The Most Perfect Valentine’s Day Gift is NOT Self-Love

Hi Lovers!

It’s been a rollercoaster ride the last couple years, but I had a pretty huge epiphany recently that the reason I haven’t been s clear and powerful as I had in the past (or that’s how I see it anyway) is that I haven’t been being honest with myself.

I’ve been scared of my own self-judgment, and that has made me so sensitive and reactive to that of others. Even when it’s not judgment but loving constructive criticism, I haven’t been able to receive it because it requires me to look at the stuff that I don’t want to see.

All the stuff I’m not liking about myself.

All the stuff that’s lurking underneath, which I cannot see.

The stuff I’m ashamed of, but I don’t know it yet.

Whenever someone tries to help me and support me in my pursuit of happiness, I feel really stressed out and vulnerable and I want to push them away.

I get defensive because, to me, it’s as if they were saying “Hey! Look at this! Look at all the stuff that’s wrong with you that you’re trying really hard not to see!’

Ugh. And I really don’t want to see it… But I can’t keep going like this because I’m hurting myself by doing so. I’m shooting myself in the foot.

So, I’ve arrived at this place again, where I get to practice looking inwards paired with not making myself wrong in the deepest of ways.

As I say, just cuz I don’t like it, it doesn’t mean I cannot love it.

This means that self-love alone is not enough.

As powerful as positive affirmations can be, we’re not really loving ourselves if we’re glossing over the things we have a hard time looking at with an ‘I love myself.

No matter how sincere it is and how much we want to believe it, if the shame or criticism is deep enough, saying that will only trigger thoughts of how that’s not true.

No.

Really loving ourselves takes the courage to look at all our shit, and once we’re clear on what it is we are NOT loving, only then can we start developing our compassion for ourselves.

Start to soften our harshness and self-judgment and drop the self-criticism, even while we don’t make ourselves wrong for criticizing ourselves.

And only after THAT, can we begin to have the conversations we need to have with these parts of ourselves. Practice some deep listening to see what they are scared of, what it is that they serve.

There’s always some way in which these little voices of criticism are trying to protect us, or serve a deep need.

And by knowing what that need is, we can come up with a healthier way to fulfill it that doesn’t get in the way of our living a life that we really love.

Developing that business.
Meeting that life partner.
Creating our masterpiece.
Having deeply satisfying friendships.
Putting ourselves out in the world.

On this Valentine’s Day, make sure you practice some REAL self-love by making some time to get honest with yourself.

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So let’s be honest… What’s the thing you’re not wanting to look at? What’s the reason you don’t want to see it?

In the upcoming posts, I’ll be looking at all the ways we keep ourselves from being true to ourselves and why. And as I go through the process of untangling myself, I will also share what I’m doing to develop the courage to stop running away and look within.

Stay tuned.

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To Force or to Let Go?

Happy ChooseDay, Beloveds!

I’ve been pondering a lot on one of the biggest lessons I learned while I was long-term traveling abroad by myself for the first time.

Things come back in this ever shifting spiral of experiences that we call Life, always deepening the roots of the lessons we have to learn.

I had *trained* myself to be a ‘good spiritual person;’ someone who doesn’t judge or get angry, who is always compassionate, and coming from a place of ‘oneness.’

I had a healing from the wonderful Ciara Kirby, and all that was wiped off.

I found all the anger I didn’t even know I had inside, and found myself being easily irritated by the smallest things. Things that I would have brushed off so easily before, they wouldn’t even have registered as irritants.

I did not like it one bit.

And I was scared that I was going to be like this for the rest of my life.


I had to let go of my past self, but what if I didn’t like the me I would become?

I had to develop such strong trust and faith in the process.

In the end, everything I has *trained* myself into came about again, but naturally and not from who I thought I ‘should’ be.

In loving myself as I was, even in those dark places I hadn’t known in me before, I found there was room for the anger, and the judgment, and the compassion, and the ‘oneness.’

After all, how could there be compassion for others if I wasn’t compassionate towards my own human emotions?

This goes for everyone.

You can try to force yourself into becoming the person you think you should be, or you can let go, trust the process, and melt into the person you are meant to be.

We live in a society that’s very much about achieving through discipline and force.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

There’s something beautiful and magical about the combination of letting go, and having trust, and having compassion for ourselves as we move through the process. It leads to a very powerful balance that feels right and true because we’re not shutting out any part of us.

We feel loved and enough because we are loved and enough by ourselves.

And that’s some powerful shit.

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You Say It Like It’s a Bad Thing!

“Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field.
I will meet you there.”

Rumi

 

Have you ever noticed how we call people who dare to be different, or do things outside the norm, ‘shameless’?

We say it like it’s a bad thing.

But is it?

When you make it your life’s mission to guide people as they heal their shame, being shameless is the goal.

I mean… why would anyone want to have shame?

The feeling that comes up when we are scared of showing a part of ourselves we think is wrong or ‘not enough,’ shame by definition creates fragmentation and disconnection in our lives. Exactly the opposite of what we want: union, intimacy, connection.

So why is it that we call others ‘shameless’ as if it was an insult? As if being it is something to be avoided?

Implied in this language is an unconscious way to keep each other down. To stay within the norm and avoid standing out.

To hold back from expressing their true self, which is extraordinary, unique and different by definition.

Being called shameless is, as far as I’m concerned, a compliment. Something to aspire to.

You can be shameless now.

You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

As proof, I invite you to be a shame exhibitionist for a while: whenever you feel it, share it. Tell someone about it, and you will see that it’s not the end of the world.

Not just that, but you will realize that that which you’ve been hiding is not as big a deal as it seemed. Most people will understand, and maybe even feel inspired by you to share their own shame.

How do I know this?

It’s one of my clients’ most common epiphanies, and they feel so liberated!

Most of us have been taught that we need to be or do different from how we already are or behave in order to receive/deserve love and appreciation.

This is what sets us up for feeling ‘wrong’ and ‘not enough’… and, yes, feeling shame about it.

When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, take a risk, and show our shame, we will get one of two responses:

1) The other will understand, empathize and perhaps share their own stuff they’ve been afraid to let us know. We will both feel more connected and free to express ourselves.

Or, 2) the other will feel uncomfortable with our openness because of their own fear of making all of themselves visible. But somebody else’s inability to receive our whole self does not make us ‘wrong’ in any way. It’s not something to take personally.

In either case, being open about our shame will dissipate it because, by definition, it’s not shame anymore once we share it.

You can be shameless right now, just by letting go of this idea that you need to be anything other than who you already are. By accepting and loving yourself. No should, rights or wrongs.

Just beautiful, perfect you.

 

Jump in!

What are your thoughts/feelings on this subject? What has been your experience when you finally shared something you’d been keeping in? Please feel free to share.

As always, thie comments section is an advice-free area. We all have our stuff, and this is a place to share it without fear of being judged or told what to do.

Afraid of being selfish?

It’s so easy to give isn’t it? It’s so easy to constantly think of what others need.

Give. Give. Give.

That’s what our society conditions us to do. Otherwise, we would be selfish.

Self-centered.

That’s probably one of the worst things that a person can be accused of.

Of course we want to be able to think about others. Of course it’s good to be altruistic. We can all agree that geneosity is a great and laudable thing.

But is too much giving getting in the way of taking care of ourselves?

I know I am guilty of this from time to time.

Growing up, my parents used to tell me how selfish I behaved.

It’s one of my deepest shames.

In trying to cover it up, I became someone who was all about rescuing others.

“Look at me! I’m so nice! Always helping others, always putting others first!”

And I ate.

And I ate.

And I ate.

I ate to cover up my own feelings.

I ate to comfort myself when no one was there to support or listen to me in return.

I ate.

Instead of taking care of my own needs, I neglected them.

It didn’t help that the pounds started piling on, which led me to wanting to please others even more.

Yup, downward spiral! Woohoo! (Not!)

Of course, I never really admitted to my own need for support. I always portrayed myself as a confident, strong young person who didn’t need anyone’s help. What would people think of me if they found out the truth?

I was supposed to be the helper, not take up someone else’s attention. Someone else’s love.

That wasn’t for me.

Wanting that for myself was proof of my selfishness. Wanting love for myself was precisely the reason why I didn’t feel I deserved it.

So I fought against that.

I kept giving, giving, giving. Eating, eating, eating.

I’ve worked hard to get past this cycle. I no longer feel the need to rescue others out of wanting to prove my generosity and negate my o-called self-centeredness.

The drive to support others in their empowerment comes from deep within; a deep-seated urge to share the abundant joy that life has to offer.

It’s so strong that I cannot help but want to do this. As I mentioned in a previous post, I believe this is all there is.

But I’ve been going through some stuff lately that has brought to my attention that there is a part of me that, despite being 100% on board with giving, doesn’t feel like it deserves to be on the receiving end.

I’ve been seeing this manifest as a lack of trust on my part. For example, it can be hard for me to believe that someone wants to do something nice for me, just because.

My mind gets suspicious.

What’s their true motivation? What do they want from me? They couldn’t possibly just genuinely care for me.

Despite all evidence to the contrary (and my friends do laugh at me when I tell them about my struggle with this… Ha, ha, hilarious!), there’s still that part of me that believes I’m selfish. That I don’t deserve to be cared for or loved.

This is doubly interesting because I know I am capable of doing things just because I sincerely want people to be happy.

So why is it so hard for me to believe that others might feel that same compassion and love in relation to me?

I’m not sure of the answer to that question. I know it has to do with trust.

The real point, however, isn’t finding the answer. Too much analysis can lead to paralysis and confusion.

So let’s get practical: what steps can I take?

Well, first, I can find ways in which to learn to open up and receive.

And that starts with receiving from myself. Showing myself I am worth loving through my own compassionate actions towards my body, my mind, my feelings, and my spirit.

I’m not going to allow a fear of being selfish to rob me of being able to love myself up and take good care of myself.

After all, if I don’t take care of myself, I cannot be of much use to others. Not for long anyway.

If I don’t take care of myself, it won’t take too much for me to get irritable, exhausted, and angry due to all the stress I would feel being pulled in a million different directions, trying to please everyone.

So it’s not one or the other:

It’s not selfishness versus generosity.

It’s not me versus them, my needs versus their needs.

We are part of a synergistic system. When we take care of ourselves, we take care of others. When we take care of others, we also take care of ourselves.

It all comes back in a continuous feedback loop.

And it must be in balance for everyone to get all the love they deserve.

“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

It occurs to me that this rule also works the other way around.

There’s many instances in which our compassion towards others leads us to treat them better than we treat ourselves.

My commitment: to be more mindful of where I put my energy, and not be scared of setting boundaries or ask for support when I need it.

Jump in!

In what ways could you be more generous to yourself?

So… I’m stuck.

I haven’t written here for ages.

And I feel guilty and ashamed.

So I keep putting it off.

And the more I put it off, the more stuff I have to catch up writing about.

And, worse, the more guilt and shame come over me.

So I put it off even more.

And, and, and, and…

So… This post isn’t really about anything in particular.

Or rather, this post is about acknowledging that I’m stuck, and feeling guilty and ashamed because I’ve neglected my blog, my family, my friends, and whoever else is reading this.

And accepting those feelings.

And knowing that it’s ok to feel this way.

And breaking the paralysis.

And paving the way for the next post, which will hopefully be soon.

Until then…