A Journey to Liking Myself

Ten years ago I couldn’t stand to be alone. My kids were 10 and 12 and when they were in school I would go walking or shopping or call my mom. I didn’t like to spend time by myself. And if I WAS alone I had the TV playing or music on but never, ever just quiet.

Why would a person NOT like spending time alone? I mean really? When I am alone I can eat whatever I want without anyone looking at me funny. I can watch crappy, sentimental TV or dance around my house naked. It’s pure freedom!

I think the honest answer is that I didn’t like myself very much. I had everything a girl could want: A husband who supported me, two kids, a couple of dogs, the white picket fence. But I just wasn’t happy.  I was fat and lonely and the negative voice inside my head was loud and opinionated. She kept telling me what I “should” be doing. She yelled that I “needed to” be the perfect wife, mom and home-maker. I could never measure up.

I also didn’t know who I really was. I was just going along in life but I wasn’t really engaged. I was busy trying to be who I thought other people wanted me to be. I gave someone else all the credit for the good stuff and blamed myself for all the bad stuff.

Today I’m a hot mess. I’m a glitter-filled, bundle of energy and joy, who can’t wait to get up in the morning and encourage, uplift and sparkle on everyone I meet. I LOVE life and all of it’s possibilities. I can’t wait to find out what good stuff each day is going to bring and what I will learn from it.

But how did I get from there to here? That’s a really good question. It was a really long process. I started by taking care of myself. I used to be last on the list and that’s not a recipe for success. So step one was that I moved myself to the top of the list and started exercising and eating better.

Step two was that I started listening to the smaller voice that whispers inside of me instead of the loud, bitchy voice. And know what? The quiet voice had the best answers:

Go take a long, hot bath, It’s ok to take care of yourself for a change.

If you don’t want to do something say NO – don’t just say yes because you think people will judge you.

Start speaking your truth. If people really love you they will listen.

Stop apologizing for things you’re not really sorry for or things that you didn’t do.

It’s ok NOT to be friends with people you really don’t like.

Forgive yourself – yes, even the really crappy stuff you did.

Step three involved a lot of self inquiry. I asked myself really deep questions about what I believe, how I want to live my life and whether it was ok to be miserable all the time or make some changes that would lift me up. I had to examine everything that I had held true for over 40 years and come up with answers that truly reflect ME.

I wish I could have liked myself more earlier. It would have saved me a lot of time. But that’s what life is all about right? I am learning lessons along the way? Sharing those lessons with others? Being REAL and Sharing the uncomfortable stuff because we ALL have crap we deal with.

I hope if you’re suffering today with not really liking yourself that you can find some small thing about yourself to appreciate. That you can find a way to start taking care of yourself because NOT liking yourself is very lonely and it affects all of the people in your life.

I can’t wait to see you fall in love with yourself! You can do it!

Hugs, Dawn

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Radical Body Love

I’m really tired of not loving my body. I’m tired of that voice in my head that says I’m not thin enough, or tall enough and that I’m getting old. I’m tired of being worried about the texture and color of my hair. And I’m tired of being hungry in an effort to fit into a certain size. AND I’m tired of wasting so much time thinking about it over and over and over! When will I ever be happy with my body? Why can’t it be enough already? Why can’t I love myself just the way I am?

Let’s be really honest here. This is not just about weight. Having extra weight on our body is an area that a lot of people focus on.  But I know women who are small and thin and yet they wish they had larger breasts. Women with curly hair who want straight hair. MEN who want to have more muscle definition or more hair! So NOT being happy with our body is an issue that most of us deal with!

How much time and energy and MONEY could we save if we just loved our body? How many businesses would go out of business if we were happy? We certainly wouldn’t be supporting the anti-wrinkle cream companies, hair dye manufacturers, or most of the clothing companies out there!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I want to lie around all day, get really heavy, eat whatever I want (OK I do want to eat whatever I want) but I’m not saying I want to be unhealthy. I’ve been there and done that and the negative self talk almost killed me. Depression swept me under fast and hard and I almost didn’t make it out. Luckily, I found yoga, lost 40 pounds and am healthy and happier than ever…….BUT that stupid voice is still there saying “It’s not enough, You’re not skinny enough, Who’s going to want to follow you in a yoga or fitness class?” It really pisses me off that voice.

So what am I gonna do about it? How do I make that voice shut up? How do I love myself fully – just as I am. I want to stop putting so much emphasis on my weight. I’ve already pitched my scale. I’m still in the same size jeans….It’s just THE VOICE.  And the only way I know to battle THE VOICE is to call it a liar every damn time. To replace that script with positive loving words.

When I hear negativity I plan to say to myself, “You are soft and curvy. You are more than your weight, You are so sparkly that people are drawn to you! You are caring and kind and loving. Your body is strong and fit and you are healthy. I’m going to repear over and over and over that I AM ENOUGH” Because there is WAY more to life than worrying about weight.

My favorite quote lately is by J.K. Rowling: “Is fat really the worst thing a person can be? Is fat worse than vindictive, jealous, shallow, vain, boring, evil or cruel? Not to me.” I totally agree. And now the work begins to be kind to myself!

Since I know I’m not alone in this I put out a call for photos from my friends that make them feel brave. Photos that make them feel LOVE for their body. So here are a few of the brave people in my life. And let me just say most of these people have either lost weight, work towards being healthier every day of their lives – mentally and physically and each one of them is beautiful to me!

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Kassandra Burnham – runner and camel rider!

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Richelle Morgan– Owner of Yoga Dicha Studio in Tulum, Mexico and Mexi-pup Savior!

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William Billy Knox, Ganesh Warrior and Yoga DUDE.

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Carla Bigelow (and her husband). Carla runs Fidalgo Pool & Fitness Center, teaches multiple group classes & swimming lessons,  is a Red Cross Emergency Responder, mother to 6 kids and all around amazing woman!

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Heather Roderick – Warrior Goddess

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Angela Strand – Mom, Wife and Author of Northwest Healthy Mama

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Michael DiMeo – YMCA Yoga Instructor, Shiner of Love & Light!

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Jillian Dees at 37 weeks pregnant!

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Jamie Lucas Smith – Being more active and Loving herself at 40!!!!!

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Leslie Kiger  – Body Transformer!

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And finally…..ME. Working on loving myself just as I am.