The only person who can help you learn to love yourself is *you*
I was recently laying in shavasana with a bolster under my legs, a mask over my eyes, and a blanket over my body. I felt so comfortable, my body still buzzing from the Kundalini yoga class that came before.
I was thinking about my recent “mystery” about what’s wrong. Why haven’t I been able to access my highest joy lately? What’s going on with me? As I lay there, fully relaxed and daydreamy, the pieces of my mystery started to come together.
A series of jagged flashes of insight, images, and understanding paraded through my mind; as soon as I grasped one and tried to focus on it, it stopped. When I relaxed my mind and let the pieces tumble, they started to organize themselves into something that felt… big. I knew I was on the verge of learning something really important, so I relaxed and let them tumble.
Moments (or hours) later, I had a full picture of something brand new, and it blew me away.
In honor of #transparenttuesday, I’ve decided to share this powerful story with you.
Three and a half years ago, I went through a massive awakening. All at once, after more than a decade living in constant fear, I realized that I wasn’t helpless, I wasn’t broken, and that people weren’t scary and evil.
I recognized for the first time that I had experienced trauma both as a kid and as a teenager, and that a lot of the person I thought I was (lazy, sickness-prone, manipulative, apathetic, and all kinds of other garbage) was just a response to those traumas.
I also recognized that my traumas had offered me two gorgeous gifts:
The ability to heal and transform, and
The ability to help others heal and transform
The answer to the age-old existential question “why do bad things happen?” was suddenly clear to me.
They happen so that we may rise to the challenge of healing from them.
I never would have been able to transform my life, experience such intense levels of joy, draw in my tribe, or become the coach I was meant to be, if it hadn’t been for so-called “bad things happening to me.”
This understanding changed my life, utterly and completely. I got the words “benevolent universe” tattooed on my arm, to represent the idea that ALL things can be a force for ultimate goodness, even when they seem really terrible. That doesn’t mean I want bad things to happen to people, of course.
It just means that when they happen, there is opportunity for healing, and healing is the path to transformation, growth, and evolution.
In the process of healing, we have the ability to release our armor, hold more love in our hearts, soar higher, and become a part of the solution in the world.
Don’t believe me? Imagine how boring and stagnant Adam and Ever probably were until they had some shit to deal with, you know? Like, did Eve understand what it meant to love herself despite being imperfect? Had Adam ever forgiven and loved someone in spite of the fact that she kinda-accidentally ruined his life? I doubt it. No good stories, no good challenges, no growth, no nothing.
But once they had a trauma to deal with? Well. I bet they very rapidly became complex, interesting, fucked up, beautiful individuals.
After they got kicked out of Eden, I bet they would have made for much more interesting party guests, ya know? And after a (long) healing/forgiving/learning process, I bet they would have made really valuable contributions to the world, too. Eve could have started a not-for-profit for the first women who felt shame about their naked bodies, and Adam could have become a midwife, to make sure nobody procreated using the rib method ever again.
Trauma provides an opportunity to grow and evolve, and eventually to be a more whole and loving human than you ever would have been without it.
Three and a half years ago, that’s what I learned– that my traumas hadn’t broken me, they had MADE me. They made me grow, fight, expand, climb, evolve, and overcome. They made me face myself, and they made me learn how to feel self-love again, so that I could teach other people how to do the same. Being broken was the best thing that ever happened to me.
But fast forward to now. I recently went to Peru to “finish” the healing process from those traumas. (As though there was a finish line to inner growth lollolol.)
I untied a bunch of knots that were still inside me, and I feel like I truly released the last of it. My trauma cycle is complete. When I look inside me for the fear and the holding now, it’s gone.
I was so excited and so full of love and light before I came back from Peru. After all the blocks were gone, I had seen that I want to marry my partner! I want us to raise babies together! I want to embrace my fully feminine, fully woo-woo, ancient witchy side! Everything is so magical and wonderful and the future is so bright!
Then I came home. And OH MY GOD you guys.
I crashed so hard. I felt so dark. So empty. So trapped.
What the hell happened??
Well, while laying on my mat in shavasana recently, the pieces came together. I’m in mourning– for my trauma.
This sounds so fucked up I almost didn’t share it with you. But it’s the truth. I feel a hole where once there was a worthy adversary– my reason for getting up every day.
My whole purpose for the last three years has been to heal from shitty things that happened to me, and to use those things to bring good in the world. And now those things are gone. And I feel a huge sense of loss about that.
I also feel a whole bunch of shame and guilt and existential confusion.
What am I supposed to do, just like… be whole and happy now? I don’t feel whole and happy, I feel sad, and empty, and embarrassed by this truth.
As I was processing this huge new insight after class though, I remembered something from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck:
- Happiness comes from solving problems. It doesn’t come from not having problems, it comes from having interesting problems that you are up to the task, skill-wise, of solving.
Which just means I need a new problem to solve, I guess. A new challenge to tackle. (I wonder what it will be!)
For now, I’m allowing myself to fully grieve the loss of this powerful, beautiful part of me– my trauma.
A note for anyone who is trying to solve her own mystery right now:
An impartial third party like a therapist, coach, or well-informed friend can sometimes help you explore yourself in those moments, by holding some space for you to dive inward.
Sometimes you have to fly fully solo by meditating, journaling, sitting with your feelings, or just letting your mind wander and see what comes up.
The important thing to remember here though is that nobody else can do this work for you.
Trust me, I wish that wasn’t true.
It’s way easier to give people advice than to hold space for them to explore themselves, and it would be awesome if Dr. Phil, or Oprah (or even me!) knew what was best for you.
But that’s not how it works. You are the only person with the answers to what you need. You were born with a built-in map for growth and happiness, and the only way to access it is to tune in to yourself.
If you’re looking for some further support in the department of learning how to solve your own mystery in the body image department, I created a follow-up program to Body Image Alchemy ebook, called
As you’ve probably guessed, the BIA Blueprint is not me telling you what to do to love yourself. Instead, it’s a system of journal questions and practices designed to help you dive into your own deep, dark, personal spaces. It will help you explore the common areas that hold women back from loving and accepting themselves, and help you tap into your own inherent wisdom.
Maybe after taking it, you’ll have your own puzzle-pieces-coming-together on your yoga mat, and you’ll tag me in a post about it. 😉
You already have everything you need inside of you. But if you want more structure and support on your inner journey to body love, the BIA Blueprint is for you.
Sending you so much love,