“Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brene Brown
Disclaimer: I’m all for self-care routines.
Meditation, bubble baths….these are my jam. But, I think it’s dangerous to suggest this kind of “self-care” advice to someone who is really struggling, as it can cause more harm than good.
When I first came to spirituality and personal development, I was drowning in depression, anxiety, and a raging binge eating disorder. I ate up every book I could find trying to “fix” myself, and I remember being bombarded with self-care tips: taking myself out on dates, soaking in bubble baths, and doing yoga.
And don’t get me wrong…it was nice to try some of those things in the beginning, but solely relying on those things to create the kind of radical transformation most people need will only keep us stuck.
Because what good is it if you’re out on a date with yourself thinking:
“I hope no one is looking at me.”
“Would people judge me if I ate an entire burger right now?”
“How long do I have to do this before it works?”
At least, that’s how it was for me in the beginning. All I wanted was to feel better about myself, but when I tried the typical self-care strategies I read about online, I was more aware than ever how much I hated being alone with myself.
Whatever self-care routine I was performing on the outside was no match for the internal dialogue of shame, compulsion, and regret going on inside of me.
It was a good first step. But it was just the first of many steps needed to truly heal the relationship I had with myself. And I didn’t get to the good stuff until I stopped using self-care as a mask to hide how I was actually feeling and started doing the real inner work.
Because what makes an unshakable, confident, passionate, soulful, and courageous woman isn’t the number of self-care rituals she performs every week.
It’s the internal dialogue she has with herself.
It’s her undeniable sense of worthiness.
It’s her consciously deciding to go after her dreams every single day.
It’s her unapologetically saying no to people and situations that don’t serve her.
It’s her failing miserably and pulling herself back up when it’s painful.
It’s the kind of relationship that takes years to build and unwavering commitment to maintain.
Everyone has seen a woman who is authentically confident in her skin, her ambitions, and her life. She’s a force of nature. Women want to be her. And men want to be with her.
Is this woman perfect? F*ck no. She’s far from it. But, she owns her “flaws” and stands up for herself no matter what. She knows who she is, what she wants, and the incredible value she brings to the world.
That way of being doesn’t happen overnight. And it certainly doesn’t happen without contrast.
Think about the most inspiring and impactful women in your life right now and get curious about their journey. What challenges have they faced to get to where they are right now? How did they turn their challenges into opportunities? What do you think their relationship with themselves is like? What kind of inner work did they do to get to where they are now?
Because I guarantee they didn’t get to that place by more bubble baths. They did it by turning inward, facing their own darkness, tapping into their soul, speaking their truth, and committing to their growth and expansion.
You know…the heavy sh*t. The sh*t that shakes us up, strengthens our character, and ultimately sets us free.
Every woman has an inner warrior goddess inside of her that is just fricken’ dying to break free from the story, fears, and limitations society and old conditioning has placed upon her. If you’re reading this and wondering “How do I know if I’m living as a warrior goddess?” here’s a little guidance.
Some signs that your warrior goddess might be trapped:
>> Settling for a relationship or job that doesn’t make you happy
>> Having a disordered relationship with food
>> Hating your body and trying to force it to change through intense exercise or dieting
>> Not going after your dreams
>> Not expressing creativity on a regular basis
>> Being too afraid to share your opinion
>> Isolating yourself
>> Using wine, xanax, or any other modality to numb your pain
>> Not knowing what the f*ck you want out of life
If any of those resonate with you, don’t freak out. Just acknowledge it and say, “Okay, there are few things I need to look at and work through.”
Because we can work through them. And we should. Life is too short to play on the sidelines or get our girlfriends’ approval before wearing an outfit. If we want to live passionate, happy, and purposeful lives, we’ve gotta stand up for ourselves and be unapologetic about who we are and what we have to offer.
If you’re thinking “Yeah, that’s great. But, I don’t believe in myself. I don’t know what I have to offer. I’m not happy with myself,” or anything of the like…listen up.
You are living in a completely disordered reality.
And I say that with love and compassion, because I’ve been there. Not many have hated or shamed themselves as much as I have. I had no idea how to get out of it and I thought I would be a negative, depressed, and insecure person for the rest of my life.
But, over time, I learned more about human conditioning and brain chemistry. I slowly pieced together the realization that I actually created this false sense of self.
And not just through my own thoughts and behaviors, but from observing others’ behaviors (thanks mom) and internalizing the messages I received outside of me. Take a moment and really reflect on the sense of self you relate to now. If there are areas of insecurity, shame, or doubt, get curious about where those came from.
Every time you thought negatively about your body…
Every time a guy didn’t call you back…
Every time you didn’t follow through on your goals…
Every time you decided that you weren’t good enough…
Every time you’ve internalized the message “I’m not worthy…”
You have imprinted that belief into your brain.
You have literally created a neural pathway in your brain so that anytime you have the choice to act in a way that supports you being a worthy, confident, and vibrant being, you choose the complete opposite. Because at your core, you believe you don’t deserve it.
So, how do we untangle this sh*t and create a real sense of worthiness?
By doing the work. The real work.
Author: Caty Pasternak
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Catherine Monkman