What Do You Stand For: Defining Your Through Line

What Do You Stand For: Defining Your Through Line

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What is the common theme in everything you love? What is a common goal in everything you do?

Those, my friends, are your through line.

Finding your through line is the solid base for your WANT journey. Negative talk is simply a filler for uncertainty in purpose and imbalances in your mind, body and soul. With confidence in your purpose or through line, there is less of the negative talk that we use to sabotage ourselves.

Once we find our through line and shift our actions to deliver that through line, success is inevitable.

Notice the little things that fulfill you. Not necessarily the tasks themselves, but the meaning behind those tasks. Not so much the superficial What, but the hidden Why.

We cannot succeed if we do not love what we DO – or if what we do does not fit into the big picture. We are all equipped with a through line; something we are wonderful at and are meant  to give to the world.

You might have one through line or a couple. Here are a few steps and questions to help you find yours:

Step 1: Make a list of everything you love to do or experience. I mean everything. The things that you seem to get absorbed by and fill you up from the inside out. Don’t worry about cohesiveness, list as many actions, experiences, and instances as you can think of. Cooking dinner, one-on-one time with friends, business strategy, binging on horror movies – it’s all fair game.

Step 2: Can you find a common theme within the majority of your answers? Try to find a mode and an output. Look beyond the obvious – the fact that you love to bake and you love to have spontaneous dance parties might seem unrelated, but when you dig deeper you might realize what you actually love is the act of creating something that brightens up someone else’s day. You love to bake – but when you’re sharing your treats with friends. You love to have spontaneous dance parties because it makes your husband or boyfriend or kid or dog even fill up with joy and laughter. There’s where your talents lie. That is your through line.

Just for kicks, make another list of everything you excel at. No need to hold back here – remember, confidence is not synonymous with narcissism or vanity. Now highlight the things that you can recognize your through line in. Does this list seem familiar? It should. Many of the things we love to do are the things we have a natural knack for. Pretty cool, huh? These places are where you shine the brightest.

Need an example? Here’s what the first two steps of my exercise looks like:

Step 1: I love writing, interviewing others, singing, people watching, unfiltered and authentic conversations, listening to podcasts, music, running, teaching cycle classes, taking cycle classes, pretty much exercise of all kinds, yoga classes, acting, photography, going to concerts, laughing out loud at movies, spending time with my family and soul-friends, reading non-fiction books or books written in the first person, public speaking, taking small chances, painting, drawing.

Step 2: In most of the things I love, I can see that my through line is using my unique voice to its fullest, in order to bring about the most authentic best in others. I see my “voice” not only in talking or singing to teaching, but in writing, drawing – movement even. Because if I think about it, I get bored or frustrated during exercises or classes in which I’ve got to do things exactly like someone else. I love moving like only I know how. I love listening to podcasts and reading non-fiction or books written in the first person because they spark a discussion in me; I can almost hear my voice chiming in with the author or speaker. If I look closely, everything I love has my through line of authenticating voice running through it. I stand for love – of others and yourself.

Once I first realized this, I made a mental note and carefully placed it in the corner of my mind. And whenever I would feel discontent or useless or squashed down and dull, I’d ask myself…”Katie, are you using your unique voice right now and is it resonating with the best parts of others?” If the answer was no, even if I could not fully escape the scenario that was bringing me down, I would divert my attention and place myself in a scenario in which I could use my though line to its fullest potential, however big or small that might look from the outside.

Now that you know your through line, you can invest your time a bit more wisely. It’s easy to talk negatively about ourselves when we are in those bang-your-head-against-the-wall scenarios. And we’ve all got to deal with those throughout our lives no matter what. Sometimes, things just don’t gel. Try again. Maybe that one won’t stick. Go back and look at your list, see if you can identify a nuance of your through line, or a whole other through line altogether, and try again. Trial and error is part of the deal.

I’m not saying that once you find the ways in which you shine the brightest, you’ll always be shiny and sparkly. Life would be boring and useless without mistakes and missteps and those moments in which we feel the lowest lows. But if you are strategically placing yourself in scenarios in which you can use your through line – whether it be with a new group of friends, a new relationship, a new job or simply a potential hobby you’re taking up – you’ll also feel those highest highs a whole lot higher. Your life will feel a whole lot more cohesive, and you’ll feel your purpose from the inside out.

defining your through line - what is your purpose and what do you stand for

WANT Yourself Action Plan:

In the comments section below, tell me what your through line is. How do you use it on a regular basis? Did you have an aha! moment that helped you realize what you were meant to give to the world?

Be as specific as possible – this is not an easy exercise, and your insight and experience might be exactly what someone else needs to read to realize the power they have within themselves.

WANT is a testament to the power of our pragmatically positive voice as a community and the impact we can have if we band together. Go for it, WANT peeps…

 


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I WANT: Welcome To Women Against Negative Talk

I WANT: Welcome To Women Against Negative Talk

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As I currently type this, I am yet to even make the WANT site public. I’ve gathered a few posts together, I’ve imported some of my favorite content from The Blog Formerly Known As KatieHorwitch.com, I’ve even shown the site to a few close yet brutally honest lovesies and friends. And as I currently type this, that area on the lefthand side of my chest is so tied up in knots I am almost dancing on that line of being either paralyzed by fear or energized by possibility.

It’s not fancy enough. It’s not functional enough. It’s not good enough. yet.

But then I ask, if not now – when?

When you have an idea, it is nothing until you let it live. There will always be something else you can change or some sort of way you can shift. Begin now and let it take shape. It’s what I’ve been telling myself as I shake to hit “publish.”

It’s this weird feeling, I know this is what I am meant to do.

WANT has been my purpose project all my life, a through line in my thoughts, emotions, and actions. To read more of my story, click through here. But net-net, I had no clue my biggest “roadblock,” my heightened sensitivity and awareness, was actually my biggest strength. It’s what has helped me identify the negative talk patterns we dig into here on WANT, both in myself and in others. And it’s what allowed me to really explore those small, simple shifts that ultimately help up learn a new language of self-love and self respect – and learn it fluently.

WANT is a website filled with pragmatic tools and insightful resources, it’s a collection of essays and poetry, of inspiring tidbits and emotional asides. WANT is a space for you to meet female leaders in all fields to strip away titles and share what’s helped them be proactive in their own lives so that you can do the same in yours. WANT is a hub for women (and men too, hi dudes!) to take all they see, hang onto whatever resonates, and make it work for them. WANT is a deeply personal place to find motivation, empowerment, inspiration, and actual action steps to be the you that you want to be.

We all say we want so many things that we strive and struggle for: the house, the job, the friends, the relationship, the bod. Women Against Negative Talk aims to redefine what those actually mean – what we actually WANT.

Turns out, when all the wants are stripped down bare, that thing we really want most of all…is ourselves. Every day. Every way. Let’s go and make that happen.

Spread the (good) word. I’m so happy you’re on this journey.

Love,

just-kt-signature-2

The WANT Women: My Story.

The WANT Women: My Story.

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For most of my life, I’ve had a pretty crap-tastic self image. Self confidence? Loads of it (more on that later). But the way I viewed that confidence – the opinions I formed around it, the things I did to “keep myself in check,” the image of myself I saw in my internal mirror – made it seem more like an enemy than a BFF. And self confidence ain’t shit if you don’t know what to do with it.

I became aware of both how I looked and how I thought about the world when I was about…seven? eight? Somewhere around there. Grown-ups would dote on my appearance and I was utterly confused: I didn’t look or dress like the cool kids in my class, I had big thick Winnie Cooper bangs, I narrated intricate stories to myself about the world around me while other kids seemed to just float through their lives action to action. I was instructed to stand up straight and hold my stomach in, and I was called “vain” simply for looking in the mirror for more than three seconds. While other kids were reading Sweet Valley High through their tweendom, I was reading Iyanla Vanzant and Anna Quindlen. I picked up on the emotional nuances of others and became frustrated when I was shut down because I was “too young to understand.” I desperately wanted to fit in, to love and be loved, to be someone’s favorite. How could I be, though, when I wasn’t even convinced I was my own favorite person?

Negative talk was the norm in my life when it came to the women around me. I began to think it was normal to complain about the size of your thighs, the way your stomach looked, how much you had eaten that day. I was told I was too sensitive when my feelings were hurt, I was told I was a show-off when I was proud of my work. I found myself joining in just to connect…just to fit in. My thighs, my stomach, how much I ate. I was too sensitive. I was a show-off. To this day, I don’t know which came first: seeing it, or believing it.

My self image, internal and external, fluctuated between positive and negative throughout my teens, hitting an all-time low in college when I developed Orthorexia – a form of disordered eating and lifestyle in which you’re hyper-focused on “health” before all else – before anyone really knew what it was (it’s now a much-discussed topic in the eating disorder/body image sphere). My idea of health had been defined by the women around me my entire life – fat-free, low calorie, small portions – and so no matter what research I did, I was always skeptical of anything that did not gel with the views I was brought up with.

Thankfully, I knew something was very wrong with me and identified my Orthorexia early on. Not-so-thankfully, when I started to slowly ease things I once shunned into my day (think small but important baby steps: superfood-filled smoothies, omega-rich oils and seeds, nutrient-rich goat’s milk yogurt) – I was told I was “weird” more times than I could count.

The names and snap judgements hurt me the most. The choices I made were not “normal” for a college-age girl who should be eating pizza and Subway, especially after getting so thin from her little flirtation with ED. Again, I was “too sensitive.” And when I began to excel in my Drama department, that voice came back into my head that told me I was a show-off.

The conflict between how I “should” be for others and how I wanted to be for my own recovery got so strong that it drove me further down the rabbit hole for about three years – eating in private just so I could avoid judgement in public, escaping to the gym just so I could feel a sense of accomplishment and pride, binging on junk to prove a point. I became fear-ridden in class presentations and my voice became shaky each time I went to sing. I went through a heartbreaking break-up and started to overeat at night for comfort, hoping to gain a little weight and make the critics inside and outside my head go away. Ironically, I lost even more weight, as my hormones had gone cray-cray and my metabolism had gone haywire. I was called names. I was talked about behind my back. I got into screaming fights with my closest family members over my appearance.

I ended up spending my senior year of college at home, commuting back and forth – I wanted to work, but moreso, I wanted to start fresh. I was sick of the status quo of my negative, lonely existence and knew it was not who I really was. I wanted to enter into spaces in which I felt I could be myself again. The way I wanted to treat my body, the way I wanted to love, the way I wanted to be of service to the world.

What ended up saving me? That unwavering desire to move forward into communities in which it was safe to believe in myself. Communities that didn’t have to be quantitative to be meaningful – communities in which I could be the Katie I knew I wanted to be. Those communities, go figure, started with me truly wanting to do the work within myself to move forward fearlessly, and to do it for me alone.

Through fitness, friendships, and fearless love, I finally learned that who I was…was exactly who the world needed from me. It was during this time and transition that WANT was conceived – when I realized there was no place or outlet to actually help women kick the sources of their discontent to the curb, not just band-aid them up with pretty affirmations alone.

One big source? Casual negativity: the negative talk we use without even thinking twice, the stuff that’s become our vernacular. Both in our heads and out loud. I realized that the talk I’d been hearing it all my life – I’m so fat – I suck at this – I’m too sensitive – was a cultural epidemic, and there was no place that existed to recognize and shift these detrimental norms.

I went through many, many ups and downs, mini crises, and self image fluctuations. Fast forward to the present: I still do. But with every thought or feeling comes a chance to learn and think better, do better, be better. I love when I win and I love when I lose, and lordy help me if I stop loving it all.

My hope is that WANT gives women (but men too, hi dudes!) a way to experience the full range of their thoughts and emotions and then proactively transcend them. I will never sugar coat anything on here or be the Pollyanna type you see in rom-coms. And I’ll show you there is a whole world of wonderful women out there who are becoming leaders of their own lives. No matter where you fall on the self love spectrum, as long as you’re not afraid of facing your entire self, head on, this is the place for you.