Understanding Self-Acceptance

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Throughout various social media platforms, you’ll see the hashtags such as, #bodypositive, #selflove, and the popular #effyourbeautystandards (popular tag for the Body Positive ‘BoPo’ community, created by Plus-Size Model Tess Holliday). You may be familiar with these or not but, to many individuals they hold a significant place in their everyday lives. In my opinion, these fall under the notion of self-acceptance.

What is self-acceptance? Self-acceptance to me is practicing compassion, patience, and unconditional love to my body – inside and out. Why would someone want to work towards self-acceptance? I say, “work towards” instead of, “achieve” because self-acceptance is a constant fight that challenges the negative voice inside your head that tells you, “You are not enough”. Self-acceptance is being able to look at yourself in the mirror and see who you really are, with acceptance and love. To me, this practice tests how you see your physical body and also, how you observe your personality and interactions with people. I find that my inner critic really thrives during social situations, barking at me that the things I am saying are childish, redundant, and that I don’t, “fit in”. However, self acceptance allows me to recognize these negative thoughts, sit with them, but then allow them to wash away and be replaced with positive affirmations such as, “I am enough”, “I have valuable knowledge”, and “People enjoy my company”.

Self-acceptance has helped me in situations where I never thought it could such as an interview, trying on clothing, or even writing an email. Self-doubt can manifest in numerous ways; oftentimes we may not even notice that inner critic coming to drag us and our self-confidence down. By being aware and mindful, we can observe these negative thoughts and address them in a more gentle and compassionate way.

Here are three ways to start your self-acceptance journey:

  • Practice mindfulness: Being mindful to me means being more present rather than somewhere in your mind where the inner critic tends to dwell. When you live more in your mind than the present moment, the mind tends to start talking and not always positive. By living a more present life, whether it is enjoying your morning coffee in silence or reading a book in a park, we can appreciate the more mundane moments and move away from the anxious and doubtful thoughts that can creep in. To begin your mindfulness journey I recommend the tiny book, The Little Book of Mindfulness: 10 Minutes a Day to Less Stress, More Peace by Patrizia Collard. This little guy helped me slowly develop a more mindful way of living.
  • Find a hobby: I know I know, you are probably rolling your eyes at this typical word of advice but, it is true! Finding a hobby can ease stress and bring purpose. Being creative and inventing new ideas can truly spark your inner power and confidence. When I started my journey with watercolor painting, I felt this surge of inner pride, knowing that I created something beautiful. If you are looking for a new hobby, I highly recommend Skillshare which is an online platform that hosts thousands of classes that range from business to writing, and everything in between.
  • Journal: You are probably also rolling your eyes at this one and it is understandable. Journaling is a popular tool that is mentioned for any kind of mindshift change and for good reason! Journaling allows us to tap into our inner guidance and gain clarity on certain feelings and emotions – both negative and positive. If you are having a particularly bad day and can’t get that inner critic to shut it’s pie hole, journaling those thoughts and feelings out can really allow you to acknowledge them, release them, and move forward onto something more positive and upbringing. If you are new to journaling I recommend, Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration by Meera Lee Patel. This small-scale journal is the perfect companion for someone new to journaling. It has beautiful and insightful artwork and writing prompts, especially if you feel as though you wouldn’t know where to begin.

Self-acceptance is a difficult and beautiful journey. It will put you in front of the inner demons that linger on both your conscious and subconscious levels. Traumas and difficult experiences can create negative feelings that you may not even realize and through self-acceptance and corresponding practices, you’ll be able to smooth out each layer. It won’t happen overnight but, the benefits of this journey are limitless. Through self-acceptance I have been able to realize the true abundance in my life and my own self worth while also, being able to see the beauty in others. Self-acceptance penetrates each and every fiber of your being and allows your inner fire to flourish and radiate not only on the outside but, the inside as well.

Start your journey to a life filled with light, love, and peace.

 

With light and love,

J

 

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Self Care as a Mindful Practice

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Self care is a popular term throughout social media from various self help gurus, spiritual mentors, authors, and other prominent social figures. Some choose to show self care as a face mask, manicure, or a new outfit. Now, although I do these things occasionally when I need a pick me up, I do believe that self care should go past the surface with activities that make you reflect and be present as this is where the healing (in my opinion) truly beings, here are three of my favorites:

Yoga: Yoga has become a huge self care tool for me. Lately I’ve been pushing myself out of my comfort zone and trying different types of yoga and have found that instead of living inside my head with my anxiety, I am forced to be present. To acknowledge the way my body moves, pushes limits, and how my breath is the center of it all. Yoga was created to help improve the time in which the body could withstand meditation. Yoga is the movement that allows the mind to relax, let the body flow, and be in the moment. I am no expert but, I have seen great improvements in my overall well being by adding yoga to my daily routine. I am less anxious, more grounded, and I sleep better which is always a plus for my overall health. If you are looking for free alternatives, YouTube is my main resource as there are free full length classes that are all different styles and available to you at any time of the day. Another tool you can use as well is to keep a yoga journal to document your progress and what classes and teachers you liked or didn’t, and this way it’ll motivate you to keep on the yogi path.

Meditation: I can see the eye rolls now. Meditation has gotten a bad rep as many believe that it is solely you sitting alone, being quiet, and not thinking of anything and if you do, you’ve ‘failed’. This is simply not the case. Meditation can take many forms (see yoga above), it can come in the form of writing, coloring, cleaning, really almost anything that allows you to get out of your head and into the present moment. Sure, sitting alone with your thoughts in a quiet space is ideal but, when thoughts arise (because they will) do not judge yourself, let the thoughts come and go like the waves of the ocean. Meditation for me, has a lot to do with staying connected with my breath and allowing the mind and body to just be. Through meditation my anxiety has greatly decreased and my overall mood is always better when I am done with my meditation. Some free resources for you to start your meditation journey (you see how I’m all about the free stuff?): Headspace is a great resource, this app offers a free 10 Day meditation series for 10 minutes each day. This is an easy way to get into meditation and, the colorful videos included in the series are also uplifting. DoYogaWithMe is also a free resource that offers guided meditations (as well as free yoga classes). Guided meditations are a beautiful resource to get you started or to refresh your meditation practice. Guided meditations allow your imagination and soul self to explore and adventure, while lessening any anxiety and improving your overall mood.

Reading: I know that reading is not for everyone however, I do believe that anyone can find something of interest to pick up and dive into. Reading to me, allows me to really be in the present (see the overall theme?) and get out of my head. Reading can also sometimes get me really revved up, especially if I am reading something exciting so, I do recommend that if you are reading for self care try reading something light. Books that I enjoy for self care are typically self help books or a graphic novel where I can appreciate the artwork and spark my own creativity vibes.

These are three of my main tools for inner self care. There isn’t a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ when it comes to self care. Self care can be used on the inside and out, as long as it is serving your own highest good. I love a good rosehip oil face mask paired with a good book in a bubble bath. It is about whatever makes YOU feel good about YOU. What sparks your inner self love and healing? Find it, and do it. Have fun with it, try new things and you’ll be surprised what resonates with your soul self. Also, my Spiritual Mentor Madison Rosenberger has a great free self care eBook, it focuses a lot on self care as a spiritual practice and gives you many beautiful resources to improve your own self care practice.

With love and light,

JP

The Beginning

 

Untitled design (4).pngMy soul journey began in the early summer of 2014 in Florence, Italy. It was there that I lived in an apartment in historic Florence, with five other women, and studied art history and sustainable living. For almost four weeks I traveled throughout Italy, experienced new things, and overcame a lot of internal anxiety that I had when it came to being independent. I never would have expected that this trip of a lifetime would spark my self growth and spiritual journey. This was the beginning of the rest of my life.

Lets take a step back and look at my life before Italy. I struggled with a deeply rooted depression and self hate, Binge Eating Disorder, anxiety, and Body Dysmorphia. All of those topics could be blog posts on their own so, for now I’m going to just give you a brief idea of where my mindset was at this point.

I was in a loving relationship with this woman that I had been seeing for almost a year (we are great friends now), I worked a part time job that I hated, and I felt stuck. I had no idea who I was, where I was going, and couldn’t get out of my own way. I was angry, frustrated, confused, and just drowning, looking for adventure and purpose.

When I left for Italy I had no idea what to expect. After more than a day of travel with a five hour layover in Paris, I arrived in beautiful Tuscany. Like when Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun arrives in Italy, that kind of moment. I was in awe. The warmth of the landscape, even the air of just being in a different country felt different in my lungs. Italy felt like home in that instance for me. A temporary home that would heal some of the deepest rooted wounds in my very being. After arriving to the apartment, picking our rooms, and showering; we set out on a nighttime adventure for food, drinks, and skinny cigarettes. Italy was Heaven on Earth for me. I explored nearby towns, hiked along the mediterranean, met the most interesting locals, and ate delicious foods. This trip brought profound closure for me, it gave me a sense of who I wanted to be, and allowed me to experience life in a whole new world. I developed a friendship that would last me a lifetime, learned heartbreak but also, learned what self healing truly felt like.

I came home as a new person. My family could tell the difference and so could I. Although I was sad to leave Italy, I knew that the lessons I learned there would follow me forever. Since then, I’ve really started to pick away at the pieces of hurt and sadness, and see the beauty in life and in myself.

Now, in 2017, I’ve overcome my eating disorder, have learned self love, and have a healthy relationship with myself and my boyfriend of two years. That trip drastically changed my life for the better. That self discovery opened me to a life of meditation, tarot/oracle cards, an increased love for yoga and being outside, and crystals. I live my life in a way that serves my mind, body, and soul. I’m on my way to becoming an Akashic Records and Reiki Practitioner, and I can only hope that with more time I will increase my spiritual enlightenment and see all the beauty and love in the world, even if right now it seems dark and uncertain.

I welcome you all to my blog, where I will be documenting my spiritual journey. You can expect an array of posts but, I’ll keep what is in store a surprise.

With love and light,

JP