Guest blog by Pam Davis
Pam serves as the JRNI Class Coach, hosts community gatherings for the JRNI coaches, and loves supporting new coaches as they do their coach training. She is a graduate of the JRNI Intensive, with 50+ years of living too small. She loves to laugh, hug, take the road less traveled, and listen to the blues and disco music. Gratitude, creativity, and community matter. She hears your heart way before you do.
It started with a thought….. How would my life be different if I loved myself? I mean, full-on, no conditions, love rather than hate myself?
I had no idea how this would happen, but it felt like something had shifted.
For as long as I could remember, I felt less than, not enough, and small. I would even say invisible. I didn’t know it at the time, but that simple question was the beginning of my self-love adventure.
“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” - Anaïs Nin
I had this quote on my desk for years and years before taking my first step into loving and accepting myself, just as I am. But the day did finally come when it was more painful to remain in my self-imposed cycle of self-hatred and disgust.
When I took my first small step towards self-love, the day came when I began to not diminish myself 24/7. I knew that even a little change in how I felt about myself might have an impact on my day to day life.
Are you wondering about self love?
What does it even mean?
I can tell you I had many thoughts about what it might be, but until I started down my path of discovery, support, and small steps... whatever it was felt way out of reach.
I had fears and believed that if people saw my true self, the same self I saw in the mirror each morning, they would run far away. The truth is, I had never let anyone in that deep, and was afraid to be vulnerable with the people in my life.
But I knew self-love was possible for others, so maybe I could find my way.
I started tiny, with one idea: “What if I could just begin to not hate myself? What if, at some point, I could almost like myself?”
That was as far ahead as I could see at the time.
Have you ever had similar thoughts?
I share a piece of my story here because when I started my own self-love journey, I had no idea where it would lead me. In the best way possible, how could I?
Each tiny step led me to the next. I sought support and made a commitment to try to learn to love myself. I also realized that I did not have to do this on my own.
It will not look the way you think it will look, and that is a very good thing.
One of the self-love areas common to almost everyone I talk to who is struggling with this is the inner critical voice. We all have one. Working with coaching clients and groups over the last few years, and from personal experience, I discovered that how we speak to ourselves is often the best place to begin.
Ask: Would you talk to others the way you speak to yourself inside your own head?
In asking myself this question, I realized that I was much kinder and more accepting of others than I was of myself.
Changing how I talked to myself, in the smallest of ways, was difficult. I had to learn a new language. Even tiny shifts in how I spoke to myself made a difference right away and was the catalyst that kept me going.
I began to stop bullying myself under the guise of “motivation”. It started with just noticing my harsh self-talk until it eventually became more neutral.
These days my inner voice is gentle, supportive, and loving.
How would you like to speak to yourself?
What’s waiting on the other side
It’s been almost 15 years since my first thoughts about change through self-love. So where do I find myself now?
I’m someone who sees herself more clearly. I like and love myself. It’s a strong quiet knowing that cannot be undone. I have the kind of freedom and peace that I could never have imagined when I began this journey.
To my complete delight and honor, I now help others on their own self-love expeditions.
You are your own best self-love teacher.
You cannot do this wrong. You will find your way.
A-Hah's + Action = Real Change
It will not be a straight line. Each step forward includes stops and starts. We need to be patient with ourselves because we learn and grow with each step. The things that worked for me were unique to me, and different from those that might work for you.
Having support helps with everything.
Getting support is not asking someone else to fix or lay out “The Ten Steps to Self-Love”! Getting help means saying YES to yourself - maybe for the first time ever.
It’s beneficial to take some space when you need it. When necessary, give yourself grace and challenge yourself just a little more than you think you are ready for. (Hint, you are ready, and this is what it looks like to learn to love yourself.)
I became a self-love coach to become what it was that I needed back then.
I also wanted others to know that self-love is possible. A coach supports you to uncover and discover where you are now, and where you want to go.
Here are the kinds of questions I explore with my clients:
- What does self-love look like for you?
- What would your life look and feel like if you loved yourself?
- Who is your support?
- What do you need to know to begin to love yourself?
- What is your first step?
Working with a coach is a partnership. You are the leader with space to think, talk and make meaning for yourself. We collaborate to find what you need and want, and then you get to try things out for yourself with support. We notice progress and celebrate the work we are doing together. Your coach becomes a mirror, one who believes in you and your capacity to figure it out and create your road to peace, acceptance, and self-love.
“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” – Brené Brown
How would life be different if you loved yourself?
Ready to Make Big Change?
JRNI Coaches like Pam provide the support and accountability you need to do GREAT things. Co-create an action plan, get unstuck and make real progress towards your goals. Browse JRNI's directory of vetted, professional coaches to find the perfect partner for you!