Self-Love: You are a 10!

You are a 10! This a phrase I use to break my negative self-talk that has a habit of resurfacing at times. Nearly 12 years ago, a mentor of mine could see that I was struggling with self-acceptance, and like most of us struggling to love and accept ourselves, that internal criticism did not leave me feeling motivated to become better.  Instead, it paralyzed me from moving forward and being the best version of myself. I erroneously held the belief that if I loved and accepted myself as I currently was that I would stop seeking further excellence.

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Enter the mentoring that forever shifted my paradigm… my mentor asked me to rate myself in areas I was currently performing such as a young parent, wife, sister, daughter, etc from 1 to 10. 10 being the highest possible rating.  After giving a rating to each category, I gave myself an overall score. I think I gave myself a 4. She then asked me to think on my newborn child and rate my child’s worth from 1 to 10. Without hesitation I said, “She is a 10.” She asked me to ponder why my child, who had not yet performed any of the roles in life, was a 10 while I was a 4.

I thought, “Well, I guess I lost it somewhere in all my weaknesses.” She then gently said, “You have always been a 10, you have just forgotten. Perhaps, it is time to remind yourself.” Bam! That hit me to my core and I then began looking at messaging all around me.  The common messaging was that my worth was based on performance, status, comparison to others, and arrival at some determined achievement. I started to see the lies that I did not want to pass on to my infant daughter. I hoped she would always know she is a 10. I knew I would become the mirror that she looked into first to understand her value. No pressure right! I spent hours in prayer letting the spirit speak to me on my worth . Worth is not just in some of us but in all of us. I realized that if I could learn to accept and love myself and my own uniqueness, I would then be able to understand that weakness does not equal a decrease in worth.  Worth is constant.  Worth helps us use our strengths to address weaknesses with less paralyzing fear.

I share my story with you as I know it is a common story among women I know, love, and work with. Self-love really does lead to change. You don’t have to earn your worth, You were born a 10 and still are! When you can embrace that, perhaps even identify the source of the voices that told you that you were less then a 10 and speak back to those voices with the truth, you will free yourself and have the confidence to align your choices with your true identity and what truly represents you. Love really does set us free.

I conclude with some of my favorite quotes by Marianne Williamson:

-“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us”

-“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are”

-“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here”

I cannot agree more.

The Leaves are Changing

by Christie Gardiner, Author & Guest Contributor

I love autumn.  I feel like the trees have waited all spring and summer in anticipation.  They’ve grown, sometimes painfully, and now they shine the brilliant colors of themselves as if to say, “You thought I was pretty before?  Well check this out!  This is who I really am.”  I type this over my morning cup of herbal tea with the sun and the leaves beginning to yellow on the very tops of my honey locust trees.  I’m so excited to see them a week from now, shining in the golden glow of who they really are.

Playing in autumn time

I am an actor.  It’s one of my leaf colors.  I love live theatre.  There is something magical about it; something electrifying.  I see it.  I perform in it.  I read about it.  I listen to music from it.  I teach it.  I swim in it.

And yet, there was a time that I used to spend intermission of plays in the bathroom stalls of the theatre crying.  It was a decade in to my motherhood journey. Years before, I had told myself that I was now a wife and mother and as such, needed to put all of the juicy pieces of myself away in the name of mothering.  I cried because I loved acting, was exceptional at it, and missed it desperately.  That part of my life was over.  At the end of intermission, I’d drag my sorry self dramatically out of the stall and take a dejected seat to watch the rest of the play.  As there are few things more buzz-killing than to sit next to a swollen-eyed-has-been of an actress who sniffles her way through the second act of a comedy, I eventually stopped going to the theatre all together.

What a lie I was telling myself.

I’m not unique.  As women, we all give up parts of ourselves in the name of our excuse of choice (motherhood, career, education etc.); as if our sacrificial offering of self is in some way hollowed or noble.  Nothing is actually further from the truth and our “playing small does not serve the world.”[1]

I eventually found my way to theatre again.  Once I gave myself permission to be who I really was, (not the caricature I had created about what a mom is “supposed” to be) the world opened up for me and that color came back to life.  I won’t pretend it was easy to find myself again.  I have to constantly take care that the pendulum of sacrifice doesn’t swing too far to the opposite side of self-indulgence.  But when I found myself again, I was excited to see that I was just as colorful as I remembered.  I was still talented, still beautiful…and guess what?  I am still an excellent mother.  Maybe even a better mother.  Putting my own priorities back into the equation definitely added extra dance steps to the waltz that is our family life.  But oh, oh, OH how the dance is worth it.

If these words have traveled through my fingers and somehow found their way to you, wherever you are, I hope you let them soak inside of you like the autumn leaves on my trees.  Let these words change and color you.

If you are a painter…paint.  A runner…run.  An accountant…crunch numbers.  And if you are a mother, take your children with you!  Let them see the color of your true self and it will inspire them to keep the core parts of themselves always with them.  It’s time to put down the burden of self-sacrifice and be free.  You are worthy.  You are enough.  You have gifts, talents and abilities that only you can bring to this world.

What are you waiting for?

[1] Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, 1992

Christie2016You Are the Mother Your Children Need

Christie Gardiner, Author & Guest Contributor

Power Restored: Strengthening our Self-Worth

Those of us now living in FL, TX, or GA are daily asked, “is your power restored?” When faced with various storms, it’s important to consider what is within our power.

Photo by Naletu on Unsplash

What good can I still share with myself and those around me? Sometimes the storms we face aren’t on the radar. They’re the whirlwinds in our minds that circulate around our weakness and rains that pummel our self-worth.

But what if we shift our focus and take shelter in our innate strengths? In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there is an understanding that each acupuncture meridian circulating within us is categorized within 5 Elements: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water. Each of us is more closely aligned with one of these Elements. When we’re living within our Element unblocked, we live within our strengths with our power restored. Acupuncture and lifestyle choices can help unblock us. I’ll be blogging on these lifestyle choices. If you want to learn more about the healing and freedom acupuncture helps supply, you can visit this link.

One of the best ways I’ve seen patients live more fully in their Element is by focusing on their personality strengths associated with their Element. This frees us to drop the comparisons, and focus our time and energy building our strengths. Today, consider which Element you may be by seeing which characteristics most resonate with you:

Wood: associated with the sense of vision and the Spring season. She appreciates order and control so she can create visionary plans. She is creative and great at starting things, just like Spring.

Photo by Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash

Fire: associated with speech and the season of Summer. Her strength is her passion and drive. She has bursts of energy and insight, functioning best when she acts during those heightened states. It’s important for her to honor her need to rest and refuel so her fire can have time to reignite.

Earth: associated with the sense of taste and the Late Summer season. She is a harmonizing and thoughtful person either as a thinker or in compassion. She tends to be grounded, not easily irritated or apt to illness. She remembers certain things well and roots them to memory.

Metal: associated with the sense of smell and Fall season. She is physically strong. She’s methodical and able to conceptualize items into systems or strategies.

Water: associated with the sense of hearing and Winter. She has a strong will and is committed to completion. She has a natural sense of wisdom and balance. She identifies when things don’t serve her well, and charts a new course.

Take Action

  • Ponder what natural strengths you have and consider which Element seems to suit you.
  • You can link up with a loved one and help each other identify your natural capabilities.
    Feel free to share your thoughts on your possible Element. If you’d like to learn more about identifying and living in your Element, make sure you subscribe for future content to come.

Self-Worth: How to Increase It

Last month we discussed Boundaries. Although we all agree that there is need for healthy boundaries, many of you told me you are facing a key obstacle that keeps preventing you from setting them, self-worth!  Boundaries are a measure of one’s self-worth. For this reason, our September theme is Self-worth, particularly how to increase it. If you feel that your view of yourself makes it hard to both manage how you treat yourself and others in your life, you are not alone and we’ll give you some tips this month to combat those feelings.

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LET’S START: It is no wonder why many of us don’t know where to start in building a healthy and endurable sense of self.  After all, many of us look into distorted mirrors of our true person every day because the messages of media, harmful comments of others, and even our own internal dialogue do not always tell us the truth about who we are.

  • Surround yourself with true mirrors of your actual worth and start to distinguish between those that build you up and tear you down. This does not mean you need to cut off all imperfect people in your life, as that would be all of us, but begin to be selective on what messages from others, media, and your environment you are exposed to and how they affect you.

The following are examples of True versus Distorted mirrors:

True Mirrors Show:

  • You are accepted as you are
  • Purity, enlightenment
  • Unconditional love
  • Weakness points toward growth
  • Abundance

Distorted Mirrors Show:

  • You are not good enough
  • Vulgarity, misleading
  • Conditional love
  • Weakness is shameful
  • Not enough success to go around

How does your current view of self compare with the true mirror attributes above? I want you to know you were not born distorted, instead you were made perfect. Think of children in your life and how they naturally love and accept themselves and those around them. Distorted views of self are learned and we can unlearn them. This is perhaps my favorite process in change.   I have had the privilege of mirroring to others their true nature and as a result see their self-worth increase, healthy boundaries form, and clients find success in many aspects of their lives.  Self-worth is foundational to success in all areas of life. You will become what you focus your thoughts on.

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Weekly Challenge:

  1. Write down common phrases you say to yourself and others in your life
  2. Measure them against the true mirror list above
  3. Rewrite them to speak truth to the distortion you may have learned and speak those new phrases daily to yourself and as many others as you can