be bona fide

Shine From Within: WEEK FOUR

Love. Love is an amazing thing. Everybody wants to be loved. It's our nature as humans to crave that warm, safe and accepted feeling of what it is to be loved. We are full of love and yet we give it mostly to others, not ourselves.

I am of the opinion that our soul is like a balloon. We try to fill it with all these "stones" that we think will improve our self-love. We shop for new outfits, shoes, face creams, etc. We fill our "balloons" with the temporary satisfaction of things, comments and likes on a good photo, etc. Not all of these stones are bad, but it will take much longer to fill that balloon as it stretches and becomes heavier. So what can we do to fill it up and not be so heavy? Air, right? What does the air represent you ask? It is what we tell ourselves. What we study. How we treat others (including ourselves). 

So how do we get this air? How do we get self-love?

First, it starts with recognition. 

When we realize that we can and should love ourselves is when we begin. We start to look for ways to turn negative thoughts into positives. We seem to be experts at putting the happiness of our loved ones before ourselves. We need to treat ourselves as we would a child, we want them to be healthy, so we feed them wholesome foods, we encourage them, let them take time to play, nap and go to bed early. 

Have you ever felt so stressed trying to get everything done for everyone else, that you had no time for yourself? This is the type of thing we need to change.

I am a mom of two, a wife of one ;) and a business owner. Balancing everything on my plate can be extremely difficult and stressful at times. I am a "yes" girl. It is very hard for me to say no, because I don't like to disappoint. This is one of my biggest struggles. But, I've noticed that when I practice self-love and give myself 15 minutes of "me" time at least three times a day, I am recharged, more present and much more pleasant to be around. Every day I'm learning to put myself first. By choosing to make self-love a priority I am able to give my loved ones so much more. It's so important to remember that loving myself isn't a selfish act because it allows me to love others even more.

Now that we have recognized our lack of self-love how do we begin?

Let's start by writing down the things that we lack most of our confidence in. Then think of a better solution to work on them and write it down. For example, if you look in the mirror every morning and your first thought is how terrible you look; turn it around and start by looking at yourself and say out loud, "I love you." It's harder than it seems. If you can't even get those words out, then say it in your head then think of one thing you like about yourself. As you continue to add more positive self talk to your day, look at yourself 3 times a day and first think about the gratitude you have for your body. Are you thankful to have a healthy body? Are you thankful to have eyes to see all the beauty around you? Are you thankful to have your hair, no matter it's length or thickness?

Keep a journal near your bed and write a question to yourself to answer. It can be anything from "why do I go to bed so late?", "when will stop criticizing myself so much?" or "how can I manage my time better?" This practice is just a line of communication between you and your inner self. You are able, through this practice to receive guidance from your wisest self. You know what's best for you, always.

Once you finish your question, answer it by writing without thinking, without editing, without judgement of yourself. Write until you feel satisfied. Notice how you feel when you're done. You may feel lighter or relieved after talking to your wisest self with your concerns. Go back and re-read what you wrote. You may feel that you have found the answer to your question. If not, don't worry, it will come to you.

I promise you that the more you work on these exercises you will be happier and more grateful for yourself and what your body does for you. You have worth. Never forget that. You deserve to give yourself love... from YOURSELF. Learning and connecting with yourself will show just how amazing your are! This simple act of loving yourself and doing these exercises, in itself is an act of self-love. 

Please share your story and tell us how the 5 steps of shining from within has helped you! You can find week 1-3 here >> WEEK 1  :  WEEK 2  :  WEEK 3

 

Saying Yes to Self Love

SAYING YES TO SELF LOVE

Thank you, Maddison for reminding us that it is okay to love yourself and be confident in who you are. Read her words and remember to love yourself and don't let anyone get you down about it. Head to the shop to download this image ^^^ (for free!!) to remind yourself daily to work on improving who you are and learning to love yourself through every journey of life.  

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I'm getting ready to move for the 9th time in my life. Every time I move I take it as an opportunity to purge, clean, and start over. I generally like the process; the idea of organizing puts my OCD brain at ease. As I begun my pre moving rituals; de cluttering, donating clothes, and sorting through memories I had collected over the past year, nostalgia set in. My roommate and I took our time looking at old photos from my childhood and I shared with her bits and pieces of myself she hadn't really seen before. I proudly showed her goofy pictures of me posing for school dances and relived adventures. Halfway through this show and tell she half jokingly, half seriously asked me "have you always been this in love with yourself”? 

I looked at her with surprise and thought about that sentence. We, as a society and especially as women, have been taught to not love ourselves. It’s everywhere. We are constantly critiqued and convinced that who we are isn't good enough. Magazines trick us into thinking we need to be better.  We are constantly hounded to sex up, slim down and become smarter. If we are emotional, we are weak. If we are strong, we are frigid. We are ambushed on both a physical and mental level to seek something unattainable. And even if we do achieve this "perfection" that is so sought after, god forbid we acknowledge it.  We have to act as if we still aren't proud of ourselves for our achievements OR our looks. That would be conceited!  How dare we work hard at something and then feel the slightest bit of pride! Well news flash, no one is perfect and the standards of our society are warped. No one is going to fit perfectly into a cookie cutter mold of some fake happy person. Every single person has flaws but for every flaw there is something equally good, it’s just a matter of recognizing it. 

 I am 25 years old, living with roommates, working at a grocery store, getting out of two and a half year relationship, and reinventing myself, yet again. I cry at commercials on TV, don't know how to ride a bike, can be overly insecure, and am deathly scared of spiders, but guess what??? I LOVE myself (a lot). I haven't always and I struggled hard to accept the weaknesses I felt I had (and still occasionally do). But instead of hating myself for what I wasn't, I loved myself harder for what I was. I am loyal, an excellent chef, resourceful, good with people, fun, adventurous, have great freckles, organized, enthusiastic, and I love...deep, hard, and sometimes to a fault. 

I refuse to let anyone take my self-love away from me because at the end of the day, this is me. I am constantly changing and growing. I learn something new about myself every day. I am aware of what I need to work on in my life and I make a point to challenge myself to be the best version I possibly can be. But when I mess up, when I am weak, and when I allow that self doubt to creep in as it most certainly has and most certainly will again, I forgive myself and take it as an opportunity to learn from and move on. I am proud of the person I am today because I struggled and pushed myself to get here. Self love not only allows you to be free from the standards set in place by people too insecure to express themselves, but it also allows you to be open to fully love someone else and let them love you.

 If I could tell that 16 year old me, smiling goofily with friends for homecoming, it would be to get to really know yourself and to love and appreciate all that you are and all that you aren't. Life is about expansion. Expanding your mind, your ideals, your ideas, and soaking up as much of it as you possibly can. I wasted so much time on being insecure and feeling like I wasn't good enough when really I have tons of amazing qualities that I over shadowed with negative thinking. 

So as I sat there with my roommate, and boxes full of pictures of myself, and my memories, instead of feeling embarrassed or narcissistic, I looked up at her, I smiled and I said,"YES!”

By Maddison Dario