What does it mean to embrace all of you -- just as you are?
I used to think that was a rhetorical question, that it wasn't possible to accept -- let alone embrace -- all of me. That I wasn't good enough, didn't do enough, wasn't perfect enough.
Then something happened. A couple of years ago, I experienced what I now call a rude awakening, an event that would lead to a number of changes in my life, including my admission that I had an eating disorder.
A year and a half after I finally admitted I had a problem, I am sitting here at my highest weight in a long time, truly comfortable with who I am and what I look like. Two years ago -- even one year ago -- I would have considered myself "fat" at my current weight. Now, I don't. I've gotten used to my belly roll and cellulite. I can look in the mirror -- without averting my eyes -- and say "I love you" to the woman I see in the mirror.
It hasn't been an easy journey, but I'm so grateful it's been my journey.
To celebrate my own acceptance of myself and my body and to further cement this, I decided to host a video interview series this summer. I chose 30 women -- all known for their work in self-love and self-care in many different ways and facets of life. I asked all of them a series of questions about their journey to embracing all of who they are. Each and every one of them told me of struggle, loss, heartache, but also courage, strength and authenticity. And as I interviewed these women about what it truly means to embrace all of you, just as you are, I found that it came down to 15 core principles.
- You have to see yourself with love -- you have to love you, all of you and accept you just as you are now -- not when you lose 10 pounds or get the promotion or stop fighting with your sister-in-law.
- You have to rock your goddess life -- you want to live the life of your dreams? Be the Goddess you truly are? Do it. Fake it at first if you have to.
- You may have to transform your relationship with yourself -- I did. Most of my guest speakers did. Why? Because our self-worth was tied to doing, because forgiveness, compassion, and trust were things we never applied to ourselves. Until we realized these things are essential.
- Learn to put you on your priority list -- yes, you. And you need to be first on your priority list -- not your kids, your spouse, your mother. It's like when the flight attendant tells you to secure your own oxygen mask before helping others. You can't be of service to others if you don't take care of you. You need your oxygen (i.e., self-care)
- It's time to take back your power -- stop looking to others for approval, stop giving them power over your life, allowing them to make decisions for you. Stop reacting and start living from a place of action. If you don't like something, it's up to you to change it.
- Figure out what you really want -- not your spouse, your mother, your kids, the PTA... What do you want? And if you don't know the answer to that question, it might be time to take out your journal and ponder that...
- Stop self-sabotaging -- Easier said than done, huh? Here's the thing: Adversity happens when you ignore that inner voice of wisdom in favor of external pressures to act or do a certain thing. Listen to that inner voice of wisdom and life will flow much more smoothly for you.
- Stop the diet mentality -- I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Diet is a four-letter word. Restriction, deprivation, and food rules are asking to be broken. No one can be "perfect". Everything in moderation.
- Heal your relationship with food and your body -- Yes, it takes time, but it is possible.
- Everything happens for a reason, including your health challenges -- two of my guests spoke about the lessons they learned from their own health issues (breast cancer) and how grateful they are that they were given the opportunity the illness provided to learn more about themselves.
- Get comfortable in your body -- So often we feel blame and shame when it comes to our body, but our bodies are our greatest messengers and tell us when things are not going okay. If you are experiencing a health challenge of any sort, ask your body what it's trying to tell you and what it needs from you.
- Reconnect with your sacred soul -- You are the wisest person you know. You know you best and you know what you need. If you don't think that is true, it's time to reconnect in with yourself, your inner voice of wisdom, your body. The answers you seek are within you.
- See the beauty inside of you -- Your body is a miracle, inside and out. It performs countless miracles for you every single day (your heart beats, you breathe, you heal without even having to think about it). Maybe you could try showing it some gratitude instead of loathing?
- Create your ideal life -- you are in charge of you -- it's your life. If you're not happy with it, change something!
- You sparkle! You are a brilliant, multi-faceted diamond. Stop hiding and let the world see you shine!
If you're struggling with any of these points, I encourage you to head on over to www.EmbraceAllofYou.com -- we've got two speakers for each topic in video sessions filled with wisdom, tips and tricks. You don't have to do this alone. Let us help you!