On Thanksgiving morning, I took a “gratitude” yoga class at my favorite studio, Grace and Glory Yoga. It was a class offered to raise money for a sweet local boy with childhood leukemia. There were many reasons that I wanted to take this class, all of which happened and were awesome, but none of which made as huge of an impact on me as what I am about to write about.
The gratitude class was wonderful- lots of community, peace, love, good vibes, and beautiful insight from several instructors on amazing grace and gratitude. At the very end of the class, drenched from head to toe in sweat (you’re welcome, America. xo), one of the instructors asked us to think about one thing that we absolutely loved about ourselves. It sounded easy.
Surely, I could find lots of things that I loved about myself! I have had some super rad people say very kind things to me throughout my life, so I’ll just dig into that library and find something! But then I paused. The instructor didn’t ask me to think about what other people loved about me.
She asked ME what I loved about ME.
I sat there in half-pigeon (an hip-opening yoga pose, semi-equivalent in body-feels to burning alive) distraught. How is it that other people see great things in me, but I can’t actually see any of them in myself?
I dug deep and decided that the one thing I loved about myself was my undying desire to grow, and to change, and to evolve into a better version of myself. Once I actually realized that there was this one thing that I really loved about myself, my heart nearly exploded. (And not because we had done like 27 utkatasanas).
It is awesome to receive words of encouragement from others, particularly if the way that you give and receive love is through encouragement, like me. That being said, hearing it from myself was a completely different experience. Telling MYSELF that I truly loved this thing about me…
it felt… real.
Like really real.
I realized that although people say lovely things to and about me, I don’t actually believe them, because I constantly have my inner voice, unrolling the scroll of all of the negative things that I think about myself, based on my own past experiences and what others have said to and about me, and reading them off like a damn medical assistant in a pre-appointment consult. I silence those words of encouragement with, “Yeah, but…”s.
She then posed another question to us as we were dying a slow death in a 47-hour long whatthe****asana (pigeon pose), now on the left side. She asked us to think of the one thing we hated most about ourselves. This list was endless!
I unravelled the scroll, cleared my throat, and began reading off the list of all the things to find the one thing that I really, truly hated the most. Found it! My inconsistency.
I’m always moving, always going, but in what direction? Eh, that depends on the day you ask me. And if you’ve tried to make plans with me, you know that. Here is the issue: I really love my clients and my job. I’m also trying to build a company and feed my team and that depends on me and my choices every single day. It’s a lot of pressure, but I’m also super passionate about what I do, so I sometimes cancel the plans I make to switch gears to work. It’s not because of money, it’s because of passion. And that’s hard to put in second place. Primary conclusion: I’m not consistent.
So now, I was back to feeling like a failure. But then the instructor asked the class to unpack that one thing and find the positive things that have come from that, because as she so eloquently said, “even in our dark, there is light”. Whoa. I began to think on that. Suddenly, I felt chills cover every inch of my body, as I came to the realization that the very thing I hated about myself- that I have always hated about myself- is also the one thing I love most about myself. Depending on the situation. I’m inconsistent. But that inconsistency also produced this Jersey-Shore-loving chick, who will stop at nothing to reach her goals and make an impact, finding creative solutions whenever blockades come in her way, so that she can break down barriers, do whatever the heck she feels led to do, live her best life, and be the best version of herself. I will never be complacent.
I will never get stuck in a funk and be unable to grow out of it. I just won’t. I will always keep moving.
I finally moved my now super stretchy leg out of half pigeon (OMG finally!) and as I moved through the rest of the class, I felt alive. The veil was lifted and I realized something: Maybe I’m not a complete and utter failure. Maybe I’m a complicated, messy, perhaps beautiful creature, who can’t always figure herself out, but tries her best, and has more to offer to the world than she realizes.
What I allow into my heart and mind matters. What I tell myself about myself matters. I can’t change the world or be the best version of myself if I keep focusing on the negative. The lies that we believe create a concrete, unbreakable ceiling…. IF we let it. I’d like to encourage you to find the light in your darkness, and see if it’s as revelatory for you as it was for me. What is the one thing you hate most about YOURself? Now what does the other side of it look like? Let that sink in.
And dig deep.
Until next time friends, I’m sending you peace, love and good vibes from my beach chair to your’s!