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?

My Mom Has A Message For You

My Mom Has A Message For You

With all the discomfort and uncertainty we’ve suddenly been thrust into, I wanted to share some words from the person who’s words have always been of great comfort to me.

My Mom.

Mom just turned 90 a few weeks ago. In 90 years she’s seen more than her share of challenges and painful obstacles that she’s been able to overcome. She was the second youngest of eight children born smack dab in the middle of the Great Depression. She’s been widowed now longer than she was married. She has experienced the unbearable loss of a son, has witnessed the loss of almost all of her siblings, as well as many close friends. She has survived countless numbers of economic downturns wondering how the bills will get paid and the family will be fed. But no matter the pain life has ever thrown at her, her refrain has always remained the same…

“This, too, shall pass.”

The older I get the more I understand and appreciate her wisdom, faith, and resolve. Underneath it all is a rock solid spiritual belief system with gives her both the resolve to endure and the wisdom to trust that this, too, shall pass, that we will, in fact, get through whatever we may find ourselves stuck in. Her prayers aren’t prayers asking for strength; rather, they are prayers reminding God that while she may not understand why she is being tested, she understands that testing is all part of the process of being human.

If you were able to call my Mom today and share your fears, worries, troubles, and concerns with her, she would at some point embrace you and remind you of perhaps the greatest lesson she has ever learned in her 90 years…

“This, too, shall pass.”

photo credit: Chelsea Shapouri via Unsplash

The Paradox of Surrender

The plan is simple. Just admit that you’re stuck, out of any of your own options, and that you’re willing to concede the overall guidance of your life to someone else.

But, wait. This is America. Who stands up and professes their own inability to navigate the waters of their own life? Isn’t stuff like this frowned upon in our culture?

Any quest toward personal spiritual growth inevitably encounters the concept of surrender, when you “let go and let God”, when you realign yourself with your Source and actively trust the Divine Guidance to light your way. For some, letting go is a conscious rational choice. For me, I went kicking and screaming. Surrender was the only option when I ran out of options of my own. It’s never a proud moment when life brings you Continue reading “The Paradox of Surrender”

Go Feng Shui Yourself

Rearranging the “furniture” in your mind.

I have a love/hate relationship with painting. I love looking at the myriad of individual paint sample cards. I love the feeling each shade evokes. I love the possibilities. I love how the room will look and feel when the project is completed. Unfortunately, the paint doesn’t get on the walls by itself. That would be the hate part.

Standing in Home Depot’s paint department in front of 100’s of little color samples that offers millions of possible color combinations can be a wee bit overwhelming. For me, perhaps the most difficult part about repainting a room is deciding exactly how I want the room to feel. Cozy? Whimsical? Peaceful? Tranquil? Fun? Color can make any four walls feel exactly how you want them to feel.

We all spend a great deal of time coloring the environment we live in. From the colors in the rooms we dwell in, the furniture in those spaces, the music we listen to, the books we read, the car we drive, the clothes we wear, the friends we keep, we surround Continue reading “Go Feng Shui Yourself”

The Joy of Just Not Knowing

“Life isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you deal with it makes all the difference.”  – Virginia Satir

Uncertainty. The problem with uncertainty is that it’s, well, so uncertain. We all strive to avoid uncertainty. In a sea of constant change, we all want to know where the life boats are.

It wasn’t too long ago that life was something you could sort of plan. There was an expectation of stability and predictability as you transitioned from one phase of your life into another. The steps were well worn and well defined; graduation led to the job which led to the marriage which led to the house which led to the children which eventually led to the retirement and the pension from the job which you never left. As predictable and as certain a path as a train on a track.

I was raise in this environment. My Dad worked in the same factory his Dad worked in. The two of them gave their entire working lives to one company, 77 years between the both of them. Why? Because they could. The process, the path, just worked.

HOLES IN THE DREAMBOAT I guess the world has changed a little bit. Certainty, the cornerstone of how life used to be, is long gone. The now-vacant lot where Continue reading “The Joy of Just Not Knowing”

Guitars, Drums, and Trusting Yourself

“Forever trust in who we are, and nothing else matters…”

In the world of inspirational and positive affirmation quotations, we are used to the words of Wayne Dyer, Anthony Robbins, Norman Vincent Peale, and others. One of my favorite inspirational quotes, however, comes from the duo of James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich.  Hetfield and Ulrich are better known by their day jobs as lead vocalist and drummer, respectively, of the band Metallica. The above quote is from their 1991 song “Nothing Else Matters”.

Trust is a funny thing.  As kids we learn to trust our parents.  We learn to trust our siblings. We learn to trust our friends.  But at what point do we learn to trust ourselves?

The road to trusting ourselves is sometimes treacherous. Especially if a troll named Insecurity jumps out from behind a tree.  Insecurity is the arch enemy of self trust.

Continue reading “Guitars, Drums, and Trusting Yourself”