I was able to enjoy the entire first week of January off, staying put in Dallas instead of traveling. I spent the week relaxing at home, business planning for the New Year, working out, and celebrating a milestone anniversary with the BF. A week off well spent. I also spent the week reflecting, reading over last years journal.
Which made me realize… I never explained why self-care became a cornerstone of You Glow Gal and in the near future, Sarah Nicole Skincare. I’ve been pretty vague about it, sharing but not giving away too many details.
Self-care and wellness have become buzzwords, I feel it takes away from their importance in our daily lives. Once something becomes trendy it feels devalued, doesn’t it?
I didn’t pick up these habits because it’s a fad and everyone else is doing it. It quite literally came from necessity, emotional survival, and the need to re-parent myself. I think most of us need some element of self-care for our own sanity. Also, this is my segue into sharing some of the books that majorly affected my life last year.
What I’m going to share with you today is pretty f’n raw & real shit. I’ve been on the fence on how much to share, it’s pretty personal, but I’m at a point where it no longer scares the hell out of me because sharing my experience means it could help someone else. I think many suffer from similar situations, whether or not they realize it, or maybe they can’t pinpoint exactly why they feel the way they do.
Toward the end of 2016, I stumbled upon Dr. Jonice Webb’s questionnaire while trying to find insight into what I was experiencing. I couldn’t find anything that sounded like me 100%. Her quick quiz determines whether or not you may suffer from Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN). As it turned out, I was a textbook CEN kid. I found an amazing therapist, picked up Running on Empty, and experienced several emotional breakdowns.
I mean I emotionally fell apart often and felt debilitating anxiety like never before. I was desperate. Lots of writing, ah-ha moments, anger, resentment, and tears. It still feels weird to say I was emotionally neglected because it feels like such a basic problem to have when others suffer from physical abuse, assault, or any other serious traumatic life event. But man was that pain real af.
The reality? We shouldn’t undercut our experiences, let alone someone else’s, because how our experiences affect us, what we feel–it’s real. It is our reality. It’s easy to compare and devalue, I know when I was going through my experience I used it as a coping mechanism. A way to hide from the pain.
Prior to healing, I couldn’t connect. Human connection is what life is all about, and without it, I felt lost. I never knew what emotions I was feeling, I was living life in a constant state of anxiety, I was insecure, unconfident, and I didn’t love myself. I had some pretty crappy relationships over the years that built upon the symptoms of neglect, eating away at my self-worth. Basically, I was a flailing fish out of water at all times, just barely surviving the day-to-day.
With a lot of persistence and hard work, I healed. Sometimes I still struggle and fall into old habits, but I recognize it and pick back up where I left off. I went from being emotionally numb to being the most obnoxiously sensitive, empathetic girl you’ll meet. I feel emotionally liberated. While some would say I’m too emotional, I kinda love it. I love feeling everything after 30+ years of feeling nothing. The good, the bad, I feel all of it. An INFJ to a freakin’ T.
Then I was introduced to Brene Brown and my mind was blown. Brene Brown is brilliant, anyone who reads her books will vouch for that. She studies shame and vulnerability, she’s spoken for Ted Talks, she’s a legend. I’m a firm believer that everyone should read her work, starting with The Gifts of Imperfection.
Want to stop giving a damn about that girl who won’t make eye contact with you, ever, even though you see her weekly in the office, at spin class, etc? Read Brene’s work and you’ll realize… it has absolutely zero to do with you. That insecure woman won’t look you in the eye because of her shit, not because something is wrong with you. Oh, and you’ll be hyper-aware of shaming interactions and statements. *reads Brene Brown once, becomes shame expert*
My therapist suggested Brene Brown when I asked for further resources in recovering from emotional neglect. As I uncovered more about myself, I found I was in a deep pit of shame, whether it was related to deep-rooted ideologies I was raised within, or my lack of self-worth and never thinking I was enough.
Shame will eat you alive. It was destroying me, and I Thought It Was Just Me was my bible teaching me the ways of shame resilience. I marked up, highlighted, and made notes throughout the book. If I had to choose a single life-changing book of 2017, this was it.
In her writing, Brene shares 10 guideposts of wholehearted living, the foundation of living life from a place of worthiness. Living life to cultivate courage, compassion, and connection in order to believe that, no matter your circumstance, you are enough.
In one of her books, she mentions commonalities shared by those who live a wholehearted life to its fullest. I can only remember the one that stood out, the one I knew I would struggle with: spirituality.
Up until last year, if you mentioned spirituality I would automatically associate it with going to church, unaware of other options underneath the umbrella. Let’s just say I grew up in an ultra-religious home, and it’s not my thing. I don’t discriminate, I don’t judge based on someone’s spiritual beliefs. I’m a fan of inclusivity, welcoming all tracks of thought.
When I saw spirituality was something I needed to lean into… I skipped over it, ignored it. That didn’t work out well for me, though. Hot mess anxiety express was in full-blown action. When I reached my breaking point, things shifted. A spiritual awakening, if you will. Now that I’ve embraced spirituality, many of my fears and worries have subsided. I feel whole. Most days, I’d say I live a pretty wholehearted life.
I adopted several new healthy habits to keep me sane. I ordered The Miracle Morning for my BF after hearing about it transforming night owls into morning people. Shortly after starting the book, we ordered one for myself. Since then, we’ve gifted copies to several friends.
On the days I roll out of bed by 6 am, I feel energized–like I have a headstart on the rest of the world. Anxiety surrounding not having enough time in the day? Gone. The best part of the Miracle Morning was implementing new habits, all surrounding the ideals of self-care. Simple tweaks to keep my mind on track, to feel calm. I love having a routine, and I fell in love with this one.
The author ideally has you practicing all of these in the morning before you start your day. Sitting in silence meditating, reading, writing affirmations, visualizing, journaling, and exercising. Most morning I’ll jot down what I’m grateful for, a few affirmations targeting specific goals I want to achieve, and finish off with writing a journal entry, all while listening to my fave Hemi-Sync meditation. Other items I’ll fit in throughout my day or week, I’ve customized to fit my needs.
When I’m on top of it, waking up early enough for my entire routine, enjoying the quiet morning with coffee, I feel AMAZING. Seriously, I can’t even describe how good it feels. This morning I fit everything in before going on a sweat date and I feel so calm and relaxed. I woke up with lingering dread and anxiety, but I magically washed it all away.
Another habit I began is re-viewing my journal from the previous year. I left space at the end of my 2017 journal, dividing a page into “lessons learned” and “goals for the New Year”, reading each entry and noting takeaways, and setting intentions for 2018. At the beginning of my 2018 journal, I listed all of my goals.
To be totally honest, with last year being so emotionally intense, I was nervous to practice the exercise. It forced me to revisit the pain. You know what happened? It wasn’t scary at all. I witnessed the old me shifting into who I am now, I remembered lessons I learned while wading through struggles, and I came away with so much gratitude. Gratitude for immense personal growth, for experiences and lessons learned, and for who and what I have in my life.
And there you have it! The story of how self-care became vital to my wellbeing and a cornerstone of not only my life but this blog and community!
It doesn’t have to be complicated, you don’t need fancy spa days or gorgeous face cream. Although let’s be real–if budget allows I’m all about indulging. Sometimes the low light of a beautiful candle, music, and pen and paper are all you need, though. It’s finding what works for you, not comparing your self-care ritual to what someone else does–whether in real life or on social media.
If you made it here… you the best, I love you. Thank you for reading and being part of the journey!! xx