Yes, I’ve crossed the age 50-line.

And my belly paunch has become a permanent fixture.

And I disrobe at a moments notice because hot flashes are now the norm.

And I still, sometimes wake-up with foreboding… somehow left over from whatever my brain was working out in my dreams.

And I snap at my kids.

And I’m no stranger to a mid-week vodka & soda.

And I’m divorced after a 27 year relationship.

And my next chapter is so uncomfortably “undefined” for someone who has rested in the safety of control (or rather, perceived control).

But you know what?

My compassion and love and reverence for myself on this journey has never been stronger.  I actually delight in the woman whose face I see in the mirror.

I know that might sound either arrogant, or triggering — or perhaps you celebrate what I’ve just said — but I’m not going to hide this.

SELF-LOVE, not just as a construct but as a daily practice, has profoundly changed my life above anything else.  Above ANYTHING else.  Ever.

I used to hate myself.

I was so vicious to myself, judging every action or thought, feeling like a fraud, comparing myself to everyone, and consistently coming up flawed.  And not only flawed, but shamefully flawed.  My life was a treadmill of trying to achieve to prove my worthiness (not only to you, but more so to myself).

I was stressed, depressed, hopeless, sad… daily.

Things got so bad on the inside (despite seemingly “big” accomplishments outside) that I truly began to fall apart.  I just couldn’t keep it all afloat.  I began to crack.

Fortunately, rather than jump off a building (though I certainly felt like it at times) I reached out for help.  In earnest, I began a decades long exploration and healing that involved brazen and courageous therapists, spiritual counselors, growth programs, a Masters in Spiritual Psychology, transformational retreats, and other gifted practitioners who helped me turn my world around.

And… there are no other better to describe it than an unimaginable journey around the topic that I know is why I am here on the planet: self-love.

THE FIERCELY LOVING RELATIONSHIP I NOW HAVE WITH MYSELF HAS CHANGED MY LIFE.

For 17 years now I’ve walked this path and been honored to share the self-love journey with countless clients, friends, lovers, and family.  THIS is the thing of which I am most proud and honored in my life (including every external “win” I’ve ever had).

(And don’t get me wrong – I have bad days, I screw up, I make mistakes… the difference is that I no longer annihilate or eviscerate myself.  I look compassionately at what FEAR was triggered that was underneath my behavior, gently nurture myself back to love, and then I go clean things up).

Why are we so horrifically cruel to ourselves?

Why are we so mean, judgmental, and comparing?

Why do we condemn the beautiful, loving, and precious children of God inside us?

I’m sick and tired of this horrific epidemic that is buoyed by group agreement in our current world.

I find that when I know I’m going to be loving to myself NO MATTER WHAT, and prize my courage, tenacity and follow-through regardless of whether the goal is even remotely achieved, then “RISK” doesn’t really feel much like risk anymore.

What we are most afraid of is our own self-reproach.

What would it be like if for the next 30 days you made a commitment to treat yourself with only tenderness and compassion – no matter what you tried, no matter what the outcome, no matter what your choices…?

(And not that you wouldn’t clean up messes, but you’d be unconditionally nurturing to yourself in exploring what was underneath those behaviors).

Your entire quality of life would change.  That, I can promise.

Agree?  Disagree?  Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Barb Wade

Barb is a Speaker, Author, and Coach, who has been on the leading edge of Transformational Coaching for over 15 years. Barb works with high-achievers who, despite external accomplishments, are finding themselves yearning for more freedom, joy, and meaning in their lives. Barb herself knows that “hole” of quiet desperation that can exist even though achievement is high.

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