A Life Lesson On Self-Love While Sitting On The Couch

Over a month ago, I had a huge opportunity before me.

Explora Journeys recognized my thought leadership in the realm of personal reinvention. They invited me to be Luminary as part of their onboard enrichment program.

I’d be delivering 3 unique talks around personal reinvention.

A week before the trip, I was sitting on the couch watching Suits (I’m not loving season 8).

This massive trip, 9 days at sea, delivering 3 distinct reinvention presentations, was less than a week away.

It was an incredible opportunity, one I was genuinely excited for, but as I sat on the couch, the future and to-do’s not yet done began to whisper.

Anxiety started to creep in.

The “You should be… s” started to creep in.

Then the fear of what’s waiting for me if I don’t get off the couch and address all those “You should be… ‘s” started to creep in.

You should be practicing.

You should be organizing your outfits.

You should get your ass off the couch and do something.

I was moments away from falling into the abyss, but instead, I did what I’ve been practicing (because it’s a practice) for the past couple of years:

I loved myself.

Specifically, I loved the parts of me experiencing anxiety, blasting me with “You should be…” and feeling fear.

I loved the part of me that was telling me I was fucking up by sitting on the couch; I loved the part of me that was telling me I was going to bomb, fail, and be embarrassed.

I hold those parts in my heart, and I love them because I know two things about them, and I do my best to remember them as I practice self-love.

1. Fear and Control:

I was scared of what MAY happen, so I was scrambling to control something, anything, to feel in control.

Fear of what MAY happen is nothing more than fear of my own imagination.

2. The voices that try to diminish me and hold me back have experienced significant pain, and they don’t ever want to feel it again.

I know those voices speak from old wounds and will do whatever they must to protect themselves.

Including beating myself up.

Those old wounds are all the past iterations of myself.

The 6, 7, 8, 9, 16, 25, and 39 (and more)-year-old versions of myself.

They’ve traveled a similar path and believe they know what awaits them if they venture out of the comfort of complacency.

They will protect themselves at all costs.

For so much of my life, I listened to those voices, and I still do today; I still capitulate and go down the path of self-flagellation.

Because it’s a practice.

I know what happens when I believe those voices; I make myself, who I am, wrong.

Shame and guilt consume me, bashing me over the head to do something.

Shame and guilt are always readily available; they’re in endless supply, but as fuel for meaningful action, they’re untenable because they’re insatiable.

The voice tells me to do something, and I do it, then it tells me I’m doing it wrong, or now I should be doing something else. It will never be pleased, and it will always ask for more.

Bashing myself over the head has never created lasting, positive change.

But what I’ve learned after prison is this:

Loving myself, all of myself, deeply and implicitly does.

One of the easiest ways I’ve learned after prison to demonstrate love to myself is to look at where I’m denying myself small pleasures that will contribute to the life I want to live.

Reading and going for a walk are two prime examples.

Because when I deny myself these small pleasures, I’m telling myself I’m not worthy of them.

If I’m not worthy of them, how could I possibly be worthy of loving myself?

Where I deny myself is a goldmine for loving myself.