And I wanted to pop in and talk about self-love. I've been on a huge journey with coming to terms with a new body that perimenopause has dealt me, and with changes in my life because of a move, a job change for hubby, and all kinds of things.
I've taken some classes, read tons of self-help books, but I'm here to tell you it took me seeing a lack of self-love in others that made me realize life is too short to not appreciate yourself.
A close friend who has drifted to being more of a holiday friend is going through a rough time. I won't go into details that aren't mine to share, but he is going through the ending of a relationship, and I'm hopeful he's about to see he deserves so much more than he's settled for.
I am lucky in the relationship department, and found my soulmate early on in life. So while I've dealt with heartbreak, it was of the teenage variety, and nothing compared to what others deal with as adults. But...in my current relationship I have had to learn to ask for what I want. I've grown up with my husband and we had to figure out as we changed, how our relationship needed to change too.
The biggest hurdle I had to get over was coming to terms with the idea that I was worthy of the things I wanted in my life. It sounds so damn simple, but it was the hardest lesson I ever struggled through. There wasn't a single moment where I can nail down that I got it, but I can say, over time, seeing friends struggle to get what they want from those they love, and telling them that they deserve so much more than they are settling for made me realize I needed to do the same for me.
Putting yourself first isn't selfish. If you're in a relationship, your partner wants to see you happy. And frankly, it's not their job to do it for you. Finding your joy in your life and your body brings them joy too.
Story time. Hubby was nervous about taking a new job because it involves more time away from home and traveling. He was so worried about my reaction that he turned down the job the first time the offer came through. And he was annoyed and grumpy about it. When the opening came up again, I told him flat out, to stop being stupid and give me more credit as a wife and partner to support him. He got the job, and while he is spending nights away from home, the days he spends in town are full and rich and we both appreciate them more.
If you're not in a relationship, you can substitute partner for friends, because those who love and support you, want to hear about the next fantastic thing you've accomplished. And if they don't want to hear it...frankly, you need better friends.
I realized I wanted more for the people around me than I did for myself. But I'm not saying I've ascended into this grand mode of self-love and awareness. I still struggle with it. The difference now, is I call myself on my own bullshit. If I find myself thinking things like, "I'm so happy for them, but I could never do that." "I wish I had the time to get those things done." or the infamous "That looks so cute on her, but I could never pull that off."... Yeah... If I find myself going down those roads, I stop and give myself a mental smack.
Would I ever say those things about a friend? Would I ever say to a friend, "Isn't that fun? Too bad you could never accomplish those things." Hell no I wouldn't. So why would I say them to myself? I flip it.
Even when the negative thoughts, or guilty feelings pop up, (And they do. I have 9 years of Catholic School training in guilt. I'm good at it.) I force myself to say the opposite.
"I could never do that." Becomes "I'm going to give that a try."
"I could never pull that off." Becomes "Next time I see one of those, I'm trying it on."
Sometimes I have to say these affirmations out loud and to a mirror, because even getting the thoughts to push through the negative space in my brain is equivalent to wrestling a stubborn two-year-old into a car seat to head to the dentist when they don't want to give up the wiggles marathon they were singing along to.
When I'm in a particularly bad place, I do an exercise I've seen come up again and again in self-help book land. And I'm here to tell you to try it too. Take ten minutes and let your inner bitch wail on yourself. Write down all the negative things you think about you. Then rip that page out of your notebook and set it aside. Now...on a clean sheet of paper, write them over, but with love.
If you really do need to change something, like if you need to fold the laundry that's been sitting in your bedroom for two weeks or something like that, make a game plan.
Negative thought: "I'm too fucking lazy to fold my own damn laundry."
Re-write: "Tomorrow morning I'm getting up thirty minutes earlier and turning on my favorite playlist while I rock through that chore. I'm lucky to have so many cute clothes."
Using positive action and gratitude to tackle a problem area in your life is the basis behind more self-help books than I can list. We all have good days and bad days, and days when the universe throws more shit at us than a taco bell bathroom. Not every plan will work out, but you can always tackle each challenge with love.
You're worth loving. And I don't mean that in a headboard banging type of way. Although, you deserve that too if that's what you want. Go for it, and surround yourself with people who are cheering you on. Just make sure you're leading the cheer.