How you care for yourself

In all the ways.

Self-care is holistic. The term self-care has gotten a lot of buzz in the past few years, and rightfully so. It’s important for us to know that it’s okay to care for ourselves, that it’s vital to care for ourselves.

But how much of that is marketing? We hear about getting a frothy, sugary drink as “self-care”; we know that a massage is some good self-care; we can think of hair appointments and nail appointments as self-care.

And these things can definitely be part of self-care. What else is part of self-care?

We can consider how we care for ourselves around:

  • Creative expression
  • Money and finances
  • Time
  • Career and work
  • Nutrition and health
  • Hydration
  • Movement and flexibility
  • Sexual expression
  • Play and rest
  • Breathing
  • Mind and mental health
  • Sleep
  • Relationships
  • Connection with nature
  • Self (e.g. worth, value, respect, esteem)

All of these aspects are part of who we are as whole people. Sometimes we can get more focused on a couple aspects over others–and at times, it’s necessary to do so. But when we stray away too long from any one of these aspects, we can feel misaligned with ourselves and our lives, which can affect how we show up for ourselves and for others. 

The good news is that we can get realigned by considering where we want to consciously focus more of our energy. 

Do we want to focus on drinking enough water each day? Do we want to focus on getting enough sleep each night? Do we want to focus on connecting with our relationships more? 

When we decide which areas we’d like to consciously put more of our energy towards, we can then ask ourselves, “How can I make sure I _______?”  — drink enough water, get enough sleep, get in touch with what I’m thinking and feeling, be out in nature at least twice a week, connect with someone close to me today, eat healthy meals at least once a day, take deep breaths during the day.

And the brain, in its powerful way, will get to work on finding the answers and figuring it out so we can focus our energy on caring for ourselves in a holistic way.

Your turn: Are you feeling misaligned with how you want to show up and how you are showing up? What areas in your life can you holistically focus on to feel more aligned with how you want to show up in the world? What are you willing to do in order to allocate your energy where you want it to go?

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Work with me: Want to see how self-care is transformative and can help create a more meaningful life in which you start committing to yourself and show up the way you want? I can show you how. I offer first-time seekers a complimentary 45-minute exploratory session. Sign up here.

When you’re disappointed

Don’t give up.

When we’re focused on moving towards our goals, we can feel deeply disappointed when something doesn’t turn out the way we thought it would or wanted it to. 

We feel disappointed when we don’t get the job we really want.

We feel disappointed when we don’t see the weight on the scale go down fast enough. 

We feel disappointed when the offer we put on the house we wanted gets outbid.

We feel disappointed when a project proposal we put hours into gets rejected.

We feel disappointed when someone doesn’t show up for us the way we hoped they would.

We feel disappointed when a relationship we’re feeling good about doesn’t move forward.

It’s easy to want to give up and think we’ll never have what we want when outcomes don’t happen the way we want and we feel disappointed by them.

But we don’t feel disappointed because of the outcome. We feel disappointed because of what we’re thinking about the outcome and what we make it mean about ourselves or about our lives.

Usually the thoughts have something to do with us not being good enough or that we’re doing something wrong or that we’ll never get it right.

But what if what we need is a nudge in a direction that we haven’t yet considered? What if the outcome we received means that there is something even better and more aligned with us waiting out there? 

What if the outcome we get helps us see more clearly something we need to learn or do differently for ourselves? What if it’s a way for us to give ourselves more grace, compassion, and to become even more of who we’re meant to be?

If the Universe (or God or whatever Higher Power you believe in) has our back no matter what, then this outcome is happening FOR us. 

It can be challenging to see that in the moments of deep disappointment, but once we’re able to be with, acknowledge, and process the disappointment and have it move through and out of us, we can have more clarity in thinking about the outcome we received. What are we learning from this experience? 

The Universe gives us what we need to grow and evolve–which is not always what we think we want. And, my friends, this is a good thing. Are you open to seeing it that way?

Your turn: Are you open to allowing yourself to feel and process disappointment when an outcome doesn’t turn out the way you wanted? If you can dive deeper, what else are you making the outcome mean? When you’ve processed the emotions, remember to ask, “How is this happening FOR me?” And are you willing to keep going?

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Work with me: Want to see how self-care is transformative and can help create a more meaningful life in which you start committing to yourself and show up the way you want? I can show you how. I offer first-time seekers a complimentary 45-minute exploratory session. Sign up here.

What does self-love have to do with it?

Everything.

I recently made a painful and difficult decision in my life because I chose to love myself enough and to want more for myself. 

It can be easy to think that when we love ourselves, making a decision out of love is also easy. 

I want to offer that making decisions out of love for ourselves can sometimes be extremely difficult and painful. But we’re willing to make the decision because we know the current situation we’re in is not serving us or moving us forward in an aligned way. 

We might be stuck and suffering, and even though we are, it can still feel scary to make a decision to change. But we are not being loving to ourselves by choosing to stay stuck or in suffering.

We have to love ourselves enough to become aware of the cost of the situation we’re in. What is the cost to our well-being? What other options are we not considering? How much time and energy is this situation extracting from us? What else could we be creating in our lives with this time and energy if we redirected it? 

And how do we get to that place of love for ourselves where we feel strong enough to make a difficult decision? 

In small ways each day, we can become familiar with what it feels like to love ourselves even more. 

When we practice in small ways each day to care for ourselves, support ourselves, and be kind to ourselves, our lives can change. 

“When you’re at peace with yourself and love yourself, it is virtually impossible to do things to yourself that are destructive.” ― Wayne Dyer

When we love ourselves more we:

  • Make different and more affirming decisions in our life
  • Take better care of ourselves
  • Set healthy boundaries
  • Believe in what’s possible for us
  • Move from past-based beliefs into future-based beliefs
  • Know that we’re worth it and worthy
  • Commit to ourselves and what we say we’ll do
  • Advocate for ourselves
  • Trust ourselves more
  • Are more patient with ourselves and our results/outcomes/goals
  • Move into alignment with our decisions/choices

“Self-love does not come from writing a book, or from making a million dollars, or from buying a new house. Self-esteem comes from the little loving choices we make every day—the choices we make that tell us, ‘You are important. You are a good person. You deserve to take care of yourself. You matter.’” – Debbie Ford, The Right Questions

Your turn: In what small, daily ways do you want to practice caring for yourself? In what small, daily ways do you want to practice supporting yourself? In what small, daily ways do you want to practice being kind to yourself? What does it feel like to become familiar with loving yourself even more? 

Want help finding small, daily ways to express care, support, and kindness to yourself? Let’s explore.

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Work with me: Want to see how self-care is transformative and can help create a more meaningful life in which you start committing to yourself and show up the way you want? I can show you how. I offer first-time seekers a complimentary 45-minute exploratory session. Sign up here.

Transforming your relationship manuals

Your power is with you. Part 2.

Last week we looked at the manuals we have for others and why we have them. 

We create manuals, or sets of instructions, for the people in our life about how they’re supposed to behave, so we can feel good. 

We then base how we feel about others on whether they follow our manuals or not. We also make it mean they care or don’t care about us based on our manuals for them.

When we place the responsibility of feeling good on other people, we give all our power away to those people. 

In reality, each of us is responsible for meeting our own needs. When we’re in a relationship where we feel responsible for fulfilling someone else’s needs and they feel responsible for fulfilling ours, there’s constant manipulation and effort to control one another so that in the end, nobody wins. 

We can’t control another person, and there’s nothing they could possibly do that would make us as happy as we want to be. All of the power to feel happy lies within us.

So transforming our relationship manuals is about deciding who we want to be and taking all of our power back so that we can show up in the way that we like and feel good about ourselves. Then we get to decide how we want to be or act from that place, in any circumstance.

This doesn’t mean that we stay in relationships that are harmful or not serving us well. We need to do what’s necessary to protect ourselves. Although boundaries and requests are appropriate, trying to control and manipulate other people never works. Instead, it can make us feel and even act like a crazy person.

Of course, we can make all the requests we want from other people, but when we allow our

emotional happiness to depend on whether those requests are met, we’re setting ourselves up for trouble. This looks like trying to manipulate people to behave in the way we want so we can feel better.

This creates a spiral of negativity, and this can happen when we are attached to our manuals for others.

Instead, we can become familiar with and practice the following:

  1. Allow ourselves to feel all of it. This means being willing to feel all the emotions, like the emotions we’re trying to avoid by wanting someone to behave in a specific way.
  2. Decide who we want to be. When we’re trying to control someone else, we’re usually not being versions of ourselves that we’re proud of.
  3. Decide what we want the other person’s actions to mean. We don’t have to take it personally.

Here’s an example if I have the manual instruction: “My friend should always remember my birthday.” 

If my friend forgets my birthday, I can allow myself to feel sad and disappointed about that. I have the manual instruction because I want to avoid feeling sad and disappointed, since those are uncomfortable feelings, but I allow myself to feel those feelings anyway. 

Then I can decide who I want to be in the relationship. I can decide that I want to be an understanding friend and give my friend grace, even if they forgot my birthday. I can still want to be friends with them. 

Then I can decide what I want my friend’s action to mean. I can decide to not take it personally and not make it mean anything about me. My friend’s action is about them. Maybe their life is very full and they didn’t do it on purpose; they are still a good friend even if they forgot my birthday.

We get to decide what we’re going to do with our time, how we’re going to respond, and when we want to make changes in our life. We’ll want to make sure we’re thinking about those changes and what we want based on what we do have control over. Our power stays with us.

Your turn: Do you recognize why you have manual instructions for other people? What feelings are you trying to avoid feeling by having these manual instructions? What would happen if you allowed yourself to be open to feeling all the emotions? How might your relationships be different if you stopped trying to get someone to behave in a specific way so that you can feel good?

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Work with me: Want to see how self-care is transformative and can help create a more meaningful life in which you start committing to yourself and show up the way you want? I can show you how. I offer first-time seekers a complimentary 45-minute exploratory session. Sign up here.

Your “manuals” for other people

Yes, you have them. Part 1.

When we have assumptions or expectations about what people are supposed to do, we have “manuals” for them. 

We want people to behave in ways that make us feel good and happy. We usually don’t tell the other people what’s in our manual for them. And we usually don’t even realize we have these manuals or see how they’re causing us pain. 

We think that the other people should just “know” what to do and how to treat us. It can seem justified to have expectations of other people, but it can be damaging to us when our emotional happiness is directly tied to them behaving a certain way.

Many of us have manuals that come from the belief that we would be happier if someone in our lives would change. This is a huge cause of suffering because we’re handing over the power of how we feel to someone else.

Other people’s behavior has no impact on us emotionally until we think about it, interpret it, and choose to make it mean something. No matter what people do, how they act, or what they say, we don’t have to give others the power to determine how we feel.

Some common manual instructions might look like this: 

• He should text me back within an hour after I text him.

• She should listen to me for as long as I listened to her.

• He should spend less time at work.

• She should remember my birthday.

• He should know what I like.

• She should invite me when she has a party.

• He shouldn’t watch so much football.

• She should write me a thank you note.

• He should buy me something special on my birthday.

• She should support me.

• He should be emotionally available.

• She should ask me to be a bridesmaid, godmother, etc.

• He should tell me he loves me.

If there’s a “should” in there, it’s likely a manual instruction. These are simple and brief examples, but most manuals are pages and pages long. They’re complicated, detailed, and intricate. 

Rather than sharing these expectations with the person they’re about, those of us with manuals generally think the other person should just inherently know. We then want to make it mean that we are really loved by this person. And if they don’t do what’s in our manuals, then what do we feel?

Does it make sense why manuals can create pain for us? So what are we supposed to do instead? More on this next week.

Your turn: If you’re open to the idea that you have manuals for other people, what are the instructions you have for them? Would you be open to sharing the instructions as requests for the other person? If not, are you willing to see how these instructions might be causing you pain? Can you become aware of when you’re experiencing manual instructions for both yourself and for others?

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Work with me: Want to see how self-care is transformative and can help create a more meaningful life in which you start committing to yourself and show up the way you want? I can show you how. I offer first-time seekers a complimentary 45-minute exploratory session. Sign up here.

Your thoughts about you

Room for kindness.

I’d like to remind us that our longest relationship is the one we have with ourselves. 

What if that relationship were loving, supportive, and kind? What if we knew that we’d always have our own back no matter what?

What would our lives look like then?

To see the difference, we have to look at what our lives look like now, with what we’re currently thinking about ourselves and telling ourselves about ourselves.

What this might look like are thoughts that judge, criticize, or put ourselves down.

In the below examples, it might sound like we’re saying these things to other people, but we’d rarely tell people we care about some of the things we’re so used to telling ourselves:

  • I can’t believe you did that again–so stupid!
  • You don’t know what you’re doing, as usual.
  • Why is this so hard for you?
  • You don’t deserve to have that.
  • This shows you’re not good enough to be chosen.
  • You’re not going to do it anyway, so just don’t even try.
  • Who do you think you are?
  • You’ll never get there.

It’s not surprising then, when we don’t do what we say we want to do for ourselves with this judge always beating us up or berating us along the way. 

Sometimes we’re so used to hearing this judge that we don’t know it’s there or even saying mean things to us. We just take it as “normal.”

When we become more aware of what we’re telling ourselves and how we’re thinking about ourselves, we can start changing the story and narrative. 

We can start being more supportive and kind to ourselves.

We can start believing in what’s possible for us. We can start believing new things about ourselves. We can start believing in ourselves. 

Your turn: Are you open to becoming aware of the thoughts you’re currently thinking about yourself? What is the narrative you’re telling yourself? Why are you choosing to think those thoughts or hold those beliefs about yourself? How can you incorporate more kindness and compassion in your thoughts about you? How would this change your relationship with yourself?

Feeling challenged by replacing your current thoughts with new, more supportive, and empowering thoughts? Sign up for an exploratory session here.

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Work with me: Want to see how self-care is transformative and can help you create a more meaningful life in which you start committing to yourself and show up the way you want? I can show you how. I offer first-time seekers a complimentary 45-minute exploratory session. Sign up here.

The story you’re telling yourself

Making sh*t up?

Do you know that facts don’t hurt?

The circumstances of our lives have no effect on us until they encounter our mind and we attach meaning to them. We aren’t sad about someone dying until our minds register the fact. The person’s death, which may have happened days ago, has no effect on us at all. It could be that at the same moment they died, we were laughing at a joke because our minds weren’t aware of what just happened.

In this situation, we can separate out the facts from the thoughts. It’s less accurate to say, “I was devastated when they died.” It’s more accurate to say, “I was devastated by what I thought about their death.” Yes, these semantics matter. 

When we realize that our minds cause our feelings, we can be much more in control of our emotional lives. It doesn’t mean that we won’t choose to be sad when someone dies; we most likely will. But it does mean we can decide not to be mad when something much less significant happens in our lives.

We manage our emotional lives with our thinking.

If we say, “Work stresses me out,” it’s our thoughts about work that stress us out. Although we might not be able to change our job at this very moment, we most certainly can change the way we think about your job. That will change everything.

​​We create our lives mostly with our minds. We often believe our stories so deeply that we think they’re facts when they’re not. This is fine—so long as the story isn’t painful or causing problems in our lives. But many of our stories are painful, even debilitating.

Here’s an example from someone who is furious with her sister-in-law:

My sister-in-law doesn’t respect or love me. She wants me to be fat because she makes certain foods for dinner when she knows I’m working to lose weight. It’s like I don’t even want to be around her because of the awful things she does. Just this weekend, we went to her home for a visit, and she was so backhanded, so conniving by making spaghetti for dinner. I know my husband (this is his sister) doesn’t even care. He doesn’t back me up when I feel this way, and he refuses when I suggest we should confront her and stop visiting her. I think I’m going to have to give him an ultimatum. It’s either her or me. He’s a grown man, and he needs to make this decision.

In the end, these are the facts:

• She has a sister-in-law.

• She went to her home last weekend.

• The sister-in-law made spaghetti.

• Everything else was a story. A painful, stressful story.

This person’s sister-in-law had made spaghetti, which she interpreted as conniving and an attempt to sabotage her weight loss. Could the spaghetti perhaps have meant something else to her sister-in-law? Were there any other ways to interpret the facts that might feel better?

She could acknowledge that maybe her sister-in-law made spaghetti because her brother loves spaghetti, she’s Italian, and it’s one of her specialties. So either her original story or the latter one could be true. Which story served her better? Which story served the relationship better? 

Even more, she can consider how it felt to leave the facts alone and not insert a meaning or a story about those facts. “My sister-in-law made spaghetti.” Without a story, this fact doesn’t hurt.

Facts never do hurt. Whenever we realize we’re creating a painful story, separate out the facts. Then we get to create our pain or our peace (or happiness) by how we choose to interpret the facts.

Your Turn: What stories have you been making up about situations, people, things, events? How do these stories leave you feeling? What are the facts? How do the facts leave you feeling?

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Do you really believe that?

Take baby steps.

We know we can create new things in our lives with the thoughts that we think. It may seem more complex than that, but really, all new things come from ideas, which are thoughts.

And we know from our coaching model that our thoughts are what create our feelings. Our feelings are powerful drivers of our actions. And our actions create the results we get in our lives. 

When we want to create something in our lives, sometimes we need to have new beliefs about what’s possible. Beliefs are just thoughts that we’ve thought over and over again and now we believe they are true. 

Some beliefs are very useful to us. Some beliefs create limits within us and prevent us from doing things.

Some limiting beliefs might be:

  • I’m not good enough.
  • I just don’t have enough confidence to do that.
  • I’m not talented enough.
  • I don’t have the discipline for that.
  • People don’t understand me.
  • All the good ones are taken.
  • I won’t ever be successful.
  • I hate my body.

Once we’re aware of limiting beliefs we hold, we might feel the need to change them right away to their exact opposites–things that we DO want to believe. 

But if we take too big of a leap, we’ll have a thought that we don’t yet believe. And that thought won’t help us because we don’t believe it yet, no matter how many times we may repeat it during the day. 

So how do we get to the new belief we want to have that seems so far from our current belief? We engage thoughts that bridge us or ladder us to the next level of thinking.

As an example, let’s take the thought “I hate my body.” 

The goal thought might be “I love my body.” But it’s hard to jump from hate to love right away. 

Here are some potential ladder thoughts from “I hate my body” to “I love my body”:

  • I hate my body.
  • I have a body.
  • There are other people with bodies like mine.
  • Other people with bodies like mine seem to like their bodies.
  • It’s possible that I could like my body.
  • My body has the potential to change and be healthier.
  • I am living my life because of my body.
  • I am learning to appreciate my body.
  • My body allows me to do things I enjoy.
  • I am learning to enjoy being in my body.
  • I am learning to love my body.
  • I love my body.

We may need to practice each ladder thought for a couple days, a week, or two weeks before moving on to the next one. Until we truly believe the thought we are practicing, it’s important to stay with it before moving on to the next one.

Our thoughts are powerful. We can learn to create beliefs that empower us instead of disempower us. 

Your turn: What are some of the limiting thoughts/beliefs you hold? What are some goal thoughts/beliefs that you’d like to have instead? Explore and practice some ladder or bridge thoughts that can help you get to your goal thoughts. 

Need help exploring some ladder or bridge thoughts? Sign up for an exploratory session here.

How is self-care transformative?

Are you ready?

We’ve likely all heard about “self-love” and “loving yourself.” These concepts may seem good to do and have, but they may also seem lofty and hard to attain. 

How do we love ourselves and have self-love? Where do we start, especially when we’ve been our harshest critics or engage in self-loathing thinking and behaviors?

Some ways that we hear about self-care are to get a massage, to get a pedicure or manicure, to treat ourselves to a new outfit or electronic device, or to enjoy a frothy, sweet drink. These are definitely a few ways to show care for ourselves, but at a somewhat superficial level. 

When we do things that bring us joy, that is part of self-care.

I want to offer that self-care also looks like this:

  • Drinking enough water to stay hydrated and alert
  • Speaking to yourself with kindness instead of punishing yourself
  • Eating nutritious food to fuel your body
  • Going to the bathroom when you need to go
  • Sleeping enough to allow your body to rest and repair
  • Moving your body enough
  • Committing to the things you want to do for yourself
  • Thinking generous thoughts about yourself instead of critical thoughts
  • Connecting with yourself and your body – listening to what you need
  • Creating a supportive relationship with yourself
  • Maintaining healthy boundaries with yourself and others

We can build our self-care muscles by practicing daily. Just like any other muscle we want to build, it takes time, effort, and commitment along with the desire to do so. We get to create our own journey to self-love and I believe these are some of the practices that carry us along the way. 

When we realize how powerful it is to keep a commitment to ourselves, we start to build trust with ourselves and learn that we can have our own back, no matter what. This is how self-care can be transformative.

Our longest relationship we’ll have is the relationship we have with ourselves. What would our lives be like if that relationship is supportive, loving, kind, reliable, and trusting? 

“When you’re at peace with yourself and love yourself, it is virtually impossible to do things to yourself that are destructive.” ― Wayne Dyer

Your turn: What self-care practices are you open to committing to today? What would you do differently when you trust yourself to do the things you want to do for yourself? How would your life be different when you love yourself no matter what? 

If you’re feeling challenged about where to start with self-care, my 6-week Transformative Self-Care program helps you create your self-care foundations. Learn more here.

Just knowing something doesn’t make it easy

The work is always here.

When we’ve been doing the work for a while of growing and expanding ourselves, learning concepts and tools to help us evolve into who we want to become, sometimes we may think, “I should know this already. I should be better at this. Why am I still reacting this way? Why is this still hard for me?”

Why, friends? Because we are human beings with human brains.  

Just because we know the work, the tools involved, and the ways of thinking that can benefit us, doesn’t mean we no longer have human emotions and human experiences. That we no longer have to do the work. 

We learn the tools and beneficial ways of thinking in order to help us navigate our human experience on purpose, consciously and deliberately, with compassion and grace for ourselves and others. 

There isn’t a point where we get to stop doing the work–unless we choose to be stagnant and stay exactly where we are. It’s possible to do that, but also as human beings, it’s unlikely that we’ll want to choose that for ourselves.

We will always get to do the work. And that’s not a “bad” thing. It means that we’re continuing to expand ourselves and grow beyond where we currently are. That we want to be even more of who we are becoming.  

Our primitive brains evolved to want to be efficient (to do “easy” things), to avoid pain, and to seek pleasure to help us survive.

When we’re wanting to live a fulfilled life where we’re not just surviving but thriving, we can’t always choose the easy things, we will likely be uncomfortable facing new situations and experiences, and we will delay immediate pleasure/gratification in order to attain our long-term well-being.

So we do the work in order to overcome our primitive brains and utilize our sophisticated brains (our prefrontal cortex) to their fullest potential. 

Some thoughts for helping us continue doing the work:

  • I’m getting better at this, even if it’s not easy yet.
  • This is still hard for me, and that’s okay.
  • I’m learning something from this and that’s why I don’t already know better.
  • I’m reacting this way and catching myself instead of being unaware.
  • My awareness is helping me through this.

The work is always here. No matter how much we know, we don’t get to escape the work. And it’s worth it to see who we become.

Your turn: Are you willing to keep doing the work to become the best version of you? What are some thoughts that can help you when you feel challenged by doing the work? Instead of thinking “I should know this by now,” what is a more compassionate and empowering thought? Are you open to remembering that you always have a choice to do the work or to not do it, and to confront the consequences depending on what you choose?

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Work with me: Want to create a more meaningful life in which you start committing to yourself and get to show up the way you want? I can show you how. I offer first-time seekers a complimentary 60-minute exploratory session. Sign up here.