If I could go back and have a conversation with my teenage self, I’m sure there are many things I would say. Don’t trust that boy. Someday you’ll realize that style is an individual experience (and something you get to create). And if you can learn anything, learning unconditional love for yourself without conditions is the most challenging, rewarding, and powerful thing you can do for you.
Over the years, we’ve spoken a bit about weight loss, loving yourself, and finding peace in your body on the blog. In truth, it’s a lifelong process: healing new bits one peeled-back layer at a time. But recently, given my job and what I’ve decided to call into my life in this next season – it’s felt like a freight train I didn’t expect to encounter.
So let’s take a peak into what I’m calling my season of learning to love myself without conditions. To do it messy. To show up when it’s not perfect. And to be able to find a new love for yourself that you didn’t even know you needed.
Learning To Give Yourself Unconditional Love
What do you require of yourself to show up?
I could make a 100-layer cake with all the noise that I’ve found from this question in my life. Noise being everything that comes up when I start observing how much of my life is built. It’s built on the lead-up of what I believe is required for me to get to do the thing I want to do.
I spoke about this recently in a tiktok video but I was really struggling to get myself back into a workout routine. And I’d almost created this mental routine of failure that didn’t inspire me to even want to try anymore. Because the conditions I set were so restrictive. When I didn’t follow “the plan” I punished myself in other areas.
It’s amazing to know what you want and go after.
We tend to chat about that a lot in our little corner of the internet. But what I’ve begun to notice more and more is that we get really stuck. We get stuck on the how/the routine/the structure and it can ultimately prevent us from actually showing up at all.
Over the last year, I’ve found myself waiting for it to click. Waiting for it work. Waiting for that magic moment everyone says happened. And I tried all the things and routine until I realized something. At some point you just have to be that version of you. You just have to show up when it’s messy and let yourself be okay with it being messy.
Doing things perfectly or only when the requirements are met is a great way to alienate yourself from yourself. You are human so from time to time things are going to be messy. Can you learn to love yourself when it’s all a mess? Can you love yourself when there are no requirements or things to check off? You just get to be loved. Always.
What do you feel like you should be doing?
There’s this internal list of “shoulds” we carry around. Some of it is based on things we actually need to do, want to do, and get to do. But there’s also this list of things we should be doing in order to be accepted, loved, and worthy. *more conditions. more requirements*
And none of it is truly the reason we get to be loved – by ourselves or others. It’s not the reason we should be loved but maybe it’s the reason we’re willing to accept love.
Now, of course, we could (and often do) blame social media for attributing to this. Our lens for how our life can and should go is traditionally framed through what we see others capable of doing/having/being. Learning to reframe that state of mind is a powerful tool and a continual process of rewiring our brains.
Repeat after me: I’m not required to see someone else do something or have something in order for it to be okay for me. I’m not required to live the life everyone else is living. I’m allowed to lead a life that feels good to me because it feels good to me.
Let’s dig a little deeper into all the things you feel like you should be doing. insert America Ferrera’s Barbie speech here. There’s a long list of things we think we should be doing so much so that we always feel like we’re failing.
I should be working out, getting in 10k steps, making lots of money, running a massive team, being the best friend to all the humans in my life, being an incredible daughter, solving all the problems for all the people and not shining too bright that those around me feel like less. I should be doing all the things and if I’m not, well then I should feel guilty that I’m not.
Except I don’t. And why is that the only option?
Unconditional love in the way we’ve problem been taught actually comes with a lot of strings and expectations. But what if we could give ourselves the grace to drop all the shoulds and know even if we did none of them, we would still be loved today. We get to be loved today.
Give yourself permission to be in the season you’re in
One of my favorite things I’ve incorporated as a regular part of my monthly/annual check-in comes from the Rise & Conquer Podcast. It’s identifying your buckets. Essentially, what are the 8 areas of life that are important to you. My buckets change regularly but right now the 8 are friends, love, health + fitness, travel, fun, money, family, & creative energy.
For me, these buckets can feed into the ones I’m not necessarily naming like work, dating, etc. But I find there’s so much power in just being honest and owning the season you’re in.
My season at the moment is focused on three things: love, health + fitness, and travel. These are the areas that have been the most neglected in the last few years for me and they are what I felt most drawn to in 2024.
Does that mean I don’t get to have all the other bits: ease with money, great friendships, fun with my family, and abundant creative energy? Of course not. But I find that when I give myself permission to replenish the spaces that need me most and I’m honest with where I am (without worrying about where the heck anyone else is) – I get to do life as it’s meant for me. We suffer the most when we try to live everyone else’s lives but our own.
Change the narrative of your life
If your life wasn’t something to overcome but something to live, how would you show up?
I grew up reading and listening to all kinds of stories. But stories, in the way we traditionally know them, are meant to engage us. They might be meant to teach us. And often, as we grow older, they’re meant to entertain us – even allowing for an escape from our lives.
Now I can only speak to myself and my experience on this one, but I felt rather misunderstood as a child. Or at least, I didn’t know how to have a voice and feel safe enough to hold my voice & my value without acceptance from others. There were a lot of inherent conditions around how I felt it was safe to show up in my life (which I’m sure religion & other things factored into).
So the learning how to human and my idea of the world for many years came from stories – lives outside of my own. Were these stories always the best for my developing brain? Was there an awareness of what this was teaching me? No, on both accounts. Nevertheless, the stories had an impact.
The hero narrative. The overcomer. The love triangle. The girl who pushes everyone away until that one person sees her and breaks through. . . Story after story, narrative after narrative that I found myself subconsciously acting out.
And if you’re anything like me, it puts you in this state of waiting for the thing to happen so you get to get the guy, make the money, have the followers (insert your thing here). You are always waiting never having/doing/being because the steps have to add up to meet the conditions for it to happen. You’re the actor waiting to deliver the line in a scene instead of actually being fully present and reacting. You’re forever waiting for the race gun to go off so you can run your life.
The steps have to add up to meet the conditions for you to be loved. But if there are always steps and always conditions, you’ll spend your life waiting and desperate for a love you get to have now. A love you are worthy of now – in this very breath. You are loved right now.
Wherever this finds you today, I hope you’ll give yourself a hug from me. This journey of unraveling all the things to put them back together again is a delicate one. So remember to be kind to yourself in the process. I love you. Until next time. Xoxo, Savvy
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