Do you feel ashamed and annoyed by your imperfections?
If so, I can completely relate.
In my last article, I mentioned how I was driven to prove that I was good enough, lovable enough, and worthy enough for my father’s attention. I had such an intense need to be flawless, because I truly believed it was impossible to receive the love that I craved unless I first reached a state of perfection.
It was my life coach who helped me to see that my imperfections are part of my authentic self, and they actually make me more interesting, special, and unique. I began to realize that people find me even more lovable when I screw things up, since it invokes my humanity. Others like to see that we’re only human because, let’s face it, who wants to be around someone who’s perfect all the time?
This has been an important lesson for me. And now I want to share it with you…
Because, if you’re anything like me, you probably tend toward being too hard on yourself. And it’s much easier to make your way through the world if you love yourself. Perhaps our greatest struggle is to accept and love ourselves in spite of our many flaws. Since we tend to be programmed with a desire for perfection, this isn’t something that’s likely to happen without some work.
Self-Acceptance is key to self-love
You can’t experience optimal well-being and unconditional love if you’re always pursuing perfection. The notion of perfection is flawed, it’s an illusion, a human construct that creates more pain and angst than joy. It’s also exhausting, and will distract you from being fully present. So, if you truly want to be happy, try striving for excellence – not perfection.
When I finally acknowledged these truths, I was able to accept my flaws, instead of fighting them. And through a process of self-acceptance, I learned to love myself no matter what by healing the core belief that I have to be perfect if I want to be loved.
Self-acceptance is steady and unconditional. Once you are able to accept yourself despite any perceived flaws, failures, and limitations, you will be able to see yourself and your imperfections as “perfect” for you. You’ll also be more self-forgiving, letting go of self-judgment and perfectionism.
A transformational metaphor for life
In Japan, there’s a centuries-old tradition – known as kintsugi – of mending broken ceramics with gold. Instead of dismissing broken pottery as junk, the Japanese consider it more beautiful and authentic for having been broken.
Literally meaning “golden joinery”, kintsugi is the art of repairing cracked pottery with gold-painted glue. The golden seams that join the broken pieces together accentuate the imperfections that make the object uniquely beautiful.
The philosophy behind kintsugi is to value an object’s imperfections, as well as its beauty, and celebrate them equally. By embracing these flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art.
As I see it, this ancient concept doesn’t just apply to broken things— it’s a metaphor for transforming the broken, flawed, painful parts of the self so they may radiate their unique golden beauty.
Kintsugi holds valuable lessons about life and self-love. Its principles help you mend your mind and heal your body by nourishing mind, body and soul. Here are tips on how to do this…
Embrace your imperfections and discover greater self-love
1.Accept your imperfections
Many mental health professionals believe that self-acceptance is necessary before change can occur. And, if you’re feeling stuck, accepting your flaws may be the first challenge to overcome.
The key to a fulfilling and happy life is accepting yourself. Once you acknowledge that your imperfections are a unique part of you, you can move on to loving yourself.
2. Appreciate your uniqueness
Be grateful for your body, mind, and uniqueness. You are better than you think. The most valuable parts of you are those that are different from others. So embrace your qualities, skills, or abilities that are unique. Appreciating what you have makes it easier to love yourself.
3. Detach from your parents’ behavior
Some parents are better than others. Overly critical parents don’t have bad children, they’re just lousy parents. There’s little to be gained by giving your parents a hard time for their inadequacies. The solution is to forgive them and release yourself from the past. Avoid judging yourself based on the parenting you received. It’s a reflection of them, not you.
4. Pay attention to what you say to yourself
Notice if you use negative self-talk that’s humiliating or demoralizing. Does your inner dialogue make you feel inferior, ashamed, or guilty? You don’t want your words to create more pain and suffering. There is a direct link between self-talk and your health and mental wellness.
So, eliminate negative self-talk. Because it’s difficult to love yourself if you’re constantly insulting yourself. Speak to yourself the way you would a good friend. Be a friend to yourself. Be more gentle with yourself. Each time you say something negative, say “cancel clear” immediately and change it to words of love and support.
5. Practice forgiveness
Forgive your past self. Sure, you’ve made some mistakes and probably done and said a few awful things along the way. Who hasn’t? But why drag the past into the present? Learn from the experience and move on. Let it go. You can make a fresh start each day.
If you’re harping on your past transgressions, self-love will be in short-supply. There will be moments when you’re less capable than others, and vice versa. Give yourself a break. Forgive yourself for your flaws and mistakes. You would do the same for someone you care about, so do it for yourself. Know that you are doing the best you can.
Plus, keep in mind that the ability to forgive yourself is proportional to your ability to forgive others. When you practice forgiving others, you’ll find that self-love comes much easier.
6. Be authentic
You may hide your brokenness, because you don’t want to seem weak or incompetent. Yet the art of kintsugi teaches you to honor your broken parts as they are testaments to your unique journeys and to your ability to grow and heal. So, authentically own your scars and celebrate the experiences that taught you the greatest lessons.
In addition, when you put on a persona for the world, you’re not giving others the opportunity to love you as you are. So how will you be able to love yourself? When you’re authentic, the love you receive feels infinitely more meaningful. Living honestly is scary, but surprisingly easy. People admire and respect those with the strength to be authentic.
7. Evaluate your relationships
Toxic people can make it harder for you to accept and love your imperfections. Odds are that at least one of your relationships is poisoning your life. It might be a friendship, romantic relationship, or a relationship with a family member. Reduce contact with those who consistently make you feel bad about yourself. Value yourself enough to avoid negative people that drag you down.
Instead, focus on those relationships that are healthier for you. Spend time with those friends and family who build you up and bring out the best in you.
8. Reframe hardship as opportunity
You may have days that make you feel amazing and on top of the world. You’ll also have days that make you feel defeated, sad, and tired, especially when life takes a turn you didn’t expect—a job loss, a relationship breakup, sickness, the loss of a loved-one. This rollercoaster of life is normal. The key is to avoid letting the difficult days affect you long-term. Regardless of what you’re struggling with or recovering from, look at reframing this hardship as an experience that can help you come out even stronger.
Challenges are a part of everyone’s life. There isn’t something inherently wrong with you because you have obstacles. Turn your focus to brainstorming a solution and taking action on your new approach to each issue.
Celebrate your imperfections!
“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places.”
~ Ernest Hemingway
Your imperfections make you the unique person you are. So, use the tips above to learn to love yourself inside and out. Then you’ll boost your self-confidence, increase your charisma, and gain greater peace as you pursue a life you’ll love.
You have many wonderful qualities that you’ve been overlooking. Believe that you deserve love from yourself and those in your life. A little self-love will enhance every part of your life.
Yet loving yourself, imperfections and all, doesn’t mean you won’t still have goals for self-improvement. You can strive to strengthen your good qualities and develop skills and characteristics that you desire, while loving the person you are.
A gift for loving your imperfections
We know that life can be messy, always changing and rarely perfect. And that’s okay. We can embrace imperfection, finding beauty and authenticity in it. Thus, we acknowledge the perfection of imperfection. In Japan, this idea is known as wabi-sabi.
Earlier I spoke about the Japanese art of kintsugi, which transforms broken pieces into an even more beautiful new object. Kintsugi is a part of the concept of wabi-sabi.
Wabi-sabi is the practice of coaxing beauty out of unexpected places, from a broken vase and teacup to upended plans and unexpected setbacks. An ancient philosophy rooted in Zen Buddhism, wabi-sabi is sometimes described as appreciating beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” in nature.
The wabi-sabi tea ceremony is a ritual of purity and simplicity in which Zen masters prized bowls that were handmade, irregularly shaped, with uneven glaze and cracks, yet possessed an unexpected beauty in their deliberate imperfection. These antique bowls are prized because of (not in spite of) their drips and cracks.
What if you learned to prize the drips and cracks in your messy life?
For ways to bring greater self-love into your life, click here and claim your FREE gift, The Wabi-Sabi Path To Greater Happiness Checklist. Wabi-sabi is a practice easily applied in everyday life. This checklist is a gift that:
- Invites a celebration of your imperfections as potential strengths (not weaknesses).
- Inspires you to live in the present moment.
- Encourages you to recognize and treasure the gifts you have.
- Brings a sense of calm, presence and beauty into your life.
- Helps you find happiness right where you are and joy in everything you do.
Click here now to claim your free gift: The Wabi-Sabi Path To Greater Happiness Checklist.
Till next time,
Do you ever feel like you aren’t good enough?
Are you driven to achieve in order to prove that you’re enough?
The difference between healthy and low self-esteem
The word “esteem” means to regard favorably. Self-esteem is how you regard yourself. It’s your sense of self, how you rate yourself as a human being, how worthy you feel you are. Self-esteem refers to your acceptance of yourself and the value you place on yourself.
Healthy self-esteem exists when you possess a positive and realistic sense of who you are, understand your strengths, and like yourself despite your weaknesses.
On the other hand, when you have low self-esteem you are critical of yourself, focus on your negatives, and ignore your achievements. If this describes you, you’re not alone. Low self-esteem is a common challenge – regardless of age, background, or socioeconomic status.
Tracing low self-esteem to your childhood
Low self-esteem can often be traced back to childhood. It can be common if you come from a background where you were told you weren’t good enough, were made to feel unlovable, or suffered through a traumatic event.
If you experienced any of these things growing up, it’s possible that your desire for success is driven by low self-esteem. And you might not be aware of this or willing to admit it out loud, because the outside world views you as a confident and successful woman. This could make you uncomfortable admitting that you have fears or inner doubts.
When you stop long enough to be vulnerable and acknowledge what’s true, you may see that no matter how much you succeed, it’s never enough. You’re continuously striving for the next goal. And you may begin to realize that one of the reasons you are doing this is to prove something to the outer world.
If you’re wondering how I know this…
I’ve lived it. For my first 27 years, from the time I was born until a couple of years before he died, my father showed no interest in me. So, I was driven to achieve in my efforts to prove that I was good enough, lovable enough, and worthy enough for my father’s attention. And no matter what goal I accomplished, it wasn’t enough.
Of course, this made me highly successful in life. It also led me to experience burnout. And it taught me that childhood experiences can influence your level of self-esteem.
However, it’s not unusual to develop self-esteem issues in adulthood too. Any time you go through a difficult situation, it can affect the way you see yourself. For example, if you lose your job, go through a divorce or file bankruptcy, you may internalize this experience and believe it’s your fault… that you caused this bad thing to occur.
Yet regardless of whether your experience of low self-esteem stems from childhood or adulthood, I’ve learned that there’s a lot you can do as an adult to boost your confidence.
Below are twelve ideas that you can apply to your own circumstances to overcome low self-esteem. Use what resonates with you.
Build your self-esteem by embracing these tips
1. Set boundaries
Let others know how you wish to be treated. Remove yourself from relationships and situations that cause unnecessary stress and interfere with your well-being. Instead, develop stable and mutually supportive relationships. Surround yourself with positive people, including family and friends who are encouraging and appreciate you for who you are.
2. Learn to accept compliments
If you’re fortunate enough to have positive influences in your life, listen to them when they say you’ve done a good job. If you were undeserving of the praise, you wouldn’t be getting it. So, resist the urge to dismiss compliments. Instead, smile and say, “Thank you.” Accepting compliments will help you discover what you’re good at and strengthen your self-confidence.
3. Advocate for yourself
Ask for help when you need it. Be willing to say “No.” It’s natural to feel bad about yourself when you agree to do things you don’t want to do, because you’re disrespecting yourself. So refuse requests when you genuinely don’t want to do them. Give yourself the respect and compassion you deserve.
4. Prioritize yourself
Make your mental and physical health a top priority. Eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly, and sleep well. Treat your time like a precious resource. Plan your days and block time for the activities you love. Investing in yourself helps you to stay strong and maximize your potential.
5. Embrace your individuality
You’re much more interesting than the person you pretend to be. We develop the urge to conform in elementary school. But you’re not like everyone else. You’re unique. You’ll make more friends and have more influence if you respect your unique gifts and are willing to be yourself. Authenticity is the basis of true confidence.
6. Avoid “shoulding” on yourself
If you’re constantly telling yourself, “I should have done this” or “I should have said that”, you’re focusing on things that have already happened and you’re unable to change. Remember that self-esteem is a symptom of detrimental thinking habits. Anything said or done in the past is over. You only keep those things alive with your thoughts. Instead, plan for the future. Uplift your thinking and your self-esteem will rise as well.
7. Set reasonable expectations
Accept that human beings make mistakes. If you’re unwilling to accept anything less than perfection from yourself, you’ll feel discouraged when you inevitably make a mistake. Don’t let mistakes get you down. Remember that every mistake you make is a chance to learn and grow.
8. Recognize and celebrate your accomplishments
If your self-esteem is lacking, you might spend a lot of time focusing on the negative. Instead, acknowledge your accomplishments and allow yourself to be happy. It’s okay to be proud of yourself.
9. Make a list of all your best qualities
When you have low self-esteem, you focus on the things you dislike about yourself. Instead, write down your strengths, skills, talents, and positive personality traits. Taking some time to focus on your good qualities can have a very positive effect.
10. Avoid comparing yourself to others
It can be easy to get into a habit of comparing yourself negatively to other people. Instead, remember that you are unique. And know that your self-esteem comes from within. So, you can choose how you see yourself. Choose to see an attractive, thoughtful, intelligent, and caring person.
11. Use affirmations
Affirmations are great self-esteem boosters. They show your brain what you already know you can achieve. Read affirmations on subjects of your choice or write your own. Affirmations bring positive energy into the present moment.
12. Get a life coach or a spiritual counselor
These are professionals who empower you to deepen your relationship with yourself. They partner with you to create strategies that target your unique skills and gifts. They’re like a supportive friend, only better! Because they are experts, guiding you to enhance every aspect of your life on your journey toward success, so you can maximize your full potential, reach your desired results, and attain greater fulfillment. In this day and age, it is extremely common for any successful individual to have a coach or counselor guiding them, so there’s no need to be embarrassed about seeking one out.
Embrace, honor, and love yourself to healthy self-esteem
As I’ve already mentioned, there are many factors which can cause or contribute to low self-esteem. The key to overcoming your low self-esteem is to believe in your abilities and recognize the areas where you excel, so you can start feeling good about yourself again. The above tips will help you to achieve this.
As you build your self-esteem, you’ll make sound decisions and fulfill your goals with even greater ease. You’ll know with certainty that you are lovable, capable, and worthy of dignity and respect. And you will begin to love and accept yourself for who you are.
You will understand that self-care is a vital part of loving yourself, because you deserve to feel good about yourself. And as I mentioned earlier, investing in yourself helps you to stay strong and maximize your potential.
For ways to prioritize yourself with self-care, click here to claim your FREE gift, 23 of My Favorite Self-Care Activities That Take Less Than 15 Minutes. I hope this list supports you to honor yourself and block time each day to enjoy an activity you love.
Be the first to know when there’s a new article, free gift, program, and other helpful tips that will empower you to address the areas that need attention in your life. If you aren’t already part of my online community, click here to join us.
I hope you took some time over the last two weeks to think about a relationship in your life that has been suffering; that you’ve reflected on your memories of time spent with that person.
If you recall, I encouraged you to remove all judgment and consider only the positives that this connection brought to your life.
You may have completed my Let Go of What’s Holding You Back checklist and worksheet to help you decide whether to let go with grace or take steps to restore that relationship.
If you’ve chosen to restore a relationship to a place of importance in your life and you’ve set new boundaries, it’s time to talk about how to embrace the path forward.
We’ll frame that path in the context of forgiveness, acceptance, and enjoyment.
For many of us, all the strain and added stress from the pandemic and a contentious election year transferred over to our relationships. The loss of face-to-face interaction during stay-at-home measures meant communication had to happen in new and challenging ways, like video, text, email, etc. Our messages and meaning may have gotten lost in translation. We may have felt misunderstood or unheard, and the other person may have felt that way too. And when frustrations boiled over, grace was not always extended.
All of this is understandable. The absence of social interaction has deeply affected relationships. To be able to embrace the path forward, we must first extend forgiveness for all missteps made during this time — to yourself and to the other person.
If we hope to restore a relationship, acceptance must follow forgiveness. You or the other person may have acted in ways that have created feelings of guilt or shame. Practicing self-love can be a powerful first step to overcome these feelings and move towards acceptance of yourself and the other person.
Moving forward, life will return to a version of normalcy. But it is helpful to acknowledge that things may never be the same for this relationship. In some cases, scars from past hurts will remain, but there may also be opportunities for deeper and more meaningful connections.
We must acknowledge the collective loss of connection we have all experienced. We’ve lost precious time together, whether it be family celebrations, life milestones, or normal social activities. The enjoyment we derive from these moments of connection cannot be underestimated. They are crucial to our overall quality of life.
Focusing on enjoying life is a great first step not only to reconnect with this person but to restore some sense of normalcy to your own life. Think about what it was you missed about the other person and relationship. What drew you to each other in the first place? What did you enjoy doing together? Maybe it was that weekly cup of coffee, a chat at the mailbox, or a morning dog walk together. Now is the time to rekindle those simple moments of enjoyment.
Embracing the Path Forward Through Human Connection
In time, we’ll resume some semblance of our past routines and day-to-day life.
Whatever that looks like, we will always have an innate human need for connection. And relationships are essential for our overall wellness.
Your social connections will come from existing relationships and any new ones you choose to cultivate. As for this particular relationship — it has suffered so it is fragile. Restoring it may not be easy, but it is possible when you practice forgiveness, acceptance, and enjoyment.
Before you get started, check in with yourself and your feelings. What is your general attitude as you consider restoration? Then click here to claim your FREE gift, A Checklist For Keeping a Positive Attitude, to help you maintain an optimistic mindset along the way.
Make an effort to stay open to the new things you might discover about yourself and the other person along the way. I wish you luck in your relationship repair.
Until next time, click here and sign up for my future articles to be delivered to your inbox.
The past year’s been difficult to say the least. Our day-to-day lives continue to be impacted by a deadly pandemic. Many of us have lost our livelihoods and loved ones.
Our faith in American democracy and its leaders has been tested as we continue to see what extreme divisiveness can do to a society.
The lack of contact, connection, and understanding has been hard on so many relationships. Whether you have one that’s suffered due to lack of contact or the realization that you don’t share quite the same worldview, this period has revealed a lot about personal relationships.
Perhaps you’ve been disappointed by a shift in a relationship that’s important to you…
Maybe you’re thinking that now that life is starting a return to “normal” and political temperatures are tamping down a bit, you’d like to direct some attention to restoring a relationship with a family member or friend. If so, you’re not alone…
The word “restore” keeps popping up lately. It’s a subject that’s been on my mind, maybe for you too.
So I thought we could spend this time in April focusing on how to restore relationships. That starts with evaluating the relationship that has suffered and determining if there is a path forward.
Restoring a Relationship: Is There a Path Forward?
There are many things that could have contributed to the fracturing of relationships over the last year or so…
Perhaps you stayed connected with a close friend through a monthly lunch date. Without that face-to-face connection, neither of you have really made an effort to stay in touch.
Maybe the differences in how you managed your health risk during COVID restrictions created a deep divide between you and a sibling.
Or maybe the thoughtful public policy discussions you used to enjoy with a friend have evolved over time into something you want no part of.
These are familiar examples of what’s been happening to relationships during these uncertain times.
In order to restore a relationship — whether it be with a coworker, friend, sibling, or other family member — first you need to determine if there’s a path forward. And if there is, how to go about easing back into a relationship that serves you both. Let’s go a little deeper.
At some point in our lives, we’ve all had to take stock of a relationship. We’ve had to decide whether that connection served either one of us and contributed to our growth and happiness.
And don’t get me wrong, variety is the spice of life. I believe surrounding ourselves with different people with unique perspectives, personalities, and experiences makes life interesting and fulfilling. Not to mention it’s one way we humans learn empathy.
But the unusual external stressors we have been experiencing may have identified things we didn’t see before. And depending on what they are, we may have some difficult decisions to make. We might need to ask ourselves if those differences add richness or opportunities for personal growth or do they detract from our happiness and well being. You’ll need to consider that carefully.
If you’ve determined that a relationship that has been damaged is important to you, that the person means more to you than whatever it is that divides you, it’s time to make a commitment to reconnect.
I encourage you to be the first to reach out in an effort to repair. But before you do, take time to center yourself. Consider all the positive memories you have of times together and decide that you’ll keep those interactions at the forefront of your mind. Appreciate all the things you have in common and whatever it was that brought you together in the first place.
To restore a relationship, it’s best for you to choose to stay in the present if you want to enjoy the relationship going forward. That will likely involve establishing new boundaries. For example, you might be making a conscious choice to only engage with the other person in ways that restore harmony to your relationship.
Test the new relationship boundary by planning time to enjoy a hobby together. Start reconnecting slowly and see where things lead.
Up Next: How to Restore a Relationship Part 2
Stay tuned for my next article which will explore how to embrace the path forward for a relationship you’d like to restore. It’s about learning to forgive, accept and enjoy.
Make sure to click here and sign up for my future articles so that you receive them in your inbox.
Until next time, I encourage you to think about the relationships in your life that have been suffering. Take time to reflect on your memories of time spent with that person. Remove all judgment and consider only what that connection brought to your life.
And to help you determine whether it’s a relationship worth restoring, click here now for my complimentary Let Go of What’s Holding You Back checklist and worksheet. This gift provides helpful tips for letting go of the things that cause struggle and overwhelm, thus allowing for more ease.
The checklist is a great reminder of what to let go of so you can accelerate greater freedom, flow, and fulfillment in your life. And the worksheet walks you through how to let go of the specific things that you feel you need to let go of, giving you the steps to do this. You’ll be able to let go of the past and move into a future that you have designed.
If you’ve tried a few of the 7 Ways to Renew You — Part 1 of Spring Cleaning Your Soul — I hope you’ve felt a little lift and a sense of rejuvenation.
Now, we’re not yet done with spring cleaning. There’s a bit more to do.
We’ve done some renewal; we’ve scrubbed the bathroom grout and it is bright white again.
Now we’ll focus on creating space in our souls. Like cleaning out bathroom cabinets, we’re going to unearth what’s been hiding there for the last year… abandoned hair products, dried out beauty supplies, expired vitamins, even dust bunnies. Let’s get rid of stuff that no longer serves you.
What Does It Mean to Create Space in Your Soul?
When I talk about creating space in your soul, I mean clearing out anything that’s preventing you from being fully present in your life. Because when you’re not present you miss out on things, like moments of true connection with loved ones.
Creating that space may take some time and elbow grease, depending on what’s been hiding in there.
4 Ways to Create Space Inside of You
Here’s how to free up some space inside of you to make room for the good stuff, like connection, laughter, joy, pleasure, wandering thoughts, or no thoughts at all.
#1 Banish Negativity
It’s normal to have negative thoughts from time to time. But if yours are more frequent, it’s important to get a handle on them. We know that poorly managed negative emotions can be detrimental to your health, not to mention your relationships.
Start being mindful about what precedes feelings of negativity or negative thought patterns. You might want to ask yourself questions like:
- Do I surround myself with positive people?
- Do I listen to or take part in gossip?
- Do I have a habit of complaining?
- Do I balance my consumption of news with stories of hope and inspiration?
- What would my self-talk sound like to someone who cares about me?
If you realize you’ve been absorbing the negativity around you, you may want to limit time with certain people or the time you spend watching and reading the news. When you catch yourself in a complaint, try counteracting it with something you’re grateful for. Make a habit, instead, of practicing gratitude. And finally, if you find you’re being unkind to you, make an effort to start treating yourself like you treat your best friend.
#2 Forgive Someone
Forgiving someone who has hurt you can be one of the hardest things to do, but boy, can it free up some valuable real estate in your soul. And you don’t have to write or speak the words “I forgive you” to practice forgiveness. Instead, you can work on releasing the sadness or anger you hold towards the person who wronged you. Vent, then reflect in your journal about the situation. Put into words what you can appreciate about the relationship or the experience as a whole. This exercise may provide the release your soul needs.
Perhaps you don’t need to extend forgiveness. Maybe you need to ask someone for forgiveness or you need to extend it to yourself. Forgiving or being forgiven will release a burden you’re dragging along from your past. It will create space for something that brings joy and happiness and opportunities to live in the moment instead.
#3 Remove Stresses
Even when you’re in your home, you know, the place that should be a respite, you may feel stressed. Whether it’s reminders of unfinished tasks or technology and its constant nudges, you feel pressure to be productive or on-call all the time. All that stress isn’t good for your soul. Luckily, there’s some stress you can eliminate.
We know that things like piles of papers pepper our brains with constant stimuli, cluttering our minds, and preventing us from focusing on the task at hand. Studies show it creates stress, particularly among women. And we know that prolonged stress can affect our well-being and lead to overwhelm. Try using that as motivation to do a little physical decluttering, and rid your space of things that no longer serve you — or never did in the first place.
Declutter your mind of additional distractions by taking a true break from the stresses of work or other obligations. Start by disabling notifications on your cell phone, computer and tablet or turn off these devices altogether after working hours, if possible. Taking these steps will transform your home into the respite you desire and create space in your soul for good things.
#4 Let Go of Guilt
Guilt is a heavy, unnecessary burden that we put upon our souls. And women in particular carry a lot of it. We’re caregivers by nature, and our desire to help or please others can make it difficult to say no to requests for our time and attention. Some of us overextend ourselves, chasing a superwoman status that we know is impossible to achieve, let alone maintain.
Unburdening ourselves of guilt starts with learning how to say no without explanation. If we allow our priorities to frame our choices instead, saying no becomes much easier. For example, say one of your priorities is to finish work every day before your children get home from school. You want to be fully present once they walk in the door. But because you work from home, people assume you have flexibility so you get a lot of requests for your time. And the more you say yes, the less present you end up being for your children.
From that perspective, saying no is really saying yes to yourself and your priorities. There’s no room for guilt when you frame it like that, right?
The Release Experienced from Clearing Space in My Soul
Sometimes you don’t realize the magnitude of what you’ve been carrying on your soul until it’s finally released.
I felt an incredible release just a few weeks ago when I finally finished a nagging project that I was reminded of every time I walked into my bedroom.
Every day for over a year I felt guilty and defeated because I couldn’t find a way to “take care of it.”
But that’s what happens when work and life get in the way, right?
When I was finally able to tackle the remaining mess from my master bath remodel, filling and organizing my new cabinets with the things from boxes that had been sitting on my bedroom floor for all of that time — well, the release I felt is hard to describe. But, I’ll try.
I felt like I could breathe. I felt like I could tackle anything. I felt lighter. And I felt that sense of peace again when I walked into the sanctuary of my bedroom.
Now, I’m talking about a literal cleaning project here, but I reclaimed space in my soul and regained a sense of calm and happiness that I’d been yearning for.
That’s what I want you to experience when you do a little spring cleaning that creates space in your soul.
How Will You Create Space in Your Soul?
I hope you’re inspired to release any negativity, stress, and guilt that’s crowding your soul and keeping you from experiencing as much joy, happiness, and laughter in your life as possible. Click here now to claim your 25 Ingredients that Bring Wellness and Bliss to Your Life checklist in order to maintain your emotional well-being and the space in your soul between deep cleans.
And be the first to know when there’s a new article, free gift, program, and other helpful tips that will empower you to address the areas that need attention in your life. If you aren’t already part of my online community, click here to join us.
Until next time,
When you hear the words, “spring cleaning,” you’re probably thinking about that once-a-year deep clean you’re supposed to give your home. Though I love the look and smell of a tidy space as much as anyone, I am talking about a different kind of annual ritual: spring cleaning your soul.
Before you start thinking this sounds like a sneaky way to work in a new year’s resolution reboot, I’m not referring to kicking a bad habit or incorporating an aggressive workout regimen. To spring clean your soul means to take stock of how you’re spending your time and how well you’re attending to your own needs. It’s about recognizing where a shift or tweak is needed in how you go about the business of life.
Spring is a time for renewal. It’s when nature comes to life again. The birds begin to sing, buds burst from the branches of trees, and sweet little crocus push their way through the soil. All are signs of rebirth and what’s to come.
Let’s start associating these glorious, long-awaited changes with your own renewal each year. It will be your reminder that it’s time for a different kind of spring cleaning.
What Does It Mean to Spring Clean Your Soul?
Spring cleaning for your soul is giving that same time, care, and attention you give to, say, your bathroom grout once a year, to you.
It’s taking a tiny little scrub brush to those hard-to-reach places inside of you.
It means evaluating your stress levels and the measures you’ve taken to manage or reduce them.
It’s taking stock of who and what you’ve devoted your precious time to and whether or not it’s served you and the people you care most about.
It’s “checking in” with your inner being and finding out if she’s been treasured and taken care of.
It may sound complicated, but, really, it isn’t. As with most things, the hard part is just getting started.
7 Ways to Renew Your Soul
Here are 7 ways to renew and rejuvenate your soul.
Our modern lifestyles make it feel like we never have the opportunity to slow down. Life is busy, and there are people and responsibilities that demand our time and attention. Now more than ever, it is important to take time to just breathe.
Use that time for reflection. Grab your journal — it’s okay if you have to dust it off — and think about what needs attention inside of you.
If you’re not into journaling, try a simple deep breathing exercise or check out the yoga classes on Netflix. Explore meditation if you’ve been curious about the benefits.
However you practice reflection, studies show that practicing meditation and mindfulness promotes health and well-being. And less stress in your life is better for the soul.
Opening your mind to something new or cultivating a lifestyle of learning is a great way to renew the soul. And research has shown that continuous learning keeps us healthy. That doesn’t mean we need to head back to school; learning can come in any form.
Think about what subjects spark your curiosity. Feed those interests by reading a new book, listening to Ted talks, or exploring podcasts. Check out free and low-cost online courses — offerings have absolutely exploded since the onset of the pandemic. Find one that interests you and enjoy expanding your world.
As much as I love comfort food and lazy weekend afternoons snuggled with a good book by the fire, spring offers a much needed renewal for my body and soul.
Welcoming spring delights like strawberries, asparagus, artichokes, and spring greens back into my diet and trying new recipes rejuvenates me and rewards my senses. So does getting back into nature. Try bringing a little “green” into your life whether it’s by eating more fresh whole foods or working a short walk into your daily routine. Take a stroll around your yard or nearby gardens and appreciate the changes taking place — inhale the fragrance of a lilac bush, notice the buds that are about to burst on your crabapple tree. Open your windows. Let the fresh air and the fragrance of new life wash over you. It will renew your soul.
A lot of women still feel selfish about practicing self-care despite knowing how important it is to our health and well-being. We know we should do it, but we can’t seem to make it a priority.
Yet if we put self-care first, we won’t need to figure out how to make it a priority, right? Not only does self-care nourish our souls but it ensures that we have something left to give of ourselves to those we care about.
If you haven’t practiced self-care, start out by doing small things that give you joy or a feeling of renewal. Purchase a small orchid for your desk. Get your toes done in a spring pink. Plan a monthly evening out with a friend who makes you laugh, whose company makes you feel lighter.
Feeding our passions is as important as feeding our bodies. Do you have an interest or hobby that you absolutely love? Something that you’re compelled to do, that contributes to the well-being of your soul?
Is there something you loved to do that you stopped doing? Maybe you sketched portraits before life got busy with careers and childrearing. Perhaps you used to cultivate and grow your own heirloom tomatoes? Maybe you played the violin once upon a time? Whatever your passion is and whether you gave it up or you’ve struggled to find the time, try to nurture that passion again. Passions fuel life, interest, and energy. They can enrich friendships or create new ones. All these things are good for the soul.
Most adults need between seven and eight hours of sleep every night to feel refreshed. But 35 percent of women are getting less than seven. That is not enough sleep, ladies.
It is so important to make getting enough rest a priority. Rest is the best way to recharge and renew the body and soul.
But I totally understand. Sometimes there’s just not enough hours in the day. If you can’t find the time to get the recommended amount of sleep, see if you can improve the quality of sleep you are getting. One way to do that is by turning off electronic devices 2-3 hours before bedtime. We know that blue light impacts our ability to fall asleep by blocking melatonin. Taking that time to wind down allows our bodies to adhere to its natural sleep cycle.
Have you ever wondered why playtime seems to be reserved for kids? It shouldn’t be. Couldn’t everyone benefit from engaging in activities that allow you to lose track of time, that serve no real purpose except for fun and free-flowing laughter?
Play is good for the soul, so work it into your day or week however you can. Maybe it’s a 3-minute afternoon break dancing to your favorite song full blast. Perhaps it’s taking your lunch to the park and playing fetch with your dog. Maybe it’s scooting out of work an hour early and walking around the art museum. Whatever play means to you, make it a priority for the good of your soul.
Renew Your Soul With a Little Lift
Is your soul in need of a little spring cleaning? To determine whether it needs a light wipe-down or a deep, get-at-the-grout-type cleaning, click here now to claim your Good Self-Care Assessment.
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Up Next: Spring Clean Your Soul, Part 2
Stay tuned for my next article which will look at other ways to spring clean your soul. We’ll focus on dealing with the clutter that isn’t serving you, you know, the figurative kind, like negativity, stress, and guilt. That way you can create space in your soul for things that bring you joy instead. Click here to sign up for my articles and you’ll receive them in your inbox.
Until then, take care of you — and your soul.
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