Motivational Monday Vol. 10

For the past few weeks, I've been attending meditation/consciousness classes on Nantucket led by my friend, Holly Finnegan (of Nantucket BlACKbook for those familiar with the island). 

It's an incredible 1.5 hours every Wednesday and Saturday morning where we practice breathwork and meditate, led by the beautiful voice of Holly.

Every class she repeats the same motivators as we run through the breathwork (which for those of you who aren't familiar - it is NOT easy and lasts 30+ minutes). 

She repeats, "Show up. Show up for yourself." Over and over again, week after week, I hear her say this. Show up for yourself. Every time she says it, it's always at that exact moment I feel like giving up, when I need a break, when I can't possibly breathe like this any longer. And then I hear her words calling me to not just show up, but to show up for MYSELF - and I dig deep, I sit up taller, I breathe deeper because I've come too damn far this year to not show up for myself.

To backtrack, I've been showing up my entire life. I showed up in school by being a great student. I showed up in my family by doing what I was told and being a loving daughter. I showed up in my romantic relationships by putting their needs above my own and trying to be the best partner I could. I showed up in my business by working my butt off and putting its needs above both my mental and physical health.

I knew how to show up for everyone in my life, except the one person who needed it the most - myself. 

So Holly's words had me thinking today, how many of us have no problem showing up for others, but we wouldn't dare show up for ourselves?

Why do we do this? For me, I showed up for everyone else because - and it took me a long time to figure this out - I didn't feel enough in my own skin and so I sought out external approvals to fill that hole of not enoughness. I felt like if I could just check the boxes with the external world, then that would validate my internal. 

 

Oh, how wrong I was.

 

What I realized over the past year is while I thought showing up for others before myself was selfless, it was actually coming from a place of deep need, a need for their approval. I showed up for others because I subconsciously (and sometimes consciously) needed their approval so I could approve of myself. 

Being in a relationship because you need something from that person is at its core, disingenuous and blurs the line between loving someone for who they are and loving someone for what they can do for you.

I realized over this past year (after both my long term business partnership and romantic relationship dissolved) that if I don't start showing up for myself, if I don't feel whole with myself, then how could I ever genuinely show up for others? And if my subconscious intention for interacting with others was to receive their validation, then I could never truly be a good friend, partner or business owner. 

I realized that the most selfless thing I can do is actually show up for myself FIRST. So that I could finally genuinely show up for others.

When you accept yourself completely and your relationships are because you genuinely love them, NOT because you need them to love you back. -  when you neither want nor need anything in return THEN you have a foundation for a strong relationship.

And so I challenge you this week to take a hard look at your relationships and/or the roles you identify with. Are you showing up for others because you genuinely want to or because you are looking for some sort of validation? 

If it's the latter, don't panic - almost all of us do this! I would suggest trying to reflect on what exactly it is that you are looking to "fill" with external approval. Is it that you don't feel lovable, smart enough, beautiful enough, etc?

Once you can identify this (it could be a handful of things), first - have some serious compassion for yourself - it was learned somewhere along the way and it's heartbreaking to feel this way. But we (and only we) have the power to change it. So next, make a commitment to yourself to show up everyday to counter that belief. 

Don't feel beautiful enough? Stare at yourself in the mirror daily and tell yourself how beautiful you are, send love to every bit of yourself you don't love at the moment, remember how your body has carried you to this point and every inch tells a story about who you are and your journey thus far. Don't feel lovable or worthy of love? Over and over again throughout the day repeat, "I love myself" - I like to throw an f-bomb in but you do you! Spend 5 minutes when you first wake up and right before you fall asleep to write down the reasons why you love yourself and what makes you that fierce, badass only YOU can't seem to see. Write motivational notes on post-its and place them around your home and office so you can remind yourself throughout the day - I mean, my apartment currently looks like the set of Carrie's apartment in Homeland! Whatever you seek to validate with the external world, start a daily practice to counter it.

Even if you don't believe what you're saying/doing at this very moment, just keep going - eventually, if you continue to show up for yourself in this way, you will need outside approval less and less and in turn, your external relationships will become more meaningful.

So every time you feel yourself seeking outside approval, hear Holly's words like a mantra inside your brain, "Show up. Show up for yourself."

Because you deserve it.