant in the work that I believe I’m called to do in my little corner of the world – meaning, I don’t always do what I know I have to do willingly, but instead go kicking and screaming.  I often relate to the story of Jonah, in the Bible, who kicked and screamed (and ran away and spent 3 days in the belly of a whale!) Yikes! Hopefully that will not be my destiny -cause, ya know, I don’t like fish! 🙂

With all of these not-so-positive ways of being, these days I’m still choosing to be ok with who/what I am.  To have compassion for myself.  To stop reaching for ways to do it all better, and just love myself for who I am.  And I’m beginning to believe that once I can reach that place of real love for myself in all my ways of being – well, that will be a peaceful state in which to live.

Can I love myself through all of that – and more?  Can I quiet the frenzied self talk that goes on and on, day and night?  All I know is that I must stop pushing and pulling at myself, sending myself in a thousand different directions.  It’s not good for me, in any way.  And so, I’ve stopped reading so many articles. I’ve unsubscribed from newsletters whose owners promise the next big change if only you do it this way. I’ve stopped following gurus’ and men and women who are claiming to be leading the way in health and wellness.  It’s all become tiresome.  It makes me wonder what kind of world we might live in if we all really and truly loved ourselves from within?  I believe that entails getting to know oneself inside and out.  Hearing what our inner voices tell us. Listening to what our bodies say (because I believe our bodies speak to us daily).  Becoming able to hear our own self – and drown out the cacophony around us.

There are a million more voices ‘out there’ that tell us to try this new way or tell us this is the way we should eat nowadays, this is the way our bodies ‘should’ look, or this is the car, house, education, vacation that we need to have.  But what does our inner self tell us? If we can listen and hear that inner voice, perhaps we might stop getting caught up in the millions of voices we hear chattering all around us that tell us we will Never Be Enough.

So, perhaps this is the reason I have stopped writing.  I have been learning something new – something important to me, something deep within myself that maybe I need to authenticate before I can write again.  I make promises that I wish I could keep, but I don’t keep.  And I’m going to be ok with that for now, and I’m going to say that I will write when I feel I really there’s something on my heart I wish to share.  And I will  try to write, not as someone who needs the world to know something, but perhaps as someone who is learning instead, and who is wanting to share that learning experience.

Perhaps getting to know/love myself just as I am has been why I have not been writing just now.  Perhaps it’s just not been the time to write, no matter what my ‘intentions’ were.  Can I be ok with that? Can you?

Namaste

 

 

Vulnerability – How Willing Am I?

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I’m sitting here writing this with my heart in my throat.  Do I write this?  Do I not write this?  Will it be TMI?  Will it make me sound incredibly weak, pathetic, even? Do I risk being THIS vulnerable?

The THIS I’m talking about has to do with the past few weeks and my struggle with what’s happening at work.  I’ve come here to try to drill down to what’s been really bothering me about all this.  And what I think I have discovered might be, well, kind of pathetic to some of you.  But maybe it will help someone, too.  And if so, then maybe, just maybe, I can be ok with it.

I think I’m (almost) to a place of peace.  But, looking back, what has caused this obsessiveness?  I mean, anxiety, feelings of desperation.  A huge need to control.  In fact, so preoccupied with all this that my newly found self care intention has really suffered. These things are far from the way I wish to be living my life nowadays.  Am I really that dedicated to this place?  Truly? I kind of find that hard to believe, even myself.   What is it, then, that has been causing this unrest?

Am I too invested in the idea of losing my own job?  Don’t think that’s it.  That idea does not terrify me.  Am I worried about losing a way of being that I’ve become used to?  Not really.  I think I’ve become good at realizing that life is about change, and I try to embrace it as best I can.  So, then, what has been causing this very real stress?  What has been terrifying me?

An idea crossed my mind an hour or so ago that was pretty disturbing.  Could it be, that I’m so afraid that if my friend no longer has a reason to be around me, (a job that keeps him here), he will not just want to be around?  He will not choose to be around?  Were we only friends because we worked together?  Could it be, that I’m really wondering, why a man of his high caliber would actually choose to hang out with someone like me?

You know, I ask myself questions like these because if I don’t get to the root of what’s bugging me, if I don’t know what I’m dealing with, then I can’t really challenge my own ways of thinking.  When I get to the root, to a place that resonates, then and only then can I begin to ask myself certain questions.

So, does this resonate? Yes. Sad to say, but, yes.  That would explain the frantic grasping, holding on, needing to have control.  Because, if it’s true that this friendship was just work based and nothing else……then that might just mean I’m not as terrific in his eyes as he is in mine.

Wow.  It really sucked to admit that.  But, stick with me, if you can.  Cause here’s where I really tell myself the truth.

First, though, I could tell you I know where this comes from.  I could talk about way back in my childhood, times when I was hurt and it left an imprint.  We all have stuff.  We have all been hurt, or traumatized, or damaged, in one way or another.  And please note, here:  I do not mean in any way to belittle the horror that some have endured, for that horror is real.  I just read the most difficult story of childhood abuse, ever, and I cannot get it, or the woman that endured it, out of my mind.  It has truly shaken me.  And I will not make light of the horror that goes on in the lives of women and children worldwide.  Who are these men who think we are objects, instead of human beings?  They destroy lives  every single day.  They deserve destruction, themselves.  But sadly, most of these stories are never brought to light.

The point I’m trying to make here, though, is that we can all relate to being triggered, from things that have happened in our past.  We are all wounded – we  all can stand in that ring together.  Being human pretty much ensures that someone, somewhere along the way, will hurt us.  I’m no different than anyone reading this in that regard.  So I won’t visit my past.  There’s no need, for me, at least.

Instead…I’ll remind myself that I’m actually pretty terrific.  Do I need this man, or any man, or any person, for that matter, to tell me just how terrific I am?  Something in me longs for that, yes, I admit it.  But I don’t need it.  And as long as I can keep reminding myself that I’m pretty terrific, all on my own, I think I can get past the need to hear it from somebody else.

And I’ll remind myself, how, in the past, I have tended to put men especially on a pedestal, insisting they can do no wrong.  I’ve since learned that in doing that I’m telling myself a story…and that it’s a tool that I used to cope with some of my life, and it no longer serves me.  Men are just men, and no one, man or woman, deserves a pedestal.

I could also remind myself, that if someone, man or woman, doesn’t see the person I am, inside, then why would I want that person to be a part of my life, anyhow?  I want people around me that are self-aware, supportive, loving, caring and on a similar journey as I am.  I stay away from people who don’t ‘get’ me.  Period.  So, if, after all, this man doesn’t ‘get’ me, does it matter that much?

I will also say, Cher……not everyone that you like is going to like you back.  That’s the way of the world.  And it’s ok if not everyone likes you.  It’s even ok if someone doesn’t like you at all!  Your world will not end, nothing will implode, the sky won’t fall.  It’s ok.

Now, I don’t really have any of the above concerns about this particular person.  But somewhere inside of me, that tiny, frightened child is needing validation.  And my friend is not the one to give it to her.  I am the one.

So, little Chere…..it’s ok.  You are safe.  I am here.  No one is going to hurt you, and no one is leaving you.  You are, totally safe here with me.  We’re going to be more than ok. I promise you….

I suppose that maybe, because the fears of this tiny one run so very deep, it will take some time and practice to heal.  And maybe there will always be a wound, that may open up from time to time.  My hope is, that with practice, and people coming in and going out of my life, my child will someday be mostly ok with it all.

But, for now…….I am ok, just as I am.  I am enough.  I am loved, supported,  cared for, and protected.  I. AM. STRONG. And most of all, I am safe.

It’s the Funniest Thing….

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It seems the moment I committed to producing more, better content on my blog…..my mind went blank. Is that Murphy’s law, or some other kind of law, you think?  I have been totally uninspired to write this whole past week.  Even though things are going swimmingly as far as my self care – as of yesterday, my doctor’s scale tells me I’ve lost 15 pounds!  Yay for me!

So, I guess I could write about my weight loss!  What have I been doing? Dieting? Nope, not at all.  For the past few months, I’ve been doing a 5 – 8 minute weight training regime first thing in the morning, followed by about 20 minutes of Qi Gong.  I found this weight training regime right here .  I’ve added a few things to it, so it’s a bit more than 5 minutes, but I started doing it because I thought to myself, well, I surely can do 5 minutes, right?

But, I think it’s more than just exercise, honestly.  For a very long time, I’ve had the sense that until I began to love my own body…until my body actually felt safe enough,  I would never lose the weight I wanted to lose.  So (and I’ve written about this, as well, on here), I began to physically tell and show my body that I loved it.  I began to do this with touch, and with my own visualizations, several times a week.  I began to constantly remind my body that she was loved, and that she was safe.  As I’ve said before, no one ever told me or showed me how to do this.  I just began to sense within myself that it was the next step in my self care regime, and just decided to start doing it on my own.

Imagine my surprise, then, when recently, during the WISH summit, I listened to an audio interview from Jon Gabriel of The Gabriel Method .  Jon’s premise is that weight loss is a mind-body thing, and that if the body does not feel safe, it will hold on to weight.  He has comprised a whole system, including visualization (which I’ve already been doing!!) to create safety for our body in several different ways.  I was amazed at what he said, and it resonated deeply with me.  I have recently purchased his Total Transformation package, and am in the process of reading his book and using his visualizations.

Jon’s ideas made complete sense to me.  And already doing what he says needs to be done, without even knowing about his ideas till quite recently, well, I’ve lost 15 pounds!

While this sounds like an advertisement, it is certainly not meant to be.   And I get nothing for sharing these links with you. You are welcome to check out his website if it interests you.  I’m talking about this because my own inner sense of knowing understood that I will never, ever lose weight if I’m constantly hating myself.

In the beginning of doing these exercises on myself, I kind of had to ‘fake it till I make it‘.  I was not honestly happy with my body, not at all.  But as I began to do these things several times a week, consistently, not giving up, something began to shift inside me.  I began to realize all that my body has been doing for me, every single second, every single minute of every day….to keep me functioning and healthy.   Even in the midst of all my blatant abuse of my own health, my body has kept on keeping on…

And you know what?  I began to apologize to my own body.  Yes, I did.  Because I realized my body has been fighting against my abuse of her, my whole life.  I began to feel genuinely sorry that I had not treated her well, at all.  And in feeling genuinely sorry, I believe I began to ‘wake up’ to what I was doing.  That ‘waking up’ has caused me to be aware of what I put into my mouth, more often.  It is happening gradually…it has not changed overnight.  But I have actually become more aware of how my body feels when I feed her certain things. I began to feel what she has felt like all these years when I stuff her with all the wrong kinds of food…

And, my desire to feed her more healthy foods has grown out of this.  Also, my desire to move my body has increased.  And while there are still days that I’m not doing my best, I no longer beat up on myself.  Instead, I just get right back to being intentional about my health.

So much has changed, just in these past few months.  And I cannot help but feel it has begun to change with my realization that I can no longer afford to berate myself.  Those days must stay behind me, if I am to move forward with my own self care.  True Love for my own body must now accompany me where ever I go…

Re-reading this, it sounds a bit strange, doesn’t it?  I mean, who in their right mind loves on their body, after all?  Well, I do!  And strange or not strange, I believe that listening to my inner self in this regard has been the most important thing I’ve done toward my self care in a long while….

Fat Bitch…? Or…Exquisite Goddess?

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Just came back from a walk to clear my head after a somewhat tense business meeting.  As I was walking along in the cool night air, a car full of young men with music blaring drove past me and I heard….(something) (something)..Fat Bitch!

Now I know what you really meant to say, young man, was Exquisite Goddess, but your youth and inexperience caused you to be tongue tied, and F..B..came out instead.  Will I accept Fat Bitch?  Nope.  Exquisite Goddess….yes!  Thank you very much!

And I smiled softly to myself and just kept walking…..

Looking In, Looking Out

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In my former life, that is, my life before my breakdown, I used to look outside myself for just about every feeling of validation.  I looked to everyone around me to tell me that I was ok.  I never believed it for myself, not for a moment.  I felt disjointed from others in my life.  As if I were ‘different’ from everybody else.  I never had a sense of belonging anywhere.

As long as I had the validation of others, I was able to live…and I was ok.  Just like the next person.  As long as those around me loved and accepted me for who I was,  I was good. But when those people disappeared from my life, for whatever reason, then I was empty.  E.M.P.T.Y.

Everything in my life, it seemed, existed because of others. Everything I believed, I believed because others told me to believe.  I had no opinions, no thoughts of my own.  I had no self.

A number of years ago, I could no longer cope with my own life.  My marriage was over, and it was like a knife to my heart.  The only man that had ever loved me for just me, had stopped loving me.  And I had no love for myself.  Who would love me, now?  And because I was empty, I had nothing to draw on from inside myself to obtain strength.   I was so dependent on how others saw me, whether others liked me or accepted me, that I had never learned one of the most important truths of all time.  That truth is…we do not need to look outside ourselves to be loved and accepted.  In fact, we cannot expect the world to give us what we need!  Everything we need is inside us! Everything we need to be happy and loved, and accepted just as we are, is right there inside us.

So, I began to learn about self.  I began to learn by being introduced to my inner kids, and learning to love and honor them.  Yes, I did say honor!  And by learning how to honor them, get to know them, interact with them, love and accept them….I began to learn who my ‘self’ was…and I began to grow in strength and began to heal. I began to love and accept my self..just as I was…just as I am. Without judgement.

It has taken a long time, and there have been many stumbles along the way.  It has not been an easy journey, not at all.  But, the journey was so worth it that I would do it all over  again!  Because of this journey to find my ‘self’, my life has completely changed for the better.  In a multitude of ways.  My inner confidence has grown.  I now have a sense of self that did not exist in me before.  I am no longer empty.  In fact, I am full.

I no longer need a man to love and validate me.  (If that happens someday, great, but I don’t wait around pining for it!).  I am not such a people pleaser as I was.  I have learned to set boundaries in my life.  I’ve learned that not everyone will like me, and that’s ok!  And I’ve learned to speak up more often and stay silent less.  I no longer have a need to be invisible in this world.

So, remember, the path to self love can only be found within you. If we seek it only from without us, if we expect those around us to keep us filled up, we will come up empty – every single time.   And empty is not a happy place to be.

Choosing Kindness…

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What will it take for us to choose kindness….toward ourselves?

How much ought we to listen to that inner critic – that super ego – those cruel voices inside of us that never originated from us in the first place…but that arrived in our lives at some point, uninvited, through harsh words, or teasing, or from someone who didn’t believe in us and made sure we knew it?  Or even from someone who promised they loved us but really did not know how to convey that love?

I say….Never!  Never again listen to those critical voices that were never ours to begin with!  They don’t know us, they only think they do.  They only knew us from some imagined place, some place within their own being who said this is who I think she is…and I’d better tell her so she doesn’t think she is better than she really is….I’d better tell her so she doesn’t magnify herself…..

What they said in unkindness was about them...not about you.  The sooner we learn that, and understand it in our deepest places, the easier it will be to silence these uninvited voices…and to choose kindness, instead.

Here’s what I say.  Magnify yourself!  You are magnificent! Own it!  And above all else, choose kindness……….for yourself……….always.

Let The Purge Begin!!!

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Is it crazy to be excited about doing a house-purge?  I’m moving next week, and oh my gosh I am excited about throwing stuff away!  Makes me wonder about myself…I admit!

Can housecleaning be part of self care?  You bet!  A big part of self care is about allowing yourself to have lovely things, and discarding things you don’t need/want/absolutely love. Self care, I believe, is also about creating a space for yourself that is peaceful, manageable, and has ambience. Moving is a time to rethink everything you have in your home and ask yourself these questions.  Have I used this *whatever it is* in the past 6 months to a year?  Do I absolutely love this *whatever it is* – and if I don’t absolutely love it, why is it still hanging around?  Do I really need it?  Can I afford to recycle or donate it?  Or does it just have to be tossed?

They say a cluttered house creates a cluttered mind or vice versa…and it surely has for me.  I feel at my best when my home is tidy and everything is in it’s place.  Not that that happens too often around my house…but it is happening more and more these days.  I’ve struggled with clutter most of my life…but I’m getting better! In my life, clutter has created overwhelm, which in turn creates clutter, which in turn creates overwhelm.  It’s been a downward spiral.  One site that has really helped me with my clutter problem over the years is Flylady.  The FLY in flylady stands for…Finally Loving Yourself.    She helps those of us that have had clutter issues and overwhelm climb over those two huge mountainous blobs, one babystep at a time.

I’ve de-cluttered in major ways over these past years. It’s so easy (especially when kids live at home!) to live with stuff we don’t really want or need.  But it sits there or is stuffed away in a closet with the idea that maybe someday I’ll need it!  But someday never comes…

Last year I (along with several wonderful volunteers) decluttered the office where I work – 30 + years of ‘stuff’ – that was totally unnecessary to the functioning of that office.  Instead, it weighed them down.  While it wasn’t fun, and it took almost a whole year of working on and off, it was a huge feeling of accomplishment when it was finished!

So, I guess I get excited because it feels so good to get rid of ‘stuff’.  Anyhow, here I go! Wish me luck!