My clients usually come to me when they know that they are ready to change their lives, but don’t know where to start. When people find out I'm a life coach, they often tell me their own life situation and ask for suggestions. I usually ask a few questions to try to understand their situation better before offering insights and suggestions. It almost always comes down to one simple solution: helping them uncover what they truly want. I'm amazed how often people aren’t aware of what they truly want. Life has a way of happening to us instead of us happening to life. See if this is a familiar story.
Yes, I do believe that one of the single most effective and powerful things we can do to participate in the Divine’s transformation of our own lives is to learn to love ourselves more. Time and time again, as I work with people, when we get to the core of the problem, be it limiting belief, addiction, etc., it is a lack of self-love. The thing that’s behind the thing that’s behind the thing is that they have placed a very low value on their life and don’t believe they deserve to be happy. It is the most messed up thing of all and most people are barely aware of it. I genuinely think people want to be happy. Yet deep down in places they haven’t explored often, they don’t believe they deserve to be happy or are worth it. It’s the most devious trick in humanity. Somewhere in our life we were told that we aren’t worth it. We either were treated that way by those who were supposed to love and protect us when we were young and vulnerable, or because of decisions we made in the past, mistakes, we buy into the lie that we don’t have value and we aren’t worth being loved. And yet we can spend our whole lives trying to prove that we are worth being loved and go to incredible lengths to try to show everyone that we are of value.
But you don’t have to prove anything. Let me say it again. You have nothing to prove. The fact that God created you is enough. That oxygen flows in and out of your lungs, bringing life to your blood cells, is enough. What if instead of constantly trying to prove ourselves to ourselves and everyone around us, we just acknowledged that because we are alive and loved by the Divine, that we are enough.
Tomorrow is the one day self-love challenge. Now if you just read that sentence and rolled your eyes a little, I understand. I used to respond in the same manner. And then I realized that being a control freak and a perfectionist, and being harder on myself than anyone else hadn’t really gotten me the things in life I want… peace, happiness, self-control, etc. Has the way you’ve been living your life taken you to the heights of your dreams? So why not take one day and commit to loving yourself? Why not take one day to be completely and utterly gracious with yourself? Why not take one day and instead of criticizing yourself for making a mistake, simply affirm that you love yourself anyways, just the way you are? Here are a few places to start...
1. Make the commitment to love yourself for 1 day: Make the commitment and choose love for yourself. Do it now. If love is the greatest gift we have to give, what could be possibly wrong with loving yourself for one day in all your thoughts and actions? Go ahead and literally write it out right now or type it in an email to yourself or send it as a text to yourself. "Tomorrow I will commit my entire day to practicing self love."
2. Affirm yourself verbally throughout the day: Think of the most loving thing you could say to yourself, and repeat regularly throughout the day. Get up and repeat it OUT LOUD to yourself first thing. Write it on a post it note and stick it on your bathroom mirror before you go to bed tonight. If you are having trouble coming up with something loving to say to yourself, try starting here.
3. Forgive yourself immediately after any intentional or unintentional mistake: So you just screwed up and maybe no one else knows it, but you do. Immediately forgive yourself. If it helps, you can allow yourself to feel your remorse and then say... "I totally and completely forgive myself for ____________________ and I release myself of all my anger and all my disappointment." Try it. Forgiveness is incredibly powerful and it is the one of the most freeing things to experience. In fact, maybe you want to start your day by forgiving yourself for everything you've done that you have yet to forgive yourself for.
4. Give yourself a gift: Choose one thing to do for yourself that you know brings you life and you know cares for your soul and heart. Maybe you love going for a run but haven't had time lately. Maybe there is a good book you just haven't allowed yourself to read lately because you haven't had time. Read it. Maybe there is a friend that always brings you life that you haven't spent time with or talk to lately. Ask them to hang out or simply call them and just talk.
Taking the one day self-love challenge is a gift that you can give to yourself with no strings attached. It's only one day. How bad could it possibly be? A better question and motivation is, how incredible might it be? What if you discover some things about yourself? Wouldn't it be worth it?
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email me via the website and I will be glad to get back to you before you wake up tomorrow. What do you say? ARE YOU WORTH IT?
“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” - C.G. Jung
"Loving yourself…does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion. "- Margo Anand
"Well-ordered self-love is right and natural." - Thomas Aquinas
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“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” - Steven Pressfield. I’ve found this to be as true as anything in my life. Fear can be one of our truest compasses. That thing that makes us most uncomfortable, often times, is the thing we may need to run towards and embrace.
When was the last time doing the comfortable thing inspired anyone?
Comfortable is good for times of rest. And some of us desperately need some rest. But comfort is only meant for a little while, from time to time. Then we must look again to what scares us and head directly towards it.
Some will tell you that you should rid yourself of all fear. I think that is a sure way to repress your true feelings. Others will tell you to use fear as a motivation. It is a powerful motivation, sure enough. But I would rather use fear as a compass.
It scares you to death to leave your current profession and pursue your heart’s calling? That’s a sure sign that that is the direction for you. It makes your heart race and paralyzes you to even consider sharing your darkest secret with a trusted friend? You can know that that is the way to freedom. The thought of speaking up and telling those in authority over you that you disagree with them causes you to panic? It’s probably time to exercise your vocal chords. And so on, and so forth.
I don’t think its really a question of how much courage do you have to face your fears or to allow yourself to be uncomfortable. I think its more a question of, “how bad do you want to live a full and meaningful life?” If the desire for a full and meaning is there and if it runs deep, then chances are you won’t allow your fears to keep you at bay.
Instead you’ll use what scares you as a compass and know with certainty the directions you need to pursue. So how bad do you want it? What is it worth to you to live a full and meaningful life?
For a long time I’ve known that one of my next steps is to take on more clients as a mentor. I have all kinds of doubts and fears about that. Do I know enough? Can I sustain that kind of career long term? Do I want to leave the comfort of a steady paycheck for a riskier endeavor, even though the ceiling is much higher fiscally, the freedom is greater and it aligns more with my purpose. But the more I realize how scared I am of taking that risk, the more I realize the direction I need to go. It confirms my hearts true desires.
And I want to live a full and meaningful life. How about you? What scary thing do you need to move towards? What risk do you need to take? What person do you need to? What decision do you already know you need to make in order to have a more full and meaningful life?
Last week I wrote about taking practical steps to pursue the life you want. I’ve had many conversations via email, facebook, and over the phone about that particular post. The number one topic of conversation wasn’t about more details concerning the ‘how’, but was all about the ‘what’. It amazes me how many grown adults have no idea who they are, what they want to do or who they want to become. They are still uncertain about the kind of life they want to live. In the context of a road trip, the biggest question isn’t how to get to the destination as much as ‘what is the destination’ to begin with!
Why is it that trying to figure out who we truly want to be and what kind of life we want to live be so difficult and almost elusive? Well I believe it’s a matter of expectations. In my experience of working with people who are trying to figure this critical piece out, they have no idea what they truly want because they haven’t let go of the expectations of others. They are too busy pleasing others and trying to live a life approved by their parents, faith group, the opposite sex, etc. that they have no room to discover who they are and what they want.
David Deida, in The Way of the Superior Man, offers this insight to all men trying to live a fulfilled masculine life… “Live as if your father is already dead”. Now if you back up a minute and gain some perspective you will see how truly powerful this advice is. I have a wonderful father and I’m blessed to live near him and be able to connect with him on many levels. However, I can no longer live my life trying to please him. That would be ridiculous and unsustainable. I have to live my own life by my values and my principles, led by my heart and my relationship with the Divine… not his. And he wouldn’t want me living to please him. He’s too healthy for that.
Now this doesn’t apply to just the masculine. It applies to everyone, masculine and feminine. How many people do you know, or maybe you’re one of them, that went into their first career because it’s what their parents wanted them to do? Only to find themselves burnt out because they weren’t doing something that made them come alive. Because they weren’t giving the gift they were purposed in life to give. They married the person they were ‘supposed’ to marry. They bought the house and the life that they thought they were ‘supposed’ to. Never truly asking, is this what I really want? Is this the life I want to live?
How many people do you know that continue to make huge life decisions based on what the particular sub-society they are a part of values. I’ve seen it in high society, low society, faith society, and family structures. The only sustainable life you can live is the one you want to live. And even then, you have to fight and work hard for it.
Now I’m not saying you should walk out on your life long relationships, marriage, career, mortgage payments, etc. Certainly I’m not saying that you should wish your parents weren’t around anymore. The funny thing is, I work with people whose parents have long been dead, and they are still living a life that tries to please their dead parents, and not their living selves. I’m not talking about shirking the responsibilities that you have and the commitments you’ve made. But I am talking about shedding the expectations that aren’t your own. Discovering who you are and what you want. What makes you come alive? What brings you the greatest joy in your life? What makes you happy? What is your unique relationship with the Divine? And how can you pursue these things more in your life?
I choose today to live my life according to my expectations and no one else. I will do what it takes to discover who I am, what I want, and how I want to live my life. I am capable of listening to my heart, connecting to the Source, and discovering what I want in life and who I want to be.