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I didn’t realize that the journey to realizing my desires- both in the sense of realizing what they are and making them reality in common parlance- would be a journey in learning to love myself. This has completely blindsided me.

I had so completely bought into the logic that I was nothing more or less than my achievements, however defined, hook line and sinker that the idea of doing anything other than achieving more to feel happy could never have occurred to me.

I was aware that I had hit a wall in my development because I lived in shame, self-doubt, guilt, and anxiety, that made it difficult for me to funciton. And the more harshly I judged myself, the worse my behavior and outcomes became.

I probably could have gone for decades, or at least years, without realizing that the core problem is not that I haven’t achieved every single goal, or that my happiness is contingent if not on actually getting the things I say I want, at least on giving my absolute all to get them. And then I realized, maybe happiness doesn’t actually come from things after all, and getting the things that I want is just an adventure that comes and goes.

I don’t think that real happiness is conditional on me getting everything I think I want today.

And I definitely don’t think that real happiness requires me to follow all my plans and schemes to a T, to make my bed every morning and live life with the drill sergeant of my ego constantly shouting in my ear- you suck if you do this, you suck if you don’t, whatever you do is never good enough, you suck until you achieve this goal. And then I achieve the goal, and then it’s never enough, and the vicious cycle starts over again. I’ve been wasting too much of my life in it. Not just in terms of years of happiness I didn’t get to live because I was busy playing the shame game, but literally not being conscious of life as it passes by because I am too caught up in these painful thoughts that turn even the sunniest day and the world’s greatest wonders and most simple, profound pleasures into eternal 40 degrees, gray and raining, with all hope or memory of spring or winter or fall or summer completely forgotten, just a bleak wasteland where seeds drown in sorrow and there will never be any fruit.

If I start from a place of loving myself, and that I already am enough, do my goals actually change? What a goal oriented thing to ask.

If you already are enough and have enough, what do you truly desire?

If life is already peachy, what is all the fuss about?

I think that self care is being your own best friend even to the point of forgiving yourself for years of being your own worst enemy. I don’t think it’s necessarily about doing a certain number of sun salutations in the morning or eating your vegetables or saving your pennies for a rainy day.  It’s about having the self love to do those things, to want what’s best for yourself, instead of giving into often consciously self destructive impulses.

It’s about having the courage to climb up the mountain of mindfulness where the air is clear, and leaving the storm clouds of shame and guilt behind.

It’s about realizing that punishing yourself serves no purpose- you did the best you knew how to do at the time. if you had known better, you would surely have done better. And if loving yourself doesn’t come easy, you aren’t to blame.

So do I still want a baller job, an amazing salary, an apartment in or near Paris, a handsome prince, a baby, a trip around the world, to be a respected travel and photo journalist, to learn Russian, crochet, and bellydancing, to go to South America, to do the banana pancake backpack trail, to hike Nepal, and write my memoir that will be an overnight sensation like Eat Pray Love? Yes Yes Yes Yes YEs YES YES YESY EYS

but I am going to transform the world from a place of love and abundance, not lack and hate. I am going to embody the love that everyone in this world needs, starting with myself. The rest is just details.