Project Self: Self-Love

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How many of us think self-love is selfish?  It’s a common misconception, and you’re not alone.  There are two ways to love yourself, one being in a toxic, narcissistic way where you don’t have any regard or empathy for others, which disconnects you from others and is not recommended.  The second is a nurturing, protective way of loving yourself that genuinely connects you with others.

While I was navigating a life crisis, my divorce, I suddenly found myself under the microscope.  I realized it was time to accept my imperfections, define my needs in a timely manner and reintroduce myself, to myself.  It’s during times of rumbling and wrestling with our story that turns on the bravery switch inside ourselves.  Instead of running and hiding, it took courage to stay, understand and learn from it, and since I was under the microscope, I had to examine myself.  To know yourself you need to spend time with yourself on the good and bad days.  Own it.  All of it.

That’s when the game changed for me.

All these tasks were not easy to do but needed to be done to be able to live my best life.

Imagine…

The best way I could achieve this was to start loving myself unconditionally in a caring, and kind way that protected me.  I had to realize I was enough and not worry about what other people thought.  To find my own happiness and stop pleasing others.

The first step was to stop beating myself up and start talking to my younger self, the child inside that was hurting and scared.  I used loving words instead of critical ones.  Self-compassion is a form of self-love because as soon as you start talking to yourself like you would with a good friend, and realize we are all human and make mistakes, then you can begin to relax, and get to know yourself for who you are, your values, and love yourself for it.

The second step was to define a need from a want.  For example, we all need food, water, clothing, and shelter.  These are requirements to live day to day.  A want is something that is extra, desired, not necessary but nice.  That list is extremely long for all of us.  When looking at our needs from a self-love perspective, what do you need to love yourself?  Boundaries are a good place to start, followed by self-compassion, and good self-care.  Owning your story instead of blaming others is also essential.

People treat us based on how they see us treating ourselves.  So if we don’t set boundaries with ourselves, then other people will think it’s ok to walk all over us.  The more you love yourself, the less nonsense you are going to tolerate.  This is also a form of self-respect which is another upcoming blog in this series.

It’s common to love many things outside ourselves like different foods, movies, cars, homes, careers, and more, but as soon as you hold up a mirror, what do you feel?  Disgust, fear, shame, guilt?  Or do you feel proud, grateful, accepting and happy?  Are you at the top of your love list, somewhere in the middle or didn’t realize you even had a spot on this list?

What do you practice? Fear or self-love?  Do you ask, “What will people think?”  or say “I am enough.”

What would it take for you to love yourself more?  Try to think of 3 ways you can practice more self-love in your own life.

Ways I found self-love:

*Rebuilding relationships workshop with Diane Valiquette.  This is one of the best workshops I’ve ever taken where she says the most rewarding and powerful relationship you will ever have is the one with yourself.  It also sets the tone for all your future relationships with others.  That is the truth!

*Writing, reading books, exercising, eating well, listening to music, mindfulness, accepting my imperfections, self-forgiveness, spending quality time with friends and family and asking for help.

I’ve learned it’s best to ask for what you need instead of hoping someone will notice.  You are in charge of your own life and if you don’t speak up, then nobody will know what you’re thinking and you are to blame for not saying anything.  Plain and simple.  By asking for what you need means you love yourself enough to fill those needs.  If you are still not getting your needs met, after trying everything, that’s when you can walk away and say “This doesn’t work for me anymore.”  This in itself is an act of self-love.  Of course, it’s not easy because relationships aren’t easy, but your peace and happiness are worth it, therefore, take the time to practice self-love.  The more you love yourself, the less fear you will feel.

Since this re-introduction to myself, I am no longer the same person I was before, which is a good thing.  I am stronger and more courageous than ever, aware of my needs, and aware of what I can and will not tolerate in my life.  Self-love is an ongoing process and I am committed to it each and every day because it’s at the top of my list.

What about you? ❤

**Note to self:  “Close your eyes, fall in love, stay there”  ~ Rumi

 

Much Love and Self-Love ❤

Jen
XO

***I hope you are enjoying the “Project-Self” blog series so far.  Stay tuned for more…

***All my gratitude to everyone who bought, borrowed, read, reviewed, liked, and shared my book with others.  The feeling of joy is bursting out of me each day!  Pick up your copy of “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” at online bookstores worldwide or at the FriesenPress online bookstore.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You (A to Z Challenge)

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I love you so much
Your kind heart is like a bright, shining light
That paves the path of darkness in all of us

You have a way of making people feel comfortable
Especially in uncomfortable situations
You are a caring soul, a giving and helpful person

You have been through so much lately
Your wounds are still visible and hot to the touch
Despite all that, you’re healing and have come a long way, keep going

You’ve made some mistakes along the way, that’s how we learn
Realize and accept you are part of a common humanity that is imperfect
You can forgive yourself now for not knowing any better
Pieces of your soul have been shattered and scattered
People who care about you are collecting them
And rebuilding a new you, with you

You need to be gentle with yourself
It’s okay to cry or be emotional
This is how you heal from the inside out

It may take more time than you thought, once bitten, twice shy
Carve out some time for yourself so you can hear your soul speak
Be compassionate with yourself, we’re all in life this together

Your friends love you and want to see you happy
They may show their care and concern by giving you advice
You are never alone, you know what’s best for you

I appreciate you so much
You need to stop beating yourself up
Leave the insecurities behind, just breathe

You are beautiful and talented
You don’t need to criticize or judge
Listening to the inner critic only causes you unnecessary pain

You are imperfect and graceful
You are authentic and strong
You are fierce and vibrant

May you find the love you desire one day, you deserve it
May you find the one who truly cares about you unconditionally
May you find the path that is right for you

May you always remember these self-compassionate words
They are from me to you, Jennifer
Yes, YOU

 

**This is self-compassionate talk in a tough world sometimes.  It is positive talk that can heal your mind, body and soul.

Happy Friday ❤

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

 

 

Love More By Caring Less. Huh?

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I love my friends they are my rocks in life.  We lean on each other in times of trouble and in times of laughter so much to the point where we offer each other advice on everything.  It doesn’t always mean we take the advice from each other but it is very comforting knowing we’re all in this together with big open hearts and love.

Friends often give each other advice even when we don’t ask for it.  It’s because we care so much and don’t like to see our friends suffering so we try to brainstorm a solution for them right there on the spot, I know I am also guilty of trying to fix a situation. This can be interpreted in two different ways, one that it is being done out of love and protectiveness or two, they are controlling, judging and criticizing everything you do.

I can understand why someone might think about it in the second example because it may come across like an attack and they aren’t accepting you as you are.  “You need to change.”  Change is scary and when we’re scared, we get defensive.

Now imagine if I said to you “Well *friend* I just love you.  I don’t care what happens to you.”

Huh???

Does this statement make you feel more relaxed, less anxious?  To some, it may come across as something cold but if I were to translate it to mean, “I really don’t care what happens to you, no matter what you do, I won’t love you any less.”  Real love comes from people who are both totally committed to helping—and able to emotionally detach.

Try this example; think of someone you love but causes you to feel angry, sad or anxious.  Now write “If ________ would only ____________ then I could feel ______________.”  Now scratch out the first part of that sentence so only this remains; “I could feel _______________.”

Yes, your lovely friends’ cooperation would be lovely, but you don’t absolutely need it to experience any given emotional state. This is incredibly hard to accept—it would be so easy to feel good if others would just do what we want, right? Nevertheless, you can feel sane even if your crazy-making friend stays crazy.  This is the key step to loving without caring.

We need to find our own ways to be happy and not depend so much on other people, especially the undependable ones!  Even if all your lovely friends remain insane forever, it’s still possible you’ll find opportunities to thrive and joys to embrace.   The bottom line is that we are powerless over other people and when we can accept that hard fact, that’s when we start creating our own happiness.  There are days when it feels like a non-stop cha-cha where it’s one step forward and two steps back but you have to trust yourself and your friends.  It’s all in the power of letting go of control and loving more.

One day it would be nice to hear “Friend, I love you unconditionally—I don’t care what happens to you.”  This is the kind of loving and uncaring friend we should all have in our lives.  The one who lets us be who we really are, to be free to do and choose what we want.  Live and let live, love and let love.  And in the end they will love us till the day we die no matter what.  As you support your friends this way, maybe they will mirror the same support back to you.  Either way you can be happy so what do you care?

At the same time, if you disagree then I lovingly and respectfully do not care 😛

To all my loving friends out there ❤

 

So much love to you all,

 

Jen 🙂
xoxo

 

 

 

 

Love and Cardiac Complications

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The similarities between love and cardiac complications are endless and mind-boggling.  I think we can all recognize some of these crush and love moments whether they were brief or long; they existed or perhaps still exist for some.  I just hope you don’t recognize any of the cardiac complications!  Either way, whatever you do recognize, the important thing is that you survived.

Love vs. Cardiac Complications

You’re walking around feeling good, living your life = Normal Sinus Rhythm, good arrhythmia!

You meet someone, fall in love, heart is chaotic and skips a beat = Atrial Fibrillation, administer Esmolol

Passion = Ventricular Tachycardia, rapid heart rate over 100 beats per minute, administer Amiodarone.  If you are able to safely live in this zone then you are one of the lucky ones out there.

Love is lost, abandoned, betrayal.  Heart cracks and breaks open, total absence of electrical activity.  HELP! = Cardiac arrest, Asystole.  Like in the movies; “flat line.”  Administer Epinephrine STAT!

Scared, denial, chest pain, can’t breathe, shock….

Take some deep breaths = Administer Oxygen

Friends support system is called in they take care of you, give you comfort, food, love, support = Call 911, perform CPR and ACLS.  Administer Epinephrine again STAT!

Cardiac Defibrillation – “All Clear” shock the heart to help restart it = Clear some space for yourself while you push the “refresh” button on your life and start over

When we think about cardiac surgery we usually think about the mechanics, the anatomy and physiology aspects which are very important when trying to save a life.  What about the other roles the heart plays?  The invisible, emotional, spiritual roles that can only be felt, that can change the heart rate and electrical activity by a single word, song, story or any of the 5 senses?

I’m talking about love and passion.   This is something you never see during surgery but I’ve always wondered what people go through in their love life and how they survived that type of invisible but real heartbreak.  From the outside looking in, everything looks normal, but it’s not.  People often refer to heartbreak as invisible scars, holes, or cracks in their heart.  How did they stitch themselves back together again and carry on?   Did they really heal?  Has this ever happened to you?  How did you handle it?

Coping mechanisms for healing:  reading inspirational blogs, quotes, creative writing, music, movies, books, support and encouragement from friends and family, feeling grateful, finding the silver lining, learning the hidden life lessons, hugs, laughter, getting outside in nature, Zumba = these examples are the sutures that can help stitch the heart back together again.  It’s how I cope anyway…

Real friends:  Non-Absorbable Sutures – since the heart is the strongest rhythmic muscle in the body, non-absorbable sutures give the heart extra time to heal because they are in there for life, the long haul, they are flexible and strong.  These are your real friends.  If absorbable sutures were used on the heart, they would not hold it together and it would keep breaking, leading to death.  Not only that, there would be a medical malpractice case…

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Takers:  Absorbable sutures – the one who dissolved and left after all the work was done, temporary relationship.  In any case, never use these with the precious heart

Stainless steel wires close the sternum acting like a new shield of armor to protect the heart and give it extra strength.  Now you’re a warrior made of steel.

Recovery period:  sleep, get your strength back, start out slowly, exercise, eat healthy, take care of yourself, be kind, patient, don’t smoke!  Normal sinus rhythm again.  Smile!  🙂

Similarity:  you survived a cardiac complication because you were well taken care of by a team of caring people and you also took care of yourself.  The heart can function properly now and your broken heart has been mended and reinforced.  It didn’t kill you; it made you stronger. Are you ready to give another try at love, atrial fibrillation, passion and ventricular tachycardia?

Love can be complicated like the cardiovascular system.  We need to follow our hearts and what we’re passionate about to live our life to the fullest.  Eventually, we can return to Love and Normal Sinus Rhythm.

Take good care of yourself and the ones you love,

Much love,

~ Jennifer

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