Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Writers Workshop: (Self) Love Edition

Thought I would try my hand at the Writer's Workshop this week, which also allows me a small update about my Mexican vacation.  Yay double duty posts!

First I would like to say, I had an AMAZING vacation.  I still can't actually believe it happened, it's so surreal.  The reason I can tie my trip into a love post is because it was a retreat all about getting back to loving yourself.  I think a lot of us are guilty of not taking time in our busy days to really take care of ourselves.  Putting ourselves last is noble, we think, saying, "I'll make sure to do what I can today and if there's time maybe I'll take a bubble bath."  This is such a backward thought.  By taking care of ourselves - both mentally and physically - we are much better equipped to help others.  I really think in the back of our minds we all know that, but we just don't make the time.  And that's just it, we have to MAKE the time, like you would for anything else that's important.

Being given the opportunity to take the trip I did was probably one of the best gifts I could have given myself.  Thousands of miles away from my daily life, what else did I have to do but take care of me?  Also, because it was a retreat, I was surrounded by 18 other truly amazing women who were all doing the same thing.  We had meals cooked for us, daily yoga and meditation, and group talks about what was holding us back from really loving who we were.  I am only speaking for myself here when I say I've always used acts of service as a means of distraction.  If I'm too busy doing things for others, I can use it as an excuse for a number of things, the main thing being my health.  I've been unhappy with my body image for almost as long as I can remember, but instead of doing something about it to make myself happy, I turned to doing other things to prove my worth.  Need a babysitter?  Sure.  Have a garden that needs weeding?  On it.  Need your house painted?  I'm your girl.  While being helpful is obviously not a bad thing, the reason behind it was not entirely pure.  I didn't realize that though until the last year or so.

While I started my self-love journey a couple years ago, going to Mexico really did a lot to cement all the things I've been working on.  The group of women was (and still is) SO supportive, I couldn't ask for a more wonderful group of soul sisters.  Probably one of the biggest steps though that I've taken so far in self-acceptance was wearing a bikini for the first time in my life.  I'm 29.  There has not been one time in 29 years that I've felt comfortable enough to go out in public in a bikini.  I had decided though when I bought my plane ticket, this was the time.  Then the day came.  I got dressed in my cabana, put on my cover up, and walked to the beach.  With everyone else laying in their own suits sunning on the sand, I did what I never thought I could do.  I took off my cover up and joined them.  And you know what?  It was awesome.  They didn't think twice.  There was no public ridicule, no humiliation, no looks of disgust.  In fact they all said, "Good for you!"

This is a small thing, but its hugely significant milestone for me.  And while I can't say that I look in the mirror with total satisfaction just yet, I'm much, much more comfortable.  I learned that the only opinion of myself that matters is mine, and that if I take time and love myself for how I am, that will show when I'm out in the world as well.  So even though I'm single this Valentine's Day, I'm still feeling the love.