All Women are Worthy

Media has a long standing tradition of teaching women we are only worth something based on a level of conventional attractiveness and how quietly we sit and smile. We learn this from the time we’re very young when we must wear the pretty dress and have our hair just right while we silently smile and act like a good girl at family gatherings. Our parents instill that in us along with that oh so dangerous idea that if a relative wants a hug or kiss on the cheek well then we must comply. We’re conditioned to believe we’re objects, to be seen and never heard. Good girls don’t have tangled hair, muddy clothes or refuse to smile and say no. But is that entirely our parents fault? Nope, they learned it from their parents and so on and so on but over the last 100 years media has perpetrated these messages and created a society defined by media standards. Doesn’t matter if it’s in print, movies, photographs, tv or music. All of it over the last millennia has taught us just how we should be and it’s fucking bullshit!

The messages are everywhere and their confusing as hell so it’s no wonder that the women I work with regularly still have massive insecurities and hang ups about their bodies and value. They worry that they’re too fat, too thin, too old, don’t have big enough boobs, have the wrong hair, wrong skin color, wrong style, aren’t of value because they aren’t fully able bodied or whatever else you can think of. It’s so much and it’s exhausting because regardless of the factor it all comes down to one issue…weren’t not worthy. If we’re too old or overweight or not the right skin color we have no right to be seen as sexy. If we’re young and thin and have conventionally beautiful features then we’re only allowed to be sexy for men but we’re still sluts because of that. If we don’t dress sexy then we automatically get the label that we’re some kind of feminazi out to destroy men or just simply not womanly enough and we should try harder. On the other end of this when we do find a male partner we’re supposed to be hyper sexual for him. But only him and only when he initiates it and certainly only for him to see. If we’re bisexual or lesbian then that’s only “hot” if we’re putting on a show for men to see otherwise we’re disgusting.

It’s all too much and it’s no wonder we all feel some sort of constant shame, insecurity and doubt ourselves. The media does a damn good job of pushing us down and at the same time making us spend billions of dollars on changing our appearance and buying products, clothing and such to fit in. But it’s never enough and we still feel somehow less then. In my coaching group, the women I teach are constantly wondering how they break free from this messaging when it shoved down our throats rapid fire on a daily basis. It’s hard to give them an answer because I’m working against a force much larger then myself. I’m essentially one rebellion jet going at a Death Star. But all of us Star Wars nerds know that in fact one rebel fighter took down an entire Death Star so there’s hope. What I tell them is to on a daily basis compliment themselves, dance and move for themselves and compliment each other. Find a way to share their voice and spend time with themselves learning to love their bodies. If they can love their physical self they can slowly learn to love the inside too. If they do that while finding ways to stand up for and light up other women then it’ll spread and overtime we can break down the media machine. Right now our society is at a turning point. There’s powers trying to take us back and powers trying to break us free and we just need to get in the habit of feeding the right wolf. I see women everyday that are starting to push forward so if we stand behind them and with them we can transform our world for the better. The men out there who support us can help by continuing to hear us, validate us and support us by making sure we know we are worthy as is. It’s gonna take a lot of work but we can do it and then we’ll have created a future where every woman is given a voice.

Celebrate your wins

How often are you celebrating the successes you have in life? Do you even truly pay attention to what you’ve accomplished and take pride in that? If not, why the hell not?!

Celebrating your success is vital for 1. Appreciating what you’ve already accomplished 2. Bringing more successes into your life because your giving gratitude for the ones you’ve already achieved and 3. Your building confidence in yourself when you see what you’ve already done. Not all success has to be career or 💰 related (those are nice though 😉) but it’s any success! Regardless of how big or small you perceive the success it’s still valid and important to take note of. This is something that many of us struggle with because it’s so much easier to get in the mindset of checking things off a list and moving onto the next item. Taking time to really notice what you’ve accomplished gives you a chance to be present and see what you’re truly capable of. When you don’t pay attention to your wins and you have a moment in life where something isn’t going right something happens. In that moment, you begin doubting yourself and your abilities. You stop thinking of yourself as someone capable. This leads to some serious issues that stops your life successes.

So what can you do to celebrate the wins? Anything you want but make sure you do it! This doesn’t necessarily mean buying yourself something or taking yourself on an elaborate dinner. I’m not a fan of spending outside your means so make sure you do something that fits your budget. But find some way to celebrate each month when you look back at what you’ve accomplished. Let’s say your goal was to develop a better night time routine, stay off social media except designated times, start a blog or podcast, finish a work project. Whatever it is if you did it reward yourself for it! I personally love doing things like having a little living room dance party, treating myself to a yoga class or lunch out or if it fits my budget getting myself something I really want. I keep a planner where I set my intentions for the month and then have a list of things I want to accomplish each week. Everyday if I accomplish five things on my list I give myself a big W for the win and at the end of my month I look over everything to see what I’ve accomplished. If I achieved what I wanted to achieve I decide how I wanna celebrate 🎉 and do it!

Try it for yourself and see how much it changes your outlook on what you can do and how much more you can do!

What depression teaches you

This is kind of a dark topic to finish out the decade when there’s so much excitement for the new one but whatever, I never do things in the normal order. Honestly, in some ways it’s the perfect time because as you start to think about what you want for your new year you have to eliminate things you don’t want. For me, the last several years has been the most transformative of my life and I’ve been through some shit but this last period…talk about change! I’d like to say that all the transformation came from just simply deciding to work on myself and keep improving but it’s not. Most people don’t go through a transformation without having some sort of dark night of the soul. My start was dark, as dark as it’s ever been, and it was not pretty. Of course no one ever fully realizes how shitty the process of self development is till your in it. We hear people say it’s a rough road to get there but until your in the trenches you have no fucking idea how ugly they can be.

So how did my journey start? It started with everything breaking down around me to a point I found myself in the hospital under suicide watch. Not many people know that, well honestly more than I wanted knew due to the betrayal of someone I’d once trusted but we’ll get to that. Regardless, yes I was in the hospital for an attempted suicide and I lied to get myself out. For the record, the hospital I went to was a horrible place and all I had to do to get out was say that I wasn’t a danger to myself or others. That’s it, no actual therapy or talk just say yes or no and your out. In truth, I was very much still a danger to myself but after witnessing and experiencing some of the poor treatment in there I wanted the fuck out. So I lied, went home to my crumbling life and tried to continue hiding how bad things were for fear of being readmitted. The day after I got out I sat through an entire four hour conversation with my now ex-fiancé yelling at me, telling me everything I was doing wrong and ultimately leaving me. The whole time my thoughts were doing the cycle they’d been doing of say things like “see you are unloveable, no one wants you or to deal with you, your just a burden and hated and really are you doing anything good for this world? You’re not, you can’t provide for your daughter the way you should, people hate you and want to see you fail, you’re alone, no one cares, you should just leave this world, it’s too painful here just leave it’ll be better for everyone if your dead”.

Yep that was the stream of thought in my head and in the car after that long conversation my only thought was “you could just run yourself off the road and it’d be so easy and everything wouldn’t hurt so much anymore”. I don’t know how or why I didn’t but I drove myself home and slept. I slept because it was the only thing stopping me since I had no intention of going back under observation. If I was gonna leave this world I was gonna make sure I wasn’t getting stopped but I was being watched heavily by my dad and my poor daughter who in my mind would’ve been so much better off without me. While all this is going on a breakdown was still happening within my business that started an avalanche and my decline. I’d spent years giving myself to my business and what I’d initially created it to be had completely changed into something I didn’t want. I let so many other people determine what it was, how it functioned just to make them happy that I had lost all passion for it. I’d gone through an assault by a former client a few years before that I was so ashamed of I still hadn’t received help for it. It wasn’t my fault but I still felt shame and that event led to me closing myself off. I trusted no one anymore, I hardly ever went out anymore but because of the utter loneliness I felt and need to liked by someone, anyone I latched on to the people around. That would’ve been staff and a few long term students that became staff. This was the biggest mistake I’d ever made and biggest lesson of my life.

The staff I latched onto I’d developed a rapport with and relationship with but it was one that had no boundaries and one where I asked for no respect as a boss. When I needed to talk about something, instead of going to the friends that had been in my life, I’d isolated myself and talked to my staff. So that meant if there was an issue with a staff member the only other people I had to talk to about it were their peers. The problem with this is obvious but for someone who was still hurting so bad over being violated and betrayed, then shunned by a few people that did know about my assault, I didn’t see that. I’d finally gotten into a relationship again but so much of me was still closed off because I couldn’t fully trust and having a partner that scolded me anytime I needed to vent just made me shut down further. So there’s just a whole shit show of problems with all of this and in the middle of it I’d made bad decisions within my studio financially. I added unlimited memberships to make people happy which by the way is the worst decision any small boutique studio can ever make and I was paying my staff way more than was affordable or deserved. They were coming in teaching using programming I created, advertised for, paid for in a place that I paid for and ran but I was paying them more then I paid myself because again I latched on.

So all of this boiled down to major financial strain that basically was on the verge of ending me. One instructor, who I’d become particularly close with was unhappy and started reaching out to the others. She’d offered to do an event for the studio that she wanted to put on and let the studio keep the profit but afterwards, and because admittedly I was behind, decided she did want the money from it. It wasn’t there because I had used it to start getting ahead on things but she wanted it. In this whole timeline I’d set all my staff up to believe they were more important then me and I had molded everything to what they wanted all the while loosing my dreams for it, feeling like I couldn’t tell them when they were screwing up because they’d get mad and leave and having absolutely no boundaries. This ended with said former employee going to each of the other staff members and telling them I’d said horrible things about them. She’d stepped down already and was reaching out but at this point what she didn’t realize was that I was in a state of depression so deep I couldn’t get out and was trying to figure out how to kill myself. She didn’t know but the shit storm had started and one by one many of my employees started coming down on me. Why? Because I allowed all of it and things were so out of control that I couldn’t see a way out. So I ended up in my car driving to a damn and on the ledge ready to jump when I was found by police and subsequently taken to the hospital.

All of this led to me being ordered into therapy which honestly is where I should’ve been before but money had been the issue and well it’s really hard to think of getting help when you believe the worlds just better without you. But I started therapy and yes everything was breaking down and it broke down more through this whole thing. But as I was going through this whole process of finding myself again I learned so much valuable information. I learned that giving everything you think people around you want will not make them love or stick by you. I learned that putting everyone before me leaves me empty. I learned that letting others decide what’s best for me and my business only ends with me feeling used, hurt and alone when they don’t get their way anymore. I also learned how much I needed to lean on the people that truly cared about me and stop settling for people that didn’t have my best interest at heart. I also learned that hiding from the traumas I’ve been through doesn’t fucking work and the problems your going through cannot be dealt with alone.

I have dealt with strong feelings of failure throughout this journey and sadness knowing some people utterly hate me. That has always been something I’ve struggled with given I grew up with a mom that hated me. I don’t like the feeling which is why I always tried to make others happy even when it destroyed me in the process. Getting past that is something I constantly work on but as shitty as it all was I don’t think I would’ve ever gotten to a place where I actually faced the real problems had I not gone through this. Depression will teach you so much and I’m certainly not advocating going through that. I wouldn’t wish being in that place on anyone because it fucking sucks! But, like it or not, it can be the thing that finally gets you to a place where you finally start living for yourself. That will mean people will leave and they won’t support your journey. The people you let walk over you or get more from you than you’re comfortable with will end up hating you. They’ll hate you because you’re not allowing them to be more important than you or get away with things you were never ok with. You may loose your partner which looking back who wants to be with a partner that shames you for needing to vent or lean on them when your falling apart? No one in their right mind needs that and sometimes you have to loose your mind to get in your right mind. Depression sucks and it’s certainly a long road through it and out of it but it can teach you so much if you let it. The trick is once you learn the lessons you don’t repeat them. I hurt and scared my family so much with this and that’s the only thing I still struggle with. But everything I’ve been through has led me on a path to finally understanding what I really need and want in my life and that is an invaluable lesson.

Moms Gone Fishin’

I’m the mother of an incredible eighteen year old daughter who I’ve raised pretty much on my own aside from the help of dad. So being a single mom I didn’t have a partner to take over when I wanted some me time. I did, however, have a great dad who would watch Angel when I worked, went to classes and out occasionally. But being a single mom and one who had her daughter at the age of 20 let me tell you time alone was difficult! Even with a partner getting a few minutes alone to go to the bathroom can be an utter miracle or a sign of end of days…take your pick. Being a young mama though I was looked at with judgment often, especially considering based on great genetics and skin care people think at nearly 40 I look anywhere from 23-30. Other moms would give me looks like I was some product of trailer park living and had no education on birth control, abstinence or morals. Trying to fit in with the PTA moms when she was in elementary school went out the window quickly. Not just because they tended to not speak to me but because after some time of listening to them I had no desire to fit in with them.

When Angel was very little I was doing everything I could to be the ideal mom because I’d already given her a shit show of a dad that I left before she was two. I also was young and hearing the judgments of the world about how young moms were usually shitty parents. So I took Angel to library book readings and activities, metro park classes, museum classes, zoo classes. I took her to all these places and more pretty much daily and outside of college and working I made her my whole world. I didn’t go out really for over I’d say six years. Like not even for a haircut or massage and certainly not out with friends. My life was for her and if I could take her with me I did. It was the most unhealthy thing I’ve ever done and it backfired big time. Now don’t think I regretted taking her to all those activities because I didn’t. I gave her experiences my own mom never would’ve and it’s helped mold her into the compassionate, intelligent person she is. What I regret though is what I did to myself and what happened after those six years that effected us both.

After six years of making my daughter my entire world I snapped. I started going out one to two times a week which doesn’t sound like an obscene amount but let me explain why it was a problem. I was going out drinking and dancing with people I’d met through mutual friends and drinking way more then I wanted. I started “dating” again and we’ll call it dating because so much of it was hooking up with guys after a date or two I did not like and some I didn’t even go on a date with. I was hooking up with a guy for two months I couldn’t fucking stand for fucks sake! I was so lonely and desiring adult interaction, friendship, companionship that I was just giving myself over to anyone who paid me attention and doing things that really brought me no joy. In that two year period of going out like crazy I was also going through a long and just utterly damaging custody battle that’s a story for another time. I’ll just say in the five year battle he finally just walked away which is what he wanted to do all along anyway and it was the best thing he ever did for Angel. But I was living a life outside of being a mom that made me feel like a bad mom and ended with a sexual assault that’s taken me years to overcome (again a story for another day).

I didn’t get to do my early twenties like most people do and tried to make up for it in a way that didn’t make me feel any better. The problem wasn’t having a life and identity outside of my child. The problem was I waited so long to give myself that that I was lost and not filling myself up. So I stopped going out in that way and threw myself into work and her and went out very little. While my situation may be slightly different from the average mom the theme is the same. It’s the theme of putting your kids and everyone else before you! It’s what I consider an epidemic among moms and why so many mamas suffer from secret depressions, sadness, regret and so much more. As moms we tend to forgo our own needs and give some type of excuse for when we give to ourselves. How many of you mamas have gone out for a friend date and immediately told your friends your husband or partner was babysitting the kids because you’ve been doing xy and z? Probably a lot of you and when the friend date ended and you had a blast even with your secret guilt for being away promised to do it more often because it was really fun and “we really should spend more time together”. We both know though it’ll be six months to a year before you do it again and you use the excuse that life is different now and that’s ok.

I have moms come into my studio all the time that eventually drop off even though they love classes because mom is the first person to sacrifice time and attention. It’s heartbreaking to watch because you can see this amazing chick sacrificing something she really loves and is thriving with. But we over schedule our kids with sports and activities and yes ladies that needs to stop! Your child doesn’t need to do two sports a season on top of everything else you’ve got them into and it’s time to nip that in the bud. Kids need to be kids and have down time. They also need to learn an important lesson on self care and you are their first teacher. Learning to balance my time and identity as a woman with my time with my daughter and being a mom is one of the greatest lessons I’ve taught her and I know this because she’s told me. From me, she’s learned to go after what you want and that it’s important to have goals that are your own. She learned that building friendships and having hobbies that bring joy and pleasure are necessary and that self care is a priority. In fact, I’m writing this very blog sitting in a bubble bath with sexy music on and a mimosa on Christmas Day and I dint feel bad. Why? Cause I wanted some me time and guess what she’s doing? She’s painting because that’s her thing and plans to take a bubble bath later too because she feels like it. Yes she’s an adult now but this has been something after my wild child phase that she saw regularly. I give her quality time and always have but I’ve also given myself time and attention. I may not be perfect at it always but I’m a hell of a lot better then I used to be.

Having a daughter it was key to teach her to put herself first and for those that have sons it’s critical to teach them that as a woman your needs are equal to and as important as any males. That’s how we breakdown these ideas that keep women down in society. Teach your kids and your partner what you need matters and for the love of god stop apologizing for it!

Self Protection/Self Sabotage

Most of us have experienced self sabotage in our lives and most of us are aware on some level we do it. It may be with relationships, money, health. Whatever it is it can be a viscous cycle of getting so close to a goal or stage in our lives we want and then watching it all crash down around us. Why do we do it though? It never feels good when we see it happen and it never leaves us any better off then we were before. In fact, the longer we continue this ugly process of giving ourselves a little of what we truly want and then pushing it away everything gets worse and worse and worse. From there we have two choices, either get to the root of why this is happening and do something about or spend the rest of our lives never having what we really desire. Yes that sounds extreme but we’ve all come across someone we’ve seen living just a miserable existence and wondering what the fuck went wrong. Most likely it was a lot of things that just build up to create a mountain of failures, disappointments, set backs, hurts and they got so weighed down they never tried to get back up. Sounds sad as hell right? It is and it happens to too many people.

But why does it happen, what starts it all? It’s usually one hurt stemming from either a single event or person in our lives and most likely at a younger age. Many of us aren’t quite aware of what that incident was or if we are we aren’t cognizant enough to understand all the ways that person or event is effecting our lives. For me, money has always been an issue. I have struggled to get myself to a financial place I have dreamed of or wanted. I’ve gone through consistent cycles where I’ve attracted money, maybe not quite the amount I wanted but definitely more than what I had been making, and then the next month watched myself make even less than I normally do till the point that it evens out. It’s defeating and add stresses like not bringing in enough to cover bills, cover rent, worrying about whether or not I’ll be able to get my daughter anything for Christmas, feeling like a failure for not being where I wanted at any stage in my life it’s overwhelming. I didn’t quite always understand why this was happening though. Not until I dove deeper into self discovery and really started working on myself.

I have done several coaching programs, read countless books, followed dozens of podcasts and YouTube videos of different speakers and coaches. My three personal favorites out of all of them are Lisa Nichols, Layla Martin and Regena Thomashauer aka Mama Gena. Male coaches I can enjoy but their energy never quite spoke to me the way these incredible women have and each have taught me similar things in different ways or very different things but all related to similar areas of my life. But all three have promoted living your truth and living in joy. As I’ve learned from them I started understanding how deeply my lack of self love and self belief went and knew it effected why I wasn’t having the success in my business that I wanted to have, why my romantic relationships always ended up being catastrophes, why I didn’t feel like I had the kind of friendships I always wanted and the list goes on and on. I knew those feelings were there but I couldn’t quite get to the root of them to overcome them and “fix them” (there’s a reason I’m putting that in quotes by the way). I just felt stuck and like something was in me that I desperately wanted and needed to clear out. It felt as if physical muck was just sitting inside my chest and throat and I wanted to reach in and pull it out.

But I had no idea how or what this all really was until I learned an exercise doing Lisa’s Abundance Now course and a similar exercise in Layla Martin’s VITA Coach Certification ( I highly recommend both). The exercises have the same goal but different techniques. Both exercises are all about discovering with clarity why you have the blocks you have. Blocks are those lovely little things holding you back and most of us again have an understanding that we have them but we don’t always understand the root of them. Many coaches or personal development courses talk about moving past blocks and getting into an abundant mindset. The problem I have found with a lot of others is while their promoting a mindset change they aren’t dealing with your current mindset and what created so all those self sabotage issues aren’t actually being faced. But with Lisa, Layla and Mama Gena I started facing the things that held me back and discovered something just fucking mind blowing! I discovered that this all came from a place of self protection.

I spent so much time trying to fight past my demons and fix them which wasn’t working and I was never moving past them. But when I did some work to sit with and meet my shadow self I realized she was the little girl still inside me that was hurt because her mother never really loved her, saw her or cared about her. That little girl so desperately wanted her mother to value her and hear her and never felt cared about. I have a wonderful father who encouraged me to shine but the woman in my life who was supposed to be the most influential and most important didn’t care. So I grew up feeling unseen and unimportant and being someone that serves women in my daily profession it now makes so much sense why things just weren’t working. How could I surround myself with women to help them heal, grow, thrive and become empowered when deep down I felt none of that because I was still waiting for someone to make me feel and experience all those things about myself? I couldn’t! I don’t have a relationship with my mother given her toxicity which I’ll go deeper later on how to deal with removing people from your life. However, I have done a lot of work and still do meeting that shadow side and giving it space to express itself.

Our shadow side isn’t something we can get rid or fix because it’s part of us. We can meet it, talk to it to understand why it’s created all those blocks and behaviors that hold us back and give it space to feel heard and loved. Doing that is absolutely necessary in working past them to have what you really want. For me, I have come to and understanding with my shadow side and allow myself to converse with it so as anything comes up for me I can understand what’s really going on. It’s not easy and requires facing things like massive insecurity, feeling like I can’t be my authentic self for fear of being rejected or unheard but it’s so worth it in the end. I may not have everything I want yet but my overall joy in life is so much better. I’ve done work with my shadow self through meditating and visualizing that part of me and asking it questions, I’ve written the question why over and over while thinking of a block to get answers out, I’ve written letters to myself to give it love and apologize for ignoring it. Each time I do that or anything else I start to feel more connected, more vibrant and alive.

If you haven’t done anything like this for yourself try it. It’ll feel weird at first but it’s so worth it. I also highly recommend checking out the incredible coaches and their books and if you’re in the Columbus Ohio area I’d love to have you join me for my Sensual Power course where we start diving in and beginning the journey of self love ❤

The song that’s taken me throughout my journey!

Rediscovering Magic

Franklin Park Conservatory

When I was young I loved Christmas lights. Seeing hundreds of twinkling lights in multi-colored brilliance always made me feel some spark of magic inside. It’s the same feeling from a grand fireworks display or wishing upon a shooting star. Kids have this spectacular ability to experience magic in the smallest, most innocent things in life. It’s what allows them to believe in Santa, fairies and magical realms they could slip into just inside their closet. I can’t tell you how often I played in my closet as a kid and had this entire world imagined that was a combination of Candy Land and The Nutcracker. My imagination had no bounds and I had absolutely no problem telling my dad or anyone else about this make believe world I’d created within my young mind. All young kids have this unfailing capacity to be not only proud of their imaginings but they will defend them vehemently.

Somewhere along the line though we stop believing in the magic of the world around us and stop imagining what could be. Someone makes fun of us or demands we grow up and there’s this cruel notion that to be an adult we are no longer aloud to dream or believe in magic. We become cynical and jaded as we stop trying to be the person we fantasized about becoming when we were young. It happens every time and we wonder why so often in our adulthood why we just kinda feel like blah about everything! Our idea of fun is to plan out a vacation once a year if we’re lucky that stresses us the fuck out to plan, we don’t enjoy it entirely because we’re so stressed about making sure we do all the activities and then we come home no better except now we’re really freakin annoyed at the idea of having to back to work. How is that living? It’s not!

Our existence isn’t meant to be one where we just go through the motions with little bursts of joy and magic. We’re meant to live a full life and that life includes magic. Feeling the pure ecstasy of magic can transform how we live our lives and the great part is there isn’t one way to do it. We all find sheer joy in different things and all that’s necessary is to figure out what they are. Once you do, find a way to incorporate them in your life regularly. You may not be able to go see Christmas lights and fireworks year round but you can sure as hell hang twinkle lights in your home, get out and appreciate the miracle of nature, have random dance parties in your living room simply because. Whatever you do just make it part of your life. When we’re in a state of joy and wonder we experience so many changes in varied aspects of ours lives. So make a list of yours and figure out what you can do to feel the magic!

Love Thyself

The hardest thing in life sometimes is to love yourself truly. I mean, really love yourself and all of you. Every dark spot that holds all your failures, all the things you’re embarrassed or ashamed by as well as all the successes, moments you felt like you did or said something that made you genuinely proud of yourself. Everything all rolled up into the unique package that is you without anyone or anything saying anything different. Loving yourself that deeply for most of us is a challenge, and I will put money down right now that says some part of you thinks that’s an arrogant ass thing, loving all of yourself like the goddess you are. Most of us find the idea of that kind of love for oneself to be almost a vile concept because it sounds like what I’m saying is to believe you can do no wrong cause your just that awesome. There’s a catch to this idea. It doesn’t mean you’re unaware of your flaws and failings. It means that despite those things, you still love and believe in yourself and forgive yourself. It means you understand the dark sides of yourself, embrace them, and learn from them in the most gentle and loving way possible to continually grow and be the best version of you that you can be.

That kind of love is powerful, and sadly most of us aren’t taught to feel that type of deep self-adoration. If we are, there’s always outside forces challenging that, and many of us fall prey to those forces. We all have a moment in our life that started the catalyst for a path of self-hatred and disdain. But those moments or people or even that one person who told us we weren’t shit isn’t the one to blame for lack of self-love. Sure they helped it along and probably fueled it forward, picking up other toxic people and situations that beat us down. The real culprit is what wasn’t ingrained in us from day one. Many of us started life with a loving parent or two who thought the world of us. Not everyone had that, and that sets you back, but even when you do, it doesn’t ensure true self-love. It’s because that lesson of love is taught when things are easy. We’re born, and instantly we are perfect and beautiful and hearing that message, and yes, we are perfect and beautiful for being. However, what happens when we start growing and we make mistakes like knocking over a vase and breaking it, coloring on the walls, cutting off our hair with safety scissors (did that one and there’s a pic to prove it). Yes, these are everyday childhood things, and of course, our parents have to teach us not to do them because that’s their job and it’s how we learn. But as we keep growing and aging, we don’t have that person there to remind us that just because we screw up doesn’t mean we’re a shitty person. Just because we do stupid things sometimes doesn’t make us foolish, and sometimes you need to make a mistake to learn and grow.

Even if we get that, there’s still part of ourselves that feels instant guilt and regret making mistakes. Trust me, even with the most helpful role models; we can still struggle with that. This is coming from a woman whose meditation teaching father always told me when I was young that making mistakes was part of life. He said what’s most important is to take the lesson they give and learn from them. Yep, he’s pretty brilliant, I know, but do you think that wholly sunk in? Hell no! Because my subconscious still struggled, and I also had a shitty ass mom that berated me for even the slightest perceived mistake. She once kicked me out at the age of six, and to this day, I can’t tell you what at six years old I’d done to earn getting kicked out in a not so good neighborhood I might add. All I do know is I packed my strawberry shortcake suitcase probably with some stuffed animals and went to the curb cause I didn’t know how to get to my dad’s house or call him. So you could say I had two very opposing voices growing up and for those wondering, don’t worry, my dad was called. He picked me up as he did every other time I got kicked out until I stopped going to her house altogether. There’s an old saying about feeding the right wolf, and you’d think because, while my dad has his flaws, he showed and taught me unconditional love, I’d have listened to my dad. You’d be wrong because I grew to be hard on myself, and the moment someone didn’t like me, or I screwed up or wasn’t as good at something as someone else, I perceived myself as a bad person, stupid or not good enough. I only allowed myself to get so far ahead and let all the wrong voices to get in my head.

Why did I do this? Because I feed the wrong wolf and that wolf would be the one associated with my mother. I wanted desperately for her to love me. I wanted to be seen and appreciated by her and I never really was. As an adult it’s easy to say well fuck her she was an asshole. Yeah, she was, but child me just wanted her mommy to show her she mattered. I never got that and as I grew up adult me had some real fucked up romantic relationships with partners just like her. This is where we get self love screwed up. We search and search for outside validation to prove we’re worthy of love never quite finding what makes us feel whole. Because nothing and no one outside of us can make us feel that. I see friends who can’t stay single for more than five minutes because they’re just desperate to have something to fill a void. We don’t get reminded as we start growing up that our own self love is the most important love we’ll ever experience. As women, we are still taught by society that our worth is determined by the world. Men are taught that they only have value if they’re “a real man”.

No matter what we’re told at birth we stop hearing those messages early on that by existing we have value. I’m not promoting telling people they matter just because and never have to do anything in life. Definitely not advocating for a generation sitting around going “well I’m awesome so guess I don’t need to do anything”. Not at all but imagine if we all learned that each of were uniquely special and mattered from day one and continued hearing that. Imagine what would happen if we all just really loved ourselves and believed in ourselves as we entered adulthood. We would have a generation of people that dared to dream, respected each person in the world because they would understand that each person is special. It’d be pretty hard for this world to be as fucked up as it can be like that right?

It’s almost as if Mr. Rogers was onto something way back. He knew the importance of self love and he promoted it daily. Like many other people in my generation, I watched him religiously and was enamored with him and his messages. The only problem is he was fighting a world saying something very different. Society is a big entity and yes it’s hard to fight but more and more people are waking up and understanding why we have to change the way we see ourselves and each other. But how do we do it? Fred sadly isn’t here anymore to continue his beautiful show but his messages are still out there and we can learn from them. He never hid from discussing the dark things and that is a first step. Have a conversation with the dark parts of yourself and figure out why they exist and what they’ve been attempting to protect you from. They exist for a reason and instead of this idea that you need to just focus on good things and becoming better love and integrate the shadowy parts too. If you don’t they’ll keep ruling your life and you’ll keep getting into bad relationships, underachieving, holding yourself back and whatever else you do that doesn’t help you. Have a conversation and embrace what you’ve learned from those parts of you. Love your failures and short comings. When you can do that you can start really loving yourself and I promise your life will transform before your eyes!