"A ship in a harbor is safe, but that's not what a ship is built for" - Anonymous
This month as we come together for our Boom Huddle I want to address a topic that is actually discussed quite frequently: self-care. I’m sure as I mention this, you already have ideas popping up in your mind as to what that entails. You're imagining soaking in a tub with a bubbling bath bomb, spirit-lifting self-affirmations, saving money for an occasional massage and scheduling the ever-important “me time” in the calendar... am I right?
Yes, all of these things are considered "self-care" and all of them are very necessary and valid. I encourage everyone to implement them in their lives. However, I feel there is a side of self-care that is hardly ever addressed. It isn’t all essential oils and journaling. This other side is just as important, arguably more important, as the examples that I listed above.
There are habits you can adopt that will transform your mindset and your life in the most powerful ways. Not all self-care is easy or comfortable. It’s the most challenging things that help us break through our shells. It’s the hardest work that takes us to new heights. Yes...I’m talking about all of those things you try desperately to avoid. The things that deep down you know you need to be doing. Let’s call these “self-dares”.
I’ve listed 10 examples of transformative self-dares that will help shift your perspective and set you directly on the path toward your true potential and highest quality life.
Face your damn fears
I know, I know...you don’t wanna. Trust me I get it. I remember sitting in my therapist’s office listening to her tell me that I needed to face my fears if I wanted to change my life. What was my first thought? Hell no. I won’t do it. I'd rather not change if that's what it takes. Let’s be honest that was my second, third and maybe fourth thought too. But once I stepped up to the plate and started facing my fears (one step at a time) I realized she was right. When you face your fears you start to understand that you were giving them far more power than they deserved. When you expose yourself to them you see that your mind was playing tricks and that you are so much stronger than you thought. If you are afraid of public speaking you need to go give a public speech. If you are afraid of spiders you need to get your ass down to the butterfly pavilion and hold the tarantula. If you are afraid of rejection you need to start dating more. I wouldn’t encourage this unless I’ve done this work myself. It works and it is powerful.
Stop lying to yourself
We all have that internal bullshit meter. We know when we are phoning it in. We know when we are slacking. We know when we have made a poor choice. Hold yourself accountable and own up to it. Why are you waiting for someone else to tell you where you’ve gone off-track? You know where you’ve gone off-track already. I’m not saying that reaching out to others and using your support system is a negative thing, but relying on others entirely to call you out is just another excuse. Be honest with yourself at all times. Cut the shit.
Growth truly is painful. It’s uncomfortable. It doesn’t feel good. In order to build our muscles, we need to rip them up. This is also true for building a strong mindset and emotional capacity. Walk straight into vulnerability. Stay the course even when your heart is pounding and your mind tells you to flee. If you get knocked down, just stand back up. Remind yourself that every time you feel that discomfort it's an opportunity to prosper.
Address the elephant
Be the person that points out the elephant in the room instead of dancing around it. You know what I’m talking about, everyone is thinking the same thing but no one will say it and it’s putting an unhealthy vibe in the room. Have the integrity to be real. Not only will you feel more confident and solid in yourself but people around you will appreciate it and value your authenticity. As a side note, make sure this situation actually involves you. If it doesn’t, mind your business and focus on the things that do involve you. 😉
Behave "as if"
Picture the best, ideal version of yourself. How does this version of yourself behave, think, react, etc? Behave as if you were that person right now. This falls in line with self-affirmations but let’s apply it to the hard stuff. How would this person react in a situation where they were being treated poorly? How would they react if they were faced with a challenge or a fear? What would they do if they saw someone struggling? Be this person. Behave as if you were this person. Soon enough you will realize you are that person.
Listen to criticism
I’m not saying to take every criticism you hear as factual and change in response to it. I’m saying to hear the criticism. Take it in and actually think about it. Is it true? Does this person have a point? Can you take something from it that can help you be a better person? Did you know that you might not always be right? Accept it my friends. Sometimes things that are hard to hear can ultimately help you down the road if you allow it to.
Think of the people you love the most in this world. Are they perfect? Of course not! In fact, I’m willing to bet that some of the things you love most about them are their quirky “flaws”. Stop trying to be perfect. Stop trying to be in control all the time. It is an act of futility. Know that you are wrong sometimes, you do embarrassing things sometimes, you suck at certain things sometimes and its all okay. It is exactly how you are supposed to be.
Life ebbs and flows. It’s a river. Embrace change. Welcome it. You can spend your life flowing down the river or you can stay on the bank in a stagnant puddle. Know that life is change. Some changes are as devastating as others are incredible, but all of them offer new knowledge and possibilities. Get your ass in that river.
Become aware of your self-imposed barriers
Many of you already know you can be your own worst enemy, but are you aware of how? Do you know specifically the things you do that sabotage yourself? If you don’t, it’s time to start paying attention. Do you push people away when they get close? Do you avoid trying new things? Do you bury yourself in excuses so you don’t have to do the hard work you know you need to do? This also ties into the self-dare of not lying to yourself. Beyond that, become acutely aware of your unhealthy coping mechanisms so that you can take an alternate route when they happen.
Give, give, give
That’s right, give, give, and give some more. This is probably the easiest of all the self-dares. Give without expectation. Give often. Give without the need for praise or thanks. Give to make your community better. Give to brighten someone’s day. Put lots of thought into how you can help those around you. Nothing feels better than giving. Do it.
Please remember these self-dares and combine them with your self-care regimen. Take a long, hard look in the mirror and tell yourself it’s time. No more lies, no more excuses, no more avoiding, and no more easy road. It's the most challenging, humbling, uncomfortable experiences in life that bring the most evolution. You got this.
Til' next time BOOMers...keep being awesome! See you in the Boom Room!
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