Instagram: Extended Thoughts.

12/4/2018

#selflove

Bubble baths. Tea. Chocolate cake. What do you do to fill your voids? What eats away at you that you feel the need to silence it with food, drink, drugs, sex, sleep, TV, mindless instagram scrolling, etc? And that is not to say there isn’t a time and a place for all of those things. Maybe not, you know, crack or heroin, but you get the gist.

Anyway. Your voids? Back to that. What are they? Don’t just think about them, but take two goddamn minutes, pull out a piece of paper and write them the fuck down. Here’s the interesting thing: a lot of us don’t even know what they are. We pull out the paper and stare at it’s blankness. We know we are doing destructive things but we don’t even know why. Think of it as a game of connect the dots, but backward. Start with the behavior in question and continue to ask yourself: WHY? Example: “I binge eat at night.” Why? “I’m bored.” Why? “I’m single and it’s a Tuesday night, all my friends are at home with their families.” (Ahhh ok we are getting somewhere.) Now, deconstruct that last statement: Do I want to be single? Am I frustrated with my dating life? Am I still in love with an ex? Do I have feelings for someone I probably shouldn’t? Am I scared that I will be in this single state forever? What if that were the case? Would I be ok going through life alone? Am I angry at an ex? Am I jealous of a friend’s relationship? Am I worried that I’m getting too old to be single because I want to start a family soon? What if I never meet someone but I still want kids? Et cetera. These are all valid and very serious life questions that when we confront them, can make us feel vulnerable, exposed, and downright scared. As humans we are wired to do things to make ourselves feel satisfied and happy. When we feel an emptiness for whatever reason, we will fill it with something. Sometimes, it’s good stuff. It’s bubble baths and exercise (but not too much!), healthy, nourishing food, and other positive, grounding activities. Sometimes we take these things to an extreme and they become unhealthy, i.e. overexercising, obsession with healthy food or rituals, etc. Sometimes, it’s not so good stuff. Standing in front of an open fridge, binging on ice cream at 2:30 in the morning, hating ourselves a little bit more with each oversized spoonful. And sometimes it’s super destructive behavior like binge drinking, used of hard drugs, major eating disorders, and so forth. So now what? Now that you’ve identified a behavior you don’t like, you’ve discovered the root cause of it…like, cool story bro. Now what?

The next step is, imho, the most important one. You must decide that you want to change. Not for any reason other than YOU want to make this change, that YOU want to realign your behavior with your values so that you can stop feeling and filling the voids in your life. (The biggest irony of all is that once you start doing this, shit just falls into place. I don’t know why, I don’t know how, I can’t explain it with science, but I’ve seen and felt this phenomenon time and time again.) I digress. The first step is deciding you want to change. Really, truly, deep down in your core making that choice. Because, after all, our lives are simply a reflection of our choices, not our circumstances. How you choose to react, how you choose to show up, how you choose to fight back defines your life.

So HOW do we actually make these changes once we have gotten real with ourselves that we want to and are going to change? Create a habit. You MUST create a new habit. Going back to our example of binge eating at night, you have create a ritual for yourself in the evening after dinner that 1) satisfies you and 2) reroutes the old behavior. Speaking from experience…I literally used to mow down a box of cinnamon toast crunch almost every night and then wonder why it was taking me so long to gain muscle and lose fat while working out 30 hours a week. Number one, I wasn’t eating enough real food with actual nutrients and shit to counteract all the working out I was doing. My body was just like FEED ME, ASSHOLE. So chemically, hormonally, physically, I NEEDED more food, but I was scared to eat more at lunch and dinner because I knew I had this habit of throwing down 34572935862946 calories worth of cereal before bed. Once I decided to cut back on working out, ate more nutrient dense food, and picked two snacks that I spaced out an hour apart before bed, it was like magic. My body responded and to this day I still practice this habit. I have two after dinner snacks and they’re delicious and they make me happy and feel satisfied and it’s been YEARS that I’ve been living like this. So that’s how you break a bad habit—you create a new ritual, a replacement habit. At first it might be a little uncomfortable, forcing yourself to do something different, but if you stick it out, a few days becomes a week becomes a few weeks becomes a month or so, becomes your new lifestyle.

Here’s another huge key: forgive and forget when you fuck up. Dude. I love cereal. So much. I still sometimes find myself elbow deep in a box of it. When that happens, instead of hating myself and beating myself up trying to exercise (exorcise?!) it out of my system, I’m like: Ok, El. That happened. Moving on. And guess what? It makes not a damn bit of difference. Now here’s the kicker: you can force yourself to change a habit, but you can’t force yourself to un-feel the way you feel sometimes. In our made up scenario, the nighttime binge eating of ice cream at 2:30 am was because our protagonist found herself bored, but really that boredom stemmed from feeling lonely, and ultimately when you reduce it down, fear. And I think that’s a lot of what #selflove is. It’s not about the bubble baths, it’s not about #treatyaself, it’s not about getting in shape or being “healthy”, but rather its about living without fear. Fear of being judged. Of being alone. Of not being good enough. Of not feeling worthy of the life and love you desire and deserve.

And that’s it. Once you understand that, and once you come to terms with whatever it is that’s holding you back and making you feel like you aren’t worthy and aren’t good enough, whatever that roadblock is for you, once you can see it for what it is—a universal cock block—you can start to move away from it. Because you ARE worthy. You ARE good enough. You are because it’s your basic human right. It is your birthright to be happy, but you are the only person who can decide that and make it happen. The fastest way, the shortcut to happiness is moving as far away from fear as possible. All those things and people who made you feel like you weren’t good enough, that you weren’t for some reason, deserving of your birth right to be happy, all of that can be washed away with YOUR decision to kick fear in the face. Our life is made up of our choices. How we choose to respond to things and circumstances that arise, yes, but also how we choose to confront the demons within ourselves. We must stop blaming. We must stop playing the victim. If you want to be happy, be happy. It is entirely within your power and once you intrinsically know and feel that, and let yourself feel as though you deserve that (because YOU DO), everything will shift. It just will. It can’t not. Yeah I used a double negative. That’s how strongly I feel about this. Just give it a go, even if you have to “fake” it for a while. You fake something long enough, you’ll trick your mind into actually believing in yourself. And that my friends, that is self love. Do the work. Create new habits. Forgive and forget when you fuck up. (And fuck up, you will because you’re human.) And always believe in yourself and your birthright to be happy.