Self-Love

my story

I’ve failed spectacularly at self-care for as long as I can remember.

I’ve always been really good at starting healthy habits for my mind, body, and soul, but horrendous at sticking to them. Life always seems to intervene, just when I’m getting on a roll. A child catches the stomach bug, a snow storm hits, or I feel compelled to create Pinterest-worthy crafts and games for a class party. I’m thrown off my new routine, and into a self-sabotaging tailspin from which I never quite recover. One step forward, two steps back is the dance, and apparently I was NOT born to cha-cha!

Feeling defeated, the self-talk in my head turns ugly. I hang my head low in shame, and figure I’m just not _________ enough. You can fill in the blank.

Perfectionism is a tricky little beast. It’s not very forgiving. It will put you on the fast track to praise and recognition for sure. Paradoxically, it will reward you with a one-way ticket to Burnoutville if you’re not careful. I used to wear it like a badge of honor but no more. Now, it’s my worst enemy.

When you’re busy multitasking, people-pleasing and high-achieving, something’s gotta give. In my case, it’s my personal well-being that plunges to the rock bottom of my priority list. And sadly, I don’t think I’m alone.

But alas, there’s hope!

I made HUGE breakthroughs in the self-love department in 2018, and if I can figure it out, truly anybody can.

I’m at a point in my life where striving for perfection feels utterly exhausting.

I’ve always heard about the mysterious shift that happens when a woman enters middle age. That a liberation of sorts takes place…You stop caring so much about what others think. You stop striving for standards that are unrealistic. You call bullshit on the limiting beliefs that have stifled your creative magic. And you finally have the courage to listen to your inner guide.

And you fall in love.
Head. Over. Heels.
With you.

Spoiler alert if you’re not quite there yet—it’s real.

And so, as a declaration of love to myself, I’ve set a rather audacious goal for 2019…..
Mediocrity.

Yup. I’m striving to be average at the things that don’t set my soul on fire. Things like housework, keeping up with the Joneses and the Jennifers—-yawn, and decorating 100th day of school t-shirts.

And guess what? It’s pure bliss.

It’s allowed me to direct my energy toward what’s truly important…being fully present, honoring my body with movement and healthy eating, and taking the time to slow down, quiet my mind, and bathe in gratitude. I’m getting reacquainted with the little girl inside. I’m tuning in to her wisdom, re-appraising her value, and loving her unconditionally.

So you might be thinking to yourself…..that all sounds lovely, but how in the world did she get from Point A to Point B? A transformation like that doesn’t happen overnight. What did the actual work look like?

A yoga weekend in Cape May was what really thrust self-care into the spotlight for me. The slow, gentle movements, deep breathing, and quiet meditation were medicine for my deprived soul. It was deeply healing on many levels, and I granted myself permission to make some pretty radical changes when I returned home…

Less facade, more authenticity.
Less hair and makeup, more au natural.
Less tight pants and shoes, more fuzzy robes.
Less stress, more deep breathing.
Less technology, more nature.
Less scrolling, more mindfulness.
Less fear, more love.
Less perfect, more ME.

Nature is my happy place. It’s my therapy, my church, and my meditation room. Whether walking through a forest of majestic oaks, a garden of vibrant blooms, or barefoot along the edge of the sea, the experience always feels sacred. In nature, I can breathe most freely, and quiet my mind most easily. When I do, I see tiny little miracles everywhere. I find even the most simple elements breathtakingly beautiful. If you take a peek at my Instagram account, you’ll see that Mother Nature has always been my muse.

And so, I cancelled my gym membership, and committed to walking outside every day. Sometimes it’s a 30 minute circuit around my neighborhood. When my self-love game is really strong, it’s a road-trip to the beach after the boys get on the bus! But I get out there. And breathe. And look for beauty. And feel gratitude.

My relationship with food was the next big thing that needed to change. Emotional eating was my companion as I coped with my friend Kathy’s illness last year. I buried my fear beneath bowls of ice cream and bags of Tostitos every night. After she passed away, I had gained about 20 pounds, was extremely lethargic, and was having debilitating migraines on a regular basis.

At the urging of a trusted friend, I decided to try a gentle, whole-foods, plant-based cleanse to detoxify and reset my body. For one week, I ate colorful meals full of organic fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. I experimented with new foods like chia, flax, swiss chard, and kale. Instead of mindlessly eating food off my boys’ plates, I became intentional about planning, preparing, and savoring my meals. I loved it!

Slowly the extra pounds came off, and my energy increased. I haven’t had a migraine in six months, and most importantly, I feel healthy in my body again. Cooking nourishing food is almost like a little self-love ritual for me now. Sure, it takes some time and effort, but not as much as you might think! Besides, health is our most precious commodity. Isn’t the daily investment worth it?

Instead of admonishing myself when I fall off the yoga wagon, or feeling guilty for enjoying some ice cream after weeks of clean eating, I’ve gotten so much better at extending myself grace and love. I’m much more gentle with myself. After all, I’m not perfect.

I wish the perfectly imperfect little girl inside of you a very Happy Valentine’s Day. ❤️

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