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?

~

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?

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

The Right Track: How To Tell If You’re Using Your Intuition or Being Triggered

The Right Track: How To Tell If You’re Using Your Intuition or Being Triggered

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(Everyone’s got at LEAST ONE crazy story when it comes to dating. I never liked to date…so when it comes to crazy stories, I literally have one. Just one. But I think it’s pretty good :) I also talked about this with Ashlee Piper on Episode 18 of the WANTcast if you’d like to hear more.)

A few years ago, I was introduced to a guy via some mutual friends, via Facebook. We were a perfect match on paper – and apparently, in our friends’ minds too. We began a very intimate, very personal relationship remotely based entirely on the idea that we were a perfect match. Swept up in the moment and my intuition telling me this is what was supposed to happen, I booked a plane ticket to fly out of state to see him.

Mind you, this was within 30 minutes of talking to him for the very first time. EVER. Via text. Not even a voice-to-voice call. And I was now going to spend a weekend with him. I’m historically cautious and haven’t ever really been a fan of the unknown, so from the outside this was WAY out of character. I had friends telling me it was no big deal, and I had friends telling me I was nuts. But I knew he wasn’t a psycho (my friends would have told me) and I knew in my gut it was right. So two weeks later, I found myself boarding a plane to Texas.

The couple sitting next to me on my flight had a daughter who had gone to my elementary school. We knew at least five of the same people. They were delightful. I never talk to people on flights, and I found myself chatting with them the entire way. This is a sign, I thought. This is meant to be. I already had my intuition telling me to move forward, now I was getting even more proof from the outside that this was sure to be the romance of a lifetime!

I entered the terminal with my heart beating out of my chest. I slowly walked through the oversized archway soaking in the feeling of a life that would never be the same.

I rolled down the escalator.

I saw him.

He was not my guy.

using-your-intuition
Intuition, by definition, is something that one knows (or considers likely) based on instinctive feeling. It’s quick and doesn’t register consciously. It’s a sense of “knowing” without even really knowing how you know. It’s so strong, so powerful, that many of us choose not to listen. It’s scary to trust your gut, especially when it senses things you don’t want to be true. Intuition feels so concrete, so objective, that no evidence is needed for you to know it’s right. And that can be scary.

There are times, however, when evidence is steering the ship. Some call it “jumping to conclusions,” but I like to call it being triggered. The term “triggers” is typically used to describe sensations, images, or experiences that remind you of a memory. And while you might not prefer the conclusion the trigger is making you jump toward, you are absolutely convinced of its truth, because you’ve got evidence to prove it.

Our problem, as a culture, is that we live in a noisy world that’s constantly drowning out that inner voice. Forget about companies and marketing – we’re our OWN worst enemies. We broadcast our lives and compare ourselves to others in hopes of receiving the validation we so crave from the world and ourselves. We’re looking for signs as to whether we’re doing this “LIFE” thing right or wrong, and what better way than to gather evidence?

And so we take evidence from our past to inform our future. We become emotionally swayed by what we see, and convince ourselves we’re the ones in control. We confuse the feeling of being triggered with what our intuition is trying to tell us.

We confuse the feeling of being triggered with what our intuition is trying to tell us. Click To Tweet

When we’re triggered by someone or something, a memory is stirred up, and an emotion rises that’s been festering for days, months, years, maybe even decades. Of course it feels as natural as intuition; we’ve spent so much time living with this masked belief system inside of us.

I’ve got intuition for days. I’ve learned how to listen to that objective feeling inside, whether I like what it’s telling me or not. But this doesn’t mean I don’t get swayed from time to time. When you have a strong sense of intuition and are triggered by something strong, it’s very easy to react. You’ve spent so much time “just knowing,” you assume that your intuition is always in control. But intuition is never impulsive; it’s proactive, not reactive.

When I slid down that escalator, my intuition told me this was not my “forever” person. But it wasn’t a feeling of danger or dread, it was just kind of…meh. Nope. My gut told me it was over before it began.

But did that stop me? Nope. He was tall, handsome, great energy, nothing off-putting whatsoever. We’d already established more emotional intimacy in ten days than some of my relationships had in ten months. We’d talked on the phone for hours, written love letters back and forth – and our friends were more than certain we were the perfect pair.

Triggers don’t always come in negative form. The promising depth we’d established, the on-paper compatibility, and the overwhelming reassurance of my friends reminded me of all the things I’d hoped for in relationships prior but had never gotten (or at least gotten all at once). I ended up staying with him for two months, trying way harder than my gut wanted me to – forcing happiness and bliss when it was really just a romanticized idea I wanted to come to fruition.

using-your-intuition

If you’re trying to figure out whether you’re being triggered or using your intuition, here are two questions to ask yourself:

(1) How emotionally charged is this thought/feeling? When you get an intuitive sense about something, it’s not because of anything people can see. It feels like a “knowing” as clear as the sky is blue. It just comes to you.

We all have the ability to tap into our intuition this clearly – it’s just that, most of the time, intuition is not based in rational emotion or evidence, so we ignore it. However, if you’re being triggered, you’ve got ALL the emotions and at least some sort of evidence to validate them, so it’s really tempting to believe. Whether those emotions and that evidence has to do directly with the situation at hand or not is inconsequential; in the moment, evidence is evidence.

The thing about intuition is that the emotions aren’t what matters. It’s the “truth” part – the feeling of knowing. If a thought or feeling is bubbling up and it’s based in emotion, it’s a good idea to check yourself and dig deeper.

(2) Am I trying to talk myself into, or out of, this thought/feeling? Most of us were taught from a very young age not to trust our feelings (or at least to second-guess them). We were told to “play nice,” and at times were made to feel as if we were too sensitive. Rational and cautious adults taught us to pause and be rational and cautious just like them. Although it was all well-intentioned, we subconsciously learned to talk ourselves out of our intuitive feelings and into more rational or evidence-based ones.

Identifying intuition gets messy when strong emotions (aroused by an ACTION OR CIRCUMSTANCE) come into play. Strong emotions are evidence that can lead to a conclusion. I’ve learned to realize that when I cannot separate what is happening from the emotions of the situation – I’m reacting to a trigger.

Intuition always helps me understand whatever situation is at hand, even if I don’t exactly know how I understand it. Triggers, however, feel like something that’s CONVINCING me to understand. A good rule of thumb when faced with a decision and you’re unclear if that decision is being driven by intuition or a trigger: If you’re trying to talk yourself out of it, it’s probably worth a second look. If you’re trying to talk yourself into it, you’re looking for answers in the wrong places.

Intuition helps you understand - even if you don’t exactly know HOW you understand. Click To Tweet

I knew in my gut that that person I flew to see was “not my guy.” But I also wasn’t getting danger signals to end it and fly home right away. It just came to me as sort of a casual, internal observation. My triggers were what made me believe this “perfect match” truth I’d convinced myself of in my head, and made the whole thing into a lot more than it ever really was. In hindsight, I think my intuition wanted me to keep things light and way less emotionally invested. But I was being triggered, and that got my hopes up. I was convinced the bliss would come at some point.

He wanted to fly out to see me the very next month. I knew he wasn’t my guy but I had this weird feeling that this was the right thing to do. So I didn’t stop him.

We ended it on that trip. On his flight home, he met a girl from his hometown. And that girl is now his wife.

Me? I’m a lot braver now. I listen to my intuition no matter what, and I pause before some sort of external expectation takes me places I don’t really want to go. If I had never gotten on that plane, I would have never learned how brave I could be. If I had never taken a chance, I would have never taken all the chances I’ve taken since then. Our relationship didn’t work out, but I walked away with more self-confidence I’d ever had in my life. The big things still feel big, but if my intuition is telling me YES, I jump without hesitation. If we’d never had our crazy love story, he would have never met his now-wife on that flight home – and I would have never known the objective, intuitive feeling of “yep, that’s my guy” if I hadn’t experienced the exact opposite.

Following your intuition doesn’t mean you won’t have doubts or fears come in and try to sway you otherwise, and it doesn’t mean you won’t question yourself along the way. But it does mean you’re on the right track. And you’ve got to trust that. Fiercely. Even when you don’t know why it’s the right track…or what right track you’re paving along the way.

using-your-intuition
WANT Yourself:
Tell me in the comments – have you ever had a moment like mine, where your intuition was telling you one thing but you convinced yourself to believe another? What did you do? And what did you learn from the experience?

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Down In The Slumps: The Simple, No-B.S. Shift For When You’re Feeling Discouraged

Down In The Slumps: The Simple, No-B.S. Shift For When You’re Feeling Discouraged

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I make lists like it’s my job. And for a while there, it was: I’ve gone down the personal assistant route, I’ve written round-ups of everything from the best protein bars to “7 bike shorts that don’t suck.” My methods for getting to-dos to-DONE are impressive at best, neurotic at worst. Bubbles, arrows, brackets – my lists are more like living breathing flow chat entities than items to be checked off (don’t even get me started on my Google Cal notifications).

My professional-life-enthusiast status does not come without its pitfalls, though. I have a tendency to become dependent on strategizing, and therefore a little addicted to a steady stream of outcomes. Which isn’t really a problem, until it is.

Sometimes life gets in the way of plans, but sometimes it also feels like life is that one super-late party guest who keeps texting you that she’s “ten minutes away” and then just ends up saying she’ll catch you next time. As much as I’d LOVE to be able to To-Do List my life, usually the universe has stuff in store that doesn’t quite line up with the algorithmic vision I have of causes and effects.

And when I find myself without a next step – or anything to show for my time and work, really – I deflate.

My friend Diane calls it being “down in the slumps.” Nope, not down in the dumps – down in the slumps. Her slumpy catchphrase was originally born out of a misunderstood idiom, but I’ve now found it’s actually pretty accurate when it comes to describing that lame feeling of defeat. It’s not just sad or depressed: when you’re down in the slumps, you feel like all the air that’s been keeping you buoyantly afloat has been drained out of your spirit. You try and try to hoist yourself back up into the air, but it’s nearly impossible to get even a few inches off the ground without slumping down over yourself more and more just a few seconds later.

I’ve seen my share of slumpy slumps. Heck, I just uprooted my entire life and moved across the country – don’t you think for one second that that sort of acclimatization process doesn’t come with its fair share of slump feelings. My slumps have almost exclusively been a result of (unintentionally) going cold-turkey on my “habit addiction,” not even leaving me with a set of vague rules or roads to use as guideposts. It’s why I’m historically not chummy with change, and why transitions are such a challenge for meWhat have you even been doing? an unfamiliar judgmental voice inside me nags. You’re a smart woman; you’re wasting your potential. You have nothing to show for the days/weeks/months that have passed you by.

You’re not trying hard enough.

You’re not doing nearly enough.

Enough enough enough. You’re definitely not enough.

Hey, inner voice, here’s a newsflash: sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard you try. Sometimes what’s necessary is exactly what you dislike the most. Sometimes you need to explore your full range of emotions to find out where the key is to get back out into the sunlight. Sometimes the challenge is necessary for the change.

Sometimes the challenge is necessary for the change. Click To Tweet

When I was in high school, my theater teacher used to tell us that instead of saying we were nervous before a show, we should tell ourselves that we were actually excited. Both nervous and excited are “aroused emotions,” meaning they trigger a response in the body that prepares you for action. Studies are now showing what theatre kids have known for their entire lives: Turning your words around in a tense situation can turn your emotions around, too. 

But what about when the emotions you’re feeling are a response to inaction? How do you flip a shitty feeling without sounding like freaking Mary Poppins or your well-meaning great aunt who passive-aggressively reminds you about ticking clocks and when-I-was-your-age and your super successful third cousin and what-not?

What happens when doing everything you can just never feels like enough?

~

Did you ever think about why exactly it is that you’re down in the slumps? Why is it that you’re able to feel as discouraged as you do?

Think of it this way: if you were actually an unmotivated, untalented, no-passion loser, discouragement wouldn’t be an option, right? You’d be living in blissful ambivalence, not caring about anyone or anything – CERTAINLY not giving a crap about moving forward fearlessly.

But you’re NOT any of those things, because you’re not someone who doesn’t care. Your discouragement is a reminder that you care, and care deeply.

The OG of motivational speakers, Zig Ziglar, once said It’s not about how far you fall, it’s about how high you bounce.

Did you ever think that the reason your lows are so low…is because you’re fearless enough to go chase the high highs?

Did you ever think that we’re all just getting the wording wrong?


We say we’re stuck and discouraged when really, we should be saying we’re ambitious and driven.

 

The great thing about ambitious and driven people is that they’re always seeking growth and expansion. Whether that’s personal growth (relationships, health, spirituality), career-related growth (new jobs, new projects, new ideas), or something else, the ambitious person is a professional possibility seeker. It’s part of them. It’s in their bones.

The flip is that possibility is subjective. One person’s vision is another person’s dead-end. So what happens when there’s no possibility to be found? The ambitious person shrinks. She deflates herself to fit the perceived space around her, one she sees as too small and narrow to hold her drive and desires.

She slumps.

How many times have we altered who we are in our core just to fit in? When possibility is scarce, we start to think “it’s us.” So we lower our intensity, mute our opinions, and become a shell of who we are in order to survive and thrive in the elements of where we are. Ambition and drive seem like negative qualities, not positive, when you’re buying into the belief that the world isn’t big enough to receive what you have to offer.

It’s a simple, borderline-positive-affirmation-esque shift. But what makes the discouraged-to-driven shift different than any old affirmation (or any BS click-baity strategy that ultimately just tells you to look on the bright side) is that with affirmations you need to talk yourself into believing the phrase. The discouraged-to-driven shift is easier to recognize as truth right off the bat. You’ve got PROOF from your life to support this fact. Times you’ve succeeded. Times you’ve soared. It’s just that it’s a whole lot easier to praise ambition and drive when things are actually going your way. So in frustrating or deflating times, it’s essential to remind yourself of your true nature.

In frustrating or deflating times, it's essential to remind yourself of your true nature. Click To Tweet

When you’re feeing discouraged, remind yourself that there is a big world out there that’s more than big enough to fit your unique level of ambition, intensity, and courage. All people have that electric drive in them. But not all people are brave enough to explore where it can lead them. It’s easier to give into the slump than it is to slowly-but-surely soar. You choose to go for the “soar” even though it requires you to show up, both physically and emotionally. You fall down and have to improvise at times, and if you’re like me and would rather have a list of to-dos to get to-DONE, it’s never going to be comfortable. But you’ll get there. That drive is part of what makes you extraordinary.

Side note – don’t you think I’ve stopped making lists in my life. It’s just not an *addiction* anymore. There was a time I thought my lists were what kept me motivated…but now I realize that it’s just the opposite. My lists are just byproducts of the motivation that sets everything in motion in the first place. There’s a whole lot in my life I’m just not able to list out and check off in sequence. Like what happens after you move across the country. Or what happens when you leave a job. But I know I’m a doer, and I know whatever the slump, I’ll find a way through.

There are unknowns and there are pivots, and there are times when it feels like you don’t even know where to start getting started. I get it. But the small step of identifying and trusting who you are at your core is the perfect small step to get the ball rolling. It’s not about how far you fall, it’s about how high you bounce. It’s not about how low you slump, it’s about how high you soar.

 

feeling-defeated-getting-motivated
It's not about how low you slump, it's about how high you soar. Click To Tweet


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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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WANT All-Stars: The 7 Most-Read Pieces Of WANT Wisdom

WANT All-Stars: The 7 Most-Read Pieces Of WANT Wisdom

Body Community Love Motivation + Inspiration Tips + Tools Work

There's so much I love about WANT. I love the community that surrounds it. I love how it's ever-changing. But most of all, I think, I love how every single essay, article, how-to, interview, tip, trick, podcast, even Instagram photo seems to inspire something beautiful in someone else. 

Each week, you tell me how WANT is helping you in your own life. Maybe you just moved back in with your parents and are feeling at a standstill. Maybe you're becoming a parent yourself, and realizing there is this entirely new world you've just entered into that apparently does NOT come with a manual (like, at all). Maybe you're ending a job, a relationship, a stage of life - or maybe a new one is just beginning. Whatever it is, what I love about you and the WANT community is the way you move forward fearlessly through whatever challenge life hands you. You don't rest on the status quo - heck, you don't rest on "DON'T"s themselves. You're proactive, not reactive, and are interested in true, lasting change when it comes to actualizing the you YOU know you're meant to be.

Over the last year and a half, we've been able to dive in and dig deep together, and your emails and comments inspire ME to, as Michelle Obama so eloquently stated yesterday, "Go high when they go low." Whether "they" means other people, life in general, or the voices inside of our head, I feel so blessed to be surrounded by WANT Women (and men!) who choose to go high.

So in honor of my favorite summer pasttime - summer reading! - I'm rounding up the 7 most read WANT posts of all-time. Grab a glass of iced tea, lay out a beach towel, and soak in these favorites:

WOMAN AGAINST NEGATIVE TALK: JESSAMYN STANLEY ON BEING WORTHY FROM TOP TO BOTTOM

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The biggest yoga myth that’s out there? That yoga is just for one body type. People like Jessamyn are the solution. • READ MORE 

MAKING FRIENDS AS AN ADULT: IT’S NOT ABOUT THE BESTIE

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In a world that’s put such importance on pairings, what does it really mean to have a "best" friend? And why are so many of us finding our playground surprisingly barren?  READ MORE 

AND I’M FEELING GOOD: SHIFTING A BAD BODY DAY (OR WEEK) WITHOUT KIDDING YOURSELF

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In a funk? Here's how to dig deep and make lasting change.  READ MORE 
 

THE 4-LETTER WORD THAT NO ONE’S CENSORING (BUT SHOULD BE)

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It’s a word that's violent and should be used sparingly. So why do we use it so much, especially about ourselves?  READ MORE 

THREE INCHES OF SIDEBOOB: ON THE PHANTOM GAZE, PREEMPTIVE BODY-SHAMING, AND “A LITTLE TOO MUCH”

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We’re taught to body shame ourselves before we even walk out the door, because if we notice it first, then maybe, just maybe, our own censorship will prevent the judgement of others. One of my most personal stories on WANT.  READ MORE 

A CRASH COURSE IN CASUAL NEGATIVITY: THE NOT-SO-SILENT CONFIDENCE KILLER

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If this is what our unconscious self talk sounds like, how can we ever expect to conquer the negative self-talk that’s conscious? • READ MORE ➪

GHOST WORRIES

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Unpacking the fear of what MIGHT happen.   READ MORE 


NOW YOU: What has been your favorite article on WANT? Is it one of the above - or maybe something else? How has WANT helped you in your own life? Tell us in the comments below.


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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!