In the (Start-Up) Business of Loving Myself

self-love

Self-Love is a buzzword I hear often. Even social media hashtags proliferate the concept. Yep. #SelfLoveSunday. It’s a thing.  So are those barefaced “I woke up like this” selfies. Of course you did. After 10 minutes of choosing a filter.

But regardless, the implication is clear. We should accept, embrace, even flaunt our own uniqueness. And the haters can just shove their criticism. Well…umm…brownie points for that empowering mantra, but one issue still remains.

Social media is not an accurate depiction of reality. Which makes me wonder: How many of these self-love posts crowding my Instagram feed represent women who really do love themselves?  

Do they feel as confident, poised and vivacious as their expressions would suggest? Or is there a secret shame cowering behind that camera lens?  A brokenness hidden beneath a brazen facade?

I’d guess the latter.

Not because I’m a cynic, but because we live amidst a contradictory culture that heaps emphasis on airbrushed physical standards, while encouraging women to appreciate their idiosyncrasies.

These two messages can’t coexist. When society demands perfection, where does that leave the imperfect? Scrutinizing every inch of their bodies, chasing self-love but coming up short.

I’m no stranger to this cycle.

In fact, the first conscious realization of my own “subpar” physique came at 8 years old. This perception (however irrational) spiraled into a decade long struggle with distorted body image, restrictive behaviors and obsessive hyper-criticism. A.K.A. the antithesis of self-love.

No hashtag is gonna convince me to change that perspective though. No social media campaign will reverse these beliefs entrenched in my psyche. No superficial impetus can undo the damage within. Healing comes from a much higher pursuit.

When you recognize that vulnerability isn’t weakness.

That admission of flaws isn’t acceptance of defeat.

That relying just on yourself isn’t a buffer from pain. 

That drawing strength from others isn’t disempowerment.  

So, why is self-love an elusive concept? Because we’re conditioned to skepticize and overanalyze these simple truths instead of affirming them at face-value. But when we move past the barricades, we experience more than self-love.

We discover identity.

body-positive-quotations

 

 

 

15 Reasons to Get Active in the Great Outdoors

In recognition of today as summer’s official start-date, say hello to the limitless playground that is Mother Nature!

Go on, get out there…here’s why you should:


1. Increased exposure to fresh air allows the respiratory, cardiovascular, and circulatory systems to function at their optimum.

2. Being surrounded by nature – particularly plant life – has been proven to reduce anxiety, stress, and clinical depression.

3. Healing powers in both the ground and atmosphere build immunity toward chronic illnesses, such as cancer or diabetes.

4. Regular doses of natural sunlight boost the body’s production of Vitamin D, which supports bone growth and density.

5. The green pigmentation found in leafy foliage stimulates energy, elevates the mood, and sparks a burst of creativity.

6. Both holistic medicine and modern science show that walking barefoot on grass fights insomnia, leading to peaceful sleep.

7. Nature’s abundance of sensory stimuli improves concentration, memory, alertness and other cognitive functions.

8. The average person is more likely to exercise outside than at a gym, so even 10 minutes in the backyard triggers movement.

9. Exploring the wonders of this planet promotes adventure and taking chances, which is vital for personal development.

10. Unplugging from technology and greeting the new day improves eyesight, since staring at LCD screens strains the pupils.

11. Even a stroll around the block is ideal for stretching tight muscles and lubricating stiff joints – especially those knees.

12. Any amount of time spent engaging in recreational activities or relaxing outdoors naturally heightens self-esteem.

13. The simple act of leaving those 4 walls behind encourages face-to-face human interaction, connection, and community.

14. A daily retreat from urban pollution – in a park or by a lake, for instance – boosts the body’s white blood cell count by 50%.

15. Another reason to go barefoot outside, walking on earthy, rough terrain activates reflex points that ease physical tension.