Archives For self-love

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I received one of the most important pieces of advice that I’ve ever received on a drunken St. Patty’s Day.

I was with my then boss and his girlfriend at a St. Patrick’s Day event on a closed-off street in downtown San Francisco. I was maybe 22 at the time, if not younger.

My boss’ girlfriend was a petite brunette who was super sweet. I don’t remember all the details what we were talking about or why (blame the booze) but what I do remember is she was very classy, she did something and made a lot of money for herself, and she was wearing a turtleneck.

She and I stood face to face with the crowd buzzing around us in varying shades of green and intoxication.

We were generally talking about being an adult and feeling like an adult and that’s when she passed on the advice that she felt was an “adult” making revelation.

“A real woman never makes excuses,” she told me.

“This is for everything,” she continued. “If you don’t want to date a guy, you just say no, don’t make any excuses.”

It was such a simple concept and yet it seemed so profound.

“A real woman never makes excuses.”

At the time, although I generally got the gist of what she was saying I don’t think I understood it as well as I do now. Logically, it makes sense but for many women, especially those of us who tend to be people pleasers, the idea of just owning our shit without making excuses is a very sensitive spot.

In some ways, it seems like we’re taught from a very young age to be apologetic for who we are. We pepper our feelings with “I’m sorries,” or offer other polite explanations as a way to make others more comfortable with our feelings.

We say no when we mean yes, and say yes when we mean no. And, even if we’re being 100% honest with how we feel and say yes or no, we still feel like we have to give an explanation, as if to apologize for how we feel.

But we don’t.

As I’m growing and becoming more comfortable with the woman I am, I now fully understand what my boss’ girlfriend was trying to tell me all those years ago – that it’s okay to just be myself.

I do not need to explain, ask for permission, or feel guilty for anything.

In a world that is constantly telling us who we should be, what we should dress like, and that we are not enough, it’s a great act of bravery to just be who you are. To mean what you say, and to say what you mean.

And to never have to make up an excuse.

“Never give up.”

“Keep on trucking.”

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!”

Many a bumper sticker, magnet and cute meme are peppered with quotes about never giving in and never giving up.

McHammer sang that he was “too legit to quit.”

There is something to be said for sticking to your guns and trying your best even when you fail at something. Many a successful person has failed miserably at their first attempt at something. People probably questioned their sanity at times when they continued to try.

“Don’t be a quitter,” is a message most of us learned from early childhood.

But there are times when the best thing we can do is quit. There are times when quitting is not a sign of weakness, or not being smart enough or good enough, or a judgment on the type of person someone is.

Sometimes quitting is an expression of self-love.

Some great things to quit are:

::Smoking Cigarettes::

Now, I’m not one to judge but let’s get real here, smoking is bad. It’s not a judgment; it’s just science. I smoked for years. I have even smoked the occasional outside a bar cigarette even after quitting. I’m not saying that it’s easy to quit, or that the occasional once a year “cause it’s my birthday” cigarette is bad either. What I am saying is that smoking is not good for any of us and the less we do it the better. When we do things we know are harmful to us, we really have to think about why we would make that choice.

I’m not telling you something you don’t already know. If you’re still smoking that’s your choice but quitting is always the better option. Plus, when you quit smoking you’ll realize how horribly those things stink. So, if you look at it from that point of view, you’re also quitting being stinky at times. Cigarettes are also hella expensive. That’s shoe money right there which makes quitting a triple win because you’ll have better health, no worries about smelling bad, and have more shoe money. Winning!

::Making Excuses::

We’ve all had times when we don’t want to do something and we say no but we still feel like we have to make an excuse or explanation. Just as we’ve all had moments when we want to do something but we’re worried about what someone else will think so we make an excuse about it.

“I’d really love to come to that event, but my husband is working and I don’t have a babysitter, so I wont be able to make it,” or “I know it’s dumb but I’m only taking this dance class because I need another elective to get my degree.”

Those kinds of excuses – quit that shit!

Saying no is okay. So is doing what you want even if no one else gets it.

No excuse is needed.  This goes at work, or with your spouse, your kids and even with yourself.

When we make an excuse we’re essentially shifting our focus from how we feel onto something else to avoid being accountable, in a way. Like, last night I didn’t workout that hard or for that long. I said, “oh, I’m too tired to do this,” which was an excuse. In reality I just didn’t feel like it. And that’s cool – no excuse needed. But I told myself that excuse to avoid feeling guilty when in reality I had no reason to feel guilty about it. It was my choice and I should’ve just been okay with it.

Owning how we feel is important and is also a way that we can hold on to our power. When we make excuses and are not accountable for how we feel, it’s almost like we’re saying how we feel isn’t okay and can’t stand on it’s own. It’s kind of like admitting we’re guilty for how we feel so we have to find a reason outside of ourselves to make it okay. Whether you want or don’t want to do something, that’s cool. Do you and quitting making excuses.

::Saying You’re Broke::

One of the things I’ve really been working with is my relationship to money and realizing that money is just energy. I’ve also been working on taking responsibility for my financial decisions. “I’m broke,” used to be a standard response when asked to do something I didn’t want to spend the money on.The truth is that usually when we say “I’m broke,” we’re not broke. It’s just that we choose not to spend our money that way. I’m sure that, like me, when there has been something that you really want to do, you found the money to make it happen.

Quit saying you’re broke and instead own your financial choices. Replace the thought “I’m broke” with “I choose to spend my money differently,” or “I choose not to spend my money on that right now.” Not only are you totally owning it, but it also keeps the good money energy flowing towards you. Think of it like this, do you think energy wants to flow to something that is broken? Probably not.

::Playing Small::

(Okay, here’s where it gets super sappy and woo woo ’cause that’s how I roll. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

You were born to shine. You are special because you are YOU and there is no one else in the world quite like you. You were here to share your unique gifts and talents and to be fully yourself. You were not born to play small, beloveds.

So, quit playing small. When you do something great — own that shit. Own the hell out of it like it’s your favorite new purse that you just have to carry with you everywhere. Reach for your dreams, whatever they are, even when it feels scary and like you’re doing everything wrong. Even when it makes other people uncomfortable.

Quit playing small in any way that you do be by taking care of everyone but yourself, to over committing, to not speaking up in a work meeting to share a great idea, or staying in situations that no longer serve you. Stop playing small by quitting the things that make your heart sing while holding onto those that don’t.

Like everything in life, there are times when you keep walking forward knowing that no matter how many times you get lost, you will reach your destination. But there are also times when we need to know when to fold ’em. Never feel too legit to quit.

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I have always loved Valentine’s Day.Since I am a hopeless romantic it’s pretty much a given that I love Valentine’s Day.

(Okay, I confess, I love just about every holiday, but still….)

I love the idea of a day that’s just dedicated to love.

People doing sweet things.

Surprise flower deliveries, sweet and chocolate – oh my!

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Even so, Valentine’s Day and I have had a sort of torrid relationship. Sometimes we’re the best of pals and other years it has been a total bitch. Life, right? And yet I love it still. Because love is like that, not always flowers and chocolate but always worth it.

Now that I have kids I think I love the holiday more than I ever did before. It’s less about romantic love but just love in general. Love for everyone.

Love for ourselves.

Easy, simple, natural love.

We’ve already done our Valentine’s Day cards for the two third grade classrooms. We’re not giving out candy this year but are giving out cute pencils along with the cards. We’ll also bring cupcakes delicately decorated in pink icing and sprinkles. Even Lovebug will bring Hello Kitty magic pen pads to everyone at daycare.

Every Valentine’s Day morning my kids come downstairs to find cards, chocolates and whatever little chotskies I find, like light up heart rings, or pens with big fluffy hearts on the end.

But the best part is the card.

Always.

I want my girls to know that they are loved. That they don’t need to get a card from the cutest boy (or girl) in class, or from a secret admirer. I want them to know that they aren’t only loved but they are love. And that’s reason enough for chocolate and glitter.

Even when you tell someone you love them everyday there’s just something a little special about saying it in a glittery card. Just the little extra effort in the morning to make the table all cute, or to start the day with a chocolate kiss.

Because it really is the little things in life that are the big things.

Even if you don’t have a sweetie or a lover, or kids, you can still celebrate love.

Because we are all Love. It is our very essence.

Don’t have a date – take yourself out. Buy yourself flowers or candy!

In fact, have flowers delivered to your office for you (but plan in advance because you’ll never be able to get a last minute delivery on V-Day), and sit them on your desk and enjoy their beauty.

And if anyone asks who they’re from tell them, “Someone who loves me very much.”

Wear a pretty dress. Throw on some lip gloss and some sexy lingerie. And don’t forget to tell yourself how pretty you are one the way out the door.

Because it really is the little things in life that are the big things. You are worthy of flowers and sweetness and something a little extra special just because.

So be your own damned Valentine. And go and be love, beloved.

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Pam, Me & Michelle on New Year’s Eve

Many of us have routines that we do when we start a new year.

Maybe we write formal New Year’s resolutions where we resolve to start healthy routines or to break bad habits. Some of us write journal entries and some of us do things like make a vision board, or any combination of the above.

This year I decided to do a hodgepodge of things that helped me to be introspective and to set my positive intentions for the new year in a way that was thoughtful and would actually be something that was useful.

First, I followed Hillary Rubin’s advice for creating the best year ever and worked on tying up the loose ends from 2013.

So, in December I made a list of everyone I needed to forgive, including myself, and forgave them. I looked at whether I owed anyone anything and if so I paid them back. I worked out a plan to pay off any financial obligations that were still lingering like a bad cough. And I picked areas of my house that I wanted to de-clutter and cleared them out.

I had already intuitively started shedding layers of material fluff at the start of the holiday season in late November. Shedding broken toys, clothes we no longer wore and things, like the mug that had been broken for over a year that I was going to fix “one day” that were just taking up space.

I knew I wanted to start the year fresh with space and room for positive energy to flow into my life. Out with the old, in with the good vibes.

Then I wrote a list of everything I was grateful for.

And when I looked back there was A LOT to be grateful for.

New Year’s Eve Funny Faces & Pics w/ Strangers

On New Year’s Eve, I got my nails done and my eyebrows perfectly coiffed at a brow bar. I picked red polish for my toes which the nail technician told me meant I was going to have good luck all year, according to her mother.

“Everyone always picks dark colors, that’s not good,” she whispered to me her tongue clicking in disapproval.

“But you, you pick red. You’re going to be lucky this year!” She asked if she could add a layer of red glitter polish on the top. I said of course because glitter makes everything better.

I didn’t write any New Year’s resolutions.

Not a single one.

One year I resolved to never write New Year’s resolutions because they never stuck, so I resolved to never do it again. So, I guess I can say I’ve kept one resolution!

Still, I wanted to do something to help me articulate to the Universe my intentions for the year. I had already purchased Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map and done it in last year.

I have to be honest and say the first time I did it, it didn’t really click for me.

I jived with the idea of uncovering how we want to feel and then building our goals around how we want to feel, versus setting goals and hoping they make us feel good. But for whatever reason, the exercises didn’t give me any “wow” or “ah-ha!” moments and I kind of felt like it was all hype.

A few days after the new year came ’round I decided to give Desire Mapping another go. I just focused and really put my heart into the workbook with an open mind. I didn’t read the book part and just dove right in to the exercises. I think Danielle is a lovely writer but I just wanted to get to the nitty grity.

And, boom, it clicked!

I should focus my goals on how I want to feel – not create arbitrary goals hoping they’ll do it for me! Yes, I realize that I knew this conceptually before I tried doing the DM-thing for the first time, but this time I just got it. Pow – right in the kisser. Well, maybe not right in the kisser but I just resonated with it.

My core desired feelings for the first half of the year are:

♥ Love ♥ Open ♥ Clear ♥  Abundance ♥ Passion.

I’ve already been checking in with my core desired feelings and, yea, Ms. LaPorte is on to something there. No wonder it’s so wildly successful.

But, I wasn’t done there.

I am someone who likes lists and planning and themes. I love themes, actually. I am the queen of themed birthday parties and such. So, I thought I needed a word to be the theme of the year.

But don’t you already know how you want to feel, perhaps you’re wondering. Yes, but those are feelings. This theme isn’t a feeling. Well, I guess it could technically be a feeling but, before I loose you with all the back and forth, the reason picking a theme or a word is important to me is because it gives you a backdrop to lean on.

If life is a stage then the theme would be the set. The feelings would be the actors and you, my lovelies, would be the playwright. And if you’re totally lost and wonder how many cups of coffee I had while writing this post, here is where I make my thoughts connect so it all makes sense…

I sat quietly with myself and breathed in and out. I considered everything that was going on in my life currently, how I want to feel and what I wanted my theme of the year to be. I waited for the word to come to me and didn’t just pick an arbitrary word that sounded good. And then it was clear.

Faith.

That’s my word of the year – Faith with a capital F.

See, it is Faith that will push me to take actions where I am full of Love. It’s Faith that things will turn out okay that will allow me to feel Open by trying new things. It is the Faith that I can start my own business and create Abundance that I will cling onto when I feel like I’m getting in over my head.

It is Faith that will remind me no matter how many times a heart breaks, it can always heal and Love again.

(I told you it would all make sense!)

And as the grande finale to my “2014 Is Going to Rock My Socks Off” planning, I am going to be hosting a vision board making get-together for a few of the awesome Goddesses in my life.

Something else, Yroko, maybe you’re thinking?

A vision board is something visual to help us remember how we want to feel. It’s manifestation eye-candy that can help remind me of my core desired feelings. It helps me see the things that I want to attract into my life that will make me feel my core desired feelings.

Plus, we’re going to be having mimosas and sipping mimosas with a group of girlfriends while creating vision boards is nothing short of magic.

By starting the year off with strong intentions and such a positive flow, I know 2014 is going to knock my socks off.

And so it is.

How do you ring in the new year?

A lot of women (and some men too) own clothing that doesn’t fit. We hold onto it out of hopes that one day,some day, when we fit into it. For some of us, it’s our goal and we work towards it little by little until we fit into it.

For me, it was a pair of Cavalli jeans that I ordered on eBay. I had never owned Cavalli jeans and I wasn’t sure about the sizing but figured I would go for it. And when they arrived they were even cuter in person!

But, when I tried to put them on I couldn’t fit the damn things up over my thighs.

Yet I couldn’t seem to sell them or trade them or give them away. So in my closet they sat for two years and occasionally I would pull them out and try them on and they didn’t fit.

Eventually I lost weight and the next time I tried them on they fit and, man, I was so happy when I could wear them. I wore them all the time. I wore them for years until I couldn’t fit them again.

Sometimes we want to do the same with people. We want to hold onto them thinking that one day they’ll change and they’ll fit. But, we can’t change people and here are ten reasons why.

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1.    They Don’t Need to Change – You Do!

I think this one is huge which is why I’m hitting that first. Sometimes we want to change someone because we feel that they should be doing something different. We project our ideas about who they should be on them and we might be frustrated when they’re not. For example, to this day my dad still thinks I should have gone to law school. In fact, he said this year something about me being a lawyer. No lie. As much as I love and respect my dad, that’s just never going to happen. I don’t need to change.

2.     You Can’t Even Keep Your Own New Year’s Resolutions

Have you noticed that every January gyms are packed? People are clogging up the lines at Whole Foods with their new promises for a healthier life. People resolve to do a bunch of things that they almost never do. I know that’s been true for me and I’m sure it’s been true for you too. If you can’t even stick to a positive change in your own life, how astronomically hard do you think it will be to make a change someone else’s?

3.     Free Will

We all have free will. We can all do whatever we want. The thing with free will is that we can’t impose ours on someone else. Well, sometimes parents can impose their free will on kids. If they didn’t how would rooms ever get cleaned or teeth brushed? Aside from that, everyone can choose what they want to do. Free will = people can do what they want.

4.     People Don’t Change Unless They Want To

This is pretty obvious but it’s one of the harder concepts to grasp. In romantic relationships I’ve thought I could change people. That my love would be enough or that I was so special or so great that someone would change. The reality is that sometimes people will change because they love someone, but the reason that they change is because they want to. Unless someone has a burning desire to change, any change to appease someone else isn’t lasting change.

5.    They Have An Addiction 

I believe addiction is a disease. It  doesn’t matter if it’s drugs, booze, sex. I think it’s a disease that can be treated but I also think it’s not quite that easy. Of course, people only change when they want to (see no. 4) but sometimes it’s not as easy as simply wanting to. Addictions of any kind can be hard to overcome without help and support. Sometimes therapy is needed in order to get to the root of why the addiction started.

6.    You Don’t Really Want Someone to Change Unless They Want To

While you may think you want someone to change, the reality is that we don’t want people to change just for us. We want them to change because they want to change. If someone makes changes because we want them to change but isn’t really invested or doesn’t want to change, it’ll just pop up in some other way. Sometimes forcing someone to change can build resentment, or cause the person who made the change to feel bad. We don’t want someone to change to please us if it makes them feel bad, do we?

7.    Change Happens On Its Own Time

We are all constantly changing. When I was in elementary school I liked certain things that I don’t like anymore. I love things that I never thought I would love, like avocado and mushrooms. At one point in my life I thought “da club” and the party life was where it was at, and now I don’t. I thought I needed to find a Prince Charming to save me and now I know that I just need an equal partner to navigate life with. We change our fashion, food tastes, hobbies. Change is natural and it happens when it’s supposed to and not a minute before.

8.    They’re Too Set In Their Ways to Change

Some times you just can’t change a person because they’re set in their ways. In high school I dyed my hair red. Not a punk rock red but a natural red color. My grandmother hated it. She said she couldn’t wait until I got over my “punk rock” phase. I wasn’t into punk rock and my hair wasn’t even a crazy color, but for her it was “punk rock.” She was set in her ways and although my grandmother was super hip and fashion savvy, the colored hair thing just didn’t jive with her because she was set in her ways.

9.    You’re Not Clear On What You Want Them To Change

I’ve seen this a lot with friends. Women will complain that they want their boyfriend or husband to change, but they have a hard time figuring out exactly what they want them to change. “Help around the house more,” or “be more romantic” is very vague. Maybe their partner would be happy to help around the house more if they were given a specific example, like “do the dishes Monday, Wednesday, Friday.” Or the person who wants more romance could ask their partner for a weekly date night and provide examples of dates that they feel are romantic. If you can’t tell someone what you want them to change they’re not going to be able to do it unless they’re a mind-reader in which case they probably knew before you did what you wanted them to change!

10.    The World Would Suck If We Could All Change Everyone Else

No, but really, how bad would the world suck if we could all just change everyone else? One of the things that makes us all so amazing and beautiful is that we’re all unique. There is only one me just like there is only one you. If we could just randomly change people at will (and vice versa) then no one would be who they are. We’d all be versions of who other people thought we should be. That would be no bueno.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Ghandi which is, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Rather than looking to change others, the best we can do is work on changing ourselves and the way we react to others. Ironically, when we change ourselves and the way we see and do things and the way we interact with others, they change as well.

[WARNING…. this post includes a video with profanity and content that some may find offensive. Proceed at your own risk. I’ve gone back and forth about whether to publish this post and decided that I would because this is me and sometimes I listen to music that some may find offensive. At one point people found rock-n-roll offensive so you can’t please everyone.]

As I was driving the other day the song “Type of Way” by Rich Homie Quan came on the radio. I had heard this song before because Brother is often singing the lyrics and I’ve heard it coming through the walls of his room, in addition to the occasional spins on the radio.

My ****** been hustlin’ trying to make him something
Ain’t no telling what he’ll do for the paper
Soufflé, I’m straight, I scrape my plate,
Sade, I’m a smooth operator.

(I Drop The Top Of My Whip Baby!)
That car I’m driving make you feel some type of way
That Custom Breitling make you feel some type of way
This ***** I’m with got me feeln’ some type a way
Is it because my homies rich you feel some type of way?
Some type of way, make you feel some type of way

While the lyrics on their face may be simplistic, braggy or even slightly misogynistic they talk about something that most of us will struggle with at some point – feeling “some type of way” because of something someone else does or because of what they have, or appear to have.

I will be the first to say that I have felt “some type of way” because of something someone has or is doing. That’s not to say that I often or even always feel envy but there have been times when I’ve looked at someone else’s life and felt inferior, sad or lacking.

Yes, sometimes I’ve felt a tinge of jealousy.

I’ve also looked at someone else’s life, job or material things and felt inspired, encouraged, reassured, and validated. I have been made to feel like I can do whatever he/she is doing. I have read someone else’s words and they have inspired me to write, to buy a book, or to make a change in my life for the better.

It’s kind of amazing that another person has the power to cause us to feel “some type of way” (as we also do to others without even realizing it). They don’t have this power because they’re some mystical creature or somehow better or different than we are. They have the power to make us feel things because we give it to them.

In some cases, this is a very good thing and sometimes it’s a recipe for disaster.

Feeling “some type of way” because of someone else does not have to be a bad feeling. The way we feel is something that is in our control once we become aware of our thoughts. Not only is it in our control but it can give us clues about how we feel about ourselves and how we can grow and develop as spiritual beings having this human experience.

For example, when I see the mom who is put together everyday dressed from head to toe like a Kardashian with a personal stylist, I can choose to let it make me feel bad. I can choose to compare my ballet flats to her stilettos. I can choose to feel less than because maybe I just threw something on and it doesn’t make me feel like a sexy beast. I can choose to feed into my insecurities that I am somehow not enough.

I can choose to steal my own joy by comparing myself to her.

I can also choose to feel inspired. I can allow myself to be reminded that we both have the same 24 hours a day and if I want to look like a Kardashian everyday I can too; I just have to make the effort to do that like she does.

I can choose to see her as a sister and to admire and compliment her so that the next morning when I’m putting on my outfit for the day I take an extra five minutes to make sure my outfit makes me feel good.

It seems silly in a way but everyone allows themselves to feel a type of way because of other people at times. If no one did there wouldn’t be sayings like “haters gonna hate” or “likers gonna like.”

At the root, the way we feel has nothing to do with what someone has/is doing but is really a reflection of how we feel on the inside. When we’re conscious of this, we can choose to feel good and inspired by others rather than like we’re lacking.

Has someone made you feel “some type of way” recently?

Boundaries Can Be Good

October 22, 2013 — 1 Comment

I wanted to include a quote from someone prolific on boundaries. I looked high and low and I couldn’t find one single inspiring quote about why boundaries are a good thing.

Quite the opposite.

Every quote I stumbled upon was about why boundaries are bad. Every quote discussed pushing past boundaries and breaking them down, doing away with boundaries. Boundaries are evil, I guess.

But I beg to differ.

Boundaries can actually be a good thing. Not only can boundaries be a good thing, but they can be the ultimate expression of self-love.

bound·a·ry
ˈbound(ə)rē/
noun
1.a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line. “the eastern boundary of the wilderness”
Boundaries mark the limits of an area. They let you, and others, know what lines cannot and should be crossed and yet many of us have a hard time making and setting them. We feel immense guilt when we set up boundaries because the overall consensus seems to be that they’re negative.

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While a boundary in music or imagination may be be limiting, setting personal boundaries that relate to your everyday life can be liberating. That’s right, the limits that you create can actually provide you more freedom.

Many of us have family members or close friends who superimpose themselves into our lives. Maybe your aunt always drops by without calling and at the worst times and, as if that wasn’t annoying enough, she expects you to sit and have tea with her.

Maybe for the last ten years you’ve allowed this even though some days it has made you feel really crummy and you were miserable the entire time because she kept talking about her cats and you don’t even like cats, even though you really love your aunt and like spending time with her when you’re in the mood to.

It can be hard to stand up to people that we care about and to tell them about our boundaries. We may feel like by not only telling our loved ones about our boundaries and, even more importantly, sticking to them that we’re somehow hurting people but we’re not.

When you clearly put up boundaries and stick to them you’re letting other people know how to treat you. You are letting them know what you will and will not accept. You are living your truth and being your authentic self.

Being who you are is complete freedom.

Not only is being ourselves freedom, but it also means that we limit unnecessary stress and not so warm and fuzzy feelings.

And frankly, if we don’t tell people what our boundaries are they’ll never know. Not everyone is  a mind reader and most folks don’t want to step on toes or make other people uncomfortable. They just can’t sense someone else’s boundaries.

The easiest way to clear that up — tell them!

Most people will not take things personally when you draw your line in the sand and let them know what is and what is not okay. Most people appreciate honesty and, frankly, most people aren’t trippin’ off other people that much to even realize when a boundary has been set.

And if someone is trippin’ off a new boundary they’re probably the person(s) that you need to firmly express your boundaries to the most.

It’s easy and quite painless to set up boundaries. The next time your unwelcome aunt just drops by out of the blue with another long-winded tale about her frisky feline and a request for your last cup of chai tell her gently, “I really love hanging out with you and our talks about cats over tea but from now on I really need you to call me in advance to set-up our tea date. What about if we have another tea date in two weeks?”

Whoop, there it is! You just set a boundary!

It’s clear because you’ve expressed what you need. You’ve made a new planned date so your aunt knows that going forward you’re planning your aunty kitty talk time.

If your aunt drops by again unexpected because she’s not used to the new rules, you greet her with a warm smile at the door and let her know that it’s not a good time and remind her again that you need her to call in the future.

I have had a really hard time with this in the past. I always felt immensely guilty for stating my own needs, so I would overextend myself and not make firm boundaries just because I didn’t want to hurt anyone.

Instead, I was hurting myself because I was allowing circumstances and moments in my life that I didn’t fully want.

When I started setting boundaries I realized that it’s really not that big of a deal. In fact, the more one does it the easier it is to do.

Do you have difficulty setting boundaries?

Me, the year I turned 25.

The year most of my friends and I turned 25, one of them coined the term “quarter-life crisis.”

A “quarter-life crisis” is essentially a mid-life crisis for young women who haven’t quite figured out their direction. See, when we were 25 some of us were moms, but still figuring out who we were.

I don’t really know why but we felt like we should have it all figured out by 25. As that number, that totally random marker of nothing more than  how many 365-day cycles we’ve been here as us, loomed closer quite a few of us started to loose our shit.

We panicked because we weren’t where we assumed we should be at 25.

Most of us weren’t married. Most of us didn’t have live in boyfriends. Most of us didn’t even have careers or were still in school. And, as quiet as it’s kept, a lot of us were still living with our parents.

We worried, we got depressed, we wondered if we were going to be old maids doomed to a life as a spinster. We worried that we’d hit our peak and it was all downhill from there. We were scared because the pressure to grow up was real.

30 was right around the corner with a baseball bat and an IRA, and her friend “middle age” wasn’t far behind. And, oh the pressure, to have “made” something of yourself. As if there was more to life than just, you know, living a good life.

Growing up is scary shit.

How sweet is the naivety of youth, to think that at the ripe old age of 25 we’d have it all figured out; or that we should’ve.

In the years that have passed since then, I’ve realized how silly that was. If I could tell anything to my 25 year-old self and friends I would say:

Take More Risks. I would tell my 25 year-old self to immediately quit my job. Like yesterday. Quit working in a field I knew was not my calling, find a job at a cafe or the MAC make-up counter, get into some classes and explore myself and figure out my true calling. I would tell me to pack my bags and Brother’s bags and head to LA on the first thing smoking. Or really anywhere. Sure, it’s a risk but you can do it. If all else fails, you can always come home to mom.

Trust Your Instincts. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s usually a duck. Even if the duck is super hot and has an impressive resume, it’s still a damn duck. This applies to pretty much everything in life, not just guys.

It’s Okay to Be Selfish. That’s right. I said it. It’s okay to love yourself and put your needs first. If you don’t learn how to properly care for yourself you’ll always be putting others’ needs above your own, which breeds resentment and all kinds of negative things.

Budget & Save Like Your Life Depends On It. Being financially responsible and living within your means is important and reduces stress and allows for more room for fun and new shoes. In some cases buying new shoes is fun so you’re really killing two birds with one stone there.

When Someone Shows You Who They Are the First Time, Believe Them. It’s normal and healthy to have faith in human beings and we all should. However when someone shows you who they are – believe them. Don’t look at potential or only the good sides. Look at the person as they are in that moment. See them for who they are, not who you would have them to be. And if that person isn’t up to snuff, send them on their way with love and light. It’s not personal.

Practice Forgiveness & Take Nothing Personal. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. Realize that when someone takes a path different from yours it doesn’t make their path wrong – it’s just different. Know in your heart that when someone does or says something to hurt you, that it’s truly not about you. Forgive them. No matter what someone has done, forgive them. The forgiveness is for you – not them.

Light Pink Lipstick doesn’t look good on anyone. Sorry, it just doesn’t.

Make Mistakes. Make lots of mistakes and learn from them. Don’t dwell on them. (See, Practice Forgiveness above.) 

The Only Way to Get Past It Is to Move Through It. Sometimes life is going to hurt. Sometimes your back will be against the wall and it’s going to hurt like hell. The thing is, it always gets better. You may have to walk through fire to get to the other side but it gets better. Always. I promise.

You Are Enough. You don’t need to have it all figured out and, quite frankly, you may never have it all figured out. You are perfectly imperfect. You are beautiful inside and out. You are enough.

What’s something you would tell to your younger self?

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There was a time in my life when I would not wear open-toed shoes unless my toe nails were painted.

They had to be perfectly painted.

I thought my natural nails were ugly. Or maybe not ugly, but that they made me look unkempt.

“What would someone think of me, if they saw me with my natural nails,” I sometimes wondered. I imagined they would think I was poor, didn’t have my shit together, wasn’t classy or who knows what.

Maybe because at times I had been guilty of judging others based on their appearance.

I’m not talking about nasty, crusty, you need to clip those claw toe nails. I’m talking about cut toe nails that are clean and simply don’t have anything extra covering them up.

For some reason, I just could not wear my nails like that and feel okay unless I was in flip-flops on the way to the nail shop.

I thought that my natural body looked better covered up with something toxic. I thought that there was something wrong with me to be seen that way. You know as I was naturally.

I felt attached to painted toe nails in the way that some women feel naked without make-up and feel uncomfortable if they have to go out in public without their mask of colors on.

From an early age we receive messages from multiple places that we are not enough.

We are told that pretty girls sit like this, nice girls sit like that, but girls who sit like this, get this like that. (Do you guys remember that finger game?)

Pretty girls wear dresses.

Messages that say that in order to be feminine you must cloak yourself in things cover your natural beauty. We’re told that we’re framing our natural beauty – enhancing it. Making ourselves better.

Prettier.

“This highlighter will help to accentuate your lovely cheekbones,” the make-up artist at the Benefit Counter told me, sweeping a liquid (chemical) highlighter over my cheek.

She had me look into a mirror.

“See how great that looks,” she says from behind me as we both gaze at my highlighted cheekbones that look pretty much like my regular cheekbones with white sparkle on them.

“This just makes your cheekbones pop,” she tells me.

“I’ll take it,” I say, handing over my credit card.

I leave the store feeling beautiful because my cheekbones are highlighted.

But was I really any more beautiful than when I walked in. Probably not. But I felt that way.

One day I decided that I just wasn’t going to paint my nails. I wasn’t in the mood and I didn’t want to have someone else paint them, or I didn’t have time or something like that.

But it was hot and I wanted to wear sandals.

So I went out with my nails in their natural state. And then I did it again, and again, and again.

To the point where it’s more common for me to not have polish on my toes than to have polish on my toes.

One day I looked down and realized that my toes nails didn’t look bad. In fact, they’re really quite lovely.

So, why oh why, are we ladies always covering ourselves up?

Why do we feel that our natural just as we are selves aren’t enough?

I don’t know the answer to that question.

And, yes, sometimes I still think a good pedicure is fun. I still think painted nails look nice but I don’t think they’re better than my natural nails. They’re equally nice in their own way.

Just like make-up and lip gloss can be fun, but I don’t need them to feel beautiful.

What I’m learning is that I am enough. Me, bare toes nails and all.

I am beautiful just because I am me.

I am enough.

You are too!

Do you have anything that you felt naked without?

I recently participated in my first ever Self-Centered Sunday.

In the past the idea of being self-centered has gotten a bad wrap. It’s been associated with someone who is completely self-absorbed in a bad way when, in fact, sometimes being self-centered, the focus of one’s world, is the best thing any one of us can do.

So, what is this new phenomena?

I first stumbled up on the idea of Self-Centered Sunday on the lovely blog The Wellness Warrior. On the blog, Tara Bliss (and yes that’s her real name and what a freakin’ awesome last name at that!) talked about the idea of using Sunday as a day for self-love and healing. The idea just clicked for me.

I hate using being a mom as an excuse for not treating myself well. It really is just that — an excuse.

Although, of course, all moms have to make sacrifices for their children and we do have to put their well-being first in many ways, it does not give us permission to forget about ourselves.

It’s actually bad for our children when we don’t show ourselves love.

Not only are we not in tip-top shape for the the rigorous act of parenting, but we’re also teaching them (especially our daughters) a lesson whether or not we realize it. We are teaching them how to treat themselves when they become adults.

When I stumbled upon Tara’s guest post, I knew right then and there that I needed to declare a day for myself. It couldn’t be a week day because of school, ballet lessons and homework. It couldn’t be Saturday because of gymnastics and play dates, and mommy-kid fun time.

That left Sunday — the perfect day. It’s the perfect day because if you feel great on Sunday you’re pretty much guaranteed to have a great Monday.

All week I looked forward to Sunday thinking about the fancy tea lunch I was going to have. I mapped out my entire day in my mind. I have one of those personalities and love planning and making lists, so that’s what I did.

After my fancy vegan tea lunch, I planned on taking a bath with candles and oil and epsom salt, going to a bookstore, reading books and just relaxing all day.

I was going to do my nails and watch a movie I love.

I planned so many things to squeeze into that one day.

Since I haven’t been very kind to myself I figured I needed extra lovin’.

As usual life happened and when Sunday came knocking at my door I had no babysitter.

I couldn’t imagine to taking Lovebug out to tea. That would be like bringing a tiny elephant to a china shop. It would not have been relaxing in the least.

Not having a sitter meant that I had to switch all my plans around. It meant that I could have gotten sad and bummed about all my well-laid plans for a day of pampering.

It could have sent me into a spiral of sadness and feeling sorry for myself. The opposite point of the whole Self-Centered Sunday thing.

Instead, I decided that I was still doing Self-Centered Sunday because I didn’t need to be alone to show myself love. I called my friend P. and she wanted to tag along for a girls day of fun and self-love.

So… we drove around looking at the beautiful city.

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We went to the bookstore and I got the book I wanted as well as books for Macaroni and her friend about girls changing bodies and how to care for them. The book spawned all sorts of funny (and educational) conversations about the female body, periods, and breasts and what puberty means.

Macaroni is learning what it will be like to become a woman and that is important. The whole book that was on sale for little to nothing caused a conversation that was so appropriate; on the day I had declared as my day of self-love we were discussing womanhood and the power that we all have inside us.

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Then we went to lunch and sat outside in the glorious weather. I had a mimosa and ate bread for the first time in I don’t know how long. It was spread thick with strawberry jam.

The food was so good and we all felt so good, so happy.

After that we went to a crystal store where I got crystals for the self-love space that I’m creating.

My quiet corner.

The shop owner was so smitten with the girls that she gave them free crystals (of their choosing) as a gift. When someone gives you a crystal as a gift that’s special. I totally took it as a sign from the Universe.The sun was shining and I could just feel the Universe sending us love.

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We came home and watched Seven Years in Tibet and talked about war, why people do bad things, and the power of love.

Later Dada wanted Thai Food so we ordered in. No one had to cook.

Another lovely gesture.

Then Lovebug decided to go to sleep on time which left me with a moment to read my favorite blogs and completely relax.

I decided I was too hot for a bath and instead to completely veg out and watch The City Girl Diaries.

Then I went to bed feeling so much love and so much joy in my heart.

And for the first time ever Lovebug slept the entire night through. (This is major!)

The day I had was more joyful and complete than the day I had planned and had worked up as what a day of self lovin’ should be. It’s funny how  when you just surrender and let go of what you thought something should be and just accept was is that it can actually be better than anything you were expecting.

If you’ve been neglecting yourself because of whatever, I encourage you to take a day and claim it your day of self-love.

What do you do to honor and show yourself a little extra lovin’?