Every time we tell ourselves, oh just this one little time won’t matter.
Or, my input isn’t important.
Or, my state will vote ________ anyway, so my vote doesn’t count.
We are not only lying to ourselves – we are handing our power over.
We are telling ourselves, not so subtly,that we don’t matter.
We are taking a step back, hiding amongst the masses, and keeping our back to the wall at the dance.
We are proving to ourselves that which we always suspected was true: that we are not that important, anyway.
Darling, that could not be farther from the truth.
I want you to take today and do something truly phenomenal:
Stand up. Make your voice heard. Cast your hat in the ring. Make a decision, grounded in self-trust.
I care much less about who you vote for, than why you think it’s not important for you to make it to the polls.
Given up? Where else in your life have you given up?
Bored by the political scene? Make an impact, however small, by choosing to have a voice.
Mad? How can you use that anger to enact really change in your surroundings?
Or have you simply told yourself this lie: it doesn’t matter.
There were times when I told myself that lie multiple times a day. This one little time doesn’t count. Just this once. No one will ever know.
It was bullshit, and I knew it.
Those “one little times” added up to 20 years of not taking responsibility for my life, my body, or my experience in the world. I gave myself permission to play small, in little yet insidious ways daily.
I reaffirmed my insignificance by stuffing my opinions down, keeping quiet and safe, and letting other make decisions for me.
When you find yourself too busy to make it to the polls to cast your vote, you are sacrificing your power and telling yourself that your opinion is unworthy of attention.
About a week ago, I picked up the first book in the Fifty Shades of Grey series. I had read an article that about how it had sold over 40 million copies worldwide, as a self-published book, and I honestly, I wanted to know what the fuss was about.
And then I fell in. Head first. Consuming all three books in less than a week. I haven’t poured over books like that since, ahem, the Twilight series, which interestingly enough had a similar sort of effect culturally. Now, you may think both of these series are trashy. In many ways they are, but they have gripped the nation in such a way that it is important to think about what needs they are filling.
It is interesting to me, on a sociological level, why this book would be so ravenously popular. It is a book with graphic sex scenes that is being sold in my local grocery store – at grabbing level of anyone over the age of three. And people are talking about it, and sex, out loud to one another. They are reading those scenes in the airport and next to you on the bus – and it’s like, business as usual.
It is interesting to me, on a personal level, what kinds of fantasies books like this enable.
I’m talking about the fantasies that have very little to do with sex.
Superficially it’s this: being rescued from your life by an attractive, enticing + extremely wealthy person who whips you into a frenzy of love, new-found experience, and an introduction to an echelon of society reserved for the rich and famous.
It’s the excitement of something new + the promise of forever-long stability, all wrapped up in one hot package.
However, underneath the superficial niceties, I believe that it’s this: being taken care of, on a very structured + safe level, and relaxing into the knowledge that you will always have everything that you want + nothing is required from you in the way of stress or thought about making it happen, financially speaking.
We, the collective we, are very comfortable with keeping our brains turned off.
It feels safe, on many levels, believing that our government has our best interest at heart, that we if we are good good things will happen to us, that the “experts” know more about us than we do. It feels nice to have someone else pick up the tab, manage our finances, or cook all of our meals for us.
It also feels good to indulge our inaction on behalf of our own happiness by holding out the hope that someday we will be rescued from whatever situation it is that is causing us angst.
It feels comfortable to prefer the status quo, even when it makes us utterly miserable, than to step out into the abyss of the unknown.
Last January I wrote Grieving the Loss of Your Body Image Fantasy about a very similar topic: what to do with all of those images and dreams that you have for yourself when you realize that they are not riding up to save you from your dieting hell.
For me, my body image fantasy (and many of my other fantasies as well), largely have to do with not having to do any work and achieving a life beyond my wildest dreams. It was a way of dissociating or checking out, when my every day reality was too painful or overwhelming for me.
It was a fantasy that I indulged to keep myself from freaking out completely about the prospect of truly stepping up to the plate, showing up for myself, and deciding that I am important enough to make a priority.
In other words: the fantasy kept me busy, so that I didn’t have to begin on the terrifying process of getting to know myself or figuring out what I wanted out of my life.
I started out today to write a post about creating your own luck – which I will publish later this week - but I just couldn’t get 50 Shades of Grey out of my head, knowing this post had to come first.
My life fantasy is this: living happily + comfortably in my own home with my partner + babies, with the entire production bankrolled by a business that utilizes + emphasizes my best gifts in serving others.
Now, I could spend the next five years idly dreaming and wishing and manifesting this reality, believing whole-heartedly that it is enough.
Or, I could realize that this life requires me showing up for myself and taking action based in loving myself, wanting provide myself a beautiful life, and believing, on a gut level, that I deserve to be that happy. There is no one on the planet who can do this work for me.
There is no one who can ride up to save me if I’m not aligned fully, inside + out, to be saved.
I want my life to be full to the brim with the excitement of something new + the promise of forever-long stability, but I am no longer waiting for someone else to swoop in and hand it to me on a silver platter or for the stars to magically align over night.
I believe this: the stars align for us when we make the solemn and breathtaking vow to be an active participant in our own lives.
I am talking about standing behind yourself completely + with your eyes wide open, all the time, no matter what, even when it’s really difficult.
It is about believing to your toes that you deserve a life that is lit up like a Christmas tree with joy, adventure, passion, and excitement.
It is about being the hero that you’ve always dreamed would rescue you, and acting accordingly.
It is about being you,unconditionally, and learning to love all of your parts.
It’s about switching your brain on + promising to stay with yourself, as you learn, uncover + explore.
It is about being on your own team, rooting for your own success.
Today I have the absolute honor of revealing a second secret interview series project: The Self-Love Series with yours truly and the phenomenal Margarita Tartakovsky from Psych Central’s blog Weightless. Side note: Margarita also has a fabulous personal blog that I recommend you checking out here.
Margarita and I are teaming up to bring you a monthly interview series around learning the beautiful and delicate art of self-love.
I am almost speechless at the prospect of presenting to you our very first interview, with one of our absolute self-love heroes: Tara Sophia Mohr. Tara can by found in a myriad of extremely impressive platforms, including: The Huffington Post, The Today Show, CNN, Whole Living, and many, many more.
Her signature program Playing Big is a six-month journey that teaches women how to follow their callings, overcome self-doubt, take big leaps and start playing bigger in pursuing their dreams. Playing Big takes an innovative approach combining inner work, practical training skills, and the huge benefit of a supportive and dynamic community. Find out more about Playing Big here.
How do you practice self-love?
I’m happy to say my answer to this question couldn’t fit on this page! These days, self-love is the space I move in, most of the time. I’m grateful for that.
Following my heart’s authentic longings all the way to creating this career of writing & helping women play bigger is one big way.
Honoring the longings around how our heart wants to express itself and contribute in the world is, I think, one of the best ways we can love ourselves. For me, it has been a huge act of self-love to go for my dreams – writing and publishing my poetry, helping women unleash their voices through the programs I lead, and being in the media – from The Today Show to Huffington Post. Each of those is an act of love toward my authentic dreams for my life.
These are manifestations of self-love, but the most important thing to say is that self-love is not a list of activities for me. It’s a spirit in which I try to consistently live. It’s a perspective from which I try to make decisions.
What book is a must-read for self-love, body image or a related topic?
Recently I’ve picked up an old favorite, Illuminata by Marianne Williamson, a book of beautiful contemporary prayers – morning and evening prayers, prayers related to work, the body, family. When I ask to be of service to a power greater than myself, I stop worrying about the trivial stuff, thighs included. More than I ever “recover” from body image issues, I find ways to lift myself up into something bigger and more important. And of course, I would recommend my free 10 Rules for Brilliant Women Workbook!
What are your favorite ways to move your body?
As I write this, I’m in a week-long dance workshop. Dance gives me a physical vitality that I love, and moves me from stress to relaxation, from cranky moods to relaxed, loose, contented moods. And there’s a spiritual aspect to dance – somewhere in those two hours of dancing, I find communion with the sacred. It’s a pretty incredible list of benefits. In one activity I get physical exercise, emotional processing, community, and spiritual connection. Not to mention—a big libido boost too. For me, it’s not sustainable to do a form of exercise that is just about the physical. I want something that supports me emotionally and spiritually as well. I believe every person is granted at least one form of physical moment their heart and soul will truly enjoy – and it’s our job to find out what that form is and do it!
What’s one or two things you wish women knew about appreciating and loving themselves?
You are brilliant. You don’t need more training or more experience. You are more ready than you think you are. The voice of self-doubt chattering in your head is called your inner critic and it tells lies. Go for your dreams and find out just how ready you really are. We are never who we need to be to complete that which we feel called to do, but our callings grow us into the woman we need to be. So start, and let the calling grow you into that woman.
Who are your heroes?
I have many! Courageous innovators like these women:
Kiran Bedi, India’s highest ranking female police officer, who has pioneered a compassionate, enlightened approach to prison management in India. I bow to her.
Eve Ensler, playwright and creator of the V-day movement to end violence against women. Bow.
Anne Lamott, whose humor and honesty in her writing continually warm my heart and inspire me. Bow.
What do you think is your greatest obstacle in loving yourself?
I can get stuck in fear of making a change I’ll regret. I often realize that some change would constitute a beautiful way to love myself – but it can take me years to actually make the move. And that is why I do not currently have 2 golden retriever puppies.
How do you work to overcome it?
I use the same tools I teach. I only teach the stuff that has made a huge difference in my own life and in the lives of women I work with. I use my tools for quieting my own fear and inner critic. I anchor myself in the vision of the life I want. I call upon my inner wisdom to help guide me, and I set up supports and accountability structures in my life.
I’ll often just email a close friend and say, “Hey, I just want you to know my plan is to take x important step this month. Can you hold that lovingly in your heart? Let’s check in about it at the end of the month.” This really helps me. Writing it down, sending it off, knowing they are holding it with love, and knowing that deadline is coming – all helps.
Anything else you’d like readers to know?
That they are sacred and miraculous and genius and remarkable, by virtue of being human. That the idea that your body is not gorgeous as it is is a big lie. I wrote this in a recently note to my subscribers and I’d love for these women to know it too:
Your mind’s complaints about your body will distract you till the day of your death if you let them. Don’t. Call them out, boot them out, and then party with the gorgeous suit you got for this round. Be the woman who didn’t listen to the dominant lie of her time.
Tara Sophia Mohr is an expert on women’s well-being and leadership. The new session of her popular, in-depthPlaying Big leadership programfor women is now open for registration. Clickhereto learn more about the program. Click here to get Tara’s free guide, the 10 Rules for Brilliant Women Workbook.
So I don’t typically post on Saturday, but I thought I would take the opportunity to do something a little fun. In the (very) near future I am going to write a couple of posts about the connection between your body, your voice, and your wallet. I truly believe that our power is in our pocket and by making conscious decisions to spend our money (no matter how little) in businesses that we agree with (with our heart, moral compass, whatever it is that guides you) the world will become a better place, albeit slowly.
Now, I am a die-hard brand loyalist, as in: once I love a company, I fall in deep – hook, line, and sinker – until either, well, I die, they go out of business, or they do something so wretchedly awful that I am FORCED to rethink my love for them. In short, I blab about it to just about everyone who will listen and it takes a lot to make me stop.
One brand that I have been sort of watching from afar lately is Warby Parker, an eyewear retailer that works to both supply their customers with reasonably priced eyewear, in a convenient way, while also giving back to those in need. And they team up with non-profits to deliver one pair of glasses to a person in need for every pair sold.
Yes, they are a little hipster-esque. Yes, I love them anyway.
And no, FTC + grumpy naysayers, they have nothing to do with this post. They aren’t giving me free glasses. In truth I haven’t bought a pair (YET), but I just have been impressed by their business model sort of secretly and wanted to share it with all of you.
So! What better time than a sleepy Saturday to do a reader poll?! Below you have four images of me sporting my Warby Parker finds (because YES they send you five empty frames to your HOUSE to dance around in try on at your leisure). Pretty please leave your vote in the comments below OR head on over to the Medicinal Marzipan Facebook page, which is kind of my favorite place to hang out, to fill out the fancy-schmancy poll I’ve whipped up for you guys.