Every year I choose a word to focus on which I feel will help me grow. I spent 2018 focusing on happiness, 2019 authenticity, and for 2020 my word is Love.
For this year, I am writing about my life’s journey as I go through it, rather than describing my best practices as I usually do. I am not claiming to have Love figured out. This is not a post on how to fix your marriage or family. Instead, it is about how Unconditional Love starts within and will radiate out of you.
By the end of 2019, I realized that my love tank was empty. I needed to make some changes to be able to love myself, my children, and those around me in a healthy way. I struggle with wanting others to like me. I internalize people’s problems, carry their disappointment on my shoulders, hoping to be seen, heard, and loved. Too often, I was asking myself: what is wrong with me? Why don't they like me? Why am I never smart, pretty, or perfect enough?
In 2019, I tackled Authenticity; I felt like I was peeling layers of an onion as I discovered my purposes, values, and goals, which I passionately sought. There were days when I felt so lost and others that I felt I was seeing the world around me for the first time. When I decided that Love would be my word for 2020, I thought it would be a piece of cake! I naively felt that I would enjoy self-care and learn how to accept my imperfections. I realized that my year of Authenticity was the foundation of learning to discover who I truly was. This year I needed to learn to love and accept myself for who I am.
This year my journey will be to dig deeper. I have to understand why I would allow people to mistreat me. For this, I need to learn how.
1. Learn to love and trust myself unconditionally.
2. To identify, minimize, and protect myself from toxic people.
3. Learn to recognize what Unconditional Love looks like.
Love is a primal need; it starts the day we're born. We enter this world as little, squishy beings looking for comfort, security, and connection. As we grow, our minds are filled with fairy tales of knights in shining armor where Love saves us from all evil. Hollywood likes to show us that we are only complete when we are in Love.
June is the halfway point on my Year of Love and I wanted to share what I am learning and experiencing.
I try to find a clear path, a "how-to" for self-discovery. The problem is, self-discovery is so personal. The path may not look like a straight line either; you may work one section to move on to the next and then come back months later.
This year, I have broken up my journey into these stages:
1. Start Loving Me. Love begins within and will radiate out of you. Without knowing it, my year of Authenticity was the foundation work for learning how to discover my core values, purpose, and goals which gave me the foundation to dream. Loving yourself knows that your happiness is just as important as anyone else’s. It is knowing what your purpose is, and allowing it to be your Northern Star. Why is this important? Because building up my confidence and self-esteem are important to me.
The books that I recommend:
2. Listen. I started with how I spoke to myself. Blame and shame have no place in your internal conversations. I was shocked over how harsh I was with myself. I was afraid that if I changed my inner talks that my drive would be lessened; what I learned was just the opposite. Because I was able to talk compassionately and give myself the time that was needed, I was happy and more productive. I also needed to learn how to listen to my body with no judgment. I played around letting go of my dig deep button; I learned how to ask myself, "what do I need right now?" I learned that if I give myself a funny movie or extra playtime with my kids, I quickly rejuvenate, and I had less downtime versus pushing on. Next, I learned how to listen to my kids, team members, and those around me, to speak kindly and compassionately. This gift was met with grounded children, who are more agreeable and better behaved because they felt heard and loved. When I lost my temper and yelled, instead of turning back to my old habits of going in a shame spiral, I could apologize to the affected parties. I accepted that I made a mistake and saw if there was a way that I could improve next time with simple daily adjustments (was I hungry, tired, stressed) and moved on.
Books that I recommend:
3. Identify Toxic People. I believe at the bottom of my heart that we all have the best intentions. I believe that people are inherently good. I also believe that we all carry our own stories and hurt, which may hurt those around you. For me, I struggle with wanting to listen, to love, to be understanding AND saying, “Hey wait, that’s not nice”. Identifying and removing yourself from a toxic person, is hard because there tends to be manipulation and gaslighting involved. MORE TO COME ON THIS TOPIC SOON
Books that I recommend:
4. Set Boundaries. Learning how to set healthy boundaries, staying authentic to myself, and learning that it is not my job to solve everyone's issues. This is what I am learning about today. MORE TO COME ON THIS TOPIC SOON
Book that I recommend:
5. Learn to Love and be Loved Unconditionally - COMING SOON
I realized that how I thought love looked was all wrong which, in turn, affected how I looked at my worthiness. I'm by no means claiming that I have it all figured it out. This year has been filled with more layers and more tears. Would I change any of it? NOPE. What I am discovering about myself is so damn worth it. I feel whole. I still have doubts and uncertainty, I am human. I have faith that the work I am doing will impact my children, show them how to unconditionally love themselves first, to love others, to show how to give and receive love unconditionally.
I hope that my honesty sparks an “aha moment”; if you are struggling, feeling overwhelmed, or any other mix of emotions on your journey. You are not alone, it's a normal part of the process. Remember, we all need to progress and try to do better the next time.
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