Live Your Life (Not Your Social Media Life)

It may indeed be the highest wisdom to elect to be a nobody in a relative paradise than a celebrity in a world which has lost all sense of values.

Henry Miller

We live in a world so dramatically different than any before us. We live parallel lives of reality and virtual origins. We are split. Told that if we aren’t pretty enough, popular enough, happy enough, then we are defective. We live in an age where people are “famous” because they are beautiful, and that’s it. That’s all it takes. They have a camera, and they show us how beautiful and happy they are, and we all believe it. We question our realities. We take a photo for “the gram”. We check our angles, we suck it in, we make sure our makeup is in place, our hair perfectly coiffed, and we put in place our perfected smiles. We want to be a part of the popular crowd.

But we aren’t just posing for the photos anymore.

Why do we all have this need to be a somebody? To be different, remembered, better? Why do we feel the urge that what we are is not enough. That being ordinary isn’t extraordinary? That we need to convince others of our happiness? Pardon me, but there are very few people that actually give a shit about each of us. We have our select few (family, friends, coworkers) who would actually be there for us, who would bring us soup when we are sick. So why do we feel this urge to take our pretty pictures so to make sure they know how happy and pretty we are too?

We are in an age where we are no longer living for ourselves. We are living to show others how wonderful we are. We are living in a show to convince the world that we matter.

Why? Honestly, why? If you have an answer please tell me. Because it seems skewed to me, to live in front of these screens when there’s a beautiful world outside. A world where things are different, where we actually interact, where you experience sounds and smells and feel the wind in your hair. Where you meet people and they see you back, you both get to look into each other’s eyes. There’s something about reading your book at the park or at a coffee shop. About going on a walk alone with your thoughts instead of suppressing everything that makes us individuals by watching what the masses are doing. There’s something about not wanting every product that social media ads target at you. There’s something about being the person that brings the soup to someone who is sick instead of sending them a message to feel better soon. There’s something about feeling whole being ourselves.

I don’t believe there is anything wrong with living a simple, ordinary life. About realizing that we are all just a small part of a big beautiful world.

We can make differences in the lives around us without pretending for those outside of our circles. We really don’t have to pretend. We don’t have to fear oblivion, because you know what? It’s going to happen. We are all just small parts of a whole.

We matter, of course we matter, but each of our individual existences is not the end all be all of the human race.

We don’t need to focus on getting a nice picture of our fun day unless it’s something that is kept for ourselves. The amount of likes a photo gets is not a measure of how wonderful we are, or how successful our day was.

We can dress up nice because it makes us feel pretty, go outside, and take pictures that empower ourselves and make us feel confident in our skin. We don’t have to document every small sliver of our existence as though without it we are nothing. We can use social media as a photo album of our lives, for ourselves.

What he knows and does, and what the average citizen can not or will not do, is to enjoy solitude, to live life simply, to crave nothing, and to share what he has when called upon. Let us leave him where he is, Mr. X. a master of the anonymous life.

Henry Miller

P.S. It’s okay to take breaks from social media.

7 Important Lessons It Takes Most People A Lifetime To Learn

Our relationships dictate the quality of our life. Yes, of course there are other important things, but for the most part, the quality of our relationships will determine how you feel about your life. If you feel loved, connected, and cared for, it lessens the heavy burden of stress that we often place on ourselves and brings us into the moment with other spiritual beings having a temporary human experience. This connection to others is what makes us human.

There are no wrong decisions in life, only wrong ways to look at them. In the moment, we make decisions that may or may not have worked out. Regardless, those decisions have led you to where you are now. Looking back, you may wish you did things differently. But in the moment, you were brave enough to make a decision and follow through with it. That’s something you should be proud of, and instead of letting your past decisions define your present and your future, you should learn from them and let them guide your way forward. We are constantly learning. We will always be learning and growing.

True self-awareness is the knowledge that our lives are but a means to an end. We have a limited time here, so knowing this, how do you choose to spend your life? How do you choose to spend your days? Who do you choose to spend it with? The awareness that we are not ‘invincible’ is perhaps your greatest ally because it acknowledges the present moment as all we have. Stop waiting. Go after the things that you truly want in your life. It’s our actions that fuel our self-belief.

Life is not tiring. Rather, choosing to wear a mask hiding who you truly are and adhering to beliefs that aren’t aligned with your being is the tiring part. Your life is your own, and while others may offer their opinions on how you should be spending it, there is nothing more freeing than having the courage to live honestly; an honest life is a full life.

The world starts and ends with your mind. No matter what you achieve in the external world, you will always be brought back to your own state of being. If you don’t take care of your mental health, nothing outside of you will fulfill you. Ironically, it’s only when you change your internal state that you can fully enjoy all the things that come your way in your external world. So start with your mind. No matter where you are now, it will always just be you and your own thoughts; it’s time to become your own best friend.

Stop chasing perfectionism. Perfectionism is a fear mindset that is stopping you from taking action. The key to letting go of this mindset is to begin. Get out of the thinking mind and begin taking action, then let go of the outcome. What is perfect? Is it even possible? We can spend our whole lives ruminating on being perfect, or we can take action today, believe in our ability and let go of the outcome. We never know what can happen.

Talk a little nicer to yourself. The thoughts and words that come into our mind often manifest into our lives. Become aware of your self-limiting beliefs and patterns—consciously choose the words that you want to say about yourself and fully realize that your words do mean something. Gentle encouragement as you navigate the confusing journey of life goes a long way. You deserve to feel worthy. Feeling worthy begins with yourself.

Here’s How The Self-Love Movement Is More Toxic Than You Think

The self-love movement is encouraging, empowering, and inspiring. But it can also be toxic, hypocritical, and a bit too extreme.

There is a side to the self-love movement that I believe, if overlooked, people have the potential of losing out on important relationships or simply being kind, compassionate humans. Here’s my take: 

The rise of social media has prompted new levels of mass comparison. Beauty standards heightened, this standard of “perfection” became the norm, and what was once raw and real is now the “before” stage of a dramatic glow-up. That’s where self-love comes in. 

The terms “self-love” and “self-care” are absolutely everywhere now. As a response to the unhealthy comparison and declining mental health that social media tends to intensify, posts and wellness trends began to circulate to remind people to take care of themselves and focus their attention inward. 

And while I must disclaim that I am not against a movement that teaches us to love and take care of ourselves, it is the hidden hypocrisy and consequences of this that I don’t think people realize. One of the biggest messages the self-love movement preaches is being gentle with ourselves. It is a pillar of this movement to practice self-compassion, forgive ourselves for our mistakes, be gentle with ourselves during our lowest times, and practice patience. And these are all amazing things that should continue to be practiced. 

Yet, another major pillar of this movement, one that possibly contradicts the first one, is the importance of creating boundaries. I always see posts that encourage people to cut out anyone or anything negative, to be mindful of where they invest their energy, and to completely remove anything that drains it. Now, for a while, being someone that has always struggled to establish boundaries due to my own insecurities, I took these posts to heart quickly. I believed that in order to become “better” and improve the quality of my life, I had to essentially cut out anyone that I didn’t remotely feel good around or that I didn’t feel reciprocated in my effort (emphasis on feel).

Now, for as long as I had this mentality, it backfired. It actually created more issues for me because while I was trying so hard to dodge the people that I felt were “bad” for me, I completely lost sight of a few really important things as well as realizing down the road how selfish this mentality actually has the potential to be. 

1. If the self-love movement teaches us to love and practice compassion and patience with ourselves as we are growing, shouldn’t we extend others the same? 

I think that personally, I contorted the concept of “boundaries” by being so strict with them that I ended up falsely perceiving others as bad or negative while every other human is simply figuring it out as well. The point is, though, in the era of “cancel culture” and unattainable standards of perfection both on social media and increasingly off, we are preaching that we must take care of ourselves while rejecting others through their own growth journey. We are preaching to be gentle with ourselves when we make mistakes, while immediately cutting others off when they make a mistake. We are preaching to recognize our strengths more than our weaknesses while letting one little weakness or mistake overshadow all of another person’s strengths or good qualities. We are essentially giving ourselves the permission to grow, fail, and pick ourselves up again while forgetting others are on growth journeys themselves too, and saying they must only bring “good vibes,” otherwise they’re not worthy anymore. If this doesn’t suck the humanity and compassion out of relationships, I don’t know what does. 

2. While being so focused on our own self-love and boosting our strengths, we get so self-involved that we forget that others show love in different ways, and that’s okay. 

People have different strengths and weaknesses. People have different love languages. People have different depths of emotion and different ways of communicating love. That fact doesn’t diminish your own ways of communicating love or anyone else’s. It just means that we must take a little extra effort in any situation to remember the strengths a person has and value they add rather than giving up on them after one instance where they didn’t communicate in the same way you might have. A push for boundaries must not be confused with the need for everyone’s approach to relationships to match ours.

3. Preaching constant self-love has the potential to replace the love we have for others. 

Everyone has a certain threshold, a certain level of love and energy they can give themselves and others. And I get it—I get that the self-love movement is encouraging us to make sure that our gas tank isn’t just full of the love and energy we give others and leaving none left for ourselves. But I think we are in danger of reaching the other extreme as well. The amount of stories or scenarios I hear where people are neglecting or rejecting others under the guise of calling it “self-care” is a little too much. There is a line between putting ourselves first and being selfish. 

4. People are complex. 

We only see .01% of a person. And chances are, underneath the other 99.99% that makes a person who they are, a big chunk of it even they are unaware of. Because the truth is everyone is on their own journey of reaching self-awareness and healing, as well as understanding themselves and why they act/think/behave the way they do. That same patience we must practice with ourselves when we screw up or make a mistake or unknowingly act wrongfully because of other factors involved is the same patience we should extend others because every single person also has that complexity going on. Usually their actions aren’t as simple as just being written off as “negative energy.” Think about if someone simply gave up on you in that way. 

5. Not only is it fair to completely cut people out, it’s also not completely realistic. 

Okay, so you decide that someone is a negative presence in your life and you want to create boundaries—great. But chances are, this person might be friends with your friends or you work with them or you have to see them in one way or another because people don’t just disappear when you want them too. Not only is tolerating people just a part of life, but in the spirit of not being selfish, sometimes we have to sacrifice a small thing we don’t want to do to add value for others and ourselves. Sometimes I have to sacrifice my dislike of talking on the phone so that I can have a relationship with my grandmother whose main joy in life is talking on the phone with her grandkids. And sometimes we have to spend time around a person we don’t want to in order to get more time with the people we love. Without running the risk of sounding too mature, this is the one I absolutely struggle with the most and continue to struggle with. We’re trying out here, we really are.

So what do you do? How do you set boundaries while also having grace for people? How do you embrace how others show love or embrace other people’s journey’s while protecting your own peace? I truly can’t pretend to give a right answer because this is something I am just starting to navigate as I release the strict hold on boundaries I had before. But I’ll say this: There is room for both. Creating boundaries and protecting your peace does not have to be a harmful act against someone. It doesn’t have to end in anger or hurt or rejection. Be conscious of people’s intentions, because most of the time, they’re not to hurt you. Ask yourself what is important to you and what steps you can take to get there. And recognize that mistakes, bad energy, and conflicts with people aren’t always so black and white. While you should surround yourself with people that add value into your life, realize no one is perfect and apply some of that tolerance. 

So take it from me. Someone who is overly sensitive. Someone who is insecure and sometimes takes that out on other people. Someone who’s insecurities sometimes get the better of her. Who gets so emotional sometimes she can’t see reality. Someone who sometimes cares so deeply that not feeling that reciprocation in return feels like a personal attack. Someone who is only just starting to become aware of and break toxic patterns and put everything she has into self-growth so that others don’t become collateral damage. Someone who is human. 

Please be gentle. Be patient. It’s true that you don’t know what others are going through, just as many others are blind to your own wounds and experiences.  

And what is self-love anyway if you can’t give some of that love to others?

Read This If You Are Constantly Letting Doubt Take Over Your Life

What do you do when you’re doubting yourself? When those thoughts begin to take space in your brain, telling you all the reasons you’ll fail. Or ways things might go wrong. We are all too familiar with this feeling. And when it creeps in, you can’t simply kick it out. You can’t just flick it off like a crumb on a counter.

The thing about doubt is that it wants to grow. Like a stubborn weed. While our minds mean well, our brains will go out of their way to hold us back from any and all potential danger. Even if that so-called danger is a crucial step in expanding your growth. Even if that so-called danger isn’t even danger at all.

Doubt exists to contemplate. It exists to provide a way for us to make sense of uncertainty. And in some cases, this doubt can be immensely powerful. Maybe you doubt your ability to “wing” a presentation, and instead you decide to put in time to practice it. That’s good. That is a beneficial doubt.

But there is a difference between asking questions, being curious, and straight sabotaging yourself with never ending doubt. The kind of doubt that locks you into your comfort zone. The kind of doubt that makes you opt out of the presentation or in any case, the “thing”, all together.

This doubt will win if you don’t push back. And the longer you let this doubt win, the less likely will you ever allow yourself to discover. Because on the other side of doubt are new experiences, successes, and a version of you that’s waiting to be realized.

So what do you do when you’re doubting yourself? While it may feel too simple, you have two choices: You either let that doubt win, or you shut it down and keep going anyway.

You won’t rid yourself of the doubt forever. And you don’t need to learn to live a life extinct of worry. If you are existing on this earth, there will always be new uncertainties that come across our way. But it’s how you decide to face them anyway and not give them this unleashed power.

Think about your future self.

See how far you can go if you stop letting the doubt grow untamed. See yourself flourish if you begin to lean into all the ways something can go right. See just what you’ll make of this life if you stop doubting yourself every single time you try something new or unfamiliar.

See what happens when you let yourself win, instead of doubt.

How To Beat Your Insecurities And Improve Your Self-Esteem

Self-love isn’t selfish and building your self-esteem is vital for your personal growth. It also improves both your personal and professional life. Most of us find it more comfortable to put ourselves down or self-sabotage ourselves by glorifying our mistakes and insecurities or using self-deprecating humor to minimize the embarrassment, but these behaviors aren’t helping us overcome our insecurities, they only make them worse. 

It’s normal to have days when you don’t feel your best or feel a little bit behind but you can’t let that feeling dominate your life. At some point, you have to change whatever is feeding your insecurities and holding you back. But the good news is, you totally can, because they’re easy steps that just require some discipline and commitment. 

Changing your mindset in the situations that trigger you is fundamental to fighting your insecurities. We tend to make everything about ourselves, especially other people’s behaviors—the more we care about or love someone, the more we take the way they treat us personally. This is more common in romantic relationships where we are prone to being more sensitive and anxious when we see a behavior change. Feeling insecure about yourself can cause you to overreact or struggle with regulating your emotions when these situations arise.

Owning your mistakes is one thing, but constantly measuring your self-worth and value based on how someone else treats you or sees you will never make you feel good about yourself. By affirming your own value and giving yourself more credit in your relationships, you will be able to look at things from a more logical point of view instead of taking it personally and reacting irrationally. 

Another important question you need to ask yourself is: Who are you spending most of your time with? The people you spend time with the most have the greatest impact on you emotionally and mentally. Having a kind, supportive, and loving inner circle can improve your self-esteem and make you feel better about yourself.

Are you surrounded by people who believe in you and your dreams or are you surrounded by people who belittle you and criticize you? Are you surrounded by people who are happy for your success and want to see you shine or are you surrounded by self-absorbed people who want to always feel like they’re doing better than you? Remembering who you were with when you felt insecure the most can help you avoid these people and situations in the future. 

Last but not least, learn how to be kind to yourself and patient with yourself in the process. Beating your insecurities and improving your self-esteem doesn’t happen overnight, especially if you’ve been blaming yourself for your shortcomings all your life. Taking small but necessary steps to heal your emotional wounds, changing the way you think about yourself, and filtering your environment will put you on the right track towards being more confident and happier. Prioritize your self-worth and your own needs in every aspect of your life and you will eventually start to see major improvements that keep you moving forward. 

If you don’t truly value yourself and practice that daily, no one will truly value you. It’s your choice whether you want to be your own best friend or your own worst enemy. You have the power, so use it to your advantage. 

50 Self-Care Tips To Heal Your Mind, Body, And Soul

Self-care is a big deal. You can’t take care of others unless you’ve taken care of yourself. It isn’t possible to pour from an empty cup. Self-care methods and techniques are different for every single person, and what works for some might not work for others. When it comes to self-care, there are certain things we can do that benefit our minds in the most beautiful ways. There are other wonderful things we can do that benefit our physical bodies just as much. Most importantly, certain self-care techniques benefit our souls on the deepest levels.

Overcoming traumas, moments of anxiety, or days that are filled with stress aren’t typically easy for anybody. Sometimes it feels like something horrible is eating away at you emotionally, and there isn’t anything that could realistically fix it. The truth of the matter is that although it isn’t possible to magically cure anxiety or heal trauma in one day, there are still plenty of small things we can do on a daily basis to help ourselves feel better about surviving through life. Life is filled with endless highs and lows, but despite the wave of existence we are all constantly riding as human beings, we do deserve to be happy!

Continue reading to uncover 50 self-care tips that benefit the mind, body, and soul.

1. Write a letter to yourself from your dream guy.

2. Go the entire day eating healthy foods (no fast food or junk food).

3. Play with puppies at a dog shelter.

4. Write down the 10 best compliments you’ve ever received from others.

5. Unfollow and unfriend anyone on social media that irritates your inner peace.

6. Read thoughtful affirmations to boost your self-esteem on an app like Selfish Babe.

7. Write a paragraph that starts with these words: What love means to me is…

8. Text a random compliment to a friend.

9. If you’re religious, pray to God on your knees.

10. For those with gym access, go to the gym for at least 30 minutes.

11. For those without gym access, use a workout video for at least 30 minutes.

12. Sleep for eight hours straight.

13. Do a Google search for inspirational quotes using keywords such as “motivation”, “success”, and “happiness”.

14. Clean and organize your entire room.

15. If you’re religious, read daily Bible verses from an app like Jesus Calling.

16. Increase your water consumption with the help of an app like Aloe Bud.

17. Say “no thanks” to any social invitation that stresses you out or doesn’t interest you.

18. Get at least 15 minutes of sunshine.

19. Socialize on a phone call with an old friend.

20. Watch or read at least one thing that makes you laugh (out loud).

21. Purchase healing crystals that heal trauma, anxiety, and other mental ailments.

22. Try deep and mindful breathing—10 inhales, 10 exhales.

23. Journal your current feelings out and be brutally honest.

24. Take a bubble bath.

25. Take a two-hour break from technology.

26. Declutter your office or workspace.

27. Get your nails and toes professionally done.

28. Make a list of 10 major blessings you’ve been blessed with from your birth until now.

29. Get a professional massage.

30. Listen to a playlist of your favorite songs.

31. Invite a friend out for a coffee date, ice cream date, or cocktail date.

32. Blend a fruit, protein, or matcha smoothie for yourself.

33. Write a reflection on the last most enjoyable night you experienced.

34. Apply lotion all over your body.

35. Gather old clothing for donation in order to clear space in your closet.

36. Attend an appointment with a professional therapist and open up emotionally.

37. Deep clean and wash the inside and outside of your car.

38. Start a gratitude jar (write down every little thing you’re grateful for and put them all in a large glass jar).

39. Create a vision board for the next 12 months.

40. Actively forgive yourself for your past mistakes by saying the words out loud.

41. Do your makeup and take a sexy selfie.

42. Watch a guided meditation video for attracting love into your life.

43. Write a list of 10 things you love about yourself (give yourself compliments).

44. If possible, add a bit of money to your savings account.

45. Write your favorite inspirational quote from your Google search on your mirror.

46. Wash, fold, and put away all your laundry.

47. Light candles and/or incense.

48. Make a list of your 10 best memories from the last year.

49. Rewatch episodes from one of your favorite TV shows.

50. Write a “thank you” note to yourself for past choices you’ve made that you’re proud of.

3 Factors That Determine An Unshakeable Sense Of Self-Worth

We are all worthy. Each and every one of us has an equal right to occupy our individualized space in the world for as long as we’re alive. There are those who radiate the goodness of their spirit and those who inflict harm on themselves and others. This is balance…whether we accept it or not, it’s not for us to judge. We can control the thinking, actions, and responses of only one person in our lives; ourselves. In the quest of self-growth, evolution, and the process of daily change, we can either become increasingly self-aware or decide to impede our process for a variety of reasons.

When we discover our  self-worth and actively maintain it, this is when we begin to live richer lives through equilibrium, reciprocated love, and inner contentment. This is our rite of passage in which we can take ownership with ease — if we choose to do so.

1. Acceptance

By accepting who we are right here, right now is half of the victory. If we take a moment and make a list of ten positive qualities and ten negative ones that currently reflect our sense of self, we can begin to see things more concretely—in writing. For every negative belief, make a notation on what can be done to transform this area into something more beneficial, productive, and ultimately worthy of improvement. If it causes great discomfort, it requires more acceptance yet more attention to make peace with it in order to heal. By accepting life’s circumstances and the people that caused us harm, we can forgive them; which in turn allows us to accept and forgive ourselves. The truth is we too have directly and indirectly harmed ourselves and others along the way. We may even go as far to let others know we forgive them and to ask those we have wronged for forgiveness, too. Whether it’s granted or not is of no consequence as long as we can be gentle on ourselves and self-correct.

2. Healing

Once we begin to reflect on the areas in ourselves that feel broken and are in need of care and nurture, all of those wounds begin to reveal themselves on the surface. This is good and honest. The more love we put into our inner holes, the more they begin to radiate a light that was once void in darkness. When we begin to self-heal, our physical, mental, and emotional layers become aligned and we can actively restore ourselves into healthy and strong willed individuals. When something or someone doesn’t add to our lives, we become more attuned to our needs and can make decisions to walk away for self-preservation. When something or someone enriches our lives, we can make the decision to embrace it. This is creating a system of self-protection through reasonable boundaries and limits; a true sign of self-love. The balance of giving and receiving is also another milestone in the discovery and maintenance of one’s relationship with self and others.

3. Living

Life is made in a series of ups and downs, a dynamic of beauty and brutality, and a sequence of events and relationships that are a part of our journey–for better or for worse. Once we realize that we are in fact the key players in the lives in which we are actively (or inactively) developing, we no longer accept the minimum that we either give/receive yet find natural movement towards achieving the maximum. Although there are many external factors that we seek out to “validate” who and what we are as individuals, it’s the internal factors that dictate our authentic image of self-worth. The higher the value we place on ourselves through gratitude and self-confidence, we live charmed lives in which we are our most prized possessions in mind, body, and spirit. Only if we believe, think, and feel it in unison, no one or nothing (including ourselves) can devalue us. This is because you and I both are invaluable… 

3 Helpful Tools For Building A Healthy Sense Of Self

After a traumatic and dis-empowering childhood, much of my life’s work has been about building a healthy and empowered sense of self. Not a narcissistic sense of self, but one that is rooted in a healthy ego and a recognition of the great possibilities that live within each of us. I believe that every one of us comes into this life with a brilliant and a unique sacred purpose, a network of gifts, callings, lessons, significant relationships, and key emotional issues that we are here to clarify, to express, to actualize, and to grow through. Our sacred purpose is our unique contribution to the world.

In order to fully embrace our purpose and make self-affirming life choices, we need an authentic sense of our own value. We need to believe that we are worthy of bringing our gifts and offerings to the world. Because so few of us were given a healthy template for self-validation, we often have to forge that template ourselves in the fires of our own determination.

Here are 3 tools that helped me to reach the stage of self-validation where I could see my purpose through in a challenging world.

Tool 1: Practice the Art of Selective Attachment.

Given that our sense of self was wounded in relationships, some part of it has to be restored through relationships. We are relational beings, after all. But relational healing can’t happen with just anyone. We have to cultivate the art of selective attachment. In other words, we have to sift everything through a self-validation filter, connecting only to those relationships that support our healthy self-development. If someone bolsters our sense of value, we invite them in. If they don’t, we turn them away. In other words, self-validators enter, lite-dimmers exit. Not from a place of contempt, but from a place of burgeoning self-love. We already have enough internalized voices telling us that we don’t have value. We don’t need any more. If they don’t help you grow, then let them go. Who you surround yourself with really matters.

Of course, we can get all the validation we want, even if it comes from someone credible, but it won’t be enough. We still have to take proactive steps to confirm our value.

Tool 2: Affirm your value.

Affirmations can be a positive step in the direction of self-empowerment. It can be encouraging to repeat self-validating affirmations throughout the day. For example, “I am enough!”, “I am worthy of a healthy relationship”, “I am worthy of self-love”, “I am brilliant.” These mantras can keep you going, particularly during challenging moments and can bolster your sense of self. But on their own, they are not enough to deeply transform you. In order to build a strong and sturdy sense of self, your words need to be coupled with self-affirming actions. In other words, you need to prove to yourself that you matter. You have to make your affirmations real. There has to be a congruency between what you are expressing and what you are living before your inner world will take notice.

By making your affirmations real, you send a message to the deep within that you are worthy enough to wage this battle for self-love. If we don’t prove to ourselves that we are willing to fight for our right to the light and our right to a healthy self-concept, who will?

This work may require that we go to the edge of our discomfort, and make empowering new choices. For example, if you are someone who has had a hard time speaking up for yourself, shift the pattern by clearly and confidently voicing your needs or desiresOr if you are someone who has resisted exploring a more gratifying career path, take one step in the direction of a new career. Even the smallest and shakiest of steps can transform your inner landscape.

To make your affirmations real: finish the things you start. Prove to yourself that you can see things through to completion. This can include important and meaningful life goals. Or practical and menial everyday tasks. It doesn’t matter if they are lofty accomplishments or simple actions. What matters is that you drown your negative self-talk in a sea of accomplishment.

Tool 3: Healing Our Core Wounds.

Fundamental to our efforts to self-validate, is the importance of going back into the past to heal our core wounds. At the heart of a diminished self-concept is invariably some combination of unresolved abuse, trauma, and unmet needs. And it’s seldom ours alone- most of these dysfunctional patterns have roots in our family lineage and ancestral patterns. In other words, we are carrying everyone’s emotional material up the rocky mountain with us.

The way we break free from dysfunctional familial patterns is not by running away from them. It’s by walking back in their direction. Not because we want to keep repeating them, but because the only way to shift these patterns is to heal them at their roots. It’s okay to run from them for a time, but not for all time. Because the flight from what lives inside of you, merely delays your arrival. You may think you are on the way to a new destination yet the plane keeps circling back to your childhood home. It can’t navigate a new flight plan, until you return back to where you came from, and heal its broken wings. With your wings strengthened, there is nowhere you can’t go.

The healing can happen in many forms. Talk therapy can be an effective tool in seeing and understanding the roots of our diminished sense of self. With the right therapist, you can talk through and reclaim those parts of you that got lost along the way. You can come to terms with where the voices of self-hatred and internalized shame originated. But identifying and analyzing our wounds is not always the same as healing them. Excessive analysis can perpetuate emotional paralysis- strengthening your mental capacities while possibly delaying your deeper healing. An effective recipe for healing is to couple your talk-therapy with a body-centered psycho-therapeutic approach. Body-centered models like somatic experiencing, bio-energetics, and core energetics, engage both your mental faculties and your capacity for deep feeling, supporting a more integrated healing. Your negative self-talk may be manifest as thinking, but its roots are often in the traumas endured within the emotional and physical bodies. Our traumas were a felt experience, and if we want to transform them we have to meet them directly, within the body itself. The feel is for real.

The key to the transformation of challenging patterns and wounds is to heal them from the inside out. Not to analyze them, not to watch them like an astronomer staring at a faraway planet through a telescope, but to jump right into the heart of them, encouraging their expression and release, stitching them into new possibilities with the thread of love. You want to live a self-empowered life? Heal your heart. That’s the best affirmation of all.

CONTINUING THE WORK

Building a healthy self-concept takes more than recognizing why we don’t have one. We have to do the work to construct a new egoic foundation. That work is not merely conceptual- it is rooted in embodied, lived experience: supportive relationships, positive affirmations coupled with meaningful action, addressing our emotional wounds, and eventually healing our way home. If you can stay with these tools for long enough, the voices of internalized shame and self-hatred will grow quieter, and a voice of self-love will rise up to occupy space inside of you. Your inner narrative will shift from a tone of shame, to a tone of self-value. You will no longer make choices sourced in an over-compensatory quest for external validation, you will make choices that are rooted in self-love. Self-regard will become your natural and organic way of being, and you will become emblazoned on your path, living your life like the force of purposeful nature that you are.

We are all beautiful and brilliant beings, at heart. The trick is clearing the obstacles and doing the rewarding work to build a foundation of enduring self-regard. When we do, we stop getting in our own way, and we live the life we were born for.

A Journey To True Self-Love

I’ve been on quite the journey lately. A journey deep inside myself with the goal of learning to truly love the person that I am. It has not been easy. While being kind and loving to others has always been second nature to me, the idea of treating myself with that same compassion and care has proven to be one of the most difficult things in my life. But I’ve been working hard on it, and lately I am better prepared for this battle, one of self-acceptance and love that I didn’t know before.

I found myself wondering why this has always been so hard for me. Why is it often so easy for us to love others but we find this concept of self-love so difficult? Is it because we see the idea of self-love as sort of self-centered and think that loving ourselves is just plain selfish? Or is it easier to love others because we see, for the most part, the best sides of them, whereas we have to see and live with what we may view as the worst parts of ourselves? I get it, self-love is hard and I used to think the same things, that self-love was just some trendy idea thrown around in therapists’ offices. But I now believe it’s so important and that life can be so much more fulfilling when you’re happy with the person that you are.

I know it can also be hard to love yourself if you are, like I am, a perfectionist. For a perfectionist, very few things that we do ever feel like they are good enough. We are constantly striving to be better and to do more in our lives. I’ve struggled with this since I was young. And I’ve come a long way with my perfectionism. I like to say that I’m a “recovering perfectionist”. I’ve learned that imperfections can be beautiful and to let things go more easily. I think having a chronic illness as well as struggling with mental health challenges has forced me to learn to be okay with things being less than ideal, because my body often just won’t let me be that perfect version of myself that I pictured myself becoming and strived so hard to be when I was younger. I’ve accepted that life has had other plans for me. Maybe this has been a blessing in disguise.

I wonder, looking back, how much joy and happiness I missed out on because of my perfectionism and lack of self-love. It makes me sad for the girl I was back then, but it also makes me more determined than ever to learn how to truly love the skin that I’m in today. I want to give that girl a big hug and be the person today that I needed back then. But this has proven to be hard. I’ve asked myself many times how I can really do this; how can I really love myself when I live in a body that is constantly letting me down?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in pain which predominantly leads to me saying, “I hate my body”. It’s not easy to love your body when you feel like it is just a constant source of pain and discomfort. But recently I began to wonder how detrimental that viewpoint was on both my body and soul. Constantly feeling like I hated my body and being a tense, frustrated ball of nerves because of my pain just uses up so much valuable energy that I could be using for so much good. So I decided it was time to flip the narrative. Time to change the words I say to myself on a daily basis. The words we speak to ourselves become what we believe and shape who we are. I decided that I was going to learn to love this body that I’ve been given.

While I used to view self-love as kind of cliché and selfish, I now believe it is a beautiful thing that is so incredibly important, especially as a woman and a person that has a debilitating chronic illness. And if you’re a person who loves to help and serve others, learning to first love yourself is paramount. Alan Cohen said, “You can be helping many people, but if you are not helping yourself, you have missed the one person you were born to heal”. You cannot pour from an empty cup. When we first love and take care of ourselves, we can then love others more fully, with our whole hearts.

So how do we cultivate self-love in our lives when it often seems so elusive? For me, I’ve started by looking back at my journey and the challenges I’ve faced, and I’m learning to love my story and the woman who has overcome so much. I’ve started to think about my pain differently. Rather than viewing it as an enemy that I hate, I’ve started to realize the good that has come from my pain. Because I know what true pain is, I am able to feel and appreciate joy and happiness so much more. I have a different perspective on life because of it. It’s given me a wisdom that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s allowed me to help so many other people who are hurting, because I’ve been there and I know how to make it to the other side. My pain has given me purpose, and that’s something I’ve learned to love.

I’ve recently started doing a meditation to help me change how I think about and view my body and pain. During this meditation, I put my hands on different areas of my body while I breathe in, saying to that part of myself, “I love you”. I then breathe out, while telling myself, “we’re healing”. I’ve been doing this every day, with each part of my body, especially the ones that hurt. When I first started this meditation, I thought it was a little silly and I didn’t believe what I was telling myself, but I did it anyway. And I kept doing it. After a few days, the meditation made me start to cry. I was crying because I was thinking about the woman and girl who used to hate her body so much, this beautiful body that I was now starting to love and appreciate. I felt so much sadness for this girl and how I treated her. I wanted more than anything to change that. Since then, I’ve started to believe the words that I’m telling myself. And its a wonderful, freeing feeling.

You may not need to go this far to begin on a journey of self-love, but I encourage you to make self-love a priority and begin by changing some of the things that you tell yourself and how you see yourself. You can start by learning to forgive yourself for your past mistakes. Beating yourself up for ways that you have failed in the past does nobody any good. If you need to, think about how you would treat a little child or your best friend and how you would forgive them for making a mistake, for being human. Think of yourself this way and try to be kinder to yourself. You are human and in this life you will make mistakes. Use them to learn and grow, and then move on.

How many times have you looked in the mirror and seen things that you don’t like about yourself? I’ve started to look at myself and purposefully change the way I view my body. I now see my scars as battle scars that I am proud of; they show how strong I’ve been and all that I’ve overcome. I encourage you to see your scars in the same way.

Our bodies and lives each tell a story that is so special, a story that no one else has. A story that deserves to be celebrated. My hope for you is that you can start to see your body in a new light. See the wrinkles and lines on your face as reminders of a life well-lived; a life filled with all the beautiful and heartbreaking emotions that come with a life lived fully.

See your hands as hands that have loved, provided for, and served others. Hands that have nurtured your children and created beautiful things. See your arms that have held and supported friends when they were hurting and needed a soft place to land.

See your legs that have carried you through life, navigating each obstacle thrown in your way, carrying you through to the other side each time. It may or may not have been graceful, but they’ve always gotten you where you needed to go. See your feet that have met the floor each morning, even when all you wanted to do was stay hidden under the covers. No matter what life throws at you, somehow you have just kept putting one foot in front of the other and facing each day with strength and grace.

Mamas, see your stretch marks as a beautiful reminder of the life you grew inside of you for nine months and brought into this world. See your grey hairs as proof that you’ve shown up, for your family and friends, even when life gets hard. And you will keep showing up, because you are so strong.

I encourage you, if you struggle with self-love, to try to change the way that you view your body and the words that you say to yourself. Even if you don’t believe it at first, keep telling yourself “I love you”, keep viewing your body as beautiful and strong; I promise it will start to sink in. And when you learn to truly love yourself, not only can you love others more fully, but life becomes a little more beautiful and happiness a little less hard to find. Start to put self-love and self-care a little higher on your list, I don’t think you’ll ever regret it. You are so beautiful, and you deserve nothing less.

You Have To Remind Yourself That You’re An Individual

You are an individual.

Do they spit lies?

You are told that you’re an individual when in reality everything around you and inside you screams of other people’s expectations and desires.

The minute we are born, parents subconsciously attach their happiness to us. They pick up outfits for us since we’re too young to even know what to wear or how to socialize. They raise us and teach us to adapt to the society, norms and culture that surrounds us. We give in. That’s how it is.

We are born with genes that determine a lot about our physical and sometimes even behavioural characteristics. What’s so original about being born out of centuries of handed-down genes? It’s not like I’m one of a kind, mutated human like the X-men. Even being a mutant comes with a lot of pressure for societal conformity. So I’m rather comfortable being a human, but sometimes I start to wonder: Does that spark of individuality truly exist within all of us, or is everything just a manifestation and effect of things around us.

After all that conditioning, what is actually left of us? Are we truly as individualistic as we like to think we are?

Go to college. Get a degree. Look for a job. Find your soul mate. Get married.

These are all meaningful steps in our lives, but it’s frightening how much of other’s aspirations are invested in us. Our lives are already engineered in advance by society; we are already working our way to that degree or that entry-level job. That’s how life works. It isn’t necessarily a dreary and wearisome journey; in fact it could be rather enjoyable depending on circumstances and personal preferences.

Many of us are studying for degrees not because it’s what we truly want, but merely because there might be a slight chance that our resume will stand out more in the near future when we are hunting jobs. A good handful of us are pursuing a job or degree we don’t want, primarily because it puts food on the table or because our parents might experience that joyous moment when we graduate with a post-graduate degree. We are not as separate as we think we are, our goals and professions are at times attached to other people and their well-being, joy or expectations.

But you know what?

There are rare occasions where we have the ability to tune into our individual being and soul. Some find it through meditation, music or joy in pursuing a hobby no one else knows about.

Others find it in that tiny moment where you’re standing in a crowd of friends and a single thought in your mind knocks down every argument they have to present in the ongoing debate about politics, culture or the economy.

Children who are too young to be aware of morals and consequences stand stubborn as stone against their well-informed parents about something they believe in. That is individuality.

Being put in social conditions and realizing what you feel or think stands apart from any expectation, conditioning or external factor. Experiencing a short moment of self-realization where what you think or feel holds more value than any economic, social or moral standard is being an individual. These tiny moments build up inside us every single day and help morph us into the person we are today or will be tomorrow.

It’s these glimpses within ourselves that allow us to realize we are alone and have the ability to retain our own mind and soul despite everything that is around us.