How does spending a week doing quick, easy, fun activities that nurture your very special connection with yourself sound?

It sounds like just what the doctor ordered, right?

I’m giving you the opportunity to do just that, beginning next week, Sunday, February 11, with my free Love Yourself Challenge. I offered the free challenge last year and I’m doing it again this year – I’d love to have you join the challenge and go on the self-love journey with me!

 

First, a little bit about the challenge. Every day for 7 days, you’ll do a Self Love Activity to nurture either your physical body or emotional well-being (or both!). We explore topics like our relationship with our bodies and journaling to bring ourselves back to our core essence of being. Nothing takes more than 30 minutes to complete and the challenge is FUN, not intimidating or stressful.

 

There’s SO much more to it for me, though. I want to tell you how the challenge came about, and why I’m offering it again this year.

I don’t need to tell you that the fertility journey is all-consuming. Between all the medications, shots and monitoring appointments there’s an awful lot to keep track of. Not to mention managing your emotions, and keeping from going utterly insane. I’ve often said fertility treatment is a second full-time job, and one that no one ever wants to apply for.

I didn’t do IVF to conceive, but I still lost so much of myself along the path to becoming a mom.  And the thing is, I never really realized it amid the daily grind of working 2 jobs, caring for my son, running my household and tending to other family obligations. I was at a Bruce Springsteen concert in the fall of 2016, four YEARS after my fertility journey (and 3 years after giving birth to my son), when it hit me like a lightning bolt that I never did any of the things I loved anymore. I’d lost myself in my quest to become a mom.

So I started dedicating time each week to doing at least one thing that I loved, and when February 2017 rolled around, I offered the Love Yourself Challenge to help myself, and 30 other women from around the world, get back to our essence by rediscovering our own selves. It was wildly successful!

The Struggle is Real!

 

Since last February, I’ve been continuing to do things I love, and do feel like I’ve been getting back to who I am. But mysteriously the struggle of having a healthy self-esteem continues.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that even though my journey through fertility had ended happily with a successful pregnancy and birth of a healthy baby boy, I still grappled with self-esteem issues.

I discovered that while the fertility journey magnified my issues of low self-esteem – feeling like my body was broken, feeling like less of a women, feeling barren – it didn’t CAUSE them. I’d have to go deeper and look to other areas of my life to figure out where these feelings came from.

I’ve unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) had the opportunity to do this over the past year as some things have happened in my life that have caused me to re-evaluate the entire question of self-esteem.

I’ve learned that cultivating self awareness, finding and nurturing those things in your life that you love, is only part of the picture where self-esteem and self-love are concerned.

It’s also about liking yourself. While I’m getting the self-awareness part down pat, I have made absolutely no progress in liking myself more.   And that’s a much bigger piece of the puzzle.

 

Do you like yourself?
I know it can be a loaded question.
For me, the answer is – sometimes. Not all the time.

 

I base a lot of my own opinion of myself on my perception of what others’ opinions of me are. I tend to look to others for validation of my own sense of self. And most of the time, I feel like other people don’t like me.

Over the years, since I was very young, I’ve always been prone to putting myself down. Thinking I wasn’t very smart. Thinking I was boring to other people. I was never part of the “popular kids” at any of the schools I went to, and never fitting in. I moved around a lot and often found myself in situations where I was having to make new friends. This is probably a story most adolescent girls can relate to.

But I’m almost 48 years old now, while I stopped trying to fit in a long time ago and now happily “fit out”, I’m still struggling to find “my people.” And I’ve had a couple of major setbacks over the past year in my relationships with other people.

Two people in my circle decided they were done with me and unceremoniously cut me out of their lives.  One of them was a fellow fertility coach, and someone that I don’t know very well.  The other was someone who’d been one of my closest friends for more than 20 years – we were in each other’s weddings, told each other we were soul sisters and we’d be friends forever, the whole 9 yards.

While both of these relationships were very different, the end result was the same for me – pain, sadness and a huge blow to my confidence and self-esteem – wondering what’s “wrong” with me that they don’t like me, or have no use for me.

 

So I still have a lot of work to do on my self-esteem, and it goes way beyond pursuing my hobbies again. It’s about cultivating my own sense of self worth, so that I’m not so shaken when relationships in my life end – as relationships do in their usual ebb and flow. So I don’t take it so personally and so I find strength in moving on to find my own “people”.

And that is why I’m offering the Love Yourself Challenge again this year. Last year, for me, it was about reconnecting with myself. This year, it’s about having the strength to seek closure in the things that no longer serve me, and feeling more worthy of having good things in my life. It’s about no longer being desperate for acceptance.

That’s the beauty of a challenge like this one. It can mean whatever is most important for you at a given point in time. Because self-love and self-worth affect us in so many different ways and on so many levels.

I’d love to have you join me on the challenge and we can help each other on this journey! Sign up here!

Originally appeared at Where’s My Stork?  2/6/17