Our relationship with ourselves dictates how we view life. It sets the tone for how we interpret what others say, how we embrace what others share, and how we respond to the world. It’s one of the most important relationships we can have in this lifetime.
I believe without a strong relationship with ourselves and understanding of our value, we never will reach our highest potential creatively because we will always self-sabotage and cap ourselves due to self-limiting beliefs we hold about our capabilities. If we are going to reach new levels of creativity this year, it’s so important that we understand who we are and what we want to put out into the world.
To show up fully for others, it is important that you forgive yourself for past actions, receive appropriate help, and embrace the healing process. To do this in my own life, I took seven steps that have made a HUGE difference in how I am showing up this year for myself and others. This took learning how to love myself, something I hadn’t done for a very long time due to various traumas and decisions I carried guilt and shame with me for enduring and making. In the end, I had to make a decision to forgive myself so I could spend the next half of my life living my best life. I hope you’ll find my process helpful and join me.
Seven Steps to Loving Yourself Fully
There were seven actions I can look back on and say they were pivotal steps in my ability to love myself and become more in tune with who I am and what my value is in this life. They were pivotal in changing my relationship with God as well because the more I started to love myself, the more I realized how truly phenomenal God is and how much He loves us. This had been washed away throughout the years due to feeling like He’d made so many mistakes with me and failed to carry out His promises. I realized as I started to love myself that He hadn’t failed to keep His promises…I failed to step into them. But that has changed and I am ready to show you how I did it!
I stopped allowing yesterday and tomorrow to dictate my future.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I had to stop looking backward as often and planning too far forward. I was always looking back to when I “used to be” this or that, and I planned the future in so much detail that I could taste dinner a week from now. I never truly allowed myself to enjoy the moment I was in. I had to stop both habits and allow myself to embrace the moment. I had to step into the space I was occupying and enjoy it for what it was, painful or joyous. No more building shrines to yesterday or scripting tomorrow; I had to fully embrace the moment I was in with all of my senses.
This wasn’t the easiest of processes but it has been a beautiful one that has healed many parts of my being. Ever since I began embracing the moment and showing up fully, I have been able to feel more easily and tell when something is off. My intuition is stronger, my physical self is more rested, and my spiritual life is soaring beyond my best expectations with my ability to allow God to be God. I’m not perfect but I’ve learned how to co-create rather than script my life.
Whenever I would catch myself planning the future, I would stop myself and start saying what I was thankful for in the moment. Sometimes it was really cheesy things to get my mind to switch. I would start showing gratitude for smells and things we take for granted and it felt so silly. But the more I did it, the more I truly started appreciating the moment and embracing who I was versus always focusing on what I was becoming.
I took ownership of my actions and learned how to manage responses instead of reacting to situations.
Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. – Rumi, thirteenth century Sufi poet
I am a go-go-go kind of person. I like to think of my feet and make decisions quickly. While I definitely can overthink along with the best of them, I notice my overthinking is higher when my anxiety is higher. The more present I became, the more I realized that both are related to a lack of physical and emotional care. When I am taking care of myself, I don’t overthink. However, I started to notice that when I don’t overthink, I react at times instead of responding to situations. I don’t take time to think through the situation; instead, I knee jerk react and move forward. As I’ve realized this, I’ve implemented steps to help me learn not to act on impulse much (which is a symptom of ADHD, which I have).
I’ve learned to allow time for thinking while also allowing myself to move. I don’t have to answer each text the moment it comes in. I also don’t have to think for years about what I am going to say and how it’s going to be received. I’ve learned how to give things the proper amount of thought and move on. Accepting that I am not attached to the results or responsible for them as long as I have thought through my position adequately. This has given me so much freedom!
By managing my responses and ensuring they I am taking time to respond and not react, I’ve given myself back days, if not months, of my year already in 2020!! It’s been freeing to allow myself to think about something for no more than 36 hours unless it is a major life decision. If I find myself thinking about it after 36 hours, I open up my journal and do a mind-map to see what is really going on and what I am worried about or feeling off about. This process has helped me in my personal and professional life, as I’ve been able to share the process with clients and friends who have struggled with overthinking.
I began to understand I would not find true joy until I understood nothing external to me could provide self-worth.
Scarcity of self value cannot be remedied by money, recognition, affection, attention, or influence. ~Gary Zukav
This was a big one for me. For so long I thought I needed my life to look a certain way before I would truly be happy. What I came to realize is just as the Bible tells us joy is not a fluid emotion but something that comes from the Lord. When I started to operate from a place of joy I noticed my self-worth became attached to what God said about me versus what the world said I needed to have in order to be worthy. Such a difference there.
Letting go of my scripts for what life had to look like and who needed to be in it for me to be worthy allowed me to receive into my life some true and amazing friends who have been well-rounded for me, providing people to laugh with and grow with, do business with and enjoy life with, talk God and politics, enjoy Mexican and fine dining. It’s been a great mix of growth and totally new experiences that I didn’t know I needed in my life until I was undergoing the change.
I sought help when I realized my PTSD symptoms were stronger than I was equipped to handle without help and a guide on the journey.
People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. ~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
PTSD is a playground with a million kids and no parents. It’s a disorder that has no rules and affects us all a little differently. For me, it showed up in so many ways that I finally went through neurofeedback therapy because I couldn’t handle the anxiety, ADHD, and other presentations resulting from childhood PTSD that had been left untreated and then added to as others traumas occurred. I recommend that all folks struggling with any mental health concerns seek a guide for the journey. A therapist can only help you to get better. You’re in the leader’s chair; and when you understand that, you will get so much more from the sessions. You set the boundaries and find someone who’s willing to work with you, not the other way around! This is your life. I knew my issues and I knew what I was willing to do in terms of medication and natural healing and I looked around and met with various people into I found the team that helped me heal. It took a village, y’all! A therapist, a psychiatrist, a neurofeedback tech, a naturopath, a physician, and a physical trainer all helping me in various issues to learn how to read my body and mind and respond to what it was telling me in healthy and positive ways.
By going through such an intense process, I learned to address situations and the stories I tell myself as well as those I allow others to share with me. I learned that my story is my truth at any moment, but it doesn’t mean it is THE truth. What does that mean? Well, I believed for so long that I was unworthy of true friendship or true love because I was tainted and defective. This was obvious to me because of my childhood and then my relationships throughout high school and then in my marriage. It was clear to me that I wasn’t worthy of a love that didn’t come with negative speech and physical violence. BUT I WAS! It wasn’t any less my truth because it wasn’t true. I had to learn to explore my thoughts and dive deep into who I was. I had to go back long enough to see the truth through other eyes and then come back to the present and retrain my brain. It was a LOT of hard work and at times felt so wooooooo wooooo wooooo….come on…any of you who have tried ART or neurofeedback know that they feel really odd in the moment. BUT … wow the changes. I used to not be able to sit with my back to a door or sleep with others around me (like at retreats and such where I didn’t know other people well). I wasn’t able to do crowds or deal with loud noises. Now I am able to handle life and not have cortisol flowing through my body at intense rates.
Since doing this, I’ve changed my lifestyle completely and mostly stopped people-pleasing as a result of not living my life in so much fear of what could happen. I now fully understand only God and I have to be happy with my performance and how I show up to life. If God and I are happy, then it doesn’t matter what others think or feel because I am not responsible for how others react to me just as others weren’t responsible for how I reacted and responded to them! Freedom at such an intense level!
I looked within for my understanding of who I was and what I wanted out of life.
The hardest challenge is to be yourself in a world where everyone is trying to make you be somebody else. ~E. E. Cummings
There is something within us that knows when we are living our best life and when we are settling for what others want for us. When we are living our best life and we are showing up fully in the way that we were created to show up on this earth there’s a joy within us that nobody can take away. When we show up based on others’ expectations there’s a sadness that comes to the surface that sometimes it’s hard to recognize. We call it many things, but in the end it boils down to a sense of sadness about not showing up as who we were meant to be.
This was probably one of the most intense parts of my transformation because I had to let go of my need to please people. I had to truly allow myself permission to be all that I am whether that is “too much” or “not enough” or just right. I had to allow myself to be and enjoy being more than becoming without getting complacent and lazy. There is a fine line and I had to walk it and ensure I was on point so I didn’t just get comfortable.
This was also the most rewarding part of my journey. I was able to search within myself and ask the hard questions about what success really looked like, who I truly wanted to be, what made me happy and feel most fulfilled, and how I wanted to leave the legacy of my life when those final words were spoken over me. Some of the answers really surprised me while others did little to motivate me to move forward. In the analysis, I learned how to accept who I am and embrace her for all of her complexities and nuances.
I started applying points from sermons and books I read instead of being gluttonous with information but not acting upon it.
My willingness to be intimate with my own deep feelings creates the space for intimacy with another. ~Shakti Gawain
This is where I have to use strong language. I had become an information whore. I took it all in but I did nothing with it. At one point I was listening to anywhere from 10 to 20 sermons a week and doing absolutely nothing with what came in except taking notes and getting excited while the sermons were on and then moving on to the next one with little application of the information. This led to me being fat on information but having very little knowledge of how to apply it to my life.
I started cutting down on my consumption and instead only allowed myself to consume what I would actually put into action. Like digesting food, I developed a system where I had to use the information that so took in so it would nourish my mind and life. Every sermon I watched and every book I read from that moment forward I had to come up with 3 to 5 action points that I would implement within a week. Sounds like a lot right? But it was just what I needed to change my life. I had this realization in February of last year and already the two years look so different from one another.
I learned to relax and breathe deeply.
When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life. ~Jean Shinoda Bolen
There is something to be said for sitting back and allowing the air to come out of your lungs. I once wrote a blog post about how I hate the word “Just relax…” because of the way the term has been used when speaking to me throughout my life. However, in the last year, I’ve developed the ability to truly relax and sense how it feels in my body and mind when I allow myself to exhale deeply and calm my thoughts and lean into life and lean back from all the hustle and rush to succeed and go somewhere.
I’m currently going through Darren Hardy’s INSANE PRODUCTIVITY course and working with Bethany Perry for a year to transform how I show up for my clients, my family, and myself. After learning what I wanted, I knew I needed to employ the right resources and people to help me reach my definition of success. To be able to work with them, I had to release all I believed myself to be and go through all the steps above so I could take in what they say and apply it to my life.
What’s interesting is that both of them, who couldn’t be more different from one another, suggest leaning back to lean in. They say it differently but Darren promotes not working on the weekends and ensuring you use your time wisely through self-mastery while Bethany often asks me, “What if you could reach your goals just by showing up? What if it’s not about what you do but just being you?” Please envision the mind-blown emoji here.
Both of them are empowering me to truly learn how to relax. I work intently during the week and enjoy every moment of it because I LOVE what I do professionally, it’s all an extension of who I am and uses skills I naturally use in life. On the weekends, I play intently and don’t work for pay because that is my time to ensure I am always giving from my overflow and not by running myself dry.
This juggle has made it that I am showing up as my best self for each person intended to be in my life. I do still have days where I make a blip or revert back to old patterns, but they are becoming further apart from one another.
This journey has been truly fascinating. I call it that because none of this was overnight. It’s been ongoing for about five years, maybe longer. In the last two years, I’ve been super intentional and really diving into each concept. I recommend it for anyone who truly wants to improve their relationships, especially the one with themselves. We MUST love ourselves before we love anyone else. Even the Bible tells us to love our neighbors AS we love ourselves. This is hard when we hate ourselves. When we don’t see our own worth. When we walk around as a shadow of ourselves.
In 2019, I stepped out of my shadow and into the full-color version of myself. I stopped fearing who I was and became all I am destined to be, even when it wasn’t comfortable and took work to accept. 2020 has been a year so far of allowing myself permission to be big and bold and “too much” and not apologize for it because that’s how I was made. For the people who are intended to be in my world, they see me as just right. As one of my clients would say, “It’s time to throw glitter around and get this party starter!” Let’s all show up as designed, even if it takes hard work and sacrifice to get there. It’s soooooo worth it!
I am not a counselor and I don’t play one when it comes to mental health issues. If you need professional help, please seek treatment and know there is no shame in doing so. The above is not intended to diagnose or treat anything or anyone. I am sharing personal experiences and observations.
Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. ~Malcolm S. Forbes
All quotes in this post were resourced from this article on Psychology Today.
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