extraordinary self love

Being Extraordinary is Overrated

Being extraordinary is overrated.

Let’s chat about it!

You don’t have to be extraordinary – you are enough. As a recovering perfectionist and high achiever I used to spend inordinate amounts of time aiming for the unachievable seductress – perfection. By telling myself that I had to excel at EVERYTHING I did, I wasted a lot of time worrying about being enough. But it was exhausting and eventually I had to learn to embrace myself – all of my faults, quirks, habits and dreams.

What If Monster

Learning to embrace myself has been a dance with fear and shame. What if I embrace myself and become complacent? What if I stop excelling the moment I start loving myself? If I embrace myself will I waste my life by being “mediocre” or “basic”? I put an inordinate amount of negative labels on the outcome of accepting myself as is. In true irony the outcome of embracing myself has been bigger goals, trusting myself to rest, my energy and an increase in my general happiness. Getting to know my what if monster and trusting myself to manage my fear and shame is what got me here – to this blog – writing to all of you. By embracing myself I was able to not only post work on my own website but also submit to other online magazines. When I stopped holding myself back the writing opportunities trickled in. 

From this first act of bravery and self love I was able to start a business during a pandemic. I’m chasing my dream of self employment because of my ability to accept myself exactly as I am, while simultaneously reaching for new milestones. In summary, none of my fears came true – but I almost didn’t even try because I didn’t think I was enough. 

This is where it gets messy and human. I had to stop asking myself to be an extraordinary person. Loving ourselves is not something that only extraordinary people do. We are all enough. Regular people do extraordinary things. Doing extraordinary things does not require us to be perfect – it requires courage. 

I’m Late to the Brene Brown Party 

As I started coming to this conclusion I stumbled upon Brene Brown (queen of courage and shame conversations). I recently listened to this conversation she had with Tim Ferriss.

During the chat Brene asked Tim where the line between being our best selves (as high achievers) and embracing where we are is. Being the nerd I am I paused the video and answered this for myself. (You should watch the video to see their responses – they are illuminating).

I don’t believe there is a line between pushing ourselves to be our best selves and embracing where we are. I came to the conclusion that for me embracing where we are is an approach. When I set myself goals I view exactly where I am at the time, I identify where I want to go and then I try to set myself little milestone markers in the middle so I can celebrate all the little steps. Embracing where I am right now means that I am worthy of doing the work for this change. I am worthy of however long it takes to get there. Allowing myself to set goals outside of where I am right now means that I know I am worthy of growth. When we approach our goals with a realistic outlook and kindness we are able to enjoy the journey and grow when we inevitably f*ck up. 

None of Us are Extraordinary

This also means that none of us are extraordinary. We often have to work hard for what we want to achieve. A lot of us will struggle our way to our goals – step by step. Allowing ourselves the time and space to grow, fail, f*ck up, and try again is crucial. It is both an act of self acceptance and a driver to grow. Yet so many of us expect ourselves to be extraordinary. 

Think about it; right now we are in a pandemic and so many of us have more free time on our hands than before. Some people have used this time to write books – a majority of us have not. Quite a few people have struggled with this extra time because WE ARE IN A PANDEMIC. Are you unfairly comparing yourself to people who have utilized this time in a different way than you? If you are, is that helping you in any way or does it just make you feel like you aren’t enough? For me, comparison is the thief of joy. I’m not expecting myself to respond to the pandemic in some extraordinary way and that has made a major difference on my mental health. 

Applying the Magic of Normal

After coming to this magical conclusion for myself I began applying this approach to my current goals. My biggest goal right now is getting my brand new baby coaching business up and running to full capacity. Is that possible? Sure. Is it a struggle? Also sure! Do I have to be extraordinary to do it? No! I can be messy, human and vulnerable and still get to my goals (in fact – I think those three qualities are crucial to my success). 

Instead of forcing myself to be extraordinary I’m asking myself to find the everyday magical moments that make this journey worth the work. I’m learning to celebrate the normal. I’ve given myself permission to struggle, to try new things and fail, or to say “this is really f*cking hard some days”. 

I’ve stopped expecting myself to be extraordinary and I ask you to do the same! You are capable of remarkable things. You get to love yourself right now exactly where you are. Permission is granted to say “this is really f*cking hard”. And if you want a little 1:1 time to talk about embracing our normal to be successful visit here to sign up for a discovery call. 

F*ck extraordinary. 

** please do not use this post to replace mental or physical health care from a physician. Always work with a licensed professional when it comes to your health. 

self love club quote

Revisiting the Self Love Club

Welcome to the self love club! Our mission – learning to love ourselves ALL the time, even when we do that thing we said we wouldn’t do, or make a major mistake, or when we stretch ourselves too thin. This week I am challenging this little self love club to take 15 minutes everyday to work on themselves LOVINGLY. No idea how to do that? Don’t worry I have a plan! 

Embodying Self Love

Practicing self love is hard work. It involves self care (not the expensive kind – the effective kind is preferred), self reflection, listening to ourselves, and time. Self loathing, shame, resentment and fear can be powerful drivers. Those not so nice emotions can convince us that self love is a waste of time. Learning to love ourselves through the messy bits takes time. We have to face our fear monsters, learn how to balance opposing emotions, and look at the feelings we don’t necessarily love to feel. Self loathing & co are a little easier to tap into. They might even tell us that self love is not “productive” but they are dead wrong. 

Making Change Last with the Self Love Club

Want to make lasting change? Desire to build the career of your dreams? Want to chase your goal of retiring by 35 or learning to tap dance like Fred Astaire? Regardless of the goal self love will help you get there faster. 

self love club quote

Ready for the clubs required reading? This week we are revisiting some of my favorite messages on self love. Let’s spend 15 minutes each day learning how to love ourselves better. The schedule I’ve created for us this week is taking us through some of my favorite content on self love. We are revisiting old posts because most of us need to hear a message at least three times before it sticks in our brain – for harder messages it can be upwards of six times. I think self love is the hardest message to embody so let’s dive in!

The Schedule

Monday: Revisit Last Weeks Blog A Lesson in Self Love

My Current Self Love Zone

Tuesday: Let’s go back in time to early quarantine! In Quarantine Lessons: I Threw Away my Schedule I shared my personal experience with mornings, why I needed to accept where I was right then & how it helped me!

Wednesday: It’s a Harry Potter midweek double feature! While we do not support JKR in this community we do use the things we love to help us practice self love in the form of self care!

Expecto Self Care

Thursday: Wrapping up the Harry Potter lessons

Friday: A fun filled Friday as we revisit my life long archenemy – perfectionism! Recognizing my perfectionism for what it is was a game changer for my self love journey!

Perfectionism is my kryptonite

Saturday:  I saved my personal favorite for last! Want to grow and change? Practice that self love by telling yourself it’s ok to suck! Because, really, it’s ok to suck. I promise.

It’s ok to suck!

Ready to go?

Ready to take on the self love club challenge this week? I believe in you! You don’t have to be perfect – just give it a try. Remember, self love is a long game (life long game for a majority of us) so any tiny baby step you take now will benefit you later. Want some personalized help with this? Already self loving but need to make a plan? Want to change your life, career, find a new direction or just chat about your next move? A few 1:1 spots are available! Head over to my Calendly to sign up for a free discovery call. 

So proud of you for prioritizing self love in your life!

self love motivation

A Lesson In Self Love

Recently I realized that self love is the ultimate act of rebellion. 

My Journey 

I haven’t always been kind to myself. Fueled by perfectionism, competition and a fear of scarcity I used to let myself get wrapped up in the self hate body bashing the media feeds us. I tried to force myself into boxes that I didn’t even find appeasing. Managing to make myself smaller literally and figuratively in an effort to fit in. I did not do this for me – I thought it was what I was supposed to do and I’m not alone in falling for that trap. 

The beauty and wellness industries make millions off of this societally fed self hatred. In the US the beauty industry alone makes upwards of $49 million and the wellness industry dupes us into diet pills at a whopping $4.2 trillion globally!  Obviously not everything in the beauty or wellness industry is “bad” but they all share a common thread – the less we love ourselves the more money they make. 

Not only is this desire to be homogenous excessive, exhausting and expensive but it is also inauthentic. We can spend chunks of change on trying to make ourselves more loveable but in the end the true work comes from the inside. How we feel about ourselves matters more than how we look – yet somehow we have been taught to equate the two. 

For my auditory learners here is a little chat on my self love journey.

Rebellion 

So how do we separate our self love from how we appear? We start rebelling.

Don’t worry – I’m not telling you to give up your beauty routine to love yourself (I love lipstick and I have no shame in saying that) but let’s get real about why we buy the things we buy. I love working out and fitness. I truly enjoy running, weight lifting and fitness classes but if I start buying pilates machines to have at home because it will make me look like a pilates instructor I am doing it for the wrong reason!

Before I buy something in relation to the beauty or wellness world I ask myself some discovery questions: 

  • Am I buying this from a place of power or because I feel like I lack something? 
  • Does this item make me feel more confident or like I am hiding a part of myself?
  • Am I buying this to help me feel healthier or because I believe “healthy” has a specific look and this will help me achieve it? 
  • Am I buying this product to change myself into a more homogenous person or does it help me honor my authentic self? 

There are no rights and wrongs here we just want to make sure our brain understands that we are buying things that make us feel like “us” and happy, not because someone decided that we should look a certain way. 

My favorite anecdote for people who are trying to build their self love and self confidence is to remind them that some white dude in marketing is probably writing the campaigns, or is at least the major decision maker behind them, that make them feel like they need flawless skin or toned legs. Let’s call him Dave. Dave probably does not have flawless skin or toned legs. Yet he makes money off of us believing that we need flawless skin and toned legs. Do you need flawless skin or toned legs to survive? Absolutely not. Do you even want flawless skin? Probably not. But somehow Dave has convinced us that we do. If we ignore the marketing and only buy items that we want we are being rebellious. Don’t fall for Dave’s self hate fueled marketing trick. 

Practicing Kindness with Ourselves 

The other way I started rebelling against institutionalized self hatred is by being over the TOP on my self love conversations with myself.

As a perfectionist I like to hold myself to insurmountable goals and standards. I’ve worked to consciously lower those standards and as part of that work I have begun celebrating every single little thing I do with the verve of a toddlers birthday party. Not every task gets balloons and streamers but I try to do at least one of these: 

  • I tell myself affirmations like “I am so proud of you for trying a new thing regardless of how it turns out!” or “You are loveable regardless of your productivity”. It can feel a bit hokey but it works – I promise! 
  • I give gratitude to myself “I am grateful for my tenacity to get this new task done” or “I am grateful that I have the time and energy to work on this new project”. Anything that shows appreciation for myself – bonus points if it isn’t about how I look. 
  • I brag about myself! Women are statistically less likely to brag about themselves so I try to communicate my worth out loud to someone! It can be to a social media post, a friend, or a family member. 

Be rebellious and brag about yourself. Run your first mile? Brag about it! Write a poem? Brag about it! Enjoy your accomplishments and celebrate you. 

The Results of Self Love 

I’ve been working on being kinder to myself for years now and recently I’ve begun to notice a MAJOR shift in how I think about myself. I’m more empathetic towards myself, I give myself more space to make mistakes and I’ve stopped worrying that other people will misinterpret my intent because I know what I meant and my intentions. 

Being kind to ourselves is hard. The world is designed to make money off of our self hatred. Be  a rebel and practice self love! 

Need help getting started? 1:1 life coaching chats available! Sign up at the bottom of this page for a FREE discovery call. 

** please do not use this post to replace mental or physical health care from a physician. Always work with a licensed professional when it comes to your health. 

self care, salt lamp, house plant, candle, selfcare,

Self Care Shopping List

Self care is an evergreen topic for me. I am wildly passionate about nurturing myself. It’s also wildly important In the self development realm; if we want to grow we HAVE to first take care of ourselves. 

Self care is essential but it’s also been twisted into a marketing scheme. I have a centering question I like to use before making a purchase in the name of self care – ready for it? 

How does this NURTURE me? 

I treat myself like a seed. Is this something that helps me grow and blossom? Does it bring me joy? Am I just purchasing it because I’ve been fed a lie that it will fill my cup? 

These questions prevent me from spending stupid amounts of money on bath bombs that give me hives or face masks that break me out. Ask yourself these questions and really noodle before making a purchase in the name of self care. 

That being said – I have accumulated a little (lot) of items that help me fill my cup. I’m listing and linking them below BUT before purchasing please ask yourself that key question – how does this nurture me? My personal favorites may not be yours.

*All Amazon images and links below are affiliate links.

Apps & Tools 

CALM 

I love meditating. I also SUCK at it when I need it the most. So I use guided meditations. I prefer the Calm app and have used it for years but I know a lot of people love Headspace or find youtube meditations to do. Best of all, you can find a lot of these for free!

Journal 

I try to take at least 5 minutes each day to journal. Sometimes it’s a gratitude list. Some days it’s just whatever weird dreams or thoughts I’ve had. Some days it’s simply what happened. I let myself write whatever I feel like and try really hard not to judge it. Getting my thoughts out of my head and onto paper is life changing.

Puzzles & Puzzle Mat 

For me, a really good way to check in with myself is to get totally immersed in the moment and a good way to get present is to work on something that is hard for me. I suck at puzzles. I cannot multitask and work on a puzzle. Because I absolutely suck at puzzles I have a puzzle mat that I can roll up when I’m not using it. This is the one I use and I love it. I’ve been working on the same 1000 piece Golden Girls puzzle for almost a year now and this mat made that possible.

Bath Stuff!

Baths are BIG in the self care industry and I wholeheartedly support the idea IF the baths are done with intention. Self care is less about what you do and more about how you do it. 

Bath Caddy 

I usually surround myself with candles, books and random crystals that I think will make me feel better. I also ALWAYS have water with me in the tub (we don’t want to overheat and dehydrate in there). This is the bath caddy I use but there are so many options!

Bath Pillow 

When I take a bath I move into the tub. My apartment tub is wildly uncomfortable so I use this cushy friend to keep my back supported while I binge read or stare at the ceiling (both valid forms of self care).

Bath Salts 

No, not the Florida man kind. A big part of my day to day self care is exercise but because of this I end up with sore muscles a lot. Epsom salt baths are ideal because they are aromatic and helpful for my sore and tight muscles. I like scents like mint or eucalyptus because they are relaxing but non-drowsy. I personally get too sleepy with lavender scents.

Bubbles! 

Bubbles bring me joy. They are FUN. As a kid I would pretend they were snow and as an adult they bring my inner child so much joy.

Scents, Incense, Oils or Bath Sprays  

I like to use rose spray when I take a bath (or in the middle of the day to add a little energy back). You might have a different scent that brings you joy. I personally LOVE the strawberry incense linked below. Find one and keep it around to add zest back into your day.

Dry Brush 

I’m a big fan of pre-bath dry brushing. It helps clear your dead skin, supposedly helps reduce cellulite (no clue if that’s actually true or not nor do I think trying to get rid of it is a worth while endeavor) and it helps your lymphatic system. The key to dry brushing is to always brush towards your heart. I like to use it to visualize brushing the energy of the day off and then move to the tub to clean it all away but do what works for you.

Homewares & Comfort 

Self care as an everyday activity can be as small as putting on your favorite slippers or turning on your salt lamp before bed. 

Salt Lamp 

This is my mood setting piece providing friend. I’ve had it for a couple years and I love it. I have no idea if it actually does anything BUT when I see the soft glow of it I feel relaxed and a little more zen.

Candles 

Lighting a candle changes my mood instantly. I use different candles for different moods. Scents are a personal decision but if you aren’t usually a candle person I recommend starting with one with little to no scent. You can always burn unscented candles with others to set the mood. 

Word of advice – don’t light too many scented candles at the same time. Sensory overload.

Metal Straw 

If I want to feel fancy I drink out of a wine glass. Assuming it’s not actually wine, I usually use a straw. I recommend this practice if you need to give yourself a mid day moment of luxury. Metal, glass, any sort of reusable straw is ideal. Here is one of my favorites.

Robe & Slippers 

Getting cozy is self care for me. Feeling cozy is comforting and safe so I like to snuggle into a blanket with arms (or robe) and some slippers. I have day time summer slippers and nighttime Uggs because I am dedicated to the cozy cause but once again – it’s all up to you. 

Slippers: Cheap, comfy and wonderful for day time wear

Slippers: UGGs too comfy for their own good and for my wallet 

Robe 

I invested in comfort a couple years back and have no regrets. I adore my UGG robe. It’s like wearing a blanket.

Honorable mention goes to my patio garden! 

Self care is taking moments for yourself and setting intentions to fill your own cup. Growing my plants has been my favorite act of self care during quarantine. If you have never grown anything from seeds I highly recommend this. It has been SO EXCITING to check on them everyday. If you follow me on instagram you may have noticed that I dance and sing to my plants almost daily. I’ll link the post with all my patio items here for you. 

Not a plant person? Self care can be making something from scratch (like bread), trying something new, getting involved in social activism to nurture yourself and the world you want to live in.

Contrary to this post, stuff is not self care. Keep trying new things until you find what works for you. 

Take care!

It’s OK to Suck

Actually, it’s more than ok to suck – it’s good for you. Trying something new and even “failing” at it is benificial. It increases resilience, helps us embrace our imperfections and allows us to enjoy the journey more than the final result. 

It is ok to suck at things (but try them anyway)

The Truth

NO ONE is good at something when they first try it. I REPEAT – NO ONE is magically good at something when they first try it. Think about your childhood – were you magically good at riding a bike when you first tried? If you’re like me the answer is a loud, clear and skinned knee NO. I had a bonus training wheel because I leaned to the left for years after I learned how to ride the bike.

As adults we have a harder time embracing the art of trying something new and sucking. So let’s go through the importance of trying new things and why it’s ok (and even encouraged) to suck. 

Shoshin

I’ve gone on about the importance of beginner’s mind or “shoshin” but ITS SO IMPORTANT TO ME. In case you’ve missed my soapbox speeches on beginner’s mind it is dropping our expectations and preconceived notions about something and truly embracing the task with child like curiosity and observation.  More information about beginner’s is available here.

Builds patience and perseverance 

As kids we get a lot of practice sucking. Everyday we learned something new or tried a new skill. As we get older we have less opportunities to put ourselves out there and fail. Somewhere towards the end of adolescence we get this false notion that we have to be GOOD at something to do it.

In our adult years we are more likely to try something once, perform mediocre at it and then quit because we aren’t magically the Simone Biles of our new skill. But, if we keep building on that skill – even if we think we suck at it – eventually we will make progress and we learn to enjoy the journey. 

We learn from our failures 

Some of the best life lessons come from really making a mess of things. When we try something new and suck at it, the attempt can point out places we have opportunity to grow in.

Let’s use the example of needle point. If I wanted to start doing needle point I might buy all my materials, review how to do the stitches, sit down to sew and start flying through the project. As I’m sewing I may notice that I’m poking myself with the needle a lot or creating uneven stitches.

Odds are good that I would need to slow down and practice patience. When I notice this lack of patience in a new task I am more likely to identify it in other places in my life. For example: I may want to apply patience to my relationships or with myself when I’m sluggish with completing my goals.

Sucking makes us more compassionate 

When we perform mediocre or absolutely stink something up we develop empathy for others when they suck because we know how it feels. 

Once we accept that it’s ok to suck we get to enjoy the journey. We approach challenges in a new and creative way. We learn to celebrate the little victories along the way. We develop resilience to laugh at our failures. We become more compassionate and supportive to other people on their journeys.

Sucking at something makes us better people. For me personally those things are learning to play the keyboard and writing mediocre poems.

Let me know in the comments what you aren’t afraid to suck at or what you are going to try!

*I am not a medical professional. Please work with a certified professional when it comes to your physical and mental health.

You Are Not Your Job

I’m just going to say it – you are SO MUCH MORE than your job.

When you introduce yourself how do you do it? In the past I’ve always said “Hi I’m Emily – I work in HR at BLANK company.” And before that I was “Emily – and English major at UCSB”. I wouldn’t even say I valued my job more than my hobbies or family life – it was just status quo to describe myself based on what my “current job” in society is at the time. We’re just going to start with the facts here – you are not your job YOU ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT.

You are so much more than your job!

With 8.2 million Americans (at the time I’m writing this) collecting unemployment right now I think a lot of us are grappling with this concept. Who are we when we aren’t working? What is our value without our jobs?

We have to disconnect our self worth and our careers.

 So how do we detangle our self worth from our jobs? How do we live a life with a fulfilling career that doesn’t own our happiness and security? I’ve got a four ideas for us to try.

Self love

I know, I know, I bring this up A LOT but that’s because it is vital to our happiness. You have to love yourself as an individual – not for your output. To untangle ourselves from our careers we have to identify who we are and why we are worthy of love (spoiler alert: its because we are alive). When we embody self love we see ourselves as individuals by doing that  we’ve separated our worth from our outputs. I’ve got a video on embodying self love if you need a little more inspiration on it.

Self Love Club Party

Find your wants

Another way to seperate yourself from what you do is to ask yourself what you want. This is a loaded question so spend a lot of time with it. It’s important to find what you want not what others want for you. Think about it in a silo – if you could have whatever you wanted with no strings attached what would it look like? Dig deep.

Kick comparison and competition to the curb

A little competition doesn’t hurt but try to reduce competition and quiet your competitive nature. Once you know what you want you can use it to stop comparing yourself to other people – especially people who don’t want the same things as you. It’s totally fine to want to be the best at things or do them well but you don’t need to compete with people who aren’t even running the same race as you. When you stop competing unnecessarily you can be grateful for what you have and how far you have come.

Phone a friend

Lean on friends and family to help build you up. If you’re reallllly struggling to remove your worth from your work as a trusted friend or family member if they are willing to describe you. Odds are good they will describe your qualities as a friend – not your career.

These are just a couple tips to help separate your worth from your work. Practice self love, identify what YOU want, quiet your competitive nature (just a bit) and lean on friends to help build you up.  Remember you are not your job – you are a beautiful, authentic, individual human with unique hobbies, interests and qualities. Sending you lots of love!