Recently I've been feeling less than confident about what I've been posting, like there's a pretty strong voice in my head saying a big paragraph that sounds like...
"People aren't interested in this stuff. You say and share too much. You're not even toned, you're inconsistent with your exercise, and you're a fraud in so many ways. Everything you share has already been said a hundred times by countless others so much more knowledgeable and healthy than you could ever be. And the people closest to you are tired of hearing about it all."
How does that voice get there? Where is it coming from? Why do I feel this way?
One of the things I shared a lot about when I first started my blog was my goal to have more grace for myself, and learning what that looked like exactly. My inner critic can be so loud and I often allow the negative emotions created in my head to penetrate my heart. This causes me to doubt myself and makes room for depression and anxiety to creep on in.
Sometimes I wonder what the point of Sunflower & Fig is, but then I remember why I started it all to begin with - to keep myself accountable, stay on the whole grace journey, and to just have fun with it all. Negative thoughts should never be welcomed when it comes to self-care or emotional and physical healing because they are just fuel for the fire of insecurity and slothful stagnation.
All flowers have to grow through dirt... to figure it all out.
The flowers part of the quote is one we've all heard. I love it's simplicity and imagery, so I just added on the figuring it out part along with a little sun... :) Hence, Sunflower & Fig. Things aren’t always going to be easy, but that’s the cool part- we can pick right up and blossom as we grow.
We aren’t always going to do the right things or make the best choices. When we feel as though we've fallen short, we say - "it's OK, we're only human" and I find that phrase to be so belittling of ourselves. Humans are the most intelligent species on earth so to say that we’re “only” human seems a little insulting. We are truly amazing creatures and capable of way more than we give ourselves credit for. So sure, we're human - but we're not "only" human. We are amazingly human, and should tell ourselves that every single day. Instead of focusing on the fact that we missed the mark or made a simple mistake, we could allow ourselves to feel gratitude for the things we've accomplished rather than focusing on the ways we've yet to measure up to our own expectations, or the ones that someone else has placed on us. We were created perfectly and wonderfully to be and do greatness.
It's easy to get into ruts and become so disappointed in ourselves for letting our emotions get out of control, gaining that ten pounds back, not working out enough, working too much, not spending enough quality time with our loved ones... Whatever the case is, we let ourselves get down about it, allowing regret to sink in, and before we know it, we've lost some pretty precious time that could have been spent changing things for the better. Why waste time wallowing and making excuses for whatever it is we're down on ourselves about?
We ourselves are so very often the only obstacle standing in our way.
I find myself wasting precious time sulking or wishing my actions or a certain situation had been different far too often than I'd like to admit. I let those thoughts that float around in my head get the best of me, and instead of pushing forward and taking my power back, I allow it them to take control of my actions.
I've learned over the past year that my actions will be what changes my thoughts and in turn - my unhealthy patterns, whatever those may be.
I just need to stay strong and fortify myself to maintain the surrounding elements in my life that help me keep my focus on the things I want to prioritize. My faith, meditation and yoga, self-care Sundays, hot salt baths, deliciously fresh fruits and vegetables, and of course - my oils. All of the things within my own control that allow me to maintain a strive for balance. I could list my husband, family, and friends too but it wouldn't be fair to expect them to be what makes me feel encouraged, positive, valued, and worthy all of the time. They're on their own journeys with hopes and dreams, regrets and fears, schedules, pains, joys, and distractions. How can I possibly grow in my own strength if I'm allowing others who are equally as inconsistent in their own lives to be my constant support? And if I'm not working on being my strongest self, how can I be there for them if and when they need me? I'm trying to slowly break away from the idea that other people in my life are supposed to provide me with a positive emotional security.
So about those negative thoughts I've been having... I've been combating them by doing extra things for ME lately. Soaking up my own self-care has given me a revived outlook on why I love to share what I do. No, I'm not perfect. Yes, I have a long way to go. No, I don't have all the answers and yes, I realize that the things I think are not always right. But what I do know to be true is this - I'm trying to be better version of the already-beautiful-self that God created me to be. It takes a lot of work sometimes to remind myself that I'm already beautiful, something we need to tell ourselves every chance we can. We need to remind ourselves that are capable. We are strong. We are loving. We are passionate. We are driven. We are worth it. We are deserving of being healthy, and owe it to ourselves to find that inner joy that will make it easier for us to reflect who we really are with our world around us.
To practice deeper self-love and give my heart and mind some encouragement, I've been...
- taking longer walks without bringing my phone so that I have the space to think without distraction. I always bring Bax along with me though because being with him while he happily enjoys all of the scents and sounds on our walk make my heart smile. :) He's so cute and sweet. The time outside has given me a chance to let my mind open up and gain some space between thoughts, ideas, emotions, plans, schedules, work tasks, etc... It's allowed more room for positive thoughts and feelings, and the physical exercise, though it may not seem like much, is so important for me too. Walking is one of the healthiest forms of exercise we can do, so I strive for 30-45 minutes of time walking outside every day. It's awesome for Bax too. I stopped halfway through this blog post to go for a nice long walk and instead of longingly whining out the window, he's sound asleep by my side, dreaming of happy doggy things.
- spending less time with my phone nearby to give myself more time to be present in my here and now without meaningless distraction of whatever's there to scroll and get lost in. Sometimes it's easy for certain personality types to compare themselves to others they see, whether they're doing it consciously or not. So when I spend less time on my phone looking at everyone else's lives, it gives me more of an opportunity to intentionally focus on my own, which in turn makes my joy shine through because I love my sweet little life and all of the blessings in it.
- reading a lot more. I've never really been a consistent reader but lately I've been really loving cracking a good book open and trying to let the time pass while absorbing as much as I can. It's a good way to practice focus, something I have a tendency to struggle with. Recently I've been reading The Sacred Enneagram by Chris Heuertz and have been absolutely loving the perspectives it's been giving me. I highly recommend it. I'm dominant in the Enneagram Type One, in case you read it and are curious. :) To find out your type, head up to my "Lovely Links" tab and click "What's Your Personality Type?" to take the test. Or you can go to www.theenneagraminstitute.com to read all about the combinations. To me, it's fascinating. But I also love reading my Mother Earth Living magazines, cook books, and other stuff too. I like to feel busy and productive so it's taken a bit of training myself to remember that reading is being productive.
- drinking more water. Water is the answer for so many things and I so quickly forget it. I've been keeping my glass mason jar with me at all times with it's lid and straw and filling it up with filtered room-temp water almost constantly. It's a reminder to me to water and care for myself just as much as I do my plants, and gives me motivation to keep filtering out the toxins, not just in my body, but in my life.
- spending time in new places around the house. Since I work from home, much of my time is spent in my office. But I've been taking my laptop and setting up shop around the house in our living room, dining room, and even the patio sometimes. The ability to work from home is a blessing I try not to take for granted. But like any workplace environment, things can feel a little redundant so it's been nice to switch it up recently and find inspiration by sitting in a different space to work. It's allowed me to appreciate my home in a new way and find a new joy and appreciation for my home.
There are so many things I could do to faithfully seek after stronger patterns of self-care and self-love, but I don't want to overwhelm myself with constantly thinking in my perfectionistic ways of "what could be better?", and work on the here and now, as things are, rather than how they could or "should" be. Only then will I find the truest contentment.
So all of this being said, nurturing myself has helped bring me to a place where I don't feel so negative and insecure about the things I choose to share. They are things that I believe in and have taken the time to research, learn, and grow from. They work for me and they're things I love to do. I believe that food is medicine. I believe that big pharma is in control of our doctors and hospitals, that too many people are on medications that are most likely causing more harm to their bodies than good, and that much of western medicine is completely unnecessary and an absolute joke (certainly not all, but much). I believe our bodies have the complete capacity to heal themselves as they were created to do, and that we just need to provide it with the adequate tools in order to do so. And lastly, I believe that knowledge is power and power is invigoratingly inspiring. I just want to know more so I can make for a quality life during the days I am blessed to be on this beautiful Earth, and if anything I learn inspires someone else to do the same, then I've accomplished what I've set out to do.