100,000 Ways To Love Yourself

100,000 Ways To Love Yourself

I used to be quite good at letting myself down. Promises and commitments made to others were always easier to keep than the promises and commitments I would make to myself. 

I’ve often heard that you can’t love others until you learn how to love yourself. Yet some of the kindest, most compassionate and loving people I know often struggle with treating themselves the way they so instinctively treat others.

Much of this stems from a distorted sense of worth and self-image. For those, we see them so differently from the way they see themselves. It feels like something a great many have quietly struggled with in differing degrees. I know I’ve had my challenges. We know who we really are, we tell ourself, and often we struggle showering the person who we tell ourselves we are with the same kindness and compassion we freely give away to others.

For me, not keeping commitments to myself was one of my ways of not showing myself the love. It was my way of subconsciously me keeping me more like I’ve always been. Setting goals and actually accomplishing them would make me a different person, different from the person I’ve always accepted myself to be. Letting myself down was just my way of self-regulating and keeping me who it was I told myself I was.

Five years ago I presented myself with a challenge. A challenge of commitment. A challenge of commitment to myself. Something simple. Something I would always have time to do. Something I knew I could perform which meant that the only reason why didn’t do it was because I chose not to.

Push ups.

Every day.

Equal in number to my age.

For five years.

100,000 push ups.

I wasn’t good at push ups. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do 50+ push ups all at once. I’d certainly have to break it up into several sessions per day. But this was the challenge I presented myself with. I called myself out. If I couldn’t find the time to do my push ups every day, why would I think I’d be able to keep any other more meaningful and significant commitments in my life? Like, Pete, if you can’t do this, don’t waste any more time thinking that you’ll ever be anything more than you already are. 

And with that, I started. It wasn’t easy at first, but I kept with it. I kept track of my progress on the whiteboard I have at home. The number of consecutive days and the total number of push ups completed. The entire family knew of my commitment and now they could graphically see if I was actually keeping my commitment to myself.

It was a significant test for me to learn about keeping commitments made to myself. A test that would tell me about who I really was. A test that would tell my family about who I really was.

Five years later? 100,000 push ups completed. The only thing that temporarily interrupted my consecutive days streak was a debilitating case of sciatica which rendered me physically useless. I’d accomplished 1,438 consecutive days of push ups before my injury. But I was back at it as soon as I was able to move again, doing extra push ups each day to get me back on track.

Sure, there were days I didn’t feel like doing them. There were days I had gone to bed only to realize I had yet to do my push ups that day. So I got out of bed and hit the floor to do them. Even the day of my knee surgery I made sure I did my push ups before going to the hospital and was able to prop myself up in a manner that allowed me to do them during my recovery. Without missing a day.

Because I promised myself I would.

Commitment and disciple aren’t glamorous. But they are the cornerstone of building anything worth building. Especially when it comes to building a healthier relationship with yourself.

My relationship with me has, in fact, changed. I was quite accomplished at telling myself what I was going to do and never quite actually doing it. Now, there is a much healthier level of self respect. I undertook a five year commitment and completed the task. I kept my word to me, 100,000 times, and with that I learned that I could trust me. With me. Something I had a difficult time doing previously.

It was a significant step in my growing more into who it was I was created to be. Possibilities now feel far more possible.

I still do my daily push ups. It’s simply become a daily habit. It serves as a reminder of the impact taking small consistent steps in your own direction can have in building a new identity about who you believe yourself to be and being worthy of the corresponding self love that comes with it.

That wasn’t my intention.

But that has been the outcome.

What about you? How is your relationship with you? Perhaps there’s one thing you can challenge yourself to do for you to improve your relationship with you?

Self Abandonment & Embracing The Voice Of Authenticity

Self Abandonment & Embracing The Voice Of Authenticity

Somebody told you a story. Perhaps just once. Perhaps several times. But stories have a way of taking root, especially in the impressionable and fertile mind of a child. Even well intentioned story tellers have no idea how that story could impact the life trajectory of that child.

Stick and stones. Yes, they can break bones. But names and labels have such a power to hurt you and your sense of who you are. More specifically, of who you think it is you are.

And who you think you are is perhaps the most important story you’ll ever tell yourself.

As a boy, I didn’t get into too much trouble. I was the third born, coming into this world six years after the second born. I was kind of left on my own, staying within the parameters that were set for me. On one occasion, though, my failing junior high school grades gave my Dad the opportunity to vehemently express his disappointment in me. Not in my grades. But in me, the person. His son. A new story was told, and stories have a way of taking root in the impressionable and fertile mind of a child. Especially when that story comes from your Dad.

And take root it did.

In hindsight, what Dad was trying to do was motivate me. A lifelong factory worker, he wanted me to live a different life than what he was living. His was a hard life, a paycheck-to-paycheck existence. Up early, grabbing as many extra hours as he could. He wanted more for me, and the harshness of his tactics was his way of trying to show me. I see that now, but the young version of me was far to emotionally immature to see that. Dad spoke. I had no reason not to believe him.

And take root it did.

Perhaps you, too, have had the opinions of others impact your perceptions of who you think you are? Maybe you’ve been told at some point in your life you’re not good enough, you’re not smart enough, you’re not beautiful enough, you’re too emotional, you’re a lot of work, you’ll never amount to anything?

The stories we tell ourself will define us. They shape our expectations, shape our actions, shape what we feel is or isn’t possible for ourself. These stories can cause us to abandon who it is we really are in order to live a life consistent with who it is we’ve been told we are. Because we will become who we think we are. We will build a world around those stories, a world in which we will regulate our levels of abundance, worthiness, and even our own perceived lovability. We will fill in life’s pieces accordingly, reinforcing the stories further. We will always attract just more of the same.

A different life requires a different story.

A story in which we embrace our truest self and never needing to abandon it.

When we embrace our authentic self, we will attract and create a world around us full of people and opportunities and relationships which will support our most authentic and purest self. That is the life we all were created to live.

We do get to decided which stories we accept as true.

Actually, we’ve been doing it all of our lives.

So why not embrace a story which supports the life we know we really want to live, the life we were created to live?

Uprooting an identity is hard work. But if you don’t start, you never will.

Your authentic self? It is still within you. It’s alway been there. It’s as beautiful as you’ve always known it to be. It just needs for you to tell yourself a different story.

The Voice of Authenticity is calling you.

Abandon your stories which no longer serve you, and you’ll never again have to abandon the most important person you will ever know.

You.

Photo by Chela B. on Unsplash

Getting In Tune With The Present Moment

Getting In Tune With The Present Moment

“Toys In The Attic.”

Aerosmith.

1975.

Going through some things in my home office, I stumbled across my old record collection. Good old fashioned vinyl LP’s. 100’s of them on a solid 2×4 and plywood cabinet I built many years ago to keep them dry and in good condition. Over the years the cabinet has been slowly covered with other stuff, the albums becoming very much out of sight and out of mind.

Music has always been an important part of my life, and back in the day vinyl was media of choice. Vinyl really wasn’t very portable, so for me to listen to the music it required me to also be less portable.

Back in the day we used to actual sit around and listen to music. Friends would gather and we’d bring our favorite albums and spend hours listening. Music was the focal point, not just something we had playing in the background as we did something else.

There was an intentionality and with that intentionality we sat fully present, just listening, discovering, and enjoying, listening fully in the moment.

Fast forward to the age of streaming. Of music seemingly everywhere on demand. Streaming has made music extremely portable, something you can take with you everywhere. As I thumbed through some of my favorite albums, I realized that streaming has changed my relationship with music. Even though I now have instant access to any song which pops into my head, listening has lost much of its intentionality. The intimacy is gone. The music has become something in the background as I do other things. I’m no longer fully in the moment.

I often feel relationships have also lost much of their intimacy. Like, they feel less intentional. In an ever-connected world, relationships are ever-accessible and yet they can often feel like background noise as we are busy doing other things, often at the expense of what really matters. Ever have to compete for a child’s attention when you’re talking with them with their phone in their hand? And it’s not just the kids. The battle to be fully present can be a struggle for me at times, and with the pace of life and the digital distractions I’m thinking I’m not the only one struggling.

It’s been said that the present moment is all we really have, yet how much of our present moment time is spent focused on trying to understand the moments we’ve had and trying to control the moments we’re going to have, at the expense of the present moment?

The present moment doesn’t care what we do with it.

Perhaps we should?

Photo by Skylar Sahakian on Unsplash

Could It Really Be This Simple?

Could It Really Be This Simple?

What if John and Paul were right?

What if all we need is love?

I’ve often dismissed the premise as being overly simplistic. Life can be extremely challenging sometimes. But I’m starting to think they were on to something.

When I look at the world, where wouldn’t love make a difference? Imagine any crisis or strife anywhere in the world. Wouldn’t love make so many of these situations dramatically better, perhaps even eliminate them completely? Isn’t the absence of love the root cause of most of these situations to begin with?

Look at the relationships in your life. Wouldn’t unconditional love make them better and stronger? Wouldn’t unconditional love allow us to accept others as they are and others to accept us as we are? Wouldn’t others also feel a greater sense of peace from feeling a greater sense of love?

Look at your relationship with yourself. What would your life look and feel like if you lovingly allowed yourself the space to be you, without judgement or condition? Isn’t it the absence of love which prevents us from being patient, forgiving, and supportive of ourselves?

Where wouldn’t more love make a difference?

Often our well-intentioned search to find answers to life’s deepest questions can take us down a long and winding road. Our problems are big and therefore demand big solutions.

Or do they?

Maybe it’s not as complicated as we can sometimes make it out to be.

Maybe all we really need is love?

It’s a great day to be you!

Why You Really Need To Hug Your Toaster

Why You Really Need To Hug Your Toaster

Perhaps your toaster is trying to tell you something?

I never think about my toaster. Even when I’m plugging it in. Even when I’m putting my English muffins into the over-sized slots. I never think about my toaster.

My toaster is just sitting there on the counter. It’s always been on my counter. Probably always will be, too. It’s just one of those props on the set of my mornings, just like the coffee maker and the can opener.

My relationship with my toaster is decidedly one-sided. It’s always been about what the toaster can do for me. White, wheat, or Continue reading “Why You Really Need To Hug Your Toaster”

Indifferently Ever After?

Eventually even the new becomes oblivious. Ultimately the vibrancy of just about anything simply fades to black.

In a culture of attainment, we often spend far too much time attaining than appreciating all we’ve already gathered into our lives.

Especially when it comes to the people we share our lives with.

Does your someone special know they are still special? Or do you assume they just know it, even though they can’t remember the last time you made them feel that way? And neither can you?

Think of the significant relationships you have in your life as a child, parent, sibling, partner, friend…even your relationship with your self. Has what once made these relationships resonate so deeply within you been tempered by the unintentional but perhaps inevitable cloud of indifference?

None of us would probably look at our relationships and accuse ourselves of becoming indifferent. But while indifference isn’t the intention, often it becomes the result, no matter how well we “justify” our excuses.

Sometimes we just lose our way when we focus on what we think we are missing. A slight shift in focus towards what we already have is the first step on the path leading us back home.

The greatest gift we can ever give is the gift of ourselves, wrapped in love and tied with a bow of compassion. Such a gift restores the original lustre to any relationship, returning the magic to the magical, uplifting both the sender and the recipient.

But even the greatest gift is useless if it is never given.

In a challenging world we all call home, has there ever been a more important time for giving the gift of your love?

Love is always best served proactively.

It’s a great day to be you!

If You’re Gonna Hate Me, Please Do So at Noontime

This is my very last blog post.

Ever.

OK, this probably isn’t my last post ever.

But it could be.

Who knows? Some things are well beyond our control.

If this were to be the absolute last thing I was ever to write I’d want it to be memorable. I’d want it to move you. But most importantly, I’d want to make sure you knew exactly how I feel. Black and white, because there wouldn’t be a chance for me to ever Continue reading “If You’re Gonna Hate Me, Please Do So at Noontime”

How I Lost 50 Pounds on the “Beer, Pizza & Donut Diet”

“Absolutely amazing results!”

“And it will work for you, too!”

I’ve discovered an eating program that allows you to eat absolutely anything you want to eat and still lose weight. In fact, not only can you eat anything you want to eat, you can eat as much as you want to eat and still shed pounds.

How liberating…walking through the never-ending aisles of my local grocery mega-mart free to throw anything I want into the basket. Or sitting in my favorite restaurant free to choose anything I want off the menu.

Continue reading “How I Lost 50 Pounds on the “Beer, Pizza & Donut Diet””

Life Lessons from Peanut Butter and Jelly

Culinary soul mates?

One of my many duties as a father of three school aged kids is that of the official sandwich maker. Most every morning I can be found standing over slices of bread, mindlessly configuring slices of ham, turkey, or olive loaf with American cheese and yellow mustard. Or if Dad didn’t get to the supermarket to pick up some deli meat, there’s always Plan B, also known as Peanut Butter and Jelly.

I guess I could have kept track of exactly how many sandwiches I’ve made in my role as official sandwich maker, but the morning usually never affords me the time to sit down and update a spreadsheet. But I wish I had a dollar for every sandwich I’ve made over the years.

PROFOUND A recent Plan B morning, it was time to make some PB & J’s. As I was about to unite the individual slices of wheat bread, one coated with a layer of peanut butter and the other coated with a layer of jelly, I stopped for a moment as I surprisingly realized something rather profound:

Peanut Butter doesn’t need Jelly. Continue reading “Life Lessons from Peanut Butter and Jelly”

Love, Rain and the Cactus Heart

It’s not every day that a cactus teaches you about love…

So, I finally made it to California. It was a promise I made to the world via my high school yearbook, that California was in my future. That’s what it said under the picture of the long-haired, seventeen year old soon-to-be high school graduate.

It just took me 29 years to get there.

I don’t remember exactly why I wanted to go to California. I think it was because I had a crush on a girl who had plans to go to Continue reading “Love, Rain and the Cactus Heart”