Happy Valentine’s Day – Love

Love is such a tricky thing. How we love and what makes us feel loved is formed from our first days on this earth. Today is a day to celebrate love.

Being a single woman on Valentine’s day, I often find myself kind of rolling my eyes at this day, and I know I’m not alone in that. But this year I choose to make today a celebration of all love, not just romantic love between partners. Today I’m celebrating the love I share with my children, my friends and for myself.

Romantic love can be an amazing, beautiful thing. It can also be destructive, cold and callous. How we learn to love others, and how we feel loved is the result of our life experiences. Because the first ways we learn about love is through the people we grow up with, those experiences are deeply rooted in our psyche. We are the result of the cumulative experiences of our extended families, and what they believed about what love is, and how to show it to another human being. In short, we are all flawed, imperfect and many times broken. This is what makes romantic love so hard, and yet, we crave it. So much so that it becomes part of our identity. Our social status is tied to our identification as single or married. For hundreds of years, a woman’s worth was determined solely by her marital status.

Our society deems romantic love as the most important kind of love, but I’d like to challenge that idea. I believe that platonic love (love between parents and children, friends, relatives and others) is far more important, and therefore worthy of being celebrated today. This kind of love is so much more forgiving, because it’s not bound up in the social constructs of romantic love. It isn’t used to for financial gain or a change in social status. It’s free to be given at will. It’s a complete choice. The only thing to be lost or gained from it, is love in return.

The best life, is a life full of love. ANY love. Celebrate all the love you find in your life today. Don’t allow the presence or absence or a romantic partner determine how you feel today. Your worth is not determined by your status as single or attached. Your worth comes from inside, from the love you freely give to others and too yourself. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Four ways our self-worth is impacted

Self-worth. We tend to think of it in terms of self-esteem, but self-worth is much more than how we feel about ourselves. I think self-worth is an action. It’s how we treat ourselves, how we speak to ourselves and how we allow others to treat and speak to us.

I have struggled with this A LOT. I stayed in a marriage where the things that were said to me were extremely unkind, to the point that they colored what I said to myself. I have said unthinkable things to myself, I have devalued myself in what I believe I’m worth to world and I have allowed others to devalue me.

I think self-worth is a hard one because it requires us to stand up for ourselves, against our own demons and against the actions of others. Sometimes we have allowed ourselves to feel so devalued that standing up is a monumental task. And the ways that others devalue us can be small, and it’s easy to “let them slide” initially. But the problem with letting it slide, even once, is that it quickly becomes a habit, until we have allowed that person to have no value of us. And when others stop valuing us, we stop valuing ourselves.

I challenge you to value yourself, to yourself and to others. But to do that, we first have to consider the ways in which we are devalued. So let’s talk about some of the most common ways.

1. We don’t honor commitments we make to ourselves. (Guilty!) I promised myself I would make a point of meditating for at least 10 minutes every single day. I made this promise to myself because I know how good it is for my soul to take some time to quiet my mind. Have I been doing it lately? No. Not honoring that commitment diminishes my self-worth.

2. We say terrible things to ourselves. Why? Of all the horrible things strangers on the internet are willing to say to each other, why on earth would we do that to ourselves? (I’m not smart enough, pretty enough, I’m fat, I’m not worthy, not enough, not…) PLEASE, just stop already. Stop beating yourself up.

3. We allow other people to say terrible things to us. If you find yourself spending time with someone who is constantly telling you everything that is wrong with you, cut that person out of your life. Seriously, no one needs that.

4. We don’t respect our own time, and we allow others not to respect our time. That one friend who always forces you to wait on them? Maybe you should spend less time with them. Maybe they don’t deserve your time if they aren’t willing to be respectful of it. This goes for clients too. Appointments are made for specific times. Emergencies happen, but if a particular client has lots of emergencies, well, they don’t really have emergencies, they just don’t respect you.

There are more, but these first four are the biggies. Concentrate on these, and your self-worth is bound to see a positive impact.

Reflections: love, support and other things

I don’t know about you, but this year has been an absolute whilrwind!  I’ve been reflecting on how my life has changed considerably over the last 12 months.  I’m now a single mom after 14 years of marriage and the bread winner for a family of three.  Not everything I wanted to accomplish this year got done, but I did accomplish so incredibly much!

I feel incredibly lucky to look back on 2016 and realize that I’ve been absolutely surrounded by some totally amazing amounts of love and support.  Relying on other people has never come easily to me, but I also realize that I am not an island. The support of good friends really does make a huge difference in our successes.  I am blessed to have that support from a lot of different people over the last year.

My biggest accomplishment this year was writing my book “The Business of Confidence” and it’s companion journal “The Act of Confidence.”  Both were definitely a labor of love, and they both took considerable hours away from other things I hoped to accomplish, but they were certainly worth it.  I’m so thrilled to be reaching a far bigger audience with my message of self-love than my small studio could ever reach alone.  In the end, that is what this is all about for me.  Accepting myself and my own worth, and helping others to accept theirs.  I couldn’t have done it without the amazing people who surround me everyday.

What have you accomplished this year?  No matter how big or small, I truly believe that you have to celebrate those accomplishments to better celebrate yourself.

I challenge you to reflect on your year.  Where do you find your biggest source of support?  What forms of love have you been blessed with this year?  How will you use that love and support to spread more into this world?

reflection and support

7 Reasons to fall head over heels in love with yourself

February.  A month full of hearts, roses and romance.  Many of us put a lot of time and money into someone else this month, but we neglect the person we should love the most, ourselves.  I’m not saying we should be selfish, self-serving jerks, but I am saying that we should love who we are first and foremost.  It’s the only true to path real happiness.  So, here are 7 reasons to fall in love with you:

  1. You are the only person you HAVE to live with for the rest of your life.
  2. If you don’t treasure who you are, no one else will either.
  3. Loving yourself will help you to steer clear of those who don’t deserve you.
  4. We all have physical flaws, but we are all beautiful in our own way.  When you love who you are, those flaws seem much smaller and less important.
  5. You are a role model to someone. Show them what they are worth by valuing yourself.
  6. You were created perfect in your imperfection.  Embrace the imperfections.

Why I am no longer satisfied with “the norm”, and what I’m doing about it.

It’s a new year, which for me means it’s time to re-evaluate where I am, what I want and how I intend to get there.  I’ve had a lot of changes in my personal life in the last year, the main one being that I decided to end my marriage, a relationship that had lasted 20 years.  Regardless of your feelings about divorce and marriage, there comes a time in every woman’s life when you find yourself unhappy and off track, and you have to make a major change of some kind.

The biggest change I’m making this year: I’m no longer accepting anything just because it’s what everyone else does.  Lots of people are unhappy for a myriad of reasons, and they choose to stay that way because they fear the unknown or because it’s too much work.  I refuse to live my life by default.  I truly believe that we all have the power to change our circumstances, and it’s all about mindset.

I choose to believe I am capable, beautiful, and worth it.  I choose to believe that I can have anything I want in this world, and I choose to believe that you can too.

They say that a rising tide raises all ships, and I believe that to be true.  My mission here at Alter Ego Imaging is to provide a fun, safe environment for you to connect with and embrace your inner self, and to have an emotional and empowering experience that transcends the physical.  It’s in the service of that mission, that I invite you to get to know me better, and grow with me this new year.