"Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light." - Brene Brown
Disclaimer: I think self-care is awesome. But, it's surface-level shit. And most women need to go much, much deeper than that to truly create the relationship with themselves they're longing for.
I reflect back years ago when I first came into spirituality and personal development, trying to "fix" my disordered eating, anxiety, depression, and ultimately crawl my way out of rock bottom. And while I was getting some incredible information on mindfulness and self-love, I was more so being bombarded with messages to just soak in bubble baths, do yoga, and "take care" of myself.
And it was nice to try some of those things in the beginning, but solely relying on those things to help you feel better about yourself will only keep you stuck.
Because if you're out on a date with yourself thinking...
"I hope no one is looking at me."
"Would people judge me if I ate an entire burger right now?"
"How long do I have to do this before it works?"
At least, that's how it was for me in the beginning. All I wanted was to feel better about myself, but when I tried the typical self-care strategies I read about online, I was more aware than ever how much I hated being alone with myself.
Whatever self-care routine I was performing on the outside was no match for the internal dialogue of shame, compulsion, and regret going on inside of me.
But, it was a good first step. It was just the first of many steps to truly healing the relationship I had with myself. And I didn't get to the good stuff until I stopped using self-care as a mask to hide how I was actually feeling and started doing the real inner work.
Because what makes an unshakable, confident, passionate, soulful, and courageous woman isn't the amount of self-care rituals she does every week.
It's the internal dialogue she has with herself.
It's her undeniable sense of worthiness.
It's her consciously deciding to go after her dreams every single day.
It's her unapologetically saying no to people and situations that don't serve her.
It's her failing miserably and pulling herself back up when it's painful.
It's the kind of relationship that takes years to build and unwavering commitment to maintain.
Everyone has seen a woman who is authentically confident in her skin, her ambitions, and her life. She's a force of nature. Women want to be her. And men want to be with her.
Is this woman perfect? Fuck no. She's far from it. But, she owns her 'flaws' and stands up for herself no matter what. She knows who she is, what she wants, and the incredible value she brings to the world.
That way of being doesn't happen overnight. And it certainly doesn't happen without contrast.
Think about the most inspiring and impactful women you know in your life right now and get curious about their journey.
What challenges have they faced to get to where they are right now? How did they turn their challenges into opportunities? What do you think their relationship with themselves is like? What kind of inner-work did they do to get to where they are now?
Because I guarantee they didn't get to that place by more bubble baths. They did it by turning inwards, facing their own darkness, tapping into their soul, speaking their truth, and committing to their growth and expansion.
You know....the heavy shit. The shit that shakes you up, strengthens your character, and ultimately sets you free.
Every woman has an inner warrior goddess inside of her that is just fricken' dying to break free from the story, fears, and limitations society and old conditioning has placed upon her. If you're reading this wondering "How do I know if I'm living as a warrior goddess?," here's a little guidance.
Some signs that you're warrior goddess might be trapped:
- Settling for a relationship or job that doesn't make you happy
- Having a disordered relationship with food
- Hating your body and trying to force it to change through intense exercise or dieting
- Not going after your dreams
- Not expressing creativity on a regular basis
- Being too afraid to share your opinion
- Isolating yourself
- Using wine, xanax, or any other modality to numb your pain
- Not knowing what the fuck you want out of life
If any of those resonate with you, don't freak out. Just acknowledge it and say "Okay, there's a few things I need to look at and work through."
Because you can work through them. And you should. Life is too short to play on the sidelines or get your girlfriends' approval before wearing an outfit. If you want to live a a passionate, happy, and PURPOSEFUL life, you gotta stand up for yourself and be unapologetic about who you are and what you have to offer.
If you're thinking "Yeah, that's great. But, I DON'T believe in myself. I don't know what I have to offer. I'm not happy with myself." or anything of the like....listen up.
The only reason you feel that way is because you have been conditioned to feel that way. Whether it was something someone else said to you or something you said to yourself....at the end of that day, you internalized it to create your sense of self.
Every time you thought negatively about your body.
Every time a guy didn't call you back.
Every time you didn't follow through on your goals.
Every time you decided that you weren't good enough, anyways.
Every time you've internalized the message "I'm not worthy," you have imprinted that belief into your brain. You have literally created a neural pathway in your brain so that anytime you have the choice to act in a way that supports you being a worthy, confident, and vibrant being....you choose the complete opposite. Because at your core, you believe you don't deserve it.
This is the reason most self-help books don't work is because they are not addressing the core reason most of us are struggling. It's not because we haven't journaled enough or taken ourselves out on enough dates (although those are great supplementations), it's because we have hard-wired a negative sense of self in our brains.
We want to take better care of ourselves. We want to feel better. But, we feel like we're lying to ourselves when we try to live that way.
We might write in the journal. We might try intuitive eating. We might try to say mantras. But, we feel like we're waiting for the other shoe to drop because deep down we're thinking "This won't work." "I'm too broken." "Maybe once I get that job/that boyfriend/that body I'll feel better."
Limiting beliefs. Fear. Shame. And the worst part about it.....it feels like the truth.
So, how do we untangle this shit and create a real sense of worthiness? By doing the work. The real work.
Here's a few places to get started:
- Release your shame. Whatever it is you're feeling (doubt, frustration, anxiety), LET IT OUT. Go to that one girlfriend or family member that you can REALLY trust. Someone that won't try to make the situation better, but will just let you be seen. Get that ish out of you so you can begin to heal it.
- Show up for yourself. Journal every single day. Look at yourself in the mirror and say "hi." Get present in your body when you're exercising. Make it clear to your psyche that you're done running from yourself and you're committed to a long-lasting relationship with yourself.
- Show up for others. Stick to your commitments. Be yourself around other people. Spend more time with people you enjoy being around. Connection is a foundation for fulfilled living, but not if you're pretending to be someone you're not all of the time.
- Practice believing new thoughts. If your thoughts about yourself and your life situation are negative and fearful, you need to proactively practice thinking new thoughts that better support you. And not just saying them. You need to FEEL them. Think of how amazing it would feel if you were to believe in these thoughts. Pound on your chest, jump up and down, and say "I AM A BEAUTIFUL AND CONFIDENT WOMAN." "I AM WORTHY OF LOVE, SUCCESS, AND ABUNDANCE." "I AM COMMITTED TO MYSELF AND MY HAPPINESS." Do this for at least 5 minutes every single day.
- Revisit your childhood. Most of us were conditioned to feel unworthy and insecure from a very young age. Make a daily practice of looking at a younger picture every single day and offer yourself compassion. There's no use fighting what has already happened, but you can choose today to give that little girl the love and attention she always wanted.
- Call out your limiting beliefs. Every time you feel doubt or insecurity creep up on you, ask yourself "What am I believing about myself that is making me feel this way?" It's most likely an old story you have about your ability or worthiness. Decide in that moment you are going to choose a new story and act from that place of empowerment instead.
- Meditate. Not only are you strengthening your brain's ability to adapt, but you're creating space between your thoughts to take the seat of consciousness and observe your patterns from a place of power. There's no one right way to do this. Explore a variety of ways and see which one gels with you the most.
- Sit with your emotions. Don't numb your way through life. Emotions are just a vibration in your body that want to be acknowledged. Show up for yourself, even though it feels uncomfortable, and learn to sit with them. Get curious about them, not attached to what they mean.
- Invest in a coach. Not a therapist. A mentor. A coach. Someone that is going to hold you to the highest expectation and be able to call you out on your own shit when you're too blinded to see it. I would be nowhere without my coaches and even as a coach today, I will continue to get seek mentorship from others. Because its an absolute essential for growth. Think about all of the money you spend on clothes, lattes, and other crap that doesn't serve you. Invest in your self for once and see how dramatically it affects your life.
- Visualize you living as your (real) powerful self. If you want to get in the real deep subconscious layers, meditate until you enter theta brain waves, and then create your new vision. Visualize how you look, how you speak, what you say to others, what you're doing. Make note to feel in your body the sense of confidence you feel. Play around in the visualization until you feel elated with your creation. And before awakening, express gratitude to the universe for helping you step into your power.
- Stop saying sorry and/or making excuses for existing. Seriously. You don't need to apologize for every little mistake you make or opinion you offer. You deserve to be here, share your truth, and slip up from time to time.
- Accept compliments. Don't deflect them. Don't avoid them. Don't feel forced to counter them. Receive them.
- STOP TRYING TO FIX YOURSELF. There's a thin line between using self-development tools as a way to better yourself or fix yourself. Listen to me carefully....YOU ARE NOT BROKEN. You simply have been conditioning your thoughts and behaviors in a way that's not serving your soul's potential. That's it. Make the commitment now to show up for yourself, love everything that is, and work towards love-fueled change because you know in your heart you deserve it.
These are just some ways to get started on your journey of REAL self-care. Know that this takes time, effort, and consistency. But most importantly, it takes UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. So even in those moments where you feel like shit, ate an entire bag of chips, or did something you regret...get back on the saddle. Commit to loving yourself above all and showing up as your own version of super woman.
Your journey won't be rainbows and butterflies all of the time. But, with your struggle comes tremendous growth. And there will never be a day in your life you regret making time to strengthen the relationship you have with yourself.
Because that's really all we have.
PS: The beautiful feature image is a piece of artwork by my dear friend Alejandra Estefania. Strongly encourage you to check her out her pieces!