In law school I would find myself spending an obnoxious amount of time, right around finals, cleaning my apartment. At the time I thought it was a classic avoidance technique…I will clean so I don’t need to focus on what really matters, my studies.
Today I think what was really going on was much different. You see, in law school, I would spend an entire semester cramming my head full of terminology, case law, statutes, common law and the like into my brain. My brain would be full by the end of the semester. No more penguins could fit on that iceberg come May.
In fact, towards the end of the semester I was known for forgetting the name to common household items (it was a spoon) AND for putting stamps on the wrong side of the envelope. Too many penguins on the iceberg resulted in good penguins jumping ship!
Anyway, what I really think was going on during these cleaning frenzies was that my mind needed a fresh perspective and by cleaning and reorganizing my living space, it was allowed to take a breather and have a fresh perspective, so that my brain could organize and focus.
That is what the year of self love challenge is focusing on this week. Take some time to rearrange your living space. It could be your bedroom, office or even the bathroom. Buy a new bedspread. Get out a different set of dishes.
What ever it is rearrange the living spaces in your life differently to allow that fresh perspective to sneak in. Your brain (and those penguins) will thank you for it.
This week we tackled the the second of our four buckets: the physical. Really, this week was all about shifting your mindset from what your body isn’t, to reveling in what it is. Katie pointed out that you weren’t born hating your body. It’s trained into you over time.
At 13: 53% of girls are unhappy with their body.
At 17: 78%.
At Adulthood: 91% of women are unhappy with their body and resort to dieting.
This week we dove deep into that unhealthy relationship in The Jourse. Katie said that people who are unhappy with their body often also have an unhealthy relationship with food. The trick is to identify the trigger, acknowledge it, and find another way to deal with the problem.
Another way to deal with this issue is to recognize it is a vehicle for being, for giving, for loving, for moving, for feeling. When you recognize this your start to realize you need to take care of your body. Do that by:
- Regular exercise-get up and move. This doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym. It means walking, moving, playing, dancing and remaining active throughout the day.
- Balanced diet-This is more than what you eat. It is what you watch, listen to, and who you hang out with.
- Water-1/2 your body weight in water is needed per day. Most of the time you aren’t actually hungry. You are just thirsty.
- Sleep-This is different for every person. Be mindful of what your body needs.
It is also helpful to recognize your deficits in this area by identifying the energy you need, rather than the size of clothing you would like to be.
I fall firmly into that 91%. I’m not sure where it came from but I have been unhappy with my body for as long as I can remember. I have also been dieting for as long as I can remember, until recently that is when I started to shift my mindset on this topic from weight loss to nutrition.
It is because of the unhealthy relationship I have with food.
If I get stressed, I eat. If I’m sad, I eat. If I’m bored, I eat. I eat to celebrate. I eat to socialize. Everything I do revolves around eating. It has been a hard shift to think of food as fuel and not all the important parts of my life. One that I am still working on every single day. Some days are definitely better than others on this one.
Being able to acknowledge what my body can do, as opposed to focus on its limitations was an important lesson for me in this weeks training. Katie had us think about writing a love letter to our bodies just to help us adjust our mindset from that of hating our bodies to one of loving all it can do.
Lastly, she reminded us that our children see how we talk about ourselves and, if for no other reason, we should treat our bodies more kindly so our next generation will to.
Life occurs between the ears. You don’t become what you want, you become what you believe.Katie L. Woods
Week 2 of The Jourse tackled the first of the four buckets we discussed last week (Physical, Mind, Soul, and Relationships), namely our MINDSET and was all about paying attention to the voices in your head.
Katie identified two primary voices battling in our minds: The Critic and The Mentor. When we let The Critic control most of our thoughts we suffer. This is an obsession about yourself when you do so.
You are not your thoughts.
You are the thinker of them but they are not you. Your relationship with them determines your happiness. As an example think of The Critic and The Mentor as two wolves. One is good and one is bad and both are battling inside your head. The one that wins is the one you feed. It is by using self-awareness that you can feed the good wolf.
Ways to Feed the Good Wolf (aka The Mentor)
- Feed your mind: help it grow through study and activities your mentor guides you to and that is how you will gain awareness. Shockingly, 50% of people never pick up another book after they are done with their education.
- Break Through Fear: First assess the fear. Assess whether it is a real fear or one you have created for yourself. The only way to face those self-created fears is to just do it. Once you just do that ONE thing you fear you will realize you can do it. That will push you to keep going.
- Identify your ego: That is your inner critic. Once you can hear him/her speaking to you, you can dismiss it. Remember the death of the ego is the beginning of your real life. (Suggested Reading here: Thinking Big, by Tara Mohr). Pay attention to your jealousy because that is a way to identify something that is lacking in your life (ex. jealous of Beyonce’s legs? Figure out how to get them). This will help you to reprogram your thoughts.
If you hear a voice in you say, “you cannot paint.” Then by all means paint.Tara Mohr
4. Have a strategy in place: When The Critic comes out change the story in your mind. Ask if the story limits or empowers. If it limits then change it. (ex. tack on the word yet to the end of the sentence. i.e. I am not a ballerina, yet) Shift the story to try and help others, make it about someone else and NOT you.
At the end of the presentation Katie said stop trying to be enough. It might very well be that you are never enough. But that will be ok. You were meant to be something different and the point is to figure out what that is so that you can live the life you were meant to.
Let me be honest, when I saw this week on my list at the beginning of the year I dreaded it. I struggle with saying, “No.” And when I say struggle, I mean S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E. I think it has to do with my upbringing. Now, don’t get me wrong, my upbringing was fine. No major trauma. I don’t feel like I have one of those stories where I’m working though the trauma of my past.
However, I was brought up to be a pleaser.
There was really no way around it. I’m the oldest of 4 children AND the only girl. My childhood memories all revolve around caring for my brothers, helping with the family business, and striving for perfection in my academics, my athletics, my music, and my activities. Add to that a conservative christian upbringing where it was frowned upon for women to rock the boat and say “no” to obligations charged to them by their husbands, family, or God and you have a recipe for a disaster on your hands.
Even today, knowing that “no” is a difficult concept for me, I still struggle with it, but in a different way. Typically those opportunities to say “no” aren’t in relation to unhealthy choices (for the most part); my life is a carousel inundated with fun and engaging choices. As an adult, Jason and I often have extended family in crises who need us, to the detriment of the attention of my little family nucleus. I have a demanding day job where it is often seen as a weakness to say “no” to additional or extra working opportunities provided by management. However, that takes me away from my family, as well as those activities that bring me joy. My part-time business can literally be worked anywhere at anytime and for that reason I am always feeling guilty when I’m not working, or, in the alternative pushing to keep myself active to the detriment of myself. We have an active friend group and with so much fun going on all the time, it feels impossible to say “no” to any of the activities and plans being made.
You see what I mean. These aren’t bad things.
It’s just that sometimes, the myriad of choices don’t support who it is I want to be as a person.
Over the weekend, I listened to a Podcast from Super Soul Sunday (thank you mother Oprah) that hit on this topic so resoundingly that I have listened to it three times now. “Iyanla Vanzant: You Matter”was one of those Aaah Haa moments that I haven’t had in a long time. Here is the basic premise for me:
Developing the ability to say “no” is the only way you are going to discover what you are meant to be.
How you ask?
Because when you stand firm in you “no,” you open space up to live in your “yes.”
Think about that for a minute. By saying “no” to the things that don’t honor, that don’t support, and don’t sustain who you were meant to be you can’t make room for those things that are really important to you. I am SO guilty of this. I feel frustration all the time because I don’t have time for those things that I find most important. In reality, it’s my own damn fault.
Yeah, I said it, It’s my own damn fault.
By worrying about others, by being a pleaser, I have over-committed myself in detrimental ways. I haven’t made space to live in my yes.
So this week, let’s flex that “no” muscle a little bit. We can all make space to live in our “yes’s” and really, that is what is most important.
Make sure to check out Iyanla Vanzant: You Matter. Available on iTunes. Here is a video link to her full “You Matter” sermon. (Oh and if you don’t think it’s a sermon, watch the whole thing….It will have you saying “AMEN” by the end)
Fair Warning: I am an Amazon Affiliate. But here is a link to one of my favorite books right now. Girl, Wash Your Face, by Rachel Hollis.
Her chapter on about the word “NO” is about as life-changing as can be…if you are open to it. 🙂