Learning to love myself…a look back

Tonight I was scrolling through images of myself on Facebook from years ago. Looking back at myself I instantly saw the fear, the questions, and the doubt when I looked into my eyes. I remember doubting everyone when they complimented me. I didn’t actually think they meant what they said. Truth is I thought everyone was just giving me lip service. I thought people looked at me and pitied me. I thought their words towards me were that of judgements, and pity.

Truth is I saw through that lens because thats how I viewed myself. I judged myself for not being “strong enough”, not “having it all together”, for still hurting from previous breakups, for still working through issues that others had successfully worked through. I thought they pitied me when they looked at me and saw my shortcomings.

My twenties were nothing short of an identity crisis. Trying to build myself into something I thought those around me wanted and needed. Instead of sitting down and asking myself what do I want? I built something that was never intended to be built. I constructed a temple within me that worshipped the wrong things. Temporary things. I fell victim to believing the lies that I wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t put together enough. As a result I built walls around me and within my heart keeping everyone at arms reach. Even those I claimed I loved with all my heart where never truly allowed in my heart no matter how gently or loving they came. The door was slammed in their face over and over again. When gently reminded that my heart was unable to receive let alone be a safe place for anothers heart I felt as though they were judging me.

My core fear is failure. To be reminded that I was not perfect was pretty much the dagger that I avoided at all costs. I wouldn’t let their words penetrate my heart even though I desperately needed to hear truth and be able to receive it.  I was never really able to accept peoples love or affection because I never thought I was enough. My heart went from being thrown at people, to becoming a cold dark dungeon that I didn’t even allow myself access into for fear of what could be in there.

Someone once gave me a picture of how they saw my heart. What they felt like needed to happen in order for me to truly love myself and for me to allow someone space within my heart to love me. I remember thinking what? This is crazy! How could someone be that open and available for someone to just walk right in and make a home in my heart? Well almost 8 years later I am now seeing exactly what they were talking about. And let me tell you it has not been an easy journey but its been so worth it!!!!!

Choosing to be honest with yourself regarding the condition of your heart can be heartbreaking. Why? Because we all want love, however if we are unable to accept love we begin wondering if we will ever truly love or be loved. Over the past eight years I have found myself in some of the most heartbreaking experiences of my entire life. Too many loses for my sweet heart to contain till it got to a point when I realized I can’t do this anymore. I cannot protect my heart from pain. Because it will come, no matter how tall the walls are, no matter how many locks are on the doors of my heart. Pain will come, and it will hurt. There is no avoiding it.

So if there is no avoiding it, then how do I live a life that isn’t shaped by hurt?

Thus began the journey of saying YES. Saying yes to my heart. It started with me daring to say yes to allowing those around me to love me, to care for me, to speak into me. To admit that I NEEDED other people. This began around five years ago when my mom was diagnosed for the second time with stage 4 melanoma. I had lied to myself for years thinking I didn’t need people. Little did I know I would only be able to accomplish the healing in my heart because of the people coming around me and lifting me up when I had no energy to go on. I mean this literally and figuratively.

Choosing to say yes to go on the journey of self discovery with your heart is seriously one of the most incredible journeys you will ever go.

To be honest with you it hasn’t been as hard as I thought, but it hasn’t been easy. I think seeing the ‘results’ has outweighed the sting of letting stuff go of things that I held so close that were comfortable and familiar that I thought provided protection. Finally experiencing the freedom that comes with letting go and beginning to see what someone spoke over about the condition of my heart and where it would be when I was ready to love is SO encouraging.  But damn, I sure wish I hadn’t of taken 8+ years. (Now let me be clear, I’m not saying my heart is perfect. haha.) However seeing it come to a place where my heart is able to breathe is incredible. Its almost like coming to a clearing in the woods if you will after being stuck in a forest you thought you would never get out of.

To be in a place where I can finally be honest with myself about the condition of my heart is one of the most freeing things I have ever experienced. To be able to ask myself every day ‘how are you doing heart?’  is no longer someone I fear or worry about.  It is a joy to get to know myself better, to learn how to love myself better.  Because I can only love those around me to the extent I love myself. Before I would have never asked my heart how it felt because I was to busy telling it how to feel. “You’re okay”, “That didn’t actually hurt, He was just a jerk forget about him”, “You’re better than that just shake it off”. In theory those can be great statements. But if you’re saying that and not addressing any of the hurt or pain that was associated with those statements you’re going to find yourself very hollow and unaware of how you actually feel because you were so busy trying to convince yourself you were fine when really your heart is bleeding to death barely able to function.

The journey of the heart is a long one. One we will be working out until the day we die. However today and everyday forward we have the opportunity to invest in ourselves and our hearts. Sure going and getting a pedicure, or a drink is nice and good for ya but whats going to last is your heart. Allowing yourself to give love freely simply because you’re able to is INCREDIBLE. No longer fearing pain or hurt that may come is even more amazing.

I no longer fear hurt. I know its going to happen. The question has never been will I get hurt. You absolutely will. The question is what are you going to do with that hurt? Are you going to build a wall? A defense mechanism to attempt to keep out anyone and anything that could hurt you?

Or will you allow yourself and look at that person and say I know you’re hurting and thats why you’re projecting this on me I choose to not allow it to shape my identity and give it to the Lord. Will you allow yourself to say hey, you know that hurt me. I know thats not the truth about me and speak truth over yourself. Then you extend grace to the other person, and to your heart to deal with the hurt. Without rushing yourself to get over it, and allowing the healing process to take its course. Sometimes it takes a split second, sometimes it takes years.

The journey of the heart is precious and so, so worth it! Every tear, every laugh, every surrender, every yes, every no. They all add up into something really beautiful. Tonight I encourage you to sit down and ask your heart. How are you feeling tonight?

 

To be continued….. 

(going to be addressing how to practically how to ask your heart how you feel when you can barely feel)

 

 

 

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Lets be Honest Mamas | Family Traditions

Its that time of the month again. No, No. Not that. Honest Mamas time! The lovely  www.elementsofellis.com asked me to be apart of this small, beautiful, honest online mama group called Lets be Honest Mamas.  We chat a bit about each topic and how we do life each month. One of the fun things is we are all at different stages in motherhood. Some of us have one, others have 3. Some are stay at home mamas, some are work from home, others are working mamas, and some of us are single mamas and its all just stinking beautiful. I find inspiration from these ladies.

What do family traditions mean to you? Why are they important to you?

Family traditions are very near to my heart. They are also hard. My mom (who passed 4.5 years ago from cancer) loved the holidays and was very adamant about creating, and maintaining traditions. From family board game nights, to thanksgiving morning traditions to weekly tradtiions . It was one of my favorite things, especially now looking at back the holidays I have such fond memories of how excited it would make my mom and seeing how much effort she put into it to bring us all together. Acts of service was how she loved us and she was amazing at it. Those memories are what I have left of her. I recently wrote about dealing with loss during the holidays HERE.

I personally am one of those that has a really hard time if traditions are not able to be withheld because I hold memories of loved ones so close to my heart.

What are some of your holiday family tradition?

I have to pause and focus on thanksgiving because not only is it the next holiday but it was my mamas favorite. Therefore it is the hardest holiday without her. Thanksgiving morning started with sleeping in, but not to long as we didn’t wanna miss watching the Macys Day Parade. Not that it was something glorious to watch, it was just what we did. And well growing up the TV was never on for hours at a time. So that may have been apart of the appeal as well 😉 Still to this day if I don’t get to start my morning with watching the Macys Day Parade it hurts. For me its apart of holding onto her legacy.

While the Macys day parade is going on in the background mom would be food prepping. I would always volunteer to help cause well I loved cooking, and well taste testing 😉

She always had a list of everything that needed to be done and in what order. Dad was God knows where off doing his own thing. haha. Oh dad. We would eventually pack up the car and head over to my grandmas big red house on the hill. Where we would meet up with my grandparents, cousins and aunt + uncle. Thanksgiving was small but it was perfect. We would run all around grandparents house playing inside and out. Trying to sneak food before it was time. Okay lets be honest, grandma was offering food to us 😉

We always tried to play board games beforehand. Us kids were always coming up with ways to sell our toys to each other. haha. After we ate we would always watch a movie as we were in turkey coma. (Its a real thing people) Eventually we would bundle up and head home. Half the time we would devour turkey leftovers that night. haha.

Family traditions don’t just have to be holiday based…what are your daily/weekly family traditions?

Oh I love this. I try so hard to take my son to some of his favorite places at least 1-3 times a week. In the summer its his favorite animal farm. We would go about 3-4 times a week. Now that its getting colder we love going to Union Station and running around and checking out the trains. He is obsessed. I usually try and take him on a “date” at least twice a month. And we always go out to lunch together at least once a week at my favorite juice cafe in Kansas City. He will drink his own drink no problem.

Christmas pictures have been something we’ve done. This year was a little different with it just being the two of us but I thought you know what? I still wanna do them and I am SO GLAD we did. Images in this post are from that session with the amazing Leigh Miller Photography.

 

Share your tips for creating strong family traditions. (Examples: Communication, Scheduled family time, etc)

Being a single mama its easier I suppose because its just him and I that are going out and doing things. He’s still to young to say no 😉 haha!! For myself though I try and be diligent about scheduling things. I honestly am much more ‘carefree’ about scheduling this kind of thing and just kinda follow my gut as to what we both need. Like today I had some work to do after I finished in record time I decided we needed to get out of the house. So we spent an hour at one of his favorite places and it was pure joy for both of us.

Tell us something positive you have seen come out of making an effort to have family traditions/family time?

Creating memories is one of the most beautiful things you can do and at the end of the day when I am gone memories of the two of us will be all He has. I just want Him to remember me as someone loved him well, and gave him room to love and be himself. As he grows up I want to expose him to a lot so that He can make his own choices as to what He loves. So for now we are exploring the city one park and museum at a time.

The beauty in taking time to make new traditions is re-discovering how amazing your town is. Its taking time to breathe, and finding joy in the small things.

Make sure and check out the other ladies answering these same questions:

Kacie Ellis elementsofellis.com // Amber Hill amberlately.com // Carla Thompson curiousnatalia.com // Victoria Schneider thesoutherntrunk.com // Stephanie Pollock koleimpressions.com

 

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Moving past trauma

Trauma has the tendency to hit you outta no where with the force of a bulldozer. A blow to your body, mind, and spirit. Instead of collapsing from the blow you’re instantly stunned. Frozen in time. Unable to move, unable to think, unable to process. Your mind somehow unable to put words together to complete a sentence. Your eyes forgetting how to see beauty in the everyday. Your mind grasping at anything to make you feel. Your spirit crying out for freedom. Your body unable to take a step for fear of another blow.

Then one day you have the audacity to grab hold of a twinkling star, to believe it shines for a reason. Suddenly embers begin burning within your heart. Your body remembers how to take steps. Wobbly, but you’re moving forward. Your spirit leaping, dancing almost knowing you’re about to embark on the most beautiful journey you could ever imagine. The ability to dream again in the midst of heart wrenching pain. To find joy in the midst of pain is not to ignore the pain. It’s not pretending the blow never happened. Your body could never forget that gut punch even if you tried. It’s taking step after step saying I’m going to try again, I’m going to say yes again.

Not rushing into something that will be instant gratification but choosing the long steady path. It’s then you realize your hand is in His and he’s been here all along. It was Him who placed that shooting star when he knew your eyes were ready to see it. It was Him who blew on the embers of your heart when He knew your heart was ready to say Yes. It was Him all along. Guiding, aligning the stars.

He watched as that blow hit you so hard. Remembering the force He too was hit. He did it over and over again for you. He knows the pain all to well. You’re not alone in any of this. This is just the beginning. Dare to dream, dare to believe, dare to say Yes.

Grateful

To be grateful requires 

faith, that things are good regardless of what your eyes see. 

Hope, that there’s more than this. But you’re able to be content in the here and now. 

Thankfulness, for all you currently possess, see, feel, and hear. 

To acknowledge that the seemingly insignificant things are rather puzzle pieces that fit perfectly together to form the puzzle that is your life. Without each day, it’s impossible for the puzzle to be completed. 

To surrender what you think you need right now and believe that what you have right now is more than enough. 

Choosing to be grateful in the midst of hardship re-wires our brain in a way that enables us to see things we otherwise turned a blind eye to because of how we thought life was/is suppose to go. 

 

 

Pink Blush Green Floral Sash Tie Maxi dress size is small. Its under $70!! This dress is hands down my FAVORITE dress I have ever gotten from Pink Blush. It fits like a dream and honestly I feel like a queen in it. Ladies, go get it ASAP!  

Florals for fall

I’m not sure if it happened when I got my arm piece but I love florals. Fortunately florals aren’t just for summer. Throw on some cute knee high boots and you are set. When it gets colder out I will just put on warm tights and a cute jacket and be good to go. Whoever said you can’t wear floral dresses in the fall?

 

Sidenote, did you see I got bangs! I even cut them myself! Woot, Woot!!


 

This Navy blue off the shoulder from Pink Blush not only fits so good it is so comfy. I don’t know what it is about Pink Blush dresses but they are HANDS DOWN my favorite. This cute floral dress is under $55 too! Hop on over to Pink Blush to get yours. It also comes in black and burgundy. I am wearing a small.

Purchase dress HERE

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The importance of identifying your needs

“Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” (James 4:2)

In my 30’s I’ve discovered just how true this scripture is. Especially when it comes to friendships and relationships. There came a point when I found myself with a lot of unmet needs over the course of five years mainly because I did not express what my needs were. I expected for people to guess them. I assumed if they loved me they should know what I need. But how could they know my needs if I never expressed them? That right there was a huge part of the issue. I rarely expressed my needs, and when I did it was ‘to late’. By that point I didn’t even know if those were my actual needs or if the conversations I was having were fueled by resentment or and hurt. Knowing yourself, and your needs is beneficial to all parties.

“Sometimes it’s tough to own what’s going on inside us. But the more we can clearly and accurately identify our thoughts, feelings, and needs, the better chance we will have of allowing another person to truly know us.” Danny Silk- Loving on purpose

If we’re being honest, it took me awhile to discover what my needs were. I’ve discovered that my needs have changed with time. So it is to my advantage to consistently sit down and ask myself “What do I need?”, ” What do I want” in my daily journaling. Sometimes honestly I don’t know and thats okay. Sometimes we are so overrun with emotions we’re to exhausted. The point though is to take time to address these questions to avoid confusion, hurt, and resentment.

When you express your needs to those around you, you’re empowering them to be able to love you well.

You’re also establishing your worth. You’re setting the standard for what you need. So when those needs are not met you’re able to re-assess and decide where to go, instead of staying silent, and expecting people to guess what your needs are. (Passive aggressive doesn’t work in case you were wondering 😉 Not only that, you’re going to find yourself in a lot of unnecessary pain if you just leave it up to people to guess. No one can read your mind and assuming people know is a dangerous path to walk. Being honest and open with yourself and those around is the most empowering thing you can do for you mind and heart. You are giving those around you tools.

Sharing your needs with those around you does not make you selfish. If those people truly care about you, they already want to know how to help you, how to love you well. Because our needs can change from season to season sharing them with those closest to you only enables them. It does not make you a selfish person to be continually sharing with them your needs.

In the hustle and bustle of life I understand can be hard to take time to sit down and assess what exactly it is that we need. I *try* and ask my close friends weekly how I can be there for them, what they need. Especially my mommy friends. Some days its a miracle if we get out of our pajamas or remember to eat breakfast let alone assess the state of our hearts. If I know their hearts are too exhausted to share what their needs are I do my best to do the last thing they shared with me that they need. Its my way of showing “I heard you when you shared your heart with me, and this is me showing me you’re worth those things”. This could be a coffee, flowers, babysitting for free, a couple words of affirmations, a snail mail letter…The list goes on. Might I add, I do these things out of free love without expecting anything in return. This is not “you scratch my back, ill scratch your back” situation. Thats not how love works 😉

Sharing your needs with those around you enables and empowers everyone involved. 

So I would encourage you today to sit down and ask yourself. What do I need? What do I want? Being honest with yourself will enable you to be honest with others in communicating your needs. Write them out, and keep doing this each week especially if you don’t know what your needs are. Start looking at what things are on your list everyday or every week. Then start sharing those needs with those around you. More than anything being aware of your own needs is vital to any friendship or relationship.

 

 

 

Favorite striped maxi

This PinkBlush maxi is probably the most comfortable maxi dress I own. Thats saying a lot. Its light, flowy, and it has pockets!!! It definitely runs 1-2 sizes larger so account for that when ordering your size. This black striped cami maxi is currently on sale over at PinkBlush for only $45! So go get it!


 

 

Thank you to August Light Studio for the images. Sidenote, I am the cover image on her website. Ummm, FLATTERED ❤

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