I Read a Ton of Books and Here’s What Happened

Hi there.

It’s official.  I am becoming the kind of person at whom I would often roll my eyes (on the inside, of course). And get this—I’m doing it on purpose.  Actively.  And it’s hard work.

I’ve had the chance to do a lot of reading in the past year.  Like, an insane amount of reading.  I know I have mentioned it before.  Well the list is even longer now.

I started a business a little over a year ago and what got me started on the self-improvement bandwagon was my crippling and overwhelming fear.  Fear of, well, everything. Success, failure, talking on the phone (or in person), making a mistake, the future, the past, being alone, being with other people.  HA.  You name it sister.  The list goes on.

I knew what I wanted.  I wanted a successful business, one where I could really make a difference in my world, in the world of others, and to make a bigger impact.  But knowing what I wanted wasn’t enough.  How was I suppose do it if I couldn’t even ask a friend out for lunch?  Or make a single phone call without hours of preparation and nausea?

I kept reading and waiting for the “one thing” that would flip the switch and allow me to be the person I want to be.  The truth is, though, there have been many.  Probably 6 or 7 times I called my friend Mikala bursting at the seams to tell her “I’ve got it!  I know where I want to go and how to get there!”  And ya, each time that new learning was pivotal to my growth, a “shift” as some may call it, but it was never the whole story.  It never is the whole story.

Sad as this may seem change doesn’t happen all at once.  It takes time and patience (dang it!) and a lot of practice.  For reals. I don’t read a book once anymore.  I read like I am in college and have a final coming up.  Or I am going to practice a new surgery next week so I better know what the heck I am doing.  I’m starting to take my life seriously– but consequently way less seriously too.

It’s kind of awesome though to know that we aren’t supposed to get it all at once.  We can do amazing things: serve people, raise a family, have a bunch of friends, and build a business while we grow.  We don’t have to go through the furnace all at once.  The thrill and the pain of becoming is totally a lifelong pursuit.

Mmhmmm.  I know I am a fan of that.  It’s been pretty awesome earning an income even though I am still figuring out how to pick up the phone most days.  Pretty insane really.

HOWEVER, (yes it’s a big however) if there were one thing, one thing that I would say is the single most important, overarching principle that all the growth and change has to be based for real change and long term success…

Are you ready?

Self love.  Love is the only safe place for change.

Example.  I’ve tried so many, many times to lose weight out of discontent, shame, embarrassment, and frustration.  Withholding real tenderness and understanding from myself because I didn’t “deserve” it.  Short term I might be able to whip myself into shape with this approach but long term my subconscious always took over.  I undermined and was fundamentally at odds with myself. I still felt undeserving and gross even though I had hit my goal or I would feel good until I started to slip up and the self hate (or self-disinterest, dissatisfaction, and disappointment) would start all over again.  I learned that the change didn’t really make me love myself any more.  Because love is not conditional–even if we want it to be.

It’s not.

We say love is unconditional—but then we go and put conditions on it for ourselves, don’t we?

Love is not conditional.  We are loved because we are worth loving. We are worth loving because we are human, because we are beautiful and bright and shiny from a place so far from here that it doesn’t even matter what we do.  We are already amazing.  There is nothing that can take the glory of what you are away from you.  You are that cool.

I know my old self would really cringe at that.  Well, if I am so great then what is the point of getting better?  Because, you know, my actions determined my worth right?

It comes from starting in a different place.  It’s not about proving yourself.  It’s not about being worth it.  You are already worth it.  It’s about becoming.  It’s about being the person you want to be!  Because, as you recognize that glory within you and as you are truly grateful for it and in love with it, it will naturally want to multiply.  Your heart gets bigger.  Your eyes grow clearer.  Life opens up.  It’s not about wanting more but about becoming more.  Fulfilling your greatness!  You find a way.

You may think disliking yourself will fuel change for the better but it is far more likely to fuel shame, victimhood, blame, and going in the other direction altogether by abandoning what good you already possess.  And that’s a whole other monster.

We take care of the things we love.  We may not do it perfectly (we definitely won’t), but it’s a start.  And that’s the point, right?

Make a practice of self love every day.  Look in the mirror and say I love you.  Hug yourself.  (I know what you are thinking.  She’s cah-razy!!)  But really.  Practice gratitude for you.  If you don’t believe it, keep going.  Keep going until you do.  Repeat it over and over and over again.  Put it in your planner.  Every day.  Pray for it.  Ask for it.  Get help.  Ask for support.  Read (I recommend You are a Badass by Jen Sincere, Daring Greatly or The Blessings of Imperfection by Brene Brown, and Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.).  It’s that important.

There is a lot more to it than that, of course, but that’s the cool part about change.  It doesn’t happen all at once.

#startwhereyouare #hashtagsdon’tworkhere #butIdon’tcare #selflove

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