I am NO expert!

So I have a confession, I know I talk about self care a lot so I must have it down to a science, right?WRONG. It is something I know is important,. I know that it is something that there is a lack of space for and lack of language around. I also know I find it illusive sometimes.

So I recently found myself in a place of lack. It was mid December and I was heading into full on burnout.There were a lot of contributing factors but the reality was time was lacking and demands were high. I did my best to carve out time. But as you know, December is lacking in it. “I am burned out, but down time is coming,” became my mantra.

Fast forward post Christmas and TA-DA much needed down time was all mine. I did some assessing to figure out how to make next year less overwhelming. Mistakes were made, but luckily there were easy fixes going forward. I mapped out goals, I took baths, I introverted (boy did I need that!), read, and had family time. It was amazing.

Yeah….but no.

Prior to the holidays I felt like for the first time in years, the path to the life I wanted was wide and clear. It was as if, I finally got off the back roads and was on an open highway with no cars and a clear path to where I was heading. Then somehow I took a wrong exit and ended up on the back roads again, and then there was traffic on the back roads and lots of blind corners. I felt totally lost and scared I had lost my path. No amount of “self care” was doing it.

Help! Help me! Ughhh…I need Help! 

So I finally reached out for help on a private Facebook group. A “has this happened to you and what did you do” sort of request. I got a lot of perfect advice. Rest some more. Be kind to yourself. Just be and have fun.

Yes! Yes! Yes!

But no. It sounded right, but didn’t feel right. What was wrong with me?! What is this funk?

Then a friend texted. She saw my post but decided to reach out directly and she said, “Ride it out and trust that place of inspiration you were in. “ Then she said, “and what would the you at the end of January tell the you now that she wished you had got done? Is there something you can do to be productive?”

Productive schmucktive

I need to get back to work?! But…but…hmmm? Still unsure I just let it sit there. The next day I went to an early morning meeting. However, the conversation from the night before was still kicking around for me. What if, I felt disconnected and unclear because I was literally disconnected. I had not worked in over a week. Maybe?

Ding Ding Ding! Ah ha Moment.

After the meeting I went to the studio to get something and meet with a studio mate about something and instantly I knew that was it.

I love what I do. I do. I love building this thing that lives in the world that is a part of me. I love nurturing it and loving it and seeing what that turns into. It is work. IT IS. But it is work I love. And for me self care was decidedly NOT about disconnecting and resting but about ,now that I was rested, finding a place to put that love.

 I read a quote once by Jamie Anderson that said “Grief was just love with no place to go.” It was such a truth to me and touched me deeply.

 So on the smallest level that unsettle I felt was grief. It was my love for what I do with no place to go. For me, self care was a need to get back to it.

So that is what I did.

Go forth and #loveYOU

How to Love Yourself and Why You Should

Do you ever think I hate my life? Do you ever think what is wrong with me?

Or perhaps it is not so dark. Maybe it is just this pervasive feeling that everyone seems to “get it” and you don’t.

You want to know what really sucks, you are not alone. Not by a long shot. In fact I got curious, and the results of my curiosity make me so damn sad. According to Google between 1,000 to 10,000 of you guys are searching “I suck” each month.

That is small potatoes to the search term, “I hate my life.”

10,000 to 100,000 of you are searching for that each month. That is the same search volume for the search phrase I want to help change the most:

“I hate myself.”

My heart broke. In part because I know it’s not the same 10,000 to 100,000 people each month. It’s a new 10,000 to 100,000 you each month at a loss for an answer.

There’s a ring of truth that every human can feel in that statement—“I hate myself”—even if we never get to the point of turning to the computer in hope for some solace.

I hate myself. It is crushing to think of all the sweet souls out there feeling this way.

You go to work, to job that is just okay but with a boss you hate. I mean hate. You work so much overtime just to keep him off your back which keeps from you from having the time to look for something more bearable.

OR

You just had your third child and your husband springs on you that he is leaving you. He didn’t mean for it to happen but he has met someone. Your dream of growing old together, being a stay at home mom, being enough for someone just went out the window.

OR

You have a nice life, a nice husband, the kids are doing well in school but you are so empty, so unbearably empty you physically ache.

OR

Your so busy just living each day that you can’t see past the next hour.

This can’t be all there is to life. Can it?

We need a REVOLUTION! It is a revolution I am determined to start. A self care, love yourself revolution.

The #loveYOU Revolution

Let’s agree that “I hate myself” has no claim on you.

Don’t forget to fall in love with yourself first.

Well there you go, wrapped up in a pretty package, fall in love with yourself. Easy!

If only it were. The reality is we should fall in love with ourselves. Why? There is no other you. There never has been and there never will be another YOU.

Think about that. You are the only you there will ever be. The world needs you. Even if you don’t know why.

So. if we know we are special…literally made of stardust (look that up… seriously http://bit.ly/2jC3Z4V) and you are so magically one of a kind, why is it so hard to love yourself?

Take that in. What does that even mean? The best advice I ever got was to “stop comparing my insides to everyone else’s outsides.” Same idea.

Huh??

We know our worst thoughts. You know, the really dark ones. The ones that are not aligned with who we really are and who we want to be, yet pop up out of nowhere anyway and catch us off guard.

So when we look at the outsides of others, forgetting their darkness, we start a really unfair comparison. Comparing what we know about our darkest self and forgetting they have any darkness at all.

Like that one mom at preschool whose child has on the cutest outfit and perfectly coiffed hair and then you look at your child still in their pjs with bedhead.

Inner cringe. Why do I suck at this? You’re comparing their outsides to your insides.

Let’s look at the mom with the perfect kid a little closer.

You really don’t know how her morning went. Maybe she screamed at her child that morning for not sitting still while she brushed her hair. Maybe she fussed at her for getting her first outfit dirty and made her change into a pristine clean outfit. Maybe her daughter had to change 3 times before they got out of the door.

Maybe she broke her girl just a little trying to make her perfect.

Maybe she is so stressed inside that she’ll go and have drink while her child is at preschool. Or maybe just sit in her car and cry. Or maybe, she is cool as a pickle and has this whole getting the kids perfectly presentable mastered, but her and her husband haven’t hugged in 3 years and she thinks about divorce daily. Maybe none of that. Maybe all of it. You don’t know.

The point is who knows? The point is you only know the outside. The pretty package she chooses to show the world.

But what we do is we write and internal narrative about how she “has it” and we don’t. If only it stopped there, we might actually be okay. BUT NOOOOOOOO, we can’t do that.  We place value on it. We say she is better and we are worse. We start to become disappointed in ourselves just a little. Rinse repeat, rinse repeat, rinse repeat. Thousands of times over in a day. That disappointment turns to dislike, that dislike turns to disgust. Left unchecked, that comparison is such a violence to our true self, we become our own worst abuser.

Sit with that.

Are you your own worst abuser? If you are like 99% (that is not scientific, but a damn good educated guess) of people. Yep. Yep you are.

So how do you turn from being an abuser to a champion? And that is what you need. You need to be your own best friend. A friend so good to yourself, you measure all other people against it and only allow people in your life that come close to that friendship. Let yourself imagine that.

So how?

1. Get a Little Help:

I strongly believe every human being can benefit from therapy. It’s one glorious hour that is all about YOU and what YOU want to work on. So consider it. That is all I am saying.

2. Lists:

Make a list of what you like about yourself. I know it’s so hokey.That mean voice that’s in all of us  is already a strong muscle that does not need strengthening . However, the kind voice, which is often a weak muscle for a lot of us, needs help. Write all the things you like about yourself down. Write it all down no matter how small. Keep that list handy. Hell! Make copies to put everywhere, so it’s always close. The next time “I am so stupid” or “I’m not good enough” creeps up, pull out your list. Think of what is a true statement that counteracts that mean voice. For example, if “I am so stupid” creeps up replace it with “oops I made a mistake, but it’s not a big deal and i can fix it!” See the difference? .

Love you.

3. Notice and replace:

This is sort of piggybacking on lists, but it’s a little more expansive. When you notice your negative self talk, you will likely find a theme. Notice the theme. Is it a feeling of being worthless or incompetence? When you notice that creep up, replace that negative self talk with something that is more self serving (and correct). So when the the thought comes up, “You are never going to pull this off.” Say to yourself, “Stop. That is not true. I have not done this often (or ever) but I can do this. It might not be perfect, but that is how I will get better.”  At first this is hard. It is hard to catch the self sabotage and it feels unnatural when you try to replace it. But like any muscle, it will strengthen, and believe it or not, over time becomes almost second nature.

4. Practice Self Love:

Carve out time each day to clear your mind. Call it meditation; call it quiet reflection. Just try and calm your mind for 2 minutes a day and work up to 5. That’s it. Give your thinking mind a break. Then from this place of quiet, give yourself some huge juicy love. It could be, “I am so proud of how I handled that rude customer today.” Get specific about things. Notice yourself being baller and pat yourself on the back. Only you can do you, celebrate it for goodness sake!

5. Connect

Sometimes we just need to connect with people that love us to remember why we are so amazing. Here’s a great gift you and your friends can give each other. Write down all the things you love about the other person. Can you imagine that in your back pocket? Can you imagine the days where you are feeling like you can do nothing right and you pull out your best friend’s list. Imagine seeing all the reasons she could have loved anyone, but choose to love you. Because you’re that special. Because you are magical stardust (really, look that shit up) and, even when you can’t see it, she can.

At the end of the day we only get one dance on this earth. Wouldn’t it be heartbreaking if you sat on the sidelines not dancing because you didn’t feel like you were good enough?

Shhhh… I have a secret.

You were born good enough.

All you ever had to do was choose to put on your tap shoes.

Go forth and #loveYOU