Many of us have experienced Shame from multiple sources for not having a loving relationship with ourselves. We need to stop that behavior.
For a long time in my life, I kept a running tally in my brain about what I had done wrong, where I had failed, and how badly I had messed up things in my life. I suspect the real reason I kept that list is I was so desperate to protect myself from being blindsided by someone else’s criticism that I was desperately clinging to every wrongdoing I could even possibly think about doing.
In all honesty, even just looking back that was absolutely exhausting! And the reality is you can never be prepared for every single complaint from every single person in the world! It just doesn’t work that way. Over the last 20 years, I have worked with numerous clients who have the same or similar habits and behaviors. The problem is holding on to these frustrations and resentments towards ourselves put us at war with ourselves. That’s not only not healthy, it’s actually fairly dangerous. I was looking at research a few days ago that says holding a resentment towards ourselves actually has the potential to increase inflammation.
There are so many myths running around about forgiveness. Some of the common ones I have heard from clients include: If I forgive that makes what they did okay, there’s no way I could possibly forget what they did, or I don’t want to let them off the hook. I want you to know that I hear and validate each of those statements fully. However, that’s not how I approach forgiveness at all.
My working definition of forgiveness is: “Giving up the hope of a different or better yesterday”. I’d love to show you how to put this into practice. I absolutely believe we can put the past in the past. I also truly believe that many of the clients I have worked with (based on what they tell me) are no longer living lives that are ruined by their past. Your future is yours and it’s up to you to create the future that you desire and long for. My recommendations to allow you to leave the past in the past and create the perfect future for you include:
1. How Important Is It Really: This is a great filter to run your experiences and thoughts through. Before you decide to be upset about something or beat yourself up, ask yourself how important it really is. Will it matter a year from now? Will it matter in ten years from now? Is it worth losing sleep over? When we begin to run our experiences through this filter, it empowers us and gives us more control. It doesn’t mean it’s not okay for you to be upset or hurt, it just changes the outcome of your experiences.
2. Don’t Take It To Bed: Do you remember that old saying about not going to bed angry? That’s literally my suggestion. Many of the clients I work with, myself included, have a lower quality of sleep if they go to bed angry or frustrated. My experience is when we go to bed (or even to sleep) with residual issues or emotions that are unexpressed, it creates a carryover effect for the next day. We wake up less than well rested, we are already on edge, and we are just carrying that crap from yesterday around with us.
3. Practice Intentional Gratitude: I mean this very literally! I would love to see you begin practicing gratitude over each and everything. The great stuff, the mediocre stuff, the crappy stuff, and the downright awful stuff. I have found that when I aim to be intentionally grateful for everything that I experience in my life it creates a massive and instant shift. In his research about how to heal the brain, Dr. Daniel Amen talks about how just focusing on three gratitude’s each day creates a better quality of life in three weeks.
4. Communicate Your Thoughts Clearly: Even if you are living alone, on a desert island, communicating your thoughts and experiences clearly is so crucial. Even if you are only communicating it to yourself! Write it out, speak it out, sing it out, or paint it out. I really am not concerned about how you communicate or even what method of communication you use. If you live alone, journal your thoughts or feelings out. If you are in intimate relationships find a way to communicate with those people in your life. You will find so much freedom when you find your voice.
5. Take An Accurate Inventory: An accurate inventory is done on a consistent basis. If you try this philosophy and it daily is too much, back it down to once a week. Let’s set you up for success. The key is to leave emotions out of the equation and to carefully not delve into morbid reflection. When grocery stores take an inventory they don’t beat themselves up for running out of tomato soup. That would be absolutely silly, right? When we are taking an accurate inventory it typically consists of: what went well, what we could improve on, and where we need to grow. I also value being able to assess if there’s anything I need to clean up. Do I need to apologize, do I need to make an amends and do I need to do something to help someone? It’s an absolute shift in focus.
6. Forgiveness Starts With Us: This is such a challenging concept for many of us who have spent our lives beating ourselves up! When we use the definition I provided earlier, “Giving up the hope of a different or better yesterday,” I think it takes the people and situations out of the equation. When we begin practicing radical forgiveness towards ourselves it allows us to be human without the risk of being abused by ourselves. Forgiveness also clears up the garbage that we are carrying around so we can make room to begin loving ourselves.
I sincerely hope you found these suggestions beneficial. I am officially launching the Self Love Adventure. If you want to increase the amount of love you treat yourself with, you will want to join us. Learn more about it here: https://www.jennbovee.com/self-love
Jenn Bovee is a Shame Busting Coach who is dedicated to helping people overcome the impact of Shame.
Unworthiness and lack of self-care over time put us at war with ourselves. I absolutely love working with people who have declared war on themselves because they are the people who make a complete 180! They are also the people who are typically willing to challenge your suggestions every step of the way. Removing the self-hate programming from your life is not an instant procedure.
I’m committed to this process for the long haul. In the end, I hope that you fall madly and deeply in love with yourself. And if you keep reading these blogs, keep signing up for the initiatives, and give it a try I suspect that you will find that you have learned to love yourself. Perhaps it will happen as subtly as it did for me. Literally, one day I noticed that I no longer cringed when I saw my reflection. And as I checked in, sure enough, the self-love was happening!
The difficulty for many people is how to go from hating ourselves, beating ourselves up for every movement, and constantly critiquing every little thing we do, to suddenly (and seemingly randomly) just loving ourselves. That’s too big of a leap for many people. So let’s start small and make the journey worth every step of the way!
My goal with this blog is to empower you to naturally and easily stop the self-hate. Because once that process is complete the power of self-love begins to slowly increase. And sooner, rather than later, you find yourself deeply in love with yourself!
Maybe you don’t full out “hate” yourself! Maybe you are just your own biggest critique. Perhaps you are only trying to prevent yourself from being blindsided by other people’s complaints. It’s possible that this is just a learned behavior, a method of keeping yourself safe. However, it’s not effective and it’s truly not helping you! Allow yourself to resign from the committee dedicated to beating the hell out of you.
Regardless of if you find yourself 100% on the hating yourself bandwagon, read through my suggestions and see if there’s any room at all for you to apply these tips. If you can at all benefit from the suggestions, apply them! None of us are beyond self-improvement.
Here are my recommendations to ditch the self-hate with ease and grace:
Stop Looking For and Expecting the Worst: When you expect and look for the worst-case scenario, that’s exactly what you find. Do you want to feel like the world’s biggest piece of poop? Probably not. When we stop looking for the worst, we begin to allow ourselves to experience and find the opposite end of that spectrum. Everything is not always going to be all rainbows and sunshine, but things can change if we allow them to. What we look for we find, and when we start making room for positive experiences things begin to shift for us.
Implement Effective Boundaries: Sometimes we need to tell others, and ourselves NO. By establishing effective and healthy boundaries, we begin to release the need to overcommit ourselves and subsequently beat ourselves up for not being able to follow through. Boundaries don’t make you mean, selfish or self-centered. Boundaries are actual a movement into loving yourself and choosing yourself.
Forgive Easily and Intentionally: My favorite definition of forgiveness is giving up the hope for a different or better yesterday. I absolutely love the concept of intentional forgiveness. It implies a certain gracefulness and ease in forgiving. The next time someone cuts you off in traffic, the next time someone hurts your feelings, and the next time someone doesn’t keep their commitment to you the instant action is to forgive them. This translates nicely towards ourselves as well. Can you imagine how that would feel to have your default be to extend grace towards yourself rather than harshness?
Celebrate Failure: I mean this one very literally! Every single thing that you fail out, I literally want you to celebrate it! This may sound strange to many of you, but I would like you to hear me out. When many people experience failure they perceive it as being the end. What if you changed your perception to failure only signifying you discovering a way that didn’t work for you? Which therefore allows you to get closer and closer to achieving your actual goal.
Embrace Resting: One of the most rewarding things I have ever done is to schedule a nap into my workdays! This is literally one of the best things I have done. I’m not talking about sleeping 15 or 18 hours a day. But rather than going and going and going and continuously pushing through things resting is many times a great reward. Resting can include eating a nutritious meal or making sure you are hydrating properly. I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to get at least 8 hours of sleep.
Use the Weapon of Gratitude: When we begin using gratitude as a part of our first line of defense, everything begins to shift. One time I had decided to begin practicing intentional gratitude. I had everything set up so I could succeed at this. And the day it was supposed to start I woke up with a puking migraine. I remember thinking that puking in between my clients was not what I wanted to be grateful for. As I was driving home, I made the decision that I was going to be grateful that my body felt safe enough to communicate with me, and that I was grateful my schedule was flexible enough to allow me to go home and rest. This was a huge shifting point for me. I really encourage you to do it!
Imagine it dissipating: Check in with your body and find the place where the lack of love resides. It’s a fairly simple process, just close your eyes, take a deep breath, and ask your body where the lack of self-love resides in your body. Then take a few moments every day and imagine or pretend that it’s growing smaller and smaller. Until eventually it’s no longer there at all!
I long to empower each and every human alive to fall in love with themselves. To believe in themselves so completely and so unapologetically that nothing can interfere with that love!
Jenn Bovee is a Shame Busting Coach who empowers people to step into the life of their wildest dreams. Jenn would love to invite you to join The Self Love Adventure. Sign up here:https://www.jennbovee.com/self-love
To be completely transparent, if you would have attempted to talk to me about the correlation between self-care and finances a few years ago, I would have told you that you had lost your mind. I would have even argued that finances have zero part in self-care! Thankfully none of you did because I would have been both arrogant and wrong. There’s such a strong correlation between self-care and finances. I actually am actively involved in my finances now because it IS a form of self-care for me. A few years ago my husband and I were having a discussion about financial stuff. I told him how unfair it was that he can see everything about my accounts at all times, but I don’t have the ability to see his stuff. He asked me if I knew why I didn’t have the ability to see his accounts, I surmised it’s because he’s a control freak. He informed me that it was really him trying to protect me because if I saw how low his accounts sometimes go, it would create massive stress for me. I know I’m not alone in finances being a trigger for stress (and sometimes trauma), right?
In my personal history, many years ago, anytime I experienced any financial stress I would stop paying all of my bills and I would stop spending money. Now to the logical mind, you may already see the error of this way of thinking. However, in my mind, I was trying to protect myself. We all have those special quirks about our financial story, coupled with the lies that we have told ourselves about money and spending. And trust me that was built on a house of lies!
My finances used to be a hot mess in all sincerity (not unlike other areas of my life!). And what I have noticed in hindsight is that the more I worked on healing my relationship with self-care the more some of these other areas came to be healed as well. One of those areas was absolutely finances. I now approach my finances from a very proactive role and like to be aware of where my money is going at all times. Being an active participant in my own financial life is a form of self-care. I hope this helps you to feel more empowered in your financial life as well as to put you in a position to create a financial self-care routine in your life. My recommendations are as follows:
1. Remove Temptations to Miss-Spend: I don’t go walk around the mall, or good smelly places (lush, bath & body works, etc.) because my restraint is minimized when those amazing smells are in play. If you struggle with overspending places literally don’t go there! We live in a day and age where you can literally have the groceries brought out to you at many grocery stores. I wouldn’t walk around Starbucks with a loaded Starbucks app either for the record. (Unsweetened iced teas are my weakness). If you know something is a weakness for you, take control and set yourself up for success.
2. Be Mindful of Your Purchases: The way this looks is different for everyone. For some people, this is exactly why they balance their checkbooks. For others, it’s why they check their online bank accounts so frequently. My recommendations are to budget before you spend. I had a friend who wouldn’t make any unplanned purchases before thinking about it for at least 24 hours.
3. Set Priority Money Aside First: I mean this very literally. Every time I get money in I look at where my medical account expenses are going to be this coming week as well as put some of the money into my tax account. In a perfect world, I would also set aside money for vacation, massages, etc. But on average I typically focus on medical expenses and taxes. My recommendation is to find what your priorities are and focus on them. Many years ago I was very far in debt. I created a sheet that was on my bulletin board where I tracked every single payment. You have to find a method that works for you, but let’s take some action.
4. Monitor Your Accounts: I have preached this one to my clients forever! And yet, I recently realized I was paying for two services that I’m not using at all. We all have the greatest of intentions. However, if you are paying for a service that you haven’t used in more than three months my recommendation is to freeze it or stop the payments.
5. Create Financial Goals: Having financial goals is a form of self-care because it allows us to be proactive. I literally only pick one goal at a time. My current focus is on paying off the IRS. Once that is completed then I will move on to the only credit card we have. Having financial goals allows me to have a sense of purpose. It also allows me to feel as if I am not just floating along from bill to bill, trying to keep my head above water. Set small goals! Remember it can be to either save money or pay off bills, totally your call!
6. Take Control – (pay bills early or on time): I am most comfortable if we are paying our bills early. When we pay our bills right on time or late, it creates stress for me. In the end of December, I got sick and lost track of where we were on our bills. Nobody died, nobody got evicted but this created tremendous stress for me. I have found that if I review the bills due for the week on Monday and get them paid then, things go a lot smoother for me.
7. Communicate: I have learned that communicating about my finances puts me in a position to take better care of myself. Recently, I was in a position where I didn’t have the money to pay a friend the money I needed to. I emailed her before the payment was due and explained the situation. I told her if it was a huge deal I could figure something out, or I could pay it a few weeks later. She opted to skip this month’s payment. The lesson in this for me was: when we communicate about our finances and financial needs people typically meet them gracefully.
I’m a huge advocate for the concept that anything CAN be self-care. If it’s self-care for you, then that’s phenomenal. Self-care can be different for everyone and look different for everyone. Introducing self-care into your financial world creates a whole new level of care for yourself. When you are practicing financial self-care it opens the door to increasing yourself love and worthiness.
Jenn Bovee is a Shame Busting Coach who is in the process of releasing the Self Love Initiative.
Stay informed of what she’s doing by going here: https://www.jennbovee.com/free-self- care
We all use rituals every day. I’m curious to know your rituals of self care.
When you are living with grief and loss it can make the holidays stressful. Check out Jenn’s tips for thriving!
I remember as a child, watching my mom work endlessly and way beyond exhaustion so that we could all enjoy the Holidays. In my family, we celebrated Christmas and I think she was up until at least 3 am on Christmas eve and up by 7am on Christmas Day. She would be doing the last minute things that the rest of us hadn’t thought about or didn’t pay attention. I’m not sure if it’s like that in every family, but I know there have been a few Christmas’s that I’ve been up a little bit too late wrapping presents and what not.
As the holiday season approaches, the obligations and activities you engage in likely increases. For many people they need to prepare their own home, prepare some food for at least one event, and grab some gifts. That doesn’t include multiple family get togethers, work holiday parties, and other activities. If you have children the list of things you need to do likely increases, and includes: school holiday parties, school music programs, and gifts for the teachers.
Regardless of the expectations, obligations, or activities that you are engaging in during this holiday season I want to empower you to be able to engage in some very realistic and healing self-care. I have watched for decades as people just toss their self-care aside in an effort to be able to show up for other people. (I’m not going to address the inherent difficulties with that philosophy in this blog.)
Please also understand that in my experience, anything CAN be self-care. Sometimes for me, self-care is taking a nice hot bath and just letting go of all the stress. Sometimes self-care is eating that cookie that my body has been begging for. And sometimes self-care just means not having to explain or answer to anyone. My recommendations are as follows:
Prepare things in advance: I literally have all of my Christmas cookies baked (and have had them cooked since before Thanksgiving). I picked nights when my pain was way down, my energy was up, and I had the time to dedicate to baking. And I did that for several nights in a row until we had enough to achieve my goals. I literally use this philosophy a lot. I make bigger meals for my family on nights I don’t see clients because I have more energy.
Outsource What You Don’t Enjoy: Last year at Christmas time my daughter had most of her gifts wrapped at Amazon. I loved that concept! I really enjoy wrapping presents even though they don’t always look perfect. Can you even imagine how freeing it would be if you just outsourced things you don’t enjoy? If you don’t enjoy baking cookies, then buy some or pay someone to cook them for you. If you don’t enjoy shopping for gifts use Amazon. We need to stop engaging in things that don’t bring us joy.
Breathe: This is one I would love to encourage you to begin experiencing very regularly. Set the timer on your phone (microwave, desktop, etc.) for 45 seconds. During this time simply focus on how it feels to experience the air coming in through your nose and out through your mouth. That’s all I want you to do, just experience yourself breathing.
Check In With Your Body: I think this one is more difficult for those of us who are busy people or have experienced trauma. It’s important to just check in with your body and notice where you are holding stress. My recommendation to my clients is to just take 15 seconds and scan their body and notice how their body is feeling. It’s about making yourself a priority.
Stretch: I understand that we are all very busy, but you are worth it. I’m not talking about doing Pilates or yoga (although I do recommend both of those activities regularly). My recommendation is to just move your muscles, let the blood flow through them, and (again) check in with them.
Doing Your Best IS Enough: You can NOT be all things to all people. Realistically speaking, you cannot do it all alone, no matter how often you play a superhero in your head! It’s okay to say no, it’s encouraged to set limits, and you are better served by taking care of yourself first! When we take care of our self first, it helps us to be able to take care of others.
Hydration: I know so many people that only drink enough water so that they don’t develop migraines. Many doctors recommend we drink half our body weight in ounces of water each day. Drinking enough water helps us with so much in so many areas: hydration, energizes muscles, moisturizes the skin, and helps your kidneys.
Sleep: This is such an important one, specifically around the holidays! I can’t even begin to count the amount of times I have personally skipped sleep in the attempt to “get stuff done.” The reality is that when I do stay up late and try to get some stuff done, it is never done with the same quality as when I’m fully rested. Sleep has amazing healing benefits such as: decreased inflammation, increased mental clarity, improved clarity, and increased creativity.
I love being able to empower people to take better care of themselves. I think it’s a conversation we need to start while people are still in elementary school. That way, by the time we are in adulthood, it’s become a habit. I’m curious to know what your self-care habits are.
In the meantime check out my Self-Care Initiative. It’s designed to empower you
to establish the habit of Self-Care. Learn more about the Initiative here:
Is it easier for you to build your walls or destroy those walls?
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