Sometimes Self-care Means Tough Love

“Self-care should include the cold shower as well as the scented tub.”

― Mary Catherine Bateson, Composing a Life

Too often we get our self-care advice from companies who only want to sell us something and other social media users who only want us to like them so they too can sell us something later. Too often we get our self-care advice from people who have never been depressed or think the answer is as simple as veganism, more sunlight, and a better attitude.

Not all of this advice is harmful or even wrong, but it’s only half the story. You only ever hear the good stuff, the easy stuff, the feel good and comforting stuff. But self-care isn’t always about feeling better, it’s also about growth and healing, and we all know growing is hard, and healing hurts.

I love Bateson’s comparison of self-care to the cold shower and the scented tub. It reminded me of my struggle to get a morning routine that got me to work on time. When I wake up, I crave a warm shower and low lights. I tell myself that the best way is to ease into the day, but it’s a lie. I just want to do what feels better.

I read somewhere that a cold shower is the best way to start the day. I tried it, I hated it, but I can’t deny that it worked. The cold shower hurt but it woke me up, it energized me, and it put the world into perspective. Not much can happen in the course of a regular day that will be worse than that cold water all over me. The cold water was what was best. It got me up and out and off into the world to do what I needed to do.

It kept me from lingering in what is only comfortable.

And just like the cold shower we sometimes have to do what makes us uncomfortable to help ourselves do better and be better. Sometimes your happiness and everything you want is just on the other side of hard work and a little bit of tough love.

When you love someone you have to be honest with them. When you love someone, you don’t enable them. If you love yourself, you do the same, even when it’s hard.

Doing what we have to never feels as good as doing what we want and heading the truth always hurts more than the sugar-coated lie. Life can’t be all happy feelings and sunshine. Being alive is hard, and the world is harsh. If we want to survive, we have to learn to live and find what peace and happiness we can in all the frustration and suffering, and you can’t do that if you live in a bubble keeping all the bad thought at Bay with bath bombs, shopping, and expensive frappuccinos.

I’ve written about this before, about being mindful of the ways you take care of yourself. Escapism is the only answer but even when you decide to confront your self-remember to stay with what you need not just what you crave.

Self-care can be as simple as your food choices. Sometimes I crave sweets a lot when I’m feeling down, or tired. I crave all kinds of bad foods. Fried foods, salt, fat, butter, I’d eat them every day if it were up to my emotions. I want what feels good, what tastes good, what releases dopamine into the brain, but that isn’t what I need.  I need fuel for my body and my brain. I try to opt for fruits and veggies, nuts, rice, and water. It’s a fight I don’t always win, but I try because it’s better for me.

Sometimes self-care means protecting yourself from yourself. Sometimes we hurt ourselves more than anyone else, and we have to be strong enough to stand up for ourselves when that happens. Sometimes I tell myself I’m ugly, or I’m stupid, or I’m the worst and I’m always messing things up because it’s feels satisfying to reinforce harmful thought patterns. The truth is I’m just like everyone else, no better, no worse, and just as deserving of love and patience and forgiveness. It’s hard to accept that, but it’s what’s best for me.

Sometimes self-care means giving up your pride and asking for help from others. I suffered from fatigue, stomach pain, and shame for years because I couldn’t let go and go to the doctor for help. I couldn’t go because I was scared. I ended up getting really sick by the time I was able to get an ulcerative colitis diagnosis.  I tried changing my diet, and self-medicating, all the while telling myself that was self-care but it wasn’t, it was doing what was comfortable and easy. I was enabling myself. It wasn’t until I put my foot down, with myself, and did what was scary and painful that I really began taking care of myself.

For some of us, self-destruction can look a lot like self-care because people are broken and what hurts feels good and what should feel good hurts like hell.

Looking back on all the things I did for myself that ever felt like real love and caring were always hard to do. It was always uncomfortable and scary. All the indulgences and the gifts and the times I’ve done something in the name of “treat yo self!” were temporary. They were only comforting, not caring.

So today, on internet self-care day, give yourself something you need, not just the things you want. Take a moment to take in your current self-care routine, if you have one, and make a small change. Look at all the places you might be hurting rather than helping and make an effort to do a little better for yourself.

I’m not telling you to only ever take cold showers, the scented bath is necessary too. Just, try saving it for the end of those hard days when you’ve taken all your meds, drank more water, eaten more and better, for getting up and giving a shit and dragged yourself from sun-up to sundown doing your very best.

You still deserve comfort and the things that make you feel good too, but you deserve the tough love just as much. Never deprive yourself of either one.

***

Thank you for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for more inspiring reads + some small existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee. Thank you!

Featured image by Genessa Panainte on Unsplash

Advertisements

Back to Self-Love Basics

Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! I know, I know, Mondays aren’t happy. Mondays are for feeling tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting to crawl back into bed.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of Mondays as a chance at a fresh start, every single week. Mondays are do-overs, each one is our own personal reset button. Let’s take this opportunity to do it differently. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

This Monday is a stressful one. I woke up late, I was almost late to work, and I don’t feel well at all. I’m tired, my joints hurt, and something is going terribly wrong in my gut, as usual. The whole thing is stressing me out, and the smallest obligations are making me feel irritated, angry, and exhausted. I’m trying to stay positive, but I’ve also promised myself that I can be a grouchy, whining, ball of difficulty if I want to too. So there!

“Be you, love you. All ways, always.”

— Alexandra Elle

I haven’t been feeling well for a long time now. I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s been many years that I have been quietly fighting whatever is going in wrong with my body, not to mention all the fear, shame, and anxiety that came along with it. Only just recently did I finally get some help and start seeking some answers to what’s been going on. It seems I am just in time too. These past few weeks have been the worse yet.

While waiting for appointments and tests I’ve noticed all the work I put into learning to love myself more is slowly slipping away. My body feels entirely against me. I feel dirty, disgusting, and untouchable. I feel angry with my body. I don’t understand it at all. I am frustrated by it and the limitations it puts on me. I wish I could be someone else.

I feel afraid to eat because I have no idea how my digestive system will react. I’m afraid to lift anything or move in any way because the sounds coming from my joints are so alarming. I’m afraid of migraines. I’m afraid there will be new symptoms and new fears any minute.

This past weekend I walked the dog, just a leisurely walk around the block. Nothing strenuous, nothing difficult. I got home, and my right knee swelled up. Now I can’t even walk the dog! I’m afraid this will be my life now.

So I hate my body for ruining everything. This broken and disgusting body. This body isn’t me. It doesn’t even feel human. It surely isn’t behaving the way human bodies should. I want out of it, now!

But of course I know, somewhere deep down, that this my body is me. My body will always be me, and it won’t get better unless I start loving it again. For now, there isn’t much I can do except love it, and once I have the answers, I will have to go one loving it, caring for it, babying and coddling it, and helping it get through the day and accomplish everything it needs to.

My body is flawed, but it’s the only one I have. There will be no new one, and no matter how hard I protest or wish it away it will still be here. I had better learn to love it. I had better stop blaming it for everything. I need to stop being ashamed of it. I need to stop resenting it. I need to stop thinking so much about what I can’t do. I need to stop letting it define me and depress me.

It’s easier said than done, but this week I am going to try.

If you have been feeling a little trapped by your body, if you are having a hard time looking in the mirror and recognizing the reflection as you, or if you, like me, are just frustrated by pain and limitation, get back to the basics and start loving your body again.

This week try mediation or a new beauty ritual. I’m thinking about making a new DIY body scrub or trying dry brushing. I will eat slowly and deliberately, enjoying my food and giving my system time to digest. Maybe I will try some new teas to sooth my stomach or buy some new essential oils to add to baths, lotions, or soaps. I’ll take it easy and pamper myself a little. I’ll try to say good things and remember how hard I am fighting. I will look to the light at the end of the tunnel and focus on feeling better instead of blaming and pulling myself down.

Self-love and self-care are not easy, and no matter how far you have come it doesn’t take much to fall back into old habits. This week, take some time to remember how amazing you are. Take some time to show yourself some love.

***

If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter on life, love, and suffering (:

Featured image via Unsplash

They Can’t Hurt Me Anymore

“The single best thing about coming out of the closet is that nobody can insult you by telling you what you’ve just told them.”

— Rachel Maddow

When you’re growing up queer there exists some time between when you realize you are different, when other people realize you are different, and when you are comfortable in your differentness.

For some of us, it is a short time, for some of us it can be nearly a lifetime.

During that in-between time there will be people around who will react to who we are in the wrong way, and almost always the result is we become ashamed of who we are and a lot of permanent damage is done.

***

I remember in 4th-grade year, there was a girl who lived in my apartment building, rode the same bus as me, and shared my classroom. She was my default friend and at recess, would sometimes play with her and her other friends. Playing with the girls meant standing around talking or doing quiet activities that wouldn’t result in injury or dirty clothes.

I thought that was boring so sometimes I played with the boys. I ran around, jumped off the swings, and played with action figures. I got dirty, I got hurt, and I had a great time.

The next year, in 5th grade, my default friend told me that she and the other girls didn’t want to play with me anymore. I was honestly so surprised I just stood there, staring, and asked her why. She said I was too different, too weird, too much like a boy, and that was the end of it.

I felt shame right away. I was different, and that was bad. I didn’t want to be different.

That was the last time I felt comfortable with my gender identity and expression. Before that, there was just me, just Lisa, I wasn’t a girly girl, and I wasn’t a tomboy, I just did what felt right for me. It hadn’t occurred to me before that moment that the things I did not only put me into a category of boy or girl but also dictated the way other people would treat me and whether or not they liked me.

For the next 20 or 25 years of my life, I would think I had to be either a girl or a boy. I would go through phases where I swung wildly from masculine to feminine and deep down I would not feel comfortable in the mask of either one. I would think there was no option to say I was both, or neither, or one day one and one day another. I didn’t know that feeling the way I did wasn’t exactly uncommon.

And one day I heard the term “Genderqueer” and a whole new world opened up for me. I could once again be just me, just Lisa, and never again will anyone hurt me by labeling me or rejecting me based on my sex or gender.

***

Later, in high school, after the girl crushes had come but I still hung on to the hope that my attraction to women was a phase there were a series of friends who would try to get me alone to ask me once and for all if I was gay or not.

I ducked and dodged these questions, and I grew to believe that just like my gender people would judge and reject me based on the feelings I had for girls. I was terrified of coming out.

After I finally did come out, I came out as a lesbian. I went completely to the other side of the spectrum; I was ashamed of my attraction to men. After some time I denied even to myself that I was attracted to men. In the world of lesbians, the bisexual girl is frowned upon and shunned. I even shunned other bisexual girls and warned against dating them. I was awful.

Since I have been dating a woman for the past 14 years of my life, I thought the distinction didn’t matter for me anymore. Whether or not I was a lesbian didn’t matter because I was only sleeping with my girlfriend. I let the issue go.

It took a long time, but I finally came to terms with the fact that I was exactly exclusively attracted to women and over the years I have found that being honest allows me to engage in conversations with my straight female friends that I wouldn’t have before. It may seem small but this kind of banter between women can help form bonds, and I am glad to be able to engage in it authentically. I also feel freer. I feel more me. I feel like there are no parts of me that are hidden anymore.

I try to educate people about what it means to either gay or bisexual. I try to tell people that some of the ideas they have about the ways people can be attracted to people and what that has to do with—or how it has nothing at all to do with—their gender identity and expression, or whether or not they are capable of a monogamous relationship. I try to tell people my story and let them know that we are all different but not so different after all.

I do still identify as a lesbian since after much introspection I have found I am after all much more attracted to women than I am men. Which is just another example of how the labels we come up with rarely describe the reality of our feelings.

***

Throughout my life I have been called various names, dyke, fag, and even “rug doctor,” not to mention gay and queer, which shouldn’t be offensive but were said to me in a tone that let me know they were being used as insults.

I’ve been told I need to dress differently, that I am confused, that me, and people like me who are attracted to both men and women, and identify with both genders, just don’t exist. I’ve been told I am choosing to feel the way I do and that one day I will regret it.

I’ve been rejected, condemned, and fetishized by both men and women for who I am, who they think I am, and who they think they can make me into. I have been ashamed, afraid, and—most often—confused by how I feel inside. I’ve wanted to hide from myself and wished more than anything I could be someone else. I’ve been hurt by people, a lot, but all of that has changed.

I continue to grow and change and discover myself, but I won’t let myself feel afraid, or ashamed, or hurt. No one can do that too me again. I am who I am, and I know now that whoever that is, she is loved and will always be because I love myself and at the end of the day that is all that matters.

***

If you like this post, you should see my newsletter :)

Don’t Listen to Your Brain, It’s Stupid

“What’s wrong honey?”

“A lot of things, mostly that I am ugly and I can never do anything right.”

“That is not true you are beautiful and you have done so many great things.”

“But that’s not what my brain says.”

“Well, don’t listen to your brain. Your brain is stupid.”

The best piece of advice I have ever received and continue to receive regularly, in person, comes from my girlfriend.

She reminds me that my brain is stupid.

It may sound a bit harsh; my girlfriend is the kind of person who says things bluntly. She can sound mean or angry when her intention is only to be honest. She wants me to see myself from her perspective, but she knows that is impossible. The best she can do is remind me that there is more than one perspective and mine may (read: probably is) wrong.

So, she reminds me that sometimes my brain doesn’t know what the hell it is talking about, nd I should not believe everything it tells me. She reminds me that brains are not perfect organs. They do not experience the world objectively, nor do the process and recall information without clouding it first with emotion and previous experience. Brains are made up of a whole lot of things other people (and their imperfect brains) put there.

She does this whenever I get down on myself and to me, it feels so much more real or true than just telling me I’m wrong. When you think you look bad or when you think you have done bad, having someone say you are wrong doesn’t help. Hearing that only frustrates you and deepens your feeling of loneliness. She isn’t invalidating what I am feeling, she is only pointing out that I don’t have to believe what I am feeling. Plus, the way she says it is kinda funny which brightens my mood a little.

I still get down on myself from time to time but I remember what she says and the moment passes quickly.

It’s a comfort knowing that my bad feelings about myself aren’t unreal or unjustified, they are just wrong. It helps shift my focus from believing my bouts of low self-esteem are fact-based into realizing that my feelings are the sum total of the genetics I inherited, the childhood I had, and what society says about people who look and live like me.

It isn’t true that I am ugly, or dumb, or incapable of accomplishing my goals. What is true is that my brain is imperfect, it functions with only the tools it has been given over my lifetime, and sometimes it is even stupid.

Sometimes I just shouldn’t listen to it.

***

If you like this post, consider signing up for my newsletter. You’ll get a bit of experimental writing from me—something more emotional, more private—and some interesting reads from a few other people. All made with lots of love, every week ♥

Written in response to The Daily Post’s Discover Challenge: A Piece of Advice

Two Different Bodies, In Love

When I look at your body I see so much to love and I see much to be jealous of.

In all the places you expand and fill out, I am small, and in all the places where you curve, I am flat. I love the way you look. I love the way you feel even more. I wonder how you must see me and how I must feel to you. My body is not as beautiful, there is much less to explore. I must bore you. I must feel ordinary.

I have always felt lucky to have a girl who looks the way you do. You remind me of an ancient Greek sculpture or one of their Amazonian warriors. You are the kind of femininity that in made for bearing children, building societies, and carrying the burdens of life. You are strong and beautiful.

What could a woman, built like that, see in a little scrawny thing who couldn’t even grow decent hips?

In the dark of night when we lay with our bodies close, we feel how different we are and you tell me you wish you looked like me too. You wish you were smaller. You wish you weren’t such a big thing in this world. I never realized that when you are tall and strong people see you wherever you go and want you to always be tall and strong for them. Small bodies can hide in the places no one looks, the places right out in the open.

In that moment, I see I am lucky. I still wish I looked like you but I wish you could look like me too. Then I could be the one to surround you when you need to hide yourself away. I could make you feel small and protected the way you have for me by default. I could be strong and tall for you. I could keep the world from hurting you.

But I can’t be you and you can’t be me.

Instead, there in the dark, we offer each other bits of ourselves to keep tucked under the skin

And every morning I have another bit of you to keep me big and strong and you leave with another bit of me to help you hide.

***

Written in response to Death to Stock Writing #18: The Bodies We Meet

Let the Little Things Go

Hello and happy Monday dear reader. If you are anything like me, and most people, Mondays are hard, but I’d like to change the way we look at the start of the work week. Instead of dreading it, complaining about it, or rushing through it, let’s think of them as a fresh start. Mondays are a new chance to do things right.

This Monday I am returning to work after a nice week off for spring break. I feel two ways about it, I am tired and wish I could’ve slept in again, and I’m glad because I’ve missed the structure and the routine.

I know because of the week-long disruption to my schedule, and my inability to deal with sudden change, I am going to have a hard time focusing. I also know that at the end of the day I am probably going to beat myself up about it too.

“One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: ‘To rise above little things’.”

// John Burroughs

For me, every little mistake is magnified. I go home and replay all the stupid things I said and all the  mistakes I made and tell myself I failed. I think about all the ways I let people down and all the ways I let myself down. These little things stick in my head and grow throughout the day. They steal my focus and my confidence. I feel low when I get into that mode and this week I want to try my best to let those little things go.

I think the trick is to keep my eye on the bigger picture and remember that when I think of other people throughout the day I don’t remember all the little mistakes they made so I am sure they do not remember mine either.

We all have a tendency to let those little things take up more space than they deserve. This week let’s make a real effort to let it all go and focus on what really matters. The big picture and the big goals are what matter, and your little mistakes mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. You are a good person, you are doing your best, and you are getting to where you want to be.

And really, in the end, even if you made a few big mistakes not much comes of it. The worst case scenario is never as bad as I was in your head. Most of the time everything can easily be forgiven and forgotten, as long as you’ve learned from it.

No matter what the world will keep turning and we all will move on, so don’t worry. Everything will be alright, I promise.

“Don’t worry about a thing
Because every little thing is going to be all right”

// Bob Marley and The Wailers

Feeling Beautiful at Thirty

In just about three weeks I will have completed yet another revolution around the Sun and turn 31 years old. Before this happens I thought I should take some time and think about what being 30 has meant to me and write a few posts marking the year that saw me moving into true adulthood.

One of my biggest concerns was that my body was going to start going to shit. I don’t know if my body really changed more this year than any other or if I was just hyper-aware of the changes this year because of my fear. What has turned out to be really surprising is that I love my body more now than I ever did.

My whole life I have been pretty skinny, with moderate curves in all the wrong places. My boobs are small, my butt is big, I have chicken legs, and my hips are almost nonexistent. I felt awkward in everything I wore and I wished to gain weight in all the places I didn’t have it so things would appear a little more even out. Thirty heard my wishes and chose to grant them, mostly.

I feel like my body is growing into itself and even in the areas that are not improving, I see them a little differently and I kinda like it. For example, my stomach is getting bigger day by day but instead of hating it the way I did last year when it was starting, I actually kinda like it. I am always reminded of that scene in the movie Pulp Fiction when Fabienne explains to her boyfriend Butch that she wishes she had a pot belly.

Everything seems to be getting bigger—my thighs, my boobs, my butt—and I do want to start working out to make sure things don’t get out of hand, but for now, I think I look pretty damn good :)

Besides having more curves to love I feel like my face has slimmed down, I don’t look like a little kid anymore, my skin appears healthier, and my hair is growing faster than ever. I attribute all that to drinking more water and eating more fruits and vegetables.

All this, and maybe my maturing brain too, means I feel more confident and more secure in my skin than I ever did before.

I feel more like a woman. I do not mean to say that I feel especially feminine or even sexier, I just mean I feel like a beautiful, strong human being. I feel like something special, something magical, something I never thought I could be.

I look forward to what the next year might bring.

“I am obsessed with becoming a woman comfortable in her skin.”

// Sandra Cisneros

***

Featured image via Unslpash.com 

Monday Motivation // Be as Gentle With Yourself as You are With Other People

Hello dear readers, and welcome to the beginning of the work week. For me this one is dreary. We have clouds and rain, and I want nothing more than to get back into bed where I can be cozy and warm. The day must begin whether I am ready to begin with it or not, and it would be better to accept it. Let’s do our best to meet the demands of the world with enthusiasm and motivation, to the best of our ability of course.

This week that is harder for me than usual. I am going through one of those periods where I feel inadequate to handle the expectations my bosses have for me. I feel like I have been and will continue to make mistakes and blunders until all of them see me as the failure I am and choose to fire me.

Deep down I think this is why I hate Mondays. Over the weekend, I am free from the demands and criticisms of the world. At home, in bed, I can make no mistakes and let no one down. At home, I am free to be who I want without the restrictions of workplace etiquette and rules. At home, I am not afraid to do things because there no one can tell me I am wrong, and no one can make me feel angry at myself/

“When you slip up and let yourself back into old, toxic patterns of thinking, forgive yourself before you try to fix yourself.”

// Vironika Tugaleva

I know, I know, I shouldn’t be thinking that way. Many of the people close to me, mostly my girlfriend, hate to hear me talk about myself as if I can’t do anything right as if I am inherently bad and capable of nothing but mistakes. They would tell me I am smart and that I do many things right, and when I am rational I believe them, but it only takes one tiny mistake to make me forget it again.

Last week I made a mistake and brought home keys from work that were needed there. My boss had to text me to ask where they were, and I reached into my pocket and felt them there. I always try so hard not to forget to turn the keys back in but this particular day I had had two sets in my pocket and being used to only having to turn in one I never checked my pockets again for the other.

I immediately felt that I had messed everything up for everyone else. People were not going to be able to do their jobs because I had forgotten to check my damn pockets. I was sure everyone was angry with me and frustrated by the situation. I thought they all must be sitting around saying bad things about me, and I began to say those things to myself too.

It was a small mistake, but it crushed my view of myself. At that moment, I believed I was just the worst!

This morning I came in hanging my head and apologizing as I turned the keys back into my boss. She looked like it didn’t even matter, she told me everything was fine. It was just keys and anyway, there were spares, duh! It wasn’t a big deal at all and I had been hard on myself for no reason.

I should have been easier on myself.

“Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.”

// Albert Camus

If one of my friends or loved ones had made that same mistake, I would have told them it was no big deal at all and reassured them that no one thought badly of them for such a small thing. I would have encouraged them not to worry about it further. I might even have laughed and thought it was funny. So, why isn’t that I can’t do that for myself? Why are all my mistakes a matter of life and death? Why do my mistakes mean that I am a bad person?

The answer is because I cannot accept that I will make mistakes just like everyone else does, and I can’t allow myself the forgiveness I afford others. I should, though. We all should. People are just people, and we can’t help fumbling and fucking up sometimes. It is a part of who we are and the occasional blunder can lead to unexpected results. Sometimes things turn out better than if we had done them “right” and sometimes we really learn something. And even if neither happens it reminds us to be humble and never to let our egos get ahead of us.

We are flawed, there is no perfection, in any of us. Wherever you think you see it is nothing but an illusion and even that will fail someday.

So, go easy on yourself. You are doing your best and deserve the same patience, understanding, and forgiveness you would give every other person in the world.

85bdf33200f24406dc81bbda82656bde

It is Important That You Know You are Important

Hello and happy Monday dear readers. I hope your weekend went well and I hope you are able to start the week off on the right foot. For the first time in a long time, I felt prepared for the work week ahead of time and I hit the ground running. It is strange to feel motivated when there is also a part of me that feels so tired and a little down.

If I keep moving, if I stay busy, I feel ok. If I stopped to think too long I feel my depression sneaking out and around me. My old friend asking if I am ready for them to return.

For a little while now I have been feeling very small. I feel unimportant. I feel the vastness of time and space all around me and I feel like I do not matter one bit. I know I matter to my friends and family now but eventually, they won’t matter either. It seems it is time again for a mild existential crisis. I’m surprised it took so long for it to rear it’s ugly head again.

So what do you do when you begin to feel like your life has little to no purpose or value? What meaning can be found for those like me? People who see the world for what it is, nothing but a small island floating through an essentially empty, cold, and callous universe? What keeps you going when you know there is now higher authority beyond other humans who matter just as little as you do?

Well, as someone who goes through this sort of depression regularly I can tell you that all you can do is get through it, one step and one day at a time. The best way is to turn your thoughts inward and remind yourself that while you may not live forever and you may be forgotten in the distant future that you do in fact matter. You matter just as much as any other human being does.

When was the last time anyone ever told you how important you are?

// Maya Angelou

Maybe what is outside this world and this time just doesn’t matter. Today matters, this moment matters, and you matter, right now! It’s everything else that shouldn’t matter. The rest of the universe, as far as we know, is lacking in humanity. It is lacking in the beautiful curiosity, enthusiasm, and joy that can easily be found here on Earth and inside of each of us. We are what matter because we are all we have and right now matters because each moment will only happen once and is unique in itself.

You matter because you are the only you there is and no one else in this world will experience this moment from your perspective every again. You may not make a huge impact on the cosmos but you will matter to one person, and they will matter to another, and so on.

And if that isn’t enough, remember, you are important because you are all you have in this world. Even if you can’t live forever and you can’t do everything you can make a life that means something to you.

That is what I tell myself. I matter to me. I am the one who makes my life worth living and I am the one who sees how beautiful and unique I am. I am a witness to my own greatness and it will be quite a show.

I matter, you matter, to each other and to ourselves, and it is so important that we know that.

P.S. The title came from a quote that for the life of me I cannot place. If you know who said it please let me know

Featured image via Cwote

Monday Motivation // Radical Self-Love

One day, what feels like a long time ago, I decided to start doing things that feel good. I started writing, I started being honest about my boundaries, I started treating myself better, and I’ve never felt more alive.

Before this I thought we were all supposed to hate everything all the time. Hate your job, hate your body, hate your relationship. Act as if living was the worst thing that ever happened to you and the end couldn’t come fast enough. This is what every one else did. This was what I thought I was supposed to do too.

Two things changed for me. The first was coming face to face with my mortality. Nothing serious happened, I just realized time was marching on and I was stuck being miserable and angry. I realized that one day I wouldn’t get to live anymore. I wouldn’t have the privilege of being a part of the world anymore. When I realized that, not cherishing my time here felt like a crime against the beauty of the universe.

The other realization came when it was pointed out to me that I was a hypocrite. I was telling others what they should do and how they should feel, all the whole doing the opposite. I hated when I would tell people not to put themselves down, or not to be so hard on themselves, and they would reply “, “but you do it all the time”. Sheesh! I wanted to lift up my loved ones and here they were using my self hate as an excuse for their own.

How could I give advice that I wasn’t taking myself?

So I changed. I started to see myself as just as deserving of love and care as every other human being in the world. I don’t know why but this felt like a radical notion. I felt like an anarchist, making war on self hate and that taking for granted of precious life.

At first I was almost ashamed! The fact that I kinda liked myself as a person became my own dirty little secret. It felt as crazy as cliff diving or climbing Mount Everest. It felt like coming to life.

I know it sounds corny, but self-love has turned not only into a way of life for me, but a something I promote with passion. I’m not ashamed anymore. I have learned that people are resistant to it at first, but once they see someone loving themselves out in the open, and with not a care for what others think about it, they find the strength to do it too. They realize that self-love what all they needed all along.

So now I tell people, love yourself first, then teach others to do the same. You may find that sky diving and kissing strangers isn’t what you needed after all, or maybe you will find out that these are things you wanted to do but never could. Not until you loved yourself first anyway.

Every thing should begin with self-love.

People seem to think embracing life means to jump off cliffs and kiss strangers. Maybe it’s just slowly learning to love yourself.

knowingjuniper