Loving Myself

Loving Myself

Can I just tell you how sick and tired I was of people telling me I needed to love myself.  What the fuck did that even mean. I would hear it over and over and it really started to piss me off.  As far as I was concerned, I did love myself but did I really.

When I look back and I consider the way I spoke to myself not only in my head but occasionally out loud, I had to ask myself if I would stand for that from a friend or if I would speak to another person that way. The answer was in variably no.  I would not stand for that or would I?  I definitely wouldn’t speak to anyone that way.

I have to admit that I did stand for that for a while.  I have been in unhealthy, abusive relationships but not with the type of people you would consider abusers.  I was never hit.  It was more insidious than that. It was emotional/mental abuse.  People telling me how unworthy I am and I am lucky to have them around; people who reduced my value until I believed them. 

I know now that I allowed this due to some early childhood trauma that I thought I had moved through but was still showing up in the people who I allowed in my life.

Has that ever happened to you that you seem to keep dating the same person over and over but in a different body or they present differently in the beginning, but the same characteristics start to surface?

There was a part of me that wanted to save them because I saw something good in them but it seemed that they wanted to stomp all the good out of me.  It took me a long time to realize that until I valued myself and knew that I was enough, I would keep encountering this lesson until I learned it.

Loving myself meant seeing my own value and embracing it.  It meant being able to look at myself in the mirror and saying I love you while looking myself in the eye and not turning away. It meant accepting all of me, my quirks, idiosyncrasies and imperfections.  Coming from a recovering perfectionist, that was hard.  There were always parts of myself that I accepted but there were other parts that came harder.  For instance, I would body shame me. I had to learn to love every inch of my body and be proud of it.  I had to recognize all that it did for me.  It allowed me to breathe every day. It allowed me to walk around, jump up and down, dance, sing even if it is off key – so many things that I just had to be grateful for about it.  It is the vessel that carries my soul and my spirit.  How can you not love that?

Loving myself also meant taking a few risks, moving out of my comfort zone and always asking what is in my best and highest interest. It meant not making other people’s opinion of me my truth.  It meant taking care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually.  It meant looking after my mental health, reducing stress and remembering how much I love my life, enjoying the good things and people and learning from the not so good.  It meant being in a healthy relationship with me and being a friend to me that I would be to someone else or that I would want them to be to me.  It meant stop over giving, saying no when it is appropriate, saying yes to the things that enhance my life and knowing when to let go.  It also meant treating me with respect and that also meant moving away from those who did not respect me.

Hindsight is always 20/20 so what I did learn about some of the people I encountered was that they did not love themselves either, but it was easier for them to lash out and crush me than to feel what they were feeling, the pain they were in.

Here is what I can leave you with:

  1. Reflect on yourself and your relationships – can you relate to anything I have said?
  2. If the answer is yes then start to write about it – just free write and see what comes out
  3. Get to know yourself again and start to like that person
  4. Tell yourself that you love you out loud at least once a day and to yourself as many times as you can
  5. Look at yourself when you pass a mirror and smile
  6. Accept yourself – the good, the bad and the ugly
  7. Update your self-talk so you are being nicer to yourself
  8. Indulge in a little self-care – you decide what that means to you -what makes you feel good
  9. Stop trying to be a people pleaser – Please you and accept that fact that everyone is not going like you. You like you!
  10. Be a gracious receiver – accept that compliment with a pleasant thank you.  Don’t always feel like you have to give something just because you were given something.  Accepting a gift is a gift to the giver

There is so much more I could say but this is a good start.  If you need more, give me a call.  See if I am the one you want to work with but don’t be surprised if somewhere along our time together, I tell you that you need to love yourself.


What’s in your baggage?

What’s in your baggage?

I was at the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles and they had an instillation called Common Ground: The Heart of Community.  In that exhibition, there is a wall made of suitcases and trunks by Hirokazu Kosaka.  Near it the inscription says “The importance of Hirokazu’s work is that he recognizes that the most important things are sometimes the simplest. The space between the heartbeats and the suitcases that carries more than people’s belongings”.

So, I know you are wondering what that has to do with the title. Well I started thinking that for those people who came to the United States all those years ago and who still continue to come, their suitcases also carry their hopes and dreams for a better life.

When I think of my suitcases, they also carry my hopes and dreams of adventure and seeing a new place through baby eyes where everything is new and it is not hard to see beauty around every corner and in everything.  All the new smells, the feeling of new place, the actual tactile feel of a place like running your hands along the cool rocks in the inner sanctum of a pyramid tomb or the sound of complete silence only to notice the faint noise of the trickle of ground water running into the dead sea.  I love to travel and with each new trip brings the hope of adventure, new beginnings and a different perspective.

When we hear the word baggage we think of emotional baggage or in some cases when it comes to relationship, a person’s children.  Baggage generally has a negative connotation but what if we could change our perspective? What if we could make baggage a good thing?

So I ask – What is in your baggage?  Could it be any of the following?

  1. Self esteem
  2. Body confidence
  3. Taking care of yourself without apology
  4. Self-love
  5. Knowing your worth
  6. Establishing healthy boundaries
  7. Eating well
  8. Hopes and dreams
  9. Smiles and laughter
  10. Humanity

If we were carrying these things around in our baggage, it would not be a heavy load to bear.  Even if we have things in our lives that don’t feel positive, if we carry them with non-judgement while acknowledging them, our load would become lighter and we might find that we could even unpack those things.

Today is the day to change your perspective, look at baggage not as just a place to put your belongings or drag around your short comings, your story, your past but as a way to walk into your future fresh.