when the self-critic speaks
Have I mentioned that I think that women are freaking phenomenal?!
I love, love, love meeting women doing their souls' work in the world. There is a seriously untapped well of wisdom found in the community of women (not that there isn't similar wisdom with men!), and I love being able to connect and learn from them. I am blown away on a daily basis. (That, by the way, is one of the reasons that I've fallen in love with workshops like The Irresistible Woman -- I learn so much from connecting in community!)
Last weekend, I had the distinct honor of chatting over a meal with a couple of women who - after graduating from college - have begun their incredible work in the world. One spoke about her love for technological innovation (we're in Seattle, after all!) and the other shared about her passion for change in mental health government policy. They were beautiful, well-spoken and fabulously self-aware women.
When they asked me what I do in the world, I shared about my work as a body love coach and about founding The Irresistible Woman workshops. I spoke about self-love and body shame and brokenness and healing. In response, one of the women, in beautiful vulnerability, turned to me and said:
"This is a personal question..." I'm all good with personal questions, by the way. Bring it on. "Even though you do this professionally, don't you still experience your self critic? Do you still have body shame?"
The truth of the matter is: heck yes I do.
I still hear my self critic speaking shame. I still get angry at my body and feel like a disappointment and judge myself to be not "enough." I still do. This work is my passion precisely because I know how it feels. I know what it's like to have to work to love myself.
Just like in a relationship with a partner, I don't get to take my relationship with myself for granted. To ignore my needs or fail to speak and show love for myself... well, it's just asking for distance and disconnect and heartbreak to enter into the equation. But, if I make love a value, a priority, a non-negotiable in my relationship with myself, not only will that relationship thrive but it will inspire love, compassion and gratitude to flow into other areas of my life. If I work to listen to my body, my spirit, my emotional self, and care for it... well, the result is irresistible.
I have rough days. And, honestly, my first instinct - borne of years of soaking in stories of shame - is to blame, hate, critique my body. Ugh. It feels yucky to even reach into those memories (however recent). I know the exhaustion and hot tears and spiritual heartache of hating myself.
But I have learned how to utilize skills, tools and methods of self-care to turn those voices down. I have learned how to quiet the voices enough that I can hear them without defensiveness, thank them for speaking (they're all out there to protect me, in their own way... more on that later!), and to firmly plant myself in the direction of love and joy.
That's what I teach.
No workshop you ever attend, no book you ever read, no coaching session you ever schedule, will be a panacea for all of the shame and self-criticism that you experience. Nothing that was ever worth it came that easy. And, babe, loving yourself? Well that's f*cking gold.
In my work as a coach and as a co-founder of The Irresistible Woman workshops, I teach real-world, practical and practiceable skills to bring it all back to love. I work with clients and participants through those shame-soaked stories and critical instincts to uncover and reveal a life that feels truly irresistible.
My favorite way to work? In community with other women. Beautiful, blessed, wisdom-fueled communities of women. Because sisterhood is magic, magic, magic.
I still come in contact with shame. But, babe, I work to walk the talk, even when it means just putting one foot in front of the other. Love, love, love all around.