Food for thought: Know yourself to love yourself

Money was tight while I was growing up. To make ends meet, my parents worked long hours and had many commitments that pulled them in one-hundred different directions.

Hard work, endless to do lists, and constant busyness was the theme of my childhood. Don’t get me wrong, my parents were fantastic and did the best they could with what we had. But somewhere, somehow my view of life got twisted. I saw success as being defined by how many activities I could pack into my day, that accomplishment was being perfect at everything I tried, no matter how long it took me to master.

So, the older I got, the more stress that filled my life. I was so obsessed with how many things I could master that I didn’t care how many people I hurt, and as a result I never truly got to know myself.

Questions like “what do I want to do?”, “What makes me happy?”, or “What do I like?” were never a part of my life.

Instead, I had my eye on the prize, my head full of fallacies, and no understanding of who I was in this world.

I wish I could tell you that there was a momentous event that changed everything, but I can’t. I believe my choice to begin to know myself came with my decision to begin to love myself.

Over the last 5 years, I’ve taken steps for me, I’ve asked myself what it is I want, I’ve made tough decisions, and I’ve learned to love being alone with myself [used to totally freak me out].

I began with going back to school to get an education in Holistic Nutrition, I left a toxic relationship of 5 years with nothing but a bag full of clothes and a couple boxes [of kitchen supplies of course], I bought my first apartment and began to feel comfortable on my own for the first time in my life, I signed up for a 7 day Deepak Chopra  class to learn how to meditate and sit comfortably with myself, I started training for a marathon, and I started this blog.

All of these steps were a little bit larger than the last, but each and every one of them have helped me progress toward getting to know myself, understanding how to love myself, and stepping out of my comfort zone.

Although I’d love to say that I’ve mastered the task, I’ve realized that getting to know me isn’t about an end goal, a final accomplishment, or plaque on the wall, its about the journey. It’s an ongoing pursuit of balance, filled with love, questions, reflection, and tough decisions.

Life is what we make of it and I’ve learned that it’s a much funner ride when we truly know ourselves, and love ourselves, because being consumed by activities, false dreams, and empty thoughts can be one lonely road.

Do you stop to check in with yourself, enjoy life, and love what’s around you?

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  1. Such an honest post, Leanne! Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with all of us. I’ve learned that it’s these slow and subtle changes that have such a profound effect on the rest of our lives. Deepak Chopra says there are only 2 questions in life that matter: who am I and what am i here to do (at the larger level)? No matter how much or how little you do in your day to day life, just your presence makes a difference!

    • I was checking my comment spam and every single one of your comments were placed in my spam box! When I went to the Chopra class in ’09 he made us ask ourselves those 2 questions at the beginning of the week, before any of us had meditated and then at the end of the week following our longest meditation. It was profound!

  2. What a profound realization, especially as someone who knows you and has seen you pursue goals with laser focus. Sometimes these are gifts and sometimes these are curses, it takes knowing yourself to know which it is, in the moment. Congratulations. I’m sure that this is a subtle but profound change that will forever shift the way you approach life.

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