HOW TO LIVE LIKE YOU LOVE YOURSELF UNAPOLOGETICALLY
So many of us struggle with one underlying belief; I Am Not Enough.
It seems that I have been listening to this story for years. And of course, I have lived this story for many years previous. Often, it begins when we are small. We receive the message that we need to be someone different than who we are in order to be praised, valued and happy. This does not mean you had horrible parents. It means that they too are human and most are doing their best within their own strengths and limitations. It also does not mean your not a badass warrior in life. It just means your motivations for all your "badass-ery" may come from a fear of really being seen.
I was sitting in a restaurant the other day staring at a poster of the Andy Griffith Show. My God! That show would never make it to network television. Where is the sex? Where is the violence? Where is the edge of you seat horror that we need to keep people paying attention? Now more then ever we are growing up with impossible ideals plastered everywhere we look and a new diet add on every channel! I believe most of us are walking around on autopilot unaware of the chronic messages we receive every day that we are not good enough as is.
While at the base of most of our problems, the belief of not being enough is so insidious; it has somehow become invisible to us. How can it be that something that shows up in most areas of our lives goes unrealized?
When I was in my early twenties, I saw a therapist. I was living in Colorado surrounded by sunshine, good friends, incredible music and some of the most awe inspiring outdoors that nature has to offer. So why was I so anxious?
This therapist said these magical words; “You really care A LOT about what other people think about you.” Clearly not rocket science, but damn she was so right. I really want to insert angels singing here for you to understand that it was like the sky opened up and the sea parted before me. Something so simple gave me a huge ah ha moment. Why, yes I do!
What I didn’t realize was that anxious busy work of scanning every person and situation to see if I was being what others wanted or needed was not the bottom layer. It was only a way to cope with what lay beneath it. And after much self-exploration I came to the conclusion that I had believed I was just not enough -AS IS.
Finding compassion for myself and de-arming my inner critic will always be my life’s work. But I felt like I needed to find the Holy Grail to make changes. Well Yeah, I want to love myself unapologetically but how? Now what?
I have had many conversations with clients, friends, family and strangers alike. Yes, I might be that weird person having these conversations in line at Starbucks. They have a way of finding me!
So what do we all have in common?
We want change. We want the freedom to love ourselves with out apologies and with out guilt. We no longer want to show up in our relationships with something to prove or some fear of rejection or judgment. We are tired of trying to control ourselves through guilt and judgement. We want the weight of the rock in our stomach (chest , shoulders , throat… fill in the blank) to go away. We want peace. We want to feel free.
"IN OUR CURRENT CLIMATE, IT IS TIME FOR RADICAL SELF COMPASSION AND SELF LOVE."
Its time to embrace our true selves. For some, this might mean journeying into who you really are. What are the core qualities that make you, you? Let go of the attachments to who you should be and love who you are. In all your perfectly imperfect ways. This does not mean simply ignoring self criticism. I believe we are a slave to that which we ignore. It means holding compassion and love for the inner child in you that believes you must be different. In our current climate, it is time for radical compassion and self love. Its time to listen and honor your inner guidance and comapssionately call out your ego.
8 STEPS TO LIVING LIKE YOU LOVE YOURSELF UNAPOLOGETICALLY
1. First And Foremost; learn what real authentic and healthy boundaries look like. Many of us only know how to have either rigid boundaries or none at all. Draw a circle around yourself. Inside that circle is what you are truly responsible for. Inside, it is your job to be accountable for being authentic, honest and kind. Outside that circle is everyone else in the world bumping into you with all of their stuff. It is not your job to be responsible for everyone else’s moods, feelings and “triggering stuff”. You can practice saying” No” while being authentic, honest and kind. If something doesn’t feel right or overextends you, the answer is simple.
2. Check Your Motivations! Pay attention to your drive to strive. Are you running toward your goals with enthusiasm and passion? Or are you motivated by fear of failure? Notice when you sign up for things that don’t make you happy. It is crucial for our self esteem to take responsibility for ourselves. Bringing the power of control to the internal vs. the external can be life changing. This may mean going inward to make decisions or to find approval. This is huge! Try making a list of all your have to’s and change them into choose to’s. Empower even your smallest efforts by making them a conscious choice.
3. Time to Let Go of The Excuses and Excessive Apologies. You know that anxious five minute long explanation that you feel you owe everyone when you show up late or make a mistake? Or when you evaluate yourself and feel you need to apologize for being less then in some way? These are examples of when we demonstrate to others that we anxious and want approval. Truthfully, most people don’t really want to know the details or be given a mound of your worry. Learn to hold, contain and release. If you are running late, take 30 seconds to deep breath and release all that does not serve you into the ground. If you are particularly empathic set the intention to release all that does not belong to you into the ground. Feel your feet! Relax your body through a brief body scan and get centered. Then walk in the door.
4. Toxic People Need Not Apply! Find others to witness and deepen this healing journey with you. Surround yourself with people who rise you up. You may likely notice when you start making these changes in yourself, others who function at a lower level (or vibration) tend to feel threatened by your changes. Perhaps they just don’t like you saying no or your self care shakes up their constitution of martyrdom. Either way, it may be time to allow only those who support you to effect you.
5. Make Time to Relax and Play. Take time to do nothing but breath. This can look like alone time outside in nature or taking sometime to yourself at home in your favorite window seat. You can use this time to reflect on what "play" use to look like for you. Who were you in your most playful stage of life? As you remember this simpler time, breath this in and acknowledge that he/she still resides within you, waiting to be let out! We all could take life less serious.
6. Practice Self Compassion Daily. This is not a once a week/month task. It takes some commitment to undo a life time of habits. I frequently recommend the Ho'oponpono Prayer. Begin by crossing both hands over your heart and repeat the following:
• I love you
• I am sorry
• Please Forgive Me
• Thank you
Repeat these words as many times as it takes for you to actually mean them. Feel the impact of these words and let them stir emotion. Follow with a powerful affirmation such as "Right here, right now, I am enough. Love flows through me and from me with ease."
7. Feed Your Soul And Invest In Yourself. If earth is school for the soul, then perhaps we should be asking who are our teachers? What are the lessons and certainly what is the homework? Therapy, meditation, exercise, reading and nutrition are as good as gold to support you in holistically increasing your power source. You can't feel good if you fill you body and brain with junk. Your intention is to feel inspired, grounded, energized and in touch with your core self again. As such, I advocate for finding a good healer(s) in your area who can offer you the experience of energy healing such as Reiki, Polarity, Full Spectrum (or any other healing modality) or acupuncture. I find that receiving a healing from a trained practitioner can, sometimes drastically, expedite shifts of change- physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Also, there are so many great books out there that will inspire you to embrace your greatness! Have a hard time finding the time to read? Subscribe to an app like Audible. You can listen and be inspired anywhere.
8. Find A Good Therapist. Therapy provides a space like no other for you to explore all of your thoughts, emotions, conflicts, hopes and dreams. Unlike friends and family, counselor/therapists are less attached to the outcome and more attached to your process. Meaning, they hold space for you with out the ties of their own expectations or needs. Additionally, a good therapist has the goal of understanding you deeply, bringing compassion, even when you cant. A skilled therapist will also guide you with new insight and tools to expand your perceptions of the issues you face and help you create change. Sometimes even adventurous big change. Its not always rainbows and unicorns of course. Some times, it is letting out years of frustration and grief. Truthfully, humans don’t usually get a pass on trauma. Therefore, the most important task in finding a therapist is finding someone you connect with. It may take a couple sessions or it may take one. If you don’t feel like this person can hold a safe place for you to be fully yourself- messy and clean, find someone else.