Mamas, I spent decades telling myself I was too big, too fat, too loud, too overwhelming. I thought I ate too much, I weighed too much, and men only wanted me for sex. Then after I got divorced and went through bankruptcy, foreclosure, and repo within one year, I added all kinds of new horribly painful and limiting beliefs to my list: No one would want me with two kids, I was a complete failure for losing my house, no one would want me unless I got a boob job and liposuction. I would look at myself in the mirror and say no one will love you unless you lose weight. I believed all the lies all the guys (teachers) said to me. I used to come home from work every day, put the kids to bed, drink an entire bottle of wine (or more if I had more) and chain-smoke cigarettes on the back patio, alone. Wake up and do it all over again. I struggled to believe that I was enough, I was worthy of love, and I had to work really hard to cultivate that belief that someone would love me forever exactly the way I AM. So I’m sharing some of the strategies that help me heal, build confidence and self-love, and feel like a badass. I created a worksheet to help, click here to download!
- Be the person you need. Compassion starts in the mirror. Say the things you WISH someone would say to you. For example, If your friend was in the situation you are in right now and feeling bad, what would you say to them? Let’s call her Jane. See Jane run! No, not that. If your bestie Jane called you because she was having a hard day, what advice would you give her? Would you tell her to take some time for herself? Take a bath, light some candles? Would you tell her to read a book? Would you tell her to take the night off of cooking and just order in or have toast? Give herself a break? Would you tell her to have some tea or a glass of wine tonight? Would you tell her that everyone has bad days and this too shall pass, and it’s going to be OK? Well, that would be really sweet of you to say. Now, change the name to your first name and read that out loud to yourself in the mirror. Like literally. Right now.
- Silence that inner b*tch. I wrote an entire blog post about how I do this. It still happens to me. I still use these strategies. My daughter told me a couple weeks go that she and her Dad went on walks almost every day when she was over there. And I said, “why don’t you ever come on walks with us?” and she said, “because you guys (my husband and I) just want to be alone after 6 pm and you don’t want to be around kids anymore.” WOW. OK, well, my inner b*tch starts in on me. She says to me: You’re a terrible mom, you don’t ever spend time with your daughter. She thinks you don’t want to spend time with her. She likes her dad more than me and she will want to live with him full time. This is exactly what went through my head after she said those things. So, I rely on my strategies and prove those thoughts wrong. Just because you have a thought doesn’t mean it’s true. I remembered all the times I’ve invited her to walk, all the nights we’ve played cards, all the time we spent doing puzzles, reading, getting coffee, laughing in the car, blasting music, getting our nails done. Then that b*tch is quiet again, and I can go on with my day with a smile on my face. Teenagers. Sheesh. There’s NOTHING that can prepare you for that except to strengthen your mind and your self-esteem and self-love. When that inner b*tch starts in on you spreading her hateful lies, call her “Karen” if you want. Isn’t that hilarious that my given name is now used for annoying mom memes? I love it when someone sends me one. I think they’re hysterical. Make yourself laugh. Anytime that inner bitch says “you’re fat, you’re ugly, you’re not good enough…” Say to her: “You wanna talk to the manager, KAREN?” She is a lying b*tch. Get mad about it! She doesn’t get to decide who you are. YOU DECIDE.
- Use Music!!! Music is SO POWERFUL! Everything you listen to affects you either negatively or positively, even you don’t realize it. Safeguard your joy and happiness by eliminating anything negative and choosing the media you listen to with great care so you feel empowered when you spend time listening to anything! Choose a theme song! You feeling a little “Enter Sandman” today? Or maybe a little David Guetta? If you’re manifesting a badass husband or wife, get ideas from My Love Playlist on Spotify. Try “When Love Takes Over” or whatever lights your fire and make that your alarm so you hear that the first thing when you wake up. Have a dance party!
- See the 4-year-old version of yourself and talk to yourself as you would talk to her. Do you know what happened to me when I was four years old? My parents took in a degenerate teenager who had gotten thrown out of his own home, and he molested me. I didn’t know I had been molested. I didn’t know what effect that would have on the rest of my life. And I have never talked about it openly until now. When I went to therapy (I call my therapist my guardian angel) and told her that I had been molested, she stopped in her tracks. I hadn’t even brought it up in the first few years I had been seeing her. Weird, right? She actually had me write a letter to my four-year-old self and it was so cathartic and helped me so much. What would you tell the 4-year-old version of you? You’re doing great, you’re so kind, you’re so pretty. You are so smart. What happened wasn’t your fault. Everyone has bad days. Everyone makes mistakes. We’re all just learning every day and getting better and better! We are still the 4-year-old version of ourselves. We are the 14-year-old, the 24-year-old, the 34-year-old…we are all of those things and you would never be cruel to a child. Remember you are a child and you need kindness, and you can give yourself that kindness even if you have no one else to give it to you right now.
- Find your gift and USE IT. We all have a secret superpower. We all have something that we are really good at listening. Some of us are good at spreadsheets, or doing makeup and hair, or making people laugh. What’s yours? What makes you unique? What is something that you’re really good at? We all have lots of gifts and lots of things about us that make us unique. Think about the last time you used the gift. How did you feel? Like a million bucks, huh. I’m really good at listening (and really good at talking, so I have to make sure I don’t talk too much!) and when I call one of my sisters or my mom and listen and talk, it changes my whole day. Why don’t I do that more? The last time I called my parents this past Sunday we talked for an hour and a half! It’s a strategy for building self-love and self-confidence because when we are using the gifts that God gave us (or the Universe, Spirit, Jesus, whatever you connect with) we FEEL GOOD ABOUT OURSELVES. Self-confidence is an inside job ONLY you can do. You want to get to the place where you don’t even NEED compliments. You can get to a place where you know your worth and you know your gifts, and you know you deserve love. You can practice these strategies and wake up knowing you deserve respect. Then, a compliment is a fun added bonus, but not your lifeline. It can be done!
- What’s a “rule” you have about yourself that isn’t serving you? Let me give you an example of one that I had. The least I’ve ever weighed is 157. I am 5’10”, I’m a Viking, I am strong. I’m a big girl, even though I HATE being called that!!! Big compared to what? Plop me in Denmark and I won’t even be tall. But I digress…When I was 157, it was post-breakup with my last ex-teacher. I was devastated that he wasn’t who I thought he was. He taught me many things that I did want and I didn’t want, though. One of the purposes of us meeting was so I could meet his parents who are happily married after 40 years. They are besties and love to be together every second and travel all over the place loving life. I love them. But after I realized their son was not the one, and he was lying to me and he just wanted to hang out with his buddies instead of me, I was hurt. I was depressed. I starved myself so I could be skinny in pictures and post them on Facebook because I knew he would see them. I still hadn’t developed my self-love and self-confidence. I am always working on it. My diet consisted of coffee, more coffee, a bite of cheese here and there, and I just ignored my hunger pains. Yikes. I did hot yoga every day and probably burned 900 calories a day and ate 500 calories. I was not healthy. I was not happy. I was miserable. I can’t maintain that weight and I SHOULDN’T maintain that weight. I eventually got hungry. So, every morning, I stepped on the scale and saw a number greater than 157, I felt depressed. I felt mad at myself for eating dinner. How insane is that? I felt unworthy of love, and I felt fat. That sounds crazy, right? So ask yourself if you have a crazy rule of your own. Do you have a rule that isn’t good for your happiness and joy? Do you have a rule that isn’t serving you and helping your health and wellness? Do you “have to be a certain weight?” Maybe your nose isn’t the “right” correct shape? Are you thighs two different sizes? Mine are. One of my thighs is bigger than the other! Whatever rule you have…who said that you have to follow that? Is that rule helping you and serving you? Who said that is true? What would make you believe that? Prove it wrong! Every single body is different and we were all made individually this way on purpose. There are no mistakes. Each of our bodies is given to us and they are unique to US. Our bodies are a gift, and God doesn’t make mistakes. Treat your body like the gift is it and do something that nurtures that beautiful body!
- Be a student forever. No one has anything figured out. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much “success” you have. We’re all learning all the time, every day, if we want to! If you do something or say something you wish you hadn’t ~ great! An opportunity to learn! All of us do that all the time! What can you learn? What did you have to believe to feel that way? Prove that belief wrong. Being a student puts you in the driver’s seat! Creating that intention that you’re going to learn a bunch of new shit every day when you wake up changes your feelings! Feeling good about learning is exciting and takes the blame and shame away when you do or say something you wish you hadn’t done or said. Everyone’s done that. Focus on the lessons and level up in the game of LIFE! You can’t learn if you’re not living!!
- Find one way to serve. There’s no better feeling than doing something secretly for someone and them finding out about it, right? There’s nothing better than helping someone. You make someone’s day, and you make your own day! You don’t need money. You don’t need tons of time. Make one phone call to mom, buy one Starbucks drink for someone else. Spread compassion and love to someone else! That’s what we need MOST right now. Start in the mirror. Serve yourself first so you can serve your children, your family, your friends, anyone who needs a hug or a kind word.
- Make one goal. Make it quantifiable. Take one step toward it today. That’s it. One step. One win. Focus on it. “Read more” isn’t quantifiable. Read one book this month is. If it’s 300 pages, then you know you need to read ten pages TODAY. Read them right now! “Drink more water” isn’t quantifiable. “Drink one gallon per day” is quantifiable. Buy a gallon jug, drink 16 ounces of water right now. “Exercise more” isn’t quantifiable. “Walk 30 minutes per day” is quantifiable. “Increase my reps to 16”. “Add 10 more pounds during squats”. Everyone’s body is different, so make a goal that is specific to what YOU want to accomplish. Make one little promise to yourself that you know you can do. Teeny. One thing. Focus on the progress. Whatever your goal is, focus on taking one step toward it.
Your beliefs control everything you say, and everything you do.
Transforming current limiting beliefs is a daily practice, just like learning an instrument. How are you going to learn how to play the cello if you don’t practice every day? The only reason why I know how to play the cello is because I practiced the cello every day for years (ok, let’s be real, it wasn’t every day. But it was a LOT of hours). The only reason I can’t play anymore is because I stopped practicing. The only way you can learn something is to practice. So, practice kindness in the mirror. Not just one time. Practice today. Then practice again tomorrow. And then again the next day. And then again the day after that! And you’ll get better at it!