Breaking Out Of Self Sabotage.

Breaking Out Of Self Sabotage.

Body Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power Work

5:30AM: The alarm buzzes, and you refuse to open your eyes. Everything feels heavy. Your body is stuck in the drowned-out stupor of last night’s snackfest, when you raided the pantry and dove into that box of trail mix to accompany you as you browsed Netflix trying to find that one episode Crazy Ex Girlfriend you only got halfway through the night before. That one episode became four, and that handful of snacks became a now-empty plastic Costco tub of crumbs and pieces. That list of things to do is still three pages long, you feel puffed up and hung-over from snack overload, and that 6:30AM class at the gym you were so set on starting your day with is looking as unlikely as a sequel to the movie Titanic.

And so you wallow. You wallow in your despair, saddened that the great roll you were on only a few hours before has taken a different course. That good news you heard yesterday and that great opportunity you had last week don’t even seem so exciting anymore. I’m just not cut out for this today, you think. I’ll try again when I feel better.

Sound familiar?

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Self-sabotage is a beast. It’s what we do when our long-held doubts and questions start to be negated and answered – and we panic. It’s those excuses we give and those rules we break semi-unintentionally. Self-sabotage is what keeps us from following up with that business contact that serendipitously came out of nowhere, what gets us digging into the fridge at 11pm when we’ve finally started to feel good in our skin, and what self-induces insomnia so that morning spin class is half over by the time our eyes flicker open in a groggy haze.

Self-sabotage keeps us in a place of fear.

And the difference between successful people and the ones that stay “stuck” in fear is not only self-sabotage – it’s control.

It seems obvious that success and control would be married, but it’s more like they’re…related. They’re slightly dysfunctional family members that love each other and need each other, but in too large of doses can drive each other into the ground.

Sure, success requires control to a certain extent. It requires control in vision, in preparation and in execution. The thing is, the most successful of individuals see the goal…yet relinquish control when it comes to the result. Successful people, above all, trust: trust that their hard work and preparation and high spirit will not be in vein, trust that their dominoes will fall into place, and most of all, trust that if their dominoes don’t, they’ll figure out a way for them to do so.

The secret to success isn't perfection - it's trust. Click To Tweet

Not too long ago (in the grand scheme of things), whenever things would start to go great for me, I’d start to make something go not-so-great. Probably to counter-balance what I thought deep down was something I hadn’t earned or didn’t deserve. More than anything, I was afraid of success. Failure was easier for me to stomach than the thought of possibly letting someone down once I was at the top. I’d react to Good Thing after Good Thing by falling back into my safe zones that kept me out of responsibility. Out of true extraordinary-ness. I’d do things that made me physically and/or emotionally feel awful. Forgetting deadlines (I don’t forget deadlines), binge eating or restricting (especially when I felt was getting too comfortable with the thought I didn’t have food “issues”), underpreparing for auditions (I was a serial over-preparer). Stuff that was completely antithetical to the ME I knew I was MEANT to be. These self-sabotagey habits kept me viewing myself as someone who was young, someone who was second-best, someone who needed help and assistance and was Less-Than. My legs felt heavy underneath me, and I’d cry to my closest confidantes that I felt like I worked so hard only to botch it all up. To me, self-sabotage was about staying in a zone that was safe, a zone in which I couldn’t be a true leader – because being a true leader meant I had nothing to follow but my own lead. And what’s more, if I could cry to someone about it later, I could be loved.

The “stuck” are without trust. The “stuck” are afraid of what happens if a domino accidentally hits another and takes a wrong turn, or stops the flow altogether. People who are “stuck” are so overwhelmed by outcomes that staying in the same loop begins to seem a whole lot more attractive. I know because this was me.

I don’t even recognize that girl anymore. I empathize with her, but god, she seems like such a far cry from who I am today. I now realize that I had major, maaajor trust issues: I didn’t trust myself to be able to handle success, and I didn’t trust that others would still love me if I didn’t “need” them in one way, shape or form. Oof.

Self-sabotage is a defense mechanism should we be given everything we dream of and not know what to do with it. Click To Tweet

Life is one big game of cause-and-effect, and we are hardwired to fear loss. And moving forward fearlessly into the life you know you’re meant to lead? There’s gonna be loss along the way. In a good way, yes – but sometimes, there will be losses you won’t be able to predict. Self-sabotage is nothing more than a sick, twisted defense mechanism should we be given everything we ever dreamed of and then not know what to do with it.

Because what if that happened? What if we literally got EVERYTHING we ever wanted? All our goals reached. All our boxes checked. Our lives would undoubtedly change. And change is very, very scary. We could have it all, and then lose it all once again! We could have it all, and then face a new host of obstacles even tougher than before! We have ZERO control over what happens once our light shines at its brightest. We could also do everything in our power to reach the goal but at the last moment, it’s pulled out from under us. That’s another option. The only way to succeed is to relinquish control – but relinquishing control sometimes means disappointment. So the “stuck” stay afraid, yet in control. The stuck person figures that if she fails, it’s gonna be at her own hands, not because of someone (or something) else. To make a dark analogy – it’s like goal suicide.

I’m nowhere near accomplishing all of my goals or feeling like I’ve got my shit together 100%, but here’s what I’ve learned about keeping yourself on…well, maybe not the “right” track, but the “right-for-you” track that will make you happy more often than not: Know what you want. Know EXACTLY what you want, every single detail you can muster up, even if it’s just a feeling. As a recovering sabotage-aholic, I can say that it’s not all going to be butterflies and roses, and you WILL have moments of relapse. We’re only human. It is inevitable. I had one last week. But when it happens, stop it in its tracks. Note exactly what you did, and dig deep for an answer as to why you did it.

Then do one thing to be proactive – to at least pick up some of the pieces and get the train rolling again. Strayed from your healthy eating plan? Have a green juice the next morning. Didn’t follow up with someone? Shoot off an email apologizing for being out of touch, and propose specific plans. Haven’t paid your overdue credit card bill yet? Pay that sucker and take the forty seconds’ worth of time to register for automatic bill pay.

Be proactive. Not reactive. Tell yourself you’ve got this. And ask yourself with full honesty, controlled intention, and release of the uncontrolled aftermath: How do I want my dominoes to fall?

self-sabotage


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a different version of this originally appeared on the chalkboard mag in 2012

The WANTcast, Episode 018: On Following Your Intuition In Work, Love + Life with Ashlee Piper

The WANTcast, Episode 018: On Following Your Intuition In Work, Love + Life with Ashlee Piper

Love Motivation + Inspiration the WANTcast Work

Today’s guest is the lovely Ashlee Piper. Ashlee Piper is a political strategist turned vegan and eco-lifestyle expert, writer, and TV personality whose work has been featured in/on Refinery29, Apartment Therapy, Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Mirror Mirror, Mind Body Green, VegNews, Vegetarian Times, AOL, NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX News, to name a few. Piper is also a brand strategist and influencer for some of the world’s most ethical and innovative companies.

One of the things I love about Ashlee is her versatility and mad smarts. I’m fascinated by Ashlee’s background as a political strategist and creative consultant, and how that has led to her building a name for herself as an “eco-lifestyle expert” over the years.

You only want people and things in your life that want you, too. - @thelilfoxes Click To Tweet

In this episode, we talk Ashlee’s winding career journey that ultimately led her to where she is today, how to pivot both personally and professionally when what you had or who you were no longer serves you, the importance of listening to your intuition and how to discern whether it’s your gut talking or if you’re being triggered, how personal and professional brand can, and maybe even should, be one and the same, and the social media frenzy to keep it hashtag-authentic vs. actually authentic.

We also talk about how to push through when you’re afraid of taking chances and asking questions, self-promotion, and how to deal with that nagging question we all get at one point or another: What Will People Think Of Me? She gets me a little more chatty than usual when we start talking about intuition, and at one point got me revealing a story about a time that I was trying to convince myself that I was following my intuition, but I really wasn’t – a story that I probably would have been more comfortable just writing about and calling a day (because, I don’t know, it’s less vulnerable than saying it out loud?), but I’m so glad that she turned the tables a little on me, because it opened us up to an even greater conversation around what it really means to be happy.

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Whether you’re feeling solid in your career, romantic life, and personal life or you’re feeling like you’re on shaky ground somewhere in the mix, I can guarantee this episode will have something for you to take with you into your day and into your life, and make you even 2% more positive and proactive in being the you YOU know you’re meant to be.

WANT Ashlee:

Listen in iTunes | Play in new window | Download | Support the pod by shopping on Amazon (just like normal, no extra charge)

Show Notes:
Ashlee’s site
The Little Foxes
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter
Pinterest
Ashlee’s WANT Woman spotlight

Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes (the more reviews, the more Ashlee’s wisdom is spread), share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!

Photo cred: Amy Mokris

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The WANTcast Episode 017: On Confronting The Uncomfortable with Erica Chidi Cohen

The WANTcast Episode 017: On Confronting The Uncomfortable with Erica Chidi Cohen

Community the WANTcast

A note on recent events in our country and world…

There is a dark cloud over our world right now and for weeks I was trying to decide what to do and how to proceed. And no, that doesn’t mean using hashtags and prayers (although those should never be thrown aside because every teensy tinesy step counts). I realized that “doing something” meant talking to EVERYONE, asking questions, and ESPECIALLY informing myself when it comes to perspectives other than my own. This has been my MO for as long as I can remember, but this month has been a huge, grim reminder that I can do more and be better and search harder and dig deeper. Always.

However, there is a delicate balance. For me, someone who has been born into skin deemed “white” and therefore has never experienced racism firsthand, I’ve wanted to gain massive insight on how I can be an ally and work toward change beyond posting an article on FB or a hashtag on Instagram (both of which are still important and will continue to do). But I know that some people aren’t ready to jump into explaining “How You Can Help” to me. The country is grieving right now. The world is grieving. And it’s wrong to assume that just because one person wants answers, another person is ready (emotionally) to give them counsel.

And so I wanted to have a conversation about it….and so, so more.

Enter Erica Chidi Cohen.

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Blending her skills as a doula, lactation counselor and chef, Erica guides expectant parents through their pregnancy and transition into parenthood. Her intuitive and gentle approach, coupled with her expertise has helped hundreds of families easily adjust into their new roles with support and confidence.

In 2013 Erica founded The Mama Circle, which focused on nurturing women into motherhood. The Mama Circle provided doula services, lactation counseling, nutritional support as well as prenatal, postpartum and parenting education programs.

Her newest venture, LOOM, is co-founded with Quinn Lundberg and set to open in Los Angeles in 2017. LOOM will be a wellness hub for pregnancy and parenting offering coaching, classes and community events.

Erica’s first book on pregnancy and early motherhood will be published by Chronicle Books and released in fall 2017.

What I LOVE about this episode is how unexpectedly seamlessly all the topics flow together. From ways to practice gratitude during times of strain to how to prep for motherhood even if you don’t really know if you’re wanting kids yet to the generational wounds triggered by the most recent shootings and racist violence, this conversation with Erica is filled with wisdom, introspection, and inspiration to stay not only grounded, but balance being both empathetic and self-loving at the same time. Basically: what it means to confront the uncomfortable in all aspects of life.

If you are feeling low, please do not berate yourself for being so profoundly affected…even if you can’t put words to it. Energy is neither created nor is it destroyed. Our world is at an empathetic standstill, which means that those who DO feel deeply might be feeling enough for many others who don’t have the awareness or courage to sit with and process their own emotions. It’s okay. Feel all you feel, and feel it deeply. And then once you’ve let it sink into your bones, like calcium to the skeleton, use that empathetic energy you’ve metabolized to TAKE SUCH STRONG AND POWERFUL action that the world can’t help but be better for you being in it.

Thank you a million times over to Erica for sharing so much of herself with all of us. This episode is a must-listen. Be sure to listen until the end for a challenge for all WANTcast listeners – one of those small things that can make a HUGE difference.

WANT Erica:

Listen in iTunes | Play in new window | Download | Support the WANTcast by shopping on Amazon

Show Notes:
Instagram
Twitter
LOOM
LOOM on Instagram
Parenting Begins Before Conception
Spirit Babies
Tony Robbins documentary: I Am Not Your Guru
#BlackLivesMatter
Jessica Murnane on the WANTcast

I can find the right answer if I just take the time to listen. - @ericachidicohen Click To Tweet

Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes (the more reviews, the more Erica’s awesomeness is spread), share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!

The Self-Love Turning Point: 17 Badass WANT Women On When They Started To Love Themselves (For Real)

The Self-Love Turning Point: 17 Badass WANT Women On When They Started To Love Themselves (For Real)

Community Most Popular Posts Tips + Tools WANT Women

Self-love…it can be so elusive, right? One day we’re our own biggest fan, the next we’re bashing ourselves for missing the mark. One minute we’re flying high, the next we’re buried in a pile of shoulds and doubts and unread text messages and half-eaten bags of kettle corn (no? just me?). 

The thing about self-love is that no matter how much of it we’ve got, its external manifestation doesn’t always reflect the truth. Our lives, relationships, and bodies are constantly in flux – and sometimes we forget that the emotions that fester as a consequence of the situation are NOT the reality of the situation itself. 

Even so, it’s a lot easier to berate ourselves for not thinking enough, doing enough, BEING enough than it is to dive in, dig deep, and really get to the bottom of whatever’s really going on. Doesn’t help that we don’t live in a culture that encourages otherwise: quick fixes are the solution de jour, and we’re taught that negativity is the easiest route to a bond. So is it any surprise we live our lives starved for a sense of self-love?

We can’t expect to like every aspect of ourselves 24/7 – but true, lasting self-love IS possible. And we all need to start somewhere. Your moment might be right around the corner.

Here are 17 badass WANT Women, from activists and actresses to business owners and body-pos powerhouses, on their “self-love” turning point – the moment they started to really love themselves, inside and out:

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Jessica Murnane, author + plant-based pioneer, JessicaMurnane.com + host of the One Part Podcast: Wow. I think it’s always a work in progress. There are certain days that I need to work harder on loving myself. But I’ve come so far that even my “off” days are pretty great compared to the way I used to feel.

I suffered pretty severely from body dysmorphic disorder – brushing my teeth in the dark, avoiding mirrors, but then the next day obsessing over my reflection, wearing crazy makeup and clothes to draw attention away from my face, and just straight up not wanting to leave the house. It’s crazy, because I’ve always been a really social person and was always surrounded by people – but no one ever knew my secret.

As I got older and found a therapist I loved, things began to get a lot better in my late 20s. But I truly feel that my “turning point” to loving and accepting myself more came when I changed to a plant-based diet. Everything changed. Feeding my belly with good things made my brain feel better too. It’s weird how it’s all connected – but I truly believe it is. I am happiest I’ve ever been, and even if I don’t have perfect love-yourself days…I have come such a long way that I feel proud.
Even if I don’t have perfect days, I've come such a long way that I feel proud. - @jessicamurnanes Click To Tweet


3A1A9923Katie H. Willcox, model, CEO/founder of Healthy Is The New Skinny + Natural Model Management: I began to love myself when I learned how to live a balanced lifestyle. I started focusing on being the healthiest version of myself in my mid-twenties, and I believe that was my self-love turning point. When I met my husband Bradford, he saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself and I realized that I didn’t need to fit a certain physical mold in order to be deemed lovable.


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Erin Bagwell, director of Dream, Girl:
I’m constantly discovering and exploring self-love. I make it a practice to try to find things that inspire and keep me passionate, which gravitates me towards a lot of love.


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Angela Leigh, fitness + wellness coach, PureLeighLiving:
Sure do! Three years ago I made a choice to put and end to my eating disorder. I was binging & purging for twelve years. I was sitting on my couch, crying, thinking to myself, is this going to be my life? Am I going to be imprisoned by food, my lack of love of myself and my fear of letting go…? It was an ugly cry. I emailed my coach at the time (who is an angel and love of my life) and shared with him my struggle. We met for coffee the next day, I cried it out some more. He promised to take my hand and help me through the transition. And he did. He will tell you, it was me who did the work – but his support was paramount for my recovery.

I tried the group therapy thing, it did not fly, so I started my personal journey back to loving me. And I am still on it. Some paths are brighter than others and some days are just straight up brutal. The battle against negative self talk combined with a severe eating disorder is horrific. The voices never shut off. I am not kidding: you know how people say you think about sex X many times a day? That’s nothing compared to the constant stress of thinking about what I was going to eat, how I was going to get rid of it, and so forth.

The ability to temper these thoughts and then turn them into loving thoughts is a marathon of the mind. But I am not giving up. I have no desire to go back to the dark side. I am stepping up and showing up for myself. I love that I had the courage to stop the madness and I love that I am still working for my peace of mind. I love that that I am willing to open up to the world in the industry we are in and say, I AM NOT PERFECT! I am a beautiful mess, but this beautiful mess has some rich experiences to draw from and share with everyone to inspire them that CHANGE IS POSSIBLE.
I am a beautiful mess, but this beautiful mess has some rich experiences to draw from. - @pureleighliving Click To Tweet


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Liz Brinson, Swirl Girl Army:
My mom instilled independence and self love in me very early but then my impressionable self endured high school and was highly influenced by mainstream media’s standards of beauty and optimal weight. I was definitely impacted by that in terms of setting unrealistic weight goals for myself. I would say my second turning point was probably when I met my fiancé, D.A. It’s really powerful having someone else in the real world reminding you how awesome you are every day.


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Sascha Alexander, actress + activist:
I started to love myself in dance class, the second I saw what was really inside me. Or to be specific, the second the other women in my class started to tell me what they saw inside me, that I was too trapped and afraid to see myself. I believe above ALL, in the power of loving communities, and people who have the courage to be clear mirrors for one another, which is such a big and scary thing to do in a world that is caught up in scarcity. It takes massive self-esteem to show up in honest praise of another person, especially a person who is shining brightly. I think there are so few of these communities available to us, right now. S-Factor was a paradigm shift for me. The more I let myself be seen there, the more I was praised and told I was “beautiful”…. which I literally couldn’t believe at first because I felt so mediocre at the time – so middle of the road, so… nothing special. Oof! It hurts me to even write those things. I was so confused!

There were so many incredible moments that first year at S-Factor, but the one that stands out right now is lying on my mat in a sideways leg lift and realizing how unbelievably strong and powerful my legs were and my stomach was, and how on fire I was in that moment, just spiritually, and emotionally and physically. I had so goddamn much to say – it was living inside me. Mine. Already within my grip. Fierce and alive and perfect. Later in class, we began moving to a really emotional beautiful ballad and my teacher screamed “No more armor!” at us and I just let myself tumble and express and yearn and I was suddenly like, divinely, aware of how deeply beautiful I was because of what I held inside me ….which was TRUTH.

Women are truth-tellers. We are so often just NOT GIVEN permission to be that big and that important. I could never have imagined how much I had to contribute just with my honesty. I realized my importance, my depth, and my fierce beauty in that moment. That was the spark that I have been fanning into a self-esteem flame throughout my 20s.
I could never have imagined how much I had to contribute just with my honesty. - @smascha Click To Tweet


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Jacki Carr, goal coach, Rock Your Bliss:
Wow, brilliant question. I had a best friend in high school, Zoe who taught me about self love. Probably Junior year, so age 17. We both were uber-athletes; she played soccer and I play volleyball and softball. She was more in the cool crowd and I was figuring it all out with puberty, ego, etc while juggling sports and family. We both had a muscular builds – like, cereal-box type bodies (and yes, I am talking square shape and pretty flat. Late bloomers. Really late) – with really muscular thighs, and I will be real: we could eat a lot of food. Like, an embarrassing amount. Considering we were both doing two-a-day workouts, we were burning calories like whoa.

When we became best friends that year – you know that moment, like in Step Brothers, ‘Did we just become best friends?’, yes that moment – we named ourselves Team Hauss. Keep in mind, this was way before CrossFit came around with their tagline, ‘Strong is the new skinny’ – we were WAY out of the norm from the ’90s string-bean model ideals. And for me, there was a moment there of radiant acceptance of myself, my body shape, my actions, my ability to eat a lot of food and not feel bad about it, and my athleticism in that connection. Though we looked different than the magazine and a lot of our friends, we were ourselves. I am so grateful to have been a member of Team Hauss, it was a gamechanger for me.



Mary Beth LaRue, yoga teacher, Rock Your Bliss:
The summer I moved to NYC to work at JANE Magazine. I’d struggled with body image and eating disorders for years and that summer I gave myself permission to fall in love with life, and in turn myself, again. Rather than restricting and beating myself up I allowed myself whatever I wanted and however much I wanted. Some days it was a big crunchy salad and a green juice and other days a grilled cheese and a beer. As I explored the city I found some many new facets to myself and started to really truly grow into the woman I am today.


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Delia Brown, artist:
In high school I remember loving myself somewhat, but still feeling very split: There was the lovable side, but there was also a side that needed to be destroyed (the part that didn’t match what my ego wanted). I still struggle with total self-acceptance, but I can certainly say that the older I get, the more okay I am with all of my parts. When you no longer see yourself as split, when your parts feel truly integrated (when it’s not You Against Your Body, or The Awesome You vs. The Lame You, etc), you stop being such a harsh critic. I’ve had a couple of really wonderful therapists who helped me with that a lot.


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Lynn Chen, actress + activist, The Actor’s Diet + Thick Dumpling Skin:
It was somewhere in the middle of my eating disorder recovery and while I was trying to have a baby. I think I realized that I had to stop equating my self worth with what my body was able/wasn’t able to do. For so long I thought it would be great to be pregnant, to use that as an excuse to eat whatever I wanted. Three years of infertility later, I realized nothing outside of myself was going to make me feel like I was enough. I had to start believing it myself, and made a conscious effort to change the way I was thinking and speaking to myself.

Nothing was going to make me feel like I was enough. I had to start believing it myself. - @mslynnchen Click To Tweet


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Tricia Huffman, Your Joyologist:
When I was fifteen. I had lots of undiagnosed pain and other medical problems and was a freshman in high school and dealing with all of that pettiness and my parents weren’t happy. I felt very alone and unloved and contemplated ending it all. I decided if I was going to end it, I may as well give myself one more chance and live my life MY way, not caring so much about everyone else and choosing to love myself. It didn’t matter what everyone else was doing if I could love myself.


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Kit Steinkellner, writer:
Oh man, I hate to say “It was a man” because that goes against a lot of what I– whatever, that’s what happened, I met my now-husband and he thought I was so great and I thought he was so smart, and if he was smart and he thought I was great…I just decided to go with the math and start thinking I was great.


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Ashlee Piper, eco-lifestyle expert, The Little Foxes:
I think this is an ever-evolving process for me (and likely everyone else, too?). I started understanding myself better when I turned 31. I left my 10-year, established career to explore what contributions I could make in the animal rights field, and it was through those challenges of redefining and getting back in touch with who I was and what I stood for that really helped me see and appreciate myself.

Doing television has also been a constantly changing lesson in accepting and loving myself. TV’s not the most forgiving medium and watching my segments has made me more appreciative of myself.

As far as a turning “point” goes – I guess I’ve had none and many, if that makes sense. Every relationship or business dealing where I haven’t felt appreciated or acknowledged has certainly acted as a mini turning point, helping me to get a better sense of what I want and deserve.
Every relationship has acted as a mini turning point, helping me get a better sense of what I deserve. - @TheLilFoxes Click To Tweet


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Sarah Dubbeldam, editor in chief + founder of Darling Magazine:
I’ve always had a positive view of myself for the most part, but it really started to shift from like to love after I’d been doing Darling for a couple of years. It’s amazing how the mentality of this movement of women loving themselves and one another wears off on you in a deep way.


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Ziza Bauer, online managing editor, Darling Magazine:
I think it’s been more of a slow turn, loving myself in looking back and realizing my mentality at different ages and how quick I’ve been to assume the worst. The more I’ve grown and met different people, different ways of life, the less hard I’ve been on my own journey.


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Kyle Wood, media relations, Darling Magazine:
In college I lived with a bunch of girls who cared SO MUCH about the way they looked. I started to think like them and pick myself apart from head to toe. I worried about everything I ate, everything I wore, what my hair looked like…everything. I became so critical about my appearance and very self-conscious. Once I moved home from school I realized that this was not how I really felt. I was adapting the mentality of the girls around me and this was very unhealthy. Ever since then I realized that I need to always think for myself – and to surround myself with like-minded people who are comfortable with themselves.


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Gigi Yogini, writer + yoga teacher:
I’ve had reoccurring awakenings all the time. Sometimes I get into a rut and then do something good for myself (like yoga, dance or take a bubble bath) and think to myself, “Oh yeah. This is what it feels like to love myself.”

Sometimes I do something and think, 'Oh yeah. This is what it feels like to love myself.' - @gigiyogini Click To Tweet

WANT Yourself:
When did you start to love yourself – did you have a “self-love” turning point? Tell us below in the comments!

The WANTcast Episode 016, Your Vulva Is A Snowflake: On Hang-Ups, Trauma, + Screwing The Shame w/ Sex Educator Anne Hodder

The WANTcast Episode 016, Your Vulva Is A Snowflake: On Hang-Ups, Trauma, + Screwing The Shame w/ Sex Educator Anne Hodder

Body Love the WANTcast

So, you’re probably wondering about that title, “your vulva is a snowflake,” and the fact that today’s episode has the word “sex” front and center

You might even be thinking, oh this episode isn’t for me, I’m not in a relationship or having sex – or, I AM in a relationship and it’s a healthy relationship – or, I’m not looking for sex advice right now – or whatever might be coming into your brain because this episode has “sex” in the title.

I want to make this clear – yes, we talk about the act of sex a little, but this episode is not about intercourse or partnership. Like, at all.

This is one of the most all-inclusive, body-positive conversations I know I’ve ever had. And probably, you too.

Anne Hodder 5-13-691
Sexuality doesn’t have a start date and an expiration date. - @theannehodder Click To Tweet

Anne Hodder is a certified sex educator, sex toy expert, and sex-positive PR & marketing pro at Hodder Media. I originally met her at the gym, in a spin class, and since then she has been such a thoughtful, wise, and supportive presence in my life. I knew that when the time was right, I needed to have her on the pod. And today, more than ever, seems like the moment to talk as candidly, honestly, graphically, and altruistically about sex, sexuality, trauma, consent, desire, and body positivity as we do here in Episode 16.

So when you hear “sex educator,” if you’re like me, you probably think about your health teacher in middle school and that one unit they did on the “how-tos” of sex and our bodies.

Talking to Anne, I learned it’s, so, SO much more than that. And while most of us get the birds and the bees talk or maybe get that year or two of classes in school, it’s NOT enough. What Anne does isn’t just talking about intercourse – it’s about owning your body, your decisions, your emotions, and making empowered choices. Yes, sometimes in the bedroom – but a lot of what she talks about doesn’t even have to do with going between the sheets.

Live your truth no matter how loud other people might get w/ their definitions. - @theannehodder Click To Tweet

In this episode, we talk about shame, what we get wrong about sexual trauma – or at least what I did – and how MUCH that explains when it comes to the way we navigate our relationships and sexuality, her experiences with talking to high schoolers vs. adults, Anne’s journey into the sex journalism and then sex education world, judgement, dealing with embarrassment, body hangups, sex positivity, body positivity, and why no emotion is mutually exclusive. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I especially love Anne’s take on the ideas surrounding “normal,” how clickbait pseudo-science articles on the web screw us up, and how we can all be WAY more accepting of who we are and how we desire.

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I came to a realization while listening back to this recording: Ann says “There are things we can and cannot say to people under 18. The thing we need to remember when talking with high school kids is that developmentally they’re in a totally different place.” And it donned on me that most of our FORMAL, ACTUAL SEX ED ends in high school health class. Which means that, for most of us, the education ends before we’re actually experiencing the majority of our mature sexual life. The education ends – and the speculation begins. No wonder sex, sexuality, and everything even closely related seems like such a mystery – the information we have was given to us based on what we were actually able to process at the time!

I had “human development class” every single year from kindergarten to sixth grade, talking about everything from dating to kissing to drugs to, yes, how babies are made. And then I got to middle school, and I distinctly remember we talked about sex in 7th grade. And then nothing in 8th, then barely anything in 9th, and that was it. In 9th grade, I was 14 years old.

I was really lucky to have incredibly open-minded and candid parents, especially a mom I could talk to or ask anything. But I know some young women aren’t as lucky growing up. Even with her guidance, I was still being handed a set of experiences and opinions – nothing from anyone actually trained to guide me through things from an educational non-parental perspective. So it makes sense to me that sex and sexuality are most commonly surrounded by shame, mystery, rebellion, etc. And moreOVER!, we only see sex portrayed a certain way in the media – USUALLY heterosexual, usually cisgender, and USUALLY two really young, really pretty people. Very little body diversity, age diversity, gender diversity. We’ve got to see more in order to normalize our own normal.

This should go without saying, but this episode IS for mature audiences – we swear a bit, we talk not GRAPHICALLY in a vulgar way but in an anatomical way, and while Anne was cracking me up throughout the entire episode, it’s definitely not a set of subjects to be taken lightly. And hey, if that’s not your thing, cool – or if you’re, I don’t know, my grandma listening (and she DOES listen) and you don’t really want to hear your granddaughter talking about this, that’s cool too! But on the huge flipside, I would say that this is an episode that should DEFINITELY be shared with anyone in your life who is open to listening, because as we discuss on the episode, we live in a culture that dodges these important topics way too often and to our detriment.

 

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Normal, just like gender, is self-defined. - @theannehodder Click To Tweet

Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes (the more reviews, the more Anne’s message is spread), share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!

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Being Afraid Of The Friends That You Need.

Being Afraid Of The Friends That You Need.

Community Most Popular Posts Motivation + Inspiration

“We are a group of ladies that like to group hug the shit out of each other and make it feel like home. Welcome to the lady gang :-* “

I received this text the other night from a fairly new-ish friend, a rad gal I’d bonded with via WANT and le internet but had never met in person. Now that we’re in the same time zone, we knew we had to meet up.

I was figuring we’d meet up for a quick coffee or some other socially/emotionally “safe” encounter that lasted no longer than 60 minutes max.

But once we started texting, she did something that completely caught me off guard in the best way possible: she invited me into her circle, and into her world.

~

I don’t know whether it’s an alien sixth sense that I have or some sort of planetary alignment working in my favor, but throughout my life I’ve been presented with some pretty badass babes out of the blue. It always plays out like one of those 90s rom-coms starring Rachel Leigh Cook or Jennifer Love Hewitt or some other teen idol with three names. Except in my version, it’s the potential friend I see from across the room, not the potential love interest. I see them in a group or meet them for a split second and I think, YES. This person is the real deal. This person is My Kinda Person.

Whether I’ve always chosen to do something about it or not has been a different story. When these people, primarily women, present themselves into my life, I sometimes hesitate to take action. What if they don’t like me? What if I am too much, too little, too awkward, too normal? What if I’m a nuisance or a bother, what if I don’t fit in? What if this person I hope I’ll connect with doesn’t understand she can show me her flaws without fearing judgement, and retreats back into her world shunning my friendship forevermore? What if she doesn’t realize that I’m on her side?

My inner dialogue around new friends ends up sounding a lot like the way I talk to myself about the person I hope to be but don’t believe I can (or am ALLOWED to) be.

 

findingfriends

Just like in romantic relationships, the sign of a healthy and meaningful friendship (especially female friendship, for the sake of this article) isn’t always just that two people can “be themselves” with each other – it’s that those same two people can go to the dark places together as a team and come out stronger on the other end. The sign of a healthy and meaningful friendship is when two people trust they’re right where they know they need to be, and trust that they’re there together.

But that’s not what’s happening out there IRL. I know, because if it was happening, we wouldn’t be talking about finding friends as an adult over and over and over again. “One study, published in 2015 in Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, looked at 540 men and women and showed we lose an average of two friends when we gain a romantic partner,” the WSJ tells me. “People have an internal alarm clock that goes off at big life events, like turning 30. It reminds them that time horizons are shrinking, so it is a point to pull back on exploration and concentrate on the here and now,” one study in the New York Times concludes. Even science agrees that making friends as an adult kind of sucks.

I keep reading the NYT piece, and something pops out at me: “As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions…and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other.”

Boom.

1950s sociologists might have been using the word “setting” to describe actual places and locations, but I think it’s something much more complex:

In order to set the stage to let our guards down and confide in one another, we must first let our guards down and confide in ourselves. The perfect “setting” that encourages friendship isn’t in a coffee shop or living room: it’s in our hearts.

The perfect 'setting' for friendship isn’t in a coffee shop or living room: it’s in our hearts. Click To Tweet

Friendship isn’t about something exciting and cool to go to in order to bond. Friendship is about compatibility on a soul level. We tend to forget this as we get older, and focus on reserving that soul-compatibility factor for our romantic partner. Friends are for having fun with. Friends are the ensemble. Friends are the side dish, a romantic partner is the main event.

So we engage in more and more superficial experiences and stay on more and more emotionally safe terrain, subconsciously and simultaneously looking for that soul connection but not wanting to go out on a limb and show our whole selves.

That’s the problem: not the coffee date, not the group hang.

If we’re supposed to be the sum of the five people we spend the most time with – then they’re our mirrors, so to speak.

 

The problem lies in the way we treat ourselves and the internal expectations we set when it comes to how much we actually want to hold a clear mirror up.


Self-acceptance, self love, and therefore friendship, is a messy experience. Many times, we’re scared. We’re scared of the person we could be and the risks we’d need to take to be that person. We’re scared of the rejection, the disappointment, and most of all, the truths that will be revealed along the way. 
The best work we can do in this life is also the work that brings to light things we’d rather not admit.

And so staying in “safe” friendships is a lot easier to stomach than the alternate. We’re not asked much of, we’re not challenged to the core; we stay in the loop of sameness we’ve always been in because it’s just so comfy there. We fear we might not be able to rise to the occasion, so we sink to the level of good-enough to quench our thirst for connection with others ergo connection with ourselves.

And then we keep talking about how hard it is to make friends as an adult.

::facepalm::

We’re afraid of the friends we know we want – nay, we know we NEED – when we’re the least stable in our own sense of self. We sink to the lowest common denominator or keep things “friendly” with a lot of people at once without connecting with anyone who really seems to get us. We get trampled on because we love to be of service and feel useful, but we aren’t down to be of service to ourselves so we try and be of service to others, but because we’re not being of service to ourselves first and foremost we end up overcommitting and fanning everyone’s fire but own own. If we’re not valuing our OWN presence in our OWN life, how can we expect someone else to value it in THEIRS?

 

Are we really so afraid to face ourselves that we’re limiting the mirrors we look into?

'Find your tribe. Love them hard.' -- @DanielleLaPorte Click To Tweet


I spent way too long shrinking back from the friends I knew I needed – because I spent way too long shrinking back from the person I knew I needed to be. I passed judgement, too; thinking certain people would never want to be my friend or were way cooler, funnier, smarter, etc than I could ever hope to be. I shied away from the women I’d feel that sixth-sense-feeling about, the ones I knew I would connect with in a deep and meaningful way. I was scared. I was scared that I was too much. I was scared I was too little. I was scared I wouldn’t be accepted. I didn’t believe we were on the same level. And obviously, it wasn’t really about the potential friend at all. It never is.

Ever so slowly, I started to build up the self worth and positive self image to be my fullest self in every situation I was in. And then I’d meet a soul-friend and she would awaken me to an even fuller version of myself. And so on and so on. The more I committed to not only being my true self out in public, but to diving deep into what really made me my truest self when I was alone in my head in private, a miraculous chain reaction started happening. I gave less shits about winning over everyone and gave more shits about connecting with the select few who resonated with my bravery to show them who I am – because they too were being brave and showing me who they were.

The trick to finding the friends that you need doesn’t lie in a shared affinity for 90s rom-coms or a mutual love of yoga. It doesn’t lie in a class you took, or a mutual friend you made, or even the fact that you fight for the same causes. The trick to finding the friends that you need is being completely and brutally honest about what you need from YOURSELF.

Then, and only then, can you – as Danielle LaPorte says – find your tribe and love them hard. Then, and only then, will your gals come around who can group hug the shit out of you and make it feel like home.

No games. No haze. Just two crystal-clear mirrors facing each other and bouncing the light off til infinity.

Welcome to the lady gang.

finding-friends

 


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